Layers of Fear (Xbox One)

Layers of Fear (Xbox One)

There’s an art to making interactive horror. For a game to be frightening, the player must empathise  with – or even inhabit – the role of a victim. And what do victims have in common? They have limited agency to resist the things that are done to them. That can be a problem in videogames, which are distinguishable from other media precisely for the agency that they offer. This friction is one of the reasons Resident Evil has continued to falter as it rushes to incorporate ever more action tropes.

Hitman GO (PS4)

Hitman GO (PS4)

“Poseidon is gentle with us today” Giuseppe called to his son who busied himself with untangling the nets. He had not been a young man when his wife blessed him with their only son, but he felt only gratitude that the boy was now of an age to help out on the boat. Arthritis made even the most mundane tasks a painful chore, a reminder that there is some discomfort even in paradise. As if on cue, the boy sat back in the stern, sweating from the exertion of wrestling…