The uneven charm of Starfield

Almost immediately, Starfield felt fragmented to me. Navigating the UI was a chore, and every move I made inevitably required awkward loading screens. Most of all, the entire experience felt obscured. Starfield is overstuffed with things to do, but most of the time it feels like you’re going against the grain. For me, the biggest appeal of Skyrim was the effortless flow of its open world. Anything I did felt in line with everything else in the game.

And that’s what was most jarring about Starfield – it lacked direction or even a sense that what I was doing was right (it can still feel this way). There are an endless amount of great quests, things to build, places to make sense of, and general paths of exploration. Bethesda clearly swung wide with this game, and at many points during my time with the game so far I was overwhelmed by possibility. But it also feels very uneven and, above all, feels like a whole that’s very systems driven. Right down to its exploration, each of these major aspects can feel very siloed off.

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Starfield 1.7.33 Update: and so it starts

starfield new atlantis constellation walkway

It’s incredible the state Starfield launched in when you stack it up against both prior Bethesda releases and games launches like Cyberpunk 2077. Things just work for the most part. Sure, I’ve seen my fair share of floating rocks (geodes?) and wonkiness with AI, but nothing game busting. And look, there’s over 1000 planets so it’s probably going to take a little time to full iron out the procedural generation.

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60 Hz is quite alright for gaming (yes, really)

60 Hz might be good enough for you if:

  • You’re a casual fan (you play a few hours a week at most)
  • You aren’t deeply invested in competitive multiplayer
  • You’re just getting into gaming
  • High refresh rate displays are outside your budget (FOMO be damned)

Jumping into Modern Warfare II at 120 FPS for the first time was an absolutely wild experience. I felt in control in a way I never had before. In fact, it felt like I was never really in control playing games like Call of Duty or Halo Infinite when playing at 60 FPS prior. In some ways, it was more game changing than other huge tech advancements I had experienced in the past – moving Windows to an SSD or experiencing high definition for the first time.

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Halo Infinite finally hits its stride with Season 4: Infection

For as much hype as Halo Infinite generated on release, 343 has been in a state of perpetual catch up since. I couldn’t believe the way the development team had nailed it – mixing the old with the new – to bring the best Halo game since the Bungie years. And this is what hurt the most. Halo Infinite was (and is) an incredible game, but its lack of content has always been a reminder of ruined potential.

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Fortnite: do you unlock unredeemed items when the battle pass expires?

fortnite chapter 4 season 3

The short of it is…

  • Yes, your unused battle pass stars will automatically be used to redeem eligible unlocks when the current season’s battle pass expires.

This is something I just confirmed myself since I was wondering if all of my unused battle pass stars would go to waste (I had quite a few available to use). Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 2 just ended while Fortnite Wilds has rolled in to take its place.

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The Division 2 has got the mood

moody storm in The Division 2

Ever since taking a break with Destiny 2 I’ve been missing having a “dick around” shooter. The Division 2 seemed like the perfect fit being featured in a recent Xbox sale – tons of exploration, solo viable, and plenty of legitimately new content to enjoy before hopping onto an inevitable hamster wheel. The Destiny 2 hamster wheel is fun, but things get stale without breaks.

I originally tried it out on PS4, and I’m almost positive it was a free PS Plus game at the time. The only problem is that it was closer to the peak of the pandemic frenzy so it played a little too close to home at the time what with the narrative setup of the game.

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Halo Infinite’s campaign looks modern in the best way possible

halo infinite you're safe now

Halo has always had a certain flavor to the hype behind it. Most notable for me was the run up to Halo 3. Bungie enveloped my teenage mind with visions of expansive sci-fi settings and the ways in which I’d get lost in its multiplayer. Halo 3’s marketing was simply something to be felt. In many ways, it was also the peak of the Halo hype machine.

Each release of Halo has left its mark on my gaming career, but it’s also become murkier ever since the release of Halo Reach. I had my fill of over 100 hours with Bungie’s last hoorah, but 343’s entries never truly got their hooks in me. I didn’t feel the connection with my gut that earlier titles provided. Punctuated by the latest release of Halo Infinite’s campaign overview, this lapse in loyalty seems to finally be coming to an end. For the first time in years, it feels fantastic to be invested in the Halo franchise.

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Xbox Series X|S performance boosts are a clean slate for gaming

xbox boost mode

The authenticity and fidelity of Red Dead Redemption 2 blew me away on the PS4. I had never experienced anything quite like it. Interwoven systems, emergent gameplay, idyllic landscapes – it felt like next-generation gaming had come a little early. But going back to it now, after buying an Xbox Series X, puts into perspective something that was sorely lacking at times on the PS4 and Xbox One – performance.

Microsoft’s newest console has been an utter treat in this department. Games new and old are performant and look incredible. This standard was touched on with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, but not nearly to the extent that the Xbox Series X|S have cleaned up performance.

Not all games have gotten the next-gen treatment. But by and large I’ve never had as great of a time diving into a back catalog as I have with my Xbox Series X. New titles have only upped the ante of performance and visuals.

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PS4 essentials: can the PS4 run at 120 fps?

how many hz

Each year it seems like there are a set of must have features across gaming. In 2021, that means high refresh rates, 8K support, and a slew of new ways to increase general fluidity.

If you’re someone looking to hop on the 120 fps bandwagon with your PS4, you’ll unfortunately have to wait until you lock down a PS5 or Xbox Series X.

No PS4 models support 120 fps both due to power and required spec of HDMI. It goes without saying that the PS4 also can’t handle 144 fps.

High refresh rates have only just now broken into the console space thanks to the bleeding edge tech found in the Xbox Series X and PS5.

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Display essentials: do monitors affect fps?

from hz to fps

Despite TV manufacturers catering to gamers, monitors largely remain a much better option in terms of faster response times. New TVs offer features like Auto Low Latency Mode and Variable Refresh Rate, but monitors have offered much better latency for over a decade.

While not important to all players, lower latency and higher fps means more fluid gameplay and a greater level of control. For those playing first-person shooters and fighting games, a better response time can mean a competitive advantage over those playing on laggy displays or lower specced machines.

Just how do monitors affect fps?

Technically, monitors only affect fps indirectly. They’re responsible for the visible frame rate that a player will see, and it’s the reason why those with powerful machines opt for 144Hz displays.

No matter the in game fps, a 60Hz display will only ever output 60 fps.

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