Defining AAA, AA, A/B, and ? games
The question of what is a AAA, AA, and A game has been a common topic among the users here on n4g, and the answer "You just know" doesn't work for most people. So let's dive into exactly what a AAA, AA, A, and those horrible ? games are.
A Triple A game (AAA) are games that we're developed with a significantly large budget. The game generally reviews well, since the developers put a lot of emphasis in Gameplay, Presentation, Story, Graphics, and / or Online. Acceptable Audio, Pacing, Set pieces and Thrills must be available as well. That is the foundation of a Triple A game, while this next part is highly subjective among gamers. The games generally goes on to review well scoring 8+/10 and averaging a score of 88+/100 on metacritic. The game generally receive large to massive amounts of hype and gaming websites, and goes on to sale 1+ million copies.
AAA+ (95+) GTA, Uncharted 2, Mass Effect 2, Mario, Zelda, Skyrim
AAA (91 - 94) Halo, Gears, Little Big Planet, Batman, GT, Forza, God of War, Assassin's Creed
AAA- (88 - 90) Dead Space, New Super Mario Bros., COD, Super Smash Bros., Killzone, Battlefield
A Double A game (AA) is a game that fail to reach the milestone previously set by AAA games. They generally have a lower budget than AAA games. They try to achieve the same level of game design as AAA games, but generally fall short in one or more areas such as Gameplay, Story, Graphics, Pacing, and underwhelming Set Pieces. The game goes on to score an average of (75 - 87) / 100 on metacritic and hovers just above those games that fall into dreaded "Yellow Ranking". The highest rated AA games are comparable to the lowest ranking AAA. These games are generally clones of AAA franchises that just don't reach the potential set by it's predecessor, some are practically multiplayer only, and some are just in an over saturated genre. However, some of them are truly great games, just missing that special something. They generally go on to sale 1+ million copies as well.
AA+ (85 - 87) Borderlands, Crysis, Alan Wake, Bayonetta, inFamous, Left 4 Dead, Resistance,
AA (80 - 85) Darksiders, Good Sports games, Clones of AAA games,
AA- (75 - 80) Prototype, 2nd tier Sports games, Old franchises that didn't transition well
The A/B games are those poor games that had a great idea, but the development team just couldn't make everything work seamlessly together. These are the games the land in the dreaded "Yellow Ranking" (74 and less), and while they can be good, they just don't get it. They need cultivating, and a group of leads to whip them into shape, so they can start producing AAA and AA games. Unfortunately these are the guys who are going to go under next generation.
A games (good idea, just not realized) Most RPG's / JRPG's this gen, Most Launch titles
B games (nothing special, sloppy coding) "Slaughterhouse"
The ? games (C, D, F) are those awful games that developers try to sucker you in with licensed names, or really cheap prices. These games need to go under, and a record should be filed on them so they don't move their trash to PSN / XBL / Wii Ware etc.
? games (59 >) The average movie game tie in, games sold 3 in a pack that aren't an HD collection, or bundle of an established video game franchise you know and love.