Fanatec has just released the CSL Elite Steering Wheel McLaren GT3 V2, and it is a staggeringly gorgeous wheel to behold. This is the second version of the McLaren GT3 wheel, now reintroduced and compatible with the ClubSport Light Elite Wheel Base, as well as all other current wheel bases. This is a wheel designed for the grand touring style of racing, much like the Formula One wheel was designed, offering a replication of the real thing for home use. This wheel is officially licensed by Xbox, is PlayStation-ready, and just works on PC. This is a serious wheel for hardcore simulation racers, and it takes first on the podium.
Rare is the occasion when a game comes along that doesn’t just raise a standard, but redefines it in a way that everything else which comes after it will be forced to reckon with. Hades is that game in so many ways, a particularly impressive feat in the constantly overcrowded and somewhat stagnant roguelike genre. Where some games are content to experiment with the standard formula in small ways that don’t always land, Hades boils the roguelike down to its essential elements and uses them to construct the quintessential manifestation of the genre, tightly interwoven with a compelling narrative experience that celebrates its core mechanics as much as it complements them. That new sound you’ve been looking for? Well, listen to this.
Watch Dogs: Legion is set in a dystopian future, years after the events of Watch Dogs 2. Legion’s world is loaded to the brim with content like its predecessor and yet, still brings some new and exciting features to the table. I only wished I liked London as a setting more.
Open world action games aren’t just a video game genre to choose from, they are an absolute fact of the medium. Games of massive scale dominate the tripe-A landscape, and players have come to expect large open spaces to explore as a default, rather than an option. They are everywhere, they are hugely demanding of your time, and I personally am exhausted by them. I actively avoid picking up open-world titles largely because I simply do not have the time or attention span for them anymore, especially those which egregiously pepper your map with side quests, collectibles, and optional activities, to the point where the central storyline might get put on hold for twenty or thirty hours while you tick off check boxes. This style of game appeals to a lot of folks, but I’m typically not one of them, and it’s no secret that Ubisoft has invested a lot of time and money into their open-world engine and technology, and are also notorious for filling their worlds with things to do. Immortals Fenyx Rising is a curious (and welcome) anomaly, because it is the first open world game in ages that I’ve not only enjoyed playing, but want to remain engaged with.
Project Wingman comes from a passionate Ace Combat fan turned game developer, with an overly successful Kickstarter that matches enthusiasm for a series that once lied dormant. In the time Project Wingman was incepted, there was a seventh entry in that famous dogfighting franchise that released, to high praise. As that expert battle entry sunsets with its final DLC release, now’s the perfect time for Project Wingman to come out. The developer, now known as Sector D2 has set out to make Project Wingman a success in its own right, and does so on every front.
It was 100 years ago that prohibition began across the United States, and it wouldn’t be abolished for another 13 years later. Romero Games, comprised of industry veterans, two of which form the studio’s namesake aim to put you in control of a criminal empire built on the movement of “giggle water”, in addition to other illegal activities. Empire of Sin multitasks with three separate games in one: an empire management game, a role-playing game, and a turn-based combat game. It all coalesces beautifully, and while Empire of Sin has its share of bugs, it’s a wonderful game that has endless replayability.
There are strong openings, there are memorable openings, and then there is the opening of Paradise Killer. It is a sequence which sets the stage for the journey that lies ahead so perfectly that it doesn’t just make an entrance, it grabs your attention, invites you in warmly, and just as your mind begins to process all of the slightly off-kilter decorations in the house, it Sparta-kicks you over the precipice of an inter-dimensional portal and you begin your slow descent into the otherworldly. Notably, this is not too far removed from the actual sequence of events in Paradise Killer‘s first five minutes, but it the overall effect is simultaneously immersive and bewildering, and by the time your feet hit the ground, you’ve no choice but to accept the mysterious world you’ve stumbled into, and the role you have to play in it.
Mobile gaming has long since evolved from just touch controls, there’s controllers that help replicate a console experience, even if it isn’t widely adopted. Now with cloud services like GeForce NOW and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, the PowerA MOGA XP5-X Plus is such a device that is an all-purpose controller on mobile. It’s an impressive piece of tech from its compatibility, to the bluetooth, as well as the gaming clip that is balanced for longer play sessions. The PowerA MOGA XP5-X Plus Bluetooth Controller has zero compromises in its construction and execution, making it the perfect controller for mobile and cloud gaming.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War finally sees the return to the setting and characters we’ve been waiting for since the first installment. With Black Ops III, there was a lackluster story that never amounted to anything worthwhile. Then we got Black Ops 4, which was great on all fronts, but it didn’t have a campaign – which was probably for the best after the prior entry. Treyarch takes us back to the 1980s, reuniting us with Mason and Woods along with some new faces and names to stop a Cold War gone hot. Cold War offers a blend of nostalgia-fueled gameplay with next-generation visuals for a true sequel to the original game.
The next generation of games is being ushered in, and leading the pack is The Falconeer. While my experience has been solely on PC, it offers a fresh and exciting feeling I’ve not had in the prior generation. The game has incredible sound design, a sensory overload in visuals, and satisfying combat that is a soft mix between Crimson Skies and Panzer Dragoon. There’s also a careful balance of exploration and combat that drives the game in a direction we haven’t seen before. The sense of wonderment while playing The Falconeer is unparalleled.
After a year away from the franchise, Ubisoft is back with another Assassin’s Creed title, Valhalla. It’s Ninth century England, and the battle between the Assassins and the Templar is just as fierce as it has ever been. Building upon and fine-tuning the gameplay seen in Origins and Odyssey, Valhalla is the best in this trilogy of RPG centric Assassin’s Creed games, but is it the best Assassin’s title so far?
Everyone deserves a second chance, an opportunity to make things right. Most games don’t get to make a second first impression, but RUNE II has such an opening. RUNE II: Decapitation Edition serves as a “Definitive Edition” of RUNE II, and the tail end of a redemption arc for the developers at Studio 369 and publisher Ragnarok Game, who inherited a mess. In under a year, RUNE II has seen a massive overhaul and tons of improvements with a new vision and direction. The result of this work is an experience that’s a flawed, yet highly engrossing game that I keep coming back to play.
As a resident of Colorado, the state that this expansion resembles, I feel very qualified to talk about its accuracies, where there are many; as well as its inaccuracies, which thankfully there are only a few. The sixth state DLC is a never-ending highlight reel for this state, and American Truck Simulator offers someplace new with tough terrain and treacherous roads to traverse. Colorado is a place full of secrets and wonderous beauty that you can’t help but stop to appreciate at nearly every turn. The lengths that SCS Software went to with the Colorado DLC shows, it’s amazing and is well-worth the purchase.
There are a number of ways by which you may find yourself itching to explore Snaktooth Island. Maybe one of the game’s whimsical trailers caught your eye, or you could have been lured by the incredibly catchy theme song by Kero Kero Bonito, or the adorable creature designs (I mean have you seen that Strabby!?), or perhaps it’s the gaping hole in your heart left by the absence of a new Viva Piñata, or maybe some combination of the aforementioned. Regardless, if you’re coming to Bugsnax, you already have some idea of what you’re in for: a cute-as-heck creature collector full of good vibes, vibrant colors, and little food-inspired critters that speak their own names incessantly in the most endearing ways possible. This is all true, but this knowledge will not prepare you for what awaits.
As far as remakes go, XIII was one I wouldn’t have ever expected to get such treatment. A cult hit from Ubisoft’s weird publishing days, a relic of the past resurfaces after 17 years. Its re-emergence seemed incredibly promising. Getting the original game working on modern PCs has been helped by mods and fan packs, but it remains hard to get running. PlayMagic has put considerable work into the Microids-published XIII for 2020, and it’s a gorgeous game that’s ultimately let down by its gameplay and bug-ridden levels. There’s a lot to overcome to try to enjoy this remake, so now that’s two releases of XIII that are a hassle to play.