When we started XBLA Fans, one of the core beliefs I had was that reviews should be useful to you, our readers. That lead to the creation of our scoring system: Buy It, Try It and Skip It. Valuing accuracy over preciseness, we felt our scores were naturally at home with XBLA Games on the Xbox 360. Each game had a demo, allowing us to let players know which ones they should try and which ones they should outright skip or buy immediately. It was simple, and it worked.
Unfortunately, with the Xbox One, demos are a rare luxury. Leaving our middle review score rather meaningless. Telling our readers to try a game when they can’t rent it and there is no demo seems obtuse and unhelpful. What does Try It mean in a post-demo world?
As such, we will be changing our review system immediately. The XBLA Fans reviews posted under the previous scoring system will not be changed. Our “Legacy Review Scale” will remain available for anyone looking to understand what those scores meant at the time.
Moving forward, XBLA Fans will be adopting a new five-score scale. We want to keep the colloquial informality that our review system has always had while modernizing it for the Xbox One in a way that makes it more useful for our readers. We don’t want to lose what made our scores useful and less arbitrary. As such, the new scale looks like this:
Must Buy — These are the best games on the system and likely highlight some of the best aspects of their respective genres. Unless you know you absolutely hate the genre, you can pick this up without worrying about its quality level.
Highly Recommended — These games are really good but have some flaws. If our reviewer’s concerns don’t apply to you, then you should genuinely enjoy these games.
Reader’s Choice — These games don’t appeal to everyone. If you enjoy the genre and think the game still sounds interesting even after reading the negative parts, then you should definitely give them a look. These games will be highly subjective and require you to do some additional research to decide if they are a wise purchase. Opinions will vary widely between people on these titles.
Limited Appeal — These are games with significant flaws. They may appeal to some, but multiple areas are significantly deficient, and we don’t recommend purchasing them.
No Appeal — These are games that have serious issues. We play these games so you don’t have to waste your time or money. We highly recommend avoiding them in almost all circumstances.
Finally, we highly suggest stopping by our Twitch streams for each ID@Xbox game if you can’t make up your mind. You can ask us questions about the game and get feedback directly from our stream team as they play the game. It’s about as close to a demo as you can get.