In my role as Kotaku’s editor-at-large, I’ve been writing more reviews and essays than I did when I was deputy editor. I decided it would be cool to put all my articles into a post and update it regularly. If you want to read things I’ve recently written, you can find them below.
This list starts with the current week and goes back through August 2016. It’s just the big stuff: Features, reviews, and the like. You can find a full list of things I’ve published here. I’ll do my best to add new articles each week. Also, that top image is by our wonderful in-house illustrator Angelica Alzona.
Enjoy, and thanks for reading!
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild manages to be both massive and unusually detailed. The sprawl of Hyrule will take weeks or even months for most of us to explore, not just because of its square mileage but because of how much there is to see and do in a given field or forest.(3/10/2017)
Unlike its predecessors, the new Nintendo Switch has a boring operating system. Not only does it lack Nintendo’s characteristic oddball playfulness, it’s also nearly silent. There’s no music. It’s a shame. (3/08/2017)
The Nintendo Switch is a fascinating new game console built around a novel and well-executed central idea. It also has plenty of problems that will doubtless be improved upon in a future version. Nintendo is yet again trying something new, and here we are to take the plunge alongside them. (3/01/2017)
Video games are a lot of fun, but they can also be frustrating. From time to time, you may even get frustrated enough that you want to throw something. Good news! Your controller is right there in your hand.(2/24/2017)
Your ability to enjoy the tabletop game Secret Hitler will likely depend on your ability to laugh as an increasingly impotent progressive coalition fails to halt the rise of fascism. No but seriously, it’s a fun party game. (2/22/2017)
I like a lot of things about Horizon: Zero Dawn, but for now let me just say holy shit, look how they animated her legs when you spin the camera while on horseback.
I like plenty of things about Final Fantasy XV, but the map and menus are not among them. This game’s interface is a mess of nonsense so carelessly taped together that it defies logic or comprehension.
Sometimes, video games are good. Other times, they suck. Here is a thing some good games do that really sucks.
You know what’s scary? A closed door. Anything could be on the other side of that door, man. Are you sure you even want to open it?
Batman: Arkham Knight spins one of the most ambitious video game stories ever told, and watching it thunder to its conclusion is like watching a 747 successfully land on a helicopter pad. It may not be known for its narrative, but that is its achievement—a spiraling and notably interactive tale that takes you inside the mind of one of popular culture’s most enduring and fascinating figures.
So you’ve been hearing good things about Resident Evil 7, and you want to play it. There’s only one problem: you’re a huge coward. Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered.
So you just started playing chapter 13 of Final Fantasy XV. It sucks. You feel trapped in a nightmare that will never end. Take some small comfort in knowing that you are not the only one to suffer through it.
Nintendo just announced a bunch of new info about their new console, the Nintendo Switch. Here’s what we learned during the big show.
In Nintendo’s recently released mobile game Super Mario Run, the famous plumber leaps his way through a couple dozen levels on his way to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser. Been there, done that. Yet perhaps there is a second, darker reading of this game? Maybe there’s an interpretation that shakes the accepted Mario lore to its very core??
Despite its infuriating control issues, awful stealth missions, interminable boss fights and half-baked sidequests, I cannot discount Gravity Rush 2’s mammoth ambition and abundance of otherworldly charm. If a game must be a mess, at least let it be this exuberant a mess.
First, we spent a year playing video games. Then we spent a couple weeks debating which ones were best. Here, in alphabetical order, are Kotaku’s top 12 games of 2016.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A farmer, a hitman, and a little boy all walk into a bar. Everything’s moving in slow motion, so the bartender’s like, “Dishonored? I hardly even know ‘er!”
2016 was a great year for video games, and an even better year for video game music. It was also a diverse year, with a mix of Norse folk music, spy movie histrionics, ambient soundscapes and extremely heavy metal.
In truth, 2016 was not “The Year of VR.” It was the year of the start of VR. Multiple major tech companies released impressive VR systems that were clearly the first of their kind; flawed and fascinating, destined to be improved upon and replaced. The age of immersive technology is upon us, but its future remains uncertain.
If 2016 taught us anything at all, it was that sometimes, things don’t go your way. For every lovely surprise, there is a major disappointment around the corner.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, the world of video games will surprise you in the best possible way. This year had even more great surprises than usual.
The PlayStation 4 evolved this year. Sony’s flagship console got a little bigger and a little more powerful, though its potential is as yet undertapped. It also got its very own VR headset, though that headset noticeably fails to match its PC counterparts. It’s not clear whether Sony has moved their gaming system in all the right directions, but they’re certainly skipping forward.
When the Oculus Rift VR headset came out earlier this year, it was promising but incomplete. It had this nice, comfy set of virtual reality goggles… but that was all. This week, Oculus finally catches up.
You just got a new PC game! Hoo buddy, you are excited. You’ve been looking forward to this one for years. You load it up and… oh, hell.
A few hours into Titanfall 2’s unexpectedly fantastic single-player campaign, there’s a mission where everything pivots. The rules change, the story expands, and the game shifts into high gear. That mission is called “Effects and Cause,” and it is really good.
Watch Dogs 2 is just a game, sitting on a screen, asking you to love it. Sometimes begging.
Short version: The new PS4 Pro is a more powerful version of an already good console. We like the PS4 a lot, and the Pro doesn’t do anything to diminish that. However, it’s going to be a while before we know just what that added horsepower will be used for.
It’s the middle of the day, and I’ve spent the last couple of hours trying to figure out how to kill this stupid cameraman. You’d think it would be easy, but I have to make it look like an accident and I can’t harm the newswoman he’s working with. Much harder than it sounds.
There have always been at least two Destinys. There’s the Destiny that most people play, where you fly around the galaxy with your friends, blowing up aliens and carefully managing your vault space. Then there’s competitive Destiny, where players go headshot-to-headshot to see who’s deadliest.
Before The Hunger Games, before Battle Royale, there was another movie based on a book about a dystopian future where an evil government distracts the masses with a popular series of gladiatorial deathmatches. Runners, are you ready for… The Running Man?
House of the Dying Sun rushes ahead with furious focus and great urgency, and it’s hard not to get caught up in its dark current. It sweeps aside the space-opera trappings of modern sci-fi in favor of something more resolute and grim: You’re the bad guy. There are the good guys. Go make an example out of them.
Here’s a nightmare I’ve actually had: I’m a soldier in a war, and no one’s told me what to do. Bullets are whizzing overhead and death could arrive at any moment. Everyone around me seems to know what they’re doing, but not me. I shouldn’t be here. I’m just some guy. I sit there, paralyzed, waiting to die.
For years, I only played PC games with a mouse and keyboard. For years after that, I played almost entirely with a controller. Now I’m back with the mouse and keyboard, and it’s been an illuminating homecoming.
Let’s cut to the chase: PlayStation VR should be better. At its best, Sony’s new virtual reality headset manages to conjure the astonishing, immersive wonder of modern virtual reality. Just as often it is frustratingly held back by outdated hardware that can’t quite do what’s being asked of it.
HBO’s new series Westworld has probably got a lot of people reconsidering their most recent Grand Theft Auto V murder spree.
I am old, Gandalf. I know I don’t look it, but I’m beginning to feel it in my heart.
When people talk about the current golden age of TV, they’re usually referring to big, serious dramas like Breaking Bad or The Wire. I am here today to tell you that Avatar: The Last Airbender, an animated show about a group of magical kids who ride around on a flying buffalo, deserves to be counted among them.
A brief history for those who are new to Kotaku and our on-again, off-again obsession with this game. Destiny is a first-person action game in which players fly around the solar system fighting with aliens, evil cyborgs, and occasionally each other. Collectively, our staff has played over 2,000 hours.
Everyone remembers the first time they played a really good video game. The constant surprises of Half-Life, or the drama of Final Fantasy VI, or the stress and catharsis of Far Cry 2. As good as those games were the first time around, they’d almost certainly be better the second. Or the third. Or the fourth.
A few days ago, I accidentally deleted a batch of saved games. Collectively they represented a couple hundred hours’ worth of time spent playing a dozen or more games. Years of hard-won progress, gone in the blink of an eye.
Adam Jensen needs a nerf.
My lengthy first tour of No Man’s Sky was a disappointment. I spent 30 hours skating across the surface of an endless puddle, searching for depths that didn’t exist. I skipped and skimmed until, with great regret, I stopped.
I’ve been working at Kotaku for five years. In those five years, I have posted hundreds of video game screenshots. I’ve taken hundreds more that never saw the light of day. UNTIL NOW.