I’ve gone back and forth over the years on whether or not to assign scores to the things I review.
The reason I stopped is because I was worried that people would just skip over the actual substance of the review and focus on the rating – I’m certainly guilty of doing that from time to time.
“The score is just a crutch” I said to myself. “The review should make the author’s position on the text clear on its own merits, or explain any ambiguity to the best of the author’s abilities. If it doesn’t, then it’s a bad review.”
I still think there’s some truth to that. It’s certainly the standard I’ve set for my reviews. However, my attitude about incorporating scores has changed. I’ve come to realise that if someone doesn’t want to read my reviews, I can’t make them do it. Taking away the score doesn’t mean someone who generally only reads the scores will decide to take the time and actually go through the whole review.
A review score is a tool, which can be useful to both the author and the reader. It can compress the review’s overall argument into a simple soundbite that’s easy to understand and communicate:
“Here’s my 7/10 review”; “I gave this a 3/10”.
It also adds an extra layer to the process of reviewing anything.
“If I had to give this a score, what would I give it – and why?” – asking yourself that can make you see whatever you’re reviewing in a different light.
Some might find assigning scores annoying, frustrating or unnecessary, and that’s fair. I might flip-flop on this again later and decide I’d rather not use scores – but for now, I’m doing it, so might as well do it right.
This is Braelstrom’s Official Review Score Guide. In addition to this post, I’ll also add a link on the main page to it for future reference.
The lowest of the low. Not only irredeemably bad, but bereft of even the slightest potential of ever being good. It should never have been made. A rare score for the truly heinous
Utter garbage that’s deeply flawed in every conceivable way
An awful and frustrating experience that may or may not have have glimmers of potential.
Mediocre and dull.
Enjoyable, but slight.
Good, worth recommending and possibly revisiting
Great. Highly enjoyable or memorable
Amazing. Has so many positives that the negatives feel inconsequential. A personal favourite and will almost certainly be in a Top 10 or Top 5 of its given year.
Absolutely outstanding. A rare score for the best of the best, those destined to be all-time favourites.