The A.V. Club's Scores

For 880 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 50% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Game review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Fallout 3
Lowest review score: 0 Zombie Driver
Score distribution:
997 game reviews
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    NBA Street Homecourt set the next-gen standard for arcade sports games. The Bigs is just as fun, at least. It amps up all baseball's best bits in a hurried, joyous affair.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    A well-deserved fresh of breath air puts more wind in the sales of a beloved franchise.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Divergent Shift is everything a DSiWare title can be: an original, simple, but deep game that uses the hardware toward a meaningful end.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Like Tetris and Lumines, the concept sounds easy, but it quickly proves difficult.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Experimenting with Black Hole Bombs and other special weapons is great fun in Mega Man 9, a welcome departure from recent entries in the series, where an enhanced Mega Buster made other weaponry less relevant.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The name alone makes Axe In Face worth a download, and fortunately, the game is just as straightforwardly fun.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Apart from a few moments when the game pauses to take a jab at Modern Warfare 2 (snowmobiles, apparently, are for pussies) the single-player campaign is mostly harmless. Get ’er done and play Battlefield: Bad Company 2 online. That’s where everybody else will be.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    While it has base instincts at its core, Overlord II works as a whole because it knows where to exercise restraint. The sound design is crafted with care, so the Minions’ battle cries harmonize in a mayhem that stops short of cacophony. And the story is informed by a surprisingly literate sense of humor that’s more tongue-in-cheek than hand-in-armpit.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The lovely settings and cheery sound effects help soften any feelings of frustration that can build up during a particularly challenging puzzle.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It’s still too early to judge Aion’s endgame content, but that may be the true test of whether the game will have real staying power, or be just another passing pretty face.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    A top-notch package that'll make you love puzzles as much as the game's designers.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The only word to describe fighting Bowser with an orchestral score in the background is "badass."
    • 70 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Cynics won't be able to see past the aesthetics that were kid-tested and executive-approved, but the curious might just find something wholly unique and affecting for their PlayStation.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The mini-games are awesome, especially the batting challenge, which lets you get used to EA's "load and fire" batting system (which, we hear, was licensed from Club Jenna).
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Experimenting with Black Hole Bombs and other special weapons is great fun in Mega Man 9, a welcome departure from recent entries in the series, where an enhanced Mega Buster made other weaponry less relevant.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Rock Band steps up from clubs to arenas and barely misses a beat.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    As a patient puzzler, Slice It! remains innovative and employs the kind of drawing-based head-scratchers only possible on touch controls.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    A rich, frantic, fascinating strategy game that makes Monopoly comparisons feel inadequate.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Visually potent and occasionally beautiful, Flower fulfills its premise with enviable grace.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Hello Games' debut is a fine stunt in its own right, a game bursting at the seams with play that is never anything less than perfectly focused.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Even more addictive than the last two.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    A fantastically detailed, funny, twisted adventure that will help banish any Wii-related buyers’ remorse.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Super Street Fighter IV doesn’t feel hollow or even speciously necessary like the others: It’s inarguably the definitive futzed-over daub of paint on Capcom’s opus.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Suda 51's warped, pop-culture-obsessed vision and Mikami's sure-fire action make a heck of a match.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It certainly isn't gaming's greatest challenge, but it's absolutely fun. If you've seen the original trilogy, don't resist! Join the LEGOside.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The Darkness II's poignant moments are surprisingly touching. It's no mistake that, after hours of tearing flesh and bone, magic is found in a gentle kiss.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    While you may not jump out of your seat, it’s hard to walk away undisturbed.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The game also offers surprises that are too good to hint at here, so suffice it to say that the ingenuity of Continuity was no fluke, and the sequel has its fair share of "Aha!" moments.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It's a real treat watching a monstrous, spidery pack of French fries poke a goblin to death, and since attack and defense require timed-button presses à la the Mario & Luigi RPGs, the fights hold players' attention.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Experimenting with Black Hole Bombs and other special weapons is great fun in Mega Man 9, a welcome departure from recent entries in the series, where an enhanced Mega Buster made other weaponry less relevant.
This publication does not provide a score for their reviews.
This publication has not posted a final review score yet.
These unscored reviews do not factor into the Metascore calculation.

In Progress & Unscored

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    • 89 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The other reason Horizon: Zero Dawn still holds some allure to me after so many blandly satisfactory hours is that it is unquestionably the most woke game released by a major studio in years, a “core gamer” game in which women and mothers are revered as righteous warrior goddesses and in which almost every single dude is either a maundering sad boy or an emasculated angry boy or simply a concerned bystander boy, waiting for your help. [Review in Progress]
    • 73 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    While it’s tempting to blame the game’s lackluster final state on its nostalgia-chasing Kickstarter or the inherently dated nature of its genre, Yooka-Laylee shouldn’t be used as evidence to condemn either. The fault lies squarely with Playtonic, who, by merit of the game’s better half, has shown that this singular style can work just fine in 2017, but whose spotty execution and lack of vision will undoubtedly lead many to shout otherwise.
    • 64 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The game trembles on the knifepoint between poetry and tedium. It presents something magnificent but sustains each note just a little too long—shifting from awe-inspiring, past meditative, and into repetition as the unchanging station interiors and tedious tasks stretch on just long enough to drain an otherwise unique creation.
    • 64 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Shadow Of The Beast is so wholeheartedly immersed in the design sensibilities of a bygone era—not the rehabilitated and domesticated principles of permanent death and procedural generation that have become so common today, but ancient trends better left undisturbed like painful restarts and progress-halting puzzles—that it transforms into a refreshingly alien experience, if not an entirely enjoyable one.
    • 58 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Integrity And Faithlessness resembles some of the worst of Star Trek. While the game shares some plot elements with Star Trek: First Contact, it only achieves the writing quality of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It’s got the ambition of being as flashy and action-packed as J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, but the rough battle system can make it as awkward as watching a Vulcan martial arts lesson on Enterprise.
    • 76 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Those clever, dialogue-driven interludes are all the downtime Paper Jam needs. Yet it pads itself out with mindless chores that waste time and momentum. It’s maddening when you have to endure so much chaff just to reach that rewarding point of forward progress—and it is rewarding.
    • 74 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    In truth, Street Fighter V is a lonely and impersonal game. You can’t chat with your opponents, nor can you request a rematch once the initial fight is done. All you can do is take a deep breath and charge back into the endless horde of faceless opponents. We’re all Ryu, standing alone under a waterfall, silently uppercutting at the pounding deluge in search of enlightenment. The answer, as always, lies in the heart of battle.
    • 81 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    That mix of customization and convenience allows Bravely Second to have the best of both worlds. It gives you the chance to relax and get into a rhythm at some points, and then demands your full attention to succeed at others. By piling complexity on atop the simplicity of a tried-and-true formula, Square Enix has produced a worthy successor to Bravely Default. I’m sure the developers are already thinking about what it would mean to “Bravely Third” in battle.
    • 63 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Like its robots, whose identities can be transplanted into any number of mechanical bodies, ReCore is an old soul in a new frame. This is a game in a classical mold that’s been shunted into 2016 and forced to assimilate. When left to the traditional sensibilities at its heart, it’s a powerfully refreshing throwback, but that spirit has taken up residence in a modern body so decrepit and covered in ineffectual accessories that its failings dampen the goodwill it earns otherwise.
    • 76 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Most of what there is to love in the series’ previous games is still here, but while Color Splash is far from a disaster, it’s hard not to be disappointed with an experience that’s ultimately all surface.
    • 89 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    I’m not so sure how well the series will hold up to another reincarnation. With all the constant recycling of ideas, its flame is starting to fade. Luckily, it was such a magnificent fire to begin with that it’s still a roaring success even after a little dwindling.
    • 81 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    There is no fast-paced action or head-scratching puzzles, so the dialogue needs to carry a lot of Firewatch’s weight. Thankfully, the nuanced and intimate performances led by Mad Men’s Rich Sommer and Cissy Jones, of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, are more than up to the task.
    • 75 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    When Layers Of Fear aims for the head with its sordid tale of bad men and the bad things they do, it misses. It only hits when it aims for the heart instead, when it allows itself to be no more ambitious than that theme-park haunted house.
    • 67 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    At its worst, Fatal Frame is bogged down by repetition and a frustrating, if inspired, combat system. Your ability to overlook this will likely depend on your appreciation of candlelight.
    • 65 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Much of this first episode is just table-setting, and for all its familiar elements, by the final scene, Batman has effectively built an intriguing mystery—one that tackles the fundamental question of how someone can live a split life—without merely retreading classic tales of the caped crusader.
    • 78 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    That’s part of the beauty of Woolly World, though. It’s only as difficult as you want it to be.
    • 59 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Zip Lash is not a bad game but perhaps just an underdeveloped one.
    • 78 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Its real triumph, though, is in how it coaxes players to discover all of its little tricks and quirks via level and puzzle design that never dips below being consistently, delightfully intelligent.
    • 62 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Dimensions is a patient game. The character levels are open-ended and largely conflict free. They offer a large, generous space where your child can comfortably noodle around and just enjoy themselves.
    • 77 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    All this simplicity and repetition fits perfectly with PlatinumGames’ aesthetic. While the overt Transformers nostalgia factor is right there in your face, there is a more subtle homage going on beneath the surface.
    • 89 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    There’s also a wisp of a coherent narrative in The Taken King, though it’s buried deep under an avalanche of sci-fi mumbo jumbo. But maybe that’s okay.
    • 78 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It’s no longer just about being a rock star but finding the rock star in you.
    • 76 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The feeling of connection might be an illusion, though, and that tension is what gives The Beginner’s Guide its strongest moments.
    • 66 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Given Animal Crossing’s sickeningly cutesy look and feel, it’s tempting to play tricks on it, to fool its adorably simple-minded denizens into living in squalor and liking it. But the game is just too sincere to prank, the way that toys can’t feel embarrassed of how they’re played with.
    • 73 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    More than the carefully constructed language or the fidelity to a story that doesn’t need to be told, Mad Max is at its best when it offers some of that silence its hero swears to seek. It’s when Chumbucket shuts up, when no deals need to be bartered, when you can just drive—just you belching out fire and black smoke across the highways, shiny and chrome.
    • 84 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The sneaking sequences do serve a greater purpose. Beyond dutifully breaking up the dense, challenging story and filling in the space between its most powerful moments, the stealth portions are another way for Soma to subtly expose its themes.
    • 93 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    At more than 60 hours into the game, pushing forward toward 70, it feels like there’s still a lot of The Phantom Pain left on the table. For every new detail I discover—like taking that masterpiece of stealth tech, the man-sized cardboard box, and slapping a pin-up poster on it, thus ruining its stealthiness—it seems like there are five more details waiting just beyond my reach.
    • 88 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    As both a user experience and dream fulfillment, Super Mario Maker is far from perfect, but it is still hugely charming and packs a copious helping of fan service for longtime Mario aficionados. Its greatest accomplishment, though, is showing how such a simple collection of toys can be used in so many different ways.
    • 79 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Effective as it is, though, that mental impact isn’t perfect, and it’s here, as elsewhere, that the game’s hybrid identity is mostly to blame.
    • 73 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    With Rise Of Iron, the game has finally fulfilled that great promise. The problem is it comes two years and hundreds of dollars in additional content later. Sorry, Mr. Ghost, I’m not ready to celebrate the good old days of Destiny quite yet.
    • 79 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Unfortunately, the homage to horror films is at times too faithful, as Until Dawn also manages to replicate a lot of the genre’s worst habits.
    • 71 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Volume also looks fondly on the democratization of game development.
    • 56 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Submerged doesn’t want to see you fail, but it doesn’t trust you to succeed without its help, either. It bears repeating: Children aren’t morons. Submerged knows this, but it still treats its players like they’re just kids.
    • 94 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Fortunately, these are momentary hitches in a much longer journey that, depending on the decisions you have made along the way, could end on a surprisingly sweet note.
    • 76 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Those who came on board for cartoon action can stick around without fear of alienation, and those looking for a knock-down drag-out fight can get one without adulteration.
    • 93 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    A featherweight should not be 100 hours. For all the game’s beauty and brilliance, it’s twice as long as it should be, a pompous sense of inflation that it can’t come close to fulfilling. I’d rather have bled out back in that interrogation room, a few dozen hours earlier.
    • 84 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It’s tempting to go off on one of those tired tangents declaring the setting of Talos 1 as the best-defined character in the game, but while it’s an impressive creation from a clinical design perspective, it’s not exactly spectacular. It’s a space-bound manifestation of corporate banality, a floating office building with all the boring sectors and departments you’d expect from such a thing.
    • 88 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The ease of starting a new character is especially helpful given that Legion introduces a new class: the demon hunter.
    • 77 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Infuriating and brilliant.
    • 74 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Amplitude may be explicitly about a medical procedure, but it also makes for an interesting depiction of the creative process.
    • 82 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The Banner Saga 2 still tells a great story, and it’s hard to imagine someone who enjoyed the first installment not feeling impatient for the trilogy’s conclusion after playing the sequel. But like its army of weary travelers, the series would be better served by the solemn pace of the death march rather than a wild scramble to impress its already loyal fanbase.
    • 82 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Like the cartoons that inspired it, there are big ideas displayed within Galak-Z, ideas that are exciting and worthy of deeper exploration.
    • 78 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    A work so brutally dull that it would function as a parody of an “art game,” if only it didn’t take itself so seriously.
    • 82 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    N++
    Maybe N++ needs to be consumed in short jaunts—pop in for a quick platforming fix and hop out when your eyes start to bleed. The core of it, after all, is trimmed to near perfection. Its sprawl, though, invites long play sessions and the short individual stages fuel a dangerous “just one more, just one more” fervor.
    • 86 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    “Satisfying” is a good word for Gears Of War 4 in general. Outside of the later stages of the campaign—where, once you’ve chainsawed your 500th drone soldier or robot commando in half, you’ve pretty much seen all that you’re going to see—the game feels overwhelmingly solid. Multiplayer is thoughtful, without losing its vital speed. And Horde is as well executed as it’s ever been, keeping the bar to entry low while rewarding players who want to dive in deep.
    • 72 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    One clever element in Lost Dimension’s combat is the ability to defer a character’s turn to one of their teammates, giving them a second go.
    • 38 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Unabashed masochism is the only discernible justification for putting any time into Godzilla.
    • 86 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It gives us an act and a person and challenges us to understand them even as it suggests that our understanding will never be complete.
    • 88 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    There is little doubt that Civilization VI comes closer than any of its predecessors to that famous Sid Meier quote, one intended as a definition of games in general but is arguably better understood as a rumination on their ideal form: It is a series of truly interesting decisions.
    • 87 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Its blend of “things that have been done” and “things that aren’t worth doing” is safe, just another turn in the wheel of the World’s Greatest Detective.
    • 73 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    I wish Massive Chalice had done more to make me feel those deaths. The game’s stylized art only leaves room for some vague similarities in looks to remind me that I’ve got a family fighting together.
    • 92 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Wild Hunt is viciously hostile. Hostility infects every element like a poison and unites them with a common sickness.
    • 81 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It’s the sort of no-brainer we should have been playing for a long time now, and just like getting those hard and soft taco shells in the same box, it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.
    • 76 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The Old Blood just feels a little gratuitous.
    • 78 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    More impressive is how Far Harbor’s writers took Fallout 4’s themes of community and the meaning of home and turned them inward. It’s important to remember that no matter what faction you belong to, we’re all just trying to survive in this world.
    • 75 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    A dark parody where every problem can be solved with bullets, and even Aunt Ruby is eager to get in on the action. Get to it, you sexy murder machines. Re-election time is just around the corner, and we’ve still got to deal with that scrotobiker gang BunnyLord keeps talking about.
    • 87 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It requires careful, attentive play and won’t hesitate to punish you for not giving it what it wants. It remains a loving relative to its ultra-hard brethren like Spelunky and The Binding Of Isaac, even as it departs from them in form. But unlike its kin, NecroDancer’s style and songs encouraged me to try again every time I failed.
    • 69 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Climax Studios seems to remember what Ubisoft has long since forgotten: Assassin’s Creed isn’t about captaining a ship or poaching animals or curating an art gallery. It’s about wearing a hood and assassinating people.
    • 69 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The result is more a loose collection of segments than anything approaching a complete experience. It’s a tech demo for equipment long past its prime.
    • 88 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    When its combat system clicks—which it does, roughly 80 percent of the time—it manages to inject a strain of pure action into the Souls formula that feels both welcome and novel. It’s just a shame about that other 20 percent.
    • 77 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It’s as fundamental as fighting-game fundamentals get, and it’s not afraid to be a punishing teacher. In fact, you can’t even access ranked online matches until you’ve beaten the Grand Prix mode on the fourth difficulty setting, which takes more practice than you’d think, as the AI is shockingly competent and human-like, even on the lower end of the game’s 10 difficulty levels. But when landing punches and outsmarting an overzealous opponent is this satisfying, it’s a pleasure just to learn the ropes.
    • 52 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    There is a germ of a great game at the heart of Mighty No. 9. The central rhythm of barreling through stages and softening up foes with expertly placed shots before zipping in at the perfect moment to collect your reward deserves to be better fleshed out and more thoroughly explored. But it also deserves a game that doesn’t send huge amounts of your progress up the chimney because you got a game-over, a technique that ought to have gone extinct back in the arcade days. It deserves a game that isn’t so tragically generic looking and a soundtrack with at least one song worth whistling.
    • 80 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The Division is a brutally mechanistic game, right down to having one of Ubisoft’s now-signature giant maps full of icons and a GPS that leads you from point to point with no need for actual thought. It throws thousands of faceless opponents at its players, distinguished only by the numbers and icons floating over their heads as they’re fed into the meat grinder of their guns. It is polished and rote, with every rough edge sanded off in favor of keeping players guided in lockstep down its loop of continuous, primitive satisfaction. And yet, in those brief moments in the Dark Zone when actual human choice and feelings come into play, it feints toward something new. It’s a pity those moments represent only a tiny fraction of what The Division has to offer.
    • 91 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Playground Games has created a beautiful open world filled with awe-inspiring sights and driving game based on finely tuned systems. But sometimes when I’m cruising within splashing distance of Byron Bay’s emerald waters and an assistant’s voice blares over the radio to remind me of an abandoned Bugatti inside a nearby barn or to pester me about a championship still left unfinished, I can’t help but ask: Is a little peace to enjoy the view too much to ask?
    • 76 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The nagging sense of never quite doing enough, of leaving so many red and orange spots on the map unresolved, doesn’t ever go away, and the plethora of options has the unfortunate effect of robbing the game’s slight story of what little tension it might have had.
    • 93 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Discomfort is what Playdead has proven itself to be best at creating. The studio understands that there’s disquiet in the unknown and the undefined, and that what’s unheard and unseen can be even more powerful than what’s right in front of us. This is a philosophy that informs Inside’s every trait, from its ambiguous narrative to its uncomplicated character designs and fragile soundscapes. What really cements the developer’s prowess is the finale, a shocking sequence that proves Playdead is just as capable of recognizing when to break free of those restraints as it is knowing when to apply them.
    • 71 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Above all else, it requires a proper commitment of time. It’s as much a hobby as it is a game: an activity that requires patience, diligence, and the capacity to be awed by sights that are quietly profound. The experience won’t suit every temperament, but to give up on an entire universe for inspiring awe too infrequently or for not inspiring the specific awe you’d prefer would be like abandoning bird-watching after a single hour without an exciting specimen.
    • 84 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It feels unfair at times, but it’s actually the opposite. The best you can do is maximize your odds for success and (figuratively) roll the dice. The poet Theodore Roethke once wrote, “What’s madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance?” It’s a question worth asking yourself every time this excellent, deceptively complex game sends you into the depths.
    • 81 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    What follows is the tale of a family of cursed assholes, literal and figurative monsters who let their personal vendettas and unchecked power throw the entire world into chaos. It positions Tekken 7 as the hard reboot and refocusing the series needed, giving it the same treatment Mortal Kombat received with its stellar 2011 revival.
    • 88 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    NieR: Automata demonstrates that it may not be saying anything profound or possibly anything at all, but its absurdity is so entertaining and confidently delivered it ultimately doesn’t matter.
    • 82 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    This is such a beautiful, naturalistic creation—in aesthetic and spirit—and this tendency to help the player along feels like some outside force that’s latched onto it and exerted its control. After waiting nearly a decade to play this captivating labor of love, it would’ve been safe to assume its audience has the patience needed to appreciate it.
    • 43 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Today, Devil’s Third is a fossil, its best ideas buried under layers of strata. And almost nobody has—or should have—the patience to dig them up.
    • 48 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    While some tasks are entertaining (assassinating a luckless KPA official, for instance), it’s difficult to overemphasize how boring these missions can be, especially when they’re mandatory. It’s enough to make one rethink the real-life opportunity cost of dumping hours into playing video games.
    • 80 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It’s to the credit of Oxenfree and its creators, Night School Studios, that its young heroes not only feel authentic, but endearingly so.
    • 85 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Any game that demands to be measured against one of the medium’s towering accomplishments and comes out ahead in many aspects has to be admired for its huge guts. The fact that this game also has the honor of doing the Doom name proud is just the gory icing on this exquisitely violent cake.
    • 80 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    That spirit of collaboration, of helping one another so we can all achieve our goals together, is where the game ekes out its edge against similar RPGs. It’s not simply enough that we all combine forces to beat the bad guys; we also help each other realize our dreams and become the very best we can be. And also beat the bad guys.
    • 88 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Until then, there’s really not a bad choice you can make at that pivotal sixth chapter. The decisions you make at each turn on the battlefield are much harder.
    • 70 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    For all of its retro-flavored razzle-dazzle, Mother Russia Bleeds remains as two-dimensional as its meticulously crafted character models, demonstrating little depth in either the combat that defines the experience or the narrative trappings that accompany it.
    • 81 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Instead of being a masterpiece, Quadrilateral Cowboy is “just” excellent. Every element that has previously elevated Chung’s work above his peers is present: the unique visual aesthetic coupled with, possibly, the best use of public domain music in the medium; the unbridled imagination painting every corner of Nuevos Aires as at once otherworldly and instantly familiar; the constant subversions in form and structure culminating in a mid-game shift that is as striking as it is inexplicable.
    • 78 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    That Dragon, Cancer is smart about presenting that tragedy through a series of stylistically disparate interactions to prevent itself from becoming dull or numbing.
    • 84 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    There really is nothing quite like taking to the air for the first time, looking down at terrain that you’ve become intimately familiar with through hours upon hours of exploration of its lush, mesmerizingly beautiful world. It’s just a shame that the game chooses to spend so much of its energy preemptively punishing you, before it lets you get to the business of actually enjoying it.
    • 87 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The Old Hunters provides new riffs and deeper context to all the best, most memorable ideas in Bloodborne.
    • 78 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It’s just a shame that, for a game whose core theme remains non-stop pursuit, Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 proves so stubbornly reluctant to cut to the chase.
    • 73 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Despite the myriad modes, the scope of the game feels small.
    • 81 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    You can almost feel the writers butting their heads against the constraints of a big-budget first-person shooter when it feels like they desperately want to write the next Philip K. Dick story. It’s hard to be smart when you’re mandated to deliver a violent thrill-ride that doesn’t stop to throw on the brakes.
    • 61 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The story mode is actually the best part of Sword Coast Legends, which also allows players to create their own dungeons for others to explore.
    • 82 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    With something to work toward and create, the thrill of arranging, executing, and watching back a flawless performance never has to go away.
    • 88 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    In large doses, all that fighting can be tiresome, but the best thing about Fallout 4 is that it wants you to have something to fight for—more than just a vendetta, or some life-saving MacGuffin, or the player’s own bloodthirsty whims.
    • 86 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Rise Of The Tomb Raider understands what’s fun about being Lara Croft. It’s not blowing away an army of underlings with an assortment of guns, something that straight-up shooters do better and with more commitment to variety. It’s also not some bold new innovation in how to make a character run and jump, or unexpected deviation from a storyline. No, what’s always been the key to Tomb Raider is the thrill of discovery.
    • 71 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It invites the player to commiserate the way they would if a friend showed up and spilled their darkest secrets. Even if you can’t relate, Cibele still insists on a personal response.
    • 84 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    There is an ominous inevitability, a sense of impending tragedy, about our hero’s lonely trek and stubborn refusal to go gentle into that good night that makes Hyper Light Drifter a rare experience and the battles of its otherwise inscrutable protagonist our own.
    • 84 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Guardians feels like a huge missed opportunity to evolve Halo beyond simple combat.
    • 88 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    If XCOM 2 leans too heavily at times on its ferocious difficulty to produce those moments, forcing players to find their happy medium between the brutality of Ironman and neurotically saving at every turn, it at least manages to do so in a way that makes your victory feel all the sweeter when it comes.
    • 76 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The best parts of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate are the things it does differently from other entries in the series, and its greatest frustrations are what it has in common with them. The series’ heroes have been fighting the same battle against the same enemy for countless generations without success partly because they’ve always got one foot in the past. If Assassin’s Creed never changes, it’ll stay as stuck as its own stars.
    • 77 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Hitman’s emphasis on disguise and infiltration, its sleek presentation, and its gritty tale of information smuggling and corruption are clearly meant to evoke the likes of Mission: Impossible, but in execution, it instead recalls Naked Gun. If that sounds like condemnation, rest assured, it’s intended as high praise.
    • 85 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Like an inquisitive teenager, Life Is Strange raises a lot of questions without ever providing answers, and it’s here that the game’s story might be incongruous with the player’s mindset.
    • 91 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    From its commendably inclusive roster to its varied, dramatic action, it’s brimming with an welcoming liveliness that’s all too rare in games, multiplayer or otherwise.
    • 83 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    There are no stunning reveals, but it’s more enjoyable experienced than explained here.
    • 73 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The only thing you should have left to learn is that your life depends on always taking the craziest option available—that you should never bring a knife or even a gun to the game’s gunfights, but should instead bring a fighter jet. Fortunately, Rico Rodriguez is a fast learner.
    • 73 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    At just the length of a double feature, The Deadly Tower Of Monsters left me wanting more. The gimmick might not hold up to a marathon experience, but in the spirit of the B-movies it loves so much, it might be worth exploring in some derivative sequels.
    • 80 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It is an instillation, an interactive sculpture that gives you the tools and just enough of a mystery to fully see what surrounds you. We must understand exactly where we are before we can move forward. Rime may be the most recent in the now well-established genre of “kind of pretty, conflict-light adventures,” but such a beautiful, intimate experience remains something to be excited about.
    • 78 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The warmth and care the design team put into every aspect of the game is undeniable, and if that love can sometimes be overbearing in its sentiment, the game’s fundamental charm serves as excellent compensation.
    • 59 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    For all of the lack of variety in Necropolis, or the woes of its combat system, perhaps that is the most severe of all its flaws. Despite our collective hopes for reconciling two admired approaches to game design, it’s a title that embodies an intrinsic conflict between the sustained long-term engagement and clockwork precision of Dark Souls and the rapid-fire bursts of calculated chaos in contemporary roguelikes. Harebrained Schemes’ ambitious, but ultimately miscalculated, attempt inevitably collapses under the weight of its own insurmountable tensions.
    • 87 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    When you are struck by an elegant solution in the game, you not only get the thrill of your achievement, but you can also sense a faint echo of the larger epiphanies that have driven humanity forward. The Witness draws a line from your singular consciousness to a collective spirit—in a limited fashion, of course. For a game, the limits make all the difference.
    • 68 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Mafia III’s biggest problem, then, is that the stuff you actually do as Lincoln is mind-numbingly repetitive.
    • 83 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Mankind Divided is smart and dumb at the same time, approaching something of a narrative uncanny valley. It’s perfected certain features of good genre storytelling—the characters, the places, the look and feel of a fully realized world—to such an extent that what doesn’t work is noticeable and off-putting. It’s an eccentric, perpetually stoned friend who you can engage with for endless hours on anything and everything. Whether you choose to be bothered by their occasional assertions about chemtrails is up to you.
    • 93 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    These issues are easy to overlook in favor of the game’s pleasures: its grasp of narrative, its pacing, its sense of scope, and the charm of its heroes. They squabble and suffer and feel real in a way that makes every jump, dodge, and victory count.
    • 88 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    These ridiculous twists on traditional aesthetics are all because of Injustice 2’s brilliant loot system, but the reason it’s brilliant isn’t because it lets you make superheroes look crazy. It’s brilliant because it’s a nod to the wackiness of DC’s multiverse on a scale that fans probably haven’t seen before outside of something like the universe-hopping opening of Crisis On Infinite Earths.
    • 82 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It’s probably for the best that the series is heading for its final, peaceful rest. Better to break the cycle before it can degenerate any more.
    • 77 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Remedy’s latest is the sum of its parts—a decent third-person shooter paired with a fair-to-middling television series—but it wants to be something greater than both. That’s not a bad thing, necessarily. It’s very possible that Quantum Break is the highest evolution of this hybrid form. The problem, I suspect, is with the approach itself. As Jack and Paul learn, some things sound great in theory, but just aren’t meant to be.
    • 71 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Judged purely on an emotional level, Bound has a number of striking moments, and its finale is all the more admirable for its understatement. But the frustrating, iffy feel of the controls stand in the way of a truly immersive experience.
    • 77 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Neither fantastical enough to satisfy the sci-fi aficionado nor silly enough to placate the comedy junkie, Headlander delivers only the scraps of what could have been a truly noteworthy space romp.
    • 69 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    By celebrating freedom, the game enables the player to marvel at the richness of its action. When that freedom is restricted, everything that goes with it—movement, agency, nuance—are muted to the point of being dull and dreary, a far cry from the saturated playground we’ve come to expect.
    • 88 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It closes the door on a story that started 17 years ago but opens new ones of its own with a multiplayer mode that has the promise to live on for years to come.
    • 74 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    “Lynchian” is a loaded term. In the right hands, it implies a deeper meaning behind a series of surreal images and events, an understanding that peeks from behind cryptic dream sequences and improbable happenings. In the wrong ones, it implies little more than a creative team that’s watched far too much Twin Peaks. Virginia lands on the better side of that divide. I won’t claim to understand the symbolism behind every moment and sight, but that hasn’t stopped the game from convincing me that said meanings do exist and lingering on them long after its short run time has come and gone.
    • 76 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It succeeds in its goal of presenting authentic-feeling alien worlds. But when it comes to providing players fair, satisfying challenges and the epiphanies that they crave, Obduction doesn’t just succeed; it triumphs and proves itself a worthy successor to the Myst name.
    • 69 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Battleborn isn’t a bad game. Gearbox has obviously lavished a lot of work onto its world, its characters, and the ways players move and fight. But it is a frustrating game, full of details that drain the joy it’s meant to invoke. From its emphasis on ornamentation over clarity, to the randomness and cruelty of its cooperative missions, it constantly trips itself on its attempted journey toward the pantheon of great, long-lived online shooters.

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