The Sydney Morning Herald's Scores

  • Games
For 827 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 30% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 66% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Game review score: 70
Highest review score: 100 Virtua Fighter 5
Lowest review score: 20 Rampage: Total Destruction
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 58 out of 827
827 game reviews
    • 94 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.
    • 73 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.
    • 81 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.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This is by far the nicest iteration of the game to date, with both more guided objectives and more options for self-led tomfoolery, wrapped in a much higher definition version of the familiar rustic-meets-plushies visual and audio motifs.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    With a colourful alien world, cheeky satirical story and heaps of potential for self-directed exploration, Journey to the Savage Planet promises a happier and more completable small-scale take on familiar first-person exploration ideas, even if the back half of the game funnels you more and more towards prescribed scenarios and combat.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With two styles of satisfying combat that stay fresh throughout the entire game, supported by a side of Zelda-style item-based dungeon puzzles and pre-apocalyptic series lore, this is a brilliant adaptation of Darskiders' signature brand of fun, even if it's not as grand or cinematic as the third-person action games.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 65 Critic Score
    Unique touches like the IR games and two-player competitions give this Brain Training a fresh edge, despite how similar it is to the 2006 original. But in 2020 there's nothing here — aside from those two aspects — that couldn't be done on smartphones, and that's probably where Nintendo should have put it.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Delivering yet another fresh twist on Shovel Knight's peerlessly smooth faux-retro brilliance, King of Cards is a challenging, funny, beautiful game that serves not only as the final chapter in the saga but also as proof of how far its creators have come.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    With new monsters, a vibrant and more immersive world, seamless connectivity with other players near or far and a heap of quality of life tweaks, Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are a clear generational leap.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    With new monsters, a vibrant and more immersive world, seamless connectivity with other players near or far and a heap of quality of life tweaks, Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are a clear generational leap.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    With new monsters, a vibrant and more immersive world, seamless connectivity with other players near or far and a heap of quality of life tweaks, Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are a clear generational leap.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Fallen Order offers both an enthralling look at a shadowy time in the Star Wars continuum and a gameplay design that kept me hooked. From force pushing an astromech through the air and hearing it emit the exact panicked yowling sound it's supposed to make, to tracking down and defeating a giant albino spider that just killed me to restore my experience points (and dignity), it's been a long time since I've had this much fun in a galaxy far, far away.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    The Outer Worlds is a well-written, novel, gorgeous roleplaying game, made for today using some of yesterday's best tricks. If you fall into the trap of using fast travel it can feel like ticking off to-do list items instead of adventuring. But if you force yourself to slow down and let the sharp dialogue, otherworldly vistas, and intriguing characters work their magic, it's one of the best roleplaying experiences of the last few years.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    With intensely interesting lore and characters, an awe-inspiring aesthetic and one of the most mind-crushingly dull gameplay loops I've ever experienced in a high-budget video game, Hideo Kojima's supernatural epic is pretentious and profound, filled with tedium and terrifying wonder.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With near endless creativity, thoughtful puzzles and a lot of laughs, Luigi's Mansion 3 offers a smart and theatrical haunted house with a huge amount to see, do, collect and play around with.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    It's clear that Concrete Genie is a labour of love made by a small team that really believes in the pro-tolerance, anti-capitalist leanings of the story, and the central interactive street art creation makes for an experience that looks and feels like no other. Yet while this is a vital and worthwhile game you're left to make your own fun a lot of the time, so your enjoyment will depend on how committed you are to painting virtual murals.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    Trine 4 is an excellent refinement of a unique and worthwhile game with smarter controls, more satisfying multiplayer, heaps of great puzzles and a more magical look and sound than ever. It's still not perfect, but Trine has come a long way in 10 years and there really is nothing else like it.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Volta is a great, nostalgic innovation for the series that alone is enough to justify jumping back into FIFA, even if it comes off as a pleasant afterthought given the continued focus on Ultimate Team. Other offline modes like Pro Clubs and Career continue to be ignored.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With gratifying combat, practically unmatched visual grandeur, a new focus on exploration and some of the most interesting locations and characters at the high-budget end of modern gaming, Gears 5 is an incredible leap forward for the original cover-based third-person shooter series.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Striking a careful balance between updating an old classic for 2019 and maintaining what made the original so special, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is a remarkable and unmissable game despite a few small stumbles. The artistry of the original is so strong, and the update so measured, that both devoted fans and entirely new players are bound to be delighted.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Though much shorter and not quite as compelling as its predecessor Until Dawn, Man of Medan maintains the guts of the excellent interactive horror format. Its smart multiplayer modes, complex sub-plots, branching paths and assorted endings make it a blast for movie nights and a great start to a promising anthology.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    From the depth of its world-building and its gratifying combat to the unexpected twists of its story and a handful of truly unforgettable kaleidoscopic fighting sequences, this is an inspired game that manages to match its crazy, beautiful, otherworldly storytelling with action that's every bit as good.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Three Houses is a masterpiece of a strategy game and a brilliant relationship sim, which feels like the pinnacle of the love/tactics hybrid innovated by 2012's Awakening. With a twisting and turning main narrative and a refined but fairer battle system that retains all its tactical depths, the game's two halves combine to create a hugely customisable strategy experience with high and personal stakes.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Raw and emotional, though let down by some annoying or wonky design issues, Sea of Solitude is a worthwhile and beautiful journey through loneliness and regret.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Serving as both a quirky Zelda spinoff and a sequel to 2015's rhythm-action indie hit Crypt of the Necrodancer, Cadence of Hyrule is a polished and charmingly inventive game sure to appeal to fans of either franchise. From the Rougelike dungeon and item design to the inspired musical remixes, this crossover has worked out better than anyone could have expected.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The modernisation of the visuals, music and customisation options are top notch, but the actual play has managed to resist being brought to the current decade at all. This means casual kart fans might find the game unfairly cruel, but old fans will appreciate the fact that it stays true to the spirit of the original in that regard.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This is a stunning celebration of all things Super Mario, from the music and the art to the characters and items, and it's also a great social tool that uses the ubiquitous language of running and jumping to share gameplay and narrative ideas between players worldwide. It has lost a bit of its weird edge since last time, but it's also gained a lot more variety and much more substantial systems for sorting stages and playing with friends.

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