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
330 game reviews
    • 85 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    For a so-called "automatic" game, Loop Hero sure presents enough questions and choices to get me invested in its missions, its accumulation of city structures, and its organic lessons about how to max out a particular loop. I haven't felt this surprised and engaged by a mix of new and familiar in a game since Slay the Spire. That description should terrify anybody who is not in need of another unique gaming obsession, because if my addiction is any indication, Loop Hero could very well burrow into your brain for the next few weeks. You've been warned. [Ars Technica Approved]
    • tbd Metascore
    • Critic Score
    This is a survival game made by people who really like survival games—but don't necessarily like the genre's tedium....We've put games in our year-end lists for less potential than what I've already enjoyed in Valheim thus far, and I don't see us getting out of 2021 without repeating praise for this killer multiplayer adventure option on PC. [Early Access review]
    • 89 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Bowser’s Fury is a decent diversion for the four hours or so it'll take an experienced platform player to beat (with maybe four more hours of diversion for completionists). Overall, though, it feels like a half-baked proving ground for some new gameplay ideas that aren’t fully fleshed out as they would be in a standalone Mario release. But Bowser’s Fury works just fine as an added bonus packaged with an under-appreciated platforming gem from the Wii U era. If you’ve never played 3D World before, this is a great chance to catch up on a fresh take on 3D Mario design. If you’re mainly interested in Bowser’s Fury, though, maybe wait until the strong ideas get expanded into a full, standalone game.
    • 63 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The good outweighs the bad. Get a PlayStation Plus trial and give this imperfect car-combat gem a spin.
    • 87 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    A solid if unambitious expansion pack—and that should tell you whether to buy this one or catch up on Hitman 2 instead.
    • tbd Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Obviously, we're still left wondering what shape the final game will take, or whether microtranscations or other balance issues will creep up before its retail launch on June 22. But in a wacky, cooped-up year like 2020, the harrowing, cooperation-filled combat of Back 4 Blood, and its attention to systems suited for repeat gameplay, already feels like the kind of game I want to master with my friends as soon as possible. [Alpha test]
    • 85 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    After 20 hours or so, I'm excited to continue inhabiting the fascinating world of Night City and to discover more of its secrets as I meet its fascinating characters. But I'll be moving on prepared to turn a blind eye to some pretty big holes in that facade. [20 Hour Impressions]
    • 92 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Also, gosh, it's nice to only wait about eight seconds after a brutal death for the game to load your next life, instead of two whole minutes. That's just one of many ways Bluepoint makes the die-and-retry reality of a Souls-like so much easier to savor on a new console like PlayStation 5. If you own one, and you've got the patience and stomach for challenge, don't hesitate to purchase this remastered classic.
    • 83 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    AC Valhalla gets just enough stuff right in its RPG-ized transition without blatantly copying fare like Dark Souls, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Witcher III, or Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Ubisoft's latest history-trotting murder-for-honor journey strikes a proper balance between "familiar sequel," "RPG homage," and "just fresh enough," while still being quite fun to play. In some respects, particularly its handling of side quests, it's actually better than Ghost of Tsushima, a similar 2020 game that I otherwise prefer. If you've got the time (quite a bit of time, in this game's 30+ hour case) to invest in the bloody, honor-bound journey of some cool Vikings, and the proper hardware for it, don't miss what AC Valhalla has to offer.
    • 85 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Miles Morales may not be exceptionally original, but it’s a well-told, exceedingly human superhero story built on a strong, proven foundation of open-world mechanics. What better way to show off a new console?
    • 72 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    In the end, the London of Watch Dogs: Legion feels a mile wide but only a few feet deep. What promises to be endless variety in character choice and hack-driven gameplay options quickly boils down to the repetition of the same old gameplay and plot tropes.
    • tbd Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Beyond the good looks of the graphics, I haven't found much in Baldur's Gate 3 to recommend it. Your character and party feel like insignificant gnats and are forced by circumstance to do and see awful things that they're not powerful enough to change. This is not a case of "tough moral choices" as seen in Wasteland 3, or in Obsidian's excellent 2016 RPG Tyranny—in Baldur's Gate 3, it feels like you have no agency at all. [Early Access impressions]
    • 75 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Mario's "battle royale" is too repetitive and rough for long-term play.
    • 79 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Before I go sending the developers my wish list for additional features, however, I should probably wait for them to finish the game (at least on the PC version). As a straightforward, reasonably priced arcade blaster with some unique flair, Squadrons has its charm—and is easier for me to recommend, especially to families, than Battlefront 2 ever was (not the highest of praise, but still). I'm just hopeful it gets closer to a recommended state of polish and bug squashing. [Impressions]
    • 87 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.
    • 85 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.
    • 81 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.
    • 75 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]
    • 80 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]

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