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GamesRadar+ Reviews – Our approach to reviewing and scoring

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With reviews at GamesRadar+, our goal is to provide thorough and honest critical evaluation of the games, movies, TV shows, comic books, and gaming hardware that are on your radar. We want to ensure that you are armed with the knowledge that you'll need to make informed purchasing decisions and to better understand how your interests may align with upcoming releases. When you click away from a GamesRadar+ review, we want you to feel as if you understand how a piece of media succeeded, why it may have fallen short of expectation, if it's enjoyable, and whether it's ultimately worth your precious time and money. 


Our review scale

All GamesRadar+ Reviews go through a stringent editorial process to check for accuracy and fairness. The score represents our final thoughts at a glance, and is determined collaboratively by the review author and the senior GamesRadar+ editorial team to ensure that they are awarded consistently within the boundaries of our review scale and accurately reflect the contents of the written review. 

GamesRadar+ uses a '10-point' review system. We rate games along a five-star scale, with half-point intervals. You can read a breakdown of the GamesRadar+ review scale below.

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5 STARS

GamesRadar Review Scores

Just because a game scores 5 Stars doesn't mean that it's perfect – there's never been a perfect game. GamesRadar+ awards 5 Stars to the games that confidently stand at the intersection of ambition, execution, and innovation. This is a must-play in the truest sense – an experience that defines its genre, sets new standards for play, and threatens to influence the industry for years to come. This game doesn't just alter the conversations we have around the future of interactive entertainment, it dominates them. 

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4.5 STARS

GamesRadar Review Scores

Recommendations don't come much higher than this. A score of 4.5 Stars is reflective of a release that's truly worthy of your time and attention. It's a Game of the Year contender that will be remembered as a best-in-class representation of its genre or style. This is an impressive experience with truly wondrous execution and exemplary play – a defining game of its time that won't soon be forgotten.

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4 STARS

GamesRadar Review Scores

Some games leave a lasting impression. 4 Stars are awarded to the great games out there that come with a couple of caveats. Easy to recommend to genre enthusiasts, they might not be the most ambitious or innovative games on the planet but they execute upon a novel idea or design concept well enough to keep them front of mind. The positive aspects of this game outweigh its negatives.

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3.5 Stars

GamesRadar Review Scores

Good games are worth playing. They might not be for everyone, be all that ambitious, and may come equipped with the sort of creative or technical flaws that hold it back from achieving greatness, but a game awarded 3.5 Stars is the sort of experience you shouldn't regret spending time with. It won't be doing anything you haven't seen before, but there's often a good time to be found in familiarity. 

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3 Stars

GamesRadar Review Scores

Some games have a limited appeal. Games awarded 3 Stars might have a big creative concept that gradually falls apart over time or have an interesting approach to familiar mechanics, systems, and storytelling techniques that's let down by the quality or stability of the execution. There's fun to be had with a 3 Star game, offset by a risk that only the most dedicated enthusiasts will properly appreciate it.

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2.5 Stars

GamesRadar Review Scores

Potential can only get you so far. If a game is awarded 2.5 Stars, it is likely functional but otherwise unimpressive. Mediocre games aren't beyond redemption but they are difficult to recommend outright. This unremarkable game may still possess some quality or quirk that will appeal to some, but you'll need to carefully weigh the good against the bad before investing any of your time, energy, or money. 

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2 Stars

GamesRadar Review Scores

Game design is an art, not a science. No developer sets out to make a bad video game, but that doesn't mean that everything created is worthy of your time. 2 Star games are usually so poorly executed that it becomes near enough impossible for us to recommend that you invest in playing them. These games may have a couple of good ideas, but the overall experience is typically flawed at a fundamental level.

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1.5 Stars

GamesRadar Review Scores

Mistakes have been made here. When a game is awarded 1.5 Stars, it's because of a confluence of competing problems. Unoriginal ideas, poor execution of a core feature set, and performance problems that so seriously impact playability that you'll reconsider how you allocate time for recreation. If there are redeeming qualities to be found, only the most patient and forgiving are ever likely to uncover them.

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1 Star

GamesRadar Review Scores

A 1 Star game is functional. In that, you can input a command and the game will reflect a response back at you. If we've reached this conclusion, it means that what we're playing is fundamentally flawed. A game doesn't get 1 Star for simply being unenjoyable, uninteresting, and unoriginal – but for being borderline unplayable. Avoid this game, even if it's free; your time is too valuable to waste here. 

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0.5 Stars

GamesRadar Review Scores

GamesRadar+ has issued just a handful of 0.5 Star reviews in its 20-year history. That's because this score represents a game with an overall execution that is so intrinsically flawed that it's a wonder it ever made it to release. This game is so broken or otherwise unplayable that we believe most players wouldn't reasonably be able to see it through to the end. 


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How we handle Reviews In Progress

The nature of play is changing. With day-one patches becoming so prevalent in the modern gaming experience, and with many games launching with live-service foundations and an increasing focus on online multiplayer, we aren't always in a position to issue our final verdict in time to meet a publisher-assigned embargo or for a game's release date. In these instances, we may publish a review that is still in progress. 

A GamesRadar+ Review In Progress will be clearly labeled in the headline, and will go live without a verdict or score. The purpose of these in-progress pieces is to give you a sense of our initial impressions and a good idea of what to expect at launch. Once we're comfortable offering a final verdict, the Review In Progress will be archived and we will present a full review on site. 

How we cover film and TV reviews

GamesRadar+ is home to a number of Future Plc print brands, including Edge, Play, Retro Gamer, SFX, and Total Film. While all video game reviews published on GamesRadar+ are written by in-house staff or commissioned by our senior editorial team, some film and TV reviews may come from the pages of SFX and Total Film. These reviews are still rated on a five-star system and are subject to the same rigorous editorial practices for accuracy, fairness, and transparency. 

How we decide who writes a review

GamesRadar+ is made by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts. We feel it's important that a game makes it into the hands of a writer who is already interested in playing it. Additionally, we also strive to pair releases up with a person who understands the genre, series, and style of a game so that they are equipped to deliver an honest critique that comes from a place of experience and expertise.   

Our approach to reviewing and scoring games

Objective reviews are a myth. While there certainly can be value in reading an exhaustive list of facts or information, our goal with reviews at GamesRadar+ is to arm you with the knowledge to determine whether a game is right for you or not. With that comes the inherent understanding that games can and do affect us emotionally, and so a subjective perspective can not be disconnected from our review process.

A key goal of any review is to try and determine whether something is "fun" – which is itself a subjective quality that can differ from person to person. But we're also assessing how successfully a game can pull us into new worlds and connect us with the characters that inhabit them. We're looking to see whether a featureset is pushing boundaries or finding an interesting way to twist established convention. At the ways a presented theme may resonate, how shared worlds bring us together, and so many other qualities that are just as important – if not more so – than whether a game can achieve native 4k resolution at 60 frames-per-second. 


Josh West

Josh West is Features Editor of GamesRadar+. With over 10 years experience in both online and print journalism, Josh has written for a number of gaming, entertainment, music, and tech publications, including 3D Artist, Edge, gamesTM, iCreate, Metal Hammer, Play, Retro Gamer, and SFX. He holds a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Feature Writing, has appeared on the BBC and ITV to provide expert comment, written for Scholastic books, edited a book for Hachette, and worked as the Assistant Producer of the Future Games Show. In his spare time, Josh plays bass guitar and video games. Years ago, he was in movies and TV shows that you've definitely seen but will never be able to spot him in.