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…

FFVI Header

Magic and gender in Final Fantasy VI

Final Fantasy VI (1994) is deeply concerned with the relationship between human beings and technology. The game liberally borrows elements from Western heroic fantasy and science fiction, yet the story and action are centered around two young female protagonists, Terra and Celes, who are variations on the “magical girl” and “beautiful fighting girl” archetypes of late-20th century Japanese pop culture. Placing Final Fantasy VI within the broader context of Japanese society in the 1990s can give us a new perspective on a classic and iconic videogame while also enhancing our understanding of many of the narrative tropes and conventions of…

Lonely Star

Lonely Star brings a lo-fi apocalypse to the Weird West

“FAIR FIGHTS ARE GOOD, IF YOU ARE IN A MOVIE, OR WOULD LIKE TO BECOME DEAD.” This is told to me by a crystal in the middle of a desert, surrounded on all sides by dust and cacti and one single, solitary highway. It’s the third of these I’ve found, sprouting carelessly out of the cracked earth, there for no other reason than to give advice, vehemently and repeatedly. Their surreality never comes into question. Lonely Star, it seems, doesn’t like to spell things out. I found the first crystal one map south of the demo’s introductory map, a conclave…

Total Dark

Everything we know about The Chinese Room’s next game so far

There’s a terrible pun here about The Chinese Room leaving us totally in the dark about their new game, Total Dark, but I’m trying to be better than that. Maybe. Anyway… It’s been a few months now since Everybody’s Gone to Rapture (2015) emerged, triumphant, on the PlayStation 4, and so it’s fair to ask what’s next for the Brighton-based studio. The answer three months ago was the self-funded RPG Total Dark, an isometric adventure game that “took inspiration from those old paper-based RPG systems of the late 80s and early 90s.” However, in a blog post on the studio’s site yesterday, The…

velvet room

Persona 5 has a lot of new footage and it looks so good y’all

I’m already in love with Persona 5. I’ve probably been in love with Persona 5 all my life, even before it was announced. Persona 3 (2006) and Persona 4 (2008) are, arguably, two of the greatest games of all time. Hell, Persona 3 is my personal favorite game of all time. The Persona series, starting from P3 on, lovingly meshed social sim elements with traditional RPG dungeon crawling— garnering widespread critical and commercial admiration. With its fourth-chronological installment (technically, Persona 3), the Persona series became bold and unlike anything else in the RPG realm. Whereas, the first few games in the…

Long Gone Days

Long Gone Days imagines the world of war that’s coming for us

If a dystopian novel was written about the world that we live in right now, what would it look like? Chilean game maker Camila Gormaz wants to explore that in her upcoming game Long Gone Days. Unlike dead-Earth dystopias, where human society has overreached to such an extent that what remains of our planet is barely recognizable as the remains of what we see today, Long Gone Days takes place… soon. Say, the next 10 years. Rourke, the protagonist, abandons his post as a military sniper and ventures out into the world. He’s in an isolated area and the war…

Investigations no truce

No Truce With The Furies is the isometric RPG to look out for

A revolution-wrecked port city. An enthusiastic policeman out of his depth. “Neither fantasy, history, nor any kind of -punk.” Helmed by a “chronically success-impaired” science-fiction writer and describing itself as a combination of Planescape: Torment (1999), Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and Kentucky Route Zero (2013), it’s a game about “being a total failure.” The first question on the developer’s FAQ is, “Is this a joke?” “No, it’s not,” says Estonian developer Fortress Occident. “It’s a real game. We’re making it.” And for the debut project of a studio that’s only been around since October, No Truce With The Furies…


Undungeon’s pixel art makes the fantasy genre fresh again

A point of honesty: I still have yet to play more than the first hour of The Witcher 3 (2015). Not because the game is bad—in fact, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far—but because at this point, I’m just too exhausted with fantasy to have much interest in delving any further. How many hours have I spent playing as men in armor swinging their swords at lumbering dragons? Or, in the case of science-fiction, playing as a space ranger swinging his light sword at insectoid queens? Granted, there are fantasy stories that work to subvert these tropes, as we’ve…


Bravely Second: End Layer turns play into labor

Bravely Second is as unfortunate a title for a sequel as Bravely Default was for its predecessor. Where the phrase “Bravely Default” seemed to suggest that it would somehow be valiant for you to keep doing whatever you would have ordinarily done anyway, “Bravely Second” is poised to become a snowclone to tag onto any sequel that boldly exists in spite of the fact that no one especially wanted it. Horrible Bosses 2: Bravely Second. Or, a slight tweak on the form, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Bravely Eighth. Of course, the title isn’t as bad as it seems…