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
Score distribution:
933 game reviews
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's just too bad VVVVVV didn't come out 25 years ago.
    • 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.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's confounding how this simple world can evoke feelings of curiosity, wonder, and dread all at once.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The narrative setting is nearly as potent as the gameplay.
    • 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.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A technical masterpiece with a story that reaches too far—but Andrew Ryan would have it no other way.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The flesh is weak. Prolonged play can cause serious finger fatigue.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A massive, enthralling achievement.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A dazzling array of showmanship, visual glitz, and a hefty dose of fun make this an absolute must-play.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    F...ing awesome.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Folks who traded in their PSPs for lack of awesome games should be feeling substantial remorse right about now.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Minor quibbles aside, this is a must-play game for action gamers, especially those who enjoy playing cooperatively online.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The rare game in which theme and gameplay harmonize.
    • 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.
    • 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
    If there's an imaginative and genuinely fun way to use the touch-screen this game finds it and exploits it to the fullest.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Considering Domain is just a game, it's surprisingly human.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
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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    • 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.
    • 83 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 75 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.
    • 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.
    • 73 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
    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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 86 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.
    • 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.
    • 81 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.
    • 79 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    Guardians feels like a huge missed opportunity to evolve Halo beyond simple combat.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 74 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.