Tip of the Week: Ratings Across Platforms

Learn about how GameSpot editorial staff members consider games and platforms into the review score.

This week’s tip is about how GameSpot handles review scores based on the game and the way the platform handles the game. I have asked Justin Calvert to answer a question that was sent to me.


I see games on the 360 and PS3 reviewed [and] you guys always seem to put down the PS3 version even though it has the same issues as the 360 version. Whenever I see the reviews for a game that is on both consoles there is always a .5 deference in score, yet reading the review they have the same issues. There isn't a little biased in there is there?


Firstly, none of us on the reviews team have any bias toward any platform--we all own both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles, and we all enjoy great games regardless of which platforms they appear on. For the most part, we test all versions and find that the PS3 and X360 versions are more or less identical, and so our review scores reflect this. Occasionally, though, after testing all versions, there's simply no escaping the fact that one is inferior. When I reviewed Baja: Edge of Control last year, for example, the PS3 version looked far worse AND had an unstable frame rate--that version scored a 6.5 while the X360 version scored a 7.5. On that occasion, and on any occasion that different scores are given to different versions of the same game, the reason for the discrepancy is detailed in the text of the review.

More recently, Kevin VanOrd reviewed Dragon Age: Origins, and, as you may have noticed, all three versions of the game got different scores. On the PC it was a 9.5, on the PS3 it was a 9.0, and on the X360 it was an 8.5. The PC version is a quite different and superior game, and although the console versions are very similar, there are noticeable differences that make the PS3 version better. Read paragraph four on page two of the review if you're interested in exactly what those differences are.

We're often accused of bias toward one platform or another, but since we're accused of loving Sony, Microsoft, AND Nintendo, I think that just proves that we're not really biased at all, doesn't it? It's true that, on occasion, we post X360 reviews ahead of other versions, but that's not because we want to, it's because we insist on reviewing from retail discs and because, for whatever reason, publishers are often able to send us X360 copies long before we get PS3 copies. That's not always the case (we have retail Assassin's Creed II on the PS3 but not the X360 right now), but more often than not it is.

Anytime you have a question about reviews, please feel free to either PM me or send me an e-mail at justin@gamespot.com--I can't guarantee that you'll get a response right away, but I do try to respond to every intelligent question that I'm sent.

Related link: GameSpot Rating System

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Well explained, Justin. I don't even own a 360, but there are cases where the 360 gets the better version. We just have to bite the sour apple that is the truth. However, as you point out, this isn't always the case, as Dragon Age proves. Look forward to GS's AC2 review. :)


OK I get it now! AC2 Review for PS3 plz! U guys got it already right? :P