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Reviews update – and a bit on scoring

July 30th, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

Three new reviews from yours truly. Game Method has posted the Cossacks II review I did for them, and you can find my Computer Games Magazine review of the same game in their September issue. My CGM review of Supreme Ruler 2010 is in the same issue.

If you compare the Cossacks II reviews, you will notice that I gave it a 65 at Game Method, but 2.5 stars at CGM. This is not an error or a change in opinion or editorial meddling with my scoring. Despite what Game Rankings would have you believe, you can’t always directly compare a star scoring system to a percentage ranking. Each site or publication has a definition attached to a scoring range. For both Game Method and CGM, I ranked Cossacks II where it belongs – squarely in the low side of average. Game Method’s official definition of the 60s range is “flawed”.

We can go round and round comparing scoring systems. I prefer to work in a star system because there is a prevailing image of the percentage grade of games as comparable to a school grade. This leads to what one colleague derisively calls the “7 to 9” scale – almost every game will fall in this gap. As a writer, all I can do is fit my impressions of the game into the prevailing editorial system. I’m not about to wage a one-man revolution against people giving me a chance to write about something I love. If asked, I’ll voice my opinion.

As for Cossacks II, it’s pretty dull. The battles are nice enough, but once again GSC has made the game nearly impossible for newcomers. Over at Eurogamer, Kieron Gillen called it a RTS that wasn’t because effective play required a lot of pausing as you got your troops lined up. The strategy game has little to recommend it, and once again I fail to grasp the popularity of a European success story.

Supreme Ruler 2010 is workmanlike. It’s very deep and Battlegoat seems to have avoided all the pitfalls that made Superpower and its sequel completely unplayable – at least without a strong drink. Supreme Ruler is, in many ways, a promising start. It’s not there just yet, but I eagerly anticipate their next project.


3 Comments so far ↓

  • Jim9137

    I’m more accustomated on the percentage or 100 points system. I hate that bleeding % symbol in the end, it’s just unnecessarily flashy, but that’s not the point.

    The point is, everyone else uses the 7-9 range, or 60-100 as it is. If you’d start giving games numbers based on the whole range, you’d soon be swamped with angry letters from fanboys and so on. Although, it’d make more sense. And as always, publishers like more numbers. More numbers means more! And anyway, as one of the reviewers said, few points to direction or another, doesn’t mean jackshit.

    But still, I like looking at numbers and say my favorite game got few more points than this rubbish clone of it. :P

  • Troy Goodfellow

    I’m not worried about fanboys, but there’s no real sense in having a 100 point scale if the first 55 points don’t mean anything. Of course, some publications keep those numbers around so they can beat up on marginal games with crappy production values – Redneck Squirrel Hunt V and the like.

    Plus, if a few points one way or another don’t mean anything, why pretend to have an instrument so fine-tuned that it can detect the difference between a 94 and 97?

    Ten points should be enough for everyone. No one does movie reviews with a 100 point scale, but that is obviously silly. For some reason, game pubs insist that they can.

  • Jim9137

    I don’t think it’s anymore about whether the game publications can. I saw years ago one of the biggest gaming magazines issuing a talk about the scoring system. 5 star? 10 point? 100? All suggestions were welcome, but it was purely on hypothized situation.

    I think they still receive letters about it.

    And their response these days is, “If we change our scoring system, we are going to remove it althogether. Points don’t mean anything, people only look at them at the newspaper stands to quickly see what games to buy. We’d rather just have people buy the magazine and actually read the review.” Paraphrased by me.

    But I still like how my favorite game gets two points more than some massproduced FPS.