Bayonetta 2
Wii U | 9.0

"Creating a sequel to an already-polished game is a challenge, but Platinum Games’ approach ultimately succeeds. Bayonetta 2 is rooted in its past while taking steps (but not strides) toward the future. Though I was disappointed by some of the familiarity, I was usually having too much fun to care." —Joe Juba

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Xbox One | 9.0
(Also on PS4, PS3, 360, PC)

"Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s single-player campaign is a ridiculous summer movie romp with sobering visions of the future of weaponry. Bring popcorn, because the real fun begins with the multiplayer, where the wealth of customization options should have players coming back for game after game." —Daniel Tack

Civilization: Beyond Earth
PC | 9.0

"Civilization: Beyond Earth doesn’t take the series to the outer galaxies in terms of revolutionary new gameplay, but it provides fantastic modifications and mechanics that allow it to stand proud as a worthy bearer of the Civilization name. This is a must play for strategy fans, and if you’ve always been curious about the genre but never jumped in, your opportunity is here." —Daniel Tack

Dark Souls II: The Crown of the Sunken King
PS3, 360, PC | 9.0

"The zones themselves are among the most labyrinthine in Dark Souls II and include a huge amount of dead drops and lethal traps, which are often served up under duress from unwavering foes. This creates an atmosphere of claustrophobia and keeps an uncomfortable pressure bearing down on the player throughout the entire DLC experience."—Daniel Tack

Divinity: Original Sin
Game of the Month: September 2014
PC | 9.0

"Divinity: Original Sin isn’t just a great turn-based RPG, it stands tall on its own as an amazing title where players can truly blaze their own paths through the world as elemental wizards, crafty rogues, and brutal warriors."—Daniel Tack

The Evil Within
PS4, Xbox One | 9.0
(Also on PS3, 360, PC)

"Few Paranormal Activity fans care how these malevolent demons come back again and again – what truly matters is that the audience’s nerves are frayed until they’re raw. The Evil Within excels at keeping your palms sweaty while delivering a harrowingly rewarding gameplay trial. Watching the credits roll with a sigh of relief doesn’t feel like winning; it feels like surviving." —Tim Turi

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster

PS3, Vita | 9.0

“For those who want the complete arc of the Final Fantasy X saga, the collection delivers. Even without a nostalgic lens, both games hold up well.” —Kimberley Wallace

PC, iPad | 9.0

“Drawing upon many of the staples of collectible card game design with a focus on accessibility and modern sensibilities, Hearthstone succeeds as a standout example of where DCGs are headed.”—Daniel Tack

Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas
PC, iPad | 9.0

"Naxxramas is an excellent addition to the core game, and an exploration of sorts to examine the potential for additional single-player Hearthstone content. While there is little replay value to the encounters themselves, the adventure provides a substantial amount of new content that spills over into ranked, casual, and arena mode and changes how you approach the game." —Daniel Tack

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix
PS3 | 9.0

"Kingdom Hearts II and Birth By Sleep offer an incredible amount of quality gameplay. If you’re feeling nostalgic or running through for the first time, there’s a ton of meat to sink your teeth into that can easily last well into the new year." —Bryan Vore

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
3DS | 9.0

"Persona Q is easily one of my favorite games this year. It delivers in both quality gameplay and wonderful characters, but what stands out is the extra effort that went into every area, always raising the bar."  —Kimberley Wallace

Rayman Legends
PS4, Xbox One | 9.0

“Rayman's latest outing lands on new-gen consoles with everything that made it great, and a few minor extras.” —Jeff Cork

PC | 9.0

“Smite is an excellent addition to an expanding genre, and one that distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack with decidedly different gameplay, a quirky and lighthearted take on classic mythology, and a variety of interesting modes.”—Daniel Tack

The Talos Principle
PC | 9.0

"The Talos Principle is a meaty puzzle experience that will take you over a dozen hours to complete and then leave you chewing on some of life’s greatest mysteries for weeks. You might not be able to solve the nature of humanity, but the rest of this game’s puzzles will leave you feeling brilliant enough to try." —Ben Reeves

iOS, Android | 9.0

“The game rewards strategy and patience time and time again, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not having it on your mobile devices.” —Dan Ryckert

Towerfall Ascension 
PS4, PC | 9.0

“With the release of Towerfall Ascension, I’m finally able to play a game I love without having to worry about any obnoxious technical issues [from the Ouya edition].” —Dan Ryckert

PS4, PC | 9.0

“Supergiant Games' follow-up to Bastion is a powerfully imaginative action/RPG that evokes a sense of wonder and revels in experimentation.” —Matt Miller

Ultra Street Fighter IV
PS3, 360 | 9.0

"The handful of new characters and modes won’t entice newcomers, but considerable changes and balances have been made to the engine. It isn’t groundbreaking, but it keeps the venerable Street Fighter IV on top of the fighting game hierarchy." —Jason Oestreicher

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
PC | 9.25

“Almost every facet that players rightly attacked in the original game has been refined and revamped, transforming the title into an enjoyable action/RPG experience.” —Daniel Tack

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition
PS4, Xbox One | 9.25
(Also on PS3 and 360)

"The complete Diablo III experience is enjoyable played solo, but by allowing a combination of online and local cooperative play for up to four players and adding some fun new social tools, Blizzard has made this the cooperative game to beat on new-gen consoles. No matter your experience level with the game, this is an excellent time to dive in to the action." —Matt Miller

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze 
Game of the Month: March 2014
Wii U | 9.25

“DK returns (again) with a smooth, finely tuned blend of wonder and punishment.” —Bryan Vore

Game of the Month: November 2014
PS4, Xbox One | 9.25
(Also available on PS3, 360, Wii, PC, Vita, and 3DS)

"FIFA 15 takes the series into a whole other level with gameplay that betters the surmounting hype that threatened to engulf it. Playing it makes me believe I can do just about anything with the ball at my feet, and this self-assurance is powerful." —Matthew Kato

Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Xbox One | 9.25

"Master Chief Collection raises the bar for remastered compilations by allowing players to experience these games as they really were, and how our memory has colored them over the years. Whatever your main incentive for getting The Master Chief Collection may be – replay the story, relive the multiplayer – you won’t be disappointed with this revival."  —Kyle Hilliard

Hearthstone: Goblins vs. Gnomes
Game of the Month: February 2015
PC, iOS, Android | 9.25

"The first expansion set for Hearthstone is a major step forward for the already accessible and fun game, and I hope to see even more variety as we move past Goblins vs Gnomes into the future of the digital card game." —Daniel Tack

Mario Kart 8
Game of the Month: July 2014
Wii U | 9.25

"None of the previous titles in the franchise can boast the rock-solid total package that this one offers." -Dan Ryckert

Sunset Overdrive
Xbox One | 9.25

"Outside of the mission monotony, Sunset Overdrive is an immensely rewarding experience that has a look and style all its own and a great gameplay package to complement it. It’s a colorful return to form for Insomniac games, and a hell of an exclusive for Xbox One." —Andrew Reiner

Super Smash Bros.
3DS | 9.25

"Super Smash Bros. has KO’d my assumptions and renewed my enthusiasm for the series." —Jeff Cork

Xbox One, PC | 9.25
360 | 9.0

“Respawn evolves the competitive shooter through a wealth of innovations and cleverly balanced action.” —Matt Miller

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
PS4, Xbox One | 9.25

“It's simply a great port of a great game. The added content is a welcome addition, but didn't markedly affect my enjoyment of Tomb Raider.” —Matt Helgeson

Dragon Age: Inquisition
Game of the Month: December 2014
PS4, PC | 9.5
(Also on Xbox One, PS3, 360)

"After two disparate entries with different philosophies, Dragon Age’s identity crisis is over. With a mixture of open-world exploration, entertaining combat, and top-tier characters, the team at BioWare has found a winning formula that isn’t shackled to either Dragon Age: Origins or Dragon Age II. Inquisition is not defined by the traditions it returns to, but by the new directions it forges for this magnificent fantasy universe." —Joe Juba


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