Strong multiplayer maps in video games create stories. Their construction and design generate emotional reactions from frustrated defeat to jubilant victory. It is not enough to put players in a space and do battle; strong maps shift and contort in unexpected ways. They are not always fair and they are rarely…
Last night, we started a playthrough of Half-Life on Kotaku’s Twitch channel. Punchy shotguns and nasty aliens make for a fantastic shooter experience, but the game begins less dramatically, with a long train ride. It’s one of the most memorable openings in gaming history, but it’s the least Half-Life thing about …
In 2001, Hideo Kojima pissed off countless fans with a simple twist. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty did not star everyone’s favorite rugged action hero Solid Snake. Instead, players spent most of their time playing as Raiden, a whiny rookie who didn’t know his ass from his head. It was perfect and still is.…
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is amazingly fun and offers an exciting experience every time you play. But how is it so good? One little sentences from PlayerUnknown himself makes it clear. We take a look in this critical video.
Mario Kart has been around for 25 years and the fun has never let up. How has the beloved racing manage to stay so exciting over the years? We take a look in this critical video.
Planescape: Torment is a marvel of a game. One of the best stories in the medium, it packs a ton of emotional punch. Two moments, with smart design at their core, illustrate why it remains great to this day. We break it down in this critical video.
Yooka-Laylee recaptures some of the best aspects of platforming. You run, jump, and climb your way around dazzling levels. But it also tries too hard to recreate the past without building upon the lessons old games taught us. We take a closer look in this critical video.
Splatoon 2 is a great time. Fighting as a squid-kid is fun and the game takes steps to make sure many people can enjoy. From new players to those with disabilities, games can take actions to help everyone join in the action. We take a look how in this critical video.
Nier: Automata and Breath of the Wild are amazing games with occasional technical problems. How do they manage to side step these issues and incorporate them into their structure? Heather takes a look in this critical video.
Breath of the Wild’s vast open world is full of discoveries. The most important discoveries we make come when the game’s systems interact to help us imbue the world with our own interpretations and meaning. We take a closer look in this video essay.
For Honor is bloody and hectic. Each exchange of blows helps you learn how to fight an opponent. Underneath a mess of micro-transactions, For Honor hides the soul of a true fighting game. We take a critical look at it in this video.
Roaming Yakuza 0's busy streets is wonderful. It’s full of neon lights and interesting characters. Open worlds can struggle to find the right balance of character and curiosity but Yakuza’s Kamurucho district has both. We take a closer look at how the setting grabs player interest in this critical video.
The Last Guardian is a story about a boy and his giant monster friend, Trico. Using space, the game communicates a growing bond. How close are the two characters? When are they allowed to enter personal space? We examine how this relationship is crated in this video.
The Dragon Age games have captured my imagination like few other series have ever managed. Every quest is a roller coaster full of tough choices. For Origins, the best quest involved dwarven politics and a magical anvil. We take a closer look in this video.
Nier Automata put out one hell of a demo. Even though it is only around half an hour, it has better design that most full length titles from last year. The combat is a highlight and a few simple design techniques keep it fresh throughout. We take a closer look in this video.
Final Fantasy XV has some wonderful boss fights. Aranea Highwind offers an memorable encounter thanks to an onslaught of smart design choices. We take a closer look in this video.
Dishonored 2 lives and dies by its level design. Tricky guard patrols and magical abilities don’t mean much without a good playground to sneak around in. Luckily, the game has one of the best levels in recent memory: the transforming Clockwork Mansion.
Video games send us to exotic locales, charging us to do countless tasks. Amidst what can feel like a jumbled mess of quests, goals, and waypoints, finding something consistent can be a treat. Let’s look at the ways in which finding something we can do repeatedly in a game can provide a welcome relief from day to day…
The Witcher 3 is an astounding RPG full of countless quests. It ranges from sweeping epic battles to smaller, more intimate tales. I started playing the “Hearts of Stone” DLC recently and experienced a quest so wonderful, I had to take a deeper dive.
Adam Jensen has a lot of work to do in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Side quests and smaller stories are where the game really shines. “The Harvester” questline has all the things required for a great experience. We take a closer look in this video.