Welcome back readers.

I am fully in my Armored Core VI era this weekend. Kind of relieved that it’s broken the Diablo IV spell I’ve been under, honestly! I’ll be keeping an eye out in the weeks to come for the kind of crit that doesn’t really play ball with triple-A review embargo deadlines.

This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.

Red Check

This week we’re starting things off with new perspectives in and around Baldur’s Gate III which open up the critical landscape a bit on how we play and what we experience.

“who am I baldur’s gate 3? with this endless parade of hunks, twinks, rude-girls and doe eyed cultists who begin and end every night with a rigorous facial programme. there is no space for me to be ugly or weird or misshapen, I need to be handsome I need to be hot and most of all I need to be ready to fuck or kill at a moments notice. that’s really what we’re getting at when we talk about what it means to be an adventurer in one of these broadly colonialist fantasies where everything is solved at the tip of a sword except for statecraft, politics, the shape of the world or anything we want to change. there’s scarce room for changing the world, but lots of room for saving it. exactly as it is, forever. save-scumming is built right into the fabric of faerun. if I fuck up or die I roll back to the last save. whenever I am done with faerun it is still faerun for all of the R.A. Salvatore’s of the world to fuck around in. their tools, my playset, just as cardboard backedd and clam-shelled as it needs to be for the price tag.”

Systems Shock

Next let’s explore interactions between systems, stories, and critical experiences.

“Both ask you to stare at someone different from you and search for the thing that actually makes you the same. Be it your own flesh and blood, or a passing stranger you’ll never see again. How different could you really be?”

Source Texts

Now let’s look at irreplaceable originals, be they franchise-launching first entries or obsolesced media forms altogether.

“What makes Journey to the Source interesting by contrast is that it’s not an easily obsoletable work. It’s not a general guide to the Yangtze; it’s a record of a specific voyage. That voyage hasn’t been un-done in the future, and later voyages and exploration in the region have done nothing to reduce the value of this specific record. As a personal account of a journey through lands that have dramatically changed in the following decades, in some ways it’s only increased in impact.”


We try to keep an eye out for interesting perspectives on lesser-known games and lower-profile releases. Here are two highlights.

“As someone whose in-game answer to everything is to punch now, and talk later, En Garde!’s combat system truly inspired me to fight with finesse. Although fights are challenging, there’s also an effortlessness to them. Even when I was clumsily fumbling with the controller, Adalia would transform my awkward inputs into a dazzling one-woman show full of badassery. I’d hit the dodge button, and Adalia would launch herself into a graceful roll. If I jumped down from a high ledge in panic, she’d add a cheeky flip to the mix – just for pure showmanship. Her acrobatics add a wonderful flair to all your actions, so not only do you kick ass, but you look incredible doing it.”

Secondary Objective

Both of these next two selections still focus on one game as their principal object, but in service to a larger argument.

“You could, perhaps, argue that there are already rather a lot of cute games about frogs, with comic fonts and non-sequitur-delivering wildlife. I would too, but only in the context of what a good thing this is.”

Critical Chaser

Sound advice.

“Distant grass will always have a greener hue. You can fine-tune the appearance of distant grass in Settings > Graphics.”


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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!

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