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3 Game Reviews in 3 Minutes — Tales of Arise, Insurgency: Sandstorm, Hot Wheels Unleashed

We review Tales of Arise, Insurgency: Sandstorm, and Hot Wheels Unleashed!

Jeremy Proome



OK, we don’t want to lie from the outset. We’re not exactly sure if this article takes 3 minutes to read, but it’s somewhere in the ballpark. We’re writers, not mathematicians here!

Anyway, with all the massive games releasing this season, it’s quite difficult for gamers out there to keep track of what’s releasing when and what’s worth picking up (for one reason or another); so, in the spirit of being as thorough as possible, we’ve reviewed 3 of the biggest titles that have released within the last month in one convenient article, rounding up exactly what games have released, if they’re any good, and which one you should buy.

Tales of Arise

Available on: Xbox Series X/S | Xbox One | PS5 | PS4 | PC

What is it? Tales of Arise is a gorgeous action-JRPG and the latest instalment in Namco-Bandai’s Tales series, which has accrued quite the following in recent years. The series usually takes a more action-oriented approach to its combat, rather than traditional turn-based RPGs.

Is it any good? It’s hard to not be immediately blown away by Tales of Arise‘s distinctive art style and glorious world; and while the entry might be the seventeenth game in the ‘Tales of‘ series, it’s the perfect jumping-on point for anyone interested in Japanese RPGs and who may have been daunted by the admittedly overwhelming nature of the genre.. The combat is fast and enjoyable, with an emphasis placed on dodging and countering, which will appeal to fans more familiar with the likes of Devil May Cry and the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. However, the vast range of abilities and ability to custom-tailor your teammates with powers that suit your playstyle adds a level of depth to the encounters that are highly appreciated. The story itself is also intriguing and delves far deeper into mature themes of oppression and morality than the colourful visuals would suggest. Tales of Arise is a must-play for fans of the genre, and something to consider for those with an inkling of interest.

Hot Wheels Unleashed

Available on: Xbox Series X/S | Xbox One | PS5 | PS4 | PC | Switch

What is it? Much like the toy series of the same name, Hot Wheels Unleashed is a new racing game that allows you to play on imaginative and crazy tracks with more than 60 vehicles from the very best of the beloved toy universe.

Is it any good? While many of these kart or novelty-type racers don’t stack up to dedicated racing series, Hot Wheels Unleashed is a refreshing surprise, offering some great moment-to-moment racing gameplay, a wealth of vehicles, and some truly jaw-dropping tracks. Its arcade racing style is quick to understand yet difficult to master, making learning the drifty controls and managing high-speed turns incredibly satisfying, not to mention adjusting your strategy for the boosts, jumps, and tricks each track throws at you. It’s tightly polished too, and runs at a silky-smooth frame rate while looking gorgeous to the eye. The tons of licensed vehicles, from the Ninja Turtles van to iconic hot rods, all look sublime, so it’s hard to fault Hot Wheels Unleashed on its lesser-important qualities. A robust track creator also opens limitless opportunities for new tracks, so if you’re a nostalgic Hot Wheels fan or just looking for an accessible racer, there isn’t much that comes close to Hot Wheels Unleashed at the moment.

Insurgency: Sandstorm

Available on: Xbox Series X/S | Xbox One | PS5 | PS4 | PC

What is it? After launching on PC a few years back, Insurgency: Sandstorm has been given some tweaks and a release on consoles, bringing a multiplayer military shooter alternative that offers something a little different than the standard fare out there.

Is it any good? If you’re looking for a more stripped-down and ‘grounded’ online shooter, then you should pay attention to Insurgency: Sandstorm. This team-based, tactical FPS shooter delivers that old-school inspired close-quarters combat and objective-oriented multiplayer gameplay that first made gamers fall in love with the likes of Counter-Strike or veteran Call of Duty releases. There aren’t flashy weapon paint jobs, kill-streaks, and superfluous elements here. With Insurgency: Sandstorm, you get brutal and unforgiving PvE or PvP gunfights, realistic firing and sounding guns, and a small peppering of vehicular chaos. There are a few visual shortcomings, but while other franchises are busy bragging about ‘boots on the ground’ action, Insurgency: Sandstorm is actually delivering it.

Will you be playing any of the above games? Let us know by tweeting @MenStuffZA, posting on our Facebook page, or commenting below.

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