Absolver is the low-poly, God Hand-inspired brawler of your dreams

It’s tempting to describe Absolver with an endless stream of references to other games—big ones, the type for which you see cardboard cutouts at GameStop. It’s an online multiplayer game riffing on the model of Destiny (2014) or Dark Souls (2011)—not, they clarify, an MMO—with players both friendly and unfriendly roaming a semi-open world. The elegantly low-poly world has the feel of a somber The Witness, and its tight, frame-specific combat recalls the brawlers of Platinum Games.  But that laundry list sells it short. Tucked back in an Airstream trailer, far enough from the Los Angeles Convention Center to allow me to…

E3 2016

Let us now consider the menswear at E3—2016 edition

We still live in a glorious time for mediocre fashion. Russell Westbrook notwithstanding, all it takes for a man to be deemed a good dresser is baseline competence: if your clothes vaguely fit, you’re stylish. This, incidentally, is the bigotry of low expectations or, to use a trendier term: male privilege. So, here we are: another year of unimaginative fashion; another year of officialdom-sanctioned apathy under the aegis of “normcore”; another year of E3. Sigh. You can probably see where this is going. In true Kill Screen fashion, this review will involve scores. Let’s begin. Here, for your sartorial pleasure, is one…


The dream behind Abzû’s alluring underwater world

The “dream” of scuba diving is separated by the actual, body-in-water act by one significant detail: there is no equipment. To scuba dive, you must submerge with a wetsuit, mask, flippers, then there’s the air cylinder, compass, line cutter, and dive light. There’s more too and it all bears down upon you; a heavy baggage of artificial stand-ins for fish parts and safety measures that account for inevitable human error. Matt Nava wants away with it all. He wants to swim nakedly under the sea—bold and free. Drowning not included. Nava has been scuba diving since high school. He described it…


NieR: Automata’s new footage is all bullet hell and deadly androids

The Drakengard action-RPG spin-off Nier (2010) wasn’t a critical or commercial smash when it was released six years ago. It was just kind of… there. Neither terrible, nor great, its wieldy story was praised, while its lackluster visuals and janky combat left a lot to be desired. Nonetheless, Nier became an unlikely cult classic, which steamrolled players’ desire for a sequel. And now that sequel, the PlatinumGames-helmed NieR: Automata, is nearly here. During E3 2016, a year after the project was first announced, a release window (early 2017) and extensive footage for NieR: Automata was showcased. A boss battle teaser and…

The Last Guardian

I yearn to pet The Last Guardian’s giant chicken-dog forever

It’d be foolhardy to make any big claims about The Last Guardian, Fumito Ueda’s massively long-in-development third game, after 45 minutes of playing it at E3. So I will start with what I know, which is that the big feathery chicken-cat, who is the ostensible star and raison d’etre of the videogame, is a very nice thing. She—I do not know her gender, but she reminds of my cat, who is female—has a nice face, and eyes that glow like malfunctioning PlayStation Move controllers. After throwing barrels at her face for a while, I freed her, and then threw more…

Wilson's Heart

Wilson’s Heart brings a healthy dose of The Twilight Zone to VR

Aside from a fairly prominent pinball machine, a more or less unknown Amiga game, and some homages from 2010’s Alan Wake (which, to be fair, homaged everything), the sudden crash course between The Twilight Zone and videogames sure has been a curveball. First this year was Oxenfree’s haunted-prop overnight horror—which was good. Then, BioShock’s Ken Levine decided to revive the classic sci-fi/fantasy series as an interactive film. Which I’ve got a baaaaaaaaad feeling about. And now the folks at Twisted Pixel Studios, who created ‘Splosion Man (2009) and The Maw (2009), are making their own VR sendup called Wilson’s Heart. Which I have a much…


Videogaming’s most endearing, clumsy robot is making a grand return

It was a welcome relief amid all the Just Dance-ing and Watch_Dog-ing at Ubisoft’s E3 2016 press conference to see the reveal trailer for Grow Up—a sequel to last year’s charming plant growing/climbing game, Grow Home. BUD, the red, stumbling robot from the first game reprises his starring role, and is tasked once again with clambering across all manner of enormous flora to locate parts of his spaceship, presumably to head home once more. Grow Home was an unlikely hit last year. It was developed by an eight-person team at Reflections (known primarily for their driving games) as an experiment…


An upcoming cyberpunk horror is about hacking into people’s fears

While Polish studio Bloober Team doesn’t have the most intimidating name in the world, their horror game released earlier this year, Layers of Fear, showed that they had a particular appetite for dread. Loaded as it was with Edgar Allan Poe clichés, Layers of Fear still hinted a certain mastery of perspective. The game’s strongest moments were when paintings and pedestrian items began to feel like instruments of a malicious trickster, a game where it felt like something was right behind you or crawling between the walls. Fear and its perceptions seem to be the driving force in their new…

Giant Cop

Giant Cop brings outlandish VR to dystopian police states

Other Ocean Interactive revealed their upcoming game, Giant Cop: Justice Above All, at the PC Gaming Press Conference at E3. It’s a virtual reality game about policing the town of Micro City as a Godzilla-sized officer of the law, and it looks just as silly as it sounds. All the characters (including the giant cop) appear as caricatures, and the citizens have equally over-the-top voice acting to match it. tossing dissenters into the ocean The trailer promises giant missions and a giant world to go along with your Giant Cop. The citizens of Micro City, however, seem pretty divided on…