Play Magazine's Scores

  • Games
For 2,350 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 65% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 32% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Game review score: 75
Highest review score: 100 NHL 2004
Lowest review score: 0 Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude
Score distribution:
2350 game reviews
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    As redefining an experience as "Super Mario 64" was, and we can all remember how that game made us feel, Super Mario Galaxy is the most profound game since "Super Mario Bros." defined action gaming on the NES. There’s something almost transcendental about SMG.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Judge this magnificent game on its own merits, allow it to burrow into your sense of wonder like the best games do, and you might just proclaim that you've played one of the best games of the year. [Dec 2002, p.24]
    • Play Magazine
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Freedom is the name of this game, featuring a downtown playscape so massively intricate that players can literally do whatever they want, whenever they want. [Feb 2002, p.58]
    • Play Magazine
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Stripped of its hype-induced hysteria and lore, and isolated as a pure action showcase, Half-Life 2 is one of the most satisfying efforts in recent years. [Dec 2004, p.82]
    • Play Magazine
    • 96 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    The first-person shooter is, simply, one of the best games ever made. [Oct 2007, p.86]
    • Play Magazine
    • 96 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    An extraordinary video-game. It’s polished, entertaining, and unrelenting. The animation, the dialogue, and every environment is stunning. Video-games, as they are now, don’t get any better than this.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    As close as games have yet to get to a true masterpiece - a towering achievement in artistic design, technical mastery and emotion-driven gamemaking. [March 2005, p.58]
    • Play Magazine
    • 96 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    There are many reasons to praise Half-Life 2 that reach well beyond the surface of its gameplay and into the expression of its complete world of fantasy. [Nov 2007, p.66]
    • Play Magazine
    • 96 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    There are many reasons to praise Half-Life 2 that reach well beyond the surface of its gameplay and into the expression of its complete world of fantasy. [Nov 2007, p.66]
    • Play Magazine
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Capcom turned the venerable but stagnant series around with Evil 4 [Nov p.72]
    • Play Magazine
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Nothing can prepare you for the greatness that is The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker... Mark my words: there will be no finer gaming experience this year. [Mar 2003, p.24]
    • 96 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    The first-person shooter is, simply, one of the best games ever made. [Oct 2007, p.86]
    • Play Magazine
    • 95 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Bigger and richer in every way - a near bottomless game painted end-to-end with stuff to do, or not. As far as free-form gaming goes, it remains the pinnacle. [Jan 2005, p.57]
    • Play Magazine
    • 95 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    I can't say it's perfect, though, as these models are somewhat archaic (especially for the chicas) by hey, they need something to shoot for. Maybe next time they'll give us a crack at it before "Entertainment Weekly." [Jan 2003, p.79]
    • Play Magazine
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    If you don't own these pieces of gaming history already, you'd be foolish not to get them now. If you already have them, playing through them again is utter gaming bliss. [Jan 2004, p.63]
    • Play Magazine
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Everything's designed with a master's eye for first-person intensity, extensively crafted and technicaly superb. [Dec 2004,p.75]
    • Play Magazine
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A Link to the Past is one of the best SNES games ever made, and it's found a new home on GBA, losing absolutely nothing in the translation. [Dec 2002, p.93]
    • Play Magazine
    • 95 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    I don’t think Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess will manage to duplicate the legendary status of its predecessor, but it has already managed to accomplish a similarly impressive feat: hundreds of thousands of people bought a $250 Wii just to play it three weeks early, and no one seems to regret it.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Above all, a better feeling and playing game, boosted by subtleties that you may not even recognize until you've made it to the playoffs.[Sept 2002, p.72]
    • Play Magazine
    • 94 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    But value and longevity be damned, it’s the emotional impact Modern Warfare 2 brings to the table that in the end deserves the highest of praise.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Where else can you skate to Iron Maiden, AC/DC, De La Soul, Public Enemy and the Sex Pistols? "Evolution Skateboarding"? Yeah, right! [Dec 2002, p.76]
    • Play Magazine
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    If you demand the ultimate in presentation and extras, look no further than Madden NFL 2004. [Grade = A+; Sept 2003, p.86]
    • Play Magazine
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Gears of War is truly a breakthrough: The absolute finest game of its kind. The bar has definitely been raised. What Halo did for first-person shooters, Gears does for third person - it's that good.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    An y game that can sweep you away like this deserves out utmost reverence. [May 2006, p.51]
    • Play Magazine
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The war, as it was, has been won. [Nov 2007, p.70]
    • Play Magazine
    • 94 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    It is arguably without peer, the ultimate game for the audience open to its madness. [Oct 2005, p.56]
    • Play Magazine
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The challenge is also perfect, the quick-save option makes the game more playable without being cheap, and the e-Card features are icing on the cake. [Dec 2003, p.95]
    • Play Magazine
    • 94 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    In all things small and epic, from the palpable graininess of the game's predominantly poorly lit environments, to the endlessly thrilling second installment of the spies vs. mercenaries online competitions, Theory does not disappoint. [May 2005, p.44]
    • Play Magazine
    • 94 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    A dose of high-quality gaming fast food that tastes fine but leaves you wanting something that sticks. [Oct 2004, p.77]
    • Play Magazine
    • 94 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    The amount of content spread across these three discs is truly staggering, and Persistence is a quick, pick-up-and-play online experience that offers tremendous variety. [Apr 2006, p.52]
    • Play Magazine
    • 94 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    But value and longevity be damned, it’s the emotional impact Modern Warfare 2 brings to the table that in the end deserves the highest of praise.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    The game contains so much energy and conviction, so much skill and spirit. There came a point where I was totally lost to it, in the way you are to a great movie - to any powerful art form. [Apr 2005, p.50]
    • Play Magazine
    • 94 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The game shows high points of inspiration and technical achievement, but there is a pallor of inelegance and flat artistry that too often leaves the work in the hands of the gameplay. [Sept 2003, p.76]
    • Play Magazine
    • 94 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Visuals are but one aspect of this game's worth. It's the play that really matters, and VF, as always, plays marvelously. [Mar 2002, p.44]
    • Play Magazine
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    If you demand the ultimate in presentation and extras, look no further than Madden NFL 2004. [Grade = A+; Sept 2003, p.86]
    • Play Magazine
    • 93 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    A dose of high-quality gaming fast food that tastes fine but leaves you wanting something that sticks. [Oct 2004, p.77]
    • Play Magazine
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The character models and animation are absolutely superb, the backgrounds seamless works of art and the gameplay easily the most diverse and enduring of any “fighting” game to date. I wouldn’t even classify it as a fighter. This is an action masterpiece.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Digging into the online experience can take hours, simply becoming accustomed to the deep strategy of play, which sizzles in the three modes pitting spies against mercenaries. [Apr 2004, p.53]
    • Play Magazine
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Rockstar Leeds has made what I believe to be the very best GTA the DS can muster complete with razors edge technology, a pair of worthy gameplay additions, a bevy of Local Wi-Fi multiplayer games, an 8 scenario co-op mode, and live in-game chat …all on the world’s number one all-time bestselling video game machine, that happens to fit in your pocket.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Every single genre of games could learn a thing or two from Braid’s design, and I can’t think of any type of gamer who would scoff at the title. Braid is my ruler for measuring quality in other games. Nothing anyone could say would change my mind: all the pieces fit.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    There is not a game out there that takes you this close to an expression of rage. [Apr 2007, p.44]
    • Play Magazine
    • 93 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It's a game that's just incredible fun, mixing in all sorts of gaming ideas with the thrill of the real sport, painting a final touch of extreme excess and color for scintillating effect. [Nov 2003, p.86]
    • Play Magazine
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The fighting is so nuanced and altogether joyous it never gets old for a second, and the bosses are simply stunning. Like I said, Zelda only better. [Oct. 2006, p.50]
    • Play Magazine
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The definitive soccer game for the PlayStation 2. Sorry, FIFA, we're going to have to put you aside, there's a new soccer game in town and we're in love. [Apr 2003, p.67]
    • Play Magazine
    • 93 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    With the grace, speed and precision of a great 2D fighter placed exactly in a 3D mold, Soul Calibur 2 is the only fighter I'll need for a very long time. [Oct 2003, p.72]
    • Play Magazine
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Genius, pure genius... Everything needed to stir the soul of anesthetized gamers everywhere is in here. Just when you think you've seen it all, some designer somewhere in a corner of Japan hits the great-idea lotto and a genre is reborn. [Oct 2003, p.18]
    • Play Magazine
    • 93 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    I beg for a complete shakeup for this series, but for now, a fine polish will have to do. [Aug 2003, p.77]
    • Play Magazine
    • 93 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    There's a ton of mission variety, but whatever your pleasure, you're going to be doing a lot of driving to specified points on the map and entering a lot of red circles to initiate a lot of scripted events. [Aug 2005, p.48]
    • Play Magazine
    • 93 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    One of the most endearing and involving online worlds the genre as ever known. [Jan 2005, p.72]
    • Play Magazine
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Without a doubt, the most definitive soccer game ever released. [Mar 2004, p.70]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    With the grace, speed and precision of a great 2D fighter placed exactly in a 3D mold, Soul Calibur 2 is the only fighter I'll need for a very long time. [Oct 2003, p.72]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Tricky derives as much replay power from its personality as it does its graphics and gameplay. [Feb 2002, p.62]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    Everybody who frequents the game knows the feeling when the prompts melt away and you find yourself actually playing the music; that's why Guitar Hero is the best music and/or mainstream game to hit these United States. [Mar 2007, p.56]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The game is simply a picture of beauty, with intuitive gameplay that gets under your skin and never leaves. [Dec 2003, p.74]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    All of this delightful action and horror comes wrapped in a bone-chilling soundtrack with enough chanting and "what the hell was that?" sound effects to sen dyou running for the light switch. [Aug 2002, p.62]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It's a game that's just incredible fun, mixing in all sorts of gaming ideas with the thrill of the real sport, painting a final touch of extreme excess and color for scintillating effect. [Nov 2003, p.86]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It can be incredibly intense at times. [July 2005, p.78]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    If you demand the ultimate in presentation and extras, look no further than Madden NFL 2004. [Grade = A+; Sept 2003, p.86]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    In all things small and epic, from the palpable graininess of the game's predominantly poorly lit environments, to the endlessly thrilling second installment of the spies vs. mercenaries online competitions, Theory does not disappoint. [May 2005, p.44]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The scale of FFXII is so grand, so overwhelming, so vast, that comparisons to other video games--a proper review, in other words--borders on the impossible. [Jun 2006, p.69]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Above all, a better feeling and playing game, boosted by subtleties that you may not even recognize until you've made it to the playoffs.[Sept 2002, p.72]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Handheld gaming simply cannot get any better. [Feb 2002, p.65]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    For a mere $20, Sega's game is every bit as deep, feature-rich and addictive as EA's powerhouse. I'm not saying that 2K5 is better than "Madden"...but it's just as good - no joke. [Sept 2004, p.84]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There are so many classic Nintendo cues in Super Smash Bros. Melee, I almost cried. [Feb 2002, p.57]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Above all, a better feeling and playing game, boosted by subtleties that you may not even recognize until you've made it to the playoffs.[Sept 2002, p.72]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    Turn 10’s done a phenomenal job of crafting an experience that’ll appeal to all race fans. Whether you’re a car porn addict or just a gamer looking for a joy ride, Forza 3’s accessibility—anchored by fantastic difficulty scaling—depth, and breathtaking presentation put it neck and neck alongside the season’s other genre definers Need for Speed: SHIFT and Dirt 2.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There isn’t a single element of Arkham Asylum that isn’t polished to the utmost degree.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Mario Sunshine can easily rank as one of the greatest games ever made, perhaps topping the list. [Apr 2002, p.62]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It's a game that's just incredible fun, mixing in all sorts of gaming ideas with the thrill of the real sport, painting a final touch of extreme excess and color for scintillating effect. [Nov 2003, p.86]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    With the grace, speed and precision of a great 2D fighter placed exactly in a 3D mold, Soul Calibur 2 is the only fighter I'll need for a very long time. [Oct 2003, p.72]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Most of the voice acting is competent, but Tidus has such a whiny, wildly misplaced voice that nearly all his scenes become a drag. [Feb 2002, p.50]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Thankfully, the learning curve in Hero 2 is gentle, and even beginners can shred through a chart-topper with just a little practice. Building on a steady set foundation, fret-gnashing gamers can pull of solid, satisfying songs in little-to-no time.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    No game this year casts its web with such distinct mood and sci-fi wonder. [Jan 2005, p.54]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Take everything you loved about "Metroid" and "Super Metroid" and imagine them magnified, modified, and improved upon. [Dec 2002, p.92]
    • Play Magazine
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Players will spend most of their time in the new Play Now mode. Here, you're given 50 scenarios where you are immediately thrown into the heart of competition. [Dec 2002, p.90]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    In its 15th year, this well-oiled machine enters the 2005 season with one of the finest football games ever crafted. Raising the bar to an unheard of level, Madden 2005 is football at its very best. [Aug 2004, p.73]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Visually, ESPN NFL Football is top notch, especially the tackle and running animations. No other football game comes close in this area. Coupled with tight controls and great online play, ESPN NFL Football is a fine success. [Sept 2003, p.86]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Mastering multiple note, holding notes, and nailing that crazy spaghetti takes (much) practice, but the quality axe is good to go. [Dec 2005, p.66]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    All three Metroid Prime games in one box, for 50 bucks, pumped through the wide-screen framing of the Wii and controlling with its Remote. You make the call.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Where else can you skate to Iron Maiden, AC/DC, De La Soul, Public Enemy and the Sex Pistols? "Evolution Skateboarding"? Yeah, right! [Dec 2002, p.76]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    You've got virtual movie sets to demolish, ships to fly, buggies to battle in, turrets to command, inventively integrated puzzles. [Dec 2004, p.68]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    As much as I praise RE for the way it feels in my hands, I find amazing power in the mood and beauty of its images. There is a detail and complexity in the corners and backgrounds that we could never hope to expect before. [June 2002, p.58]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    High praise for taking what felt like an idea in Assassin’s Creed and turned it into one of the year’s most ambitious and enjoyable games.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The edge-of-your seat action is incredibly intense and perfectly paced. Combined with ties to real-life events, the immersion level is off the charts. [Jan 2005, p.64]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    The presentation is extraordinary, but the layers of what draws us most firmly to gameplay are so skillfully applied. [July 2007, p.62]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It is a game of tremendous emotion, of sadness and exhilaration, tragedy and wonder. [Nov p.80]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What Team Ninja have achieved is no less than a modern miracle, a game that somehow conjures the same stickiness and addictive spirit as its 8-bit juggernaut. Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox is, quite simply, a perfect video game. [Apr 2004, p.53; Grade = A+]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There is not a moment in the presentation of Chains of Olympus that disappoints, there is maybe no better tech on the PSP. [Apr 2008, p.67]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    For such an old game, Yoshi holds up spectacularly well in its look, existing as a quintessential portable experience. [Nov 2002, p.105]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Together with a deep career mode, eight new courses (14 total) and, of course, online gameplay, this latest Tiger Woods is as good as it gets. [Oct 2004, p.88]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Visually, ESPN NFL Football is top notch, especially the tackle and running animations. No other football game comes close in this area. Coupled with tight controls and great online play, ESPN NFL Football is a fine success. [Sept 2003, p.86]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The play by play when applicable (while still a bit parrot-like) is seamless, the player models are so real you can smell the BO, and the replays so comprehensive you'll be picking the grass out of your teeth. [Aug 2002, p.69]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There isn’t a single element of Arkham Asylum that isn’t polished to the utmost degree.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    As a strict role-playing adventure, Effect fares much better. [Dec 2007, p.64]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There's a clear and steady stream of tactical flow across virtually every map, a rare feat in and of itself. [Aug 2005, p.66]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    In its 15th year, this well-oiled machine enters the 2005 season with one of the finest football games ever crafted. Raising the bar to an unheard of level, Madden 2005 is football at its very best. [Aug 2004, p.73]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There isn’t a single element of Arkham Asylum that isn’t polished to the utmost degree.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    As transfixing and hand-drawn inspired as any Castlevania before it, or any game for that matter, even if it does lost some of its hold on the handheld platform. [June 2003, p.56]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A hand-drawn RPG incorporating exquisite detail and a blazing new look to battle sequences, it's the best thing to happen to portable role playing perhaps ever. [Feb 2002, p.65]
    • Play Magazine
    • 91 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    Player animations and transitions are seamless; it will astound you how versatile the movements are in the game. [Apr 2005, p.77]
    • Play Magazine