GameCentral readers name the games they think should get a perfect 10/10 score, from Metroid Prime to Tetris.
The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Iceman, who made a point of saying that the question here isn’t what your favourite game is but which you feel comes the closet to perfection, based on what it’s trying to achieve.
Since readers could pick games from any time period or format there were manner of titles put forward, but some names did come up again and again – including Portal, Elite, and various Marios and Zeldas.
30 years later…
I’m writing this on the anniversary of a very special game. It was thirty years ago that Elite first became available to the public. If any game deserves a 10/10 then this is it. It was the best game anyone could make on the technology available at the time. A whole universe was crammed into a space smaller than today’s average email.
When I first saw Elite my jaw dropped. I was in a spaceship flying in outer space. I grant you that the graphics were a little blocky and my ZX Spectrum didn’t have the power to provide as smooth an animation as I’d like, but that didn’t matter because wow! I was out in space in a Cobra Mk III.
I had dabbled with its tribute game, Oolite, in the past. When I heard that Elite: Dangerous was coming I dusted off my copy and started to practise flying my spaceships. Oolite faithfully copies the gameplay of Elite, and you know what? It’s quite an addictive game. Gameplay that’s 30 years old
was still fun to play.
I got an Oculus Rift DK2 last month. The first game I tried with it was the Elite: Dangerous beta. My jaw dropped. The graphics were a little blocky and my PC didn’t have the power to provide as smooth an animation as I’d like, but that didn’t matter because wow! I was out in space in a Sidewinder.
The obvious 10/10 game for me has to be Tetris. The first version of the game came out in 1984 and there are still versions of the game scheduled for release on the latest generation of consoles. A number of attempts have been made to update the Tetris experience over the years but the vast majority have fallen flat, simply because you can’t easily improve something that is fundamentally perfect to begin with.
If you want further evidence of this, look at pretty much any review of a modern puzzle game (even a number on this very site) and I guarantee that somewhere in there will be a comparison to the original Tetris. The gameplay still stands up today. It is so simple and anybody can pick it up very quickly yet it is still addictive and has a perfect balance of risk versus reward.
ste_the_legend (PSN ID)
Best isn’t everything
I think I’d give XCOM: Enemy Unknown a ten. I’m not a big strategy or turn-based fan, and I had never played the original UFO game or its sequels, but the remake has kept me enthralled through many different playthroughs – including its exceptional expansion, Enemy Within.
The difficulty curve is ingenious, the gameplay loop is powerfully addicting, and if the production values seem a little low budget at first, it’s not long before you see past these limitations and forge a real rapport with your soldiers.
That’s what ‘ten out of ten’ means to me: the game isn’t perfect (I’d like to see more involved base management and aerial combat features in a sequel), but its strengths are so striking, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone, even those with no interest in the genre.
That said, it’s not my favourite game of the last generation. That would be Driver: San Francisco, a game I would barely expect to scrape an ‘8 out of 10′, let alone top marks. I just fell in love with its crackpot charm and canny script, enough to overlook the occasional frustrating mission.
Funny, isn’t it, the difference between ‘favourite’ and ‘best’?
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That one thing
It’s funny because there are games that come close to 10/10 but just don’t quite manage it due to that singular flaw that leaves it just short of perfection. The poor boss battles of Batman: Arkham Asylum prevented an otherwise amazing game being declared a masterpiece. Mario Kart 8’s Battle tracks likewise leave me thinking the game is a 9.5. So in my opinion for a game to be deemed a 10/10 is to be deemed perfect. It needs to deliver an outstanding gaming experience without any obvious flaws. In my mind only one game has ever achieved perfection: Metroid Prime.
I’ve written in to GC in the past about my affection for Prime but it really is the only perfect game I can think of. It had depth, irresistible art design, imaginative set pieces, perplexing puzzles, tight controls and some of the best boss battles I’ve ever experienced. Samus has never had a better outing (I know some prefer Super Metroid but I’d take Prime any day).
The game oozes quality at every turn. Familiar gaming tropes such as the fire level and the ice level are delivered in such an organic manner that their introductions induce awe, rather that the rolling of eyes. Who else can still remember the first time they laid eye on Phenandra Drifts? The answer I would wager is anyone who ever played the game.
The musical composition and attention to detail within the art design combined to create a world that really seems full of life, where other gaming worlds all too often feel little more than hollow constructs in which a fire fight can take part in. Combining this atmosphere with the ingenious scan visor allowed those who loved the world they had found themselves in to really immerse themselves in it.
If Nintendo wanted to put out a HD remake for the Wii U, to test the market for another trip in Samus’ shoes it would be a day one purchase for me.
Ron-A-Tron (NN ID)
Nine out of nine
I don’t think any game should ever get 10/10 as there is no such thing as perfection and people will always have differing views on everything. 8-9 should be the gold standard with 10 being a mythical target, like the Golden Fleece, you know of it but have never seen it. Has there ever been a GC 10/10 game that everyone agreed on?
I know that you want people to give their opinions on the games they love and cherish but I would like to give the view of the cynical man. I play games that have the words Souls, Dark, and Demon’s in the title.
Fantastic games, maybe 10/10 for some but there are some serious issues with loading and in the case of the newest game, some serious and seemingly random button lag.
GC: If no game gets 10 then what’s the point of pretending you’re marking on a scale of 1 to 10? It’s only a perfect score, not a perfect game.
When I read the Hot Topic subject the first game that came into my head that’s a 10/10 was Streets Of Rage 2. When I first got this game on the Mega Drive the cartridge didn’t leave the machine for months. My friend and I were so addicted to it we used to go round his house at lunch time from school to fit in a few stages.
I’ve always loved the scrolling beat ‘em up genre and for me with Streets Of Rage 2 the genre hit its peak. I didn’t like the third Streets Of Rage half as much and while Guardian Heroes expanded the genre with its role-playing elements this is purer. There’s not really a story, no cut scenes, you just scroll the screen from left to right (mostly) and beat people up, and it’s fantastic.
Everything is perfect, the graphics are amazing with huge colourful smoothly animated characters that still look good 20 years on. The music is some of the best ever in a video game and a special mention must go to the sound effects. The Mega Drive often struggled with muffled, woolly sound effects but not in Streets Of Rage 2; you can feel every punch and kick and the noise it makes when you crack a goon over the head with a piece of drain pipe is probably my favourite ever sound effect from a video game.
It also plays as good as it looks and sounds with a much larger selection of moves than most games of its type and there’s just something about it that feels right. Not many games manage this feeling of perfect controls and empowerment, the best modern example I can think of is the flow of combat in Batman: Arkham Asylum.
I still often come back to Streets Of Rage 2 on my Xbox 360, all I need now is for the Wii U to get it on the Virtual Console so I can play it on the GamePad without taking the TV up.
There have been a number of games that I would have given 10s to at the time of their release:
Zelda: Ocarina Of Time
Super Mario 64
Sonic The Hedgehog 2
However all of these have aged somewhat since their glory days, particularly GoldenEye.
I think to be fully deserving of a 10 a game needs to be completely timeless. Sadly, I have not yet got around to playing Super Metroid, which is often cited as one such game. The other SNES classics Super Mario World and Yoshi’s Island I have played and felt were great games but were still not 10s. (Maybe because I played them decades too late).
Currently there is only one game I rate as a 10 and that is Super Mario Galaxy 2. Sure, it is a bit easy compared to other Marios but I played the entire game with a huge smile on my face. The only thing I can see stopping this game holding onto its 10 for the foreseeable future is the Wii controller. The waggle for the spin jump is not quite as precise as it should be.
I’d say there’s going to be some people complaining about this Hot Topic, claiming a game can’t be a 10/10 as this would mean there wouldn’t be a suitable score if better game came along. 10/10 doesn’t mean absolute perfection, it just means a game so good it’s an all-time classic, a type of game that only comes along once in a blue moon. A game that is more than just brilliant.
I’d say most of my choices are quite obvious. New Zealand Story, Micro Machines, Super Mario Kart, Street Fighter II, Frontier: Elite II, Quake, Crazy Taxi, Toy Commander, SoulCalibur, Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater 1 and 2, GTA: Vice City, Resident Evil 4, Fallout 3, Dark Souls I and II, Super Mario Galaxy 1 and II, Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, GoldenEye, X-COM. I’d say if you mixed the best of Halo, Halo 3, and Halo: Reach it’d also be a 10/10.
To prove my previous point I’d say I could think of plenty of ways to improve these games but they get a 10/10 because when I look back on my gaming life they are 10/10 moments. Games that have sucked me into their worlds for weeks at a time or have created memories of gaming with friends that will never be forgotten.
I hope there’s more to come.
PS: What about a Micro Machines remake, eh? It work great as an online multiplayer game and you could get Skylander style Micro Machine toys to save your data on.
Through the generations
Off the top of my head, here’s a list of games I’d say were 10/10 on the various systems I’ve owned:
NES: Super Mario Bros. 3, Sid Meier’s Pirates!
SNES: Earthworm Jim, Super Mario World, Super Punch-Out!!, Super Metroid
Amiga 500: Speedball 2, Sensible World Of Soccer, The Chaos Engine
PS one: Final Fantasy VII, Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater 2, Fear Effect 2, Final Fantasy VI, Resident Evil 2, Tekken 3
PlayStation 2: Final Fantasy X, Persona 4, Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time, GTA: San Andreas, WWE Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain, The Warriors, Beyond Good & Evil, Silent Hill 2
PlayStation 3: BioShock Infinite, The Last Of Us, Catherine, Red Dead Redemption
PC: Rome: Total War, SimCity 4, To The Moon, Year Walk; Papers, Please
Arcade: Sunset Riders, Virtua Striker 2, Die Hard Arcade, Time Crisis 2, Alien Vs. Predator, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
So you want to know what game(s) we’d give 10/10 to do you GC? Well I can think of two.
The most recent was Grand Theft Auto V. An utter masterpiece with so much to do, a great story, interesting side quests/tasks and a really great map. I’m looking forward to buying it on the Xbox One in November.
My second game is a little older but was probably even more impressive when it was released. Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is for me the stand out game of the last generation. A superb single-player story which I played through at least five times (but never could finish on the hardest difficulty) and the ground-breaking multiplayer which at the time was what everybody was playing (or at least it seemed like everybody).
Actually, if you were to ask this in two months time I think I might be able to give a third. Forza Horizon 2 looks amazing and is by far my most anticipated game of the year. The demo really blew me away. It’s already been purchased and pre-downloaded onto my Xbox One hard drive. If only Microsoft would let me play the full game early!
Great Idea for a Hot Topic – I’m really looking forward to reading what other readers suggest as their 10/10 games.
Manic Miner 100 (gamertag)
Your ears I’ll leave
After giving it some thought, my answer to this week’s Hot Topic question has to be The World Ends With You on the Nintendo DS. With its atypical setting (modern day Tokyo rather than Middle-Earth knock-off), huge amount of content (but not so much that it gets daunting, as in Disgaea), unique combat system that supports varying degrees of complexity (plus some very addictive badge collecting), an excellent soundtrack, and an interesting, unusual storyline that invites interpretation, it’s definitely my idea of the perfect Japanese role-playing game.
I’d also like to mention Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. It probably has too many flaws to be perfect but I love what the developers tried to do with the psychological profiling idea so much that I would defend it to the death. Maybe even to the pain.
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Swords and sorcery
I can only think of two games that I believe are worthy of 10 out of 10. They are Dark Souls, a game that took over my life completely with it’s intricate world design and immense challenge. This game had me spending time at work googling such things as Anor London archers, it was an obsession and remains the only game I have the platinum for.
The other is Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, which in my opinion is Nintendo’s finest moment.
SpiggytheKat (PSN ID)
Mass Effect 1 and 2 are two of my favourite games of all time. I have spent thousands of hours playing both and to me, They are perfect. I know the games inside and out and still play them regularly to this day. Firstly, the score for the entire trilogy is one of the best soundtracks to a game or game franchise ever, in my opinion. The level of freedom the games give you to build your own character and take them through the trilogy is ground-breaking.
The decisions you make that affect the later games was mind blowing to me at the time and to be able to take my original Mass Effect character through a near five year journey to completion was thrilling and I’ve done it several times over and over again since. Even knowing most of the first two games word for word, somehow each playthrough still feel fresh and I haven’t had any go exactly the same way (despite making over 20 characters across these two games in particular).
For me, Mass Effect 2 had one of the most epic feeling endings to a game ever (the perfect ending) that had me on the edge of my seat all the way. The way you build relationships with your crew members and the genuine emotions they bring out of you is something I have rarely experienced in games.
I feel part of my love for the games comes from an earlier BioWare role-player, Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic. To me, these two games (Mass Effect 1 in particular) are spiritual successors to the (also perfect in my opinion) Knights Of The Old Republic games (Knights Of The Old Republic II albeit less perfect).
I could rant endlessly about my love for these two games and I still contend to this day that Mass Effect 3 was also a very good game in it’s own right, just not a good Mass Effect game. To me, they embody everything I look for in a great game, a lot of exploration, great story, interesting villains, lots of choice and options and of course, full on Star Wars style, space opera. I am writing this just as I’m preparing for yet another journey into the Mass Effect universe.
DSAVAGE92 (gamertag)/ DSAVAGE16 (PSN ID)
PS: Hope I didn’t rant too much…
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