Every title, even sports and racing titles, have a story to tell. When we play through a new story, we primarily look at the originality, the believability, and depth to which it goes. Outside of these three core areas, we also try to determine how interesting a story will be for the average gamer.
We believe that replay value is synonymous with longevity. A titleís true value can only be determined by the length of time you enjoy playing it. To that end, this section includes a look at length, bonus content, online play, multiplayer support, and continued interest. We also take note of the title's retail price to further evaluate how much bang you get for your buck.
While most might assume that this section is fairly straightforward, there is actually much more at play here than meets the eye. How a game looks to the naked eye, while very superficial, is essential. However, the technical aspect of what you are seeing is equally important. While many gamers may not care about textures, pixel count, draw distance, bump-mapping, etc., because it is at play, we will be discussing it.
Sound is vital to any game because it is the fastest pathway to an emotional response. Background music, sound effects, and voice acting all work together to draw gamers deeper into the experience. We will also address the use of synthesized vs. performed sounds as well as a host of different facets of a games audio presentation.
How a game plays is probably the most critical area for any title. There are so many different variables to consider under this category. Because each genre applies different game mechanics, we generally try to judge titles based on their fit within any particular genre. We want to make sure that the game mechanics work smoothly, the camera provides easy viewing of the play field, an artificial-intelligence responds appropriately to the gamer, and most of all, that chosen methods of play actually deliver an enjoyable experience. Unlike other sections, successful or broken gameplay elements will weigh heavily on the final score.
When playing a game for the first time, the largest obstacle between gamers and satisfaction they desire is the learning curve. Many times, this curve can be minimized. In addition, being constantly aware of the controls only distracts from the title itself. These are the types of things we consider here. This section is not designed to describe button layout (though we may discuss the effectiveness of the layout).
|Project COE grades games on a 10.0 score with 0.0 being the lowest score and 10.0 being the highest. Each point represents a different broad quality category with smaller increments within each division.|
|10.0 - Masterpiece|
|Titles that earn a 10 change the way we look at videogames as a whole. They are the best of the best titles available and shouldn't be missed by anyone for any reason.|
|9.0 - 9.9 Excellent|
|A game in this category meets a high standard of quality, enjoyment, and polish. Any problems are very minor in nature and barely detract from the overall product. Project COE highly recommends any title with this score to all gamers.|
|8.0 - 8.9 Great|
|Games which receive this score usually suffer minor setbacks which prevent them from a higher score. In general, these slight errors will not diminish its overall draw. Project COE highly recommends most titles within this range.|
|7.0 - 7.9 Good|
|Because the majority of titles available across all platforms are capable of reaching this score, Project COE joins with the majority of the gaming industry in setting this range as our average score. Titles with this score usually have flaws of some description or lack in overall polish.|
|6.0 - 6.9 Decent|
|Titles within our decent category tend to be games that should be rented before bought. Significant problems may be present which could impede overall gameplay. These titles will most likely not be satisfying to gamers outside of its specific genre.|
|5.0 - 5.9 Subpar|
|While 5.0 does represent the mathematical average of our scoring system, because developers are capable of achieving vastly more, we simply cannot recommend titles in this range. Some gameplay mechanics may be broken, graphics might be buggy, and any number of other problems may be present. Only dedicated fans will be able to overlook the shortcomings.
|4.0 - 4.9 Poor|
|Generally, games that receive this score were severely rushed through development. The problems most likely impede gameplay progression or were damaged as early as their core concept creation. Project COE recommends that you overlook these games unless you are willing to proceed at your own risk.|
|3.0 - 3.9 Awful|
|With few redeeming qualities, these titles will be far more frustration than they are worth.|
|2.0 - 2.9 Terrible|
|Besides being a complete waste of time and funding, titles of this woefully low score boast no positives; most likely will not work, and lag harshly behind current titles.|
|0.0 - 1.9 Why-Bother?|
|As rare as our perfect score will be, we can only hope that games falling in this category will be just as rare. Why bother? We donít think you should.|