I figured since I review games, I should probably make it a little clearer on how I review games — besides like a lunatic.
For Handheldwii, gameplay is king. No matter how good the graphics, plot, or sound, gameplay will always come first. All those other elements are bonuses if they do not deter or enhance the gameplay in any way. A game can have the best plot with super awesome graphics, and incredible soundtrack, but if the gameplay fails, then the overall score will suffer… badly! The reverse is also true, no matter how bad the graphic, sound, and plot, it’ll have minimal effect on the overall score if the gameplay is good. Keep in mind that they all have minimal effect (positive or negative) in relation to gameplay, but if they do somehow impact it, I will make a note of it within the review. Good gameplay means good fun, and having fun is the reason I play games.
Let me give a quick run down of how the scores work. Earning a 50% is decent. I know plenty of sites and magazines are similar, but I really want to push the idea of what it means to be decent. It’s not good, not bad, just plain decent. Granted, I don’t think I’d spend too much of my time with a mere decent game, when I can be playing much better games. Having a higher range of numbers is easy to understand. Let say a game earns a 70%, while another scores a 71%, then you know the 71% game is just 1 point better than the previous. If it earns a 79%, then it is better than all it’s peers within the 70s range. As always, these scores are my opinions, and should not be taken as law.
90% to 100%: Awesometastic – 100% does not earn a brand new title. Consider this the gold award for Handheldwii rating.
80% to 89%: Funning – There’s a good chance you’ll like this game. Consider this the silver award. BTW, I found out “funning” is actually a word… shows how much I know.
70% to 79%: Delicious – This game is good, but with some obvious flaws. Since 70% are often neglected, I’m going to use it as a standard for a bronze award.
60% to 69%: Potential – Just as the word says, there’s potential… it’s just not there. You could be playing a lot worse, but it still could have been better.
50% to 59%: Decent – I didn’t want to come up with a weird word because people have trouble understanding what decent means as it is.
40% to 49%: Son of Decent – Still ways to go for games with this score. Maybe more time in development would have helped. Then again, the same could be said about the 2 ranges above.
30% to 39%: Craptastic – Really, do I have to explain this one?
20% to 29%: Groin Punch – If you enjoy this game, you must also enjoy being punched in the groin.
10% to 19%: Deluxe Rape – Somebody raped your wallet and you didn’t even know it.
1% to 9%: Suicide – I hope this game dies a painful and terrible death.
Looking over the reviews so far at Handheldwii (as of April 2008), you might notice not many games get bad scores. Well, that’s because handheldwii is being run by just one person, and I only have limited amount of time to play games. I’ll pick the games that I’ll most likely enjoy playing for my reviews. Hopefully, I’ll also review some more bad games in the future.
Now let’s go over the categories in the reviews. They are not related to the overall score at the end. They are given to represent their own category.
Graphics – Art, style, and beauty are being analyzed. While graphics do not always affect gameplay, there are certain instances where it’ll have an impact in subtle ways. For example, slow down is a pain in the ass whether it’s a 2D or 3D shooter. Slowing down can cause a negative impact on the gameplay. Having many sprites/enemies on screen is also an attribute of graphics. Having more can mean extra difficulty and/or fun.
Gameplay – What more do I have to say? Gameplay is what I like. Gameplay can transcend time and technology. Goldeneye’s graphics couldn’t stand up to the test of time, but it’s gameplay certainly has. Doom 3’s graphics are also yesterday’s news, and the gameplay is yesteryear’s garbage. Gameplay can have a wide range of affects and definitions. It can be action packed like a shooter, or a slow and cerebral challenge like Advance Wars. Oh, and RPGs automatically get point deduction if it uses random battles.
Sound – I like a good soundtrack, and certainly don’t mind good sound effects. Sadly, I’m not conversant when it comes to music. I lack the skills to describe it beyond certain style, and whether I like it or not. It doesn’t have too much impact on gameplay, and if it does get annoying, at least I can press the mute button.
Controls – Now here’s something that’s very important, and yet very lax when it comes to review time. Good controls are a must, and can impact gameplay immensely. But, when it comes to giving out 100%, I wouldn’t hesitate too much about it. I mean, I would easily give a game like Pokemon a 100% in controls. I press a button, and stuff happens. What more do I want? Games like Contra will require careful scrutiny, though.
Story – Probably the most inconsequential category here. Ok, maybe that’s a bit harsh, I mean some games do require a good plot to complete the overall package. It’s also hard to rate many older games in this category since they lack a plot. Often times you’ll see me give goofy rating to the plot because, honestly, no one gives a crap about Contra 4’s plot. A game like Professor Layton needs a plot to be interesting. Advance Wars would fall in between the two games mentioned above. Advance Wars does have a plot, but in the end, it was the gameplay that hooked me, not the plot.
Well, that’s about it. I hope this will help clear up how I review games, and why I give out the scores that you see. I will update this section if I remember anything else that will require clearing up.