You should already have an idea of which outlets have views or tastes that line up with your own,
You have an outlet where EVERY reviewer has views and tastes that line up with your own? Most outlets have no consistency in their reviews and have different reviewers with different opinions. Not every reviewer tests every game. Do you ignore games which aren't tested by your favorite reviewer?
tell me what exactly does this finer classification really add other than a load of cluttered numbers
It adds more quality gradients for better comparisons. There are a lot of games which are right between "average" and "good". Why not put them in their own category between "average" and "good"? There are also games that are much better than most of the "good" games. Why not put them in their own category of "very good / great" games?
many of which aren't even used
Which scores aren't used? Only the scores on the bottom of the bottom. Are there games soooooo bad that they would deserve a worse score than "Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust". Sure, I've seen a lot worse on Steam or in the AppStores. But most professional reviewers don't waste their time with this crap, they have limited time resources and focus on better games.
Three outcomes tells you what you need to know about the game.
No, maybe it tells YOU what YOU want to know about the game. Other people would prefer a simple thumb up or down. And many people prefer a scale with finer gradients.
- This same argument applies to score numbers so you've argued against reviews in general here, reviews are the to detail why they came to their verdict not just to put a number down and be done all you're telling us here is that you can't be bothered to read a few reviews or go through a summary that's not a problem with a verdict system that's a problem with how you use reviews.
- Quality gradients that not only are not universal across all outlets but most are clutter, it's down to you to do your research if a game that's divisive is to your taste or not and this element of forcing you to look into it more benefits you as a consumer as reading a few reviews, looking up gameplay and even trying demos can help you figure it out before you spend your money, it even helps you in the long run identify which outlets have tastes that align with your own.
- Then why have them? May as well just call them bad and detail as such in the review the is no point having 6 numbers for bad as it'll make no difference which of those numbers is used once a game falls into that category that's it, if reviewers don't bother with such games to never give those scores even more reason to drop them and change the system.
- Except it does tell us what we need to know is a game good, average or bad regardless of what you prefer, you can prefer numbers but so far I've not seen an actual argument detailing why so called finer gradients are better. A verdict is simple and straight forward as it makes no difference if games like BOTW, Elden and HZD are all ranked as good or if bad games are ranked as bad etc... we don't need finer gradients to differentiate from games in the same bracket we need better content of reviews to convey how good, bad or why something is average and people to improve their use of reviews and scores have just become something that undermine that it's time to leave them behind for another system.