Scores are completely arbitrary; they’re at the whim of the publication. Our 60/100 might not mean the same as yours, or theirs. That’s why it’s important to offer some clarification as to exactly what score means what.
Unfortunately, the bloated nature of major publications and AAA rated games means that the majority of games score at least an 80 or over, despite an inability to innovate, major bugs, and other problems that might suggest a bloated and mechanically malnourished title. This drives overall scores up, and makes anything less than 70 a ‘bad game’.
I remember the days when a game of around 60 would be worth checking out. Maybe it had some flaws, but there were solid foundations for something awesome if you got into the theme and overlooked a few bugs or design decisions. This is the philosophy we’re trying to follow at PCGMedia.
So, our criteria is something like this:
1-20 – Absolutely broken, abysmal.
21-40 – Not great; probably linear, buggy, and with few redeeming factors.
41-60 – There’s probably a solid game here, but it’s either marred by bugs or terrible design decisions. It most probably works alright, but lacks any sense of soul – maybe it’s just been designed to ship copies, with no depth or interesting mechanics to play with.
61-80 – A good game. It might not be something completely new, fresh, or original, but for fans of the genre, or series, it’s probably worth taking a look at.
81-100 – Something mechanically exciting, polished, and fun. It’s probably original, or innovates within a genre or a franchise. Definitely check it out. Note: a score of 81-100 isn’t an instant recommendation, it may perform superbly within a niche!
Remember, there are no perfect games, but a score of lower than 70 doesn’t mean it’s a bad game. Don’t be surprised if you see a few AAA’s in this category.
Scores are imperfect, always, and we’d prefer you to read the text. Without the written/video review, the score is meaningless. It represents our opinion, and it isn’t necessarily a standard. Nor should it be.