Rating System 3.0
While my previous system was sufficient, I had noted a possibility of altering it in the future. Well, that time has come. It was sufficiently good, but not simple enough. So, instead of creating a brand new system, I decided to look to another source as a basis for a simple yet effective rating system: the one I have been using for my Goodreads account. Of course, the system there is not the same as the one I will use here and is purely meant to be used as a foundation.
So, below is a breakdown of how I rate games. All my ratings are reflective of this system, but I had yet to write a detailed breakdown which is why I thought to make this post. Keep in mind these are all ratings on a 5-star scale and are not meant to be equated to a 10- or 100-point scale. Yes, there is a difference, the details of which have already been written about extensively.
5 stars - Reserved for games with flaws so minor (no game is perfect) that there is really nothing that could make them any more perfect. These are must-plays and a terrific experience from beginning to end. Additionally, I would replay these if repeat achievement unlocks were a thing. Depending on certain factors like the achievement list, I would likely stack them with another version, eg., 360 after One or a remaster. There are very few that receive this rating.
4.5 stars - Given to games which are basically the same as 5-star games, but with a caveat. I will create a separate section below explaining this "4.5 clause."
4 stars - A rating for great games that deserve to be played. But, due to some minor flaws or a major flaw, these would not be ones I would play again like I would 5-star and 4.5-star games. There are a few exceptions, however.
3 stars - This rating requires me to state something important. Contrary to popular belief, a 3/5 is not bad! That's exactly what this is - a rating for a game that is good enough, but is either not all that fun or has a few glaring flaws.
2 stars - This rating is where we get into the territory of games that get stars for doing something right rather than getting points knocked off for flaws. That's not a good thing. This rating is for games whose issues detracted so much from the experience as to make them unenjoyable due to gameplay, poor narrative, broken/missing content, heavy-handed/disrespectful political messages, etc., but have at least a redeeming quality or two. Examples of such include beautiful art style, solid frame rate, etc.
1 star - This is reserved for games with no redeeming qualities. These games exist for no good reason and are flat-out frustrating, broken, and/or not fun.
Regarding the "4.5 clause" I mentioned above, I thought it best to illustrate this with a story from our past elections. I'm talking about the very early days, even before mutton chops first became cool. George Washington remains the only president ever elected unanimously by any elective body. Many years later, James Monroe was elected president and was again elected for a second term. For his second victory, all but one of the electors voted for him. That elector stated he believed only Washington deserved to be elected unanimously.
I know, it is a weird thing to tie together an old election story with a TA rating since the latter is definitely not on the same level as the former, unless you are someone who loves the hole in the center of game discs a bit too much. However, the point I am trying to make is that Monroe was essentially perfect. That is the case here with 4.5-star games. But, there will be one thing or another, and that can because of the smallest things, that will prevent me from giving them a 5. A perfect example of this is when a game includes a ludicrous amount of collectibles that are easy to get, but serve no real purpose other than to extend the playtime. Yeah, going for those collectibles is annoying, but the rest of the game is outstanding and more than makes up for that shortcoming. Thus, the game in question is essentially perfect and receives a 4.5. I intend to give 5-star ratings on very rare (possibly ultra rare or even legendary) occasions. The reason is simple: I want to preserve the prestige of giving something a perfect score.
All this said, there are many 4.5-star games on my list I like more than the 5-star games. As seems to be tradition now, I will mention Halo (my favorite series which I hold very near and dear). At the time of writing this, I have not given a 5-star rating to a single Halo game. But, without a doubt, I would choose my favorite Halo game over my favorite 5-star game. This is also another point I wanted to highlight regarding the relationship between 4.5- and 5-star games. Ratings are separate from favorites because something slightly flawed can still be a preferred option over something incrementally better.
Why create this long-winded post for something so simple? Well, I enjoy rating games since I find the practice to be an outlet for dishing out praise and venting frustrations. Ultimately, my personal rating won't necessarily affect much, but it remains a method for me to express my opinion in a simple and convenient manner. Plus, and maybe more importantly, writing/typing is fun. Everyone's ratings collectively impact the rating of something, so it's important to have a personal system to do so. On a separate note, exercise your right to vote! Thank you for reading and I hope it was worth your time :-)