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Thread: The RPG Sanctum - #13: The RPG Review Scale

  1. #1
    Host of The Sectorcast Rosestorm's Avatar
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    The RPG Sanctum - #13: The RPG Review Scale

    In this episode of The Sanctum, we examine RPGamer's review scale compared to other gaming publications. We also go on various tangents possibly related to the main topic. This show is rated 4/5.

    Listen: http://www.rpgamer.com/rpgsanctum/sanctum13.mp3
    Download: http://feeds.feedburner.com/rpgamer/DJog
    itunes: http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-...um/id416583261

    Be sure to leave your feedback in the thread and leave your reviews on itunes.
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  2. #2
    Great topic, I've always wanted to hear a more in depth account as to how reviews are determined and written.

    Also, in regards to Phil's argument that there aren't any rpg's to review lately, he must not have remembered The Witcher 2. I think that is role playing to the T..

    Keep up all the great work.
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    Veteran RPGamer watcher's Avatar
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    I disagree with the 4/5 rating for this show. Because the unwritten rules of the forums say that someone must disagree with all staff posted ratings for anything. :P

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    Gunclaws and Meow. Administrator Paws's Avatar
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    Dread News Editor RPGamer Staff Fowl Sorcerous's Avatar
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    i still maintain that my system of colours, shapes and patterns would be a much better means of abstraction.

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    is not declawed RPGamer Staff Ocelot's Avatar
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    I like happy face, flat face, sad face, myself. With an angry face reserved for the likes of Blazing Souls: Accelate.

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    Member Just Doug's Avatar
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    You could even add a confused face for "I've played this for 40 hours and I'm still not even sure what this is!" (or in internet meme parlance: "don't know if want...")
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    The longer I play video games, the less emphasis I place on reviews. Usually I look at the numbers, and if the numbers look interesting ( not 2.x or 3.x ) then I'll read the last paragraph and look at a few screenshots to see if it looks interesting. At this point I make a note to pick the game up at some point, or figure I'll take a pass.

    Now I actually read reviews when I'm feeling nostalgic for a game I haven't played in a while and don't have time to play at the moment. Or sometimes when I've started playing an older game an I'm having trouble getting into it. This will let me know if it's worth it to keep going, or if I need to approach the game a little differently.

    I love discussing a game after I've played it, but that would involve too many spoilers for a review. But before I play something, I just want the slightest taste.

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    Games horder Ombres's Avatar
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    Ah come on, what do you all have again Sword of Vermillon!! It's a good game, did have lot of fun with it back then, ok the sword is too short, but the got big boss battle, nice dungeon exploring, sure it is an old game, but was very well done for is time no?

  10. #10
    Host of The Sectorcast Rosestorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ombres View Post
    Ah come on, what do you all have again Sword of Vermillon!! It's a good game, did have lot of fun with it back then, ok the sword is too short, but the got big boss battle, nice dungeon exploring, sure it is an old game, but was very well done for is time no?
    No one mentioned Sword of Vermilion.
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    Cosmo Nova RPGamer Staff JuMeSyn's Avatar
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    I did, to the affirmation of others when it was addressed. The 'big boss battle' is rendered a negative when the controls for it are ridiculously limited, 'nice dungeon exploring' implies that the dungeons are pleasant to investigate before the area map is acquired, and as someone who plays old games all the time, this is one of those that didn't look good even at the time, and has aged terribly. I went into Sword of Vermiliion with a hopeful outlook, and only gradually, as the game mired me in repetitive battles that were so omnipresent as to make me hit the maximum level before the game ended, did the protests of my conscious mind at how much pain was being inflicted upon me weigh down my cheerful inner child with a rock tethered to a cliff.
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  12. #12
    Games horder Ombres's Avatar
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    Ok I see and I get your point, I guess I look at it from past memory, I did remember having fun with it! Sure it far from perfect, but still was fun for me to play it!

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    I wasn't a fan of the boss battles, but I managed to get a bugged save near the end of the game somehow so that each hit only did 1pt of damage, which made things a lot more manageable. I did like the music though, specially the village music. Guess that's what sound tests are for

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    One Knight Stand Spartakus's Avatar
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    The review scale is a lost cause. Whether you use 1-10 or 1-100, 5/50 is never an average grade and games hardly ever score beneath it, which is irrelevant because any score beneath 7/70 is considered bad. Grades 1/10 to 5/50 are merely strawmen to be invoked on rare occasions as an alibi.

    RPGamer's 1-5 score works well because the numbers are so small each step of the ladder is significant.
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    Member Rewind's Avatar
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    The only review scale that I really like is a 2 point scale - thumbs up if you like it, thumbs down if you don't. That's enough for me to summarize an opinion, and I can read the review to find out why.

  16. #16
    Quia ego sic dico RPGamer Staff Severin Mira's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XR2 View Post
    The longer I play video games, the less emphasis I place on reviews. Usually I look at the numbers, and if the numbers look interesting ( not 2.x or 3.x ) then I'll read the last paragraph and look at a few screenshots to see if it looks interesting. At this point I make a note to pick the game up at some point, or figure I'll take a pass.
    For me anything between 2.5-3.5 in our scale makes it worth investigating the review to see if it's one of those that may fit within my personal taste. There's a number of games scoring in that range that I personally love, and where the content of the review becomes most important in helping me decide if it's one I might enjoy. Then again it's also fun to read reviews below that and be thankful I didn't have to play it

    Also, angry face is far too lenient for Blazing Souls.
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  17. #17
    The only thing I dislike about the reviews here is that the scores are often the opposite to what I think. Really good games often just get rated 2/5 while really really horrible games get 4/5 or better!

    I mean sure, I could just use reverse thinking and buy all games rated 1/5 and 2/5 here, but... it feels like the wrong developers get appreciated here and I'm afraid that other gamers will actually listen to the review score and not buy an amazing game and buy the sucky games instead just because they are rated better.

    Then I'd rather have no score at all, so the players are forced to create their own opinion from the facts listed.
    (Note: this also requires the review text to be about the facts and doesn't include the words "good", "bad", "liked" and "disliked".)

  18. #18
    is not declawed RPGamer Staff Ocelot's Avatar
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    If you want "just the facts, ma'am," read the Wikipedia summary of the game's basic features. Reviews are supposed to be subjective, what makes them good or bad is a reviewer's ability to back up his/her opinion with examples. Nobody is ever going to agree with every review, but if somebody finds themselves disagreeing with the majoirty of reviews on any site, (not just RPGamer) that person might consider that it's not the reviewers, it's them. Like the majority of medium-sized gaming sites, RPGamer has 5-6 regular reviewers, all of whom have quite different preferences and tastes in gaming. It's not unusual for a regular reader to find that they have different preferences from a particular reviewer, but if somebody finds themselves disagreeing with all of the reviewers on a site, they just might have their own quirky preference in games.

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying games that a lot of other people don't... I know I've done so on various occasions. However, doing so doesn't mean that reviews that dislike a game you enjoy are wrong, or that a site tends to trash "good" games and promote "bad" games. Now, I'm personally not a huge fan of numerical review scales, but as somebody who writes reviews for a living, I do my best to use my employers' review scales as a way to communicate my general feelings about a game in shorthand. I don't generally write reviews for RPGamer, but I do help to proof them, and I can tell you that every review we post includes a discussion between the reviewer and at least two other people as to whether the scores given match the text of the review. We have some heated debates on the matter, in fact. The end result is that the scores are generally a good indicator of how the reviewer felt about the game, so if you don't like the scores, you probably simply disagree with the reviewer about the game. Nothin' wrong with that, but it doesn't make either the reviewer or any particular reader the holder of the ultimate truth about a game.

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  19. #19
    Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderator ChickenGod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Severin Mira View Post
    For me anything between 2.5-3.5 in our scale makes it worth investigating the review to see if it's one of those that may fit within my personal taste. There's a number of games scoring in that range that I personally love, and where the content of the review becomes most important in helping me decide if it's one I might enjoy. Then again it's also fun to read reviews below that and be thankful I didn't have to play it
    While this may not be quite on topic, I was inspired by you and Rya to browse through the reviews and find games that were scored 2 or lower that I really liked, and games scored 4 or higher that I hated. I browsed all reviews from the top 7 reviewers, and what I found was kind of interesting.

    Games rated 2.0 or under that I really enjoyed were as follows: Stella Deus, Growlanser 3, Shadow Hearts, Wild Arms 2 (1.0?!), Grandia 2, Legend of Dragoon, MegaMan Battle Network 5, Final Fantasy 8, Devil Survivor, Final Fantasy 5, and Arc The Lad 2. As can be seen, many of these games are generally well-liked and its kind of surprising to see them ranked so low. Still, I only managed to find a total of 12 games, and that number is remarkably low. Also consider the fact that there are no two reviewers who have consistently rated these as being bad. Another review can be found for many of these games, often changing the score from "Bad" to "Great" for games such as Shadow Hearts and Grandia 2, so I think the reviewers here are doing a pretty solid job on this front.

    The titles rated 4.0 or higher that I really didn't care for are thus: Shining Force GBA, Disgaea, Valkyrie Profile 2, Jeanne d'Arc, Valkyria Chronicles, Demon's Souls, Fable, Nier, Skies of Arcadia, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, Breath of Fire 5, Dragon Quest 4 DS, Final Fantasy 12, Final Fantasy X-2, Kingdom Hearts: Days, and Mana Khemia 2. Unsurprisingly, of the 16 I listed, most of these games are very well liked and reviewed positively elsewhere as far as I know, such as DS, Nier, Skies, and FF12. I wouldn't be at all surprised if anyone took a look at this list and just thought that I was crazy for disliking at least 3/4th of these, so the reviewers must be doing pretty darn good in this category as well. One thing I will note is that unlike most of the games rated poorly, I couldn't really find a more neutral/negative score for the vast majority of these, which would indicate that there really isn't a solid "2nd Opinion" for someone like me who happens to hate well acclaimed titles such as Skies, Valkyria Chronicles, or FF12.
    Last edited by ChickenGod; 06-23-2011 at 11:04 AM.
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  20. #20
    Games horder Ombres's Avatar
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    Well like Ocelot say, review are really subjective, we do all have our preference, but then again a good reviewer, like the one in RPGamer, always describe well everything about the game and what they liked or not, and most of the time, I was always able to know if a game is good for me after reading about it. I might add that you learn the taste of certains reviewers and the one that have similar taste to your, so you can learn that way who you should follow more his/her idea and vice-versa
    Last edited by Ombres; 06-23-2011 at 09:46 AM.

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