Not long ago one of the more infamous gaming personalities on Twitch raised a ruckus about reviewers getting early copies of video games. I am not here to talk about this person – I typically avoid talking about individuals because The Inner Circle is a gaming website and I figure you are here because you like video games. However, this is an opportunity to explain our own review policy and our commitment to the readers.
Like many other gaming websites, writers for The Inner Circle Games often receive review copies of video games. It is a necessary part of the process considering how many new games are released every month. We understand that some of you believe it is not possible to evaluate an advance copy of a game with the same level of scrutiny as a title that we purchased with our own money. We are aware of this criticism and we take it to heart. My approach to a game review has always been to remind myself how I would feel if someone spent their money on a product after reading my review. I know I would feel terrible if you spent $60 on a game that I truly didn’t believe in and I encourage our writers to keep that in mind as well. At the very least, we will tell you if we have received a copy of any product we review.
We recognize that numerical review scores are extremely divisive. Our own internal discussions show that the staff is split on this concept. The Inner Circle will continue to use a 100-point scale in our product reviews and the score will be displayed as a range from 1 to 10 with increments in between (ex: 6.7, 8.3).
But what does a score of 10 mean? Or more appropriately, how does The Inner Circle view a score of 7.1 or a 6.4 or any other score? Our outlook is explained below, with some variation between each of the score ranges shown:
- This is quite literally a perfect game, usually a generation-defining title. No obvious ways to improve the experience come to mind. Very few games will ever receive a score of 10.
- 9 to 9.9:
- This score represents a great game. Any flaws are minor and did not detract from the gaming experience.
- 8 to 8.9
- A very good game. While flaws may be present, the overall whole is that of a great game.
- 7 to 7.9
- A generally good game. There will be noticeable issues but there is still an enjoyable experience to be had.
- 6 to 6.9
- A good game overall however, one that will have many flaws or being lacking in many areas. An average experience.
- 5 to 5.9
- A very middle-of-the-road experience. You may find something to like about the game but there will be issues that impact the experience.
- 2 to 4.9:
- A poorly designed game. There will be many flaws that dominate the gameplay experience.
- 1 to 1.9:
- A game that is literally unplayable. Very few (if any) games will ever earn a score of 1 from The Inner Circle.
The video games industry has changed a lot over the last few years. Digital distribution has increased dramatically, game companies experiment with new ways to deliver video games such as streaming and the games themselves grow over time. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege and No Man’s Sky both offer very different experiences than they did at launch and yet these games are mostly stuck with the original review scores. These are challenges we must consider going forward but I promise that our original mission statement will continue to guide us – putting the gamers first.