The Everest 5.1 surround sound is the latest product from Majority, the relatively small audio company that recently sent me their M40 speakers which I really liked despite a couple of negatives. The Everest is a 300w soundbar boasting Dolby Digital designed to fit under your TV or monitor, and its party trick is that it comes with two wireless speakers to provide surround sound to help immerse you in games, music and movies, plus a chunky wireless subwoofer. That’s a tempting package, especially if, like me, your setup is in a small room where space is at a premium. However, it all comes at a reasonably hefty price of around £230. That’s, like, at least two bags of sweets! So, is the Majority Everest worth that many bags of sweets, or like climbing the mountain itself ,should you just not bother and stuff your face with Jelly Babies instead?
Having been battered by two separate storms that decided to form a tag-team over the course of two days, I’ve been stuck without any power for around 60-hours now in a freezing cold house and a manic German Shepard that freaks out as soon as the wind gusts more than jogging speed. Needless to say, it hasn’t been fun. Mobile signal has been patchy at best, so I’ve been out of the gaming news loop for a while. But surely nothing too big could have happened in such a small time-frame, right? I mean, Microsoft just bought Activision-Blizzard for an obscene amount of cash, so surely that’s all the big news for now? Nope. You lose power for a few days and suddenly Sony buys Bungie. Bloody hell. What, you couldn’t wait a few days Sony? Gits.
Waking up in a small shed with no pants on is a worryingly familiar scene, but thankfully this time it’s in a videogame. In this instance, I’m Nobody, a white humanoid thing with black, empty eye-sockets and a cliche case of amnesia. As the helpful woman outside the shed points out, however, amnesia is no excuse for the lack of underwear. I’m inclined to agree. Unfortunately, Nobody seems to be the only one saving this world from the evil Calamity which is in the process of covering everything in some hideous goop. Armed with nothing but a wand that lets him change forms (and still no pants) it’s up to Nobody to save the day, get his memories back, figure out where the great wizard has gone and destroy the calamity.
Karen Traviss penned the story of Gears of War 3 which wrapped up the original trilogy in epic fashion and then when on to write a sizable chunk of the official novels, expanding on the universe in numerous ways. She has 5 books to her name before the series went on hiatus along with the games. Her books are typically seen as the top of the totem pole and have done immeasurable work in making Gears of War what it is today. Now that Gears is firmly back on our screens the books have made a comeback as well, with Jason Hough authoring two new titles. This is Michael Stackpole’s debut Gears novel, having formerly written works in other universes such as Star Trek. He’s got some big shoes to fill, because by licensed book standards and just by book standards in general, Karen Traviss was a strong author. So how does Michael stack up, and where do the books go from here?
I don’t typically post news but I had to at least mention this insanity! Microsoft has officially confirmed that they intend to purchase Activision-Blizzard for a whopping $68.7-billion, making it the largest acquisition in video game history. By comparison, Microsoft bought Zenimax for just $7.5-billion. My mind boggles.
I’m on a spaceship with a talking tree, a creature that most definitely isn’t a raccoon and a space Llama. In any other game this could be considered weird, but in Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s just a Monday. Assuming they have Mondays in space. It was never brought up. The point is, the Guardians of the Galaxy are one of the strangest groups in comic books, and until Marvel turned them into a household name in 2014 they were a relatively unknown bunch of misfits that dealt in some of the weirdest aspects of the Marvel universe. So a videogame based on their antics sounds like a perfect fit. We deal in weird shit all the time. How does their first foray into games hold up?
Merry Christmas, you dirty animals!
Yes, it’s that time of the year again when presents are opened, food is eaten and at least one family member flips the Monopoly board. And like every year I just wanted to take a minute to wish you all the best. Like 2020, 2021 hasn’t been the easiest of years but hopefully, you’ve muddled through with minimal fuss, minimal Covid and minimal desire to punch people in the face.
Halo Infinite certainly opens with a bang, leaping straight into a cinematic that picks up exactly where Halo 5 left us during its cliffhanger ending. We witness the UNSC Infinity being destroyed at the hands of the Banished, while the Master Chief is systematically picked apart by the hulking form of Atriox, a character first introduced in Halo Wars 2. As opening sequences go it’s definitely explosive and attention-grabbing, but it’s also the first example of how Infinite can feel rushed and at odds with itself; you never get to take control of the Chief and join the fight for the Infinity. The destruction of the Infinity, a major part of the Halo lore, is glossed over in a brief cutscene, the death of its crew barely shown. There was a perfect opportunity to create a level built around the desperate fight to save the ship and the inevitable loss you would have to suffer at the hands of Atriox. For some reason, however, 343 opt to tell the players what happened and rarely show, a theme that permeates the entirety of Halo Infinite.
German developer Monokel are the new kids on the block, entering the fray with their first project, White Shadows. These are probably the game’s I hate reviewing the most because criticising any new developer trying to enter the scene with something cool and different feels like running up to a child and punching them in the kidney. But as I always I write reviews with the player in mind, not the developer. White Shadows is certainly unique and a hell of a debut for a new company in many regards. It shows incredible artistic strength. The gameplay just isn’t up to par, however. So let’s jump into this.
Microsoft did us all a solid by dropping Halo: Infinite’s free-to-play multiplayer like a freaking ODST from the sky when we weren’t expecting it. It was a big-boy play by Microsoft and was instantly rewarded by a tidal wave of people downloading and jumping into what many consider to be the year’s biggest release. To the credit of Microsoft and 343 everything held up well and Halo: Infinite’s launch wasn’t plagued by the server crashes, bugs and glitches that most other launches these days get hit by. And yes, I’m looking directly at Battlefield 2032 as I type this. A few weeks on and just days ahead of the Halo: Infinite campaign launching, I’m here to review the multiplayer. Am I late to the party? Yup, but to be perfectly honest, that’s because I’ve been playing Halo: Infinite and couldn’t be arsed to write this when I could be nailing headshots like I nailed your mum. Oh God, this game brings out the teenager in me.