Been playing through Rockstar's latest and while it's definitely another fine game in the Grand Theft Auto series, it's not a "10". But what makes a 10 these days? Is anything truly original these days? Well, no, pure originality is probably too high a standard to hold anything up to, and in my opinion not every "10" or Triple-A game need be a revolutionary advancement for our little slice of artistic pie (yes, games are art).
For me a game worthy of a "10" is one that compels the player to advance throughout, capturing their attention from the beginning. And a "10" doesn't let up, it keeps bringing new challenges to the gamer while maintaining their interest. It must feel fresh throughout, which is why Gears of War's "10"s were more justifiable to me than say a "10" given to Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. It must prove to be the gold standard of gameplay available at the moment, which is why to me Halo 3 is deserving of a "10" despite its identifiable shortcomings.
As for Grand Theft Auto? Granted I'm still early in the game, and certainly the gameplay and atmosphere has been refined to near perfection after several iterations last generation, but so far it doesn't feel like anything I haven't done before. The missions have been straightforward staples of the genre so far, assassinate this character, follow this character, drive around this character. The storytelling hasn't been particularly impressive either, with more cardboard cutout villains that we've all seen before.
So if it's not a "10" what is it then? And how did it get those "10"s anyways? Scoring and reviewing in the video game world has always been a very murky, yet necessary practice.
I personally prefer a whole different approach to scoring games... but that's another blog entry entirely.