GameSpot's Complete List Of 10/10 Reviews And How Those Scores Are Decided
A list of all the games that have earned a 10/10 on GameSpot and a Q&A about the review process.
[UPDATE: We've re-published this story today, October 26 2017, to include Super Mario Odyssey.]
It's not often that a game gets a 10/10, so it's an understandably big deal. After all, since 1996, only fifteen games have earned that rare rank. In no particular order, they are:
Super Mario Odyssey
Review date: October 26, 2017
"Super Mario Odyssey displays a clear understanding of what makes Mario tick, and is neck and neck for top billing among its esteemed predecessors. It surprises you with not just inventive mechanics, of which there are many, but with expertly tuned level design and moments of charismatic wit. It is comfortable in absurdity and wields this attitude to cut through the limitations of its otherwise straightforward structure and keep you smiling all along the way." Read the full review.
Divinity: Original Sin II
Review date: September 26, 2017
From lonely farmhouses through pitched battles with gods in far-flung dimensions, Divinity: Original Sin II is one of the most captivating role-playing games ever made. Its immaculately conceived and emotion-wrought fantasy world, topped by brilliant tactical combat, make it one of the finest games of the year thus far, and it has to be regarded as an instant classic in the pantheon of RPG greats. Read the full review
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Review date: March 2, 2017
"No matter how gorgeous its environments are, how clever its enemies are, and how tricky its puzzles get, the fact that Breath of the Wild continues to surprise you with newfound rules and possibilities after dozens of hours is by far its most valuable quality. It's a game that allows you to feel gradually more and more empowered yet simultaneously manages to retain a sense of challenge and mystery--which, together, creates a steady, consistent feeling of gratification throughout the entire experience. Breath of the Wild is a defining moment for The Legend of Zelda series, and the most impressive game Nintendo has ever created." Read the full review
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Review date: May 5, 2016
"As its final moments make clear, this is a story about storytelling--the importance we lend our idols, legends, and myths. How we pass down the ones that inspire us. How an old photo of three friends sitting on a pile of gold can unleash a flood of memories. Uncharted 4 is a challenge to the medium. In its writing, in its design, in its understanding of what makes games unique, Uncharted 4 is something to aspire to. It's a shining example. And we'll be talking about it for years to come." Read the full review.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Review date: August 23, 2015
"When it comes to storytelling, there has never been a Metal Gear game that's so consistent in tone, daring in subject matter, and so captivating in presentation. The Phantom Pain may be a contender for one of the best action games ever made, but is undoubtedly the best Metal Gear game there is." Read the full review.
Review date: July 23, 2015
"If you are returning to Journey, a higher resolution and a higher frame rate are your ostensible rewards for returning--a return that doesn't cost you anything if you already own the game on the PlayStation 3. But Journey's real rewards aren't so pedestrian. Journey offers you comfort. It gives you companionship in a lovely but forsaken world. It gives you reason to dream even when facing loss." Read the full review.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Review date: May 12, 2015
"Where the Witcher 2 sputtered to a halt, The Witcher 3 is always in a crescendo, crafting battle scenarios that constantly one-up the last, until you reach the explosive finale and recover in the glow of the game's quiet denouement. But while the grand clashes are captivating, it is the moments between conflicts, when you drink with the local clans and bask in a trobairitz's song, that are truly inspiring." Read the full review.
Review date: October 13, 2014
"Bayonetta 2's combat is so expertly constructed, and its presentation so joyously insane, that you'd have to try so very hard to get bored of it all." Read the full review.
Grand Theft Auto IV
Review date: April 28, 2008
"Yes, this is another GTA game in which you'll likely spend the bulk of your time stealing cars and gunning down cops and criminals, but it's also much more than that. GTAIV is a game with a compelling and nonlinear storyline, a game with a great protagonist who you can't help but like, and a game that boasts a plethora of online multiplayer features in addition to its lengthy story mode. It's not without some flaws, but GTAIV is undoubtedly the best Grand Theft Auto yet." Read the full review.
Soul Calibur (Dreamcast)
Review date: August 9, 1999
"Yes, it is a fighting game, a genre with a fairly limited scope, but insofar as fighting games go, Soul Calibur is mind-numbing perfection. Namco has taken the best and made it considerably better. The level at which the company has done so is practically unprecedented. Think state of the art. Absolutely brilliant in all aspects, as far as games of this type go, Soul Calibur is the undisputed king of the hill. It is essential in any gamer's collection." Read the full review.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Review date: May 21, 2010
"Everything is so well designed and so entertaining that it's easy to get sucked into this world for hours. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is so phenomenal that it's difficult to imagine where Mario could possibly go in the future. But that's hardly your concern now. Mario proves that he is still the king of fun." Read the full review.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Review date: October 29, 2001
"The Tony Hawk series has always had style. The first game reinvented a genre and set off a series of clones and pretenders that still flood the market today. The second game refined the formula, but its higher level of difficulty and steeper learning curve turned off casual players. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 brings it all together in one package that makes everything before it almost unplayable by comparison." Read the full review.
Review date: January 6, 2000
"With Square agonizing over every detail of its flagship property, the Chrono Cross team was apparently left mostly to themselves. Consequently, the game shares an all-out enthusiasm and joie de vivre found in the best 16-bit titles -- back before games became multimillion dollar properties that had to answer to glaring shareholders. Chrono Cross may not have had the largest budget, but it has the largest heart." Read the full review.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Review date: June 13, 2008
"Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is the most technically stunning video game ever made. It's also a fine example of storytelling prowess within its medium, combining gameplay and narrative so slickly and beautifully that it's impossible to extricate one from the other. It's likely you will emerge awestruck from your first play-through, wishing the experience would continue yet nonetheless satisfied with its conclusion. It's difficult not to sound hyperbolic when discussing MGS4 because every part of its design seemingly fulfills its vision, without compromise. There is no halfway." Read the full review.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Review Date: November 23, 1998
"The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the real thing. This is the masterpiece that people will still be talking about ten years down the road. This is the game that perfectly exhibits the 'quality not quantity' mantra that Nintendo has been touting since the N64 was released. In a word, perfect. To call it anything else would be a bald-faced lie." Read the full review.
You can read more about exactly what GameSpot's review scores mean in this post, but we also wanted to let Senior Reviews Editor Peter Brown answer some of your other big questions about review and how scoring works:
How long have you headed up GameSpot's reviews, and how did you get here?
Peter Brown: I became GameSpot's reviews editor in the summer of 2015, following the departure of Kevin VanOrd. My time at GameSpot began when I was hired to write strategy guides back in the fall of 2011. I quickly grew out of that role, however, and would go on to become both a general editor, and at one point, head of GameSpot's GameTech hardware coverage.
My experience writing about games goes all the way back to 1999, when I covered the Dreamcast launch for PC Magazine. I continued to write about games and gaming hardware for PC Magazine on an infrequent basis as a contractor, but eventually took a break to go to college to study visual effects. Shortly before graduating, I joined 1UP's sister site GameVideos as a contract video producer. When that dried up, I eventually worked odd jobs outside of the industry with only occasional freelance work related to tech and gaming.
What makes a game a 10, and has that definition changed over the years? Does a 10 mean it's "perfect"?
A 10 does not mean a game is perfect, but it does mean that it's a game we believe everyone should play. In my opinion, no game can be considered perfect. That means you may see a game getting a 10 despite having issues. It also means that games without obvious flaws may be scored below 10.
On the rare occasion when we publish a 10 review, that is our way of saying that no matter you preference for genre, developer, setting, or console, you owe it to yourself to find a way to play the game in question.
A review is obviously just one person's opinion, so how do you deal with conflicting thoughts on a game, both for high and low scores? What if someone else on GameSpot thinks a game deserves a much higher (or lower) score?
It's true that every review is an individual's take on a game, and sure enough, the many individuals within GameSpot often have differing opinions on the same game. This is something we accept, and we welcome diversity of opinion at the end of the day.
GameSpot's editorial team peer-reviews each other's work during the review process. This is not to determine whether we all agree on a score, but it allows us to ensure that the text we publish backs up the score that's issued. That means that there are reviews published where I may not agree with the editor's opinion, but I am otherwise confident enough in their argumentation to put my stamp on the review despite my own preferences.
When the time comes that a score fails to align with the text as submitted, we will work together with the author to determine if they were able to effectively convey their thoughts relative to the score, and vice versa. I always encourage our writers to put their words down first and determine the score after the fact.
You talk a lot with publishers, developers, and PR, so how do you make sure that reviews remain unbiased by those relationships?
Yes, talking to people who represent the games we cover is a part of my job, but I always try to limit these conversations and interactions to the discussion of review code availability and embargo coordination. You may occasionally find me joking around with a game developer on social media, but maintaining the sanctity of our reviews process and standards is something I take very seriously.
When the time comes to assign a review, I almost never give an assignment to somebody who has extensive experience previewing the game in question. This is to ensure that our review is based on the final product alone, and not colored by previous impressions or interactions. Everyone on GameSpot is onboard with this policy, and everyone who reviews games for us maintains open communication to ensure that we aren't surprised by any potential conflicts.
What are the plans for GameSpot's reviews in the coming year? Any big changes in store?
I'm constantly thinking about how we can improve GameSpot's reviews. This can be on the ground level, in terms of the quality of the writing we publish, but I also want to adjust our review policies as trends emerge and the industry adapts. That means that we are working on a means to review early access games with a score, to provide more formal insight, in a traditional format, for games that may take years to come out but are already available for purchase.
Most recently, we've enabled scores on reviews in progress--our term for a review that is near final, often used when a game arrives in our hands very close to launch, or when we determine that a game's online modes need to be tested in public, post-launch conditions. In the case where we are simply waiting to confirm something such as online stability, our review will be labelled as a review in progress, but will be assigned a score that is subject to change until further testing.
Other than that, we are simply working as hard as we can to deliver the most informative and well-argued reviews on a daily basis. That will never change.
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