Hardcore Gamer's Scores

  • Games
For 3,717 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 50% higher than the average critic
  • 9% same as the average critic
  • 41% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Game review score: 73
Highest review score: 100 Celeste
Lowest review score: 20 Vampire Rain
Score distribution:
3718 game reviews
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    SaGa games have always felt like the odd man out in the world of JRPGs and Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song is no exception that statement. SaGa games have always tried to be innovative, often times feeling like they’re prioritizing experimentation over making an enjoyable game, and Minstrel Song is one of them. The battle system is one of the more interesting features with the different elements such as durability points for weapons and life points for characters making many of the most basic battles feel like they’re a high-stakes encounter. The lack of structure in completing the main quest and side quests is a double-edged sword. It’s nice to have the freedom to explore Mardias and address quests in whatever manner the player feels, but the low emphasis on story and a rather bland world didn’t offer much encouragement to do so. Hardcore SaGa fans will likely chalk that up to just being the quirks of a SaGa game and have a great time with this. Fans of more conventional JRPGs are less likely to find what they want here.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Thanks to the shift to a service model, Just Dance 2023 should be something that players get years of enjoyment out of. The default game is already an easy recommendation for veterans and newcomers alike due to its diverse track list and wide variety of difficulty options for every genre, and having an ever-growing song library through a subscription is going to help in the long haul since players don’t have to worry about grabbing a new entry at full-price to enjoy a new song lineup and a largely incremental shift in core gameplay.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While Pokémon Scarlet and Violet may not be a perfect experience, it’s still an absolute delight in almost every way. Memorable characters and storylines are the highlight that pulls together the open exploration, which is truly impactful. It’s hard to stop playing with every corner having a Pokémon hiding and potentially something new to find along the way. A trainer can go through every area and still miss one or two hidden surprises that are so much fun to uncover when coming back. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are the best titles in the franchise in over a decade, with the only thing holding them back being performance hiccups we hope manage to get fixed down the line.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While Pokémon Scarlet and Violet may not be a perfect experience, it’s still an absolute delight in almost every way. Memorable characters and storylines are the highlight that pulls together the open exploration, which is truly impactful. It’s hard to stop playing with every corner having a Pokémon hiding and potentially something new to find along the way. A trainer can go through every area and still miss one or two hidden surprises that are so much fun to uncover when coming back. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are the best titles in the franchise in over a decade, with the only thing holding them back being performance hiccups we hope manage to get fixed down the line.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    When all is said and done, Goat Simulator 3 is a solid playground to have fun in and just be the worst goat possible. There’s tons of items to find, toys to unwrap and secrets to find. It’s a well-made silly thing to follow up a joke that went too far. Even after the credits roll, it’ll still be fun to try out new ideas to see what will work and what else is hidden. Even as I am writing this, I’ve thought of a couple of things that I’m going to want to do just to see if anything happens. Based on the rest of the game, the answer is probably yes. That alone shows that the spirit of the original has been captured while still being a more complete experience. Even the bugs, and admittedly crusty references, can be ignored when there is just so much fun to be had.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    An incredible look into the advancements in technology and the various perils the future can hold, Flat Eye is a narrative sim with terrific dialogue and individual stories that provide sharp satire and even terrific comedy courtesy of your AI, all while providing a fun challenge as you try and manage this Black Mirror-style showcase of a tech-filled convenience store. It’s a sweet and savvy twist on simulation games that’s worth checking out, especially if it gets more people to watch Clue.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Gungrave G.O.R.E. marks Grave’s return to blasting everything in sight. Fans of the earlier entries in the series will be happy to see the gameplay has remained largely the same, which is charge into battle with guns blazing for pure action-packed carnage. Mindless mayhem and destruction can be a good time and that’s exactly what this title delivers, which works as a double-edged sword for Gungrave. Because of how basic and repetitive the gameplay can be, it’s easy to lose interest after a few levels and not find the experience of playing it fulfilling. On the other hand, there are times when it’s good to just turn the brain off and have fun, and when that mood strikes, Gungrave G.O.R.E. is just what the doctor ordered.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Evil West deserves a spot among the best games that take place in the wild west. This isn’t the first time cowboys have faced off against vampires, but this is one the better attempts at fusing the opposing genres. From the time Evil West sinks in its teeth, it immediately becomes a game that’s difficult to put down. The story is told through cutscenes that are long enough to get the point across without affecting the pacing. The real star of Evil West is the combat where using the obscene amount of firearms strapped to Jesse’s back to supplement melee attacks couldn’t have felt more intuitive. Not everyone is a fan of westerns or horror, but anyone who’s a fan of either owes it to themselves to play Evil West.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In all its tricks, turns and trials to overcome, A Little to the Left succeeds on the basis of its charming and relatable premise on the obsessive nature of order and sequence. Messes to tidy up, objects to arrange and patterns to recognize, or perhaps be led astray in assuming there’s one to even recognize. Max Inferno already establish a quaint and attractive presentation here, but it’s thanks to the execution of its main puzzles — with a few added mechanics and incentives to replay puzzles on top — where A Little to the Left finds that added lift to help bolster its appeal. The game’s key means of communication doesn’t always work in its favor and that cozy, laid-back approach can be an occasional annoyance just as it can be a helpful support. Even so, a game that in many ways strikes right at the heart of puzzle game mentality and that desire to find order amid the chaos. Proof that A Little to the Left with all its color and upbeat vibrancy, more importantly, has the wit and the know-how to make its challenge something you’ll take great pride in completing.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even though the controls can sometimes feel frustrating in the 2.5D sections, it’s never enough to kill the momentum, and when you finally dial in to what’s expected the area is cleared and it’s back to the exploration. There’s a mystery at the heart of the Starfall Islands and it’s got Sonic’s friends trapped within, but a cocky and determined hedgehog is more than a match for whatever may be happening there. But first there are a couple hundred areas of the map to explore, tricky routes leading to memory tokens, enemies and mini-bosses to test new combat skills on, and maybe a few koco to rescue. Whatever happened on the Starfall Islands seems to have taken place centuries ago, so it can wait just a bit longer for Sonic to bounce, dash and rail-grind his way through every challenge Sonic Frontiers can throw at him.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Devil in Me not only sticks the landing for The Dark Pictures Anthology, but it does so with a highly-improved game that shows off the potential of this series, feeling like a culmination of every lesson Supermassive has learned along the way. The story is a nicely -aptivating and tense thriller, new gameplay touches like the individual inventories are great additions, the setting is creepy with a lot of attention to detail, and overall, it just feels like a lot of fun. The real-life H.H. Holmes may not have been the grand killer we imagine him as, but the myth behind him has certainly made for one killer adventure game.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Tactics Ogre Reborn is the best overall way to enjoy this classic game. Some may prefer the older versions keeping the original pixel art, while this version smooths out the rough edges in ways that may not be for everyone. The addition of voice acting helps tell the story and give it a greater sense of pathos and it’s good work overall. The story is a serious one and no one plays anything for laughs. Reborn offers up a new way to enjoy a legendary title and shows off just how perfectly-crafted it was to begin with. It’s a minor shame that the original game isn’t included here for historical purposes, but what we have here is largely the best way to play it outside of the filtered pixel art. Tactics Ogre Reborn is a remarkable tactical RPG and a landmark entry in the genre over 25 years after its original release.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It’s hard to recommend Somerville purely on the basis of what loosely-tied and ultimately lacking material its narrative provides. A story, so to speak, devoid of a satisfying conclusion (not least if you’re going for all possible endings) wherein the vague explanation throughout doesn’t always work in its favor. Having said that, the same hands-off approach to its puzzle design does provide more than enough positives to render the game an enjoyable-enough trek.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    RWBY: Arrowfell is not a title we would necessarily call wholly bad, but it feels lacking especially when considering that the teams behind it have such a great track record for platformers and fighting titles. It’s hard to tell where things ended up to make it feel so “bleh.” The repetitive nature quickly becomes apparent, the lack of innovation in combat keeping anything from feeling fresh after the first few stages and it just feels like a series so focused around combat would deliver a more fleshed-out experience. RWBY: Arrowfell is a title that will only appeal to fans of the franchise, but even then it won’t offer a stunning gameplay experience or make it worth picking up for the story. At the very least it’s nice to see new interactions between characters, but it’s just a shame the gameplay loop just couldn’t pull through.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    No element of Harvestella’s gameplay is exceptional, but somehow all this imperfect and mismatched elements come together to in a way where the overall package ends up being greater than the sum of its parts. The farming system is simplistic and the combat is mediocre, but in spite of itself it’s easy to get caught up in the lives of the villagers and fall into the trap of wanting to play for just “one more day” which turns into half a season.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Pentiment is a short but sweet adventure from Obsidian, one that plays to their strengths when it comes to dialogue and gives players enjoyable mysteries to figure out. While there are hiccups at times with the story structure and the climax, it’s still a captivating journey through a rather tense period in history, but one that also seems oddly calming thanks to its likeable characters and visual flairs that bring Tassing to life.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As ridiculous and as unruly as it’s ever been, the five year wait for Bayonetta’s third outing ends on a predominantly satisfying high. Finding enough new ways to make its decade-plus old combat formula feel fresh and exciting all over again, Bayonetta 3 is at its loveably over-the-top best when everything is focused squarely on the combat, the combos and the pursuit of the best ranking to add to one’s collection. Even new faces like Viola provide interesting enough divergence, even if the narrative material — much like the main story throughout — isn’t as strong by comparison. It doesn’t always get the balance of spectacle and execution spot-on, but Bayonetta 3 doubles-down on the familiar parts that matter and succeeds with just how creative combat can get. Bayonetta 3 is the quintessential PlatinumGames outing that despite its brief issues is just too engaging to ignore.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is not a revolutionary entry in the franchise, but its multiplayer and co-op do just enough to make it an enjoyable Call of Duty.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    God of War Ragnarök is to God of War (2018) as God of War II was to God of War. God of War II may not have changed much mechanically, but it made nuanced improvements to gameplay, story and level design, all while injecting much-needed variety into the enemies and environments. These improvements yielded a fantastic sequel that remains one of the best entries in the franchise.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While some elements such as the lack of a romantic goal may be a turn off for some players, Doraemon Story of Seasons: Friends of the Great Kingdom is an absolute charmer much like the first title. Those who enjoyed the first may find this to be more of the same, but at the end of the day, that’s what fans of farming sims often want. It’s the variety of characters and new crops and little gameplay tweaks that make it fun to come back time and time again to work up to the ultimate farming experience. It’s a must-have for Doraemon fans and those wanting a new light-hearted Story of Seasons experience will likely enjoy the change of pace that the crossover brings to the table. Hopefully fans of the genre check out Doraemon Story of Seasons: Friends of the Great Kingdom as it truly is an endearing delight and exciting to see this series get such a lovely sequel.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    What feels like the foundation for something ideally more substantial lying in wait, Arkanoid – Eternal Battle can only muster up a competent, but unimaginative, spin on the Taito classic in Battle Royale form. That’s not to say that its core mode doesn’t at least find a way to tempt you back for another round umpteen times over, but eventually the more you repeat its disappointingly shallow progression — and worst of all, its egregiously-difficult and frustrating final face-off — the more you feel your time is spent not cunningly plotting a course to victory, but instead merely wasted on a concept that should be better fleshed out. Eternal Battle is not without good ideas in spots, and while the effort on bringing another retro classic into the BR fold is appreciated, it’s far from the most emergent or compelling of takes in the sub-genre.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The Yomawari series is one with its own tone and atmosphere, and the town of Lost in the Dark is a wonderfully spooky place to explore on an inevitable confrontation with a young girl’s trauma.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher is a pleasant surprise that was extremely unexpected. From the recent revival of the Monster Rancher titles to Ultraman finally making an impact overseas, it’s a delight. It’s worth noting that this title is aiming to appeal to fans of the Ultraman franchise first and foremost, but there’s tons for those who have never experienced it before to love. Even the ugliest or creepiest kaiju can become endearing and lovable after spending time training them long and hard to be their absolute best. It’s a title that’s easy to get into and doesn’t require a ton of trial and error to figure everything out. Fans of giant monsters will want to consider picking up Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher, especially if it’s always been their dream to raise them and fight against other massive and iconic kaiju.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    I couldn’t be more disappointed in how Star Ocean: The Divine Force turned out, to the point I’d rather go back and replay tri-Ace’s Infinite Undiscovery. You can take solace that The Divine Force is at least better than Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness as there are moments of intrigue, but they’re overshadowed by how severely underwhelming the overall package ended up.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While Signalis won’t be leading to a full-on fifth-gen survival horror renaissance, if only because some of the genre’s past sins still linger, it still delivers an enjoyable adventure that perfectly captures the feel of the classic era while also doubling down on more detailed cosmic horrors and twisted visuals, capped off with some sturdy combat and impressive puzzle design. Those in the mood for a quick yet quality-filled horror game should check out Signalis, as it delivers welcome sci-fi scares.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is an exciting step forward for the series that continues to surprise with its increasingly deep combat, gratifying exploration and joyful presentation. Ubisoft has embraced freedom in all senses of the word for this sequel, whether its additional real-time elements during combat, the ability to switch out and upgrade heroes and Sparks at will for endless combinations, or the oodles of optional content that’s crammed into every planet. The predictable and occasionally long-winded story along with late game encounters that severely punish players for mistakes or missed opportunities may keep some players from seeing this journey to its conclusion. Even so, the game’s continued willingness to evolve its approach to new battles and to encourage and reward curiosity in between encounters combine to create a well-paced and engaging tactics game that Switch owners and fans of the genre shouldn’t hesitate to check out.
    • 86 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Vampire Survivors is a long slow burn that never stops getting hotter, maybe not quite the first of the genre it ignited, but certainly the best. [Early Access Provisional Score = 90]
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Refreshing if sadly not as fleshed out as one would wish, The Last Hero of Nostalgaia does still provide enough of a charm and a challenge alike for Souls veterans looking for a new take on the formula.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Warner Bros. Montreal took a giant risk with Gotham Knights. Not only did the studio choose to forgo using one of the world’s most famous heroes, but also the top-rated Arkham series. What we have with Gotham Knights is an original setup filled with a great central cast and an intriguing tale of young sidekicks uncovering Gotham’s dark secrets and becoming knights themselves.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    New Tales from the Borderlands doesn’t top the amazement of the original game. That still doesn’t stop it from delivering an impressive adventure game in its own right, however, filled with an enjoyable story about family, a lot of great bits of comedy, a deeper look into different parts of the Borderlands universe, and of course, the sheer joy that is L0U13.

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