Ars Technica's Scores

  • Games
For 0 reviews, this publication has graded:
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On average, this publication grades 0 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Game review score: 0
Score distribution:
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  2. Mixed: 0 out of
  3. Negative: 0 out of
316 game reviews
    • 88 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The game is hard as heck, yes, and easily more difficult than its predecessor. But Spelunky 2's design language is also incredibly clear about what's happening and why, in ways that are far more accessible to understand, yet far more diverse and varying in every randomly generated run, than you might find in your average Souls-like game. In some difficult games, I might growl or throw a controller when things go wrong. In Spelunky 2, I regularly bellow a loud sigh-laugh after my worst failings. [Ars Technica Approved]
    • 82 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    A collection like 3D All-Stars would have been a great chance to celebrate Mario's recent history. In-game extras like concept art, developer interviews, or even playable prototype areas could have given fans a new appreciation for games that many players probably feel have already been picked clean. And while the ability to play each game's soundtrack inside the game is nice, the included songs are not hard to find all over the Internet. It might seem petty to ask more from a $60 package than to collect some of the greatest 3D platforming games ever created. At the same time, games this great deserve more respect and attention than the slapdash collection Nintendo has put together here.
    • 86 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    When inXile describes Wasteland 3 as a deep game with "80 to 100 hours" of gameplay before completion, they're not kidding. Although we fall on the "play through slowly and experience everything" side of RPG gaming, we'd guess we were no more than 25 percent through the game at 40+ hours in. Despite some faults, the strength of the tactical combat kept us engaged and interested, and the tough ethical choices along the way kept us guessing and motivated. The scenery is compelling, the soundscape and voice acting are incredibly lush, and the humorous touches scattered throughout landed more often than not. We think tactical RPG fans will be very pleased with Wasteland 3, warts and all—and if you're not a tactical RPG fan yet, this just might be the game that converts you.
    • 72 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The larger issue, arguably, is the lack of online multiplayer. Unlike Streets of Rage 4, Battletoads is offline-only, so if your ideal playmate can't get to your couch as of late, I'd recommend other superior beat-'em-up options. Should you have a good two- or three-person posse on your couch, and you already pay for Xbox Game Pass, expect a funny, brief, 10-and-older cartoon romp. But Dlala has implemented just enough obnoxious stuff between Battletoads' good bits to stop me, a pretty freakish Battletoads fan, from recommending that anyone buy it outright.
    • 80 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    A must-play if you already subscribe to PlayStation Plus. A hearty party-game recommendation if you can convince online friends to join in. A tough sell for loners or couch co-op players.
    • 84 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    I'm a big fan of HZD, and on my most powerful PC, I can currently play a tolerable-if-blurry 4K version at a nearly locked 60fps (or a native 1440p version at around 68fps on a variable refresh rate monitor). And it's a great action game at 60fps and above, especially when you juggle hero Aloy's selection of weapons and traps to fake like a real robo-safari hunter. There's no modern action game quite like it.
    • 74 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Honestly, if you've ever wanted to fake like a xenomorph in a video game, Carrion offers a better facsimile than any officially licensed Alien game. [Ars Technica Approved]
    • 79 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Buy it for a family-friendly casual romp through a fun, colorful world. Skip if you're looking for a deep, involved RPG experience.
    • 83 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    If you need to get lost in over 30 hours of heroic gameplay right now, in a single-player adventure with no online connectivity gimmicks or content locked away as DLC, Sucker Punch has you covered with an instant contender for 2020's game of the year. [Ars Technica Approved]
    • 86 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    I've not driven an F1 car in real life, but I do get to drive a fair few different racing games each year, and I'm happy to report that F1 2020 is up there with the best of them in terms of being fun to play. It's incredible engaging with a wheel and pedals, and you can customize the game to match the difficulty level you're looking for. It looks good and sounds as good as you can hope a turbocharged hybrid F1 car to sound. If you're a fan of the sport, it's probably worth picking it up.
    • 73 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    You're going to need one seriously iron stomach to withstand Iron Man VR's lows, and they don't come with any payoff in terms of addictive action or satisfying comic-book storytelling. I'd hoped for more from what appears to be the last major PSVR game for PlayStation 4, but sadly, my expectations turned out to be virtual, not real.
    • 76 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It's not a perfect collection. Still, I'll take a re-release that's doggedly old-school over the microtransaction alternative. DrillLand is exactly the kind of unique, satisfying, and cutesy puzzle-action game I want right now.
    • 93 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Trying to extend the story of The Last of Us in a meaningful way was always going to be an uphill battle. What’s so frustrating about Part 2 is that the game seems to have all the pieces necessary to do just that. But those pieces end up getting lost as the game also tries to tell an entirely new story, one that tries to expand the Last of Us world into a generalized setting for an anthology of loosely connected stories. The end result never comes together in a satisfying way.
    • 82 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Despite a few quality-of-life tweaks, the package is otherwise faithful to the originals—almost to a fault—while its compatibility with modern PCs is mostly good enough.
    • 66 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    But even the "great for portable play" sales pitch suffers from a big issue: Obsidian has opted not to include any form of cloud-save support. You can't transfer your progress from the Switch version to any other console or PC version, or vice versa. (This pales in comparison to cloud-save support for the likes of Witcher 3 and Divinity: Original Sin 2.) And that makes the visual downgrades much tougher to suggest for anyone who owns other ways to play this game at home.
    • 70 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Where LEGO games run out of steam pretty quickly (even unlocking new hidden characters doesn't really change your tactics), Minecraft Dungeons does a wonderful job incentivizing experimentation without making it difficult to figure out. Get new item. Equip new item. See how new item makes you stronger, more explosive, or just plain weirder. Kill mobs. Repeat. [Ars Technica Approved]
    • 84 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    I'm in love with my biggest gaming surprise so far in 2020. SoR4 is easy to share with friends and easy to get hooked on. Its levels are choreographed with tons of enemy types from across the series so that you don't land in the usual "ugh, same enemies again" fatigue that even the Genesis originals suffer from. And, heck, Lizardcube and Guard Crush were kind enough to bring back the cheesy two-player "battle" mode—and it's actually kind of legit, since it neatly implements the special attacks' new risk-and-reward proposition. If you're on board with the scant length and the game's urging that you replay it a few times for maximum value, I heartily encourage you to spend 10 satisfying hours with this beat-'em-up rebirth. [Ars Technica Approved]
    • 87 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    What's not to guess is that I'm in. Square-Enix, I don't care what you call the next one: FFVII Remix, FFVII Reunion, FFVII 2.8 Enchanted Forest of Midgar Dreams, whatever. I'm sold. I'm buying in. I'm playing the next one. But since I have your attention following such a nice pledge, here's a request: do me a solid and hire a new translation team next time, won'tcha?
    • 84 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    As of press time, Xbox One X is woefully behind compared to PS4 and PS4 Pro on performance. While we lack discrete pixel-counting gear, we can confirm that both PlayStation consoles do better at locking to a 60fps refresh, and XB1X noticeably stutters in the act of play. RE3 is one of the more action-oriented entries in the series, so frame rates count.
    • 93 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The finished product accomplished what it needed to: it proved that Valve still knows how to make a classic single-player adventure—one that will inspire a whole new generation of game fans. It left me hungry for more, which is saying something for a single-player game of this length and scope. The masses may not rush out to buy a VR set to play Half-Life: Alyx. But anyone who loves video games should look at this game as a next logical step in the possibilities of dramatic, interactive storytelling. Bravo, Valve. Bravo. [Ars Technica Approved]
    • 88 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Doom Eternal is a thrilling return to form and a high-water mark for fast-paced twitch shooting. Buy it.
    • 90 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    People will talk about this game as an ideal escape during uncertain current events, but I'd like to emphasize how much I enjoyed AC:NH even when I had other viable social and outdoor entertainment options. Animal Crossing games have always delivered a compelling version of self-quarantine, and this one overflows with quantity, without sacrificing quality, to do so at a scale series fans have never seen. Consider this a very high recommendation for anyone who thinks shooting the breeze with neon-colored, gym-loving ponies and hot-pink, coffee-chugging kangaroos is a great idea for a video game. [Ars Technica Approved]
    • 90 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    A beautiful, difficult, and masterful swan song for 2D platforming on the Xbox One. Buy it if you have any interest in the genre.
    • 54 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    I struggle to recommend SC5VR to anybody who owns PlayStation VR. The worst part is that the game's solid core gameplay is a clear sign that its dev team could have made an excellent and unique VR rhythm game instead of rushing this scant disappointment out for $40.
    • 59 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The more I look at this week's launch of WarCraft III: Reforged, the more I shake my head. I've grown up playing Blizzard games for a majority of my life, and while I can think of Blizzard game launches with technical issues or critical shoulder-shrugs, I can't recall a retail launch for a product that, quite simply, wasn't finished. WC3:R changes that.
    • 74 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    But there's enough solid stuff in how the game controls on a bulky home-joystick rig, plus how your campaign progress is rewarded with tons of mech-customization opportunities. Between that and the AI-squadmate stuff, MW5:M isn't a lost cause by any stretch. But it's firmly interested in appeasing a dedicated niche, not drawing in newbies. Which, based on my giddy HOTAS-fueled combat, is likely the point.
    • 81 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    And since this is an older game being smashed into working shape on PC, that means we can rest (mostly) assured that Xbox Game Studios won't be bolting extra obnoxious systems on top, particularly microtransactions. Halo Reach now is like Halo Reach then. And that's arguably the greatest comfort of all this time around.
    • 81 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Despite its polish and best ideas, I wish I'd just reinstalled both Force Unleashed games, and I encourage anybody eager for a fun, Force-filled, third-person Star Wars experience this year to do the same.
    • 80 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    I do think Sword and Shield are good entries for anyone who got into Pokémon through Go and Let’s Go and is looking for something a bit more difficult and larger in scale. Seasoned players can still enjoy the new monsters and appreciate the game’s story mode while it lasts (I cleared the main story in around 35 hours). It’s just too bad that, for longtime players, what’s missing is probably going to overshadow everything that’s here.
    • 80 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    I do think Sword and Shield are good entries for anyone who got into Pokémon through Go and Let’s Go and is looking for something a bit more difficult and larger in scale. Seasoned players can still enjoy the new monsters and appreciate the game’s story mode while it lasts (I cleared the main story in around 35 hours). It’s just too bad that, for longtime players, what’s missing is probably going to overshadow everything that’s here.

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