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The Official Destructoid Review Guide

5:00 PM on 06.16.2011 // Chris Carter

Average starts at five, not seven

It's been quite a while since we've updated our reviews guide from 2011, and now is as good a time as ever to set the record straight once again, and keep our readers informed of the review process.

Please read this (or at least skim it over) before you send us hate mail over a high or low review. To facilitate that process, I'll keep things brief and focus mainly on the major points.

Our Goal:

Hi! I'm Chris Carter, the Reviews Director for I've been reviewing games professionally for around five years now. It's my job to give you an informed opinion of various games out on the market, so you can make an decision on what to spend your money on, or how you choose to spend your afternoons. Like Jim Sterling before me, I am here to serve the reader first and foremost, not publishers and developers.

By nature, reviews are a subjective beast. They are based on our own individual opinions, and that may not reflect your exact feelings on a game. Best rest assured, we strive for accuracy, and we will do our best to convey why a game made us feel a certain way. It is also our policy to review what's in the game, and not promises of what may come. We often may speculate on future features or facets of a game through the course of a review, but it will not affect the score.

Let me stress that although we do speak to PR on occasion to obtain advance review copies for games, we do not collude with them, any sponsors, or advertising agencies on anything regarding reviews or scores. Our review team is completely and utterly isolated from the ad team. I have no idea how they conduct their business, and I'd like to keep it that way.

Our Scale:

Here's the full scale.

1/10 - The Worst - One of my least favorite games ever. Just thinking about it is upsetting. I am upset.

2/10 - Painful - This game made me feel actively disgusted most of the time. Like a disease. It might not kill you, but anything is possible.

3/10 - Insulting - I feel mocked by this game. It's engaging for just long enough to pull the rug out from under me and scream in my ear, "surprise! I suck!"

4/10 - Disappointing - I feel sorry for this one. It came close to being passable, but dropped the ball too many times to prevent itself from being an embarrassment.

5/10 -  Tolerable - Like a meal of lukewarm water with white bread. It filled my time and my belly, but lacks any discernible flavor or nutritional value. A game that left me no different than it found me. Just passing through.

6/10 - Amicable - A presentable but unmemorable time. Focusing on the bright spots helps, and I appreciate the effort, but I won't be playing this repeatedly.

7/10 -  Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

8/10 -  Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

9/10 - Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

10/10 - The Best - Is it legal to marry a videogame? Because I want to be with this game every day for the rest of my life. It completes me. It is my soul mate.

Here is a link to our previous score system, which was replaced on April 15, 2015.

Our policy on scores:

Here at Destructoid, we use the entire scale. It does not start at "7." Let me repeat that -- if a game is less than "good," (7) it will be scored as such. Just because a game has obtained a "6" does not mean it's a "bad," game -- far from it, in fact.

In regards to why we use scores or why they're not implemented to make us more money, our founder Niero can answer that better than I can.

"Ad companies we've worked with have called us crazy for publishing scores. It really is like deciding to go to war. The only reason a site does not publish review scores is to sell more advertising. We have lost ad campaigns because we've given bad review scores, and frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. I'm not compromising our voice.

Still, we understand the danger of a bad score. For example, some publishers giving their employees pay cuts due to scores, but in that case we push it back on them. It's not our fault you choose this method to compensate your employees. Grow a backbone, stand behind your work, make better games, and stop blaming the gaming press for having an honest opinion."

- Yanier Niero Gonzalez, Destructoid Publisher/Founder

Our MMO policy:

Starting in 2014, Destructoid will be scoring MMO reviews, and moving towards move MMO coverage in general. The requirements for reviewing an MMO are strict, and involve at least one to two months of expanded playtime, and a requirement of viewing endgame content if applicable.

MMOs are large projects that are constantly evolving, but much like other titles that feature DLC and title updates, we can provide an informed snapshot to help you decide whether it's worth your hard earned cash and time.

Check out a full description of our Reviews in Progress program here.

Our review event policy:

Publishers sometimes hold "review events," where they invite multiple members of the press to a central session with the intention of having them score and review a game on location. While we've attended some of them in the past for coverage purposes (before November 2013, when I took over as Reviews Director), we do not score games based on review events, as we feel that the environments are too controlled.

Again, a game will never be scored by way of a review event on Destructoid.

Our DLC review policy:

Also in 2014, we're moving towards more DLC coverage. As the price of DLC goes up to the point where map packs are priced higher than some digital games, it's important to keep readers up to date.

As a rule, we will score substantial add-ons that bring concepts like new game modes and levels, and simply cover smaller DLC like costume packs with impressions when applicable.

Our staff:

This is how our reviews work.

Generally, a review copy or code is handed off to either myself, or Editor-In-Chief Jonathan Holmes. Sometimes, we'll opt to purchase a game out of pocket. From there, we decide among ourselves which one of us is going to handle the game, or if we should pass it off to another member on staff. It's that simple.

As a rule, Holmes and myself will cover major releases. We are full-time staff and it's literally our job to cover big games. But we also have a dedicated set of individuals who are also employed at Destructoid, as well as a number of talented contributors to rely on.

Contact me with any questions:

Finally, you can reach out to me anytime if you have any questions or concerns about our policy. You can find me at chriscarter[at]

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
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Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory

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