There are two kinds of people: those who hate the reviews scores you give out, and those that hate review scores all together. The perfect middle ground seems obvious – why not just leave the score out entirely? This is something that, during our brief hiatus, I’ve thought intently about. Why, exactly, do we use scores?
I tasked myself to come up with a logical response. If there are review scores, it has to be an answer that’s more complicated than “it helps gets hits.” As someone who has worked in games’ journalism for a few years now, I can tell you that pulling a score out of something that is entirely unquantifiable in a video game review isn’t something that any reviewer really enjoys. Sure, it does help with traffic. People are inclined to find a “too long, didn’t read” summary that can sum up a lengthy review – so what better, and quicker, way than to throw out a number? It’s easy to digest, can be compared against other reviews and is good fodder when discussing a game’s overall value.
But here’s the thing: I really badly want people to read our reviews at Epilogue Gaming. Much like other websites, some I’ve worked for and respect, we put a lot of effort into what we do here. If putting a number at the bottom of the review gives people reason to skip over the actual content, doesn’t that become antagonistic to my own desires as a writer?
Well, I don’t think so. For a couple of reasons, actually: First and foremost, I believe the onus should be on the reviewer to write something worth reading, not the reader. If we provide a compelling enough review, my hope (and any editors hope) would be that visitors would take the time to read. It gives them insight that a number never will. Secondly, with the number, or score, in this case, comes responsibility. In that responsibility is the reviewer’s obligation to defend their general perspective toward a game. Don’t like something and want to give it a 4? You need justification for it.
Much like any art form, people put hard work into making video games. A large part of what we do here at Epilogue Gaming represents that hard work. Much like literature, everything a game does is purposeful and has meaning or intent behind it. We want to discover that meaning, justify that meaning if we can and condemn it if we can’t. At Epilogue Gaming, we score our reviews as a way an ombudsman might: there must be justification, truth and meaning to our words. If our words don’t represent that number, and our number doesn’t represent our words, than we have failed our job.
As always, thank you for reading. If you have any additional questions as to our review policy, one that we hope promotes free thinking and objectivity, please send us feedback. For a more detailed explanation of the things that we value at Epilogue Gaming, please check out our scoring matrix, which represents the things we look for when reviewing a game.
Editor in Chief,