By Shane Ferguson
Salutations, all you Circlers. It’s Shane here, and I’m back with your Roundup to end February and begin March. This has been a great month with tons of announcements and a few great games. I’ve missed you all and we got a lot to talk about this week, so let’s get right into it.
Circle Founder Harold Goldberg gives his first impressions on Where The Water Tastes Like Wine. The new participatory novel game hyrbid by Dim Bulb Games is described by the makers as “a bleak American folk tale about traveling, sharing stories, and surviving manifest destiny.” Harold calls it “the rare game with a penchant for literary works, conceits and pretensions.” Read his initial impressions in “The Insight” here.
Dan Ackerman ranks the most powerful gaming laptops on the market today. From affordable tech to $9,000 beast machines, this is the definitive guide for comparing gaming laptops. This list will assist you in getting the best performance for your budget. Those with a little extra income tax refund dollars to spend might find it particularly informative. You can check it out here.
Allegra Frank gives us the breakdown of Overwatch’s new 27th hero is Brigitte Lindholm. Daughter of Torbjörn Lindholm, Brigitte has a myriad of abilities including Rocket Flail, Barrier Shield, and Whip Shot to name a few. Brigitte is Overwatch’s first new hero of the new year and is already available to Windows PC Users. Read more here.
Jordan Minor reviews the Nintendo Switch version of Payday 2. Almost 5 years later, Overkill Software cultivates a strong cult following continues to support the tactical fps. New DLC also adds some incentive for players returning to the series. Does the Switch version knock it out the park? Or has Payday 2 lost its luster? Find out here.
Gita Jackson reveals her list of 10 games to play with your non-gamer friends. We all have that friend or family member who we would love to game with, but it can be difficult sometimes finding that compromise between interactive entertainment and fun gaming experience. I can personally vouch for a few mentions as I’ve played some of the titles with non-gamer friends myself. Get some ideas for your next game night here.
Russ Frushtick provides you with a beginners guide to Subset Games’ (Creators of FTL: Faster Than Light) new title Into the Breach. The highly acclaimed single-player tactical RPG can prove quite difficult at times. So Russ gives you the tips you need to crush Vek spawn into oblivion. If you’re stuck, just need a little help or never heard of Subset Games FTL, do yourself a favor and check out Into the Breach here.
News From Beyond The Circle
In another giant leap for backwards compatibility, Xbox has announced that a bunch of 360 titles have been enhanced for the Xbox One X. As someone with both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, I can honestly say their dedication to customer service has really set the Xbox One apart. It’s not just that their console can now host three generations of games, but it graphically improves them as well. I have my Xbox 360 console yet I still find myself waiting for some of my favorite classics to become backward compatible. Microsoft also announced today that they’ve added new “graphics” and “performance” settings for playing enhanced Xbox 360 titles on an Xbox One X. Players have the choice to toggle these options directly from the Xbox 360 guide. Some of these improved titles include Assassin’s Creed, Fallout 3, Halo 3, Mirror’s Edge, Forza Horizon, Fable: Anniversary, Crackdown and The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings. Read the full story here.
In more Witcher news, a first draft has been completed for Netflix’s upcoming series based on the novels by Andrzej Sapkowski. Showrunner Lauren S, Hissrich wrote, “The Witcher pilot is out for notes, and I’m out for the weekend to spend some time with my kids, See you bright and early on Monday!” Platige Films, a Polish company that has worked on cinematics for Halo 5: Guardians and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is set to shoot the show. The series will be based on the novels and will not involve CD Projekt RED. Check out the story and tweet here.
An unnamed 16-year-old high school student has been ordered not to play violent video games after he made a school-shooting threat online. Following the tragic events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. the student of Lake Park High School in suburban Chicago posted a Snapchat video of himself playing a shooting game with the caption “Y’all need to shut up about school shootings or I’ll do one.” After being reported by a fellow student, police responded, arrested the teenager and searched his home for weapons. However, no weapons were found. The student spent a night in a juvenile facility and was charged with felony disorderly conduct. His public defender said the comment was a joke but concluded the subject matter was inappropriate. Judge Robert Anderson sent the student home with indefinite home detention. He also ordered that the boy’s cell phone be turned over to his parents, as well as any violent video games He also stated, “You can play all the Mario Kart you want.” You can read the original story here.
That’s it for your Roundup for this week. I gotta go find an Xbox 360 copy of The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings. Have a wonderful weekend! Game responsibly!
Shane Ferguson is a New York Videogame Critics Circle contributing writer.