Turtle Beach Recon 70 – Review

Turtle Beach is a driving force behind gaming headsets especially on console and in recent times they have starting a big drive to provide budget headsets without budget quality.  They have flooded the market with their Recon range, which is the wired range as well as the stealth, which in turn, is the wireless range.  All of these headsets are meant to be budget headsets.  Although the Stealth wireless range can still be pricey, simply due to the fact that wireless tech is still more on the pricey side at the moment.  Turtle Beach also delivers its signature styling in all their headsets.  Although they are not as flashy as some of the other brands like Astro and Razer under their toned-down styling is still a slick headset that is very capable.  These toned-down styling queues do not mean the headsets are less capable, rather it makes them more appealing to those who are looking to multipurpose their headset for not only gaming but general use as well, and Turtle Beach headsets do that brilliantly.  Turtle Beach currently has a host of Recon headsets, last of which we reviewed was the Recon 200. This time around we have the chance to get our hands on the Recon 70, which apart from the wired cable can easily be mistaken for the Stealth 700 when it comes to looks.  Let's jump straight into it!  

Aesthetics and feel

Image result for turtle beach recon 70 hd

From the first time you pick up the Recon 70 you will notice it has a fair weight to it, not nearly as weighty as the Astro A40's or a Razer Thresher but a decent enough weight to feel like you are dealing with a respectable piece of hardware.  The headset itself is predominantly made from moulded plastic which does help to keep the weight down, but in my personal opinion does create a sense of it being less "well-built".  Styling is similar to the Stealth and other Recon headsets as mentioned before.  The headband features a thin band of foam covered in leatherette which does help for the extended gaming sessions but it could be a little thicker in my opinion.  Earcups are nice and big and fit nicely over your ears with ample space inside as well, this has been a past problem with some of the Turtle Beach headsets and they have definitely fixed that with this iteration.  The earcups are also covered in leatherette which is a huge improvement on the 600 range which had cloth covering and would become extremely itchy when ears start getting hot during long sessions.  The leatherette covers also improve sound isolation and wearing the headset does cut out the outside world a fair amount.  The Recon 700 uses a 3.5mm jack to connect to any device that boasts a 3.5mm headphone port and has a fair length on the cable.  It does however not have an inline mute or volume controller, the volume controller is situated on the left earcup which can be a bit of a pain when you need to take your hand off the controller when adjusting volume.  This is a small drawback, nothing to make you doubt your decision but something to take note of none the less. Functionality, Sound and Features

The Recon 70 is aimed at the budget, and entry-level, gamer. With a cut in price to fall into the budget category comes a cut in features.  Unlike the Recon 200 which boasts a chat mixer, active mic monitoring and active noise-cancelling, the Recon 70 is a lot more bare-boned in comparison boasting none of those features apart from the superb flip mic that is exceptional and can outperform mics on headsets that are easily triple the price of the Recon 70. Image result for turtle beach recon 70 The real reason for any headset is not about the brand or the features it's about the sound quality.  Turtle Beach has always prided themselves in delivering top quality sound of any occasion.  The Recon 70 is fitted with a 40mm driver, as many of the other Turtle Beach headsets are.  When listening to music they deliver crisp and clear mids and highs.  At times the mids do seem to wash into the highs slightly but nothing to frown upon.  The lows are punchy but not as deep as I would like them. When listening to music or watching a movie, I also found that even at max volume the headset was not too loud.  This is not a problem, but in some situations in gaming when you possibly need that extra volume the Recon 70's can be found lacking.  For gaming purposes, the equalizer settings are just right.  none of the ranges are overwhelming allowing you to distinguish between sounds easily. Using the Recon 70 in a party can be a little trying at first because on no mixer.  Once you have set the mixer on console to the correct levels it is a great headset to use especially for battle royale games where communication is key.  Teammates will never miss what you are saying because the mic quality is fantastic.   Verdict The Turtle Beach Recon 70 is a budget headset, and in that range, it is a good headset and for the measly price you are paying for them, you will need to look far to find better build quality and feel.  What Turtle Beach has done is positioned themselves really well in all price classes.  Providing users with a upper- and lower price range headset.  They have also improved on the few "mistakes" on previous headsets.  The earcups are bigger and deeper, creating the correct over-ear effect instead of the on-ear effect that is caused by earcups being too small or shallow Image result for turtle beach recon 70 If you are looking for a sub R600* headset the Recon 70 is your best choice.  If you looking for a sub R1000 headset the Recon 200 is a no-brainer with all the added features. The Recon 70 is perfect for someone on a tight budget stepping into the headset arena, it provides everything one needs in a headset, no frills or fuss.  Plug in and play headset. Image result for 7 out of 10 stars  

Special thanks to Apex Interactive SA for providing the review hardware.  If you are interested in buying one please visit their website.

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Dirt 2.0 – Review

The vast majority of us, at some stage during our gaming journey as kids, or adults, would have picked up a PS1 controller and played one of 2 racing titles.  Both spectacular in their own rights and they would have shaped the way you look at racing titles and which you would love and keep playing into the future.  The one would be Gran Turismo and the other was the legendary Colin McCrae Rally!  No one who ever took a spin in Colin McCrae Rally will forget just how wonderful, for the time, the game felt, racing down the muddy tracks, in cockpit view, rain and mud belting down on your windscreen as virtual driver-you, flicks through gears with windscreen wipers swishing from side to side trying to keep your view clean for long enough to not smash into a tree.  This was the epitome of rally simulation and for many people, it sprouted a deep love for rally as well as an eternal love for the 22B Subaru Impreza driven by the late, great Colin McCrae. Jump forward 21 years and Codemasters have returned with a racing title that is here to make a statement.  Saying Dirt 2.0 is a return to form for Codemasters is underselling it a bit.  Dirt Rally was arguably the pinnacle of the racing studios' achievements and with Dirt 2.0 they have done the right thing.  Taken an already great system and simply tweak and improve it in every single way possible.  Dirt 2.0 is not just a second iteration of a loved classic, it takes the bar and raises it plenty-fold on what racing/rally simulators should strive to be. Dirt 2.0 is the king of the rally simulators, and it won't be dethroned anytime soon...

When in doubt, flat out!

These words were the maxim of the great Colin McCrae, for players new to the rally simulator scene, they would be ill-advised.  Dirt 2.0 does not hold your hand or provide many training wheels.  It is aimed at the hardened enthusiast that thrives when things are difficult and tough.  Dirt Rally (1.0) was renowned to have some of the most ruthless AI you could find in any racing sim games. Dirt 2.0 features a difficulty slider much like the F1-series of games allowing for pre-set levels of difficulty.  Sliding the slider all the way to the easiest setting does allow you to make a fair amount of mistakes and still trump the opponents.  Leaving the slider on the default settings will require some practice and concentration to climb the timesheet.  Sliding even further into the difficulty will require you to be fast, faultless and seamless.  Based on difficulty level, anything other than easy will make it tough to not call Dirt 2.0 the Dark Souls of rally games. Related image  

The devil in the detail

Simulator games strive to be as authentic as possible, as close to real life as you can get without strapping into a ridiculously overpowered car and thrashing it down narrow, winding roads, at speeds that are incomprehensible to normal humans.  Dirt 2.0 provides this in bucket loads!  From the locations and tracks that are no longer procedurally generated but rather, meticulously crafted.  This does make for fewer route options but it also allows for all the little idiosyncrasies that can be found in real rally routes, giving them more character and realness.  Dirt 2.0 has taken it a step further on this outing with its new surface degradation system which sees racing surfaces becoming more rutted or churned up the lower down the starting order you are.  Starting in 1st place compared to 29th changes your day on track severely! Deep ruts will have you fighting to keep control of the steering (using a gaming wheel would enhance this struggle significantly).  A controller does dampen this sensation a bit but there are enough vibrations and audio queues to help relay the feeling. Related image Surface degradation is not the only factor in bringing tracks to life.  weather and time of day in Dirt 2.0 does not only provide aesthetic changes it affects racing surfaces as well as the way your vehicle puts down its minimal amount of grip. Finally, we get to the cars, and if by this stage you are not yet convinced about Dirt 2.0 taking control of the many available cars you will soon find out why.  Most racing games struggle to accurately portray the way different cars feel and perform, be it mid-mounted rear-wheel drive, or front mounted, all-wheel drive to the less desirable front mounted front wheel drive.  Each of these is perfectly imitated.  Time has been taken to give each car its unique look, sound and feel, the brutish Group B cars that thunder along with a constant threat of violence, the Sierra RS500 that, if you dare to flatten your right foot ( or right trigger) will push you into another dimension.  Or jumping behind the Lancia Fulvia and putting it through its paces on a rain-soaked road.  Hearing the 115 bhp singing through to the front wheels as they spin beyond the point of grip.  Even on the controller, it is possible to feel the weight of the car flop backward when going up a hill and the steering start to jitter as that weight heaves forward when coming down a hill.  In short, the handling in Dirt 2.0 is sublime! Image result for dirt rally 2.0 cars Given the amount of detail put into the driving experience, it is understandable that a bond will form between driver and car, and when mechanical damage, caused by a moment of carelessness can be excruciating!  This being said will probably hint you towards taking a more cautious approach to racing.  But there is something to be said for dragging home damaged card fenders and bumpers scraping along the road as you cross the finish line.  

Team Dirt

Image result for dirt rally 2.0 cars Career mode, or My Team, has you building a team and a garage.  What is rather weird about it is the fact that it requires you to be online while playing it.  Possibly because of the daily and weekly challenges against other Dirt players.  Cash is a bit of a problem early on in the progression but for the players who don't like to micromanage, you can jump straight into some standalone championships.  World RX series is also one of the championship options, tracks like Catalunya, Silverstone and Mettet make their debuts in this mode.  

Verdict

Image result for dirt rally 2.0 mini Playing Dirt 2.0 has come leaps and bounds and Codemasters have revitalized themselves with their latest iterations of racing titles, including F1 2018.  There is only a single thing I can fault this game on, and its not even so much the game as it is the hardware it was reviewed on.  Comparing Dirt 2.0 on the original Xbox One compared to the Xbox X sees a drop in graphical integrity, as expected.  Don't get me wrong Dirt 2.0 looks sublime, but it looks even better on the X.  Secondly, again not a problem as much as a preference, driving on a controller does not come close to the thrill of sliding behind a serious racing setup!  Playing this with a wheel and peddle setup will see Dirt 2.0 wipe the metaphorical floor with all of its competitors. Dirt 2.0 indulges those who have a passion for motorsport, every fiber of its being has been crafted with love and attention to detail.  Driving through muddy pits with my wipers struggling to keep my windscreen clean, I can't help but see flashes of a much younger me, falling in love with what is now arguably one of the best driving experiences out there! If Dirt 2.0 does not tug at your nostalgic heartstrings, it will make you love it after the first outing! Image result for 9 out of 10 stars

special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying us with the review copy

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Anthem Review

Anthem was shown to the world at E3 in 2017.  We were shown a graphically beautiful game showcasing an astonishing open world with amazingly lush environments and a densely populated wilderness which can be explored on foot or flying.  Taking control of, what can be most easily described as your very own Ironman suite, your Javelin.  Gameplay looked amazing, combat seemed to be something to rival the likes of Destiny.  Taking your Javelin into combat in any manner you choose, be it on the ground with the Colossus, which is the 'tank' class, the Ranger, 'all-rounder', Storm, controls magic, or the Interceptor, all about moving fast and getting in and out quickly.  Combining these classes with 3 of your best friends seemed great!  Having Bioware at the helm of this monumental RPG-title could only produce something stellar.  With Bioware heading colossal titles such as Dragon Age, Mass Effect and even the legendary Star Wars: The Old Republic, Anthem has absolutely EVERYTHING in its favor. When the Beta arrived players were met with gross server issues, many players clocked less than 1 hour of play during the Beta weekend due to these issues.  Still, there was good feedback from the ones who did manage to clock time during the Beta.  Roll forward to launch day, which was met by a group of fans on two polar opposite opinions.   Many were still extremely excited for what was toted to be the "destiny-killer", which is a rather big statement, but from what was shown during gameplay it could easily reach or surpass that statement.  The other half was getting ready to be met by a broken, unpolished, mess of a game.  What was found when the finished product loaded up on my console was neither the former nor the latter...

The Story begins...  in the middle?

Anthem is set on an alien planet where mankind has scraped out some sort of existence due to the brave and heroic actions of a small group of exosuit warriors known as the freelancers.  A strange alien race known only as the shapers took control of the "anthem of creation", a strange energy that permeates everything.  These aliens suddenly decide to disappear and leave all their Anthem-infused tools to cause major destruction and disruption all throughout the planet.  Leaving only the freelancers to try and clean up and resolve as much of the Anthem-caused chaos as possible... Reading that Anthem sounds like it's setting up to deliver a narrative experience worthy of an Oscar nomination at least!  Instead what you get is a story that feels unfinished and disjointed. Fort Tarsis is what you would call home in Anthem, a large, visually stunning, bastion of mankind on the planet.  Filled with many charismatic characters to speak to.  Problem is, none of these characters ever accompany you out on missions and they also never leave their set positions...  making them feel more like enthusiastic quest-givers from MMO titles than actual characters in a RPG.  Never spending actual time with them or enduring hardships causes there to be absolutely zero connection with them, and this makes the regular insights into their lives annoying and empty.  Which is the complete opposite of the enemies of Anthem which has such minimal screen time that I still have no clue as to what their mission or motivations for their mission really are? Unlike games such as Red Dead Redemption 2, interacting with secondary characters offer absolutely nothing in terms of character progression or story progression.  The interactions feel nothing more than an awkward exchange of dialogue to fill time and space.  With Bioware at the helm, you would expect Mass Effect-like characters that actually have effects on your story and even make re-occurring appearances throughout the game.  Shame on you Bioware! Completing a mission will have you brought back to Fort Tarsis to painstakingly have to trek across the whole of the fort, walking down the same streets and alleys over and over to collect a mission and come back to the launch pad to start it.  Fort Tarsis, as beautiful as it feels like a waste of time at the moment.  It is supposed to create freedom of choice and exploration but at the moment it is simply a painful way to reach the start of the next mission.  

Time to suit-up!

Hopping into your Javelin and zooming off into the jungles of Bastion does make things better.  Firstly the jungles are ridiculously dense and pretty.  Secondly, yet have I to experience the joy of flying through the jungle with your squad mates on either side on the way to your next mission.  The flying makes you feel like a true hero and doing it with friends makes it ten times better!  But once the missions start, things become repetitive.  The first couple of missions feel fresh and fighting is good but after your fourth mission, things have become boring and repetitive. Whether just playing a random mission, or free roaming or taking on a stronghold mission ( these are like a 20 minute Strike like in Destiny 2), Anthem still only has a handful of objectives which the game just reuses time and again.  No matter my mission, be it finding a lost scientist or destroying a shaper relic I will ALWAYS need to defend a specified area for 30 seconds and then use my radar to find "valuable" intel on my objective, which I could not be bothered to even remember.  During these missions, you will quickly discover that a map that was toted to be large and features many hours of exploration is actually rather small and has you fighting in the same areas and caves on multiple occasions during the campaign. What saves Anthem a little is the fact that combat can be rather enjoyable.  Each javelin brings a unique combat perspective and having a squad with each type of javelin in it can become extremely powerful and make you feel like a real hero.  The essence of the combat system in Anthem functions around teamwork.  The squad will need to first inflict status effect from one ability, called a primer, before using a second ability, detonator, that will trigger a combo and cause massive damage.  Problem with the combo system is that it never gets explained apart from a short brush-over in the tutorials. Lack of clarity extends to the entire loot system.  Loot has aimless stats that is never explained and finding a weapon you actually like but happens to be weak, simply has you searching for a higher grade of the same weapon.  Even your javelins have stats which are all pretty mundane and cumbersome.  

Working against its own Strengths

Anthem has so many loose threads that I constantly find myself asking why...  Why is the mission screen so detailed?  Why does it tally experience points after level 30 when these points serve no purpose anymore?  Why would I need hundreds of crafting materials if I can only craft weak gear that I will never use?  and so the list goes on... EA and Bioware have already detailed the way forward for Anthem and just like Destiny 2 and The Division, it is sure to change a great deal in future updates and possibly become a very playable and enjoyable game.  Bioware has been extremely quick to respond to comments and criticism and on how they plan on correcting problems.

Verdict

Fundamentally Anthem has a lot going for it.  Spectacular scenery, amazing flying mechanics, decent combat, but the pacing of the campaign is way off, moving at snail's pace at the most boring of parts and racing through pieces that should have been fleshed out to give the story some more meat.  Would I recommend it right now? Probably not, should it be looked at after a few updates and expansions?  Most definitely!!!  Anthem needs to focus on keeping aspects that are supposed to be fun, fun, and not let them become a choir.  But there are many aspects that can be lauded, customizing your Javelin and stepping out into the sunlight with your fresh new paint and weaponry is really satisfying and defeating a stronghold on grandmaster difficulty cannot be explained in words.  Let's hope that Bioware can shape this the way Ubisoft took a very broken Division and created a great game, with time.   Image result for 5 stars out of 10  

Special thanks to Prima Interactive for supplying the review game

  Image result for prima interactive
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Metro Exodus – Review

When Metro 2033 arrived on our screens in 2010, it was surrounded by fast-paced shooters such as Call of Duty, Counterstrike, Crysis and similar titles.  The combination of slow-paced, gameplay which has you trapped in post-apocalyptic Soviet metro rail tunnels fighting against mutated creatures seemed quite far off the ever-popular zombie genre which was gathering quite the following at the time.  But DeepSilver proved us wrong by creating one of the most suspense-filled titles that would have you jumping at every knock of a tin can and every noise in the dark as you scrounge for what little ammo there is on offer as you start moving less towards the lit areas but more towards the safety of the darkness.  Metro 2033 not only weaved an intriguing story of Artyom and what he has to do to survive but also paints the picture of the bleak existence of the human species when they are no longer at the top of the food-chain.  The atmospheric and claustrophobic narrative and gameplay instantly grabbed and sucked players in and Metro 2033 was a popular game amongst most players.  Soon after a second title, Metro: Last light took players back into the tunnels with a little more top-ground exploration and more tweaks and improvements. And 2019 sees Metro Exodus grace us with its presence.  It has been teased at previous E3's and stunned us with its grisly beauty.  But many wondered if Metro Exodus would be able to stand in the shoes of its predecessors when it ventures away from the confined and atmospheric tunnels and venture into a more open-world environment and what can be confirmed is that it has become apparent that it most certainly can! Exodus picks up 2 years after Last Light.  Exodus is a largely self-contained story that follows the main protagonist Artyom, his wife Ana, and a few spartan rangers left from the last great war.  They set out from a war-ravaged Moscow in search of habitable areas with the hope of finding other survivors in the seemingly dead, apart from monsters, world, aboard a train.  This ability to travel allows for a dazzling variety of settings that you can experience through different seasons, seeing as Exodus plays out over the time of around a year.  Ranging from snow-blanketed Moscow to sand-swept deserts and lush forests.  All of these settings are well-realized and have adequate amounts of mutants and humans both friendly and hostile. Although Exodus has broken out of the chains of the past letting you explore the more vast open expanses, some story missions will have you exploring the traditional dank underground corridors.  With the newer technology, the lighting effects are extraordinary and the audio makes these areas feel even more ominous and claustrophobic. During the first couple of hours of Metro Exodus you will be met with a Metro game that is unlike the ones that came before.  No longer will you be trapped in the tunnels but you will be met with the open and outside world, which, in its own right, is spectacular.  But you will also meet many characters, unlike the previous games where you were alone for large periods of the game.  At times some of the acting feels slightly forced and rushed but nothing to take too much notice of.  It is also worthy to note that this is the first AAA-metro title so this will be a learning curve for them.  But the narrative still remains splendid and with a clever opening sequence that brings new players up to speed with what has been happening in the metro as well as refreshes the memories of old returning players.

Crafting & Currency

No longer does the world of metro run on an ammunition-based currency, instead of having merchants and stores you now have a crafting backpack and workbenches scattered around the world.  These benches can be used to craft everything from ammunition to upgrades for your guns and armor and bracer, as long as you have the relevant parts required.  If you want to upgrade your weapons, you can dismantle weapons found in the wild and use those components and place them on your current weapon.  Even though you can craft your own bullets the game still revolves around choosing whether to take the shot and conserving ammo rather than go in all guns blazing. The backpack brings an invaluable addition to the game, having you customize and change attachments to your weapon on the fly and not having to return to base before being able to equip them makes it possible to venture in the great unknown for longer periods before being forced back to base.  A steady aim has become even more essential in Metro Exodus compared to previous titles as the enemies seem to have become more intelligent. pushing and flanking you if you give them the opportunity as well as noticing if you were to extinguish a light to create the cover of dark areas. The combat of Metro Exodus is painfully good.  You will find yourself carefully moving your way around gathering ammo to ensure your future survival when out of nowhere mutants will attack causing you to spray your hard-earned lead savings and having to start all over.  Without giving away too much, the enemy types in Exodus are really vast and combat will never feel repetitive.

Design

Metro Exodus has some incredibly detailed environments, but so do many other titles, but what helps Metro is the minimal menus and on-screen indicators.  This does wonders to help you feel engaged and the way the on-screen displays are crafted, looking down at them doesn't feel like you are looking at a menu, it feels like its just a subtle display, that, in real life, would have been there anyway.  These fine nuances are what makes the realism great.  There is no large glowing indicator on the horizon silently shouting for you to head in a certain direction.  Don't get me wrong Metro doesn't leave you with absolutely nothing to navigate with, Artyom has a compass strapped to his arm, so a subtle swing of the needle on his arm can point you back in the general direction.  Likewise, there is no map in the corner of the screen.  Instead of spotting a glitter of candlelight in a window of a cabin in the distance will show you a possible area of interest.  This way of letting the player discover in their own way does make for pure indulgence.

Fine Details

Apart from the constantly varying quality of the voice-acting, the subtle details and ramifications of your actions in Metro Exodus is something truly great.  Doing little things such as finding a teddy for a little girl on the Aurora seems like a silly quest, but coming back later to see her playing with it makes your efforts worthwhile.  Not all actions have such minor effects on the world.  Disobey an order to not shed any blood during, and your actions might come back to brutally haunt you when you least expect it.  Many of the actions and decisions will be unbeknownst to you until much later in the game, that is what makes the story so interwoven, at no point will you be able to make out which action is a good or a bad action, these actions will simply snowball till you reach the end where they will have an effect on which ending you will experience.

Verdict

Metro Exodus has not changed its recipe, it has not succumbed to the run-and-gun meta that has become the norm of late, no, Metro Exodus encourages you to take your time and not only take-in and appreciate the most detail-rich and atmospheric environment of any story-driven shooter on the current generation platform.  One of the only problems I do find with Metro Exodus is that apart from the diary entries Artyom reads aloud at the beginning of each chapter, he is a completely silent protagonist. But all in all Metro Exodus takes you on an exhilarating and sometimes, horrifying, atmospheric journey through a Russian dystopia jammed full of detail and characters both good and bad around every corner.  Should you try it? Most definitely! You will need to search far to beat the effective use of the survival horror mixed with many hair-raising moments. What cannot be argued is that Metro Exodus is one of the most visually breath-taking games around at this moment and playing it will be not only a visual treat but hair-raising bliss at the same time.  

EARLY AXES RATES: METRO EXODUS

 

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying us with the review code

  Our favorite Russian-Rambo has also wandered and experienced the horrors that can be found in Metro Exodus, here is a video review of his views of the latest installment of the Metro-franchise. Watch on Youtube  
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Razer Blackwidow Elite – Review

Coming from a console gaming background, I could never understand what the fuss was about when it came to gaming keyboards and mice(?) over ordinary ones.  With the recent venture into PC gaming as well as the happy coincidence of the Razer Blackwidow elite arriving at my desk for review, I was eager to put the Blackwidow through some gaming-related tests. I am happy to proclaim that I will NEVER be able to go back to a normal type of keyboard EVER again! Razer has been known to be arguably the best gaming peripheral maker around, setting benchmarks with each top-tier creation that they make, forcing their opponents to try and keep up.  The Razer Blackwidow Elite is no different.  Although similar in design to the Huntsman-range, it removes some of the annoyances associated with the huntsman range.  You will find more discrete media controls found at the top-right of the keyboard with a ridged knob that can control either volume of lighting.  An elegant wrist rest that sticks to the bottom of the keyboard via magnets.  USB 3.0 and 3.5mm passthrough ports situated on the left shoulder of the keyboard.  No more macro keys that usually bump up the size of the keyboard and no more deeply recessed keycaps that could possibly hamper the ability to see the spectacular backlighting that the Blackwidow Elite has to offer.  It is not easy to fault the Blackwidow at all apart from slightly below average cable management and, at-times, wonky software.  But generally, this is arguably as close to the perfect keyboard you could possibly come.

Keys

  Razer, as one of the leading creators of peripheral equipment, has created their own type of key switches.  You will have an option between three different styles of keys: loud, tactile Greens, quiet, tactile Oranges, and quiet linear Yellows.  In theory, these new options make for a more comfortable and responsive key but in all honesty ( with no prior Razer key reference) they feel extremely solid and very durable and the clicky noises are nice and not too overbearing.

Features

As you would expect from premium keyboards there are nice features.  Most noticeably are the media controls in the top right corner.  Some of these features are built right into the design of the blackwidow.  USB pass-through has become somewhat of a standard feature in this class of keyboard but the 3.5mm audio pass through is a really nice touch, and the audio quality is pristine.  No matter how much I go into about how glorious the Chroma lighting on the Blackwidow is, can describe what it is to see it for real.  Using the software that you will need to download when you first plug the keyboard in, you will have the ability to not only link other chroma devices together but also set the lighting to pretty much anything your heart and mind can desire.  Razer has taken its colour profiles one step further with custom profiles for certain games!  When playing with different characters in Overwatch, your blackwidow will automatically change to character specific colour patterns.  Chroma is synonymous with the Razer brand and with the latest version of it the possibilities are literally endless with what you can achieve, the only downfall is with such power comes great complexity.  Setting up Chroma across multiple Razer products can be extremely time consuming as well as immensely challenging, yes the results can be astounding so don't simply give up. The rest of the Razer Synapse software package is rather straight forward.  Allowing you to reprogram certain keys, create custom macros, link games with profiles which are easily toggled between, as well as toggle between various game modes which disable certain buttons, such as the windows key.

Performance

Image result for razer blackwidow elite keys The Razer BlackWidow Elite was subjected to a variety of work ranging from everyday office typing and browsing to CS:GO, Apex Legends and R6 Siege.  It was fantastic throughout the many gunfights as well as a barrage of keystrokes it had to endure during the writing of reviews.   During CS:GO and Siege I did, however, find that some macros would have been nice, but it only took a few minutes to program my function keys into macros.

Verdict

The Razer BlackWidow Elite has not only impressed me, but it has made itself invaluable to me...  I cannot go back to anything else.   The couple of weeks I used it as my everyday keyboard for everyday productivity as well as gaming and it is simply spectacular.  Not only does it do the core features, typing, amazingly well.  It blends functionality with great and worthwhile functions and packages it in a stylish well-made unit.  I am 100% sure that Razer will keep improving on what is already close to flawless, and in that way keep shaping and defining their market!  If you are a PC gamer, and in the market for a new keyboard, then the Razer BlackWidow Elite is for you, if you are a Razer fan the steep price tag shouldn't bother you too much and running all your Razer Chroma items together is a sight to behold.

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review item.

 
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Just Cause 4 – Familiar, in a bad way!

The Just Cause-franchise has always been a little special.  The special child that does things to their own beat, not caring what other people think.  Just Cause found its place with sheer and utter chaos...  Mix that with painfully cliched, B-movie action styled story line and predictable story, Just Cause 4 feels like a reskin of Just Cause 3.  This is not to say that being like Just Cause 3 is a bad thing, JC3 was a massive success and helped to redefine what true open-world creativity and destruction should be.  It is understandable that Square Enix went with the tried and tested plan and they stuck too it...  just a little too much.  Just Cause 3 was great, it has insane destruction and beautiful settings,  but 3 years since its launch,  why remake it again, slap a big price tag to it and change the 3 to a 4...  But its not all doom and gloom...   Image result for just cause 4 hd   As in Just Cause 3, you take the roll of one-man-army Rico Rodriguez.  Rico needs to visit the South American island of Solis.  As the story with all cliched action movies go, Solis is run by a bad man and his army of bad guys,  Rico needs to destroy this dictatorship and remove the oppression created by this bad man...  queue lengthy, predictable cut scenes and dialogues.   Just Cause 3 alone possessed an immense amount of gadgets to do with as you please.  From strapping rockets to cows and sky surfing 18 wheeler trucks.  Just Cause 4 takes that and gives you even more but your greatest power is the wrist-tether.  With this the island of Solis becomes as big a play area as your imagination allows, you will be zooming across the landscapes, scale buildings effortlessly or ram into enemies.   Image result for just cause 4 hd   What really made the franchise stand out from the rest is taking Rico and wandering into a heavily fortified area, be it a mine, nuclear station, harbor or factory and simply letting loose the dogs of war!  Violence is literally limited by your imagination.  Shoot the shiny fuel containers to start a cacophony of explosions with vehicles whizzing through the air, enemies are gunned down and innocent bystanders are hilariously hooked to balloons and left to dangle by their ankles...  In any other game the sight of a tank or helicopter would stop most heroes in their tracks, but to Rico, they become opportunities rather than threats.  Rico can commandeer any vehicle or weapon the enemies see fit to throw at him. But what really sets Just Cause 4 apart from its predecessors is the distinct focus on extreme weather conditions.  Rico's target is a weather guru, who likes to unleash natural weather phenomenon such as tornadoes and blizzards on his own people.  Naturally, it is Rico's mission to stop this mad man and turn his power to control mother nature back on himself.  For the imaginative players out there, Just Cause 4 can offer hours of creative-destructive fun.  From smashing things together to destroy the enemies to collapsing towers to pulverize the bad guys.   Image result for just cause 4 hd   This all sounds rather fun, and it is fun until the destructive free-roam becomes boring and you find yourself stumbling back to the story.  The story and missions are, plainly put, predictable and extremely repetitive.  Missions do not feel fresh, known elements are simply rearranged in different patterns to create a "new" mission.  Missions are also set great distances apart, in a game like this that is usually a good thing allowing for some fun en-route to your next mission but once you arrive at the new mission, it feels like you are still in the same location.  This repetition peaks during timed missions, you will find yourself restarting missions aplenty which is a sign of poor design.  UI problems are frequent and the general sense of direction is troublesome at best.  Side-missions will see you drive someplace, attack some people, rinse and repeat. Solis does offer a massive map which boasts various environments ranging from mountains, cities, jungles, beaches and an infinite variety of vehicles to use or destroy as you please.  What really hampers Just Cause 4 is the fact that it has to compete with high-detail competitors such as the likes of Red Dead Redemption 2 and Assassins' Creed Odyssey which all have a living and breathing world that you step into.  Compared to them the Just Cause 4 universe just feels a little too simulated and forced compared to the above-mentioned worlds that ooze finesse and meticulously created and interwoven storylines.  Had Just Cause 4 been released at the beginning of the current generation of consoles, it would have been genre leading where video game-standard storytelling was acceptable.  Simply having Rico's mouth off a few funny lines here and there would have made the game acceptable but instead, it came out after this generation has already experienced the likes of the Witcher 3 and Red Dead Redemption 2...  Next, to those titles, Just Cause 4 feels a little amateurish.   Image result for just cause 4 hd   Square Enix clearly wanted the game to be something where it evolves to a more liberating game of exploration and experimentation but what it does is land short of that mark.  Don't get me wrong, doing the "Just Cause"-thing is still tremendously fun but it doesn't do enough to capture an audience and keep them glued.  Square Enix will need to revitalize their ideas to keep this franchise relevant and vital.  It should look back to what made Just Cause 3 such a hit.  Destroy the established order and find something fresh in the ensuing wreckage.   Image result for 5 stars out of 10    

Special thanks to Megarom for supplying the review copy of Just Cause 4 on Xbox One

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Darksiders 3 – Review

Games in recent times have become all about either having a "massive Open-World" in which to explore!  Or "endless features", the dreaded "battle Royale" or even "no singleplayer" built into their every grain.  And with good reason.  That IS what is popular at this point in the gaming world.  Darksiders 3 takes all the above and throws them out the window.  No Open-World, no Battle Royale, No multiplayer!  What you get is a third-person hack-slash game that has almost no regard for the "norm" of hand-holding or tutorials.  Darksiders 3 feels nothing to stop your progress right in its tracks throwing a seemingly impossible puzzle or boss fight.  But with some exploration and trail and error, you can move on with the roughly 20 hour story!  In the past decade we have not seen many games not following the recipe of booming open-world exploration and playing Darksiders 3 makes you realize that that is perfectly fine!   Image result for darksiders 3 1080p   For those who have not played any of the previous games, Darksiders puts you in the shoes of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse.  War, Death, Famine and this time around you step out as Fury!  She is tasked to go and find the Seven deadly sins, which has been released on humankind due to a rather intricate backstory running through Darksiders 1 and 2.  All you need to know is that THE seven deadly sins have been released and Fury needs to stop them all.  Each of these sins are naturally a major boss fight.  The acting can, at times, be rather predictable and somewhat cheesy but this doesn't take away from the great, yet simple, fighting system that the Darksiders-franchise employs! Graphically Darksiders 3 can not stand up to the likes of Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War and many of the other major titles of the last year, but Darksiders 3 doesn't seem to care.  Darksiders 3 takes its stylized cartoonish characters and makes it its own.  The environment does look rather bland and limited but once again Darksiders 3 makes no excuses and just accepts the way it is and keeps moving forward.   Image result for darksiders 3 1080p   Hacking and slashing is where Darksiders 3 REALLY excels!  This might be a hack-slash game on the surface but you would do well to not simply meander into a large group of enemies and simply expect to mash buttons and walk out of the fight unscathed, oh no.  For you to survive, even on the easiest difficulty it will require you to observe and place some well-timed counter attacks as repayment for your enemies unkindness.  If you don't you will be  swiftly punished.  As the game goes on you will eventually build up quite the tell-signs of each type of enemy you have faced. As you continue through the game Fury will receive many arsenal upgrades which not only gives you new ways to destroy the hordes of enemies thrown at you, but with the expanding arsenal comes new movement powers which will grant you access to areas around the map which you would previously not be able to reach.  This is a clever way of re-using the same map later on during the game.  Being one of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse you would think that after some leveling up, naturally, Fury would become immensely strong which allow her to make short work of all the fodder-enemies that gets thrown at her.  But no, thanks to enemy scaling, Fury can be thwarted quite easily by normal scrub enemy.  After the first few boss-fights the tables suddenly turn, instead of simply evading and hacking away at the lifebar of the enemy boss, it will feel like you have hit a wall.  None of your coaxing will get the boss to reveal its weakness or "tell".  But with persistence relief will finally come, I assure you.  In this form Darksiders 3 goes back to old school gaming, where developers were not scared to throw immense difficulty at you, making you work for every inch you get in their game.   Image result for darksiders 3 fury 1080   Darksiders 3 is not a open-world game, instead it is more old-school.   Leading you from one room to the next all while working towards your main objective.  The next of the seven deadly sins!  During your adventure you will mainly be occupied by killing enemies but there is also environmental puzzles which will keep you occupied for awhile on more than one occasion.  

Verdict

Overall Darksiders 3 doesn't try to be like anything else.  It knows what it is and what it tries to achieve.  And for that I commend it.  Yes the environment can be a little bland, yes the graphics doesn't match what has become a standard in the current industry but that is okay because Darksiders 3 is not meant for "everyday" gamers.  Darksiders 3 comes to life when it challenges you, and it really does challenge you.  Yes this can make Darksiders 3 seem rather old fashioned, but with the way Darksiders 3 ends, maybe the next Darksiders can spice things up and bring the franchise to the modern gaming time.   Image result for 7 out of 10 star  

special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review copy

 
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Battlefield 5 Review

Never in the field of human conflict, has so much, been owed by so many, to so few!

Winston Churchill

World War 2 saw what is arguable some of the fieriest and horrific actions known to mankind.  Gaming thrives on moments like these.  We see many games pushing the envelope when it comes to wow-ing the audience.  Many FPS titles desensitize the player from what is happening making it out as if one man with a gun and bravery can single-handedly change the course of history and that life is nothing more than waiting a few seconds to respawn or going back to a checkpoint and trying again.  Battlefield 5 wants you to experience what it feels like to be one of the many soldiers during this time.  Battlefield 5 makes you experience the futility of being just a number.  Battlefield 5 shows you the atrocities of war! Many developers have decided to drop campaigns, such as Call of Duty Black Ops 4 did to rather focus on what is popular at the moment, which is battle royale.  The few games that do decide to include a single player aspect, can often become more of a tutorial to the more popular multiplayer section.  Battlefield 5 however decided to keep the campaign, and looking at the massive production value that was put into BF1's war stories it was only right to assume more of the same when it came to BF5.  The war stories of Battlefield 5 are very much like those of BF1.  They feature unknown stories and tell the untold stories of brave men and women who fought in the great war.   Image result for battlefield 5 war stories hd

War Stories

The 4 chapters which all are roughly around 2 hours long, will take you on a whirlwind adventure through some of the most beautiful scenery ever seen in the Battlefield franchise.  Battlefield has always been known for its large-scale warfare and being a run-and-gun shooter with weapons and ammo everywhere.  This is why it is strange that 2 out of the 4 chapters of the war stories are predominantly focused around a just-okay stealth system.  Also another strange aspect is that most of these missions are fought on foot instead of using all the vehicular warfare that BF has become known for.  Apart from the intriguing stories that these chapters have to offer and the stunning surroundings and environments you will be fighting through, the BFV war stories, unfortunately leaves a lot on the table in terms of possibilities. The first chapter, Under no Flag, sees a former bank robber being recruited to join a "special" group of soldiers by a veteran soldier.  Their mission, sabotage.  Their missions take you to Northen Africa with rather linear stealth missions to start later turning into a final stand.  The storyline is rather cliched but the acting and many humorous dialogues between the two really strengthens their characters during the rather short time you spend playing with them.  During the second mission is where the world opens up allowing you to tackle each objective in any order you please.   Image result for battlefield 5 under no flag   Nordlys, the second campaign take you to a Nazi occupied Norway where you take control of a young female resistance fighter.  The best part of this chapter is the ability to jump on snow skis and silently skiing past unsuspecting Nazi's killing them silently with throwing knifes!  As you progress through the frozen masterpiece that is Norway, with spectacular views of the northern lights as well as spine-chillingly spectacular snow storms, DICE employed a new mechanic which requires you to warm yourself to avoid freezing.  The longer you stay out in the blizzard the slower your movements and reactions will become.  This chapter is great in itself but due to the resistance fighters being Norwegian this meant subtitles.  What also adds to the punch of this chapter is it showcases what many non-soldiers were willing to do to save their own countries which DICE does a great job of portraying the feeling of being a single person trying to overthrow the might of a Nazi Germany.   Image result for battlefield 5 Nordlys   Chapter 3, which probably is the best of the chapters available at launch, called Tirailleur which showcases the costs of human bravery, sacrifice and ambition.  Seeing many non-French natives coming to fight for a country they have never seen.   Not only does it showcase the mentioned topics it also deftly deals with the topic of race during the liberation of France.  Apart from all the racial and political ties during this chapter, this is the first time that you feel you are part of a platoon during a war, rather than a super - call-of-duty-esque- soldier.  From the start you are fighting next to your fellow soldiers who get cut down right next to you on either side.  For the first time you feel vulnerable, which is what it must have been like, your life can be ended at any moment by a stray bullet, and that is what is achieved in Tirailleur.  Seeing autumn leaves blowing over the corpses of your friends really hits home the atrocity of war! This is also the chapter that shows you a glimpse of what Battlefield is known for, large-scale warfare!   Image result for battlefield 5 tirailleur   The fourth and final chapter is The Last Tiger which has you take control of a non-Nazi German who has been assigned to a tank crew.  The Last Tiger being spectacular as expected with lots of tank warfare which is really well done giving you the sense of power of being in a Tiger tank yet the large target placed on you in any battle but even more so it tries to give the view of a non-Nazi who is thrust into a war he does not necessarily agree with.  DICE has gone to great lengths to make their rather short campaign have some significance with the stories they tell.  Battlefield V does a really great job of that building from the great playability of the BF1 campaign and adding an emotional connection to it.  Telling us how terrible war really is and how many unnamed people lost their lives to protect what we have today.   Image result for battlefield 5 campaign  

   Multiplayer

  DICE said right from the beginning that the multiplayer experience in BFV would be more team orientated.  Gone are the BF1 glory days of simply grabbing your Helreigel and annihilating the enemies to the point of having a score card with players sitting on 40 kills for 0 deaths, no, this has changed dramatically for the better.  DICE has taken the default mechanics and moved them a few steps closer to hardcore.  Health regeneration has been drastically changed and is now limited as well as the hotly debated TTK ( time to kill) has also been reduced making you take less bullets before you die. And the spotting system being almost entirely removed apart from a few applicable gadgets sees BFV lend from other more tactical shooters such as Rainbow 6 Siege, making for a better  all-round experience.  Snipers deal less damage which leads to a much snappier feeling of gunplay without buffing and nerfing other classes.  The removal of the spotting mechanic encourage you to spend more time being engrossed in the superb environments rather than being stuck staring at your HUD.  On a whole, all these changes have created a team-oriented experience, more accurate gunplay which makes hitting that headshot so much more satisfying which, in turn, creates a more satisfying experience. Why should you focus on squad play?  Here is why.  Health regeneration does not regen past a certain point, unless you use a medikit, of which ( unless you are a medic) you can only carry one.  When spawning you will be issued with significantly less ammo, above that ammo supplies are less abundant, meaning your support-class player has become extremely valuable.  These adjustments make you consider your actions more carefully.  No more running into situation mindlessly.  Any class can now revive a downed team mate but with less effectiveness than a medic can, another incentive to both have a medic on your squad as well as sticking with the said medic.  The revive action has seen a much needed nerf by means of making the animation somewhat slower.   Image result for battlefield 5 multiplayer revive   The weaponry of BFV feel great.  Apart from the new customization features that feels a lot closer to Battlefield 4 customization level, the overall recoil and feel of the weapons are much more predictable and manageable compared to the spray of BF1.  Classes, apart from the medic which only wields SMGs, are not limited to one type of weapon.  Support class can wield from shotguns, LMGs and MMGs.  What makes this even more magical is that each of these weapons feel unique enough to have them feel like they each have a use for different situations.  Another big change is the fact that scopes now come unlocked from rank 1.  No extra grind is needed to unlock the basic sights.  This is a very thoughtful change as there is nothing more frustrating as unlocking a new weapon but having no sights to use on it yet which sees you becoming useless for some time as you are required to run around using no sights until you can unlock them. 2 new features in the weapon system is the weapon progession and aesthetic customizations.  Weapon progression allows you to customize your weapon to your play style as you rank up the weapon giving you options to reduce recoil or be more accurate from hip-fire for example.  This way you can setup each of your weapons individually over time.  The second customization feature is aesthetic skins which are unlocked by performing certain tasks.  Not only is this a welcome feature it is also fun to be able to see a fellow soldiers skins and appreciate what needed to be done to acquire said skins rather than randomly get them in loot crates.   Image result for battlefield 5   The vehicular warfare, as Battlefield is known for, is somewhat dwarfed by the fact that, unlike BF1 where vehicles were less, you will find yourself force-picking assault class just to try and manage the sheer number of tanks or planes.  In BF1 tanks and planes were a menace but you knew that there were not that many of them.  But that was World War 1 and so we have progressed to a more mechanical age and the increase in vehicles make sense, but I can't help but feel that the relationship between infantry and vehicles is somewhat binary.   Image result for battlefield 5 rotterdam tanks     Battlefield maps are notorious for being magnificent specimens of gorgeously crafted environments that possesses the ability to make destruction seem magical, and BF5 is no different.  The 8 maps that are available from launch will take you through the war-torn streets of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.  The next map, also in the Netherlands is Devastation which showcases the destruction that was left during the battle between the Dutch and the Germans.  Devastation also features dynamic destruction so expect it to change significantly after a few explosions.  Twisted Steel will take players to the serene fields of France, with open fields which are great spots for aerial bombardments as well as sniper choke points.  Yellow fields is another French map this time taking place around a little village with lots of close quarter battles as well as artillery playing a big role in this map.  Hamada takes you to North Africa which saw many large scaled tank battles.  DICE has said that Hamada will require good teamwork in using tanks and vehicles to capture the objectives.  Airfield is the second North Africa map and sees a destroyed airfield with many burnt out planes play host to all our warfare.  The last two maps are situated in the snowy mountains of Norway, dubbed Narvik and Snow Mountain.  Narvik takes you to a ( once) beautiful mountainside village that has seen serious war,  lots of cover is provided by the war-torn buildings with a rather large bridge playing host to many a long range enthusiast .  Snow mountain, as the name suggests, wil have you battling around and in the mountains, not much in the way of vehicular warfare but do expect the occasional bombardment from above.   Image result for battlefield 5   Not all these maps transpire well to all the available game modes in BF5 but these will certainly be tweaked and corrected with future updates.  New and noteworthy additions to the already long list of game modes that we saw during BF1 are; Grand Operations which will as in the past expand as the (free) DLCs arrive over time. Conquest and Domination are likely to be the popular modes and DICE's take on the Battle Royale, Firestorm is sure to be a hit among most players when it launches some time after the launch of BF5.  

Verdict

Battlefield 5 is a good game!  Delivering what has become expected from the franchise and improving on it.  There is no embarrassment in borrowing ideas from other games like Battlefield has done.  But firstly DICE will need to take drastic measures in curbing the amount of glitches which are abundant at the moment.  If DICE can clean this up and listen to their audience in terms of doing what the audience want they will have a hit!  Graphically the game is astounding even on the Original Xbox One without HDR or 4K.  The campaign is rather short but not many people who have bought Battlefield 5 would have been buying with the campaign as their only reason for buying!  Firestorm which has not yet been launched will play a massive part in the longevity of Battlefield 5.  Multiplayer is where the magic happens and to be honest at the moment the magic is slightly underwhelming.  Yes the ideas and changes are great but they have not been executed to their full potential just yet.  Battlefield 5 is a very formidable game and if DICE do the future updates right, Battlefield 5 has the potential to trump even the likes of the legendary Battlefield 4.

Please DICE, don't let this become another Battlefield 1, rather spend some time fixing all the little niggly bits and give the battlefield-family what they truly want!

  Image result for 7/10 stars  

Thanks to Prima Interactive for supplying the review copy

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Farming Simulator 19 – Review – Gorgeous Monotony

Simulator games have been around for as long as I can remember.  Flight simulator was a big one and many other games strive to be more simulator-like with each outing, such as majority of the racing titles like Assetto Corsa and Forza Motorsport.  These are all more mainstream titles and if you were to delve deeper into the simulator-genre you would be surprised at how many people want to simulate everyday mundane jobs in gaming.  Games such as Euro Truck Simulator and Construction Simulator are taking realism to the next level including every inch of detail.  Simulator games caters to the inquisitive side of the human nature.  Have you ever wanted to drive a truck, fly a plane, build a roller coaster, race a F1 car...  There is a simulator for everything!   Image result for farming simulator 19 hd   Focus Home Interactive has been at the forefront of the Simulator genre with their various outings of Farming Simulator.  This time around they have made huge improvements which really makes Farming Simulator 19 something special.  Featuring a complete graphical overhaul ,which is immediately evident, Farming Sim 19 takes gets you elbow deep in the real farming experience, from starting up your tractor to sowing every seed. Right from the start it is advisable to work through all the tutorials, and they are rather extensive.  Farming is not easy, and there are many steps involved if you want to be a fruitful farmer, in real life or in the game.  After the extensive tutorials you will be able to start your first farm.  This is where you will get your first glimpse of the new reworked graphical system.  Every inch of farming from the mechanical aspects to the graphical are meticulously copied and the results are amazing.  walking through grass or crops will have them bend and sway according to the way they are manipulated.   Image result for farming simulator 19 hd   Farming simulator 19 gives you, the farmer, the freedom from the onset.  If you want to become a logging mogul, you can grab your chainsaw and build your empire one tree at a time.  If you are more interested in being a livestock farmer, which is one of the newer features of the Farming Simulator franchise, you can focus on chickens, sheep, pigs, cows and even horses.  You can also go the more traditional way of crop farming which will have you planting and growing crops and then selling them at the store.  All of these realistic options comes as a breath of fresh air as many Simulators create rather ludicrous scenarios.   Image result for farming simulator 19 hd   The options don't end there, apart from the above mentioned, you can also simply hop on your tractor, a John Deere if you'd like, which is the newly included brand by the way, and meander about the vast countryside and even do a few fetch-and-deliver or lending a hand on neighboring farms.  It's a worthy side note that neighboring farms are few and far between in the rather barren countryside.  When you get down to farming your own land is when the game becomes interesting.  Without really any sort of direction or mission you are literally left on your own with no clear objective apart from farming and amassing money.   Image result for farming simulator 19 hd   So, there you are, fresh from your tutorial, ready to face farming head-on, but what next...  And that is one of the biggest challenges of Farming Sim 19, for greenhorn farmers who have not spent time on previous titles the UI can be extremely challenging as well as having absolutely zero cues on what you should do next.  This is a double edged blade tho.  Nice in the sense that it will allow you to do whatever you want, but frustrating in the sense that even when you decide what you want to do, you might not know how to do it.  After some time you should at least be able to find your way around the UI and the magnitude of steps that go into any process that you take on.  Even a simple task like growing wheat takes many steps before you will see your very first head of wheat starting to appear.  From cultivating, plowing to sowing, to clearing weeds, fertilizer.  The list goes on.  Same goes for all the other types of farming you can try on farming Sim 19 and the 300 plus types of heavy machinery at your disposal, which sounds great but for a non-farmer knowing what 90% of them do is a challenge in its own.   Image result for farming simulator 19 hd   A nice touch that players can be thankful for, unlike real farming where you need to wait months for your newly planted wheat to grow you can now simply speed up growing times which makes the longs waits slightly shorter.  Now all of this seems rather hard work, thankfully you can hire someone to do the monotonous work for you.  You could tune into one of the numerous radio stations while riding your tractor up and down but if you need someone to plow your fields, simply hire a helper!  If AI help is not your thing  jump into the 6 player multiplayer!  This lets you join a few buddies and work the farm...  The multiplayer did see its fair share of problems joining other gaming sessions but the first patch is set to sort all of that out.  It is also good to note that multiplayer farm sessions don't carry over to your single player sessions.  

Verdict

Farming Simulator 19 takes all the good aspects from previous titles and improves in every way possible.  Graphics have been reworked and really looks great.  Farming Sim 19 is a extremely fun game to play and will have time flying by faster than you can imagine.  Hours will become minutes.  To new players tho, Farming Simulator 19, like its predecessors will cause some frustration during the first few hours as the UI is not very intuitive and does not offer much in terms of guidance.  Looking past that, Farming Sim 19 is a enjoyable title and shows improvement and expansion on previous outings.   Image result for 7/10 stars  

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review game

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Call of Cthulhu – Review

If I am Mad, it's a mercy! May the gods pity the man who is in his callousness, can remain sane.

H.P. Lovecraft

  HP Lovecraft is synonymous with horror and science fiction and is endeared as one of the most imaginative figures of the genre, and even if you haven't heard of Mr Lovecraft you are sure to have heard about Cthulhu, arguably his most well-known creation.  Call of Cthulhu takes many cues from the work of HP Lovecraft to create a likeness that any sci-fi horror enthusiast that picks a good story over gameplay and mechanics any day.

Not a big reader?  Rather watch a video review?  THEED3 has you coveredTHEED3 reviews Call of Cthulhu.

Image result for call of cthulhu   After a rather strange yet intriguing intro you find yourself in the shoes of Edward Pierce, a rather blank character apart from being a alcoholic war veteran and a private investigator.  As the player you are tasked with adding skill points to certain areas of PI Pierce which in turn will affect the way clues are gathered and investigations will go.  Areas such spot hidden, which as the name suggests, will help you not get noticed as easily.  Eloquence, which will help you persuade people you speak with easily.  Strength will help you force open doors and break lock mechanisms.  Psychology will allow you to intemperate clues and make connections faster.  Occultism which gives you greater understanding of things of the spiritual nature such as magic and astrology.  These skills, and how to place your available points to them, is what creates the intrigue in CoC, there are many ways to reach your end result, but each skill will take you via a different route to get to the desired location.  With Edward Pierce being more of a medium to tell the story, it allows for less time to be spent on portrayal of the main narrator of the story and more time fleshing out the story and plot which will draw you in from the first few minutes of the game.   Image result for call of cthulhu   The game starts like most B-grade detective stories, Edward Pierce a PI with a bit of a drinking problem gets a rather peculiar case. Not much is given away during the game and finding the needed clues really is fun and shows what makes Call of Cthulhu a good solid game.  Investigating is a real delight due to the extremely atmospheric environment you find yourself in.  It truly feels like nothing you do or interact with in the environment is without purpose.  Picking up books and reading them can add to your medical talents, picking up on environmental hints, all factor in.  Edward can use all the hard-earned clues that you have so painstakingly gathered and create a sort of "reconstruction"  allowing you to see how all said clues piece together.  During these scenes it is tough to not find yourself sitting forward in your seat wanting to see and figure out where to go next, when, not by being told, but by being led, one finds the answer and find yourself simply saying "wow".  The CSI-esque moments that are all over CoC could really have fallen flat and become quite a chore like they usually are in pretty much every other detective styled game ever created, but Edward Pierce seems to have the same questions  I have, making me want to ask and investigate!  This makes a usually terrible game mechanic and turns it into one of the strengths of Call of Cthulhu. Many other sequences, such as the brief attempt and combat and stealth is a rather poor attempt at them and could have been better left untouched.  During your play-through you will also encounter a true Lovecraftian-horror portrayal of a strange version of cat-and-mouse which will have you scratching your head trying to figure out what is needed.  This takes from the attempt at being a frightening situation and turns it more to a mundane frustration. Fortunately these mundane moments are few and far between and the occult detective tale takes the forefront for the remainder of the game.  Call of Cthulhu plays to its strengths, really delving into the HP Lovecraft work and using it to create a atmospheric environment which creates its own sense of weight to your actions and the lore that can be found throughout the game.  Moving from smoke stained offices to a decrepit portside town all the way to dark and claustrophobic caves, Call of  Cthulhu will draw you in with its atmospheric brilliance.  Turn off the lights and put on a headset to truly be immersed.  Along with this you will be treated to a incredible ending with many plot-twists and revelations hitting from all angles as you make your way through the mystery that is Call of Cthulhu.  a Single playthrough will definitely see you miss out on many of the possibilities that can be created by choices, luckily the length of the game makes it alot less daunting to attempt another playthrough.

Verdict

Call of Cthulhu is by no means a perfect game.  But what it does do right is delivers a incredibly intriguing story which will have you sucked-in within the first 20min.  It also takes the element of questioning characters to another level using skills to uncover more and more options.  CoC is no tense horror title but it will have you asking questions which, luckily, almost telepathically are nearly almost a option when in questioning.  The dark and gloomy atmospheric environment that HP Lovecraft so meticulously weaves in his books can be felt from the very first step you take onto the island.  Hampered by some questionable mechanics and a measly 7 hour campaign, but if you are a fan of the slower paced, B-movies in the Resident Evil mold, Call of Cthulhu has a lot to love if you can excuse some of the areas that need refinement and can focus on what makes this game tick. Call of Cthulhu is a detective RPG set in the Lovecraftian atmosphere that immediately, and rapidly spins into intriguing,yet maddening chaos!   Image result for 7.5 out of 10 stars  

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review content

Special thanks to Theed3 for the video review

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