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 2.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Game review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Rock Band
Lowest review score: 0 Torino 2006 - the Official Video Game of the XX Olympic Winter Games
Score distribution:
880 game reviews
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Worth playing for the sense of discovery—each environment looks different from the last and requires a nuanced reaction—makes the action addictive.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A technical masterpiece with a story that reaches too far—but Andrew Ryan would have it no other way.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The game's music is enchanting, combat is simple but a blast, and it all comes with a full cast of endearingly kooky characters.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Worth playing for the sense of discovery—each environment looks different from the last and requires a nuanced reaction—makes the action addictive.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An epic rock masterpiece that may be the most purely fun game out there.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    When your opponent leans into that haymaker, it's a bone-crunching delight: Sweat sprays from his head, bloody spittle shoots from his mouthpiece, and his legs turn to Jell-O. Now that's the sweet science.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Still, judging a game like Halo 3 on the single-player campaign is like taking a movie to task for its opening credits. Halo 3's multiplayer is its reason for existence.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There are a ton of multiplayer modes, using ad-hoc hosting, wireless Internet multiplayer, in-game chart with mic/headset - in fact, every mode the PSP supports. It's enough to raise the game to the status of PSP must-have.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The sense of scale is off the charts. From the opening brawl with the towering Colossus of Rhodes to the Island of Creation—a sprawling mega-level which takes a good half of the game to traverse—God Of War II's venue doesn't feel mortal for even a moment.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's just a remix of its predecessor, but this is still the strongest and most thrilling Half-Life title yet.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The controls are superb, proof that the Wii remote and nunchuk are more than viable for first-person action. Motions that call for Samus to throw a whip or turn an airlock hatch add visceral kick and never seem to get old.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    If there's an imaginative and genuinely fun way to use the touch-screen this game finds it and exploits it to the fullest.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Fifty-plus hours, an immense adventure, and a sexy new style? Twilight Princess may not perfect, but it's darn near close.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Grand Theft Auto IV is, simply, the latest way to flip the bird. And damn if such a simple gesture doesn't feel good.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A technical masterpiece with a story that reaches too far—but Andrew Ryan would have it no other way.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A dazzling array of showmanship, visual glitz, and a hefty dose of fun make this an absolute must-play.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A dazzling array of showmanship, visual glitz, and a hefty dose of fun make this an absolute must-play.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The flesh is weak. Prolonged play can cause serious finger fatigue.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Folks who traded in their PSPs for lack of awesome games should be feeling substantial remorse right about now.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Give up everything else. This is your life now.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    When Sackboy drifts into freefall while skateboarding down a steep incline, that sinking feeling in your gut means that the game's exquisitely tuned physics are working.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    When your ball approaches the level-clearing peg, the view zooms in tight on the action. Time slows and a timpani drum roll slaps a 50-point accent mark over the tension. As orb and target collide, the rapturous hosannas of Beethoven's "Ode To Joy" explode out of the speakers. Few games make winning feel this good.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    In one Star Wars scene, Han Solo, outnumbered and outgunned, lays chase with his blaster, then changes his mind, comically fleeing a horde of armed stormtroopers. Pac-Man Championship Edition and its table-turning power-pills create an endless chain of these hunter-becomes-the-hunted moments.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Finally, an answer to the early-'90s hockey heyday, NHL 08 is a blazingly swift, smart, well-crafted sports title that brings out hockey's best bits.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Just as Valve's Half-Life 2 is the moody loner to Halo 3's high-school quarterback, Portal is smarter, cooler, funnier, and more sinister than almost any game this year.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    F...ing awesome.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It inspires such excitement for its muse, heavy metal, that it also serves as a point of entry to an entire subculture. Just as important, it stands as proof that music in gaming is no longer the exclusive domain of “music games.”
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Rez does Tron better than any Tron videogame ever has.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Addictive gameplay and stylish content make this the perfect handheld complement to your all-night Grand Theft Auto sessions.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A massive, enthralling achievement.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A massive, enthralling achievement.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A massive, enthralling achievement.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This isn't a game about time, it's about memories, and how they can be repeated and eventually rewritten.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Add in excellent voice acting, gorgeous graphics, highly customizable characters, and complex systems for how spells interact, and the result is a game destined to become a new RPG staple.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The game also feels decidedly adult; it’s unafraid to take dark turns. The writing and themes become unexpectedly morbid in later stages. It’s obvious that Arkham was created with reverence, genuine craft, and love. There’s a rare, considered quality behind everything on the disc, which makes this an absolute must-play.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is a game for all the people who found Grand Theft Auto IV too ponderous, scattershot, or just too damn different from the rest of the series.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The first goddamned good action Western that gaming has seen.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Guitar Hero has reached its apex. It may be downhill from here.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    But the character interaction and the superb story will stay with players long after they've escaped its final trap.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Great role-playing uses unpredictable situations to provoke unexpected responses in players, and accordingly, Mass Effect 2 is surprising time and again.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Worth flocking to.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Ezio feels complex and human. This virtual version of Florence feels vital and real. From the ashes of the overwrought, flawed original comes one of the few videogames that truly qualifies as an adult, mature experience.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Left 4 Dead 2 is better than its predecessor in nearly every possible way. It’s more demanding, more varied, and more entertaining.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    But it's most laudable for the way it simultaneously mocks and adores the videogame culture that birthed it without conceding to shallow in-jokes.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There’s only one truly disappointing aspect to The Beatles: Rock Band: Future games made around your favorite band probably won’t be half as good.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There’s only one truly disappointing aspect to The Beatles: Rock Band: Future games made around your favorite band probably won’t be half as good.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There’s only one truly disappointing aspect to The Beatles: Rock Band: Future games made around your favorite band probably won’t be half as good.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    But most of all, Aaaaa! scores on style. From the made-up lingo to the flirty backtalk and insider gags, it plays like an underground skating or Parkour flick—but one that’s made for an imaginary sport instead of a real one.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The game is cheerful about its grossness, but it’s cute enough to excuse the cheek (fuzzy Biggs’ booty-shaking victory dance especially).
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of the most beautiful games to hit home computers in a long time.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    How surprising, then, that MLB 10: The Show isn’t just one of the best sports games available, but with respect to the ratio between ambition and execution, it’s one of the best videogames, period.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's confounding how this simple world can evoke feelings of curiosity, wonder, and dread all at once.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's the coolest way to spend six bucks.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Nelson Tethers is also smart enough to mock itself for the frequency with which puzzles unnecessary crop up: The hotel owner doesn't see anything odd in the fact that her assistant wrote your room key down in code, but Tethers roll his eyes before rolling up his sleeves and tackling another puzzle.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Cable-TV executives may not have major networks to fear in the summer, but they should be terrified of deep, blissful time-sucks like DeathSpank.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    While it manages to pull off pathos, it's also filled with laugh-out-loud jokes, including the traditional ludicrous dialogue from your units.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Minor quibbles aside, this is a must-play game for action gamers, especially those who enjoy playing cooperatively online.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The real miracle of Civilization V is how effortlessly the game delivers its take on global empire-building. Beneath its well-polished hood, Civilization V is deep and complex. But where it counts, the game feels deceptively simple.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Super Meat Boy is one of the best platformers ever made. Yet that statement underestimates the game's achievement, which transcends mundane considerations of genre.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Cataclysm polishes the game experience, but keeps all the basics that made it so successful. For those who have never played World Of Warcraft before, or are taking a break, there's never been a better time to get into the game.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There are also a wealth of presentation options that cover the gamut of Pac-man's 30-year history.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There are also a wealth of presentation options that cover the gamut of Pac-man's 30-year history.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A superbly engineered game that is both the most ambitious and the best the genre has to offer.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Game Dev Story almost plays like an eye-opening cautionary tale intended for oblivious or callous game critics.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With 105 levels to conquer, new types of bad guys later on, and a built-in trophy system, it's unlikely you'll want for variety.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Bit Pilot's simple graphics belie the atrocious challenge at hand.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Jellyvision's developers haven't just lived up to the legacy of the greatest quiz-show game ever made, they've extended it.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Regardless of what it looks like, Pix'n is deep enough to drain hours on the couch, but also casual enough to distract throughout an entire commute.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's the ideal example of evolution trumping revolution in creating great video games.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    If there was ever any doubt that Portal could be expanded into a big, narrative experience with all the bells and whistles of a mainstream gaming hit, have no fear. Valve solved that puzzle with Portal 2.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    If gaming's holy grail is a thousand stories, well told, L.A. Noire might be the first to come within spitting distance.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It just does its style of controlled chaos really well.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The game is fun and colorful throughout, yet within that spirit of fun, the level design evokes a remarkable range of emotion.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The rare game in which theme and gameplay harmonize.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's just too bad VVVVVV didn't come out 25 years ago.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The narrative setting is nearly as potent as the gameplay.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Binding Of Isaac is pitch-black and hard as hell.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There are hundreds of levels and multiple ways to play each one, plus a slick, futuristic soundtrack to add to the fact that, yes, you're manipulating a puddle of goo, and it feels revolutionary.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Skyrim lets these rough edges show, because the element of chaos lets players feel like the game is happening to them, and they are alive in it-not just cogs in a pre-fab Game Experience. That's what sets Skyrim apart from some of its contemporaries. Where many games with lavish production values seek to direct players' imaginations, Skyrim seeks to ignite them.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Like a divorced parent trying to win the affection of an only child, the game dishes out rewards with every breath.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    No, Skyward Sword isn't better than Ocarina Of Time. But of all the Zeldas to be released over the last 13 years, it comes closest. The game's greatest achievement is that it never stops aspiring to be more than it is. It never stops reaching for emotional moments, going full-tilt for players' hearts.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Playing this game is like blowing bubbles: fun with something delicate and ephemeral that seems strange and strong at first glance. The characters veer between sweet and mad, the music between interactive afrobeat and big-band bluegrass. This game reeks of love. It's Michel Ancel's crowning achievement.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Puzzlejuice asks a lot, but it also gives a lot back: Each achievement feels like it was earned, and like a cause for celebration.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Considering Domain is just a game, it's surprisingly human.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A delightful comic revenge fantasy of epic proportions.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Wind-Up Knight is a beautiful, propulsive game whose difficulty only makes it that much more fulfilling.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    By making every one of us the captain in our own saga, BioWare has retired the one-size-fits all of Kirk and Luke in favor of something much more flexible. Mass Effect 3 is what it feels like to be your own biggest fan.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Journey is a marvel, a hallucination of gameplay that feels as deep and immersive as the borderless desert where it begins.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Play this game long enough, and you'll believe there are souls in your computer, living simple, stark, beautiful lives.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The nice thing about sequels to successful games is that all the rough edges are buffed out, and The Two Thrones honors its graceful hero with impeccable controls and design.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The nice thing about sequels to successful games is that all the rough edges are buffed out, and The Two Thrones honors its graceful hero with impeccable controls and design.
    • 76 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).
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The addictive RPG Steambot Chronicles may seem like a perilous adventure involving man-operated battlebots, but at heart, it's really just another in a tradition of charming Japanese games about making friends.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It's still an unparalleled platformer that should make your eyes light up, then glaze over in obsessive concentration.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Table Tennis may be mocked as a spiritual cousin to Pong, but gaming experiences this pure haven't come along that often since.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    When a game so deeply rooted in well-trod, classic turf compels and tickles with such ease, the question is this: Are graphics-intensive game creators chasing down the right rabbit holes?
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It sounds like work, but putting blitzing linebackers on their rumps as your halfback flashes by is beyond satisfying.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    No game makes more creative use of the Nintendo DS touch-screen. Where many milk the technology for gimmicky distractions or Palm Pilot-style input, Elite Beat Agents bets the farm on precision touch-screen play, and wins big.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The only word to describe fighting Bowser with an orchestral score in the background is "badass."
    • 81 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.