Through its skillful environmental design and indulgent combat, Dead Island 2 is one of the best, most disgusting playgrounds I’ve ever played in.
And I’m thankful for that. I’m old enough now to witness girls partake in the video game industry outside of “girl games,” and to experience its full breadth for myself. Metroid Prime Remastered isn’t as perfect of a game as it seemed to be over 20 years ago. Too much time has passed for that to have ever been the case. But it will always know how to let a woman live.
15 years later, we have more compelling protagonists to choose from, and even more interesting space zombies, like those in Dead Space creator Glen Schofield’s The Callisto Protocol, which is also mired by repetitive bosses, but at least looks and sounds incredible. The Dead Space remake accomplishes what it set out to do, it makes an old game compatible for modern consoles. But that’s all it does. 2008’s lightning stays in its bottle.
I consider The Callisto Protocol one of the most ambitious games I played this year, maybe even the most next to Elden Ring (though I think Elden Ring is in a league of its own—I don’t know if anything will be able to approach its depth and sophistication for a long time). Its thoughtful attention to environment, sound, and touch is what, I think, next-gen gaming should be like: an experiment with the senses and with story. The game has its issues, too, which can’t be ignored. But at least it feels human.
I want art to be a place where I can find love, beauty, or truth. Without these things, Marissa Marcel was better off lost.