Famitsu is a video game magazine in Japan that publishes on a weekly and monthly basis. The critique of new releases is based on the opinions of four reviewers who individually score it out of ten. Then the four reviews are tallied. Requiring four independent gamers to agree on something is difficult, so it's quite an accomplishment whenever a game receives a perfect 40/40.
Famitsu is the most popular gaming magazine in Japan, so its reviews carry weight. The first game to land a perfect score came out in 1998 and the last one was back in 2017. Twenty-five games have received the honor, and many more came up just short. Some of the games you'll expect, but some others you may not. Let's take a look.
10 Dragon Quest XI
Echoes of an Elusive Age, the eleventh title in the series, is a role-playing game developed by Square Enix, who appears more than once on this coveted list. While Dragon Quest XI received high praise in the states, it was able to nab the 40/40 from Famitsu.
Only one other game in 2017 was able to achieve the same level of critical success. The RPG rests the fate of the world on the shoulders of a harried hero. On one side is destruction and on the other is the salvation. You decide the fate of the world. Tread carefully.
9 Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
No one is surprised that Breath of the Wild is on this list. It would be easier to delineate the reviewers or magazines that didn't give the game a perfect score. Famitsu is one among a crowd in the industry that was blown away by the depth and wonder layered into the first open-world Zelda game ever.
It was two years ago when this game was released and gamers are still spending hours in the thrall to the adventure. Breath of the Wild was the only other game to receive a perfect 40/40 from Famitsu in 2017.
8 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Konami displayed mastery of the stealth genre when The Phantom Pain released in 2015. Snake reprises his role as the dogged hero who must raise an army (and raise hell) to overcome the demonic forces arrayed against him.
The missions imbue the player with a sense of freedom. Freedom to explore the world and discover the most efficient or most chaotic method to complete the objectives. Freedom to manipulate the sandbox until you've discovered your rhythm. Famitsu likes The Phantom Pain, but so does everyone else.
7 Grand Theft Auto V
Violent sandbox after violent sandbox. GTA V is still living it large on the screens of streamers and fans, but it released back in 2013, two years before The Phantom Pain. Rockstar has got the cash cow of cash cows, and they're not pulling away from the game anytime soon.
The online multiplayer portion of the game is flooded with activity. The success of the game is unmatched by most other AAA titles. If you haven't tried out the game, take it for a spin. Before long, the cops will be chasing you, and you'll need to shoot down the helicopter.
6 JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle
For some reason, fighting games tend to have the longest titles known to man. They also tend to score really well. Jojo's Bizarre Adventure was the only game besides Grand Theft Auto V to reach the top tier at Famitsu in 2013.
The project was developed by CyberConnect2, and it was available on the PlayStation 3 at release. If the game sounds familiar, it's because JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is based on the manga series of the same name. There are over 40 playable characters from all parts of the story, so you can live your manga dream on the fighting grounds.
5 Yakuza 5
The Yakuza series is one of the most popular in Japan, and the fifth entry was a standout action-adventure game. The component that differentiated this title from its predecessors is the narrative divide.
The game features five different settings across Japan and, to mirror that separation, there are also five playable main characters. It's a first for the series, and the choice, along with the new graphics engine, helped propel the game to the only perfect score for the series. A remastered collection is on its way.
4 Kid Icarus: Uprising
If you've been playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and wondering where Pit and Palutena came from, then you've found the right game. Kid Icarus: Uprising released in early 2012, and it was exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS.
In the game, the player must defeat the evil forces of Medusa and the mysterious source behind her resurgence. The game also boasts both single-player and multiplayer modes, with up to six players if so desired. Only a few games on portable consoles ever received a 40/40 from Famitsu, but Pit was up to the challenge.
3 Final Fantasy XIII-2
The sequel to the 2009 RPG had quite an impact on Famitsu, and the Fabula Nova Crystallis subseries was able to claim a perfect score for the vaunted Final Fantasy franchise.
Square Enix is a legendary developer, and this is one of the several games they've produced that has captured the attention of the famous video game magazine in Japan. Time travel features heavily in the game so be prepared to get a headache as you journey to find your older sister through the fourth dimension.
2 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
It appears that Roman numerals are a good indication of success in the video game industry. You probably knew this was coming. Everyone has either played Skyrim, or they know someone who has played Skyrim. Even grandmas play Skyrim.
And there's a good reason to. The game is an exciting adventure filled with powerful shouts and guards who used to be like you before they took an arrow to the knee. Skyrim is one of the rare games that you might start but never finish, and you're not entirely disappointed by that. It's not the destination. It's the journey.
1 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Nintendo consoles don't have many exclusives, but the series that they do have are fantastic. Whether it's Mario or Zelda, you're almost guaranteed to get a critical darling and crowd-pleaser, and in 2011 that was Skyward Sword on the Wii.
The Zelda title expanded the horizons of the series in original ways by deepening the scope of the narrative, fully realizing the potential of the characters, and crafting an interconnected world of dungeons and mystery that demanded time and attention. It hit all the right notes.