High Scores 2016

High Scores: The Best Videogames of 2016 – 8 to 5

This is part of Kill Screen’s list of the best videogames of 2016. To see the rest of the list, check out all the other parts. /// 8. Hitman What have I done? I accidentally killed this golf instructor in Sapienza—automatically a huge knock on my final score—and I feel terrible. This dude wasn’t my intended target. I just wanted his outfit. As I don this mystery man’s uniform, I wonder; what was this man’s life like before I threw a knife into his head? Before I, the ever-bald and temporarily golf-loving Agent 47, placed an exploding ball onto an isolated…


Playing with the Trickster

“They are the lords of in-between. A trickster does not live near the hearth; he does not live in the halls of justice, the soldier’s tent, the shaman’s hut, the monastery. He passes through each of these when there is a moment of silence, and he enlivens each with mischief, but he is not their guiding spirit. He is the spirit of the doorway leading out, and of the crossroad at the edge of town.” – Lewis Hyde /// Adam Jensen is a serious man. He has no time to spare; a helicopter is waiting for him as we speak.…

Hitman: Colorado

Hitman’s accent problem finally finds a solution (sorta)

Hitman, in most ways, has been going from strength to strength. The episodic murder simulator has seemingly found its form, with the space between each episode giving players plenty of time to experiment with its techniques and locations, finding increasingly outrageous kills and bizarre events. We’ve had “accidents” caused by launching a fire extinguisher at a Parisian balcony, setting up a totally improbable double kill with a trail of gunpowder in Sapienza, and in Bangkok the grim spectacle of smothering a man in his own birthday cake in front of his surprise party. I’ll understand if you don’t click that last…


The problem with videogames that don’t trust their players

Imagine that you’ve started a new level in a game that sets the scene for endless opportunities. A new environment riddled with context clues that allow the player to consider their options on how to proceed—until an uninvited UI prompt coddles their decision-making and shatters the illusion of choice. This is the problem that Luis Antonio, creator of the upcoming Twelve Minutes, presents through his examination of the recently-released Hitman. His game is about creating a dynamic environment that responds to the player. The game is about a man who is trapped in a time loop of 12 minute intervals, where the…

Hitman: Blood Money

The power of silence in Hitman: Blood Money

War games have consistently failed at making me feel like an invader. Their stories, almost always, involve Western troops on top secret missions behind enemy lines—myself and my AI squad mates are supposed to be interlopers, constantly vulnerable amid a foreign, hostile environment. And yet, we master our surroundings, and our enemies within them, entirely. On-screen objective markers tell us where to go. An arsenal of science-fiction weaponry ensures our safety. Videogames are sycophantic. We, the players, must always be comfortable. We must be provided with the necessary equipment and navigational tools so as not to become stuck (or even…


The class war and canapes of HITMAN’s Paris debut

I’ve been to my fair share of parties. I don’t mean the plastic-cup-and-pizza apartment hang-outs, or the police-baiting all-night warehouse raves—I mean vaulted ceilings, black tie dress code, and free champagne. Parties where I leant on neoclassical statues while distant arty bass droned on, where tungsten yellow courtyards were transformed into ice-white future bars, and fountains and conversation tinkled nearby. I mean exactly the kind of party that HITMAN offers up for its opening act. It’s a party that is so familiar, in fact, that I was met with an odd sense of deja vu as I wandered through the…


Square president has epiphany: people outside of Japan like JRPGs

Seems obvious, but apparently not.  In an interview with the Nikkei, translated by the good people at Siliconera, Square president Yosuke Matsuda admits, “We weren’t able to see this clearly up until now, but fans of JRPGs are really spread around the world.”  He seems genuinely baffled at how titles the company whitewashed to appeal to a global audience fell flat, while games targeted chiefly for Japan like Bravely Default found love around the world. While the old writer’s tip ‘write what you know’ is disputable, it’s at least correct to say ‘don’t makes games based on what you think…