Games of February 2017

February is here, and while many of us are still writing 2016 on everything (or maybe it’s just me), the video game calendar waits for no one. The second month of 2017 is a bit sparse, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for me. I’m still working on a backlog a mile wide, so a month like this ends up turning into a “future sales wishlist” so to speak. Here are a few games of which I’m keeping note.

Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World

A port of the similarly named Wii U title. I never did buy Wooly World, but I played a few levels on various occasions and it was as solid as any Nintendo platformer. Don’t expect it to be groundbreaking, but it should be a fun game to play on-the-go, and its visuals are gorgeous for a handheld.

For Honor

The final beta just wrapped up for this game, and if it’s half as fun to play as it is to watch it should be a hit. Matches look intense, and the skill ceiling seems to separate the good from the great in a satisfying way. There are some potential technical hiccups to get past (peer-to-peer networking being a prime example), but I still expect For Honor to have plenty of potential given a week month of game releases.

Halo Wars 2

There are dozens of us that loved the first Halo Wars on Xbox 360. It was a simple but fun game that did a solid job of bringing the RTS genre to a console, and it was a great source of Halo-lore for dedicated fans of the series. If Halo Wars 2 can pick up the pace of play in matches, and have a meaningful story, it should be a great addition to the Halo universe.

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Games to Watch – January 2017

January is traditionally a slower month for video game releases. Holiday hangovers are still in full effect in mind, body, and wallets, so it’s rare to see a blockbuster game released early in the year. The first month of 2017 does have a few big name games to look forward too though, especially if you like ports. Here are a few games of the month to keep an eye on.

Night in the Woods

January 10th

A stylistic and story-driven indie sidescroller, Night in the Woods follows Mae, a college dropout who returns home to find things aren’t as she remembers. I didn’t know about Night in the Woods until I started this post, but the videos I’ve seen give off a subtly creepy vibe that’s really caught my eye. From its art to its gameplay, Night in the Woods looks to be different in a lot of ways and I can’t wait to try it.

Gravity Rush 2

January 20th

I never played the original on PSP Vita, but I may have to try this sequel coming to PS4 later this month. It’s hard to describe the gameplay I’ve seen so far, so check out the video above. From what I can tell it’s an action/beat’em up that makes use of the environment to create some really exciting combat. Might also be in my best interests to pick up some motion sickness pills along with it.

Road Redemption

January 15th

Road Redemption looks like dumb, over the top, carnage-inducing fun, and I really want to play it with a group of friends. This looks like cops and robbers style gameplay on steroids. Who can say no to a game that lets you kick a friend in the face from a motorcycle, then hit another with a baseball bat before dodging an 8 car pileup?

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2016: A Video Game Review

New year’s is a holiday for reflection, and we here at Games and Grinds are ready to jump in on the fun. As per usual, a lack of funds and free time meant my backlog grew exponentially this year, but I did manage to get my hands on a few fantastic games. For me 2016 was the year I renewed my interest in FPS, found a few indie gems, and fell in love with some of my favorite series all over again. Check out the list below to see which games stuck out during a year of gaming greatness.

Overwatch

My shooter of the year, hands down. Overwatch dominated my summer this year and more. It’s been a long time since I dedicated large amounts of time to an FPS, but the amount of polish Blizzard put into Overwatch kept me coming back for more. From the maps to the characters, every inch of this game is oozing with personality and charm. This personality translates into gameplay that supports a wide variety of playstyles with characters that fit into nearly every niche. Whether you’re a tank, shooter, healer, defender, or some combination in between, I’m pretty sure anyway can find an enjoyable way to play. It’s hard for me to get excited over a multiplayer-only game, but Overwatch pushes all the right buttons.

Civilization 6

It’ll take a while to see whether Civ 6 survives the test of time, but there’s no doubt this is a solid addition to the Civilization series and a great jump off point for future development. I love the amount of detail and thought that goes into each new city you build during a game of Civ 6. Each one develops differently according to the resources surrounding it, giving the city and country as a whole a unique feeling. It really helps give each new game a fresh spin. There are still a few AI and balance tweaks to fix, but overall I’m quite happy with the newest Civilization installment.

Battlefield 1

I haven’t played nearly as much of BF1 as I would have liked since its launch, but what I have played has been pretty damn good. The standard Battlefield formula is about as foolproof as you can get, and the WWI aesthetic gives every battle a grandiose feeling that creates some awe-inspiring moments. The Operations game mode could be one of the best additions to multiplayer gaming I’ve seen in years. It’s a simple concept, but playing a series of attack/defend scenarios tied together across several maps gives each round an overarching narrative with a bit more punch than your average pvp games.

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Tips to Send Your Gaming Rig Halfway ‘Round the World

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Well, It’s been a month since we moved back to Texas from Hawaii, and things seem to be settling in quite nicely. It was a long moving process that provided plenty of learning experiences, chief among them being the harrowing experience of shipping our gaming rig nearly 4000 miles. It wasn’t the easiest task, but after a month since it was set up everything seems to have survived the trip. With the stress of it all behind me, I figured it would be a great opportunity to share a few tips I learned while packing and shipping our beloved gaming pc.

Keep and store your monitor box

This only applies if you’re looking to keep your monitor in the first place. I sold mine during our move because I trashed the box when I first built my rig. I ended up selling it on Craigslist as a result. Not a huge inconvenience, but it would have been nice to just pack up the monitor and move along. So take note, keep your monitor boxes and packaging, nothing will hug your monitor tighter or keep it more safe on its journey.

Clean it out and screw it down

This is a good housekeeping tip more than anything. If you’re going to pack up your rig for shipment, you certainly want to take care and ensure everything is screwed/clipped down and mounted properly. Likewise, if you’re going to open your tower up you might as well take some time to clean it out. I removed and wiped down all of my fans and took a can of dust-off to everything else. Probably a bit of overkill, but I was so unsure of whether my tower was going to survive the trip I wanted to make sure it had a proper sendoff.

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Nintendo’s unveiling the NX tomorrow and it’s time for some predictions.

 

     No need to pinch yourself, that tweet is real. This week we’ll get our first real look at the long-awaited Nintendo NX. Even the announcement of a preview trailer has managed to set the internet on fire. It’d be wrong not to get in on the speculation game, so here’s a handful of our totally baseless and unqualified predictions.

     Expect classic Nintendo-brand function over form, and it’ll pay off this time. That’s not to say I don’t think the new console will be powerful when it comes to hardware. The question is how that hardware will be put to use. If the persisting rumors about the NX being fusion between a home and handheld console are true, I expect the NX to build on the Wii U’s tablet design by consisting of a handheld mobile console capable of docking with a home hub-console.

     That isn’t an original bit of guesswork by any means, but it’s my prediction all the same. The trick to this prediction is the cost. Nintendo has always tried their best to be the cost-efficient option in the console market, and hybrid hardware sounds pricey. That said, New 3DSs can regularly be found for around $150, and I don’t think the mobile half of the NX would require much more power than a New 3DS. If they topped out at a similar level Nintendo could reasonably keep the NX within the $300-$400 price range, have a pre-installed userbase, AND leave the door open for potential Wii U backwards compatibility.

     And here’s where today’s NX daydreaming went slightly off the rails. What if the mobile console were capable of streaming games while away from home? The cost of hardware to do so might kill this idea, but it seems an appropriate feature of a console so heavily rumored to blend the features of home and handheld. Imagine having the ability to play a console game at home, then travel and still have the ability to finish your game while streaming over wi-fi. That would be a game changer in the home console market and truly set Nintendo apart from MS and Sony. I’ll fully admit this is more of a wish of mine than a true prediction, but hey it could happen right?

     Lastly, I expect at least one if not two major non-Zelda franchises at launch. I actually believe this explains the long lead-time for the NX’s announcement/release. After heavy criticism of the Wii U’s game library, it wouldn’t shock me if Nintendo decided to put some extra care into cooking up a few big names to launch their new console. We already know about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the NX, but a few other games have either been confirmed in development (Pikmin 4) or heavily rumored (new Super Smash Bros). Launch with those and a few 3rd party offerings (oh yeah, let’s just predict 3rd party developers will be on board this gen too), and you have the makings of one of the best console launches of all time.

     So there it is. A handful of half-baked thoughts more akin to wishful thinking than real predictions, but it’s still something worth chewing on while we wait for Nintendo to truly unveil their latest creation. Happy hoping Nintendo fans, and check out the blog and our Twitter feed over the weekend to see our reaction to the week’s news.

 

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