God of War

Welcome to the age of videogame beards

Let’s face it: the renaissance of the full beard has been a thing for a while now. It came from fashion and now it has arrived in our videogames. It’s nothing to scoff at, either. The power of the beard has worked to change a 20-year history of smooth-faced Street Fighter characters: Ryu now has as much facial hair as Zangief. The same thing happened to Geralt in The Witcher 3 last year, and now the bald protagonist of God of War too: Kratos’s minimalist goatee has grown to a full beard for his next game, putting him in a list that I,…


The disjointed Prague of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Heterotopias is a series of visual investigations into virtual spaces performed by writer and artist Gareth Damian Martin. /// To me, Prague has always felt like a city uniquely in communion with the past and future versions of itself. I remember my first visit, a local friend taking me to the once mysterious, now legendary Cross Club: an amorphous labyrinth of scrap metal occupying the lower floors and basement of a decaying, communist-era panelák. Stumbling past the ubiquitous leather-clad and shorn-headed bouncers into one of its dancefloors was like wandering into a William Gibson wonderland, bubbling tubes of mysterious green liquid and angular metal…

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided can’t wait to be interrupted

There’s an apartment in Golem City littered with dead bodies. Normally, I’d be the one to put them there, but not this time. One of them was probably named Ana, at least according to the emails in a computer nearby. The messages are from her doctor informing her that she’s pregnant. This would normally be good news. But Golem City’s daycare was recently shut down, the doctor informs her, and infant mortality is through the roof. Without actually coming out and saying it, the doctor seems to suggest that Ana should get an abortion. Given what I’ve seen so far…

Deus Ex GO

You can Play Deus Ex GO while you wait for Mankind Divided

Even though the board is bared to both players, chess is a kind of stealth game. Each piece is moved in plain sight, but a successful chess player is hiding her intentions from her opponent. That opponent understands that her goal is to force a checkmate, but spends the game trying to deduce and block the path she plans to take to accomplish that. Similarly, games like those in the Deus Ex series open up multiple paths forward to the player and introduces obstacles along them to encourage her to think about the state of the playspace now, 30 seconds from now,…

Saint Basil's Cathedral on Red Square in Moscow

“Augs Lives Matter”: The hollow race politics of the new Deus Ex

In anticipation of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s release later this August, Square Enix and Eidos Montreal have released a series of pictures depicting the current state of major cities around the globe during the events of the game, including London, Berlin, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, and Moscow. They are… certainly something. As far as art goes, it is at least technically admirable: it hits the exact grimy spot between “this is too normal to obviously be a dystopia” and “I had to stop playing to go take a bath,” and the cities look big and bustling and appropriately futuristic. The…


You’re a badass. You’re a cat. Need I say more?

A feline contract killer waits outside the door of her target’s apartment at sunset, smoking a cigarette. Her gun is loaded, but she’ll need to think a bit more outside the box if she wants to get paid. Once our feline protagonist finds herself inside the target’s apartment, she decides the best method is to lock the victim inside and leave him to die from starvation. It’s a clean-cut plan—until the cops show up. Badass Inc. is a strategic action-adventure game originally created with Haxe, an open-source game programming tool, in less than 48 hours for the Ludum Dare challenge—a…