Final Fantasy XV
Feature

Final Fantasy XV wants to be the next great road trip but can’t shut up

There are five central characters in Final Fantasy XV. The first four are young men with impeccable hairdos and absurd names: Noctis, Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto. The fifth is a sleek black convertible stately enough to be named the Regalia. Like every other Final Fantasy game, XV is about a long, dangerous journey across a fantastic landscape. Unlike the rest of the series, though, it doesn’t hang its story on the stuffy conventions of a Lord of the Rings-style cross-country wilderness hike, but through a road trip. The car, in Final Fantasy XV, is a central character. The Regalia is…

DUSK
News

DUSK is the grubby circus act a ’90s-style shooter should be

DUSK is an intentional throwback. It’s a game that deliberately, lovingly evokes the running, gunning, and no-reload bullet-dispensing of ‘90s shooters like Quake (1996), Blood (1997), and DOOM (1993). As with most exercises in nostalgia, it’s also pretty off-putting at first. Why make another Quake when right this instant Quake is available to play, as good as it ever was? Why roll around in the past when the future is always so much more exciting? But give DUSK a chance and it makes an argument for itself. In the first moments of its preview version, a trio of burly, flannel-clad guys with burlap sacks over their heads and…

Gears of War 4
Review

Gears of War 4 tries to cover up its battle scars

Two moments stick out from Gears of War 4. In one, a geyser of blood shoots from the exoskeleton of an enormous, crablike Corpser as the Hammer of Dawn—a satellite-guided laser—rains a beam of molten death down upon it. Fountains of gore flow from the creature like a waterfall while serious, beefy dudes in massive armor run accompanying waves of monsters through with a typhoon of bullets. In another, later scene, sparks fly off a metal-plated security robot as new protagonist JD Fenix plinks it apart with a submachine gun. He makes lighthearted, Whedon-esque quips to his pals and wears…

Gears of War 4
News

Gears of War 4 has lost some weight

A number of things define Gears of War. There’s the chainsaw-equipped assault rifle used to saw murderous reptile men in half, the constant rhythmic challenge of timing a supercharged gun reload, and, of course, the brick shithouse soldiers that players control throughout. These are all constants in Gears, reliable design elements that tie the series—a trilogy and spin-off game—together, regardless of where the story itself goes. Gears of War 4 is an intentional break from everything that came before, but, since it has that 4 on the end of its name, it’s also, in many ways, a continuation of Gears tradition, too. Much of it…

Quantum Break
Review

Quantum Break is better TV than videogame

In Remedy Entertainment’s Max Payne (2001) and Alan Wake (2010), the player can approach television sets and watch short, surprisingly detailed videos. In Max Payne, these include soapy melodrama Lords and Ladies and the paranoiac, Lynch-riffing Address Unknown. Alan Wake sticks to a Twilight Zone-inspired anthology series called Night Springs. These TV shows are worth mentioning as a reminder that Remedy has never been shy about recognizing its influences. As such, Max Payne is a blend of Hong Kong cinema gunplay and conspiracy-laden noir. While Alan Wake is a Stephen King thriller filtered through the lens of Twin Peaks and…

The Tomorrow Children
Review

The Tomorrow Children would fail a history exam

The Cold War refuses to separate itself from the West’s understanding of the Soviet Union. Decades of apocalyptic rivalry have painted its immensely diverse citizenry as, by turns, dispassionate murderers or buffoonish caricatures. On one hand is Stalin, casually signing the paperwork that ordered the mass killings and deportations of the Great Purge; on the other are the workers and soldiers of the Union, imagined as simple-minded enough to follow the suicidal directives of their leaders. One of the most staggeringly unusual empires in human history has, in popular consciousness, been watered down to a collection of non-thinking laborers, power-hungry…

Junebug
Feature

Kentucky Route Zero’s android musicians are releasing a whole album

To read more from Kentucky Route Zero’s Cardboard Computer, be sure to pick a copy of Kill Screen’s relaunched magazine, Issue 9. /// Junebug, of Kentucky Route Zero’s duo of robotic musicians, is releasing an album. Self-titled and comprised of 11 tracks, the release is an elaboration upon one of the game’s highlights: a late-night performance in a nearly-empty dive bar called the Lower Depths.   Ben Babbitt, one-third of developer Cardboard Computer and the musician responsible for Kentucky Route Zero’s soundtrack, also provides Junebug’s singing voice and instrumentals. After working to craft her sound for Act III’s Lower Depths performance, Babbitt,…

Winston
News

Winston, the Science Gorilla, is in charge

We love Overwatch. So we assembled 22 of our best writers and set them to work—a writer to jump into the skin (or robotic shell) of each character. The result is 22 odes. You can use the “Overwatch odes” tag to leaf through them all, or use the handy list at the bottom of this post. /// The last time I went to the zoo, I stood for a long while in front of the gorilla’s enclosure. One of the animals—an enormous guy—was sat with his back to the glass pane that showed his home to passersby. Occasionally he would…

More details San Michele al Pozzo Bianco
Feature

The Goat, the Devil, and DOOM

The first time Black Phillip, a perfectly normal-looking goat, appears in Robert Eggers’ 2015 horror film The Witch, the viewer is struck with a sense of unease. This isn’t any fault of Phillip’s. If anything, he should be the most reassuring aspect inthe gloomy story of a 17th century family’s exile to the New England wilderness. Within an atmosphere of dread and fear, Phillip all but mugs for the camera in every one of his scenes. He gives his shaggy head a puzzled cock in the middle of a somber barnyard tableau with perfect comedic timing. He rears up to…