4/4 I would recommend this game to anyone except those adamantly against the genre.
3/4 I would recommend this game and enjoyed the experience very much.
2/4 I don’t regret the experience of playing the game, but wouldn’t really advocate it either.
1/4 I would recommend avoiding this game unless one is a die-hard fan of the genre.
I rank games on a scale of one to four following the system given by Roger Ebert, I should note that this has very little to do with my position of the very heated games are art debate (I’m actually on neither side per se, arguing that I don’t want games to be art, but first and foremost to be entertainment). I just happen to think the system works very well.
The other major distinction between the way I use the system and the way Ebert uses his is that, with games being there for entertainment first and appreciation second, I treat my games reviews as subjective. I treat each score on a scale of one to four based on how much I enjoyed the game (which is a subjective value) separate from the cost of the game and how much I feel it adds to the genre and gaming generally (which is more objective in its claims). The later I place into context, so I might say that the first Quake game gets a four because it brought so much new technology to the FPS genre as well as being immense fun even if it’s old by today’s standards.
So, in FPS games, I might say that Quake gets four for that, Halo gets three for solid game-play, Quake III Team Arena gets two for being decent but not really going anywhere new and Daikatana gets one for just not being worth it. It’s judged compared to others in the genres and, as such, that does not mean all games of the same score are equal. I would give System Shock 2 and Plants v. Zombies a four in their respective categories, but to anyone other than a casual gamer, I would recommend System Shock 2 first.
A score of four does not mean perfection, nor does a score of one mean completely worthless. After all, and this is where I make the distinction between games and art, if you enjoy Daikatana and hate Quake or System Shock 2, then there’s nothing more to say, I could go on about the flaws and hype of the former compared to the merits of the later, but we play games to be entertained first and appreciation falls in line to that.