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News

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…

Asemblance
News

New videogame thriller takes its cues from The Twilight Zone

“You had a good life. But things changed,” explains the narrator of Asemblance as you begin your descent into a world of reconstructed memories. The machine asks how much of your past life you remember, then: “Are you sure you want to remember?” Last year, Niles Sankey founded Nilo Studios out of a desire to tell new kinds of stories within videogames. An ex-Bungie employee who lent his creative vision to Halo: Reach (2010) and conceptualized the E3 2013 Destiny reveal, Sankey saw untapped potential in the anthology format of storytelling. Asemblance is the first episode in a new, ongoing series of experiences that takes its…

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Review

Prominence has old-school sci-fi vibes, but it’s short on story

In January 1957, J.G. Ballard first published his story “The Concentration City” (then under a different title) in a magazine called New Worlds. It takes place in a city that spans the entire universe, where streets stretch out both horizontally and vertically, with lifts and levels expanding the city infinitely in every direction. Talk of real estate doesn’t just involve two-dimensional plots of land, but is priced and measured in cubic feet, so that even the air you breathe costs money. The biggest threat to life in this city is terrorists called “pyros,” the embodiment of a violent human impulse…

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Article

The Joy of Nature

Right now, Paris is hosting the United Nations conference on climate change. It’s the 21st session to be held since these events started, and the 11th meeting since the Kyoto Protocol was agreed in 1997. These events tend to be underwhelming—a smattering of watery half-promises and spurious statistics—but this year there’s increased scrutiny following the global protests of last September. Three hundred thousand people took to the streets of New York while concurrent marches were being held across cities such as Berlin, Lagos, Johannesburg, Seoul, and London. And this November, the United Nations weather agency warned of the new “permanent…