Google Stadia Review

Google Stadia Review Lifestyle

Credit: Google

Google is aiming to make gaming more accessible than ever with Google Stadia, a cloud-based gaming platform where you can play on your TV, desktop, laptop, and select phones. There’s no need to download and update your games, so you’ll be able to play your games instantly as long as you have a good internet connection with Wi-Fi. Nerd Reactor was able to test out the Google Stadia, and the platform was able to deliver smooth gameplay and gorgeous graphics through its app on selected smartphones and the TV.

To play the Google Stadia this year, you’ll need the Founders Edition or Premiere Edition. This bundle includes three free months of Stadia Pro, Google Chromecast Ultra, and Stadia Controller. With Stadia Pro, you can play in 4K with HDR and 60fps on your 4K TV with Chromecast Ultra. You can also play games on Stadia across all supported devices in early access. Destiny 2: The Collection and Samurai Shodown are free games in November with the subscription, so it seems like the Stadia will have at least a new free game each month with Stadia Pro.

4K and HDR

Playing games in 4K with HDR is truly a sight to see, and it’s mind-blogging to see the Google Stadia pull off beautiful graphics as you control playable characters in real-time with the Stadia controller. Shadow of the Tomb Raider looks gorgeous with its lush environment and seeing Lara Croft’s hair move around her shoulders. Mortal Kombat 11 is vibrant, and fatalities pop with the red blood splattering in a dark background. Red Dead Redemption 2’s dynamic world is breathtaking to look at, however, its HDR isn’t as impressive. (The console versions also had issues with this.) Even smaller games like Gylt looks very clean.

Google Pixel

Google Pixel 3 and higher will be able to play Stadia games. Even though the highest resolution is 1080, it still stands out with its lively colors, detailed graphics, and smooth gameplay. Google is still working on the wireless connection to the phone, but for now, you’ll need to connect a USB-C cable from the phone to the controller.

Input Lag

The biggest concern that gamers have with cloud-based gaming is input lag. With Stadia, it was hardly noticeable. Destiny 2 and Mortal Kombat 11 are games that require quick reflexes, and the controls were very responsive. Performing combos and fatalities in Mortal Kombat 11, and it felt similar to playing on the console version.

Stadia Controller

The controller feels very comfortable thanks to its smooth grips and concaved analog sticks. If you’re a console gamer, using the Stadia controller will feel like riding a bicycle. The buttons take some getting used to since the four face buttons are lettered like the Xbox controllers, and the shoulder buttons are numbered like the DualShock controller. I was concerned about the look of the D-pad since I use them for fighting games. (My preference is the DualShock 4 controller’s D-pad for fighting games.) There was no issue with the Stadia’s D-pad when playing a fighting game like Mortal Kombat 11, and performing special moves and combos felt natural.

The controller can also do screen captures, but so far it only works on the Chromecast Ultra. Google says the feature will be added to the phone soon. There’s also the Google Assistant button, but at the time of this review, it wasn’t available. These buttons were prone to accidental pushes since they’re close to the Menu and Options button. Sometimes I would accidentally take a screenshot when I was really trying to access the menu. Once you get accustomed to the controller, it shouldn’t be an issue.

Stadia Button

The controller has a Stadia button where you can check on your online friends, controller setup, audio settings, and connection. The connection menu is your best friend since it’ll let you know of the quality of your gaming. Excellent is the one you want, and it’s the one that will give you the best visual quality in 4K and HDR while also delivering 5.1 surround sound. When playing on the Google Pixel 3, the quality available will be “Good,” and it still looks impressive. You can also add more Stadia controllers here, or you can link them by entering the linking code. You can hook up a total of 4 controllers. With the audio settings, you can control the Chromecast volume, voice chat volume, and choose who you’re speaking to (None, Party Chat, Game Chat).

Pixelation on Chrome Browser

The biggest downside to the Google Stadia is playing on the Chrome browser since the games would get pixelated and blurry. Somehow Google isn’t able to optimize the browsers yet compared to the supported phones and Chromecast Ultra via the Stadia app. Here’s hoping that it’ll be fixed soon. On the plus side, you can go to any desktop or laptop and play many games with a keyboard and mouse or controller.

Final Reaction

There’s a lot of fun to be had with Google Stadia, especially being able to play almost anywhere with a good internet connection and Wi-Fi. With 22 games available for launch and more until the end of the year, it’s a great way to play the big games across multiple supported devices while still having marvelous graphics.

Score: 4.5/5 Atoms

You can check out our video review below:

Here’s the list of games released on day one on November 19th.

  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
  • Attack on Titan: Final Battle 2
  • Destiny 2: The Collection (available in Stadia Pro)
  • Farming Simulator 2019
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Football Manager 2020
  • Grid 2019
  • Gylt
  • Just Dance 2020
  • Kine
  • Metro Exodus
  • Mortal Kombat 11
  • NBA 2K20
  • Rage 2
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Samurai Shodown (available in Stadia Pro)
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Thumper
  • Tomb Raider 2013
  • Trials Rising
  • Wolfenstein: Youngblood

More games will be released this year including Borderlands 3, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, Dragon Ball: Xenoverse and Darksiders Genesis. Games coming out in 2020 include Doom: Eternal, WatchDogs: Legion, Gods & Monsters and Cyberpunk 2077.

A unit was provided by Google for review purposes.

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John 'Spartan' Nguyen
John 'Spartan' Nguyen 10182 posts

Assassin, scoundrel, head honcho.