Thoughts on E3 2021

Shockingly, almost a month has gone by since the return of E3. I know I had a ton to say prior to the show, and as expected, we were all bombarded with information, reveals, announcements, and everything in between. These past few weeks have really allowed my to digest a lot of what I saw, and maybe even change or soften some of my knee jerk opinions and reactions.

Before we dive in, let me just say it was great having the show back at all. Regardless of what you thought about specific announcements, wasn’t it nice having something big to look forward to again? Yes, we had a lot of mini announcements in 2020, but there really felt like there was a void last June.

Alright, so let’s get into some actual thoughts on the show. Considering it was digital this year, there was plenty of companies that wanted in, meaning we got more than we would have normally.

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What I Want to See at E3 2021

Well everyone, the Summer of Reveals kicks off this week with Geoff Keighley’s Summer Games Fest. It feels good to be saying that because that also means E3 is now days away, so the level of reveals is about to get massive.


I’ve already covered the big boys of E3 with Microsoft and Nintendo predictions, but for this week, I want to focus on games that I’d love to see shown off at the show. I honestly thought we’d be getting some Saints Row action, but I have to commend THQ Nordic for getting out ahead of the expectations and indicating what they won’t be showing, as disappointing as it may be. Many of these are likely a pipe dream but that’s okay, because this is my E3 2021 wishlist.

So, let’s jump into it:

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Gamer Crash (Tries to) Predict: Microsoft E3 2021

We’re continuing on the E3 2021 prediction train this week! This time, the station we’re pulling in to is for Microsoft.


While the Xbox Series X/S remains highly sought after next generation consoles, they continue to be incredibly hard to get a hold of. Couple that with the fact that the big launch title, Halo: Infinite, was delayed and 2020 didn’t seem to have a ton of highlights for the company.

Still, they continue to knock it out of the park by offering flexible subscriptions and services which really cater to the player, with Game Pass being at the front and center. It’s because of these features that Microsoft has really started to regain its momentum and once the hardware becomes readily available to all who want one, it could be a major force once more.

Personally, I’m expecting big things from Microsoft at E3 2021. The company always tends to pull out all the stops and this year should be even more significant with Bethesda now under their roof as well. That was certainly a major recent highlight for Microsoft.

There’s a lot to get to here, so lets try to make some predictions, shall we?

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Gamer Crash (Tries to) Predict: Nintendo E3 2021

The right lights and long lines may still be a distant memory in this new, post-COVID world, but we are getting a digital E3 conference this year. Better than nothing, right? At the very least, it not only gives us something to talk about, but something to look forward to with plenty of reveals from the companies which have already confirmed their attendance.


One of those companies is Nintendo, who routinely gave fans a show at E3 year after year. Even though 2020 was very good for the company in terms of sales, I can’t help but feel like the pandemic really impacted what they wanted to do. In my opinion, their first party release schedule was pretty barebones, surprisingly relying on a new Hyrule Warriors game to be their big holiday release title.

That’s not me taking a dig at them or the game, but in a normal year, Nintendo usually has more planned. I’m hoping 2021 is the opposite for them, giving fans a cornucopia of titles as the year progresses. I’m expecting a number of big reveals at the show this year, many of which I’ve spoken about quite a bit. Here’s what I’m expecting from Nintendo at E3 2021.

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E3 2021 Is Almost Here! Let’s Get Predicting!

I’ll be honest, it felt great to be able to type that headline again. I, for one, am thrilled that E3 is back again this year after the chaos of 2020.


Yes, I know it won’t be anywhere near the same as what we’ve typically gotten in the past, but being able to look forward to a big event again like E3 feels great. Almost normal even. Last year just didn’t feel quite right with all of the mini-events, last minute reveals, and announcements, so to have something big like this again feels right.

So, with E3 now right around the corner, it’s probably time to start predicting some things. I’m happy to say, that will start happening next week. We’ll hit all the big guys and try to figure out what may or may not be shown off and maybe touch on some third party content as well. With COVID delaying things and teams working remotely, this is probably going to be more difficult than normal, but we’ll give it a shot!

I’m thrilled to be able to bring this back this year. I’ll see you guys again next week.

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Indie Developer PSA

As I’m sure most media or in the public spotlight can attest, there are times when others try to take advantage of them or their status in some way. While I’m certainly no where near being someone considered high-profile, a person recently attempted to use my position at Game Rant to try and trick indie developers and studios into free keys.

Now, I find this behavior absolutely reprehensible, not just because they attempted to impersonate me, but the fact they’re targeting indie developers. People who have sacrificed time and money to realize a dream. Not only that, these games ultimately cost a fraction of a normal AAA title, so why try to screw these people out of hard earned money?

It doesn’t make any sense to me. So as a public service to developers out there, if you are being contacted by someone attempting to persuade you into giving them a “review key” for Game Rant, though unable to use the Game Rant email address, contact me directly before sending anything out. The email in question is super suspect with plenty of misinformation in it to make it look official, but I can understand it may not be easy to see for most.

Thankfully, many have done just this, contacting me to see if it really was me who requested review keys. It wasn’t and I wouldn’t. That’s not part of my job at Game Rant. Still, seeing these emails was surprising and upsetting, though I’m thankful that I could set the record straight for these individuals before anything could have happened.

While this clearly isn’t an ideal situation for anyone, I have to admit, some good did come from it. Thanks to people checking in with me directly, I was able to learn more about these individuals, their games, and a little bit more about who they are.

So while I may not have influence anywhere to the level of an IGN, Game Informer, or even my own employer, Game Rant, I thought the least I could do was shine my light on them as much as I could. Everyone I spoke with was super nice and understanding, some of them even had some really interesting stories. Who knows, perhaps one of them could be your next big obsession.

Just so we’re clear, none of them asked me to do this for them. So seriously, go have a look at each studio and game below.

Aron’s Adventure by TiMer Games

Lazy Chess by Cinq-Mars Media

Making History: The First World War by Factus Games

Alice and You in the planet of numbers by Mindware

Gravia by Dan Goyette

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Apex Legends Finally Leans Hard Into Titanfall

Following it’s stealth launch back in February 2019, Respawn Entertainment has made sure that fans knew Apex Legends took place in the same universe as the fan favorite shooter series, Titanfall. Apex Legends technically takes place after the events of the Frontier Wars and both games, but its heritage can still be felt throughout.

While the connection was a bit looser in the first year, fans saw familiar elements and links to Titanfall through the creatures that moved around Kings Canyon as well as Titanfall weapons like the Flatline, Hemlok, and Wingman pistol are prominent. In fact, the major Titanfall character Kuben Blisk was behind the whole Apex Games event was enough for some.

However, with each new season, the references and callbacks to Titanfall has not only increased, but they’ve become less subtle. Hammond Robotics has been featured more prominently, not only being responsible for the planet harvesting device on the World’s Edge map, but also for the creation of the playable character, Revenant.

With season 9 right around the corner, Respawn has finally decided that its time to really start leaning into its Titanfall heritage. The latest character is named Valkyrie, and as it turns out, she’s the daughter of the major Titanfall 2 antagonist, Viper. For those who don’t know, Viper appeared as a boss towards the end of the campaign in an attempt to stop Jack Cooper and BT-7274 from reaching the IMS Draconis. Viper proved to be a difficult fight thanks to his custom built Northstar Titan, though the player would ultimately succeed leaving Viper for dead on the Draconis as it crashed down.

In addition to the arrival of Valkyrie and her Northstar Titan influences, the Launch Trailer for season 9 also seems to confirm the constantly rumored Arena Mode which features none other than Ash, another returned Titanfall 2 boss character. While details are scarce (at the time of this writing, though a gameplay oriented look is coming in a few days), this development has me pretty interested.

I won’t lie, I’m not a huge Battle Royale person. I just can’t really get into them at all and it probably doesn’t help that the majority of my friends don’t really play them either. Still, Apex Legends has always appealed to me thanks to its Titanfall connection and the way the game feels. I loved both Titanfall games, though the fact that Apex Legends is a Battle Royale was a big reason why I could never really get into it.

The fact that Respawn has been actively looking to take the game and expand it beyond the Battle Royale has been very interesting to me and one I firmly support. With Arenas, I’m thinking this is going to be the Apex Legends version of a team deathmatch mode, which is something I’d play for sure. I’m looking forward to seeing more on it and while it may not be Titanfall 3, it’s a step in the right direction. Here’s hoping this Titanfall influence continues in the seasons to come.

…also, Hi. Yes, I’m back. Sorry for being away for so long…again.

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The Dangers of Overhyping a Fanbase

At long last, fans were getting a digital event. Nintendo was going to be the first in 2021 to showcase new content which was specifically stated to be games coming in the first half of 2021. Better yet, it was set to be a 50 minute presentation echoing shades of past E3 directs.

Also, did you know that it was the first major Direct we’ve had since 2019? The was a fact that was hammered home all over, even by Nintendo themselves during the beginning of the presentation. With over 24 hours to sit and think about things, there’s no way that expectations could spiral out of control, right?

Excitement was through the roof for what could be! Fans were so hyped that they managed to get Mario Kart 9 trending on social media even though Nintendo has offered no hints, teases, or indications that another game was on the way.

Hey, it’s the 35th Anniversary of Zelda and wouldn’t you know, the anniversary for the Switch is also coming up! Fan imaginations ran wild. Perhaps Nintendo is preparing to bring a couple of HD ports like Twilight Princess or Wind Waker to the Switch. How cool would it be to see Breath of the Wild 2 come out this spring?

The hype train had now left the station and was fully barreling down the tracks. At this point, there’s no way Nintendo could live up to the hype, right?

Here are four scenarios that fully illustrate the disconnect between the fanbase and what Nintendo actually delivered. While you may have loved at least some of what was shown, it seems like the fanbase as a whole was left a bit disappointed.

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Thoughts On The Gaming Industry for 2021

Needless to say, 2020 saw a massive change in the way we, as fans, interacted with games. The coronavirus really upended a lot of our annual traditions, from big game events, to expected game releases, and so much more.

While the calendar has since changed to 2021, for now, much remains the same. While we seem to be progressing to better days, I couldn’t help but wonder how 2021 may look in for the video game industry. Will we see a return to normalcy? Will this new way of doing things become the standard going forward? Will scalpers continue to mess up our lives?

Here are a few of my thoughts on how 2021 may go.

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The GamerCast: Looking Ahead into 2021

Wow, what a year we just left behind, right? 2020 may not have gone the way that many people had hoped, thanks in large part to a global pandemic which basically forced us all to stay home and abandon many things we were hoping to accomplish out there. Thankfully, video games were there to pick up the slack as well as brand new next gen consoles for those who were able to snag one.

January 2021 is finally hear, promising a fresh start and just a ton of new video games over the next 12 months. As I do every January, it is time to look ahead at what’s coming this year and what I’m excited about with my annual GamerCast. Basically, this is my not so subtle version of the “FutureCast” segments that weathermen use to show you what the weather is going to be over the next few days.


However, we’re not just taking a look at the next seven days. Instead, I’m bringing you a years worth of games to look forward to over the next 12 months. Granted, sometimes my picks don’t actually make it to the finish line, but that’s part of the fun with forecasting releases this year in advance.  Of course, if there’s something you’re excited about that I missed, let me know in the comments.

So as I like to say, it’s time to dust off that crystal ball and have a sneak peek into the future to see what’s coming out in 2021.

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The Gamer Crash Awards: Game of the Year 2020

Part 4 of the annual Gamer Crash Awards is finally here! If you missed any previous categories, you can catch up with these handy links right here: End of Year Superlatives; Small Game/Indie; Soundtrack.

Well, here we are. The final day of 2020 and my final post of this year as well. What better way to celebrate than by talking the best games of the year. Thankfully, it was a year marked with a ton of major releases, meaning that there was a lot to pick from in 2020.

Gamer Crash Awards

Before we jump in, a couple of house rules. Below, you’re not going to see everything that was released in 2020, many of which you’d probably expect to see in a “Game of the Year” style list. I haven’t played everything. I’m one person with limited time so there are instances where I have to pick and choose what I’m going to devote my time to. I can acknowledge that games like The Last of Us 2 are good and probably deserves to be here. However, I haven’t played it as of yet so it wouldn’t be fair for me to put it here. How can I judge something, I haven’t played?

With that said, there’s still a ton of amazing games which I just had a ton of fun playing and really left me impressed this year. So, without further delay, here are my personal nominees.

HadesSupergiant Games

Ghost of TsushimaSucker Punch Productions

Animal Crossing: New HorizonsNintendo

DOOM Eternalid Software

Persona 5 RoyalAtlus

Ori and the Will of the WispsMoon Studios


and the winner is…

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The Gamer Crash Awards 2020: Alternative End of Year Superlatives

It’s Part 3 of the 2020 Gamer Crash Awards! Did you miss anything already announced? Catch up with the Best Soundtrack and Best Indie/Small Game categories.

Gamer Crash Awards

Today’s awards are a bit of a take on what I did last year. Instead of having days worth of categories, I kind of combined everything into one post and included way more categories than I normally would have.

Since I’m not going that route this year, I wanted to sort of pay homage to it and decided to kind of create a Superlatives style award post. Here, you’ll find some of the wackier award categories, but I hope you enjoy! My Game of the Year will be coming later this week so keep an eye out for that.

Now, without further adieu, let’s get to it!

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Gamer Crash Awards 2020: Best Indie/Small Game

Did you miss an award? Catch up with the Best Soundtrack of 2020!

The next awards category for The Gamer Crash Awards is best small game/downloadable/indie. There were an absolutely ton of these this year, many of which came at a great time for gaming considering the global pandemic raging outside. With people trapped in doors, they had more time to discover these smaller independent gems. 

Gamer Crash Awards

Lot of games on this list that I wasn’t able to play this year, so naturally, I left them off. While many sites and people may highlight Among Us (even though it didn’t launch in 2020), Spelunky 2, and Bugsnax to name a few, you won’t find them on my list.

So, let’s see the nominees…

hades box artHades
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. While it’s been in Early Access for some time, the full game finally launched this year and quickly went on to be a behemoth. Supergiant Games quickly had another hit on their hands that went on to take on the gaming industry by storm. 

You play as Zagreus, son of the Greek God of the Underworld, Hades. Fed up with his tyrannical rule, Zagreus attempts to escape the underworld to not only find his mother but to reach Mount Olympus to live with his extended family in what he thinks is a better life. This rogue-like has a ton of charm thanks to the amazing visual style, crisp melee combat, and the amazing dynamic dialogue system which may change and react to things the player has done or unlocked. What sets this rogue-like apart is that death leads to a progression of the main story, side stories, and plenty of other things. You never feel like you’re starting from scratch as new opportunities, abilities, and options are constantly appearing. 

spiritfarer box artSpiritfarer
I thought I knew what I was getting into with the visually gorgeous Spiritfarer, but what I discovered was a game with so much more. You play Stella, who has suddenly been tasked with taking over for the Boatman, Charon. Yes, that Charon. Traveling across islands, players will pick up lost souls and help their journey to the afterlife. The game mixes action-platforming with resource gathering to improve the boat as well as make life as comfortable as possible for the souls aboard. It’s a very interesting mix of genres and one that works extremely well. 

While players may immediately notice the cute animals and vibrant colors, what’s surprising about Spiritfarer is the emotional journey that it takes the player on. Ultimately, Stella is the person responsible for helping these souls who have passed to reach the other side. The unique characters players will come across are all so endearing and each have their needs and likes that the player will have to uncover to help make their journey more comfortable. Each one also has a unique story that players will unravel as they progress, giving them insight into who they were before death. The game handles topics like loss, death, and moving on extremely well and it may even surprise some people 

ori and the will of the wisps box artOri and the Will of the Wisps
The first Ori was magical in every way and I don’t know how but Moon Studio managed to somehow top even that experience. Again, the visuals are just stunning and as I mentioned in the previous awards, the soundtrack continues to elevate the experience. 

At its core, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a Metroidvania style game with a large map to explore, secrets to uncover, powers to acquire, and zones to complete. While the first game had a few notorious difficulty spikes, this one felt much more even across the board. The story is touching and emotional at times but what really pulled me in was the ability to upgrade your home base. I’m a sucker for these types of mechanics and while the one in Ori was simplified, a absolutely appreciated it being in there and changing how I accessed certain areas. 

fall guys box artFall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Very simple to understand and addictively fun can easily describe this quirky game from Mediatonic. Players will be doing a lot of falling in this new spin on the popular Battle Royale genre that was once exclusively home to shooters. In Fall Guys, 60 players compete in a wacky, over the top game show style experience to see who will be the last bean person standing. 

Fans of Takeshi’s Castle or the U.S. version, Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, will feel a bit nostalgic while playing this one. Mini games range from team events, race to the finish line through obstacles, and even survival style games where you hope to not be knocked into a pool of slime. Games are short, which probably is a big reason why it’s so easy to justify ‘1 more game’ before bed. 

streets of rage 4 box artStreets of Rage 4
Even though I never personally owned a Sega Genesis, Streets of Rage was one of my favorite franchises growing up. Thankfully, I knew people who had the system and game, so I got plenty of time with it before it appeared on Virtual Consoles and other places over the years.

Obviously, one of the standout features was the soundtrack, though the side scrolling beat-em-up gameplay was also rock solid. Thankfully, Streets of Rage 4, appearing 26 years after Streets of Rage 3, continues that legacy while also modernizing it. It’s a massive love letter to fans, bringing back a huge roster of playable characters, references, unlocklable bonuses, and more. However, the game also manages to stand on its own with a new story, slick visuals, and fun beat-em-up gameplay. 

desperados 3 box artDesperados III
I won’t lie, I was not familiar with this series before hoping in. Word of mouth and positive reviews got me onto this one. For those of you who don’t know, this is a real-time tactics game set in the Wild West during the 1870s. It features five playable characters with different weapons and abilities. 

The main character, John Cooper, is a bounty hunter hot on the trails of a notorious bandit leader who was involved in his father’s death. Gameplay favors stealth to assassinate enemies, though it can also be played as an action title instead using a menu to coordinate and chain attacks. It may sound complicated but it’s a ton of fun to play and even replay thanks to the freedom and various ways you can approach missions. Mimimi Games certainly proved themselves with this one and it’s totally worth checking out. 

moving out box artMoving Out
For me, this one came out of no where but went on to become an amazing couch co-op experience similar to what Overcooked did a few years ago. 

Instead of cooking, players work together to essentially move people’s furniture out of their house and into a truck parked outside. It sounds simple enough but as expected, things quickly go off the rails with not only the house layout and obstacles, but trying to meet various challenges. It’s a literal blast with friends and is a great party game.

and the winner is…

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The Gamer Crash Awards 2020 – Best Soundtrack

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to The 2020 Gamer Crash Awards! This is the annual event where we celebrate the latest and the greatest over the past year.

Now, a couple of things to note before we get into today’s nominees. I am a singular person with a limited budget and time. IGN this is not. As such, I realistically can’t get around to everything so you will absolutely find that not every game you’d expect to be listed here. Some games I just haven’t played or gotten around to yet so I can’t rightfully give them an award. It wouldn’t make sense and would be a little fraudulent on my part.

So the first award category for this year is easily one of my favorites. As I mention every year, a game’s soundtrack can have a huge impact on the player’s experience. A good soundtrack can even enhance the gameplay further, really tying everything together. As such, there’s been no shortage of ear pleasing tunes in 2020.

So, let’s get to it. Here are the nominees:

doom eternal box artDOOM: Eternal – Mick Gordon
When a DOOM game releases, you know it’s going to be on this end of year list. Granted, with Mick Gordon and id Software having a bit of a falling out, this is likely the last time you’ll be seeing the two linked.

If it is the last Mick Gordon led DOOM soundtrack then the man went out with a bang. It retains a lot of what fans remember from his work on the previous game with those heavy riffs that fit oh so well with the fast paced demon slaying on the screen.

ghost of tsushima box artGhost of Tsushima – Ilan Eshkeri and Shigeru Umebayashi
Unlike DOOM Eternal, Ghost of Tsushima takes a more subtle approach to better blend in with the background and epic scale of Tsushima Island. What makes it memorable is just how cinematic the score is. The music is able to dynamically change and shift to match the actions on screen whether the player is in a tense battle or simply riding through an expansive field across the island.

The other standout feature is how well it manages to encapsulate the feeling of being a Samurai and being in the shoes of Jin Sakai. The range of music manages to convey that emotion and weight being the last Samurai while also trying to do what’s necessary to save the people from the Mongols.

hades box artHades – Darren Korb
Once again, Darren Korb delivers. It’s pretty much a given that when Supergiant releases a game, it’ll be nominated in this category. Hades is absolutely no exception.

Again, the music perfectly encapsulates everything happening on screen, increasing in intensity for those high combat moments to dropping back down when a room is cleared. Each realm in Hades has a specific sound to it and there’s even a few tracks performed by Korb and longtime collaborate Ashley Barrett. There’s at least a few tracks that will get stuck in your head and never leave.

ori and the will of the wisps box artOri and the Will of the Wisps – Gareth Coker
The only thing that can really be said about the Ori soundtrack is that it’s haunting, beautiful, and dramatic. It intertwines itself with the visuals and gameplay so well that it truly does enhance the game.

The soundtrack manages to capture the essence of what made the first one so good and then ratchet things up from there. Filled to the brim with orchestral goodness, you can really feel the emotion with each track.

tony hawk box artTony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 – Various Artists
This may be a bit of a copout, especially for those of you who didn’t grow up with the franchise but man, this soundtrack really hit me right in the nostalgia. Growing up with the classic Tony Hawk games, you developed a fondness for the gameplay as well as the music being played. Over the years, the tracks stuck with you and hearing them anywhere else would instantly recall the grinds, spins, and flips on a virtual skateboard.

Kudos for Activision for bringing back pretty much the exact playlist from the original games while adding a couple of new tracks on top of that. Lagwagon, Millencolin, Rage Against the Machine…they’re pretty much all here as you remember and make this latest game a true time capsule for anyone that players the originals back in the day.

persona 5 royal box artPersona 5 Royal – Shoji Meguro
Okay, technically this is a soundtrack to a game that is an expanded version of the original which was released in 2019. I don’t care, the soundtrack is straight fire. Persona 5 Royal launched this year so to me, that qualifies.

This thing is so much fun to listen to, featuring some truly funky, catchy, and memorable tracks. It fits the unmatched style of the game perfectly and I guarantee when you listen to it, you won’t be able to tap your toes or bob your head. It’s a body mover, that’s for sure.

streets of rage 4 box artStreets of Rage 4 – Olivier Deriviere, Yuzo Koshiro, Motohiro Kawashima, Yoko Shimomura, Keiji Yamagishi, Harumi Fujita, Das Mörtal, and Groundislava.
That’s a big list! When you’re talking about Streets of Rage, one of the defining aspects I immediately think of is the soundtrack. Yuzo Koshiro’s work on the old Sega Genesis games still sticks with me to this day and I’m happy to report that this latest game continues that tradition with a slew of artists including Olivier Deriviere who leads the way on most tracks.

As expected, Streets of Rage 4 continues the EDM focused sound, though it also leaves room to push things forward a bit as well. The energy and tempo shift with the action on the screen bringing the energy that the series is well known for. Plus, it features new music from Koshiro himself, which is again, quite excellent.

fall guys box artFall Guys: Ultimate Knockout – Jukio Kallio and Daniel Hagström
A surprise pick for me this year is Fall Guys, a game which burst onto the scene thanks to its cute little bean people and gameplay that is clearly inspired by the wacky gameshow Takeshi’s Castle.

To help enhance the quirky game, the music is also incredibly fun to listen to and incredibly catchy. Even with rounds being fairly short, the music never manages to outstate its welcome or become mindnumbingly simple. The music is colorful, fun, and rather inviting, really lending itself to pushing players into ‘one more round’ before turning it off.

And my favorite 2020 game soundtrack is….

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Hands on with KontrolFreek

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been putting some KontrolFreek accessories through their paces. I’m familiar with the company largely due to their controller accessories, especially the performance thumbsticks. A couple years back, I was able to grab Destiny 2 themed thumbsticks and I won’t lie, I’ve been using them ever since. Obviously, 2-3 years later, the company has certainly expanded and has a host of new content to dig through.

First off, I want to give a big shout out and thanks to the KontrolFreek team for not only contacting me but sending me a bunch of stuff to check out. They sent over two sets of performance thumbsticks for the Xbox One and PS4 consoles each as well as LED powered gaming lights.

Here are my thoughts on everything.

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