Review Policy

Last updated: 23/11/2013

Rock Paper Shotgun publishes regular reviews of PC games and hardware. These reviews can be text or video, and appear on our website and YouTube channel respectively.

Our reviews are written to deliver criticism, analysis and information to help inform you of the writer’s professional opinion about a game. These reviews are subjective; although the content of reviews might be discussed with the Reviews Editor and Editor-In-Chief before publication, the final judgement remains the author’s own.

How do you choose what games to review?

Games and other products are selected for review on the basis of their quality, notability, and relevance and interest to the Rock Paper Shotgun audience and writers.

How do you decide who gets to review what games?

We choose reviewers based on their interest in and history with the game's genre, and their ability to deliver thoughtful criticism. Reviewers are expected to spend enough time with each game to be able to give a considered opinion based on their comprehensive knowledge of the game. Due to the vast number of ways in which games can differ, this is not a pre-defined number of plays or hours of playing. It is also influenced by the availability of review materials; we may delay a review if we aren't satisfied with the time available ahead of release or the review embargo.

What we review and when

We only review games from retail copies, or review builds that are identical to a retail copy of the game. We do not review from pre-release "debug code", or alpha or beta versions.

Because we only review retail copies, games will rarely, if ever, be reviewed from publishers' review events. We may still attend these events for the purposes of other coverage, such as previews or additional feature content.

We will make every effort to ensure that our experience of a game matches that of the majority of players - for example, by applying 'day one' updates where possible.

Review timing will be at our discretion, but we aim to be as early as possible while seeking to be thorough and representative. When delaying a review until after launch we will often publish initial impressions before launch, or as close to launch as is practical, if there is no prior access.

We may review 'Early Access' versions of games that are commercially available if we think it appropriate.

We always seek to publish authoritative reviews which we don't need to update. If a game's circumstances change in a specific but important detail, we may update a review or change our recommendation, but these cases will be exceptional. If a game's circumstances change in more general and highly significant ways, we may publish a full re-review.

What is an RPS Bestest Best badge and how do you decide what gets one?

We don't score our video game reviews, but when we come across a game we think is truly brilliant, a definitive example of its genre, one that moves the conversation forward or we think is just worth shouting about a little bit louder, we may award it an RPS Bestest Best badge. The game may not be technically "perfect", nor is it necessarily our equivalent of a traditional 10/10 or Essential rating you might find on other websites. As long as it excels in one of the aforementioned areas, it may still receive a Bestest Best badge.

When deciding which games merit an RPS Bestest Best badge, it's the reviewer who ultimately makes a case for it. The awarding of a Bestest Best may be discussed by the Reviews Editor and Editor–In-Chief prior to a review's publication, but the final decision lies with the reviewer.

What is a 'Wot I Think'?

Prior to 2020, our reviews were titled "Wot I Think", to underline the subjectivity and personal nature of those reviews. We opted to switch to calling them reviews for the sake of clarity. All of the review policies described here also applied to the Wot I Thinks published between 2007 and 2020.

What is an RPS Verdict? Is that different from a review?

Occasionally, we may publish an RPS Verdict in addition to a review. These are often less formal, group chat-style assessments of a game, and are usually written after the main review itself. They are critical conversations between multiple members of the editorial team, sometimes including our reviewer. In the past, Verdicts made use of a thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating system from each author participant. We still write Verdicts from time to time, for example when we're playing multiplayer games that benefit from having lots of different perspectives in the mix, but we no longer include any rating. Verdicts are never intended to act as a formal review and instead function as a supplement or as simply an entertaining, informative discussion of a game.

Why do you review games that are in Early Access?

We may review Early Access versions of games if we think it's appropriate, and we may re-review them when they release in a 1.0 state.

Our early access reviews have taken many forms over the years. At one time, we reviewed early access games as part of our weekly Premature Evaluation column, often following up with a more formal review once the game hit 1.0. More recently, since discontinuing Premature Evaluation, we have written both more traditional reviews of early access games and then re-reviewed them when they reach 1.0. If we do choose to re-review an early access game in this way, we always write a fresh, separate review and approach it like we would any other game. Where possible we try and get the same reviewer back in to review it again for 1.0, but otherwise we treat it like any other review.

What about reviews-in-progress?

For live-service or in instances where we haven't been able to properly put a game through its paces ahead of the review embargo, we'll write a review-in-progress before the main review. A review-in-progress is designed to offer a quick insight into the reviewer's initial thoughts on the game, but we endeavour to reserve our final thoughts and judgements for the full review, once we've had been able to spend enough time with the game and assess it accordingly.

Do advertisers affect our reviews?

Nope. There is a very strict separation between editorial and sales. Editors and reviewers are always unaware of ads and promotions shown on RPS.