Introducing DoubleDair.net’s Game Reviews!

As mentioned in my TO 2017 AND BEYOND-post, one of the things that I want to be doing, here at DoubleDair.net in 2017, is game reviews, particularly of the longer Let’s Plays that I finish on my YouTube-channel. As an example of this, the first review (coming this Sunday, the 22nd of January) will be of OneShot, a game that I just finished 🙂

While that’s all fine and dandy, I hear you ask why on earth I’m making this post? Well, I figured that it would be great to have a little post explaining what I will be focusing on in my review and why I’ve chosen these categories, and also an explanation of my rating system and the final score of the games 🙂

More OneShot spam! What? This is my website, I can be as obnoxious as I want 😉

Rating System and Final Score

Let’s start off with the rating system, since this will be prevalent throughout the reviews and determining whether or not a game is actually any good 😛

I’ve seen many different rating systems in my life time (Yes, apparently I’m and old man now), which ranges from numerical scales like “I give this game a X/Y” or percentage based ones (e.g. PC Gamer)  to simple “This game is recommendable”-scales (Izipizi.gg (Danish site) who’s system goes Avoid, Middle, Recommendable and Essential), or a weighted average (such as MetaCritic’s), and the list goes on. There’s so many different scores, because it’s really hard to quantify personal opinions, however, that doesn’t mean I won’t give it a go! xD

My rating system, and final score, will be based of what I think to be great subjectively-objective system. Subjectively-objective is a term that I just made up, but the idea is that I give scores on a scale from 1 (worst) to 10 (best) for 4 different categories (because of reasons, don’t question me!). This is purely subjective, though I will attempt to give the scores well argumented reasons, of course. Now, the objective part will be the final scores, which is going to be the average of the 4 ratings, and the closer this number is to 10, the better the game is. See? I told you that the term subjective-objective made sense! 😀

This rating system is actually inspired by that of Nintendo Power, of which I have a couple of issues from the 90’ies lying around somewhere. I really liked this one, because it covered a lot of aspects (Graphics & Sound, Play Control, Challenge, and Theme & Fun), which each had an individual score, and then a final overall rating, something that all-in-all complemented the idea of an somewhat objective final score very well (I think) 🙂

The Four Categories

In order to create a game review, which I think covers every aspects of a game (if you disagree, please write so in the comments, which might help me make better reviews). It should be noted, though that not everything about the game will be discussed, just what I think is notable in either a good or a bad way 🙂

WARNING: I may sound like a super douche in the following sections 😀

Aesthetics

I have always thought that talking about “good graphics” in a video game was pretty useless, because what exactly does “good graphics” entail? Photo realistic 3D, since it’s some of the best that can be done with today’s technology? Maybe, but I’ve practically never found photo realism to be particularly compelling for me, even if Battlefield 1 almost look like a freakin’ live-action movie from time to time!

No, I would instead much, much rather talk about the aesthetics of a video game. In my opinion, any art style, whether it be pixel art, water colours, stick figures or whatever, can be truly beautiful, where I especially wouldn’t say that pixel art would be “good graphics” :p

I find the aesthetics of Bastion (2011) more appealing than Battlefield 1.
Battlefield 1 (2016) (image source) looks incredibly real, but I’d still prefer the colourful style of Bastion (2011) (image source).

What I therefore look for when judging aesthetics could be something like this:

  • Do I find the art style compelling (and why)?
    Does the art style complement the game, or does it look out of place?
  • How is the lighting setup?
    Lighting can really make or break an atmosphere, so the questions is: does it either?
  • Are the animations good?
    Are the animations smooth and rich, or clumsy and lacking in any way?

Really, it all boils down to this: Do I find what I’m looking at pleasing? x)

Explanation for Aesthetics:

9 / 10

Game Design

Game Design, in my head right now, covers things like overall game- and level design, core mechanics, and controls (so it’s a little bit of a “joker” category, I guess). The reason why all of these things are “cramped” into one category. Game design is the overall idea and vision of a game, which also determines core mechanics, and actually level design, but levels are often designed on their own, so they’re sort of like a independent, while still needing to be in coherence with the game design… I think… Does it make sense? Because I think I might have gotten a little lost in there somewhere… xD

Controls are simple, though, in the way that they can feel great or clunky :p

Anyways, what I will most likely be asking is if any of the these are interesting, solid, and/or stand out from the crowd, while still making sense in coherence with the game? Or are things simply bad or lacking?

All-in-all a great category, if I should say so myself!

The fact that OneShot (2016) (OneShot #3) speaks directly to the player made for some great game design, in full coherence with the overall game idea!

Explanation for Game Design:

6 / 10

Soundscape

I am by no means a musician, nor do I actually care all that much for music in general, so this may very well be my weakest category, but I still feel like it should be in consideration, since a good soundscape really can create an amazing atmosphere!

In the Soundscape try to give my best reasoning for liking a soundtrack, and/or if I find the ambience to create an amazing atmosphere and why I thought it did that. Or, you know, it could be the other way around and I will give my reasoning for disliking a soundtrack and/or the ambience.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010) have an amazing soundscape, which is almost able to creep me out on its own! :s

However, I will always try to look at it from the overall feel of the game and what mood it tries to convey, and not just bash a game for using Techno music, a genre that I personally have difficulties to really comprehend 😛

Explanation for Soundscape:

7 / 10

Story

The last, but not least, will be the story, which is something that I think have a huge impact on whether or not a game is good. This might be somewhat weird, because there are so many great games out there which does not have a story, e.g. Rocket League, Heroes of the Storm, etc., though those titles are mainly multiplayer focused, and as such probably won’t be something that will be “featured” in the same way as a single player experience. And if I will review one of these games, I will maybe make up a new category in place of Story, so that all reviewed games will be judged from 4 categories (important for the averaged final score) – if you have any ideas, please do write them in the comments 🙂

Anyways, what I’m looking for is something along the lines of:

  • Whether or not the story captivates me.
  • Do I care for the character(s)?
  • Do I care for the world of the game?
  • If choices are present, do they feel meaningful?

And of course why I cared, or didn’t care, for any of the things mentioned, or other story related things that came to mind when playing the game being reviewed 😛

The player decides whether or not to be friends with Papyrus in Undertale
Undertale’s (2015) excellent writing and humour made me care a great deal about the characters 😀 (image source, beware of spoilers!)

Explanation for Story:

7 / 10

Final Thoughts

Even though I will try to keep an objective mind about the games that I play and review, I want you to remember my own made up term, subjectively-objective. Everything that I write down will be subjective to some (mostly likely large) degree, and as such it shouldn’t be seen as the absolute truth, unless you for some odd reason agrees with everything that I say 😀

So, with this incredible bias in mind, I hope that you will join me for my first ever video game review, coming this sunday (22nd of January), and I also hope that you will at least find some entertainment value as compensation for spending your scarce free time in my company 🙂

Final Score

The idea behind the scoring system is great and most of the explanations are fine, however, it is easy to see where the author’s main interest and passion lies, and his presentation of the  Game Design-category is confusing and a little bit lackluster. Overall, the blog post is in the higher end of the scale and well worth a read!

Final Score for Introducing DoubleDair.net’s Game Reviews!:

 7.25 / 10

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