David Chandler


15 games reviewed
71.3 average score
73 median score
33.3% of games recommended
Scores 3.4 higher than average

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Kill Screen
David Chandler
65 / 100 - Mafia 3
Nov 4, 2016

Ultimately, Mafia III is a game that's held back by its conventional anchors. It wants to be game about the South but remains content to use its setting rarely as little more than a local color curiosity. It proposes a radical representation of race but falls prey to the conventional chores of open-world banality. Though it initially seems eager to "Tell about the South," Mafia III does not have the patience or interest to do so.

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Kill Screen
David Chandler
77 / 100 - Pavilion
Oct 12, 2016

Pavilion is a series of puzzles that become sentences. The painted visuals and Tony Gerber’s haunting soundscape establish mood for the actors in the narrative: protagonist as subject, his actions as verb, the ambiguous goal as object. I was simply there to put it in order or to play with its syntax.

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David Chandler
65 / 100 - Near Death
Aug 17, 2016

Near Death succeeds in eliciting a sigh of relief at finding a moment to breathe in a place hostile to comfort, and, thankfully, the game’s smart pacing means it does not overstay its welcome. Such tension, after all, is no more sustainable than the station at the game’s center. Ultimately, though, Near Death has nothing to say beyond the struggle to navigate the harshest environment on Earth.

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David Chandler
May 10, 2016

Uncharted 4 never pretends to be anything other than the sum of its highly-polished parts. Its initial aim of interrogating the ability of adventure fiction to mature seems assured in the knowledge that it doesn't need to.

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David Chandler
85 / 100 - Samorost 3
Mar 24, 2016

The world of Samorost 3 is, quite plainly, unlike any other I’ve encountered.

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David Chandler
Mar 9, 2016

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David Chandler
Dec 1, 2015

For all its polish, it brand-name polish, it lacks that creative energy found in building battles from faded toys and dumb ideas. Battlefront imposes limits and gates on an expansive universe, reigning in instead of expanding the possible ways to become part of that world. As such, the game remains mercenary in its goal of selling an experience solely on those feelings we have about that galaxy far, far away. Instead of offering a chance to inhabit that space, Battlefront only shows us Star Wars at a distance, perfectly preserved in small pocket dioramas tucked away behind the rose-tinted glass of a toy shop window.

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David Chandler
75 / 100 - Jotun
Oct 14, 2015

Jotun weaves a tale not about some battle between good or evil, nor does the game construct some "damn-the-gods" narrative about the triumph of the human over unfeeling deities. Instead, Jotun treats its subject with the reverence of a Norse Edda, turning the elements of an ancient poetic tradition into a digital myth.

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David Chandler
80 / 100 - SOMA
Sep 24, 2015

The game, like the best works of science fiction, understands that horror can come from discomfort inherent to the erasure of boundaries we assume exist.  The unintelligible whispers of static and the shattered visuals of glitch provide only the most cursory glances at a machine world inaccessible to us.

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Kill Screen
David Chandler

For the moment, King's Quest remains caught in a particularly strange-yet-familiar space, halfway hearkening back to an older era but seemingly aware that it was a time that needed improvement.

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David Chandler
Jul 2, 2015

So, clad in his shiny new cyber-armor, Batman descends on his city and hops into his vehicle, and I'd like to believe that there's a substantive core underneath those mechanical interlocking plates. Arkham Knight, however, remains uninterested in this prospect, preferring to dwell on this new slate of tools rather than sharpening the dependable ones. Unfortunately, the game's fascination with his devices provides a reading of Batman as shallow and flashy as the sheen on all those wonderful toys.

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Kill Screen
David Chandler
Apr 2, 2015

As far as Battlefield Hardline is concerned, the 1980s may as well have never ended.

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David Chandler
80 / 100 - Helldivers
Mar 12, 2015

By showing how war games can make virtual fascists us of all, Helldivers takes its place as one of the sharpest critiques of videogame imperialism. Granted, it's not a particularly new observation, but the game delivers it with such bravado in both action and atmosphere that it warrants commendation. To enlist as a Helldiver for Super Earth admits culpability in a system that disguises tyranny as heroism. Helldivers measures its brutal difficulty against a dehumanizing military and political complex that results in humor and violence, both about as subtle and hard-hitting as a freight train. Such is the price of liberty, paid in full with a pile of shell casings and the sickening splat of another expendable soldier.

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Kill Screen
David Chandler
Nov 12, 2014

When I returned to the Paris rooftops far above the rabble below I marveled at how clean and ordered the city looked. It seemed endless, pristinely crafted and elegantly set. The rabble of the people turned to a muffled hum, and I forgot about the blood and shit-strewn streets where people carried heads on pikes and screamed for justice from a conflict I would never really experience. On the roof of the city, I thought I could maybe catch the faint words of a song that had some political resonance. But in retrospect it was probably just the wind, carrying nothing at all.

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David Chandler
80 / 100 - Transistor
May 19, 2014

Just as I see Supergiant's uneasiness exercised in the mechanics and themes of Bastion, I cannot help but find Transistor's obsession with performativity a bit telling of its creators' desire to break the sophomore slump.

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