The reviews here are totally subjective, so will only apply to you where your tastes coincide with mine. The way I review the games is to play them for a few weeks (or days if I get bored) and see what I discover. At present, I am scoring them out of 10 on each of three independent scales:
Overall – my general impression. I usually start off assuming the game is going to be 10/10 (I paid good money for it, after all), and then I modify that basic score to allow for any annoyances or shortcomings in the game and to rate the general level of enjoyment.
Ed – EDucational value – many parents would like some guide as to just what, if anything can be learned from a game. Now, I am a bit biased here, as I believe that there is always something to be learned from any game, and I will spell it out in the reviews in some cases. At worst, most games will teach the most basic of strategy skills: the art of planning ahead; and of course computer familiarity. However, anything from 4/10 or less means that I suggest you don’t think about the game as a learning tool. Games which are too violent will also get a low rating here, as many parents will consider them unsuitable for younger children.
Rp – RePlay value – is the game worth playing only once, or can it be played again and again? Adventure games, with a set or very limited storyline, are likely to get low scores here (except Tomb Raider, which I’m classing as a Doom! clone anyway). Multiplayer capability will raise the score, as will properties such as random map generation, which make for interesting replay possibilities. Also, the length of time taken to play the game is taken into account: a game that can be finished in an evening and is not worth playing again will get a 1 or a 2, whereas a game that can take weeks to play but can still only be played once, realistically, might get something like a 5 or a 6. Only a game that gets me playing it again and again for months on end (or looks as if it is going to) will score a 10 here: 10 signifies total addiction.
The score on a game will be shown like this: 10/Ed5/Rp6, meaning the overall score is 10/10, i.e., it is a great game, but it is not particularly educational and has a fair replay value. In general, I would hope that the games reviewed here will get highish overall scores, since I won’t be buying games that I don’t like the look of or where I have seen bad reviews elsewhere. The educational and replay values will likely vary more, since I don’t consider these factors as much when purchasing, although the lack of replay value is one reason I’m not generally keen on linear adventure games.