Given that game reviews have accidentally become my most common posts on this site, I wanted to make sure I was doing them as fairly and as well as I possibly could. One part of this, for me, is figuring out how I compare games to each other. While I don’t want to get as granular as using a number or percentage system, as I think that I would then focus too hard on those numbers at the expense of looking at the individual games, I did want to add some kind of structure.
A more general tier or category list, that covers the most likely possible options without forcing reviews into a rigid scale, seemed like the best approach. While this will change in future if I need it to, the table below contains the rough framework that I’ll use for comparing games.
I’ll also keep a running list of games I’ve reviewed in each tier below – consider this post the meta-post for my game reviews!
|Amazing||A game that is the best of its genre; it is so strong in design, gameplay and enjoyment that it offers an excellent experience to many different audiences.||Grand Theft Auto V|
|Brilliant||A game that is enjoyable beyond the “cool” tier; it offers a consistently good experience and does everything that you would expect from its genre and setting to a high standard.||Spyro Reignited Trilogy|
|Cool||A game that is competent and fun, but not extra-special. It might be technically good but formulaic, or its ideas might have been already done better in previous games.||Team Sonic Racing|
|Disappointing||A game that executed its concept poorly, or was marred by technical or design issues that made it difficult to enjoy.||Onrush|
|Experimental||A game that is so novel, or so reliant on deconstruction or meta-narrative, that it is polarising. Generally, people who like weird experimental games will enjoy it, while people who don’t like them won’t.||Beyond Eyes|
|Failure||A game that does not deliver what it promised and offers little or no fun.||?|
Notes and Caveats
- Most of the games I talk about will land in the middle of the table.
- I haven’t defined the Failure tier yet, as I’m unlikely to use it. Generally, if I dislike a game that much I’m not going to play it, so that tier exists mostly to ensure sure the table covers the majority of possible results.
- Not all indie games or environmental narrative games will be in the Experimental tier, only games that will have a niche audience within fans of more unusual games.
- The main driver behind the tier a game ends up in is my personal experience with the game. But because I tend to play and review games a while after they’re released, factors like its price, its cultural impact/lifespan, and its performance in comparison to what was promised will have influenced my expectations and knowledge in advance. Examples below:
- GTAV defines the Amazing tier because of how effectively Los Santos works as a reactive, immersive open world. While its not quite one of my favourite games, it’s a massive technical achievement with few flaws, widespread commercial and critical success, and a long lifespan.
- I initially wanted to put Spyro Reignited Trilogy in the Amazing tier, but that’s partly due to how much I loved the original series. I think that the Brilliant tier is the best place for the reignited trilogy as games in themselves, due to the high standard of the remake and the consistent quality across the three games.
Games by Tier
Titles with a hyperlink are ones that I’ve already written about here.
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Spyro the Dragon
- Spyro 2
- Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell
- Thomas Was Alone
- Life Is Strange
- Spec Ops: The Line
- The Wolf Among Us
- Team Sonic Racing
- Tony Hawk’s Project 8
- Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey Remastered
- Borderlands : Game Of The Year Edition (2019 version)
- Forza Horizon 4
- Remember Me
- Tales From The Borderlands
- The Touryst