F1 2021 – PC Review

F1 2021 – PC Review

It’s lights out and go go go!

Another year has passed and we are up to the 2021 season of the popular
F1 racing game from Codemasters. I get giddy and all kinds of excited
every time we close in on release time for a new F1 game, thinking about
what the new things could be that Codemasters has in store for us.

And

This year we have a story mode, called Braking Point starring a young
up and coming driver named Aiden Jackson, and an old fox named Casper
Akkerman who is coming to the end of his career, right at the beginning of
the story mode you get to choose from a few teams whom you would like to
drive for in this pretty lengthy story. Williams, Haas, Alpha Tauri,
Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin. I’m not going to spoil the content of the
story mode, but it involves a ton of chapters that I clocked in around
5-6 hours playing through, the content here is a mixture of Drama
(think about Drive to Survive), some superb cut-scenes, and traditional
racing scenarios, some of the chapters are shorter with less racing and
more drama, but all in all though a bit cheesy at times, and a phone
that keeps constantly ringing I had fun playing through it. And would
recommend you do the same if you aren’t feeling like committing to
a full race in the normal modes available, it’s good fun. Check it out!

While F1 2021 has not added a whole lot of New things to this years game,
they’ve for sure updated a ton on making the game feel more realistic
than the previous years iterations. I feel that in general the AI has been
updated to have more situational awareness, and the AI takes more risks
in trying to make an overtake. Also the driving in general feels like you
need to be more focused on taking corners, the throttle use could put you
in some serious pickles if you mess around on curbs or in the wet, bumping
over curbs also can cause damage to your car here more easily, so there’s
definitely improvements to the drive-feel to folks who are familiar with
the series from previous years. For new and old fans of the game alike
there is plenty of customization options for the difficulty levels in game,
so don’t worry, you will definitely find your own settings that work for
you, and once you get more comfortable with the game you can always ramp
the difficulty up.

My Team has had some minor changes to it in 2021, but nothing ground breaking
if you are familiar with it from the 2020 version, a welcome change though
has been in the practice session programs that they have been reduced
severely, which to me always felt like a really rough chore to do for those
points needed in upgrades. For those new to 2021, My Team is the mode
where you create your own team, logo and colors, hire and manage drivers,
just like in real life you have to start somewhere, so that means you aren’t
going to be the overnight success straight up, having to hire cheaper
drivers and sign less generous sponsors, it’s a great mode to insert your
own touch and feel to the F1 2021 series and definitely a mode I enjoy.

One thing you will notice rather quickly is also that not all the tracks
on the calendar right now are in game, these will be added to the game as
free DLC addons a bit later on, so that’s all fine and dandy.

The biggest update to the game besides Braking Point in my opinion
would have to be the inclusion of a 2 player career mode, which is fantastic
if you have that friend you’ve kept time trialing with and beating,
now both of you can play on your terms a full season and see who comes
out on top of things, nothing better than a rivalry between you and your
friend who supports that other team you don’t right?

Graphically the game this year I feel has taken a step upwards again,
there is definitely more detail to be seen in game, and with RTX (Raytracing)
shadows and light (on compatible graphics cards) also present is DLSS support
Nvidias AI controlled feature that helps you get additional frames out from
the game at higher resolutions while using Raytraced options.

I have included quite a few screenshots from in game that you can check out
above, and there is also benchmark information there for the tech savvy.
But the game on my i5-9600k with 16GB ram and a 3070 (8GB) card, playing at
2K resolution (1440p) garnered around 130-144 frames per second with DLSS
enabled. It’s truly a joy to play with high frames and if you have made
the switch from Console to PC recently, you will definitely enjoy the above
60 fps content if you have the hardware capable of it.

As a long time fan of the F1 series from Codemasters, F1 has also become
my favorite franchise within the racing genre, it’s a ton of fun to play
and now with added modes like Braking Point and 2 player career, there’s
never been a better time to jump into the franchise and take it for a spin
yourself, I highly recommend it and I am pretty darn sure you will too have
a blast playing it for months and months until the next release in the series.

 

Thank you to Codemasters for the review code
Appreciate the kindness.

F1 2021 is out now on all major platforms, Steam, Playstation and Xbox.
Please see your local store / console / steam store for regional pricing.

9
Out Of 10
Pros
  • Beautiful & Smooth
  • Challenging
  • 2 player career mode
  • Braking Point cheesy writing
Cons
  • Braking Point cheesy writing
  • Not all tracks included yet
New game trailers 11th December 2020

New game trailers 11th December 2020

New Game Trailers

NieR Replicant ver.1.122474487139 The Game Awards Gameplay Trailer

Tchia – Reveal Trailer

Shady Part of Me – Launch Trailer

Century: Age of Ashes – Announcement trailer

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – The One-Winged Angel

Perfect Dark – Official Announce Trailer

The Initiative – Perfect Dark Developer Interview

Back 4 Blood – Game Awards Gameplay Demo

Back 4 Blood – Reveal Trailer

Hood: Outlaws & Legends – Release Date Reveal Trailer

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide – Official Gameplay Trailer

The Callisto Protocol – Cinematic Trailer Reveal

OPEN ROADS | Teaser Trailer

Crimson Desert – Reveal Trailer

DISCO ELYSIUM – The Final Cut (Announcement Trailer)

The Next Dragon Age Official Trailer – 2020 Game Awards

Endless™ Dungeon – Announcement Trailer

Season – The Game Awards 2020: Official Announcement Trailer

Fall Guys: Season 3 | Winter Knockout | December 15

Ark 2 – Cinematic Trailer | Game Awards 2020

Outriders: Mantras of Survival

F.I.S.T. The Game Awards 2020 Trailer

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War & Warzone – Season One Trailer | PS5, PS4

Evil Dead: The Game – The Game Awards 2020: Reveal Trailer | PS5, PS4

Microsoft Flight Simulator – Xbox Series X|S Announce Trailer

It Takes Two Official Reveal Trailer

Capcom Arcade Stadium – Announce Trailer

Returnal – Trailer The Game Awards 2020

The Elder Scrolls Online – Gates of Oblivion Teaser Trailer

Monster Hunter Rise – The Game Awards 2020 Trailer

Evil West – World Premiere Reveal Trailer | The Game Awards 2020

SCARLET NEXUS – The Game Awards Trailer

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Gameplay Reveal Trailer

GTA Online: The Cayo Perico Heist

Coming Soon to Xbox Game Pass This Holiday (The Game Awards 2020 Announce)

The Next Mass Effect – Official Teaser Trailer

 

Bluecoats North & South – PC Review

Bluecoats North & South – PC Review

It has been a while since I played North & South, a game that I have
fond memories of on the Amiga home computer. The game released back
then in 1989, and featured RTS battles between the armies of the
Northern States and the Southern States.

Based on the Comics that were published in France in the 1970’s,
the game itself bears minimal accuracy to the Civil War in the US
back in the day, it is more or less only borrowing a familiar
setting for the game. Unlike it’s Comic counterpart that served
as a fun to read Historical lesson.

Fast forward to 2020, and the game has been re-worked to fit into
the era that is today, with quick RTS (Real Time Strategy) battles,
FPS (First Person Shooter) styled attack and defend Forts & Trains,
on a smaller scaled map of the United States.

The gameplay setting is simplistic, you start with your home states
and a few ground troops that can be moved between state lines to
secure new borders, or used to take over Forts and attack enemy
troops. (See above pictures of Map & troop placement) as you progress
and take over forts (minimum 2) you will earn each turn gold from
the trains that run between the forts. Playing as the North you
will get reinforcements through sea transports as well. Getting enough
gold will allow you to purchase extra troops, and or immunity to
the weather, or indian attacks that could possibly happen.

Your objectives are simple, taking over all the states and forts to
win the game, there are various levels of difficulty to choose from
so the game is also a great game for folks who might be new to
RTS/Strategy games and or PC playing in general, the game is also
suitable for the younger one’s since it features no blood in battles.

Each of the battles in the grand scheme are short encounters, the
Real Time Strategy battles (starting with 6 riflemen, 1 cannon and
3 horsemen) is timed for quick exchange of fire. The Train attack
/defend scenario is also a fairly quick exchange, but you do have some
more time to play around the fort that you are attacking or defending.

The FPS encounters are the most fun in the game, enabling you to run
around the fort stopping attackers or defenders, picking up Ammo and
Health as you go. The train scenarios aim is to defeat all the attackers
and try not to fall of the train, or let in anyone into the helm,
and vice versa for the attacker, getting to the front of the train
stops it, and you have completed a heist and gained all the gold
the train is carrying between the forts.

There are four scenarios to play in the game, all equipped with the
same map layout, and encounters, but set in different Years, 1861-1864.

Overall each scenario can take anywhere from an hour to fully win the
game, to slightly more.. this is though depending if you made wise
moves or not.

There is also a free play mode where you can pick and choose from all
the maps in the game for the quick battles (RTS part) and the
Fort & Trains encounters. The game also features co-op if you have
a friend near by, or you can play through steams couch-co-op option.

The game does not require anything insane performance wise from your
PC to run, but there are a few things I need to point out about the
current state of the game, You will want to play the game on a Controller
as it is 100x easier to control the movements and flow of the game this way.
Keyboard buttons are not re-mappable right now, and the mouse sensitivity
is off the charts until you get it set to your own right level.

You are also limited to a max 1080p (1920×1080) resolution, which kind
of surprised me. But then again there is nothing wrong with 1080p
the game looks good with it’s Cartoon-homage-esque graphics.

Final word

The game is fun, and if you want a few hours to fly by quickly..
this is just the game for that. Simplistic is some times the king,
and ideas from the 1980’s still work in 2020 as we can see here.

 

 

 

 

7
Out Of 10
Pros
  • Fun strategy game
  • Setting is interesting
  • Game modes (Fort attack & defense)
  • N&S brought into 2020
Cons
  • 1080p max resolution
  • Non remappable keys
  • Missing accurate scenarios (historical battles)
  • Limited troop selections

Thank you to Microids for the review copy of the game. Bluecoats North & South is out now on Steam (see local pricing) and will be released on additional platforms at a later date.
Assassins Creed Valhalla – PC Review

Assassins Creed Valhalla – PC Review

Welcome to Valhalla

We’ve been treated to some wonderful adventures in the past
few years, visiting Egypt in Origins and beautiful Greece
in Odyssey. This year we take on the role of Eivor in Norway
and England, set in the middle ages time period.

Valhalla is taking a bit of a different approach this time
around compared to the other games previously, where stealth
has been in a bigger role, but as you can guess Vikings
prefer to do it the rough way, hand to hand and eye to an
eye style instead. And I can say that the new combat system
is ever so enjoyable, specially for me as I have never been
“let’s say good at stealth”, it always fails for me at some
point and then I go in all guns/fists blazing after all,
so this change is a positive for me from the get go.

I won’t talk about the story per se here as usual, as story
intense games should be enjoyed by yourself, and this story
is one you should listen to and watch, it will keep you engaged
and focused for the +40 hours you will spend on Valhalla,
it’s got more twists, plotting, revenge.. than in an episode
of Emmerdale (English TV Soap show). Plus add countless hours
of exploring for uncovering all the secrets Valhalla has to
offer on top of that, also with future DLC you will add
considerable gaming hours to the total whilst traveling
to other countries such as Ireland and France. It’s not a
short game by any means, but it’s not Odyssey length either.
I’d say it’s just about the right length to keep you engaged.

Starting the game will let you choose which Eivor you want
to play as, Female or Male / Animus option, choosing one
over the other has no impact on the mechanics of the game,
The animus option however has you change character a few
times during your gameplay, and will let you experience
the full story so to say.

Before I continue, here’s the answer to an important question.
Can you pet the dog? Yes, why yes you can pet the dog, you can
also hold a cat, also ride a giant *censored* (no spoilers).

While spending the first few opening hours of the game in
beautiful snow covered Norway, will have you flashback to
important moments that occurred in your life, and serves as
a get to know the game (tutorial) and characters, familiarizing
yourself with close melee combat, ranged weapons, skills and
abilities, getting more or less ready for what lays ahead of
you later on in England.

Political/family problems on the horizon is what ultimately
leads you to leave Norway with your half brother Sigur whom is
a major part of the game. Your journey then takes you to
England in hopes of creating a new settlement on rich and
ripe lands for the taking.

This is where truly all the fun begins at (Ravensthorpe)
an abandoned settlement, that is now your new home.
Besides settling in on new territory, you will need to find
allies, and without spoiling too much.. you will most likely
remember names such as Lothbrook, Rollo.. etc from the TV
series Vikings. This sets things into a fantastic start
meeting the characters.

One of the great things about Ravensthorpe is that your new home
is upgradable, with materials liberated from raids around your
new home in the Mercia region, the only sad thing
is that there is only so much you can raid per region.
Fret not, forging allies with other people in different regions
open up new areas to explore and loot. Nothing more satisfying
than sailing in with your boat, activating a raid and charging
at the enemy with your Dual Sword, Hammers, Shield Sword combo.
Whatever you’ve chosen to wear.

Levelling up and acquiring new skills / abilities / power levels
also increase the enemy difficulty, so your raids also get more
challenging as you progress through the game.

Skills and Abilities can be learnt from hidden books of wisdom
around the map (see above pictures for map), weapons can be
upgraded as you find materials, pouches as well for carrying
ammunition for your bows, and as Vikings believe in Thor and Norse
mythology, Rune stones are present also for upgrading weapons
giving them abilities such as more health, damage etc.

One thing that I found a little bit confusing in the beginning
is that you cannot create ammo or health yourself, so you are
relying on shops/merchants in the region, or just plainly
robbing everything in sight to stock up. A tip here is that
you should upgrade all your pouches for carrying stuff early on.

Once you get used to the system it’s not so bad in the end,
though it can be frustrating as the enemies do evolve and
introduce new types of enemies as you progress. And nothing
worse than running out of ammo for your bow this way.

These guys can take a big chunk out of your health in a jiffy,
and if your upgraded health pouch isn’t filled up with berries
and food, you won’t have a fun time. Luckily the game auto-saves
often and not much progress is lost if you would happen to die.

A tip while using the bow, enemies have hit points you can
attack, shooting them in the arm and leg for example, results in
them going down on their knees, and you can execute a finishing
move this way. Brutal and swift, just the way Vikings like it.

As you have settled by a river, and came sailing in from Norway
you have at your disposal a long boat, that is handy for
traversing the coastal line of your new home. Not limited to
only a boat, as in previous Assassins Creed games, you have had
trusty companions, birds, and Valhalla is no different, your
trusty companion is a raven, that works as a scout for finding
out where to head, very handy indeed as Valhalla has less markers
on the UI cluttering up things than it’s predecessors.

The map overall is huge, and even if England might feel a bit
flat at times compared to the opening act in Norway with
gorgeous snow covered mountains and Fjords. It is quick and
handy to travel with the auto travel function, that let’s you
even shift to a panoramic view of things, while your horse
or boat is taking you to your intended mark.

England is a fun playground, with tons to explore and
sights to go wow at. And if you explore hard enough,
you will find monuments that still stand to this day,
and even Thors *censored* itself.

Valhalla delivers a great Assassins Creed title, that is worth
your time and money, It’s gorgeous, brutal, and you’ll have a
blast playing it, mowing your way through England.

So how does it run?

As you can see from the above chart ^

Valhalla requires some serious horse power under the hood
to run at 4K with all the juicy details and RTX on, and even
lowering the detail levels and such, results in needing to
have a pretty powerful computer / gpu combination.

For example, at 1440p with my i5/16GB 2080S (8GB) combination
I only manage to get about 60-80fps with a mixture of
High and Very High settings.

The combination of High and Very High detailed settings,
already result in jaw dropping visuals, but one would hope
that Ubisoft could work out a patch to squeeze out even more
frames, as the frames do dip at certain parts in the game.

The game also during my playtime had some weirdness in bugs
and a few crashes, but that will definitely be ironed out
as soon as possible, like I mentioned earlier on, the game
saves a lot, so even if you experience a crash.. there is
a high chance you will just restart from the point you where
at when it crashed.

Another great thing that needs to be mentioned here is
the new Ubi connect and it’s cloud save functionality.
Play it on any platform, and you can pick up from where you
left off on another. This is truly cross-play-platform, and
one would hope that everyone implements this as soon as
possible.

9
Out Of 10
Pros
  • Epic story
  • Things to do
  • Gorgeous open world
  • Combat is satisfying
  • More content coming over time
Cons
  • Hardware requirements for solid +60fps
  • Frame dips
  • Bugs & crashes

Thank you to Ubisoft for the review code. Assassins Creed Valhalla is out now on all major Platforms. Please see your local shop / PC/Console digital stores for local pricing.

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