Cubed Gamers’ Christmas Videogame Gifts of 2017

As is customary within our society, upon the ushering in of the new year, our thoughts often linger upon the year just gone, as we contemplate and remember the festivities that had just swept us up in a wave of bountiful joyousness just mere weeks ago. Here at Cubed, we’re not ones to buck such a hallowed trend, and thus, as the seeds of 2018 slowly stir around us, we’re going to take a look back at the festive period and marvel at the wonderous digital gifts the Steam Winter Sal… I mean, of course, Father Christmas, delivered to us over the Christmas period.

Samuel Gilzean

For me, the last couple of years have marked a noticeable absence of videogame-related gifts. In fact, not since 2010 have I been the recipient of videogame as Christmas gift, when I was given Gran Turismo 5, a game I had been eagerly anticipating for years. Such a confounding, and perhaps to some, a worrying circumstance is due to the fact that, over the last couple of years, I have had the means to acquire my own videogames using that most magical and delightful gift of all: money. Thanks to a steady income (and a few well-placed student loans) videogame-related Christmas gifts have been, for me at least, a thing of the past.

However, as the crushing reality of post-university life sets in, I’ve found myself unable to afford the latest videogame releases – at least until very, very recently. As such, this year, for the first time since 2010, I was gifted a videogame for Christmas. Ironically, this videogame, in perhaps a somewhat appropriate situation, was GT Sport. Yeah, I know right. Perhaps Christmas time is the only time I can get Gran Turismo games.

Strange circumstances aside, I have to say that I am loving GT Sport. I admit, there is a woeful lack of content on offer, with the number of included tracks and cars being but tiny, rubber-coated sliver of the offerings served up by rivals Forza 7 Motorsport and Project Cars 2. I thought I’d be moaning about this, and while I am still disappointed by the lack of launch content, I’ve found myself not caring in the slightest. GT Sport, for all its shortcomings, is easily the best-handling console sim-racer I have ever played. In fact, it’s a testament to the game’s pole-positioning winning handing and physics models the fact that I have even engaged in official competitive online racing, something I try avoid like a nasty case of road rash. I adore it, and cannot not wait to see what 2018 has in store, especially since we’ve already seen in inclusion of a number of new cars and a full single-player career mode. Looking out for a full review in the near-future.

Even Ortiz

The great holiday tradition in my family is to exchange unrecognizable, middle-market video games with each other. This year, I was graced with Circus Maximus: Chariot Wars. It was so obscure that I had to immediately play it.

The game, or should I say “masterpiece”, is a combat racing game where players much stay ahead of their opponents while also attempting to defeat them with their edged weapons. Four players are divided into two teams, in which one drives the chariot and one stand on the back in defence and offense.

This game is almost fundamentally broken in its execution. The hit-detection of the chariot is sporadic, you can maintain top speed at near-horizontal angles, and objects that look like ramps will actually send you to your doom. This game is an absolute blast to have at parties. It’s in the niche genre of “so-bad-that-it’s-good” games, joining the ranks of Ride to Hell and Rogue Warrior. My friends and family haven’t been able to stop playing, and we’ve literally been screaming with joy during every race.

If you still have your Xbox original or PlayStation 2, I’d highly recommend picking this game up. It’s revitalized my classic console, and it will do the same for yours.     

Sam McCosh

Hearts of Iron 4 gives the player the opportunity to run any country circa 1936 (or 1938 if the player picks the scenario set then) and the ability to run it as they see fit. What if the Nazis never invaded the Soviets, communist USA or the UK annexed the Benelux region, all of that and more can be achieved by the player.

If that wasn’t enough, with Steam Workshop support players can make minor tweaks such as a timeline extender like Road to 1956, unit textures for minor nations or just a bit of variety and AI tweaks for added historical accuracy.

Alternately “mod it until it breaks” with, amongst other great mods, Millennium Dawn a total conversion updating the game to a modern setting or an alternate history from the USA still being a British colony, Germany winning WW1 or The War of the Worlds based on the H.G. Wells book and the Orson Welles 1938 radio broadcast.

The only drawback would be there is currently no option to sue for peace if you’re winning for example if the UK is allied to Estonia then be prepared to march on London and their colonies as well!

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