TIME Video Games

The Xbox One’s Price Just Dropped $50 Until Next Year

Microsoft says you can knock $50 off any Xbox One, bundle or base, through January 3, 2015.

The once-$499 Xbox One, which plummeted to $399 in June, just dropped in price again: You can have one starting next week for $350.

It’s a limited-time thing, but Microsoft’s giving fence-sitters plenty of time to make up their minds, running the promotional pricing from November 2 (next Sunday) through January 3, 2015. You’ll have to find a participating retailer, but Microsoft’s list covers the majors.

It’s also an “any Xbox One” thing, so you can basically knock $50 off whatever you like, from the base model without a game to any of the bundles, including the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Unity ($349, or $449 with Kinect and Dance Central Spotlight), Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare ($449 with 1TB hard drive and custom housing) and Sunset Overdrive ($349 and a white finish) SKUs.

Phil Spencer’s wrong when he boasts, “Only on Xbox One can you play some of the most anticipated exclusives, newest blockbuster franchises and innovative independent games of the year.” The Xbox One checks those boxes, sure, but so does Sony’s PlayStation 4 (to say nothing of Windows PCs). I’d include Nintendo’s Wii U, which checks the “most anticipated exclusives” and “innovative independent games” boxes, but it fumbles the “newest blockbuster franchises” one because of the abject state of third-party support.

The Xbox One’s temporary price drop is both a sign of how much Microsoft’s trying to change the sales narrative around its flagship console — the perception that its basically getting clobbered by the PlayStation 4 worldwide — and an indication that the company’s willing to do more than it’s competition to make that happen. If you want an example of a system that’s arguably not doing enough, price-wise, to shore up the gulf between its price and perceived value, look no further than Nintendo’s Wii U.

TIME Games

Sunset Overdrive Review: Masterful Grindhouse

Insomniac Games/Microsoft

Still need a reason to own an Xbox One? Here it is.

At heart, Sunset Overdrive is a nerd-power fantasy that wants you to know it knows it’s a nerd-power fantasy. But it’s also about pulling the Xbox One out of the Bermuda Triangle. Sony’s PlayStation 4 has sold so well that even Sony’s baffled, whereas Microsoft clammed up about Xbox One sales back in April. Microsoft’s implied system sales have been solid, but the console needs a holiday dunk shot beyond recycled Halo. Now it definitely has one in Insomniac Games’ magnificent Sunset Overdrive.

Most probably know Insomniac for the Ratchet & Clank platform hoppers, where a bipedal cat and robot sidekick gallivant around the universe. You can see the lines back to those games here — the colorful environments, ridiculous weaponry and general daffiness — but Sunset Overdrive is a lot more than just Ratchet & Clank for grownups.

In the game you play a nerd who can grind — who cares how or why — on nearly anything, Cirque du Soleiling around a zany postapocalyptic metropolis, pulping exploding mutants and ruthless robots, egged on by gorgeous scenery and goofball factions and a punk backbeat. Imagine Tony Hawk meets Sam Raimi crossed with Sid Vicious multiplied by pinball.

The plot’s intentionally daft enough to slide almost beneath notice: a corporate soda maker’s new energy drink turns imbibers into mutants, because, to paraphrase one of the characters you interact with, “Y’know, science and somethin’-somethin’ bullsh–.” It’s just a permission slip to build a city that’s effectively a giant fun-park ride.

Insomniac Games/Microsoft

Nothing has to make sense, which is how the game then goes about making perfect sense. Sandbox games let you go anywhere, but eventually amount to doing this thing to get that thing to level up and do the next thing. But what you’re thinking during the cutscene exposition and wordy banter is “What’s my next upgrade?” or “How do I collect this many of that?” or “How’s my next opponent going to fight?” or “What’s that part of the map going to play like?”

It’s as if Sunset Overdrive reads minds, because it cannonballs you from thrill to thrill, burning all the exposition and busywork to the ground and using what little there is to slyly poke fun at genre conventions. “Bryllcream, what kind of a name is that?” says the protagonist at one point after hearing another character’s goofy handle. “One that’s easy to remember, I guess,” goes the response. It’s a moment that stands for everything else about the game: subtext schmubtext, just go with the flow.

And boy does this thing flow. Never in a game world this big and geometrically complex have I felt as firmly connected to the skyline and simultaneously able to power through it, chaining leaps, air dashes, swings, flips, attacks, wall runs, zip-line “undergrinds,” trampoline bounces and ground pounds while skating across anything with an edge. Sunset City — that’s its name, though most of the game transpires under blue skies — has been scrupulously overlaid with railways and cables and packed with elaborate angular structures so you can grind from one side of the city to any other without touching down. This, finally, is the aerial skating game Sucker Punch’s Infamous only teased five years ago.

Insomniac Games / Microsoft

Staying off the ground is essential. On the ground you’re slow and clumsy, but in the air you’re some kind of grind-fu god, working a style meter that requires continuously deft finger work into an acrobatic lather by mixing maneuvers and weapon attacks — a familiar idea that’s been scaled way up here. Basically, think of the ground in Sunset Overdrive as kryptonite.

Then think about how ridiculous you’d want your nonsense arsenal of destruction to be, and Sunset Overdrive manages to go one better. So, for instance, you can wield: a rifle that flings vinyl records that bounce from enemy to enemy, an explosive teddy-bear launcher, a crowd-control gun that deploys taunting holographic decoys, a pistol that spits projectiles that turn into floating turrets, and a weapon (dubbed “The Dude”) that lobs incendiary bowling balls.

Nonsensical, but not superficial. The pyrotechnics feel purposeful, and each weapon deploys unique damage against the game’s four basic enemy types — you’ll die, and die again, then die some more if you opt to fight robots with shotguns or human thugs with harpoon launchers, for instance (though dying itself is delightful and a clever in-joke here — a collage of cultural sendups playing with the idea that these kinds of games are basically immortality simulators).

All of that’s fed by a backend system of configurable power-ups you unlock by feats of derring-do as the game unfolds. You can finesse these in all kinds of cool ways, from monkeying with weapon damage to how fast the style meter climbs to the sort of ballistic damage you want to kick out (shockwaves, tesla bolts, tornadoes and more) as you jump style levels. It’s an elegant relational lattice that feels balanced and very you-centric, where the permutations from your choices amount to meaningfully different ways of squaring off with opponents or completing challenges.

Insomniac Games/Microsoft

My only complaints are a few niggling completeness problems Insomniac needs to fix: I encountered a few missions that wouldn’t advance without resets, a few spots where enemies weirdly stopped being able to damage me, half a dozen places where I got stuck in the world geometry and had to reset the game, and I don’t know if it was code shenanigans or the Xbox One, but the game crashed outright twice.

I suppose I should say something about the next-gen stuff, the crazy number of enemies the game can shoehorn into battles at once, the crazy-big bosses and ambitiously multilayered missions and combat scenarios, the magnificent architectural and kaleidoscopic sweep of Sunset City itself. But at this point I don’t really notice that stuff. And that’s the biggest compliment I can pay the game, really — that it’s great without bothering to highlight the chrome.

Insomniac calls Sunset Overdrive a “traversal shooter,” as if that explains anything. I’d just call it a damned good time.

5 out of 5

Xbox One

TIME Tech

A Video Game You Can Play As… A Slice of Bread

Haven't you always wanted to experience life through the perspective of bread? You can do it in this game

lost-at-e-minor_logo

This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

Guys, remember when we showed you the video game where you could play as a wild goat? That was pretty awesome and weird. Well, now you can play a video game as a slice of bread. Simply called I Am Bread, this truly bizarre video game allows you to wander through different rooms of a house before reaching the table.

Take a dip in the toilet, check out the washing machine, even climb on top of the ceiling fan for a great view of the living room and dining area—whatever you’ve always wanted to do as a slice of bread, you can do it in this game.

The game was created by Bossa Studios in the UK, a pretty zany bunch of gamers who have already released games such as Surgeon Simulator, Deep Dungeons of Doom, and Monstermind.

(Via U Funk)

TIME Video Games

50 Things Nintendo Wants You to Know About Super Smash Bros. Wii U

Nintendo just rolled out a special Nintendo Direct that walks through 50 of the game's new features, including an eight-player offline Smash mode.

Some of us, myself included, were worried Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. for Wii U wouldn’t make 2014. But then Nintendo ska-kawed our disquiet at the not-quite eleventh hour, announcing a few weeks ago that, yes, the game would arrive this year: November 21, in case you missed it.

Now the company’s released a 35-minute primer on the game that’s basically a feature pitch video. It’s (almost) nothing Smash aficionados don’t already know, but everything that’s new gets nicely compiled into a single straight-through look.

It’s also a helpful thing to watch if (a) you haven’t yet bought the 3DS version and so have no idea what’s different from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, (b) you’re a fighting-game fan who’s never played a Super Smash Bros. game but you’re Smash-curious, or (c) you want to see what the corybantic madness of eight-player offline Smash – a series first — looks like.

And with that, I suppose I’d better finish watching it, since I’m going to be playing the Wii U game tonight at a Nintendo event in Detroit.

TIME Video Games

The 5 Best PlayStation 4 Games Right Now

The essential video game checklist for new PlayStation 4 owners

So you just picked up a PlayStation 4, and you’re wondering what to buy. Or maybe you haven’t bought one yet, but you’re leaning in Sony’s general direction. Either way, we think these are hands-down the best games on platform at the moment.

  • Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

    Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag‘s Caribbean setting is sun-dappled, tropical and thoroughly tattooed, a sultry archipelago of jungle-scapes, cerulean skies and grizzled buccaneers. You’re a pirate neophyte as the game begins, rising through the pirate echelons, rubbing elbows with everyone from Blackbeard to Anne Bonny, working to hammer out a kind of egalitarianism that’s often overlooked in Hollywood’s rush to mythologize pirates as unshowered, bloodthirsty, money-grubbing mercenaries preying on the weak like peg-legged sociopaths.

    Buy this game if… You like pirates, boats, sneaking around and scaling everything in sight, light naval and economic simulations, alternate history tales slathered with cabalistic conspiracies, ginormous open-worlds with gobs of collection-oriented side activities, a literal archipelago of elaborate locales to survey, and a central story you can engage at your own pace, whether chewing through missions one after another, or ignoring them entirely.

    Steer clear if… You don’t like open-ended games or having to travel vast distances to make things happen, have no interest in the particulars of naval combat, find scads of collection quests repetitive, don’t like pirates or early 18th century settings, expect hand-to-hand combat that evolves and challenges, and hate having to slink through the shadows.

    What critics said: “…great fun when you let your impulses guide you” (Game Informer); “…the most generous Assassin’s Creed game to date” (Edge); “…an incredible scope to what you can do” (GameSpot).

    ESRB Rating: Mature

  • Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn

    Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn arrived for PlayStation 3 and Windows last September, and after some early launch problems with glitchy servers, it settled into a kind of groove. It’s been humming along since: a lavish fantasy universe with scads of Final Fantasy-ish things to tangle with, craft and explore. The PlayStation 4 version includes the same content, but with vastly prettier versions of things to look at, and the subscription fee (after the 30-day trail period) remains the same: $12.99 a month, after the cost of the game itself.

    Buy this game if… You don’t mind (or actually like) the idea of playing one with a gamepad, you’re in the mood to pick through a mammoth fantasy sandbox, you enjoy the Final Fantasy games (or just different stylistic takes on Western fantasy tropes), or you want to play the best version of this game on a console (and for that matter, the best MMO on any console).

    Steer clear if… You don’t like MMOs, don’t like fantasy settings, or don’t want to pay a monthly subscription fee.

    What critics said: “My favorite MMO since World of Warcraft” (Destructoid); “…one of the biggest reversals in fortune we’ve seen for a game” (Gameplanet); “the best venue to experience the staggering world” (GameSpot).

    ESRB Rating: Teen

  • Flower

    What would you do if you were the wind? The dream of a potted plant on an urban windowsill? Don’t worry, Flower isn’t a tedious philosophical treatise on the nature of reality, but as you twist the PlayStation 4’s motion-sensing gamepad to maneuver dancing petals through oceans of grass, stone rings, steel girders, windmills, striated caverns and pallid cityscapes, you may find yourself contemplating whether you’re playing a game, or involved in a form of interactive meditation.

    Buy this game if… You want to try something genuinely different, you enjoy environmental puzzles, you love immersing yourself in beautiful and uniquely imagined virtual worlds.

    Steer clear if… You tend to rush through games (in which case Flower may seem brief).

    What critics said: “…has the power to change the way that you look at the outside world” (Push Square); “…like rediscovering an old friend” (USgamer); “…there’s no prettier way to inaugurate your new console” (Hardcore Gamer).

    ESRB Rating: Everyone

  • The Last of Us Remastered

    Developer Naughty Dog’s original PlayStation 3 tale of a horror-numbed survivor escorting a young girl through a broken zombie-filled near-future world won the 2013’s Writers Guild of America award (“Outstanding Achievement in Videogame Writing”), an Annie (“Best Animated Video Game”) and a Game Developer’s Choice Award (“Game of the Year”). The PlayStation 4 version is simply the original version remastered, but with all the additional content.

    Buy this game if… You appreciate finely crafted storytelling, you love tenterhooks survival horror games with light stealth elements and a dash of third-person shooting, or you just want to experience one of the finest explorations of the way a relationship can work in an interactive game.

    Steer clear if… You scare easily.

    What critics said: “..the version of Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic story of survival that the developer always intended us to play” (EGM); “…a fabulous story, riffing on Cormac McCarthy and other bleak post-apocalyptic fiction” (Telegraph); “…the definitive edition of an already outstanding affair” (Push Square).

    ESRB Rating: Mature

  • Resogun

    Imagine a side-scrolling shoot-em-up (shmup), only the levels fold around until the ends touch, turning the game into a cylinder you can vector across either left or right. The object of the game is to free and save tiny retro-stick-figure humans, powering up your ship and executing special attacks that include a kind of battle-ram maneuver that lets you arrow through waves of enemies, annihilating them without destroying yourself.

    Buy this game if… You love shmups (this is one of the best), you love uniquely convoluted shmups with gorgeous retro-particle animations and effects, you want the option to play a shmup on a difficulty setting that’ll be the challenge of your life.

    Steer clear if… Twitchy, punishing shooting games aren’t your thing.

    What critics said: “…an eye-searing blur of a loop” (Destructoid); “…brilliant stuff, always thrilling and constantly rewarding” (Telegraph); “stands as one of the best ways to be introduced to the recently launched PlayStation 4″ (EGM).

    ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+

TIME Video Games

Felicia Day Writes About #GamerGate, Gets Information Hacked

"Supernatural" Celebrates 200 Episodes
Actress Felicia Day celebrates the 200th episode of 'Supernatural' at Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel on October 18, 2014 in Vancouver, Canada. Andrew Chin—Getty Images

"Games are worth fighting for, even if the atmosphere is ugly right now"

Supernatural actress and avid gamer Felicia Day took to her Tumblr to talk about #GamerGate on Thursday and, perhaps unsurprisingly, was immediately harassed. Though #GamerGaters claim that they are policing ethics in gaming journalism, a small but loud subset of the group has lobbed misogynistic threats at women who play, create and critique games, some even making threats of murder and rape. (Here’s an explainer.)

“A small voice of doubt in my brain now suspected that [two male gamers I was passing on the street] and I might not be comrades after all,” wrote Day. “That they might not greet me with reflected friendliness, but contempt.”

Day was moved to write on the subject after feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian came under attack. Sarkeesian, who makes videos examining misogynist tropes in video games, had to flee her home because of violent threats. Then, a week ago, she was forced to cancel a speaking engagement at Utah State University after an anonymous person sent a letter to the school administration threatening to massacre students if she spoke.

“I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America,” the letter read. Sarkeesian is just one of the many women targeted by #GamerGate: game developers Brianna Wu and Zoe Quinn have also had to leave their homes due to threats.

“Because of the frightening emotions and actions attached to what has happened over the last month, the events are sure to have a long-lasting affect on gaming as a culture,” Day wrote. “The fact that it has affected me, to the point where I decided to cross the street last weekend away from those gamers, was heartbreaking. Because I realized my silence on the issue was not motivated by some grand strategy, but out of fear that the issue has created about speaking out.”

But she encouraged everyone to continue gaming, even if they are harassed: “Games are beautiful, they are creative, they are worlds to immerse yourself in. They are art. And they are worth fighting for, even if the atmosphere is ugly right now.”

Just an hour after writing the post, Day was doxxed (i.e., had her private or identifying information published with malicious intent). Former NFL player Chris Kluwe pointed out the inherent sexism in the fact that #GamerGate doxxed Day but did not make his information public, even though he wrote his own post calling GamerGaters “basement-dwelling, cheetos-huffing, poopsock-sniffing douchepistols,” among dozens of other equally creative insults.

In his post, Kluwe called for #GamerGaters who disagreed with these misogynistic attacks to distance themselves from those making sexist threats by starting a new hashtag movement and condemning the old one.

Day tweeted Thursday afternoon to thank fans, feminists and gamers for their support as she has come under attack:

.

TIME Video Games

Assassin’s Creed Unity Wants to Bodyslam Your PC

Ubisoft just unveiled the PC minimum and recommended specs for its upcoming open-world stealth game set during the French Revolution.

I noticed a rumor about this on Reddit earlier, and wondered if it might be someone trolling, but no: The minimum requirements to play Assassin’s Creed Unity on a PC are indeed going to cost a lot of PC owners a pile of cash paid in upgrades to play. The full list is below.

It’s mostly the required GPU spec that has heads turning: an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 or AMD Radeon HD 7970. That’s the sort of thing you’d normally see (still, these days) listed as the recommended power level. Last year’s Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, by comparison, only required a GTX 260 and HD 4870, and even the recommended GPUs were a mere GTX 470 and HD 5850.

To play with everything turned up in Unity, Ubisoft’s recommending a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 or AMD Radeon R9 290X. Those cards aren’t first-timers in the recommended box; it’s the relative narrowness of the gap between minimum and recommended that’s unusual here. Ubisoft says it’s only supporting the GTX 680 or better, GTX 700 series, AMD Radeon HD 7970 or better and the Radeon R9 series. The company notes “Laptop versions of these cards may work but are NOT officially supported.”

I’m not surprised. Ubisoft can’t even get the game running at 1080p on Sony’s PlayStation 4 (it’ll be 900p on both current-gen consoles), so expecting the PC minimum specs to register at current averages was probably wishful thinking.

The upside, if you have the horsepower to make it happen, is that PC owners stand to have the best experience possible, since there’s no resolution ceiling on the PC version of the game.

If you want a reminder why the game’s putting crazy wrestling moves on your hardware (and wallet), here’s the latest “experience” trailer, highlighting Ubisoft’s open-world rendition of 18th century Paris.

Required

  • 64-bit Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8/8.1
  • Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz, AMD FX-8350 @ 4.0 GHz or AMD Phenom II x4 940 @ 3.0 GHz
  • 6 GB RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 or AMD Radeon HD 7970 (2 GB VRAM)
  • DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card with latest drivers
  • 50GB storage space
  • Windows-compatible keyboard and mouse required, optional controller
  • 256 Kbps or faster broadband connection

Recommended

  • Intel Core I7-3770 @ 3.4 GHz or AMD FX-8350 @ 4.0 GHz or better
  • 8 GB RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 or AMD Radeon R9 290X (3 GB VRAM)
TIME Video Games

In the Sunset Overdrive Launch Trailer, It’s Mostly Blue Skies

A corporate soda outfit releases an energy drink that turns its imbibers into mutants, and that's where you come in.

So here’s what I want to ask whoever put the Sunset Overdrive launch trailer together: where’s the sunset?

First it’s nighttime, then it’s daytime, then you get a few seconds of post-sunset skyline while the protagonist gets all motivational-speaky. But the action takes place midday. Look at that cerulean blue sky! Look at all those fat cottony clouds! ELO would approve!

But the overdrive angle…that’s hard to miss. This is a game about the opposite of narrative gravitas. You’re the former employee of a soda-maker that’s released an energy drink that turns people into slavering super-powered mutant bad guys. Your job is to grind around a carnivalesque sandbox and do goofy, epic battle with (flying?) worms, robots, sac-covered troll-things and giant floating dolls.

Sunset Overdrive is one of Microsoft’s two holiday Xbox One-exclusive pillars, the other being that thing about a military cipher who fights tittering aliens still, in 2014, more behaviorally interesting than the ones the studio that created said military fellow more recently introduced.

Studio Insomniac Games has a respectable design track record with this sort of thing. The ups and downs of the later Resistance games aside, the Ratchet & Clank series is terrific. Sunset Overdrive looks like a punk version of the latter, a third-person gonzo playscape: Tony Hawk meets Tank Girl meets Sam Raimi. (Is it me, or does the protagonist look a little like teenage Bruce Campbell?) If you’re a game aficionado, Insomniac’s also name-dropped Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio as inspirations.

Microsoft claims the game “rewrites the rules of traditional shooters.” We’ll see, when the game arrives next Tuesday, October 28.

TIME Video Games

Anyone Claiming There’s a Grand Theft Auto V Beta Is Still Lying

It's not clear when or where the scams are occurring, but they're scams, each and every one.

For once, I’ve learned about a bizarre scam from the object of the scam instead of the scammers: Rockstar would like you to know that if you happen upon a site or person or email claiming there’s a Grand Theft Auto V beta, you risk being duped.

“Please note,” writes Rockstar in an undated web notice, “there is no pre-release ‘beta’ test for Grand Theft Auto V. If you see ads or solicitations to join a beta program, beware as this is likely some type of online phishing scam.”

If that parses a little weirdly to you, it’s because you’re probably thinking, “But Grand Theft Auto V’s already out, isn’t it?” Indeed, the game arrived last September for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. This presumably relates to the upcoming PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions due on November 18, followed by a Windows version on January 27, 2015. I’ll say again: presumably.

I’m assuming it’s not some kind of bizarre prerelease viral marketing thing, though it is a little odd-looking, poking around the echo chamber and finding no paper trails. No one seems to have evidence of the scam itself, and sites writing about supposed fake Steam betas and 19GB of virus-choked malware all seem to be linking to a site called Xboxer360, which hasn’t posted a news update in 10 months, and whose story about a Grand Theft Auto V beta scam is over a year old. Search on the phrase “GTA V PC torrent” and you’ll find a variety of links to obvious (well, obvious to me) shysters, but whose fake listings are pretty old.

I’ve asked my contact at Rockstar to verify this beta notice is indeed new. In any event, now that I’ve expended over 300 words writing about it, whether the scams are fresh or you’re a time traveler about to embark in your TARDIS on a trip to visit the nefarious corners of the interwebs circa late 2013, beware Grand Theft Auto V beta claims: they’re phony bologna.

[Update: I knew it. My Rockstar contact just confirmed the link up top is to an old 2013 warning. So consider yourself warned. Again.]

TIME Video Games

Is This Really the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Launch Trailer?

Activision's near-future military adventure starring Kevin Spacey as the head of a rogue private military company arrives in just a few more weeks.

I don’t see a lot of gameplay in this pithy less-than-a-minute trailer, so I’m not sure why Activision’s calling it a “gameplay” trailer. Just excise that word and it works: type “Official Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Launch Trailer” and you’re golden. But by using the designator “gameplay,” I’m betting it’s not the last “launch trailer” we’ll see.

When I first glimpsed it on Saturday, the trailer had 300+ views. Now it has over 5.3 million. It’ll doubtless double that in another 48 hours. That’s the power of a Call of Duty.

There’s a little more to see here, but it’s not much. The same clips already shown in previous trailers pop in, abridged. The new stuff–and is it all new stuff? I can’t tell–amounts to 1-2 second clips of people in EXO suits doing impossible things, each of which Call of Duty-philes will obsess over.

The game is out November 4 (November 3 for Day Zero edition buyers) for this- and last-gen PlayStation and Xbox systems as well as Windows. It looks terrific in this trailer, a collage of rainbow-plaited tracers and pluming squibs and mo-cap Kevin Spacey smirking in a suit. And I’m still hopeful that, though it’s clearly rooted in the ballistic-power-fantasy school of design, the game has some subversive fictive tricks up its sleeve.

It’s one of these what-games-can-be questions for me (and I include the storytelling angle in my definition of “game” here–it’s a holistic thing). I’m definitely not from the “Who cares about the narrative, does it shoot good?” school of thought. If Beau Willimon and David Fincher can use an actor like Kevin Spacey to tell a politically nuanced tale that slyly comments on current affairs, why can’t a piece of interactive entertainment starring Kevin Spacey do the same?

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