My favorite Strategy Games for PC

favorite strategy games

Strategy games are more than a portal to another world. They’re a place where you can play hero, savior, and master of the universe. Hours of gameplay lets you rule over everything in the virtual world, and you can do almost anything your heart desires. Being a benevolent ruler or a tyrant is entirely up … Read more My favorite Strategy Games for PC

Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown PC – Gameplay Review

ace comabt 7 collectors edition
Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown for PC
Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown for PC

Finally – it’s back: So let’s do a Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown PC Gameplay Review!

Today we gladly enrolled “Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown” into our gaming library. How does it stack up?

The Ace Combat (or AC) Franchise established air superiority in PlayStation’s skies way back in 1995 (with some titles also available for Xbox and iPhone) and has remained as the flagship of the arcade fighter jet genre, well deservedly I might add.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon – Grounded

At the time of this writing, Ace Combat 7 is the only game in the franchise that is available on Steam, with “Ace Combat: Assault Horizon” being withdrawn. Why? Nobody is certain although it seems to be most likely due to licensing issues.

Ace Combat 7:Skies Unknown Trailer

Either way, the recent release of AC7 gives us another chance to enjoy the cathartic yet captivating gameplay that we have come to expect from the AC series. And let’s be honest, are we all not desperate to scratch that itch?

Let’s take a deeper look.

Not Ready for TakeOff

Sadly though, this title isn’t all ‘clear skies and ready for takeoff’, ‘sunny with cloudy spells’ is perhaps a more fitting description.

Issues began rearing their ugly little heads just a few seconds after launching the game in fact, the sort of issues that we have sadly come to expect from the usual hodgepodges of a poor pc ports. When will developers learn?

For instance, the menus have a total lack of mouse support. That’s right, no mouse support in 2019. It’s rather disconcerting quite frankly, we soldiered on though.

Problems with HOTAS

Lack of mouse supported menus aside we dive into the controls and are quite disappointed to see that yet again, we are faced with another issue perhaps more serious this time; a lack of remappable control options.

Oh no, Namco.

Sadly it appears as though only a few select HOTAS (Hands On Throttle-And-Stick) Joysticks are compatible for key remapping.

These particular types of HOTAS being “hybrids” – HOTAS that are compatible with console and PC. This left a slightly bitter taste in our mouths but perhaps we expected a little too much? Oh well, we were still quite excited to try the game regardless.

The game itself however? Beautiful at 60 FPS

Taking a look at the graphics menu was quite refreshing, you’ll find plenty of options there to tinker with on your quest to achieve 60fps. Luckily, we were able to keep the settings maxed throughout our playthrough and let us tell you, what a sight it was.

Having dealt with a few pre flight delays everything else begins to look fairly promising, our fingers crossed at this point.

Ace Combat 7 PC Release Date

Looking back, the official release date for Ace Combat Skies Unknown 7 PC was on January 31st 2019.

Although AC7 was announced all the way back in 2015 with a scheduled release for 2017, some complications in the development of the game pushed it into 2019.

In an open letter to the fans of the franchise, director Kazutoki Kono made an attempt to explain some of the problems the development team faced at the time.

According to Kono the then current game art and design standards were way below the development team’s vision and because of this the team went to work addressing the qualms they had. In addition, the developers changed their focus from primarily building for PS4 exclusively to then focusing on compatibility with Xbox One and PC as well.

Good move Namco.

Ace Combat 7 Trailer featuring Raffale Pilot Pierre-Henri “Até” Chuet

Interestingly, an actual pilot – and obviously the role model and name giver for our hero in Ace Combat Skies Unknown – thinks the game play has become somewhat more realistic. This is promising news for an otherwise arcade focused game, hopefully simulator fans who might have otherwise been discouraged from dipping their toes in the AC franchise will decide to give it a go this time.

Watch this testimonial trailer – as an avid simulator fan myself, I was pleased to see AC7 take a step into my world, albeit lightly.

Cloud Surfing and Raindrops

What the team have managed to do with the weather is probably one of the best and well thought out improvements to the game. According to “Até” clouds play a big role, especially during combat, just as they should. We might also mention that the thunderstorms in game are quite impressive too!

Ace Combat 7 VR

Caveat: Not for PC! Negative! Sorry!

Due to Sony sending in some coding troops to help the development team with VR only the PS4 Version of Ace Combat 7 comes with VR capacity out of the gate.

Unfortunate. Well, that’s the advantage of one company putting its resources behind a product (Sony didn’t do that with its laptops enough it would seem – I loved the Vaio notebooks).

In our opinion, we would say the PC gaming market is more than ripe for a good VR Fighter Jet game, at the moment pc gamers have few choices and even less so when it comes to the arcadey style of AC.

However, I come bearing encouraging news; on the physical case of Ace Combat 7 the small print does indeed state that the VR part of the game is only going to be exclusive to PS4 for one full year. I for one won’t be holding my breath expecting a sudden flood of VR compatibility across the other platforms but we’ll have to see.

In a perfect world, we PC Gamers might be able to also experience VR Capabilities around the end of January 2020.

Fingers crossed.

VR for Ace Combat 7 (PS4) review

At the moment though, the VR experience of the Ace Combat 7 PS4 edition is far from “complete” anyways.

Yes, you’re able to experience how it feels to be flying inside a fighter jet cockpit, all the while being immersed in realistic ‘3D’ sound as you move your virtual head around. But at least on PS4, VR at the moment is an add-on at best; Only the “Mobius 1” missions come with VR capabilities.

Or to put it bluntly, about 90% of the game does not come with any VR capability whatsoever. So to call this game ‘VR compatible’ is a bit of a stretch indeed.

It seems like for every step forward we take two steps back.

So we PC gamers aren’t missing much at the moment, it seems as though Sony just did the bare minimum to slap the ‘VR’ label onto the game. But who knows, maybe when Sony looses its ius primae noctis on the VR feature at some point in 2020, Ace Combat for PC will receive a decent VR update? It’s not as if the bar has been set very high now is it?

So there is hope, we PC Players may still be able to enjoy the entire campaign and multiplayer in VR after all. As it stands, the VR experience of the Ace Combat 7 PS4 version is far from ‘complete’ and not anything I would miss.

Should you shoot for the Ace Combat 7 Collectors’ Edition?


Collector’s edition revealed for ACE COMBAT 7 Skies Unknown

Here is what you get from the Collectors’ Edition:

  • Full version ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN
  • The Ace Combat Season Pass: comes with three new and shiny aircraft, three additional missions and One music player mode (weird!)
  • The Collectors among you will drool for the included Exclusive Arsenal Bird figurine (40 cm:500g)
  • If you ever wondered how to get hold of an art book, here is your chance: 150 pages filled with everything a devout fan of this franchise would kill for
Ace Combat 7 Collector's Edition Shopping Spree

Wait? You are still here, not ordering on amazon?

Then it seems you are not (yet) a devout fan of this Game…

In this case that’s good, because… well it’s no longer available.

And if you are already a huge fan and collector, and you were one of the few chosen ones, you probably have the Arsenal Bird figurine by now encased in a glass container for everyone to admire. Lucky you.

Whilst the art book is a nice little touch (and pretty much par for the course as far as Collector’s editions go) the price tag for the package itself is rather steep. Expect to fork out $200 for the Collector’s edition, feel free to pour yourself a stiff drink also.

I am one of the unwashed. I love a great game more than nearly anything, but I will not (and more importantly can not afford to) invest 200 bucks to get a figurine and an art book. Oh, and don’t forget the Season Pass.

But to each his own. I take off my hat for long time fans of the series and pass this time.

Ace Combat 7 Gameplay

The engrossing gameplay of the Ace Combat Franchise is what kept it afloat through all these years.

Before take off, you have the option to choose what type of controls you want (Standard or Expert) to set the granularity of the gameplay. The handling of your jet will feel totally different depending on your settings and this is where AC7 comes into it’s own. In fact, several gamers starting out on Standard redid the campaign because after getting used to the expert level, the game simply opens up in terms of controls. This is adds a layer to what are in my opinion, the best games of this genre.

In campaigns, you have 20 different missions to play through, featuring multiple objectives to complete. The bulk of which comprises mostly of destroying targets such as tactical buildings and enemy aircraft.

At first it may seem like everything is just a little too easy, but given time and a bit of progress, the difficulty ramps up just enough to keep you busy and focused on staying alive.

Alongside the improvement of the enemy’s AI (which was sorely needed), the weather becomes a more and a more interactive feature of the game. Included within is a dynamic weather system that isn’t only cosmetic, for instance, high winds will actually affect the jet causing the plane’s heading to change. Lightning even plays a role, if you are unfortunate enough to be struck by it expect to experience a momentary loss of weapon system capability.

Ace Combat 7 on Steam

Surprisingly Ace Combat 7 isn’t that demanding on your gaming rig, some laptops and a decent computer should be able to deal with it without a breaking a sweat.

However let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, don’t expect 4k on mid tier systems (you shouldn’t be anyway) but you probably will have a decent gaming experience with your slightly aged PC. I think some praise is due for the developers in this regard.

On Steam, at the moment (February 2019) there are two options to get hold of the game: The Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown Launch Edition and the Deluxe Edition which contains the Seasons Pass.

On Steam you will also find achievements, trading cards, and the popular community hub.

Ace Combat 7 Strangereal Edition vs. Aces of War vs. Deluxe Edition?

Besides the price tag, consider these facts when choosing your version of Ace Combat 7.

  • Ace Combat 7 Collectors’ Edition (Strangereal Edition): This version practically contains the whole “package.” Sadly, it is no longer available for purchase in the official retailers.
  • Ace Combat 7 Aces of War: This bundle features the Launch Edition, an Exclusive Steelbook, and Aces of War Artbook. This version is only available for Ace Combat 7 Xbox One and PS4. Currently accessible on the Bandai/Namco website.
  • Ace Combat 7 Deluxe Edition: It contains the base game plus the season’s pass. For us PC gamers, this is the best option available.  

Ace Combat 7 Multiplayer

The multiplayer capabilities of Ace Combat won’t disappoint you.

That is as long as you are not hoping for finishing the single player campaign in “co-op multiplayer”. Sadly this not a feature.

The Ace Combat Multiplayer comes with two different modes:

  • Team Deathmatch: The players become randomly assigned to teams (2 vs. 2 or 4 vs. 4), the team with the highest score wins.
  • Battle Royale: Anything goes in this mode. You enter a lobby against a maximum of seven players and try to survive as long as you can.

Ace Combat 7 News

Hint: If you get stuck in any part of the game it would be a good idea to ask for help in the Ace Combat 7 Reddit thread, plenty of helpful info is to be found there.

Refreshingly, after the release of the Ace Combat 7 PC version the gaming community (modders) and the development team have kept working on the game. Here are some improvements so far:

  • “Modders fix pop-in and add ultra wide Monitor Support”: “pop-in” is traveling at full speed when suddenly a vast 70-story building appears out of nowhere in front of you and you crash into it. To fix this annoyance modders were able to amplify the draw distance of the game; in other words, your game will load more models than usual.
  • Another Modder was able to find a fix for ultra wide monitors (21:9) taking full advantage of higher resolutions, a feature that should have been in the stock game.
  • “More Flight Stick Support” One of the most common complaints that currently haunts the Ace Combat 7 PC version is the lack of Hotas compatibility. The development team is now adding more options to fix this issue. From now on we can only hope that the developers continue expanding the compatible list in the future.

The Division 2 [BETA SIGN UP – RELEASE DATE]

The Division 2 comes to DC

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is a follow up to Ubisoft’s 2016 smash hit The Division, that featured a devastated New York City brought to her knees by a deadly virus. TD2 is a multiplayer, third-person shooter featuring a post-pandemic Washington D.C. in ruins. If you’ve been waiting for the sequel to The Division, we’ve got … Read more The Division 2 [BETA SIGN UP – RELEASE DATE]

Quake Champions Characters – The Complete List

Quake Champions Characters: My Visor skin

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Best PC Games of 2017

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands

Top Best PC Games of 2017: Everything is falling apart. Nations, elections, celebrity deaths – it’s in this turbulent time that I look towards the game industry.

It’s stable as a rock and it’s only getting bigger. Yes, this is escapism at its finest. Computer games are there for me to turn to at the end of a long day. If I want to be coddled by a narrative heavyweight I’ve got the likes of Firewatch, The Last of Us, or Stanley’s Parable.

To blow off steam I can load up Counter-Strike:Global Offensive or H1Z1: King of the Kill and start counting the headshots.

As far as PC Games go, last year will be hard to top. Behemoths like Battlefield 1, Overwatch and The Witcher 3 proved that there’s still tons of room for innovation and the graphics are sweeter than ever – especially with Nvidia’s new GTX 1000 series cards.

So, how’s 2017 looking for PC Gaming you ask? It’s looking real good. Let’s check out the best games to come, including some indie sleepers that you probably missed.

Best PC Action Games

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands

Open world fun in the most corrupt of countries.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands

This GTA-style military shooter is set in Bolivia and there’s major political trouble afoot.

The corrupt government has been working with a drug cartel and it’s your job to make things right – hopefully without causing too much of a stir, it’s called GHOST Recon for a reason!

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands has the largest world Ubisoft have ever built and it’s wide open for exploration.

The story is totally nonlinear and how you execute the missions is up to you. In the trailer, we watch as one mission is executed three entirely different ways, at different times of day. I love the flexibility here.

It’s up to the player whether they want to take advantage of some very attractive stealth mechanics or run in, guns blazing and explosions galore.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands

You can either play solo and use the responsive UI system to lead your hotshot AI teammates, or play with friends with each person controlling a different character in your squad.

In gameplay videos, the lush forests are responsive to movements, as is the rest of the world. The weather system, specifically the wind effects really took me by surprise. More importantly though, where many games simply give the player an illusion of choice, this blockbuster actually delivers.

one of my absolute favorite pc games of 2017

Release date: 7th March 2017

Mass Effect Andromeda

There’s a whole new galaxy to explore in this story-rich Action RPG.

PC Games - Mass Effect Andromeda
PC Games – Mass Effect Andromeda

In 2185, several species have banded together to form the Andromeda Initiative.

Their goal: to find a new home for humanity in the Andromeda Galaxy. These scientists and explorers might not be prepared for war but they’ll have to win some battles.

Mass Effect Andromeda has you leaving earth, spending 600 years asleep, and waking up a long way from home.

In the lead up to release, Bioware have been producing some skin-tingling trailers that feature real footage of the cold war space race and they’re really got my blood pumping. For those of us with beefy graphics cards, get ready to crank up the settings.

one of the top PC Games 2017

GM Aaryn Flynn has confirmed that the PC version will have an uncapped framerate (hooray!)

You play as one of the Ryder twins, Scott or Sarah. This character is totally customizable, as is your father and the sibling you didn’t choose.

For those who like a bit of lovin’, expect some romantic storylines. Developers have said that same-gender romances are possible, as are alien romances. In true Bioware fashion, there’s tons of decisions to be made along with realistic dialogue choices and stunning world exploration.

PC Games - Mass Effect Andromeda
PC Games – Mass Effect Andromeda

The multiplayer aspect hasn’t been fully revealed but producer Fabrice Condominas told Game Informer that “You will have possibilities to send teams to complete side missions, or to do it yourself in multiplayer.”

Like most narrative titles at the moment, the story is flexible, I know I’ll be taking my time to explore the new galaxy. Some of the trading market areas I’ve seen are very Star Wars-esque.

If you’ve played previous Mass Effect games you can expect a similar but improved third-person combat system with motion tracked animations – and some flashy jet packs too. The Mass Effect series is known for its storytelling but from the gameplay footage and screenshots, it’s the graphics that have me feeling hyped.

Release date: 21st March 2017

Prey

Go nuts on a space station in Bethesda’s sci-fi shooter.

PC Games - Prey Phantoms
PC Games – Prey Phantoms

Prey has been in development hell for a long time but it seems that the wait might have been worth it.

This current version is a reimagining of the original Prey that came out back in 2006. The story takes place aboard Talos I, a large (and heavily infested) space station that orbits the moon in the year 2032.

The level and sound design of this free-roam station have got reviewers excited, myself included.

In this alternative timeline, JFK wasn’t assassinated in 1963 and kept pumping money into the space program (we can only dream.)

As a result, we annoyed some interstellar aliens called the Typhon, and they swung by earth. We banished them to Talos I, which functions as their prison. The TranStar corporation studies the Typhon in order to create human modifications (Neuromods) giving us new abilities and powers.

PC Games - Prey TalosI
PC Games – Prey TalosI

You take on the role of Morgan Yu (gender customizable), a human aboard the station who is undergoing some rather nasty experiments.

Fight your way through the station, collecting abilities and unraveling the mysteries of the infestation and your own identity. While this sounds like pretty standard stuff on the surface, the trailers tell a different story. Intense storylines, physics weapons, and abilities like Mimic – which let you turn into a nearby mug in order to sneak through tiny openings.

If you looked at this game and thought: this is Doom meets Deadspace, then you should give it another chance.

Besides, Doom meets Deadspace isn’t the worst pitch I’ve heard…

Some fans are upset that Bethesda moved away from their cyberpunk-bounty-hunter game idea that they showed off in an earlier E3 trailer. For this reviewer, I think Prey has some real potentia

One of the Best PC Games of 2017: Prey

Release date: 6th May 2017

Adventure PC Games To Try

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

Superhero sequel to The Stick of Truth.

PC Games - South Park The Fractured But Whole
PC Games -South Park The Fractured But Whole

Hey New Kid, you ready for some fun?

The geniuses behind South Park have done it again. Trey Parker’s original subtitle was “The Butthole of Time.” This should reassure you that this sequel is sticking to its roots: gross and satirical. As a longtime fan of South Park, I couldn’t be happier.

In a developer diary, Trey revealed that he watched PewDiePie play through The Stick of Truth as part of his creative process. It’s pretty clear that with this title, they’re aiming to fix the bad parts of the prequel (like the combat system) and do it all again – but better.

Fantasy has been replaced by superheroes. There are 12 classes to choose from, two gender options, and far more player customization than ever before. In response to recent gameplay footage, turn-based RPG veterans are singing this game’s praises.

What’s most important to me though, is that this sequel will continue to feel exactly like the TV show. This is a feat that just isn’t possible for other games. Going from TV show to video game normally ruins everything.

PC Games - South Park The Fractured But Whole
PC Games – South Park The Fractured But Whole

The hilarious trailer highlights Cartman’s aim to turn his Coon and Friends supergroup into the biggest superhero franchise of all time so he can earn one billion dollars. However, there’s a mutiny – a civil war.

Professor Chaos (Butters’ super villain alter-ego) is set to return as the key antagonist who’s tearing apart the sleepy Colorado town of South Park. Your job: to unite the superheroes and destroy all evil.

Players are now mobile during combat encounters, moving between one square to another, meaning that these all-out superhero brawls are responsive and wild. You’ve gotta plan with your team of heroes and think multiple turns ahead. It’s the combat footage that caused me to move this game firmly onto my shopping list.

Release date: Q1 2017

Rime

Impressive graphics and puzzle solving on a mysterious island.

RiME
RiME

A young boy is shipwrecked on an unknown island after a storm and the place is full of challenges and secrets to uncover. The peaceful trailers show this game looking like a mix of Journey and the Zelda series – both good things.

Instead of voice acting, Rime relies on its epic score to carry the player through the game’s beautiful world.

I like playing visually appealing games that rely on story instead of jump scares. Especially when the story is nonlinear and the graphics are as fresh as Rime’s. The music is incredible too – slow and sweet.

There’s even a smooth day-to-night system which shows off some impressive lighting effects. I’ll be loading this one up after a stressful day.

RiME
RiME

From released footage, the puzzles look awesome too – smooth animations and they’re spread out over the entire world. It’s not clear how they all link together but I guess you need to explore them yourself to find out.

It all seems to revolve around a giant tower in the center of the island with a keyhole shaped window. There aren’t any tutorials so you’re pretty on your own – that is, apart from the critters and creatures you can befriend. One question, where can I pick up the soundtrack?

Release date: May 2017

Indie PC Games To Play

Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

Physics based low poly craziness.

Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

Indie studio Landfall Games landed a winner with their breakout hit Clustertruck last year.

I’m a huge fan of these guys and I really love their low poly aesthetic. Totally Accurate Battle Simulator has you taking on the vicious blue army by setting up your own units on the other side of the battlefield.

Once your red army is set up, the physics based A.I. takes over and you can zoom around, watching the mayhem as the two armies kick each other’s heads in – often in rather hilarious ways. In my experience so far, working with projectiles, like musketeers or canons, means dealing with a certain amount of friendly fire – sorry my little red dudes.

There’s tons of units to choose from, each with individual physics and battle interactions.

A whole range of regions and eras are featured – including Vikings, Crusaders, Ancient Greece, Samurai Asia, Napoleonic, and Miscellaneous (boxers, chicken men, politicians.) As of writing, there’s twenty levels of varying difficulty, set in different genomes.

No strategy works twice as the dreaded blue army changes their unit makeup every level. There’s also a free play sandbox mode to test out all the cool units. Oh, and clicking mouse1 slows down the action, increasing the goofiness.

Totally Accurate Battle Simulator 1
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator (Autor’s own image)

Totally Accurate Battle Simulator is currently in open alpha but they have an early trailer that shows off the game’s goofy mechanics.

You can grab a copy of the alpha to test yourself. It’s free on Landfall Games’ website. If you’re interested in following the development, be sure to check out the subreddit where the developers post test ideas and take on board user feedback.

I love this studio because they are totally focused on raw gameplay and continue to pump out top games.

While the game still needs polishing as it undergoes development, it’s already easy to tell this will be an indie hit. Like Clustertruck, this game lends itself well to the YouTube “Let’s Play” format because of the ridiculousness of its physics. Expect to see some silly highlight reels in your Recommended feed in six months time.

Release date: Summer 2017

Overland

A fresh twist on the survival genre with a kick-ass art style.

Overland fresh twist on the survival genre with a kick-ass art style
Overland fresh twist on the survival genre with a kick-ass art style

Survival games are everywhere, especially in the indie scene. So many small studios are trying to tap into this fast growing market. However, Finji have come to the genre with something special.

It’s the art style of Overland that catches your eye first, and then when you find out that it’s isometric and turn based, you already want to know more.

This procedurally generated squad-based strategy game is set in post-apocalyptic North America.

The E3 trailer showed off its roguelike gameplay and unique visuals. Every encounter in Overland is randomly generated. You start out on a road trip to the heart of America – each time with a different car and character.

Complete the levels, survive, and unravel the mystery. In my experience, it’s best not to get too attached to the people you pick up on the way because some of them are gonna have to go, if you know what I mean. (They’ll die, it’s the apocalypse, dude.)

Most people just choose to save the dogs instead.

Overland fresh twist on the survival genre with a kick-ass art style
Overland fresh twist on the survival genre with a kick-ass art style

Overland is out for first access, which is Finji’s term for open alpha, and you can buy it on their website. My warning to you: this is one of those games where three hours will fly by like nothing.

Release date: 2017

Resources:

South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

clustertruck trailer:

gif one: War is Hell

gif two: https://gfycat.com/UnitedSardonicCrossbill

alpha signup: http://landfall.se/totally-accurate-battle-simulator/

subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/AccurateBattleSim/