Tears of the Kingdom Earns Rare Review Accomplishment

Tears of the Kingdom isn't hurting for accomplishments, but the game's latest review milestone is truly historic.

Tears of the Kingdom
Photo: Nintendo

Early reviews for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom were glowing, to say the least. However, the praise for the game hasn’t exactly slowed down since the first wave of pre-release reviews was released. Actually, a recent review from a notable source just put Tears of the Kingdom in some rare company.

Recently, Japanese magazine Famitsu gave Tears of the Kingdom a 40/40 score. For those who don’t know, Famitsu is a legendary Japanese publication that assigns four reviewers to major new releases. Each reviewer assigns that new release a review score of 1-10. For a game to achieve a 40/40 score, it has to earn a perfect review score from four reviewers. That’s a pretty rare accomplishment. In fact, it’s only happened 28 times in the magazine’s nearly 40-year history.

However, that’s not the rare accomplishment we’re talking about. See, VCG recently noticed that the UK-based video game magazine Edge also gave Tears of the Kingdom a perfect score. It’s the 25th perfect score that Edge has given out in its nearly 30-year history. It’s also only the sixth time that a game has received a perfect score from Famitsu and Edge. In case you’re wondering, the other five games to earn perfect scores from both publications are The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Bayonetta, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Grand Theft Auto V, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

But let’s go deeper than that. See, IGN also gave Tears of the Kingdom a perfect review score (10/10). While perfect scores are a little more common in IGN’s 26-year history, it’s far less common that IGN, Edge, and Famitsu all assign a game a perfect score. In fact, the only games to earn that honor (to date) are The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, Grand Theft Auto 5, The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. In case you’re wondering, games like Elden Ring, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Super Mario Odyssey just missed joining this list by a single Famitsu point (39/40).

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So what does this mean? To be honest, it potentially means nothing at all to you. Nothing makes some gamers more irrationally angry than talking about review scores, and everyone will eventually draw their own conclusions about every game they play. This milestone doesn’t make Tears of the Kingdom an objectively great game for everyone that plays it. In fact, we’re already seeing a lot of people come out against Tears of the Kingdom over a variety of issues and personal criticisms. Besides, we’re talking about a list of games that could have conceivably looked much different if a point had been added or deducted in one publication or another.

However, the list we ended up with is fascinating in its own right. Personal preferences aside, those are three of the most notable game-reviewing publications in three of the most impactful video game regions. Despite any cultural differences, individual opinions, and review policies, they’re all historically united in their praise for The Legend of Zelda franchise. It’s become a kind of benchmark for greatness in gaming. Of course, there are few franchises that have been around for as long as these publications have, maintained a high standard of quality during that time, and typically offer an experience that can check so many boxes for so many people. That makes it all the odder that a Zelda game seemingly never sold more than 10 million copies before Breath of the Wild sold 30 million+ copies, but the praise for the franchise has always been there.

Of course, Skyward Sword is an interesting inclusion on the list given that the game has a slightly more mixed reception these days. For those who don’t remember, though, Skyward Sword not only received widespread critical acclaim before the mixed reactions started to pour in, but its initial acclaim was also somewhat representative of how popular the Wii was at that time. Then again, you could argue that similar hardware praise for the Switch could have elevated Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom‘s reviews.

Regardless, this is a rare level of praise that may not be replicated until…well, until the next Legend of Zelda game at this rate. Given the notable exception to this trend so far, though, it will be interesting to see how Grand Theft Auto 6 is eventually scored…

Are there any games you thought would be on this shortlist? Let us know about them in the comments below.