Here at Gaming Bus, we don’t spend a lot of time extrapolating about how our reviews look. When I wrote at Diehard GameFAN, we had an extremely innovative system that rated ten categories and averaged them out in the end. It was unique. It worked brilliantly in most cases. It got around the debate on what a “score” is beautifully.
I hated it.
I hated it because it required too much thought. I spent more time fighting with the structure of our review than I did with actually writing it. Here at Gaming Bus, we don’t have those problems, because our reviewers only have to worry about summarizing their points, giving a quick score, and then saying how far they got.
That’s right. Reviewers at Gaming Bus, from the top on down, will be required to disclose how far they got in any game they review, on pain of immediate firing if they fib.
There are only three key parts of our reviews, outside of the main text:
PROS/CONS: Here, we summarize the good and bad parts of the game. This is pretty self-explanatory.
FINAL SCORE: We use the letter grade system at Gaming Bus, and we only rate the overall quality of the game. We don’t believe in rating individual qualities, because they sometimes distract from the overall package. Indie darling VVVVVV has no graphics because it’s meant to look like older PC games. Football Manager has virtually no sound because it’s a simulation. No sports game is innovative. These shouldn’t hold these games back; the only thing that matters is the overall package. As for “score translation”, we don’t translate to 1-100 scores; C is average, everything else is on a sliding scale from that point on either side, and the A range is going to be reserved only for the elite titles.
DISCLOSURE: This is the big one. At Gaming Bus, everyone who reviews a game is ordered to disclose their general accomplishments in the game up to the point of the review going live. If the game was finished, reviewers have to state that it happened. If it wasn’t finished, they have to say as much, and if applicable, explain why it isn’t relevant to the review. For games without a definitive ending, time played, percentage of progress or items unlocked, and achievement/trophy progress are applicable. For sports games, progress in franchise modes and/or amount of games played are usable.
The point is, we know people are tired of reading a review, even at big sites, and saying “did this guy even finish the game? Does he know what he’s talking about?” We don’t want you to have that doubt. Not every game has to be finished – some games are padded like a teenage girl’s bra – but our number one priority is transparency, something that virtually no other site has. Finally, anyone caught lying on their disclosure will be fired on the spot.
This means that in some cases, reviews will be later than day of release. In the case of some larger games (like JRPGs), the review might go live well after release. We would rather be accurate than first. Plus, we take review requests, within reason. Anyone with a request for a specific review should send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will do our best to accommodate our readers.