Mediabox Maverick (MBX4K) – Review

When the Mediabox Maverick (MBX4K) arrived on my desk I met it with slight trepidation.  I felt like I  had been burnt before with the Mediabox Ranger that ended up being a slight letdown due to not being android licensed.  I flipped the Maverick box over and searched for the certification right away.  I was met with the wonderful news that it was in-fact, certified, WIN!!!  For a really long time, I was content that I did not need a media box, my Xbox was capable of doing the job and when the Xbox was in use a simple NUC mini PC would suffice.  This is normal for most of us, why change, don't fix it if it's not broken.  Until you embrace the change and experience the true, easy, plug and binge, value of the Mediabox Maverick!  

Build and Design

Opening the box of the Mediabox Maverick you are met with a surprisingly sleek and light.  Unlike many of the consoles, *cough cough* this little powerhouse is no eyesore and can easily be placed on your tv cabinet, and no need to try and hide it.  It is generally square with rounded edges and is generally the size of ones' palm.  The little Maverick might be small in size but what lays underneath the hood is impressive.  On the side, it features two USB ports, one being USB 3.0 and the other USB 2.0.  As expected an HDMI out and an Ethernet input, some AV stereo jacks, and most surprisingly an Optical SPDIF output for those who want the best possible audio quality.  What all these ports mean is that you can link up quite a number of devices to this little powerhouse!   The Maverick comes with a new and improved remote from its predecessor.  Very similar in design but functionality, in general, just feels better.  the sleek and glossy remote fits comfortably in your hand and having dedicated buttons for Netflix, Youtube, Prime Video, and Google play has you hopping onto the couch and watching before you are even fully settled into your seat.  As if these shortcut keys are not enough you can also control the Maverick by voice using the Google assistant that, coming from a Siri user, is REALLY good and accurate in understanding what I want to watch.  Simply tell it "Open New Amsterdam in Netflix" (yes I watch New Amsterdam, don't judge me) and the Maverick will have you covered!  

Hardware

I am sure that most of you are more interested in how it works and how it performs rather than what numbers it has under the hood.  But for those who are interested, here we go!  The Mediabox Maverick features a 2.0GHz quad-core CPU and a Mali-G31 850MHz GPU, what that equates to is a device that runs Android 9 Pie OS while being able to effortlessly manage 4kp60 H.265 and 1080p60 encoders which will ensure that you can watch on-demand and live TV at astonishingly good quality.  I used the Maverick on my ancient 55inch Samsung Plasma and I have been contemplating replacing it for quite some time.  Thanks to the Mediabox Maverick I have a new love for my old TV and that is thanks to the crisp and colorful images the Maverick displays!   The Maverick is also capable of HDR and 4K videos so if you have the hardware that can display it, the Maverick can show it! On the Mediabox Maverick box, they make a very bold statement, they say it's hassle-free to set up.  This is no easy feat as some people are rather technologically challenged so to test Mediaboxs' theory I decided to ask my wife to get our Netflix and DSTV Now up and running. I gave her the remote and left the room, couple of minutes later she triumphantly called to say its good to go, hassle-free setup, check!  

User Interface

  Those who have used devices that run Android TV before will find themselves right at home on the Mediabox Maverick.  Unlike many cheaper products, the Maverick UI feels premium and works that way as well.  It is minimal and smooth and very responsive.  From the home screen, where many apps are included straight out the box, such as DSTV Now, Spotify, Showmax, YouTube, RedBull TV, Netflix, and more, but if you still want more, adding any of the other apps are as simple as a few clicks.  Mediabox promises that the device is fully supported locally, which means if you had issues with installing or non-functioning apps ( I am looking at you Mediabox Ranger) you can contact the support and they can remotely install or fix problems you might have, or for those who put the "hassle" back in the "hassle-free" setup.  Chrome-cast is also built into the Maverick so if you are watching a YouTube video on your phone, or watching something on your PC, you can easily cast it over to the Maverick and enjoy it on a bigger screen. During my time spent with the Mediabox Maverick, I spent a lot of time between Twitch, Netflix, Showmax, and DSTV Now and I could hardly find any issue apart from a single issue when using Netflix.  When in Netflix and watching an episode of any program, the volume keys on the remote don't work, minimizing Netflix and volume up on the home screen works fine but then you need to navigate back, fortunately, Netflix picks up where you left off but this does get annoying but definitely not a dealbreaker!  

Conclusion

Mediabox has learned from their "failures" that they had in the previous Ranger model and fixed all the underlying issues that it had.  What they have created is a Smartbox that I dare to say, is better than most!  I have always been a non-believer in smart boxes and after the Mediabox Ranger, I really thought my mind could not be changed.  But having the Mediabox Maverick and experiencing the ease of use I am genuinely able to say that this is an item that you most definitely need, you just don't know it yet!  For the meager price of R1 499.00*  you can have a Smartbox capable of handling 4K with ease compared to a Fruit-related competitor's device coming in at nearly three times the price! If you are in the market for a Smartbox, and you are NOT considering the MEDIABOX MAVERICK then you are doing yourself, as well as your wallet, a real injustice!    

special thanks to Apex Interactive for providing the review hardware

          *price accurate at the time of the article
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TurtleBeach Stealth 700 Gen 2 – Review

When TurtleBeach unleashed the first generation of Stealth 600 and 700 headsets, simply put, it blew the competition away!  Delivering a wireless headset (that uses the Xbox One wireless connection natively) that is extremely capable, well-built and within a price range that had not been seen before, was simply astounding.  The Stealth range took the fight to all other major brands who, at the time, did not think that wireless headsets should ever be marketed and the more entry-level user and wireless were strictly reserved for the upper-tier users.  The Stealth range was obviously not without its flaws. A couple of years down the line and we now have the Stealth 700 Generation 2 on our desk and ready to be put through its paced and compared directly to its predecessor, let's get straight to it!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZoDlfDZocc

Design

The Stealth 700 looks like a cross between the more bare-boned Stealth 600, and the Elite Atlas.  The headset is predominantly black with a few silver accents.  The headband is made from steel and can retract and expand to suit your fit.  The headrest has respectable foam across the whole headband covered in leatherette that feels of good quality.  The earcups can rotate as well as swivel, although the swivel is more limited.  Non the less the swivel and rotate feature allows for a good fit for most heads.  The earcups although rather on the small side for my personal taste do have really thick foam which is covered by leatherette on the outside, and mesh for the areas against your head.  The leatherette outer allows for great sound insulation while the mesh allows for less heat build-up.  This is a well-thought-out design and personally, the thick foam earcups are something many other headsets could learn from.     The TurtleBeach Stealth 700 Gen 2, like most TurtleBeach headsets, do cater for those who wear glasses and the slight indentation right where your spectacle arms go should work wonderfully, allowing minimal sound to escape through those openings.    Although the earcup foam is really thick they are also wide, which means the space for your ear is not that big, TurtleBeach has tried to make them fit better by making the opening angled so that your ears should sit inside better. The boom mic sits on the left ear.  It flips up and down, but personally, I feel it could flip down a bit further as I tend to pick it up in my peripheral vision.  The mic can also be angled in to sit closer to the face.  The rest of the controls, which include the volume roller, a chat mixer, a mode and Bluetooth button, a flush power button, and the USB-C connector for charging.

Comfort

  I have had my trepidations about the comfort of TurtleBeach headsets and the Stealth 600 Gen 1, for one, felt terrible when wearing them.  Not so much the fit but the mesh earcups were extremely rough and caused significant irritation around my ears.  When the Gen 2 versions came along I was very happy to see that the mesh on the earcups had been changed which dramatically changed the comfort.  The Stealth 600 Gen 2 was comfortable, nothing to write home about but not terrible.  During long sessions the Stealth 600 would get very warm around the ears, that would be my only immediate complaint.  So on to the Stealth 700 Gen 2, we go...     The first thing I notice regarding the Stealth 700 is the clamping force.  The headset clamps really tight and that explains the need for the really thick earcups.  You need them to counter the clamping force.  Some might not like the clamp but personally, I like it as it lessens the force on the top of your head.  Fortunately, the Stealth 700 does not weigh too much so there is nearly no hanging pressure on the top of your head and generally it doesn't feel like you are wearing a big headset.  The thick earcups do a good job of passive noise suppression but not to the level where you might not hear someone speaking to you.  The earcups are also noticeably cooler than any of the previous headsets and wearing them for extended periods of time should not be a problem.

Performance & Features

Performance-wise the Stealth 700 is neither here nor there.  It is by no means a terrible-sounding headset with a very clear mid-range, slightly blunted highs, and decent kicking lows when listening to music.  Taking it to the terror that is Escape from Tarkov where it really brought out the tiny creaks and snaps of a possible enemy creeping up on you through the brush.  Explosions however felt a little lackluster and short of a little oomph.  Jumping over to Cyberpunk 2077 and diving into the streets of night city where the chaos that comes from the hustle and bustle of the streets can be perfectly encapsulated with the Stealth 700 Gen 2.     Something to take note of is the fact that the Stealth 700 Gen 2 might come across as a little bareboned.  The Stealth 700 Gen 2 makes use of the TurtleBeach Audio HUB which is an app that you can load on your smartphone and use to control many of the settings of the headset.  The app itself is rather empty and the moment, but for good reason.  The Generation 2 headsets from Turtle Beach are aimed to be cross-generational Headsets, meaning they will work on Xbox One and PS4, as well as Series S/X and PS5.  Due to this TurtleBeach has decided to leave features such as surround sound out as the new consoles all feature it natively. A nice feature of using the headset with the app connected is that you will be able to take calls and listen to voice notes etc straight from the headset which is specifically handy when you need to chat to that pesky telemarketer mid-game!   The battery life is also not something to scoff at.  turtle beach reckons that the Stealth 700 is good for 20 hours of playback on a single charge, this seems to be an underestimate because during our review we comfortably went past the 20-hour mark with battery life to spare.     The Stealth range also incorporates two forms of connectivity.  For Console, the Xbox version uses the Xbox Wireless technology where on PS it uses Bluetooth.  Both very acceptable connection methods.  On PC the dongle can be used for the 2.4ghz wireless signal or if your PC features Bluetooth, you can decide to go that route as well.  Either way, there is no reason the Stealth 700 won't work for you! Lastly, the microphone quality is surprisingly good.  When chatting in discord without noise cancellation active in discord the mic is still crisp and clear and picks up very little background noise.  Switching over to the console where there is less software to make devices sound good, the result was very similar.  Voices did seem slightly "further away" on console compared to PC but once again it is better than many other headsets

Verdict

  The Stealth 700 Gen 2 is a wonderfully comfortable and easy-to-use wireless headset.  The simple plug&play setup and good out-the-box audio is something that users who don't want the fuss of setting up and connecting extremely cumbersome equipment would absolutely love.  The Stealth 700 Gen 2 might not be everyone's cup of tea in terms of size and fit but it does sit really snug and the build feels absolutely on point.  Considering the features that are crammed into this headset, wireless connectivity, Bluetooth, great audio, and the ability to work seamlessly with the new range of consoles, suddenly the slightly steeper price doesn't seem so bad... When the Stealth range initially launched there were phenomenally groundbreaking in the features they brought to the table as well as their price.  The package looked so good that one could forgive a few simple flaws.  A couple of years down the line and with a second-generation being launched one would expect similar leaps and bounds in terms of bang for your buck, and this is where the Stealth 700 Gen 2 currently falls short.  Featuring all the features that made the Generation 1 so wonderful and only adding cross-generation support in a price range that will make you think twice before you buy could really hurt the Stealth 700 Gen 2.    

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review content

 
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Logitech Pro X Superlight – Review

As gamers, we all strive to be the best or, at least, be better than we were before.  Be that improving on your lap time, beating that team that you have always struggled to best, or achieving that higher rank.  All of these things are what makes us gamers.  Like any sport or competition, your tools do make or break your performance.  Having the better equipment might not make you directly better but it definitely does help the cause.  Logitech wants to be your ally by providing a mouse that can take on the best that anyone has to offer! In terms of mice, there are only a few key features that determine whether or not the mouse has what it takes. Firstly it is the sensor, the more sensitive and accurate the better.  Buttons, be it mechanical or optical, your preference, but speed and response are key.  And finally, weight, as we all know, the lighter the mouse the less effort is needed to move the mouse around accurately, and paired with the above-mentioned sensor a light mouse can be the reason you land that flick shot compared to missing it in the past. This is where Logitech brings you the Pro X Superlight!  Covering all the above-mentioned factors, wrapped in a classic and classy design, albeit at a fair price tag.  Is the Pro X Superlight the ultimate esports mouse, we are about to find out!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0TyUI4gh0c&t=4s

Design

At first glance, the superlight might not look that much different from the regular GPro wireless, and that is because, at first glance, it is the same mouse.  The design is a very simple, symmetrical black chassis with a silver (non-RGB) logo on the palm rest and nothing much else.  No dedicated finger rests or lines or contours to give it a more aggressive look.  The main difference here between thePro X Superlight and the regular GPro Wireless is the omission of RGB, which when used correctly can make for an aesthetically pleasing look, but if you are looking to buy the Pro X Superlight you are clearly interested in function rather than looks. Most of the other brands of mice that claim to be extremely light, create that weight advantage by either leaving only the bare essentials inside the mouse as well as adopting the honeycomb chassis, which works well but allows for every spec of dust to enter your mouse.  Logitech decided that they will not take the easy way to success and instead decided to redesign their mouse to leave essentials parts and components intact but instead redesign with weight-saving in mind.     In terms of buttons, the Pro X Superlight features the normal left- and right-click buttons that, according to Logitech, won't suffer the same fate that so many other GPro's have suffered.  The dreaded double-click of death.  Logitech has said that the switches have been redesigned and they are sure the dreaded double click issue has been solved.  During my time spent with the Pro X Superlight, I can confirm that I did not have a single clicking issue, that originated from the mouse itself that is, my bad reaction time is another story!  The clickable wheel that features a really good looking white accent is wonderfully weighted and just grippy enough to not go on a roll if your finger happens to slide by it.  There are two inside thumb buttons that protrude enough for your hand to quickly learn where they are.  Even with smaller hands, like mine, I never felt like I had to adjust my grip to ensure I reach the thumb buttons. Flipping the Pro X Superlight over you will be greeted with the power slider, as well as really large skates, the white plastic skates that adorn the bottom of the Pro X Superlight are there to help this piece of tech slide and glide as smoothly and effortlessly as anyone can possibly hope for.  There is also a compartment that can be opened that has space for you to store your USB dongle when traveling.  And if the large skates were not enough already, Logitech sends a spare compartment cover that serves as another large skate, no need to worry, the extra skate doesn't add any weight to this feather-light mouse.    

Features

With most peripherals at the moment, the first feature you will notice is the RGB.  With a barrage of options in terms of light syncing and many more, RGB has become a rather large focus for many items.  The Logitech Pro X Superlight, however, features zero RGB, yes you read right!  When you launch the very easy to use and get a grip of, Logitech Ghub, you will be met with the option to select any of the Logitech equipment you currently have in your setup.  Selecting the Pro X Superlight you will see three tabs, a DPI tab that will allow you to utilize the 25k Hero sensor giving you a DPI (dots per inch) range from 400 to 25 00.  You can select 5 steps which are all represented by a certain color that correlates to a LED on the palm to show what DPI step is currently active.     The second tab is the option for you to reallocate your buttons to do certain things.  If you would prefer your right button to not be aim-down-sight you can easily change it out with another button.  This feature runs hand in hand with the next feature, which is the ability to create profiles for each and every specific game you play.  If you have an extremely intricate button setup for your favorite game, but that setup does not work well with your other games, Logitech has you covered.  Ghub is capable of picking up which game you are currently playing and it will automatically switch to the relevant settings that you have saved.

Connectivity & Performance

Powerplay is something that Logitech is very proud of, and for those who don't know, it's the ability for the mouse to be used on the Logitech Powerplay mousepad which charges it while simply being used on the mousepad.  This feature has become a near-standard in their high-end wireless mice.  The Pro X Superlight naturally has the powerplay feature as well but during the review, we only used the 2.4 GHz wireless dongle.  In the box, you will also be presented with a micro-USB cable that can be plugged directly into the Superlight even when in use.  Another dongle holder that can be placed on your desk is also supplied.  During our time spent with the Pro X Superlight, we did not have to charge it once!  Yes, upon receiving we fully charged it, and nearly 2 weeks later we had not even touched 50% battery left.  Logitech claims that it is capable of doing 70 hours on a single charge, and at the time of writing, we agree!     It is very clear that the Pro X Superlight is aimed at the more serious gamer and the esports player and probably the FPS crowd more specifically.  For that exact reason, I thought it would be best suited to test the Superlight in games such as R6 Siege, Escape from Tarkov, and Battlefront 2.  The first and most obvious thing that you as the player need to get used to is the weight.  It is extremely light but once you have gotten to grips with how easily it moves and slides but it is scarily accurate.  The sensor is so accurate and dependable that within a few hours I found myself turning my DPI setting down from 1000 to 600 and instead of small movements I opted for more sweeping arm movements, the results were tremendous! The accuracy during gunfights in R6 Siege improved my confidence tremendously and I found myself taking on long-range engagements more comfortably.  Any person who has spent some time in escape from Tarkov knows that it is not simply just a shooter, although shooting is what will save your life.  And the Pro X Superlight did save my bacon more than once in a space of 4 to 5 raids.  The ability to scan the surroundings and simply flick to where you spot your enemy and being exactly where you should be has allowed me to pull the trigger first on numerous occasions!  

Verdict

  Logitech has taken the benchmark for lightweight wireless mice and moved it once again! Not only has it made a 63g monster that is capable of retaining all of the premium builds and feels it was capable of cramming all the needed features and superb performance into that same package.  The Pro X Superlight might look identical to the GPro Wireless but the Pro X Superlight is much more than just a GPro Wireless on a diet.  It is testimony to what Logitech stands for.  Taking a great product and constantly improving on it and perfecting the near-perfect.  The pricetag is what might cause most people to rather consider a different Logitech mouse and with fair reason.  The Superlight is not cheap, and with competitors like, the Razer Viper Ultimate sitting in similar price ranges with more goodies in the box is a true competitor's choice.  If you prefer bigger mice that weigh nearly nothing is definitely the mouse you need, and yes, it WILL improve your aim, Promise! Would I buy one, in a heartbeat!  

special thanks to Logitech for the review hardware

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Razer Naga Pro – Review

When the Razer Naga Pro landed on my desk I found myself at a bit of a crossroad.  The Naga has been a name that has been revered amongst MMO and RPG players around the world.  It is known as "that mouse with all the buttons on the side".  So, the problem that I faced, was the fact that I am not much of an MMO or RPG player.  For this very reason, I put the Razer Naga Pro in its box and continued to unpack the Deathadder V2 which came for review.   By the evening I could not contain myself and decided to give the Naga Pro a chance...  Boy oh boy what a treat!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCHn6wgDH8M

Design

    From the moment I placed the Razer Naga Pro in my hand, the first thing that came to mind was the fact that this mouse will get a large number of mixed opinions.  The Naga Pro will by no means be a generally-loved or generally-hated mouse.  No, it will have a cult following as well as many haters.  The design and grip will not be to everyone's liking.  The Naga Pro is not much different from the previous generation of Nagas.  It is a big mouse that sits rather wide in your palm, filling most of my hand.  This might not be ideal for those who prefer the small mice that can be easily thrown and flicked around a mousepad.  Each side of the Naga Pro is dressed with ample sized textured grip areas on both the inside and outside.   But one of the most prominent things I found was where my pinky finger ended up.  The Naga Pro has a finger rest on the outside of the mouse, allowing for your pinky, or ring if you have larger hands, to rest off the mousepad.  At first glance, I thought that this could be really annoying and would hamper my way of handling the mouse, but with time spent on the Naga Pro I found the finger rest to be a feature I now search for in every mouse I review. Taking a closer look at the mouse.  Topside you will find the standard left and right buttons.  A scroll wheel in the middle that has a faintly ribbed feel which does feel good under your finger.  The edges of the scroll wheel do light up faintly with the RGB but nothing too drastic.  Just below the scroll wheel, there is a DPI up and down.  If I have to be extremely critical this could have been a single dpi button and maybe a profile button, but this is me knit-picking!  Flipping the Naga Pro over will show the power toggle, which when in the middle is off, sliding it to one side will give you a 2.4GHz wireless connection, flicking to the other side is a Bluetooth connection.  The profile switch is also situated close by and last but not least there are the skates.  At first glance, the skates seem like normal plastic pieces.  But once you start sliding the behemoth of a mouse around you can instantly feel how those skates do work!  The Razer Naga Pro does not slide the way you expect.  This monster is light and nimble.  

The Side Panels

The side panels are where the magic happens for the Razer Naga Pro.  The Naga comes with three different side panels to suit every occasion.  The first and most eye-catching panel is the 12 button panel that is probably ever MMO player's dream.  Next, there is the six-button panel, with a three-button horizontally in two vertical rows.  This I used more when playing RPG games where you need to use your quick select slots and you can't take your hands off the keys for fear of losing your hard-earned loot, or your life.  And Last but not least is the traditional two-button set up with a large textured grip area to fill the void. I was using the 12 button setup for when I dove back into World of Warcraft, for review and nostalgia purposes.  My biggest concern was that I might get confused and bash the wrong button mid-fight.  The buttons do protrude just enough for your mind to quite accurately distinguish between them.  Moving over to the 6 button panel.  The buttons on the 6 button panel do not seem like it was designed by the same people that made the 12 and 2 button panels.  the buttons feel like they protrude more than they should and it does feel like, at times, I thumbed the wrong button.  After spending some time with it I did however find that it is better to press it with the inside joint of your thumb rather than the usual inside of the finger.  Last but not the least, the two-button panel.  This is probably the most traditional setup and the buttons are big and easy to find but provide enough resistance to not have you bump them and let off an accidental grenade.     What truly makes the interchangeable side panels so great is that they are swappable on the fly.  Simply pull the one you are using off, and slide the other one in place, the strong magnets will do the rest.  And there you go, the RGB will take over and Razer Synapse will automatically detect the side panel and apply your settings for that panel. Did I mention the neatly tucked away space to store the USB dongle that you can reach when popping off the side panel, clever Razer!

Features

    Apart from the Razer Nagas obvious features, the side panels, it still has a couple of other tricks up its sleeve.  Starting with the 2.4 GHz wireless connection.  Razer claims this to be the best wireless connection ever, saying that there is less than 1ms delay in their connection.  Whether this is true or not we can't prove it but what I can say is that it is really good, I mean REALLY good!  Many other reviewers have noted that they do have issues with the 2.4GHz where it would drop away or fail to connect at times.  For the whole time that I spent with the Razer Naga Pro, I did not have a single hiccup.  It was simply splendid.  One of the other advantages of 2.4GHz wireless is that it uses significantly less power than other connections.  Razer claims that with your RGB turned off, you can squeeze an amazing 100 hours of battery life.  I did not ever measure exact hours but even with RGB set to ambient awareness I easily kept on fighting and gliding for a couple of days.  Maybe I have been spoilt with the Razer Viper Ultimate, but charging your mouse with a conventional cable doesn't quite cut it anymore.  Fortunately, the universal charging dock (sold separately) can charge your Naga Pro as well.     The next feature that is easily overlooked due to the fact that nearly all of this generation of Razer mice feature it, is the optical switches.  Gone are the days of using green, yellow, blue, brown, and every other color of the rainbow -switches.  No, we have reached the time of the optical (queue the epic music).  Not only are they even faster and more accurate than any of the mechanical switches, but they also sound and feel perfect.  Even going back to my Viper Ultimate Pro felt different and strange.  Optical switches are, simply put, the next big thing that could happen to mice and keyboards.

Verdict

    The Razer Naga Pro might seem like it is designed and intended for a very specific audience.  And you won't be wrong to think of it that way.  Hell, I felt exactly the same way.  But once you start using the rather large Naga Pro you will find that it is not intended for one audience only, in fact, it has every single genre of gamers in mind.  From the MMO and RTS fans to the FPS players, the Razer Naga Pro is more than capable to tackle literally any game you throw at it.  Simply flick the side panel off, using the Green force have the mouse attach its own new side panel and keep playing as nothing has happened.  Although the Razer Naga Pro might be a big mouse, that some more hardcore FPS players might frown at, thanks to the wonderful skates it glides and slides like a mouse half its size. If you are in the market for a mouse and you are looking for an all-in-one mouse, the Razer Naga Pro is literally the mouse you have been waiting for.  Great wireless, spectacular buttons, mindblowing side panels that cater for anything and everything and comfort, that once you are used to, will redefine what comfort is to you.  Simply put, I can't really think of a mouse I would rather have as my go-to mouse.  As long as you can stomach the hefty price tag...    

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for the review content

 
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Razer Deathadder Pro V2 – Review

When I originally wandered onto the PC scene as an adult, a good couple of years ago, one of the first things I noticed was the tendency for gaming equipment to be rather excessive.  keyboards and mice would have a vast array of buttons and lights and the strangest lines and angles in their design.  It felt like manufacturers wanted to ensure that their item would be a standout in a gaming setup, not caring whether the standout was good or bad.  Razer seemed to be at the forefront of this trend at the time with their extreme use of RGB.  Since then, it seems like manufacturers have figured that less is more and a more subdued design might sell better due to it being used for productivity rather than only gaming.  Not only that but at the end of the day, all we as gamers want, is the best performance possible Earlier this year Razer released the DeathAdder V2, which was met with good reviews and good sales.  Razer decided that they can improve on this and crammed their new Focus+ optical sensor into the DeathAdder body.  Combining their best-selling shape with a wonderful sensor is just a recipe for success, and a success it is if you can look past a hefty price tag.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxv-MnajF7I  

Razer DeathAdder V2 Pro Specs

Sensor Type Optical
Sensor Model Razer Focus+
Sensitivity 20,000 CPI
Polling Rate 1,000 Hz
Programmable Buttons 8
LED Zones 1 RGB zone
Connectivity 2.4 GHz USB Type-A dongle (Razer HyperSpeed), Bluetooth, USB Type-A
Cable 6 feet (1.8m) USB Type-A
Measurements (LxWxH) 5.00 x 2.42 x 1.68 inches (127 x 61.7 x 42.7mm)
Weight 3.10 ounces (88g)
Software Razer Synapse 3
 

Design and Comfort

The shape that the DeathAdder uses is by no means a new one.  Razer has been using it since 2006.  Their mentality is clearly, why change it if it works, and for good reason.  The design is extremely comfortable.  Simply place your hand on it and your fingers naturally land on the buttons.  Even the inner buttons are perfectly positioned for both large and smaller hands.  The DeathAdder V2 Pro also has textured sides on both sides.  The V2 version only has localized texturing, which is great, but once you experience the Pro texture you simply cannot go back.     The DeathAdder V2 Pro drops the, often excessive, RGB to show that it means more esports-business than many of the other Razer hardware.  The only source of RGB comes in the form of the standard Razer emblem found on the palm area of the mouse.  The scroll wheel, which also features ribbed textures, features no RGB and is less protruding than some of the other Razer mice on the market.  This creates a much sleeker look which suites the fluent lines of the DeathAdder V2 Pro. Flipping the DeathAdder V2 Pro over will show one button that allows you to flick between profiles that can be set.  A second slider allows you to choose the way you want to connect your Deathadder to your PC.  The DeathAdder V2 Pro can connect to devices via Bluetooth which is great if you want to use it on devices that don't support USB dongles to be connected.  Another option is the wired method.  Using the supplied braided USB cable, called a Speedflex cable in the Razer house, a cable that just oozes premium.  Lastly, but my preferred method of connection is using the Razer Hyperspeed which uses 2.4Ghz technology to eliminate the most input lag possible.  You will also see two golden pegs, these can be used to charge the DeathAdder V2 Pro via the Razer charging dock, which is sold separately.    

Battery Life

Razer claims that the DeathAdder V2 Pro is capable of lasting 120 hours on a single charge when using the Bluetooth connection as well as no RGB.  As we all know, turning off the RGB is not an option, I mean RGB gives you at least 10% performance gains doesn't it?  Using it in Hyperspeed mode (2.4Ghz) with RGB the estimated time drops to around 70hours.  Which is still more than enough and if you do find yourself running out of charge, you can simply plug the cable in and keep on gaming.  While playing I found the charge to drop at around 1-2% per hour of intense play.

Performance

    The DeathAdder V2 Pro comes with the new optical switches that swap out mechanical clicks for the speed-of-light opticals, in layman's terms, optical is faster and better!  The optical switches are also rated for a mindblowing 70 million clicks!  Most of the newer Razer mice have started using the Focus + sensor.  This new sensor is able to handle DPI settings from as low as 200 all the way to 20 000.  As a user, you are able to set 5 DPI steps via the Razer Synapse app.  The Focus+ sensor boasts a resolution accuracy of 99.6% which is mindblowing for a sensor that is capable of being that accurate at 650 IPS (inches per second).  Did I mention it will be accurate up to speeds of 50G's, your mouth is hanging open, not mine!  As if that wasn't enough, Razer boasts even more features such as Smart Tracking and MotionSync to improve accuracy even more. When reviewing new headsets or mice, there is usually an adjustment period, which, especially in FPS games, can have a devastating effect when playing seriously punishing shooters such as Escape from Tarkov.  When I jumped into R6 Siege and EFT I did so with the expectation of seeing my performance drop significantly.  When this did not happen I was very surprised.  The DeathAdder V2 Pro has such a comfortable feel to it that it feels more natural than even your daily mouse will feel.  While playing Siege I found my aim to be great and the way the DeathAdder moves across the mousepad will have you looking down to see if you actually have anything in your hand!  

Verdict

I have been fortunate enough to test many mice, as well as having another premium brand mouse and a Razer Viper Ultimate as my personal daily-use mice.  For a very long time, I thought that it would be tough to beat these two mice for they both have, personally, the best in every category!  But the unassuming Razer DeathAdder V2 Pro slid onto my mousepad and has impressed me so immensely!  I am not sure if I will be able to pack this mouse away and send it back, sorry Apex Interactive.  The Razer DeathAdder V2 Pro can easily become your daily productive mouse by day an immensely capable gaming mouse by night.  With a battery life that will have you charging a lot less than you expect the only possible downfall of this mouse could be its price tag.  But if you are willing to spend some money you can buy your forever mouse right here!    

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review content

 
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Logitech G733 Lightspeed – Review

  The new Logitech range which includes the G733 Lightspeed headset does a lot to find the middle ground for Logitech.  Logitech has always made spectacular hardware but they have often struggled to find a balance between their more practical products and their G gaming range.  The G733 takes the great performance that is required from the gaming range, needed for gamers to perform at their optimal levels and blends it into the more practical and playful looks that Logitech has often lacked.  Still, very much business orientated, but the G733 shows that work can be done even if you loosen the tie and ruffle the hair ever so slightly...   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkxeThlKLXc

Design

On most occasions, headsets that are rather lightweight tend to feel and are generally cheaper and not built too well.  As a general rule of thumb, with a bit of weight comes better build quality and a stronger structure in general.  The Logitech G733 ditches these ideas and gives you a headset that is extremely light.  Only weighing a measly 278g, which is a significant weight cut compared to other high-end Logitech headsets.  Although 278g might not sound like much, when you are wearing a headset for many hours continuously, you will thank Logitech for making such a lightweight headset.     The comfort does not stop there.  The earcups are lined with soft flexible memory foam cushioning that offers a comfortable fit and helps with sealing off the outside world as well as not causing too much heat after wearing them for extended periods of time.  The new headband system that Logitech has adapted to for the G733 is simply fantastic.  Many other brands have been using it for quite some time, allowing for the weight of the headset to be spread across a band over your head rather than using a single contact point as "traditional" headsets do.  The headband makes the G733 feel like it's floating above your head and only attached to your head at the earcups.  If for some reason, the headset doesn't fit quite right, the headband can even be adjusted to sit more snug, well done Logitech!  Did I mention the headband elastic is reversible if the already funky colour doesn't quite suit your mood for the day?   Although the straight and square design is rather new to the Logitech roster (copying more of the Astro look than Logitech) it is made from all plastic rather than the more carbon and metallic bits are seen on other high-end Logitechs'.  The plastic is strong and durable but it always will bring in a sense of cheapness even though, in this case, it is not the case.  Being plastic also allows the G733 to be made in bright and beautiful colours such as black, white, grey, and a beautiful blue.  The front rim of the earcups is embellished by an RGB strip that acts as two programmable areas for RGB.  

Features

Let us start with the controls.  Firstly, the G733 connects wirelessly via a USB dongle.  This works fine and dandy on the console but the G733 is more at home on the PC.  More on that a little later.  On the left earcup, you will find the microphone, which now features Blue Voice, thanks to Logitech's purchase of Blue Microphones.  On the rear of the earcup, there is a discrete flat button that allows for microphone mute.  When pressed you will hear an audio queue acknowledging that you are now muted or unmuted.  Extremely handy when you are not sure if you hit the mute button before you start conveying your disgust at a stupid play a fellow teammate made. Below the mute button, there is a volume dial,  this dial can turn endlessly both ways and adjust your PC's main volume.  So when turning you should get the volume level displayed by Windows. The last button on the rather barren G733 is the power button, hold to switch on, hold to switch off, a short press will have a lady tell you the battery level in your ear, nice! The aspect that has really made me fall in love with Logitech is how amazing their Ghub software is, and the resulting performance you get from the headset.  The G733, thanks to the Ghub software, can compete with headsets that are much more expensive, due to the customization levels introduced in the Ghub software.  

Ghub Customizations

The most obvious customization feature is RGB.  Like all the other Logitech products, the G733 features the same options when it comes to RGB settings.  Rainbow sliders and the normal options, I prefer to use a screen sampler, which allows the RGB on the headset to mimic what is happening on the screen.  Newer game titles are also supported for custom RGB features.  While playing Mafia Remastered, I found that when I was being chased by the police, all three ( keyboard, mouse, and headset) would flash red and blue as the police sirens and light would do.  That really makes immersion fantastic and with constant games being added to the supported list, this is spectacular.     The G733 features virtual surround sound thanks to DTS.  The virtual surround sound that is featured with most Logitech headsets is some of the most accurate I have experienced in any stereo headset.  Some other well-known brands seem to sound more like an echo than actually true spatial sound.  After tinkering with the surround sound there is more equalizers and settings to fiddle with until you have tweaked the audio to just what you want.  If you can't quite tweak it your way, why not simply download a preset that someone else has made and uploaded to the Ghub.  Quick and simple, find a setup you think might work and download it and test it out.  This is an approach more companies should take.  I have become a snob because of this feature and setting my own equalizers have now become somewhat of a pain.     The recent addition of Blue Voice in top-end Logitech headsets is tremendous.  Suddenly your Logitech headset can replace the likes of a separate stand microphone thanks to the amazing tech crammed into a small headset mic.  Not only can you set your microphone equalizer to allow you to sound perfectly crisp and clear, but there are also presets such as AM Radio, broadcaster, FM radio and presets for soft, loud, high and low voice types!  If anyone has ever told you that your voice would not suit radio, the Blue Voice tech can make you sound like you have the sweetest voice on earth!

Performance

    The Logitech G733 is a wireless headset, and with that comes certain "problems" when it comes to the audio performance.  When there is no audio playing, even at low volume, there is the normal hum.  Not a big deal, but to someone who believes in wired is better, this can be very annoying.  Fortunately, the G733 makes up for this slight flaw with exceptional audio quality.  With the extremely powerful equalizer that can be tuned to make nearly any form of music or in-game audio sound perfect, we were hard-pressed to really find something wrong.  So to be completely unbiased I decided to give the G733 to a few people to give their opinions in terms of audio.  The G733 is fitted with the same 40mm drivers as the G Pro X which is still our favourite all-time headset.  For this reason, the G733 sounds nearly exactly the same.  Mids are spot on with highs being at the verge of being too high.  Lows are firm and strong but can become slightly muddy when the mids are truly working hard.  This was only slightly noticeable during some intense BFV firefights.     The Logitech G733 soundstage is clearly taken from the G Pro X which is intended with esports in mind, hence the stage is smaller and closer than other headsets.  This is by no means a deal-breaker because when I took them for a spin in Horizon Zero Dawn the vast openness and gusts of wind perfectly gave the sense of a massive open area.  

Verdict

The Logitech G Pro X was easily our favourite headset and our standard to which all headsets are measured.  This leaves any other headset that lands in our hands at an immediate disadvantage.  The G733 put a smile on our face when we put it on, it is comfortable and light.  When we turned it on and started using it our smile increased even more! Chatting to friends online and hearing them say "wow, you sound so perfectly-clear" simply made us fall in love!  The G733 takes what made the G Pro headsets so wonderful and adds in some refreshing styling showing that you can be both business while still looking great and fun! If you are looking for a wireless option and the GPro X or G935 just does not do it for you, why not take a look at something just as good but a little more pleasing to the eye.      

Special thanks to Logitech for supplying the review hardware

     
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The Dark Pictures : Little Hope – Review

Hello, gamers and welcome back to another exciting “review, one of my “friends “and “colleagues” took great pleasure in “gifting “me the chance to review The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope…  Not sure if this is a blessing or a curse, let's find out! Ok, so instead of giving facts and interesting points I’m going to use phrases, *Ahem*…  NO NO NO NO…   AWWW HELL NO...  WHAT IS THAT?!?!?!..  RUUUUUUUN...  NO, I DIDN'T WANT TO DO THAT…  OH, I DON’T LIKE THIS...  WHY DID I DO THAT????!!! There we go game fully summed up and reviewed, good game, now for 4 hours of cartoons and cute kitty videos... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WEDMulICUA&t=2s

What is going on here?

    OK OK AMANDA...  I'll do this properly.  So little hope is a game based on the choices you make, and all these choices affect the 5 characters you play as, while on their way to a field trip their bus has an accident, as in crashes not soils its chassis.  This game picks up right off the bat and throws players into a world of misery, fear, and confusion.  How do I know this I enlisted someone very near and dear to me a one Dalal light, she helped me interpret all the symbols and even some details other will miss, and hearing her chuckle and then say “well let me tell you one thing right away, someone is not going to have a very good day”, this didn’t set me up well to play this game.  I pressed on, only to hear “oh I wouldn’t go that way not with that there”. And after politely thanking and sending miss light on her way I carried on, with a greater fear of the unknown than before. The game pushes players in 1 direction, both literally and figuratively, a dense fog shrouds the town and any attempt to go backward is futile, the fog simply swallows you up and sends you facing the other way. The players are constantly haunted by noises and quick glimpses of distorted figures in the background, creating a constant tension of what’s going to happen next.     Little hope was a bustling town back in its day, major factories being the town's lifeblood, but when the factories were closed down, the town was deserted and became a ghost town.  In more ways than one.  The town, even before its heyday, has a dark history.  During the witch burnings of Salem, Little Hope did its fair share of witch-hunting and much to miss lights displeasure…  Wait, when did you sneak back in?  Uhm the brutal murders of supposed witches.

What was that noise?

Now that we have established the backstory of Little Hope, let's jump into the game.  Players will take alternating control of all 5 characters their names being Andrew, John, Angela, Daniel, and Taylor sometimes for investigation, sometimes for a slight visit back to the time of yore, sometimes for quick button events that don’t always guarantee an agreeable result. The characters will constantly talk to each other and it's up to you to decide their response, will you be reassuring? Comforting? Undermining? Or a complete bi…….WAAAAAAAH!! AMANDA I TOLD YOU NOT TO SNEAK UP ON ME WHILE IM PLAYING THIS!!!   The Dark Pictures Anthology has a rather large focus on the character relations that you can build or break by way of the decisions you make.  These actions do not only have a single effect on the storyline.  Upset someone now, and have that consequence resonate back to bite you later.  This makes every single decision, be it made with the head or the heart, have a massive cause and effect on the story.  You will also be persuaded by the demons of your past or the past of a past life…  Or the past of a past life’s past life? Ghastly distorted disfigured and mangled visages of what was once human and it's up to you to make the right choices or face the consequences. And if the game itself isn’t creepy enough, you will periodically meet “the curator” a mildly pleasantly unpleasant person, who will talk you through your choice as the game goes on, being a little more than cynical of your choices if not very judgemental in his opinion….he offers “tips” if you can call them that from time to time but don’t expect a clear-cut answer it’s a riddle within a mystery.     It's up to you to get the 5 lost souls through this horror town to hopefully a good ending, hidden throughout the game are postcards with pictures which provide the player a small vision of what may or may not come to pass, based on your decisions made up to that point, I cannot say if they help or not.  But that’s all on you...     The visuals of the game are stunning if not eerie, the music will always keep you in a state of unease, when those violins start up the hairs on the back of my neck start doing backflips…  Even if nothing happens…  At that point anyway.  The fog always there, always foreboding, spurring you on and keeping all the horrors and nasties hidden until the time is right. I kind-of just scared myself there.  Little hope has a wonderful if you can call it that, way of building tremendous amounts of suspense.  Be that with the eerie soundtrack or perfectly placed silences.  If you don't turn in your chair a few times during this game there is something wrong with you.

Is it over yet?

  During this night you spend trying to save these 5 characters you will learn so much about the witch-trails in general.  And especially the horrors that would be the reason for so many innocent people to be put to death.  Just like the curator will mention on several occasions, nothing is quite what it seems.  And that statement rings true throughout the terror-filled night.  Whether you care to listen to the voice of reason, or rather dig a bit further, maybe lend an ear to a creepy little girl, you might just make sense of this nightmare. The Dark Pictures Anthology is so good at telling an intricate story that they are able to take a story, that at first, seems like nothing makes any sense, and have you piece the blocks together to help you experience one of the most "aha" moments ever just before the credits roll...

Verdict

Little Hope is the second outing in the Dark Pictures Anthology - series.  Its predecessor, The Man from Medan, built a solid foundation, but at times had some graphical issues and lost its scare-factor after a certain point.  Little Hope doubles up on the foundation and gives the graphics a massive step-up.  The game is beautiful even on the aging Xbox One.  The atmosphere is spectacular and you will be hard-pressed to find something that builds a better feeling of impending doom while delivering a great story! Little Hope offers many replays, and I for one would advise it!  Is it for everyone? Hmm, this is not easily answered but if you are looking for something to put a chill in your bones and deliver a fantastic story, then Little Hope is the perfect title for you.  If you have ongoing heart conditions or serious bedwetting issues…  Hard pass for your own sake. I greatly enjoyed my first run at this game and will definitely play it again to see if I can do better… 1 out of 5 is good right? Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to switch every light on I own, watch some cartoons in the fetal position. AMANDA MY BLANKEY IF YOU WILL.      

Special thanks to Prima Interactive for the review content

       
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Logitech G432 – Review

Logitech has been around for a while, and they are known for making some of the best hardware.  The G432 is an updated version of one of Logitech's most longstanding performers, the G430.  The G432 is all that an upgrade should be, keeping what made the previous version good, and tweaking the flaws.  Let us jump straight in and see what made the G430 great and what makes the G432 even better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFte92Mj8Pk

Design

The G430 was light and sleek headset sporting bright blue accents.  The G432 takes that and updates it, slightly.  The steel headband is still present and swiveling earcups are kept.  Pleather covered earcups are a great improvement with bright blue accents around the earcups.  The G432 is still extremely light, almost to the point of being too light.  This, however, is definitely a user preference and some find light headsets to be their favorite.  Compared to many other headsets the earcups do feel like they sit slightly loose on my head.  This is also something that will change from user to user.  I am comparing it to the Astro A40's and other headsets I have recently reviewed.  The G430 was lacking in the audio performance department but fortunately, that is one of the aspects Logitech certainly did improve on. The flexible boom mic that is fitted to the left earcup, can be folded away completely allowing the G432 to look like simple earphones when no microphone is needed.  One of the really nice features of the boom mic on the G432 is that when all the way down the mic works as usual.  If you want to quickly mute yourself, all you do is flip it up slightly and it will go into mute mode.  Drag it down again and you are back online free to speak.  The volume dial is also situated on the back of the left earcup, simple and easy to find.     Logitech has also spoilt the user by supplying every connection type known to man.  As standard, the G432 has a 3.5mm connection but supplied, is a splitter that splits audio and mic separately.  Along with this splitter is the DAC, a USB device that your 3.5mm jack plugs into.  This is a nice touch by Logitech ensuring the headset can be used in any possible way.  Not many manufacturers include these adapters in more budget orientated headsets.  Good job Logitech! Although the G432 does suffer from a few minor design flaws that affect comfort, like the loose-fitting earcups, these are all up to user preference.  Personally, I think they are reasonably comfortable and don't get too hot when wearing for long periods of time.  A colleague however had no issue with the loose earcups but was more concerned about the heat buildup after wearing for a couple of hours.  So overall it is an even split.  

Sound Performance

I made the conscious decision to start the sound test using the G432 with the 3.5mm connector.  When using the 3.5mm connector the first noticeable feature that is lacking is the use of Logitech Ghub.  Ghub is the software that you can use to adjust everything including the kitchen sink on all compatible Logitech devices.  Switching over to the DAC made a significant change in the audio quality.  The soundscape is tremendously good and closer compared to many other headsets in the same price range.     When you connect via the DAC is when the G432 comes alive and the wonderful GHUB shows its true capabilities.  The G432 features a virtual 7.1 surround sound thanks to DTS.  Setting this up is simple and has you listening to an audio track and adjusting all the speakers accordingly.  Using it in games such as Rainbow 6 Siege and Escape from Tarkov game me such a distinct advantage due to the games focusing a lot on audio.  In games such as Mafia Definitive edition, the hustle and bustle of the 1930's city really come to life when you walk down the street and people are speaking and cars are buzzing past. This is not the only feature.  Equalizers are completely customizable and if you are not happy with your personal settings you can simply download someone else profiles from the GHUB community.  Noise reduction on both the microphone and the audio is great.  Especially if you have a noisy household and you don't want to torture your party members with barking dogs or moaning children.  The mic quality is really good for its price range but it is definitely more aimed and multiplayer communication rather than any form of streaming or production worthy efforts.    

Verdict

The Logitech G432 is a great entry-level headset for someone who needs a complete package for a budget price.  The audio drivers are really good and the mic is more than respectable for first-time buyers.  The G432 will not be your final headset by any means.  It still suffers from a few tiny flaws such as the lack of clamping over the ears but it certainly has more going for it than against.  Straight out of the box, the G432 will work with any device, but if you are going to be using it on PC, be sure to use the DAC and the Logitech Ghub.  This will really make the G432 sing. Many might consider the G432 somewhat bulky and not friendly as an everyday headset.  But compared to many other brands and higher-end headsets, the Logitech G432 can definitely stand its ground when it comes to audio performance.    

Special thanks to our friends at Logitech for the review content

   
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Dirt 5 – Review

The Dirt franchise has become synonymous with being the all-in-one off-road experience!  It has brought us hardcore rally simulators as well as pick-up and play- arcade racers.  If you are looking to thread a needle through the Welsh forest while struggling to see through a rainstorm, not sure if that is a corner or a wall, then Dirt 2.0 is what you are after.  If you are after a fun-filled, colorful experience which will see you flying around Cape Town, listening to South African accents cheering you on, or flying through marble mines in Italy struggling to see your opponents flying by you.  All while having the guys from Donut Media, explaining how and what you need to be doing, then Dirt 5 is unashamedly the fun-filled off-roader you want! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K96Pe0jvpfk Dirt 5 is obviously a racing game, and with the next-gen consoles being really close to available.  It makes sense that Dirt 5 is arguably the racing showcase that will be used to show us what next-gen can do.  We, however, did not review it on next-gen but graphically you would expect Dirt 5 to take the current-gen consoles to their max.  With games like Forza Horizon 4 already being able to produce eye-searing graphics, Dirt 5 could only hope to match that and we would be ecstatic.  Starting up the game, it looks promising.  You are met with an option to either have the game focus on keeping good graphics or to focus on higher FPS.  Naturally, we tried both. Well, prepare to be underwhelmed.  Graphically Dirt 5 is lackluster at best, with switching between graphics and fps modes not making an impacting change at all.  Fortunately for Dirt 5 games are not all about graphics, right?  Well, Dirt 5 definitely makes up for the above in its variety. The career mode in Dirt 5 will have you putting your proverbial pedal to the metal for a significant time.  In theory, there are 75 tracks in total.  yes some of them are reversed versions of each other but 75 is still a big number.  The thing that I found made the campaign so much fun is the fact that the sheer size of the career is broken into many small pieces.  None of the races or modes feel too long that you find yourself getting bored.  In the same breath, I have to say I immediately turned the difficulty up a notch as to give me a fight all the way to the chequered flag. In Dirt 2.0 the job is simple.  Get from the start to the finish as quickly as you can without destroying the car.  Dirt 5, being the quirkier brother, throws in a few fun "challenges" to spice things up.  Drift for X amount of time, or trade paint in the air, each race will have these challenges.  Complete them and it will add towards your reputation and a few other categories which are needed to unlock more car customizations.

Cars and Customization

Dirt 5 has a respectable lineup of cars.  Compared to the likes of NFS or Forza it might fall slightly short but respectable none the less.  NFS has its over-the-top car modifications and Forza allows you to tune every last centimeter of the vehicle, Dirt 5 does not do the same, actually, it doesn't allow you to customize your car, performance-wise, at all!  Dirt 5 is more about aesthetics.  As you progress through the career mode and complete more of the side missions as mentioned before.  You will unlock decals for your vehicle.  Some of them in form of stickers to slap literally anywhere on your car.  Others will be wraps for your vehicle allowing you to customize your ride to your heart's content. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4iQzwrVdT8 What this means is that each vehicle and I use vehicles because not all contraptions are cars, there are buggies and other off-roading abominations have a specific rating.  It is rather simply put.  Performance and handling.  Closer to A-rating the better.  The thing that I was slightly upset about is the lack of variation when it came to how the cars felt when changing between classes of cars.  This might upset the more die-hard racing fans because it removes the learning curve for each vehicle, but on the flip side, it allows for a much easier pick-up-and-play experience!

Fun in the sun and mud

Although Dirt 5 is not as visually stunning as Forza Horizon 4, it is still extremely fun and entertaining.  Whether you are flying through forests in China, cruising around the streets of Cape Town listening to the South African accent coming over the PA system, or slipping and sliding across the frozen water of New York.  Dirt 5 has excitement on every track and every corner.  What makes the tracks even more amazing is how your surroundings react to your vehicle speeding past.  When fighting your way through the Italian marble mines, the dirt and fine marble dust can be seen sitting at the back of your car.  Drive through some water and see it wash off.  These are the little things that take me back to the fun I had playing Colin McCrae Rally on the PS1.  And that is partly why I will always have a soft spot for the Dirt-franchise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vVE-Ovf9Qw As mentioned before a total of 75 variants of tracks are available, giving a meaty amount of variety to work through.  Now change the weather and time of day and see how these tracks become something completely new.  Have it rain and be dark and you're favorite drive through the forest will have you careening into the first- and every tree thereafter. Last but not the least, there is a playground mode.  Which, when released to the public on the launch, will allow you to build custom tracks and have up to 12 friends join you to experience your masterpiece or Frankenstein track

Verdict

Dirt 5 does not quite match its rivals in terms of visual showcasing. and it's not quite there as a simulator-esque game like Dirt 2.0.  But what it lacks in those fields it makes up for in spunk and just general pickup and have fun attitude.  It is a genuinely fun game and throws in some voice acting from some of my favorite car guys, Donut Media, as well as the voice actor gods, Nolan North and Troy Baker, Dirt 5 is sure to put a smile on your proverbial dial.  

Special thanks to APEX Interactive for supplying us with the Review content

   
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Watch Dogs: Legion – Review

  Hello gamers yes it is I, I have survived the epidemic and I’m coming to you live from London.....err I'm in South Africa from London?...... So I got the opportunity to play Watch Dogs: Legion which is based in London yes that's it....and let me say what a GREAT opportunity it was. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHd4YfbZuxU&t=2s Firstly, visually, the game is STUNNING, based in London in a slightly more modern setting where the whole city is being run by a private military called Albion, who takes the law into their own hands with a "kill for peace" take on things.  You take the role of... EVERYONE, not even an exaggeration, you can recruit literally anyone to the cause and they can bring a unique set of skills to the table, ain't no one got squat on my 88-year-old granny sporting a shock rifle, 6G hacking skills, and a severe case of flatulence, or for those who aren't medically minded, she farts....a lot....alerting every enemy close by.....which I then rifle down... So much fun. You run around a fully open world full of shops to buy clothes to customize your army, granny be sporting a biker jacket, combat pants, and flip flops. Oh, such a menacing granny you are, completing tasks to weaken the hold Albion has on the people in the borough, making it easier to find and recruit new operatives. A major game feature is the tech menu, offering a range of gadgets, abilities, weapons, and hacking skills all this is unlocked with tech points scattered around the map, each item on the menu can be upgraded to make it more effective, which can be set to each operative to switch up your playstyle or tackle the task at hand.  Another major feature is the combat, now I did play the 1st Watch Dogs and sadly missed the 2nd. DONT JUDGE ME AMANDA!!!! But the combat for Watch Dogs: Legion is based around attacking, grappling, and dodging which can be followed up with a counter-attack its proper street fighting bruv.  Combat can be made easier by using an operative with a melee weapon or a nice little gadget I call the "punchy zappy face breaky" thing. My personal Favorite is definitely the remote control spider capable or hacking terminals, getting into tight spaces, getting you into otherwise inaccessible rooms distracting enemies, and scaring the living daylights out of people on the street, yes my little pet spread TERROR... I mean go get me access to that server over there I need to check my Twitter feed messages. the storyline follows our ever neighborhood hacking community Dedsec being framed for major bombings all over London by the group known as Zero-day, who have no other agenda than just trying to watch the world burn.  Albion takes over and basically eliminates almost every criminal enterprise except 1 clan Kelly, so you have some major factions who aren't particularly friendly towards you, unless, you recruit one of them.  YES people you can recruit the enemy to your cause, but you will need to buy the special tech ability to deep dive into their profile and find something that you can help them with to turn that frown upside down and join you, now you have a recruit who can walk almost freely around that factions area, just avoid the other guards and cameras and drones.....so everything. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mOVusuXl7E The game doesn’t limit how you play, maybe you’re like me who likes to sneak around set traps and bring out the inner Sam Fischer in you, or walking right up to some git and bashing em in the face yeah? The help will have thought the game will be from the lovable robot AI Baggly who will help you accomplish all your missions, from getting Intel to finding a location to hacking a laptop and wiping someone's debt..... think I need a Baggly....But 1 thing was REALLY confusing to me.... playing many different open-world games like GTA....being forced to drive on the right-hand side of the road and now I'm on the LEFT like I'm weirded out by this, even driving on the left side IN REAL LIFE, like I can’t wrap my head around now driving on the correct side of the road!!! It’s maddening!!! Well, it is to me anyway... AMANDA I SAID STOP JUDGING ME. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqh4BX8-VR4

Verdict

Now down to brass tax here people. Is this game for everyone? Sadly no, some might find it repetitive or stick to only 4 or 5 operatives.  Is it enjoyable to play? Without a doubt, I lost myself for hours walking down the streets just checking on random NPCs for the next potential recruit and just enjoying the stunning scenery or even doing parcel deliveries to earn extra cash.  Is it replayable? I honestly believe so, you can pick completely new operatives each time mixing it up each time. A HUGE shoutout to UBISOFT for giving me the opportunity to play this ahead of release. I will be enjoying this game for a long time, me and granny Tabitha, Amanda hold all my calls... it's time to flatulently rifle down some tossers, muppets, and geezers. well, that's what Tabitha says anyway.    
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