Find out why Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is a must-play, plus Helldivers 2, Tekken 8 and Belkin’s BoostCharge Hybrid Wall Charger.

If you thought Final Fantasy VII Remake was impressive, then oh boy you ain’t seen nothing yet. That first part in the trilogy feels like a mere warm-up for the absolute showstopper that Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is in almost every way.

It’s truly borderline bonkers how much Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’s scope has grown. Gone, for instance, is the linear structure in favour of a grand open scale – much of it at your disposal after just a handful of hours. There are merchants to visit, Chocobos to ride and plenty more. I got especially addicted to Queen’s Blood – a fully realised card game that is so fleshed out I would happily purchase it in real life should Square Enix ever make that dream a reality.

It’s so easy to get lost in the absolute abundance of content Final Fantasy VII Rebirth has to offer you that by the 10-hour mark I hadn’t even completed the second chapter. It’s a testament to the richness of the world on offer here, with side activities that are fun to naturally stumble upon and get distracted by rather than the busywork Remake often felt like it presented you with.

If there’s one negative to all this it’s that the giant open world has cost some of the game’s visual fidelity – more so in performance mode which has just an overall blurrier sheen to it. That said, it’s not at the expense of the game’s enjoyment factor. The number of distractions may also impact the overall pace and structure of the game’s narrative, but too much content is hardly worth complaining about, and the second chapter of Cloud and co does well to quickly suck you back in, especially as they attempt to rewrite their destiny.

It’s also worth noting that although Square claims you don’t need to play Remake before digging into Final Fantasy VII Rebirth (mainly due to a video recap that does well to give you the cliff notes of the story so far), you are obviously going to get the most out of your experience by having that tale behind you, so I can’t help but recommend it.

Either way though, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is a tremendous open-world epic filled with adventures that’ll steal hours upon hours of your time.

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Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth is out February 29. You can order it online from Amazon.

Also out now…

Helldivers 2 (PS5, PC)

It’s no wonder why Helldivers 2 has become something of a sensation lately. That’s because developer Arrowhead not only has a clear vision of what it wants its alien-infested squad shooter to be – it absolutely bloody nails it.

As a result, this third-person riot (itself a sequel to a very different 2015 predecessor) has its tongue-in-cheek tone firmly planted, as you run about various planets across the galaxy trying to protect Super Earth from waves of deadly suctterbugs.

But it’s not always so easy in practice as swarms of bugs overrun you and your team, leading to some accidental casualties on the way. The constant threat of friendly fire consistently means that things rarely go to plan as accidental grenades land on friends, family foolishly step in front of an automatic weapon and a poorly placed supply drop crushes you all to smithereens.

Yet the most amazing thing about Helldivers 2 is that all this bedlam rarely causes anger. Instead it’s more likely to elicite huge laughs from your fellow team members as you all agree to boot yp another round.

That’s because Helldivers 2 knows what’s fun and focuses on it. Provided the team continue to keep players on the hook without exploiting microtransactions, this could be a winner with a long life.

Tekken 8 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC)

Fighting game fans have been absolutely feasting lately and Tekken 8 is just another delicious dish. It seems the seven years between releases has served the series well because not only is it a visual marvel but the underlying mechanics are rock-solid as well.

Heat is front and centre of all this – a new ability that allows you to power up your fighter in a multitude of ways. Heat Smash, for instance lets you deal big damage in a pinch while Heat Dash helps quickly close gaps so you can extend a dominating combo. It’s a fun layer to add to Tekken’s suite and only adds to the pure spectacle of each battle.

And speaking of spectacle, Tekken 8’s Dark Awakens story mode is chock full of it. From the explosive intro to each wonderfully dramatic encounter, long-time fans are bound to be happy to spot their way through.

Yes, there is a fair bit of franchise lore at play throughout, so if you’re not well-versed expect to be a little bit lost, but while I wasn’t across every aspect it’s still hard not to smile at the pure bombastic nature of it all. Namco Bandai know how to put on a show and Tekken 8 shines because of it.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC)

It’s been a hell of a long wait for Rocksteady to release its follow up to Batman: Arkham Knight. Nine years, in fact. The end result is Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and it might not be what you were expecting.

This live-service-focused adventure certainly has some of the hallmarks of Rocksteady’s previous hits but is just never able to reach those same highs. The cinematics for example are absolutely top notch and do well to engage you in the tale of Brainiac turning some of earth’s mightiest heroes to the dark side.

The biggest issue though is that the core gameplay surrounding that beautiful packaging can get a little repetitive as you shoot your way similar mission types multiple times over that also feature a lack of enemy variety. Even the battles against the titular Justice League lack the oomph they really need to shine.

Round up some friends together and you’ll still have a decent time, especially if you’re a DC lover, but it’s hard not to imagine what could have been.

Hands-on with Belkin Hybrid Wall Charger 25W + Power Bank 5K

If you’re anything like me, trying to juggle the various cords, chargers and adapters you need for a day out or weekend away is an absolute pain in the backside. Which is why when Belkin announced its Hybrid Wall Charger 25W + Power Bank 5K my interest was piqued.

But move past the incredibly cumbersome name and the company might just have fashioned one of the most useful gadgets for gamers and tech lovers in quite some time.

The genius of the Hybrid Wall Charger is in its flexibility – namely combining a wall charger with a nifty power bank. As a result, on the underside of the device sits a USB-A port and a USB-C port, allowing you to charge your most common everyday devices like your smartphone or Nintendo Switch via 25 W power. Trying to handle beefier laptops is obviously a limitation, but I was still impressed at being able to do away with most other adapters.

What about when you’re on the go? That’s where the portability comes into play – the power plug easily sliding off to allow for a slimmer formfactor that easily fits inside your pocket. The 5K capacity of the power bank obviously isn’t extreme, but still managed to get a full charge for my smartphone, and having it re-juice at the wall while still powering your other devices means you’re free from accidentally forgetting to recharge.

The various international plugs included in the box is just the icing on the cake for the Belkin Hybrid Wall Charger, so provided you can handle the slightly steep price tag (the unit retails for $119.95) it could quickly become an essential bit of tech in your backpack or suitcase.

I certainly won’t leave home without it.

You can buy the Belkin BoostCharge Hybrid Wall Charger 25W + Power Bank 5K with Travel Adapter Kit for $119.95 from JB Hi-Fi.

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