Update (11/16/20): With Liana's move over to Game Informer, I (Morgan Shaver) was made the new Editor-in-Chief of Prima. One of my first decisions after stepping into the role was to bring back review scores. I understand the approach to reviews without scores, but feel like the convenience of concise review scores along with a list of pros and cons helps make things easier for people who are either short on time, or who have difficulty reading through long reviews. I want to make Prima as accessible as possible and I feel like review scores are a key part of that.
Seeing a review score at the end of the review is expected, but more and more websites are ditching this scoring method in favor of leaning more into the discussion side of reviewing. My name is Liana Ruppert and I am the editor-in-chief here at Prima Games and after hard thought and deliberation with the team, we've made the decision to follow suit and ditch the scoring system that has evolved into a toxic rating measure over the past several years.
For a little backstory, I've been working in games media for about 17 years now and have reviewed games for huge gaming networks including CBS, ComicBook, and IGN. I've written for smaller sites that were ahead of the curve with removing scores entirely, and though at the time I thought that was a bad move, I think we've seen the light here at Prima.
Why the change?
With all of the conspiracies about review scores being paid off, which has zero truth to that for many reasons we are going to be discussing in a video coming out later this week, and people looking at the bottom line without taking in the nuance provided in the reviews themselves, we felt this scoring system is outdated. We've enjoyed games that scored low but were phenomenal on a personal basis, and we've loathed games that have seen perfect scores from other sites. This is a very subjective subject matter, reviews are just that: opinions. But in my personal years of gaming experience, I've noticed that a lot of casual review readers don't really understand the process of reviewing beyond the "I played x game, here's what I thought."
There is a fine line when reviewing any game, balancing between personal thought and objective relation. Reviewers must put their heads into a space outside of their own and think about what people want to know, are there any misconceptions that the review can correct, and a thousand other components that make reviewing very intricate. A lot of these details are lost with the scoring process, especially with the growing popularity of tallying up scores and having that be The Big Truth regarding a game.
While we understand why the review scores are there, again - 17 years of experience, we feel that this system that has been in place for decades has finally met its natural end. Metacritic and other sites rely on these scores to give the audience and general consensus, and we get that, but we felt, within our team, that the evolution of scoring and general public perception regarding reviews have reached a level of toxicity that we don't want to be party to.
So what does that mean for our reviews and you?
When you read a Prima Games review, you are going to get the same nuance and context previously given. The only difference is, literally the only difference, is that you won't see a score at the bottom. Our job as writers is to convey the overall impression and if you can't gauge what our thoughts are after reading a review, we aren't doing our jobs. This move will ensure our reviews are more conversational, always honest, and done in a way that is better for the community on all fronts.
Related: The Last of Us Part II Review
From this point going forward, we will not be scoring reviews.