We must begin, as any good retrospective piece in 2020 should, with an apology to the Nintendo Wii. Despite over a decade of near universal critical praise I have been unable to enjoy Super Mario Galaxy, and for the longest time I assumed this was a symptom of jerkitude towards the Wii controller setup. I didn’t enjoy having to sit up to use the pointer in an action game, I hated having to shake the controller to attack and assumed maybe this is one of those deals that makes more sense if you’re right-handed, and I found holding two separate objects with a wire drooping across my crotch uncomfortable. …


As a standalone game Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise has no artistic merit or purpose. Apologies if that’s too sharp of a right hook for an opening sentence, but it’s impossible to write a worthwhile piece about Deadly Premonition 2 without endless comparisons to Deadly Premonition. It’s the kind of sequel that buries itself as deep into its predecessor as possible in hopes that its niche audience will accept it on those terms, or at least defend it from “normie” criticism from outsiders. …


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Games can be intimidating, thinking about them can be exhausting and daring to commit to a printed opinion about a work as dense as Nioh 2 feels akin to offering a reach around to a cliff edge. This may be an intellectually worthless position to hold, but I can’t shake my anxiety of feeling ill-equipped to comment on the game as a holistic experience enough to discard said position. …


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Crackdown 3 is destined to be in 2019’s end of year roundup conversations, albeit only in the context of “wait that was this year!?” Afters years of doubt and feared cancellation Microsoft’s haunted exclusive has finally flopped its way onto store shelves and…most people either hate it or don’t care at all. …


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It’s that time of year once again where everyone has a good time putting together their easy-to-write and easier-to-promote “Game of the Year” lists and I have a big sulk about the whole concept. …


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This post contains end-game spoilers.

Red Dead Redemption 2 made me feel sorry for videogame journalists.

Imagine absorbing weeks of excitable previews, interviews and speculation pieces cheerfully dissecting and bragging about Red Dead Redemption 2’s 60-hour campaign, map size and the bizarre (sometimes horse testicle related) details and knowing that you’re only going to have days to devour as much of this beast as possible. Not only that, before the game even comes out you’ve got to somehow break down every aspect of this overwhelming narrative and Swiss army knife of systems, mechanics and interactions into a coherent 2,000 word opinion. …


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Being a wrestling fan in the modern era isn’t easy; shows often drag on too long, international promotions are difficult to navigate, storylines get dropped with no warning and little reason, your favourites can evaporate into the ether and a lot of it is straight up bad. Not only bad in a quality sense either, there’s a lot of ugliness related to drugs, young death, concussions, labour rights, racism, misogyny, abuse and even international politics buried beneath the surface of this carny-created industry. …


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This piece was originally published on November 29th, 2016 as a 4 star review of Undertale, it has been transferred over to Medium unedited for preservation reasons.

There’s a slight anxiety that comes with hopping abroad a hype train long after it’s left the station. With an instant phenomenon like Undertale it feels like the entire world has already made up its mind for you, with any dissent from that opinion written off as “trolling” while simply concurring would be pointless. Within that context, it seems impossible the game could live up to its own promise, and if it doesn’t then well that’s your fault for not “getting it” bucko. So either you’re going to have a great time and be in danger of having an incredibly boring opinion, which isn’t a problem at all unless you’re some jerk on the internet who likes to pretend to write about games sometimes. …


This was originally posted on an old Wordpress site on April 6th, 2017 immediately after plowing through Final Fantasy VII in less than a week during a time where I should have been looking for somewhere to live. Reposted unedited on Medium for preservation purposes.

Do you have any idea how weird it is to me that I’ve now played Final Fantasy VII? I never understood JRPGs growing up; when I was six years old I borrowed a “friend’s” (someone who had to talk to me because both our mothers were present) Game Boy and played five minutes of Pokémon Yellow. I knew everyone on the playground was hot for these pokemammals but I didn’t get it, why did they take turns to hit each other? Where was the jump button dang it! I handed the Game Boy back to my socially-obligated temporary friend and didn’t play a Pokémon game again for 10 years, and continued to make fun of JRPGs for another 15. …


This was originally posted as a zero star “review” of Let It Die on March 6th, 2017 on my old Wordpress site, the following is an unedited repost for preservation purposes.

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Do you ever worry that we don’t talk about numbers enough? They’re so vital to so much of “game design”; not only in the obvious surface numbers of experience points or levels, but in the hard mathematics of system-driven play and the mechanical deliberateness of finding the right amount of frames for a Castlevania whip or a Gunstar Heroes bomb catch. Numbers are perfect for conveying rules and information, and the cheap thrill of artificial progress when you succeed in making a number slightly bigger is undeniable. …

Matt Leslie

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