High Scores 2016
Feature

High Scores: The Best Videogames of 2016 – 4 to 1

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. /// 4. Anatomy If Kitty Horrorshow is the new mistress of videogame horror, then right now Anatomy is her masterpiece. It’s as unsettling as it is smart. You’re tasked with collecting cassette tapes around a dark, silent house. As you listen to them, a monologue suggests the house is alive. One line that sticks: “There is even a fair number of comparisons to be drawn between those organs of the house and those of the…

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…

05
Feature

Play Kentucky Route Zero now, before it’s too late

“More mysteries. They do pile up, over time, as people forget the details.”         -Shannon Marquez, Kentucky Route Zero Act IV Kentucky Route Zero is defined by its voids. From its haunting, shadowy landscapes to its characters’ featureless faces, the meditative, five-part digital stage play offers players plenty of empty spaces to fill in or leave blank at their discretion. The increasingly large gaps between the releases of each new chapter of the still-in-development story are another kind of void. We only just got Act IV after an 18-month wait, which means that at the current exponential rate, the final…

The Banner Saga 2 header
Review

The Banner Saga 2 still goes at it hard

The world is breaking. This is what you’re told at the outset of The Banner Saga 2. It’s delivered in a sigh, an exhale, and carries with it the weight of responsibility you bear—not all of those entrusted to your care will make it through the ordeal. There’s an inevitable doom to the proceedings but your choices will give those that follow you a chance, at least. Those choices are there in the dialogue, in the small esoteric details of conversation, in the events that unfold, and in the combat that ensues. Decision-making is woven into the tapestry of play…

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,…

Kentucky Route Zero Act IV
Review

Kentucky Route Zero: Act IV is an elegy

Michael Snow’s 1967 experimental film Wavelength is a 45-minute long zoom on an empty room. Outside the walls, and the camera’s frame, the insignificant dramas of human life play out in sad, abortive spirals. Men move furniture into the room; two friends drink and listen to the Beatles; in the end, a man dies on the floor and a woman calmly informs the cops of his corpse. Snow is monomaniacally committed to his premise: Wavelength is a canonical example of experimental film precisely because of its push-pull between dry, structural formalism and gut-level intrigue. In a way it’s a murder…

Kentucky Route Zero
News

Stop everything! Kentucky Route Zero Act IV is out right now

Just like last time, Kentucky Route Zero‘s next act—that is, Act IV—has dropped with a soft thump into the world. If you already own it then this new act will be available to download in your Steam library right now. Did you hear it land? Nor did anyone else. Alongside this sudden arrival, Cardboard Computer posted an “Observational Trailer,” which is the most pleasant three minutes I’ve ever spent staring at a gas station lit like a biker bar. You can also spend the next three minutes doing that, perhaps sipping on something cold—yes, do that: So far, acts One…

Kentucky Route Zero
News

Slow things down by listening to the new Kentucky Route Zero teaser

Cardboard Computer has released a new track from an upcoming installment of Kentucky Route Zero and maybe it contains important information about what is to come in the game. Maybe—OK, let’s be real—it probably doesn’t. But maybe it does, and that’s enough hope to keep the whole operation going. https://t.co/2SWOwOuGYp — cardboard computer (@cardboardcompy) June 8, 2016 “River” is, as you might expect, an atmospheric track, filled with billowing sounds and distant noodlings. It doesn’t wash over you; you sink into it. Of course, this isn’t exactly music for you to listen to—at least not in this context. How often…

Wireframe church
News

Wireframe church looks like a videogame’s debug mode made real

Ruins force the present to live right next to the distant past. In Rome, traffic passes by the Colosseum, which has mostly survived and been restored, but sites such as the Circus Maximus are obvious because of their absence. There are no cafes or shops on this enormous oval, and it’s surrounded on all sides by a uniform and evenly-sloped hill that suggests human labor, but the open park is all that’s left to suggest there was something there. One imagines the spaces that used to be present—stadium seating, booths for the wealthy—stretching up beside and above them. In ruins,…