Tagged With a critical look

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Red Dead Redemption 2’s excessively detailed world tries to suggest reality. Fall and you get covered in mud; while covered in mud someone might make a coy comment about how they hope it’s not shit.

The world is full of little flourishes and behaviours that suggest its NPCs are real people with genuine reactions. But the more I play, the more they feel like puppets putting on a show.

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Far Cry 5 suggests a world on the brink of a violence apocalypse, but the game's sanitised gameplay and clean-cut power fantasy ultimately ring hollow. If the series wants to make a case for human savagery, it should look back to Far Cry 2, a game that wasn't afraid to let things break.

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Spider-Man has taken on his share of street thugs and supervillains, sometimes teaming up with the police to face down foes and rescue the people of New York. While Spider-Man on PS4 undoubtedly shows Spidey’s allegiance to his community, it also casts him as a big fan of police and their tactics that sometimes conflict with that civic mindset. From cheesy detective impressions to Rikers prisoner beatdowns, Spider-Man’s uncomplicated approach to crime clashes with the reality of day to day life.

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Fallout 76 will have nukes. Provided players find the keys, they will be able to fire these nukes off whenever they please. This gameplay feature, announced at yesterday's Bethesda press conference, is presumably meant to encourage player-created drama in the upcoming online survival game.

It's also the clearest signal yet that the Fallout series, under Bethesda's leadership, has forgotten where it came from.

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David Cage's Detroit: Become Human wants to talk about difficult questions. The game from Cage's studio Quantic Dream, is a story of android prejudice and rebellion touches upon questions of the soul and the nature of being. But Detroit is also a bloated action movie romp. One sequence, a series in a pattern for Cage, denigrates the female protagonist. It's pointless voyeurism, and I'm sick of it.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops III mixes the series' familiar first-person shooting with a wild cyberpunk storyline. The narrative breaks apart the further the player progress unless it finally explodes in a level that mixes World War II, zombies, and dying dreams. That level, Demon Within, is both the high point of the campaign and a horrifying cry for help from the game itself.

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Dujanah is a gorgeous and bizarre indie game full of glitch cats, existential spider-men, and death. With key narrative moments and a small arcade of games that focus on death and dying, it imparts an important lesson of acceptance. We take a look in this critical video.

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Sephiroth, Liquid Snake, Ganondorf; video games have some wonderful villains. But making bad guy who is both frightening and sympathetic is a challenge. Yakuza nails it, creating what might be gaming's best antagonist. We take a look how they pull it off in this critical video.

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I first played Half-Life in 1998 and played it again over the last month for a series of livestreams on Twitch. It's been 19 years since the game was released, and what I experienced in 2017 made me reassess the game. It's a chaotic, if sometimes sloppy, masterpiece.

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Strong multiplayer maps in video games create stories. Their construction and design generate emotional reactions from frustrated defeat to jubilant victory. It is not enough to put players in a space and do battle; strong maps shift and contort in unexpected ways. They are not always fair and they are rarely symmetrical, but they will create tons of drama.