Ah, the weekend. It’s the perfect time to kick back on the couch with a drink in one hand and a remote and/or controller in the other.
But what, exactly, should you be watching, playing and listening to this weekend? Welcome to Off the Radar, a weekly column where I hope I can shed some light on that very question.
Here’s how it works: week after week, I test a TON of products – everything from fantastic-sounding headphones and Bluetooth speakers, to the latest and greatest TVs and video game consoles. While I’m writing these reviews I consume a lot of content.
(I know, I know, it’s a hard job but someone has to do it.)
Rather than hoard all those great shows/movies/music/games, I want to share all those recommendations with you. To that end, I’ve got a few new recommendations for you to enjoy this weekend that I experienced while testing the and the .
Watch: Game of Thrones / Rogue One
My work week started on Sunday last week with the first episode of season seven of Game of Thrones. (A home ent editor's job is never done.)
I could espouse specific emotional payoffs, stellar plot and interesting character dynamics in the episode, but doing so might ruin that experience for others. Instead, I’ll just leave it at – Game of Thrones is back, and it’s the show you need to be watching this weekend.
OK, I realize that season seven is a bit late for most people to jump into a series for the first time. So for that reason, if you’re looking for something to watch this weekend, check out Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – the bridge between Episodes III and IV, and a film that I had literally forgotten every detail about before I re-watched it earlier this week. It's perfect as a standalone story or, if you're a huge Star Wars fan, the perfect appetizer before Star Wars Episode VIII The Last Jedi comes out later this year.
Play: Final Fantasy XII – The Zodiac Age
It was a heavy PS4 week for me – not intentionally, but just because there were two really great PS4-exclusive remasters released in the past few weeks that I couldn’t help but sink my teeth into. (Don’t worry, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC will get their due soon.)
The game I’ve been playing is Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, a remastering of the original PS2 title and, for a long time, one of my least favorite entries in the Final Fantasy series. Thankfully, the remaster totally changed my tune.
That’s because the Zodiac Age does a few things really well: It adds a more rigid class structure to the game, allowing your characters to reach better skills faster, and enhanced speed mode that allows you to play at up to four times the speed, make the game way more enjoyable.
What I realized was that Final Fantasy XII was just ahead of its time when it came out in 2006 and now that we’ve played games like Final Fantasy XV, its free-roaming battle system feels natural and intuitive than it did a decade ago.
Listen to: Spider-Man Homecoming Soundtrack
While everyone in the music world was clamoring about Jay-Z’s latest not-really-Tidal-exclusive album 4:44, I was listening to the latest set of tracks by Michael Giacchino, one of the best composers this side of John Williams.
Giacchino previously worked on the scores for Rogue One, all the Star Trek films and, believe it or not, Pixar’s Up, which I’d be a liar if I said it didn’t make me cry.
But Giacchino? He's a supremely talented dude – his scores are always unique to the tone of the film and chock-full of minor flourishes and almost inaudible details that make them perfect for testing headphones. If you're strapped for time and can just listen to one song, check out the track "Homecoming Suite".
That’s it for this week! Like what I was putting down? Was it a big thumbs down? Send your feedback to Nick [dot] Pino [at] Futurenet [dot] com.