What does our score mean?
One of our goals at Infinite Start is to deliver quality reviews that make sense. With most of our staff coming from sites on Metacritic, Open Critic and at least 30 years of experience across our main team alone, we want our readers to feel confident in our reviews and understand what certain things mean.
Understanding the Good and Bad categories
Anything listed as a positive or negative at the end of the review is meant to be read as a key take away. Most, if not all, of these elements will be mentioned in the review itself, though there will be exceptions. For example, if a Japanese game has only Japanese audio, it might get mentioned as a negative, with English and Japanese audio being listed as a positive, though neither will impact the score.
Every review on Infinite Start will tell you how the product was obtained. This could be provided for review, purchased to fulfill a need or just something the writer wanted to cover. Regardless of why, we will always be upfront and disclose this information in advance.
Editor’s Choice Awards
Editor’s Choice awards are given to games and products we think are truly special. For gaming, it needs to score at least an 8.5 to receive one, with anything at 9 or higher automatically receiving one. Tech reviews require a 9 to qualify, with 9.5 or better to for a guaranteed award.
Given most sites and readers consider a seven out of 10 to be average, we will keep things simple and approach scores with this in mind. While a breakdown of each score is listed below, keep in mind virtual reality, mobile and free-to-play games may vary. This is due to different expectations and norms.
In the case of virtual reality titles, scores may vary based off innovation in the space or how immersive an experience is. Mobile games will be scored against similar experiences. A paid game will never be compared against a ‘gacha’ title and vice versa. Comparisons will also be based off current norms, which may or may not change over time. All free-to-play games will have considerations based off how important the paid elements are and forgiving the mechanics currently are for those not looking to invest.
10 – Exceptional
Giving a perfect score is not something we take lightly, but will be awarded to titles we feel go above and beyond. These will often be experiences that will be remembered for ages or impact the genre for years to come. Anything with this score is automatically considered an Editor’s Choice and gets our highest recommendation.
9 – 9.9 – Great
A great game is an experience we greatly enjoyed and feel confident about the quality and overall value it offers. Often times games at this level do almost everything right, though there is something holding it back. Maybe the story isn’t that interesting, perhaps controls could be a bit tighter or something along those lines. Since we still feel strongly about these titles, they will also receive an Editor’s Choice.
8 – 8.9 – Good
Every now and then there are games that offer a lot, but don’t quite get there in the end. Often times they will have one exceptional quality, with the rest being around average or don’t quite stand out enough to bridge that gap between a strong recommendation and it being good. Since these titles still have merit, anything that scores above an 8.5 may be considered for an Editor’s Choice.
7 – 7.9 – Average
The big difference between an average title and a good one is expectations. If an experience fails to stand out in any meaningful way or offer some spectacular element, it is considered average. This isn’t to say the game is bad, by definition most games will fall in this range, it’s just multiple things could be better.
6 – 6.9 – Below Average
Every now and then there are experiences that are just lacking. They will certainly appeal to a certain demographic, but maybe they lack depth, scope or many notable elements. These are often times not bad games, just temper expectations before going in.
4 – 5.9 – Bad
Anything at this level is objectively bad, but it’s clear the developer at least made an effort. It will often be hard to pinpoint a specific shortcoming, though it’s obvious most playing will walk away disappointed.
0 – 3.9 – Avoid
In the unlikely event something scores this low, the number exists more to make a point than anything else. These titles have nothing redeeming about them or possibly feel rather soulless in their approach. We strongly suggest avoiding them at all cost, unless you want to have a better appreciation for other experiences.
Unlike gaming, where there are a lot of variables, technology has different considerations. One of the biggest is that there is more of a linear progression. Typically products start at one level and just keep adding more features. It’s also common for a product to move into a new space and have different considerations. One headset might have great sound and okay features, with another having great features and okay sound. We understand this and will naturally evaluate them differently.
Another thing to keep in mind is price will often not be considered as a negative in regards to score. If a product offers a great value it might get a small boost in score, just like something that is objectively overpriced might get a small decrease, we want to make things simple by just reviewing the product in regards to its performance in the space.
Presentation has literally no impact on any score published on Infinite Start. These sections exist to give readers a feel for the experience the company hopes this product makes, along with setting up the review itself.
10 – Best in the Space
In the event any product receives a perfect score, we consider it the pinnacle in the space. To earn this level of score, one of two things need to be true. Either the product needs to fulfill a need perfectly or the quality level is unquestionable. Any item at this level will receive an Editor’s Choice award and something you should feel confident purchasing.
9 – 9.9 – Exceptional
While most products have some kind of shortcoming, anything with a nine or better is sure to provide significant value. This will vary depending on the purpose or need it’s trying to fulfill, something that the review will highlight. It could be overall value, features, design or just versatility. Anything at the nine level qualifies for an Editor’s Choice award, with scores at 9.5 or higher guaranteeing it.
8 – 8.9 – Great
No product can do it all. In sales, these are often products where people want quality, features and price, but can only get two of them. Maybe this headset is extremely durable, wireless and cheap, perhaps a keyboard is great quality, affordable but isn’t RGB or something else entirely. Nothing in this space is bad, it just contains some kind of compromise. What that might be will vary, so make sure to carefully read our review to see if that feature is important.
7 – 7.9 – Average
If a product receives an average score, it simply means it’s a solid choice in the space with nothing that truly makes it stand out. There is nothing wrong with an average score, we just understand and respect other options offer considerable value in this space.
5 – 6.9 – Below Average
Every now and then there is a product that exists for a distinct reason, though it comes with a lot of disclaimers. An example might be a wireless headset that has a fantastic price, but subpar audio, okay microphone and limited features. For someone looking for a wireless headset above all, it’s still perfectly usable, we just might suggest stepping up to something better.
3 – 4.9 – Poor
Anything we consider poor just isn’t worth the money. It might do something cool, perhaps really well even, it just has too many negatives to feel confident suggesting.
0 – 2.9 – Avoid
This score is reserved exclusively for problematic and objectively bad products. The type of thing that a buyer might feel insulted purchasing, has no longevity or presents massive concerns. If you see a review at this level we strongly suggest considering something else. In addition to being just awful, reviews at this level will typically contain a suggestion of something else we suggest considering.