Get excited, folks, because 2021 has dropped its first round of must-play video games, so we review Hitman 3, The Medium, Destruction AllStars and get our hands on the Powerwave Switch Pro Grip Controller for Nintendo Switch.
We’re well into February now and have finally had a taste of some new stuff that’s on offer this month. And based on some of the stuff we’ve played and had the good fortune to review (like Hitman 3), 2021 is shaping up to be a great year for video gaming if the rest of the year keeps chugging along at the momentum so far.
Hitman 3 (PS5, Series S|X, PS4, XBO, PC, Switch)
Big, bold and a little bit silly: that’s the revised Hitman series in a nutshell, and this third outing is the most ambitious effort yet. Without spoiling too much of the game’s charm, the first level feels inspired by Mission: Impossible while the second seems ripped straight from Knives Out.
There is plenty to see and do, but Agent 47’s core DNA remains unchanged, allowing you a wealth of flexibility to take out your targets.
Plus, the more you play, the more options you unlock for future playthroughs. It’s an addictive hook that has seen us complete the same mission multiple times just for fun.
For those with a PSVR, going about your Hitman-y business in virtual reality is especially surreal, although the game not making use of the Move controller feels like a real missed opportunity that could have added even more immersion. At the end of the day though, it’s merely an extra side dish that never detracts from the main course.
Hitman 3 is a game that never takes itself too seriously and excels preciously because of this, already easily becoming one of the best games of 2021. IO Interactive, the team behind the game, will now be handling the James Bond license, which is exciting news indeed if this performance is anything to go by.
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The Medium (Xbox Series S|X, PC)
Xbox Series X|S owners get excited, for The Medium is the console’s first exclusive title, and while it might not be the system-seller many were hoping for, it’s still a creative horror experience well worth a shot.
You control Marianne – a supernatural medium (see what they did there?) who is known to have a bit of a chinwag with the dead. When you do encounter some truly spooky setpieces, your screen will split in two, allowing you to control Marianne in the real world and spirit world at the same time. As a tech premise, it’s incredibly unique and shows the graphical processing these new consoles are capable of, but admittedly we were hoping for a little more substance gameplay-wise. Puzzles tend to fall on the simpler side and controlling Marianne can occasionally feel unwieldy.
For die-hard horror nuts there’s plenty to love with The Medium – from an intriguing narrative to plenty of moments packed with solid tension. It’s also worth noting that if you have Xbox Game Pass you’ll get to play this one free of charge, which as we’ve said before, is a pretty bonkers deal that you should absolutely jump on.
Destruction AllStars (PS5)
Originally slated as a PS5 launch game, this colourful destruction derby is now free to all users of PlayStation Plus. It’s an incredibly smart move that hopefully gives the chaotic free-for-all the boost it’s going to need if it wants to survive a multiplayer world dominated by battle royales and first-person shooters.
Most matches follow a pretty basic formula: quickly grab a car and proceed to smash and crash into other players to destroy their set of wheels and amass points. If your own car becomes too damaged, you’ll need to eject out and run around the arena on foot to find yourself something new, or dive onto an enemy’s hood in order to take it over or blow it up. It’s a simple loop but also quite an enjoyable one that had us coming back for more, and we were surprised by how much fun it is to be outside of the vehicles as well.
There are a few other solo and team modes to test out as well, with more reportedly on the way, so it’ll be interesting to see how long gamers stay engaged with this one. Our biggest gripe is having to disable voice chat for every match, but the game’s developers claim to be well aware, and there may even be a patch fixing it by the time you’re reading this.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition (PS4, XBO, Switch, PC)
After famously being delisted from digital store fronts in 2014, the video game version of Scott Pilgrim and his quest to best a shitload of evil exes has returned in this ‘Complete Edition’. The cult-favourite beat-em-up still holds up great visually, which is good news considering this re-release sees no graphical updates, however you will be treated to all the DLC added to the original game
While we enjoyed running through the campaign on our own, it’s infinitely better played with a bunch of mates and you can do so either locally or via online. That should also help with a few of the difficulty spikes you’re likely to encounter. If you’re a long-time fan of either the graphical novel or the 2014 original game – maybe jump on this now in case it disappears again.
Hands-on with the Powerwave Switch Pro Grip Controller for Nintendo Switch
A quick scan of EB Games will show that there’s no shortage of accessories for the beloved Nintendo Switch. But while there is plenty to choose from, we’ve spent a bit of time with the Powerwave Switch Pro Grip Controller, and it’s fundamentally changed the way we use the system.
Powerwave is a local brand that has been developing accessories for the last 17 years, and this Grip Controller is one of its latest releases. At first glance, the contraption looks to share a lot in common with the popular Hori Split Pad line-up, but there’s one major difference aside from a cheaper price point – you can pick up a Pro Grip controller for around $69.95 from popular retailers like JB Hi-Fi.
Unlike the Hori, this setup is one complete unit, meaning you’ll just need to slide your Switch screen into the middle. It’s incredibly quick and easy to get going, but even though it’s surprisingly light to hold up, you should still expect it to add a bit of bulk to your setup. What we’re trying to say is that if your hands are on the smaller side, maybe try before you buy.
For everybody else, the bulk will dramatically improve your handheld experience – especially around the back of the console, with a more rounded grip granting extra stability. The controller’s build as a whole is rather sturdy, with face buttons having respectable bounce-back and the alternate joysticks sporting nice tension. Speaking of which, we quite liked how the joysticks mimic the look and feel of the Xbox controller, which allows for much less thumb slippage.
If you play your Switch primarily in handheld mode, the Powerwave Switch Pro Grip Controller is an absolute no-bainer that will see you adore your console even more.