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APG Review Guidelines
After careful deliberation between all of the editors here at APG, we have decided to utilize a 20-point scoring system (ranging from 0 to 10 in increments of 0.5). Obviously not all games are created the same, nor are they all intended to do the same thing, so each game will be judged on its own merits using 5 categories as a basis. These five categories are: Narrative, Interaction, Presentation, Innovation, and Value.
This category is focused on the game’s story, characters, writing, and narrative pacing. Obviously not every game places a heavy emphasis on story, so the narrative will be evaluated based upon the genre and intention of the game. A multiplayer shooter’s narrative will not weigh as heavily as that of an RPG, for example. A game's narrative should also be judged on what it attempts to do and how well executed it is. Glaring plot holes, missed opportunities, and overly complicated plots may factor into this section as well.
This category details the game’s mechanics and systems, how they interact with the player and with each other, and how well they are executed. This category also varies heavily depending upon what type of game is being reviewed. A Telltale game that is primarily story-based will not be judged as critically on gameplay as a character action game that focuses almost solely on combat. Also, every game has a different form of interactivity and many games releasing today cannot be considered "traditional," which will have an impact on how they are evaluated. Glitches and bugs will primarily be addressed here, with an emphasis placed on how much they affect gameplay and overall entertainment.
This category is focused on evaluating the production values of a game. A game’s graphics, art direction, music, sound design, and acting are the focus of this category. Each game will be judged based upon the art style presented, not necessarily how realistic or artistic it looks. Bugs and glitches may also heavily factor into this category if they cause problems with the quality of the presentation, such as objects disappearing, sound not working properly, or anything else of that variety.
To Innovate means: to make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products. Any game, whether it is a brand new IP or new entry in a well-respected series, should seek to try new things. Not every game needs to create entirely new game mechanics or present a new form of storytelling, but they should at least attempt to put a twist or wrinkle on the norms. This category analyzes how well a game innovates within the franchise or the gaming landscape as a whole. These innovative elements may be part of the presentation, the narrative, or the interactivity of the game, but the focus of this category is why those elements are innovative and why they set this game apart from similar titles.
Remakes will be judged both by the innovative elements they contained at launch and how well these elements hold up to this day. They will also be evaluated based upon how innovative they are compared to other remakes.
This category emphasizes the game’s replayability and length, as well as optional content. This category has a strong focus on what the game is trying to accomplish and how much value players can expect from it. A $20 downloadable game is not expected to provide as much content as a $60 game, for example. Additional factors like multiplayer, addictiveness, side activities, challenge modes, achievements/trophies, and branching paths/multiple endings that may tempt you to play the game again may be factored into this section. This category is not about price, but rather the amount of content provided in a game.
0-4: A score below 4 is generally considered terrible to poor. The game is likely unplayable, severely broken, and lacks any entertainment. The only way to enjoy a game scored this low is to laugh at how much of a disaster it is.
4-6: A game scoring between 4 and 6 is likely to be an average game with no amazing qualities, but nothing that is offensively bad. The game is at least playable and may be fun for some people.
7: A game scoring a 7 is likely to be a good game. The game probably won’t wow you, but there are definitely some good elements in the game and you’ll likely find some enjoyment in it.
8: A game scoring an 8 is very good. There are multiple strong elements present and the game most likely excels in some categories.
9: A game scoring a 9 is considered great. A game that gets a 9 is a must play, with many great elements and very few bad ones. The game excels in most categories and truly leaves an impression on the gamer.
10: Very few games will get a 10, but those that do are considered masterpieces. The game should excel in every category and be a near perfect game. There should be very little wrong with the game. A 10/10 means that the game is as close to perfect as can be for the reviewer.
Games will be reviewed by different editors and, while we attempt to be as fair as possible, a review is ultimately the author’s opinion and should be taken as such. What one editor loves another may hate, so read through the criticisms of a game and decide if it’s for you. Don’t judge on score alone.
This scale only applies to officially reviewed and scored games. This does not include opinion pieces, impressions, Throwback Thursday features, or anything else of that sort.
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