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  MakeItSimple - Game Review Rating Scheme

New Review Ratings Scheme for MakeitSimple - Jan 29, 2000

Lets face it, we all get tired of seeing so many games with incredible scores. We like the games a lot, but do we really think each one is the end all, be all? Nope, and that's why we have a new ratings system:

Failure

1-49%

Categories of the game (such as graphics, gameplay, etc.) do not meet the minimum level to be competitive. Rampant bugs or extreme hardware stress can bring a game into this category as well.

Examples:

eXtreme Paintbrawl:

In every category this game suffers horribly.

Trespasser:

Fails to run acceptably even on the most powerful machines at release. Gameplay: (10%)

Ultima IX:

Runs poorly on top end hardware, rampant bugs prevent playing with certain video cards. Gameplay: (45%)

 

Average

50-59%

Occasional innovations are overshadowed or balanced by nagging problems. This is what a game needs to do in order to "pass". It does everything needed to be playable, but it really offers nothing to make it stand out against other games in the same genre. Like a road between logging towns, it does the job, but makes no guarantee on how many potholes you will encounter along the way.

Examples:

Mortyr:

Compared to Quake II... it lacks anything beyond its theme to stand out. Gameplay: (50%)

 

Good

60-69%

Areas of innovation outpace flaws. Noticeable improvements over other titles in the genre, although the experience is not revolutionary.

Examples:

X-Wing Alliance:

Provides much needed wingmen commands and a gunner mode, yet essentially plays the same as the previous game in the series. This isn't a bad thing, though. Gameplay: (65%)

Tiberian Sun:

Plays almost identical to previous titles. Some menus are kept as is for familiarity-sake, not gameplay. Gameplay: (60%)

 

Great

70-79%

Flaws are overshadowed by innovation and attention to detail. The game plays superbly, and only a few major issues come up. Titles with highly repetitive, yet addictive gameplay fit well here.

Examples:

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater:

Incredibly intuitive controls make for fun gameplay, but the tape collection scheme gets tiring after awhile. Gameplay: (75%)

Darkstone:

Addictive dungeon trolling, but time seems to wear down the addictiveness of pulling switches, wandering in many similar dungeons, and fighting hordes of monsters. Gameplay: (72%)

Q3A or UT:

Your choice - Where one lacks, the other beats it.

 

Incredible

80-89%

Exceeds expectations, flaws are almost negligible. When problems have to be hunted down or researched, this grade fits well.

Examples:

Freespace 2:

Highly addictive gameplay with a powerful theme and story line. Wingman AI stumbles often, but is easily fixed by a wingman command system and the ability to skip missions after consecutive failures. Gameplay: (85%)

 

Sheer Amazement

90-99%

Constantly takes your breath away. Limitations are destroyed. Innovation at every step. This category is very rare because of the exceptional circumstances required.

Examples:

Soul Calibur:

Graphical styling and the smoothest animation ever seen in a video game. Graphics: (92%)

Unreal:

At its release, the number of high resolution textures and vibrant backgrounds was unmatched. Graphics: (90%)

 

Godly

100%

A level of perfection never achieved? Not a single bad point can be found, no matter how hard you look. Hardware limitations are ignored.


Categories:

Installation:

  • How streamlined is the installation?
  • Does it force you to do things you don't want?
  • Are the space requirements teensy or obscene?
  • Does the game come in/with good packaging? (CD Jewel cases, color manuals, etc.)
  • Any major bugs that can effect how the game runs?
  • How hard does the game seem to run your system? (Hard drive thrashing?)

Graphics:

  • Do things look stunning in a good or bad way?
  • Seamed textures, or anything else out of place?
  • Solid or glitchy animation?
  • Proper sense of scale?
  • Does it draw enough from reality that you can relate to it? Or is it too distant and alien to like?

Sound & Music:

  • Does the music draw you closer into the game? Does it mesh well with the sounds and graphics of the game? Or is it a series of repetitive, random songs that were not intentionally designed for one level or another.
  • Do the sounds strike you as unique, or old hand?
  • How good is the 3D Sound implementation?
  • Are there any times when you expect to hear something but don't?

AI/Difficulty:

  • Do AI characters/vessels behave realistically, or do they ignore gameplay conventions used often by the player?
  • Are the odds of beating the game in or against your favor?
  • How has the game dealt with losing situations?

Gameplay:

  • Are the controls responsive and easy to understand?
  • How steep is the learning curve?
  • How soon does it take for you to get tired of the game mechanics?
  • Are there any nagging issues or commands you wish you had in the game?
  • This section combines with multiplayer for online only games.

Multiplayer:

  • How well does the game function in the multiplayer universe?
  • Does it feel tacked on, or better than the single player mode?
  • Are there any Internet hosting options?
  • How is the lag?
  • How many players before saturation, usually?

Final analysis:

Take an average of other scores as a guide. If your review has most of the percentages within a certain rating (i.e. 80-89%), then the game should usually score in that category, and not be dragged down one or two other sections.

Weight the sections. Gameplay is most important, with AI, Graphics, and Sound/Music just behind. Installation should be last unless grievous bugs (Ultima IX) happen often. Multiplayer is mostly irrelevant for single player games, but gains much more importance in online centered games like Quake III or Everquest.

Take a gut score - what you think regardless of averages, and then compare. A final score should be under the gameplay score, but depending on how much you like it, the difference can be minimal.

When in doubt, score low. Scores of 70-79 are great! 80-89 is spectacular, and anything above that should be miraculous at worst. If you score a game above 85, take a good look over before deciding on that mark.

Questions or comments about our ratings?
Send mail to:Gamebox@makeitsimple.com

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