Oct 9, 2007
Should a perfect review score be exclusively reserved for perfect games? Can a flawed masterpiece justifiably be given top marks? Is there even any such thing as a perfect game? With BioShock and Halo 3 both recently receiving the highest numerical accolades possible from many critics, we thought we'd head into the treacherous review score mine field to canvas the opinion of some of gaming's most respected magazine editors.
So, should a perfect score mean a perfect game? Here's what The Editors have to say on the subject...
Rob Smith | Editor in Chief | PSM/PlayStation: Official Magazine (US)
GR: If a game gets a 10, do you feel that that reflects a perfect game?
Rob: No. A game doesn't have to be perfect to get a 10. No game is perfect. I guess that's the difference in the 10 scale vs. the 100 scale, where you kind of assume a 100 is perfect because you can get closer to that edge. With a 10, no. A 10 just says, really, that this is the game that anybody that owns a system should buy, almost irrespective of its genre and your general sort of areas of interest. So it’s almost like saying, if you're a racing game fan, this 10 in a different genre is still something that we'll almost guarantee you’re going to enjoy.
Above: Soul Calibur III (pictured), Resident Evil 4, GTA: San Andreas and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater have all received perfect 10s from PSM
GR: Do you think that, not necessarily at PSM, but across the industry, that 10 scores are dished out too easily?
Rob: Too easily? I think there’s a lot of good games. That all comes down to what outlet you’re reading, and who it is that you read and trust. And that’s the value in having name attachments to reviews and reviewers, that if you follow a certain site or a certain magazine that you get to know that review and so when that reviewer gives a game a 10, you might - having followed the legacy of scores - expect that you would also agree or disagree with that person.
So I don’t think that there’s a problem with a lot of 10s if there’s a lot of good games and I think there are a lot of really good games. By the same token, I don’t think there’s a lot of value in giving tons of low scores just to prove that you’re "telling it how it is" and "sticking it to the man." Celebrating the industry and the quality of work that’s put out there, I don’t think there’s any problem with that. If every game got a 10, fantastic. It just means that there’s a bunch of brilliant games out there.