When reading or writing an RPGamer review, please use this scoring chart to evaluate the context of each numerical score. If you should find any error in the presentation of the text of a review as it relates to the number scores the review gives, please report them as you find them. Also, all games reviewed by staff on RPGamer have been completed unless stated otherwise. This goes for all games except MMORPGs.
|Any aspect of the game related to its combat mechanics is included within the Battle System subscore. For games with limited to no combat, this may be changed to something more appropriate: for example, most Harvest Moon titles replace Battle System with Farming System.
|Any aspect of the gameplay not related to combat is included within the Interaction subscore. This can include but is not limited to controls, menus, puzzles, exploration, or any other subsystem within the game that lies outside of the battle system. Interaction is something of a catch-all category that encompasses game elements that don’t neatly fit into other categories.
|How unique the game is. Elements that affect originality can stem from any aspect within the game.
|Anything relating to the game’s story falls under this subscore. This includes the basic elements of a story such as plot, characters, and setting, but also game-specific story elements such as localization and storytelling methods.
|Music & Sound
|Any audio within the game falls under the Music & Sound subscore. This includes the soundtrack, voice acting, and use of sound effects.
|Anything relating to how a game looks falls under the Visuals subscore. This includes both the artistic and technical side of things. Game problems such as framerate and aliasing fall under this category.
|This is an overall assessment of the game as a whole. It is not an average. Staff review scores are scrutinized fairly heavily in our proofing process.
|Any game that receives an overall score of ‘1.0’ should be considered extremely poor in almost all regards. Any individual item score that garners a ‘1’ represents an aspect of the game that is very badly presented or otherwise shows an obvious lack of effort on the part of the developers.
|Between Abominable and Bad.
|Any game that receives an overall score of ‘2.0’ should be considered moderately bad in many ways. Any individual item score that is given a ‘2’ represents an aspect of the game that is not up to par with expectations or otherwise shows that aspect to be definably worse than the majority of the games contemporary competition.
|Between Bad and Average.
|Any game that receives an overall score of ‘3.0’ is – by and large – harmlessly average; these games should make up the majority of all games. Any individual item score presented as a ‘3’ defines an aspect of the game that serves its function and is neither extremely bad, nor extremely good; individual item scores of ‘3’ can also be used to define an area in a game that is particularly unmemorable or bland but is of – otherwise – good design.
|Between Average and Great.
|Any game that receives an overall score of ‘4.0’ should be considered very good as compared to most other games. Any individual item score that garners a ‘4’ represents an aspect of the game that is done particularly well or that shows a concentrated amount of effort by the developer.
|Between Great and Exceptional.
|Any game that receives an overall score of ‘5.0’ should be considered extremely good, and as close to perfect as the reviewer can possibly imagine the game being. Any individual item score that is given a ‘5’ represents an aspect of the game that is fantastic, very memorable, groundbreaking, or is simply so well demonstrated as to help define the entire game through its effort.
RPGamer also standardizes our challenge scores in order to more accurately and consistently represent the level of difficulty one can expect when playing any of our reviewed titles. These ratings can be interpreted as follows.
|The game should provide almost no challenge to the average player, possibly to the point of being detrimental to the overall experience. The average player should have no difficulties in completing the game.
|The game should provide little challenge to the average player. The game’s difficulty may increase slightly during the course of the game. The average player should have few difficulties in completing the game.
|The game should provide a good challenge to the average player without being overbearing. The game’s difficulty may increase steadily during the course of the game. The average player should have some difficulties in completing the game.
|The game should provide a strong challenge to the average player. The game’s difficulty may increase significantly during the course of the game. The average player should have a difficult time completing the game.
|The game should provide an intense challenge to the average player, possibly to the detriment of the overall experience. The game’s difficulty may increase dramatically during the course of the game. The average player should have an extremely difficult time in completing the game and will possibly be unable to.
|The game provides adjustable difficulty settings that allow the player to customize the game to his or her own skill level. (Note: This is reserved for cases where difficulty can be changed mid-way through a playthrough and it allows significant tailoring. If you can only toggle between Normal/Easy then this is generally not used.)
|The game’s difficulty fluctuates significantly during the course of the game or is otherwise different from the normal difficulty scaling most games provide. Unbalanced games may become easier as the game progresses, or the difficulty may spike dramatically in odd places.