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Game Assault's Ratings Explained
We get asked about our rating system a lot.  So, we've decided to provide a handy guide for the reader.  

The scores are broken down into 6 categories:  Graphics, Sound & Music, Control, Replay Value, Fun Factor, and Overall.  We'll take a look at each one individually. 

Graphics - These are obviously the visuals in a video game.  

Sound & Music - These are obviously the sounds in a video game.

Control - This concerns the act of controlling the game.  Are the controls logical?  Does the layout make sense?  Does the player have to worry about controlling the game rather than playing it?  We take all of this into account with this rating.

Replay Value - This rating tries to estimate the likelihood that you'll want to pick this game up and play it again.  Certain game genres, like RPGs, generally have a lower replay value than others, such as arcade type games.  This is one of the reasons we don't average scores together to make up an overall score. 

Fun Factor - Another reason we don't average scores together.  A game can look and sound like the proverbial fecal matter and still be fun to play.  This rating coveys how fun a game is to play.

Overall - Once again, this rating isn't an average of the first five.  It's more a gut feeling.  A game can be very pretty, sound great and be fun to play, but leave you feeling empty.  That type of thing would be reflected in this rating.

The ratings themselves:

The scale goes from 10 being the best to 1 being the worst.  A 5 does not mean a failing grade.  5 is average.  A game that gets a 10 doesn't mean it's perfect.  There is no perfect in anything, so why start now?  10 means that it's among the best in that category.  What's the difference between a 9.5 and a 10?  It's a judgment call, but usually that will be addressed in the actual text of the review.

Also, we provide a color-coding scheme to provide further assistance to those people who absolutely don't feel like reading the review.  It works like a traffic light. 

0-4 = Below average - (RED) = Stop! Do not buy.

5-7 = Average - (
YELLOW) = Buy with caution.

8-10 = Above Average - (
GREEN) - Go ahead and buy.

Also, keep in mind that an older game's ratings aren't necessarily going to stay relevant.  For example, WWF Smackdown, for the PlayStation, received an 8.5, while WWF Warzone received a 9.0 two years ago.  I don't know about you, but I'd rather play Smackdown! any day of the week.  Warzone was fresh for its time and received a very good rating.  Since then, it's been overshadowed by new games, such as Smackdown!  Why then does Smackdown! get a lower score?  Times change.   Expectations change.  Does Smackdown! differ from previous wrestling games enough to be considered revolutionary?  Not really.  Warzone did, albeit two years ago, hence the higher score.

Another question is the "Why are your reviews generally favorable?" or "Why all do all of your reviews get such high marks?"  Usually that's because our games are, for the most part, purchased by the individual reviewers.  They usually purchase games that they want to play or are interested in.  Being a relatively small site, we don't have an expense account that allows us to buy games for the reviewers.  We do occasionally receive games from game companies, but that's very rare.  Because the reviewers will tend to buy games they want to play or feel they're going to like, it's reflected in an abundance of high scores.  That doesn't prevent us from being objective, it just means that, like you, our reviewers don't want to waste their money.  We never give high scores for any reason other than a game being a good game.  We're never pressured or feel obligated to give a game a high score.  We score 'em as we see 'em.  Simple as that.   

Below are example ratings from the review of Crazy Taxi for the Dreamcast.  Read them and compare with the descriptions above.  Pretty handy, huh?

Graphics 9.5 Excellent graphics, with only a hint of slowdown and minor pop up. Essentially equal to those of the $6,500 arcade machine.
Sound & Music 9.0 Great music, clear sound effects, but a limited number of voices for pedestrians.
Control 10 It may require a bit of learning to transfer arcade steering wheel skills to the Dreamcast controller, but once you've figured it out, the control is perfect.
Replay Value 10 Incredibly addictive. Just be glad you're not in the arcade and you don't have to keep pumping in quarters. You'll likely still be playing this game as Sega gears up for its next console launch.
Fun Factor 10 Fast and furious fun. It's hard to imagine getting more than this from a driving game, particularly one that first appeared in arcades.
Overall 9.5 If you were to buy a Dreamcast today and could only have one game, this would be an excellent choice. Crazy Taxi is a game with a broad appeal that will keep you glued to your seat.