How we test, review, and rate on GamesRadar+

GamesRadar logo on plus themed backdrop
(Image credit: Future)

At GamesRadar+, our goal is to provide thorough, personal, and critical recommendations for everything we test, review, and rate. That includes everything from hardware to video games, comics to movies, and more. We want to ensure that our readers have the information, backed up by our knowledge and experience, in order to make the right decisions for them – whether that be what headset to purchase or what show to watch next.

While every rating and review will inevitably be subjective, as they should be, any single one should provide an understanding of what works, what doesn’t, why, and (when possible) how.

Sony DualSense controller

(Image credit: Future)


When it comes to products that require any sort of testing, not everything is going to get a stellar review or even make it into a buying guide or recommendations. Depending on what it is, several different testing methods can be used in order to make sure we know the product well and deliver a fair and detailed analysis. As such, the vast majority of testing is done by our core team and contributors so we can personally handle, see, and live with most products.

For specific examples, you can read about how we test particular products below, with more to be added in the future as needed. This transparency in our GamesRadar+ Hardware Policy allows our readers to fully understand how we come to any given decision – even if they may not agree.

Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Future)


GamesRadar+ is home to a number of different brands – digital only, print, and both together. That includes Edge, Play, Retro Gamer, SFX, Total Film, Newsarama, and what one might consider GamesRadar itself. While all sections do reviews, the nature of those audiences sometimes have different requirements.

Broadly speaking, however, GamesRadar+ is made by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts. We feel it's important that a piece of media or hardware makes it into the hands of a writer who is actively interested in it. Additionally, we also strive to pair whatever is being reviewed with a person who understands the product or medium so that they are equipped to deliver an honest, subjective critique that comes from a place of experience and expertise.  


Though uncommon, GamesRadar+ occasionally does review individual comics or graphic novels. Newsarama, as the most recent addition to the overall umbrella, has a legacy ‘10-point’ review scale of whole numbers only that accounts for all aspects of a comic from writing to art to letters to colors. Comic reviews try to approach any given issue in a holistic way, taking into account all of the creative work involved as well as its place within the broader medium and its publisher’s slate.


Given the lengthy nature of games, there are essentially two kinds of reviews for them: a typical Review and a Review In Progress. A GamesRadar+ Review In Progress will be clearly labeled in the headline, and will go live without a verdict or score. The purpose of these in-progress pieces is to give you a sense of our initial impressions and a good idea of what to expect at launch. Once we're comfortable offering a final verdict, the Review In Progress will be archived and we will present a full review on the site.

A key goal of any game review is to try and determine whether something is "fun" – which is itself a subjective quality that can differ from person to person. But we're also assessing how successfully a game can pull us into new worlds and connect us with the characters that inhabit them. We're looking to see whether a feature set is pushing boundaries or finding an interesting way to twist established conventions. At the ways a presented theme may resonate, how shared worlds bring us together, and so many other qualities that are just as important – if not more so – than whether a game can achieve native 4k resolution at 60 frames-per-second.


When it comes to various products like gaming PCs and monitors, there are two forms of recommendations that can be attached to the best products we test: Editor’s Choice and Highly Recommended.

An Editor’s Choice Badge, which you can see below, represents something that we deem superior to nearly everything else in its field that’s been given a five-star score. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, as nothing ever is, but it does mean we think it’s about as close as something can come.

An example of an Editor's Badge on a review of a monitor

(Image credit: Future)

The Highly Recommended badge, seen below, is applied to any product that earns a particularly high score. It represents a product that, while there are certain caveats, would be something we’d be keen to suggest to family and friends in addition to our readers. While perhaps not the absolute finest bits of tech, they are considered a head above the rest and will perform well in their intended use, or offer exceptionally good value for that use.

An example of a Recommended badge on a review of a gaming chair

(Image credit: Future)

Movies/TV Shows

While all video game reviews published on GamesRadar+ are written by in-house staff or commissioned by our senior editorial team, some film and TV reviews may come from the pages of SFX and Total Film magazine. These reviews are still subject to the same rigorous editorial practices for accuracy, fairness, and transparency. For TV, reviews can be for a single episode or the entire season altogether.


Largely regardless of the medium or product, GamesRadar+ uses a '10-point' review rating system. The vast majority of brands rate along a five-star scale, with half-point intervals. All reviews go through a stringent editorial process to check for accuracy and fairness. The score represents our final thoughts at a glance, and is determined collaboratively by the review author and the senior GamesRadar+ editorial team to ensure that they are awarded consistently within the boundaries of our review scale and accurately reflect the contents of the written review.

You can read a breakdown of the GamesRadar+ review scale below:

5 STARS: Just because something scores 5 Stars doesn't mean that it's perfect – perfection is a myth. GamesRadar+ awards 5 Stars to products and titles that confidently stand at the intersection of ambition, execution, and innovation. 5 Stars indicates that GamesRadar+ recommends it without reservation.

4.5 STARS: A score of 4.5 Stars is reflective of something that's truly worthy of your time and attention. If it’s attached to a game review, for example, it's a Game of the Year contender that will be remembered as a best-in-class representation of its genre or style. These reviews set the tone of the conversation for all other products and titles.

4 STARS: 4 Stars are awarded to the great titles and products out there that come with a couple of caveats. Perhaps they aren’t the most ambitious or innovative titles on the planet, but they execute upon a novel idea or concept well enough to keep them front of mind. The positives outweigh the negatives with relatively few of the latter.

3.5 STARS: Something that’s worth your time. They might not be for everyone, be all that ambitious, and may come equipped with the sort of creative or technical flaws that hold it back from achieving greatness, but something awarded 3.5 Stars is the kind of thing you shouldn't regret spending time with or using. It’s not outstanding or all that novel from what came before, but it gets the job done.

3 STARS: Anything that’s awarded 3 Stars might have a big creative concept that gradually falls apart over time or have an interesting approach to the familiar that's let down by the quality or stability of the execution. There are good elements and some solid value, offset by risks that only the most dedicated will properly appreciate.

2.5 STARS: Potential can only get you so far. If something is awarded 2.5 Stars, it is likely functional but otherwise unimpressive. Mediocre titles or products aren't beyond redemption but they are difficult to recommend outright. They may still possess some quality or quirk that will appeal to some, but you'll need to carefully weigh the good against the bad.

2 STARS: Even with the best intentions from creators and designers, not everything is worth your time, energy, or money. 2 Star titles or products are usually so poorly executed that it becomes near enough impossible for us to recommend that you invest in them. They may have a couple of good ideas, but the overall experience is typically flawed at a fundamental level.

1.5 STARS: Mistakes have been made here. When something is awarded 1.5 Stars, it's because of a confluence of competing problems. This can be for a range of issues like unoriginal ideas, poor execution of a core feature set, performance or materials problems and more. If there are redeeming qualities to be found, only the most patient and forgiving are ever likely to uncover them.

1 STARS: A 1 Star game title or product exists as intended. In that, it achieves the absolute bare minimum of what it means to be a movie, comic, game, and so on. If we've reached this conclusion, it means that whatever it is is fundamentally flawed. Something doesn't get 1 Star for simply being unenjoyable, uninteresting, and unoriginal – but for being borderline unplayable, unreadable, unwatchable, or unusable. Avoid this title or product, even if it's free; your time is too valuable to waste here.

0.5 STARS: GamesRadar+ has issued just a handful of 0.5 Star reviews in its 20-year history. That's because this score represents something with an overall execution that is so intrinsically flawed that it's a wonder it was ever released at all. A 0.5 Star review indicates that the title or product is utterly broken or otherwise difficult to even consider as fundamentally flawed at best.