If you use a 1(0) to 10(0) grade scale people are going to fall back to what they know - the A to F grading system. Even if you didn’t grow up with it you likely ‘know’ that mediocre but acceptable isn’t 50, it’s 70.
Some places like EGM (at times) broke that by using a 1.0 to 5.0 scale, so your expectations are broken.
Tellingly, when a site like Metacritic turns these into 1-100 for averaging, 3 stars is 70s, not 50s.
Likewise CinemaScore, which polls opening night audiences and in theory has an A-F letter grade scale.
In practice, D & F ratings are so rare as to be notable and it’s mostly an A-C scale: anything in the A-range being a success, the B-range being an OK film or one that would likely appeal to a limited audience, and the C-range being a failure.
One thing that occurs to me: games these days are simply more competent on a production level. Yes, Fallout 4 may have however many bugs, story weaknesses or whatevs (haven’t played it yet) while being still clearly a professional product. But in the good old days, crappy games might have been unplayable due to bugs, unfinishable, cga graphics in vga times, no sound at all, terrible sound (I remember a review for a racing game in the 90ies where they only used Windows 95/8 system sounds) or just crap out halfway through without any patch on the horizon. If you want a suggestion for a retro review, how about “Outpost”, which listed features on the box which were never implemented, and a developer afterwards throwing a hissy fit about people expecting them.
The whole idea of rating an artwork/entertainment is innately qualitative. FFS, just flex your brain muscles and critique the thing. The use of number or letter grades I think is merely an attempt to use faux-quanta to lend their opinions the appearance of objectivity. Which suggests a poor critique!
I suppose the thing i disagree with is that it indicates that the reviewers are bought. I mean they probably ARE but if you look at user-lead ratings in otger areas its no different. If you go on restaurant rating websites you can pretty much avoid anything that gets less than 4.5 stars. I think there’s an xkcd comic about it… mm yes here it is.