The Sydney Morning Herald's Scores

  • Games
For 851 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 31% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 65% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Game review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Final Fantasy XV
Lowest review score: 20 Army Men: Sarge's War
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 58 out of 851
851 game reviews
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Delivering a pitch-perfect blend of cinematic spectacle and cartoony fast-paced action, while also providing the most impressive showpiece yet for the PlayStation 5 hardware, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart looks, sounds and feels like a truly next-generation game. That it does this while also offering the exact same high level of heart, imagination and endearing characterisation we’ve come to expect from Insomniac Games is just as impressive.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Ultimately the most memorable and enjoyable parts of Village are all contained in its meaty middle section; a melting pot of inspirations and inventive all-new horrifying scenarios that, in certain moments, marries the best parts of the series’ two greatest entries. Unfortunately those moments are fleeting, but the game manages to frighten and excite throughout.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    The creatures themselves remain the coolest and most interesting part of the Pokemon games, so it’s always wonderful to explore their natural habitats purely for observation rather than for poaching and battles. New Pokemon Snap is an extended and ever-changing expedition through an enchanting world, with limited interactivity but plenty of opportunity for surprise and delight.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite a shaky allegorical narrative that's much shallower and less mature than it first appears, It Takes Two is an ambitious and worthwhile zany two-player experience. From high-speed ice-skating and spider-riding to co-operative school homework and fighting a clockwork bull, I honestly never knew what was coming next, but it was generally delightful and always thoughtfully tuned for co-operative play.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    From the constant challenge of bartering with your money and blood to maximise your loadout, to the awesome feeling of getting deep into the temple fully stocked with weapons and relics that complement each other to create a perfect playstyle, this is a seriously compelling roguelite. If you’re willing to make the initial sacrifice of time and energy to come to grips with the setup.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    From restoring the soundtrack of Rock N' Roll Racing with chiptunes and CD-quality tracks, to highlighting the rare but ugly Sega 32X version of Blackthorne, to jamming the best parts of all Lost Vikings releases into one game, this is an exhaustive look at three really cool ’90s gems that goes above and beyond what you’d expect from Activision-Blizzard. Anyone who loves one of these games, or who’s a fan of modern Blizzard and wants a window into its past, will be satisfied here despite a handful of slight disappointments.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Pairing one of the most brilliant yet underplayed games in Mario history with a wild and experimental new adventure, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is an incredible one-two punch of platforming perfection. While the combination of these two games may not be as exciting as an entirely new full-scale adventure, they're absolutely packed with the trademark Mario blend of creativity and control that seems so effortless but is also virtually without rival.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A psychological thriller with an impressively ambitious gimmick and some old-school leanings, The Medium crafts a gripping narrative with loads of atmosphere in an experience that’s unmissable for genre fans, even if frustrating design occasionally undermines the tension.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    As an adaptation of the Assassin's Creed RPG style to a breezier, more open and more playful world, Immortals Fenyx Rising is a total success. It might come off second best to Breath of the Wild, and its chatty and light-hearted take on subject matter traditionally treated in games as dark and bloody might not be to everyone's taste, but the treatment of greek myth's gods and monsters here makes for a delightful experience in its own right.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    Game visuals might need overhauls every few years to stay relevant, but good game design is timeless. So is Demon's Souls.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 65 Critic Score
    Warriors fans know what they're in for. It's an entertaining power fantasy with lots of bad guys and explosions, heaps of different characters to learn and all sorts of diversions on the side to power up your teams and weapons. But for all Age of Calamity's painstaking adaptation, it lacks almost everything I loved about Breath of the Wild. It's a skin deep approximation with the aesthetic and characters the only thing intact, mostly concerned with turning the existing areas into linear bombastic shooting galleries and sword fights. All that would be fine if the story or themes were meaningfully expanded here, but they aren't.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Momentum might not be important to the AC series anymore thanks to its shift towards RPG-lite but its other original key pillar, history, is utilised better than ever here. Not the specifics of what once happened, but the depiction of life elsewhere, elsewhen, and how well that is incorporated into core gameplay loops. With a clearer, more deliberate focus on the past in Valhalla, the series' future is bright.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With more complex combat, a slimmer and harder-hitting story, more interesting characters and better performance, this is a superior game to its predecessor in every way except for the fact that there's less of it. A perhaps unintended consequence is that I find myself caring less about a full-fledged future sequel following the adventures of Peter Parker and his rich friends. I'm really hoping we see more of Morales.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Though the replacement of authored characters with procedurally generated avatars has mixed results, Watch Dogs Legion is unique among GTA-style open world crime games as a result. The city is vast and beautiful, your options for vigilante havoc very broad and the potential for it all to explode into a memorably janky anecdote generally sky high.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Squadrons' gameplay core is finely tuned, and its spectacle layer nails the Star Wars illusion. Perhaps in a few months I'll long for a meatier suite of modes and maps, but, in the heat of battle, Rebel and Imperial pilots haven't had an experience this engaging since the Nintendo GameCube era.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is classic Crash, warts and all, updated for 2020. It looks and sounds phenomenal, is a touch more lenient, injects some new mechanics and takes much more care with the delivery of its story and characters. Given how poorly previous attempts to update Crash have turned out, this is a marvellous effort that should please old fans, their kids, and those just looking for a brilliant if potentially gruelling retro platforming adventure.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With a bottomless well of rules to learn and secrets to uncover, the endless satisfaction of making it further and further as your knowledge grows, and the looming spectre of death always just a second of lapsed judgement or a quirk of cosmic fate away, Spelunky 2 strikes a perfect balance of incredible complexity and endearing charm to create a replayable package anyone can enjoy.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It would be easy to ask for more, but as it stands these are the best officially available versions of the some of the greatest 3D platform games of all time. The HD visuals and elegant control adaptations are arguably close to bare minimum, but the charm, craft and imagination on display in these three games is timeless and undeniable.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Attempting to provide both satisfying big-budget narrative adventures and an online squad-based loot-grinding platform, Marvel's Avengers is an extremely impressive effort that falls short on long-term incentives (at least so far), but nails the campaign.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    This joyful 21st century reintroduction for the Battletoads might be a bit too beholden to the difficult brawling action of the past, but it's also stylish, creative and funny in ways that so few 2020 games can match.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Fall Guys is an exhilarating online competition you can enjoy in bite-sized chunks; a distillation of the joy and accomplishment present in other battle royale games without the violence or high skill requirement. There are some fumbles, but it has the potential to grow.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The sprawling and surprising world is absolutely the star of the show in Origami King. Whether you're sailing the high seas or working your way through a Shogun-themed amusement park, the sight gags and quips don't let up, the story has genuine heart and the crafted world is just so endlessly darling. That it's so frequently slowed or interrupted by the half-hearted battles is a real shame, but it can't stop the irrepressible charm and humour of the game at large.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With deep characters, heaps of interesting narratives you can tackle as you like, constant gratifying upgrades, a stunning look and potentially the greatest sword combat in modern gaming, this is a Samurai adventure I couldn't get enough of, even if I had some niggles with the overall story and a few outdated design choices.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The core flying and shooting experience here is very well done and should satisfy existing PSVR owners looking for something fresh. But from the meh upgrades and strange unlockable suit designs (it's a first person game?) to the rote storyline and repetition, everything outside of the advanced arcadey shooting gallery sections is a bit of a letdown.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With terrible violence and stunningly realised characters, The Last of Us Part II is a singular game that blends cutting edge technology and silky big-budget design with stellar cinematic and literary storytelling, with breathtaking results.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    With a kitschy clean presentation and a multicultural theme, Nintendo's 51 Worldwide Classics is a glossy and generous collection of tabletop standards and rainy day time wasters, perfect for a night in with the family.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    A simple yet satisfying family-friendly take on the Diablo-style hack-and-slash role-playing game, Minecraft Dungeons is a fun and creatove adaptation of the series' iconic blocky creatures and graphics, even if it features absolutely no mining or crafting.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The prequel story may not be revelatory, but in moment-to-moment strategic gunplay Gears Tactics is a delight. Both as an extension of the franchise to a totally new format and as a bloody and aggressive take on turn-based strategy, it's a successful experiment that should satisfy anyone who enjoys both chess and chainsaw bayonets.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Streets of Rage 4 is the rare retro revival that respects and celebrates the originals while also having something of its own to say. The visuals, sounds and mechanics aren't as envelope-pushing in 2020 as the originals were in the early '90s, but the balance between embracing nostalgia and reformulating the brawler for the current decade is struck wonderfully.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    Overall this game could be seen as a missed opportunity to flesh out what was — in 1999 — a quick but quirky followup to the more substantial RE3. But from the insane locations and intriguing characters to the stunning looks and satisfying action, this is a stellar game in its own right, and that can't be ignored.

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