Do review scores even matter?

MarioFunWithNumbersI’m gonna be bluntly honest right here and just say: no they don’t. As someone who regularly writes game reviews on this blog, I’m fully aware what the review system I created for it stands for. At the same time, I don’t honestly expect anyone to take the review scores to heart or even too seriously. On my YouTube channel and also on this blog, I regularly make Top-10s and Bottom-10s about games. Whenever I do that however, I don’t just blindly look at review scores I’ve given in the past but just go on instinct on how I feel at that very moment.

And yes, I feel the same way for “professional” game reviewers as well. A score and a review is just an opinion and if it doesn’t address any of the things that matter to you personally as a gamer (or possibly concerns them from a completely useless perspective) then they are of no use to the reader. So that of course begs the question, if review scores don’t matter why even have them in the first place?

This is an excellent point and I kinda wish I was able to just write reviews without the need of throwing some sort of grade or rating at the end. However, those ratings are at least somewhat useful in summing up my feelings. However, there is an inherent built-in flaw in assigning numerical values to subjective viewpoints. I started adding a score breakdown in my movie-reviews a while back because I realised that people might have a problem seeing which aspects of the film I counted in its favour and against it. In a weird way I was sort of pulling one review system closer to another.

With my game reviews, I of course have kept the segmented singular score system going but that’s more out of ease of writing rather than being a simple catch-all comparison of numbers. My reviews are always a bit segmented and I honestly find it hard to even write just a single flowing review of something from start to finish (which is why I do it so infrequently). The review-system I created is just out of comfort. I have a record of all those numeric scores from multiple years, so if I need a reminder of how I’ve felt about a certain game, I can just go back and look at how I’ve rated games before. But in the end, it’s what I have to say about each aspect (which isn’t always a lot) that’s actually more important.

Admittedly, there are times I wish that number wasn’t there at the very beginning because I do feel it draws attention away from the body of text. Plus, whatever anyone decides to qualify as “good graphics” is a completely subjective thing, just as much as I feel how good a game’s replay value or plot are. But do I think anyone should place any real value on the numbers? No, absolutely not.

I guess this all comes down to the fact that rather than blindly looking at a review score or individual numbers, it’s important to just look at why I felt that number was warranted. Those reasons are the main point of even writing the review in the first place, not just assigning arbitrary numerical values to things that can’t even be defined in such a way.

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