We have had our video game review system on MGL under a microscope this summer. One thing that particularly came out was how clearly unhelpful game review scoring is to both our game reviewers and our readers. Plus, we did some research and the score came last in the “what helps you decide if a game is right for you” question.

So, thanks to gamers like you during our research the past month, we’ve made some big changes to our game reviews. You can see a live example of this right now launched with Agents of Mayhem.

Instead of just a number, our PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch reviews will be based around helping YOU decide if a game is right for you to play/buy. Our new review system is written to really help individuals decide on if the game is for their personal taste. The normal assessment of the game will be done of course and during this process, games can achieve MGL Awards rather than ratings.

We’re not the first of course, many don’t score reviews anymore. It’s not just about that however, we’ve also really listened to gamers about what they want. We’ve spent some time working on a system we’re happy with and one that will really work in 2017 and beyond.

Stay with me how it works as the system live from today (17 August 2017). Did we do the right thing? Does it matter? Do you even care? Let me know in the Disqus Comments at the end.

Since it’s a big deal for us, we’d appreciate you sharing this on social media too.

“But why, big sites will still score?”

I took a few comments like this to the team in our research. And it is a fair point raised by some gamers out there. Clearly IGN and GameSpot will continue to score and keep a similar style for years.

Why not? They have an audience of millions around the world. We are a little behind that mark… Somewhat… ahem.

game review scoring reviewOur idea with MGL was always to be an alternative for gamers rather than simply a copy what someone else was doing. This is a site managed and run by gamers after all and we all agreed some change was needed.

All of us can see how games are no longer a static product. Gone are the days of a game being buggy forever and the score staying with it through the years. Look at the Mass Effect Andromeda updates, not to mention No Man’s Sky’s recent additions. Destiny is also a game to have updates bigger than the original title.

We are here to be a website that genuinely gives you something different. We also really want to help gamers make the right choice when it comes to a game and listen to what you want. Our new system does just that.

And here it is…

MGL Review Awards

We do still want a way to show a truly amazing game as a package. Plus, those games that really appeal to a niche audience.

Introducing our review awards, these work as follows.

The overall game

Very special games that we feel stand out significantly will earn MGL Game Awards. These are for the game as a package where the reviewer feels the game is one that most gamers should play.

We initially have the following MGL Game Award categories:

  • Elite – A game that has everything; outstanding gameplay, quality technical performance and is an exceptional example of its genre. Any game awarded Elite it is recommended all gamers should consider playing.
  • game review scoring eliteAdept – A game that has many great features, is of a high level in its genre and most fans of this style of game would enjoy. A game here may have a few blemishes but overall be very satisfying.
  • game review scoring adeptCult-Hit – A game that has many quality areas within its genre. While there may be flaws, or only appeal to a niche audience, games here have enough good points to be enjoyed by fans of the genre.

game review scoring cult hitOther games will be reviewed but may not be awarded. This does not me they are “bad” games. Just not ones we see as being “must play” to either a group of gamers or all gamers.

Elements of the game

Each of the main three sections,

  • How it plays” – this focuses in on gameplay.
  • Presentation” which concentrates on graphics, interface and overall feel of the game.
  • Main features” which talks about the game’s content in terms of story, modes to play etc.

Each section can win individual award for being particularly impressive by their own rights.

An outstanding example of the feature in question would receive the MGL Gold award.

game review scoring gold awardA very good delivery of the particular feature will attain a MGL Silver award.

game review scoring silver awardSo even if the game itself may not get an award overall, one or more of its elements may well be excellent.

For example, the presentation and gameplay of an action-adventure game may be just average. But the story and voice acting in the campaign may be outstanding (Mafia 3 anyone!) and receive a MGL Gold Award in the “Main Feature” section.

Those who game for great stories may think it’s worth their time, those more interested in gameplay and graphics may not.

A summary for the individual gamer

The ultimate individual question during a game review is “should I buy this game”. A person is going to spend a significant amount of money on a game, sometimes really saving for it. Our new system is designed to help make clear how individual taste plays a part in the decision.

game review scoring dark souls 3Basing a choice like that on a number is not something we would do ourselves, guidance is far better. For instance, a “9” means nothing to someone like me when it comes to a Dark Souls game. Nor does the same on Uncharted for my colleague Neal on the team too. Complement the games all you want, score them 9s or even 10s and it means nothing to us as individuals.

So, to help relate the game to individual taste every review will now include a “Should I Play This?” section as part of the summary.

This will include:

  • Gamers who should play this game – our reviewers will talk here about the type of gamers that would enjoy it based on the genre, features etc.
  • Gamers who probably shouldn’t – We’ll identify the elements of the game that won’t appeal to some gamers based on their taste related to the features of the game.
  • Similar games – A few examples of games the title reminds the reviewer of, offering help by comparison.
  • “The Good, The Bad & The Bugs” – a table of the positives, negatives and bugs experienced in review.

This will help round up the review into a more individual guide as to what type of gamer will enjoy the title or not.

Shockingly, and you won’t actually believe this, a lot of gamers SKIP the main review content. Yes, I know, I was really surprised by this too(!) But apparently, some people go straight to the scores and pros and cons.

If that is the case here, and even for those reading every word and all in between, you will get some clear guidance. There are a lot of reasons to read and watch the content of the main review too. But if you don’t fancy reading…

MGL Let’s Review

Apart from the main written content we’ve always wanted to bring you video content too. This is why we’ll make every effort to deliver a “Let’s Review” video within our reviews.

These are optional and depend on the commitments of the reviewer. Everyone here works other jobs so may struggle to do this for every game. But generally they will be available to help within the review and directly watchable on our Facebook page and YouTube channel.

The content will not be as typically formal as a video review but will go into more depth on the game. Especially the gameplay and some of the features (good and bad) highlighted to help see if the game is for you or not.

A review system about the game and the gamers

When the process started we wanted to improve our reviews a little. After a series of talks and feedback it turned into a complete change for us all.

It’s one we are happy about however and focuses on the two things that really matter: The game & the gamer.

We’ll be going onto the new structure right away while all previous reviews will remain unchanged to read as you like. The system will be reviewed after Christmas including potential update based on any comments on this article and reviews themselves.

Let us know what you think in the comments below and be ready to see it in action on our reviews here.

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