Read a Game?: Review System

January 13, 2009

So, I finished Fable 2 today. As promised I am going to write a review of it, but first, a couple of things need to be said about how I am going to go about reviewing video games.

I realize that rating anything is ultimately a subjective enterprise. Personal taste is always a factor. I figured I need to list my standard to show that I am not just throwing random numbers on the interwebs. I am going to average the score from each category (Gameplay, Presentation, Interface, Replay, Morality) to make a 5-star rating system.

Most of these categories are relatively self-explanatory. Gameplay is how enjoyable the game is to play; this would include things like game concepts, storyline, et cetera. Presentation consists of graphics and sound (do these aspects of the game add to or take from the game). Interface is how the player can interact with the game: do the controls work, are menus easy to navigate, et cetera. Replay is how often I would want to play the game. In general terms, a 1 in these categories would be abysmal, a 3 would be average, and a 5 would be excellent.

One thing I really did want to consider was the moral/ethical ramifications of the game (thus the category). That is the one thing I appreciate Christ Centered Game Reviews for (I modified their review system for this category). But I think half of the game’s overall score being based on it is a little harsh. Technically competent games (getting an average score somewhere around 70-85%) concerning evil content gets warped tremendously (exemplia gratia, CCGR gave Saint’s Row a 59%, as opposed to the industry average of 81%). While games that bomb the moral section would probably be a deal breaker on me buying it (and would thus probably not get reviewed), I would like my system to a least give the “good-horrible” games a chance. Any comments on the subject would be appreciated.

I will start at 5 points, then add or subtract points based on what is in the game:

  • Violence: People killing sentient beings (-.5)
  • Blood and Gore: Blood present, bodies and body parts persistent after death/dismemberment (-.5)
  • Language: R-rated language used enough to where I notice it (-1)
  • Nakedness: People dressed in a manner considered indecent in typical public places (-.5)
  • Sex: Judeo-Christian sexual ethics broken (-.5)
  • Pursuit of Evil: Game allows/forces player to make decisions that go against other aspects of the Judeo-Christian ethic not covered in another section (exemplia gratia, worshipping Satan, disregarding law and order, et cetera) (-1 or -2, depending on the severity)
  • Censorship: If the game allows certain moral issues to be turned off or avoided, due to player choice, add back HALF of the points subtracted for each area the game allows for.
  • Pursuit of Godliness: If the game actively promotes traditional Judeo-Christian values OR shows the ultimate negative consequences of sin (+1)

One last thing to note, my X-Box 360 is not connected to the internet, so I will only be rating games based on the single-player experience without any downloadable content, at least until further notice.


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