A couple years ago, I decided it would be cool to put all my Kotaku articles into a single post and update it regularly. If you want to look through a list of highlights from the last few years, you can find them here.
This list now starts with my final goodbye post from December 2018 and goes back through August 2016. Obviously, I’m no longer updating it. I’ve included dates with each article, though a couple of those might be “republish” dates, and not the date of original publication. (Those dates are always noted in the articles themselves.) In a couple of instances, I’ve inserted older articles I like into the chronological flow.
These articles are just the big stuff: Features, reviews, and the like. You can find a full list of things I published here.
Enjoy, and thanks for reading!
Something Ends, Something Begins
I guess everyone eventually writes one of these posts, and today it’s my turn. At the end of December, I’m leaving Kotaku. I’ll continue co-hosting the Splitscreen podcast, but that’s gonna be it. (12/19/2018)
Kirk Hamilton’s Top 10 Games Of 2018
There were loads of good video games in 2018, and I sure played a lot of them. (12/18/2018)
Hitman 2016 Taught Me A Better Way To Play Hitman 2
Usually when I play a single-player game, I go through it from start to finish. I play each new level after the last one, until I stop playing or get to the end. That’s not how I played 2016’s excellent episodic Hitman, however, and it’s not how I’m playing its fantastic new sequel. (11/16/2018)
Red Dead Redemption 2 Defiantly Bucks Open-World Trends
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 are both big open-world games, and they both came out in October of 2018. Both involve a hero on a horse riding around and murdering lots of people. The similarities end there. (10/30/2018)
Red Dead Redemption 2: The Kotaku Review
From tip to tail, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a profound, glorious downer. It is the rare blockbuster video game that seeks to move players not through empowering gameplay and jubilant heroics, but by relentlessly forcing them to confront decay and despair. It has no heroes, only flawed men and women fighting viciously to survive in a world that seems destined to destroy them. (10/25/2018)
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Smartly Refines The Origins Skill Tree
Of the many differences between last year’s Assassin’s Creed Origins and this year’s Odyssey, the changes to upgradable abilities have the most dramatic effect on gameplay. Origins’ skill trees were a convoluted mess even at the time, and Odyssey’s refinements bring that messiness into sharper relief. (/8/16/2018)
Spider-Man’s Text Message Scene Is Perfect
There are a lot of good cutscenes in the PS4’s new Spider-Man game. My favorite one was all about a text message conversation. (/10/01/2018)
The 12 Types Of Video Game Sequel
We live in an age of sequels, but not all sequels are created equal. Are you playing a true sequel, or are you peeking a prequel? A reboot, expandalone, or maybe a threequel? Don’t get piqued, people. Our sequel technique will sort everything out. (9/27/2018)
Destiny 2: Forsaken: The Kotaku Review
Destiny 2’s new expansion, Forsaken, turns the game into something that people can play as much as they want without running out of things to do. If anything, its tantalizing new pursuits, designed to satisfy the appetites of the series’ most voracious players, may be too life-consuming. (9/21/2018)
It’s Easy To Miss One Of Spider-Man’s Coolest Audio Details
In the PS4’s very good new Spider-Man game, Peter Parker spends a lot of time web-swinging through Manhattan in pursuit of truth, justice, and collectables. As he flings himself about, he frequently gets calls from friends on his radio, and he responds differently depending on whether or not he’s exerting himself. (9/10/2018)
Gaming’s Greatest Unsung Heroine
It would be a real shame to forget about Cate Archer. (7/09/2013)
Destiny 2: Forsaken Is At Its Best When You’re In Over Your Head
Last night, with the help of the Internet, I found and completed a harrowing challenge in Destiny 2’s new Forsaken expansion. I wasn’t supposed to be powerful enough to do it, but after some creative trial and error, I found a way. (9/06/2018)
My Amazing Destiny Helmet Is A Test For Bungie
“They’re totally gonna nerf this,” I said into my headset mic. The words just spilled out before I even realized what I was saying. I added a hasty follow-up: “I mean, I hope they don’t!” (9/05/2018)
Monster Hunter: World Is Even Better The Second Time Around
I’ve been voraciously replaying Monster Hunter: World on PC over the last few weeks, and have been having a hell of a good time. That’s partly because it’s just a good game, but also because I’m so, so much better at it than I was on my first time through. (8/14/2018)
Monster Hunter: World NPCs, Ranked
In addition to all those deadly beasts, Monster Hunter: Worldhas loads of colorful non-monster characters. You’ll find them walking in the wild or chilling out at HQ, usually minding their business and occasionally giving you a sidequest. (8/10/2018)
Hollow Knight And The Art Of The Video Game Joke
More than a dozen hours into Hollow Knight, the 2D Metroidvania played a joke on me. It was a really good joke, and also kind of a mean one. Then again, most good video game jokes are a little mean. (8/08/2018)
My Obsession With CPU Cooling Is Becoming A Problem
Everyone chases some kind of low-key but elusive white whale, a casual desire or goal that remains forever out of reach. For some, it’s finding the best possible cup of coffee, or the perfect pair of jeans. For me, it’s getting my PC CPU to run below 70 degrees Celsius while under load. (8/06/2018)
Dead Cells: The Kotaku Review
In my first game of Dead Cells, I died after about four minutes. In my most recent one, I lasted almost an hour. The time difference between those two attempts says a lot about how Dead Cells evolves as you play it, and how you evolve alongside it. (8/06/2018)
Gameplay and Story Are Exactly Like Music and Lyrics
Look, okay. Let’s press pause on the debate. You know the debate I’m talking about, right? That endless disagreement in the video game world about gameplay versus story. (2/16/2012)
The Two No Man’s Skys
For two years, No Man’s Sky has been one of gaming’s great Rorschach tests. View it one way, and it’s a beautiful adventure through an endlessly fascinating parallel universe. Tilt your head, and it’s a janky hunk of junk built on a bed of LIES. (8/01/2018)
Five Ways Video Games Make Failure Matter
Video games are constantly trying different ways to make you feel like the game you’re playing has exciting, tangible stakes. Some are more creative about it than others. (7/30/2018)
How To Beat A Tough Video Game Boss
Over the last few years, I’ve started playing more difficult video games. Unfortunately, tough video games tend to include tough boss fights, and I don’t really like tough boss fights. (6/27/2018)
Anatomy Of A Brutal God Of War Boss Fight
Weekends are a great time for relaxing, reading, or spending time with loved ones. Or, if you’re me, you can spend an entire weekend trying to beat the Valkyrie Queen in God of War. (7/24/2018)
The Five Worst Enemies In Hollow Knight
There are more than 150 different enemies in the fantasticHollow Knight. While each one is entertainingly awful, some are more awful than others. (7/17/2018)
Hollow Knight: The Kotaku Review
In Hollow Knight, looks can be deceiving. A sad little lamplit town may hide the entrance to a beautiful buried kingdom. A towering knight might turn out to be a sad, small thing in outsized armor. An onrushing green beast may actually be a wee creature disguised by a pile of leaves. And a simple-looking 2D action game can slowly unfurl into one of gaming’s great adventures. (7/05/2018)
What Game Designers Love (And Don’t Love) About Souls Games
Put ten game designers in a room together and there’s a pretty good chance someone will bring up Dark Souls. (6/28/2018)
Whoops, I Started Playing Bloodborne Again
You know how you tell yourself you’re gonna finally try some new restaurants, then a week later you’re back at the same pizza place you always go to? I’ve been doing that same thing, except with Bloodborne. (6/07/2018)
The Thrill Of Finally Playing The First Dark Souls
I love Souls games, but until recently, I hadn’t played much of the first Dark Souls. That’s changed with Dark Souls: Remastered, and it’s been a fascinating experience. (5/30/2018)
Hot Fuzz Is A God Damned Masterpiece
The best movies get better each time you watch them. That is why I am now going to praise the 2007 cinematic masterwork Hot Fuzz. (4/23/2015)
Detroit: Become Human: The Kotaku Review
The PS4’s latest blockbuster moviegame Detroit: Become Human is like something my Alexa would come up with, were I to ask her to write a story about androids with feelings. (5/24/2018)
The Most Hated Strike In Destiny 2
Have you met Thaviks, The Depraved? He’s a jerk. If you’ve ever finished Destiny 2’s Exodus Crash strike, you’ve fought him, and probably hated him. (5/15/2018)
Destiny 2’s Warmind Expansion Is Both Disappointing and Promising
This week, Destiny 2 got its second major expansion since it came out last September. It’s called Warmind, and in many respects, it’s a disappointment. However, it benefits from the many small changes Bungie is making to the game more broadly, and succeeds in setting up a long, demanding grind that could keep some players busy until the fall. (5/09/2018)
You Now Have Four Months To Lose All Your Switch Saves In A Freak Accident
Last night, Nintendo announced that the Switch will be getting cloud-save backups in September. That means you have four months to drop your Switch into a lake, or let your dog chew it up, or accidentally back over it with your car. (5/08/2018)
I Love Nintendo Labo’s Extra Little Cardboard Bits
I really like interacting with the Nintendo Labo. I like popping, snapping, folding, and even just looking at each little piece. It’s gotten to the point that I’m having a hard time throwing any of it away. (4/30/2018)
What It’s Like Auditioning To Be Star Trek’s Newest Composer
Austin Wintory (Journey, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate) about what it was like auditioning to be the composer for Star Trek: Discovery, and why he’s glad he did it even though he didn’t get the gig. (4/22/2018)
Destiny Error Code Names, Ranked
Whenever Destiny or its sequel crashes or has a connection failure, you get a distinct error code. Usually those codes correspond to an animal, fruit, or musical instrument. Some are better than others. (4/20/2018)
My Journey To Find Sam Fisher In Ghost Recon: Wildlands
You know which game has a huge map? Ghost Recon: Wildlands. (4/16/2018)
Far Cry 5 Smartly Prunes The Far Cry Skill Tree
Compared with its most recent predecessors, Far Cry 5makes some big changes to how you upgrade your character. Almost all of those changes are for the better. (4/06/2018)
The 16 Types Of Video Game
I play action games, RPGs, puzzle games, adventure games, and games from pretty much every other genre. But the older I get, the less I find myself thinking in terms of those genres. Instead, I categorize games by how they fit into my life. (4/04/2018)
Well, This Was A Pretty Ridiculous Far Cry 5 Bug
As fun as Far Cry 5 can be, it’s definitely got its share of bugs. There are looping lines of dialogue, inconsistent enemy behavior, physics glitches, and a few bugs that straight-up break the game. I ran into a funny one of those a few nights ago. (4/02/2018)
Far Cry 5’s User Interface Does A Lot Right
Far Cry 5 is a complicated game that needs to convey a ton of information at once. Good thing it’s got a great user interface. (3/30/2018)
Real Guns, Virtual Guns, And Me
Sometimes I imagine my brain is a collection of baskets that contain everything I know. There’s a basket for the English language, and a basket for music stuff. There’s one for Lord of the Rings lore, and another for Bloodborne monsters. Right alongside those is a worn but sizable basket that contains all my accumulated knowledge of guns. (3/29/2018)
Netflix’s Auto-Playing Trailers Are Just The Worst
It’s Friday night, and you’re browsing Netflix. You want to relax and watch something. What should be a chill time flipping through shows and movies is significantly less chill because these STUPID ADS KEEP PLAYING. (3/26/2018)
Destiny 2, Six Months Later
Destiny 2 launched exactly six months ago today, though at times it feels more like six years. A bunch has changed since September, and the game has gone through some dramatic highs and lows. (Mostly lows.) (3/06/2018)
A Gripping, Lusty Excerpt From My Witcher 2 Novel
The afternoon sun cascaded over the Flotsam town square as Geralt of Rivia blinked off his hangover. He grunted, stretched his Witcher legs, and cracked his Witcher back. He slowly scratched an itch on his Witcher chin and took in the scene before him. (8/5/2011)
I’m Glad I Played Most Of Monster Hunter: World On My Own
For my first 70 hours with Monster Hunter: World, I played solo. These days, I’m happy to play alongside other hunters, but I’m still glad I started out by hunting alone. (3/01/2018)
The Endless Quest To Make My Windows PC Stay Asleep Overnight
My PC can do a lot of things. It can play video games at high resolutions and snappy frame rates. It can run the latest virtual reality software, transporting me to fantastical virtual worlds. It cannot, however, reliably sleep through the night. (2/22/2018)
Bayonetta 2 Is Too Good To Have Stayed Buried On The Wii U
For years, the Wii U exclusive Bayonetta 2 has been like that amazing restaurant that’s tucked away in a depressing mall on the far side of town. It’s fantastic, sure, but it’d be so much better if it were easier to reach.
After 70 Hours, Monster Hunter: World Is Still Teaching Me New Things
My Monster Hunter: World save file says I’ve played for about 70 hours. You’d think I’d have learned everything this game has to teach me. You’d be wrong. (2/12/2018)
Monster Hunter: World Shows How Destiny 2‘s Grind Could Improve
At a first glance, it may seem like Destiny 2 and Monster Hunter: World don’t have much common. But there are several clear reasons why people like me are switching from Bungie’s first-person shooter to Capcom’s third-person monster-fighter. The biggest one, in my view, comes down to grinding and loot. (2/07/2018)
The Monster Hunter Beast That Almost Broke Me
Every so often, Monster Hunter: World will really test your mettle. The massive wyvern Diablos is one such test, and my mettle almost didn’t make it through. (2/05/2018)
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Battles Sure Do Escalate Quickly
Partway through the second act of Divinity: Original Sin 2, you visit an area called the Blackpits. While you’re there, you get into a fight. It is not an easy fight. (1/17/2018)
The Moment Assassin’s Creed Origins Goes From Big To Ridiculously Big
If I had to sum up the last act of Assassin’s Creed Origins in three words, those three words would be, “Wait, there’s more?” (1/16/2018)
And The Destiny Merry-Go-Round Spins Again
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: In September, Bungie releases an online first-person shooter. A few months and a disappointing expansion later, the game is in trouble. Fans are mad; lots of people are quitting. Bungie vows to do better and sets about making improvements. Patient fans are eventually rewarded with a better game. (1/12/2018)
When Assassin’s Creed Origins Goes Dark, It Goes Dark
When it gets dark in a video game, it’s usually not all that dark. The cave you’re in may be dim. The forest at night might be shadowy. But video games almost never go pitch black. Assassin’s Creed Origins is a welcome exception. (1/10/2018)
16 Things Twitter Taught Me About Warframe
Last week I began playing Warframe, a video game about robot gymnasts who spend all their money on clothes. I blew up a few bad guys, then took one look at my extremely intimidating inventory screen and decided I needed help. (1/09/2018)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Makes The Force Awakens Much More Interesting
Back when it came out, Star Wars: The Force Awakens played like a straightforward homage to 1977’s Star Wars. It was plenty fun, but wasn’t all that deep. Now that I’ve seen its follow-up, The Last Jedi, The Force Awakens seems a lot more interesting. (1/03/2018)
Kirk Hamilton’s Top 10 Games Of 2017
I played a lot of very good video games in 2017. (12/27/2017)
The Best Video Game Music Of 2017
The video games of 2017 were’t just fun to play; they were fun to listen to. (12/22/2017)
The Biggest Video Game Disappointments Of 2017
This year, some things were unexpectedly good. But a lot of things sucked, too. Let’s put all those sucky things into a big list. (12/21/2017)
The Best Video Game Surprises Of 2017
This year, a lot of things sucked. But a lot of things were also unexpectedly good! Let’s celebrate those latter things with a big list. (12/20/2017)
The State Of The Nintendo Switch In 2017
For all the video game industry’s noisy hype about groundbreaking technology, it’s still rare that a device comes along and actually breaks new ground. In just nine months, the Nintendo Switch has done just that. The world of games feels different now than it did one year ago. (12/13/2017)
Prometheus Lens Is Dead, Long Live Prometheus Lens
All good things must come to an end. Especially in Destiny. (12/12/2017)
In-Game Purchases Poison The Well
Video games will always manipulate us. Each challenge and scenario in a game has been carefully engineered to make us react a certain way. Most of the time, that’s what we sign up for. But the moment real money enters the equation, something changes. (11/29/2017)
The Unending Appeal of Minecraft
The first half of 2017 was crammed with exceptional games. That high tide ebbed in May, and I’ve spent the last couple of weeks going back and catching up on what I missed. I’ve also spent a lot of time playing Minecraft, a game that came out almost six years ago. (11/16/2017)
A Perfect Mario Odyssey Moment
One thing I love about Super Mario Odyssey is how often it anticipates me. (11/15/2017)
L.A. Noire: It Was A Weird Game
When I heard that the 2011 detective game L.A. Noire was getting remastered for current consoles, my first thought was, “Oh, cool! That was an interesting game.” Then I remembered that L.A. Noire was a very weird game, and one I didn’t even like back when I first played it. (11/14/2017)
I Love That Super Mario Odyssey Doesn’t Have A Timer
For the past week, I’ve been falling ever more deeply in love with Super Mario Odyssey. I like a lot of things about this game, but most of all, I like that there’s no timer. (11/07/2017)
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds: The Kotaku Review
Horizon Zero Dawn was a terrific game. Guess what? Its new expansion, The Frozen Wilds, is also good. (11/06/2017)
The First 10 Things To Do When Your PC Can’t Run A New Game
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. (11/02/2017)
Here’s To Assassin’s Creed Origins’ Helpful Boat Guy
Sometimes in Assassin’s Creed Origins, you’ll have to cross a body of water and you won’t have a boat. Fortunately, there’s this guy who really, really wants to let you use his. (10/31/2017)
Video Game Mini-Maps Might Finally Be Going Away
For the last 15 years or so, we have witnessed the rise of a great evil: the video game mini-map. Recent events have given me hope that the dark era of the mini-map may finally be coming to an end. (10/31/2017)
Assassin’s Creed Origins: The Kotaku Review
For all its extraordinary visual splendor, Assassin’s Creed Origins is ultimately an ordinary video game. That’s not such a bad thing, particularly if you like looking at pretty vistas and watching numbers go up. (10/26/2017)
The Ten Commandments Of Video Game Collectables
Even if you don’t love video game collectables, you’re probably going to collect them. They should at least be somewhat worthwhile, right? (10/18/2017)
In Stardew Valley, Ignorance Can Be Bliss
If you want to maximize your productivity in Stardew Valley, you’re going to have to read some tips on the Internet. Though maybe… don’t? (10/10/2017)
Stardew Valley‘s Unexpectedly Realistic Take On Getting Rejected
Video games are very good at teaching, even if they have to repeat the lesson over and over. Sometimes the lesson is “don’t fall into that bottomless pit.” Other times it’s “she’s just not that into you.” (10/06/2017)
Destiny 2‘s Struggle To Please Both Casual And Hardcore Players
I’m playing a lot less Destiny 2 than I was a week ago. I sense I’m not alone in that. That’s because despite—and occasionally because of—all the ways Destiny 2 has improved upon its predecessor, the game is struggling to balance between people who wish they could play it forever and those who worry they can’t keep up. (9/29/2017)
I (Still) Hate My Shitty PSN Name
I hate my PlayStation Network ID so much. (9/22/2017)
The Five Best Guns In Destiny 2
There are a bunch of interesting weapons in Destiny 2. Auto rifles, rocket launchers, swords, and weirdo reverse-tractor beams. But which guns are best? Here’s our list of the top five. (9/20/2017)
Destiny 2: The Kotaku Review
As I struggle to fall asleep after a night of Destiny 2, the game keeps running through my mind. It’s like getting a song stuck in my head: I see the flash of combat and feel the rumbling controller in my hand. But I rarely hear the sounds of battle. Instead, I hear voices. (9/19/2017)
A Beginner’s Guide To The World Of Destiny
So you want to play Destiny 2 but are a little foggy about the first game? No worries, I got you. (9/05/2017)
Three Years Of Writing About Destiny
I’ve written more about Destiny than any other video game I’ve ever played. (8/25/2017)
A Ridiculous Little Detail In Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Maybe a video game can have too much detail? (8/23/2017)
The 2017 Solar Eclipse: The Kotaku Review
Have you ever looked directly at the Sun only to find it wasn’t there? That’s the question asked by The 2017 Solar Eclipse, the ultimate can’t-miss entertainment experience of the year. Unless you missed it. (8/22/2017)
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy: The Kotaku Review
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is an easy video game to like in spite of its flaws. It’s buoyed by a winning cast of characters and has some of the prettiest vistas this side of an actual trip to India. It also includes one of the most entertaining hidden features I’ve ever encountered in a video game. (8/22/2017)
No Man’s Sky’s Weird Melee Jump Is Still The Most Fun Thing In The Game
No Man’s Sky keeps changing, almost entirely for the better. With each update, I’ve worried Hello Games is finally going to take out my favorite move in the game. So far they haven’t. I’m starting to worry less. (8/18/2017)
Subsurface Circular Tells A Short, Engrossing Robot Detective Story
Today Thomas Was Alone and Volume designer Mike Bithell dropped a surprise game on Steam called Subsurface Circular. It’s a short robot detective story set entirely on a train beneath a futuristic city, and it’s pretty cool. (8/17/2017)
Five Ideas Other Shooters Should Steal From Splatoon 2
Nintendo’s brilliant online shooter Splatoon 2 deserves to be copied by other similar games. Not necessarily the fashion stuff or the whole “paint the floor” thing. Rather, some of the game’s smaller ideas…. (8/17/2017)
Training For The Apocalypse In Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds
Every year it seems our planet spins closer to catastrophe. Superstorms ravage our coastlines, and clean water becomes scarcer. The rich build walls to keep out the poor, while the poor grow ever more desperate. And please don’t talk to me about nuclear war. (8/11/2017)
Video Game Exposition Techniques, Ranked
Good job shooting all those aliens! Now, did you ever stop to wonder just why you were shooting them? (8/08/2017)
This Is How It Begins
Look, not everyone sets out to have a massive Amiibo collection. A lot of people start out like I just did: with one. (8/04/2017)
Dear Splatoon Players On The Other Team: Please Don’t Use Motion Controls
Hello, fellow Splatoon fans. I’m writing to you today, just a bit ahead of Splatfest, to remind you that you definitely do not need to use motion controls when you play. Especially if you’re on the other team from me. (8/01/2017)
This Is Why You Ink Your Spawn In Splatoon 2
In Master Mode, Breath Of The Wild’s Starting Area Is The Game At Its Best
The first thing you’ll discover in Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s new “Master Mode” difficulty is that combat isn’t worth it. You don’t want a fight. Run away. (7/18/2017)
What We Loved (And Didn’t Love) About Baby Driver
Do you like good music and cool car chases? If so, you will probably find something to like in Baby Driver, Edgar Wright’s new spring-loaded rock ‘n roll heist flick. (7/07/2017)
The Nintendo Switch Is Already A Great Way To Play Old Games
I spent my free time last weekend playing Cave Story, a good game that first came out in 2004. The reason I’ve been playing it is simple: It just came out on the Nintendo Switch. (6/27/2017)
It’s A Good Time To Replay Wolfenstein: The New Order
It’s the summer of 2017. The flood of spring games has abated, and fall is still a ways away. The days are long, the nights are warm, and it’s a good time to replay Wolfenstein: The New Order. (6/19/2017)
I Squished A Bug Inside My Monitor’s Screen And Now I Want To Die
It all started when I thought I saw a bug crawling across my computer monitor. (6/16/2017)
Women Play Video Games
Hello! I’ve come here today to explain something that apparently still needs explaining: Women play video games. (6/14/2017)
What A Video Game ‘Exclusive’ Means In 2017
Merriam-Webster defines exclusive as “limiting or limited to possession, control, or use by a single individual or group.” If you follow video games, your understanding of the word is probably more refined. (6/12/2017)
The Ten Commandments Of Video Game Collectables
Even if you don’t love video game collectables, you’re probably going to collect them. They should at least be somewhat worthwhile, right? (6/06/2017)
The Unending Appeal of Minecraft
The first half of 2017 was crammed with exceptional games. That high tide ebbed in May, and I’ve spent the last couple of weeks going back and catching up on what I missed. I’ve also spent a lot of time playing Minecraft, a game that came out almost six years ago. (5/26/2017)
Destiny 2 Shows Bungie Is Listening To Fans, In Its Own Way
Bungie is constantly changing and improving Destiny, though rarely in the precise ways players have requested. That seems like it will hold true for Destiny 2. (5/22/2017)
Here Is A Fun Thing To Do If You’ve Finished Persona 5
Say you just spent 100 hours finishing Persona 5. You feel exhausted, satisfied, probably a little sad. Here’s something fun you can now do. (5/16/2017)
We Should Probably Talk About Edith Finch‘s Ending
The new PS4/PC game What Remains of Edith Finch tells the tale of a doomed family living in a mansion off the coast of Washington state. It’s a cool story, but what does it all mean? Let’s discuss. (5/10/2017)
Both Zelda And Prey Make Climbing (And Falling) Fun
On the surface, Zelda: Breath of the Wild doesn’t have much in common with the new sci-fi thriller Prey. While the games are different in a lot of ways, both are well-made simulations that reward experimentation and exploration. And both give you fun ways to climb around. (5/09/2017)
What We Loved (And Didn’t Love) About Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
There’s a new Guardians of the Galaxy movie! Let’s talk about it. (5/08/2017)
Video Game Graphics Took A Huge Leap In The Early 2000s
In the late 90s, video games sat on the precipice of a 3D graphics revolution. Everything was about to change, and it was gonna change fast. (5/02/2017)
GTA IV’s Slow Opening Hours Were Also Some Of Its Best
You can go several hours in Grand Theft Auto IV before you get a gun. Soon after that, you’re blasting your way through shootouts with SWAT teams. But for those first few hours, you’re just some guy in Brooklyn, trying to make a new life. (4/28/2017)
How To Fake Your Way Through Conversations About The Hottest Video Games
You’re at a social gathering and the people you’re with start talking about games. Games you’ve never played. You listen along and laugh and nod, but you start to wonder if maybe you should say something. (4/27/2017)
Breath Of The Wild’s Best Rewards Aren’t Always ‘Useful’
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild does not dole out rewards predictably. Often you’ll spend an afternoon figuring out some elaborate puzzle, only to walk away with some rupees or a weapon you didn’t need. Other times the reward will be just as “useless,” but more special than any pile of loot could be. (4/24/2017)
A Look Back At Far Cry 2‘s Bleak, Bummer Ending
I’m betting that a lot of people who played Far Cry 2 didn’t finish it. It’s a chaotic, grueling game, and it’s at least five hours too long. If you made it to the end, you got a finale just as flawed, ambitious, and bleak as the game preceding it. (4/20/2017)
Horizon Zero Dawn’s Best Armor Makes The Game Even More Fun
One set of armor in Horizon Zero Dawn stands above the others: The shield-weaver armor. It’s really good, and pretty hard to get. It’s also totally worth it. (4/14/2017)
Real Life Should Have JRPG Victory Music
JRPG victory music is one of the best types of video game music. Every time you emerge from battle victorious, a familiar, stirring theme plays. I want that music to play in my everyday life. (4/12/2017)
Few People Will Ever Know How Great Rock Band VR Is
Rock Band was great, but Rock Band was also awkward and cumbersome. Now here comes Rock Band VR, a few years after most of us got rid of our last plastic instrument. It’s also cumbersome, and it’s also great. In fact, it’s the most fun I’ve had with Rock Band in years. (4/17/2017)
Tips For Playing Persona 5
Persona 5 is a really good game. It’s also complicated and occasionally unforgiving, with a ton of rules to learn and systems to memorize. If you want to live your best possible year in Tokyo, you may want a little guidance.
Five Thoughts After Playing Destiny For The First Time In Months
Over the last three years, I’ve played more than 1,000 hours of Destiny. Over the last five months, I’ve barely played any. This week I returned to the game, and let me tell you, it is no small feat to climb back into a game you used to play obsessively. (3/31/2017)
A Minor PC Gaming Miracle
Persona 5: The Kotaku Review
Imagine your old high school. Picture the doors you’d pass through at the start of each day. See if you can recall the awkward conversations you had with your friends, or the smell of the cafeteria at lunchtime. Now throw all that in the garbage and replace it with something impossibly cooler, impossibly more stylish, impossibly better. That’s Persona 5. (3/29/2017)
The Sweet Taste Of Zelda Revenge
Well, would you look who it is. Remember me, motherfucker? I’m that kid you callously wasted back when I had three hearts, a pair of pants, and a stick for a weapon. (3/23/2017)
The Worst Mission In The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
After dozens of wonderful hours playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I finally came across a bad mission. It’s bad enough to serve as a point of reference for just how good the rest of the game is. It sticks out like a sore thumb on an otherwise beautifully manicured hand. (3/22/2017)
A Beginner’s Guide To The World Of Mass Effect
Hey, there’s a new Mass Effect game out this week! How about that. While Mass Effect: Andromeda tells a story independent of the original trilogy, there’s enough existing lore, jargon and backstory that you probably want to brush up before you dive in. I’m here to help. (3/21/2017)
If You’re Playing Zelda, Try Fast Traveling Less
So you’ve been playing Breath of the Wild for more than a week. You’ve made some decent progress. You’ve finished some of the story and unlocked most of the map. It’s only natural that you’d start fast traveling. (3/15/2017)
A Short List Of Things That Have Killed Me In Horizon Zero Dawn
I don’t know why I’m surprised, really. They’re huge metal dinosaurs. They’re dangerous. All the same, I wasn’t expecting to die quite this much in Horizon Zero Dawn. (3/14/2017)
Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Is Full Of Amazing Little Details
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)
The Nintendo Switch Really Needs More Music
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)
Horizon Zero Dawn Gets A Lot Of Little Things Right
The new PS4 game Horizon Zero Dawn does a lot of big stuff well. Literal big stuff, like robots the size of buildings. It also nails a lot of small things. Amazing leg animations, sure, but also things that more directly affect how it feels to play the game. (3/07/2017)
Nintendo Switch: The Kotaku Review
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)
How To Throw Your Video Game Controller
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)
Secret Hitler, A Fascist Party Game That Hits Awfully Close To Home
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’m Just Saying, Look At How Horizon‘s Protagonist Turns Around On Horseback
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.
Final Fantasy XV’s User Interface Is So Bad
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.
Here Is A Very Specific Video Game Thing That Sucks
Sometimes, video games are good. Other times, they suck. Here is a thing some good games do that really sucks.
Resident Evil 7 Definitely Got The Doors Right
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: The Kotaku Re-Review
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.
How To Enjoy Resident Evil 7 If You’re A Big Scaredy Cat
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.
The Ten Stages Of Coping With Final Fantasy XV’s Chapter 13
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.
Everything We Know About Nintendo Switch
Nintendo just announced a bunch of new info about their new console, the Nintendo Switch. Here’s what we learned during the big show.
OK, Bear With Me: What If Mario And Wario Are The Same Guy?
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??
Gravity Rush 2: The Kotaku Review
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.
The 12 Best Video Games Of 2016
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.
Kirk Hamilton’s Top 10 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!”
The Best Video Game Music Of 2016
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.
The State Of Virtual Reality In 2016
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.
The Biggest Video Game Disappointments Of 2016
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.
The Best Video Game Surprises of 2016
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 State Of The PlayStation 4 In 2016
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.
Oculus Touch Review: The Best VR You Can Get
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.
The First 10 Things To Do When Your PC Can’t Run A New Game
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: The Kotaku Review
Watch Dogs 2 is just a game, sitting on a screen, asking you to love it. Sometimes begging.
Should You Buy A PS4 Pro?
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.
Hitman Season One: The Kotaku Review
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.
The Best And Worst Of Destiny PvP
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.
The Running Man Is Way Better, And Worse, Than You Remember
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: The Kotaku Review
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.
In Memory Of The Guy Who Gets Beheaded At The Beginning Of Skyrim
The Nightmare War Of Battlefield 1 Multiplayer
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.
Long Live The Mouse And Keyboard, A Great Way To Control Video Games
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.
PlayStation VR: The Kotaku Review
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.
The Video Game Horror Of HBO’s Westworld
HBO’s new series Westworld has probably got a lot of people reconsidering their most recent Grand Theft Auto V murder spree.
What Video Game Shit Are You Too Old For?
I am old, Gandalf. I know I don’t look it, but I’m beginning to feel it in my heart.
Avatar: The Last Airbender Is One Of The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
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.
Destiny: Rise of Iron: The Kotaku Review
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.
Video Games Are Better The Second Time You Play Them
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.
The Unbearable Lightness of Lost Video Game Saves
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.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided: The Kotaku Review
Adam Jensen needs a nerf.
No Man’s Sky: The Kotaku Review
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.
Five Years, Hundreds Of Bad Screenshots
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.