Friday Debate: What makes a “perfect” game?

2 min read


We don’t usually dole out perfect score at Critical Hit, but this year alone we’ve given two games that accolade. Interestingly, they’ve both been Nintendo games, for the company’s newest hybrid console, the Switch.

I called The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild a masterpiece earlier this year, saying :

“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is, without a doubt, a masterpiece. Its few minor faults do little to detract from one of the very best games ever made.”

Here’s the thing. I acknowledged that the game has faults – which makes it a less than perfect game. Just yesterday, Alessandro reviewed Super Mario Odyssey. While he may have had a few gripes with one control method being better than others, he found the game hard to fault otherwise.

“It’s impossible to pinpoint a fault in Super Mario Odyssey, which both elegantly and eloquently surprises and calls back to its storied history. It’s a game full of surprises; one that plays with your expectations and supersedes them in almost every way. If you have a Switch (or are yet to get one), it’s simply essential.”

Neither game is perfect, but what’s there is so damned good that we feel they’re worthy of that score. Video game scoring is odd though, and the numbers at the end of them mean different things to different people. For some, a 10 means that game is quite literally perfection – which is an impossible standard. For others, it means that – as it stands – it stands at the height of its respective genre.

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So what makes a game a 10 to you? Further to that, what makes Mario’s 10 better than say, Zelda’s one? When it comes down to the inevitable Game of the year, how do we choose?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.

Last Updated: October 27, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • The annoying durability mechanic in Breath of the Wild makes it far from a 10/10 game. As for Odyssey, that will soon be tested o/

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Easy, you choose Hellblade. Bloody Kidtendo nonsense, it’s like calling a well-made Chico the Clown ice cream from Spur the best dessert of the year.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor
  • The perfect games are common knowledge… They are Final Fantasy 8 to 10.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      13 is better.

      • You just say that because it makes you look fabulous with Lightnings hair Photoshoped on.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          It completes me. But you can wear your Squall wig if you like.

          • We have reached an impasse. Not one of those pics will be posted.

          • Also, it’s a Cloud wig you uncultured swine.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Cloud is from FF7. Fake FF fanboy.

          • And the wig is Cloud’s!

            (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

          • Alien Emperor Trevor
          • We are talking about “those” photoshop pics old man!

          • He he he. Only read the dialog now… Squall is so dead inside

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Typical millennial. Can’t read, just looks at the pictures.

          • What. You gonna break me like you old people broke the housing market?

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            I thought you could afford a house with your esports & instagram influencer money?

          • My months grocery expenses could buy a 5 bedroom house back in “your” day!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Yeah it’s called inflation. It comes from us having to buy you iphones when you’re 10 years old.

          • I am going to send you I.O.U notes to pay for your retirement home!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            It’s not all about you! Geez.

          • YOU started it!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Take some responsibility!

    • Tarisma

      9 was the best!

    • Hammersteyn

      But, but 7 🙁

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        What does Raptor Rants have to do with it?

        • Hammersteyn


      • The horse hooves for hands still give me nightmares to this day…

        • Hammersteyn

          Says the one with a horse avatar 😛

  • PoisonedBelial

    That’s just the thing. You can’t make/choose a perfect game.

    The perfect game to you may not be the perfect game to me and vice versa.

    So in a way, there is always perfect game, yet in the space time continuum there isn’t.

    And now I’ve gone all cross-eyed.

    • Original Heretic

      *urp* You tell ’em, Morty.

  • Tarisma

    The perfect game is when the credits role you sit on your couch for 30 seconds thinking fuck is it over, and you get that post game depression and have to go play something generic and terrible to lower your expectations of games.

    • Original Heretic

      I have not had that feeling often.
      Last of Us.
      Alan Wake.
      Uncharted 4.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Hellblade. Play Hellblade.

        • Original Heretic

          Getting there, one day.
          Currently I’m enjoying Warframe and Smite too much.

      • Tarisma

        Yeah for me there aren’t many. Witcher 3 was probably the biggest for me, played it for 2 weeks straight when I was on burnout leave, afterwards I went and did some gardening because I knew any game I played was going to be terrible.

        • Original Heretic

          Oh yeah, that was also a goody.
          Dark Souls was another for me.

  • Original Heretic

    A game will only be “perfect” for a limited time.
    Once all the bugs and annoyances creep in, it’ll still be good, but no longer perfect.

  • Hammersteyn

    Immersion, the end.

    • Original Heretic

      Yup, sums it up very nicely.

  • Pieter Kruger

    There is no “perfect game”, no “10/10”.

  • Admiral Chief
  • Johann

    One where I don’t have to buy it in parts through DLC, a game where once I bought it everything is available and I don’t have to spend an extra R500-R1000 to get the rest of the game. Witcher 3 was very close to this, and as it was already a pretty decent game that gave me 70+ hours on the main campaign I didn’t mind buying the two expansions which added 30+ hours extra to the main content.

  • Admiral Chief

    Story, NO lootboxes and or pay2win crap

  • MonsterCheddar

    Anything @OddSockZA:disqus isn’t playing/ or is a fan of. 😛

  • MonsterCheddar
  • Magoo

    I use this scoring system in my life – there can only be one 10. Doesn’t matter how good something else is, if it isn’t good enough to dethrone the 10, it can only be a 9.

    Everyone has a different 10.

  • Nikola

    Zelda get’s a 10 but Witcher 3 doesn’t can’t see the logic there…but we all know Critical Hit are suuuch Nintendo fanboys specifically Geoff…

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Mario fans are like COD & FIFA fans. Every year they play the same game & it’s the best game ever.

      • Nikola

        Hahaha agreed!

  • The perfect game is objective …. or Half Life 3.

  • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    I’ve heard that weed makes any game perfect.

    • Magoo


    • Magoo

      “What do you rate this game out of 10?”


    • Magoo

      “Dude this game is 10/10 right now.”

      “Dude that’s your start menu.”

  • konfab

    The perfect game is one that most effectively teaches a person something they value.

    If you take play behaviour in animals, they play because they learn how to do something that is valuable in their lives. Exactly the same sort of thing applies to games.

  • Sageville

    I dunno, I don’t see how nintendo can have 2 perfect 10s from this site and all other platforms do not have even one (Correct me if I’m wrong).

    I’ve played games I’ve felt deserved 10s on PC and on PS4, they too “had flaws”, like every game ever created. This metric is confusing and frankly I don’t know how it works…

    • Journey (PS4) got a 10. Mass Effect 2 (on everything but nintendo platforms) got a 10.

      • Sageville

        Gah! Fine, I was super wrong…

  • Deceased

    I’m late ( very late ) to this FFD, but I’d go out on a limb and say something that was made for the passion of gaming and not the money ( the money comes second ) …

    These are rare, I know, but my most recent close-to-top scorer is probably Cuphead – it’s about the game and not the massive amounts of cash-moneys it generated…

    Or well, that’s my experience so far 😐

    ( Witcher 3 is prolly still the only 10 in my eyes )

  • Steffmeister

    A game can be a 10/10 without being perfect. If you rate the experience that you are having.

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