What's ROG playing this month?

Articles: Gaming
Sep 12, 2020 Written by:Chris_Barr

We’re back for another look at what members of the ROG team have been playing recently. We don’t just build the best hardware to play on—we spend a lot of time playing games, too. Keep checking back in every month as we discuss games that pique our interest, new and old alike.


Jake Kulinski - Live Video Producer

jakeI've recently been spending time in the preview of New World, an MMORPG built on Amazon's Lumberyard engine. The game is simply stunning and has some of the best sound design in games I've played in recent memory. Combat is closer to a game like Dark Souls than World of Warcraft, meaning no button mashing. Instead, you'll need to think out every action you take. Actions for attacking, blocking, dodging, and a few other abilities at your fingertips make for an accessible but compelling combat system. 

While the game is gorgeous and the combat is enjoyable, those aren't the things that make New World shine for me. A prominent element of its gameplay is in crafting, and Amazon Game Studios has done a wonderful job creating a fun crafting system that feels essential to your character and experience. 

Typically in an MMO, your character has health regen while out of combat, but that's not the case here. If you want to heal up, you'll need to eat food, build a camp and rest, drink a potion, or receive a heal from a spell. This might sound like a big annoyance, but the crafting is so fast and painless it doesn't feel like a big deal at all. Want to craft one potion? It takes about two seconds. Want to craft 99 potions? It also takes two seconds. It's a nice decision that makes crafting feel like pure progression rather than a mountain of downtime between adventures.

This brings me to the inventory and item system, and in part, the routine of return to town to drop off your quests and manage your inventory. In most MMOs, the first thing you do in town is sell all your junk to an NPC, list your items on the auction house, and repair your gear. In New World, there is no such thing as a junk item. Instead, you can salvage anything you don't want and use those resources to craft your bandages, potions, and food. 

New World won't be launching until 2021, and the game still lacks some very basic features like swimming. Still, I was extremely impressed with the small taste I had during its preview, and I can't wait to play more.

Eric Born - Content Marketing

ericOne of the first times I ever went to a movie theater was to watch the 1989 classic Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Movie effects have taken a few steps forward since then, but that film’s concept is just as fresh as ever. If you've not had the pleasure of watching this classic, a group of kids is forced to survive in a suburban environment after being accidentally miniaturized by a science experiment gone wrong.

Grounded, a new early access game from Obsidian, lets you live out this fantasy on your PC. You play as one of four children who’ve been shrunk down to the size of ants and let loose in a fenced-in backyard. It’s a survival-crafting game, so your first task is to find food, water, and shelter. As you explore and learn more about the available materials, you’ll be able to craft tools, armor, weapons, and even a base.

The game supports up to four players in cooperative mode. I definitely recommend that you explore with friends, because this game is uniquely terrifying. It’s unsettling enough to be surrounded by an inquisitive group of worker ants, but it’s the spiders that set the game’s mood. Make the mistake of letting one get too close, and you just might remember it in your nightmares. These eight-legged horrors bend the blades of grass around them as they walk, so you’ll quickly learn to scan the horizon for shifting foliage. Once you've learned that trick, you'll still be left in suspense about whether it’s a ladybug or a wolf spider up ahead. 

If you’re worried that the spiders might be a bit much for your nerves, there’s an “arachnophobia” slider in the game settings menu that lets you progressively make the spiders less spidery. Max out this setting, and the spiders will appear in-game as white, leg-less blobs. The blobs are no less deadly, however.

There’s a lot to explore in Grounded already, and a full schedule of planned monthly updates on the horizon. This last month, Obsidian added a bird to the yard, and bees are coming soon. (If they add wasps, I might have to stop playing.) So hop in, build the fort of your dreams out of grass blades and dandelion stalks, and gear up to go toe-to-toe with the six- and eight-legged monsters of the backyard. Even a few weeks into its early access period, Grounded is a blast, and it’s getting better all the time.

Chris Barr - Content Marketing

chrisIt’s a Friday night. I’ve got a Mountain Dew to my left, there's a controller in my hands, and Goldfinger’s Superman is blasting from my speakers. No, this isn’t a flashback to one of the best years of my childhood, but it does feel like it. That's thanks to the recent release of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2.

Back when the first THPS came out in 1999, my funds were limited, so I never actually had a full copy of the game. Instead, my experience with the franchise started when I got my hands on a demo disc from Pizza Hut, of all places. It allowed me to play just two minutes of the Warehouse level over and over again. Despite the limitations on play time and repetitive music, my brother and I spent hours trying to master this one level.

Last week saw the release of the remastered Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game collection. Those remastering efforts cover the first and second titles in the franchise. I spent a good chunk of time over the long holiday weekend refreshing myself on the game’s mechanics and exploring the other parks throughout the first game. As it turns out, there’s so much more to the game than the demo I played as a kid. Who knew?

1999 was a long time ago, but the first thing I noticed was that the game felt exactly the same as when I first popped in that demo disc. From the music to the controls, I felt right at home the moment that two-minute countdown timer started ticking and I crashed through the dilapidated doors of the Warehouse park. 

Aside from the overhauled graphics, the game is much the same as I remember, which is precisely what I want in a remaster. Each park has its own set of goals that you need to complete to unlock the next one. These include goals like hitting a specific score, collecting the S-K-A-T-E letters scattered around, or grinding on a particular number of parked cars. Of course, you can simply ignore all of those and focus on your sick moves and high scores if that’s your thing.

If you’ve got an itch to play a classic skateboarding title, or just enjoy '90s music and fun gameplay, then you’re going to have a blast with Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2.