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Do You Believe Critics Should Award Perfect Scores For Games?

Grand Theft Auto V is grabbing perfect scores all over the place, at a similar rate to Naughty Dog's The Last Of Us earlier this year.

When evaluating such obvious masterpieces, I often find myself facing the same quandary: "What the hell does a perfect 10 mean, anyway?" It can't possibly imply perfection because of course, no game is perfect. Therefore, what's the definition of "perfect?"

A 10 means the reviewer really couldn't find anything wrong with the game, right? Or does it simply mean that anything he or she did find isn't worth noticing, and the combination of those slight flaws isn't even worth a .5 deduction? Maybe for some, it's simpler. Maybe it just means that the game is better than 99% of all other games available for sale, and thus, it deserves the perfect score. There are lots of titles released these days, and it's fair to say that TLoU and GTAV are better than 99% of the available games on store shelves. So, if that's the requirement, then a perfect score makes sense.

But are we setting too high a standard? Are the consumer's expectations just too damn high? I mean, if the average consumer sees all these perfect scores, aren't they going to be disappointed at the slightest drawback when playing the game? Aren't they expecting to be blown away every ten minutes? Plus, when reading reviews where the score is perfect, the reviewer often points out those tiny flaws, which often go unnoticed. And how tiny must those flaws be in order not to be reflected in the score? Then again, maybe all of this is irrelevant; anything scoring that high must be played, I would think.

Tags: video game reviews, game reviews, perfect scores, gaming industry

9/18/2013 9:46:24 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (37 posts)

Temjin001
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 @ 10:25:42 PM
Reply

I think a review score should reflect the overall value a product offers to it's audience. A standard of perfection is impossible in a venue forwarded by creativity and the constant discovery of human interests and imagination.

Gaming is NOT about judging performance relative to a static and idealized form of perfection. This isn't an Olympic event. In fact, I think this notion only appeals to those who have deluded themselves into thinking that gaming is something more prestigious than what it is. To say something like Journey is BETTER than The Legend of Zelda Windwaker or Battlefield can only be achieved by cornering the criteria that disregards all intrinsic aspects of their individualized purpose.

We're way past mechanical issues and bugs(for the most part) holding back a title's enjoyment. Those were common problems of the Golden and SIlver age of gaming.

I'd say a review should be thought of more as one player's recommendation to another. Is this title worth your time based on the text I provided you to interpret and decide for yourself?


Last edited by Temjin001 on 9/18/2013 10:26:47 PM

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Kryten1029a
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 @ 10:42:58 PM
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I don't know what to make of review scores. Any AAA-title with any kind of pedigree or marketing behind it can pretty much be guaranteed a Metacritic average of 80 or better and it doesn't really address the range of quality. An 8 out of 10 might mean something in a world where a 5.0 was a decent but unremarkable game, but it doesn't count for much when so many titles bunch up at the top.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 @ 10:50:09 PM
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I think a 10 should have to do things that blow you away often while also exhibiting almost nothing in the way of technical flaws and the ones that are there should have just about 0 effect on the experience. My play style basically broke TLoU so I found a lot wrong with it but the sheer quality still made it a high scoring game in my mind.

I think 10s should be given if everything about it is so impressive that what isn't perfect doesn't matter at all.

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Banky A
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 5:00:49 AM

How did you play TLoU wrong? Did you use an arcade stick?

:*

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 10:03:55 AM

Instead of being careful I would launch sneak attacks by stealthing up on groups and then assaulting them hard. It causes the friendly and enemy AI to go haywire and about 10 spawning enemies to come out of nowhere every time.

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Jalex
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 @ 10:58:36 PM
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For me, an objective system (a subjectively objective system, apparently) is to start each game with a 100-score and gradually bring it down for every flaw found in the design. How much it brings the score down is relative to how much of the game said flaw makes up. So 'Grand Theft Auto' titles always score high with me because the positives far outweigh the negatives, even when there are quite a few negatives.

On another note, perhaps the only titles I would give perfect scores to are 'Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King' and 'Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.' There are certainly things that could be improved in each, but no outright flaws that I could find.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 @ 11:25:25 PM
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Yes. If a game achieves exactly what it set put to do then I don't see why it should out be rewarded with a perfect score. If there is no possible way a game can get a perfect score, there would be no point in having scores at all.

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Jawknee
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 12:06:33 AM

*facepalm* I really need to stop relying on iOS auto correction.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 9:42:58 AM

That's a big one for me, if it is successful at doing what it clearly meant to do.

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tes37
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 @ 11:44:40 PM
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I think critics should give some games a perfect score because something needs to represent the standard to beat, but should be a score that's not easily attained.

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daus26
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 12:23:43 AM
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Definitely. It's simple for me. If the game has set the new standard in the industry, is groundbreaking, and at least near flawless (in terms of glitches and such), it should deserve a perfect score.

Reviewers should always review a game based on what the game is trying to achieve, and the audience it's trying to capture, then compare it to the rest in the industry. How well they do that should be a huge determining factor of their overall scores. It's okay to have a little bit of personal opinions, but at the very most, it should have a very minor affect.

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PC_Max
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 12:28:08 AM
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Some scoring or rating system needs to be in place regardless of who or why someone would give a game a perfect score. The whole idea is just to give the gamer ones opinion of the game based on criteria and hopefully convey the experience a gamer may have. Not always a guarantee, unless you happen to know that review has similar tastes to you.

Again, a perfect score would be in that individuals opinion. It would not sell the game to me, but it would definitely urge me to look around at other reviews and take the game seriously to be a potential purchase.

Hey, whatever it takes to help you decide on a game.

Keep playing!

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trumpetmon65
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 1:25:54 AM
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yes.

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CharlesD
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 1:35:25 AM
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I believe that a perfect score is warranted only when a game is at the absolute forefront of the industry and is closer to perfect than anything out there. Basing scores on what may be possible in the future or absolute complete and total perfection, which as far as we know is unobtainable, the already wonky rating system would be even more wonkified. A 10 could never be granted because nothing is ever perfect and something else will eventually be better so we stick with a 9 or a 9.5 or a 9.9. Either way whatever the highest score you are willing to give a game that is on the cutting edge of an industry and or is entirely unmatched would end up being a "10" anyways right?

Last edited by CharlesD on 9/19/2013 1:37:23 AM

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Underdog15
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 1:35:35 AM
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Hard to answer.

And I hate Grand Theft Auto with a passion, so I'll bow out of this conversation in general.

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kokoro
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 1:54:38 AM

Come now! Surely you jest!

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xnonsuchx
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 6:42:00 AM

Hate the game itself or more just hate the insanely overhyped attention it questionably deserves? I was kinda disappointed w/ GTA IV after all its hype because I was expecting it to blow me away. Footage I've seen from GTA V seems a little weak too...the scripting/voice acting are so-so and it seems like their character models are still years behind compared to other notable games. As long as it's fun to play, though, things like that can be overlooked.

Last edited by xnonsuchx on 9/19/2013 6:42:28 AM

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Underdog15
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 8:17:26 AM

I dislike the stories, what it celebrates, the traditionally bad acting, the fact it's trying to be more realistic when it's just so far fetched I'm not sure why they try, the impression it gives mainstream media and the general public about what video games are... actually that last part is the biggest part. I think it is a huge step backwards to games being seen in a positive light to those uninitiated to the genre.

Then there's the fact that the ones I have played... I just don't find them fun. Which I admit is personal preference. But they've never been able to hold my attention. I haven't played any since PS2, mind you (and one for PSP), but I just don't get why people think they're great. I honestly think it's the darker side of it that attracts people, to be honest, and less how it stacks up against other games.

So you can see when you combine the personal preferences with everything else why I dislike it so much.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 9/19/2013 8:19:00 AM

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Beamboom
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 9:42:48 AM

"I honestly think it's the darker side of it that attracts people"

I can only speak for myself but for me it's not that at *all*.
For me it is the level of freedom, the interactive/reactive game world. I don't know of any other game where you to this degree can "make up your own stories", being it anything from a law abiding citizen to a stuntman, street racer to Policeman, or just plain toying around, biking or flying or just go apeshit in a giant sandbox.
And whatever you set out to do you are almost guaranteed that something unexpected, weird or surprising happens. It's just so very well made.
*That's* why I love these games.

Others have tried and will try, but so far only Rockstar manages to fully create this kind of world.



Last edited by Beamboom on 9/19/2013 9:44:25 AM

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Underdog15
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 4:43:00 PM

Having over 10 years of work and volunteer experience with youth (16-29 ages), I can promise you the darker side is a MASSIVE draw. I don't really know how you could ignore that fact just because it isnt your personal reason for liking it. Sometimes you have to see beyond yourself.

Also, ive always acknowledged it's the Pioneer of open world games. Doesn't change my opinion. I still just can't enjoy it. I also think "shaping your own stories" is an illusion. I don't think open worlds help make a story at all. They help give you more to do and can positively affect gameplay, though.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 9/19/2013 4:43:43 PM

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Beamboom
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 1:57:38 AM
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"Maybe it just means that the game is better than 99% of all other games available for sale, and thus, it deserves the perfect score."

- I've never thought of it that way. It's an argument for, yes.

But I really am one of those who think there's no such thing as the perfect game. A perfect ten should be the unreachable, ultimate goal.
To me, giving a perfect ten is coming across as kinda lazy.


Last edited by Beamboom on 9/19/2013 1:58:10 AM

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Gabriel013
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 2:03:14 AM
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I think the overall score should be based on the scoring for individual categories, therefore if the gameplay, audio, graphical integrity, replayablity or whatever assessment categories are used are all flawless and receive maximum scores then yes, a perfect score is acceptable. However, how many games would qualify for that?

Sound a little repetitive? drop the score.
Controls clunky or confusing? drop the score.
Screen tearing? drop the score.
A poor or poorly implemented gameplay mechanic? drop the score.

Simple as that to me.

We also need reviewers not to be afraid to give an 8 for a good game even if every other reviewer is giving 10's. 8 is a good score but accepts that the game isn't perfect in every single way.

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Beamboom
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 3:45:57 AM

About that last paragraph of yours: Those reviewers do exist. Like the reviewer at Eurogamer who gave Uncharted a 8.5, with perfectly legit arguments as to why.

Just be prepared for a fanboy rage wave to hit you if you dare do such a thing.

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Ather
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 2:48:04 AM
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I just hope it's legite. I noticed Nintendo Power always gave the Nintendo Flagship games a perfect score 9 times out of 10. The 10th time, it was always 9.5. A bit suspicious if you ask me.

So, how can we really know that GTA V is that perfect? Perhaps a site's bosses were paid to have the reviewer say it was. I mean, we know several years ago, Sony was paying people to post fake positive reviews. Not accusing any site now. Just saying, how can we be sure? I mean, did NP's writers truly find the flagship games always that consistently good?

And even if legit, so what? Just because critics like them, doesn't mean we will. TV/Movies have proven that since the mediums first appeared. How many times have we seen a show be a big time failure despite rave reviews from the critics? And the Hollywood folks scratch their heads, trying to figure out why no one follows the critics views. But many people do follow the critics, and watch or not, play or not accordingly.

What we need is an official poll where fans can vote a game up or down, and then see how good it is. Hopefully enough will vote fairly, and not just give a popular flagship game top scores just because.

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Ninja_WafflesXD
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 5:29:00 AM
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I'd say to just take away review scores completely.

Provide just the written review or a video analysis (for those who don't like reading so much ;).

Now, it seems that a lot of people just like to take a quick look at the score, and that's that.
Someone could read a review, find a lot of things they like, look to see it got a 7.5 or whatever, and dismiss it completely.
It's ridiculous.

Anyway, I think I've gone off on a tangent...
If a score is there to be given, then give it to what deserves it.
There's no point having a 1-10 scale if no games are ever going to achieve a 10, despite evidence pointing towards that score.

Having said this, I do realise the connotations associated with the number '10'. It often sets people up for disappointment...
I suffer from the same thing sometimes, and got burned quite badly with the critically acclaimed Bioshock Inifinite.

While I did read many reviews and such, the score does have some sway over your mindset sometimes...

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___________
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 5:57:21 AM
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a 10 does not mean theres nothing wrong with the game, nor does it mean its not worth mentioning.
a 10 means the games so ambitious and does everything so well its flaws are understanded.
GTAV for instance yes theres pop in, yes theres low res textures at times, but with a world this big and this detailed, thats hardly a fair criticism now is it?

a 10 means the developers have not just done the same old same old, they have been incredibly ambitious and have done everything justice.
not perfectly, justice.
thats the important word, justice.
and thats what destroyed so many games this gen, allot of them were very ambitious, but dident take things far enough.

TLOU for instance a amazing rollercoaster, but it will never truly deserve a 10 because its concept is half a$$ed.
its a SURVIVAL game, yet every door i open i cant carry anything because my backpack is full.
you cant really create anything, there is no constant threat of death.
its not a survival game, its a action shooter!
it was very ambitious, but did not do its ambition justice.

or tomb raider reinventing the franchise, very ambitious, but again you did not feel like a survivor.
you felt like a younger version of lara, you start off a scared little girl who has never killed and within the space of 1 hour all of a sudden you have gone from a scared girl to a trained 20 year team seals six killer!
WTF!?
very ambitious but did not do its ambition justice.

bioshock infinite another perfect example.
a incredibly ambitious game, but again one it does not do itself justice.
the characters, the world, are infuckingcredible!
yes that is a word.
but the story, its holes and inconsistencies, and the bare bones simplistic unchanged since 07 gameplay, if anything actually stripped out from 07 gameplay, just let everything else down.
exactly whats wrong with 99% of games these days, brilliant and ambitious in some ways, lackluster and stale in others.

a "perfect score" does not mean the games flawless, it means the game is so ambitious, and consistent across all the gaming pillars, its flaws are miniscule in the grand scope of things.
and thus dont really detract from the experience.
thats the most important part though, consistency.
without that, well, your just left with bioshock infinite, tomb raider, and TLOU!
great games, but not 10/10 games!

a "perfect score" means every single thing in the game is there because it belongs there, and is executed well.
not perfectly, but well enough that it stands up to the quality of every other element in the game.
thats what a 10 is, and thats why so few games truly deserve it because theres always something that gets half a$$ed.


Last edited by ___________ on 9/19/2013 6:05:13 AM

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bldudas1
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 7:25:37 AM
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I don't really like scores. I think everything good and bad about the game should be mentioned in a review with no score. People put too much into scores.

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Lawless SXE
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 7:31:10 AM
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I think that the different elements of a game might be worthy of a ten, but I don't think that any game should get a perfect score. Unless, the site is using a 10-point system, just because there is so little room for nuance there. I mean... giving a game a ten is just glancing over the flaws that will inevitably crop up when you go back to it six months or a year later after you've had time to really consider the product as a whole.

It's a practice that I simply don't agree with, in part because the whole idea of scoring games is skewed to hell. Just compare the general ratings of games to films. How often do you see a critic giving a perfect score to a movie? Not very. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find too many films that even reach as high as 90/100. To be sure, the two industries are very different, but why is it that most games that you've heard have a metacritic minimum of 75, while films are all over the place? It isn't because films have blockbuster advertising. It's because gaming doesn't have the same ideas in terms of reviews. The ever-improving technical elements skew the score upwards.

I've finished TLoU. It would not get a perfect score from me, though it would certainly be rated highly. I can tell you this right now, even though I haven't played GTA V yet: it wouldn't get a perfect score from me. I know that it will have flaws. I know that it will suffer from some kind of ludo-narrative dissonance, that the love affair that everyone has with the game right now is just because it's new and exciting and that in six months people will reflect and think, "yeah it was great, but...". That's the nature of the games industry. Until more critics actually start using a full scale, rather than only relegating games that are unplayable below a 5/10, we'll just keep seeing much-hyped games getting perfect scores, removed from the actual content.

I mean... IGN tried to make some points about the social commentary of GTA V, but it just came across as evangelising and advertising, rather than informing.

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Vivi_Gamer
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 8:03:15 AM
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I don't think a 10 should have to be regarded as a completely flawless gaming experience, even the best of the best have the occasional hiccup. I think it should be graded upon what the game offers. To get a 10 I think it really needs to be it has to be really the next benchmark in gaming. Something that all other titles in future will be compared to - Final Fantasy VII being a prime example in the JRPG community. It's the titles that take the gaming conventions and reach new heights.

And I have to say, from playing Grand Theft Auto V so far... It has done that. The scale is just way beyond anything we've seen in an open world game, but not just the scale, the attention to detail and activity is what makes it. My biggest complaint of GTA4 was how empty it felt, there really wasn't much to do in the open world. GTA5 has offered so much in not just quantity, but in quality. I found myself pretending to continue the story after the mission, after one mission (no spoilers) I ended up in the vast desertland. So I decided to play out Michael responding to this and eventually treated it like a holiday and yes I BMX'd the biggest mountain in the game. I just havent had that sense of freedom in another game for a long time.

Another game for me that I would give a 10 is Xenoblade, it took the JRPG foundations and expanded upon it so much, it just delivered in every single aspect, it was a game I felt so content with and something I feel other JRPG's should aspire to.

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Masszt3r
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 8:49:24 AM
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As some have already stated, I don't think a 10 means there are no flaws, but that the game has so much to offer that all its flaws are overlooked or are irrelevant. What's the point of having a 0 - 10 scale if you will never use the 10? In that case, look for another grading system. So in short, yes, reviewers should give perfect scores.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 10:05:49 AM
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Never seen a perfect 10 woman, so maybe there shouldn't be a perfect 10 game ;)

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Masszt3r
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 12:02:24 PM

World, that's an interesting way of putting it...

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 3:05:14 PM

I mean real women anyway, so Tifa's out ;)

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DarthNemesis
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 1:35:47 PM
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No since no game is perfect.Speaking ov GTA5 I bought it yesterdat and it is not living up to the hype.I like it and think it is good,however the story,characters, and narrative is not interesting to me and it is really sloppy.The shooting is as bad as ever with a hard to see DOT crosshair, there are still a large number of glitches as usual and the driving mechanics are still flawed.Right now I would give the game no more thsn an 8/10.Rocktar never executes right with the overral quality or character development with their games.GTA gets by on the masses obssession with violance and crime.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 3:06:10 PM

Thought that might happen.

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PlatformGamerNZ
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 7:07:57 PM
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i think a 10/10 or 5/5 just means it's a friggin fantastic game but as for perfect scores meaning perfect game i have never had that mind set personally to me it just means it's a top of the line game not a perfect one but top of the line, best of the best which is a catergory in it's self for games and there is only a select few that manage to get there as you can see.

happy gaming =)

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gamer4lifexxx
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 9:24:13 PM
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no game is worth a perfect score, because no videogame is perfect.. there might be some that are nearly perfect, but all game have flaws.

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