GamerNode’s Guide to Review Scores

Game reviews have become a stagnant, homogeneous pool; we’re aiming to transition from the standard to the extraordinary.

“Objective” reviews based on the old, familiar parameters serve a valuable purpose, and can be fine pieces of work. Many great game critics strive to produce this type of review. But what is special about these pieces of writing? What can be said about the meaning of those games, how they relate to our greater lives, and what our psychological and emotional experiences have been and will be with them?

Even more simply, what is interesting about those games, the words we say about them, and what others think of those analyses? We have creative, independent brains… we plan to use them.


On May 5th, 2010 (5/5/10), GamerNode adopted a new, 5-point rating system to simplify our assessments of each game and better reflect the quality of each overall experience, in understandable, human terms. In doing so, we aim to make more complete use of the scale’s full range to better approximate a normal distribution of scores and eliminate any misleading skews. Here is a brief explanation of each of the five possible scores games will receive at GamerNode from this point forward:

5 out of 5These are excellent, “must-buy” games. Their negative qualities are few and far between, making them overwhelmingly enjoyable, “classic” experiences. They aren’t necessarily “perfect,” but a majority of gamers are sure to fall in love with them. Everyone should own/play these games. *Must-Buy*


4 out of 5These are very good games. Players will have plenty of fun with them, and they will be remembered as some of the better games of the era. We can comfortably recommend these games to most people, and would include them in our own personal libraries. Go grab ’em. *Recommended*


3 out of 5These are good, likable games that provide positive play experiences. They’re not revolutionary, but not bad; they’re solid and entertaining. They may not set everyone’s heart on fire, but many will find them to be enjoyable. They’re worth trying out, and may even surprise you. *Cautiously Recommended* 


2 out of 5These games are substandard experiences. They are not always enjoyable, although some players will find something worthwhile hidden inside. Don’t count them out completely; they could have been alright with a little extra effort. Genre fans may still enjoy these games. *For Select Audiences Only*


1 out of 5These games are just bad. It’s borderline painful to play these games, and we can’t in good conscience recommend them to anyone for anything outside of research. They are often broken, with almost no redeeming qualities. If you want to punish yourself, play these games. *Avoid*


0 out of 5Reserved for the worst of the worst, this rating is almost essentially an award in itself. Do literally anything else before playing any game with this rating. That includes eating ghost peppers, banging your head up against a wall, or even listening to Nickelback. *Never Play*



Note: Titles covered at GamerNode are often received free of charge, solely for review purposes.