A rose by any other name…

Before we go on into an explanation of how Games Catalyst’s review scores work a quick word to the wise. Without muddying ourselves in too much controversy, it seems obvious that reviews can’t cater to everybody. A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but would Modern Warfare 2 (for want of a better example) if developed by an unknown developer and published by a third-tier publishing house, with little budget for overblown hype, still have garnered the 10/10 critical response lavished upon it?

Similarly, one man’s favourite game of all time is another’s worst nightmare and vice versa. In an industry which develops Half-Life 2 at one end of its genre spectrum, and the likes of Tetris at the other, who is to say which the better game is? Beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder, each of us looking for something different from the next person.

So, with that said, why are we here? Simple, to lend a guiding hand. Think of us as a subjective lighthouse; guiding the worthwhile to safe harbour and dashing the undeserving upon the rocks. Of course, as a brand new games publication, we have the luxury of looking at review systems already out there, weighing up their pros and cons and coming up with a best fit.

Perplexing percentages

I’m sure we can all agree that the arbitrary percentage is on its way out, while the difference between 89% and 91% might be slight in most contexts, in the minds of the games-playing reader (and indeed the publisher) there’s a world of difference – that 90+ score coveted above all else. Now that can’t be right, can it?

Therefore we have come up with an exam based scoring method (which we acknowledge is already in use among some games press); we will score games from E upwards though D, C, B, A and finally A*.

From bitter experience we also understand that to truly experience a game it’s essential to see it in the wild. In a world where ‘exclusive’ review events are often limited to a single (bleary-eyed) day, it can be nigh on impossible to test everything which a game features – particularly with most games featuring not only single-player experiences but also in-depth multiplayer these days – this my dear reader is where you come in.

Think you can do better hot shot?

You see, Games Catalyst is nothing if not a social site, a site built with user participation firmly in mind. We ask the brightest and boldest amongst our readers to write to us to offer their own opinion on their experiences with the games we’ve reviewed.

Want to quantify Black Ops’ online after investing 100 hours of your time? Great! Have you just discovered the insane genius of Deadly Premonitions and want to share the experience? Get writing. As you might expect, we can only guarantee publishing the best offerings but, for those of you with a penchant for games writing, you’ll find that Games Catalyst is your stage.

What we’re trying to convey is that Games Catalyst is an evolving, growing entity – one we’re confident will becomes the go to place for reviews – so come on, let’s take game’s coverage forwards shall we?

Please direct all of your letters, thoughts and mental ravings to mike@gamescatalyst.com