Game review score — IGN Entertainment (2023)

Art criticism, whether it's about games, movies, TV shows or comics, is not a science. To use games as an example, while you can count the pixels on the screen, the number of frames per second displayed, or even the number of hours of content available, none of this means a game is good; even though it's technically bulletproof and running at 4K and 144Hz, it can still be terribly boring. On the other hand, a game can run at 900p at 30 frames per second (with occasional dips in the 20s) andstill worthy of our highest rating: Masterpiece.

The fact is, although many have tried, you can't objectively measure how good or fun a game, movie, TV show, or comic book is the same way you can quantify things like temperature, mass, or speed. All of these mediums are art forms, and the purpose of art is to inspire an emotional response in its audience. So what we're doing in reviews is talking about how a particular work affects us emotionally when we look at it, read it or play it, and criticism is the inherently subjective perspective of an individual critic. When we summarize this review into a score, we are not doing any sort of calculation; there are no "standard" scores to add or subtract to arrive at the final number, and no quality or trait (or lack thereof) is worth a prescribed number of points. That's because scores aren't math, they're codes, and each number corresponds to a description on our scale.

Historically, IGN used a 100-point scale for over a decade, briefly switching to a 20-point scale from 2010 to 2012 before switching back. However, as of January 2020, we are switching to a 10-point scale for games, movies, TV, and comics (leaving our back catalog scores intact). We believe that this scale, as described below, clearly and effectively communicates the reviewer's decisive opinion without getting lost in the weeds about the difference between the incremental scores.

However, the scores are just a baseline for our opinion. All reviews go through a rigorous editing process to ensure fairness, transparency and accuracy when they finally appear on IGN and are presented as an IGN Review. That said, there's also a signature on every piece of text you see, and we encourage you to follow our writers on platforms like Twitter, get to know them on their IGN pages, and try to understand where they're coming from based on their recommended games. . With many different voices on display on IGN, from both current and former contributors, it's not possible for all opinions to magically align (pending the development of Hive-mind technology). A reviewer for a sequel to a game released a decade ago, for example, shouldn't be beholden to an earlier reviewer's score of the original because that was a different person's view in a different time and place. Ultimately, we don't want review scores to bring the discussion to a close, but rather to encourage it to continue, and we want you to engage with our reviewers throughout the entire process in an intelligent, courteous, and passionate way.

How are scores determined?

As stated above, our goal is twofold: to offer critical insight into how a game succeeds or fails, and to provide all the information you need to determine whether a game is worth your hard-earned money. We offer game and/or purchase recommendations and strive to assess their quality based on the opinions of our reviewers. We're looking for games that are fun to play, but we're also eager to find games that surprise us, push boundaries, and explore new territory.

Unfortunately, there is no science behind the score, no algorithm that can be run to "get it right" for each reader. It evolves as a process from the moment a reviewer plays a game, talks to senior staff about the experience, goes through multiple edits and revisions to ensure the story is airtight, and sees how it compares to other similar games. and more. In short, we do our best to give a score that represents a strong recommendation, one way or another. Note that a review score does not start at 0 or 10 and add or subtract points until the final score is reached; is a direct translation of the word described in the scale above.

How do you decide who reviews which games?

Our goal is always to match games with the person who knows and cares about the genre, series, and style of play to provide the most expert opinion possible. Likewise, whenever possible, we avoided assigning a game to someone who wasn't already interested in playing it. We try to make sure that our entire team is complete, but also that the game ends up in the hands of a reviewer who can talk about the genre and platform in a polite way that serves our audience.

And yes, sometimes people are looking forward to playing games that turn out to be huge disappointments. That's the nature of the beast - if every game was as good as the marketing makes it out to be, reviewers would be out of work!

Sometimes one person gives a game a great review but another editor says they didn't like the game, who's right?

Because reviews are, by definition, someone's opinion, no review is "right" and no review is "wrong" (as long as it's based on factually correct information). IGN's review is the official statement about a game's quality because we've chosen a single reviewer to come forward and represent us, but it's still the reviewer's opinion and no opinion is universal among all players. Just as you and your friends think differently about certain games that are awesome or just plain good, those disagreements exist within the IGN team. We would never want to silence the voice and opinion of our other editors, and everyone is free to respectfully discuss any game in any of our many subsequent articles and talk shows. We think one of the things that makes IGN special is that we have an office full of people who love to play and discuss games. We want editors to continue this discussion, even if the opinion doesn't always agree with our official review.

I see ads on the IGN site for the games you review. Do advertisers affect your review scores?

Absolutely not. IGN has a very strict separation between sales and editorial. Publishers are not aware of upcoming announcements and promotions. It comes as a surprise to us both when we see an ad on our website and to readers.

Do you change your review scores if a game improves after it's released?

Yes, but very rarely. To get a second review, a game must have changed enough that the original review is no longer accurate, and it must be popular enough that many players actively seek reviews for that game. These conditions are rarely met, so don't expect to see IGN review a score often.

Why are you reviewing games that are in early access or open beta?

It's important to recognize that both "beta" and "early access" mean different things for different games; in some cases it's a small part of a game used as a technical test, while for many others (like very popular games like Fortnite and Minecraft) it's the full experience, it costs money and can even exist for years under that label.

With that nuance in mind, our policy is that a game is eligible for review if all or the vast majority of its content is publicly available and/or a game creator is charging a significant price for access or for microtransactions within it, regardless whether they consider it the "finished" product. If only part of the content is included, but the main game is available, we may opt for a continuous review format, which may or may not include a score based on the question "If we were to rate this now".

Readers should note that developers and publishers use these tags to indicate that their game is about to undergo significant changes, but we know that IGN readers still seek our opinion on a game when it's publicly available, especially if it's a game that involves shopping.

Naturally, a game that was reviewed in Early Access or Beta is eligible for an updated review when those tags are eventually removed if we believe the original review no longer reflects our current recommendation and there is still substantial public interest in that game.

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