Sunset Overdrive PC Review – Go nuts in a vibrant playground

The release of Sunset Overdrive on PC in 2018 came as a pleasant surprise, injecting some much needed over the top fun into a relatively tame gaming year. While blockbuster releases certainly delivered hundreds of hours of quality content, nothing in the past year especially grabbed me as an experience purely aimed at unwinding after a long day. With complex storytelling arcs and heavy exposition, the likes of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and Shadow of the Tomb Raider offered engaging narratives and superb gameplay design, yet didn’t manage to grab as much of my attention as some of Insomniac Games’ best work. Sunset Overdrive is an exciting and colorful adventure, unhindered by much story development, and takes full advantage of its quirky tropes to deliver a non-stop action experience. It’s a game you could lose hours in simply exploring its vibrant open world, engaging in random events, and come back with far more memorable reflections than any major release of the past fall.

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Darksiders 3 Review

When it comes to moment to moment combat of hack and slash RPG games, Darksiders 3 excels at delivering a fast-paced fluid gameplay experience that few titles can match in its genre. It doesn’t shy away from feeling familiar if you’ve played the previous installments, despite the new overhead publisher, yet its moment to moment gameplay remains some of the strongest in the genre. At the same time, however, this supposed revival of the series plays it much too safe in delivering little innovation, and further stripping down the things Darksiders 2 attempted to experiment with, leaving few things to engage in outside of combat. The series was never known for complex game design or deep storytelling in the first place, but Darksiders 3 clearly shows some wasted potential in its flawed execution. You won’t get the worst action RPG experience, and it’s moment to moment gameplay feels engaging enough to enjoy parts of it, but the simplistic execution ultimately leaves Darksiders 3 unable to break the ceiling of mediocrity.

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No Man’s Sky Next Review – Doesn’t fix all of the launch issues but finally brings the game in line with original vision

The hype surrounding No Man’s Sky was one of the biggest generated throughout the entire gaming industry, but when it released in 2016, it lacked many of the promised features, and underperformed on delivering the expected experience. This resulted in a wide community backlash, where negative reviews encompassed positive comments, but development on the game wasn’t finished. Hello Games spent the next 2 years providing consistent updates to the game, which expanded on what players could do and aligned the game with original design vision. No Man’s Sky gives players a massive universe to explore, filled with a myriad planets, star systems, and space fleets, now enabling cooperative play throughout the entire game. The Next update, coupled with previously released improvements, brings No Man’s Sky to the next level, and while players won’t be able to escape the tedious structure of its survival mode, it provides ample opportunity to create fun moments. With so many elements introduced post-launch, this feels like the game Hello games should have made at the start, although doesn’t feel vastly different from its original build. Thankfully, all the updates came at no charge, enabling early adopters to experience a fresh take on survival in a vast universe.

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Far Cry 5 Review

Playing a new Far Cry game at this point feels like slipping on a familiar pair of shoes, and despite minor token innovation throughout each release, extensively feels like going through the same motion. Far Cry 5 may be the biggest step away from the series’ usual tropes so far, yet I can’t escape the feeling I’ll be doing precisely the same stuff in a different setting. It’s a new region to explore, a new story, a new villain – yet feels very much the same as the games that came before it. Retreading familiar ground, Far Cry 5 throws players into an isolated region, tasked to liberate it from an oppressive cult. It’s wearing a new coat again, although this time Ubisoft made some welcome changes to make the experience less redundant. Don’t expect full blown progress, however, as we’re still playing by the same rules established in Ubisoft’s sandbox titles back around when Far Cry 3 came out. That said, there is a reason many enjoy the series, and won’t leave that comfort zone for innovation. Far Cry 5 is a solid entry once more, but four games in, the magic of its experience is starting to wear off no matter what Ubisoft attempts to change for a new release.

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Subnautica Review – Take a tour of an alien ocean

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Exploring the beautifully crafted underwater world of Subnautica is an experience that’s both awe-inspiring and absolutely terrifying. The vast expanse of the ocean planet you crash land on just begs you to explore its biomes and venture out further beyond safe shallows, but is quick to remind you that this world can also easily kill you. Subnautica is the most approachable game in its genre, and it doesn’t take much to survive, although deeper layers are woven into the experience and hide just underneath the surface. The mystery of the ocean will keep you coming back to explore its biggest depths, all the while crafting better survival gear to tackle its various challenges. The game never gets stale, and I kept coming back for more and more without burning out on its survival genre tropes.

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Danger Zone 2 Review

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Developer, Publisher: Three Fields Entertainment

Released: July 13th, 2018; Reviewed on: PC

Testing Specifications: Core i5-6500, 16GB RAM, GeForce GTX 1070

Few racing games allow players to freely crash through traffic, but to fill that niche comes Danger Zone 2 from Three Fields Entertainment. The second iteration of the follow-up to the Crash Mode introduced in Burnout Revenge expands in a few key areas to create a far more engaging experience and introduces much sought-after diversity. At its core, the purpose of Danger Zone 2 is executed well and there’s plenty of thrills to find in smashing through loads of traffic, although not all of its ideas live up to full potential.

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Ghost Recon: Wildlands Review

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Developer: Ubisoft Studios; Publisher: Ubisoft

Released: March 7th, 2017; Reviewed On: PC

Testing Specs: Core i5-6500 3.2GHz, 16GB RAM, GeForce GTX 1070

From the start of its plot, Ghost Recon: Wildlands tells you “Do whatever it takes” and follows in that philosophy until the very end of its 45 hour runtime. Giving players complete freedom in approaching its objectives, this tactical sandbox shooter drops you into a representation of Bolivia with one overarching objective to work towards – destabilize the Santa Blanca cartel. The game is bad at plot exposition, but that isn’t really what you’re here for. Instead, you’re dropped into a massive sandbox filled with missions, and choose how to approach each objective in whichever way you prefer, co-op or single player. Ghost Recon Wildlands has a few strengths, but ultimately falls into a generic sandbox experience that does little to engage the player with either its world or story bits. Its main course relies on co-op play, where up to four friends can team up to mess around its sandbox and create thrilling personal experiences. By yourself, you just wouldn’t find as much fun in the game’s repetitive sandbox missions, which often feel like going through an extremely long to-do checklist. While it’s impressive in scope, Wildlands falls short on many gameplay aspects, and this isn’t quite the direction I’d want a Ghost Recon game to take in an open-world setting, although it can engage on gameplay level.

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