Last updated, January 2019
USgamer employs a 5-star rating system for its reviews, with half-stars used for additional clarity and detail when necessary. We feel this system is intuitive and straightforward, and enables us to grade games clearly and consistently.
This is what the stars represent:
- 5 – Phenomenal. It might have a few flaws, but everything comes together to deliver an incredible, compelling and enjoyable gaming experience that shouldn’t be missed.
- 4 – Great. While it might not be best of breed, it’s nevertheless still highly enjoyable and is very much worth playing.
- 3 – Average. It might tick all the right boxes and deliver a decent gaming experience – but it’s not something that’ll make a lasting impression.
- 2 – Below average. It might look good and be professionally produced, but it has flaws and issues that ruin the fun.
- 1 – Poor. For whatever reasons, this game is riddled with problems that completely detract from any enjoyment that could be derived from playing it.
How do you choose which games to review?
USgamer selects games to review that we believe are relevant and interesting to the gaming public. There are a variety of considerations in play, but mostly boil down to quality, profile and anticipation.
How do you decide a score?
Generally speaking, a game rating represents the entertainment value and enjoyment the game delivers, and the overall quality of the product and the experience derived from playing it. Of course, scores are subjective, and we do not always agree on them unanimously. But we respect a reviewer’s point of view, whether we personally agree or not. In the case of a disagreement, a team member has the option to write a second opinion on the review, or an editorial to air their point of view. We also welcome community feedback on a score.
Does the second opinion affect the score?
No. The primary reviewer is the person who scores the game. The second opinion is there to add extra perspective – either to contrast the primary reviewer’s point of view, or support it. Whatever they say does not affect the review score.
Does 5/5 represent perfection?
No, but it does represent a game that’s truly great and comes with our highest recommendation.
Do you ever change scores before publication?
Sometimes we discuss scores with reviewers before publication to make sure they're applying the scale properly, or if the text seems to speak to a different score. But we do not assign or change a score without the full support of the primary reviewer.
What about after publication?
Hell no. Unless someone has fat-fingered the wrong score like some kind of blithering nincompoop, a rating is not changed once it’s published.
What about MMO’s and other games that evolve over time?
We score games when expansions or updates have changed them significantly. Any score given to a game that changes over time simply represents what the reviewer thought when they reviewed it. We do not go back and change a score if a game changes for the better or worse. If the changes are fairly small, we’ll write an article and let you know how we feel about them. If they’re significantly game changing, we will review this latest iteration of the game and assign a new score.
Can a game get less than 1 star?
Never say never, but damn. That’d have to be one seriously crappy-ass game to merit no stars at all.
I'm a games developer/publisher! How do I get you to review my game?
You can contact either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We can't guarantee we will review something, but we consider all submissions.