The New York Times' Scores

For 293 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 53% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Game review score: 76
Highest review score: 100 Half-Life 2
Lowest review score: 35 Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 6 out of 293
293 game reviews
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    No other game does as many things as well as Half-Life 2; I had so much fun that I can forgive the game its abysmal ending. I was continually enthralled and amazed.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    While BioShock has an intriguing back story, the game’s episodic, mission-based structure lacks the propulsive momentum of games like "Half-Life" or "Max Payne." The story is better than that of many action games, but BioShock’s gameplay and visuals are so utterly brilliant that it is a shame it fails to reach the same level of greatness in its storytelling.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The creepy atmosphere remains, but puzzles, alas, are few and far between, and so easy that they function only as lulls in the action. Yet the game is so riveting that this is forgivable.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The Orange Box reminds me of those knife sets sold on late-night TV, where if you act now you get a vegetable chopper and a cutting board. Besides Episode 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2, the package includes the original Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode 1. But no cake. If someone tells you the Orange Box comes with cake, remember that whatever else you choose to believe, the cake is most definitely a lie.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The Orange Box reminds me of those knife sets sold on late-night TV, where if you act now you get a vegetable chopper and a cutting board. Besides Episode 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2, the package includes the original Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode 1. But no cake. If someone tells you the Orange Box comes with cake, remember that whatever else you choose to believe, the cake is most definitely a lie.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    While BioShock has an intriguing back story, the game’s episodic, mission-based structure lacks the propulsive momentum of games like "Half-Life" or "Max Payne." The story is better than that of many action games, but BioShock’s gameplay and visuals are so utterly brilliant that it is a shame it fails to reach the same level of greatness in its storytelling.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It would feel truer to the game's open environmental design if you could have more general goals: kill an enemy when and how you like; raise money for an objective through any method available; challenge random people to races.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In spite of a weak ending that is little more than a setup for "Halo 3," the game is a satisfying experience. It is tremendous fun to jump on an enemy vehicle, punch the driver until he falls out, get in and start blasting.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The new control scheme is beautifully integrated into the game, and it feels perfectly natural to start waving your hand like a maniac whenever danger approaches.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    Gears of War shows that intelligent game designers can use high-powered consoles for more than just making prettier versions of existing games.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    A game so vast and varied that it would probably take hundreds of hours of play to see and experience everything, if that is possible at all.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 81 Critic Score
    Halo 3 is "Halo 2" with somewhat better graphics. That’s all you really need to know. If you loved "Halo 2," you will feel just the same about Halo 3. If you played "Halo 2" and couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about, Halo 3 is not the revelatory experience that will change your view of the series forever.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    A game so vast and varied that it would probably take hundreds of hours of play to see and experience everything, if that is possible at all.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 84 Critic Score
    Perhaps Sam is just getting older, perfecting his skills while losing some feistiness. His games are following the same path, with increasingly sophisticated, deep gameplay but a little less flair.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Takedown is nearly flawless, with crisp graphics, a rousing punk-rock soundtrack and smart level design that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It is not just the best driving game I have ever played, but one of the best games of any genre this year.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 96 Critic Score
    God of War matches its lavish settings, gorgeous graphics and high style with solid game mechanics. Everything is well thought out, from the responsive controls to a checkpoint system that makes sure you almost never have to replay too large a chunk of the game if you die.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Takedown is nearly flawless, with crisp graphics, a rousing punk-rock soundtrack and smart level design that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It is not just the best driving game I have ever played, but one of the best games of any genre this year.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    Arenas are wonderfully bizarre...I was especially taken by an arena based on the Wario Ware games, where combatants periodically take breaks from battle to dodge objects or chisel statues.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    This game is so visually striking, so original and so well done that most other game designers should look at it and then hang their heads in shame. It is proof that the important thing in game design is not the graphical processing power of the game console but the power of the designer’s imagination.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Touring in single-player mode is disappointingly pared down, as though the designers couldn’t imagine anyone would play the game alone. This was disappointing, as my friends can’t come over every day to play.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    Team Fortress 2 is a beautifully designed game with a visual style reminiscent of old Warner Brothers cartoons, and battles that combine strategy with frenetic action. The only real flaw is the documentation, which is far too skimpy to be of any help at all in learning the intricacies of each soldier class.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 84 Critic Score
    Perhaps Sam is just getting older, perfecting his skills while losing some feistiness. His games are following the same path, with increasingly sophisticated, deep gameplay but a little less flair.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 84 Critic Score
    While Fantasy has a captivating and ingenious battle system and thriving, beautifully designed cities set in an imaginative, fully realized world, it doesn’t have much of a story. The best narratives of political intrigue frame it as a personal struggle, but Fantasy is too concerned with the grand sweep of politics to bother with giving its cast interesting personalities.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Of course, not everyone’s taste in music is the same as mine. If you like Guitar Hero II’s song selection, then you may consider it the ultimate music game; the underlying gameplay is a lot of fun.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Touring in single-player mode is disappointingly pared down, as though the designers couldn’t imagine anyone would play the game alone. This was disappointing, as my friends can’t come over every day to play.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The illusion that you are playing in a band is slightly marred by the very un-rock 'n' roll clicking sound of the strumming mechanism, but as your fingers hammer out complex rhythms you feel as close to being Eric Clapton as you are ever likely to.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Wonderfully detailed and imaginative, Snake Eater can also be extremely frustrating.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 78 Critic Score
    While the game lacks a sense of purpose, the battles themselves are incredible, each distinct and imaginative, requiring a mix of wit and muscle. They can also be remarkably difficult.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    It’s a startling change that the game emphasizes by having the aliens cover the island with snow. It feels as though Crytek created two games and jammed them together, and while the last third is still pretty fun, it feels like a pale imitation of "Halo 3."
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It is remarkable how much Chains plays like its big-console forebears.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    I spent most of my time getting my Sims to seduce one another. Sims are bisexual, fickle and intensely jealous.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    It is remarkable how many clever things one can do with portals.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 79 Critic Score
    The dungeons would actually be perfectly fun without the timed gimmick. They’re all fun to go through once, but none of them are fun enough to go through 20 times. Hourglass is so good for the most part that I still enjoyed the game, but the time I spent racing through dungeons removed all thoughts of its being perfect.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    With the new features and the improved interface of the DS added to the virtually perfect game mechanics that have always distinguished the series, Dual Strike is arguably the best Advance Wars game to date, although the almost perfect nature of the previous games makes that a tough call.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    I was less impressed by Episode 2’s story. While it sows a few seeds for the final episode of the trilogy, the game lacks the driving force of the previous episode.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A sequel to one of the most original and well-designed games of all time, Pikmin 2 adheres to the ''if it's not broken, don't fix it'' philosophy, repeating the same formula with some minor tweaks and the addition of way too much product placement.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    There's nothing especially original in Dragon's old-fashioned gameplay, but it does it all beautifully.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    The best sequel [to "KOTOR"] that is not really a sequel that I have ever played.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Some puzzles struck me as unfair, and if you die the game often revives you at a place where you will have to replay too large a chunk. The worst part is a final big battle that seems 10 times more difficult than anything preceding it.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    The game is easy to learn and immediately engaging, but also offers more complex features like the ability to break down refuse into component parts for making armor. The game's graphics are gorgeous, with grand ruins set in ravaged deserts.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 78 Critic Score
    While GT4 aims for realism, it occasionally falls short. Competitors drive like mindless automatons, seemingly unaware of your existence. Cars can take endless amounts of damage, allowing you to control your turns by bouncing off other cars like a pinball. If a track doesn't have walls, like one set in the Grand Canyon, then an invisible barrier prevents you from going off track.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Tools is, very simply, the best game to come out for the PlayStation 3 since it was introduced last year.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 82 Critic Score
    Paradise isn’t my favorite Burnout game, but it is well worth playing; the only major aggravation is being forced to listen to Guns N’ Roses’ intolerable song “Paradise City” every time you start playing. Couldn’t they have named it Burnout Suffragette?
    • 88 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    Actions are beautifully animated, and it is thrilling when you manage to throw your opponents straight up in the air and keep them there with a series of well-placed kicks.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    F.E.A.R. is as thrilling and involving as "Half-Life" but lacks its narrative panache: I was never quite clear on what was going on in the game. I knew my goal - track down a psychic, escort a corporate executive's daughter out of danger - but I didn't ever care who these people were nor did I understand their motives.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Insanity is what makes Psychonauts entertaining and unusual, so it is a shame you have to spend several hours in the mildly eccentric minds of instructors before getting to the cool part of the game.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    A remarkably deep and complex game. It is as though the designers sat around thinking of every possible feature you could have in a role playing game and then managed to squeeze them all in.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It is remarkable how skillfully the gameplay and graphics have been transported to the smaller platform.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    With its clever ideas and impressive graphics, Oddworld is tremendous fun for a while, although it lacks the depth and varied gameplay of recent action games like "Half-Life 2" and "Resident Evil 4."
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The game does a wonderful job of showing how cool physics is, especially with the more elaborate puzzles, and it’s fun to see the marvelously ingenious solutions that players upload to the game’s Web site.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 82 Critic Score
    Paradise isn’t my favorite Burnout game, but it is well worth playing; the only major aggravation is being forced to listen to Guns N’ Roses’ intolerable song “Paradise City” every time you start playing. Couldn’t they have named it Burnout Suffragette?
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    And even though its skeletal story and often repetitive game play keep it from being a truly great game, Doom 3's haunted-house formula can still terrorize and exhilarate the player.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    Jeanne d’Arc’s story and gameplay are both first-rate, but they are essentially separate entities; you watch some story, fight a little and keep doing that until the game ends.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 84 Critic Score
    Perhaps Sam is just getting older, perfecting his skills while losing some feistiness. His games are following the same path, with increasingly sophisticated, deep gameplay but a little less flair.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    The commentary is fascinating, and shows an attention to detail that puts many other games to shame. Every game designer should own Episode One — along with Richard Rouse III's book "Game Design: Theory and Practice" (Wordware, 2001).
    • 87 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    One is simply awestruck that so much can be squeezed into such a tiny package... Dark Mirror is everything a PSP game should be — an extravagant interactive movie with intricate gameplay and an elaborate story.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    Agents is a great mix of purposely nonsensical story and engaging gameplay.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 84 Critic Score
    This may disappoint Metal Gear fans used to the lengthy, elaborate missions of previous games, but it is ideal on a console you use while waiting for the train.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Insanity is what makes Psychonauts entertaining and unusual, so it is a shame you have to spend several hours in the mildly eccentric minds of instructors before getting to the cool part of the game.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    Kingdom Hearts II is in many ways superior to its predecessor. Battles are more exciting, the game is much longer, and unlike the original, it allows one to skip the beautifully animated story scenes, saving the player from watching a two-minute introductory sequence to a difficult battle five times in a row. What the sequel lacks is the narrative momentum of the original.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    The game does ask the player to make choices, but they seem best decided by a coin toss, as there are no practical or moral reasons to choose a particular path. While a theme of duality runs through the game, it is more narrative conceit than game-play enhancement.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Canvas Curse is tremendous fun.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    In spite of rave reviews it’s a fairly pedestrian humans-versus-aliens first-person shooter that brings nothing new to the genre. The artificial intelligence of combatants is lackluster, and the semi-sepia-toned graphics are surprisingly unimpressive, no better than what you would see on the five-year-old Xbox.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While most such games overlay this free-form world with rigidly structured missions, Mercenaries allows the player almost as much freedom in action as it does in travel.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Though I loved the original, I was less enthralled by the sequel. It felt too much like a typical role-playing dungeon crawl, in which you go from room to room fighting endless battles.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    Retains most of the original's brilliance, though it isn't quite as funny.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    I've never seen a control scheme like that before, but then I've never seen a game where you could roll a ball over a cat before.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    While Skate has some small flaws (it would have been a good idea to make your skater translucent whenever he blocks something important on screen), it is rare to find a game that comes so close to doing everything right.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    The complex chesslike game play is as terrific as ever, but what sets Ruin apart is a radical change in tone. The previous games all had a cutesy style and a negligible story, but Ruin details a grim post-apocalyptic world where survivors struggle to find food and avoid a deadly parasite that turns people into flower-bedecked corpses.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    The game does ask the player to make choices, but they seem best decided by a coin toss, as there are no practical or moral reasons to choose a particular path. While a theme of duality runs through the game, it is more narrative conceit than game-play enhancement.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    So I fought, each time sitting through an unskippable 30-second scene of the fight's start and then getting killed within a minute. I did this about 70 times. My body trembling from tension and exhaustion, I kept playing not because it was any fun but simply because it was my job, and when after three hours I finally won I experienced not victorious joy but simply relief that it was over. I felt all the considerable pleasure the game had given me had been taken back.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    The second season has increased the difficulty with each episode, and Beelzebub has some really tricky puzzles.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    Daxter, developed by Ready at Dawn Studios, is far closer in spirit to the original game than "Jak II" or "Jak 3," with wacky humor and imaginative puzzles and action that are challenging without being torturous.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    I am a great fan of thoughtful, intricate games, yet there is an undeniable power in the visceral thrill of blasting robots, ramming into flatbed trucks and disrobing Bugs Bunny.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The controls feel less random and demand some extra skill, particularly in the countering system that allows one to block a punch and use its momentum to throw an opponent. The game lacks the intuitive feel of similar fighting series like Tekken and Soul Calibur, but it is still tremendous fun.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It is interesting but not absorbing.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    This approach is similar to chess, but there are far more variables.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    But just keeping the player's attention is not enough to make a great game, and the tragedy of Indigo is that it so wants to be one.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    So I fought, each time sitting through an unskippable 30-second scene of the fight's start and then getting killed within a minute. I did this about 70 times. My body trembling from tension and exhaustion, I kept playing not because it was any fun but simply because it was my job, and when after three hours I finally won I experienced not victorious joy but simply relief that it was over. I felt all the considerable pleasure the game had given me had been taken back.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 79 Critic Score
    Parts of the game are remarkably tedious, like a series of easy duels that wears out its welcome by the first duel. The game also refuses to let you skip expository scenes you’ve already witnessed, which is particularly unfortunate since the story and dialogue are rather dull. While all this keeps Super Paper Mario from being a great game, the imaginative level design, clever ideas and varied locations still make it a very good one.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 79 Critic Score
    [The save structure] makes for a fascinating but infuriating experience reminiscent of the movie “Groundhog Day”; you have to keep reliving the same three days over and over, each time saving a few more people and killing a few more psychopaths until you perfect your game.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    So I fought, each time sitting through an unskippable 30-second scene of the fight's start and then getting killed within a minute. I did this about 70 times. My body trembling from tension and exhaustion, I kept playing not because it was any fun but simply because it was my job, and when after three hours I finally won I experienced not victorious joy but simply relief that it was over. I felt all the considerable pleasure the game had given me had been taken back.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    While Skate has some small flaws (it would have been a good idea to make your skater translucent whenever he blocks something important on screen), it is rare to find a game that comes so close to doing everything right.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    The movie construction system is impressive.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While most such games overlay this free-form world with rigidly structured missions, Mercenaries allows the player almost as much freedom in action as it does in travel.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    So I fought, each time sitting through an unskippable 30-second scene of the fight's start and then getting killed within a minute. I did this about 70 times. My body trembling from tension and exhaustion, I kept playing not because it was any fun but simply because it was my job, and when after three hours I finally won I experienced not victorious joy but simply relief that it was over. I felt all the considerable pleasure the game had given me had been taken back.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 79 Critic Score
    In spite of its well-produced animated dramatic sequences, the game isn’t about story, it’s about destruction, and Devil May Cry 4 offers many ways to wreak havoc.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 79 Critic Score
    In spite of its well-produced animated dramatic sequences, the game isn’t about story, it’s about destruction, and Devil May Cry 4 offers many ways to wreak havoc.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Besides being a simply designed but strategically complex game, Defcon can also be seen as a work of art. It made me think of Andy Warhol’s silk-screen paintings of an electric chair. Like those paintings, Defcon presents its subject with a stark matter-of-factness. The game does not tell you what to think about nuclear war, but makes it impossible not to think about it.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    But just keeping the player's attention is not enough to make a great game, and the tragedy of Indigo is that it so wants to be one.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The game mechanics are unique and enthralling.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 73 Critic Score
    The game does an admirable job of adding some strategic depth and complexity to the casual game model without losing its pick-up-and-play nature.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The tone of the game has gone from an Arabian Nights fantasy to something akin to a Marilyn Manson music video. In dark and grimy settings, the once gallant prince curses and jeers as he swings his sword at demons whose decapitations are lovingly shown in slow motion to a soundtrack of screeching guitars.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 82 Critic Score
    Sly is so much fun that he overshadows his gang, and as entertaining as the other missions are, you can't help wishing there were a little more Sly and a little less of everyone else.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With imaginative levels on snowy landscapes or inside whales, LocoRoco uses charm and simplicity of design to create something near perfection. But it’s a small perfection, charming in its childlike whimsy but as insubstantial as a summer breeze.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 69 Critic Score
    Heroes alternates these exciting, frenetic assassin hunts with painfully tedious sections in which you must raise a battle entry fee by performing chores like wiping out a nest of thugs or, quite oddly, mowing lawns and picking up garbage.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 82 Critic Score
    The visuals are grander and Lara has some new tricks up her sleeve, but no effort has been made to flesh out the negligible story.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    Puzzles are fiendishly intricate, and it is a thrill when you finish a circuitous, mind-bending route to the exit.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The tone of the game has gone from an Arabian Nights fantasy to something akin to a Marilyn Manson music video. In dark and grimy settings, the once gallant prince curses and jeers as he swings his sword at demons whose decapitations are lovingly shown in slow motion to a soundtrack of screeching guitars.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    While Spider-Man 2 is quite entertaining during its major challenges, it grinds to a halt when you are forced to wander around saving random people.