Sep 22, 2017 Last Updated 8:58 PM, Sep 22, 2017
Joel Hendershott

Joel Hendershott

You merely adopted gaming. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see 64 bits until I was already a man". I've been gaming since the early days, playing everything from commodores and Atari to Current Gen. I'm a flip-flopper of the worst kind, constantly jumping back and forth between consoles and PC. I can play most any games, but RPG's, racing games are my jam. I also enjoy the simulator games far more than any one man should. One day I decided to not just play larger than life characters but attempt to be one myself and jumped into training for Strongman and powerlifting. Now the biggest struggle in my life is do I spend more time on Games or Gains?

With Divinity: Original Sin 2, Larian Studios creates a title that brings together the best aspects of table-top and classic roleplaying games. The graphics, along with the score and voice acting, are painstakingly detailed and are truly awe-inspiring. Every decision you make, from character creation to dialogue, will affect your experience, giving you a slightly different playthrough every time. This is not a game for the casual player, however. The sheer size of the game and the difficulty of some battles will require dozens of hours and have you loading quicksaves time and again. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is primed to be on many all-time favorites lists; few, if any, have succeeded to this degree.

The expertise of HB Studios in sports titles shines through in the overall experience and swing mechanics of The Golf Club 2. However, that experience, along with the high-quality graphics of each hole and the smooth animations of the character get washed out by poor modeling of the on-course spectators, bland water rendering, and lower-quality background textures, even on ultra settings. Once you take the time to get a solid handle on the controls, the course creator gives you endless possibilities for gamers passionate about golf. Though, with only slightly updated graphics and the inclusion of the swing temp mechanic, is it worth the upgrade from the original The Golf Club title?

The price point of the Farming Simulator: Big Bud DLC is pretty high for the content that it includes. While the models are fantastic and a cut above mods of the same machines in earlier installments of the franchise, the pack will not convert the average gamer away from their favorite FPS title and into tractor seat. However, if you are a solo farmer looking to tackle bigger maps and larger field sizes, but don’t have a community of players with which to work your fields, then this pack may be right up your alley.

The additional content added in the Project Highrise: Las Vegas brings the casino flair, is enough to vary the way you play, and give you an entirely different architectural experience. In addition to base game, the decisions by Sonasim to include, mods, steam cloud and mac support allow for a lengthy, diverse and easily accessible experience.

P.A.M.E.L.A. is one of the most visually solid games on Steam today, in the indie market — and possibly including AAA as well. There was a rash of bad reviews for crashing and loading issues, but the issues were fixed very quickly thereafter. Even with a small development team, NVYVE Studios has produced one of the most polished Early Access games I’ve seen, and it bodes well for the future of the title and the studio.

In its current state, On The Road is highly disappointing for a simulation game. Nothing as of yet really stands out that is going to put this game ahead of a list of already great titles in the genre, and without significant changes, your money will likely be better spent elsewhere.

Train Mechanic Simulator succeeds in the mechanic simulator space. It separates itself amongst its peers, but lacks the driving physics to be an independent train sim. The models are fantastic, but the focus of the sim is constructing and designing trains, so the driving environment leaves something to be desired: you need to be truly hardcore about the details of trains to get long term enjoyment from the Train Mechanic Simulator.

Bomb Squad Academy is more fun than it is challenging. Negative feedback to the player, other than the bomb blowing up (of course), is thin, but this results in an approachable, replayable atmosphere. This is a fantastic puzzler with complex and unique mechanics that are presented to the player in an easily digestible way.

River City Ransom: Underground is fantastic in how it truly captures the feel of retro games, and it’s clear from the experience that Conatus Creative provides the desire and requisite talent. On top of the original beat-em-up feel, additional features round out the title quite nicely, such as RPG leveling aspects and a fighting engine that packs a punch.

Flintlock Studios presents us with a fascinating and entertaining concept, one that could bring a much-welcomed spotlight to a period of American History often overlooked. Yet considering the fierce competition out there, the limited size of the studio, and more importantly, the current state of the game, Northern Regime isn’t off to a promising start. I’m rooting for the British Columbia-based studio, but it’s got a long way to go until it's ready for a full release. A significant amount of work has to be put in before Northern Regime can be considered a quality Early Access game.

We Are Chicago raises real issues that still plague parts of America, and encourages young people to stay away from gang violence, and this goal is praiseworthy – but between the flat graphics, the uninspired characters, and the nausea-inducing camera movement, We Are Chicago isn't an enjoyable gaming experience.

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