Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition -Review

With the drastic incline of interest in the esports scene in recent years, creating esports-orientated hardware has been every company's goal.  Every teenager who has ever gotten a win in their favorite battle royale game, or dominated (even once) in a shooter, now thinks they have what it takes to become the next, I had to go Google names, Bugha, skadoodle, nicewigg or Pengu.  But becoming an esports athlete does not only require tremendous amounts of skill and dedication but having the correct hardware does also lend to becoming a more competitive gamer.  Having a better headset will give you better audio queues in games where that matters such as R6 Siege.  A better mouse will give you that quick-flicks when you are caught off-guard in Apex Legends.  But not much is ever said about the keyboards... Razer, after releasing the Huntsman in 2018, to great response, has now made the Huntsman more esports inclined with the Huntsman Tournament Edition.  Let's dive into the Huntsman TE and see why this is the option you need to look at when looking for an esports keyboard.

So small, yet so powerful.

One of the first things that you need to realize when you look at buying a TE version is that you will be looking at a ten-keyless keyboard.  This means that it is a keyboard that has no Numpad, and in comparison to gaming keyboards, it also has all media keys removed.  Leaving you with only the essentials.  The reason for the smaller form is not because someone wanted a smaller keyboard.  No, it is, as the name might suggest, to easily bring along to LANs or tournament environments.  To ease the packing up process, the cable is easily detachable.  The USB-C connector easily detaches from the top left corner of the keyboard. The biggest thing to remember about having a ten-keyless keyboard is the fact that there is no Numpad, for those of you who are constantly punching numbers into a spreadsheet, this is not the keyboard you need or want.  Like all Razer products, it features loads of RGB and linked with the ever-evolving Synapse which, in my opinion, is probably the best peripheral software around.  After spending a lot of time playing around in the Synapse software, fiddling with macros and lighting effects, as well as setting up profiles for the Huntsman, of which you can store 5 of them on the keyboard memory so you have your profiles with you even when you don't have your pc, I decided to leave it on ambient awareness.  This mode lets the keyboard mimick the colours that are displayed on the screen.

Performance

As the name states, the Huntsman is aimed at the esports gamer.  In the esports realm performance, precision and reliability are the key aspects of selecting your weapon of choice.  What is very important to know is that there are a vast amount of mechanical switches.  From brown, red, blue, green, nearly every colour of the rainbow.  Each with their own characteristics, some are clicky, some are not.  Having a Logitech as well as a Razer Blackwidow as my daily keyboards, one being membrane, the other being Razer green mechanical clicky switches, both with actuation distances of 2mm.  The Huntsman trims down on this 2mm and actuates at 1.5mm.  0.5mm doesn't sound like much, but when you do use it, you will find that even resting your fingers on keys too heavily will have you typing strings of A's in chat. An easy way to compare is that the Huntsman will type even when you are merely thinking of typing.  For twitch gaming, which means games where reactions play a big role, the 1.5mm actuation makes the world of a difference and I could see the improvement in my gameplay once I got used to the light actuation point.  For those who will be using the Huntsman for typing, expect many moans and even more backspaces for all the unwanted double letters.  I started the review with the Huntsman and quickly reverted to the Blackwidow due to all the typing errors. The Huntsman makes use of optomechanical switches.  For those who are not clued up, this means when you press down on the key it interrupts a lazer underneath the switch.  This has two main advantages, firstly it means there is nearly no latency, providing the quickest input possible.  Secondly, it means there are less moving parts which mean that the keyboard should last substantially longer.  Esports players are particularly hard on their hardware, similarly to players who tend to rage often, the Huntsman comes prepared for such user and should be able to withstand some serious punishment.

Verdict

    At first, the Huntsman might seem very pricey for a keyboard that gives you less than other cheaper keyboards.  No numpad, no media keys but more price.  Don't be fooled by this.  The optomechanical keys and precision of them makes this keyboard a near-must for any gamer who is looking for a dedicated gaming keyboard.  The small form factor, as well as the removable cable, is a massive plus for the LAN enthusiast.  The casual gamer who does do some typing and general work on their computer might have to think twice, as the sensitive keystrokes and minimal actuation distance can become extremely infuriating to those trying to do simple typing. The Huntsman is not a keyboard that is going to make the average gamer a pro.  But if you are a player that has some inclination to a certain game and you are that in-tune with the game that it feels like near-telepathic flow when you are playing, the Huntsman will have you playing and reacting as fast as you can think.  The Huntsman is ready to be the conduit between your brain and the game!      

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review hardware

    credits: Windows Central - images  
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Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts – Review

Sniping games have been around for a long time.  Sniping missions have also been a staple in franchises like Battlefield, Medal of Honor, and possibly the most infamous sniping mission of all, in Call of Duty.  All of these have taken elements of sniping and used it within a combat environment.  Where action and gunfire come frequently and a constant pace.  Not many of these titles really capture the true experience of sniping. A few games have come close.  The Sniper Elite franchise tries, and succeeds mostly, to put you behind the scope of a WW sniper.  With more emphasis on a visual representation of demolishing your target with brutal bullet penetration scenes, yet it lacks the true feeling.  This is where the Sniper Ghost warrior franchise puts its hand up and zooms in on the target! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvGprYy0lZk SGW, as I will refer to it during this review, does not boast the strongest of stories.  The usual politics, some dodgy oil companies and general international espionage is the reason why you will be setting your crosshairs on a good couple of bad guys.  Although there is some reason for what you will be doing it doesn't do much in the way of linking missions or a general storyline.  During the intro, they do try and explain why it is morally acceptable to be paid for killing people...  What really makes SGW Contracts great though, is not the storyline, or actually the shooting (this is amazing though), it is the vastness of the extremely open maps.  The landscape is almost terrifyingly massive and moving around it takes extensive time.  This makes your missions so much more complex as there are multiple ways of taking on your mission.  Not only are the levels so vast, but they also vary tremendously in both visuals and environments.  This will force you to adapt your approach for each mission as you will find yourself sneaking along urban coastlines, heavily guarded fortresses and private mansions hidden in forests. Generally, sniper games or even missions would have you creep around and kill off the enemies as you come across them.  Upon reaching the intended target you would "eliminate" them and then you would be done. SGW Contracts takes a different approach.  Firstly, you will need to choose your approach carefully, stealth is non-negotiable.  But your approach can determine how much interaction you will come across.  Many of the missions require you to not only eliminate the target but often retrieve intel, or even sabotage a facility.  This will have you not only working from behind the scope but thinking about the effect your shot will have on the rest of the mission.  This approach often leads to fewer bullets fired which creates intense moments of manoeuvring past enemies instead of engaging!  Once your objective is complete you now need to be extracted, this is where your planning comes into play as well as a harsh and brutal punishment for those who think they are able to fight their way out.  This is where the large maps can become a hindrance which will see you often backtracking vast distances and hiding and watching for long periods of time.  I guess they don't call it GHOST warrior for no reason!

The Art and Science of Shooting

As in most sniper games, pulling off an incredible 1000m headshot on a driving target doesn't just happen.  it takes timing, precision and lots of science.  While the optics of your gun does provide amazing amounts of info regarding wind and trajectory of your bullet there are still many elements that you will need to contend with, and in this lies the magic of SGW Contracts.  Not only are these elements that make this game extremely difficult to play, but it also makes it extremely satisfying when everything works out!  The over-the-top kill cinematics of a bullet penetrating a skull and having the brain explode out the back does feel slightly out of sorts in a game that has very dark and moody tone.  But it does serve as a relief when the cinematics happens the moment you pull the trigger signalling that you have hit your target. Being a "ghost" level sniper does, however, come with a few perks.  You are provided with a visor that serves as communication between you and your "handler" as well as a host of other gadgets.  From the usual bombs and c4 to drones to help mark out enemies and even remote turrets that enable you to perform multiple kill shots at the same time. SGW Contracts is by far the prettiest in the franchise and playing it on the top tier console or a capable PC will have to checking out the scenery fairly often during your hiding and backtracking to exfiltrate.

Verdict

SGW Contracts is not for everyone, if you are expecting something easy, then move along.  If you don't intend on playing it at the toughest difficulty, also move along.  SGW is as close as you can get to experience what a true sniper might need to endure, apart from some of the gadgets.  The 12 hours that it can take a competent marksman to complete the game can exponentially become more if you are not a great shot.  Even though Contracts has a rather forgettable story to it, the mechanics and suspense and joy of nailing your shot and getting out in one piece is a definite reason to play it!

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for the review content

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LOGITECH CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY!!!!

IT'S NEARLY CHRISTMAS!!! Logitech G and Early Axes wants to make you the lucky owner of some great Logitech G peripherals! All you need to do is the list below! Who knows the Logitech Santa might stop by for an early Christmas gift!  Head over to the EarlyAxes Facebook Group and do the simple steps below!


1: like and share the original post! 2:give Logitech G a like! 3:Tag 2 friends 4: Tell us what item in the G-Range do you like most and why! The competition will run until the 6th of December 2019! Competition is only open to SA residents!

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Need for Speed Heat – Review

Need for Speed is a name, that when said by most, brings back nostalgia and fond memories of better times.  When NFS was what it originally wanted to be, a street racing game.  Before modded cars and silly spoilers etc.  Yes, it later really became huge with the likes of the spectacular Underground, Underground 2 and Carbon.  After that things seemed to slowly fizzle out for the NFS franchise becoming a rather lacklustre title will still pumping out releases quite regularly. With the last outing, Payback, NFS seemed to have found their way back slightly.  This placed a large amount of pressure on the next outing, being HEAT.  NFS Heat is a fantastic game.  With great and vibrant environments that, mostly, feel living and lived in.  A really new and fresh day/night mechanic and Police chases that are not simply run away from with pure speed.  But where it lacks tremendously is with the cringy cast they selected.

lights, revs and narcissism!

Image result for Need for speed heat Palm City, the area that plays host to NFS Heat is basically one giant nightclub.  With blinding amounts of neon lights, and a seemingly ever-present bassline which possibly explains the narcissism of the characters...  Even though other titles like Forza Horizon has done the party-vibe before NFS Heat feels a little too aggressive and in-your-face with it.  You are a rookie on the scene in Palm City.  After selecting your avatar from a good couple of options and customizing him or her to give them the personal feel you will be tasked with getting cash to spend on your gifted clanger of a car, as well as improve your overall rep in the racing scene.  What follows is a rather familiar formula of doing races, smashing billboards and competing in a few drift challenges to build up bank and rep, cringy I know.  I found the first few levels to be somewhat slow until hitting enough rep to continue the story. The races in NFS Heat have two distinct, but contrasting, personalities.  By day, races are organized and planned with barriers and the needed all set up and ready to race.  These races generate money for you as an aspiring racer.  But it is during the night when Heat truly shines.  These races are more raw and visceral and these races act as XP races to boost your level so you can unlock cars, races and upgrades.  Although, at night you are not the only ones out on the streets.  The police turn-up their patrols and bring out their most powerful and aggressive cars.  Whether you are simply taking a cruise or mid-race if they spot you they will come after you until you either shake them or they ram you into submission. Image result for Need for speed heat Another aspect of the night racing that really adds to the drama is the fact that your rep earned at night only "banks" when you turn into a garage.  Meaning that if you get busted by the police before being able to do so, all your hard work of grinding is lost!

Cars, Cambers and Spoilers!

The underground-series made NFS famous for the over the top styling and modding.  Since the franchise has stuck with the modding and Heat is no different!  The majority of the stable of cars in Heat will look rather familiar to players of Payback.  One of the great additions is that Ferrari have decided to get back on board and they brought a large ensemble of cars to add to the garage!  Toyota, however, has once again decided to skip this outing leaving us wanting some Supra goodness, both mk4 and mk5! As is par for the modding-course, all the JDM classics from the '90s are here (apart from the Supra).  Supercars are in abundance and big American muscle can be found all over!  Many European monsters and even some fast Volvo's!  There are definitely cars for everyone!  These cars also have every fine little detail that their real-world counterparts have.  And they look especially great in the rain, as does most of the world of Palm city.  With the slightest detail such as raindrops running down body panels and windscreens. The cars' handling has also been reworked from previous titles.  Drifting can now be initiated by taking your finger off the throttle and then ploughing it through your controller to start your skid.  For the driver craving more the "realistic" feel this can be troublesome for the times you actually need to feather the throttle through corners.  Luckily this setting can be changed back to brake-for-drift.  For the first time in an NFS game, the feel between FWD, RWD and AWD can actually be experienced in the way cars handle, even if its only slight! Engine swops, as in Forza, is one of the key modding features in Heat.  This takes away some of the performance ceilings that many cars hit rather early in their tuning life!  But what really caught my eye was the way you can tune your exhaust note.  Want it loud, brash, tinny, or just want it to sound like a run-of-the-mill daily, you can tune it!  The livery system is back and as good as before.  Style your car the way you want it.  From a classic black on black to the way out pearl paint with minute rims and even those who are into the stance scene, heat has styling options to suit everyone!

Verdict

Need for Speed Heat has taken little pieces from all its previous games and built something that really lives up to the NFS games of old!  Apart from the cringe-worthy acting, Heat is a truly great and enjoyable arcade racer with great customization options!  Now, all we need is the playlist from Underground 1 and 2 and this game would be perfect!  For those who have been burned by previous NFS titles, this is your salvation!  

Special thanks to Prima Interactive for the review content

   
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PDP ultraslim charging station Xbox One – Review

The current-gen of consoles has brought us many positives and even more joyous occasions.  Terrific games, better graphics and finally crossplay!  With each generation the number of hours we spend with the controller in-hand increases.  Since the wireless controller became the norm since the 360 and PS3 era consumers, especially Xbox users have moaned about the usage of batteries, or the constant recharge of the PS controller.  A generation later and Microsoft has still not ditched the AA battery setup in their controller.  This means you either need to buy rechargeable batteries, or stock-up on AA batteries because you will eat through tons of them! I am fortunate enough to have access to both Xbox One and PS4 consoles and spending more time on my Xbox, the charging station that Apex Interactive sent me was a welcome sight!  PDP does make cost-conscious products.  To most companies, cost-consciousness means a budget product at a budget price.  For PDP this is not true!  Their range of controllers and headsets tick the quality box as well as the budget box!

What's in the box?

The PDP Gaming Ultra slim charging station comes with an extremely sleek and nicely designed station.  The station is extremely slim lined and minimal in design and with the space it takes up on your desk or counter.  It has two magnetic connection points as well as two mood lights to give it some RGB feeling.  At the bottom of it it also has two LED indicators to show when the controllers are properly fitted.  10/10 times I have tried to place the controller incorrectly the magnetic positioning has corrected my placement to ensure good and firm contact to the charging ports.  Many other docking stations require you to have a free USB port to plug it into.  The PDP ultraslim has its very own 2-prong plug that plugs straight into a wall socket, giving you that always-needed USB port to use for an external hard drive or headset amp. PDP also provides two rechargeable battery pack that simply fit inside the Xbox One controller the same way normal batteries would fit.  The cover is then replaced by the provided PDP cover which has an opening perfectly slotted to provide great contact between the battery pack and the charging station. With the PDP battery pack connected the Xbox One controller feels slightly heavier than it does with standard batteries but the weight difference is hardly noticeable and the result is worth the extra few grams.  During the time I spent using the PDP ultraslim charge station I put in multiple gaming sessions that lasted more than 8 hours, save for a few bathroom- and snack breaks and the batteries did not skip a beat.  In fact, I hardly got past the 50% mark that the Xbox provides to show controller battery level.

Verdict

If you are one of the players that have spent a small fortune on buying AA batteries then the PDP ultraslim charging station has your name on it.  Straight out of the box it provides battery packs for 2 controllers with the ability to charge both of them at the same time.  Not only does it serve as a charging station it is a good looking way to store your controllers when not using them.  Coming in at close to R700 it is easy to see why this is the change you need to make instead of constantly buying AA batteries!    

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for the review hardware

 
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The Outer Worlds – Review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5ya3X1hBWk When you think RPG titles one of the first names that come to mind is Fallout.  And you wouldn't be wrong by saying that the likes of Fallout 3 and New Vegas are arguably some of the best RPG's around.  But since then the Fallout has gone downhill.  The likes of Fallout 4 and the devastatingly bad, Fallout 76 has driven the Fallout name to an all-time low. Thankfully the people over at Obsidian decided to take their skills, which has given us titles like Star Wars: Knights of the old republic, Fallout New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity, and revive the Open-world RPG genre that was being held together but the incredible Witcher 3.  The Outer Worlds has been coming and I have tried to keep away from all the hype... Can it be the Fallout we have all wanted?  Or will it splash about like Fallout 76...  I am very pleased to tell you that this is possibly the greatest not-Fallout game EVER!

Where am I?

At the start of this game, mad scientist Phinneas Wells wakes you from an awfully long cryosleep, 70 years to be exact.  He needs your help, of course!  You are tasked to go to Halcyon, the outer most planet in the galaxy, also controlled by a bunch of big corporate entities.  The people that live, or should I say survive, in Edgewater, the first town you visit, are exploited.  The medicine supply is distributed amongst, and to those who can contribute the most, first.  The gravedigger is the first you meet, he needs a hand in collecting some money for the rent of future burial sites...  How you go about the collection is up to you.  Do you persuade, take forcefully, steal or simply kill.  The Outer Worlds takes the "choice" system to the next level with tremendously involved decision making, which sways the outcome of your choices dramatically. Another group of villagers have been lucky enough to escape, but the major of Edgewater wants you to bring them back.  Siding with the mayor means your travels in the vast wildlands of Halcyon won't only have you looking over your shoulder for monsters.  Add destitute villagers who are now fleeing from Edgewater.  Siding with the villagers will also have other ramifications in Edgewater...  Choices choices choices, can you stand by yours?

Why so Serious?

The Outer Worlds can easily be compared to the likes of Fallout when it comes to gameplay, which for the most of the time, that means it has rather strong and serious undertones.  The gameplay and mechanics certainly take most of its ideas from Fallout.  Where it does differ from the Fallout series, is in its storytelling and how it incorporates satire EVERYWHERE!  The story and dialogue choices, which are the heart of the storytelling and decision-making that really makes The Outer Worlds great.  But drawing too much from the tongue-in-cheek games like Borderlands, does make some decisions more difficult to make.  Not knowing whether the dialogue is meant to be satirical or seriously did creep into a fair amount of choices made during my playtime. Missions or side missions can be tackled much like in Fallout.  You can either try to talk your way through them if you have enough skill points on charisma and persuasion, fight your way through, all guns blazing, or try to avoid any type of conflict by sneaking around the enemies. Although the game tries to make it seem like these decisions have real consequences, unfortunately, they don't do THAT much apart from making certain factions like, or dislike you more which in turn will make them treat you less kindly when interacting with them.

More good than Bad

[caption id="attachment_5478" align="aligncenter" width="967"] The Outer Worlds_20191016111537[/caption] The above mentioned are the only slightly negative things about The Outer Worlds.  Let us start with the skills and upgrades and abilities.  In other games, you will find yourself dumping all your earned skill points into a few skills, such as strength, dexterity and vitality.  Skills such as chemistry and charisma are often almost pointless.  In The Outer Worlds, this is not the case.  Quite the contrary.  You can build an almost completely non-combat character that will still be able to fight wildlife and marauders, who don't like to reason but be able to almost talk your way out of any situation.  This opens up for tremendous amounts of replayability. The loot, inventory and upgrading system is another feature that really makes The Outer Worlds shine.  While there is a vast array of weapons and armour to loot across the many planets in The Outer Worlds, each item can be customized itself.  This will encourage you to try a host of weapons and find which work best for certain enemies.  Found a weapon that you really like?  No need to worry, weapons can be upgraded in many ways, damage, elemental damage and more, making even one of your trusty old weapons relevant throughout the game.

A friend in need

Any type of work is always better with a friend.  In the Outer Worlds, these friends come in the form of companions.  There are a total of 6 companions to be found throughout the game.  These companions each have a skill tree and skillset of their own.  Meaning each companion will be useful for different situations.  Are you the type that shoots before you ask any questions?  Pair up with a companion that has good charisma and you might not have to shoot quite as much.  Need someone with good creativity and lockpicking, maybe your companion can help with that! Some of the skills that your main character can learn have a passive effect on your companion which means you need to take great care when applying those skill points.  Not only can these companions be kitted out from head to toe, but they each also have their very own personality and back story.  As the story progresses and you find yourself moving to different planets, so the companion story arc evolves as well which makes exploring their story and missions fun and satisfying in their own right!

So Pretty!

Although I reviewed The Outer Worlds on the original Xbox One, it still looked wonderful,  colours are bright and vibrant, the worlds all look so contrast and the way each towns design and feel just add to the message they are trying to send is splendid.  Player models and faces are some of the best I've seen from a game of this type! At its core, The Outer Worlds doesn't change much from the recipe that Fallout has created, and that shouldn't bother many people, in fact, it should welcome a few of those who are hesitant about this game.  What does help its cause is the stellar performance when it comes to the story and the narrative.  Not only does it provide a great compelling story which I WANTED to follow and see through to the end.  It gives you tons of quirky and fun moments within the story.  To go with that is the brilliant cast of characters that you meet and come to love or hate as you go through this game.

Verdict

The Outer Worlds is easily the best and most polished game of its type.  It takes from other games in the genre and identifies stumbling blocks and strategically sidesteps them with ease.  The Outer Worlds also does not overstay its welcome, it is long enough to have you engrossed without boring you.  It might lack the sheer size of a title like Fallout but that is one of its greatest strengths, biting off smaller pieces and making sure each and every one of them is perfect! The Outer Worlds delivers a thought-provoking story that will have you laughing and taking on some difficult decisions within moments of each other!  A roller-coaster ride worth taking!  Could this be one of the best games of 2019...  Most definitely!    

Special thanks to Prima Interactive for the review content

 
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Logitech G Pro X – Review

Finding the perfect headset is near impossible.  So many things to consider and boxes to be ticked.  Great comfort, with spectacular sound. Award-winning styling all at a fraction of the money you want to spend.  This does sound seriously outrageous, and it mostly is - until Logitech decided to make their G Pro range of mice, keyboards, and headsets.  Yes - like the name suggests, it is heavily focused on the esports scene, with many pro teams, like G2 esports and TSM, to name a few, it is only natural to assume that they are top quality.  But that same assumption brings the price into play.  If pros are using it, surely it must cost a kidney and your firstborn son - wrong! The Logitech G Pro X has come as a saviour to those looking to tick all the boxes, on a budget!  Take a read and see that the G Pro X is the headset we have been waiting for!

Design and build

  Logitech has been known to make real spectacular headsets.  From the space-age look of the 6 and 9 series to the more toned down 4 series.  The G Pro range takes some design cues from both these and lands firmly in the "perfect" zone.  Logitech built a gaming headset with the style and grace as if it came straight out of the 1940s!  The G Pro X screams class, without raising its voice.  The first, and a most obvious sign that Logitech was being serious with the G Pro X, was the exclusion of any RGB.  The flat leather headband is generously padded ensuring hours of comfort.  With the simple imprint of PRO on top. Beautifully rounded pill-shaped earcups with a matte black finish around the sides, and flat metallic discs on the ear.  Adorning these metal discs is a simple and smooth Logitech logo.  The earcups are attached to the headband by strong, solid metal arms which hive the earcups more than enough movement to ensure very good and comfy fit over and around your ears. Logitech fits these earcups with leatherette as a standard, but provide microfibre alternative if you prefer them.  The microfibre ear cushions are very soft and comfortable and can easily be used as the default ear cushions.  For those who are familiar with the Astro A40 and A50, the ear cushions are exactly the same.  The leatherette cushions, however, are spectacular, not only do they feel really good on, but they also improve noise cancellation tremendously.     Looking at the G Pro X you will instantly see it to be a premium headset, picking it up confirms that.  It does have some weight to it but even after long hours of gaming they never seem to feel excessively heavy.  The clamp of the G Pro X does, however, feel rather tight at first, but after a few hours of tuning the fit, they become so snug that you forget you have them on.

Features

The biggest feature that the G Pro X brings to the party is the recent inclusion of Blue Vo!ce technologies!  For those not familiar with Blue Vo!ce, they make some of the best freestanding microphones around.  With Logitech acquiring them it was only logical to include their tech in the new Pro headset.  When using the DAC USB converter to connect to your PC, you will be met with the Logitech G hub.  A smart hub that controls and syncs all your Logitech devices.  Selecting the G Pro X will allow you to tweak nearly every aspect of your headset.  Firstly, the Pro X now boasts surround sound.  Virtual surround sound has long been debated and personally I have never found one that truly works, until now.  To set it up you will listen to a sound clip showing you all the different channels and allowing you to turn each of them louder or softer depending on your preference.  Amongst other options are, selecting the type of room you use the headset in and adjusting voice chat and game mixing.     Another great feature is the equalizers.  Logitech, being esports conscious, has given you the ability to download the equalizer presets from some of your favorite Logitech sponsored esports athletes.   If you are struggling to find the right mix for Dota2, or need that extra edge when it comes to CS: GO, there will be a preset equalizer for that!   And if none of them work you can create your own and upload it so others can use yours instead. Finally, we come to the main feature.  The new microphone.  First off, the G hub gives you a feature to record a small voice clip of yourself.  Then it lets you free with all the Blue Voice presets and knobs to play with.  It has preset settings for a few major presets such as streamer, broadcaster, etc.  If you need to sound beefier, there is a preset for that, needless background noise, there is a button for that.  The options are virtually endless.   In all honesty, the microphone quality is so good that I am envious of the people in my party.  Speaking to a person in real life sounds worse than this! Don't forget about the wonderful carry pouch they supply, for when you need to take your G Pro X on the road!  

Sound

At the end of the day, headsets are not defined by the way they look or the features they possess.  They are judged on their audio capabilities.  The G Pro X uses a 50mm driver that is used across most of the Logitech and Astro headset range.  But something sets this one apart.  I am an Astro user myself and it has always been my benchmark to which I compare all my review headsets.  Nothing has quite matched it, until now.  The G Pro X is easily the most accurate sounding headset I have ever come across.  It is able to blast you away with deep, punchy bass, deliver crisp and clear mids while never skipping a beat in the highs.  Most headsets struggle to deliver all 3 of these levels without having them either drown each other out or wash into each other.  Using Pro X during R6 Siege matches proved to be an unfair advantage allowing me to accurately pinpoint enemies behind the wall by means of their footsteps.  Sure other headsets can do that as well, but the Pro X gives you as a player so much confidence in your sound that you can confidently wall bang enemies.  This explains why most of the top tier pro teams use these headsets.     During games like Apex Legends and Destiny 2, I was equally impressed with how even though there is utter chaos on-screen, the sounds are precise and clear and every crack of a bullet and pin-out of a grenade can be distinguished!  The only place the Pro X does become more "normal" is when it is not being used in conjunction with the Logitech G Hub.  Using it while playing Xbox did not show up its faults, more so, it shows you that the headset is decent without the magic software.  Still delivering top-notch clarity and distinguishable tones but unfortunately no Blue Voice mic.  

Verdict

If you are in the market for a high-end PC headset, there is without question, only one option.  The Logitech G Pro X!  It is the best headset I have ever used.  Period.  This statement does come with a few T&Cs.  If you are planning on using it across multiple platforms it becomes slightly less amazing but still a viable option. The G hub does provide a lot of the magic, but even when using it without it the comfort, sound clarity and general all-round quality can not easily be matched. The comfort and build quality is phenomenal and you will spend a lot more on a lot worse quality headset if you go elsewhere.  For some, the lack of wireless will be a deterrent, but wireless also means a huge bump in price.  At R2499 the price is perfectly poised to be a great seller!  If you are a content creator or streamer the blue mic technology should be a big drawing card.  Being able to adjust every aspect of your voice to your viewers can truly make the difference between a good and a great stream.

If you are looking for a new headset, even if you are not, the Logitech G Pro X is the headset you haven't realized that you need!

   

Special thanks to Logitech for supplying the review content

     
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Trine 4 – Review

2D scrollers have never been high up on my list of games I have to play.  Thinking back, the only 2d scroller that really got my attention was Jazz the Jack-rabbit, and Duke Nukem 2D ( damn I am old).  Since then my focus has shifted, games like Doom and the original call of duty and medal of honor arrived and blew our child-minds.  Gran Turismo 2, Final Fantasy and a whole host of games and generation of consoles and games came and went.  2D scrollers were a thing of the past, weren't they? No, a wide array of scrollers were still being made.  Great ones as well.  Hence, when Trine 4 magically appeared in my inbox (thanks Apex) I met it with a strange sense of dread and excitement.  Dreading that I was jumping into the fourth installment of a series I knew nothing about.  But excited to see what the current standard of 2D scrollers was like comparing to Jazz and ol' Duke 2D. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRvbVZNqkA4

The Knight, Wizard, and Thief

If you are like me, new to the Trine series, Trine puts you in the boots of 3 playable characters.  Each with their own unique abilities.  You will need to utilize each of the character's abilities if you are to make your way through the ever-changing puzzles.  The knight has a shield which he uses to deflect incoming projectiles as well as reflect light.  His trusty sword can break objects as well as slay the troublesome enemies you might come across.  The Wizard can conjure up a box that can be used for climbing onto or hold mechanisms in place.  The Thief, equipped with a bow, can shoot 3 types of arrows as well as connect ropes to rings as well as to the boxes the wizard conjures.  Using these abilities and your wit, you need to overcome the puzzles Trine throws at you.   Trine 4 predominantly focuses on using the 3 characters and their abilities to solve puzzles.  Using the thief and wizard, predominantly, you can solve most of the puzzles laid out before you.  On the odd occasion, you might need the knight to reflect or deflect things that block your path.  There are however a few combat stages that are scattered across the stages.  These, unfortunately, do nothing for the game and I found myself wishing them to be over rather than enjoying them.  They are also rather straight forward.  Simply select the knight and bash and deflect until you have defeated all the enemies.

A happy and lovable place

  Trine 4 has the most beautiful and vivid maps and areas that I have come across in a long time.  The forests, caves and even dilapidated castles are all spectacular and lovely to see.  Even though it is a 2.5D scroller, the backdrops feel alive and vivid.  From the birds flying overhead, or the spiders and other animals crawling past in the background, all seem so natural.  This gives Trine a wonderful sense of fantasy, much like I felt while watching the Harry Potter series.  A sense of a truly living world happening around you.  To add to this lovable and enjoyable setting is the way the game challenges you but without frustrating you.  There are areas where you will get stuck for a few minutes but they do not hold you back long enough to get you frustrated.  I found myself enjoying the odd challenge here and there.  The respawn system is also extremely forgiving which will see your fallen comrades not stay downed for very long. While spending around 12 hours in Trine 4, I never once experienced a "game over".  Trine does not try to have you fail.  It does not need to keep you playing for longer by making you struggle.  It relies on its wonderful storytelling and fun, yet challenging puzzles to keep you hooked.  And hooked you will be.

Better with a friend

As if that wasn't enough.  You can also party up with a friend and have a second character, constantly, by your side.  This will see you fly through many of the puzzles but also have the game adjust itself to make it a little more challenging.  All in all the game has great replayability if you want to give it a bash solo, or with some mates.

Verdict

what really makes Trine 4 a great installment in the series is the fact that you need no previous experience or knowledge of the games to enjoy this one.  The story starts at a rather neutral point where no back story or history is needed.  For those who are not new to the series, there are many references and jokes that you will enjoy and relate to.  All in all, Trine 4 is a game I didn't know existed, yet after playing it, I am really happy I had the chance to.  Trine  4 is a happy and fun experience that will eat up time and leave you with a smile on your face and a happy heart. If you want to spend some time with a friend and take a break from the grind of the mainstream shooters or competitive racers, Trine 4 is what you need to wind down and have some casual fun!  

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for the review copy

 
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FIFA 20 – Review

Another year means another installment of many titles.  Games such as Madden, NHL and even Call of Duty come to mind.  Many of these titles have already captured their audience, be it recently, or over decades of titles.  Amongst these are many that simply don't reinvent themselves.  Soon these titles start to carry labels like "reskinned".  Call of Duty is one of these titles have come out in a big way with Modern Warfare, hoping to shake the feeling of paying again for a game you bought last year. To some, the FIFA franchise is the same.  Not really changing things up year on year.  But let's be honest, football doesn't change.  It has been played for many years and apart from new leagues and new stars, the game has not changed.  So for FIFA to be innovative they have to look at tweaking mechanics and making it more realistic.  Which they have done a great job of over the years.  With yearly updates and tweaks to dribbling and defending and even contesting, FIFA has kind of reached a pinnacle.  Then came "the Journey"!  Creating a story mode for a sports game seemed preposterous.  But FIFA did it and did it well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOsA3mc1xGw And so we come to FIFA 20...  Another year, another FIFA title, with new features and mechanics and an all-new Volta mode!

Football made for the street!

Let us get straight to the biggest addition from Fifa 19 to 20.  VOLTA! For those who are familiar with the old Fifa Street, this it's new version.  Unfortunately, the addition of Volta means we say goodbye to the corny, yet very enjoyable, The Journey.  Volta brings football to the streets.  Playing in a 3v3 on the roof of a skyscraper while doing moves that Messi can only dream of, really makes for fun times.  Throw in incredible celebrations and solid customizations and you have a great new mode to the FIFA franchise.  Volta comes with a few modes of its own.  Not only can you play kick-off style games there is also a story to it, albeit extremely cheesy, following in the steps of the Journey, but it also has a massive customization section.  Volta does not do as much justice to a "sports game with a story" as The Journey does but it does give some variation to the football genre.

Changes on and off the field

Fifa titles generally don't seem to make that many adjustments from one year to the next, Fifa 20 is no different.  Looking at gameplay you will be hard-pressed to spot the difference between Fifa 19 and 20.  Once you grab the controller though, you will feel the distinct change in speed.  Where Fifa 19 felt very quick all the time, Fifa 20 takes that but fleshes it out.  If you play with a team known for their speed on the attack, things feel extremely fast, and visa Versa. This creates a new style of ebbing and flowing throughout a match.  In Fifa 19 even using some of the fastest players around it felt like you could easily be reeled in.  EA took some good steps in addressing this and it feels like players truely feel at the correct speeds now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgQNOIhRsV4 According to EA they have also changed some of the ball physics to make the ball feel lighter.  In my opinion, it felt heavier and I struggled to weight my passes and kicks correctly.  This can very easily be changed in future updates if more people seem to experience a similar feeling.  Apart from that, the other tweaks are all rather minor.  Animations have been smoothed out and more variation has been added. Free-kicks have been tweaked and, at first, they might seem a whole lot simpler.  At first, it feels like all you need to do is point and shoot.  You will soon learn that doing that will have you shooting all over the place.  There are many factors that come into effect when doing this.  Wind, curl, and even the quality of the kick-taker.

Career and FUT

Career mode has been a little of a step-child for the FIFA franchise.  Not receiving much love over the last couple of years and never seeing any updates.  This year is different.  FIFA 20 sees the biggest update to the career mode in a long time.  Career mode is excellently presented, as with most things Fifa, pre-seasons, training camps, all to boost your performance.  Career mode now focuses on team morale more than anything.  Red faces next to player names will indicate their morale is low and green will show high morale.  Higher morale means better team chemistry means better performances!  Morale is directly linked to player performance and the way you and your manager conduct themselves during interviews. FUT is one of the main reasons most people play FIFA and this year sees more improvements in the form of more iconic players, more team, season and individual objectives and much deeper customization options!  

Verdict

FIFA 20 is once again a strong outing in the FIFA franchise, the addition of the Volta and the reworking of career mode does give it enough to be a strong successor for Fifa 19 which in itself was one of the best in the franchise in a long time.  Volta takes the place of the Journey, which drops a small part for a large new genre of football.  The gameplay tweaks are not all good in my opinion but tweaks are still changes which is what FIFA is known for, constantly innovating the footballing genre. FIFA  fans will undoubtedly still get this year's outing no matter the verdict.   All in all, FIFA 20 is a good title, maybe not the best, but with the new Volta mode, it does offer much more in terms of being a fun, hop on and play title.  

Special thanks to Prima Interactive for the review content

 
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The Surge 2 – Review

Sequels are the toughest games to make.  If your first game was a success, then the sequel needs to pull all the good qualities of the first installment and tweak the weaker ones.  On the flip side, if your first game was rather lack-luster, then you are expected to revamp completely.  Both come with large amounts of pressure to deliver.  The Surge was a great title from the company that brought us Lords of the Fallen.  Lords of the Fallen was stunning, but was possibly too hot on the heels of the Souls franchise and copied too many ideas from the likes of Bloodborne and the Souls series. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaHTdLwiIPQ

Tweaks and changes

The Surge 2 does, however, make some good changes and welcoming tweaks to the system that was used in the original Surge.  Unlike the first Surge, you now have the ability to build your own character.  No matter what character you build and choose however, you still start the narrative as a plane crash survivor after the nanites from the first game escape.  Surge 2 is more of gameplay with a solid narrative-type game rather than a strong story with decent gameplay.  The combat has been tweaked and feels wonderful.  Each rig with its weapons and armor falls into a well-explained class and easy to grasp.  Looking for a light and fast rig, the Operator is the way to go, prefer being a damage sponge, Goliath class is your go-to class.  And if you are looking for something in-between, Sentinel is your class. These classes can be upgraded using cybernetic implants, accompanied by a host of high and low tech weapons, you are sure to be having some dismembering-fun in no time!  What really struck me was how each of these weapons and armor that is at your disposal has an effect on the movement and flow of your rig.  When you are using the Operator rig you feel like you can chain attacks together and bounce between enemies like Spiderman, but on the flip side, you can be sent flying across the battlefield with a single blow. Blocking and injectables are both new systems that improve Surge 2 dramatically.  The blocking and parrying system feels like it has been directly taken from For Honor.  For those not familiar with this system, it does take some getting used to but once you are comfortable, it is extremely robust and very rewarding.  The block and parry system works extremely well when using the goliath class with its extremely slow attack speed.  Guessing the attacking direction correctly will see you parry and counter which is extremely satisfying when done correctly. The newly added injectables also add a whole new dimension to the fighting dynamic.  Even though two goliath classes are identical, applying a variety of injectables can because both these Goliath builds to be completely different.  This increases the replay-ability of Surge 2.

Slashin' and Lootin'

Executions are very clever and satisfying.  As before, you need to target specific body parts and once you have done enough damage, you can dismember that limb.  The animations for these dismemberments are spectacular.  But what makes it truly great is the way it integrates into the looting system.  In Surge 2 most of your loot is collected from downed enemies.  Instead of this loot just being random, the way you fight the opponent will determine the loot that they drop.  Looking for a very specific piece of armor?  You will need to find an enemy wearing that exact piece of armor and dismember it.  This gives the player reason to go and hunt down specific enemies.  At the same time,it puts an interesting take on the looting and grinding aspect because it puts less emphasis on grinding until you find the item you looking for and rather has you exploring until you find someone with that item.

The story thus far...

Surge 2 has a straight forward story that is told the same way.  The plot has its moments that are interesting but apart from that the plot feels very direct and expected. As before the story is told by interacting with NPCs and picking up recordings that tell you more about what has been happening since the nanites have devastated the world.  The story of Surge 2 will take you to a wider variety of locales compared to the first game.  Instead of being stuck in industrial areas and cities.  Surge 2 will take you to a more diverse set of locales as well as have a larger variety of enemies to contend with.  It does, however, feel like Surge 2 put more effort into building more diverse and beautiful open worlds and left out a few touches on the plot and story aspects. With the story being told via NPCs and recordings that can be picked up, and the game allowing you to explore areas in any order, the story can become disjointed if you wander into an area and get plot details out of order.  When the dust settles on Surge 2, the general feeling was that the incentive of gathering stronger loot is more than what progressing the story was.  This is not a negative point but it is something to be aware of if you are looking for a more story-driven RPG.

Verdict

Surge 2 does not reinvent the wheel when it comes to Souls-like titles, but that is not what it was trying to do from the start.  What is does do well is the basics, it ticks the boxes.  At times it feels like that is all it wanted to achieve and that it's happy with being mediocre.  Then you get into the combat and the spectacular upgrade system, not to mention the way it makes use of a parry system that really gives the combat system life.  Surge 2 might not be a replacement game for the hardcore Souls fans, but it is definitely worth the time and hours that you will invest in it.  If you were a fan of the first game then it is a no-brainer, you will love it. Surge 2 is a good game, will it be placed along with greats like Dark Souls or Bloodborne, probably not,  is it the best of the rest, most definitely!  

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for providing the review content

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