Does a perfect score mean a perfect game?

Tim Clark | Editor | Official PlayStation Magazine (UK)

GR: Does a perfect score equal a perfect game?

Tim: I think it's a really easy question to answer because obviously it'd be a nonsense to say any game is perfect any more than you'd say an album, a film or a book was absolutely perfect and couldn't be improved in any sense. Certainly when we debate awarding a game a 10, I think the first thing that strikes us is that it has to be an instant classic - you know a 10 when you see it. It's like a purebred. It's something that just seems streets ahead of what other developers are doing with the same technology and often in the same genre.

Take Resi 4 as an example. It looks brilliant, it keeps surprising you, the lifespan is absolutely spot on, it's constantly filled with set-pieces and satisfying moments, the core mechanics are all universally excellent. And on top of that it's filled with invention and wit. It just screams 10 at you. Could you improve it? Is it absolutely perfect? Yeah, I'm sure there's elements which you could tweak. There always is, that's why sequels tend to improve on games.

GR: So as long as the gloss and the excellence is enough to overshadow any flaws, it can be awarded a perfect score?

Tim: I think you could get a game which you would award a 10, but there might be other games in the same genre that look better, but its play mechanics and perhaps its story or execution could be so good that it could still get a 10. Absolutely.

Above: Resident Evil 4 (pictured), Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Pro Evolution Soccer 6 and GTA Vice City are all games worthy of 10 for OPM.

GR: So a 10 could be a flawed masterpiece?

Tim: Well, that's not really what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that there's no such thing as perfection in art, really. I don't know if you would get many film reviewers that would say Citizen Kane is perfect. But would they say that it's the absolute high water mark of what that medium can do? Yeah. And that's what a 10 should be to me - it's an absolute standout, purebred, solid gold classic.

GR: Do you think 10s are handed out a bit too easily nowadays?

Tim: Well, it's different for every publication. There would be some people I would question the 10s they've given and others I wouldn't. With any media outlet whose job it is to review things you have to judge on the basis of the people they use and what their history of giving scores is. That's how I'd expect us to be judged. There's no big club that we all join up to and all obey the same rules. There's huge amounts of subjectivity in reviewing anything.