(Updated: October 19, 2017)
Our goal at App Trigger is to inform the reader about the greatest interactive medium available on the planet; video games. One way to achieve this is to provide critical analysis paired with opinionated prose in our written and (occasional) video reviews.
The process of approaching a company for a review request, all the way up to publishing a finished review, involves multiple steps. Many of said steps involve editors working with members of public relations teams of gaming companies. This page aims to inform you about everything to do with reviews on this site.
If you notice any contradictions in our review policy as part of any App Trigger publication or have any concerns or questions about our policies, please send an email to site co-expert Daniel George: [email protected], or co-expert Matthew Liebl: [email protected].
Acquiring Games For Review
For most of our reviews, a co-expert of the site will approach the public relations or press teams handling a gaming product’s media emails, requesting a review. Should they accept our request, more often than not we will agree to a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or embargo that prevents us from providing our impressions before a set date and time.
In order to disclose how we obtained access to these games before release, each PR-provided video game review will end with the following disclosure:
A copy of this game [or gaming product, if reviewing a product] was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.
This disclosure is provided to better inform readers who read our reviews the nature in which we received a copy. If a review does not feature this disclosure, it is because the game or gaming product was either purchased by the reviewer or was provided to them by App Trigger or FanSided management.
Reviewers are assigned based on the reviews editor’s decision while considering gaming devices owned.
Our Scoring Process
App Trigger observes a 1-10 scale, with .5 increments. Technically, it is a “19-point” scale, as there is nothing below a 1/10. If substantial parts of a reviewed game are incomplete or near impossible to gauge by the release of the review embargo to the point where the reviewer feels uncomfortable in their ability to judge the game’s merits with a score, it will be designated as a “review in progress.” Once the game has been further reviewed in a live, post-release setting, those reviews will be amended with a final score and additional comments (the latter, of which, is added as necessary).
Once a writer has finished their final draft of a review, it is then sent to the editor in charge of reviews. Here is where the editor adds any further formatting touches while poking holes at the score to see if it sticks for the reviewer. Our review scores should fairly reflect the body of text.
As much as a review looks to critique the beauty of gaming as an art, our reviews are written for you, the gaming fan. It’s you that puts down your hard earned money while spending tens or possibly hundreds of hours into single titles. Our reviews are not beholden to any publisher or developer; we want to make sure that you’re not wasting your time or money.
The main priority is to leave our readers more informed about a game, armed with the knowledge necessary to make such time/money expenditure decisions. We can tell you how much we appreciated/disliked a game for what it is, not for what we wanted the game to be. When it comes to reviews of game ports, remasters or remakes, any and all features or elements of gameplay design (both added and removed) will be taken into consideration.
On rare exceptions, where one of our writers receives a copy of a game ahead of its North American launch (from Europe, Japan, etc.), these reviews will not feature a score. They will, however, still adhere to the submission process to the editor of reviews for formatting purposes.
Our review scores, for the most part, are final as of when they go live. However, due to the changes within the video game industry, more games are implementing an ongoing development cycle post-launch, with content being added like an MMO in the weeks, months and years after the fact.
A launch review will retain its score, but App Trigger may occasionally provide additional reviews based on post-launch major updates. The review scores in these new reviews will take every aspect of the game’s development into consideration, including the new content. They present a reflection of what the video game represents as of that moment in time. Original reviews will also include links to new reviews for posterity.
App Trigger and its writers are not required to provide an updated review for any game, and will only provide new reviews on the discretion of the editorial team.
Scores & What They Mean
As close to perfect as possible. One of the most premium representations of its genre, if not the best example. One should be able to recommend 10/10 games to anyone who appreciates the genre of said game. This score is reserved for instant classics in rare circumstances.
(Historical example: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Excellent games deserve this score. Standouts of the genre, there may be minor caveat(s) or small concerns that seem to be nit-picks relative to the quality of the overall product. All but a select few would enjoy playing these games, no matter how late to the party they are.
(Historical example: Resident Evil 2)
Great games achieve this score. These titles set out to meet their stated objective, and do so well. Quality titles that offer a great balance between story and gameplay relative to its design requirements. Most would be able to play these games, although there may be a small notable factor or two that would sour a player’s disposition.
(Historical example: Max Payne)
Good games that have a few small issues or problems preventing it from being considered a “great” title. You will enjoy yourself, although there may be something about the gameplay, story or overall execution that seems “off.” Likely won’t leave an impression worthy of ageless appreciation. A large amount of people will like these games, but you aren’t missing out if you don’t pick them up straight away.
(Historical example: Killzone)
Fair titles with enough flaws to overshadow the relatively fewer bits of greatness within. Diehard genre/developer/series fanatics can see past the many blemishes and focus only on what brings flavor to the game. Some 6’s are titles that failed to live up to their own expectations, while others contain a good number of warnings before purchase. Waiting for a price drop or a sale is the best course of action if one is still interested.
(Historical example: Dynasty Warriors 6)
Middling titles deserve this score. Nothing special whatsoever, but doesn’t outright fail on any aspect in its creation. Just an uninspired game that functions as it was unfortunately intended to do. Can be played under the “so bad it’s good” umbrella, even if it is undeserving of mass appreciation.
(Historical Example: Shadow the Hedgehog)
Inadequate games that see very little enjoyment amid its torrent of downsides. Whether it be broken gameplay, unintuitive design, terrible story (in a game that features one), outdated visuals at launch or major disappointments in multiple categories, you shouldn’t be wasting your time with games at this score and below. Unoriginality is at its core.
(Historical example: Quantum Theory)
Just plain bad games. Failures exist at multiple levels of its creation, as previously mentioned at #4. Not even worth the time to play if you were provided the game for free. Still functions enough to complete, if you can wade your way through its dreadfulness to reach the finish line.
(Historical example: Tony Hawk Ride)
Awful. Awful. Awful! Excruciating gameplay, insultingly-terrible dialogue/story, progression-blocking technical/sound/visual design failures prevent completion. You’ll have the desire to destroy any evidence linking to the fact that you were tricked into spending time with it.
(Historical example: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial)
Outright scams. These games do not function, nor would you want them to. You’d rather receive coal for Christmas than to get these titles under your possession. Whoever made these games did so to take your money in a 100% effort to spite you. Boo them, should you get the chance!
(Historical example: Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing)