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Consoles Gaming

All 7 Pokémon Switch Games, Ranked

From the start of its gaming franchise in 1996 to now, Pokémon has become Nintendo’s second biggest-selling series, moving out around half a billion units. It comes behind Mario, which has sold around 150 million more units than it, albeit with a head start of around a decade and a half.

Pokémon games started out on the Game Boy in the first generation and have continued all the way through the iterations of the Game Boy and the iterations of the Nintendo DS to now, where games release on the Switch, which is a top 5 selling console for Nintendo and is quickly rising on that list.

There has been a total of 7 games released on the Nintendo Switch at the time of writing and if you’re wondering how the seventh and eighth generation games are stacking up against each other, below we have compiled a list of them in order from worst to best. But first, we look forward to the game that have been announced for the Switch and what we can expect from them.

New Pokémon Snap
Release date: April 30th, 2021

In 1999, Pokémon Snap was released for the Nintendo 64 in North America, and to this day, the community is split on how good it was. Some consider it one of the better Pokémon spinoff games ever, while some think it was a little boring. The concept of the game is that you’re a photographer called Todd Snap, and you travel around the world, taking pictures of different Pokémon species. Once you’ve taken 60 pictures, you take them back to Professor Oak, who rates each one.

It’s a simple concept that could be perfect for you depending on what kind of games you like. Next month, Bandai Namco Studios are putting out the sequel.

While the original was criticised for only including 63 Pokémon, New Pokémon Snap will feature over 200 difference Pokémon. Now, you’ll traverse through jungles, beaches and deserts on your hovercraft to take your photos and will take them to Professor Mirror who helps judge them with the help of Rita and Phil. Photos can now be retouched and shared online where the most liked pictures will be shared in-game.

A new addition is the Illumina phenomenon, which was teased at the end of the trailer. You’re tasked with helping to investigate it.

Pre-order, $60
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FNew-Pok%25C3%25A9mon-Snap-Nintendo-Switch%2Fdp%2FB08CWL8X61%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1_sspa%3Fcrid%3DZCX6VO5U8G9L%26dchild%3D1%26keywords%3Dpokemon%2Bsnap%2Bnintendo%2Bswitch%26qid%3D1616010555%26sprefix%3Dpokemon%2Bsnap%252Caps%252C196%26sr%3D8-1-spons%26psc%3D1%26spLa%3DZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzUzNZTFNLUktUSVBSJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwODkyOTAzVFRJVDExWVc2VFRHJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA5NDYyMDAzOENPNVVVSkwwNzZGJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ%3D%3D
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl
Release date: Late 2021

One of the other games announced in celebration of Pokémon’s 25th anniversary was Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. It will be an enhanced remake of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl which is a fourth-generation game that was released on the Nintendo DS in 2006 in Japan (and 2007 in North America).

The return to Sinnoh is highly anticipated amongst fans. The Diamond & Pearl games were a key turning point in the Pokémon series because they were a step up from previous games and showed fans what the future of the franchise would be. Fourth-generation is where online battling and trading was first introduced so it’s only fitting that it comes back around here. Aside from the obvious graphical changes, the remakes are believed to be faithful.

Interestingly, the games are being developed by ICLA and overseen by Game Freak, when usually the latter is the main developer. This makes this the first time a main series Pokémon game where Game Freak is not the lead developer.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Release date: Early 2022

Last but not least of the games announced earlier this year is Pokémon Legends: Arceus. It serves as a prequel to Pokémon Diamond & Pearl and in turn the Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl games. It is expected to be out around a year from now.

While it will honor the core gameplay of the games that have become for it, Pokémon Legends: Arceus makes history because it is the first action-RPG in the main series and Game Freak’s first attempt at that sub-genre of games.

The reveal trailer saw many fans comparing the environment, gameplay, and general cinematic style to that of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The game is set to feature an open-world setting that is an extension of the Wild Area that was introduced in Pokémon Sword & Shield (which appears in our ranking just below because it was a game for the Switch). Though it hasn’t been confirmed, it’s speculated that the objective of the game will be to create Sinnoh’s first Pokédex.

Now for the list…
Nintendo

Now that we know what’s to come, here’s the ranking of the games that are already out on the Switch.

7. Pokémon HOME
Release date: February 12th, 2020

Perhaps this is a little unfair considering Pokémon HOME isn’t a game per se, but it’s still an official Pokémon application available on the Switch, so we decided to include it anyway. It’s completely free (more on this later) and acts as a cloud-based storage for Pokémon.

There is a mobile version of the game and of course, a Switch version. The Switch version boasts some exclusive features, including access to the Basic Box where 30 Pokémon can be stored. Pokémon from Let’s Go Pikachu!, Let’s Go Eevee! and Pokémon Sword & Shield can all be stored here.

A key criticism of HOME is that if you really want to use the full breadth of it and if you’re a hardcore Pokémon player, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to pay for the Premium plan which allows you to store up to 6,000 Pokémon. A 30-day subscription will cost you $2.69 while a full year will put you $14.39 out of pocket.

Buy now, free
https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Pokemon-HOME-1717896.html
6. Pokémon Café Mix
Release date: June 23rd, 2020

Developed by Genius Sonority and published by Nintendo and The Pokémon Company, Pokémon Café Mix, just like Pokémon HOME, is completely free. It’s not your average Pokémon game where you have to catch Pokémon. Instead, it’s a puzzle game.

You and Eevee own a Café and serve customers, who are Pokémon. Every time an order is placed, a puzzle is triggered. You must clear matching icons on a screen by linking them in a ring, with a particular focus on items that the customer has just ordered. Every time you complete an order successfully, you’re given the means to upgrade the café, which will, in turn, attract more kinds of Pokémon.

The art style is great, but players have criticized the longevity of the game to some extent. If these kinds of puzzle games that generally appear on mobile aren’t your thing, this game isn’t going to change your mind. But with a price tag of free, it’s worth a try anyway.

Buy now, free
https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Pokemon-Cafe-Mix-1799936.html
5. Pokémon Quest
Release date: May 30th, 2018

The growing success of Minecraft meant that a bunch of franchises tried their hand at their own voxel-style games and Pokémon Quest is Game Freak’s attempt.

Set on the appropriately named Tumblecube Island, the new cube-shaped Pokémon we see here are called Pokéxel. There are four parts to the gameplay: base camp management, expeditions, catching Pokémon, and training Pokémon.

Much like Pokémon Café Mix, Pokémon Quest is considered to be a good enough game that it provides an ample distraction from everyday life, but it lacks the depth needed to compete with some of the games that appear later on this list.

Buy now, free
https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Pokemon-Quest-1382462.html
4. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
Release date: March 6th, 2020

Released last year, this game is a remake of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team & Red Rescue Team. It was the first remake of a Pokémon game that wasn’t a main series game.

You start off as a human who turned into a Pokémon and which one you turn into is decided by a personality test you take at the beginning. From there, you pick a Pokémon to be your partner and take on the jobs that you’re given. These can be anything from rescuing Pokémon to delivering items.

Similar to criticisms of other games that have already appeared on this list, many felt that the game could feel like too much of a grind which took the fun out of it, though considering it a worthy spinoff title that it’s hard for a Pokémon fan to ignore.

Buy now, $60
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FPokemon-Mystery-Dungeon-Rescue-Nintendo-Switch%2Fdp%2FB083Q4QVXW%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fdchild%3D1%26keywords%3Dpokemon%252Bmystery%252Bdungeon%253A%252Brescue%252Bteam%252Bdx%26qid%3D1616010986%26sr%3D8-1%26th%3D1
3. Pokkén Tournament DX
Release date: September 22nd, 2017

Pokkén Tournament DX is an enhanced version of Pokkén Tournament that was first teased way back in 2013. It was released for Arcade in 2015, Wii U in 2016, and the Switch in 2017.

In Germany and Austria, the game is known as Pokémon Tekken, which should give you an idea about what kind of game it is. It’s a fighting game with a focus on action. Of all of the versions released, the Switch is the only one that has all 23 Pokémon in it.

The game is considered underrated and one of the better fighting titles you can get on the Nintendo Switch, with extra praise going to the Switch version.

Buy now, $55
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2. Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s Go Eevee!
Release date: November 16th, 2018

Yet another remake, coming in at second place, is Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s Go Eevee!, a remake of Pokémon Yellow. These games are unique because they’re made to be a good entry point for new fans as well as older fans who played the original back in 1998.

The return to Kanto did its job in providing nostalgia for the original fans. Fans and critics alike applauded the capture system and Pikachu and Eevee as protagonists.

Buy now, $53
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1. Pokémon Sword and Shield
Release date: November 15th, 2019

Finally, the best Pokémon game on the Switch, Pokémon Sword & Shield. Here, we go back to the classic storyline of a young Pokémon trainer who wants to become champion, this time of the Galar region by dethroning Leon.

The leadup to the game was shaky. The announcement that not all pre-existing Pokémon would appear had some fans disappointing and calling for a boycott, but all was well post-release. The game’s emphasis on freedom and general design was praised and most consider it one of the better games to be released in the entire series, let alone on the Switch.

Buy now, $112 (bundle)
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Consoles Gaming

The 5 DLC Characters We Want in ‘Guilty Gear Strive’

As far as fighting games are concerned, there’s a strong lineup of heavy hitters that have been around for a good while now.

Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Mortal Kombat 11 currently reign as the kings of the FGC kingdom. But it looks like Arc System Works is ready to freshen up the scene with the latest installment in the Guilty Gear franchise. And judging by the positive reception from most players who participated in the last beta, it looks like a whole lot of people are looking forward to Guilty Gear Strive. While the news of a delay from April 9 to June 11 disappointed some, most players realized that the upcoming anime fighter will only get better from this point forward and release in a much stronger state.

Like most of today’s fighting games, Guilty Gear Strive will come with a season pass. Five additional characters will join the game’s base roster of 15 fighters. And to no one’s surprise, there’s already a ton of speculation around who those characters might be. Will Arc System Works pay attention to its last character popularity poll when it comes time to finalize its picks? And will they come out of left field for one or possibly two of those incoming DLC roster members?

We have our own list of Guilty Gear Strive season pass character requests, which you can check out below.

1. Bridget

Remember that whole character popularity poll we mentioned beforehand? Turns out Arc System Works conducted one of their own for Guilty Gear back in 2013 and Bridget topped the list for Japanese fans. So it seems like his inclusion in Guilty Gear Strive post-launch is a foregone conclusion at this point. The yo-yo-wielding nun isn’t just a cool character with an unmistakable fashion sense – Bridget also happens to utilize a unique style of combat that makes him perfect for a series revival. Can you imagine what his killer plush bear could do with an improved toolset in Strive? Guilty Gear’s most revered bounty hunter is long overdue for a comeback at this point.

2. Baiken

Here we have another beloved Guilty Gear character that earned themselves a top spot on Arc System Works’ popularity poll. North American players made their voices heard on that poll by showering the lady samurai with plenty of love and awarding her with the #1 spot. She certainly deserves all that praise and adoration – her character design is awesome, plus she exudes an insanely high cool factor due to the simple fact that she’s a badass samurai. Fans flocked to her when she finally arrived in the last Guilty Gear release as DLC, so we’re sure that will be the case all over again once she pops up in Strive. Baiken’s a master katana user with some nifty tricks up her sleeve, but we’re sure she has room for improvement in the movelist department. Strive can definitely make her even better with a current-day iteration.

3. Sin Kiske

The war flag wielding son of Ky Kiske and Dizzy had quite the debut in Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-. His affinity for munching on food mid-match and the sick specials that accompanied his full stomach quickly made him a fan favorite. Sin’s due for an upgrade that sets him up as an even more formidable threat, which is why we’re hoping he gets the nod for Strive’s first season pass. Since he’s a Gear-Human hybrid, Sin’s cool factor would go through the roof if he was blessed with a Dragon Install super just like his dad. All in all, we’d be more than happy to take hold of his war flag once again and overwhelm everyone with his nasty rushdown offense.

4. Jam Kuradoberi

Jam Kuradoberi never needed a weapon to get by during her tenure in the Guilty Gear games – all she does is put her hands, feet, and Ki to work when it’s time to bring the pain. She truly reached her strongest form thus far once she popped up in Guilty Gear -REVELATOR-. Since she was so dope back then, then she’d be even doper if she showed up to join the rest of the gang in Strive. Giovanna seems like a natural rival for Jam since they both rely on their martial arts skills to get the job done. Jam’s Ki-based repertoire can make for a fun playstyle in opposition to Giovanna’s equally proficient melee skills.

5. A Guest Character

At the last Japanese Fighting Game Publishers Roundtable, we found out that SNK and Arc System Works are linking up for a special crossover. A Guilty Gear character will guest star in the 2019 installment of Samurai Shodown. It’d make a whole lot of sense for SNK to repay the favor, right? Baiken seems tailor-made for Sam Sho, while we’d be more than happy to see Yoshitora Tokugawa appear as a guest roster entrant in Strive. His swag fits best in the fashion-forward world of Guilty Gear, plus he’d make for a great rival when pitted against Nagoriyuki. As for some other guest characters that would also be perfect for Strive, we’d be pretty hype to see Ragna the Bloodedge from BlazBlue, Gordeau from Under Night In-Birth, or Akatsuki from Akatsuki Blitzkampf hop over for some fun.

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Consoles Gaming

Tiger Woods is Back in the Digital Golfing Game

2K Sports mainly has its hand in causing mass hysteria on an annual basis thanks to the NBA 2K franchise. The world’s most popular and most played basketball simulator dominates the sports game genre as a whole and continues to hold the top spot. Besides NBA 2K, 2K Sports has thrown its hat into the baseball, hockey, tennis, and poker arenas. And since acquiring the rights to development studio HB Games’ The Golf Club, 2K Sports has made some headway into the digital golf game with its quality PGA Tour series.

Speaking of the PGA Tour franchise, a newly announced deal with golf’s biggest star means major things are in the works for the series. Tiger Woods just signed an exclusive contract to have his name attached to the series and have his likeness appear in the next line of series releases for years to come. Besides those important roles, Woods is also slated to take an active role in the game’s development from this point forward as its Executive Director and consultant. With the expected introduction of PGA Tour 2K22, fans will most likely see Woods don the cover and take his much-deserved position as the highest-ranked player in the game. It’s crazy to think that the last time we saw Woods in a prominent position via a golfing video game was 2014’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour from EA Sports. Woods was the face of that franchise from 1999 right up until 2014 – fellow golf pro Rory Mcllroy took over his cover star duties starting in 2015.

“I am looking forward to making my return to the video game landscape, and with 2K and HB Studios, I’ve found the right partners to make it happen,” said Woods in a statement. “I’m honored to take part in this opportunity and look forward to sharing my expertise and insights as we build the future of golf video games together.” President and Studio Head at HB Studios James Seaboyer went on to speak of his excitement about his studio’s partnership with 2K Sports for the PGA Tour 2K franchise. “The team’s love and knowledge of golf is immediately evident in our games, “ he noted. “We’re thrilled to officially become part of the 2K family and continue development of the PGA Tour 2K franchise.”

PGA Tour 2K21 practically knocked it out the park sales-wise – 2K Sports stated that it sold close to two million copies to date. With the great Tiger Woods attaching himself to the IP, those sales and the game’s overall quality are sure to reach new heights of excellence.

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Consoles Gaming

For All The Strategy Fanatics Out There, Here Are 12 Games Like ‘Civilization’

Sid Meier’s Civilization is a turn-based strategy game series that has been a fan favorite since 1991 since before a lot of people reading this (and the person writing it) were born. From then until now, there have been six official games, with the most recent being released on different platforms from 2016 to 2020. That kind of longevity is something that game developers dream of.

That being said, if you’re looking for a switch up from Civilization VI after the expansion packs, or whichever game in the series that you’re playing at the moment, but want something in a similar vein, we’ve got you hooked up here. Here’s a list of 12 games like Civilization.

Some of them are in here because they’re directly inspired by Civilization, some of them are in here because they live in the same genre, and one game on this list is even made by the same developer. Either way, there’s sure to be something on here for you.

1. Age of Wonders: Planetfall

It says a lot that the Age of Wonders series has been around for a little bit over two decades now and Civilization still predates it by eight years. Age of Wonders has always taken the 4X genre to new settings. The first few games were set in a high fantasy fictional setting but Planetfall takes things even further left, taking on the sci-fi and space setting. If you were a fan of Civilization’s building mechanics, things are similar here. A key difference is that battles take place more often.

Buy, $24
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FAge-Wonders-Planetfall-PS4-PlayStation-4%2Fdp%2FB07SJ1TV45%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fdchild%3D1%26keywords%3DAge%2Bof%2BWonders%253A%2BPlanetfall%26qid%3D1615488899%26sr%3D8-1
2. Endless Legend

Developed by Amplitude Studios and published by Iceberg Interactive, Endless Legend is a game where the goal is to dominate Auriga with one of its many factions. You can either do this through war or diplomacy. The combat system here requires you to plan the strategy for a battle before it takes place, then you watch it play it without being able to change anything. That could be a great thing or a horrible thing depending on your own preference. If you end up playing Endless Legend and loving it, they also have a pair of space games in their arsenal along with Endless Dungeon which is expected to release later this year.

Buy, $35
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FIceberg-Interactive-Endless-Classic-Edition%2Fdp%2FB00JWZ2480%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fdchild%3D1%26keywords%3DEndless%2BLegend%26qid%3D1615488936%26sr%3D8-1
3. Europa Universalis IV

Europa Universalis IV stands out on this list because as opposed to being just a strategy game, it’s a grand strategy game. What this means is that it focuses on a military strategy where an empire or nation’s resources are used, essentially strategy on a much larger scale. This game was released in 2013 and the nation you control in it is from the Late Middle Ages through the early modern period. On top of battle, trade, colonization, and diplomacy are all in your hands. If you loved Civilization and want more of a challenge next, this one is perfect for you. Europa Universalis V has never been formally announced but is believed to be in Paradox’s plans.

Watch
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FEuropa-Universalis-Digital-Extreme-Online%2Fdp%2FB00D6K44BW%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fdchild%3D1%26keywords%3DEuropa%2BUniversalis%2BIV%26qid%3D1615488962%26sr%3D8-1
4. Freeciv

One of the oldest games on this list, Freeciv was first made available way back in 1996. Despite this, its stable release came just over a year ago in January of 2020. When you mention Freeciv, its development has to be talked about, especially here because Civilization is actually a massive part of it. In ’95, three students named Peter, Claus, and Allan were part of Aarhus University’s computer science department. They were big fans of Civilization and XPilot wanted to see if they could fuse the two. They took Civilization’s rules, combined them with XPilot’s server architecture, and found themselves with Freeciv. Over the years, it got developed to be available on multiple operating systems and subsequent releases led us to this point. For that reason alone, it feels imperative that fans of Civilization try this one out.

Buy
http://www.freeciv.org
5. Rome: Total War – Barbarian Invasion

This game is a sequel to Rome: Total War and is set 300 years after it. This means that some things like the gameplay and feel of the storytelling will feel similar, but actual factions and provinces in the game are different. A key addition in this game is the religions, namely paganism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. You can spread religions in certain provinces by constructing templates in those areas and conflict can arise, which you can deal with a couple of different ways. You can either become a hero or a villain through your decisions. The choice is yours.

Buy, $7
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FRome-Total-Barbarian-Invasion-Expansion-Pack%2Fdp%2FB00C0MKUXS%2Fref%3Dsr_1_6%3Fdchild%3D1%26keywords%3DRome%253A%2BTotal%2BWar%2B%25E2%2580%2593%2BBarbarian%2BInvasion%26qid%3D1615489050%26sr%3D8-6
6. Sid Meier’s Alpha Centurai

The man behind Civilization, Sid Meier, also has some other games to his name. He is heralded as one of the greats when it comes to making strategy games and so anything he makes in the genre must be mentioned. Alpha Centauri is one of those. Fundamentally, it shares a lot of similarities to Civilization: the layout and the graphics. But it’s far from a carbon copy and does a good enough job of setting itself apart from its spiritual predecessor.

Buy, $5
https://www.origin.com/gbr/en-us/store/sid-meiers/sid-meiers-alpha-centauri
7. Sigma Theory: Global Cold War

This game takes place in the future where a new technology has changed the world and helped bring around a global cold war, as the name suggests. It’s your job to prove that your nation is superior to others. But of course, a cold war means that no battling actually takes place. So how does this work in the format of a game? Well, the idea is that you lead a team of undercover agents to try to steal intel from other nations so that you can remain one step ahead at all times. While this might sound like a strange diversion from the usual combat system that takes places in the 4X genre, it makes a refreshing change and presents a new challenge that gamers are sure to appreciate.

Buy, $18
https://store.steampowered.com/app/716640/Sigma_Theory_Global_Cold_War/
8. Stellaris

Stellaris was developed and published by Paradox Interactive, the same people who published Europa Universalis IV, which appeared earlier on this list. So, if you liked the sound of that, this one is worth a look too. Paradox is actually a main competitor to Firaxis, the publisher of Civilization VI. Stellaris is not just a turn-based strategy game, but a real-time grand strategy game. That feels like an incredible and eclectic combination of some of the games that we’ve already had on this list. Your goal here is to build an empire in space by colonizing planets and making different alien civilizations integrate. If you’re a fan, there’s plenty of downloadable content to enjoy too.

Buy, $35
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FStellaris-Console-Xbox-One%2Fdp%2FB087V5WPF7%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fdchild%3D1%26keywords%3DStellaris%26qid%3D1615489222%26sr%3D8-1
9. Total War: THREE KINGDOMS

If your favorite thing about the Civilization series and strategy games, in general, is the combat, then as its name suggests, Total War: THREE KINGDOMS may be the perfect fit for you. Developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega, this game is one of many in a long series. Twelve main series games came before it and since its release in 2019, two main series games have followed. The game is immersive and puts you right in the heart of the action. There are two modes to enjoy the game through, the first being romance. This gives generals near-superhuman strength. The other mode, Records, is a little more historically authentic.

Buy, $68
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FTotal-War-Three-Kingdoms-Windows%2Fdp%2FB07SBCK423%2Fref%3Dsr_1_2%3Fcrid%3D1ADN8ZZRQ6GM6%26dchild%3D1%26keywords%3Dtotal%2Bwar%2Bthree%2Bkingdoms%26qid%3D1615489269%26sprefix%3Dtotal%2Bwar%2Bthree%252Caps%252C149%26sr%3D8-2
10. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos

Warcraft III followed Warcraft: Orcs & Humans and Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, but is the first three-dimensional game in the series. Here, you’ll collect resources, build bases, and battle enemies, just like a lot of RTS games. You can play against the computer, but there’s also a multiplayer option. The latter of those got a great reception and was ahead of its time when the game was released back in 2002.

Buy, $10
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FWarCraft-III-Reign-Chaos-PC-Mac%2Fdp%2FB00005V9Q1%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fdchild%3D1%26keywords%3DWarcraft%2BIII%253A%2BReign%2Bof%2BChaos%26qid%3D1615489451%26sr%3D8-1
11. Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War

Relics of War is the 40K universe once again diving into 4X. It’s good for people who want a dose of the Civilization series with a few changes, but it’s especially great for anyone that’s looking to get into 4X games for the first time. That’s because many of the mechanics in it make themselves more accessible for a wider audience. So as a Civilization player, nothing will be so new to you here but there are still reasons to enjoy it. The game’s combat system is great and immersive. Attacks come suddenly and require you to improvise to defend properly against them.

Buy, $40
https://store.steampowered.com/app/489630/Warhammer_40000_Gladius__Relics_of_War/
12. Warlock: Master of the Arcane

Warlock: Master of the Arcane is developed by 1C: Ino-co Plus and published by Paradox Interactive, the latter of which have already appeared a couple of times on this list. They also published Europa Universalis IV and Stellaris. This game is most similar to the fifth game in the Civilization series. When you start off with the game, you select one of the Great Mages, all of which have their own backstory and pros and cons. All Mages are customizable. Throughout the game, threats come in the form of wildlife as well as players. Ways to win include defeating all other players, seizing and maintaining 50% of all holy sites, diplomatic victory, and killing a God’s avatar.

Buy, $25
https://store.steampowered.com/app/203630/Warlock__Master_of_the_Arcane/
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Consoles Gaming

Roblox, the $30 Billion Indie Game Market, is Set to IPO Today

Let us remind you of a familiar scenario that you’ve probably been in countless times – you’re waiting for your flight. While you’re silently getting lit to your embarrassingly ratchet playlist or listening to your latest audiobook, you’re taking in all the sights around you. The one thing that sticks out to you is how most of the kids in your vicinity are neck-deep into their tablet and haven’t looked up for the past 30 minutes. Your curiosity peaks as you start to wonder about what exactly is grabbing all those kids’ attention.

The most likely reason for their laser-like focus is a super addictive game called Roblox. Since debuting on PC back in 2006, the online gaming platform and game creation system has exploded in popularity among the younger crowd. Marketing blog Backlinko delved into the game’s usage statistics and came away with some astounding numbers – the game currently has 36.2 million daily active users, seven million developers, 5.7 million concurrent users, and over 18 million games created thus far.

As a free-to-play experience, the game has managed to rack up an astounding amount of revenue. Market and consumer data site Statista easily down just how much money Roblox brought in last year. “In the third quarter of 2020, gaming company Roblox Corporation generated total revenues of over 242 million U.S. dollars,” said Statista research lead J. Clement. “This figure is up from the previous quarter’s revenue of 189.7 million U.S. dollars. The company generates almost all of its revenue through the sales of their virtual currency, ‘Robux,’ which players can use to purchase virtual items sold by the Roblox developer and creator community on the platform.”

As of today (Wednesday, March 10), Roblox has officially hit the New York Stock Exchange with a reference price of $45 a share. According to Reuters, shares of the debuting stock were already set for a 44% increase. Barron’s relayed even more good news about Roblox’s incredible chances of winning on the stock market – “With about 652 million shares outstanding, the reference price indicates that Roblox’s market capitalization could be as much as $29.3 billion.”

Getting in on all the Roblox hype is clearly a must at this point. Its presence continues to grow in the gaming space and has already planted its foot in the live events spectrum. Back in December, Lil Nas X took to the platform for a concert experience that was a massive success. Roblox developers continue to produce fresh experiences and receive substantial payouts, while the players themselves continue to become enraptured by everything it has to offer. So as an investor, it’s definitely worth taking a financial chance on one of the biggest game creation platforms on the market.

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Consoles Gaming

Who Should Be The Final Character for ‘Street Fighter V’: Season 5?

It looks like the FGC has finally turned the corner on Street Fighter V. The introduction of the game’s fifth season of updates has launched to an overall positive reception – Dan’s immensely entertaining playstyle, the inclusion of a new defensive mechanic (V-Shift), and welcome buffs to the game’s weaker characters have all breathed new life into the ongoing fighter. We all know that SFV’s 2016 launch was the very definition of lackluster. But Capcom has done a fine job of making their standout fighter more feature-rich and rewarding for both solo- and multiplayer-minded players.

The DLC entrants that are set to arrive after Dan include Rose, Oro, Akira Kazama from Rival Schools, and a final mystery character. There’s a ton of intrigue and debate regarding who that fifth character might end up being. It must be someone pretty major since Capcom hasn’t gone out of its way to reveal who that is with the rest of the Season 5 roster yet. We’d like to get in on the fiery discussion and make some character requests of our own.

If any one of the characters we mention below gets revealed as SFV’s final Season 5 character, then we’d be more than satisfied.

1. A Guest Character from ‘The King of Fighters’
SNK

Judging by the latest Japan Fighting Game Publisher Roundtable, it looks like there’s a lot of synergy going down between the top teams in the industry. Arc System Works is working with SNK to add a guest character from Guilty Gear to Samurai Shodown, which is pretty amazing when you consider the possibilities. And in the past few years, SFV has included special costumes from Fighting EX Layer, Dead or Alive 5 & 6 have featured guest characters from The King of Fighters & Virtua Fighter, Akuma and Geese have jumped over to Tekken 7, etc.

SNK is currently working hard to make sure The King of Fighters XV shatters everyone’s expectations. Besides being another excellent entry within the franchise (hopefully…), fans are looking forward to seeing the full lineup of the game’s three-person teams. Fans have been clamoring for another Capcom vs. SNK game for years now, but that doesn’t seem like a reality at this time. The next best thing to do would be for SNK to blow everyone’s minds by allowing Capcom to include a guest character from The King of Fighters. Terry Bogard would certainly make the most sense since he’s the most recognizable member of the KOF roster (he’s throwing hands with the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster, after all!). But we’d be way more open to seeing Kyo Kusanagi step into the SFV arena and showcase his fiery arsenal instead.

And hey, Capcom should return the favor and let SNK build a whole team around Street Fighter’s best in KOF XV. Team World Warriors has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

2. A Guest Character from ‘Tekken’
Bandai Namco

Like we mentioned before, Akuma’s a central member of the Tekken 7 roster and integral to the story itself. We first got a taste of Capcom and Bandai Namco’s fighting game crossover antics with 2012’s Street Fighter X Tekken. But it looks like the 3D rendition of that concept (Tekken X Street Fighter) may never release in full. So for now, all we can do is enjoy Akuma’s smooth transition over to 3D based on his Tekken 7 inclusion. We really enjoyed playing as the Tekken side of the roster in 2D and that’s something that needs to be revisited in SFV.

When you look at Tekken 7’s modern-day roster, you quickly realize that there’s a ton of viable options for guest character consideration. The most obvious picks from the male side to consider are Kazuya, Heihachi, Jin, King, and Lee. As for the ladies, Nina, Asuka, Xiaoyu, Julia, and Lili stand out as fine picks. As for the guest character choice we’d be most pleased with, it has to be Jin Kazama. The version of him that’s present in Street Fighter X Tekken would be perfect for SFV. All the developers would have to do to make him even better is simply including the newest moves from his Tekken 7 variation and blessing him with a cool V-Skill special and two nifty V-Trigger abilities. Having him go full Devil Jin mode for his Critical Art would certainly make for a fitting finisher as well.

3. Another Character from ‘Rival Schools’
Capcom

Jaws dropped, fanboy tears were shed, and excited screams could be heard around the FGC landscape once Akira Kazama was revealed as SFV’s fourth Season 5 character. It makes all the sense in the world for her inclusion to come to fruition – Sakura’s actually playable in Rival Schools, which means the Street Fighter and Rival Schools universes are attached to each other. Out of all the DLC characters that are set to make their way into SFV, Akira gets us the most excited. But why stop there, Capcom! It’d be pretty dope to see yet another Rival Schools character join Akira in all the SFV Season 5 festivities.

While we definitely appreciate familiar faces such as Roy, Kyosuke, Zaki, and Daigo, there’s only one pick that should get the guest character nod here – Batsu Ichimonji! Batsu’s practically the face of the Rival Schools franchise and would make for a great SFV character if given the opportunity. He has the bells and whistles shoto fighters are known for having, plus he has a few signature skills of his own that would make him incredibly fun to play as. Using one of his V-Triggers to activate his Burning Batsu upgrades sounds like an amazing proposition as well. Two Rival Schools characters in SFV is a dream scenario we wouldn’t mind seeing come true.

4. Another Character from ‘Final Fight’
Capcom

Ever since the Street Fighter Alpha sub-series was introduced, the world of Final Fight has officially been added to the plotline’s canon. Guy, Sodom, Rolento, Cody, Hugo, and Poison have all taken their street fighting talents to Capcom’s most revered IP. SFV shocked us all when it added Final Fight 3’s Lucia Morgan – we instantly fell in love with her debuting fighting game interpretation. Why stop there, though? Final Fight has a few other worthwhile brawlers that would make for a fun character addition if they ended up in SFV.

We’d flip our lids if Sodom got the final Season 5 character nod, but we think Capcom’s saving his oft-requested return for the eventual sequel to SFV. So who’s left to consider then? Carlos, Maki, and Dean could easily graduate from a beat ‘em up savior to a full-fledged fighting game roster member. Seeing as how we’re most familiar with Maki, we think she’d be the perfect candidate for the final Season 5 character spot. Her Bushin-ryu Ninjutsu mastery was fun to wield in Capcom vs. SNK 2 and Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper & MAX, so we’d be pretty excited to get the call-up to SFV. Having Maki join in on all the ninja-based fun alongside Ibuki and Zeku would definitely make for an amazing setup.

5. A Newcomer from ‘Street Fighter 6’
Capcom

So it’s pretty evident that Capcom is cooking up the sixth mainline entry within the Street Fighter franchise. Season 5 of SFV is looking more and more like the final batch of updates for Capcom’s refined fighter, so it should definitely end on a high note when it comes to the fifth and final character. If Capcom really wants to shock us all, then they should do something that’s completely unexpected by debuting an all-new character altogether. And that character should be presented as someone that will play a central role in the storyline for ‘Street Fighter 6.’ That decision would certainly come out of left field and leave most folks scratching their heads. But if that debuting character ends up looking cool and has a likable moveset in tow to match that high cool factor, then we’re sure everyone would grow to love him/her.

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Consoles Gaming

Bethesda Officially Joins the Xbox Family

Back in September of last year, gamers everywhere got the ultimate shocker when it was announced that Microsoft was set to acquire Bethesda Softworks parent company ZeniMax Media. The main conversation around the big news focused on the possibility of future releases from Bethesda’s development studios being exclusive to Microsoft’s gaming platforms. While we still don’t have any confirmation of what games those could be quite yet, we do know that Microsoft’s full acquisition of ZeniMax Media is finally complete.

Thanks to this landmark deal, Microsoft now has eight more development studios under its massive banner. That slate of studios includes:

Bethesda Game Studios (The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Starfield)

Id Software (DOOM, Rage)

ZeniMax Online Studios (The Elder Scrolls Online)

Arkane Studios (Dishonored, Prey)

MachineGames (Wolfenstien)

Tango Gameworks (The Evil Within, Ghostwire: Tokyo)

Alpha Dog Studios

Roundhouse Studios

A recent Xbox Wire post from head of Xbox Phil Spencer noted that big things are in the works thanks to this newfound deal. “This is the next step in building an industry-leading first-party studios team, a commitment we have to our Xbox community,” Spencer said. “With the addition of the Bethesda creative teams, gamers should know that Xbox consoles, PC, and Game Pass will be the best place to experience new Bethesda games, including some new titles in the future that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players.” 

A separate blog post from Bethesda’s SVP of PR & Marketing Pete Hines made sure to note that they didn’t have any major announcements to make at the moment. “First, let me say that we’re not making any landmark announcements or changes right now,” Hines stated. “As we’ve all shared, the expectation is that Bethesda Softworks and our studios will continue as we have in the past, just with more support and resources than we’ve ever had before. Obviously, Game Pass has been an important initiative for Xbox, and we’ll be working on putting even more of our games into Game Pass than ever before. Beyond that? Stay tuned, we’re just getting started together.”

It’s pretty wild to realize that Halo’s Master Chief and DOOM’s Doomguy are both a part of the same family, which makes the prospect of a crossover first-person shooter starring both characters an exciting one. Future titles from Bethesda Softworks, such as The Elder Scrolls VI, Starfield, and the recently announced Indiana Jones project, could possibly launch as Xbox console exclusives. At the moment, Arkane Studios’ upcoming Deathloop is only slated to launch as a PS5 console exclusive on May 21. It’s worth noting that that reveal was set in stone long before Microsoft purchased ZeniMax Media (kudos to Microsoft for allowing that deal to remain intact, by the way).

Let’s all hope that the Xbox brand gets even stronger thanks to future efforts from Bethesda’s talented development studios.

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Consoles Gaming

Xbox One X vs. Xbox Series X: How The Two Consoles Stack Up

The release of the Xbox Series X has felt a little bit like a soft launch because of how difficult it’s been to find stock of it worldwide. It’s one of the many effects of the pandemic, and it has made the release of both next-generation consoles feel like Sony and Microsoft wanted them to be exclusive, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you’re a very casual gamer who’s been inspired in the last few months to finally pick up a console and you want to know if it’s worth waiting to get the new one for your needs, it’s still worth making a note of how the new console stacks up with its older sibling, the Xbox One X. Even if you take gaming a little more seriously, you’re probably still trying to get your hands on an Xbox Series X or Series S so perhaps you want to know what the true differences are between the two consoles to figure out if it’s worth waiting to get one.

Either way, we’ve got you covered.

Xbox One X vs. Xbox Series X: Price

The new Xbox Series X will set you back $499, but as we mentioned at the start, that’s not really the main issue for most right now. Even those who are willing to spend the money will have a hard time getting their hands on one right now.

The $499 price point is fair, considering this will likely be the generation of gaming we’re in for the best part of a decade. Of course, as new games come out, they’ll set you back anywhere from $60 to $80, which adds up over the years. But as far as the console goes, $499 is generally considered acceptable.

Nearly four years after its release, the Xbox One X is a little harder to pinpoint one price point for. That’s because you won’t find it on Xbox’s site after they discontinued it last summer. However, the Xbox One S is still available and will currently set you back $299. With that in mind, going to a second-hand seller or a Walmart or Best Buy, you don’t want to spend more than $349 on the Xbox One X at this point.

Xbox One X vs. Xbox Series X: Specs, Storage and Speed

This is where the next-generation consoles really set themselves apart and what people get excited for when they come out, even if they don’t know all the language behind it.

The new Xbox Series X supports resolution up to 8k and frame rates of up to 120 fps. Both of these are double what the Xbox One X supports: up to 4k resolution and 60 fps. If you’re not familiar with what this means, 4k resolution means that there are 4,000 pixels on the screen. 60 fps means that every second, you’ll see 60 frames. Think of frames like still images that, when they’re put together, show the video you’re seeing. So, while 4k and 60 fps is incredible and currently means that the Xbox One X can support all games to their full extent, as the years go by, it will slowly become the norm, and the Xbox Series X’s abilities will still be special.

Resolution and frame rate aren’t the only areas where the Xbox Series X doubles what the Xbox One X can do. The Xbox Series X’s GPU is 12 teraflops. A GPU is a graphics processing unit, and FLOP stands for floating operation point. How many teraflops any computer has is how many trillion calculations it can do per second. The Xbox Series X can do 12 trillion of these, which is the most we’ve seen on any console thus far. The Xbox One X’s GPU is 6 teraflops, and even the PlayStation 5 only does 10.8 teraflops.

In terms of CPU, the Xbox Series X proves to be a massive upgrade from the Xbox One X’s eight-core 2.3GHz custom AMD. For $499, you’ll get an eight-core 3.8GHz. A CPU is a central processing unit, and GHz (which stands for gigahertz) measures a CPU’s clock speed, the clock speed being how quickly the CPU can retrieve and interpret instructions. Of course, the higher the number, the better. There’s enough of a difference in the two consoles’ CPUs that you’ll be able to feel a difference in speed.

When it comes to storage, the Xbox Series X introduces the 1TB NVMe SSD. It’s another giant improvement on the Xbox One X’s 1TB HDD. Anyone that knows even the basics about storage knows that an SSD (a solid-state drive) reads and writes much faster than an HDD. The Xbox One X’s HDD is good enough for general use, but the utilization of the new NVMe SSD means that peak performance will be a priority and the speed of doing anything, whether that be loading a game up or opening various applications on the console, will be unbelievably fast.

Where the Xbox One X had 12GB of RAM, the Xbox Series X boasts 16GB. Think of RAM like short-term memory and the more you have, the more your device can handle at any given time without slowing down. 12GB is already respectable, but as with most things when it comes to hardware, the more the better.

One thing that remains the same in both consoles is the fact that they both contain an HD Blu-Ray disk drive.

Xbox One X vs. Xbox Series X: Video And Audio

In terms of video, most things were covered above in relation to specs. The new console supports 8k resolution at 120 fps, and these specs will be high enough to keep you covered for ten years of gaming and general visuals. However, what also deserves to be touched on is ray tracing support.

Ray tracing is a rendering technique and algorithm which emulates the path of light, how it reflects on objects and casts shadows. If you think the lighting in games is well done even without ray tracing, you’ve seen nothing yet. It’s worth checking out a version of Grand Theft Auto: V with a ray-tracing mod being used on YouTube. The difference is night and day. Once ray-tracing comes into play on a larger scale and becomes the standard many years down the line, we’ll look back on games from the Xbox One X era like ‘how did we ever think they looked realistic?’

In terms of audio, Microsoft went out of its way to enhance things with the Xbox Series X. In the console is custom hardware that handles audio itself, giving the CPU one less job to do and improving its performance. Spatial sound is embraced. Of course, a big factor when it comes to sound is the headset that comes with the console.

Xbox One X vs. Xbox Series X: Games And Accessories

The new Xbox Wireless Headset delivers the best audio to date, boasting low latency and lossless audio. Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos, and DTS Headphone: X are some of the technologies used to give you the best audio experience from an Xbox headset yet. Microsoft is set on the fact that even a modest, affordable pair of headphones will be able to reflect the improvements in sound.

As well as its sound, the Xbox Wireless Headset’s microphone capabilities set a new bar. Dual beamforming microphone elements, as well as voice isolation, differentiate speech from other sounds, and in addition to a standard mute button is a new auto-mute feature.

In terms of other accessories, the controller is probably the main piece of hardware that people are interested in. From the Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One X controller to now, not too much has changed, but there have been a few worthwhile differences to note. Cosmetically, the Xbox button is all black giving the controller a sleek look. Also helping with this is the new matte bumpers and triggers. Other than that, both consoles’ controllers are virtually identical. The new one is a measly 8 grams heavier and 6 x 4 x 2.47 inches as opposed to the Xbox One X’s 6 x 4 2.56 inches.

There is a new share button in the center of the console, which allows you to take screenshots and screen record more effectively when it comes to functionality. The d-pad is also a little more responsive, clicking loudly when you press it. It’s also far clearer when you’re going diagonally on the pad. Lastly, the new Xbox controller features textured grips on its side handles and triggers. When it comes to games, Microsoft promises that there won’t be any Xbox Series X exclusives for a few years, as not to alienate gamers who don’t want to upgrade just yet.

Xbox One X vs. Xbox Series X: Which One Should You Choose?

If you’re debating the jump yourself, hopefully, this has helped. In conclusion, if some of the above details matter to you and you feel as though you’ll notice differences with a lot of use and the $499 price point isn’t too much for you, it’s probably worth the upgrade.

However, if you don’t already feel like your Xbox One X is slugging behind and needs an improvement, it’s probably worth waiting a while to go to next-gen gaming. It’s worth noting that if you’re waiting until later this year with the hopes of getting a discount, it’s unlikely there’ll be a price cut of any real value for a while. At best, you’ll get a decent bundle when offers come around later in 2021.

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Consoles Gaming

Xbox Series X Storage: Everything You Need To Know

In any article about either of the next-generation consoles, the fact that getting your hands on one has been like trying to get the newest exclusive sneaker drop must be mentioned. The shortage in stock has been frustrating and isn’t how any gaming experience should be, but hopefully, we can all get our hands on a console at some point this year. If you’ve already been playing one for a while, congratulations. We’re jealous.

No matter which console you go with, you might have some questions about storage, something which remains essential and worth considering but continues to become more and more confusing with each passing year, especially in the gaming industry. If you’ve got questions about how much storage you’ll get with the Xbox Series X and the Series S, whether that will be enough and how you can expand storage, we’ve got you covered here.

How much storage does the Xbox Series X/S have?

The Xbox Series X boasts a 1TB NVMe SSD. NVMe stands for non-volatile memory express, and they’re the replacement for the Xbox One’s SATA drive, now a thing of the past. NVMe SSDs are an improvement because they communicate directly with a system’s CPU, making them considerably faster, which is largely how you see rapid loading screens. Astonishingly, they can send up to 25x more data than the old SATA.

1TB is the same amount of storage that the Xbox One X had, and the general overview is that it’s not enough for the full lifetime of a console. As a reference point, the latest Call of Duty offering, Black Ops Cold War, is a whopping 136GB on the Series X and Series S. To make matters a little less convenient, that 1TB of storage on the Xbox Series X is really only 802GB when you account for system files and the Xbox operating system, which takes up 198GB.

The Xbox Series S has a 512GB NVMe SSD, which is really only 364GB of usable storage, and while that seems insanely inferior to the Series X, you do have to consider the factor that games on the Series S take up 30% less space because they don’t require 4k textures. But either way, there’s a good chance that at some point down the line, deleting games to install updates for other games will become far too much of an inconvenience, and you’ll want to get yourself some more storage. How do you go about it?

How to expand Xbox Series X/S storage

Along with the launch of the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles came the release of Microsoft’s 1TB Storage Expansion Card, designed by Seagate. It’s a card that slots into the port at the back of the console, essentially functioning as a memory card. Jason Ronald is Xbox’s Director of Program Management, and in September of last year, before the launch, he did a Q&A on the consoles’ storage options. He notes that with the expansion card, the exact performance of the Series X and Series S’s internal storage is matched. This is made possible through the Xbox Velocity Architecture API.

More good news about this is that the Seagate card will allow for backward compatible games to be played on it while also benefitting from the speed and performance level of the new generation console. For all of this convenience, you’ll have to shell out $220. If that’s a little pricey for you, especially after already spending $499 for the Series X or $299 for the Series S, not to worry, because other third party manufactured storage solutions are available and are certainly more forgiving on our pockets. If you want a list of options with prices, pros and cons for each detail, then scroll to the bottom of this article for some advice.

Does the Xbox Series X/S support USB external hard drives?

As mentioned above, there are a variety of options to solve storage issues, one of which is indeed a USB external hard drive. However, there are some key things to note about this. For one, an SSD drive is still faster than an HDD drive, so we recommend going with the former over the latter. But if speed and general performance is something you’re especially concerned with, the following is key.

While backward compatible games from the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Xbox will all be perfectly fine to both store and play on any kind of external hard drive, games that are specifically optimized for the new consoles do need high-speed storage. This means that they can be stored on any kind of USB external hard drive, but to actually be played on the Series X or Series S, they’ll need to be transferred to the NVMe SSD.

Even games that you can play from any external hard drive will not give you the next-gen graphical enhancements. For many, that will mean that the official Seagate Storage Expansion Card is the only option for now, but of course, this is an irrelevant factor for some. Maybe keeping games on a USB hard drive for storage and transferring them to the SSD to play is worth avoiding the $220 price tag of Seagate’s card. If so, at the bottom of this article are some options for which external hard drives you could go with for the Xbox Series X or Series S. But before that, it’s worth knowing your way around the console.

What ports does the Xbox Series X feature?

Along with the SSD expansion port, there are 7 other ports on the Xbox Series X. Here’s a quick outline of what they are and what they’re for:

Power: No awards for guessing what this one is for. It’s an 8-figure power socket and of course, the console has an internal power supply too.

USB-A ports: There are 3 of these on the console; two at the back and one at the front. One of these is where your USB external hard drives will go, but of course, you can also charge your controller or phone through this with the wire, or you can plug in a keyboard and mouse.

HDMI 2.1: Of course, this is where the HDMI wire goes with the other end connected to your TV. The benefit of the 2.1 interfaces is that it incorporates ALLM, which stands for Auto Low Latency Mode. This means that your TV switches to its lowest latency possible when you’re gaming.

Low Latency Mode: This means that your TV switches to its lowest latency possible when you’re gaming.

Ethernet: A wired connection is always better than a wireless connection and the ethernet Cat5 cable goes here.Kensington lock: So that you can tie the console down to whatever it rests on.

Kensington lock: So that you can tie the console down to whatever it rests on.

Which external hard drive should you get?
1. Seagate Storage Expansion Card
Polygon

If you’re willing to spend an extra $220 on top of getting your console, then this is certainly the way to go. It’s 1TB (with a very respectable 920GB of that being usable) and is the only way to retain the full performance level of either of the new Xbox consoles 100% of the time. We doubt there’ll be a price drop anytime soon, but perhaps even if this is your primary choice, it’s at least worth waiting until you absolutely need it. You should be able to manage for a while with the storage that the Series X or Series S offer initially.

Buy now, $220
https://www.seagate.com/gb/en/consumer/play/storage-expansion-for-xbox-series-x/
2. Samsung T5 SSD
ePHOTOzine

You can get the Samsung T5 in a few different storage options. It’s unlikely that you’ll want anything less than another terabyte, which will cost you around $140. It’s a significant saving on the official expansion card and still gets you nearly all the benefit, although of course it won’t run optimised titles.

It’s worth noting that there is, in fact, a T7 that Samsung offers that has a speed increase, but that costs around $170, so perhaps you’re better off paying an extra $50 to get the benefits of the official Seagate expansion card.

Buy now, $140
https://www.samsung.com/uk/memory-storage/portable-ssd/portable-ssd-t5-500gb-blue-mu-pa500b-eu/
3. Seagate Expansion Portable Hard Drive
Seagate

Made by the same company that makes Xbox’s official card, you still won’t be able to play games optimized for the Series X or Series S, but they do offer incredible value for money when it comes to storage. Their 1TB hard drive costs around $50, and if you want to quadruple that amount of space and be more than set for the entire lifespan of the console, you can still do that for under $100.

There isn’t too much of a hit on speed either, so this is an ideal option for those wanting a cheaper, albeit secure long-term option.

Buy now, $50
https://www.seagate.com/gb/en/consumer/backup/expansion-portable/
4. Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB External Hard Drive
Ebuyer

You can double the space of your 1TB Xbox Series X or Series S with a 2.5” Toshiba hard drive that will cost you just $45. The read speed is 540MB per second, which is great, especially considering it’s an HDD and not an SSD.

Buy now, $45
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Toshiba-HDTB410EK3AA-2-5-Inch-Portable-External/dp/B07997KKSK
5. WD My Passport Portable Hard Drive
Currys PC World

The unique selling point of this Western Digital hard drive is that you can set password protection and hardware encryption to protect your files completely. Perhaps this isn’t something you need to worry about so much if you’re just using the hard drive to store some games on, but some extra security can never hurt and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

As with a few of the options on this list, there are numerous options for size in terms of storage. Even with the extra protection it offers, you won’t have to empty out the bank account to get one of these. WD’s 2TB option will cost you just $80.

Buy now, $80
https://shop.westerndigital.com/en-gb/products/portable-drives/wd-my-passport-usb-3-0-hdd#WDBYVG0010BBK-WESN
Categories
Consoles Gaming

The 30 Best Super Nintendo Games of All-Time

It’s been nearly thirty years since the debut of Nintendo’s 16-bit SNES console, and boy, was it a game changer! Considered one of the ‘golden eras’ of gaming, the SNES is responsible for the launch of several franchises, including Super Mario, F-Zero, and Sin City, to name a few, and remains arguably the most popular console in Nintendo history. We have put together a list of the 30 best SNES games of all-time based on cultural impact, longevity, and originality. Any ranking can be subjective, but we truly believe these games are worthy of being on this list. That said, let’s get to it!

1. ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time’

Release Date: March 1991

Developer: Konami

One of the biggest cartoons of the 1990s, Turtles in Time was probably the best SNES game to come from an animated series, as the others were known for lackluster gameplay and low ratings. With the option to play as one of the show’s four main characters: Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, or Raphael, players battle enemies from different eras, making it one of the best “beat em up” games to hit the platform. With its solid controls and visuals, Turtles in Time lived up to its enormous hype. 

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2. ‘Super Metroid’

Release Date: March 19th, 1994

Developer: Nintendo

The 80s and 90s thrived off action-adventure games, and Super Metroid was another action game that kept gamers on their toes. Playing as protagonist Samus Aran, players explored open-ended worlds, in the attempt to search the planet for a Metroid stolen by Ridley, the leader of the Space Pirates. Complete with running, jumping, and plenty of adventure, players were given a great experience with Super Metroid, making a strong case for Samus Aran as one of the most underrated Nintendo characters.

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3. ‘Harvest Moon’

Release Date: August 9th, 1996

Developer: Amccus

Harvest Moon deviated from the standard action and puzzle games we saw dominating SNES during that time. A farming-simulation game with 3D graphics, the game was an unexpected success, with players following a young man who inherits his grandfather’s farm with the task of cleaning up and maintaining the property while also building relationships with the locals. Harvest Moon set a precedent for future farming-simulation games, with 2016’s Stardew Valley having a nearly identical storyline. Obviously, Harvest Moon wasn’t the most action-filled game, but it still put your skills to the test.

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4. ‘Kirby’s Dream Course’

Release Date: September 21st, 1994

Developer: HAL Laboratory

Kirby just might be one of the most beloved Nintendo characters ever, and Kirby’s Dream Course was a near-perfect game. A miniature golf escapade, players had to use their golfing abilities to clash with enemies, with Kirby being loaded with battle options such as; the ability to transform into a tornado, a sparkly ball capable of destroying obstacles, and a UFO (which gave Kirby flying capabilities). As you can see, Dream Course wasn’t your standard golfing game, which made it all the better.

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5. ‘Super Mario All-Stars’

Release Date: July 14th, 1993

Developer: Nintendo EAD

A compilation of SNES games, Super Mario All-Stars consisted of remakes of four different Mario games released on NES: Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros 2., and Super Mario Bros 3. This compilation was a match made in heaven for any Super Mario fan and gave the younger generation a new-and-improved way to experience those earlier games. All-Stars was a rarity at that time (especially since it included the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2), as remasters and compilations weren’t really a ‘standard’ thing in the gaming industry.

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6. ‘F-Zero’

Release Date: November 20th, 1990

Developer: Nintendo

Racing games will be popular until the end of time, and F-Zero can be credited with upping the ante on modern racing games with its graphics, fast-paced gameplay, and overall intensity, providing adrenaline bursting “Fast and Furious” matches. F-Zero was the NES game to feature Mode 7 graphics and was considered to be a driving force in the eventual development of 3D graphics. The F-Zero series spawned many sequels, including the ever-popular F-Zero X.

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7. ‘Star Fox’

Release Date: March 26th, 1993

Developer: Nintendo

Star Fox was another game that featured Mode 7 graphics, and while one could say the game is visually and technologically unappealing now, in 1993, these graphics were considered amazing. Whether you agree or not, the game itself was a blast to play with players taking control of the infamous Arwing aircraft through various adventures in the Lylat Planetary System. Though later titles enhanced some of the mechanics and features in this game, many still consider this one to be the franchise’s best game.

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8. ‘Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars’

Release Date: May 31st, 1996

Developer: Nintendo

An RPG game that focused on Mario and his friends as they attempted to defeat Smithy, Legend of the Stars was a fun, lighthearted game that wasn’t too challenging but still slightly difficult. Like many older games, Legend of the Stars set the foundation for future installments, and you can see how many future Mario RPG games drew inspiration from this one. This game didn’t stray too far away from many of the recognizable Mario elements but still offered a different take than usual.

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9. ‘Secret of Mana’

Release Date: August 6th, 1993

Developer: Square

A fantasy RPG game released to SNES in 1993, Secret of Mana had an intriguing storyline with stunning graphics and a great soundtrack to back it up. The battles were pretty interesting as players followed three characters on a conquest to use the power of an ancient flying fortress in an attempt to conquer the world. While Secret of Mana was later released to other consoles, the SNES version is still widely considered the best. 

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10. ‘Shadowrun’

Release Date: May 1993

Developer: Beam Software

In a world full of RPG’s, Shadowrun not only stood out amongst other RPG’s, but the game has also withstood the test of time. Officially categorized as a cyberpunk fantasy-action game, Shadowrun was a futuristic combat game set in the year 2050 and had a crime storyline based on a novel written by creator Robert N. Charrette entitled Never Deal With a Dragon. The game was described as being ahead of its time (and rightfully so a game based on the future), marking it as a pioneer for RPG consoles.

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11. ‘Super Mario Kart’

Release Date: August 27th, 1992

Developer: Nintendo EAD

The ‘Don Dada’ of the Mario Kart series, no all-time list is complete without this game. Super Mario Kart featured all of Mario’s characters as they made their way through loads of races and challenges. One of the most innovative Mario games ever, Mario Kart allowed players to ride solo or call shotgun with both single and multiplayer modes and had three different battle modes to choose from. Its success makes it one of the most successful Nintendo games of all time.

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12. ‘NBA Jam’

Release Date: March 4th, 1994

Developer: Midway

There is a strong possibility that there would have been no NBA Live and 2K if it weren’t for NBA Jam. Released during the Jordan era, the game was full of 2-on-2 matchups and pretty advanced for 1993. NBA Jam had already achieved record-breaking numbers through the arcade version, and that success transferred over to the SNES edition, making it a pivotal moment for basketball video games. NBA Jam was also known for developing the popular phrase ‘Boomshakalaka,’ and featured many hip-hop classics. 

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13. ‘Contra III: Alien Wars’

Release Date: February 28th, 1992

Developer: Konami

A run and gun game released in 1992, Alien Wars has a solid case for being the most recognizable title in the Contra franchise. Surrounded by alien enemies, players had to be prepared to shoot at any given moment as things could get ugly quite fast. A co-op 2D that you could play with your friends, players had to fight alien invasions on Earth through six different stages and was a pretty wicked game that could be beaten in a relatively short amount of time. Alien Wars is now available on the Wii U Virtual Console.

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14. ‘ActRaiser’

Release Date: December 16th, 1990

Developer: Quintet

Released in 1990, Act Raiser combined traditional side-scrolling platformer with urban planning god game sections. Controlling ‘The Master,’ a godlike persona who was defeated by a dark force known as Tanzra aka ‘The Evil One’ and his six lieutenants in battle, ‘The Master’ suddenly awakens from a deep sleep after several hundred years to find himself on a new conquest to save his land and former worshippers. The more battles you win, the more followers you get. If done correctly, you can help ‘The Master’ take over the reins of his land again.

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15. ‘Mortal Kombat II’

Release Date: April 1993

Developer: Midway

You have to make a follow-up game just as good if not better than the original, and there is no better example of that than Mortal Kombat II. Numero Dos saw a huge improvement in the game’s mechanics, combat, and graphics, while not straying too far from the features that fans loved the most (i.e., the blood and gore). II experienced unprecedented commercial success, locking it as one the most impactful Nintendo games ever.

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16. ‘Donkey Kong Country’

Release Date: November 18th, 1994

Developer: Rare

One of the best Nintendo video games to ever hit the SNES console, Donkey Kong Country was a highly anticipated game that soared to unimaginable heights. Controlling Donkey Kong and his nephew Diddy Kong, Country featured 40 different side-scrolling levels where players could collect items, defeat enemies, and uncover secrets on their journey to defeat K. Rool. This game was highly anticipated and lived up to its expectations spawning two equally successful sequels: Diddy Kong’s Quest and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble!

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17. ‘Final Fantasy VI’

Release Date: April 2nd, 1994

Developer: Square

An absolute monster, Final Fantasy VI was an RPG set in a fantasy world similar to the Second Industrial Revolution. With fourteen playable characters, plenty of drama, and apocalyptic square-offs, the gameplay and replayability were highly praised by both fans and critics. Many have Final Fantasy VI ranked as being one of the best RPGs in gaming history, and while that can be debatable to some, this game most certainly has the numbers to back it up.

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18. ‘Batman Returns’

Release Date: 1993

Developer: Konami

Coinciding with the 1992 film of the same title, Batman Returns was one of the defining ‘beat’ em-up’ SNES games of the 1990s. The game took players through the six scenes featured in the film and captured the essence of Tim Burton quite nicely. A fun action game that accurately represents 1990s movie and gaming culture, Batman Returns deserves a spot on this list.

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19. ‘Ninja Gaiden’

Release Date: October 1988

Developer: Tecmo

Going back to the late 1980s, Ninja Gaiden quickly became known for its complex challenges, music, and gameplay. Battling as Ryu Hayabusa, a ninja on a journey to America after receiving a letter from his missing father, the game was a masterpiece from beginning to end. Many consider Ninja Gaiden to be the game that heavily introduced cut scenes, and players were equipped with a wide range of ninja moves and weapons setting the tone for future ninja games.

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20. ‘Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island’

Release Date: August 5th, 1995

Developer: Nintendo EAD

A 1995 platform game, Yoshi’s Island remains one of the most unique and creative SNES games to date. With the objective of protecting baby Mario and rescuing a kidnapped baby Luigi, Yoshi’s Island was a beautiful, heartwarming game that is sometimes forgotten in the Mario catalog.

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21. ‘Chrono Trigger’

Release Date: March 11th, 1995

Developer: Square

Focusing on a group of adventurers engaged in time traveling to avoid a global disaster, Chrono Trigger is now recognized as one of the best SNES games of all-time. A complete heavy hitter, each character brought their own charm, and the multiple endings were an added bonus feature, meaning that you could play the game a variety of times with different outcomes. Often compared to Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger sometimes gets lost in the mix, but it has experienced success in its own right.

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22. ‘Mega Man X’

Release Date: December 17th, 1993

Developer: Capcom

Another action-packed futuristic journey, Mega Man X brought wit, charm, and entertainment. With hidden objects and tons of weapons, players had loads of ammunition to get through the game’s eight levels. The mechanics were off the wall, and X made drastic updates to the game giving players more flexibility with their controls.

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23. ‘Earthbound’

Release Date: August 27th, 1994

Developer: Ape and HAL Laboratory

A unique goofy game with no real limits or boundaries, Earthbound was a heartwarming RPG that offered a fun storyline, exploration, and a nostalgic flashback to your childhood. The game was simple, but sometimes simplicity is needed in video games the same way it’s needed in tv/movies. The visuals were decent, the soundtrack was relaxing, and still holds up nearly thirty years after its release.

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24. ‘Castlevania’

Release Date: September 26th, 1986

Developer: Konami

Selecting the best game in the Castlevania series is always a tough call. While some may say that honor goes to Dracula’s Curse, that game wouldn’t have been possible without the original. The game follows the main character, Simon, as he runs, jumps, and magic whips his way through 18 different stages, with the ultimate goal being to defeat Dracula. The reception to Castlevania was positive, with many agreeing that Castlevania deserves a spot on any all-time list.

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25. ‘Metroid’

Release Date: August 6th, 1986

Developer: Nintendo Research and Development

Blending together Super Smash Bros and Zelda, Metroid was another exploration game that featured different endings depending on which path you took. These types of games are always popular because you can get multiple runs out of them, and that was especially important in the 80s and 90s when there weren’t nearly as many video games available compared to our current gaming landscape. Metroid is one record as being the first major franchise to feature a female protagonist, and the game itself is considered a top-five NES title.

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26. ‘Punch-Out!!’

Release Date: September 18th, 1987

Developer: Nintendo R& D3

Also known as Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, this game is considered one of the best games to ever release in the boxing genre. Controlling the character ‘Little Mac,’ players had to box their way through multiple rounds and levels in the hopes of reaching the final level known as the ‘Dream Fight.’ Many of the boxing moves and combos were similar to Mike Tyson (who the game was inspired by), with Nintendo taking a chance by hiring a relatively young and unproven Tyson as their ambassador. That decision wound up being lucrative for both Nintendo and Tyson paving the way for future cover athletes (à la 2K).

BUY NOW $63.12
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27. ‘Tetris Attack’

Release Date: October 27th, 1995

Developer: Intelligent Systems

Also known as Panel de Pon, Tetris is the mother of all puzzle games, and Attack was simply an enhanced version of previous releases. Like any other Tetris game, Tetris Attack required players to use their critical thinking skills to keep puzzle blocks from overflowing by moving and rotating the tetrads as they fell. For some reason, this version was super popular, and the game can now be found on the Wii Virtual Console in 2007.

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28. Super Castlevania IV

Release Date: October 31st, 1991

Developer: Konami

In the fourth installment of the Castlevania series, IV took all of the concepts from previous games and expanded on them. Players received expanded play control, as well as improved 16-bit graphics. As a result, the gameplay was stellar with smoother controls, making it a more enjoyable experience. There are some people that consider IV to be one of the greatest video games of all-time, and it continues to remain a fan-favorite in the NES catalog. 

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29. Super Mario World

Release Date: November 21, 1990

Developer: Nintendo EAD

Super Mario World was a critical turning point in gaming history. A SNES launcher, Super Mario World saw Mario on a mission to save Princess Peach and Dinosaur Land from Bowser and his minion Koopalings. The game was silly, fun, and laid the groundwork for future Mario releases. Super Mario World was commended for its precise details and enhanced mechanics, making it one of the most heavily talked about SNES games in history.

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30. ‘Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past’

Release Date: November 21st, 1991

Developer: November 21st, 1991

Released in 1991, A Link to the Past saw players taking on the role of Link, a young man given the challenge of wrestling Princess Zelda from the hands of Agahnim, a wizard seeking to release his dark master. A captivating open-world game, players were given a chance to explore the world using maps while fighting their way through playful combat missions and demanding puzzles. The graphics on this game were beautiful, and the elite storytelling made it an instant classic.

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That’s going to wrap up our list of the best SNES games of all-time. While we understand that some may disagree with our selections, we can all agree that the SNES era was a special one. We hope you enjoyed this article and look forward to sharing our next set of rankings.