Remember to read the text, not just the score!
GameSpot reviews come in all shapes and sizes. There are the standard game reviews you're used to seeing; there are reviews in progress; there are updated reviews of ongoing games; and now, there are scored reviews of other kinds of entertainment, like movies and TV.
All that sounds complicated, but it's really quite simple. While our approach to reviews can and will grow and change over time, the purpose of any GameSpot review remains the same: to provide a well-argued, honest, and thorough opinion about a game, movie, or TV show. But what's an "updated" review, exactly? And what do those numbers mean? This guide is here to help.
GameSpot Review Scale
Reviews don't boil down to just "I like it" or "I don't like it." GameSpot reviewers--which includes editors, video producers, and talented freelancers who fill in the gaps--are dedicated to thoughtful, robust criticism that takes a number of factors into account. The score is a point of reference, but if you want to really understand whether a game (or movie or TV show) is for you or not, you'll find what you need in the content of the review itself.
GameSpot uses a 10-point review scale with no increments--so there are no .5s. Here's a quick breakdown of what our scores represent:
10 - Essential
9 - Superb
8 - Great
7 - Good
6 - Fair
5 - Mediocre
4 - Poor
3 - Bad
2 - Terrible
1 - Abysmal
Reviews In Progress and Early Review Impressions
If you've been on GameSpot in the last few years, you've likely seen a review in progress or two before. Game reviews are published "in progress" if we've played a significant amount of the game but haven't been able to see some aspect of it fully--in many cases, it's the online component, which we of course can't experience properly until after the game has officially released. This way, you can get a good idea of what the game is like and what we think of it around the time of launch, keeping in mind that a few aspects might still be question marks.
You'll know it's a review in progress because of the headline, but just in case you miss that, the score is also blue instead of orange. We also make sure to include in the text of the review what we still have left to do before we can finalize the review--and keep in mind that details, including the score, are subject to change before we flip the switch.
In rare cases, we won't have access to a game until right before or even at launch. In these situations (which mostly consist of online-only games), we may publish "early review impressions" based on our first day or so with the game. These early impressions are unscored and a little less formal, and you'll know exactly what we've done and what we still have to do before we're comfortable moving on to the review in progress or even the final review.
We've been saying a lot about "finalizing" reviews, but in reality, a lot of games are not final at launch or even two weeks after launch, once servers are stable and bugs are patched out. More and more games change over months and even years, and so while a final GameSpot review is mostly final, there are some cases where we will want to revisit a game down the line and then write a new, updated review to reflect the times.
In these cases, a game will have to have changed significantly from the version we critiqued in our original review. But not every game that has changed gets this treatment--there are only so many hours in a day and so many GameSpot reviewers, so the decision to write a new review of a game comes down to the interests of both our staff and our readers. We use our best judgment based on our own experiences with a game and what people in general are playing, plus what needs fresh criticism as opposed to news about live events and updates.
Finally, an updated review is not a chance to "undo" a previous score or opinion. The original review still lives on GameSpot, and you'll be able to read both to get a picture of where the game was and what it is now.
If you have any questions about game reviews on GameSpot, feel free to contact managing editor Tamoor Hussain or editor-in-chief Randolph Ramsay. For questions about TV and movie reviews, reach out to senior entertainment editor Mike Rougeau.