We understand that game reviews and scores are a complex matter, so this document outlines RPGWatch’s scoring and review criteria to assist readers and help put them in context.
Here’s a rough guide to the 1-5 scoring system we use:
5 – An outstanding game that will be remembered as a classic. A score of 5 indicates a game that is equal to the best gameplay available in the genre at the time of writing. It is, however, important to understand this does not represent an absolutely flawless game.
4 – An excellent game with some minor issues or weaknesses but still very highly recommended.
3 – A score of 3/5 indicates a good game held back by obvious technical or design issues that limit the appeal. Games that score 3/5 will often split opinion, depending on how strongly the player perceives the flaws.
2 – A game that has significant flaws or stale gameplay but may still offer some enjoyment to fans of the genre or subject.
1 – A bad game with overwhelming issues that should simply be avoided.
The score is secondary to the full text of the review and we encourage visitors to read the entire article.
All RPGWatch reviews are written by unpaid volunteers and this will have some impact on the process. In most cases we do not receive official copies, so reviewers usually buy their own copy. It is natural that our volunteer writers are most likely to buy games they are interested in and this will mean that not all games are reviewed and there may appear to be a positive skew to the results.
The following section is an overview of our reviewing process and goals:
- Our reviews are the individual opinion of the author, based on their personal observations from playing the game. While reviews are an expression of the author’s experience with the game, the text should be tempered by an understanding of the broader market and include enough details of the gameplay for readers to form their own opinion of the game’s suitability for their tastes.
- Our reviews must be factually correct. Our reviewers are encouraged to do as much research within and outside of the reviewed game as possible to avoid errors.
- Our reviewers must be unbiased, unprejudiced and impartial.
- The reality is that reviews are often judged by the final score and not by the actual writing. Our reviewers are encouraged to decide on the final score with the utmost responsibility and the score should be supported by the main text.
- As a specialist RPG site with an informed audience, we will endeavour to pay careful attention to the applicable RPG elements such as character creation, character development, dialogue, choices, consequences and so on. Emphasis should be on gameplay over graphics and “indie” titles should be taken in the context of their market.