Articles by Kirk Hamilton

Sam Fisher Would Not Approve Of Ghost Recon’s Night Vision Goggles

Last night I decided to purchase a custom Splinter Cell outfit for Ghost Recon: Wildlands. I mostly bought it because of the cool night vision goggles. As you make your way through Wildlands’ Bolivian countryside, you can choose to switch on night vision. Of course you can; it’s a Tom Clancy game. With the press of a button, everything goes green and you can see in the dark. However, your character won’t actually put on night vision goggles. They’re not even wearing night vision goggles in the first place. Their eyes will remain uncovered, even as the world becomes green-tinted. It may seem like an oversight in a game as gear-obsessed as this one, but the developers have evidently decided not to mess up your personalized outfit and headgear by dropping some chunky goggles over your face. Fair enough. Advertisement In the in-game store, you can buy a whole bunch of stuff to customize or improve your character. You can unlock all the guns in the game, if you want, or buy a booster to level your character up faster. You can also buy any of a few custom outfits based on other Ubisoft games. You can get 1,700 store…


Destiny 2 Shows Bungie Is Listening To Fans, In Its Own Way

Bungie is constantly changing and improving Destiny, though rarely in the precise ways players have requested. That seems like it will hold true for Destiny 2. At last week’s big Destiny 2 blowout event in Los Angeles, the differences between the new game and the old one were not always apparent. I saw the same guns, the same enemies, the same classes, and the same celebrity voiced characters. I played a couple of hours of the game on PC, and even there it felt much the same. The same flow in combat, the same structure to missions, the same rhythm in the competitive Crucible. On a more granular level, however, it became evident that Bungie has made some significant tweaks. Two of those tweaks may solve lingering Destiny 1 problems, though not in ways fans may have expected. Hands On With Destiny 2 On PC If you were hoping for something dramatically different from Bungie’s much ballyhooed Destiny… Read more After playing the game, I sat down for an interview with Bungie executive producer David Allen. Toward the end of our conversation, I asked about Bungie’s relationship with Destiny’s most ardent fans. I’ve always seen READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Hands On With Destiny 2 On PC

If you were hoping for something dramatically different from Bungie’s much ballyhooed Destiny sequel, I regret to inform you that Destiny 2 is still Destiny. If you really like Destiny, of course, that’s not such terrible news. Advertisement This morning I headed over to the Jet Center in Los Angeles to attend Bungie and Activision’s big unveiling event for Destiny 2. The game’s director Luke Smith came out on stage to unveil the sequel with a couple of CGI videos and pre-rendered gameplay demos, which played at blunt-force volume on the massive screen behind him. Shortly after the presentation concluded, I got to actually play the game. Here’s what I played, all on PC: Advertisement The first mission of the singleplayer campaign, which is the same thing everyone at home saw at the start of the big debut. A game of the new 4v4 competitive PvP mode Countdown, where teams have to either arm or disarm bombs to win rounds. First to take six rounds wins. A three-player cooperative strike called “The Inverted Spire,” in which my two teammates and I (Waypoint’s Austin Walker and READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


The very fine rhythm game Thumper hits Nintendo Switch today.

The very fine rhythm game Thumper hits Nintendo Switch today. I’ve been playing the Switch version over the last couple days, and it’s a good port. Looks nice, runs at 60fps, and feels good too, thanks to the Switch’s handcrafted artisan controller rumble. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

editors picks

It’s Ridiculous That Nier: Automata Still Hasn't Been Patched On PC

Nier: Automata came out two months ago on PC. It’s a really good game, and a clear standout during an unusually strong spring. So why the heck is the PC version still loaded with basic bugs and other problems that haven’t been patched? Advertisement I spent last weekend blasting through Nier: Automata on PC. I got endings B, C, D and E and… well, you should really play this game. It’s great. For all its positive attributes, though, it has significant issues on PC. Crashes, weird performance dips, locked white screens, and problems with funky resolutions affect even the most powerful PCs. This reddit list from a month ago catalogues many of the issues to hit PC players. In an official statement on March 22, the developers informed players that “we appreciate all your feedback and are investigating the issues that have been reported.” Radio silence since then. Yesterday I asked the game’s publisher Square Enix if there was any news on a patch or update, and they sent me a similar quote from the development team: “We are continually working with the parties involved to investigate and improve the situation READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Here Is A Fun Thing To Do If You’ve Finished Persona 5

Say you just spent 100 hours finishing Persona 5. You feel exhausted, satisfied, probably a little sad. Here’s something fun you can now do. WARNING!!! SPOILERS FOR PERSONA 5 OMG !!! Now that you’re done, think back to a million years ago when you first started the game. You played through the first half hour, named your protagonist, and flashed back to his arrival in Tokyo. You went to bed for the first time and woke up in the velvet room. That’s when you first met Igor. Advertisement If you’ve played past Persona games, you probably heard Igor speak and thought… what? Why does Igor sound so weird? Did they re-cast him? Why? I miss the old Igor! If you had any friends who were playing the game along with you, you probably talked about it. Can you believe the new Igor? What the heck, right? Now that you’ve finished, of course, you know that was all a subtle joke. That wasn’t Igor! That was Yaldabaoth, the God of Control, pretending to be Igor. Advertisement Secure in that knowledge, it is fun to go on Twitter READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

The Expanse Season 2: Entertaining if uneven, reaching ever closer to greatness.

The Expanse Season 2: Entertaining if uneven, reaching ever closer to greatness. Advertisement What it is: The second season of SyFy’s increasingly popular sci-fi political thriller. The show is based on books by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who collectively write under the pen name James S.A. Corey. What I’ve watched: Took my time with season 2, which I finally finished up late last week. Advertisement Is it good? Yeah. It still needs some work before it can rival the likes of Battlestar Galactica, but the second season took some steps in the right direction. Quick thoughts: I started watching The Expanse while the first season was still underway, and it’s been cool to see more people talking about it. I dug it well enough from the start, particularly how hard-boiled it was about killing off seemingly major characters in the early goings. It’s always had that specific swagger that some adapted works can have, where you can tell the writers are working with well established characters and know where everything is going. S2 highlights for me included the showstopper episode “Home,” along with Thomas Jane’s run as Miller more generally. I hope he comes back in S3. I also…


World War Z (the book): A meticulous, global history of the zombie apocalypse. 

World War Z (the book): A meticulous, global history of the zombie apocalypse.  Advertisement What it is: Max Brooks’ 2006 novel stitching together dozens of fictional accounts of a zombie uprising that almost killed off humanity. Adapted in 2013 into a film that threw out book’s entire concept and kept only the name. What I’ve read: Finished it a couple nights ago. Advertisement Is it good? Yeah, I liked it a lot. Quick thoughts: I actually watched the movie on a whim a couple of years ago and thought it was really boring. I remember being vaguely aware that it was based on a much better book, but it didn’t occur to me to read it at the time. The book takes a smart approach that allows it to have a noticeably different energy from your average end-of-the-world story, zombie or otherwise. Everyone the author interviews is a survivor, and it’s established in the early goings that humanity won this one. The zombies lost. The narrated flashback format removes a lot of the usual dread and tension from the story, and replaces it with these READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

editors picks

What We Liked (And Didn’t Like) About Breath Of The Wild’s Final Boss

On this week’s Kotaku Splitscreen, Jason and I were joined by our boss Stephen Totilo to talk about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with full spoilers. We started with the final boss fight. Advertisement You can listen to our discussion starting at 22:56, and the full Zelda conversation actually goes on quite a bit longer than what I’ve transcribed below. I’ve made some edits for flow and readability. Obviously, spoilers for Breath of the Wild follow!  Jason Schreier: So Stephen, you were actually texting us frantically because you beat Calamity Ganon last night for the first time. Advertisement Stephen Totilo: Yes. So I’ve been playing the game since a little bit before it launched, because like you guys, I had a Nintendo code in late February. And I’ve been playing on and off. As I mention on like every podcast appearance I go on, I had kids recently, and that’s affected my playtime. But the Switch has been great, and I’ve been able to play Zelda, mostly in portable mode. Any time I play it on my TV, I’m shocked by how READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Minecraft Feels Right At Home On The Nintendo Switch

Good news! The Nintendo Switch gets its own version of Minecraft today, and it’s good. In fact, it’s made me want to play Minecraft more than I have in a long time. Advertisement Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition comes out this afternoon on the Nintendo eShop, with a physical version coming “at a later date.” Nintendo sent us codes a couple days ago, and I’ve played a few hours of the game. I’ve had a great time. I mean, of course I have! It’s Minecraft. I like Minecraft on PC, on consoles, and even in virtual reality. It feels particularly at home on the Switch, however, and I can actually see myself playing more of this version than I have since I first bought the game on PC all those years ago. For the most part, this version of Minecraft isn’t particularly different from other console versions of the game. It runs at 60fps docked and undocked, and both versions look crisp and play well. The draw distance is noticeably longer when docked, but only if you put screenshots of the two versions side by side. GIF This GIF READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

Giant Sparrow

We Should Probably Talk About Edith Finch's Ending

The new PS4/PC game What Remains of Edith Finch tells the tale of a doomed family living in a mansion off the coast of Washington state. It’s a cool story, but what does it all mean? Let’s discuss. Advertisement My colleague Gita Jackson and I decided to get together and chat about Giant Sparrow’s ambitious new game, what we make of the ending, and whether or not there was a “point.” Spoilers follow! Kirk Hamilton: Gita, you and I have both played What Remains of Edith Finch. I think we both found the game, what… beguiling? Odd? Lovely? You wrote a review that I really liked, and I thought you and I should get together and talk about the game with full spoilers. Let’s start at the very ending. What did you think of Edith’s concluding chapter, and the way the game ended? Advertisement Gita: Oh Kirk! You’ve forced me to talk about the part I liked least right away. Kirk: hahaha quick, tell me what you DIDN’T like Gita: I have, no lie, been trying to put a finger on what I didn’t like READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

editors picks

Both Zelda And Prey Make Climbing (And Falling) Fun

GIF On the surface, Zelda: Breath of the Wild doesn’t have much in common with the new sci-fi thriller Prey. While the games are different in a lot of ways, both are well-made simulations that reward experimentation and exploration. And both give you fun ways to climb around. Advertisement Navigation and traversal are fundamental aspects of any open-ended exploration game. Sure, you can fight monsters or solve puzzles or hack computers, but how do you get from point A to point B? What if you want to go from point B back to point A? Is that process interesting? Is it challenging, or boring? Do you drive around in a car, or walk? Do you fly, glide, ride a horse, or use a jetpack? The best nonlinear games usually have an interesting answer to the traversal question, and those answers usually mix freedom with some degree of restriction. No barrier is insurmountable, but you’ll have to use your head. Of Breath of the Wild’s many interlocking gameplay systems, none is perhaps more crucial than the combination of climbing and paragliding. Provided he has enough stamina, Link can climb any object READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

editors picks

What We Loved (And Didn't Love) About Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

There’s a new Guardians of the Galaxy movie! Let’s talk about it. Advertisement Mike Fahey and I are both avowed fans of James Gunn’s original Guardians of the Galaxy film, and both of us headed to the theater over the weekend to see his follow-up. Did the second outing capture the unlikely charm of the first one? Is it possible to truly accept the fact that this movie takes place in the same fictional universe as Hawkeye’s farm? Is Yondu merely great, or is he the greatest? Let’s break it down. Warning: Spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 follow. Kirk Hamilton: Mr. Fahey! You saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 over the weekend. I also saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 over the weekend. Let’s talk about it. My overall take was: charming but crowded, a little overcooked but still plenty of fun. What did you think? Advertisement Mike Fahey: Well, Mr. Hamilton, I do agree that it was a completely charming movie with a whole lot going on, but I wouldn’t quite call it crowded. If fact, I think it READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Prey’s Mouse And Keyboard Controls Are Really Good

Most big video games these days seem designed to work best with a controller. PC mouse and keyboard controls are often an afterthought. Prey is the unusual, welcome exception. Since Prey is also on consoles, I assumed it’d work fine with a controller. I figured it’d have a four-way hotbar tied to the D-Pad, combat that feels arguably smoother with sticks and triggers, that kind of thing. How wrong I was. As it turns out, Prey wears its late-90s Looking Glass influence on its sleeves even more proudly than its cousins BioShock and Dishonored. This game is System Shocky as hell, and because of that, feels like it was made for the PC. Advertisement Advertisement In general, the PC version of Prey is polished and runs well. That’s a relief, given how many recent games have launched in poor shape on PC. Prey runs beautifully on my (pretty beefy) PC, and from what I’ve seen around the Internet, it sounds like it’s running well all the way down the line to mid-level GPUs. It supports 21:9 monitors and, while it’s missing READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!