Razer Kraken Pro V2 Analog

Razer really has a way of getting you excited about their hardware.  I can't quite put my finger on what it is but the feeling of opening up my box of goodies supplied by Apex Interactive and seeing a Razer box inside always gets my heart racing.  This, even after being very disappointed by the Razer Electra's!  Even taking the Kraken Pro's out of the courier box I immediately realized we are on a diffirent level compared to the  runt of the family, the Electra's.  The packaging and feel and all around look of the packaging just gave the impression that we are talking about a more serious piece of hardware.  And opening the box my assumptions were instantly confirmed...   The Razer Kraken Pro V2 analog, like the one I am reviewing, is a 3.5mm variant but it is good to know that there is, in fact, a USB version as well that features 7.1 surround sound.  My review was done on console using the 3.5mm jack.

Build Quality and Feel

Image result for razer kraken pro v2   The Kraken Pro V2 feels great in-hand.  All the materials used feel really good quality and the finishes are really nicely done.  In its price range it has a very good blend of materials used.  My daily headset is a Astro A40 TR which itself is a heavy headset. The Kraken Pro V2 is much lighter coming in at only 322g (thanks Google) which in comparison, felt like nothing on my head which does help for those extremely long play sessions.  The headband, which is covered in "leather-like" material, has Razer etched into it which really gives a nice touch as well as the sponge being good quality even tho its almost not needed as the weight of the headset being so minimal.   Image result for razer kraken pro v2   The top half of the headset also comes with adjustable sliders giving the wearer a large range for all sizes of heads.  Coming to the earcups and cushions which is probably one of the more important aspects of any headset.  The Kraken Pro cushions are exceptional. the leather covered foam feels magnificent over your ears and they sit snugly enough to block out sound and not too tight causing discomfort.  Their size and depth are also perfect, never did I experience any of my ear touching sides of the cushions or even touching the inside either.  The comfort level is exquisite and it is up there with my all time most comfortable headsets!  The outside of the earcups also get the expected Razer treatment with its cool mesh finish and a large Razer emblem brandishing the earcups they are unmistakably Razer!  

Microphone and Cable

Image result for razer kraken pro v2   Moving further down the headset, the microphone which is neatly retracted into the earcup allowing for a neat, stowed away look when not in use, is extremely flexible which allows for great positioning of the mic.  A added bonus is the fact that the mic is extremely good.  It picks up voice chatter really well without allowing for lots of ambient noise to filter through.  My party members were thoroughly impressed by the microphone quality of the Razer Kraken Pro V2 and their verdicts were all that I sounded much clearer and closer compared to my Astro...  It hurt a little writing that... This being the stereo version of the Kraken Pro V2, it works with the newer Xbox One controller as well as the PS4 controller and pretty much every device that has a 3.5mm output jack.  The braided cable coming from the headset has a inline mute and volume control which is rather nifty.  Being 3.5mm connection there is unfortunately no mic feedback but that can be excused.  

Audio Quality

  Audio quality...  The biggest thing a headset should strive to be good at.  The final hurdle at which so many headsets falter.  The Razer Kraken Pro does however not.  Listening to music was good.  It has decent levels of bass and the highs hit the mark most of the times.  Listening to some electronic music really showed off the punchy bass and sharp highs!  The mids were slightly underwhelming at times getting lost in the bass punches.  The same can be said for gaming, generally the sounds are good.  Ambient and nature sounds in games like the Hunter: call of the wild and Sea of Thieves were really good.  But during the chaos of games like COD WW2 and the intense focus on sound in R6 Siege the mids did feel a little muddy and got lost.  For the asking price tho you would have to go looking a bit to find something that drastically out performs the Razer Kraken Pro V2 headset. Image result for 8/10 stars  

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for so kindly supplying this review headset

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PDP afterglow controller – Review

I am rather full of crap, and I am happy to admit that.  So with the arrival of the PDP afterglow controller I thought that I had already made up my mind.  The original Xbox one controller is really really good.  good weight to it, good build quality and it just works.  I have had both my controllers since launch of the Xbox 1 and i have not had any problems, they have been dropped ( I cried a little when that happened) yet they keep going.  So my opinion was instantly that the PDP afterglow was nothing more than a cheap knockoff with a few added gimmicks and that it would show its own flaws within a few hours of playing with it...  Could I have been more wrong...

Unboxing

  The unboxing of the PDP afterglow is nothing to write about (ironic).  Simply the controller in a box.  No frills...  Literally!  

Features

Image result for pdp afterglow prismatic wired controller 1080p   The PDP Afterglow controller is a wired Xbox One/Windows 10 controller.  It has a clear plastic finish which is rather cool to see all the insides on display.  It really makes you appreciate all the work that goes into a controller that, on a daily basis becomes our gun, sword, steering wheel or even the item that grants up the opportunity to be true gamers and experience many lives lived. On the surface this controller simply looks like a wired controller with some cool strip lighting inside, 2 programmable wheel/buttons at back of controller and that is it...  But it is not!  The Prismatic, as it is called, looks very subtle from the outside but boasts a fair amount of gadgets and features for its measly pricetag. Firstly, the signature prismatic LED feature can have you quickly cycle through a variety of colours and have you choose your favorite one.  Or have the colours just change at will.  If you have the need for zero distraction, simply turn it off.  All of this without even having to move your fingers off your favorite keys on the controller.   Image result for pdp afterglow prismatic wired controller 1080p   Personally I play alot of FPS games which as most people know really give your analog sticks a pounding.  Any hardcore gamer has either had to bid farewell to a trusted controller due to stick lean or dead zones becoming too big to bear.  The PDP controller has superb sticks!  Made extremely well I find more grip and accuracy with them than the original controller sticks.  They are also slightly longer which helps when you need the extra precision to get the game-clinching headshot at the death. I still have the original Xbox One (someone want to sponsor a X, for review purposes???) so my controllers are still V1 without the 3.5mm jack.  So when I do reviews of newer headsets which only come with 3.5mm jacks I resort to using the ever elusive chat adapter.  Anyone who has ever needed to look for one of these babies knows what a struggle it is.  With the V2 controllers out now at least 3.5mm jack is now a standard but at close to R1000 for a controller buying a new one for just the 3.5mm jack is ridiculous.  Luckily the Prismatic is, once again, here to save the day.  Coming in at easily under R500 the Prismatic is the logical upgrade!   Image result for pdp afterglow prismatic wired controller 1080p   Dual Rumble drives with Red LED's that flash when vibration is activated also adds a nice touch in games such as racing when you wander off the track, or get shot in a FPS.  Great feeling triggers also add to the good feel in hand that the Prismatic brings to the table. Another way that the Prismatic steps ahead of the standard controller is with its dual multi-function wheels that has 6 programmable actions...  Where can you find a macro-enabled controller at this price anywhere else?! Image result for pdp afterglow prismatic wired controller 1080p When I was reviewing this controller the PDP hub on the Xbox store did not want to recognize my controller so I did not have any time to play with the app at the moment but I will update the article once I have got it working.  But honestly I don't think it is even needed as all features can be used without the app which is a welcome features in my opinion.  

 Impressions

  As I said earlier in this review the Prismatic arrived at my desk and I had made a opinion of it without trying it.  To be honest when it arrived I didn't even open it until the next day, I was that convinced that it was going to be bad.  I have never been this wrong.  Yes it is wired, and that is probably the only negative I can find for it.  Even being wired is not such a turn off.  If you game at a desk or you sit fairly close to your screen or TV then wired is not a problem.  Hell this controller serves as a Xbox and PC controller at half the price of a standard console controller! I am struggling to find the words to describe the feel of this controller.  If it was not for the smooth plastic finish compared to the slight matte finish of the Microsoft controller, in a dark room you would not know you are using a 3rd party controller.  The build is solid, when the vibration is activated it does not sound like the controller is falling apart.  Button presses feel strong and true, not hollow like many cheap controller do!  Simple controls on the controller to control the LED, Rumble lights as well as chat and sound volume are self explanatory and I caught on much faster than I have with other controllers such as the Razer Wolverine which I reviewed before.

Final Verdict

  This is a very easy verdict to make.  If you are in the market for a new controller and wired is not a problem, the PDP Afterglow prismatic Controller is a no brainer!  Cheaper, better, with more features than the original Microsoft controller you would be a fool to not get this controller.   Image result for 9.5/10 stars  

Once again a special thanks to Apex Interactive for always being at the forefront of the latest and greatest tech and allowing me to review them as they arrive!

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FanCon and an interview with Kinpatsu Cosplay

FANCON Cape Town was started in 2016 and has quickly become a must for anyone interested pop culture.  If you do not know what to expect when you visit ComicCon, or FanCon, prepare yourself for a vibrant and lively aspect of everything from comics, pop culture and everything geeky.  If you are ever in Cape Town during April/May and you consider yourself even the slightest of a geek/nerd, then do not hesitate.  FANCON is for YOU! Our intrepid admin, never shying away from anything geeky, were naturally drawn to FANCON where they basked in the amazing stalls selling the most interesting content.  Rubbing shoulders with authors, cosplayers, comic book illustrators, costume designers to only name a few.  Some of the big names that were on display at this years FANCON were Yanick Paquette a comic book artist known for his work on Xena warrior princess and Gambit.  Declan Shalvey who has worked on Deadpool, Punisher and Venom.  Our very own homegrown talents like Sally Partridge and Loyiso Mkize who is well known for being great short-story novelist and the creator of the superhero comic Kwezi, respectively.  While making there rounds and meeting many of the wonderful people making there way through FANCON, our own Alex and Aiden had the opportunity to interview South Africa's most well-known Cosplayer Kinpatsu.  For those of you who do not follow cosplay, Kinpatsu has been recognized worldwide for her incredible talent and craftsmanship.  This is no easy feat as cosplay is in its infancy in South Africa when you compare it to the larger areas like USA, Europe and Asia.  She has won many of the local conventions and many on the international stage as well.  Alex and Aiden caught up with her to have a chat and here is what transpired: Alex: how did you get the name Kinpatsu? Kinpatsu:  I am actually a blonde...  And Kinpatsu means blonde in Japanese.   Alex: How long have you been Cosplaying and how did it start? Kinpatsu: I have been cosplaying for 6 years now.  I try my best to get to all the conventions I possibly can.  This is my second FanCon.  It all started in 2011 when I went to rAge in South Africa.  When I saw it I decided I really wanted to try it and do it.  a Whole year went by and nothing happened.  Then I remembered that we were getting close to rAge again so I may as well try it out.  So I used clothes from my cupboard and made a costume in a week.   Alex: Why do you cosplay? And what does it mean to you? Kinpatsu:   For me, Cosplay is a way to combine the two things I love which is being creating stuff and crafting, and then ofcourse videogames, anime and those kind of things so it combines the two things I enjoy most.   Alex: Who are you cosplaying as? How do you choose your character? Kinpatsu:   Today I am cosplaying as X23 from Xmen.  I kind of just start making what I'm most excited for or whatever is most prominent at the time.  Like for this one there was a big Marvel group so I decided which character can I create in a week because I changed my cosplay plan.   Alex: Do you make all your own costumes?  Do you need to spend alot of money to make a good costume? Kinpatsu: This costume specifically, I started yesterday in a couple of hours, but some of the bigger ones take between 3 to 5 weeks to make.  Some costumes are expensive when it gets to creating armours for example when you use a technique called casting then it gets pricey but in general it can be as cheap as you want it to be by using whatever you can find.   Alex: What advice would you give to aspiring cosplayers? Kinpatsu: I would say do it!  Many people say I want to do it but they never take the jump.  Start small, its a start.  You will love it and you will just want to keep coming back for more.  Even if its made from stuff at home.  Or even if you reuse a costume just keep doing it.   Alex: Who is your favorite international cosplayer? Kinpatsu: I actually have three, they are Yaya Han, KamuiCosplay and Jessica Nigri   Alex: Where is your next convention? Kinpatsu:   My next convention will be in Latvia next month.  2 weeks ago I was in Columbia.  After this I am off for a month then I head to Germany and then doing my own trip to Las Angeles. For those of you who want to follow Kinpatsu, here are all her social media links.  FacebookTwitter If you would like to see some of the cosplays that were at the convention please take a look at the gallery below. [ngg_images source="galleries" container_ids="38" display_type="photocrati-nextgen_basic_thumbnails" override_thumbnail_settings="0" thumbnail_width="240" thumbnail_height="160" thumbnail_crop="1" images_per_page="20" number_of_columns="0" ajax_pagination="0" show_all_in_lightbox="0" use_imagebrowser_effect="0" show_slideshow_link="1" slideshow_link_text="[Show slideshow]" order_by="sortorder" order_direction="ASC" returns="included" maximum_entity_count="500"]    

A special thanks to Aiden and Alex for taking the time to visit FANCON and flying the EARLY AXES flag.

   
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Bravado Gaming vs. The World

For a long time South Africa has been in the background regarding international eSports. We are struggling to get noticed and gaining international experience. Long have we waited for this to change. It is about to change. Bravado Gaming is arguably the top CS:GO team in SA. They have for long dominated the scene with epic wins and a massive fan base. Yes I am a fan boy. With numerous local titles under their belt they set off to find a challenge. Enter Project Destiny. In partnership with Alienware and Intel, Project Destiny became a reality. Lets have the boys in blue explain it to you: “Project Destiny is Bravado Gaming’s project and plan to raise awareness of the talent and skill found amongst our local gamers and bring not only investment and popularity to our community, but also to provide greater opportunities for all of the gamers in South Africa, opportunities that I could never have imagined being possible.”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGVHe-HRsA0 They will be sending their entire 6 man CS:GO squad consisting of Aran “Sonic” Groesbeek, Dimitry “Detrony” Hadjipaschali, Ruan “Elusive” van Wyk, Rhys “Fadey” Armstrong, Johnny “JT” Theodisiou and Tiaan “T.C” Coertzen to live and compete in the USA. I had the privilege to have a chat with top entry fragger, “Fadey”. EAX: What is your overall experience competing in the US? F: My overall experience so far is very enjoyable, it's so different to the local stage and very well produced it's amazing. To sum it up the stage is bigger, the prize pools are bigger and there is a lot more eyes on you than back home. EAX: What is the skill gap like, compared to SA? F: The skill gap is more based on teamwork than individual abilities. It has already helped us so much since we moved to NA to play more as a team. It's something very new when you first play against these teams here is that they are always ready to support another teammate, whether it be with utility or with fast trading. I think the biggest factor influencing the skill gap is the fact that these players from NA/EU get exposed to a lot more tournaments on a weekly basis than we do in South Africa. They also have a much larger pool of players/communities so naturally the skill develops quicker. EAX: How are the guys coping being away for an extended period of time? F: So far everybody is coping pretty well and everything so far has been pretty good for us all. Obviously we all miss some people from back home, so we always look forward to coming back to SA. The biggest struggle was the initial change and adaptations that we had to make in terms of doing your own chores and always cleaning up after yourself. Basically just doing your part as an individual as you would do in game to contribute to the bigger picture. EAX: Do you think your leap to compete abroad will inspire other teams to follow suit? F: Other teams would most likely be inspired to follow suit if they see us accomplishing achievements and hitting our goals. Considering the opportunity that was given to us (Bravado Gaming) to create Project Destiny by our sponsors: Intel and Alienware, we can only hope that we will inspire other big companies/corporates in South Africa to invest more into organisations/causes/projects such as ours to try and achieve the same and grow their organisation and players more.   EAX: When will we see you back in SA? F: We do plan on visiting SA towards the end of the year and also If we get any autobirths into big tournaments in SA we will definitely consider making the trip even though it can be quite costly EAX: We mainly focus on the greater community. So we have a lot of aspiring pro players. I just need a few words of inspiration for the young guns looking to climb to where you are and beyond. - My main words of inspiration would have to be practice and hard work, it pays off. If you want something and you enjoy it then the hard work isn't hard. - Fadey - At the end of the day it's exactly like any other sport. What you put into it is what you'll get out. You have to put in the time and effort to reap the rewards. - Detrony Bravado will be achieving new heights for SA eSports and obviously themselves. I think I can not only speak for the whole Early Axes community but also for the whole of South Africa if I say that we are 100% behind you guys, and you have already made us proud. Follow their progress on their Twitter and Facebook pages.
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Late Shift – Review

I recently took the plunge and got stuck in with gamepass and my oh my am I pleasantly surprised...  So many great titles to choose from.  This all turned into me spending increasing amounts of time behind my console.  I realized this and thought maybe I should try and find a title that I can either get the missus involved in or have her co-op with me.  We have tried all the minecrafts and split screen co-ops and she enjoyed it but she wanted something that grips her and tells a story. I scoured through the many titles available with Game Pass and that is when I saw LATE SHIFT.  I had no idea what it was about but Lauren said it looked interesting so I downloaded it.  No hype, no reviews, no videos watched, nothing.  I was going into this blind, which, at times, is a better approach.  No hype means no let down if the game turns to crap in the first couple of minutes.

WHAT IS LATE SHIFT?

  I fired up the game and what met me had me intrigued from the onset. I am not going to give away too much in terms of story line and plot but I rather want to focus on the type of game LATE SHIFT is.  How often while watching a movie have you wanted to shout to the actor to run away, or to keep their mouths shut instead of blabbering on like an idiot.  We all have.  LATE SHIFT gives you that option.  You make the decisions and influence the story and decide what happens to the mild mannered car-guard...  I know what you are thinking.  "This is a telltale-type game where I make decisions" blah blah blah.  This is something totally different.  This games doesn't wait for you to make a decision to continue it plays like a movie.     LATE SHIFT is great on more than one level.  It incorporates gaming, which we all love, and watching a move, which we love as well.  This correlates to even the people who don't have the controller in their hands can still participate in watching this interactive movie.  This makes it great to do with gaming and non-gaming friends and family alike.

THE STORY 

With a not-so-mainstream game like LATE SHIFT its easy so expect a pretty shallow and lack-luster story and acting in this cinematic-game/interactive movie (you decide). The basic story is that of Matt who works the late shift, hence the name, at a parking garage.  Not too far into the game/movie he gets himself embroiled in a heist of a valuable artifact, which ultimately threatens to destroy his life and possibly kill him.  The script and the acting is that of a top class big budget movie.  The author himself is known for scripting movies like Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey Jr.  

VERDICT

  Image result for late shift game   LATE SHIFT doesn't fall into either category.  If you are looking to watch a movie then its not quite a movie, if you are looking at playing a game then you are going to be disappointed with the lack of involvement.  But if you can appreciate LATE SHIFT for what it is, a interactive movie, you will be greatly rewarded.  With a wide variety of endings, I've only managed 3 so far, this provides you with a movie that has the possibility to draw you in multiple times and surprise you with every outing.  If that isn't the best type of movie then I don't know what is. If you have Game Pass and you want to spend some time with friends or loved ones enjoying a movie yet get some gaming in whilst doing so, LATE SHIFT is perfect for that.   Image result for 5 out of 10 star
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Burnout Paradise Remastered – Review

>>>NO CRASH TEST DUMMIES WERE INJURED DURING THIS REVIEW<<<

*They were all on sick leave.*

  Burnout Paradise was first released over 10 years ago, yes 10 years, on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.  The game was a sure hit with beautiful visuals and the trademark Burnout crashes. Back then, yes it still feels like a lifetime ago, the game felt great as a arcade racer, looked amazing with detailed car models and mind-bending crashes, felt like you were watching crash test dummy videos as the cars crumpled and buckled from the impact. 10 years later how does the remaster stack up? Let us have a look, shall we?  

GAMEPLAY

  Comparing the game from when I played it on Xbox 360, it is still exactly the same game. That being said, in no way is it a bad thing, oh no, the game is still addictive fun and a sheer joy to play. Burnout is the only game to turn crashing from an “Ah Damn!” moment, to a “Daaayum!!” moment. There is just something about watching a car approaching the moment of impact in slow-motion... For those who played it, and bought the DLC, you are not missing anything. It is still all there, ready to be taken for a spin once more, with improved visuals of course. For those who didn’t play Burnout Paradise on the Xbox 360 and PS3, now you have NO excuse. Lastly, for those who are new to Burnout Paradise, it is basically an Arcade style racer highlighting the crashing of cars at stupid fast speeds, all while taking part in several game modes spread out in the open world fictional city of Paradise City. In Free Roam Mode is where you find most of the fun. You are tasked at finding and smashing billboards, find marked shortcut routes and really large ramps to get some good air.  The formula is really basic, no fancy tricks, but it is an exhilarating feeling when blasting between cars in the opposite lane while your boost is like a refill drink at Burger King.  That moment gets somewhat elevated when you manage to hit a ramp.  Even though the cars feel a slight bit on the light side in terms of weight, the impact from landing indicates anything but. Each vehicle has its owns stats and type, making it easy to select the right one for the job.  Removing any form of trial and error from the equation and putting you straight into the action.  Believe me, comparing stats is fun.  Trying to figure out which is best, but when there is smashing to be done, I want to be there as soon as possible.  

SOUND

The soundtrack, in typical EA fashion, is mainstream and as always varied with music ranging from Rock to Hip Hop.  The mass majority of the music is perfect driving tunes.  Even though the selection is unchanged from music that was popular back then, it just further enhances the nostalgia.  Whether you just cruising, or speeding like a bat out of hell, the music is a fine choice. But let’s talk about the real soundtrack of the game, when the cars crash. As stated before, when you are about to hit an obstacle, it goes into this slow-mo moment, at this point you see the car make contact and you witness the carnage.  It is the sound of how the car crumples, that is the soundtrack.  The twisting of metal while colliding into another car is sheer enjoyment on the ear, your eyes can’t have all the fun. With all the music and The Sound of Crashing aside, there is a Radio DJ by the name of DJ Atomica making the atmosphere enjoyable as if you are part of some big event in the city.  At the start the DJ acts as your guide, telling you about what is what and what to do as you take part in an event type for the first time. Having a DJ in a racing game nowadays is almost a standard, but when Burnout Paradise was released, it was refreshing with its own personality and made sessions enjoyable.  

VISUALS

Image result for burnout paradise remastered jensen The original Burnout Paradise was great looking game on the Xbox 360 and PS3. Even for an arcade racer, the graphics was always smooth and solid no matter how aggressive you are during a Road Rage or just flying off jumps. In the remaster the visuals are as crisp as a frozen lettuce leaf.  The resolution has been bumped a lot to give it a razor sharp look.  60 frames per second has never looked so good. Burnout Paradise is not shy on its selection of vehicles. The 150+ on offer is also a treat to look at, even when turning that sleek sports car into a Dinky Toy against a concrete wall.  

VERDICT

Burnout Paradise Remastered is by no means a new game, but it’s a firm reminder of a simpler time of arcade racing. 10 years, yes still feeling old, has done nothing to its charm and doubt it ever will.  Burnout proves that chaotic fun is still the best fun.  Keep your fastest lap times and drift bonuses, I want to see carnage at breakneck speeds while cars are flying into other cars like no one’s business. If arcade racers if your thing, Burnout is your game. If you want to play something truly amazing, Burnout is your game. Want a racing game for you and your friends, Burnout is definitely your game. That being said, if after all that you are still not convinced you to get this timeless gem, then let me leave you with this….    

I would jump into Burnout Paradise Remastered in a heartbeat to simply relive the nostalgia, therefore I rate it...

Special thanks to Prima Interactive for supplying me with this review copy.

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Razer Electra V2 analog – Review

Image result for razer electra v2   The first thought that comes to mind when I think of Razer is  Chroma, Chroma and some more Chroma.  The over the top light show that Razer has become known for which adorns many of the Razer kit has become synonymous with the Razer brand.  When the Razer Electra V2 arrived at my door I assumed that Chroma would be a distinct feature of this headset as well. After doing a little research I found that the Electra V2, in fact, does not have chroma and with the lack of Chroma comes one advantage.  The price tag.  The analog version of the Electra V2 comes in under the R1 000 mark which makes this the first Razer headset aimed at the budget-gamer.  Personally I think its a good decision from Razer to approach the budget-gamer market as with the ever increasing price of life many gamers are starting to look at cheaper budget headsets.  Can the Electra V2 compete with the likes of the Astro A10, and numerous Turtle Beach models? Let's find out!  

LOOK AND FEEL

Image result for razer electra v2   The moment I took the Razer Electra V2 from its box I knew that the quality was good.  Nothing flashy like some of the other headsets that Razer produce.  Just a good strong build with nice material used.  The Electra V2 only uses black except for the edge of the inner earcup which is set in the signature Razer green, as well as the cord that plugs into the controller or headphone jack via a 3.5mm connector.  A subtle Razer sign sits on each earcup.  The headband design is very popular and I find this one, which comes straight from the Razer Tiamat, to be very comfortable.  It does however not offer a large range of adjustment but this did not bother me as it did fit snugly without being too tight. The earcups, which are not fitted with memory foam, sit comfortably enough but nothing spectacular.  It is important to note that the earcups on the Razer Electra V2 are rather shallow which, for most people, would mean that your ear might touch the inside of the earcup.  If that does bother you then I do suggest trying them on for yourself before spending your hard earned money. The earcups do however have a rather good range for swivel as the gimble that they are attached to has quite a large angle for travel meaning they should sit snugly on nearly any shape head.  The Electra V2 is also extremely light which makes marathon sessions that little bit easier by not weighing down on your head and ears.  The left earcup also houses the volume slider and the mic mute button which are both self explanatory.  The boom mic, which can be removed when not used, is extremely flexible and very good with picking up my chatter and not any ambient noise. The Electra V2 is rather short on features with only a simple volume slider that is situated on the back of the left earcup, which is easy and intuitive to use.  Simply slide it up to increase volume and down to lower.  Right below the slider you will find a push button that serves as the mic mute button. The Razer Electra V2 is not flashy by any means, and is a prime example of functionality over ascetic appeal.  

AUDIO QUALITY

 

 

Like the look and feel of the Electra V2, the audio follows suite.  It is, simply put, a little boring.  Not in a bad way at all.  But you will never hear anyone rant and rave about the punchy bass, or the boosted upper range to hear the footsteps of someone lurking around in PUBG.  Instead, everything is rather unremarkable.  Nearly every headset in this price range uses punchy bass and elevated highs to hide the, sometimes cheaper, smaller drivers that is used to drop the price tag.  The Electra V2 does not do that.  It does not hide the fact that it uses 40mm drivers instead of the more commonly used 50mm drivers.

The bass region I found to be rather shallow, but as expected from the 40mm drivers fitted to the Electra V2.  Mids are a touch veiled but gives just enough to make vocals nice to listen to.  At times the highs were slightly too gentle for my liking but they still provide enough detail to allow a good image. A good comparison would be like wearing a comfortable, yet bland t shirt.  The Electra V2 delivers a rather flat but gentle sound which can pass quite easily for the less hardcore gamer or someone who plays in a rather quiet environment which will not overpower the 40mm drivers as they try their best to give you their best. The Razer website states that the Electra V2 produces a balanced sound.  Never has any statement been more true than this one, which I suppose creates no illusions on the capabilities of the Electra V2 headset.  Razer does not advertise them as phenomenal, ear-shattering headsets.  It is a normal blue-collared headsets that does its' job as advertised.  Nothing more.  Nothing less. I did find the Electra V2 to be slightly on the soft side in my opinion, even with the volume slider turned all the way to the maximum at times it felt just that little bit too soft.  

CONCLUSION

    When buying a headset we all want something a little fun, and exciting!  You are, after all, buying a gaming headset!  In this price range the Astro A10 and the HyperX Cloud Stinger will give you more excitement, along with 50mm drivers. But if warm and boring is what you are going for then the Razer Electra V2 is spot on.  The most subdued Razer does nothing wrong, but it doesn't do anything spectacularly either...  

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for providing this review item.

  Image result for apex interactive     Image result for 5 out of 10 star  

 

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Turtle Beach Elite Pro with T.A.C. – Review

It was a morning like all others, a Monday and I arrived at the office unsuspecting of what was waiting for me at my desk.  I saw the box from Apex Interactive and I assumed it was a headset for review.  One of the Razer headsets to be precise, which I was  very excited to try as I had not yet had the privilege to test one.  But what greeted me when I opened the box simply blew my mind.  Ruan Kraft had been singing the praises of the Turtle Beach Elite Pro headset since we mentioned competitive gaming scenes and shoutcasting, little did I know that he had taken it upon himself to send me one for review! The Turtle Beach Elite Pro is considered one of the best wired headsets around, and for good reason!  Turtle Beach is well-known as arguably the best headset and peripheral creator around.  I say arguably because I am an Astro fanboy.  I personally use the Astro A40 TR as my everyday headset and this is the direct competition to the Turtle Beach Elite Pro so for that simple reason this is going to be a rather lengthy and in-depth review. Currently the Turtle Beach Elite Pro is not sold by retailers in South Africa, yes you can find them online but at a totally ridiculous price of around the R8 000 mark with the T.A.C. amp.  With a little inside info I can tell you that once they are brought to SA the bundle will cost you around R5 500. In the premium wired headset class where the Turtle Beach Elite Pro and the A40 TR reside, it is very difficult to find anything "bad" with any of these headsets.  With the amount of money you pay you would expect this.  So when I mention a aspect of the headset that is "not so nice" do not think it is terrible, because it isn't!  It is still extraordinarily good.  With this said, lets get straight to it.  

UNBOXING, AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS

  You know you are dealing with quality when even the outside of the box feels like good quality.  Upon opening the box I was met with a very interesting facts and stats leaflet.  Upon reading it you realize all the research, time and effort that Turtle Beach has put into their headsets!  It really is magnificent!  A thin layer of velt covers the headset where they sit snugly in their holder.  Again, you know you are dealing with quality when things are covered in velt, the only time I have ever owned anything covered in velt is when I bought my fiance's engagement ring.  Would I place this headset in that category?  Most definitely!   Image result for Turtle beach Elite Pro 1080p   Carefully taking the headset out the box the first thing I noticed was the weight.  Although not heavy enough to be uncomfortable you do realize you have something in your hand, or on your head. The more you look at the Elite Pro the more you notice all the really fine intricacies that they have put into this headset.  To start, Turtle Beach really did think of everyone, whether you have a bigger or smaller head this headset will work for you.  By adding a nifty head adjuster slider on either side of the top of the headset, you can simply slide the sliders to adjust the tension at which the headset will sit against your head.  This will be a welcome relief to the gamers with larger heads.  I did not need to play with this function too much.   Image result for Turtle beach Elite Pro 1080p   The earcups, which I will get to soon as they deserve a mention of their own, are also adjustable in two separate ways.  If you have a "higher' head and you need the earcups to move further down, Turtle Beach has once again got you covered.  They have three defined positions that have visible markings for you to be able to check that no one has adjusted your perfect setup.  The earcups can also swivel around which helps a lot when you want to get the perfect snug fit. The earcups on the Elite Pro's are extremely well made, the outsides are covered in black leather.  The cushioning used is simply exquisite!  The memory foam is thick and very soft.  Pressing down on the foam for long periods of time didn't cause it to not instantly bounce back to its original position.  I do not wear spectacles but I did give it a try.  Turtle Beach are big on creating headsets that are comfortable for spectacle-wearers and this headset takes the comfort level to the next level, the foam is so soft it simply moulds around the spectacles without leaving even the slightest of gaps for external sound to sneak through.  

COMFORT

  The Turtle Beach Elite Pro's are made with such quality, the comfort is almost expected!  This is what I expected, but I possibly bought into the hype and the excitement and I was left slightly underwhelmed. Don't get me wrong, like I said earlier, in this price range nothing is bad.  As I have grown accustomed to doing when  I receive a new headset for review, I give it at least 2 days to find the perfect "fit", fiddle with all the movers and sliders.  Move it forwards, backwards, up and down until you find a comfortable position.  During this time I did find the earcups to be simply mesmerizing!  Never in my life have I had something this soft and comfortable over my ears.  Not even the pillow I sleep on at night provides this comfort.  I did note the earcups sealing off very tightly against my head which, at the time, felt and sounded like a good thing.   Image result for Turtle beach elite pro software   During many, and I mean many hours of playing a variety of titles consisting of the vast openness and bustling streets and cities of Assassins Creed: Origins,  the frustrations and profanities of PuBG and the heart pounding pressure and intense stand-offs of Rainbow 6 Siege, the TB Elite Pro's did their job spectacularly.  Over this time I did start to feel a slight ache in my ears which I thought could be a common old ear infection or something that would go away with time, but it persisted.  After taking a quick change back to my regular headset I found this ache to have disappeared .  This had  me perplexed.  After consulting a few people in the know I found that it could be cause of the extremely good seal that the Turtle Beach Elite Pro earcups create!  Don't get me wrong, the good seal is definitely not a drawback of these headsets, it is just one that I personally have.  The seal is amazing I don't hear anything, the noise cancelling is superb I have not come across anything quite like it. To put my experience into a simple sentence: The comfort is so terrific that it literally hurt my ear...    

SETUP AND EASE OF USE

  Upon unpacking the Elite Pro I was met with many cables, which I  thought I knew where they went.  I was mistaken.  I rummaged through the cables to find some help via a diagram or even some instructions.  What I did find was a Turtle Beach sticker, who isn't a sucker for a sticker?  There is no form of instruction on how to setup your headset and TAC amp except to resort to good old faithful, Youtube.  Turtle Beach has a very informative video on how to do the setup for either PC, Xbox or PS4.  I will admit after watching the video, I realized that I would never have figured it out myself. I will start with the PC setup, which is very easy.  Simply slide the slider at the back of the TAC amp to pc, plug the micro USB into the amp, and the USB into the PC.  Plug corresponding cable from headset to amp and you are done...  Yes that simple.  If you are running Windows 10 you should have the Windows Sonic option if you right-click on the audio settings on your task bar and you are ready to go and slay monsters or drive to your hearts content!   Image result for Turtle beach elite pro setup   PS4 is also rather straight forward.  For PS4 you will need to slide the slider to PS4, obviously.   Add the optical cable from the TAC amp to the console.  Set your audio settings on the console to use the optical cable, if you are not already using that for sound and you are golden!  Simple, with no fuss. The Xbox One is a different beast, this is where I started to not enjoy this headset as much as before.  Setup is similar to the PS4.  Start by sliding slider to XB1, which can be confusing as the slider markings are a little confusing.  Again, use the optical cable and the USB cable like for the PS4, use the appropriate cable from headset to amp, BUT, (this is what annoyed me) use ANOTHER 3.5mm cable from your controller into the amp for your mic control. This is all fine and dandy if you have a gen 2 Xbox controller with the headphone jack built in, but if you have a Gen 1 controller on the other hand you are going to need a chat adapter...  The chat adapters are so scares these days that I am pretty sure they are worth more than Bitcoin shares. So to sum it all up, with PC you have a single cable from amp to PC, and a single cable from PC to headset.  PS4 adds one extra cable from Console to Amp.  XB1 takes it one step further and adds another one from controller to amp which takes away the freedom that you should have when using your controller.  This was a big negative to me.  

AUDIO & T.A.C. AMP

  The first time I experienced the audio quality of the Turtle Beach Elite Pro was on the PC, simply jamming to some music while working.  Nothing spectacular, nothing special just listening to my favorite band, when suddenly, the band made a mistake, no it can't be?  I went back and listened to the part again.  For the first time since I started listening to this bands' music I had heard this little extra note.  Only after that happened did I  sit down and really listen and suddenly a whole new spectrum of sounds opened up to me!  It was like I was hearing for the first time!  The Elite Pro's plays the slightest and smallest sounds so well that it redefined what music should sound like to me!  So on the music part the Elite Pro's had a thumbs-up from me!  Moving on to the Consoles and gaming... After the setup and once again watching the setup video on the T.A.C. amp I finally jumped into some gaming, first I explored ancient Egypt in Assassins Creed Origins where I took a stroll through some of the cities and towns to see, or rather hear, what new sounds I could pick up.  And I wasn't disappointed.  While strolling through Alexandria I came across a woman sweeping, I could literally hear the broom brush sweeping the cobbled street...  I was dumbstruck by how crisp and clear things sounded!  The clarity of the the Elite Pro is simply amazing!   Image result for Turtle beach elite pro setup   Next I moved on to Rainbow 6 Siege to test out the directional accuracy as well as the ability of the Elite Pro headset to make sounds distinguishable during a gunfight or other actions..  Once again I was not left dissapointed.  After jumping through a window in one of the stages, I proceeded to step on many shards of glass, which in the past I didn't even realize was happening, I then placed a trap and waited for my victim.  With some help of the handy drone camera I found an unsuspecting victim in the room adjacent to the one I was in.  This was the perfect opportunity to test the Elite Pro directional ability...  Without the use of the camera, I could hear the player walking around the room, hear him change from primary to secondary weapon and even hear his steps as he left the room and proceeded to walk straight into my trap.  Never have I realized the extent to which a good headset is essential in a game like this. Moving on to the T.A.C. amp options, and there are numerous. Image result for turtle beach tac   The T.A.C. amp, or Tactical Audio Controller, serves as its own sound card when used on PC and MAC, and a sound mixer on console.  Apart from the normal volume control, which has a very nice LED to show your volume level, and a press button to mute all audio, it comes with a small mic-mute button which also indicates when the mic is picking up any noise.  This is great when you want to make sure your party members are not hearing anything they shouldn't be.  The T.A.C. has 4 sliders, GAME - which mixes your game volume and chat volume.  BACKGROUND NOISE LIMITER - this is a nice feature if you play in a very noisy environment, turning this up will eliminate all the background noise that feeds back into your ears while playing.  For normal environments this slider can be left at the bottom.  OUTBOUND MIC BOOST - Do you have that one member in the party whose voice is always so soft you can hardly hear him/her?  This slider will make sure that person is not you.  Simply sliding it up will ensure that your voice is amplified to your friends headsets.  MIC MONITOR LEVEL -  This one is for the streamers,  this allows you to hear your own voice through your own headset, just to make sure you are speaking clearly and everyone can hear you properly. With the T.A.C. you also get 2 buttons at the top that give you access to the audio presets, 16 presets to be exact.  4 categories, Gaming, Movies, Music and stereo with 4 presets for each category.  You do have to memorize the order that you set the presets using the Turtle Beach software which you download and install on your PC and MAC.  Presets range from Signature - this is a setup that Turtle Beach have created which has a good balance on all levels.  For the gaming category, you also have a footsteps mode which will improve ambient sounds to help you hear the incoming targets or enemies.  Music features include acoustic, live and bass boost presets.  

SHOULD YOU BUY?

  Turtle Beach has made a superb product with the Elite Pro and you will need to spend a significant amount of money to get better than this.  Is it better than the Astro A40 TR?  I would say they are like for like.  If you like Turtle Beach and you are looking for a Tournament Ready wired headset, the Elite Pro is a no-brainer, if you are like me, an Astro fan, I will stick with my A40 TR. In the premium price range in which the Elite Pro's are, quality in terms of the build, audio and features are standard.  And the Elite Pro's truly show what innovative designers and engineers Turtle Beach have creating their products. Before this headset review I had not been the biggest fan of any Turtle Beach equipment, but thanks to Apex Interactive and Turtle Beach that created the Elite Pro's, it is safe to say I will definitely consider a Turtle Beach product in the future.  So to answer the question, would I buy this headset?  I most certainly would!   Image result for 9/10 stars  

special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying me with the review item.

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Corsair M65 Pro

There are few days that can be as terrible as the day that your trusty mouse dies...  No not your pet rodent companion Roger which has survived many drops from high shelves and multiple occasions , no, I mean your sword, your weapon, the one thing that stands between you and being taken down by those pesky zombies.  Once you can step beyond the the trauma of losing a family member the next step usually is to start looking for your next mouse.  And luckily I, FauxFilms, am here to help. The Corsair M65 Pro, released in 2014, is tailored towards FPS gamers and for it’s R1099.00 price tag, it does not fall short in what it promises to deliver. The overall build of the M65 Pro is magnificent.  The cable is braided and feels durable and the USB port is unique in design, so it will be easy to distinguish between other USB devices. After some extensive use, there doesn’t appear to be any ware on the mouse, nor any annoying squeaks or sticks to the wheel or buttons on the mouse, which is great considering many of my previous mice that I had all started showing signs of fatigue and ware.  The shape of the mouse is tailored towards those who have a flat handed grip over a claw grip.  The weight of the mouse can also be adjusted to your liking with three removable weights.   Related image   The M65 Pro comes with two programmable buttons as well as a third “sniper” button on the thumb which can switch your DPI on the fly for long range sniping in FPS games or could be programmed as a third programmable if you chose to do so.  The scroll wheel feels great and its actuation force and scroll intervals feel close to perfect.  The DPI changer is useful too and can reach a maximum of 12 000 DPI.  Although I have never met anyone who uses 12K DPI the software allows you to program 5 various levels of DPI as well as the “sniper” button DPI switcher.   Image result for corsair m65 pro rgb 1080p   The software also allows you to program macros and actions for each button on the mouse, which combined with the two fully customizable RGB lights on each end of the mouse and DPI light, give you functional and aesthetically pleasing customization.  The software allows you to save profiles which could be used for various games as well as a surface calibration which slightly improves the mouse’s accuracy although I didn’t notice a big difference after calibrating. As for the sensor, the M65 Pro uses an optical sensor which I have found very reliable and prefer it over laser, however that is not to say that laser sensors are worse, as the battle between optic vs laser is one of personal preference.   Image result for corsair m65 pro rgb 1080p   Overall I am really happy with the performance of the M65 Pro and find the sniper button extremely useful in games like PubG and Fortnite.  However in games where you can customize your aim down sights sensitivity, it can be used as a third programmable which is also useful.  If you are looking for an mouse for FPS gaming and are looking for a mouse around the R1000 price range, I can highly recommend the Corsair M65 Pro. Special thanks to FauxFilms for writing this review!  stay tuned for more future PC content. Written by FauxFilms Edited by BigJapester11
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UFC 3 – a Rookie’s Review

As the title suggests, this is a first look at a UFC title, so be aware I have zero reference points...  Gloves on, mouthpiece in!  Time to step into the octagon.

EARLY IMPRESSIONS

I have never touched a UFC title before, well maybe a demo… I think. So for me this is completely out of my comfort zone in terms of gaming.  New territory I have only seen in videos.

So my impression of UFC 3 was, at most, daunting because I had no idea what I’m getting myself into. So I took a deep breath and Pressed Start.

So I jumped in and went straight for the Create-A-Fighter mode, I was greeted with a fair amount of options to play with.  I am happy that there is variety in the mode to create all manner of fighters.

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After creating the perfect representation of myself, a chiseled behemoth of a fighter, with dashing good looks ( I have to recreate myself you know ;) )   I proceeded to a few practice fights. I quickly realized that the beat’ - em - up style is vastly different from those of Tekken and Dead or Alive. So I had to adapt or this wasn’t going to go south, rather quickly!

I took my newly created fighter into Career mode, and adapted style of playing a beat’em game, to the Octagon to see how it goes.  It didn't.  I lost by way of submission.

My early impression thus far is good.  I got my butt kicked in the first fight, but instead of making me want to quit, it made me want to learn from this and adapt even more, which I did and won by knock-out.  It felt great landing that knock-out punch, so much that I wanted it more. So my journey as UFC fighter began.

GAMEPLAY

The game has an extremely solid feel to it. This is further enhanced by the incredible graphical detail of each fighter.

The movement is different from what I am use to in games like Tekken.  I want to say a delay but the word delay must be taken with a pinch of salt.  This style makes me plan my offence and defense very carefully.  With this slight "delay" comes a sense of strategy, aimless button mashing will get you knocked down and out before you hit your second sequence of buttons.  Strategy is key.  Well timed and thought out attacks are devastatingly effective compared to button mashing a front hand jab hoping to drop your opponent eventually.

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The character model movement is spot on.  How they react to getting punched and kicked gives you the visual feedback that you actually doing damage.

UFC 3 matches are not to be considered a sprint race, quite the opposite they are marathons.  If you go all out throwing punches and kicks like you playing an arcade brawler, you will lose, badly.  You have to manage your stamina and decide when the right time to attack is.  Landing a blow against an opponent that is blocking compared to missing entirely, I would rather take on a block.

The grappling side of things is a monster in its own right, this is truly a art form that when mastered can be magnificent but as a beginner it can be tough to get to grips with.   The ground game can be handled easy, but when it comes to a submission move, it is difficult for a new comer as the feedback on that is rather minimal. It is easy to lose at submissions when you are new to UFC, but as they say, practice makes perfect.

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Damage is also indicated accurately like a real UFC fight.  Faces swell up and blood get spilled, and when landing a heavy damage dealing blow,  the screen tilts and wobbles as your opponent stumbles, all while the crowd goes wild.  It may sound like you are winning, but the fight can drastically turn with just one well-placed kick to the face. So it is always best to keep your guard up.

GRAPHICS

As far as the graphics go, it looks really great. You would easily mistake the game for a live UFC match on the TV if you gave it a quick glance.

The character models are super accurate and when landing those punches to your opponents face, you can see the blood, sweat and fortunately no snot, flying off your opponents face.  Keep in mind also, it counts for your fighter too, but it still looks great none the less.

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I will be honest about a few things. Some of the character models look weird, almost like cartoonish, but this does not mean they don’t pack the punch they are famous for.

In game there are some graphical oddities like certain head movements when punched or kicked, arm movements and even fighters walking into the ring barrier like it’s an invisible wall, but these are not game breaking or even enough to take you out of the moment.

All in all, the game looks great from start to finish and custom characters fits in like they were meant to be there.

REPLAYABILITY

UFC 3 has all the bells and whistles like any other beat’em up title. Fight Modes, Career Mode, Practice Mode and Online Fights.

Fight Mode is your straight up jump into a fight and enjoy with no loss or gain, just plain old fun.  It is also the best place to get a feel for the game in a real fight.  You can get the same in Practice Mode but in my opinion it’s only good for practicing to land punches and kicks. It also makes you a tad lazy in managing your stamina.

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Career Mode is where the game really shines.  You can either choose any of the existing fighters in the roster, or create your own, and yes there is even a feature to upload your own face to your fighter.  After you tinkered with your fighter’s appearance and style, you start your career with a starter fight to lead you into what the UFC is about.

In career mode your stats do not simply build until you are a unstoppable force with a iron chin.  You have to train to keep your health and stats up for each upcoming fight to ensure you have the best chance of winning.  You are assigned points you can spend on various activities during your training.  From gym sessions to self-promoting to create hype.  This does give you the sense of being more involved with your fighter’s progress, making each victory well earned.

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I decided to go onto the online octagon and see how I would stack up. I obviously expected to get my butt handed to me on a silver platter.

I didn’t do too badly actually, I still lost, but It was exciting and fun.  I still have a long way to go if I want to be an online champion at UFC 3, but until that day, I will have to train hard.

UFC 3 also boast and Ultimate Team mode, which does have a fair share of loot boxes but this is only within the Ultimate Team mode. You can also acquire other items via the store that you buy with in game currency. Items switch up after a time limit so it’s never the same.

From all that is on offer, UFC 3 is a rather beefy package to sink your teeth into.

FINAL VERDICT

UFC 3 was nowhere near on my radar of games I would try, but I’m sure glad I did. It’s a proper brawler that I can see being used as a way to settle arguments.

It isn’t everyone’s type of fighter, but I would recommend it if you are a gamer that enjoys these type of games with friends.

I will be spending more time with UFC 3 because my victories feel earned. I genuinely get stoked when I get a knockout on my opponents.

Just like the real UFC, I stepped out of comfort zone and gave this game a try only to discover I loved it.

   

Image result for 8 stars out of 10

Special thanks to Prima Interactive for sending me this review copy.

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Written by: Ghost86 Edited by; BigJapester11  
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SteelSeries Arctis 3 – Review

    SteelSeries has been a leader in competitive gaming peripherals for a very long time and the quality of their hardware has improved with every new item they produce.  They have worked tirelessly with many of the top Esports teams around the world to find out what a true gaming professional might need to be the best.     They have truly defined what gaming hardware should strive to be from keyboards, to mouse, to mouse pads.  Steelseries does it all.  And their headsets are not to be taken lightly either.  Steelseries offer some affordable headsets that are very competitive. This is why I am very eager to get the SteelSeries Arctis 3 out the box and on to my head!  Lets jump in. With the arrival of this Steelseries headset I was really excited.  I have never tried any Steelseries headset before and when I got the opportunity I certainly jumped at it. The packaging is very sleek and straight to the point.  Inside the box is the headset, obviously, and two sets of cables.  One set has a micro USB on the one side, that plugs into the headset itself.  There are 2 attachment cables that plug into this cable.  One has a single 3 pole 3.5mm headphone jack, for use on Consoles and mobile devices.  The other has a double 3.5mm jack for speaker and mic separately for use on your PC.  This configuration lends itself to universal use which is great!  Except if you buy this headset to use on V1 Xbox One controllers which do not have headphone jack connection without an adapter.  Steelseries can definitely state this situation more clearly on their packaging as I couldn't find any of this info outside the box.  Looking past that little hiccup, it took me a few seconds to figure out the cable connection options but once I got it I was impressed with the versatility. The Arctis range are the more entry level range to the Siberia range which is the Premium Steelseries headset but with a lower price tag you would expect some functionality cuts.  Some how SteelSeries delivers a top notch headset at a budget price.  

Looks and aesthetic appeal

  From the moment you pick up the Arctis 3 you can feel the quality is good, build is strong yet light, finishes feel good in hand and makes you feel like you are handling a quality product.  The matte black finish and small chrome finish gives it a very minimalist finish compared to any of the Astro or Turtle Beach headsets which feature some outlandish colour schemes or designs.  The overhead strap mixes up the plain black finish with a mono tone headband makes this headset perfect for everyday use and if you don't want to attract some attention with your headset.  If you want to spice things up you can customize your Arctis 3 with the 5 options of headset colours and the 8 headband options ranging from plain to funky which caters for all the characters out there. The microphone on the Arctis 3 which is neatly retracts into the left earcup and is hidden nicely when not in use can be positioned perfectly and the quality is spectacular as SteelSeries is known to have.  There is no other way to say it, the microphone on the Arctis 3 is absurdly good!  

Comfort

Image result for Steelseries arctis 3   During my first stint with the Arctis 3 I found the headset to sit comfortably over the top of my head due to the very clever headband which causes the headset to feel light on your head which is great for long sessions of gaming or listening to music.  I do find the earcups slightly shallow with my ears touching the inside of the earcup if it is not perfectly positioned.  It is good to note that I have normal sized ears so smaller ears will have no problem.  I also found that the earcups, although very comfy with the soft foam sometimes sounded like they don't seal nicely against the side of my head causing some of the outside world noises creeping in around the edges.  This is not a deal breaker by any means. After a couple of hours of use I did notice a few more little quirks of the Arctis 3.  The earcups have a way of "sucking" against the side of your head creating a rather closed off sound which is great for immersion and blocking out external factors but it also amplifies it when the seal is broken and you get that intrusive outside noise.  That seal also causes your ears to get hot and sweaty and I found myself taking them off after a hour long session just for my ears to take a "breathe" Upon even more hours of use I have yet to find that "sweetspot" when it comes to sitting perfectly.  I find myself constantly adjusting positions to find the correct one.  In single player games where I do not need to speak to my team meaning my jaw isn't moving the Arctis 3 sits beautifully. I still would like a little more breathing space for my actual ear lobes but this is all personal preference.  

Audio Quality

My first experience of the Arctis 3 was using it on PC while starting this review.  I was listening to a wide variety of music which ranged from metal, classical, dubstep and while the audio quality was good it only really came to life after downloading the SteelSeries Engine 3.  With this software I could play with my equalizer settings as well as activate virtual 7.1 surround and play with noise cancellation settings for the microphone.  I am a sucker for customization and this program really impressed me.     Next up is using it for some gaming, my choice of games to test a headset always includes Rainbow Six Siege for the simple reason that the game requires you to be extremely aware of your spatial surroundings and pick up on the slightest creak of a floor above you or a crack of glass under a boot in a room next to you, which is a perfect test of the audio fidelity of the Arctis 3. In my experience thus far I find the party chat to be extremely clear, I have yet to hear such a clear party chat, and with the exceptional mic the Arctis 3 has your mates will never miss a word you say, unless your ISP lets you down.  The settings allowing you to control your mic pickup sensitivity eliminates those pesky players who breathe into the microphone.   Image result for Steelseries arctis 3   When it comes to in game audio I am a little on the fence.  Audio quality is good don't get me wrong.  Maybe I just had higher hopes for it.  Not having a equalizer button on hand to change up to suite each game is a little disappointing.  I would have liked to see an adapter with a equalizer or 2 as presets.  But the Audio is still crisp and very clear!  Voices are astonishingly good while other mid range tones seem sharp and at the correct height.  Highs are high enough but get drowned out by mids when the action starts to get big.  The lows are where the Arctis 3 dissapointed me the most.  Once again when there is not too much happening the lows are deep enough to match what is happening on screen but once the action picks up the lows are lost and make a slight appearance every now and again.  Even playing with the equalizer on the PC software fixes it slightly but having to actually disconnect and change it is a disappointing factor. All-Round the Arctis 3 is a very worthy headset and can be extremely versatile, but as a hardcore gamer headset I would say it is very competitive in its price range .  

Final Verdict

The SteelSeries Arctis 3 is an extremely capable headset and can do pretty much everything!  Perfect 1-headset-for-all!  Audio quality is very good and even though it currently, at time of reviewing, is going for under R1000 this would be a no brainer for anyone looking for a wired headset even in the R1500 market.  If was in the market for a headset under the R 1000 mark I would buy this for myself! With great Audio for all-round use and sleek and clean looks will allow you to wear the Arctis 3 in public without getting any strange looks by people passing you. Only personal niggles I experienced is the lack of a chat adapter for older gen Xbox controllers and the fact that they do not sit as comfortable as the Astro's do but that could just be my head being weird.   Image result for 8 stars rating  

I would like to thank Megarom Interactive for being so kind as to supply me with this review item.  Check them out at the link.

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STEELSERIES APEX M800 Review

From the moment of opening the box, you can tell the SteelSeries Apex M800 is gaming keyboard that means business and it comes with all the bells and whistles to do the job.

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 DESIGN

Before plugging it in, I took some time to inspect the hardware. It is a sturdy keyboard and feels strong. Strong enough to whack your friend over the head for taking the last slice of pizza during the LAN session. (Please don’t as this theory has not been tested)

The M800 is somewhat different to a normal mechanical keyboard. The switches is of a linear design, so you won’t be getting that clicking sound when pressing on the keys. It’s also worth mentioning, because of this design, the key stem is 1mm shorter than the traditional 4mm, making it very responsive and quick.

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Another striking feature is the spacebar, yes that landing strip in the middle. Most people, including myself, will find it strange because of the size but it works well as it is always in reach. This makes the design of the keyboard great for gaming and typing. What?! Typing? On a keyboard? Nooooooooo *mindblown*

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The USB cable is threaded making it more durable than normal rubberized cables. There is two USB plugs, one for the keyboard itself and one to power the two USB ports at the back. These can be used for your flash drive, mouse or even a desk fan.

FEATURES

The Apex M800’s main feature, besides being a mechanical keyboard, is its RGB illumination. When plugging it in, it lights up like a Christmas tree with its bright LEDs. The colour switching across the board is mesmerizing and extremely fun to play around with using the SteelSeries Engine 3 app. It is where you can tinker with all that is on offer.

Image result for steel series apex m800

I have played around with colour switching for a good while and it is just amazing what you can configure. My favourite setting is the Equalizer. This is exactly what it sounds like and to see it in action puts a rather stupid looking grin on my face.

Button Mapping is easy and the whole keyboard can be mapped to your liking. Same goes for the LED configuration, you can either use the pre-sets from the app or you can crazy and give each key its own colour and effect.

Image result for steel series apex m800

That being said, keys can be configured for Discord, CSGO and Dota 2 by default with the option to even make your own app. (This option shall not be reviewed). With 6 Macros buttons on the left side for dedicated mapping, again, this makes the M800 perfect for gaming or work related tasks.

Underneath the M800 you have four large rubber feet to keep the board in place. The two back feet can be interchanged with the bigger ones for those who prefer a keyboard at an angle. However, even when lying flat, it still feels incredible and is a joy to use, so the raised back is down to preference.

LIFE WITH THE M800

As an everyday PC user, and owning a rather older mechanical keyboard, I have grown to love mechanical keyboards and I don’t think I will ever go back to normal keyboards, also I don’t think my hands will allow it either. Mechanical keyboards are just amazing and believe they must become the standard.

But how has my experience been with the M800? It is one of the best keyboards out there, it feels great and is fun to look at when you made a setup on the app for a custom colour configuration.

Traditional mechanical keyboards make you sound like a pro hacker at work when you just to normal typing and use in general, due to the clicking sound of the keys. With M800 you can game and type away without sounding like a machine-gun on full auto at 12am.

ROUND UP

The SteelSeries Apex M800 is a fun and serious keyboard.

With the ability to setup each key individually for binding and colour, great for gaming, comfy for work and just so damn pretty to look at, I recommend it to anyone.

Image result for 8/10 stars   Once again I would like to thank Megarom for providing me with the hardware that I have done this review on. Image result for megarom Written by Ghost86 Edited by BigJapester11
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EAX Top Games of 2017

  2017 has been a year of many great, less great and complete and utter rubbish things happening in the gaming world.  From the launch of the most powerful gaming console ever known to mankind, to the EA micro transaction-lootbox scandal ( sorry too soon?). Many new titles have come along some of them amazing some of them having extremely large hype and not being able to hold true to all the hope and promises made by the developers.  We at Early Axes have certainly not played all the 2017 releases but we have certainly played a good few.  So we thought it to be a good idea to give you all a little insight as to which titles we would pick as our personal top 5 games of 2017. Please take note that these are all opinions and even though many of you might not agree with all of these choices, we just wanted to share what we have- , and enjoyed playing during the course of 2017.  Some games might not make the list due to them not being available at the time of compiling this article. So without further ado, lets get into it!  

EliteJediGamer1 ( Richard Roth)

  2017 has been a rather busy year for me, I will rather not disclose the amount of games that I have bought during 2017 (upwards of 130, but who is counting right?)  Having a very large library of games to choose from, some of them not being launched during 2017, I have decided to only mention the ones that are from 2017, so here goes. There seems to be a trend among my top 5 from the wide open areas, huge cliffs and beautiful vistas of Ghost Recon: Wildlands.  Sneaking around the jungle.  Holding your breath, and waiting for the precise moment to pull the trigger on that 1 perfectly placed shot to take out the target that is over a kilometer away in Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3. Image result for ghost recon wildlands When not playing them I found myself drawn to the brutal yet beautiful The Surge, with its Dark Souls-esque fighting style where one wrong step will lead to your untimely, yet countless, death. Image result for the Surge Once you get the hang of it though it is a amazing and satisfying game to play!  Keeping to the trend of beauty mixed with some gun-play Call of Duty: WW2 grabbed me and pulled me into the muddy and blood-soaked trenches where it delivered one of the most stellar single player stories that I have experienced.  It had me caring for me wanting to enlist!  Until I felt how heavy those rifles are, as well as how terrible the food is!

Top game for 2017:

WOLFENSTEIN 2: The New Colossus

Image result for wolfenstein 2 wallpaper Easily my favorite title for 2017 must be the new and better than before Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, takes everything that made the previous game so great and dials it up to 11!  The cast is instantly likeable characters, outrageous weapons, bone-chilling villains that all give emotional context to the high-tech uprising against the Nazi's!  A definite must-have for anyone who is a fan of Wolfenstein and to new-comers as well!  

CptJack2308 (Rudi Cronje)

  2017 has been quite the mixed bag for me, I have made a couple of terrible purchases which I would rather not mention but I have also made many fantastic purchases!  I have had a eye on one of my favorite Action-RPG games since it was announced that it is coming to the Xbox One.  Path of Exile, it takes what we have learned to love from the Diablo games and rolled it into a epic grind!  Fun alone, even better with a friend!  When getting tired of grinding through awesomeness I like to jump into the Nomad and blast into the Mass Effect Andromeda universe, grab some of my crew and save the universe. Image result for mass effect andromeda wallpaper Sticking to the space theme, saving the universe is not always done by simply chatting to the enemy sometimes you need to grab a gun and do it for the Puppies (Destiny reference)!  Always fun grabbing a few mates and having a dance off, hitting the crucible or taking on a strike for some epic exotic loot!  Destiny 2 is one of my all time favorites!  As I am writing this I realize that I am a slave to the grind, isn't that from a song? Image result for destiny 2 Anyway, this game was very nearly my favorite of 2017, from a small production team, it is not perfect but they have given us one of the best European-RPG's I have ever played, Elex.  Elex has swallowed up so many hours of my second half of 2017 and it doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon!

Top game for 2017:

Call of Duty: WW2

Image result for call of Duty ww2 I have never been a big Call of Duty fanboy, but without any convincing WW2 caught my attention, grabbed me, pulled me into the trenches and onto the beaches of Normandy and blasted me with a tremendous campaign and a intoxicating multiplayer, if ever there is a game that will make me forget to shower or eat, THIS IS IT!  

AXG Jaczerdio( Jacques Coetzer)

2017 has been a variety year for me, I have enjoyed a wide variety of genres and it has been great!  I have dared to enter Ardennes forest with my fellow soldier.  No mission too Difficult, no sacrifice too great!  Call of Duty WW2 has me coming back to it time and time again.  On a lighter note I love jumping into my pimped out car of choice and heading into the outback for a Australian adventure, meeting up with my mates and cruising the beaches in Forza Horizon 3! Did someone say Goliath run?! Image result for forza horizon 3 After a few relaxing drives along the Australian coast it is time to strap on my blades, grab a stick and start body checking the hell out of anyone who gets close to the puck.  Yes I am a South African but NHL 18 is simply bone-crunching poetry in motion and it is addictive!  Swapping my stick for a cape and a mask gets me into some superhero and super-villain combat of Injustice 2...  Who doesn't enjoy being Batman? Image result for injustice 2

Top game for 2017:

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

Image result for player unknown battlegrounds Yes yes I don't have to say anything I can see you all nodding your head in approval!  PUBG is simply amazing.  Every gun shot and swing of a frying pan brings pure childlike delight!  I am sure most of you are either already playing this or have pre-ordered and are patiently waiting for launch day!  See you on the Battlegrounds!  Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!!!  

Ghost86 ( Adriaan v Niekerk)

I know I know Call of Duty WW2 , trenches, Normandy, epic story even better multiplayer but hey what can I say its a awesome game!  Moving on swiftly, Ghost Recon Wildlands has also been listed before but I am pretty sure they have mapped the whole of Bolivia, no jokes, the map is practically endless, there are numerous things to do and partying up with 3 friends make it so much more satisfying. Image result for halo wars 2 Real time strategy games rarely find their home on console, and at the same time the name Halo is synonymous with the Xbox...  Put them together and you find the masterpiece that is Halo Wars 2!  Lots of time was spent drumming my opponents into submission and it was all worth it!  Switching over to the awe-inspiring Forza Motorsport 7, I am not capable of words to describe what an amazing racing title this truly is.  This is the closest I have come to driving, without the risk of being hijacked or hitting a pothole. Image result for forza motorsport 7

Top game for 2017:

Assassins Creed: Origins

Image result for assassin's creed origins After a couple of rather lackluster outings from the once mighty Assassins Creed franchise the delivered, and boy oh boy did they deliver.  Slaves building a large city from sandstone and sand as far as the eye can see has never looked this good!  Not to mention the fighting and parkour system we have come to love and expect from the franchise.  Partner that with a new protagonist and amazing story telling and you have my favorite game of 2017!  

MaxRager1990(Aiden Markus)

  2017 has been not only epic on a gaming front but on a personal note as well.  Shoutout to my newly wedded wife ;)  Like many others my picks have been partially influenced by my fellow EAX admin and moderators. 2017 saw me jumping into a foxhole with my mates and literally trying to stop the acts of the Walking Dead literally with the zombie mode of Call of Duty WW2.  I am only realizing it now but 2017 has seen me trying to save many people, factions and even the world.  After tearing up some Nazi-zombies in COD I spent immense amounts of time trying to stop more Nazi's, the not-zombie kind, with the help of trusty BJ Blazkowicz and his merry band of rebels kicking ass and taking names in Wolfenstein 2: the New Colossus! Image result for for honor 1080p Like I mentioned above I am saving EVERYONE!  With the help of some orcs and goblins that I may, or may not have, bullied into helping me, I was defending Middle-Earth from the evil clutches of Sauron and his ever increasing army!  Talion and Celebrimbor had my slicing and dicing my way through countless enemies making me feel like a true warrior of the realm in Shadow of War!  These dreams of being a glorious and legendary warrior was soon crushed by a quick slice of a katana, and my greatness was cut down and I was left to face the steep, yet oh so satisfying learning curve of the brutal For Honor. Image result for shadow of war 1080p

Top game for 2017:

Cuphead

Image result for cuphead 1080p Cuphead had me all giddy inside for the simple fact that I was expecting to be taken back to my childhood of gaming.  Oh how wrong I was!  Cuphead seems like a child-like game on the outside with its exquisite design, look and feel.  But what lurks under the pleasant exterior is a truly curse-word-extracting run and gun game.  Defeating a boss or getting past that level that has had you contemplating throwing your controller against the wall is so extremely satisfying that it makes this game my favorite title of 2017, after my wife changing her title from ms to Mrs that is ;)  

BigJapester11 (JP du Preez)

2017 has brought with it many surprises, some of them good and some of them bad but on a gaming front games need to be seriously bad to be considered bad, and in 2017 I did not experience one of those games!  In no particular order I have been pummeled by so many Viking warriors and embarrassed by countless Samurais but yet For Honor keeps drawing me in!  There is something about the art of swinging a weapon at your opponent while shouting profanities over a mic that excites me!  Almost the same way that destroying an opposing teams' will to play Call of Duty WW2 by racking up the killstreaks does. Image result for for honor 1080p But I am also a sucker for beautiful graphics, with sprawling environments that ooze authenticity, couple that with a soundtrack and sound effects that takes you back to the movies and Battlefront 2 had me awe struck by its shear beauty ,and a actual campaign, skip past the loot crate-gambling saga and some less than stellar matchmaking preferences and still it is a amazing game in my opinion.  On the topic of beauty, I don't think one can mention gaming-beauty without Final Fantasy XV.  Being the franchise that got me into console gaming with FF8 which i raked in upwards of 180 hours on, I was very excited to jump back into the Final Fantasy-verse and I was not dissapointed.  Mixing the best of the old with the best of the new to create a masterpiece! Image result for final fantasy xv  

Top game for 2017:

Sea of Thieves (alpha)

Image result for Sea of thieves Yes yes technically it has not launched yet, but this is my article and I am in charge!  I spotted this game when it was first announced.  I kept a keen eye on it and when the chance came to sign up for the technical alpha I jumped at it.  A couple of months in and I have been part of every single play session and the improvements per session that is being made is phenomenal.  I have been a pirate for so long now that I am called a pioneer in their eyes, maybe in some other peoples eyes as well with my eye patch, peg leg and parrot riding shotgun on my shoulder.  I suppose the smell of rum on my breath doesn't help either (hic).  Sea of Thieves is setting itself up to be an amazing game to either go it alone or join a few mates, have a few canisters of grog and sail the seven seas, plundering ships and looting islands!  

Voxfan (Pierre Wheeler)

  This year I have not had too much time for gaming, but yet I find myself grabbing my controller and heading into the outback whether it is for a quick hoon session or just a casual drive along the coast, don't forget a epic session of cops&robbers with my SAPD livery.  Forza Horizon 3 is always my go-to game to blow off some steam!  When all the steam is blown off, I take my cars onto the track and try my best to post some respectable lap times without leaving most of my hard worked designs are imprinted into the barrier around the courses of Forza Motorsport 7. Image result for forza motorsport 7 After receiving some banter from my fellow drivers I like to jump into the trenches, like all my fellow EAX members seem to do, and play some Call of Duty WW2.  I might sound like a stuck record but for anyone who has not had the privilege to play this game, do yourself a favor and make a plan to get it, it is amazing!

Top game of 2017:

Assasins Creed: Origins

Image result for ac origins Again, this is not the first time this game features on this list with good reason.  I don't know what I enjoy more about Origins, if its the satisfying battle mechanic that allows you to feel like a real assassin as you silently dispose of your target.  Or is it the overwhelming attention to detail that Ubisoft has so lovingly crafted into this game.  From the water details to the sand blowing in the direction of the wind.  This game is majestic and deserves to be one of the best titles of 2017  

mR fUnKtAsTiC33 (Alex Pfoss)

Image result for Overwatch 1080p 2017 has been rather underwhelming in my opinion but sometimes we just have to push through and make the most of what there is on offer.  Overwatch had the attention for most of my evenings whether I was solo queuing or hitting it up with my buddy MaxRager1990 it always provided good competition and I would recommend this to all multiplayer enthusiasts.  Sticking to the competitive scene I found myself revisiting a game that was really broken at launch but has since seen lots of work done to improve it, For Honor!  It looks like a hack and slash style of game from the outside but like its Ubisoft brother, R6 Siege, it has a steep learning curve and crushing an opponent is so extremely satisfying. Image result for cuphead 1080p Call of Duty WW2 makes another appearance, as it has with nearly everyone of us.  Same old COD magic, I can't quite put my finger on what makes it so addictive but it just eats away at any free time you thought you had.  Moving away from the competitive style games another of my favorites for 2017 is the side scrolling platformer that hides its Dark Souls-like difficulty behind brightly coloured levels...  Cuphead!  I loved and hated this game at the same time giving me many nights where I simply pondered my existence and also, how to beat that damn boss!  

Top Game of 2017:

Fortnite Battle Royale

Image result for fortnite battle royale Much can be said about the Battle Royale genre at the moment, PUBG announced it and brought it to the foreground but Fortnite was clever by making the Battle Royale section of its game free to everyone it captured the hearts and controllers of many PUBG-awaiting players, including me.  Hiding in a bush as a unsuspecting cartoon-style character comes running past you and then blowing him to kingdom-come with your over-sized shotgun never gets old!   Before anyone gets upset and annoyed with our choices, as you can see we all play very different games and we do not get sponsored any games to test, so the games we mentioned are the ones that we have bought personally and tried out.  We may have missed some that you like, why not tell us about them in the comments! To all the Axers who are still reading this, a very special thanks to all of you who have made this project worthwhile.  We strive to create the best content possible and deliver top quality content as often as possible. Here is to 2017!  Lets make 2018 a even bigger and better EAX filled year! See you on the flipside!
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Star Wars Battlefront 2 – the Force is strong, mostly!

Much can be said about Star Wars Battlefront 2. Good, bad and some neutral. So let’s start with the good.

CAMPAIGN

Star Wars Battlefront 2 starts off right before the destruction of the Death Star and then continues on from there. You are put in control of a few characters throughout the story, but the main focus is on Iden Versio, an Imperial Special Forces Trooper of Inferno Squad. Image result for star wars battlefront 2 2017 Playing through the somewhat short single player campaign, it is evident that not enough was fleshed out with the characters, if you are a new comer to the Star Wars universe. However, it is still an enjoyable piece of the game. Let us be realistic here, Battlefront was never known for its single player, so actually having one this time around is fun and great to look at. Image result for star wars battlefront 2 2017 With 13 chapters, it mixes up the gameplay on foot and in vehicles. Both plays, and feels great. Whether you are in First Person or, Third Person view, you will be pulling off headshots and Starfighter kills with ease. But don’t let the game’s first outing with a story side make you believe it’s a cake walk, even on normal difficulty the A.I. can take you out if you are not careful. The selection of weapons on offer is not huge but very distinct and can be changed up via loadout boxes throughout the mission. They sound like they were pulled straight from the movies and packs the same punch. Blasters obviously don’t run on ammo, but with an Active Reloading style mechanic in place, all weapons either have the quick reload or the damage boost. It is not a unique system but it works really well. Image result for star wars battlefront 2 2017 Vehicles segments also has the choice between First and Third person viewpoints. I myself prefer the Third Person perspective. I didn’t lose my accuracy and I was far more aware of where the craft was in the environment, but mainly because I like the look of vehicles. The story itself is fast and goes from one big scene to the next, which not entirely a bad thing, but a few more chapters wouldn’t have hurt. Other than that, it’s a treat for a Star Wars fan. Image result for star wars battlefront 2 2017

[PLEASE NOTE]

Some Bad News Below...

 

MULTIPLAYER

Battlefront 2’s multiplayer is what it’s famous for. It is pure Star Wars style battles between The Empire and Rebels, for the most part anyway. Seeing blaster fire flying into the air, fellow soldiers getting shot down right in front of you or explosions ripping vehicles apart with devastating force, it is all there and presented really well. However that is when I actually did play a few times. Most of the times I was in and out of menus trying to find a match. At times I felt I was playing around in the menu more than the actual multiplayer side of the game. Related image The reason for this is mostly due to the controversy leading up to the game’s launch.  With micro-transactions stating and drawing a line between the two types of games out there, those who just want to play and those who spend real world money for huge advantages. With that, I suspect a lot of gamers didn’t buy the games until further notice. Because of this, it hinders my review for Battlefront 2’s multiplayer. With the lack of a Server Browser, it makes looking for match manually, impossible. Image result for star wars battlefront 2 2017 Even though the multiplayer side of things is currently unreachable, Battlefront 2 does offer non-online arcade options. It can be played solo or with a friend via split screen co-op or versus. Battle Scenarios is pre-set encounters from the various eras of the Star Wars universe with unique rewards to unlock. Custom Arcade lets you tweak the battle styles for some jump in and have fun style action. With the standard Hero characters and the standard troopers to choose from, these two modes has a decent amount of fun within them.  

FINAL VERDICT

Star Wars Battlefront 2 is fun game, whether you a Star Wars fan or not. Graphics are stunning. Cut-scenes have a beautiful level of detail that you would think you are watching a movie. The game’s menu deserves special mention here. It has the standard Star Wars theme orchestra music playing in the background. Icons representing the different modes are animated with a wire frame outlining of well-known items. I am sad the multiplayer had such a troubled start but I am hopeful it will be in full swing in no time.  

As always I would like to say a special thanks to Prima Interactive for providing me with this review copy.

  Image result for Prima interactive   Image result for 7 out of 10 stars Written by: Ghost86 Edited by: BigJapester11
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L.A. Noire – 1940’s bloody Glamour!

There are few games that sets the tone and atmosphere of the 1940’s as perfectly as L.A. Noire. While not a new game, it has always been at the back of my mind since its first outing on the Xbox 360 back 2011. Image result for la Noire xbox 1 720p The first question I was asked was “Why Play It Again?” Short answer, “Why Not?”   L.A. Noire’s setting of a 1940’s Los Angeles is historically accurate enough to keep me just wandering the streets. It gives an idea of how life was back then. It was a time of good old fashioned hard-work, and that carries over to what L.A. Noire is about. Image result for la Noire xbox 1 720p The game puts you in the shoes of Cole Phelps, a man of the law, tasked to solve crimes and mysteries. This involves searching and inspecting clues in the environment and question people to help your investigations. It is made interesting by the game’s unique feature of realistic facial animations. This is where you have to use your own initiative to tell if the person in question, victim, witness or suspect, is either, lying or telling the truth. You have to watch their faces when they talk and make a judgement. Image result for la Noire xbox 1 720p Wrong judgment calls don’t impede your progress in the story, but it does influence your overall rating after each case. This leaves enough room to replay the cases again to better your score. L.A. Noire is not a remaster, but the facial animations is still incredible. It is rare for a game to use such a feature that makes the player have to use their own instinct to get answers out of the people they interrogate.   Compared to other open world titles, L.A. Noire is smaller, but a fairly decent size of the city is given to explore and will take some time to drive from one point to another. The story itself plays off in a somewhat linear fashion, but it still gives you the chance to go off the beaten track. The city itself is beautiful, it’s a joy to drive through and has the personality and charm that is a pleasure to get lost in. Image result for la Noire 1080p Controls wise, the game feels good, but there was times it was just a slight bit clunky, but never so much I felt like throwing my controller like a broken boomerang. The driving side of things is in a sense Overly Sensitive. Cars are rather twitchy when taking turns which translates into the feeling of them being lightweight but still pretty solid. You can either drive yourself or let your partner drive to the set destinations, which then give you an overall better rating at the end of the investigation. Image result for la Noire 1080p Since you are part of the police force, more careful driving is required. But with the authentic sounding radio channels and sweet old school jazz, driving like a law abiding citizen almost comes naturally. Then again it could be the fact that you are not driving a sports car.   L.A. Noire is as much a joy to play now as it was on the previous generation. Again, it is not a remaster. It is a straight up port and is perfect if you missed it the first time and want to break away to something truly unique in presentation and style. From start to finish I wish I could have experienced the 1940’s in person, but L.A. Noire gives me that opportunity and it deliveries it beautifully. Image result for la Noire 1080p   Once again a special thanks to Prima Interactive for supplying me with the game to review.   Image result for 8 out of 10 stars Reviewed by Ghost86 Edited by BigJapester11
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Syndrome Review

Step into the shoes of Chief Technician Galen onboard the Valkenburg, a spaceship that has lost power and seems to have no occupants onboard, or does it? You awake from a deep cryosleep dazed and confused only to find darkness and absolutely no one around. You quickly discover that some alien life form was brought onto this ship and has resulted in the entire crew either being dead or converted into crazed, blood thirsty creatures. How will you escape? Syndrome is a sci-fi survival horror game developed by Camel101 and Bigmoon entertainment. It is played in the first person view. Now if you enjoy a good horror game that has many jump scares you will most definitely enjoy this one. With a relatively small install of 5.47GB, you will be playing in a flash. But don’t judge the quality based on this as dynamite comes in small packages. An issue I encountered quite quickly was a slight graphics glitch where the inventory menu and certain parts of the game looked incredibly grainy. I sent this info through to Bigmoon entertainment and within a few days they had released an update that fixed all the issues and I was on my way again. Image result for Syndrome game 1080p Syndrome is best played in the dark as the lighting is extremely low due to a power failure aboard this spaceship you find yourself stranded on. The aim of this game is to explore, interact with objects, find supplies and hopefully weapons which you quickly realize are scarce. It has an eerie soundtrack that plays constantly and is great at achieving a rapid heartbeat and instilling fear deep within your mind! Image result for Syndrome game 1080p Early on in the game you are contacted by two characters, Commander Neomi and James "Jimmy" Marko. Commander Neomi asks you to come to her location and help her and her marines out of an area they are locked in. James "Jimmy" Marko warns you that Neomi cannot be trusted and convinces you to try and restore power to the ship, in order to travel to a more populated system to find help. While exploring the passages of this huge space craft you encounter these mutants that are quite difficult to kill so I found myself evading them rather than fighting them. James helps you over a radio to find your way around but, the deranged creatures are relentless and very quick to attack if they hear you. So far I have come across a creature that can't be killed so you have to avoid him at all costs. It took me a few tries to realize I couldn’t kill him(frustration was rife). Related image I have played Syndrome for about 2 hours now and I am enjoying it. I found the plot to be very clever and was impressed by the originality of the storyline. The graphics are good and the gameplay is quite fluid. I do however feel that in order to appeal to a larger group of gamers the developers could’ve made the game a little brighter as I believe a lot of people would be turned off by the sheer darkness. Also, the combat style is quite simple and primitive and you find yourself hacking away a little crazily sometimes without achieving much damage. Related image I am optimistic that there is more to come regarding Syndrome. It is obviously not an AAA game but has a lot of potential to be great. Is it worth all the frustration of sometimes feeling out of control, I think. If this was the developers objective, then I feel they have achieved what they set out to do. If you are a fan of this Genre, give this game a try. You might be pleasantly surprised. Image result for 7 out of 10 stars Keep gaming….EliteJedi
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State of gaming in SA

At Early Axes we mostly spend our time gaming and discussing gaming in general. Obviously. We are all avid Xbox and/or PC fans. We have a love for gaming and the community. All aspects of gaming, from tech to eSports. We cover it. Now, have you ever thought about the state of gaming in our beloved South Africa? Where is it going? Do we have SA developers? What is the SA eSports scene like? What is the growth and interest like? I'm here to (hopefully) answer all these questions. It has been a while since I first wanted to write this piece, but the timing wasn't right. It is now. I have always been a gamer, from the first Wolfenstein to the latest Wolfenstein II. I've been around the block. Played various games on various platforms. I'm a "from the roots" gamer, I like to see where everything starts and what the driving force is to make the industry a success. I had a chat with a few of the Early Axes guys to see what they had to say. I was surprised at their replies and angles they took on my simple question. "What is the state of gaming in South Africa?" I combined these thoughts and came to a conclusion. Do we have SA developers? Game development have come a long way in South Africa, there are a bunch of awesome games currently being developed. We just recently featured Unearthed, an up and coming adventure game by indie studio Mad Matter Creative. Most of us have heard about Organsphere, another adventure title with a bit more local flavour. Although we got some fantastic games lined up, it just seems that we are struggling to gain the investment needed in SA. Thus, titles take a long time to see the light. We have the skill and brainpower to achieve great things on the development front, but unfortunately due to lack of funding, most of our great developers leave our shores for greener pastures. We have our very own South Africans working on Wasteland 3, a fantastic AAA title. I believe we will gain investor interest in the future, it's just a matter of time. The overall growth is good and healthy, although it is extremely slow. We are getting there. Just keep supporting our developers. Is our tech up to date? The main platforms in SA are Xbox, PC and PlayStation. I am not going to go into which one is better, as I believe all platforms have their pros and cons. We are lucky that we are up to date with all the platform an peripheral tech. Although, together with games, they are becoming increasingly expensive due to our crippled economy. Besides this our only issue will be our internet infrastructure and lack of servers for online gaming. All of us have heard our friends shouting over a mic: LAAAAAGGG!!! This is the main issue that haunts us as gamers in South Africa. Lag. The lack of local servers and bad internet connection doesn't only affect the casual gamers, but spills over to our eSports scene. More on eSports later. We are not completely in the dark though. With fibre lines rapidly spreading and the cost getting cheaper each year, we can finally start seeing the light regarding slow internet as the norm. We have also received some local servers from mainstream titles like Battlefield and more recently Rocket League. The local servers has enjoyed a fantastic reception and much less raging gamers. Let's hope these local servers has pushed game sales and more developers will consider servers in SA. What is the SA eSports scene like? Something I have a great love for. The local eSports scene has grown rapidly with no sign of stopping soon. Despite our limitations. I have been to most major eSports events and everytime I was blown away by the amount of support these guys get. Proper rivalries are being born between top teams and fans. People walk around with their favourite team shirts. Some friendly banter occur. All evidence of a ever growing scene. Major corporate companies are starting to invest millions of Rands in eSports and the respective teams. Production companies like Mettlestate are being formed to support this scene. Players earn millions and travel overseas to compete in various titles. Professional gamer will soon become a profession. Won't that just be amazing? Although our eSports scene is mostly focused on PC, consoles are starting to enjoy some more attention. We got a good Call of Duty scene going on PlayStation. Halo has had success as an Xbox eSports. These are just to name a few. Organisations like ACGL and Telkom's VS Gaming are major contributors to local eSports. Go check them out if you are into competitive gaming. Even Early Axes has its own Rainbow Six Siege league.  Unfortunately we struggle to compete on an international level due to bad ping and horrible connections. Under the circumstances, SA eSports is a core part of our ever growing need to compete with the best internationally. This is the fastest growing part of the SA gaming puzzle. What's our communities like? Something close to our hearts. I personally regard this as the heartbeat and force behind gaming. We have some major communities and forums to our full disposal. Be it platform or game based. These communities are full of useful information, competitions and more. Without these, there would no eSports, no new developers and no up to date tech. We create the demand. If you want to see gaming grow in SA, you need to support the communities. Be it by sharing specials, new tech, news or interesting articles. You are a part of this growth. Without the gamers we have no heart, we have no force. To summarise, SA has a healthy growing gaming scene. I like to believe that one day we would be a true competitor in the world of gaming, internationally. Just a few creases we need to iron out. Please let us know your thoughts.
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Razer Wolverine Ultimate Controller Review

Razers in the past, could be recognized by their outrageous colours and over the top designs, as well as a strange liking in calling their controllers after some sort of cat...  Previously the Wildcat was a over the top wired controller trying to compete with the luxurious Microsoft Elite controller.  With its large green grips and enormous Razer logos plastered all over, it was never going to win any styling prizes.  But that wasn't what Razer was going for, they wanted to be the ultimate in premium gamepads, but alas they failed in that to. So Razer went back to the drawing board, dropped the cat name, replaced it with a catchy stronger title, toned down the styling and what they created was sheer brilliance! The Razer Wolverine Ultimate is a modular, remappable monster that can easily be called the best Premium wired controller for the Xbox out there! Lets Jump in...  Pun intended ;)

What's in the Box

Image result for Razer wolverine ultimate case Upon opening the Wolverine I was met with a beautifully packaged unit, that sits snugly in its protective carry case.  This carry case feels like quality and even though it might copy the elite carry case it serves a purpose, it protects your investment.  Inside the carry case there is an additional D-pad, as well as a domed analog stick, as well as a longer stick. The usual manuals and warranty paperwork is in the box as well along with the USB to micro USB cable which is a good 4m long.  It is good to note that the micro USB end of the cable is moulded to fit into the controller so do not lose this cable as your other micro USB cables will not fit!

Design and Feel

Upon picking up the Wolverine the price tag made sense.  It is really really well built, Razer has toned down by adding the chroma strip to border the Xbox button, (which can be turn off via the Razer Synapse app).  The rubbery palm grips help keep the controller from moving around too much in your hands during play. But what makes this controller different from your standard controller is the customization ability so lets start with the interchangeable parts.  The analog sticks as mentioned above, simply just pull off when you want to change them, they are held on with magnets, which are great for quick and easy changing, I found myself swapping short and long analog sticks between rounds of Siege which was great. The short press mechanical AXBY buttons are weird to get used to at first as the travel on them is so minimal causing me to press them too early at first.  This is where my eyes started to open as to why Elite and Premium controllers DO make a difference or give you the competitive edge! Yet another amazing feature that Razer has incorporated is the ability to set your travel distance on your paddles.  When playing racing games your paddles can be operated as usual giving to good throttle and brake feathering abilities.  When jumping into Call of Duty or Siege where you need that scope and fire buttons to react lightning quick, simply flick two little sliders over and you have quick press triggers!  No more getting shot before being able to fire the shot!  Again, the Wolverine is justifying its price tag. Now we get to the extra buttons the standard controllers don't have.  Usually on the other premium controllers you only have 4 remappable buttons, all found underneath the controller for your unassuming digits to use in case of emergencies.  Razer goes one better and provides you with 6 buttons, four at the bottom and 2 on the shoulder!  Straight out the box Razer has set up the two longest back paddles to be a kind of toggle for sensitivity, hold in the left paddle and your sensitivity will drop right down low for when you need to be more precise with shot placing etc.  Pull  the right paddle and the opposite will happen, sensitivity will go right up giving you the ability to quickly spin around and catch that enemy sneaking up behind you. Now I can hear all of you saying "but I don't need all these buttons" and I felt the same way, until I started using them in-game. Whilst playing COD WW2 multiplayer I specifically realised the use of these buttons. The problem with any fast paced game is that you need to take your right thumb off the analog stick if you need to use any of the buttons and that is when you get caught, having the mappable buttons I could easily reload and swop between my weapons all the while keeping my sights ready for an enemy wanting to capitalize on a unsuspecting player! Another point to the Wolverine.

Extras and Features

I am a sucker for customization!  I will sit for hours customizing my face in Fallout without ever starting the game, so when I discovered the Razer Synapse app on the Xbox Store I was instantly in love!  Using the app you can change all your programmable buttons as well as set different profiles for them.  Yes, if you are playing one game and need a certain button to be at your fingertip, you can program it to be there, but you also play a different title where you need a different button to be in that same position?  Don't fear, Razer gives you the ability to flick between profiles with a simple button on the chat adapter that is built into the controller. Press the button watch the light change colour and you are ready for your alternative button layout. the Chroma feature, which is unique to Razer, is the light bar situated at the top of the controller.  With the Synapse app you can control this light strip to flash, pulse, respond to vibration , move in waves or just cycle all 16.8 million colours that it can produce.  Or, if you don't want to be distracted by the rainbows of colours parading around your controller, you can simply switch them off.

Final Verdict 

The Razer Wolverine is an extremely capable controller, in my review time I could literally see the improvement of my game just by using the controller.  It is something to get used to at first as the buttons feel different and respond differently to the standard controller.  The build is good and the features are easy to use and are very effective at what they are intending to do.  There are however a few minor points that I have to point out. The fact that it is wired only and the cable being 4m long can cause problems for users that sit further away from their consoles, but the wired part has a flip side to it.  The reason for the wired connection is to eliminate delay that you can get from using the wireless controllers.  For pro or serious gamers, those few milli-seconds can be the difference between winning and losing, but for a more casual gamer, and with our lack of local servers, adding a few milli-seconds on to your response time isn't going to make that much of a difference. Due to the lack of wireless which in turn means no batteries, the Wolverine is slightly on the light side to my liking.  I would prefer a little bit of extra weight to it but that can be achieved by adding control grips or something of the sorts. The chat adapter with all of its buttons is great but creates problems for gamers that use headsets with chat-pads attached...  Also when I was using the adapter on the controller I couldn't change my party and in-game audio mixer settings, after a couple of attempts I gave up and decided to use my Astro A40 through its own amp. Overall looking past the minor flaws that I mentioned above, I would get this controller in a heartbeat!  Razer has found the sweet spot in the Premium controller market and they can honestly give the Elite a run for its money! Image result for 9/10 stars

As always thanks to Apex Interactive for allowing me to test this magnificent piece of hardware!

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Need For Speed Payback – Chaos and Destruction done Right!

From the moment you get control of the car, you know Need for Speed Payback is going to be a very fast and very over the top action racer. On the surface, the game looks great. It is a visual treat of glossy shine and more wheel spins than a Vegas slot-machine. Cars glisten like they just rolled straight off a car showroom floor and roar like monsters when revving them up. Image result for need for speed payback customization 1080p Seeing as NFS Payback is an arcade style action racer, it is not without the camera angles to boot. When doing a burnout, a slide around a particularly bendy corner or taking out a pesky cop car during a chase, you are presented with a view point to boost the moment of awesomeness. Thankfully these viewpoints can be toggled while in game with same button changing your camera. Rather handy when you want to focus on the race at hand. My favourite part of this action camera is when taking out said annoying cops during a high speed chase. My least favourite part is that said high speed chases are story locked. Image result for need for speed payback customization 1080p The backdrop ranges from Urban to Desert, each with a generous offering in size and beauty to look at while just cruising along. The off-road sections are new to NFS. While not a stranger to off-road vehicles, it is a first to actually put them to use for their intended purpose, which makes for some fresh gameplay. No matter what the race type, there is a car for it. The car count stands at 74, which doesn’t sound like a lot by any means, but those on offer are some of the finest. Image result for need for speed payback customization 1080p The upgrading system is different from what is usually the standard. Parts are unlocked via Speed Cards when winning races, the selection of parts cycle at Tune Up shops after a set time or you win them from Rolls. So you might not always get the part you want, but they always make your ride faster. This is not the ideal system, but to be honest, I would prefer the classic Putting-Whatever-I-Want-Into-My-Car system. Need for Speed Payback also offers a rather nice Photo Mode, with some decent settings and filters, anyone can take brilliant snapshots of their cars. Just pressing a button, you can take a photo right in the middle of the action. Image result for need for speed payback customization 1080p Now, scratching a bit deeper, there is a story to Need for Speed Payback. As the title suggests, it’s a story of betrayal that all leads to, well payback. In all honesty, do not expect a Hollywood script of drama and full character development, all that has been reserved for the main part of the game, the cars and driving. The main characters here are Tyler (you), your buddy Mac (the off-road nut) and Jess (the one saving everyone out of a tight spot). Each of these characters are unique in their own right, but they don’t bring something truly special to table. But again, I am letting the cars do the talking with screeching tires and thunderous engines. It is high octane action that Need for Speed is famous for.   NFS Payback is fun, fast and ferocious and it makes that evident from the start. If you are a Need for Speed fan and like your arcade racers, this will make you smile.   Image result for 7 out of 10 stars      

thanks to Prima Interactive for supplying us with this Review copy!

Image result for Prima Interactive   written by : Ghost86 Edited by: BigJapester11
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Unearthed: Upcoming South African multiplayer FPS

South Africa is not exactly famous for our epic game development. It seems like this is going to change soon. Enter Unearthed. Unearthed is a sci-fi multiplayer experience currently in development by South African based indie studio, Mad Matter Creative. The developer makes use of the Unreal engine. And as we know this creates some beautiful characters and breathtaking environments. Early Axes had the privilege of taking an inside look at what founder of Mad Matter, Ragel Alheit, has planned for the game. Players awaken in in a vast citadel known as The Root, where they can explore the open world map and search for resources, battle for prestige in the arena, or defend outposts against enemies. The seamless environment will create challenges and opportunities to fit most playing styles. With an ever changing environment, Unearthed will push you to your limits. This means that it is unlikely that you will see the same environment twice. Deserts may become flooded and reveal lost ruins. Dense vegetation may succumb to a harsh drought. You never know what will appear next. Each environment has its own set of threats and challenges. From Falling rocks in mountainous regions to exploding flora and dangerous fauna. Each environment should be approached differently. Thus survival is not just about collecting food, controlling body temperature and searching for water Once you have gathered resources you will be able to sell them on markets or make a living as a crafter. But by now you know it wont be as easy as gathering one valuable resources and creating an abundance of one product. The economy will change according to supply and demand. Markets will fluctuate in response to player trades. Fancy being a tinkerer or inventor? You will be able to build and create robots and other fanciful inventions. Or rather become a farmer and breed livestock, some exotic some familiar. The possibilities are endless. While combat is restricted to FPS, explore the world with the view you prefer. Interact with your natural surroundings which can aid you with cover, evasion and escape: inspired by parkour mechanics. Unearthed features both melee and ranged combat with numerous weapon and defensive systems, ranging from primitive elements such as swords and spears to rarer phasers and personal shields. Unearthed's goal is to provide a player with a game where the feeling of discovery and surprise remains ever present. Unearthed will run a Indigogo crowd funding campaign soon to get the game launched and expand the team. You can be sure that we will support this with everything we have.  You should too.  This is about all the detail we have thus far, keep an eye on the Early Axes site and Facebook page for more upcoming details. We honestly believe that this game will put SA on the map as an up-and-coming game developer.  Ragel has developed and funded the project to where it is now, all by herself.  Imagine what she can achieve with an expert team and the necessary funds.  Ragel, you have the full power of the Early Axes community behind you! Go check out their Facebook page and visit their website. Mad Matter Creative was kind enough to send us some of the first Pre-Alpha animation and atmosphere test videos. Check it out below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlUW29zNKMc  
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Turtle Beach Stealth 600

Image result for turtle beach stealth 600 Hardware reviews are very difficult to be objective about, and they are also really tough to do if you can't get your hands on the hardware you need to review, for obvious reasons.  So you resort to desperate measures.  Beg, borrow and often "borrow for extended periods of time" became the modus operandi.  Luckily with the help of an awesome company called APEX INTERACTIVE SA those days are now over!  The first headset that Ruan and his people sent me to try is the Turtle Beach Earforce Stealth 600, yes it is a mouthful its not just you... From the moment I was told that the Stealth 600 was on its way to me I was ecstatic!  I had never before reviewed a Turtle Beach headset and all my gaming buddies, bar one or 2 Astro faithful, all use a version of the Turtle Beach so I was excited to see what the fuss was about. When they arrived I quickly tore off the shipping plastic and basked in the beautiful green box.

Whats in the box?

The headset is well packaged, I wouldn't call it magical, I mean its packaging...  But it does the job.  Inside you have the headset itself, a USB charging cable and a small booklet on how to use and connect the headset. Image result for turtle beach stealth 600Image result for turtle beach stealth 600 Connecting the headset to the Xbox was fairly straight forward, if you have ever connected a controller to your console the process should be familiar to you.  Simply hold the bind button on the console as well as on the headset until the little green LED situated at the bottom of the left ear cup is flashing and you will be greeted by an audio chime as well as an onscreen message telling you the headset has been assigned to the profile that is currently logged in.  So far so good!

Controls and Features

This being my first Turtle Beach experience, I had heard so many things about the supersonic hearing and how it will improve your environmental awareness by many folds, I, being a R6 Siege player was eager to see how this can help me bridge the gap from a Gold ranked player to an elite Platinum hero, more on that further down. The Stealth 600 are of course wireless, which is great if you already have a fairly crowded gaming room and setup, one less cable DOES make a difference, and to have the freedom to move around without worrying you might trip over a cable is also great.  The batteries on the Stealth 600 seem decent, I never had a problem with it dying on me but it is good to note that my longest session was around 5-6 hours and not one hiccup during that time. The microphone of the Stealth 600 is extremely sensitive and clear, my online buddies all asked if something had happened to my voice overnight and no one complained of hearing a lot of background noise from my side.  It is a very short and small microphone sitting on the left ear-cup, unfortunately if you prefer your mic to be on the right there is no option of swapping it to the other side.  Want to mute that cough you feel incoming?  Simply flip up the mic and it will mute. Image result for turtle beach stealth 600 Seeing as the Stealth 600 is wireless you have no adapter plugging into your controller where you can control the audio intricacies, all of this is also on the left ear cup.  What I found, but this will improve as you get to know the headset, is that I often found my fingers spinning the volume knob instead of the party mixer causing me to either blow out my eardrums when I turn the volume up a touch too much or I would miss out an essential call out during a tight Siege match if i mixed the in-game volume over the party volume.  This is all just caused by not having spent more time with the headset so I wouldn't worry too much about this. The equaliser presets, which the button is ALSO located on the left ear cup, are all very well balanced, they cover most preferences so you are sure to find one that suites your liking.

Let the Sound do the Talking!

I consider myself a Astro fan boy, from the moment I placed my Astro A40 TR's over my ears I fell in love. The sound clarity and fullness blew me away, I was sure that the Stealth 600 wouldn't even get close to my dearly beloved.  Boy was I pleasantly suprised!  the 50mm drivers of the Stealth 600 are superb.  They deliver decent deep bass tones and beautiful higher notes.  From the quiet intense moments of Siege, to the bone-chilling nothing-ness of the Turing Test to the all out madness of Battlefield 4 they never missed a step and I was truly impressed!  The Supersonic hearing had me hearing operators entering a room walking over broken glass on the opposite end of the house which truly blew my mind (and helped me blow theirs as well)  In the sound department the Stealth 600 truly punches way above its price range.  Only once did I experience during a barrage of large explosives the bass couldn't keep up and i heard a second or so of hollowness but other than that, faultless!

Look and feel, less spectacular...

From the very first look the Stealth 600 headset looks very attractive, slick and sharp lines, lots of black with the Xbox signature green on the inside of the cups as well as sneaking out around corners and edges with the ever present Turtle Beach logo found inside the ear cups as well as proudly sitting on the outside, this Headset looks the part without a doubt Image result for turtle beach stealth 600       Image result for turtle beach stealth 600 It is when u pick them up and put them on that my excitement faded.  They are very plastic, which is what you would expect from most headsets in this price range so I don't consider this a problem, but they do at times feel flimsy.  They are extremely light which is great for some but I like to feel that i have something that I just spent my hard-earned money on, once again that is an opinion.  the cups can be adjusted height wise as well as swing forwards for a few degrees, yet I struggled to find a truly comfortable position on my head.  I found myself constantly fiddling to find a more comfortable position which I was dissapointed about. The ear cups although they look beautiful, are rather shallow.  I don't have particularly out of the ordinary ears, but I found my ears to hurt after a hour of so of gaming, and also sweating.  The foam of the cups are not great, they do cater for spectacle-wearers with a nifty cut-out allowing your glasses to sit comfortably and not get squashed. I was very disappointed with this aspect of the Stealth 600 as they were really ticking all the boxes up to this point. Still, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 headset is a really good wireless headset and I think you would be foolish if you do not consider them if you are in the mid-range wireless gaming headset market! It is good to also note that they are compatible with Windows 10 PC's but you will need to buy the wireless adapter which is unfortunately sold separately.

Once again A BIG thank you to APEX INTERACTIVE SA for supplying me with the headset

No automatic alt text available.  
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PUBG has a launch day!

READY YOUR FRYING PANS!!!

Image result for pubg 1080p We finally got a release date on Player Unknown Battlegrounds for Xbox One. 12 December. This is D-day. With a live stream from Paris Game Week on the Xbox Mixer channel we finally got a PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on the Xbox One through the Xbox Game Preview program. Image result for pubg xbox   This has been a long time coming. The Xbox community has waited since it's Xbox one announcement at the E3 gaming conference. Since March PC players were able to enjoy the ever popular Battle royal game. Leaving console players jealous. The popularity within the PC steam community was overwhelming with 8 million concurrent users at its peak. Incredible! Here are a few screens that have been confirmed showing the Xbox running PUBG showing us the map we will be able to dominate solo or take over with the help of a couple of friends! Image result for pubg xbox Now the Xbox community will leave PS 4 guys jealous. No news on the release date for PlayStation as yet.   Who are all excited to get into this game, I know I am!  
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The Turing Test – So much more than a puzzle game!

When I started The Turing Test I had absolutely no clue what it was about, I had kept myself from reading reviews, watching some Youtube videos, even just reading a description.  Too many times before has a single bad review or remark spoiled a game for me and I was not taking this risk again.  Then again after playing Oxenfree, (read my review here) which is another great title that was on offer with this month's Games with Gold subscription, I didn't have high hopes to be met with two great titles in one month.  But was I mistaken...   It is good to know what the Turing test is, except for it being a first person puzzler in which you navigate a range of rooms with puzzles that gradually increase as you continue.  In the real world the Turning test was developed by Alan Turing in 1950 as a way to test a machine's ability to exhibit  intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.  So keeping that in mind I jumped into The Turing Test.   You awake on a spaceship guided by a friendly (questionable) AI called Tom guiding you through the beginning stages all while explaining the situation that has befallen your fellow crew and the ship you are on.  Many people might be saying this is a Portal-copy but The Turing Test is void of all the humor found in Portal, instead Tom, your new best AI-friend brings up the interesting topic of free will, what it means to be human and of course the AI test the game draws its name from.   The Turing test has a very effective way of storytelling, not only does Tom tell you what has been going on while you were in cryosleep, but you are able to scratch through your fellow space explorers personal belongings while on the hunt to find them, where they are trapped (or are they?) within the space ship.   I could go into details about how each puzzle room felt a little familiar and hospital-like in their squeaky clean look and how the Europa, your space ship, never developed its own sense of character but it doesn't really matter.  Same with the puzzles, yes after a few puzzles all the ones that follow felt familiar, yet I did not care.  Around the mid-way point in this 7 to 8 hour game the story and plot start driving you to the next puzzle.  I have yet to find a title that had me this driven to jump through metaphorical hoops, and physical platforms, to get to the next stage JUST for the next bit of information and to figure out what is really going on the Europa!  Don't worry, unlike Portal or The Witness, the Turing test never turns its puzzles up to 11, it seems contempt with simply scratching the surface in terms of puzzles and rather having you enjoy it than getting frustrated and losing the plot of the story. The Turing Test is so much more than just a puzzler.  Once you reach level 3 or 4 of the puzzles, you, well I, started to find myself thinking more about what my AI friend Tom was saying and I became weary of him, thinking more of what he was saying rather than just accepting it, and when the plot twist hits, which it will, it comes without warning, the whole story is turned upside down, and you will feel and contemplate existence and what really makes us different from computers.  This is when the Turing test really hits its straps as a story driven game more than a puzzler.   Not only is this gaming visually wonderful to look at, even with its monotonous rooms, when you do see a change of scenery it is tremendous, all while giving you a visceral experience all while probing your feelings towards a scenario that is ever increasing in the extremely technologically driven world we live in today.  After Life is Strange I did not think a game will be able to pull me into its narrative quite like that again.  The Turing test did, and it had me laying awake in bed contemplating life.   If you haven't downloaded it yet, I would highly recommend this title if you ever need to just get away from your daily routine of Battlefield, Call of duty or Forza.  Get it before it goes off Games with Gold for the month of October.  
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Elex – Review

A rough start with a steep learning curve (If you not used to Piranha Bytes Games), but after a few hours It grabbed me so that I couldn’t stop. A fascinating world with great lore and a story that works well. At first I was skeptical, Elex does not set the bar high when it comes to first impressions, but having spent money and having the need for a RPG I stuck around, just long enough to allow it to blow me away.  Not that it’s perfect in anyway nor does it represent AAA quality standards, but the world is so believable, the variety of quests are great and the exploration is phenomenal.  Let me take you through my experience with various different elements of Elex. Combat Combat is where they throw you a curve ball, when you not used to playing Piranha bytes games. Death becomes your best friend in the early stages of the game and until you understand that there is no level scaling and higher level creatures are placed on your path from the get go, you will have a tough time traversing from place to place. Piranha Bytes changed their old approach and opted for  a stamina based system, making combat a beast on its own. Placing correctly timed attacks while focusing on your Stamina bar, while you dodge incoming enemies and at the same time keeping track of your special bar (that was a mouth full) is something to get used to but makes combat, although it needs work to smooth it out somewhat, extremely rewarding. Weapons gear and armor When you start questing in the first couple of hours, weapons and armor are hard to come by, you struggle to adapt to the way enemies populate the vast environment, but when you finally get the hang of it and know your way around, exploration gets easier and finding epic loot is worth the blood sweat and tears. Firstly, there is a vast and nearly unlimited amount of different weapons and gadgets from normal one-handed swords to grenades and laser spewing rifles. Piranha bytes made sure to give every player the freedom of choosing weather you are going the old school medieval way or the futuristic sci-fi  way. This is where they put a lot of effort in. Each and every weapon has its own animations making that weapon feel unique to its class and although the combat system itself is a bit rough, they placed a lot of effort on the uniqueness of an item. The only aspect of Combat that does not sit well and feels completely out of place is the use of guns. Guns feel clunky and all gun type weapons felt exactly the same and was not entirely a satisfying experience. Exploration This is one aspect of the game I would recommend other developers to follow. The world of Magalan is a harsh and dangerous place making exploration difficult at times, but it is so rewarding that you want more. It never becomes a repetitive grind and each place you explore, you feel the need to explore more and wander off track just to see what’s next. The landscapes smoothly merge with each other and the environments make Magalan feel like a real living and breathing world. Although some areas lack visual presence, the sheer size of the game world and the amount of detail they placed in the world makes up for poor visuals and is something you can overlook. Skills and leveling. Leveling up is a simple system but as exploration it is deep, rewarding and gives character customization a lot of depth. Gaining a attribute point each time you level up to spend on 5 different attributes and selecting which way your character grows. The spending of points become more difficult the higher you level as you will need to spend more points on a single attribute to advance the specific attribute as you progress. But skill points can only be spent with certain trainers that you find in the game world. The leveling system felt really good and makes you feel that you are actually progressing your character according to your play style. Choices Games often carry on about how choices affect the outcome of your story, some games pull it off well and some don't. Elex on the other hand pulls it off from the minute you start the game, you will notice that choices can have tiny effects on quests or on normal dialogue between your character and NPC's or your choices might have far reaching consequences affecting the entire outcome of the game. Different choices also influences  your Cold meter, which will either go up or down depending on the different choices you make and it has an overall influence on how NPC's will react to your character. Verdict  All in all Elex is a good RPG with an ambitious approach that needs a bit more polish. Elex delivers on everything you would want from a RPG,  from exploration,crafting, combat and deep customization. Elex brings back some old School RPG elements in a fascinating and mostly breathtaking game world. With sometimes clunky mechanics, poor facial animation and a combat system that needs some work. I would recommend Elex as a good RPG that ticks a lot of boxes but requires some technical improvements. The studio is definitely working towards the right direction. I rate Elex a Good: This review is based on the Xbox one version of the game.
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Astro A10 – premium on a budget

Related image Most of us have heard of the headset brand Astro and we all instantly think seriously pricey pieces of hardware am I right?  For the most part you are correct, both the A40 and A50 headsets come with a hefty price tag, but they are both spectacular headsets in their own right. Whether you go for the wired A40 version or the wireless A50 you will definitely not regret it! They also come in a TR version that provides you with even higher sound fidelity but all of this just adds to a already large sum of money, or a kidney if you are that way inclined. But what Astro has done with the A10 is bring its premium sound, build quality and overall bad-ass look that they are renown for in their A40 and A50 models and packaged it in a budget headset that appeals to the majority of gamers that are on a tighter budget. I was skeptical at first, being a Astro A40 TR user myself I was curious to find out what the A10's bring to the already tightly contested "entry-level" price bracket, and boy oh boy was I impressed!

Good Looks on a Budget

It might not have all the metal and shiny bits and features that its older (and richer) brothers have but the A10's have a impressive sleek and sturdy look for a plastic headset around the R1 000 mark!  For all money it is a baby brother of the A40 sporting the big boxy cups and bendable mic that you only have to flip up to mute, clever trick there Astro!   Sporting a range of colours ranging featuring Blue, Green and Red that are aimed at the Xbox One, PS4 and PC users.  Luckily either headsets will work with your choice of platform unlike the older brothers that have platform specific colours and capabilities. The 2m long cable has a handy inline volume slider and can be easily detached making this very suitable for travelers.

Snug fitting, maybe too snug...

The A10's fit cozy, a little too cozy at times. With my A40 I can play for marathon sessions without feeling uncomfortable, with the A10's I found the earcup space to be smaller than my A40's leading me to feel the need to take a quick break after a few hours, but nothing to warrant not getting the headset, hell the comfort is alot better than many other premium headsets.  The headset is also extremely light, weighing in at only 340g.  Unfortunately the A10 cups can't swivel 90' like its big brothers but it can adjust up and down to help with comfort

Good sound at a Good Price

Image result for astro gaming The A10's impressed me when it came to their sound quality, delivering punchy highs and solid deep lows for every game.  During R6 Siege matches it gave me clear indication of footsteps and where enemies were placing explosives and during a quick hoon through the Australian outback in Forza Horizon 3 I could pick up very crisp squealing of  my tires all while comfortably chatting to a mate.  At this point I was regretting buying my Astro A40 TR's but the A10's do fall short when it comes to music.  the mid range sounds sound muddy and not as clear.  But still overs way better sound quality compared to other headsets in its price range.

Verdict

Astro has brought us a very very competitive headset in the A10.  It is easily up there as one of the best in its price range.  Astro has a strong foot hold in the premium market and they are looking to extend that grasp by way of the A10 and later the A20 (its wireless) brother.  With its typical Astro design and wonderful ingame sounds this is a must get for any person looking to buy into the Astro family!  They also have top-notch support via their website and I can account for their amazing service, having no problem sending me a spare inline mute cable when I wasn't sure if it came in the box, free of charge! Image result for 9/10 rating  
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Shadow of War – a review of my experience thus far!

For any true Lord of the Rings fan Shadow of War is simply a must!  It has a very authentic LOTR feel and places you right back behind enemy lines in the boots of your favourite Ranger Talion with the infused spirit of Lord Celebrimbor.  Together they are back slaying orcs and taking names!  As of yet I am not too far into the game so I will give you a brief review of aspects that I have encountered thus far without giving away the plot completely! Lets jump in(to Mordor!).

Difficulty

Image result for shadow of war Middle-earth: Shadow of War has three difficulty settings.  Easy – to play through and enjoy the story. Normal – some features of the nemesis system are implemented but not the whole experience as well as captains and warlords are easier to fight.  Nemesis – This gives you the full experience of the nemesis system which makes Middle-earth: Shadow of War such a unique games.  That being said don’t expect to cruise through this game without dying, ALOT!

Captains and Warlords

Stepping into Mordor you will find many foes but along the treacherous way you will encounter Captains and Warlords, these brutes are more ferocious and powerful than their underlings.  In Shadow of War after defeating captains they will come back after a time, but unlike Shadow of Mordor, these captains come back changed Orcs or Goblins, definitely not in a good way either!  They will look different, fight differently and even say different things! Image result for shadow of war With my luck I have found the only orc captain with some South African heritage.  His name is Shaka and I have killed him multiple times.  First time killing him I didn’t use an execution to kill him I just kept on pounding him until he succumbed to my blows.  Second time I used an execution but ended up chopping his arm off and stabbing him through the stomach.  The third time he died by poison and this gets me excited to see how he returns and whether he returns at all, they say third times the charm...

Captain’s quests

A large part of Shadow of War consists of building an army to fight the might of the evil armies!  With this you need to dominate enemy captains and make them see that your way is the right way, and better than dying!  Dominating enemies will turn them in your favour and they will do your bidding.  When you dominate a captain and want him to do something for you command him to either fight another captain, become a warlord’s bodyguard, which can be very handy when you need him to betray his boss and kill him so you don’t have to.  In the previous game these events would be marked on your map and you could do them as you please, well, things have changed in Shadow of War, you now have a time limit.  If you decide to interfere with enemy missions you lose a turn on the other outstanding quests.  Each quest has a three-turn limit and then it resolves itself. Image result for shadow of war This makes the game little bit more interesting because you think of sending a weaker captain you control against a stronger enemy captain and help him out but that is not always the case.  Sometimes you give that weaker orc up to get two stronger captains because of the time limit.  This gives the game a very strategic aspect when it comes to picking your battles.  You sometimes need to lose the battle to win the war.  In the words of Cersei Lannister: “this is the game of thrones, you either win or you die”

Dominated Captains

Image result for shadow of war dominating an enemy xbox The developers really changed it up when dominating a captain or warlord compared to the first game.  In Shadow of Mordor once an orc is dominated he is forever loyal to you and the only way for him to leave your army is to die.  In Shadow of War orcs get dominated and join your army but don’t think that is a done deal.  Certain races, Orcs and Ologs, have a little trait called “blood brothers”.  Once you dominate one of these and then try to slay one of their own expect a betrayal from one of your once “loyal” captains.  I experienced this first hand during a particularly tough battle with an Orc when out of nowhere 4 of my “captains” arrived and in an act of betrayal proceeded to help their brother in beating me into submission!

How to train your Dragon, I mean Orc

Image result for shadow of war main character As mentioned before Shadow of Mordor the only way to improve your captains and warlords level are by doing commanding them to do missions.  In Shadow of War you get a second choice…Pit Fights!  First rule of Pit club is nobody talk about Pit club!  No really this is way better than doing missions, it gives you a better sense of how your captains fight and of course anything goes in these fights.  Any traits they have for extra troops, mounts, traps and bombs are in the fight.  You can’t partake in these battles but it sure is awesome watching a angry Olog turn a Orc into moosh!

Final Thoughts

All in all it’s a good game.  Monolith did a stand-up job and improved a lot on the first game to really showcase Shadow of War as a bigger and better and improved in every way from Shadow of Mordor.  It’s a game that will keep you busy  and if you get bored with the single player , just head over to the online conquest section where you try and take over other players fortresses.  I did not mention this in my review because I have yet to try it.  Only part that leaves a slight bitterness in my mouth is the dreaded loot boxes.  In my opinion this has become a cancer in the modern games.  I prefer to embrace the grind to make my captains and warlords powerful rather than fork out some of my hard earned cash on a virtual improvement. If you like the first game you will love the second,  new comers to the series should check out some specials to find Shadow of Mordor to really understand and appreciate this game.  

My Final Rating for this game is 8 ½ out of 10

Image result for 8.5/10  

written by Willie Botes, Edited by JP du Preez

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Elex – Everything we know

A Game I have been looking forward to for some time now with mixed feelings as launch and pre-order time grew closer. When I first saw Elex I was blown away, it was something new!  Something different! Something I have been waiting for for quite a while, since my previous RPG was the Witcher 3. But the more I look at the game the more excited I get, I think Pirhana bytes are trying to set new boundaries for themselves rather than trying to match boundaries set by other companies and rather achieving new heights in this genre. Elex is just a couple of weeks away, so let’s get into everything we know thus far. The world of Magalan and play time: Elex will be set on the game world of Magalan which was an advanced futuristic world until it was hit by a meteor. The Producers have confirmed that the game has more than a 100 plus hours of content if you complete the full game. You can also look forward to no loading screens, a smooth transition throughout the world, and when you finally finish the game and the credits roll, you can head back to complete those side missions you might have missed.  If you played Gothic 3 you will be pleased to know that the world is about 1.5 times the size of Gothic 3, with various different locations and terrain. You can also expect dynamic encounters when roaming around, Animals and creatures will attack each other and when creatures approach in close proximity to the town guards, they wil defend the town. There is also a justice system, the more crimes committed in a city, the more restricted your actions will become inside the walls of that town. Classes, factions and progression: In Elex, progression is endless, the Producers have confirmed that there will be no level cap for your character, Factions on the other hand will have a level cap as you progress and complete a certain or every faction’s campaign. There are 3 Factions that you can join, or you can complete each faction’s missions or campaign as you progress, joining a certain faction will place you in a bad light towards other factions, so you will have to choose wisely. The factions are: The Berserkers who use ELEX for magical purposes .The Clerics who use the substance to power their machines, or the Outlaws who embrace an "everyone for themselves" philosophy.  Weapons and Gear In Elex you will be equipped with a jet pack to be able to traverse the entire universe seamlessly and effortlessly. One thing I am really pleased with is the freedom of choice when it comes to weapons, gear and spending your XP points on attributes. The producers have given the player total freedom, if you want to be a sword wielding player with magic or a gun crazed maniac the choice is yours. The producers have promised that Elex will have a large amount of weapons and variants which range from sword, shields, bow and arrows, magic and a large variety of guns. Im really looking forward to spending some serious time on Elex and I truly hope Pirhana bites delivers on this highly ambitious game. Make sure to grab Elex as it hits the Xbox one on the 17th of October 2017.
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Xbox Games Pass List

Below is a list of the current Xbox Game Pass Titles. We will keep updating this list as soon as new games are added.

[Updated on 29 September 2017]

Current Xbox Game Pass Titles

Xbox One

  • 10 Second Ninja X [added September 1]
  • Bard's Gold
  • Blood Bowl 2
  • The Book of Unwritten Tales 2
  • The Bridge [added September 1]
  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
  • The Bug Butcher (coming October 1)
  • Costume Quest 2 (coming October 1)
  • D4: Darks Dreams Don't Die
  • Dead Island: Definitive Edition
  • Dead Rising 3
  • Defense Grid 2
  • Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition
  • Dirt Rally
  • Electronic Super Joy
  • F1 2015
  • Farming Simulator 15
  • The Flame in the Flood
  • Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
  • Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition
  • The Golf Club
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • Halo: Spartan Assault
  • Hue [added September 1]
  • IDARB
  • JumpJet Rex
  • Knight Squad
  • Kyub
  • Layers of Fear
  • Limbo
  • Lumo
  • Mad Max
  • Maldita Castilla EX: Cursed Castle (coming October 1)
  • Massive Chalice
  • Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
  • Mega Coin Squad
  • Mega Man Legacy Collection
  • Metro: Last Light Redux [added September 1]
  • NBA 2K16
  • OlliOlli
  • Payday 2: Crimewave Edition
  • Pharaonic
  • Pumped BMX+
  • ReCore: Definitive Edition [added August 29]
  • Resident Evil 0
  • Resident Evil 6
  • Roundabout
  • Saints Row IV: Re-elected
  • Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell (coming October 1)
  • ScreamRide
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse
  • So Many Me
  • State of Decay: Year One (coming October 1)
  • Steredenn
  • Strider
  • Sunset Overdrive
  • Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings
  • Super Time Force
  • The Swapper
  • Terraria
  • Tower of Guns (coming October 1)
  • Ultratron
  • WWE 2K16

Xbox 360 (Playable on Xbox One)

  • A Kingdom for Keflings
  • A World of Keflings
  • Age of Booty
  • Alex Kidd & Co. (Sega Vintage Collection)
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
  • Banjo-Tooie
  • Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2
  • BioShock
  • BioShock 2
  • BioShock Infinite
  • Borderlands
  • Bound by Flame
  • Braid
  • Capcom Arcade Cabinet
  • CastleStorm
  • Comic Jumper
  • Comix Zone
  • Dark Void
  • De Blob 2
  • Defense Grid
  • Dig Dug
  • Double Dragon Neon
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara
  • Fable II [added September 1]
  • Fable III
  • Final Fight: Double Impact
  • Flock
  • Galaga Legions DX
  • Garou: Mark of the Wolves [added September 1]
  • Gears of War
  • Gears of War 2
  • Gears of War 3
  • Gears of War: Judgment
  • Golden Axe (Sega Vintage Collection)
  • Grid 2
  • Hexic 2
  • IDARB
  • Iron Brigade
  • Jetpac Refuelled
  • Joe Danger: Special Edition
  • Joe Danger 2: The Movie
  • Joy Ride Turbo
  • Kameo
  • King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match
  • Lego Batman: The Video Game
  • The Maw
  • Metal Slug 3
  • Metal Slug XX
  • Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine
  • Monday Night Combat
  • Ms. Splosion Man
  • MX vs. ATV Reflex
  • N+
  • Neo Geo Battle Coliseum
  • Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
  • Pac-Man CE DX+
  • Pac-Man Museum
  • Perfect Dark Zero
  • Sacred 3
  • Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space
  • Sam & Max: Save The World
  • Samurai Shodown II
  • SoulCalibur
  • SoulCalibur II HD
  • Spelunky
  • Splosion Man
  • Stacking
  • Street Fighter IV (coming October 1)
  • Streets of Rage (Sega Vintage Collection)
  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2
  • Toy Soldiers
  • Toy Soldiers: Cold War
  • Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown
  • Viva Pinata
  • Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise
  • XCOM: Enemy Within
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Path of Exile – Review

The first ever PC-game I bought as a kid back in the early 2000's was a little title named DIABLO 2, yes many gamers might laugh and pass comments like "wow you are old", or "Diablo 3 was so crap" and they would be correct on at least one of those 2 statements...  But no matter your opinion on the top-down RPG genre, Diablo refined and perfected the craft and for many years Diablo 2 was untouched as the epitome of this genre.  Then came Diablo 3...  In an attempt to attract new players to the genre and game, Blizzard decided to, in my opinion, dumb down the game in terms of controls as well as story and gameplay and with that they drove away alot of die-hard fans.  Many updates and patches and lost fans later Diablo 3 became a playable game but the genre felt old and stale and when a lesser known title, to me at least, PATH OF EXILE, happened to stumble into the foreground I didn't have much hope for it. But was I surprised beyond belief! Path of Exile is more hardcore and less polished than the likes of Diablo 3.  Deciding to drop some of the aesthetically pleasing aspects for ludicrously deep character progression which you will go far to match in any game.  When I started the game up I was met with a overwhelming creation screen, overwhelming not in a bad way, but in a good way.  The amount of  options when creating your class of character was staggering.  Here is a quick bit of info regarding the classes:

Classes and skills

  • Duelist: He fights with melee attacks and can also summon an AI minion to fight alongside him.
  • Templar: Fires projectiles, including three balls of lightning at once and a chain lightning attack.
  • Witch: A female spellcaster with high intelligence.
  • Ranger: She uses a bow and is extremely dexterous, but can wield swords as well. Despite being a glass cannon, the ranger is my class of choice.
  • Marauder: A melee fighter with tremendous strength.
  • Shadow: A dexterous and intelligent fighter, he uses short-range weapons and traps during battle.
  • Scion: She can develop into any character build thanks to Path of Exile's skill system. This makes her an advanced character, and she must be unlocked later in the game.
this is only the tip of the iceberg tho as the skill tree system is something magnificent.  The passive skill system is similar to many other RPG skill trees but instead having a individual skill tree for each character, Path of Exile decided to create one big tree that can be accessed by all the characters. You can mix and match abilities by unlocking skills along various branches which you can use to reach other areas of the skill tree.  With this in mind it might take first time players a few tries to find the style of character that suites their play style.  With such a vast tree, respecing your character is quite a tortuous job.

Gameplay and Combat

[ngg_images source="galleries" container_ids="1" display_type="photocrati-nextgen_basic_thumbnails" override_thumbnail_settings="0" thumbnail_width="240" thumbnail_height="160" thumbnail_crop="1" images_per_page="20" number_of_columns="0" ajax_pagination="0" show_all_in_lightbox="0" use_imagebrowser_effect="0" show_slideshow_link="1" slideshow_link_text="[Show slideshow]" order_by="sortorder" order_direction="ASC" returns="included" maximum_entity_count="500"] Like most RPG titles Path of Exile places a large emphasis on exploration and collecting loot.  It has small MMO elements namely public towns where players can meet and group up or trade some unwanted items.  With titles like this you normally place skills on a hotbar.  Path of Exile amps this up by allowing you to use RT to access another host of hotkeys allowing you to apply a magnitude of skill which to devastate your enemies with. Fighting feels tight with lots of variations between the characters, during combat you will auto target your enemies and might not always target the closest target which can become a slight irritation if you are a more hand to hand combat character which will see you walking through a group of enemies to attack the one right at the back, taking some serious damage in the process. Health potions and other benefit providing potions are assigned to the D-pad as well as the bumper buttons.  These carry limited charges that refill when you visit a town. Tapping down on the D-pad brings up the map, which on a massively random-generated map like these, are extremely useful when trying to find your way around. Inventory management also gets a Path-of-Exile-spin to it.  Each item takes up a varying amount of space in your bag.  What this creates is that you will think more about what you're picking up as to the amount of loot you pick up.  Other titles will see you picking up just to pick up and sell when you reach a store later, not Path of Exile. Scrolls are much the same as other Diablo-like games, one is used to identify rare items, the other to teleport back to town.  Town portals are significantly more scarce than in Diablo so travels to town will be alot less frequent.

Overall impression

You could be forgiven for not expecting much from a 4 year old, free to play title like Path of Exile.  Hell I did!  Most companies who have tried to make a title to rival the likes of Diablo have failed miserably over and over again.  Path of Exile is definitely not a mega-budget title like Diablo but you would never say that when you play it.  Yes it is not graphically as good as Diablo but wow does it do all the other parts so stupendously well! Whether you are playing this solo or with a friend or 2, this game is very enjoyable for anyone who is a fan of the genre.  Best part is you get a free to play game without all the usual Free-to-play limitations.  Looking at the history of Path of Exiles on PC you can expect a multitude of updates to fix, improve and expand this game.  The developers have even promised extensive graphical improvements for the Xbox One X.  There is also rumors of couch co-op coming in the near future which will make this title even more enjoyable!  
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Oxenfree – a true hidden Gem

Games with Gold for September might be mostly notable for major titles like Forza Motorsport 5, with all of its extras and expansions, Battlefield 3, playable on Xbox One via Backwards Compatibility and then a lesser known title named OXENFREE.  I had not heard much about this title but me, being a sucker for a free game, decided to download it as it didn't have a very large download size, and fired it up to give it a go before I pass judgement on what would most likely be a rather weak title. When I fired the title up I went in with a blank slate, zero expectations.  That's a good thing right? no expectations mean zero chance for being let down.  Boy oh boy was i pleasantly suprised!  What met me was a game with a very unique painterly art style that really tickled my fancy the moment it started.  What drew me in from the very beginning is the simplistic beauty yet when you dive a little further into the details you will find an immensely well fleshed out environment that  takes note of all that is needed. Image result for oxenfree 1080p The setup for the game goes as follow:  "Every year in the small town of Camena, a group of high school seniors secretly spend the night partying on a nearby decommissioned military island.  This year the group includes you - Alex- and your newly introduced stepbrother Jonas.  You have just met up with your best friend Ren, his secret crush Nona, and Nona's constant companion Clarissa to start the night off on the beach"   Image result for oxenfree Yes I know what you are thinking it sounds like a cliched thriller but I promise you that these high school characters are not just going to be murder-fodder.  From the very beginning of the game the character development is constantly evolving.  during the first couple of minutes of the game I had found myself simple standing around on the boat where the opening scene plays out, listening to the characters chat about their lives as I grew to know them.  It was like being a invisible friend to the then, party of 3. To say that the characters in Oxenfree are constantly chatting would be a understatement.  You play as a female named Alex, who can walk, talk, interact and even do some basic environmentally based puzzles if the need arises. You will also encounter ghosts that scare and threaten you but none of these things are really what define Oxenfree, it is primarily a game about conversation, and the heart and soul of this game is the speech-bubble interface. Image result for oxenfree 1080p During this 4 - or so hour adventure there is hardly a time that the characters are not constantly chatting, with that comes the need to pick Alex's responses with the speed that you would expect in real conversations.  Oxenfree does not offer any pauses, much like real life, with constant banter between the characters with quick responses required from you to avoid the conversation moving on without you.  Not in a bad way that some games continue whilst assuming you have made a response and they go off on their next pre-programmed rant.  No, if you decide that your silence is a valid response to the last conversation the game will acknowledge that and so the game adapts.  If you were to interrupt someone mid-sentence they will notice that and react to that now, and in future conversations... This whole concept might sound similar to the systems used used in Telltale and Bioware titles but this one is much more advanced and in depth than any of the aforementioned titles.  The speed of this system at work is what truly sets Oxenfree apart.  This feature while being the pinnacle of the game can also be the most frustrating, but in the frustration it shows you just how close to real life it is.  Not giving you time to deliberate a choice, forcing you to make quick, bold and sometimes silly choices that can and will come to haunt you.  What really hits this conversation mechanic home is the stellar writing nad strong voice over performances, expect ums, uhhs, incomplete sentences, thoughts and trail offs that don't lead to anything in particular.  It really feels like you are speaking to actual human beings.  All of the attention to detail and meticulously crafted dialogue mechanic gives Oxenfree an immense story with alot of texture and depth.   Image result for oxenfree 1080p I know I have sung the praises of mainly one aspect of Oxenfree so let me try and digress slightly and give you some further insight into this title without giving too much away of what is to come. Oxenfree has a supernatural aspect to it which I will let you discover for yourselves but there are certain spots on the island that you find yourself on where you can pull out Alex's radio and tune into otherworldy frequencies.  This is where the supernatural scares will start to come in.  All the frequencies that Alex find, hint at the dark and twisted history of the island that had remained hidden for decades.  This game has you taming the supernatural forces, save your friends and trying to find the truth behind what really happened on the Island. My personal opinion of Oxenfree would be that it is a really worthwhile title, if not for the interesting storyline or the beautiful scenery, then for the wonderful dynamics and mechanics that are at play in this game. I have been quite the fan of titles like the Telltale series and games with similar mechanics but I can easily say, thanks to a little Indie Title called Oxenfree, none of the other games in this genre will be able to match this perfect little gem.  I certainly hope to see more from this studio in the future.  
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Update 1710 is here, for some!

It is that time again, yes update time.  For some the dreaded "an update is required" will strike fear into their hearts leaving them longing for the good old days of no-update consoles.  But alas this is the present and with that comes constant innovations and changes to our console of choice. This last week saw some lucky insider program members be able to update to the latest OS build namely 1710 which, for those who are interested in these things, seems to be creeping closer to the Windows 10 build which is currently at 1710 as well.  Enough of that lets jump into what new wonders await you post update, whenever that might for you non-insiders ( seriously become an insider it's free and you get access to cool stuff)

Make your house a Home

With the latest update Xbox have decided to focus on the look, feel and movement of the dashboard.  It has been updated to focus mainly on speed, and expression.  You can now place all your important thing be it, friends or games, just have them right there at a glance.  It is simple as well, select the friend or game you want, press menu,and select add to home.  This creates an entire block of contents that can be manipulated how ever you see fit. More blocks will appear according to your habits and they will evolve with you as your habits and likes and dislikes change.  If you are part of the Insider Program head over to the "custom home page" quest to learn more on how you can make your Home feel more like home.  

Effortless Guide Navigation

With the recent update using the guide has become even faster.  The new layout gets you to things you want to see, faster.  Switching between tabs is now improved by using the left stick or D-pad to quickly navigate through menus.  Sign in, Achievements, multiplayer( parties, LFG and Tournaments), people, home and recent messages, broadcasts and captures all now have their own tab in the new guide.  

Make moving easy

Copy and moving of content has been one of the major complaints on the Xbox forums and so Xbox have decided to listen to the community and they have introduced a new easier method of moving your data. Simply head to Settings>System>Storage select your connected device Use the "transfer" option to move content between harddrives Using this feature allows you to either move content in bulk by using the select all feature, or move them individually. no more waiting for your queue to empty so you can copy another game to your external drive.     With all these wonderful features it is easy to forget that this is still in development stages and that is why Xbox uses the Insider group to test and iron out the kinks before the mass roll out to the larger audience.  I myself have not experienced any of these problems and I have really given the new update a fair share of testing but Xbox do state the following issues may occur  
  • Installations may fail - reboot and start update or install again
  • Pins movement on Home causing crashes
  • Xbox Insider app might lose focus - restart app
  All in all these problem are not anything that should hamper you from deciding to be a Insider.  You can try the Insider program and see how you enjoy it.  If it is too much for you you can move to lower rings to receive less frequent and unstable builds of the OS or you can even opt- out of the Insider program in total.
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COD WW2 BETA – a View from the Trenches!

With the WW2 Beta weekend at our backs and everyone settling in to there normal mundane routine of life I thought it fitting to write a short, I hope, review,recap, call it what you want, of Call of Duty World War 2 Beta.  Please do take note that this is a Beta so don't go knocking it with statements like "Battlefield 1 is better" because my simple yet to the point reply will be " well, it is COD, not BF!"  What people forget is that COD is a completely different title to the likes of Battlefield.  COD focuses on the fast frantic pace that only a Call of Duty title can accomplish.  Yes COD has been dominating the Shooting Genre since the franchise came to fruition many years ago.  They have had there ups and downs namely Modern Warfare and Infinite Warfare respectively.  But none the less the fans keep coming back to the titles in a hope of going back to the glory days of WW2, and finally that day has come. Image result for call of duty ww2 Lets get stuck in!

the Trenches of Normandy are back!

With Call of Duty coming home, so to speak, to where it all started in World War 2 they have left all the technology where it belongs, in the future.  This makes the combat more gritty, tactical and realistic!  If they are doing this to the Multiplayer section of the game expect the Single player side to be even more gritty and tactical than ever before.  From the initial startup of the game it is instantly recognizable as a COD game.  COD players will know what I mean by this it is something I can't quite verbalize.  Yet, there are a few key differences.  Firstly boosting has been removed from the game completely which I think is awesome, it also gives the game a slightly less frantic feel adding to the tactical gameplay.  It really gives you a slightly more relaxed feeling when you know that some robotic terminator isn't going to come wall-running over your cover and murder you while you aim down the sights! Image result for call of duty ww2 beta maps The weapons also feel like accurate representations of their historical counterparts barring a few tweaks that I personally think needs to be made to the damage inflicted by the weapons.  Personally I didn't find larger caliber weapons to have that feeling of being more powerful like they should, but this is why it is still a BETA and Sledgehammer have sent out a survey to all those who partook in the BETA to get their impressions on what they would like to be changed or liked and disliked.  (good on your Sledgehammer). Image result for call of duty ww2 beta maps aachen What I did find to be a very nice touch was the ability to have a closer inspection of your gun mid-match.  Pressing the Y button would make your soldier look at his/her weapon of mass destruction and revel in all its glory or not-glory depending on how good your aim had been up to that point. At this point I can hear the BF fanboys and -girls say that the weapons are not as accurately depicted as it is in BF etc etc and I will once again say:  This is a BETA and this is COD!  right, moving on! Image result for call of duty ww2 beta weapons  

Less Frantic, but not Slow!

  With the exclusion of the technological aspects which made the previous titles like Infinite Warfare, Black Ops 3 and Advanced Warfare so fast-paced and frantic, it has made the game feel less rushed but by no means does that translate into a slow-paced game.  WW2 still requires some speedy reaction times otherwise you will find yourself at the respawn spot quite often.  This should not deter new players as you get the hang of it quickly and once you get to know the maps your deaths will slowly start appearing less and be replaced with your name being on the left of the kill feed instead of the right.  For Non-COD players new to the franchise there is going to be a rather steep learning curve if you decide to venture into the campaign before jumping into the multi player as players will be investing serious time into the multiplayer from the startImage result for call of duty ww2 beta The graphics immediately caught my eye, I had been playing BF1 pretty much non-stop from launch till about 6 months ago so i had grown accustomed to BF1 graphics and in WW2 they are different and that is exactly what made me smile.  COD isn't trying to copy Battlefield, they don't need to, they stick to their signature look and that works for them, the numbers don't lie.  The lighting and and weather is spectacular.  I noticed it even more when I was frantically scrambling through a half-demolished french farmhouse trying to flank a few unsuspecting soldiers around the corner.  The environment is  really well populated and react well to the interactions such as running through water or firing into it.  Sledgehammer games really did the research on this one in terms of capturing the time period as well as the locations and costumes.  

Perks & Classes

The Perks & classes might have a different name but they are essentially the same as previous COD titles with loadouts and perks.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  Why fix something that isn't broken? Image result for call of duty ww2 beta divisions You have the ability to choose between Divisions, for example, Airborne, Infantry, Mountain, which will each give you a different array of perks. Image result for call of duty ww2 beta divisions Basic Training skills give you the ability to carry a primary weapon as a secondary for example.  Nothing to major from previous COD titles Image result for call of duty ww2 beta divisions  

Game Modes

Image result for call of duty ww2 beta divisions During my time with the BETA I did try each mode at least once but playing solo is not as fun so I played what the majority of the party wanted to play.  Lots of Domination was played but I was mostly interested to see what the new "War" mode had in store.  In War mode you will have an attacking and defending team, there are a few loose story based objectives that the attackers need to capture in order to move on to the next eventually reaching the final objective and winning the round if captured.  During the BETA only one war map was available.  What I found that 2 of the objectives namely the Bridge and the Church was really tough to attack with rather tight choking point causing the attacking team to get slaughtered severely if they did not have a plan! Image result for call of duty ww2 beta divisions   It is a refreshing modes with endless possibilities so I really hope that Sledgehammer games can make it work to become a signature game mode for all future COD titles  

Teaching WW2 to a new audience

In a interview one for the developers said that they feel they have a huge responsibility to try and be as accurate in their portrayal of the horrors of WW2 seeing as the last time they ventured into this era was around 10 years ago.  The audience has changed significantly!  To the older audience who were gaming back when COD started out this game will be a way to show how far the franchise has come and to the new audience it will be a benchmark for future titles who want to stake a claim in the WW2-era fast paced shooters.  

Final Verdict

Call of Duty WW2 Beta was very fun and I am sure that old-COD players who have long dreamt of returning to where it all started will excited to get boots on the ground come November.  For players new to the COD franchise prepare yourselves for an immense campaign like we have come to know with all Call of Duty titles (except IW), their signature Zombie mode as well as an amazing fast paced multiplayer that will keep you saying "just one more round" until the early hours of the morning. Yes there are a few things that need to be fixed and changed and Sledgehammer games is doing a good job of ironing that out by means of surveys and BETA sessions.  So if you are not yet convinced on this title because of a few things be sure to fill out those surveys and pester them with what you want to see via social media, because we as the players have the sway and the major companies are inclined to listen if you are willing to speak up! Hope to see you all in future BETA's or in the Trenches or on the beaches come November! Image result for call of duty ww2 beta divisions    
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Razer Wolverine – the New kid

Image result for Razer Wolverine The premium and elite controller market has in the past been dominated by the likes of the Scuf brand of controllers.  Later Microsoft joined this one-sided contest and brought its A-game with the Elite controller.  Now a familiar name in both console and PC accessories is back with yet another masterpiece.  Razer bring the Wolverine controller with the hope to dethrone the mighty Elite controller from its imposing, customizable throne!  With many years of experience and countless accessories behind its name, lets see if Razer has what it takes. Image result for Razer Wolverine   Straight from the onset Razer comes out swinging in its traditional fashion of flash.  As with nearly all of Razer's latest creations they feature a multi color LED  strip that is capable of creating around 16.8 Million colors by ways of Razer's own Chroma software.  This allows you to really amp up the atmosphere by setting the LED strip to whatever color your heart may desire. Don't think that the Wolverine is just a gimmick.  It matches Microsoft's Elite controller in terms of providing 3 variants of thumb sticks, normal, conical and extra long for a varied feel depending on what is required for each occasion. Image result for Razer Wolverine Two D-pads are also provided to suite the users preference.  Be it a fixed round disc or individual D-pad buttons. The Wolverine starts taking the fight to the Elite controller with its 6 programmable paddles that can be removed if not needed.  It also boasts a quick on board control panel which allows users to swap programmable  button profiles as well as turn on "Hair-trigger mode" Image result for Razer Wolverine The Wolverine has only recently been announced so not too much is known as of yet but here is a list of what we know so far.  It will be retailing for around 160 Euros which to us is around the R2 500 mark which still comes in under the Elite controller. Here’s a list of features for the Wolverine Ultimate:
  • Remappable 2 Multi-Function Buttons & 4 Triggers
  • Razer Chroma lighting with full 16.8 million color options
  • Interchangeable D-Pad – Choice between Individual and Tilting Designs
  • Interchangeable Thumbsticks
  • Hair-Trigger Mode with Trigger-Stop for rapid-fire
  • Quick Control Panel
  • Tactile Switch Action Buttons
  • Ergonomic Non-Slip Rubber Grip
  • Razer Synapse for Xbox app
  • Razer Chroma SDK enabled
  • Play Anywhere – Play on Xbox One or PC
  • 3.5 mm audio port for stereo audio output and microphone input
  • Carrying case
  • Detachable 3 m / 10 ft lightweight braided fiber cable with Micro-USB connector
  • Approximate size: 106 mm / 4.17 in (Length) x 156 mm / 6.14 in (Width) x 66 mm / 2.60 in (Height)
  • Approximate weight (without cable): 260 g / 0.57 lbs
As more details become available and a possible test unit comes my way I will give you all a more in-depth review.   If you are a Razer-fan then I am sure that you will be interested in this one!
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Turtle Beach XO Seven Pro – The way its meant to be heard!

Turtle Beach XO Seven Pro

Headsets now-a-days have become so varied in price, looks and functionality that it is extremely difficult to look at only one.  The headsets of today range from dirt cheap to take-a-loan expensive.  With a wide variety of brands out there it is tough to make a educated decision.  I myself am a Astro man but after testing this Turtle Beach I was pleasantly surprised. Image result for turtle beach xo seven pro pics

Unboxing

  The magic starts right from the word go.  Apart from the expected headset you get Turtle Beach's own version of the Microsoft chat adapter as well as two break away cables.  One for the Xbox and the other for other devices with a in-line mic.  A microphone boom and a micro USB cable is also included.   Image result for turtle beach xo seven From the very first glance it is difficult to deny the shear beauty that is the XO Seven Pro.  Sturdy yet lightweight and from the moment of slipping them on you realize they are built for comfort!  50mm earcups with memory foam cushions makes it feel like you have your favorite pillow strapped to your head while also providing superb noise cancellation.  Whether you are using this headset for work, music or gaming it blocks out the outside world while allowing you to immerse yourself completely.  For those of you with the bigger heads the headband is also cushioned and adjustable.  

Setup

  Image result for turtle beach xo seven pro Setup could not be easier!  Simply plug the adapter into your controller, plug the headset into the adapter and you are good to go!  The microphone boom is removable if you feel the need to get away from your pesky online friends that keep nagging you to play that one title that you so utterly despise!  The minimalist approach when it comes to cables and no batteries to be charged makes this a very nice no-fuss headset.  

Sound

Image result for turtle beach xo seven pro 1080p

I know that we all skim through headset reviews to this exact point.  Not many people really care alot about what their headset looks like, if its comfortable, yes that is important but what really matters is whether it sounds good! The XO Seven Pro sounds...  GOOD!  Due to obvious limitations brought by the adapter sound is only rendered in stereo but this is nothing to be sad about.  This headset makes even stereo sound really really good!  What I personally use to differentiate a good headset from a poor one is the subtle sounds that are generally not even heard.  Take for instance a game like the Witcher 3, have you ever taken a moment and just stopped and closed your eyes and listened.  Really listened to the living environment around you. From the wind changing directions to the rustle of the leaves to your trusty steeds' hooves scraping the beaten pathway...  The XO Seven Pro allows you to indulge in every single one of those delights. What makes this headset extra special is on the adapter you have a little wonder-button called "superhuman hearing".  At a push of a button your headset goes from great to AMAZING!  With a press of a button you suddenly experience a sense of awareness that I cannot put into words!  Sounds develop more depth, bullets sound more piercing as they fly by you.  Explosions rumble into your bones!  You basically have Cinema-style sound right on your ears!      

Functionality

  Like the normal chat adapter, the Turtle Beach one comes with the ability to adjust the mix between chat and game volumes.   What the Turtle Beach offers above the standard is the ability to pick between microphone presets.  Add either bass, treble or just let the normal levels pass through.  Thanks to mic-monitoring you can adjust how much background noise get sent to your party members allowing you to avoid feedback from your tv or just ambient noises. Another added benefit to the XO Seven Pro's is the fact that they look great, meaning you can wear them out and about if you want to listen to some music while walking the dog.  The in-line mic works great for talking phone calls.  You can also personalize your headsets by exchanging the faceplates on the back of the earcups to give them that personalized feel.   Image result for turtle beach xo seven pro 1080pImage result for turtle beach xo seven     If you are in the market for a decent headset or you are tired of your entry-level gaming headset then this is definitely looking at the right headset!  You will never go wrong with purchasing a Turtle Beach headset and like many others have before, once you purchase a Turtle Beach you will never want anything else!    
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New Xbox One UI update

August has been a exceptionally quiet month for gaming with not much to talk about in general.  One of the talking points is the new Operating System for the Xbox One family.  Currently only going out to a selected few Insiders who have been able to make their way deep into the realms of the elite Alpha Ring were allowed to download the latest iteration of the OS which boast a quite significant change in the look and feel compared to the current one we all currently use.   With the new update that will effect both console and PC users, Microsoft has focused on making the experience more fun, personalized and social.  Microsoft has gone to the community and asked what we as users want and they are delivering on every new update they bring.  The major talking points are the changes coming to Home, Guide and Community as well as updates to Avatars, Game Hubs and Profiles all coming in following updates.  PC users will receive updates to the game Bar and Gaming settings menu.  Lets get a little more up close and personal with the new features:

Make it YOUR Home

.GIF of new content blocks on Xbox One The first thing that users will notice when firing up there freshly updated console will be the new Home screen.  This new design is part of a design that Microsoft is calling the fluent design.  The design is focused around speed customization and expression.  Microsoft has taken the best of all the previous versions and the best aspects thereof and has added and improved them all which has led us to this.  Your tiles and pins and everything will evolve and change along with what you do.  Playing more Forza Horizon 3 lately?  Your tiles and pins will show more Forza content.  From your friends who also play Forza and their screenshots or captured clips, to activity feeds from major figures in the Forza community. .GIF of Community UI on Xbox One Another awesome feature is the removal of the screens you flip through when moving from home, social, and my games and apps.  This means easier access and less waiting which in turn means speed and fluidity which makes us all happy!  

Your  Xbox YOUR Community

.GIF of new Activity Feed filter Getting connected with clubs and friends have been dramatically improved.  The entire activity feed has been revamped to show more content at a glance.  When you take a closer look the items and images will be displayed in glorious full screen mode.  Comment are easier to read with the new full screen comment section.  Game Hubs, Profiles and Clubs have been revamped to make them more dynamic and engaging.  Currently the only title to be found in the Arena section is Killer Instinct, this will be changing as well and Arena will soon bolster a large array of titles to get everyone in the competitive spirit a shot at the glory. Game bar on Windows 10  

Game Bars, Game Bars everywhere!

In the past enabling and disabling the Game-mode feature was a serious mission, you had to turn it on and off for individual games, not anymore!  With the new Game bar coming to the PC, the game mode button will be right there on the game bar easy to see, easy to access.  Using mixer, the game bar will give you a ton of extra features.  It will give you options to broadcast game-only audio, or system wide audio.  For the days that you might have some networking problems the kind people at Microsoft have decided to include a Xbox Live network Troubleshooter options to the settings menu right there in the Windows 10 setting menu which means you can sort out your issues quicker and get back to what you really want to do, GAMING!

Microsoft has promised to listen to the community and they are doing just that.  They have a top notch insider program that is open to anyone where you can sign up to try out the early versions of the updates before they launch to the public.  This is where feedback is given from all the insiders in terms of what needs to change, improve or removed.  Go and check out the Insider Program and become part of making Microsoft and Xbox great!
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RagingInfernoZA Takes a closer look at Destiny 2

So the Destiny 2 Beta has come and gone, we were even blessed with a couple of extra days to play the beta and get our fill of some glorious looter shooter action.   Now I’m huge Destiny fan, I love the franchise but I’m also the first to admit that it has flaws. The Destiny 2 beta would then, of course, have its own flaws to contend with. The beta starts you out in the middle of a battle where our beloved Tower is under siege from the Red Legion, a feared Cabal war tribe. If you’ve played the prequel you’d immediately know that Bungie has really sunk their teeth into the story for Destiny 2 which is a big change up for the series which previously had a very stuttered and hard to follow storyline up until the Destiny: The Taken King DLC. The story mission was littered with cut scenes as well as major NPCs popping in to our mission and interacting with us which is a first for Destiny. But while the storytelling has picked up, I felt that during the PvE play I felt constantly underpowered, now I’ll chalk it down to a change in the weapon balancing as well as it being a very limited beta. Bungie have also made changes since the beta build of the game, mainly they increased power ammo drops so you’ll be better equipped to handle some of the tougher enemies. The strike was another example of improved storytelling as well as an introduction to some new boss fight mechanics. I’m optimistic that this is not just a flash in the pan and that we’ll see more dynamic boss fights in D2. I loved the strike, despite feeling underpowered by myself with a full fireteam I felt we were always up to the challenge. The gun play in Destiny is unparalleled, running, jumping, flying around and shooting your enemies and using your abilities to escape or protect your teammates or just HAM on some enemies is just tons of fun. Now we move on to PvP, I like the reduction in team size from 6 players to 4, it feels like it will help balance the game out a bit better as well as make it more competitive. The 2 maps we played (Midtown and Endless Vale) were stunning to look at and pretty fun to play too. Both game modes on display were good fun too, I had some epic countdown games and some furiously fast and frenzied control games. I always have hope for Destiny’s PvP because Bungie are always tweaking and improving it as they go and they learn from past mistakes. So who knows? Maybe D2 can help Bungie break into the esports scene, I certainly hope it can.   So all in all, D2 felt exactly like what it is, a sequel and sequels generally bring improvements and so far, it’s looking good. So I’ll just ask you this... Will you join me fellow Guardians? Will you watch your legend grow? Hopefully I’ll see you guys in the Farm on September 6th. RagingInfernoZA, out.   James Mackay better known as RagingInfernoZA to the Xbox Community is a dedicated Gamer and Xbox Fanatic with a passion for Destiny.
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Projector vs TV – Which is best for you?

BIGGER IS BETTER, right?  Not necessarily, with the ever growing demand for screens to go bigger and bigger many people have started to look towards projectors as a way to combat this ever growing demand for a bigger screen.  In the past projectors used to be really expensive costing nearly as much as the contents of the room you are placing it in, add all the changes you need to make to accommodate the projector and its screen, most people decide against this and purchase a smaller (yet still large) TV.   Here I will give you a few pointers that should help you during this tough time of choosing whether to get a Projector as well as giving you a few pro's and con's of owning a projector.  I'm sure we all own a TV of some shape or size hence i will be focusing more on Projectors.  It is also good to note that i will not be taking 4K projectors into consideration as they are currently very expensive and would just defeat the object of looking at the best unit for best price.   Lets get straight to it, So you want to watch TV, sport or play games on a 100 inch or more screen, but you also don't want to break the bank to do it, then a projector is what you want.  Before running out to get one here are a few Pro's and Con's of Projectors. PRO'S
  • Screen size - with the right setup you can easily have a 100 inch screen right in the comfort of your own living room.  No more going to the Movie Cinemas you now have your own with the added benefit of being able to pause to go for a bathroom break or to grab another snack
 
  • Cost - As a whole projectors are cheaper than any comparable TV.  TVs that are 75 inch will cost you around the R35 000, with a projector delivering FULL HD setting you back around R10 000.
 
  • Viewing Experience -  Many people tend to think that with a larger screen comes lower brightness levels, this is true but with slightly decreased brightness comes less strain on your eyes providing you with a more comfortable and immersive experience.
  CON'S
  • Light - Light is the major drawback with owning a projector, unless you will be enjoying your projector in a room with curtains or blinds drawn you will not have the best experience possible.  Even in a dark room the picture beam can still be affected when someone passes by in front of the beam.
 
  • Lamps - Projectors have a extra added cost of lamps, depending on your usage and lamp settings, you will need to replace lamps periodically.  Lamps life generally ranges from 1 000 hours to 2 000 hours. So use it sparingly if you do not want to replace bulbs too often.
 
  • Sound - Some projectors come with built in speakers, others don't.  Realistically with a screen heading in the direction of 100 inches you would want a Home theater audio setup to take full advantage of your monstrous screen.
  So after all of that you still want a projector?  Fantastic, lets see which is best for YOU!  Projectors can be used anywhere you can find a power source, a flat surface be it a smooth wall or film screen, and enough space.  Depending on your setup you can either mount your projector to the ceiling via a roof mount or stand it on a table or a shelf. The room that you decide to turn into your cinema room will need to be dark and large enough to accommodate the screen size you wish to have.  Ambient light or light falling directly on your screen will cause images to look washed out.  This is because a projector uses true black for any part of the image that is black meaning it simply turns the light off in that area so if there is external light falling on the screen your contrast will be severely affected. Here are a few key things to consider when comparing projectors:   BRIGHTNESS - Many people will tell you brighter is better, this is not always the case.  The brighter your images become the less crisp they will be as well as the strain it places on your eyes will not help when you are trying to sit through a long sports match or a drawn out movie.  Brightness is measured in Lumens, if your room is dark then consider looking at brightness levels ranging between 1300-1500 lumens, as the ambient light increases so will the required Lumens, most projectors run around 2000 Lumens. SCREEN OPTIONS - the cheapest option is to simply display your image on a smooth wall, if this is not a option you can either buy special reflective paint to use on your walls that will help show better picture, or you can purchase a dedicated projector screen.  Many of the newer models of projector can compensate for walls that are painted in light coloured paints eg beige. CONNECTIVITY - Projectors come with garden variety connections but in modern times the only connection you should consider is HDMI, this is the only way to ensure true native HD picture being displayed. THROW DISTANCE - When setting up your new projector it is essential that you look at the throw distance, this is a calculation that can be made that will help you find the correct distance that will help your projector display at its best.  Be sure to check the throw distance and use the calculator above to work out if your projector will work in the room that you are planning to use. FAN NOISE - Projectors generate heat and they use fans to cool them, certain models can be noisy and with a increase in price so the noise levels will decrease.  This is a important thing to consider if you are someone who who has a problem with noise.  It is also important to mention that you should place your projector in a area where it can have enough air and space to have enough air flow to ensure that it doesn't overheat.   If some of these points I have mentioned can be a possible problem that you will not be able to solve then maybe investing in a large TV would be the best option.  My personal opinion would be to analyze what your main use will be and whether or not buying a projector can become an inconvenience.  If it is then a TV is the way to go.Hooked xbox one up to the projector for our daughter     I really hope this article has shed some light on projectors and what you should look out for when considering or buying one.  For any further questions send me a mail and I will gladly help and give opinions.        
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Weekend Deals

Payday seems like it will never come around... yet we still have this urge to seek out specials and see where we can spend our hard earned money! Have a look at the below, should your pockets feel generous this weekend! Or maybe the wife/husband is away this weekend? We tend to spend a little more when nobody is looking...

DION WIRED:

500GB XBOX One S + 12 Month Live card + FIFA

4 TB External Drive (Because we NEED more space for our games!)

HI-FI CORP:

500GB Xbox One + FIFA17

MAKRO:

500GB Xbox One + FIFA17 + The Evil Within

Have a good weekend fellow humans!  
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Citadel: Forged with Fire, What we Know!

This is not Ark with spells or Harry Potter living in Tamriel, This is Citadel: Forged with Fire, a new Sandbox MMORPG that will knock you right off the chair you currently sitting on. Last night the Indie Developer Blue Isle Studios announced their new up and coming Open World Game, surprising the masses with their launch trailer. Blue Isle Studios is the same developer who brought us Slender: The Arrival and Valley. Early axes is lucky enough to bring you the ins and outs of what we know so far and we will be covering Citadel: Forged with Fire in-depth. We will have hands-on with the early access closed beta when it arrives, as we have been granted early access into the game. What we know so far: In Citadel: Forged with Fire, players are given complete freedom to determine their own destiny, become the ultimate wizard that you have always dreamed about. Forge alliances with fellow players, Visit uncharted territories, tame mighty beasts or hunt other wizards. The path you take is yours to choose. Game Features Taming: Tame Orcs, Horses Direwolves Dragons and other mighty creatures while you travel the vast lands. Alliances: Build your ultimate house or castle establish a hierarchy and prepare to battle other houses to become the ultimate Wizard. Explorations: In this massive open world you will be able to visit sweeping plains dense forests, craggy mountains, infested swamps or frozen snow swept lands. Is it a bird or a plane? Use your majestic powers to take to the skies on a dragon an eagle or on the back of a broomstick the choice is yours. Build or destroy castles: Why stay in a house when you can be the king? Build epic castles and use your magic abilities to fortify or enhance your fortress. If building is not for you then go and destroy your enemies castle with the dynamic destruction system. I’m here for the red carpet event: Dress your mage Whichever way you want, customization is endless with the large variety of clothing and weapon options available. You can make yourself stand out. No more running into another player that looks like your identical twin.   Make sure to follow us at Early Axes as we will bring you all the juicy insights and hands on impressions of Citadel: Forged with Fire.
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Titanfall 2 – One Year Later

Titanfall 2, a name that is met with many different reactions, none of them bad.  But what really sprung to my attention when I asked around regarding this title was the fact that so many people would say something along the lines of “ wow I still really really want  to get that” or “ I am definitely getting it once it’s on special”.  So many people love the game without even having played it which is very rare, not many other franchises are able to get that reaction from people but yet Titanfall 2 has not received the attention and fanfare that it truly deserves.  So let’s have a look at Titanfall 2 roughly a year post launch!   Titanfall 2 was created by Respawn and EA which already gives it quite a pedigree, but where I think it met its first stumbling block was when it got released too close to a big Rival in Battlefield 1, secondly not much hype was made of Titanfall 2 in comparison with Battlefield 1 which was also created by EA and DICE.  Never the less Titanfall 2 soldiered on and in good fashion.  Let me get into the details for those of you considering picking up this title.
  • Campaign
Image result for titanfall 2 1080p wallpaper Respawn and EA really listened to the fan after the lack of success of the Original Titanfall, so with that they gave the sequel a single player campaign.  Not only did they give you a roughly 7.5 hour campaign, they gave you 7.5 hours of pure unadulterated magic!  The visuals are spectacular, polished and vibrant!  The characters, be they human or Mech are loveable, yes I love my mech don’t judge me.  You feel a sense of attachment and care for your metal friend!  The story might, at times, be a little cliché but it is easily forgotten when you truly take it what is given to you!  Even if you had to play this game only for the campaign I would recommend it!
  • Multiplayer
Image result for titanfall 2 1080p wallpaper If you haven’t gone out and bought Titanfall 2 yet, and you are still reading this article then this section should make you jump up and get it.  Multiplayer is where Titanfall 2 truly stands head and shoulders above the rest, it is simply intoxicating!  As a pilot you have a few abilities which I won’t get into too much but it creates a fluidity of motion that can only be compared to Mirror’s Edge but even more fast paced and accurate.  You can seamlessly go from grappling up a building to jumping to a wall, wallrunning, jump while cloaked into an amazing execution.  Did I mention the amazing ability to use Mech robots?  With the creators ditching the old Titan loadout system for a more distinct variety of Titans each with their own skill set it made for a more balanced and fair fights.  The multiplayer experience also offers a lot in terms of continuing to play, with lots of unlockables etc.  Servers are stable I have been able to count on one hand the amount of issues I have experienced over my time with Titanfall 2.  Matchmaking is also very good, I never felt like I was completely out played by an opposing team which means the balancing is really well managed.  With around 14 game modes and a always increasing plan on providing more in the future this game has really got a good recipe going.
  • Season pass/ DLC’s
Image result for titanfall 2 1080p wallpaper Ahhh what can I say about this topic, many people hate the idea of paying extra for premium features others agree with it that only the hardcore players should be willing to spend extra money on features to make them better.  With Titles like Battlefield and the COD franchise sticking to the Paid-DLC approach it has seen, especially Battlefield 1 in South Africa, a rift between players, many servers are not used and stand empty because not enough season pass owners play on them, for various reasons.  If you are the only one of your friends with a season pass, playing on DLC servers can be very lonely.  Yet again Titanfall 2 has the jump on the competition.  It delivers regular and meaningful updates and DLC’s to ALL players.  Yes you read correctly all DLC’s are free to everyone who owns the game.  Each DLC to date has produced new maps, Titans, pilots and even a game mode!  This is very good for the game health as you won’t close off your player base behind paid-walls.
  • Conclusion
Image result for titanfall 2 1080p Roughly one year later and Titanfall 2 is only improving, it might have been a little slow out of the blocks but ever since that it has been ever improving and producing good content that really treats its players to a amazing experience.  This title puts a smile on my face and makes my heart race every time I start it up.  I will enjoy it until the next iteration makes its appearance and I will be sure to grab it. Titanfall 2 might be considered as a less of a success compared to larger titles like Battlefield and Call of Duty but it is a extremely well made and polished game!  It has a smaller player base than its rivals but I have never had problem finding a match to play.  For anyone who has not yet experienced the exhilaration of calling down your first Titanfall, when you play it you will know what I mean, this game is a gem and you truly need this as part of your library! Hope to see you all on the battleground Pilots. PS : if you haven't heard yet TitanFall 2 is heading to the EA ACCESS vault really soon!
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Becoming a streamer part 2 – Microphones

By now you have read my first article where I covered 3 capture cards and you have got one and you have since started setting up your streams and hopefully have had a few people watch your streams.  Now its time to step it up, time to start involving your audience in the stream, yes they might send messages that you can read on the side of your screen or however you have set it up, but you are playing, you don't have time to text back and when you do speak back to your audience you get crappy sound from your headset microphone.  Time to get a proper MICROPHONE!  Lets have a look at a few microphone options. a very important thing to understand before reading this article is to understand how these microphones get tested.  Things I looked at was:
  • Recording quality - we tested all these mics in the "cardioid" setting meaning infront of mic, which is where you will be when using these mics
  • Adaptability - these mics need to perform well under varied circumstances hence the best mic might not be here because it only performs well in specific enviroment
  • Form Factor - this might not be a fashion show but you don't want to stare at a hideous creature on your desk when streaming, and neither do your viewers
  • Price - because we are not rich, yet!
 
  • RAZER SEIREN PRO
Once again Razer comes to the party with a absolute monster of a microphone that can hold its own with some of the best in the business.  The build quality of this unit is superb, almost everything is metal with only a few plastic pieces scattered around but nothing to be concerned about.  The front features a LED that shows Mic gain, headphone gain and current polar pattern.  Directly below this is the headphone volume control as well as a mute button.  This mic features 4 polar patterns namely stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional.  Each of these patterns have their own purpose and they all deliver very well.  I can go on about this microphone and all the neat little buttons it has and lights that make it so much more attractive.  This unit also has an extremely low noise floor which is great if you don't have a room or studio that is perfectly quiet. Add in the fact that it has amazing frequency response and you have a great microphone. The Razer Seiren pro prices at R4 500.  
  • TURTLE BEACH STREAM MIC
Related image Turtle Beach is a well known name among gamers with their astounding range of Headsets, but they have proved that they can compete on the Streaming Mic stage as well with their aptly named Stream mic.  A general rule I have is the less you pay the less you should expect but this mic defies this rule, the construction is functional using varied materials to give it a decent weight and feel.  In my opinion it has a classic look with it swing arm and shape of grill with a nice turtle beach emblem at the top with a very nice looking mute button on the front with a LED ring to show muted or not.  The Mic comes with a magnitude of audio options and a really comprehensive program to adjust every little aspect of the audio quality, the only downside to many options is that it can be difficult to find the perfect setting for you.  As said earlier this mic is cheaper than the Razer meaning lesser audio quality but no reason to ignore this microphone as a real option.  The really unique feature is that it can be integrated to your party chat and any 3.5mm headset can be connected to it and it will feature a mic monitoring feedback. Turtle Beach will give you this Stream Mic for only R 1 800.  ( personally my best choice for first time streamers)  
  • BLUE YETI MICROPHONE
Straight out of the block I need to tell you this mic is seriously big, it is very tall so take this into consideration if you are considering this unit.  This microphone is a really pleasing unit, it delivers really good sound quality and is relatively inexpensive for the quality of audio it records.  It is very comfortable in an array for circumstances that would flummox most mics during stream sessions.  It might fall short when it comes to gizmo's and tweak-ability compared to the previously mentioned mics but this is a very versatile unit which delivers really good sound and has decent build quality for the price.  The only negative is when using the mute button the click can be picked up in your stream which could lead to some annoying clicks if you are planning on muting during your sessions.  The design is nothing exotic or out of this world but for some this is a good thing, it looks like a mic, it acts like a mic and performs like a mic, therefore, it must be a mic. The Blue Yeti retails for R3 500   Good luck all future streamers, always remember to persevere and you will succeed!
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July Game Releases

[vc_column_text]My oh my, 2017 is worse than the Ford GT Horizon Edition in terms of speed! I bet you if the two of them could race, the year 2017 would win hands down… might even overlap the Ford GT![/vc_column_text] [vc_column_text]Maybe this year is flying by, or time is just flying due to my XBOX. Time flies when you are having fun, right? Well, in that case, July is going to be a slow month![/vc_column_text] [vc_column_text]Have a look at the games set to release this July:[/vc_column_text]

11 July – Hunting Simulator | Genre: Open-world hunting simulator

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dbh48RB3JM

11 July – Fable Fortune | Genre: Battle card

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6n4AQxYOrw

11 July – Minecraft Story Mode Season 2: The Telltale series | Genre: Adventure game

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvTGMFMJq40

11 July – Black The Fall

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1zDNFmT1V0

12 July – Iron Crypticle | Genre: 2D platformer action

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b36HoNrKIvA

14 July – Serial Cleaner | Genre: Stealth action

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UicWJUQ-JU8

18 July – 8 Bit Armies | Genre: Real-time strategy

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5PmVTSlyZE

19 July – Moon Hunters | Genre: Indie, adventure RPG

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLKPTnH3pMY

20 July – Gigantic | Genre: Third-person shooter

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP0BRaoqr-A

21 July – Conga Master | Genre: Other

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGtkIuDs9Mk

21 July – Fortnite | Genre: Survival

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiG8DuoHVVk

25 July – Aven Colony | Genre: City building strategy

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmel-lLcZlQ

28 July – Super Cloudbuilt | Genre: Indie action

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXqAobmB0SE<&w  
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Tell us your Xbox Story!

Why Xbox?   My question is vague, but have you ever thought, what made you choose your beloved console of choice? I grew up gaming, I had a dad that was kind enough to always ensure we had a PC that was gaming capable in the house, although he never gamed, I would spend weekends playing to my heart’s desire. I have gamed on PC and was a dedicated PC gamer at one stage and I also spent a fair share of time on PlayStation.  

Then I met the Xbox 360 and my entire life changed, Not in an instant but over time, especially when the Xbox One came along.  This is where I truly engulfed myself in weird and wonderful environments, spending countless hours trying to explore the entire map, find that one last puzzle piece or slaying that final beast.

Xbox has changed everything that gaming meant to me, not due to the games but due to the community. Xbox has something uniquely different to offer, a lot of folks would disagree and say but PlayStation is also a console with a great community and has better exclusive games. It also might just be personal preference, but have you ever asked yourself why a certain console just seems right?

Firstly, the great community. I have played games that I would never even thought of buying just because members in the community recommended it and I never regretted it once. Secondly, I have made and met actual friends and what I mean with actual friends is, that the Xbox community is such an amazing bunch of people that I have actually made real long term friends, from gaming together to “braaing” together. There is absolutely nothing better than to go online and quickly have a party chat with your friends without even starting up a game. Thirdly, the Xbox offers more overall, I have 2 little ones running around and I am adamant to teach them everything I know of gaming, my daughter is 5 years old and she is a Star Wars Fanatic so with Co-pilot we can Play together, her hands aren’t that big to reach all the buttons yet, but seeing that face light up as she shoots something is a feeling you can’t describe and the same goes for my son who is 3 and can’t get enough of Cars (the movie) and cars in general (I have probably watched Cars 1 and 2 a hundred times by now) But having co-pilot once again I can spend real quality time with him playing Forza Horizon 3. We do hundreds of stuff together apart from gaming but Xbox offers you a full family experience like nothing on earth and that is my reason for owning an Xbox and also why I will never part ways with it. Gaming is a magnificent place to spend time in, but Gaming on Xbox is life changing and really caters for all.   Give us your Xbox Story and you could win a 3 Month live Gold voucher. Comment your story below.
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Becoming a streamer part 1 – Capture cards

Most gamers play for more than just a way to pass the time or because they like gaming a little.  True gamers are passionate people and they are passionate about what they love, GAMING!  With the likes of Youtube, Twitch and Mixer promoting gamers to create and stream live content so that millions of viewers can watch so to has the demand for better capturing equipment.  With the Gaming industry sitting at just under $100 Billion and streamers like controversial PewDiePie racking up $15 million a year more people are trying to get into streaming and for this one of the crucial tools you will need is a capture card.  So lets have a look at 3 of your best options around.  
  • ELGATO GAME CAPTURE HD 60
Image result for ELGATO capture hd 60 When it comes to capture card Elgato is the name everyone knows.  This version of the device doesn't disappoint.  Its sleek pebble-like design makes for easy positioning and it blends in seamlessly with your current setup.  Setup is straight forward, HDMI cable from console to Elgato, from Elgato to your TV, and a USB cable from Elgato to PC.  Software comes with the card that allows for editing and recording or streaming directly to your preferred location.  This card packs alot of punch and can capture in 1080p at 60 fps and because of the upgrade to USB 3.0 all of this is achieved with nearly 0 latency.  If you want to add commentary to your streams its as simple as plugging a mic into the appropriate slot and off you go.  One of the downsides is that you won't have the master copy feature which means while streaming in one quality you wont be able to record the same project in a different quality.  Overall the Elgato HD 60 S is a good card for anyone and you will struggle to find something to compete with it. The Elgato HD 60 S retails around the R4 200 mark which is a competitive price.  
  • RAZER RIPSAW
Razer is the new kid on the block when it comes to capture cards, but Razer is a well known company who has produced some seriously good 3rd party equipment for PC and console.  Once again the Razer Ripsaw doesn't disappoint with really easy setup in terms of hardware, a user friendly software.  Packaging is spectacular in true Razer fashion.  The design is sleek and professional with a smooth black finish and the signature razer green light on the front.  The Ripsaw also features close to 0 latency via its USB 3.0 port.  One of the best features of the Ripsaw is the compatibility with both Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) as well as Xsplit which gives you the freedom to use the software that you are familiar with. The Razer Ripsaw retails for around R3 000 depending on where you shop.  
  • ROXIO GAMECAPTURE HD PRO
Roxio being the lesser known name among these 3 capture cards doesn't make it any less of a good option,  the Roxio does all the things that the previous 2 cards do, it captures in 1080p in either 30fps or 60fps, it can live stream to Youtube, Twitch or Mixer, it offers the ability to customize and edit your captured content using its own software, but where it differs is in the connection options.  If you are considering using older consoles not fitted with HDMI but only component connections then the Roxio has you covered.  Other than that it is very similar to previously mentioned cards. Coming in as the cheapest option between the 3 cards at R 1800, this would be my recommendation for new streamers who are still getting into the business and don't have a massive budget.   Before making a decision on buying a capture card please consider a few things.  Streaming is very popular but it is also done by many, so for you to be successful it doesn't mean that you will need the best equipment, what it does mean is that you will need to decide what you want to achieve and what you want to stream.  Once you have decided on this then you will need to decide on the type of personality you want to portray while streaming as well as discover what group of viewers you want to appeal to.  After all of this you will need to be dedicated.  You might get 0 views for the first month.  Don't Quit!  Keep trying and trying new things, be creative and innovative, that is what its all about! Good luck!  Hope to see many of your streams out there in the future!
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Headset Review – Astro A40 TR

It is nearly Payday weekend!  If you are in the market for a new Headset, this article is for YOU!   This Review might be slightly biased as the Astro A40's are my everyday headsets, but this also makes me the perfect person to tell you all the advantages, and the extremely few disadvantages, of this magnificent headset.  I will be discussing numerous aspects of the A40's and I will list them accordingly.  It is important to note that the Astro A40 range comes in 2 distinct colours, namely white and black, this is not just by chance.  each colour is for a specific console, black being for the PS and the white variant for the Xbox.  I will be reviewing on the Xbox One, so lets Jump in... little Xbox joke there... funny?  nope?  okay then...  
  • DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY
  Lets us start from the moment that you unbox your newly acquired Astro A40 TR headset.  From the moment i opened the big square box and set my eyes on this headset I was inlove.  Everything is beautifully packaged.  Headset, cables, 3.5mm headphone cord, Toslink cable, micro USB to USB, and a USB power cord, all supplied.  Some setup guides, which is almost not needed as the setup is so easy, and ofcourse the TR Amp.  Once unpacked and installed and set up, few settings to be changed in your sound options, and I was ready to go. The build on the headset is very solid and well weighted, it uses a mix of hard plastics and metals to give it a strong and robust feel while not feeling heavy when wearing.  The material earcups are extremely comfortable and the slider allows for precise preferences to be set that result in extreme comfort and no sweating around the ears during marathon sessions.  Astro allows for endless modification kits, sold separately,  which gives you the option for leather earcups and different back-end plates as well as more cushioning on top of your head if the standard one is not enough.  The snap in and snap out mic can be placed on either side depending on your preference by simply removing the back-end cup coversThe A40 headset design is a rather aggressive gaming style, while I personally like it I can understand how this might not appeal to many.  The cables provided might be a problem for some who sit further than around 3m from the TV or console.  For players and user who are desk bound this should be no problem.  But before you make up your mind and decide to go with something else, do continue reading this review for there is large amounts of good things coming your way.    
  • AUDIO QUALITY
  Image result for astro a40 tr amp   I have experienced many headsets over my gaming career ranging from dedicated audio headsets, to expensive gaming headsets, to in-ear earpieces and I can say, without a doubt, that the A40's deliver exceptional sound across all boards and they rank up there with headsets that out price them 4:1.  They are simply breathtaking.  Whether you are using them for gaming, music or movies they deliver on each.  The TR amplifier improves clarity and delivers amazing quality sound that warrants the price bump from the cheaper Astro A40 mixamp pro option.  I have tested this headset amidst many varieties of sound be it the clarity of classical music, the fast paced drums and riffs of metal, the deep bass of house and dubstep and the mixture and chaos of Battlefield 1, to the pinpoint audio required for those tense standoffs in Rainbow 6 Siege.  It might sound like I am harping on about this but I cannot express the sound quality, in Siege this headset alone has made me win in clutch situations due to the fact that I can hear magazines dropping on the floor during reloads which give away their positions.  This might sound silly but I see all you Siege players going "wow" at the other end of your screens.  The TR amp (TR which stands for Tournament Ready, yes they use these as standard for Gaming Tournaments) has 4 equalizer options which can easily be changed and customized with the Astro software which is free to download from their website.  The Microphone is decent too it provides a feedback so you know when you are shouting or annoying your party members with breathing into the mic.  It is important to note that even tho almost every major headset brand says it can do Dolby Surround via a headset, this is only simulated, same with the A40, the Dolby surround option on the TR amp gives you a simulated Surround sound which is actually one of the better ones I have tested.  It is also good to note that the TR amp has a daisy chain connection option which is perfect if you want to hook up a few A40 TR amps and create a party chat via a LAN for zero lag.    
  • SHOULD I CHOOSE THE A40 TR's?
  Let me first point out a few things that you should take note of,  firstly if you are multi console user then it is good to know that these TR amps won't work on different consoles, they are console specific so if you are looking for something to use you might need to buy a second Amp (they are sold separately) for the second console.  Secondly, the Surround Sound, I cannot stress this enough if you are looking for a console headset that delivers true surround sound you are going to struggle.  It is simply near-impossible to fit enough drivers, at proper sizes and correct spacing inside a earcup, hence many manufacturers go for single drivers in each ear but do some magic on software processing side to give it the illusion of 5.1 surround sound.  Lastly, which I think is extremely important is the customer service and this is where the guys and gals at Astro really go above and beyond, before I purchased my own A40 TR I did a large amount of research and i read a few people mention that they were not supplied with a inline mute cable.  I promptly emailed their support staff and asked.  And so the wait began, I was shocked when 1.5 hours later i received a reply, not a automated reply, a actual reply from my new friend at Astro,  I chatted to him and within 20min my problem was solved, not by assuring me that the cable is in the box, which it is, but by asking me for my shipping details and promptly sent me one, free of charge, he then apologized for it taking 4-5 working days to ship from USA to RSA!  I had my inline cable before I even bought my headset!  The Service and Support offered by Astro is astounding, much like there product, simply amazing. What I am trying to explain is that even though they are pricey ( coming in at R 3500 roughly) but you are not just purchasing a headset this is an investment that comes with really good support and I would recommend it to anyone!  
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Demo Land Ramblings: Styx – Shards of Darkness

To infinity and beyond... This is my first pick from the available titles on the XBOX store. No “rAgrets”! …Go on then, go google it. Let’s be honest, the cinematic that welcomed me wasn’t all that impressive from a visual point of view. Some parts made me think they built the images on Minecraft. Copy, paste and bam. There is your block cup sir. The humour made up for every block showed though! Let’s take a peep through the keyhole, shall we. I have never played this game before and whilst playing I thought the plot to be a little goblin stealing from humans trying to escape prison. If you have played this game, you would know that this is not even remotely close to the actual plot. As per our friend Wikipedia; Styx must infiltrate the Dark Elven city of Korangar to uncover why the dark elves have formed an alliance with the dwarves. Maybe I was a little close? No? Okay… moving on. Camera angle view is incredible! I feel like they definitely found the sweet spot of placing the protagonist. Default control sensitivity just right. The developers did a lot of right here and they need a pat on the back for that. The absolute best? Left D-pad saves your game for you. How is this not a standard for all games!? One flaw I have to mention is the “combat”. Terrible, best you make sure you do not get detected or you will suffer a quick frustrating death. Listen up Cyanide, we understand that this is supposed to be a stealth game, but seriously? At least give the little goblin a chance! I would compare this game to Assassins Creed Chronicles series. Update 2.0. You know, when that 2D game finally releases in 3D… You have your odd little wooden buildings, your guards, jumping, sliding, rope climbing, throwing stuff. The list goes on. Not too long, but it does. A humorous, underrated gem this is. Sadly, the demo only gives us the first level for free. Would I buy the full game? Already have!
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What’s hot or Not in July!

E3 feels as if it was ages ago, they gave us a taste of what is to come in the next couple of months. They showcased some awesome and exciting new titles but as we all know all good things come to an end and now the real wait is upon us, as we slumber back into our daily routines grinding away at this weird senseless thing called real life. There is nothing worse than waiting for a game you desperately desire. July certainly is not one of the biggest Gaming months but at least there is something for everyone…..I hope. Let’s dive straight into things and take a look at what is coming to our beloved Xbox this July. 1. Black the Fall Become friends with weird and random creatures and solve puzzle in this atmospheric side swiping shooter, coming to Xbox on the 11th of July 2. Minecraft Story Mode: season 2 Join old friends and create new ones when you take Jesse on a brand new adventure, Grab the 5 part second season on the 11th of July.

3.  Destiny 2 Beta

This is what a lot of gamers have been waiting for. You can finally get your hands on Destiny 2’s beta sessions. Players that have Early access to Destiny 2 ‘s beta can jump right in on the 19th of July. For those without early access to the Beta do not fear as you will only need to wait 2 days until you can play to your heart's content. Open Beta starts on the 21st of July. 4. Fortnite Fortnite is a cooperative sandbox survival game and it is all about exploration, scavenging the lands for items, building and fortifying structures and creating epic weapons. Your aim will be to work together to scavenge loot and build your fortress by day and defend it by night from waves and waves of monsters. Fortnite arrives on the 25th of July Before I head off to my normal life cycle and prepare myself to level up (although I still have about 3 months to go before that happens) make sure to pop in at our resident Tech expert Bigjapester11 for your daily dose of everything Xbox and be sure to go check out Cod3bend3r as she brings you the hottest current gaming and Xbox deals and indulge yourself in her epic reviews of current and older games.
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Tips and Tricks – Part 2

Once again we are back with some more Tips and Tricks to get the most out of your favorite black ( or white) box in your house, yes you know how to play your favorite game but are you using it to its full potential?  Fear not for I am here to help show you the road to being a Xbox-Pro.  Continue Reading and become a master!  
  • STREAM FROM XBOX TO WINDOWS 10 PC
  You can now stream all your awesome footage straight to a Windows 10 device which makes it alot easier to capture all those clips that you want to brag to your friends about.  All you need to do is ensure that both devices are connected to the same network and that you have the xbox app installed on this device.  First step is to set up your console for streaming, head over to settings - preferences and ensure that "allow streaming to other device" is ticked.  Now head over to the device and open the xbox app and be sure to click connect on bottom left of screen.  It is as easy as that!  
  • TAKE A SCREENSHOT
  We have all wanted to take a shot of that one moment you were MVP or top of the scoreboard and you had no mates around to prove it...  Well Xbox has heard your mutters under your breath asking for screenshots and they have made it really easy as well.  Simply double-tap your xbox button (the glowing xbox orb) and a menu like above will appear and simply hit Y for screenshot or X for a recording of the last 30 seconds.  These recordings will be uploaded to your feed which you can either see on your console under activity feed otherwise view them on your xbox app on any of your devices!  Now you can show all your friends how well you can play, even if its only when no one is watching.  
  • FREE TO PLAY LIBRARY
  Image result for f2p games on xbox one 720p With the ever increasing price of living, gaming has to be the friend who gets picked last for all the teams, fortunately Xbox has you covered, yet again, like you ever doubted this!  Xbox delivers a ever growing Free to Play (F2P) library with amazing titles entering this category on a regular basis.  All you need to do is head over to the store and search under the free to play section and you will discover gems like Warframe (picture above), Crossout, Paladins, World of Tanks to name just a few!  This means you can have hours and hours of playing without even spending a cent on new games!  If that isn't amazing I don't know what is!  PS: these titles are not enough i hear someone saying?  Get Xbox live Gold and get free titles EVERY month!  
  • EDIT YOUR GAMECLIPS STRAIGHT ON YOUR XBOX
  Fancy yourself to be a creative genius who can give some of the big name Hollywood a run for their money, then upload Studio is for you.  Edit and spruce up all your gaming clips to make them look like they are ready for the bigscreen.  add voice overs, cut some bad aiming or driving from your clip, include mesmerizing effects to anything all from the comfort of your lounge and controller in hand.  When your masterpiece is complete its as simple as sharing to social media or uploading it your OneDrive account to keep and share for years to come!  
  • PIN GAMES AND APPS TO HOME PAGE
  With all the free to play titles at hand and Backward Compatibility (which i mentioned in my previous Tips and Tricks) you are bound to end up with a good couple of titles installed.  This will become alot of effort to navigate around so why not make it easier by selecting what you want to see on a regular basis and stick them to your home screen.  Simple, navigate to the game or app you want and press the MENU button on your controller and select "Pin to Home".  Now head to the home screen and scroll down to the bottom and you will see all your pinned tiles right there for easy access.        
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Co-Pilot : the way to make non-gamers become GAMERS!

We have all had moments where you just cannot get passed that sticky mission or cannot get that lap time required to progress to the next level.  This is where in the past, you would either sling slurs and profanities at the screen, turn of the console declaring " who has won now" and then running to your room to cry... just me?... I digress, Microsoft has answered the call to all gamers with either non-gamer significant others or gamers who just need a helping hand without handing over that controller to a mate that then proceeds to make you like a total amateur at your favorite title.  Introducing CO-PILOT! This new little nifty feature allows you to assigned 2 controllers to a single profile which means that both controllers' inputs will register and resulting actions will occur as if they are coming from a single controller. I hear people muttering " why do I need this Feature I know how to game" but think of it this way my fellow gamers.  We have many fellow gamers who for some reason might not have the full function of their hands or fingers which in turn makes it difficult for them to play.  Microsoft is really doing a good thing here allowing for players like this to be able to either configure buttons or allowing for a second controller to assist with the inputs that are troubling the "pilot" player.  Another awesome feature this brings is the ability to get your significant other into gaming by assisting them and essentially playing together without taking the controller from the new players hand to get past tricky bits.  This is great for the kids who are always asking for mom and dad to help get past this part of the game. It is important to note that this feature is online on local play, no online feature.   for those of you wanting to try out Co-Pilot here is a link to the official xbox support page on how to access this amazing feature. Once Again i would just like to commend Microsoft on this feature  I am sure this will make many players extremely happy.   Stay tuned for another amazing Feature heading your way soon!   Thanks for Reading...   BigJapester11  
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Call of Duty WW2 Multiplayer Breakdown!

Back in my school days I was a Call of Duty freak, every weekend we would race down to the nearest shop, stock up on all your gaming session essentials which included ……… every sugary digestible thing that was available. Then we would make our way to our closest internet café which hosted COD2 sessions on weekends, that is where we lived and breathed week in and week out. When Call of Duty WW2 was announced, nostalgia grabbed me like a lion grabs a springbok on a hunt, I was hooked and couldn’t contain myself it was as if something inside of me was lost and then I found it. Just the thought of getting back to the good old classic Call of Duty blew my mind,  getting down and dirty with mud (blood) on your face ………. You big disgrace, waving your banner all over the place … we will………. we will rock you……………. Ok that escalated quickly but now at least it is out of my system. Let's get down to the good stuff , Call of Duty the original amazing heart stopping awesomeness is back and this is what you can expect from WW2’s multiplayer: Head Quarters Another new and inviting addition to the series is Head Quarters a central hub which supports up to 48 players at any given time, where you can socialize, drop in and out of multiplayer games, create and setup 1v1 duals or even try out the new firing range. This brings an end to the boring lobbies and creates something entirely different. Kills streaks are back If you watched the trailer you would have noticed planes dropping in and creating absolute chaos. These options and a variety of other options will become available to you when you hit that certain kill streak. Divisions Create a class is out and Divisions are in and this brings a more realistic approach to the Call of Duty series. There are 5 different division for either Axis and Allies each with its own look and set of skills. Perks have been removed but customizing your soldier is still available and will be better than before. Certain divisions will be more suitable for different maps and gives each player a feeling of importance. The Divisions are:
  • Infantry
  • Armor
  • Airborne
  • Mountain
Divisions are classes but you won’t be limited to one division you can swop out weapons and gear as you feel and according to your play style or map needs. War Mode A new mode that grabbed my attention as they announced it. It’s almost a battlefield 1 spin off from the very popular operations mode. War Mode places you in a 6v6 scenario where you and your team either have to defend or attack. Attacking teams will have various objectives to clear or eliminate which the other team then has to defend. This is an exciting new mode and I for one am curious to see how it will play. Beta Xbox one beta will start on the 1st of September and run through until the 4th of September The next major live stream will feature the Zombie mode and I am sure that most hardcore Call of Duty Fans are looking forward to see some serious Nazi Zombie action. Call of duty arrives on the 3rd of November 2017, to be part of the Beta Pre order now.
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Bethesda’s E3 Conference what Xbox users can expect!

Hey Everyone! missed the Bethesda Conference? well ill give you the short and sweet of  what went down. I am quite the Bethesda fan and was super excited to see what they had to offer at this year’s E3 conference. Bethesda managed to showcase 9 games in total and good news is that all of them are coming out in 2017. I personally thought that Bethesda held back a bit and I was expecting a bit more but Let’s get straight into things and have a look at what went down at Bethesda’s E3 conference of 2017 and what will be coming to Xbox one.   1. New content coming to Fallout 4 and Skyrim through creation clubs Bethesda is still working hard on bringing new content to some of its older games that are still doing incredibly well. Independent creators and Bethesda employees brings new content to the likes of Skyrim and Fallout. Ranging from new weapons, armor accessories and more. Creation Club is coming to Xbox one in 2017.   2. Bethesda reveals 2 new add-ons for the elder scrolls online They haven’t quite finished putting in the hours for The Elder Scrolls online that recently saw Morrowind making its way to the already gigantic world and now Bethesda has announced two more expansions coming later this year. Horns of the Reach and Clockwork City is currently in development and not a lot was said about these expansions. If you are an Elder Scrolls Online fan we will keep you posted on further details.   3. The Elder Scroll legend is getting a Skyrim expansion The Elder Scrolls: Legends the Card Game featuring Characters from the Elder Scrolls series will soon be updated with new content ranging from new arenas, tournament and a Dark Brotherhood Story Mode.  Also making its way is the Skyrim expansion, Heroes of Skyrim arriving June 29th   4. The Evil within 2 A Rumor that turned into reality as The Evil Within 2 was announced.  Check out the E3 announcement trailer above. Coming on Friday the 13th October 2017   5.Dishonored: death of the outsider Another announcement was the stand alone entry in the Dishonored series named Dishonored: Death of the Outsider. The Game will keep some of its iconic characters and will feature Daud and Billie Lurk from previous installments. Dishonored: Death of the Outsider will be available on Xbox One on the 15th of September.   6.Wolfenstein II : The New Colossus For the finally Bethesda topped of the night (or early hours of the morning if you were watching) with the announcement of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. The Game will take place in Roswell, New Orleans and a “Post Nuclear Manhattan” It is set to arrive on 27 October 2017 Remember to stop by during the week of E3 for exclusive news on everything Xbox . Make sure you check out our tech guy for up to date Xbox console news and other tech related posts and when you done there pop in at Cod3bend3r's blogs to get your inside info on epic local deals on gaming and other Xbox related items.      
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E3 so far

E3 2017 is only into its second day and already it has over delivered in so many areas!  I am going to give you my Top surprises for E3 so far.  Please note that up to this point not all developers have had their chance to announce their new titles so for now ill be looking at Electronic Arts, Bethesda and Microsoft.  So lets jump in.
  • ELECTRONIC ARTS 
EA is bringing a serious amount of  titles to the consumer.  They have a host of new titles and a few familiar faces with new fresh takes on them.  We will see the likes of FIFA 18 with cover star Renaldo, Madden 18 gets a story mode, NBA live 18 will combine street hoops with a tournament style play, Battlefield 1 gets night maps and a Russian expansion that brings females to the battlefield, Need for Speed Payback takes a page from the Fast and the Furious book,  A Way Out takes prison escaping to a split screen co-op place,  Bioware and EA bring us Anthemcould it be a Destiny fighter? What really stood out to me was Battlefront 2, EA has gone through a lot of trouble to iron out all the kinks left by the previous iteration.  Although they mostly focused on multiplayer, it was confirmed that there will be a campaign and that this game will span all the eras of Star Wars.  the Trailer, here, really shows what a beautiful and lush game this will be, Star Wars and non-Star Wars fans will rejoice.  Please excuse the trailer as this is how EA announced it.
  • BETHESDA
Bethesda is a intriguing company to say the least, they opened their E3 from their own Theme park named Bethesdaland where they announced a couple of really exciting titles.  Both Fallout 4 and DOOM are getting a VR version ( FALLOUT VR video here), Creation Lab is somewhere where external developers can create mods for titles like Fallout 4.  Dishonored 2  gets a stand-alone-DLC called Death of the Outsider. The Evil Within 2 delivers another frightening yet slick trailer for what seems to be nail-biting stuff.  this all builds up to the cacophony of excitement that culminated into the Return of BJ Blazkowicz in Wolfenstein 2:The new Colossus which in true Bethesda style looks simply amazing, Check it out here.
  • MICROSOFT
Microsoft had a lot to announce, and I mean A LOT!  I'm going to start with the elephant in the room, the XBOX X the new seriously beefed up console with all its 4K glory will be hitting us on 7th November WORLDWIDE yes worldwide!  I'm not going to get into the console too much, for that check out my article on it.   Forza 7 was announced in all its beautiful 4K glory, this time giving you more cars and more driver customization. Metro:Exodus impressed with astounding visuals and the eeriness that has made it so notorious, be sure to keep this one on your radars.  Assassins Creed: Origins  is going back to ancient times, this time heading to Egyptian times with 2 new protagonists.  Here are a few more titles, Anthem, Ashen, Code Vein, DBZ Fighter Z, Life is Strange, Ori and the will of Wisps.  The most notable ones to follow were Minecraft in wonderful 4K blocks, Zombie survival State of Decay 2, Mass Destruction in Crackdown 3the Highly anticipated PlayerUnknown's Battleground but to me the game that stole the show is my Favorite, the sea-faring,swashbuckling, mead drinking, ship plundering masterpiece Sea of Thieves! That is it for E3 up to today, Tonight is Ubisoft so make sure to catch all the action
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XBOX X – THE WAIT IS OVER!

THE WAIT IS OVER!!!  I know that most of you are really really excited for the new XBOX X ( aka Scorpio) like we all knew it up to last night.  This is Really a massive step forward into the new age of true 4K gaming, so without further ado lets jump into the specs of this new beast that is going to revolutionize the way we see 4 k gaming! Lets get all the Technical specs out of the way first:
  • CPU - 8 custom x86 cores @ 2.3GHz
  • GPU - 40 custom units @ 1172 MHz
  • Memory - 12Gb GDDR5
  • Memory Bandwidth - 326GB/s
  • Optical - 4K UHD Blu-Ray
  • 8 millions + pixels
  • HDR
  • Wide Color Gamut
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Liquid cooled vapor chamber
Now that all the technical people are all passed out from the little heart attack caused by those monstrous specs, we can chat about this beast in more everyday terms. Image result for xbox X I know many of you are saying: " But I don't have a 4K tv so what does the Xbox X provide me with that my current XB1 or XB1 S can't do already?  Microsoft has assured us that the Xbox X has been made with 1080p user in mind as well.  The X will be taking its 4k native and down scaling it to true 1080p with a much better picture validity.  This means even on your 1080p TV the X will make everything better, this means better picture quality and with the processing power of the X loading times will be drastically improved as well.
  • DOLBY ATMOS
Image result for xbox one X Microsoft has long been working on incorporating Atmos into the gaming world, for those who don't know what this means here is a quick explanation: traditional surround sound places sound into specific channels  but with Atmos sounds can be placed in a 3D space meaning channels will be shared to create pin-point accuracy.  For the first time height will be added to the spectrum as well as creating realistic sounds for objects passing overhead.
  • COMPATIBILITY
With the massive response to backward compatibility on the XB1 and XB1S the new X will be compatible with all your Xbox 1 accessories and gadgets.  All your games will play on the new console from day one and be improved in many areas mainly improved fidelity and isotropic filtering.
  • CRAFTSMANSHIP
Image result for xbox one X Microsoft has really listened to the consumer on every level. I'm not going to go into the exact spec of every transistor and processor, you can view this here but it has been given a liquid vapor cooling system that is usually used on high end servers.  A new Power Management system has been created especially for the X, it will optimize each console for each individual task meaning peak performance all of the time.  You are probably thinking with all this power crammed under the hood surely it must have a seriously large case holding it in, but no, this console will be the smallest Xbox yet. I will be doing a few follow up articles as everything settles down and more info becomes available but for now have a look at what Microsoft will be offering in the future in this link.  Check out my recap of the Microsoft E3 games announcement as well in a day or two. important to note that the Xbox X is for ALL, not only 4K tv owners please don't forget that and with a Price tag of R7499 it's not that badly priced, don't believe me check out for yourselves right here.    
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Xbox One Tips and Tricks

Ever wondered if you are really getting the most out of your awesome investment that you have purchased? Well this article will give you a couple of Tips and Tricks on how to get the most out of your Xbox One console and make you a Pro among a sea of Noobs.   Expand your storage with a External Harddrive We all remember the days where 500gb use to be plenty of space (am I giving away my age...)  but the fact is now a days 500Gbs just isn't enough.  Luckily if you have a external harddrive that is USB 3.0 and has a larger capacity than 256Gb then you can use that to expand your storage on your Xbox one.  Just pop it in to one of the USB drives in your console, head over to the storage section of the settings and format that drive to the Xbox format ( follow the prompts)  and as easy as that you have expanded your storage!   Check how much data your Xbox is using We all know how expensive internet and data costs are and we all try to keep track of our data usage as best we can.  Luckily Microsoft has once again come to the rescue providing us with a built in bandwidth monitor right at our fingertips.  Just simply head over to Settings - Network - Bandwidth Usage. No more needing to to try and figure out where your months data has gone and who your should blame for it!   Backward Compatibility Most of us come from the xbox 360 days and we usually all have a fairly large game library but now we have moved on to the Xbox one generation and now your 360 library is just gathering dust.  Fear not you do not have to revert to your old console to experience the magic of the past.  With the new Backward compatibility feature you can now play most of your library, be it digital or disc based, on your xbox one.  With disc based games simply pop the disc into the drive and let it install and start gaming!  Digital games will show up in your ready to install list as normal! Now go and dust off that Red Dead Redemption and start playing it and all these titles   Play Anywhere Games on Xbox one and Windows 10 Are you going away and can't take your trusty Xbox along?  Do not fret nor fear, Microsoft has you covered as always, introducing Play Anywhere!  With Play Anywhere you can now start a game on your Xbox one and when you leave your home and fire up your PC and play that same game, you can continue right where you left it.  This initiative from Microsoft will currently only be available on specific titles such as Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, ReCore, Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2.  Important to note that these titles you will purchase it once and be able to play on both platforms Always on Feature No one likes to come home and be excited to play that game that you have been burning to get your hands on but you turn your console on only to find there is a update to do first.  With the new Always-On feature this will be a thing of the past.  this feature, found in the power option, will leave your console in a semi- on state which will allow it to check for and do updates even when the console is "off" this way you will always arrive home to a updated and ready to go console!   I hope this article will help some of you become more adept at using the magical console that is the Xbox one!  I have only scraped the surface of what this console is capable of so in future articles i will address more of the features.   thanks for reading.
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3 Open World Games To Keep an Eye On!

Some Developers don't climb on the hype train and over hype or over sell a game and sometimes it pays off well. I have taken three games that has serious potential of becoming "Silent Master pieces" and which grabbed my attention from the get go. 1. Sea of Thieves

Like to sail the seas, go treasure hunting and shout random words that end off with arrrrrrrrrr…. Well this might just be the game for you.

I had my first experience this weekend within the insider program and had a chance to play for about 2 hours and I must say this is a CRAZY lot of fun.

Sea of thieves has a strong emphasis on multiplayer and playing alone does not reap any rewards. From sailing and navigating to letting down the anchors and reloading cannons, every single aspect is team based and must be done by the player. The creators definitely went for realism but still keeping it extremely fun within a stunning game world.

I definitely recommend that you sign up with the insider program.

Click here to become an Insider:  Sea of thieves Insider

2. ELEX

This is a game to keep an eye out for, a completely new IP from Piranha Bytes who also brought us the Gothic and Risen series. ELEX is an upcoming sci-fi fantasy RPG that blends sci-fi fantasy with normal Fantasy and takes place on the stunning world of Magalan. I’m a sucker for open world games and RPG’s and from looking at some gameplay footage, ELEX grabbed my attention immediately. Magalan is a planet struck by a meteor that caused massive destruction and threatens to undo everything the people of the world accomplished. Those who survived the impact now struggle to survive against nature and each other as faction’s battle for control. At the center of this war is the new element ELEX which is a precious and limited resource brought by the meteor impact and can power machines, grant magical properties and even sculpt new life. ELEX releases on Xbox One October 17th, 2017. Make sure you check out this awesome trailer of ELEX 3. Dragon’s Dogma Dragon’s Dogma came to Xbox 360 and was a game that slipped in silently but made a huge impact with its awesome play style, game mechanics and party system. Now Dragon’s Dogma returns to Xbox one and if you haven’t played it or heard of it make sure to keep an eye on it. In, Dragon’s Dogma, your character must track down the dragon that curb-stomped you in the intro and literally stole your heart. The game allows you to create an AI companion called a Pawn, and even hire Pawns created by other players. The combat is fast and brutal, like Devil May Cry, with the ability to scale larger enemies like Shadow of the Colossus. Dragon’s Dogma has no official release date but the studio has confirmed a 2017 release.

If there are other Open World games or RPG's you cant wait for let me know in the comment section. Hope all of you have an Amazing Sunday because tomorrow its all back to grinding away at normal office hours.

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FINAL FANTASY XV – More free content and updates continue to arrive!

#FFXVSnapshot2 winners! Below are the winning photos of Square Enix's latest contest. It was Gladio's turn in the spotlight this time round! Make sure to check them out in Takka's Pit Stop in Hammerhead! Free Trendy outfit! That's right - gratis May 2017 Game Update: The latest free game update for FFXV is live to download:
  • Implementation of a survey regarding future updates (available until end of June 2017)
  • Addition of a new dish, based on user feedback
  • Announcement of winning snapshots from second photo contest (Viewable at Takka's Pit Stop in Hammerhead)
  • Resolution of an issue that caused the game to crash when accessing Timed Quest leaderboards
  • Various bug fixes
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Captain Jack’s Weekly Wrap Up

Welcome to Captain Jack's Weekly Wrap Up. We saw the delay of Red Dead Redemption 2, the reveal of Need for Speed Payback and Far Cry 5, and the release of  TEKKEN 7. Games are revealed so frequently in this day and age that keeping up with all the news can be a bit much.  Let me run you through some of the highlights over the past two weeks and keep you up to speed with what is happening with XboxSa and what to look out for. The Folks over at Rock Star have decided to delay RDR2 until the First quarter of 2018. They feel that the game needs more polish and they want to bring a quality and finished product at the time of arrival. In my opinion it’s a great call from Rock Star to rather delay than to give the world an unfinished Game. Over to Ubisoft, where they announced and revealed the latest installment to the Far Cry series, Far Cry 5. Set in the backyard of the USA, Far Cry 5 will take Place in Montana and from the reveal trailers and screenshots it looks visually spectacular. Hopefully Ubisoft pulls out all the stops to ensure that this is their next master piece. Far Cry 5 is set to arrive February 2018. To All racing and Need for Speed fanatics, EA has also dropped the reveal trailer for Need for Speed: Payback. Set in the underworld of Fortune Valley, you and your crew are reunited by a search for vengeance against The House, a nefarious cartel that rules the city’s casinos, criminals, and cops Need for Speed: Payback arrives on 10 November 2017 Check out the trailer right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kc-OcOduEx0 TEKKEN fans, TEKKEN 7 was released on the 2nd of June and features stunning story-driven cinematic 3D battles and intense duels with innovative fighting mechanics. The game is the ninth installment in the TEKKEN series, and the first to make use of the Unreal Engine. Make sure you grab this GEM of a game which had critics giving it great reviews and placing it high up on the must Play list.   At XboxSA we strive to bring you the best the hottest and the most up to date gaming, tech and xbox news. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and check out our Team on our new Website. Get to know the team and feel free to send us questions or ideas that you think might work. Remember folks at XboxSA you are the MVP!
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GAMESHARING – HOW DO I DO IT?

Do you want games at half the price? Of course you do! Do you have a buddy that you love to game with but he or she doesn’t quite have the same game library that you have?  Fear not!  There is a solution and I am here to enlighten you. I am sure you have all heard people mentioning “gamesharing” I am here to explain it all to you! The xbox one comes with a feature allowing you to own multiple consoles in different locations but allowing you to purchase a digital game once and playing them across both these consoles by using the  “home xbox” feature.  Gamesharing allows you to share games with one (and only one) other account.   WHAT YOU NEED  
  • An Xbox one Console
  • A trusted friend (someone you trust to have access to your Live passwords etc)
  • Xbox Live account
 
  1. Acquire Friend/family member’s details
  This is the most important part of gamesharing, you will be giving this person sensitive information so be sure to trust them.  We take no responsibility for anything that happens regarding sharing of information.  You need this persons Live email account as well as their password.  Once you have this you can move on to the next step.  
  1. Add new account to your xbox one console
  Time to create a new account on your console, head over to the create profile section and create an account using your friend/ family members details.  Once created, log in with their profile.  
  1. Set as Home Console
Now that you are signed in to your friend/family members profile head over to the settings – personalization –my home xbox and then select make this my home xbox. ( take note this can only be changed 3 times in a space of 365 days from 1st change) Once this is done your friend can choose to follow the same steps using your details.  
  1. Checking your new library
You can now log back into your own profile and head over to your games & apps section and navigate to your Ready to install area.  You should now see all your friends games and apps ready to download   EXTRAS  
  • EA Access can be shared as well
  • Xbox Live Gold can also be shared
  • Both persons can play same game at same time
  • You can only game share with one person at a time
  • Once game sharing has been set up, both parties can change your live passwords without affecting anything.
  I hope my quick guide to Gamesharing will help you all!  Feel free to send me mails on what I can help you with in future.             Save
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Bargain Hunter: Weekend Console Deals!

Today, I will be as useless as the "G" in lasagna. Why..? Miss Cod3bend3r, shouldn't you be catching up on chores..? This is what the weekend is for? Well no, it's the WEEKEND and that means it is time to catch up on some precious gaming! Shame on you for thinking anything less. So put up those "Do not disturb" signs - gaming in progress and stack up some trophies! Don't have an XBOX yet? Check out the best deals for this weekend below: CONSOLE DEALS: MAKRO CONSOLE DEALS: DION WIRED CONSOLE DEALS: GAME As always, happy gaming! Enjoy the weekend fellow junkies Cod3bend3r, over and out.   Save
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YOU CAN WIN!

XboxSA is currently having a competition that stretches until the 16th of June 2017, where you can stand a chance to win a download code for Gears Of War 4!
Simply join our Facebook group: JOIN NOW Thereafter you add your friends that love Xbox and gaming just as much as you do and have them comment your name HERE.
The person with the most 'tags' will win the Gears Of War 4 Download key!
Save Save Save
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GAMES WITH GOLD 01/6/2017

JUNE 2017 GAMES WITH GOLD RUN DOWN

 

GAMES AVAILABLE FROM 1 JUNE 2017 UNTIL 15 JUNE 2017:

Game Title: SpeedRunners Info: In a city filled with superheroes, getting to crimes becomes a competition on its own. Fortunately there are enough rockets, bombs, grappling hooks, spikes, and other goodies lying around -- to make the competition fun and fast. Welcome to SpeedRunners. SpeedRunners is a 4 player competitive platformer with grappling hooks, power-ups, and interactive environments. Run, jump, swing around, fire rockets, grapple onto people to knock them off screen. Retail: R 157.00 DOWNLOAD NOW Game Title: Phantom Dust (Multiplayer Content Pack) Info: *For Multiplayer Use Only Includes 3 copies of every Skill from the Psycho, Optical, and Nature schools and a 2-School Arsenal. The Multiplayer Content Pack for Phantom Dust takes your multiplayer game to a new level with 3 copies of all Skills from the Psycho, Optical and Nature schools, as well as a 2-School Arsenal to create your deck! The Psycho school provides telekinetic Skills to move objects with your mind and effective close to mid-range attacks. Attack power is high so these Skills are great for aggressive styles. The Optical school uses the power of light. These Skills provide many fast mid to long-range attacks. Optical defensive Skills don’t provide high protection but are low cost. Employ these Skills for effective long-range combat styles on larger stages. The Nature school draws its powerful Skills from nature and the environment. It’s best used for close to mid-range play styles and has many defensive options. Skills are higher cost but powerful and versatile, and many can affect everyone in the environment, including the player. This content can be applied once per save profile. Download the content again to apply to new save profiles. Retail: R 249.00 DOWNLOAD NOW Game Title: Assassin's Creed 3 Info: The American Colonies, 1775. It’s a time of civil unrest and political upheaval in the Americas. As a Native American Assassin fights to protect his land and his people he will ignite the flames of a young nation’s revolution. In Assassin’s Creed® III, eliminate your enemies with an array of new weapons including guns, bows, tomahawks, and trusty hidden blades. The game has been in development for over 3 years and features the new Ubisoft-AnvilNext engine, a stunning technology that will revolutionize gaming with powerful graphics, lifelike animations, immersive combat, and advanced physics. With an all new setting, assassin and engine, Assassin’s Creed® III takes you back to the American Revolutionary War, but not the one you’ve read about in history books. Retail: R 99.00 DOWNLOAD NOW

GAMES AVAILABLE FROM THE 16th JUNE 2017 UNTIL THE 30th OF JUNE 2017:

Game Title: Watchdogs Info: IN TODAY’S HYPER-CONNECTED WORLD, CHICAGO OPERATES UNDER CTOS, THE MOST ADVANCED COMPUTER NETWORK IN AMERICA. As Aiden Pearce, you can hack into this entire system and make Chicago your ultimate weapon in your quest for vengeance. But what happens when your personal quest collides with an entire city? Retail: R 299.00 Game Title: Dragon Age: Origins Info: From the makers of Mass Effect comes the dark fantasy epic: You are a Grey Warden, one of the last of a legendary order of guardians. With the return of mankind's ancient foe and the kingdom engulfed in civil war, you have been chosen by fate to unite the shattered lands and slay the archdemon once and for all. (1) Immerse yourself in a shattered world on the brink of annihilation; (2) Experience complex moral decisions that have game-changing consequences; (3) Sculpt your hero in your own image or fantasy; (4) Engage in bone-crushing, visceral combat against massive and terrifying creatures Retail: R 399.00 Save Save Save
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Elite controllers (Which one will work for you?)

Elite controllers In the market for a new controller after smashing your current one after dying in that boss battle for the umpteenth time?  Consider yourself more than just a casual gamer?  Well then these two controllers will make all the difference in getting that final kill, goal or combo. Today we will look at 2 of the leading “elite” controllers on the market, be aware that  these controllers don’t come cheap so be prepared for hefty price tags.  SCUF INFINITY 1 vs XBOX ONE ELITE CONTROLLER
  • DESIGN
This will be the first thing people will notice when seeing your newly bought controller and if you are willing to spend the money this is where the Scuf really does shine.  The elite comes with metal on the sticks, triggers, bumpers and D-pad the rest is finished in a matte black which gives it a refined appearance.  The Scuf has the same matte finish in a variety of colours, the sticks, triggers bumpers and D-pad is finished with a gloss plastic.  When you visit the Scuf Customization link <here> you will be able to design your controller as understated or garish as you want.
  • TRIGGERS
In competitive situations like all gamers find ourselves in on a regular basis a quick trigger finger means the difference between life and death, these controllers have you covered.  The elite features a hair lock trigger that allows you to restrict the travel on each trigger independently by a flick of a switch on the back of the controller, quick and easy.  The Infinity requires a little more effort, it requires you to loosen and tighten a screw using a special tool supplied.  
  • PADDLES
Both these controllers come with up to 4 paddles, the Scuf choosing to go with vertically mounted paddles, they are stiff and responsive but can feel a little out of reach.  The Infinity 1 comes mapped standard for the face buttons, changing this will need you to have added the electro-magnetic remapping feature during the build and then use the Mag key to change inputs.  Changing this can become a little intricate. The Elite controller paddles are all removable as they are all attached using magnets.  They are much better positioned meaning no adjustment of your grip to reach them.  Remapping of these paddles is made easy with the Accessories app on both your PC and console and they can be done on a per-game basis.
  • STICKS
The Scuf option has many options with you only picking one during the build (or pre-built) option, be it domed, long, medium or short or concave with the same length options. Each stick can also be individually picked.  Swopping them with extra sticks bought from Scuf can also be tedious as you need to use a tool.  This is where the Elite is leaps and bound ahead, featuring 3 variants of sticks all packaged in the clamshell case.  These sticks are all metal shafts and plastic pads, again the sticks are held in by strong magnets making changing them really easy.
  • BUTTON MAPPING
The Scuf only allows you to map the paddles of your controller and only a single profile meaning if you jump from one game to another and need to remap it can take some time.  The Elite on the other hand is a customizers dream.  It allows you to customize and remap every button using game specific presets, adjust various sensitivities of triggers and sticks.  To make it even more impressive you can do a second profile and switch between them by a flick of a slider meaning you can jump from one game to another without skipping a beat.
  • PRICE
If you are looking at controllers like these you have surely done your homework and you know that prices for these beasts don’t come cheap, at time of creating this article prices were as following: Elite controller: R2999 Scuf Infinity 1: starting at $119.95 (ROE 1$ = R12.84) - R1540.16 Please take not the Infinity 1 price is without customizations these prices will depend on features selected.     Save
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Best xbox headsets under R1000

Whether you want to be part of the chaos of war in Battlefield 1, get drawn into the wonderful world of Witcher 3, explore Australia in Forza Horizon 3 or just chat with a buddy while playing a few casual rounds of Fifa 17, a good gaming headset is an essential part of your gaming hardware.  But unfortunately Headsets can range from just a couple of Rands to a couple of Thousands, Luckily BigJapester is here to help you find a couple of headsets for around a R1000.   Check out this quick guide below:  
  1. Polk Audio Striker XZ
  The Polk audio Striker XZ is a very distinct headset with its Signature L design.  Unfortunately this does not do its structural integrity any good and this headset feels flimsy in hand.  It does however make up for it in its ability to deliver crisp and clear high end sounds from any form of media.  Another of this headsets strengths is the chat loop function allowing you to hear your own voice during those loud and intense moments.  They are also very comfortable sporting leather padded cups and adjustable headpiece.  
  1. Turtle Beach Recon 50x
  The Turtle beach range spands across a large price range this being the cheapest in the family you can expect a drop in build quality but this comes at an advantage as it makes this headset super light which helps for those long sessions.  the cups are cladded in synthetic leather and doesn’t make your ears sweat like many other headsets.  The sound, as mentioned before this headset is entry level, is entry level, deep lows and crisp highs at low to medium volume but they don’t quite meet the occasion when they need to, the mic on the other hand is great at not picking up ambient sounds.  
  1. XBOX one official stereo headset
This headset really is perfect for the budget gamer, they have a sleek design that matches the xbox one console perfectly, and the cans are big and very comfortable with significant amount of noise cancellation.  The mic folds away neatly into the headband.  The sounds from this headset ranges well with lows getting down low and the highs reaching higher than you would expect from a headset priced like this one!  The adapter is also great for changing balance between game and chat audio on the fly.
  1. Steelseries Siberia X100
Steelseries has long been known for making good hardware and this headset is no different. The simple design makes it sleek and doesn’t make you look like a complete clown if you were to wear it somewhere else. The cups are well padded and breathe well, no sweaty ears here!  The Sound is top notch and hold up the brand name even at this entry level headset.  Solid lows and good highs make this a good option for the budget gamer.  
  1. Plantronics RIG Flex LX
This headset is the most expensive on the list but for good reason, the cups are large and fit over most ears and they are well padded for awesome comfort.  The headband adjusts to all sizes.  It comes with interchangeable mics, noise cancelling boom mic for those crazy cacophony moments!  Or switch to the inline mic for those times you need to chat to your buddies.  The 40mm drivers allow superb sound with the LFE (enhanced low frequency effect).  This headset ticks all the boxes if you can drop a little extra cash.     Hope this article can shed some light and help make the tough decision of purchasing an all round good gaming headset. Article By: BigJapester   Check out my next article where I will be reviewing more mid-ranged headsets! Save
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