Currently Playing : The Citadel of Chaos (1983)
Upcoming : Telengard (1983)
Recently Finished : Gateway to Apshai*, Dunzhin

Scoring System

  I mentioned previously that I will be using a scoring system to rate each CRPG title I complete. While this system isn't revolutionary, I think it fits the theme for what I am trying to accomplish here. The categories I have decided to use are what I consider to be critical components in a CRPG.

  The system is based on a 60 point scale, although a true high score of 65 can be attained by obtaining "bonus points". The 60 point scale is the combination of 6 categories that can be ranked between 0 and 10 points, rising or falling with .5 increments.

  I wanted to get rid of categories that punished certain sub-genres of CRPGS and focus on categories that would be fair to all types of computer role-playing games. A game like Dungeon Master has no true "economy", but should it be punished just because of that? I definitely do not want to have a category of "NPCs and Quests", when many early games like Wizardry and Bard's Tale had little to no addition of these. I wanted to focus on core categories that I felt all CRPG's should implement to be successful.

  Here is the finalized scoring system, with categorical descriptions. I don't have a catchy acronym or name for the system, so I will just be going with the basic title of scorecard:
  • Graphics/Sound : This category will probably be the most subjective. What one person considers art, others draw no inspiration from. What is a beautiful piece of music to one, is uninteresting to another. This category reflects my personal enjoyment out of the graphical look of the game, and the quality and use of game sounds. I will alter my score to reflect the limitations of the system hardware that the game is played on, taking into consideration what was possible during the era the game was released. 
  • Character Development : This category pertains to everything dealing with character creation, selection and growth. This is one of the most critical parts in a CRPG in my opinion, and I will be judging this category relatively harshly.
  • Combat System/Encounters : Personally, I am a big fan of turn based systems, but that doesn't mean that I don't enjoy other types too. This category will deal with everything related to the combat system as a whole. I will be looking at things like mechanics, challenge, depth, and risk/reward. This category will also be used to judge encounters and foes in the game, how they are presented, their depth and complexity, and uniqueness.
  • Story/Writing : A good story is something most RPG players crave, and I am no exception to the rule. How well is the story organized? How much do I care about the characters? How is the writing and dialogue? All of these aspects will be under consideration for this category.
  • Gameworld : This category may be the most wide open and diverse of all. I am looking for anything that enhances the gameworld here, like day/night cycles, NPC schedules, weather effects, and so forth. I will also be looking for things like atmosphere, lore, secrets, ability to be rewarded for exploration, and non-linearity.
  • Items/Equipment : What is a CRPG without a really great inventory system? In this category, anything related to items and equipment will be judged. Anything that adds depth to the item system is a plus, including durability, random drops, artifacts, cursed items, and so forth. The more diverse, the better.

  • BONUS POINTS : I feel that the above 6 categories exemplify what I really look for in my CRPGs, but I feel there are certain categories that can earn a game "bonus points". These are categories that I do not feel are necessary in a CRPG, but definitely makes for an overall better experience if done correctly: 
            (1 point) - Bonus for a well done ending.
            (1 point) - Bonus for a well done interface or control scheme.
            (1 point) - Bonus for a well done economy.
            (1 point) - Bonus for balanced challenge. Not ridiculously hard or easy.
            (1 point) - Bonus for innovation. Does the game do anything original?

    So for an example a game totals 43.5 points in my six major categories, but also had a good economy, a good ending, and perfect challenge. This in turn would yield 3 bonus points, pushing the total score to 48.5 overall.

  Simple, and hopefully effective.

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