Francesca Reyes | Editor in Chief | Official Xbox Magazine (US)
GR: Do you think a perfect score makes for a perfect game? Should people expect perfection if they see a 10?
Fran: God no. Not at all. I don’t know why people think that. I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect game. I think a 10 just means... it’s the best there is right now. It has nothing to do with being perfect, or not having any problems.
GR: Do you think that 10s are dished out too easily or too lightly?
Fran: Whenever you give a 10, you think you’re giving it too easily, because you don’t give them out very often. But... no. It depends on the ratings scale you’re on. We’re on a 20-point one that gives halves, but nothing else in between, it's not a 100-point system. Since it's a 20-point, it’s a lot easier to justify a 10 than it would be on a 100-point.
When we used to cover original Xbox stuff we changed our ratings system, we had a hundred-point one that was like 9.1, 9.2. On that, it’s pretty impossible to give a ten, because... when you can do things to that precision, it gets way difficult to give anything like a 100% or a 10. But when you’re on either a 10-point scale or a 20-point scale, it’s a lot easier.
Our viewpoint is that... we know there’s no perfect game out there, even Zelda: Ocarina of Time that’s like number one on the rankings system on GameRankings. As great a game as that was, it's still not perfect.
When we award something a 10, we want it to be given considerable weight, like, 'this is the pinnacle of what it does at this moment in time' because who knows, a year from now or five months down the line there might be something that does it better. But for right now, everyone should check out this game, or at least consider it because we consider it to be at the top tier of games.
Above: Halo 3 (pictured), BioShock and Gears of War were all awarded the mighty 10 in OXM
GR: When a game does have what can be considered major flaws, and it still gets a 10, what does it have to do to overcome those flaws to get that perfect score?
Fran: I think it has to be the experience, like the whole experience. Like BioShock, it doesn’t have huge replay value, but going through that experience for the first time is unlike anything else. It seems like all of the polish, the storytelling, the mechanics, all of these things met to make for this experience that you can't really have anywhere else... And it’s so immersive – there’s no other game that makes you feel like that at that time. And so, even though it didn’t have replay value, and it wasn't mind-blowingly innovative, I still think it deserved a 10, just because of what it did and what it accomplished, even if it did have some problems.
But with Halo 3 a lot of people are complaining about the campaign being either too short, or too easy, or dumb, or the story not making sense. But you can’t take away the fact that there’s so much in that game, whether it’s the skulls, whether it’s Forge, whether it's saved films, whether it's four player co-op, whether it’s all of the matchmaking and all the stuff, and all the support that Bungie.net's giving it. It’s kind of a total package.