Mirror of Spirits
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The independent studio behind some of Lara Croft GO’s best levels

Lara Croft GO came out for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita on December 3rd this year and brought with it a time-exclusive set of levels. Called “Mirror of Spirits,” these levels take the grid-based puzzles of the game’s dioramas in a radically new direction than the main levels and the first expansion, “The Shard of Life.” Whereas before Lara was dodge-rolling through jungle and underground caverns, concerned with the paths of rolling boulders and pursuing lizards, in “Mirror of Spirits” she enters a new reality through the titular mirror, where a completely new set of rules change the makeup of…

worldoffinalfnatasy-17
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Here it is, the latest nostalgia ploy for the Tsum Tsum generation

One of my favorite things to see compared are Funko POP! figures (of the United States) with Good Smile’s Nendoroids (of Japan). The two are at once comparable—both being a popular series of uniformly designed figures—but also incomparable. POP!s are chibi (small), cheap, and most of all: ugly. While Nendoroids are also chibi, a bit more pricey, and most of all: actually really cute. When put side by side, the cuter figure is always clear. I’ve always taken it as a sign that my fellow Americans don’t know what cute means. But with World of Final Fantasy, the latest JRPG clout…

Deus Ex GO
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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
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“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…

NieR
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NieR: Automata’s new footage is all bullet hell and deadly androids

The Drakengard action-RPG spin-off Nier (2010) wasn’t a critical or commercial smash when it was released six years ago. It was just kind of… there. Neither terrible, nor great, its wieldy story was praised, while its lackluster visuals and janky combat left a lot to be desired. Nonetheless, Nier became an unlikely cult classic, which steamrolled players’ desire for a sequel. And now that sequel, the PlatinumGames-helmed NieR: Automata, is nearly here. During E3 2016, a year after the project was first announced, a release window (early 2017) and extensive footage for NieR: Automata was showcased. A boss battle teaser and…

unnamed-7
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The Chaos Theory of adolescence

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. LIFE IS STRANGE (PC, PlayStation, Xbox)  BY DONTNOD Entertainment Life is Strange has wavered throughout its past three episodes, the boldness of its rewind mechanic not always enough to outweigh the cringe-worthiness of its dialogue. Until now, this episodic narrative game seemed only to shine in spite of itself—though when it did, it was like a beam of light showing a new path for choice-based gaming. With the third episode, “Chaos Theory,” Life is Strange secures its place as an important (if imperfect) entry into the conversation between…