It's a hectic episode of Totally Rated this week, and a potentially eventful one if you're into all things Apple, as the tech giant has released its latest iteration of the iPad Pro.
In gaming, we get to go back to an iconic sci-fi trilogy by way of Mass Effect Legendary Edition, revisiting Commander Shepard and crew's galaxy-spanning quest to stop the Reapers.
In addition, we set sail for Ireland to go a-viking in Assassin's Creed Valhalla's first expansion: Wrath of the Druids.
- iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) review: a best in class tablet
- Mass Effect Legendary Edition: the 5 most important changes
- Assassin's Creed Valhalla review
The iPad Pro 2021 leaves us in the dust
Apple shook up the tablet market once again, as the tech giant has finally released the 2021 version of the much loved iPad Pro. Loaded with Apple's new and bespoke M1 chip and 5G connectivity, Apple promises that this will be the fastest iPad yet, but is that really the case?
Henry T. Casey of Tom’s Guide said: “The Apple iPad Pro 2021 is a speed demon with its M1 chip.
“It turned in huge scores in geek bench 5 and a great time on our adobe premiere rush test.
“Over at Tom’s Guide we gave it a 4.5 and an editors choice award for everything being great. The 12.9 inch has the HDR liquid retina display and you are going to get the best benefit out of that on HDR content. So you are probably going to want to know what has HDR and what doesn’t.”
And our very own James Peckham agreed, adding: “The new iPad Pro 2021 is a best-in-class experience.
“This is the best tablet you can buy right now. The real question is: do you actually need it? This is for only certain people.
“The M1 processor is incredibly powerful and if you go for the right option you will get 5G connectivity and it has a great mini LED display as well. Do you really need it though? It has a very high price tag but it is a phenomenal experience.”
Mass Effect Legendary Edition reaps what it sows
Mass Effect Legendary Edition ensures it's never too late to revisit this landmark series, whether you're a veteran Spectre or a total newcomer to Commander Shepard's galaxy-spanning efforts to halt the deadly Reapers.
“If you have never played the Mass Effect trilogy, now’s the best time to get your feet wet,” said Jordan Palmer of Tom’s Guide.
“You’ll lose a decent chunk of your life to these games, but there’s a reason that fans like me love the original trilogy.
“Mass Effect Legendary Edition is absolutely worth your time and money. The value proposition — three massive games for a total of $60 — is out of this world.”
GamesRadar’s Alyssa Mercante said: “Even if any of these games don’t look that much better than the original, I would still tell you this bundle is worth it.
“Listen, Mass Effect, we all know how the faces look. They don’t look the best. But the textures look really good.
“And the lighting looks really good. Overall it looks so much better. The only reason I deducted a fraction of a point from my review is because there is no Mass Effect 3 multiplayer and I miss Mass Effect 3 multiplayer.”
A surprise addition to Mass Effect 3, its multiplayer component, was a shockingly high quality Horde-style mode for up to four players, who could choose from a variety of classes with different loadouts. Here's hoping there's enough fan feedback to warrant Bioware patching in the popular mode somewhere down the line.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla seeks to plunder Ireland
Assassin's Creed Valhalla's first major expansion, Wrath of the Druids, is now available to download and add to your game on all platforms. In this substantial add-on players will head to Ireland to take on the Children of Danu cult.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla's moreish gameplay loop seems to transition well into Wrath of the Druids, which can be a good or bad thing depending on how much you already like the game, as Android Central’s Jennifer Locke explains: “If you're wondering whether or not you should buy Wrath of the Druids, you need to ask yourself how much you enjoyed Valhalla and how much more you want from it.
“I know plenty of people who put in 60+ hours and said that was enough, but I also know some who are well over 80 hours in and are eager for more.
“For those in the former category, I don't think Wrath of the Druids will be enough to draw you back in. Having more of the same isn't necessarily a problem in a game that's 20 or 30 hours long, but in a 50+ hour game like Valhalla, an expansion needs to differentiate itself better.
“That said, I personally had a lot of fun with it, even if the opening hour or two was too slow for my liking. The Children of Danu were an interesting cult I looked forward to fighting, and Ireland is just as gorgeous and full of wonder as England.”
Marshall Honorof from Tom’s Guide found much to like in Wrath of the Druids, but also discovered it to be almost identical to the base game experience: “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids is an easygoing expansion with nothing to prove.
“It has basically all the same strengths and weaknesses as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, with just one substantial addition. I can’t imagine that series fans will be talking about this one for years to come, but I also can’t imagine that they’ll walk away disappointed.
“If you’ve got $40 to spare and are eager to see what the Season Pass will bring next (Wrath of the Druids is the first of two major expansions; the next is called The Siege of Paris), Wrath of the Druids is a fine investment.
“If you already tried sinking dozens of hours into Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and bounced off before the end, though, Wrath of the Druids probably won’t lure you back in.”
Totally Rated features reviews and opinions of what's hot and what's not in the tech and gaming world.
Bringing together leading titles from across the industry, we hear first hand from those who have reviewed - and rated - the very latest games and products on the market.
New episodes of Totally Rated will roll out every Thursday.
- Amazon Prime Day 2021: date and the deals we expect to see