Darksiders II isn’t sure whether the Internet exists or not. Sorry, it does.

In an entirely unintentional turn of events, I have an addendum to my previous piece about Darksiders II being too long for its own good. I of course appreciate any and all irony surrounding this occurrence, even if the below is not explicitly a continuation of that subject.

There is a ‘wholly optional’ dungeon within DS II called the Soul Arbiter’s Maze, which is essentially a wave-based survival mode wherein the player is tasked with besting an increasingly deadly collection of the game’s foes. What is interesting about the area, like much of the game’s core design, is its juxtaposition of videogame ideas old and new.

Darksiders II is almost fourteen times as long as Beowulf (starring Ray Winstone)

Achieving a feat as lofty as saving humanity from oblivion should be difficult. It should be long, unforgiving, testing, exhausting: all those things we want a hero to overcome when realising their towering goals. Epic poetry is full of tales of daring men and women descending into the underworld or embarking on a perilous journey for the sake of something very important. These are characters used to getting things done, even if it takes them many years to actually accomplish their goals. As Valerie Valdes pointed out a while back and others have further explored since, games have been modelling themselves after the epics for some time. Darksiders II very much aspires to reach these same heights of dizzying heroism, and like a mythological journey around the Grecian peninsula - by way of Hades, of course - is really, really, really long for its efforts.

(Over) analysing The Bureau: XCOM Declassified’s chest-high walls (to within an inch of their lives)

I’ve done a close reading of the chest-high walls in The Bureau: XCOM Declassified and I’m happy to report that I think they could be a meditation on the tangible benefits of improved graphics. Furthermore, I reckon their implementation also questions if our lust to achieve increased verisimilitude between real and digital worlds is misguided.

In some of the Metal Gear games the player can take part in extracurricular virtual reality simulations. These largely take on the form of challenges, where the player is to focus entirely on their grasp of and prowess with game mechanics, unhindered by the troubles of setting, story, and the like. These VR excursions, in the guise of computerised training programmes, strip away all of these ‘distractions’ and stick the player-character in a glowing, geometric world made of cubes. In doing so, it could be said that the games are making a statement about where the real importance - the heart, if you were - of videogames truly lies. That while videogames are forced to inhabit the trappings of cinema, theatre and literature to attain wider cultural acceptance, the actual hallmark of the medium is, has and always will be the simple pleasures of the player moving things on a screen, and not some highfaluting screen moving the player. Pah.