Iconoclasts (PC) Review Endless Excitement, Variety, & Adventure

Iconoclasts (PC) Review

Iconoclasts is an impressive game in a number of ways. It seamlessly shifts from story to action to puzzle play, showing the developer’s sharp sense for pacing. It looks beautiful, filled with tiny details and unique characters and bouncy movements that give the world a feeling of life and personality. It provides solid action against complex bosses, all while allowing for some tiny yet impressive tweaks to a sidescrolling shooter that makes it control like a dream. It also tells a story that easily bounces between laughter and heartbreak. It’s a staggering feat from a single developer, and one that is well worth your time.

Iconoclasts (PC) Review 4
Iconoclasts (PC) – review image provided by Bifrost Entertainment and DANGEN Entertainment.

Iconoclasts puts players in charge of Robin, an unlicensed mechanic in a world where working with machines is illegal unless you’ve been approved to do so. This may sound like an odd premise, but developer Joakim Sandberg uses this to tell a story of machines and religion that makes for some riveting sci-fi entertainment, as well as provoking some deep thought on religion and our use of technology. Despite what may appear from its screenshots to be a silly, lighthearted game, Iconoclasts still combs through many complex topics, weaving a story that draws the player in as much as the action.

That action is a huge draw, too. Players will work their way through a range of detailed landscapes with varying kinds of challenges. Expect to blast away at enemies with several weapons that feature differing uses, like the timed bombs that shoot out in an arc and require a few moments to explode to the straight blaster and many more. These weapons can all be charged to an alternate fire mode as well, letting players fire missiles, huge energy blasts, and other damaging attacks at foes.

Knowing which of these to use on what enemy is key as well. To increase the challenge, Iconoclasts provides enemies that have different weaknesses, so not every weapon will work on any old enemy. Players may need to knock back explosives, land a shot in a foe’s mouth, or use a particular charged up weapon to get by. Figuring this out adds some depth to each encounter, rather than just letting players get comfortable with one weapon and mow through everything with it. Players will need to know their entire arsenal as they play through Iconoclasts.

Iconoclasts (PC) Review 3
Iconoclasts (PC) – review image provided by Bifrost Entertainment and DANGEN Entertainment.

Iconoclasts doesn’t just challenge with enemies, though. As Robin is a mechanic, there are machines and mechanisms all throughout each area, creating some large, complex puzzles for players to work through. With a mixture of timing, weapon use, and smart movements, players will have to figure out various puzzling setups, all forming a welcome break from the action to challenge the player’s mind.

Puzzles and enemy complexity come together wonderfully in the game’s bosses. Each of these fights is an exercise in combat reflexes and discovery, tasking players with shooting down aggressive foes that often require some complicated mechanisms to be understood before they can be harmed. One particular fight involved multiple characters, several different machines that needed manipulation in their own ways, and a foe that was relentlessly attacking. Each of the game’s bosses is an exhilarating experience because of this, pushing the player to think and move and juggle multiple tasks during the fight.

The pacing between puzzles, combat, and story is something Iconoclasts also excels at. Rarely does the game linger on any one play type, ensuring players don’t get too tired from exposition or figuring out locked doors. Not only this, but it mixes up the traditional structure of these items, where players might expect a little story, a little dungeon crawling, and then a boss. The game often tosses plot developments or a complex boss in without any notice, upsetting what is often an accepted structure in games.

Iconoclasts (PC) Review
Iconoclasts (PC) – review image provided by Bifrost Entertainment and DANGEN Entertainment.

The result is that Iconoclasts often surprises with its pacing, keeping the player from becoming complacent in any one play type. You aren’t allowed to let your guard down because a boss might start a fight in the middle of a dungeon. A new, exciting plot detail may come at an unexpected time. Action may give way to a puzzle players need to solve while in danger. It endlessly excites, leaving the player wondering what will be on the next screen.

With this driven pacing comes some interesting play tweaks that, while minor, make for smoother play. For example, anyone who’s played a sidescrolling shooter can think of a time they were hopping up and trying to shoot at something on a higher platform, or aiming up at something and trying to get that perfect angle on their shot. Iconoclasts’ basic gun auto-homes in on what it thinks the player’s intended target is, curving shots slightly so that players aren’t constantly adjusting their aim a few pixels just to line up their shot. It knows what the player wants to do, and makes an effort not to waste their time by fiddling with blasts. The game features many little things like this that make for quicker play with less messing around, and it feels so much sharper because of them.

One weak point could be the game’s odd power-up system. There are items that are hidden throughout the environments, but rather than direct power-ups, they’re items players can use to build their choice of power-ups. These things can give players a free hit, a little extra movement speed, extra oxygen underwater, and more, but they only offer a few minor improvements. Also, they only work until the player takes a hit, deactivating until the player defeats enough enemies to recharge the power. It seems interesting at first, and can make a minor difference during play, but they provide so little improvement and (for clumsy players) are off so frequently that eventually, I no longer wanted to bother with them.

Iconoclasts (PC) Review 2
Iconoclasts (PC) – review image provided by Bifrost Entertainment and DANGEN Entertainment.

Despite this one setback, Iconoclasts is a near-constant delight, offering story that can be charming or silly or insightful, combat that is involved, puzzles that challenge the mind, and a feeling of excitement and adventure.

A retail version of the game reviewed was provided by the publisher. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more of Joel Couture’s reviews such as Fight’N Rage, The Evil Within 2, and Outlast 2!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Fe, Monster Hunter World Beta: the Insatiable Nergigante, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT,  Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Owlboy (Nintendo Switch) Mini Review Taking Flight

Owlboy (Nintendo Switch) Mini Review

Honestly, I don’t know how Owlboy flew under my radar for so long, having only discovered it a month before its initial release. But after only playing it briefly, I knew it was going to be something special. Like a piece of coal forged through time and pressure into a magnificent diamond; 10 hard years has made Owlboy a shimmering example of what games can be.

Owlboy (Nintendo Switch) Mini Review 5
Owlboy (Nintendo Switch) – review images provided by D-Pad Studio.

Owlboy is easily a game after my heart with it’s gorgeous retro aesthetic, and the fact that it features my number one favourite bird (for anyone interested the list goes Owls, Hawks, Blue Jays, Hummingbirds and Pigeons). But there’s so much more to it than pixel-art tugging at my nostalgic heartstrings, or the main character being the coolest bird ever. What’s at work is a lovingly crafted game that blends old-school sensibilities with new school thinking.

While I’ve heard a lot of people compare Owlboy’s gameplay to Zelda and Metroid, and you can definitely see their influence, technically it’s much closer to Demon’s Crest. Players are given the ability to fly right away, and while this freedom of movement might seem problematic in a 2D game, Owlboy balances this perfectly with large, sprawling levels; and interesting ways to restrict flight in certain moments. Like Demon’s Crest, it’s a bit more linear in structure; in that it feels more like you’re going from level-to-level as opposed to exploring an “open” world. However, every level has that good open, exploratory feel. It’s kind of interesting, like a Zelda game where you go from dungeon to dungeon and skip all the walking in-between.

Owlboy (Nintendo Switch) Mini Review 1
Owlboy (Nintendo Switch) – review images provided by D-Pad Studio.

Probably where it wears its Zelda influence most on its sleeve is in the story, but it’s remarkable in just how genuine it feels. It’s wholly its own, mixing fantasy and steampunk elements and it never plays out in that Zelda kind of way. Otus isn’t some hero chosen by destiny and for the most part our heroes are always one step behind the villains. It’s got that Zelda-like whimsy while being brave enough to get surprisingly dark at times, and smart enough to pause for a second for some quiet reflection.

But it’s not simply a good story, well told. The intense drama is backed by the tight gameplay that is consistently changing to fit the mood. One moment you’re exploring some ruins, the next you’re sneaking a wounded soldier through enemy lines, to frenetically fleeing a crashing ship. But it’s also the finer gameplay details that add to the narrative.

Owlboy (Nintendo Switch) Mini Review 4
Owlboy (Nintendo Switch) – review images provided by D-Pad Studio.

On his own, Otus is quite weak and can only stun certain enemies with a spin-attack. But unlike a Zelda that would power players up with items and trinkets, Otus gets his “abilities” from friends who join him throughout his quest. It’s a little detail that adds much to the narrative while still providing the basic function of giving players the means to explore the world.

While Owlboy is a fantastic game on any platform, it definitely came home to roost on the Nintendo Switch. Being so clearly inspired by the classics of the SNES era, it feels like the kind of game that would have stood alongside those same classics in the Nintendo pantheon. Furthermore, it runs amazingly on the Switch both on and off dock, and it’s perfectly suited to a handheld platform; while it’s by no means a small game, its simplistic design gives the feel of a small game that feels epic.

There’s just so much to enjoy here. The game looks beautiful with colourful and detailed environments, unique character and enemy design, and backed an absolutely breathtaking score. D-Pad Studio really put the time in and it paid off, Owlboy is a must own, especially on the Switch.

Owlboy (Nintendo Switch) Mini Review
Owlboy (Nintendo Switch) – review images provided by D-Pad Studio.

A retail version of the game reviewed was provided by the publisher. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Jordan Biordi’s reviews of Metroid: Samus Returns and Pokkén Tournament DX for the Nintendo Switch!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Fe, Monster Hunter World Beta: the Insatiable Nergigante, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT,  Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Netflix Movie Review: Mute Unfocused Ambition

Netflix Movie Review: Mute

For some reason, there seems to be an explosion of dystopian science fiction flicks these days. Well, it’s not for some reason. Dark and paranoid times tend to be reflected in films, even if by accident. So in the same twelve-month period where Blade Runner got an unexpected sequel, Netflix keeps dropping dystopian series and movies like it’s their job. The company’s latest dabbling in depressing futurism should be cause for hype and excitement, yet the service has let it slide into the streaming world without much of either.

Netflix Movie Review: Mute 5
Paul Rudd in Mute (2018) – review image provided by Netflix.

Mute is the latest feature by Duncan Jones—AKA David Bowie’s son. AKA the guy who made the brilliant Moon, the solid Source Code, and the massive mess that was the Warcraft movie. After butting up against studio politics of restrictive franchise filmmaking, Mute was supposed to be a return to form for the promising director. A chance for him to make an original sci-fi epic that takes place within the Moon cinematic universe with complete freedom and mountains of money from Netflix. What Jones delivered certainly isn’t without interest. It’s loaded with intriguing ideas and beautiful images that sadly fail to form a cohesive whole. Oh well, at least Jones got to fail on his own terms this time. That’s a step in the right direction.

Essentially Mute is two movies in one—along with scenes that suggest a half dozen or so more. One that stars Alexander Skarsgård as an Amish man who lost his voice in a childhood boating accident—his parents didn’t allow the potential voice-saving surgery to happen because religion is great—and now bartends in futuristic Berlin when he isn’t whittling wood—yes, really. He’s also in love with a co-worker, Seyneb Saleh, who mysteriously disappears, leading him on a quest into a techno-noir underworld involving hackers, gangsters, prostitutes, and sex robots.

Netflix Movie Review: Mute 4
Alexander Skarsgård in Mute (2018) – review image provided by Netflix.

As if that’s not enough plot for one movie, there’s another story strand involving two American surgeons/torturers played by Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux. They’re living in exile as non-citizens a la Casablanca and work for a gangster. It turns out that Rudd isn’t actually a bad guy despite all of his bad behaviour. He’s doing it all to save up to by a passport and safe travel out of the country for himself and his daughter—who is typically babysat by a brothel because he’s still working on this “being a good father” thing. At some point these seemingly disconnected stories are sure to link up. Whether or not you’ll care about how or why by the time it finally happens is a reasonable question.

Netflix Movie Review: Mute 2
Alexander Skarsgård in Mute (2018) – review image provided by Netflix.

First the good news, Mute looks absolutely gorgeous. Oh sure, this nightmare science fiction version of Berlin couldn’t exist without Blade Runner. The neon lights, smoky shadows, crumbling skyscrapers, obnoxious advertisements, overt sexuality, and flying cars are all straight out of the Blade Runner playbook and certainly doesn’t look anywhere near as pretty or evocative here as they did in Blade Runner 2049. However, Jones does give it all his own updated and cartoony sheen that makes it feel a little different. It’s all meticulously designed and filled with satirical flourishes crammed into the corners of the frames that make it easy to get lost in. Toss in a score littered with references to Bowie’s music and a distinctly twisted sense of humour and you get an intriguing world that actually adds a little to all of the iconic reference points that Jones is stealing from. Unfortunately witty visual design alone does not a movie make.

To call the Duncan Jones and Michael Robert Johnson’s—who wrote Sherlock Holmes, Pompeii—script an unfocused mess is an almost an understatement. Apparently, the project began as a British crime movie written in the early 2000s and it shows with all it’s dated “lad’s humour” dialogue that clearly sprung from the Guy Ritchie era. No characters rise above the level of caricature and the stunt casting of the leads feels sadly underused. Despite all the intriguing themes and disturbing avenues that Jones and Johnson touch on throughout the script, they rarely develop any of it into much of anything beyond adolescent thrills and cheap shock tactics. Mute is a movie that keeps promising to divert down intriguing avenues and constantly ignores them in favour of silly schlock that never adds up to much more that the movie drunk fantasies of a sci-fi obsessed teen hopped up on a Mountain Dew bender.

Netflix Movie Review: Mute 3
Mute (2018) – review image provided by Netflix.

The carefully crafted world of Mute hints at so many different sociological sci-fi diversions that the film could have taken. Jones clearly loaded it with ideas and since this intended to be part of an extended universe that he began building with Moon, perhaps those ideas are supposed to be explored in further chapters. Unfortunately what he made instead is a limp fable about a man silenced by an abusive youth finding his voice—ew—and an awkward crime odyssey starring sci-fi criminal versions of the leads from M*A*S*H*. The shock tactics are more often delivered in adolescent bad taste than mature sci-fi provocation. The sentimental flourishes clash awkwardly with the cynical humour. Nothing quite fits into place, even though many of the isolated elements are intriguing. In the end, this is a passion project that Duncan Jones should have abandoned. It’s still abundantly clear that the guy has talent as a filmmaker, but if he doesn’t actually deliver on that promise soon, it might never happen.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Phil’s take on Blade Runner 2049, Happy Death Day, and It! He also had a chance to sit down with Guillermo Del Toro. Check out his interview here!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Fe, Monster Hunter World Beta: the Insatiable Nergigante, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT,  Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Mom and Dad (Movie) Review Be Happy Nic Cage Ain’t Your Daddy

Mom and Dad (Movie) Review

We all love art, but sometimes what you really need to scratch that movie itch is some good trash. Like, say, perhaps a movie about a world where parents start suddenly murdering their children for no particular reason. Boy that sounds like a trashy good time, doesn’t it? Did I mention that movie also stars Nicolas Cage and is written/directed by one half of Neveldine/Taylor, the batpoop insane team that brought you the Crank movies? Well, now you’ve got yourself a lil’ trashy treat, don’t you? The kind of flick that won’t provide any enlightenment to your life, but will provide undeniably special cinematic moments like watching good ol’ Nic Cage smash a pool table with a sledgehammer while singing ‘The Hokey Pokey.’ If that sounds even remotely appealing to you, then buckle up for Mom and Dad. Your sweet tooth for bad taste is about to be satiated.

Mom and Dad (Movie) Review 6
Selma Blair in Mom and Dad (2017) – review image credit: VVS Films.

Clearly inspired by the old timey exploitation movies of the 70s (this is essentially the opening scene of George Romero’s The Crazies stretched out to feature length), Mom and Dad boasts a single sentence premise that can sell a theatre full of tickets, then takes its time teasing it out. So, first we’re introduced to the Ryan family. The teen daughter Carly (Anne Winters) is so over her suburban parents she can barely muster the strength for an eyeroll, while her younger brother Josh (Zackary Arthur) is still in the “scream loudly all the time and leave toys everywhere” phase of childhood. Not a great time to be a parent. Mommy (Selma Blair) is struggling to rebuild her life now that her daughter is old enough to never want to spend time together and also learns that she’s no longer qualified to return to the job she left to raise a family. Meanwhile, Daddy (the glorious Nicolas Cage) is in full on midlife crisis mode and lamenting his lost youth. The usual tensions. Then, as the day goes on, the mysterious parental murder pandemic kicks off. Our family notices the wild phenomenon exploding around them and then the next thing you know, everyone is trapped in the home and murder is on mommy and daddy’s minds.

Mom and Dad (Movie) Review 8
Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair in Mom and Dad (2017) – review image credit: VVS Films.

So, yeah. Like I said. Not high art. Not totally stupid either. Much like his Crank movies (and his delightful Grant Morrison TV series Happy), Brian Taylor revels in the bad taste trashy fun of Mom and Dad, yet is still clever about his brand of stupid entertainment. The movie does touch on the moments of disenchantment and regret that all parents inevitably experience whether they like it or not. This flick might mostly come from the perspective of the kiddies, but there’s a perverse sense of wish fulfilment offered for parents as well. Just hardly in a way that feels good. It’s more of an acknowledgement of certain harsh truths, followed swiftly by nasty genre movie antics at an ADD clip. Taylor may script his story like a backloaded exploitation movie that builds tension, but he still shoots like a madman. Every scene is shot from a number of disorienting angles and edited together for maximum impact and seizure-inducing intoxication. It’s a movie designed to play as sensory overload and given the subject matter, that’s entirely appropriate.

Mom and Dad (Movie) Review 10
Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair in Mom and Dad (2017) – review image credit: VVS Films.

While there are indeed more than enough scares and shocks in Mom and Dad to earn the horror label, Brian Taylor and his cast are mostly playing it all for laughs. Everyone involved in this sick picture knows they are being naughty, so they at least wink at the audience and have fun with it. Nic Cage obviously leans into this, delivering one of his “Ragin’ Cagin’” specials. Every note of his performance is big and bold and laced with the darkest of comedy. By the time he’s marching around to murder, it’s hysterically hypnotic to watch him push past over-the-top and into a magic land of self-aware comedic overacting (Just wait until you see Cage enter an overacting evil dad contest with cult movie icon Lance Henriksen. That’s the stuff B-movie dreams are made of). Selma Blair gets some awkward laughs as well. She’s on grounding duty though, playing most of her emotions straight to give viewers a semblance of reality to grip throughout the onslaught of B-movie insanity. She holds the movie on her back and everyone can go that much further thanks to her hard work. Which is a damn good thing because this movie is all about excess.

Mom and Dad (Movie) Review 9
Nicolas Cage, Selma Blair, Anne Winters, and Zackary Arthur in Mom and Dad (2017) – review image credit: VVS Films.

It would be silly to pretend that Mom and Dad is anything more than the sleazy goofball ride that Brian Taylor and his team intended. Oh sure, there’s plenty here to provoke audiences’ brains and other organs, but ultimately this thing exists purely for viewers to have fun. How much fun you have depends on your tolerance for tongue-in-cheek cheese, slapstick violence, bad taste, and Nic Cage-iness. Many will balk at least one of those elements. Those who crave all three? Grab a beer and get ready to giggle away some brain cells. In a perfect world, all trashy genre flicks would be this deliriously gonzo. But we don’t live in that perfect world now do we? For now, getting one or two Mom and Dads a year will have to do. Gather up your whole dysfunctional family and enjoy!


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Phil’s take on Blade Runner 2049, Happy Death Day, and It! He also had a chance to sit down with Guillermo Del Toro. Check out his interview here!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Fe, Monster Hunter World Beta: the Insatiable Nergigante, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT,  Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Annihilation (Movie) Review Arty And Ambiguous Arthouse Sci-Fi/Horror

Annihilation (Movie) Review

Coming into Annhilation, Alex Garland was in a special position as a filmmaker. His directorial debut Ex Machina was instantly beloved and did unexpectedly well at the box office. Toss in a screenwriting background that included the underrated duo of Dredd and Sunrise as well as the movie that started the 2000s zombie revival (28 Days Later) and the guy was in a position to do anything that he wanted next. Thankfully, he took advantage of the situation. Somehow, he managed to convince a Hollywood studio to bankroll an adaptation of author Jeff VanderMeer’s seemingly unfilmable sci-fi horror headtrip Annihilation. Obviously, this isn’t a faithful adaptation. Apart from the many scenes that would be impossible to translate between storytelling mediums, the budget would have needed to be limitless and the rating would have been the hardest of Rs. So, Garland made the material his own. It’s still a deeply disturbing and ambiguously inexplicable experience, now just a cinematic one more inspired by a cult novel than adapted from it.

Annihilation (Movie) Review 1
Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson in Annihilation (2018) – image for this review credit: Paramount.

Natalie Portman stars as a former soldier turned biologist who teaches at a prestigious university. Her hubby (Oscar Isaac) is still in the army and disappeared on a secret mission long ago. She’s struggling with grief when he suddenly reappears in their home with little memory of who he is or how he got there. On the trip to the hospital, Portman and Isaac are surrounded by mysterious black jeeps and sedated. Portman wakes up in a cell with Jennifer Jason Leigh who explains that Isaac disappeared on a mission to a classified location called Area X. It’s a strange shimmering phenomenon that has taken over a patch of land and seems to be getting bigger. Anyone who is sent in never returns, except for Isaac. Leigh talks Portman into joining a new expedition alongside a physicist (Tessa Thompson), an anthropologist (Tuva Novotny), and a medic (Gina Rodriguez). She agrees, they enter The Shimmer, and that’s when things get strange (well, stranger). When they awake on what feels like the first morning in The Shimmer, they realize that based on their supplies they’ve been there for days, maybe longer. Time seems fluid. Reality starts to bend. Monsters? You betcha!

Annihilation (Movie) Review 3
Natalie Portman, Tuva Novotny, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson in Annihilation (2018) – image for this review credit: Paramount.

So, obviously, this is an oddball genre outing from all involved. Don’t be fooled by the posters featuring Portman and co. holding machine guns. Yes, they do that in the film, but this is no action flick. Instead, this is a slow burn and hallucinogenic mind game executed by Garland and his remarkable team of craftsmen with style and thoughtful ambiguity. There’s rarely a moment when the audience feels on firm ground or settled. The movie constants shifts tracks, alters what’s known, and keeps you guessing the answers to mysteries that have no solution. It’s not a film designed to leave you satisfied. It batters and dazes audiences with images both beautiful and grotesque as well as themes that will leave thoughtful viewers in some sort of existential crisis. Boiled down to the simplest possible terms, it’s a story about evolution and the terrifying discovery that you are on the wrong side of evolutionary change. Of course, there’s also more going on than that. Yet getting to the bottom of the whos, whats, wheres, and whys is a fruitless task after a single viewing.

Annihilation (Movie) Review 2
Natalie Portman and Gina Rodriguez in Annihilation (2018) – image for this review credit: Paramount.

Superficially, the movie is an astounding bit of craftsmanship topping even the cynical chrome beauty of Ex Machina. Almost the entire filmmaking team from that picture returns to collaborate with Garland again and together they create something between an acid trip and a sci-fi/horror movie. Designs glow of the screen with a psychedelic beauty that somehow always feels threatening. The cinematography is composed almost entirely of poster worthy beauty shots. Every scene is long and measured, but only to deliver sensationalistic shocks when least expected. Boiled down to movie reference terms, it’s like some unholy union of John Carpenter’s The Thing, the existential sci-fi of Andrei Tarkovsky (Stalker, Solaris) and the sci-fi-as-metaphoric-acid-trip of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The cast are all strong, yet deliberately give muted performances to keep answer and emotions out of reach. There is humanity in the film, just not in a way that provides any of the usual cozy comforts.

Annihilation (Movie) Review 5
Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tuva Novotny, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson in Annihilation (2018) – image for this review credit: Paramount.

Despite all of my fawning Annihilation will be a divisive movie. Those seeking silly genre entertainment will complain about all the ambiguity and deliberate pacing. Those looking to get their big brain off with an arty thinker will be put off by the gore n’ guns. Anyone looking for a movie both challenging and visceral will be thrilled, but sadly there aren’t as many of us out there as we’d like. It’s no surprise that Paramount got cold feet and decided to give Annihilation a cursory theatrical release followed by a Netflix lifespan. That makes sense. This wasn’t going to light up the box office and those who love it will want to watch it repeatedly. It’s just a shame that means a precious few will get to see this gorgeously hallucinogenic genre flick on an overwhelmingly large screen as intended. If you get a chance to catch Annihilation in a theatre, don’t miss it. Love or loathe the destination, the twisted film will transport you to another place in the ways that only movies can.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Phil’s take on Blade Runner 2049, Happy Death Day, and It! He also had a chance to sit down with Guillermo Del Toro. Check out his interview here!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Fe, Monster Hunter World Beta: the Insatiable Nergigante, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT,  Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Payday 2 (Switch) Review: Almost There!

Payday 2 (Switch) Review: Almost There!

Payday 2 has always been a thrilling experience for me. There is something about placing myself in the shoes of a criminal with my friends that feels entirely surreal, in ways that are for the most part indescribably exciting. With this in mind, Payday 2 for Switch was one of my most hyped releases of 2018, and for the vast majority of its gameplay, it left me satisfied.

Payday 2 (Switch) Review 5
Payday 2 (Switch) – image for this review provided by Starbreeze.

For most, myself included, picking up Payday 2 on the Switch is a question of how the platform can handle it. To my surprise, it handled the original content from its PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 releases quite well. The PlayStation 4, and Xbox One missions were no slouch either, but I did notice that the Switch had a tougher time keeping a steady framerate on those occasions. Most notably, the game’s stealth tutorial gave me frames that were sometimes in the single digits. While this was solved with a simple reload of the mission, it left me worried that it could ruin the first time experience for many newcomers. Beyond that, however, I would say that for anyone that was worried about performance, Payday 2 on the Switch is no slouch.

New to the Switch is its use of HD rumble through the joy-cons. In my experience, HD rumble only added a small touch of realism to the overall experience, by offering distinct levels of vibrations depending on whether I was firing my gun, or lock picking a bank’s vault. While these additions bring me hope as to what can be done with the Switch’s HD rumble in the future, I just wish that developer OVERKILL implemented it better with Payday 2’s content to fully utilize the hardware.

Payday 2 (Switch) Review 2
Payday 2 (Switch) – image for this review provided by Starbreeze.

Speaking of content and additions, the Switch version is in my opinion, the ultimate way of playing Payday 2 in a console. Not only do players get all the previous console missions, but Payday 2 on the Switch also introduces one brand new playable character: a 22-year-old Japanese hacker named Joy. Though I appreciated the character design for Joy, and her LED mask that quickly became my favorite, I found that Joy’s voice acting left much to be desired by sounding both dull, and monotone. This isn’t to say that it is a bad addition, because it introduces more playable female characters to Payday 2, something that in my opinion has been clearly missing for ages, but I just wish that there was a bit more.

Payday 2 (Switch) Review 1
Payday 2 (Switch) – image for this review provided by Starbreeze.

The need for more polish remained a constant theme throughout my playthrough of Payday 2. While the game runs great, its graphics can be a bit outdated at times. A quick comparison to older console variants quickly revealed that despite having some excellent lighting, some textures appear to date all the way back to its original PlayStation 3 release. To further prove my point, I couldn’t test out the online, which is fine considering I was one of few reviewers in my region, but depending on the bots quickly proved just how outdated Payday’s 2 AI can be. From teammates that fail to cover you when you most need it, to cops that sometimes ignore for no discernable reason, Payday 2 certainly can at times feel like a game from 2013, rather than a brand new release. Sure, Payday 2 is a co-op focused game, but in my opinion, OVERKILL needs to release some serious updates in order to provide more responsive AI so that those of us that don’t have a constant WIFI connection can still enjoy the experience.

This isn’t to say that the entire game is broken because it really isn’t. If there is one thing that OVERKILL deserves applause for, it’s that they were able to beautifully maintain Payday 2’s insane thrill throughout the porting process. For Switch only owners, this means that you can expect the Switch’s most intensive, most adrenaline focused coop experience on the platform as of yet, and in my book that is a great achievement. But for those that have already played the games on other platforms, Payday 2’s transition to handhelds can be a mixed bag, providing tons of enjoyment, but only if you’re willing to overlook its clear downsides.

Payday 2 (Switch) Review
Payday 2 (Switch) – image for this review provided by Starbreeze.

At the end of the day, my hype for Payday 2 on the go was satisfied. I received an experience that not only takes the thrill that I initially poured hundreds of hours into with my friends on the PlayStation 3, but in some regards manages to improve it. Yet despite bringing all the content for its plethora of releases, Payday 2 simply needed a touch more polish to truly feel at home on the Switch. If OVERKILL continuously supports this version of Payday 2 like it supports its PC counterpart, I see a vivid future where rare random framerate issues, unresponsive AI, and blurry textures can truly be a long forgotten memory.

A retail version of the game reviewed was provided by the publisher. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Pedro D’avila’s latest Mercenary Kings Review, and his findings on Verizon dropping Huawei sales!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Fe, Monster Hunter World Beta: the Insatiable Nergigante, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT,  Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Asus Designo MX34VQ Curved Monitor Review

Asus Designo MX34VQ Curved Monitor Review

Asus’s Designo line of curved monitors have yet to hit their stride on the market. While many of them are beautifully designed, a majority of PC players feel that curved monitors as a whole are just an expensive gimmick that adds nothing worthwhile to their gameplay experience. I used to agree with this until I started playing around with the Asus Designo MX34VQ, which showcases just how far curved monitors have come from their initial inception.

Asus Designo MX34VQ Curved Monitor Review 1
Asus Designo MX34VQ Curved Monitor (Image for this review credit to CGM Staff).

Retailing for $999.99CAD, the Asus Designo MX34VQ is a 34” ultra-wide monitor sporting a native resolution of 3440×1440, 21:9 aspect ratio, 100hz refresh rate and a 1800R curvature. The largest worry any consumer has buying a curved panel are its weak viewing angles, resulting in a major dip in picture quality. Thankfully, all of these listed specs result in a near perfect viewing experience from side-to-side, with the monitor delivering immersive visuals and vivid colours in a wide range of media. Compared to the previously reviewed Samsung CF591, I’m much more impressed with the MX34VQ and its VA panel. The high 3000:1 contrast ratio, paired with the native QHD resolution, exceeded my initial expectations and made me want to experiment with its extensive range of presets and features.

Before we go into crafting a viewing experience to our personal tastes, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of this monitor. Asus Designo continues to excel at sleek and professional monitor design and the MX34VQ is no exception. What I’m sure will be the main eye catch for consumers are the extremely small top bezels, which perfectly showcase the ultra-wide screen and how much real estate users get to play with. Smartly integrated into the base of the monitor is a metal 5W Qi wireless charging plate, which shines an ambient hue of blue when a compatible device is charging off it. While convenient, this method of charging isn’t as fast as simply plugging your phone into a charge outlet or USB port. The only design disappointment I have is the static positioning of the monitor, but I understand why. Playing around too much with the positioning destroys the viewing angles for the user and breaks their immersion, but given the enhancements to this curved tech, I expected some improvements to be made by now to offer more diversity to the user.

Asus Designo MX34VQ Curved Monitor Review 5
Asus Designo MX34VQ Curved Monitor (Image for this review credit to CGM Staff).

When purchasing a monitor at this price point, consumers expect premium quality in all areas with no compromises. Sadly, many panels bundle in cheap, coarse, speakers that no user will want to listen to. The Asus Designo MX34VQ, however, wants to change that perception and compliments its overall user experience by including rich 8W Harman Kardon speakers. Utilizing the Asus AudioWizard, users can optimize their audio for music, movies, or games and notice a sizable difference in quality. Music mode enhances the bass and provides a more spacious sound, movie mode amps up the vocals and sound-effects for a theatre-like experience, and game mode enhances the in-game effects to increase the user’s depth of immersion.

Now comes the best part: the variety of visual preset modes. Compared to the cheapish monitors I’ve used throughout my life, tuning my monitor was essentially a lost cause. I either used the standard preset or yellowed the screen in case my eyes started to hurt because the other presets were egregious to look at. With the powerful visuals the Asus Designo was able to deliver, I finally was able to tailor my monitor to the piece of media I was viewing. Whether it was sRGB, scenery, theatre, or gaming, the monitor was able to enhance the visuals and bring more life to the content. Users can also customize a variety profiles to further personalize their ideal viewing experience.

Asus Designo MX34VQ Curved Monitor Review 3
Asus Designo MX34VQ Curved Monitor (Image for this review credit to CGM Staff).

Playing games on the Asus Designo MX34VQ was enjoyable. One of my core complaints that I felt greatly hindered the Samsung CF591 was that it seemed like I was locked out of entire genres of games. Fighting games looked wonky when I looked to the side, indies didn’t get along with the aspect ratio, and due to the latency of the panel, competitive titles greatly suffered. That’s no longer the case here. Despite having a 4ms delay, the smoothness of the 100Hz and the tailored curvature of the screen allowed me to enjoy a more diverse library of titles outside of cinematic AAA experiences. Lastly, users lucky enough to grab hold of any of AMD’s Vega GPUs will finally see a worthwhile experience using Freesync.

My one piece of advice for people considering purchasing the Asus Designo MX34VQ is to make sure you have a powerful enough rig to get the most out of it. If a user’s PC is built for 1080p gaming, then it’s best to go with a 1080p panel. Because that’s the native resolution of the monitor, the picture will look sharper than if it were downscaled from a QHD panel. Users lowering their res to improve performance will notice ugly blurring and softer shadows, ruining the premium experience they paid good money for. Identify how powerful your rig is and purchase gear that compliments the hardware properly.

Asus Designo MX34VQ Curved Monitor Review 4
Asus Designo MX34VQ Curved Monitor (Image for this review credit to CGM Staff).

Overall, I greatly enjoyed my time with the Asus Designo MX34VQ. While I still personally use flatscreens because I love competitive games and better versatility, curved VA panels are becoming more appealing to me for cinematic experiences in AAA titles and streaming video content. Flatscreens will always remain the king of the market because of the wide variety of market targeted experiences and budgets, but it’s nice to see that even curved monitors like this one are worth a look at for users interested in experiencing something unique from the status quo.

A retail version of this device reviewed was provided by the manufacturer. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Cole Watson’s reviews of the Google Pixel 2 XL and the Microsoft Surface Laptop!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Fe, Monster Hunter World Beta: the Insatiable Nergigante, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT,  Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Secret of Mana (2018) Review Elemental Enervation

Secret of Mana (2018) Review

Among the myriad games released in the last 30 years, only a comparatively select few have attained the sort of legendary prestige that keeps them a part of the conversation long after their time in the sun has passed. Secret of Mana is one such seminal classic; a fiercely druidic hack-and-slash RPG with a nigh-unparalleled audiovisual legacy, it has long remained in the collective consciousness as one of the greatest games to grace the SNES. I, like many others, held it in such high esteem that I met last year’s announcement of a 3D remake with mixed feelings. Though I was happy to see its flame rekindled, I thought it delivered on its vision and didn’t need to be revisited. But time flows like a river, and history repeats. Thus is Secret of Mana reborn for the 2018 demographic, superficially refreshed and fully faithful to its roots in all the wrong areas.

Secret of Mana (2018) Review 1
Secret of Mana (2018) – image for this review provided by Square Enix.

Of all the ways Secret of Mana differs from its SNES ancestor, its visual overhaul is the most hotly contested. In retooling the game for a modern audience, a move from 2D pixel art to 3D models was a given, and I do think that they faithfully reflect the original game’s aesthetic. Randi, Primm, and Popoi sport clean, attractive designs, with primary colours that make them easy to distinguish in the heat of battle. Less successful are the remake’s environments, which strip away much of the subtlety and mystique of Mana‘s memorable locales. Gone are the shady canopies of Matango that made it feel like a hidden paradise. Gone is the majestic presence of the Mana Tree at the apex of the Pure Lands, replaced with an oversized piece of stretched-texture broccoli. The Moon Palace, one of my favourite locations from the original game, was terrifying and beautiful, hovering in perpetuity above a star-speckled void; here, its atmosphere is cheap and childish, more like a nursery playmat than an endless expanse. These alterations sap Mana‘s one-of-a-kind visual essence, transforming it into by-the-numbers budget title that feels like it’s been lifted straight from the App Store.

Secret of Mana (2018) Review 3
Secret of Mana (2018) – image for this review provided by Square Enix.

Weirder still is the developer’s strict adherence to awkward animations that, as far as I could tell, were always a symptom of the SNES’ limited processing power rather than intentional stylistic choices. Characters still emote distress and injury by throwing themselves on the ground, or falling backwards as the screen flashes white. Whipping across a chasm is still a tremendously odd animation wherein the characters gather on top of one another, barely wrap the whip around a distant object, and then fling themselves over the gap all at once. The developer also made the unusual choice to add voice acting throughout the game without implementing lip flaps on character models. It…doesn’t look good. It is baffling to me that Square Enix would recreate Secret of Mana from the ground up without taking the time to create more sophisticated animations to suit its enhanced fidelity.

Secret of Mana (2018) Review 2
Secret of Mana (2018) – image for this review provided by Square Enix.

When the Secret of Mana remake was first announced, I expected it would get an arranged soundtrack. “Arranged” hardly conveys just how different its musical compositions are from the 1993 original. With contributions from a huge variety of esteemed Japanese musicians, including Tsuyoshi Sekito, Tsutomu Narita, sasakure.UK, Yuzo Koshiro, and original composer Hiroki Kikuta, Secret of Mana‘s soundscape experiments with elements of jazz, electronica, classical, and folk influences. Frankly, not every track is a winner, but I did find all of them to be dynamic and adventurous. Any disparity in tone or quality between the original compositions and these remixes is, at the very least, suited to Secret of Mana‘s new look. I already own the game’s soundtrack twice over (the Original Sound Version and the subtly arranged “Genesis” album released in 2012), so I didn’t want to hear the exact same thing again anyway. Kudos to Square Enix for taking a creative risk. And hey, Secret of Mana includes an option to toggle on its classic soundtrack at any time, so purists can rest easy.

Secret of Mana (2018) Review 5
Secret of Mana (2018) – image for this review provided by Square Enix.

While I would have preferred to see a more transformative reimagining of Secret of Mana, this remake is tremendously reminiscent of the original in terms of gameplay. This is, strangely enough, more of a negative point than I imagined it would be. It turns out that Secret of Mana was always kind of clunky; its combat system is designed around hitting monsters during awkward invincibility frames and navigating menus to cast spells. I’m not entirely sure why the “Ring Command” system was always touted as a standout feature, either. It’s sort of cumbersome, really, and even the new customizable L1 & R1 shortcuts can only alleviate so much drudgery. What bugs me the absolute most is how pitifully inaccurate most attacks are. Late-game enemies are outrageously evasive, and sometimes characters will swing four, five, six, seven times, never hitting their mark. This actively discourages participating in combat, which in turn reduces the amount of incoming experience, making the game progressively more difficult. It doesn’t help that teammate AI is still dumb as a brick, either. It’s all a little too accurately replicated. Some mindful rebalancing that could have made Secret of Mana better than ever.

Secret of Mana (2018) Review 4
Secret of Mana (2018) – image for this review provided by Square Enix.

Square Enix, like any large developer, is composed of several teams working on their own projects concurrently. But even with different cooks in each respective kitchen, how does a single company turn out show-stopping, genre-defining hits like Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age and Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood only to heel-turn and release clunkers like Dissidia Final Fantasy NT and, now, Secret of Mana? While it would be hyperbolic to say that this new take on the SNES classic profaned my memory of the original, it did make me question the love for it I’d held on to for the last 25 years. Was Secret of Mana always like this? By forcing me to confront the image of Secret of Mana I’d constructed internally over decades of fond recollection, the remake helped me realize that time twisted my experience into something unrealistic and infallible. It was no perfect game, and neither is this. But I’d still rather immerse myself in the original’s indelible earthiness, pitfalls and all, than grapple with the remake’s drab interpretation of Mana‘s magical world.

A retail version of the game reviewed was provided by the publisher. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more of Derek Heemsbergen’s  reviews, such as  Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth and his second look at Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Fe, Monster Hunter World Beta: the Insatiable Nergigante, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT,  Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

World of Warships: Blitz Review – The Grind is Worth it

World of Warships: Blitz Review - The Grind is Worth it

World of Warships: Blitz is an interesting title, as it’s a port of the widely successful PC game World of Warships, which came out in 2015. The original game sports top of the line graphics and prides itself on its crisp, lag-free presentation, that only runs on powerful computers. As a result, I was skeptical as to how the game would fair as a port and whether it would live up to the standards of its PC companion. 

Read moreWorld of Warships: Blitz Review – The Grind is Worth it

AV.io 4K USB Capture Card (Hardware) Review: Premium Price, Inconsistent Results

AV.io 4K USB Capture Card (Hardware) Review: Premium Price, Inconsistent Results

Content Creators are slowly phasing out their HD setups in exchange for the new standard in online video production, 4K. The problem that arises for many of these creators is that the selection of 4K capture devices for cameras, consoles, and PC is relatively small and rather expensive—so they want to make sure they get the best product for their money. One such solution for many reputable creators on YouTube and Twitch is Epiphan Video’s latest portable capture device, the AV.io 4K USB Capture Card.

Retailing for $500 USD, the AV.io 4K USB Capture Card’s biggest strengths come from its portable size and ability to capture 4K or HD content from any device with HDMI. The card is small enough to fit in the user’s pants pocket and the case is made of a durable metal to ensure it won’t break if it were to be dropped on a hard surface. While I like that there is a bordering layer of plastic to protect the HDMI port, I would have preferred to see some port covers included as well to ensure no debris could ruin the internals if the user were to have an unfortunate incident on-the-go.

AV.io 4K USB Capture Card (Hardware) Review: Premium Price, Inconsistent Results 5
AV.io 4K USB Capture Card – image for this review credit to CGM Staff.

Setup and performance is where the AV.io 4K USB Capture Card didn’t work exceptionally well. Ideally, setup should be as easy as plugging an HDMI signal into the card and then running the included USB 3.0 cable into the back of the user’s computer or laptop, where the captured footage will be recognized as a webcam. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for us. While the AV.io 4K would be recognized, the signal couldn’t be found from a DSLR camera or the Xbox One X we used as our test suites. After we were provided with a firmware update by the manufacturer the signal could be found and adjusted to 4K 30FPS or 1080p 60FPS, but a new problem appeared where the card would periodically stop working at random intervals whether we were using XSplit or OBS as our recording software. It should be noted we were using an AMD PC, but I don’t know how this hardware would really affect what should have been the same driverless and seamless recording experience other creators have enjoyed.

AV.io 4K USB Capture Card (Hardware) Review: Premium Price, Inconsistent Results 1
AV.io 4K USB Capture Card – image for this review credit to CGM Staff.

What we did manage to capture was high-quality footage without a noticeable shred of latency or input lag. Using Call of Duty: WWII, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds as our 4K enhanced test suite I was able to record on XSplit and play the game at the same time without needing to switch over to the Xbox’s native monitor. While our AV.io 4K USB Capture Card experience is close to a dud, when it works it’s easy to see why some creators swear by it.

While I would love to wholeheartedly recommend the AV.io 4K USB Capture Card, its finicky setup and experience left much to be desired. When the card works, it’s great, but that’s something I shouldn’t have to say for a premium product that costs $500 USD. It’s the inconsistencies that I’ve never experienced with other reputable brands, like Elgato or AVerMedia, that make this product unsuitable for live streaming and barely adequate for recording. Understandably this review is an outlier from the norm and users who suffer from similar issues should utilize the included 1-year limited warranty provided by Epiphan to ensure their AV.io card works properly.

AV.io 4K USB Capture Card (Hardware) Review: Premium Price, Inconsistent Results 4
AV.io 4K USB Capture Card – image for this review credit to CGM Staff.

 


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Cole Watson’s reviews of the Google Pixel 2 XL and the Microsoft Surface Laptop!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Monster Hunter World Beta: the Insatiable Nergigante, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT,  Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology (3DS) Review: Future Imperfect

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology (3DS) Review: Future Imperfect

Radiant Historia was a game that never truly earned its glowing reputation, as far as I’m concerned. The time-travelling RPG released on the Nintendo DS in 2011, garnering swift comparison to Chrono Trigger—an honour which, in retrospect, was bestowed upon it only for the temporal elements central to each game’s plot—and igniting a critical frenzy that doomed it to forever live in Chrono Trigger‘s shadow.

Read moreRadiant Historia: Perfect Chronology (3DS) Review: Future Imperfect