CGM Monthly Top 10 Reviews: August 2021
Each month, CGM writers get the chance to review the latest and greatest tech, toys, games and media. At the end of each month, we round up the ten highest scoring reviews to show our readers what gear and games we can stand behind with confidence! From our CGM family to yours, we want to ensure you never miss the top reviews to help you make informed choices on all your media and gear!
Here are our CGM Monthly Top 10 Reviews: August 2021:
"The camera provides a beautiful 1080p 60 frames per second image, which was refreshing to see that they didn’t feel the need to push for 4K/30, since most streamers aren’t even streaming in 4K. They’re also sending that beautiful image over USB-C cable to your computer in an uncompressed format. " Here is CGMs review of the Elgato Facecam.
Final Thoughts: The Elgato Facecam is the best available webcam, period.
Ghosts of Tsushima Director's Cut
"Ghost of Tsushima was “the one that got away” from me last year, a title that slipped past my radar and got lost in the shuffle until annual roundups brought it back to my attention. Now its Director’s Cut has arrived shortly after I’ve gotten my hands on a PlayStation 5, and I have to say, it came at just the right time—and is the closest I’ve come to granting a perfect score." Here is CGMs review of Ghosts of Tsushima Director's Cut.
Final Thoughts: Newcomers and veterans alike should draw their swords for this one, because Ghost of Tsushima excels on the PS5 and strikes just shy of perfection.
And somehow, an 18-way tie, making this our top 20!
"Director, Nia DaCosta (who shares writing credit with Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld) brings both the necessary sensibilities and the capacity to craft a perfect scare. Her visual style is stunning and her lighting and mirror tricks had me scrunching my face to solve the mystery of the hidden camera. Scenes are reminiscent of Velvet Buzzsaw but are a monster of their own, awash in reds and blues. Each death takes a completely different approach to the scare, though there’s never a shortage of blood (and some truly grotesque practical gore)." Here is CGMs review of Candyman (2021).
Final Thoughts: DaCosta’s combined sensibilities and ability to craft a stunning horror movie with no shortage of deeper themes creates a tale of tragedy, haunts, and just enough hope. It becomes an assault on the emotions that makes the movie a horrific and worthwhile ride.
Garden Story (Nintendo Switch)
"While you can definitely see some inspiration from games like Stardew Valley; Garden Story feels a lot more like a sim-based The Legend of Zelda. You’re not really tending to your own garden, watching it grow as the days go by; instead, each day you’ll be given three requests—combat, maintenance, and foraging. There’s no real penalty for not completing a task, but doing so will raise the town’s corresponding level, which will give you access to better tools and upgrades." Here is CGMs review of Garden Story (Nintendo Switch).
Final Thoughts: Garden Story is a wonderful and unique take on the sim-adventure genre, and it’s definitely worth a look.
"There is a dreamlike quality to the proceedings, with the young people, most under the age of 20, taking to the acts of killing like they would play with toys. The sense of morality is long gone in the world, and the young actors make this abundantly clear as the film goes on. The cult-like family gives you all you need to know, with the actors taking to their roles well." Here is CGMs review of Glasshouse.
Final Thoughts: Glasshouse is one of the most haunting and visually striking genre films to hit screens this year, and a must-watch for anyone who lives a story that sits with you long after it ends.
"The ASUS ROG Strix XG27AQ is a great gaming monitor no matter how you cut it. It delivers so high quality visuals with HDR support and very little blurring. While the whole shebang will need to be calibrated before you can really reach that high level of performance, it is certainly worth the time and effort." Here is CGMs review of the ASUS ROG Strix XG27AQ Monitor.
Final Thoughts: The Asus Republic of Gamers products have been consistently high quality and their Strix series doesn’t look to be any different. The ROG Strix XG27AQ promises to pack in a slew of features without breaking the bank too hard.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
"The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s 25th major film benefits from experience. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a creative blend of family drama. This helped Marvel craft an adventure film that pulls viewers into a refreshing new world. Each of Shang Chi’s Chinese cast are given a proper time to shine. Through a no-nonsense adaptation of Marvel Comics’ best fighter and bringing his special background to life." Here is CGMs review of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Final Thoughts: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings sets Marvel's newest hero on an exciting adventure, fuelled by a scene-stealing Mandarin and the best fights to date.
"It’s very easy to think “oh, so it’s another John Wick-like film,” but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I mean, initially, that’s kind of what I assumed it would be! But writer/director Michael Sarnoski turns that notion on its head and adds a quiet beauty to Cage’s journey as Rob, with a great turn from Alex Wolff as his companion/loose business partner." Here is CGMs review of Pig (2021).
Final Thoughts: There’s a quiet beauty to Pig, which goes places no one expected it to, and actually sticks the landing.
"Costing $180, the Razer GaN charger has everything you could want from a modern adapter. From the ports—two USB-A, and two USB-C—the ability to charge four devices at once, included plug adapters, and even the ability to power some modern laptops, Razer has thrown everything a road warrior would need to power his arsenal on the go." Here is CGMs review of the Razer GaN Charger.
Final Thoughts: The Razer GaN Charger delivers speedy power to all your gadgets at home or on the go for $180.
"The new NZXT N7 Z590 boasts many of the features we expect from a board in 2021. It comes with PCIe 4.0 that lets it work with the latest in NVMe tech and comes complete with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth V5.2. It boasts a 12+2 DrMOS Power Phase Design that makes for better overclocking and overall thermal performance, and let’s not forget the NZXT shroud that hides most of the board, and just looks great in a new build." Here is CGMs review of the NZXT N7 Z590 Motherboard.
Final Thoughts: The NZXT N7 Z590 Motherboard is a well-designed main board that packs features and style in a complete package ready for anyone looking to build a new Intel 10th, or 11th gen PC.
Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time
"This being the fourth, and final film in the series, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 is the longest and at times the most lore-filled of the entire Rebuild saga. It answers countless questions fans have had over the course of both the original series and these new films. It gives send-offs to characters who have long been lost to the crushing grips of the harsh world our heroes find themselves in, and it finally gives a proper ending which has felt missing for much of the franchise’s history." Here is CGMs review of Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time.
Final Thoughts: Anno Hideaki finally concludes the Rebuild of Evangelion film series in an ambitious and exciting exploration of suffering, struggle and trauma that finally puts an end to this beloved series.
"The microphone itself is plug and play. There are no drivers needed. Testing the mic out of the box, it sounded quite good, so imagine my surprise when I realized there was software to download for the Blue Yeti X. Available for download was the Blue Sherpa software (which does little more than upgrade the firmware of the mic) and the Logitech G Hub software, which does a lot more." Here is CGMs review of the Blue Yeti X.
Final Thoughts: The Blue Yeti X could well be the finest USB microphone on the market today. It’s built tough, it sounds great, and it is accompanied by a top of the line control software.
"The earbuds are packed with customization opportunities and important features. Using the Chroma RGB app available on Android and iOS, the colour and lighting style can be changed to suit your personal preference, or your brand if you are wearing them in a professional capacity." Here is CGMs review of the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Earbuds (2021).
Final Thoughts: Razer has made the Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds a contender in the market by doing what they do best, making products that their fans want and not disappointing.
"Paired with the Active Noise Cancellation features, you can truly shut off the world around you and focus on whatever it is you’re listening to, whether that be some tunes, an audiobook, or an important phone call. Additionally, you can seamlessly swap to Transparent Hearing, which allows you to keep your earbuds in while amplifying the sounds around you in order to combat the muffled audio you’d normally experience while having the earbuds equipped." Here is CGMs review of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 Earbuds.
Final Thoughts: In terms of battery life, sound quality, and features, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 Earbuds are easily among the earbud elite.
"It’s a genuinely funny and heartwarming story as each of the characters are multi-layered and their stories are much more deep—and in some cases sad—than you’d assume for what is essentially a kid’s game. For example, early on, you join the Fluff Squad’s glib and sarcastic Chive, who asks Fennel to join her in the junkyard, so she can find parts to modify her favourite driving game: rEVolution Racer—since she’s bound to a wheelchair and the game doesn’t have alternate controls." Here is CGMs review of Button City.
Final Thoughts: Button City is an adorable, heartwarming little journey that will enamour all who play it.
Death's Door (Xbox Series X)
"Deaths Door’s environmental puzzles, and, by extension, the game’s major boss encounters, are all expertly designed, Metroidvania-style brain-teasers. They often literally “gate” progression until players either gain the necessary ability, weapon or tool required to reach the next area, or discover the secret passage or weak spot hiding in plain sight." Here is CGMs review of Death's Door.
Final Thoughts: Players looking for a Souls-borne meets Link From the Past meets Metroidvania experience all wrapped into one need look no further than the delightful Death’s Door; just make sure to pack plenty of patience and don’t let the door hit your face on the way in.
"The sleek white device and soft cloth cuff all feel well-designed, and purpose built, delivering an efficient and comfortable blood pressure test that felt like a more modern experience all around. The BPM Connect is small and forgoes lots of wires or bulky tubes, making it easy to throw into most bags or purses, while still being large enough to fit most people’s arms comfortably." Here is CGMs review of the Withings BPM Connect.
Final Thoughts: Withings has delivered a modern and accurate blood pressure monitor that makes the process of checking for heart issues easy.
"The WD Black SN850 meets the speed, and overall size requirements perfectly. It is even the drive Mark Cerny himself called out by picture on Twitter as a good option for upgrading. When we finally had the back off, and were inside the compartment, the WD Black SN850 fit perfectly in the slot. We had to move the screw to secure the drive down, and everything fit as expected." Here is CGMs review of the WD Black SN850.
Final Thoughts: The WD Black SN850 is a great solution for your NVMe needs, and is one of the best PlayStation 5 storage upgrade solutions you can buy.
Blaster Master Zero (Xbox Series X)
"What impresses me most about Blaster Master Zero is how it manages to effectively capture the nostalgia of the original game and distill just about all the elements that were fun about it, while also flexing its status as a reboot to avoid becoming a predictable, blow-by-blow copy of the OG Blaster Master. Visually, the familiar 8-bit visual style has been faithfully retained, or at least, it appears to have been, but in truth, Zero’s engine is displaying far more details and effects than the NES ever could, thanks to the raw horsepower of more modern consoles." Here is CGMs review of Blaster Master Zero.
Final Thoughts: Blaster Master Zero is an excellent reboot of a classic action-platformer, and shouldn’t be missed by anyone who is a fan of the genre, a devotee to the franchise or is simply curious about the Blaster Master name and are looking for an effortless way in.
"My desk has my computer, two monitors, drinks, index cards, notebook, iPad, glasses, and toys that I fidget with throughout the day. I still have room to comfortably type and move around, and I’m debating on setting up my SNES Classic Edition on my desk for some impulsive 16-bit gaming sessions. I also have my AverMedia microphone attached to the back of the desk behind my monitors, so I can move it in front of my face for podcasts. This desk has a lot of room for people that use their desk full-time." Here is CGMs review of the Flexispot Adjustable Standing Desk Pro Series.
Final Thoughts: Flexispot's Adjustable Standing Desk Pro Series is a great desk and can be used for all kinds of different people. It has a lot of space and can be adjusted to fit many different needs. I'm standing or sitting at my Flexispot Adjustable Standing Desk about 60 hours a week, and it constantly makes the work possible and comfortable.
And our Monthly Dishonourable Mention:
"Reminiscence is simply too much in just about every respect. The script, the editing, and the direction fail the premise, as we hastily jump around to bits and pieces we’re supposed to care about or become engrossed in. The oddball soundtrack doesn’t line up with basically anything on screen and makes everything worse; like everyone involved had a different idea of what Reminiscence should be and tried their hand at it." Here is CGMs review of Reminiscence (2021).
Final Thoughts: Reminiscence is a forgettable sci-fi noir with only a few memorable moments.