Warp Zoned Review Policy

Warp Zoned’s Rating Scale
Warp Zoned rates games on a seven-point scale visualized by the Warp Zoned Review Lifebar:

A seven-point scale means that we don’t use half-points or other decimalized scores, nor do we award sub-scores for things like graphics or replay. Each point on the scale is accompanied by a short descriptor:

    7 out of 7 – Must Have It: A masterpiece, this game did everything it set out to do and is destined to become a classic.
    6 out of 7 – Need It: A game with several tiny imperfections that keep it from being one of the best of its kind.
    5 out of 7 – Play It: An above average game with some flaws. However, it’s still worth playing.
    4 out of 7 – Try It: An average game that has a lot to like, but it also has at least one major flaw and probably several minor ones.
    3 out of 7 – Skip It: More bad than good, this game isn’t really worth your time. But some players may enjoy it.
    2 out of 7 – Avoid It: This game’s on life support with almost no redeeming qualities.
    1 out of 7 – Bury It: Not just bad, but painful. Make room in that landfill for this one, E.T.

Seven? Really?
Yes, really. We believe a seven-point scale provides the most flexibility and (more importantly) accuracy to gauge a game’s level of greatness. A seven-point scale means that each review has a natural middle point for games that are just average. It also allows for up to three levels of greatness (which can be thought of as above average, good, and great) and badness (which can be thought of as below average, bad, and eye-gougingly unplayable).

L.A. Noire and Pac-Man CE DX both received a 7. Does that mean they’re equally good?
Essentially, you’re saying “one is a massive open world game and the other is a technicolor reboot of one of the first video games ever, so how can they score the same?” And that’s a fair question. At Warp Zoned, each game is scored based on our expectations for that game. In the case of L.A. Noire, we were expecting to play a huge open world game that brought something new to the genre. Likewise, with Pac-Man CE DX, we were expecting an addictive maze game that works in short bursts.

In both cases, each game executed their premise perfectly. They may be very different in terms of scope and price, but for what they set out to do, each did it with an equal amount of awesomeness.

Do you write separate reviews for games released on multiple systems?
No. Games that were developed together are reviewed together (though which version(s) of the game a reviewer played will be tagged at the top). For example, the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of a title will have the same score while the Wii version will be reviewed separately.

Why doesn’t Warp Zoned review everything?
Because there’s just too many games. Every week, 10-20 retail games are published with another handful added to the major download services and hundreds more joining the iOS/Android/WP7 market. We do our best, but it would require an army of reviewers to get to everything in a timely manner.

So how does Warp Zoned decide what to review?
Deciding which games get reviewed and which don’t is two-step process: whether or not we have access to a review copy of a game and whether or not a staff member is interested in reviewing a game. This means that we’re more likely to review the latest blockbuster from a large publisher as opposed to a budget game. But the Warp Zoned staff has many different interests and lesser known games will be reviewed as well.

If Warp Zoned receives a review copy, does that affect the final score?
No. All games are reviewed based on their own merits and whether or not we receive a review copy has no bearing on the final score. Each review also includes a Review Disclosure Statement detailing if a game was supplied to us for free by a publisher.

Do you finish every game you review?
For the most part, yes. Obviously some games, such as sports or puzzle games, can’t be “finished” in the traditional sense. And for whatever reason, if a reviewer can’t finish a game before writing the review, we’ll let you know.

Wait! I still have questions!
Then send them to john AT warpzoned DOT com and I’ll do my best to answer them.