The A.V. Club's Scores

For 880 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 50% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Game review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Red Dead Redemption
Lowest review score: 0 House M.D.
Score distribution:
1081 game reviews
    • 88 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Despite its ostensibly far-flung setting, Ratchet And Clank: Rift Apart is going to feel very familiar to anyone who’s spent much time with this franchise over the last two decades of its existence. That’s a bit of a bummer, in so far as there are a lot of Ratchet And Clank games out there that you can draw parallels to here, and very little that’s going to feel genuinely fresh or new. But that familiarity also extends to being familiar with the core, unshakeable competence of these solid platforming adventures that are designed for pretty much anyone to have a good time with. As a dimension-hopping adventure, Rift Apart might leave something to be desired. But as a reunion with one of gaming’s most energetically silly franchises, after so many years away, there are worse things you could wish for than the same old Ratchet And Clank.
    • 81 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Still, for all it owes to Leon Kennedy’s misadventures through parasite-plagued Spain, Village is its own game with its own offbeat personality. If it can be believed, it may well be the kookiest Resident Evil yet.
    • 85 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Returnal is not a system seller. (Damn thing’s $500, so what could live up to that?) But it is bold, cool, and fearless, full of shocking moments and highly addictive systems. (I haven’t even dipped into the game’s obsessive focus on risk and reward, constantly daring you to take a debilitating weakness in exchange for a much-needed dose of power.) If you already own one of Sony’s big white bookends, though, I’ll be blunt: You probably owe it to yourself to check out the first really great PlayStation 5 game.
    • 76 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Like all of the 99/35 games, Pac-Man 99 is undeniably neat. The confusion on the screen is visually stimulating, and the base maze running remains fun. (There’s also a whole strategy element we’re still trying to wrap our heads around, re: the game’s four distinct power-up modes.) But by cutting out a core element of the Pac-Man formula—the accrual of points, whether in service of extra lives, or just as an end unto themselves—99 loses touch with what has made that little yellow puck such an enduring icon for the last 41 years. After all, not everything needs to be a matter of life and death.
    • 88 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Currently exclusive to the Nintendo Switch, Rise suffers, looks-wise, when compared to the PS4/Xbox One-ready World. Where it soars, though, is in how much living-in its various jungles and swamps allow for. Harking back to earlier games in the franchise with an emphasis on pets and other bits of fiddly, adorable minutiae, Rise nevertheless holds on to World’s most important innovation: Open-world maps that, as the game’s name implies, put a heavy emphasis on gaining a little height on your titanic opponents.
    • 82 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It’s all enjoyably compulsive in a way that makes me genuinely wonder why the game’s not getting a big mobile push, too.
    • 92 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    They’ve preserved the warts with the same loving care that they’ve lavished on the core gameplay, which remains solidly satisfying even as it’s used in service of frequent gotchas or nasty tricks. Yes, the levels are too long. Yes, the game’s consumable healing items lack the elegance of Dark Souls’ self-replenishing estus. Yes, the trick with the boss that just keeps respawning until you go kill the innocuous zombie standing on her balcony a billion miles away is unimaginable horseshit. But also, yes: That sense of running through the labyrinths of a demented, cackling dungeon master, daring you to stay alive ahead of rolling boulders and tricksy ambushes—while unseen friends leave you messages warning you away from the worst of the deathtraps—is still alive and well.
    • 85 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Judged on its own merits, there’s nothing automatically wrong with more of the same. But its status as a flagship part of the launch of the PS5 confers extra power on this unassuming little title—power it doesn’t always wield with the great responsibility such a prominent position demands.
    • 71 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    I, too, have to confess that the general shittiness of the writing and jankiness of the gameplay didn’t negate my enjoyment at all. If anything, the bad dialogue can be a real boon to online co-op play, because the sound of your regular laughter through my headphones was infectious, as our shared scorn for the one-dimensional nature of these odious characters lent the proceedings a festive vibe.
    • 75 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    So while the scares are ample, the gameplay rich and imaginative (a few frustrating needle-in-haystack searches aside), and the world a detailed and involving one (Frictional estimates roughly 9 hours for the average game; the playthrough time for this review was about double that), Amnesia: Rebirth has set itself an oddly contradictory task: Get people involved in a profound and complicated narrative mythology, while embodying a character who has no desire to be associated with any of it. Even with some late-in-the-game reveals of painful memories and Tasi’s mind-wiped history with this mine, the damage has been done. Reasonable people, Rebirth argues, should set aside foolish attractions to things bigger than themselves and those they care about. Focus on what matters. Everything else is just the jump scares of life, things to be surmounted en route to a safe place for family. I don’t know what Frictional calls that, but anyone who invests even minimally in their character’s arc will want it to be a win.
    • 93 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The irony of all this advancement-by-dying is that Supergiant has created a game about fighting one’s way out of the depths of inertia and despair that never feels anything less than joyful, even when it’s cheerfully kicking in your teeth.
    • 67 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Which brings us to the biggest shit-matryoshka layer of them all: Avengers’ completely unnecessary, unnatural status as a multiplayer, MMO-lite Destiny wannabe, complete with a Fortnite-lifted “battle pass” concept for unlocking character cosmetics.
    • 83 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    And if that all sounds very, possibly terribly, familiar, well: Yes. The truth is that there is very little new in Ghost Of Tsushima, except in an aesthetic sense. The plot is an American rehashing of 50-year-old tropes of Japanese cinema; the game design has been solidly in place in the titles it’s copying for more than a decade. But the craft on display is undeniable: This is a big, beautiful world to explore, absolutely filled with things to do and see. In a time when our own personal worlds have only gotten smaller, that’s probably more than enough for most players. It’s a game of consistent, small pleasures—at least, until you round a corner, and see something so beautiful you’re forced to just put down the controller and stare for a minute at the rippling effect of wind on grass. There’s a reason we build theme parks, after all.
    • 93 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    This sequel has more false stops than Return Of The King, and by its operatic and downright biblical finale, it begins to flirt heavily with pure bombast, with a self-seriousness as overgrown as any Bloater. But it’s usually smart to bet on Naughty Dog sticking the landing, and Part II invests so heavily in these characters—new but especially old—that by the time the actual ending finally arrives, it’s gutting in a wholly different way than the original’s.
    • 87 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The Final Fantasy VII Remake’s storytelling blows the original away.
    • 79 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Truthfully, there aren’t a lot of surprises of any kind in Resident Evil 3. It’s like an especially polished DLC campaign—think Resident Evil 2.5. Again, though, that’s mostly true too of the fan-favorite sequel it’s spit-shining. Back in ’99, Nemesis didn’t just mark the moment that this series started to tweak its infamously (if fruitfully) punishing tank controls, giving gamers the option to fight instead of flee and tilting the ratio of horror to action in the latter’s favor. It was also the first time a Resident Evil game looked a little formulaic, offering variations on stock elements.
    • 81 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The bugs are ugly and the slides are a nightmare, but they don’t hold Fallen Order back as much they could have. Lightsaber combat is rarely as fun or interesting as it is in this game, and the plot hits some tragic notes that the bigger Star Wars stories tend to skip over.
    • 82 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Death Stranding is a game that demands to be argued over and analyzed for years. It starts rough, and then gets better and better as it goes along, culminating in an ending that is both hugely important to its universe, and also very small and personal to Sam. It has big ideas for things it wants to say, and then it layers them in with heavy-handed messages about togetherness and bonding with your fellow man.
    • 87 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    I’ve always loved Link’s Awakening, hunched over my Game Boy and 3DS, lost in my own little world. But the Link’s Awakening remake has brightened my life considerably, by making it a game that lets you share the love.
    • 83 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    As a way to translate a fiendishly well-designed new take on multiplayer gaming into the hands of millions of Switch and PC players—as opposed to mere thousands of arcade patrons—it’s a worthy and welcome effort.
    • 84 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Remedy has once again managed to put out a game that is so much better than the sum of its parts.
    • 80 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It still feels too devoted to the open-ended tropes of that series to be as welcoming to newcomers as it could’ve been. Solving crimes with actual logic is fun, beating up goons is fun, and Puyo Puyo is f.cking great, so a game that combines all of that should be much more entertaining than Judgment ends up being.
    • 86 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    The game, just like the last one, is the ultimate expression of what Mortal Kombat can and should be, whatever positive or negative connotations that may imply. It simply is Mortal Kombat. They did it, they’ve done it before, and this game seems like a good indicator that they’ll have no trouble doing it again someday.
    • 90 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    When Sekiro soars—sending you flying across the battlefield like a medieval, Japanese, and extremely blood-drenched Batman—it finds a beautiful sweet spot between Dark Souls’ cautious, technical combat, and the backstab-heavy joys of something like Tenchu: Stealth Assassins. There’s a simple genius in the studio inverting its tried-and-true formula by making Wolf the most mobile creature on the battlefield for once, running circles around his lumbering opponents. It’s only when the pleasures of those movements are denied to you, in favor of a “straighter fight,” that the game makes you realize how far you are from being the perfect player it’s apparently seeking.
    • 60 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Crackdown 3 is too much of everything, but that's why it's fun.
    • 89 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Apex Legends is super fun.
    • 83 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Viewed in 2019, there’s a noxious sense that a game like Kingdom Hearts III is a victory lap for a corporation so successful at absorbing its business competitors that it’s almost completely dominated the minds of global audiences, especially those of a tender age.
    • 67 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Weirdly, Travis Strikes Again is at its best in those moments where players have the least control.
    • 93 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    It was a bold move for Capcom to retain as much of the original game as it did (which was most of it), and it speaks to a level of Nintendo-esque confidence in the basic design that the studio hasn’t really displayed in years.
    • 67 Metascore
    • Critic Score
    Personally, I can’t handle it in more than a few short bursts at a time, but it keeps sticking in the back of my brain, luring me back, a dark, mysterious island of a game just begging to be explored.

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