Each month, CGM writers get the chance to review the latest and greatest tech, toys, games and media. At the end of each month, we round up the ten highest scoring reviews to show our readers what gear and games we can stand behind with confidence! From our CGM family to yours, we want to ensure you never miss the top reviews to help you make informed choices on all your media and gear!
Here are our CGM Monthly Top 10 Reviews: November 2021
The Best of the Rest
Arcane Season 1 (2021)
“I have been playing the game since its Beta release back in 2009 and the story of the “champions” or playable characters was never the intended focus for the game. It was the growing community that wanted more lore and Riot Games kept delivering and building—all roads leading to masterfully craft this rich story that gives audiences a perfect blend of fantasy, mystery, action, romance, and drama. I could not ask for anything better.” Here is CGM’s review of Arcane (TV Series) Act 1-3.
Final Thoughts: Arcane’s Act 1 kicks off with a bang. Act 2 continues to reload some emotional and story-driven ammunition. Then, I hope to see Act 3 conclude the show with a barrage of mouth-watering explosions, pandemonium and tear-jerking moments it has already provided to many of us.
The Unforgivable (2021)
“I knew I was in for an emotional roller coaster the second I saw the trailer for The Unforgivable, but nothing prepared me for the ride I just went on. The second you see Sandra Bullock with a bad hair cut, you know you’re going to be seeing her come Oscar season, and this proves so very true with this film.” Here is CGM’s review of The Unforgivable (2021).
Final Thoughts: The Unforgivable is sure to be seen this award season. The performances, script and direction are perfection, and it will leave you shaken and smiling at the same time.
The Fantastic Four
Halo Infinite Multiplayer Season One (Xbox Series X)
“The good news, however, is that Halo Infinite Multiplayer is ‘effing good. Certainly, good enough at the very least to whet the appetites of franchise veterans and newcomers alike until Master Chief’s search for Cortana continues this December, and hopefully for many months and years afterwards. Whether it will manage to keep the majority of those players fully engaged in the franchise once they’ve rolled the campaign credits in Legendary co-op many months from now remains to be seen, but like it or not, Halo Infinite Multiplayer has become its own thing, and it’s here right now.” Here is CGM’s review of Halo Infinite Multiplayer Season One (Xbox Series X).
Final Thoughts: Unencumbered by the baggage of the upcoming story campaign, Halo Infinite Multiplayer is arguably the definitive incarnation of the franchise’s online competitive component and is strong enough to stand on its own despite its F2P leanings.
iPad (9th Generation)
“It’s amazing how the landscape of digital productivity has changed in just over a decade. It’s been nearly twelve years since Apple redefined tablets with the first iPad, setting off another tech arms race concurrent with the smartphone revolution. I can’t help but wonder how much strain I would have saved myself as a university student in the late aughts if I could have carried something like the new iPad (9th Generation) around instead of my bulky Dell laptop.” Here is CGM’s review of the IPad (9th Generation).
Final Thoughts: The 9th generation iPad cleaves the Gordian Knot of tablet selection, offering a full-featured, full-sized companion that doesn’t break the bank. It’s a compromise that doesn’t feel, at all, like a compromise.
Tick, Tick…Boom! (2021)
“Tick, tick…Boom! is a rollercoaster ride. There is no better introduction for this review. The film starts off at full speed and doesn’t slow down for a second, pulling you to manic heights and depressive lows along the way.” Here is CGM’s review of Tick, Tick…Boom! (2021).
Final Thoughts: Starting with a bang, or maybe a Boom! Tick, tick…Boom! was captivating from beginning to end with stellar performances from all involved.
Elgato Wave XLR
“Looking at your options for on-stream audio, you have a few options. You can have a USB mic plugged directly into your computer, you can use a complicated (and often large) mixer setup for an XLR mic, or you can use one of the few audio interfaces built for the streamer. These are often more and give you some important tools to make your stream great. But one company decided to combine all three with a device that is the size of a wallet.” Here is CGM’s review of the Elgato Wave XLR.
Final Thoughts: The Elgato Wave XLR brings the highest end microphones to your stream for the most affordable price yet, but nothing about the device feels like a budget option. Its simple design and top notch software makes this a must-buy.
The Great Ones
iPhone 13 Pro
“If you’re an iPhone user looking at the end of their current contract and the inevitable offers that our service providers send us, enticing us to switch horses to the newest model, I would easily recommend the iPhone 13 Pro. Apple has made a considerable leap forward in raw power with this year’s midrange offering.” Here is CGM’s review of the iPhone 13 Pro.
Final Thoughts: The iPhone 13 Pro is a worthy upgrade from previous models. On the Venn diagram of power, features, and price, it nearly scores a bullseye.
The Beatles: Get Back (2021)
“Now picture for a moment that you have a time capsule of The Beatles near the end of their life as a band that we could open and get a good look into their personalities, their process, and their frustrations as they put together a new album in a limited time before a pair of live shows. Now imagine an Oscar winning Director getting his hands on that time capsule.” Here is CGM’s review of The Beatles: Get Back (2021).
Final Thoughts: The Beatles, a half-century removed from their final performance, still have the legs to captivate audiences. Peter Jackson took it upon himself to tell the hardest story of any band; their last story. Given that this isn’t just any band, you know without seeing a frame of the film that it cannot be missed.
Xencelab Pen Tablet Small
“If there is one single factor that indicates quality hardware, especially in the digital design and art world, it’s being able to use something efficiently that otherwise does not conform to one’s personal preference and comfort.” Here is CGM’s review of the Xencelab Pen Tablet Small.
Final Thoughts: There isn’t a whole lot more to say about Xencelab’s small drawing tablet and pen set, however in this case, that is a good thing as often, for drawing, simple is best, and Xencelab has excelled in offering an easy to use and intuitive product, best suited for both beginners and intermediate users.
The Harder They Fall (2021)
“I can’t get enough of modern westerns. The spaghetti western subgenre completely changed the playing field, turning the period of history on its head and focusing on the bloodier underbelly rarely explored in the courageous Hollywood tales of yore. The Harder They Fall isn’t just a sterile homage to that era of disarray though; it’s something original entirely.” Here is CGM’s review of The Harder They Fall (2021).
Final Thoughts: The Harder They Fall backs an original premise alongside of a host of talented actors and engaging action.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 (Xbox Series X)
“Jurassic World Evolution 2 is a simulation game that ties into the Jurassic Park universe. Throughout the multiple modes (Campaign, Challenge, Sandbox and Chaos Theory) the main goal remains the same—build a successful Jurassic Park, don’t let anyone get eaten, profit!” Here is CGM’s review of Jurassic World Evolution 2 (Xbox Series X).
Final Thoughts: Jurassic World Evolution 2 covers all its bases in the newest iteration of the franchise. Aside from a few clunky issues when designing, every detail was considered and the game will appeal to a wide range of gamers, not just fans of Jurassic Park or Sim games.
DUSK (Nintendo Switch)
“Just because October is over, doesn’t mean we still can’t enjoy some spooky fun before Christmas! Originally released in 2018, DUSK made a name for itself by invoking the art-style and gameplay of PC classics like DOOM and Quake, while still carving out an identity all its own. Now it’s found its way onto the Nintendo Switch, and it—much like the 2016 DOOM before it—it’s so unbelievably fun to rip and tear on the go.” Here is CGM’s review of DUSK (Nintendo Switch).
Final Thoughts: DUSK is a bloody good time on Switch that perfectly evokes the spirit of the best 90’s shooters.
Dexter: New Blood (Episodes 1-4)
“Ten years later, Dexter graces television again in this revival series that is a true return to form, now called Dexter: New Blood. I have seen the method to the madness. With a new setting and a new cast of characters, the series is a benchmark on how to revive a dormant series.” Here is CGM’s review of Dexter: New Blood (Episodes 1-4).
Final Thoughts: Dexter: New Blood is storytelling mastery. After the nonsensical ending of the original series, I did not believe new life can be given to the beloved character. The cast is extraordinary, and Michael C Hall as Dexter captivates in a way no one else can, fans of the original and new fans need to watch New Blood.
Intel Core I5-12600K CPU
“While the flagship chips are often the most exciting offering when any new CPU lineup is unleashed onto the market, often it is the midrange chips that are the most useful for most people. This year it is no different, and Alder Lake brings a lot of exciting features to the full lineup, making this year’s Intel i5-12600K CPU one of the more interesting offerings in some time. With specs that beat out some previous i9 CPUs, for people looking for a solid mid-range upgrade, this is your year to make the leap.” Here is CGM’s review of the Intel Core I5-12600K CPU.
Final Thoughts: With Alder Lake, Intel has delivered one of the most exciting and game-changing CPU releases in a long while, and the Intel i5-12600K CPU is proving to be the new mid-range CPU to beat going forward.
Riders Republic (Xbox One)
“I have always enjoyed sports games like SSX and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater growing up. Then, I got to play a bit of Steep when it was released back in 2016. My first impressions of Riders Republic were completely different from when I finally got to explore the game. Steep had elements that showcased the crazy extreme sports and Red Bull Signature Series sports, from paragliding to base jumping. Riders Republic is just that, plus pure insanity!” Here is CGM’s review of Riders Republic (Xbox One).
Final Thoughts: Riders Republic provides an exhilarating action-sports adventure that will take your breath away with its immersive, eye-candy environments and will have you smiling or laughing throughout.
“Think of any movie you’ve seen where you know the identity of the killer from the very start. While the cat is out of the bag, it’s the tension of the people you watch on the screen not knowing what’s in store for them that keeps you watching. You want to scream at them, “Don’t go in there!” or “Don’t go with him!” and you just have to sit there and watch people suffer their fate.” Here is CGM’s review of Dopesick (2021).
Final Thoughts: Dopesick is a hard, yet necessary mini-series to watch. Its subject matter is a lot to deal with, but its story is masterfully told by some of the best filmmakers and actors in the business and, much like the subject of the series itself, should not be ignored.
Intel I9-12900K CPU
“Alder Lake brings a lot to the table, many things PC builders will not get to take full advantage of until the parts come available. It is the first CPU to offer DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5, potentially delivering some exciting SSD results in the coming months and years. Alder Lake is also made to work with some previous technology, allowing DDR 4 to be used provided you have a compatible motherboard, and it will continue to work with previous generations of PCIe SSD drives. It will also carry forward Intel’s Thunderbolt 4, so all your peripherals have not gone obsolete overnight.” Here is CGM’s review of the Intel I9-12900K CPU.
Final Thoughts: Intel has delivered on the promises made and delivered a true step forward in computing with the Alder Lake i9-12900K.
Final Fantasy V Pixel Remaster (PC)
“Square Enix’s surprise re-release project winds on to Final Fantasy V Pixel Remaster, bringing new life to one of the series’ overshadowed entries. In many ways, this was one of the games in the compilation that intrigued me most, given its somewhat unique history and its original technical limitations.” Here is CGM’s review of Final Fantasy V Pixel Remaster (PC).
Final Thoughts: Final Fantasy V Pixel Remaster gives one of the franchises’ underdogs a substantial glow-up, in many ways realizing its potential in ways the original hardware or previous ports never could. Series fans should not miss the opportunity to experience it here, if they’ve never played it before.
I will preface in saying that if one were to go into the film not knowing a little backstory between the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, they will probably view the film slightly differently, but will ultimately reach the same conclusion that Royal Family enthusiasts like myself would see by the time the credits scroll. I would implore all moviegoers to go see the film with the psychological drama elements that it presented.” Here is CGM’s review of Spencer (2021).
Final Thoughts: The score, the unique re-imagining ideas and set pieces of what happened in those three days in Spencer show off ingenuity and innovation with Pablo Larraín’s Princess Diana.
Shin Megami Tensei V (Nintendo Switch)
“Thankfully, Shin Megami Tensei V is not only a worthy successor of its 3DS predecessor, but the title also manages to eclipse Persona 5 in its overall scope and presentation. Like previous entries in the series, Shin Megami Tensei V primarily takes place in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, with the player assuming the role of an unnamed high schooler. Quickly, the player is granted the ability to jump between a contemporary cityscape and the demon-infested ruins of Tokyo thanks to the aid of a mysterious alley that transforms the player into the Nahobino.” Here is CGM’s review of Shin Megami Tensei V (Nintendo Switch).
Final Thoughts: Shin Megami Tensei V is an excellent Switch exclusive worthy of its name, with the game feeling like the natural next step in the long-running series while introducing new elements that elevate it above even its contemporaries while not straying too far from its roots, offering fans a must-play experience and for everyone else, a JRPG worth jumping into.
Anda Seat Kaiser II Chair
“PC gaming has always been a difficult sell for me, since I’d have to sit in a generally uncomfortable chair for lengths of time, instead of being comfortable on my couch with a PlayStation controller in my hand. That all changed when I got my hands on the Anda Seat Kaiser II.” Here is CGM’s review of the Anda Seat Kaiser II Chair.
Final Thoughts: The Anda Seat Kaiser II is comfortable, adjustable, reliable, and durable. Everything I could ever ask for in an office/gaming chair.
And Our Monthly Dishonourable Mention:
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition (PS5)
“I can understand that this game came out 20 years ago, and the quality of the graphics is not going to be great, but it is not good enough. Not even close. I played the PlayStation 5 version of the trilogy, so it’s not like I was wanting for processing power. A next-gen remaster is supposed to bring near-next-gen graphical display. This game looks like it was designed for the PS3, possibly even the PS2 in its later stages. This is a shame because the game originally came out for the PS2, so very little has improved.” Here is CGM’s review of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition (PS5).
Final Thoughts: GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is a relic of its time. A relic that was better left unearthed.
That sums up our CGM Monthly Top 10 Reviews for November 2021. Come back on December 31, 2021 to see how the world of tech, toys, games and media compares to this month!