Hardcore Gamer's Scores

  • Games
For 3,306 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 1.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Game review score: 73
Highest review score: 100 Super Time Force
Lowest review score: 20 Vampire Rain
Score distribution:
3306 game reviews
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    There are grand moments that will leave you enthralled, from the Knives Out-esque murder mystery to skydiving to one of the tallest buildings in Dubai. The environments are also a highlight as they’re not only a visual treat, but contain an incredible amount of detail that encourage creativity from the player. Unfortunately, there are hang ups that drag the experience down. The focus on the rushed story has taken a toll on at least two missions, while the CG cutscenes are awkwardly done. The decrease of Mission Stories down to between zero and three is a huge blow as they used to offer some of most entertaining ways in getting close to your target. The whole point of the Hitman games is replaying missions over and over again, but after completing one a couple of times, I felt like I experienced everything it had to offer, which isn’t something I had a problem with in the past. There are standout moments, but Hitman 3 just doesn’t have the same charm it did in the last two games, and the limitations only contribute to this. It’s more Hitman, but at the same time less of Hitman.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition is an enjoyable throwback to beat ’em up games and having access to the game with all the DLC after its several year hiatus is a welcome return. Its short campaign makes it ideal to whittle away a few hours in a single sitting with friends. It’s patterned after retro beat ’em ups and does a good job of recreating an authentic retro experience. On its own gameplay merits it isn’t as good of a beat ’em up as other recent revivals or the best classics, but the outlandish and colorful game world and characters make the overall experience more enjoyable and memorable. For Scott Pilgrim fans and beat ’em up fans in general, Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition is well worth your time.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Milestone has improved the modes for MXGP 2020 which still offer a good bit of variety outside of just racing the 2020 series tracks. The biggest attraction is the racing itself. The controls are much more responsive and while there’s still a learning curve on how to approach jumps and maintain speed, veterans of the series should appreciate the improved handling. Online racing is still more successful and enjoyable than many racing games, but it would be nice to see more racing options for the experience. The Career Mode is also bare as it lacks in comparison to what the MotoGP series has. Overall, thanks to the improvement on the facet that matters the most, MXGP 2020 has propelled the series forward and it will be exciting to see what it offers on next-gen hardware.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Super Meat Boy Forever asks a lot of the player but also makes sure that they’ve got the tools to master its challenge while also being considerate enough to make each one approachable in bite-sized chunks. A perfectly-run level takes less than a minute and is divided up into sections that are rarely longer than ten seconds, but each second requires focus. And if that focus slips then a retry is instant with little time lost, making it easy to try again, and again, and again until Doctor Fetus finally realizes what a terrible idea it is to antagonize the Meat Boy/Bandage Girl family.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Dontnod are capable of so much more than what this latest outing provides — it’s not terrible, but Twin Mirror is a misfire from a developer whose experience and past achievements would have you presume they should know better.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The collection provides around forty hours of gameplay to complete and does a good job of scratching the nostalgia itch. This collection is a fine example of how games were enjoyable with limited technology and rather simple gameplay, but the limitations are even more apparent now and makes the player appreciate how far modern games have come with storytelling and clearly laying out objectives. But even with all the limitations of the time aside, which can sometimes make the games frustrating, this is a nice collection to take a trip down memory line or discover the origins of SaGa.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Cyberpunk 2077 combines an engaging story with a huge open world to explore, filled with memorable and interesting characters to work with and plenty of ways to kill them. There are bugs, which is also part of a bigger discussion about the ethics of releasing a game with technical issues with the mentality of patching it later. Currently on PC the Day Zero Patch has reduced their occurrence and there haven’t been any major game-breaking ones, but even so it will be at least another patch or two before it can be said it runs flawlessly. Hopefully with the scheduled patches over the next few months the console versions reach a point where they too are worth playing, but maybe Cyberpunk 2077 will fare better on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s not often you see the inclusion of a story mixed up with a rhythm title, but Taiko pulls it off in a way that makes it wonderful for players of any skill to enjoy drumming while taking down and befriending monsters. It’s wonderful to see this beloved series continue to be released in the west and Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure is worth picking up for anyone looking for more of their favorite drumming action or wanting to get into it for the very first time.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    FIFA 21’s next-gen visuals speak for themselves as the player models are absolutely gorgeous. This is mainly shown off in the cutscenes, but even the visuals on the field seem cleaner and more detailed. The gameplay on VOLTA matches feel faster and you can pick up where you left on the previous generation. Otherwise, everything is a one-to-one copy and paste. To be fair, the developers didn’t name off anything more than visual upgrades, a new entrance and improved crowd chants. If you were expecting a large jump from generation to generation like you might have with Madden NFL 21, there’s even less in FIFA 21. This is still FIFA from EA, which means it’s going to look great and be fun.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Far from the most complex, in-depth or even immersive game it may be, Chronos: Before the Ashes‘ straightforward, if a little dry, non-VR trip does avoid overstaying its brief, pleasant-enough welcome.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Call of the Sea could benefit from having more substance, but otherwise it’s a solid adventure game that manages to put a unique spin on the traditional Lovecraftian adventure. Norah’s journey is a memorable one, thinks to some terrific dialogue and a breathtaking, surreal island full of fantastical mystery. It may not be the most challenging graphic adventure game, but it’s still one that players might want to take a look at sometime. After all, after so many sheer descents into madness, why not set out to find a welcome change of pace?
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Although it’s not a title anyone unfamiliar for the series should try for a first go around, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light is a nice surprise that’s worth picking up for fans interested in the series history.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Madden NFL 21 on next-gen consoles is undoubtedly an upgraded version of the previous generation, but it doesn’t make leaps and bounds to reinvent the franchise. Even though there are improved visuals and EA Tiburon implemented Next Gen stats, this still feels like Madden. A lot of the legacy issues are still here, but aren’t as apparent. When you have a series that thrives on eSports, it’s difficult to switch the formula. The controller feedback from the DualSense is the bright spot of the experience, but the visuals were already good on last gen and just get a further polish here. You’ll encounter changes you appreciate piece-by-piece, but when you finish a game, you’ll feel that it’s still just Madden.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There are genuine elements of greatness in Beyond Light, including an intriguing subplot that should have been the main campaign and a great raid, but it’s not enough to replace everything we’ve lost. Destiny 2: Beyond Light is another enjoyable Destiny adventure thanks to the lore and gameplay, but it does little to move Destiny 2 beyond the status quo.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 isn’t the game-changer that the first Puyo Puyo Tetris was. In fact, it’s just more of the same with extra toppings. The new characters, better presented Adventure mode and improved Lesson mode are all great additions, but it would have been better of more had been done to make everything else feel fresh and improved. The Skill Battle mode helps, but that mode is undercut by a poorly-implemented stats system and the existing disparity between Tetris and Puyo Puyo. With that in mind, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is better as an entry point for new fans than it is for older fans who already have the first game. It’s all the fun of the original, but there’s not enough new here to justify buying basically the same game all over again.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even with iffy combat, Haven ends up being a dose of pure joy, letting you experience a well-written whirlwind romance with lovable characters, or just letting you hover around a planet at fast speeds, enjoying satisfying gameplay as you swiftly gather up more Flow or escape corrupted creatures. Top it all off with sweet visuals and one of the year’s best soundtracks, and you have a unique blend of adventure and RPG games that provides a terrific experience. Indeed, you’ll more than likely fall in love with it.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Borderlands 3 is a no-brainer for those who already own the game to experience what the PlayStation 5 is capable of. The Resolution Mode visually adds so much more and the Performance Mode gives players a chance to try out the 120hz mode on a compatible display. The story remains the same, but the DLC will add many more ways to play for users. The DualSense Controller with the PS5 is the true game changer here and it’s further bolstered by the 3D Audio. Gearbox no doubt took advantage of the new hardware to unleash the proper Borderlands 3.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    With the brilliant heights that remakes of Resident Evil 2, for example, achieved last year, it felt inevitable that a remake like XIII would stand as the exact opposite result in that regard. Whether or not you’re the type to maybe excuse some of the failings as unanswerable solutions to an aged approach to game design, it doesn’t take away from just how little care and effort PlayMagic have placed in the other departments. Enemy intelligence that’s practically non-existent, an overuse on what seems like a meager, hurriedly-compiled assembly of audio and visual assets. On top of a gunplay premise that looks, sounds and feels objectively worse than that of the 2003 Gamecube original. 2020’s XIII is a broken, buggy and boring rendition of a game long-time fans deserve a better interpretation of.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite a couple of gripes, it cannot be denied that Axe Cop succeeds at creating a fun, retro-inspired RPG. Red Triangle Games put their all in embracing the past while keeping the gameplay fresh and exciting, and the work shows. This is a game that fans of the comic or show will very much enjoy, but preexisting knowledge of the world the Nicolle brothers created isn’t a prerequisite. The story beats are told in a way that makes sense, even when they shouldn’t, leading to something that allows players of all types to dive in and get their leveling up on. Personally, I was expecting to write this off as something “just for the fans.” In practice, Axe Cop the game is poised to create a whole slew of new fans.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Although Shiren the Wanderer isn’t a long title, it’s hard to stop going back in and taking on the next challenge that’s offered. The story is short but offers tons of alternative challenges afterwards for those who want to put their skills to the test. Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is a prime example of a fantastic roguelike that makes it both frustrating and satisfying every step of the way. Improving upon strategies and learning more about enemies helps scratch the surface until things begin to ramp up with the night time terrors that leave players with tough decisions on whether to run or fight. Anyone looking for a great challenge in a re-released mystery dungeon title should take on the challenge that awaits Shiren and his friends.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Fenyx Rising doesn’t have any right to be as good as it turned out to be. It sounds like a mid-tier PS2 game and in a lot of ways it is, except it takes all the weirdness and creativity and “what on Earth is this supposed to be”-ness of that era and applies full AAA-caliber production values to every aspect of it.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a welcome surprise that gives players a brand new way to enjoy their time in Breath of the Wild’s Hyrule with fun, fast-paced gameplay. It takes the good of the original and remixes it for an adventure that won’t soon be forgotten. The story gives more life to characters that we didn’t have before in Breath of the Wild while also offering an entirely new perspective on events from many years in the past. Anyone looking for a story that’s been shaken up or just looking to scratch that itch for more fast-paced gameplay with Zelda over the cover will enjoy their time with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    I wish I was able to play the original Rune II to see how bad it truly was and get a better sense of how much Rune II: Decapitation Edition improved it. At its core it’s a fun Viking hack and slash looter, like a third-person Borderlands set in the Viking age. It doesn’t achieve true greatness as it stands, with the technical issues not helping matters. But those aside, Rune II: Decapitation Edition is a fun, accessible game that’s better with friends, with potential to improve with future patching. The degree Studio 369 has improved the game isn’t something that can be personally ascertained, but it can faithfully be said that they did turn it into a game that’s not without its issues, but one where a good time can be found.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Chicken Police – Paint it RED! is a well done and unique film noir video game experience. The gameplay mechanics are one of the weaker parts of the game, with the interrogation sequences not always being clear on what the best line of questioning is and the minigames feel tacked on, but despite these issues Chicken Police is an enjoyable and memorable experience, particularly for noir fans. The attention to the detail in recreating classic film noir atmosphere with superb voice acting, soundtrack and visuals make the overall experience engaging enough where the other shortcomings can be overlooked.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    If you’re a casual NBA player who hasn’t played the game in some time, this version is a no brainer to enjoy on your new console. There’s also enough here to warrant the purchase for yearly players even if they didn’t purchase the upgrade options with the last-generation version. NBA 2K21 on next-gen is a much better version of what was released two months ago.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Whether you missed out on the original two years previous or are looking for a worthwhile part of the Xbox Series X/S launch line-up, Tetris Effect: Connected is an even more joyous and grander expansion on what remains one of the puzzle great’s most creative interpretations.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    To get straight to the point, Monster Prom 2: Monster Camp is pure fun, plain and simple. And this is all thanks to simple yet highly-addictive gameplay that will have you hunting down every possible event and ending you can, sharp writing that isn’t afraid to get as bonkers as possible and delivers impressive black comedy, a roster of characters that continues the series tradition of giving players the most lovably insane misfits possible, and memorable multiplayer action that deserves to be shared with as many friends as one can gather. Developer Beautiful Glitch has been open about the possible updates and sequels in development, but even as is, this is one bizarre and amazing camping trip that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The last-generation version of DIRT 5 truly feels like a beta in comparison to this product. The game was designed with the PS5 hardware in mind and shouldn’t have seen a release on the PS4. This is an excellent way to experience what the PS5 is capable of; especially if you have a 4K 120hz television.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Longtime fans will no doubt get a kick out of the new modes, although I’m unsure if they’re worth the repurchase for that alone. It’s a matter of whether or not you want to experience Devil May Cry 5 in a next generation, with the options of 4K resolution, ray tracing or a fluid 120fps readily available. It’s a diverse offering from Capcom, allowing gamers to play how they want. Devil May Cry 5 remains a magnificent game and the next generation offering allows you to experience it like never before.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Demon’s Souls is the game to get a PlayStation 5 for and arguably the best launch title in the last couple of decades.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Falconeer is a resounding success in every major area. It’s a gorgeous game that plays like a dream and has more ambition than most games of its type. It has a nice, fair challenge to it and helps ease players into the action by wisely teaching you without going out of its way hold your hand beyond the early going. It’s got an intuitive design and is a must for anyone who loves games like Panzer Dragoon Orta or Crimson Skies. Anyone in the mood for a new dogfighting-style game will instantly fall in love with The Falconeer.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Angry Video Game Nerd I & II Deluxe is the perfect game collection for fans of the difficult 8-bit games and the Angry Video Game Nerd. That being said, while it’s a great game collection for people who fit that criteria, if you remove the character and humor it ends up being an average old-fashioned action game with a ridiculous difficulty level. Fans of the Nerd probably have this game already and are enjoying it but it seems like it would be a hard sell for anyone who isn’t into retro gaming and the Nerd. Still, from any objective standpoint this game is much better than having a buffalo take a diarrhea dump in your ear.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    While an undeniably beautiful game to look at, the underlying technical issues hamper the presentation. Godfall stands as a decent first attempt at a new IP with solid ideas and great combat, but doesn’t stick the whole landing.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Wonder Blade is a good brawler with a surprising amount of depth given its primary genre. It’s easy to underestimate a new brawler since the genre can be divisive, but this is one of the better modern-day incarnations of it. It’s surprisingly diverse with its gameplay types and ensures that you’re never doing too much of one thing for too long — and doesn’t overstay its welcome as a result. It looks great, but could sound better as its soundtrack is lacking in memorable tunes. Still, it’s a must-buy for any brawler fans — especially if you want something that rewards you with stat boosts and upgrades throughout the adventure.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As a next-gen launch title, the presentation delivers excellent lighting and effects across its campaign, but multiplayer does get hit with a visual downgrade. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a reliable package that brings the Black Ops franchise back to its roots. This Call of Duty is safe to declassify.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Pathless is an enjoyable adventure to a serene island filled with satisfying puzzles, mesmeric traversal and gripping boss showdowns. Some small frustrations, including unnecessary stealth sequences and little reason to deviate from the main objective, hold the game back, but the polished moment-to-moment gameplay combined with the inspired soundtrack make for a pleasing and fun experience that’s easy to recommend to fans of open world and puzzle games.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The story isn’t anything special and chocked to the brim with cliches, but a solid voice cast combined with great level design will keep you playing the entire length. While playable solo, Sackboy is best when played co-op, and unfortunately at launch, co-op options are limited. As a complete experience, though, Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a fun platforming adventure that’ll leave you with a smile on your face.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Melody of Memory succeeds as a fun, well-made rhythm game that successfully adapts Kingdom Hearts’ combat into the genre. The gameplay is fast, fluid and frantic, giving players a new way to experience the franchise’s excellent music. Though there isn’t much in the form of new worlds or music, it’s a one-stop-shop to listen to Yoko’s extraordinary music.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Xbox Series X version of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla takes advantage of the extra horsepower, showcasing a native 4K resolution while running at a targeted 60fps. It will sometimes dip below that, and there aren’t too many other next generation features present, like Raytracing, but otherwise it’s the best way to play the open-world title. Taken on its own and judged on its own merits, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is an enjoyable opportunity to vicariously raid and pillage the English countryside.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    From its gripping story, tactically-grounded combat, vast ensemble of well-written characters not to mention the sheer amount of side content to conquer and smile at, and the most graphically-impressive game in the franchise to date thanks to the Xbox Series X, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is no less than a brilliant reinvention for the Yakuza series and one of 2020’s best, most complete experiences.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Coalition has gone all out to create one of the best Xbox Series X launch titles, which is both great and sad about the state of things. It’s no system seller like a Gears game should be, but it allows those who experienced it last year to marvel in its glory once more and introduce new players to the world of Sera in the most vibrant way possible.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An incredible unison of sub-genres and seemingly conflicted elements alike, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is an absolute triumph of game design through-and-through, and is worthy of a second playthrough for those who have already experienced it earlier this year.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Sure, it does falter due to the frequently repetitive side quests that damage the pacing, but it remains an absolute joy. Gears Tactics offers a different pace for Gears fans, but at the same time, the same amount of gratifying combat they’ve come to expect.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin seamlessly blends 2D platforming action with 3D farm management. There’s a great amount of depth to both the farming simulation portion of the game as well as the more action-oriented 2D portions.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Bugsnax is a relatively short title, taking roughly around ten hours or so to finish depending on if players go for full completion or not. Despite this, it contains a wonderful and charming story with the puzzles being so wildly creative it makes it fun to find and collect the many different Bugsnax.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Assassin’s Creed Valhalla brings quality of life improvements to the new Assassin’s Creed model but doesn’t stray too far from familiar territory. If you enjoyed the last two games and want more of that, Valhalla is exactly what the doctor ordered, but there may be some who after spending 200+ hours completing Origins and Odyssey are burnt out on the format.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Marvel’s Spider-Man perfectly revitalized the Spider-Man gaming franchise back in 2018 and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is an excellent follow-up. Insomniac Games has built a game that uses the bones of the 2018 title to tell a new story and inject new gameplay elements. The story may not be all that surprising, but it’s told superbly with a strong focus on developing Miles and his friends and family.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Astro’s Playroom is an irresistible delight. Going into it, I thought it was just going to be a short tech demo, and while that’s partially correct, it’s more than meets the eye. It’s overflowing with PlayStation nostalgia that ’90s and ’00s kids will get an absolute kick out of it.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Arguably and oddly enough, Fuser is at its best when it focuses more on creating music and less on being a traditional rhythm game. The campaign mode is fine, but suffers from pacing issues and too much hand-holding, while online battles are underwhelming. But the joy in crafting that perfect dance mix, even if it’s a short one, is satisfying.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Of the many titles from Wii U that still need and deserve to be ported to Switch, Pikmin 3 Deluxe was a great choice to bring over. Pikmin has always been niche as far as Nintendo titles go, but it adds enough change to not only make it worth picking up again, but excellent for people to dive into for the first time. There isn’t anything else quite like Pikmin and its charm is matched only by its quirky unique gameplay and dialogue that creates a charming adventure in the wilds of a small world. It’s hard to say no to the big-eyed caring Pikmin that try their hardest to help the small adventurers do their best to escape the planet, and hopefully people will enjoy Pikmin 3 Deluxe for a first or second time on Switch.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    DIRT 5 is a new terrain for Codemasters and it’s hard to say that it follows in the line of the previous series. This is meant for casual players to pick up and play and have fun. In this regard, it mostly works.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered takes players back to what these games used to be and looks great doing it. As it includes all of the major expansions and comes at a discounted price, it’s also a fantastic value. Despite playing the original to death, I’ve put way too much time into this fresh release and feel like I haven’t done even half of what I want to do with it. A perfect companion to the also highly-recommend Burnout Paradise Remastered, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered should serve as a baseline for what these titles should be in the future.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Ray’s the Dead is a mixed bag, but it’s a unique one with a lot of heart. Just be aware going in that it’s going to take effort to like the game as much as you wish you could.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope is a notable improvement over Man of Medan, thanks to its vastly superior plot that manages to keep you hooked and interested in the characters as you try to keep them alive. Still, the over-reliance on quick-time events shows us that Supermassive still has more fine-tuning to do when it comes to The Dark Pictures Anthology if they want it to be a true masterpiece of horror. With any luck, next year’s House of Ashes will be even better and give us an even truer successor to Until Dawn’s crown.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The game does control well, but it’s an eyesore with low-end textures that would be more at home on a PS2 launch title than a new release in 2020. Thankfully, it does sound great with strong voice work from the newest Transformers series cast and its soundtrack gets the blood pumping when needed.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Watch Dogs: Legion is a bold move with a few highlights here and there, but still a disappointment that will have you going back to Watch Dogs 2 instead.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Part Time UFO is a wonderful puzzle title that’s worth picking up for anyone looking for a unique and sometimes bizarre creative challenge.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It’s off the beaten path of platformers, but it also has a free demo to check out and once you experience that, you’ll either be sold or you’ll know it’s not for you. If it clicks with you, it sticks with you, though, and Mad Rat Dead is a surprisingly addictive game that makes you think about things differently after you play it.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    It’s oh so close to achieving high marks from a gameplay perspective, but it’s also hurt greatly by a lack of polish that makes it a hard product to recommend at launch. In time, there’s a chance we’ll see some improvements that tighten up some of its loose ends and while that’d be unlikely to fix every issue the game has, it may result in it being a more complete experience. As it stands, it feels like a half-baked product that succeeds in spite of its shortcomings, but still needs more work to be a must-buy pickup for either fans of the show or brawler fanatics alike.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Overall, PACER is fast, addicting and fun with enough strategy involved to enjoy the single player aspect of the game.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Though Part One’s story does have quite a few twists and turns that’ll keep players interested, it ends too soon with too many threads left open. Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part One delivers more Doom Eternal and it can be a devilishly fun ride as long as that’s all you’re looking for out of an expansion.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    An ambitious closer spanning nearly two decades of characters, storytelling and world-building, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV is both a fitting send-off and a satisfying reflection of what has made Trails such a fascinating saga to invest in.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Let’s be clear here: a tightly-crafted, bug free game that does exactly what it wants to do, Ghostrunner deserves an audience. The appeal might not be universal, but the art and style behind the game cannot be ignored. It really is good, despite a personal distaste for how it handles certain elements. If a killcam is implemented to help the player learn their mistakes, then this title becomes an easy recommendation. Until then, check out the demo; it’s a good representation of what the game is. Anyone who enjoys that will have a blast with Ghostrunner. In the meantime, I’ll be applying salve to my now-wounded ego.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The more die-hard fans of the first game may be able to get past the more frustrating elements of GONNER2, but others may be turned off by how cheap it can get at times. Still, the core gameplay is simple yet enjoyable, and like before, GONNER2 looks and sounds stunning. But the end result is like when you watch an older cartoon at a higher FPS: it’s faster, still pretty, and the content at the core is still the same, yet there’s still this awkward quality to it that’s just hard to ignore.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Pumpkin Jack has rough edges to it, but it still delivers a fun experience in spite of them. It’s very much a game that is greater than the sum of its parts. It has a wide array of gameplay styles to enjoy, with most well implemented. The action-platforming content is great, while the slower-paced tightrope-style sections are iffy due to some collision issues. Thankfully, the exploding puzzle sections help make up for this and the overall tone keeps things light-hearted and fun even with a dark, gothic look to the world and its inhabitants. It looks good and sounds even better and is a perfect pickup for anyone wanting a new 3D platformer who can accept less-than-perfect mechanics.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Disc Room expertly blends together the simple yet unique mechanics of Minit and the lightning-quick carnage and quick challenges of High Hell, so yes, the end result is akin to peanut butter and chocolate. Disc Room is a joyfully insane experience that delivers a terrific dose of old-school arcade action, all wrapped up in an innovative and attractive package, with a set of tricky yet highly intriguing and nicely-designed puzzles to act as the cherry on top. In a way, there’s something for all types of gamers here, so make sure to not miss out on this gem.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Zoids Wild: Blast Unleashed has come to do one thing: fight. Battle techniques built into gameplay have come a long way since the last arcade Zoids title, but Blast Unleashed manages to bring a strong, technical fighting emphasis to a long-running franchise.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    ScourgeBringer is an addictive experience that delivers terrific arcade-style gameplay. The combat is so fluid, fun and fast that you’ll easily get caught up in it for hours, and it puts up an impressive fight when it comes to delivering a tough-as-nails challenge while still being highly enjoyable, with intense battles backed up by stunning visuals and a fantastic soundtrack. It’s a roguelike platformer that can be a tough nut to crack at first, but the reward is worth all the blisters you’ll have on your thumbs.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Straightforward and occasionally frustrating the set-up may seem, Noita‘s hands-off approach to instruction and allowing player-made discovery to bloom is one sought-after trait in gaming that here pays off time and time again.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    If it weren’t for bad gunplay and aiming mechanics that have to be surmounted, Operation Blackout would be an easy recommend for the interested. As is, it does require a patient and forgiving player. Those that can find their way around this issue, though, will have a better time than the poor kid who got the Radar Rat.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    NHL 21 has taken the best of what has been offered this generation in the series and sprinkled goodness on top. Be A Pro is a much-needed change and is the first innovative offline mode since implementing the expansion draft. It’s deep enough and feels fresh and could rejuvenate buzz into the series. HUT remains HUT with just more ways to grind for cards. Franchise Mode’s new coaching options are a good update for the league, but it’s only a surface change. The NHL series can no doubt benefit the most from a next-gen overhaul, but there’s enough here for yearly NHL players or those that have skipped a few years. Also, it’s worth mentioning EA is adding NHL 94 for those that pre-ordered later this month.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Hades is no less than an absolute masterpiece, easily a contender for Supergiant’s finest work yet, and a candidate for the year’s best game. It delivers truly classic action in almost every sense of the word, has the perfect level of difficulty, looks breathtaking and has a unique take on Greek mythology that hits just the right tone, always finding a way to keep you coming back for more, always playing to see what’s next. It’s the stuff of legends and everyone involved should be proud of what they’ve made.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    While you may have to be prepared for a slow start and a grind, there’s fun to be found in Crown Trick, thanks to its unique turn-based take on roguelike dungeon crawlers, its enjoyable and deep mechanics, and the vibrant world of the Nightmare Realm. Whether you’re a patient player, a strategy buff or just someone looking for something different, NEXT Studios have something for you that might not be an absolute dream, but will be an interesting little fantasy.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition is the remaster the game deserves. The overhaul of aesthetics in gameplay make it look better than it ever has. This Definitive Edition comes supersized with all the previous game’s content plus new missions, campaigns and factions. The new additions are fully developed and integrate masterfully with the base game. While the game is beautiful to look at and still holds true to the formula that makes AoE such a great franchise, it’s also riddled with frustrating glitches and inconsistencies. While I’m sure a post-launch patch will be released to add fixes, players will have to deal with these inconveniences in the the meantime. Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition, however, does justice to the franchise by recognizing its flaws and working towards a better product. The collaboration with Indigenous consultants helps it regain its dignity by providing historical accuracy. Through these collaborations, developers were also able to solve gameplay issues that plagued all fans of the game. Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition is by no means a perfect product, but it perfectly honors the spirit of the franchise.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    FIFA 21 has thrown a lot of adjustments under the hood to help give players more tools than ever before. A lot of the casual players, however, may not take advantage of this. Something needs to be updated to the shooting model and not just the 1-on-1 matchups. The feeling of a soccer match is still fantastic, but it seems EA has put this in the back seat in favor of VOLTA. Even though the Career Mode offers a good bit of options and control, the focus still feels like it is on VOLTA and FUT in terms of game modes even though neither mode changed much. FIFA 21 is a great soccer experience for those who don’t play these types of games often, but the limited mode selection and the overall feel of the game will leave a lot to be desired for yearly fans.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Torchlight III doesn’t bring anything new to the looter dungeon crawler and that’s okay. It’s rather simplified and accessible, but most importantly fun and hard to stop playing. Hardcore fans of this style may be critical of the fact that it might be too simplistic and accessible, and that’s understandable since I have fond memories of working out complex character builds in other games of this nature and feeling pride when they worked out well. Comparing Torchlight III to other dungeon crawlers may come up lacking in those areas, but it’s an enjoyable game just taking it in as its own entity, making the return trip to Novastraia worthwhile.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Super Mario Bros. 35 is extremely addictive to keep playing over and over, trying to get that top spot no matter how long it takes. Matches can last a good amount of time with the final remaining group of players, so it becomes a strategy match of trying to send threatening enemies to everyone else, hoping they slip up. There are so many creative concepts here and it’s nice to see such wild ideas for the battle royale genre popping up this year that make things silly in the best kind of way. It’s a crying shame this title won’t be around forever, but as a free title for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, it’s a fantastically fun time all the same. Anyone looking for a crazy new challenging way to play the original Super Mario Bros should give Super Mario Bros. 35 a try and jump into the fray.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ikenfell likely won’t replace the Harry Potter series as a whole when it comes to providing a signature web of tales centered around a magic school, but it still provides one impressive journey on its own. Filled with lovable characters, an enjoyable story, and a colorful world to explore filled with a nice level of challenge and a stunning soundtrack, there’s a lot here for fantasy and RPG fans to check out. Heck, it may even be something to recommend to younger gamers as an introduction to the tactics subgenre. Overall, Ikenfell is a trip to a far-out school that’s definitely worth taking.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Star Wars: Squadrons nails the inherently exciting feeling of piloting and fighting in its iconic starfighters, but the paltry single player and multiplayer modes fail to do anything ambitious or impressive with the core gameplay. The sheer amount of gameplay and aesthetic customization and clear passion for the license do their best to make up for these shortcomings, and could keep dedicated Star Wars or space combat fans invested. But as the hours wear on, Squadrons’ repetitive objectives starts to feel less like a main attraction and more like a fun diversion, ultimately leaving the game as an enjoyable multiplayer experience to return to when you feel that itch for a few rounds of frantic and fast space combat.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Wherever it takes you, Genshin Impact is a more-than-convincing proposition, not least for those adamant on never spending a single cent in-game. The grind to get there may not always feel wholly natural or that players are genuinely being left to wander without restraint, but Genshin Impact‘s meticulous approach to environment design above all pulls through in many wonderful ways. Crafting one of the year’s more immersive and surprisingly rich open-world RPGs.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    I Am Dead is a delightfully quirky game about the afterlife, presenting a unique world with a rich history inside of it, all with a tone that’s a perfect level of light-hearted. While you may be able to breeze through certain parts of it, the whole game makes for a memorable experience, filled with enjoyable puzzles to solve, colorful tidbits to uncover and interesting characters to learn about. Certain parts of the story have Morris worried if he’ll actually be remembered now that he’s gone, and ironically, his story taking place from his death onward makes for a tale you likely won’t forget.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    RIDE 4 is the best entry in the series and fixes a lot of problems that past games had. Its diverse mix of event types in the career mode keeps it fresh even with a few tedious tests dragging things down. The on-track action shines at all times when you have rivals with you, and no matter what track you’re on or what time of day or conditions you’re racing in, you’re in for a fun time. It’s a challenging game, but in a good way as it encourages you to get better and offers a wide variety of difficulty options to help you along the way. Put simply, Ride 4 looks and sounds fantastic and controls like a dream.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    There’s a lot to love with Paradise Killer. From the cool cast of characters, to the open-ended nature of the investigation, players will find it easy to dive in. The vaporwave visual design may not be to everyone’s tastes, but those who enjoy it will love the world on display. The biggest disappointments are that there’s not more to the world exploration aspect. It’s also a shame that the open world nature of the gameplay does not carry over into the anticlimactic trials. Even so, it’s worth taking a vacation on Paradise Island. Paradise Killer is a bold first release from Kaizen Game Works and we’re looking forward to see what they create next.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    While it’s nice to have a game based on the television version of The Walking Dead that’s enjoyable, this aspect falls short in The Walking Dead Onslaught. While some of the voice acting and the face models are good, the rest feels tacked on. Being able to identify targets and pick your points using guns offer a fantastic feeling, but the motion detection on the PSVR has a lot of issues. These issues may be a bigger deal if this was a full-priced game, but it’s only $30 and completely worth it for that price. I feel this would be a better experience on other platforms, but the game is playable and still enjoyable on PSVR. While I prefer a horror title that creates an atmosphere, the frantic tone of Onslaught does a good job in creating something different.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The story isn’t anything special, but Crash and Coco’s story is told with such enthusiasm and charisma that it’s hard not to get sucked in for the 6-8 hour duration. The ten dimensions are wonderfully designed, filled with plenty of intricate levels that will test your platforming capabilities. Thankfully, the gameplay for Crash, Coco and the side characters remains excellent, though the new Quantum Masks and camera issues create some frustrating moments. It’s all wrapped together in a colorful and beautiful presentation that takes advantage of this current crop of hardware. It’s about time we got a good new Crash game and Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time delivers just that.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Mafia: Definitive Edition’s gorgeous open world is weakened by its mediocre campaign and flat combat mechanics. Driving through the bustling streets and open countryside of Lost Heaven in classic vehicles is fun enough at low or high speeds, and the story, while rushed, does ultimately put players in cool locations and situations. But without any unique storylines or exciting on-foot gameplay to keep the player invested, and a restrictive focus on missions over open world exploration, there’s little here that stands out for those who don’t already have a fascination with mafia stories or mid-twentieth century history. For all the emphasis Mafia: Definitive Edition places on history and creating a legacy, this well-made but largely forgettable journey doesn’t do enough to earn its spot in the family.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia is a fun, but flawed action-platformer that may deliver a lot of thrills for fans of the series, but lacks enough substance to be a must-buy for those coming in cold. It’s a good game technically, but one with levels that lack soul and a rock-solid layout. What’s here is done well — but it could be done better. The graphical design in particular feels like something from a bygone era with iffy-looking character models and environments that are dull and lifeless. There’s a lot of life to the world around you, but the darker visual look of everything beguiles it and doesn’t do it much justice. Thankfully, it’s still a fun romp in part to the show’s voice cast shining and the excellent soundtrack making the adventure fun to listen to.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is an action-packed mech epic for the ages. The narrative is some of the strongest ever seen coming from Vanillaware. While there are a couple plot holes and gameplay can become repetitive in certain missions, the title is a strong and original work of art that’s packed with content. There are thirteen different protagonists with their own branching stories based on player decisions. All protagonists feel like fully-formulated characters — each also serving as a classic anime archetype. The characters are believable in this frenzied drama that takes players for a narrative ride. Emotional storytelling helps to set the tone for this sci-fi mystery and arcade-like gameplay makes for satisfyingly quick encounters. It’s a title with more to discover as we go and it’s a full package for any mech fan. Any fan of the genre would agree: 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is an instant mech classic.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    For a title that dropped out of nowhere, Kirby Fighters 2 is filled with all the charm of the average Kirby title but without a world map to explore. The fighting is fun and challenging with a surprising amount of variety in characters. The gameplay can almost start to feel repetitive at times but with fights being so short most of the time it’s easy to switch it up and hop back in feeling refreshed. There’s a lot of value here that gives in to what could be a ridiculous amount of gameplay for people who love completing every challenge. Anyone looking for a Kirby title with faster-paced combat and a focus on fast-paced fights should dive into Kirby Fighters 2.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Serious Sam 4 is easily the richest game in the series, expanding on the character and his world while not holding back on the action that’s been the major draw from the earliest days. While it starts off gently and takes a bit to ramp up, soon enough rampaging werebulls charge in with a swarm of kleer, backed up by big green four-armed reptiloids tossing homing-spheres, plus a nice variety of new enemies to fill in the herd.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Mossmouth did the impossible with Spelunky 2 in managing to create a sequel to an incredible game that did not disenfranchise existing fans or turn off newbies. Instead, they’ve crafted another hard-as-nails experience that’s devilishly fun to play. Almost every new feature is an improvement and the new visual and audio flourishes enhance it further. Those who never played the original game don’t have to. They can jump straight into Spelunky 2 and enjoy a masterful title that will likely never grow old.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Ultimately what kills the experience are the microtransactions. While the game might be $40, literally 80% of the Superstars are locked with some that you can’t even pay for (John Cena). There was a lot of potential here but it doesn’t come close to the arcade experience that WWE All-Stars had. It’s hard to tout WWE 2K Battlegrounds as a social game with the focus on variety coming from the single player portion.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Going Under may not be the equivalent of a monolithic business worth billions, but it still ends up being a highly-successful venture that provides a fun and enjoyable service. The combat is smooth and and rewards varied approaches, the weapons are a blast to play with, and everything is nice and challenging. Throw in a clever and sweet satire of tech startups and the end package is something worth checking out. Killing hordes of monsters may sound like a thankless job, but it does end up being something that nicely pays off here.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It goes without saying that these classic Mario titles hold up extremely well. Each one is still fantastic and even Mario 64 manages to remain fun without feeling outdated aside from its slightly wonky camera. Neither Sunshine or Galaxy have seen official re-releases since their debut in most countries and Super Mario 64 only had a mediocre virtual console port that was generally hated due to severe input lag. It’s fantastic to have all three of these now available on Switch and they absolutely hold up. It’s a huge disappointment that at the time of this review Nintendo has said that this collection will only be available until the end of March 2021 but hopefully they see some other form of release so it can be enjoyed for the entirety of the Switch’s lifetime. Anyone looking to play through the games again or try them out for the first time shouldn’t miss out on Super Mario 3D All-Stars.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is the best way to experience the journey of the Fateless One. Paradoxically, this version also feels like a relic of the past and does suffer from it. For the most part this remaster feels like playing a previous gen game on a backwards compatible console using texture smoothing, which probably isn’t too far removed from what it is. It’s still a great time and a highly-recommended game, but it does suffer from the caveat of “this is a great game for 2012.” Still, anyone willing to look past the dated menus and RPG tropes can have a blast with this action RPG.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It may not be the coveted next leap forward given last year’s highly-satisfying rendition, but WRC 9 provides a satisfying-enough reminder as to the heights this series has finally achieved.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Hotshot Racing is a refreshing blast of retro-arcade racing action. Every inch of each course is filled with personality, from fans waving on the sidelines to dinosaurs wandering through jungles and caves. The racers don’t come out quite so well but you spend most of the time looking at a car rather than the person driving it, so thankfully that’s not too much of a problem. The racing action feels as good as the courses look, and while eventually you learn that the first couple times around the track don’t matter so long as you’ve got a nice supply of boosts for the final lap (Normal and Hard modes only), it’s still more than fun enough to burn up the track at top speed. Hotshot Racing plays as nice as it looks and ends up being a concentrated shot of pure upbeat racing happiness.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    NBA 2K20 was a fun and serious game of basketball to play. On the surface, I’m partial to the difficulty involved in shooting and the Advanced Pro Stick for NBA 2K21, as they can no doubt separate the great players from the average ones with endless combo possibilities. I like the idea of having to get better with shooting and while I’ve improved, the results are still too inconsistent no matter the player you have. What made last year’s version great with the new MyPLAYER designs are all here, but roughly not updated. The narrative in MyCAREER is enjoyable, but leaves a gaping hole at the end. The Neighborhood is also a nice change of scenery. It really comes down to the difficulty involved in NBA 2K21 holding it back from greatness. You’re not allowed to build up to it with confidence. Also, if purchasing the Standard Edition, the grind is worse when it comes to getting badges for your player or getting cards in MyTEAM. When the grind interferes with the gameplay, it becomes a major issue.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon adds an engaging new story to The Outer Worlds. The new content, save for the new location to explore, doesn’t change up the formula too much but that’s absolutely fine. With a game like The Outer Worlds more of the same is a good thing. The new story content seamlessly weaves into the main story and feels like a natural extension of what was already there. The time to complete The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon is enough where it feels like a worthwhile extension but doesn’t overstay its welcome and is the perfect reason to get back into The Outer Worlds.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    For those who can forgive the confusing online component, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 stands as another well-crafted and well-realized remake of an old favorite. For the second time, Vicarious Visions demonstrate both a fond appreciation yet clever deducing on how this type of game should look and feel in current times. It’s this sense of harmony and of finding the treasured middle-ground — between the old we know and the implied new of a better experience — that the studio triumph on where it matters.

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