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By Ural Garrett On 26 May, 2017 At 12:21 AM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Reviews, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarPlayground Games could have simply felt continent with having the premiere open world racer with Forza Horizon 3. The Australian Outback was a perfect location featuring loads of varied geography, the level of customization from vehicles to online play were insane and the Xbox One exclusive just played sublime regardless of the arcade/sim lean a player wanted.

Makes sense as to why the game till this day retains a 91 percent Metacritic score while selling over 2.5 million units. Instead, developers of the series continue to put the same amount of attention into Forza Horizon 3’s expansions starting with the Blizzard Mountain in late 2016. Despite being a blast drifting through the snow in the latest All-Wheel-Drive vehicles, more conventional vehicles or high priced exotics were pushed to the side (even with the added snow tire option.) Now, Playground has upped the ante and much more through their Hot Wheels expansion.

First, the track design does an amazing job blending the cherished childhood moments of miniature cars racing on plastic winding and twisting orange tracks with the grounded feel that’s made the Forza series so palatable to racing fans.

And, the map is fairly large.

A giant Hot Wheels track on an isolated island also feature hallmarks of the brand. Loops, sharp bends, boost sections, extremely ludicrous jumps specialized cars and even random T-Rex’s make its way into damn near every corner of the map. Also, the track design transitions from dirt road to the pavement in a way similar to the Australian Outback making it feel more entertaining than Blizzard Mountain. This means that there’s enough variety for those who want to drive a suped up Acura Integra, Ferrari 458 or Ford 150 Raptor without feeling out of place. Keeping with the Hot Wheels theme, some races even feature cross sections which only adds to the tension. The track design at times literally seems to rival the over-the-top feel of Mario Kart 8.  

The Forza Horizon series has evolved into the best open world racer one can get this generation and always serve as something for those who don’t appreciate the more technical driving nature of Forza Motorsports. With the Hot Wheels expansion, an already fantastic racing experience gets even better.

By Ural Garrett On 30 Mar, 2017 At 03:32 PM | Categorized As NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Previews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarLike it or not, Nintendo so far has proven the Switch as a worthy successor to the ill-fated Wii U. Then again, the more time individuals a part of that lucky 1.5 million club get a chance to play it, the clearer it becomes of how much of the Wii U’s DNA remains within the historic Kyoto, Japan-based developer’s first hybrid home/portable console. This is why it made sense for Nintendo to announce a sequel to Splatoon during the initial Switch reveal with a clever Esports tie-in.

When the original Splatoon hit the Wii U in 2015, critics and consumers alike praised the game for delivering an incredibly non-violent and child-friendly take on the third-person shooter dominated by the likes of Gears of War. To be honest, the team over at Nintendo EAD made the most genre-defying product since the original multiplayer fighter Super Smash Bros. in 1999. The squad/ink concept worked well mechanically, shooting rival Teuthida or things felt great, there was a layer of team strategy that rivaled its contemporaries and the visuals mixed highly stylized 90s cartoon aesthetic with an adequate technical display of Wii U’s low horsepower. All of that lead to well-deserved total sales of almost five million copies.

And, this is why Splatoon 2 could do for Switch what Super Smash Bros. Melee did Gamecube after trying out a few matches during the Testfire weekend. Taking a more “ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach, there are some significant additions that were noticeable out the gate. The biggest being the ability to play it exactly how one wants to thanks in part to the Switch’s design. I played some rounds on the sofa, while in bed and taking a shit. Literally, just like the commercial.

What can I say? I’m a busy man and those eight plus hour gaming sessions are difficult when you have a needy(and expensive as fuck) five-month-old. When on the commode, mobile os games from iOS to Android always felt like half-assed versions of things better done on either home or dedicated portable consoles. I refuse to play Mobile Strike, Candy Crush or Kim Kardashian Hollywood and console specific genre standards suck with a touchscreen.

And no, I’m not going to walk around with a PS4 controller just to play a five-year-old port of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The fuck I look like?

But, I digress.

Keeping things serious, Splatoon 2 adds some new weapon types like dual wielding to keep things interesting and the visuals seem to be bumped up from its predecessor. This means 1080P and 60FPS which really makes a difference when playing online. Most importantly, it plays great.

Splatoon 2 is the game I can see my five-month-old enjoying when she gets around six or seven years of age before she hates me in her teens and becomes a fan of Halo 15 or Call of Duty: Insert Generic Adjective Warfare. One thing remains questionable, however. What’s the single player going to look like?

By Ural Garrett On 19 Feb, 2017 At 03:06 PM | Categorized As PC Games, Previews, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarIsometric action RPGs fans normally use the Diablo II series as one of the gold standards. Who blames them? Like really, no need to go much farther. A studio who took that too heart was Grinding Gears Games when they dropped Path of Exile in 2013 following a lengthy development cycle and open beta. The free-to-play project was so good, that Gamespot called it the game that out “Diablo”d “Diablo” when the outlet gave it its’ PC Game Of The Year. Since then, Path of Exile averages around one million players a month with the average session lasting five hours long. Members of “The Master PC Race” obviously love it. Though freemium games get a bad rep for being lower quality than titles requiring single transactions, Path of Exile has always set an example of how to properly pull it off.

However, how does one translate that to consoles?

Both console version of Diablo III struggled to hold everything together control wise and still manages to damn near hold retail value even in second-hand markets. Outside of that, there isn’t much to fill that void of multi-class multiplayer dungeon crawlers. For the upcoming Xbox One port of Path of Exile, the game still remains free while featuring all the update’s including the upcoming Act 5: The Fall of Oriath endgame. From the time played during a press day in Culver City, it plays just as well as the PC version thanks to controls that at time feel more inspired Dragon Age: Inquisition and Gauntlet. All the character and weapon customization remain intact as well. As far as the visuals, it’ll probably go hand-in-hand with Smite as the best looking free-to-play title available for the console.

So yes, Path of Exile gets the console treatment without missing a step both mechanically and visually. And did we mention it was free and will retain its eight-player multiplayer? Though Microsoft’s second place console may be missing that killer AAA title, this might be exactly what they need instead.

Watch the trailer for Path of Exile below: