The Playstation 3 was a tough sell for Sony back in 2006. Nevermind the console's infamous $599.99 US price tag; it simply didn't have any must-have games in its launch window. Much like the PS2, the system's first year was mostly without a killer app. Even worse, adoption of the Blu-Ray format wasn't nearly as fevered as the PS2's prominently-featured DVD drive. It was once said that the best-selling game in the PS2's first year was The Matrix on DVD: people ignored the lack of games, they just wanted a DVD player, and PS2 provided a cheap solution, which the $600 PS3 was anything but.
Perhaps Sony's first true hope for a must-have game, Heavenly Sword was released in November 2007, a full year after the system launched. The game was marketed heavily, taking top slots in Sony's E3 presentations and making appearances on television months before it was to launch. When Heavenly Sword finally descended onto store shelves, reviews averaged out to a positive mark, though the range of praise spanned from "Perfection" to "disappointment."
As a bit of a 3D action game buff, I've always had my eye on Heavenly Sword, but I'm only just now playing it for the first time. I've got specific tastes in the genre: even God of War managed to disappoint me on some levels. Let's see if Heavenly Sword cuts it.
Over the last 24 years, popular Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu has awarded 14 perfect scores. For Famitsu magazine, a game review's final score is actually two to four total scores assigned by a collection of reviewers. Technically, there's no such thing as a 40/40 score, but four 10/10's. But gamers love numbers, and we love comparing one game's numbers to another game's numbers, so the 40/40 perfect score list is a great way for fanboys to scoff or gyrate in anticipation.
Outside of the country, Famitsu is the ultimate barometer of what Japan thinks of a particular game. Famitsu scores are thrown about in headlines and rattled around in forum discussions, but you almost never hear why a score was awarded one number instead of the next. This is undoubtedly because of the language barrier between Japan and the rest of the world, but also because numbers are easy for everyone to understand and the fact that Famitsu editors give their reviewers about 100 characters to explain what they thought about a game.
While I'm not personally a big fan of a game review's score (I'd much rather read the why and how), the Famitsu perfect score list is an intriguing specimen. The eighth game in two years just garnered the spotlight: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, but let's start at the beginning.