When TurtleBeach unleashed the first generation of Stealth 600 and 700 headsets, simply put, it blew the competition away! Delivering a wireless headset (that uses the Xbox One wireless connection natively) that is extremely capable, well-built and within a price range that had not been seen before, was simply astounding. The Stealth range took the fight to all other major brands who, at the time, did not think that wireless headsets should ever be marketed and the more entry-level user and wireless were strictly reserved for the upper-tier users. The Stealth range was obviously not without its flaws.
A couple of years down the line and we now have the Stealth 700 Generation 2 on our desk and ready to be put through its paced and compared directly to its predecessor, let's get straight to it!
The Stealth 700 looks like a cross between the more bare-boned Stealth 600, and the Elite Atlas. The headset is predominantly black with a few silver accents. The headband is made from steel and can retract and expand to suit your fit. The headrest has respectable foam across the whole headband covered in leatherette that feels of good quality. The earcups can rotate as well as swivel, although the swivel is more limited. Non the less the swivel and rotate feature allows for a good fit for most heads. The earcups although rather on the small side for my personal taste do have really thick foam which is covered by leatherette on the outside, and mesh for the areas against your head. The leatherette outer allows for great sound insulation while the mesh allows for less heat build-up. This is a well-thought-out design and personally, the thick foam earcups are something many other headsets could learn from.
The TurtleBeach Stealth 700 Gen 2, like most TurtleBeach headsets, do cater for those who wear glasses and the slight indentation right where your spectacle arms go should work wonderfully, allowing minimal sound to escape through those openings. Although the earcup foam is really thick they are also wide, which means the space for your ear is not that big, TurtleBeach has tried to make them fit better by making the opening angled so that your ears should sit inside better.
The boom mic sits on the left ear. It flips up and down, but personally, I feel it could flip down a bit further as I tend to pick it up in my peripheral vision. The mic can also be angled in to sit closer to the face. The rest of the controls, which include the volume roller, a chat mixer, a mode and Bluetooth button, a flush power button, and the USB-C connector for charging.
I have had my trepidations about the comfort of TurtleBeach headsets and the Stealth 600 Gen 1, for one, felt terrible when wearing them. Not so much the fit but the mesh earcups were extremely rough and caused significant irritation around my ears. When the Gen 2 versions came along I was very happy to see that the mesh on the earcups had been changed which dramatically changed the comfort. The Stealth 600 Gen 2 was comfortable, nothing to write home about but not terrible. During long sessions the Stealth 600 would get very warm around the ears, that would be my only immediate complaint. So on to the Stealth 700 Gen 2, we go...
The first thing I notice regarding the Stealth 700 is the clamping force. The headset clamps really tight and that explains the need for the really thick earcups. You need them to counter the clamping force. Some might not like the clamp but personally, I like it as it lessens the force on the top of your head. Fortunately, the Stealth 700 does not weigh too much so there is nearly no hanging pressure on the top of your head and generally it doesn't feel like you are wearing a big headset. The thick earcups do a good job of passive noise suppression but not to the level where you might not hear someone speaking to you. The earcups are also noticeably cooler than any of the previous headsets and wearing them for extended periods of time should not be a problem.
Performance & Features
Performance-wise the Stealth 700 is neither here nor there. It is by no means a terrible-sounding headset with a very clear mid-range, slightly blunted highs, and decent kicking lows when listening to music. Taking it to the terror that is Escape from Tarkov where it really brought out the tiny creaks and snaps of a possible enemy creeping up on you through the brush. Explosions however felt a little lackluster and short of a little oomph. Jumping over to Cyberpunk 2077 and diving into the streets of night city where the chaos that comes from the hustle and bustle of the streets can be perfectly encapsulated with the Stealth 700 Gen 2.
Something to take note of is the fact that the Stealth 700 Gen 2 might come across as a little bareboned. The Stealth 700 Gen 2 makes use of the TurtleBeach Audio HUB which is an app that you can load on your smartphone and use to control many of the settings of the headset. The app itself is rather empty and the moment, but for good reason. The Generation 2 headsets from Turtle Beach are aimed to be cross-generational Headsets, meaning they will work on Xbox One and PS4, as well as Series S/X and PS5. Due to this TurtleBeach has decided to leave features such as surround sound out as the new consoles all feature it natively.
A nice feature of using the headset with the app connected is that you will be able to take calls and listen to voice notes etc straight from the headset which is specifically handy when you need to chat to that pesky telemarketer mid-game! The battery life is also not something to scoff at. turtle beach reckons that the Stealth 700 is good for 20 hours of playback on a single charge, this seems to be an underestimate because during our review we comfortably went past the 20-hour mark with battery life to spare.
The Stealth range also incorporates two forms of connectivity. For Console, the Xbox version uses the Xbox Wireless technology where on PS it uses Bluetooth. Both very acceptable connection methods. On PC the dongle can be used for the 2.4ghz wireless signal or if your PC features Bluetooth, you can decide to go that route as well. Either way, there is no reason the Stealth 700 won't work for you!
Lastly, the microphone quality is surprisingly good. When chatting in discord without noise cancellation active in discord the mic is still crisp and clear and picks up very little background noise. Switching over to the console where there is less software to make devices sound good, the result was very similar. Voices did seem slightly "further away" on console compared to PC but once again it is better than many other headsets
The Stealth 700 Gen 2 is a wonderfully comfortable and easy-to-use wireless headset. The simple plug&play setup and good out-the-box audio is something that users who don't want the fuss of setting up and connecting extremely cumbersome equipment would absolutely love. The Stealth 700 Gen 2 might not be everyone's cup of tea in terms of size and fit but it does sit really snug and the build feels absolutely on point. Considering the features that are crammed into this headset, wireless connectivity, Bluetooth, great audio, and the ability to work seamlessly with the new range of consoles, suddenly the slightly steeper price doesn't seem so bad...
When the Stealth range initially launched there were phenomenally groundbreaking in the features they brought to the table as well as their price. The package looked so good that one could forgive a few simple flaws. A couple of years down the line and with a second-generation being launched one would expect similar leaps and bounds in terms of bang for your buck, and this is where the Stealth 700 Gen 2 currently falls short. Featuring all the features that made the Generation 1 so wonderful and only adding cross-generation support in a price range that will make you think twice before you buy could really hurt the Stealth 700 Gen 2.
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review content
When the Razer Naga Pro landed on my desk I found myself at a bit of a crossroad. The Naga has been a name that has been revered amongst MMO and RPG players around the world. It is known as "that mouse with all the buttons on the side". So, the problem that I faced, was the fact that I am not much of an MMO or RPG player. For this very reason, I put the Razer Naga Pro in its box and continued to unpack the Deathadder V2 which came for review. By the evening I could not contain myself and decided to give the Naga Pro a chance... Boy oh boy what a treat!
From the moment I placed the Razer Naga Pro in my hand, the first thing that came to mind was the fact that this mouse will get a large number of mixed opinions. The Naga Pro will by no means be a generally-loved or generally-hated mouse. No, it will have a cult following as well as many haters. The design and grip will not be to everyone's liking. The Naga Pro is not much different from the previous generation of Nagas. It is a big mouse that sits rather wide in your palm, filling most of my hand. This might not be ideal for those who prefer the small mice that can be easily thrown and flicked around a mousepad. Each side of the Naga Pro is dressed with ample sized textured grip areas on both the inside and outside. But one of the most prominent things I found was where my pinky finger ended up. The Naga Pro has a finger rest on the outside of the mouse, allowing for your pinky, or ring if you have larger hands, to rest off the mousepad. At first glance, I thought that this could be really annoying and would hamper my way of handling the mouse, but with time spent on the Naga Pro I found the finger rest to be a feature I now search for in every mouse I review.
Taking a closer look at the mouse. Topside you will find the standard left and right buttons. A scroll wheel in the middle that has a faintly ribbed feel which does feel good under your finger. The edges of the scroll wheel do light up faintly with the RGB but nothing too drastic. Just below the scroll wheel, there is a DPI up and down. If I have to be extremely critical this could have been a single dpi button and maybe a profile button, but this is me knit-picking! Flipping the Naga Pro over will show the power toggle, which when in the middle is off, sliding it to one side will give you a 2.4GHz wireless connection, flicking to the other side is a Bluetooth connection. The profile switch is also situated close by and last but not least there are the skates. At first glance, the skates seem like normal plastic pieces. But once you start sliding the behemoth of a mouse around you can instantly feel how those skates do work! The Razer Naga Pro does not slide the way you expect. This monster is light and nimble.
The Side Panels
The side panels are where the magic happens for the Razer Naga Pro. The Naga comes with three different side panels to suit every occasion. The first and most eye-catching panel is the 12 button panel that is probably ever MMO player's dream. Next, there is the six-button panel, with a three-button horizontally in two vertical rows. This I used more when playing RPG games where you need to use your quick select slots and you can't take your hands off the keys for fear of losing your hard-earned loot, or your life. And Last but not least is the traditional two-button set up with a large textured grip area to fill the void.
I was using the 12 button setup for when I dove back into World of Warcraft, for review and nostalgia purposes. My biggest concern was that I might get confused and bash the wrong button mid-fight. The buttons do protrude just enough for your mind to quite accurately distinguish between them. Moving over to the 6 button panel. The buttons on the 6 button panel do not seem like it was designed by the same people that made the 12 and 2 button panels. the buttons feel like they protrude more than they should and it does feel like, at times, I thumbed the wrong button. After spending some time with it I did however find that it is better to press it with the inside joint of your thumb rather than the usual inside of the finger. Last but not the least, the two-button panel. This is probably the most traditional setup and the buttons are big and easy to find but provide enough resistance to not have you bump them and let off an accidental grenade.
What truly makes the interchangeable side panels so great is that they are swappable on the fly. Simply pull the one you are using off, and slide the other one in place, the strong magnets will do the rest. And there you go, the RGB will take over and Razer Synapse will automatically detect the side panel and apply your settings for that panel.
Did I mention the neatly tucked away space to store the USB dongle that you can reach when popping off the side panel, clever Razer!
Apart from the Razer Nagas obvious features, the side panels, it still has a couple of other tricks up its sleeve. Starting with the 2.4 GHz wireless connection. Razer claims this to be the best wireless connection ever, saying that there is less than 1ms delay in their connection. Whether this is true or not we can't prove it but what I can say is that it is really good, I mean REALLY good! Many other reviewers have noted that they do have issues with the 2.4GHz where it would drop away or fail to connect at times. For the whole time that I spent with the Razer Naga Pro, I did not have a single hiccup. It was simply splendid. One of the other advantages of 2.4GHz wireless is that it uses significantly less power than other connections. Razer claims that with your RGB turned off, you can squeeze an amazing 100 hours of battery life. I did not ever measure exact hours but even with RGB set to ambient awareness I easily kept on fighting and gliding for a couple of days. Maybe I have been spoilt with the Razer Viper Ultimate, but charging your mouse with a conventional cable doesn't quite cut it anymore. Fortunately, the universal charging dock (sold separately) can charge your Naga Pro as well.
The next feature that is easily overlooked due to the fact that nearly all of this generation of Razer mice feature it, is the optical switches. Gone are the days of using green, yellow, blue, brown, and every other color of the rainbow -switches. No, we have reached the time of the optical (queue the epic music). Not only are they even faster and more accurate than any of the mechanical switches, but they also sound and feel perfect. Even going back to my Viper Ultimate Pro felt different and strange. Optical switches are, simply put, the next big thing that could happen to mice and keyboards.
The Razer Naga Pro might seem like it is designed and intended for a very specific audience. And you won't be wrong to think of it that way. Hell, I felt exactly the same way. But once you start using the rather large Naga Pro you will find that it is not intended for one audience only, in fact, it has every single genre of gamers in mind. From the MMO and RTS fans to the FPS players, the Razer Naga Pro is more than capable to tackle literally any game you throw at it. Simply flick the side panel off, using the Green force have the mouse attach its own new side panel and keep playing as nothing has happened. Although the Razer Naga Pro might be a big mouse, that some more hardcore FPS players might frown at, thanks to the wonderful skates it glides and slides like a mouse half its size.
If you are in the market for a mouse and you are looking for an all-in-one mouse, the Razer Naga Pro is literally the mouse you have been waiting for. Great wireless, spectacular buttons, mindblowing side panels that cater for anything and everything and comfort, that once you are used to, will redefine what comfort is to you. Simply put, I can't really think of a mouse I would rather have as my go-to mouse. As long as you can stomach the hefty price tag...
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for the review content
When I originally wandered onto the PC scene as an adult, a good couple of years ago, one of the first things I noticed was the tendency for gaming equipment to be rather excessive. keyboards and mice would have a vast array of buttons and lights and the strangest lines and angles in their design. It felt like manufacturers wanted to ensure that their item would be a standout in a gaming setup, not caring whether the standout was good or bad. Razer seemed to be at the forefront of this trend at the time with their extreme use of RGB. Since then, it seems like manufacturers have figured that less is more and a more subdued design might sell better due to it being used for productivity rather than only gaming. Not only that but at the end of the day, all we as gamers want, is the best performance possible
Earlier this year Razer released the DeathAdder V2, which was met with good reviews and good sales. Razer decided that they can improve on this and crammed their new Focus+ optical sensor into the DeathAdder body. Combining their best-selling shape with a wonderful sensor is just a recipe for success, and a success it is if you can look past a hefty price tag.
Razer DeathAdder V2 Pro Specs
1 RGB zone
2.4 GHz USB Type-A dongle (Razer HyperSpeed), Bluetooth, USB Type-A
6 feet (1.8m) USB Type-A
5.00 x 2.42 x 1.68 inches (127 x 61.7 x 42.7mm)
3.10 ounces (88g)
Razer Synapse 3
Design and Comfort
The shape that the DeathAdder uses is by no means a new one. Razer has been using it since 2006. Their mentality is clearly, why change it if it works, and for good reason. The design is extremely comfortable. Simply place your hand on it and your fingers naturally land on the buttons. Even the inner buttons are perfectly positioned for both large and smaller hands. The DeathAdder V2 Pro also has textured sides on both sides. The V2 version only has localized texturing, which is great, but once you experience the Pro texture you simply cannot go back.
The DeathAdder V2 Pro drops the, often excessive, RGB to show that it means more esports-business than many of the other Razer hardware. The only source of RGB comes in the form of the standard Razer emblem found on the palm area of the mouse. The scroll wheel, which also features ribbed textures, features no RGB and is less protruding than some of the other Razer mice on the market. This creates a much sleeker look which suites the fluent lines of the DeathAdder V2 Pro.
Flipping the DeathAdder V2 Pro over will show one button that allows you to flick between profiles that can be set. A second slider allows you to choose the way you want to connect your Deathadder to your PC. The DeathAdder V2 Pro can connect to devices via Bluetooth which is great if you want to use it on devices that don't support USB dongles to be connected. Another option is the wired method. Using the supplied braided USB cable, called a Speedflex cable in the Razer house, a cable that just oozes premium. Lastly, but my preferred method of connection is using the Razer Hyperspeed which uses 2.4Ghz technology to eliminate the most input lag possible. You will also see two golden pegs, these can be used to charge the DeathAdder V2 Pro via the Razer charging dock, which is sold separately.
Razer claims that the DeathAdder V2 Pro is capable of lasting 120 hours on a single charge when using the Bluetooth connection as well as no RGB. As we all know, turning off the RGB is not an option, I mean RGB gives you at least 10% performance gains doesn't it? Using it in Hyperspeed mode (2.4Ghz) with RGB the estimated time drops to around 70hours. Which is still more than enough and if you do find yourself running out of charge, you can simply plug the cable in and keep on gaming. While playing I found the charge to drop at around 1-2% per hour of intense play.
The DeathAdder V2 Pro comes with the new optical switches that swap out mechanical clicks for the speed-of-light opticals, in layman's terms, optical is faster and better! The optical switches are also rated for a mindblowing 70 million clicks! Most of the newer Razer mice have started using the Focus + sensor. This new sensor is able to handle DPI settings from as low as 200 all the way to 20 000. As a user, you are able to set 5 DPI steps via the Razer Synapse app. The Focus+ sensor boasts a resolution accuracy of 99.6% which is mindblowing for a sensor that is capable of being that accurate at 650 IPS (inches per second). Did I mention it will be accurate up to speeds of 50G's, your mouth is hanging open, not mine! As if that wasn't enough, Razer boasts even more features such as Smart Tracking and MotionSync to improve accuracy even more.
When reviewing new headsets or mice, there is usually an adjustment period, which, especially in FPS games, can have a devastating effect when playing seriously punishing shooters such as Escape from Tarkov. When I jumped into R6 Siege and EFT I did so with the expectation of seeing my performance drop significantly. When this did not happen I was very surprised. The DeathAdder V2 Pro has such a comfortable feel to it that it feels more natural than even your daily mouse will feel. While playing Siege I found my aim to be great and the way the DeathAdder moves across the mousepad will have you looking down to see if you actually have anything in your hand!
I have been fortunate enough to test many mice, as well as having another premium brand mouse and a Razer Viper Ultimate as my personal daily-use mice. For a very long time, I thought that it would be tough to beat these two mice for they both have, personally, the best in every category! But the unassuming Razer DeathAdder V2 Pro slid onto my mousepad and has impressed me so immensely! I am not sure if I will be able to pack this mouse away and send it back, sorry Apex Interactive. The Razer DeathAdder V2 Pro can easily become your daily productive mouse by day an immensely capable gaming mouse by night. With a battery life that will have you charging a lot less than you expect the only possible downfall of this mouse could be its price tag. But if you are willing to spend some money you can buy your forever mouse right here!
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review content
The new Logitech range which includes the G733 Lightspeed headset does a lot to find the middle ground for Logitech. Logitech has always made spectacular hardware but they have often struggled to find a balance between their more practical products and their G gaming range. The G733 takes the great performance that is required from the gaming range, needed for gamers to perform at their optimal levels and blends it into the more practical and playful looks that Logitech has often lacked. Still, very much business orientated, but the G733 shows that work can be done even if you loosen the tie and ruffle the hair ever so slightly...
On most occasions, headsets that are rather lightweight tend to feel and are generally cheaper and not built too well. As a general rule of thumb, with a bit of weight comes better build quality and a stronger structure in general. The Logitech G733 ditches these ideas and gives you a headset that is extremely light. Only weighing a measly 278g, which is a significant weight cut compared to other high-end Logitech headsets. Although 278g might not sound like much, when you are wearing a headset for many hours continuously, you will thank Logitech for making such a lightweight headset.
The comfort does not stop there. The earcups are lined with soft flexible memory foam cushioning that offers a comfortable fit and helps with sealing off the outside world as well as not causing too much heat after wearing them for extended periods of time. The new headband system that Logitech has adapted to for the G733 is simply fantastic. Many other brands have been using it for quite some time, allowing for the weight of the headset to be spread across a band over your head rather than using a single contact point as "traditional" headsets do. The headband makes the G733 feel like it's floating above your head and only attached to your head at the earcups. If for some reason, the headset doesn't fit quite right, the headband can even be adjusted to sit more snug, well done Logitech! Did I mention the headband elastic is reversible if the already funky colour doesn't quite suit your mood for the day?
Although the straight and square design is rather new to the Logitech roster (copying more of the Astro look than Logitech) it is made from all plastic rather than the more carbon and metallic bits are seen on other high-end Logitechs'. The plastic is strong and durable but it always will bring in a sense of cheapness even though, in this case, it is not the case. Being plastic also allows the G733 to be made in bright and beautiful colours such as black, white, grey, and a beautiful blue. The front rim of the earcups is embellished by an RGB strip that acts as two programmable areas for RGB.
Let us start with the controls. Firstly, the G733 connects wirelessly via a USB dongle. This works fine and dandy on the console but the G733 is more at home on the PC. More on that a little later. On the left earcup, you will find the microphone, which now features Blue Voice, thanks to Logitech's purchase of Blue Microphones. On the rear of the earcup, there is a discrete flat button that allows for microphone mute. When pressed you will hear an audio queue acknowledging that you are now muted or unmuted. Extremely handy when you are not sure if you hit the mute button before you start conveying your disgust at a stupid play a fellow teammate made.
Below the mute button, there is a volume dial, this dial can turn endlessly both ways and adjust your PC's main volume. So when turning you should get the volume level displayed by Windows. The last button on the rather barren G733 is the power button, hold to switch on, hold to switch off, a short press will have a lady tell you the battery level in your ear, nice!
The aspect that has really made me fall in love with Logitech is how amazing their Ghub software is, and the resulting performance you get from the headset. The G733, thanks to the Ghub software, can compete with headsets that are much more expensive, due to the customization levels introduced in the Ghub software.
The most obvious customization feature is RGB. Like all the other Logitech products, the G733 features the same options when it comes to RGB settings. Rainbow sliders and the normal options, I prefer to use a screen sampler, which allows the RGB on the headset to mimic what is happening on the screen. Newer game titles are also supported for custom RGB features. While playing Mafia Remastered, I found that when I was being chased by the police, all three ( keyboard, mouse, and headset) would flash red and blue as the police sirens and light would do. That really makes immersion fantastic and with constant games being added to the supported list, this is spectacular.
The G733 features virtual surround sound thanks to DTS. The virtual surround sound that is featured with most Logitech headsets is some of the most accurate I have experienced in any stereo headset. Some other well-known brands seem to sound more like an echo than actually true spatial sound. After tinkering with the surround sound there is more equalizers and settings to fiddle with until you have tweaked the audio to just what you want. If you can't quite tweak it your way, why not simply download a preset that someone else has made and uploaded to the Ghub. Quick and simple, find a setup you think might work and download it and test it out. This is an approach more companies should take. I have become a snob because of this feature and setting my own equalizers have now become somewhat of a pain.
The recent addition of Blue Voice in top-end Logitech headsets is tremendous. Suddenly your Logitech headset can replace the likes of a separate stand microphone thanks to the amazing tech crammed into a small headset mic. Not only can you set your microphone equalizer to allow you to sound perfectly crisp and clear, but there are also presets such as AM Radio, broadcaster, FM radio and presets for soft, loud, high and low voice types! If anyone has ever told you that your voice would not suit radio, the Blue Voice tech can make you sound like you have the sweetest voice on earth!
The Logitech G733 is a wireless headset, and with that comes certain "problems" when it comes to the audio performance. When there is no audio playing, even at low volume, there is the normal hum. Not a big deal, but to someone who believes in wired is better, this can be very annoying. Fortunately, the G733 makes up for this slight flaw with exceptional audio quality. With the extremely powerful equalizer that can be tuned to make nearly any form of music or in-game audio sound perfect, we were hard-pressed to really find something wrong. So to be completely unbiased I decided to give the G733 to a few people to give their opinions in terms of audio. The G733 is fitted with the same 40mm drivers as the G Pro X which is still our favourite all-time headset. For this reason, the G733 sounds nearly exactly the same. Mids are spot on with highs being at the verge of being too high. Lows are firm and strong but can become slightly muddy when the mids are truly working hard. This was only slightly noticeable during some intense BFV firefights.
The Logitech G733 soundstage is clearly taken from the G Pro X which is intended with esports in mind, hence the stage is smaller and closer than other headsets. This is by no means a deal-breaker because when I took them for a spin in Horizon Zero Dawn the vast openness and gusts of wind perfectly gave the sense of a massive open area.
The Logitech G Pro X was easily our favourite headset and our standard to which all headsets are measured. This leaves any other headset that lands in our hands at an immediate disadvantage. The G733 put a smile on our face when we put it on, it is comfortable and light. When we turned it on and started using it our smile increased even more! Chatting to friends online and hearing them say "wow, you sound so perfectly-clear" simply made us fall in love! The G733 takes what made the G Pro headsets so wonderful and adds in some refreshing styling showing that you can be both business while still looking great and fun!
If you are looking for a wireless option and the GPro X or G935 just does not do it for you, why not take a look at something just as good but a little more pleasing to the eye.
Special thanks to Logitech for supplying the review hardware
Assassin's Creed Valhalla is the 12th (not looking at you Chronicles) and latest edition to join the ranks of the highly accredited franchise. Without leaning too heavily into the obvious, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, from here on out just referred to as Valhalla, brings the Viking raids of England during the Middle Ages to life and throws you right into the axe-to-shield action with our protagonist, Eivor.
Much like Origins and Odyssey, Valhalla steps further into the realm of Open World gaming and further away from the two-button fighting that we all knew and loved (don't lie to yourself now) from the first couple of Assassin's Creed titles.
Valhalla drops you into the world of the Vikingr in 873 AD which, for you history boffins, is well into the Viking Age of England and all manner of Vikings (and other raiders) have been on the shores and in the four kingdoms of England for some time already. You pick up the story of Eivor as a tragic event mars the narrative of his (her? more on this later) life and sends him on a lifelong quest for vengeance. Jump ahead a few years and we pick up the story again with Eivor Wolf-Kissed of the Raven clan and his adoptive brother Sigurd as another surprise decision sends them packing from Norway and towards England to seize their own destinies and make a new life, and kingdom, for themselves in the land of the Christian god.
In this version of Assassin's Creed, the usual Brotherhood vs Templar battle is, of course, raging in the shadows (cue the motto) with the Templar order being the undisputed stronger party in the start of the game as it's wretched hand stretches across continents and its influence can be seen everywhere. In Valhalla, the names of the factions look a little different with the Brotherhood going by "The Hidden Ones" and the Templars going by "The Order of the Ancients."
I like it.
Eivor is the playable character of Valhalla and, like Odyssey, you as the player can choose if you'd like Eivor to be male or female or let the game change between the two for you depending on the story. I originally chose male, as I am male and generally like to feel like it's me parkouring to the top of buildings and leap-of-faith'ing it into a haystack, but I have also dabbled a little with the female version of Eivor to test it out for the sake of this review of course. For the remainder of the review, and as it has already happened, I will refer to Eivor as a male as that is what I mostly played him as.
Eivor is a devoted and skilled Viking warrior who takes on a lot of the responsibility of establishing a new home for the Raven clan in England. He also is not afraid of death as he can be heard many times in the game making statements about destiny and his death being woven into the fabric of time.
As a bonus, Eivor is almost fully customisable as you can choose from a variety of hairstyles, beard styles and tattoos to create your own personal look.
Setting and Graphics.
Valhalla is initially set in Norway and then in the four English kingdoms known as Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia and Northumbria, as well as one other location, but that would be telling now wouldn't it?
Norway was an absolutely incredible start to the game with the snowy peaks and rocky outcrops making a near-perfect setting for the Norse town of Rygjafylke (no, that's not a typo). At night the aurora lights up the sky in a spectacular way that almost makes you want to find the highest perch and then just be in the moment with it.
England is a stark contrast to the snowy expanse of Norway but has its own beauty in all of the well-designed areas. The land is as diverse as the people fighting over it, with green hills, swamps and forested areas being broken by small villages, stone walls and Roman ruins. The weather in England helps add to the effect with thick fog and bursts of rain making it all the more realistic.
One thing that needs to be commented on, with my playing this on the original Xbox One (here's to hoping I get a Series S or X soon) the graphics, although not as great as they would be if experienced in all its 4K glory, are still incredible. The game does favour frame rate over graphic quality though and so I did notice that in times of "high-render" the quality of what I was seeing would drop ever so slightly so as to keep the game running silky smooth. Now some might not like this too much, but I don't really have an issue with it.
Controls and Gameplay.
Staying true to the Assassin's Creed spirit, running up walls, leaping across rooftops and all other manners of parkour are prevalent in Valhalla. As they should be.
Feeling like a ninja is part of the DNA of the Assassin's Creed franchise as much as the hood and hidden blade are and to have a game without them would not work.
The fighting in Valhalla is a far cry from the "counter and parry" type of gameplay that we all know from the start of the game series where you could take down a whole hoard of angry soldiers by just holding down one button and patiently waiting to launch your counter.
Valhalla takes it's fighting to a new skills bracket and sits comfortably on the bench alongside Origins and Odyssey with your fight options being blocking, ranged, heavy attack and light attack. With this, some skills, careful timing and wise movement choices are needed to not be made to look silly and left looking at the loading screen of shame after some foe made quick work of you. Each type of foe you face also has a different way that you need to best them and so you need to be on your toes in your tactics against them as the "one size fits all" rule definitely does not apply here. Once you start to put together some formidable combos and dominate the battlefield, you really do start to feel like the Viking you're playing as.
The gameplay focuses more on turning your foothold of a settlement in England into a stronghold of a homestead and securing allies in different territories than it does on taking down the members in the Order of the Ancients. You can, of course, focus in on the Hidden One's missions and eliminate every Templar scum that you can, and you will get some cool perks for doing this, but if you choose to just go a vikingr then you will only eliminate those Templar that sit where the interests of the Hidden Ones and the interests of your settling in England align.
Along with this, Viking (to raid) is a massive part of the game as you storm monasteries, army camps and strongholds from your longboat, burning and pillaging as villagers and monks flee in terror, flailing arms included. All so that you can take the hard-earned resources back to Ravensthorpe and further build and establish your Viking Homestead in England.
The Final Verdict.
As a die-hard Assassin's Creed fan who has played, and owns, every Assassin's Creed title to date (sit down Chronicles), I started my journey with my sceptic hat on to try and see the game as objectively as I could and not fangirl it as hard as I secretly have been since it was announced. This hat was quickly blown off as Valhalla rapidly became the best Assassin's Creed title I have ever played. Sure, getting it before launch meant that it came with its share of bugs and glitches (most of which were fixed in the Day One patch - big up to the team at Ubisoft for that one), but all of that pales in comparison to the absolute masterpiece that I found in Valhalla. During my review process, I honestly found myself so immersed in the game that hours would pass by without my even realising it - a phenomenon that hasn't happened since I was a kid. I also kept finding myself wanting to come back to play more and thinking about where to go next in the game while not playing it.
So, overall. I give the 12th, latest and best (in my opinion) Assassin's Creed title a whopping 9 out of 10 stars.
A big thank you to Ubisoft and Prima Interactive for giving us the chance to review the game.
Hello, gamers and welcome back to another exciting “review, one of my “friends “and “colleagues” took great pleasure in “gifting “me the chance to review The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope… Not sure if this is a blessing or a curse, let's find out!
Ok, so instead of giving facts and interesting points I’m going to use phrases, *Ahem*… NO NO NO NO… AWWW HELL NO... WHAT IS THAT?!?!?!.. RUUUUUUUN... NO, I DIDN'T WANT TO DO THAT… OH, I DON’T LIKE THIS... WHY DID I DO THAT????!!! There we go game fully summed up and reviewed, good game, now for 4 hours of cartoons and cute kitty videos...
What is going on here?
OK OK AMANDA... I'll do this properly. So little hope is a game based on the choices you make, and all these choices affect the 5 characters you play as, while on their way to a field trip their bus has an accident, as in crashes not soils its chassis. This game picks up right off the bat and throws players into a world of misery, fear, and confusion. How do I know this I enlisted someone very near and dear to me a one Dalal light, she helped me interpret all the symbols and even some details other will miss, and hearing her chuckle and then say “well let me tell you one thing right away, someone is not going to have a very good day”, this didn’t set me up well to play this game. I pressed on, only to hear “oh I wouldn’t go that way not with that there”. And after politely thanking and sending miss light on her way I carried on, with a greater fear of the unknown than before.
The game pushes players in 1 direction, both literally and figuratively, a dense fog shrouds the town and any attempt to go backward is futile, the fog simply swallows you up and sends you facing the other way. The players are constantly haunted by noises and quick glimpses of distorted figures in the background, creating a constant tension of what’s going to happen next.
Little hope was a bustling town back in its day, major factories being the town's lifeblood, but when the factories were closed down, the town was deserted and became a ghost town. In more ways than one. The town, even before its heyday, has a dark history. During the witch burnings of Salem, Little Hope did its fair share of witch-hunting and much to miss lights displeasure… Wait, when did you sneak back in? Uhm the brutal murders of supposed witches.
What was that noise?
Now that we have established the backstory of Little Hope, let's jump into the game. Players will take alternating control of all 5 characters their names being Andrew, John, Angela, Daniel, and Taylor sometimes for investigation, sometimes for a slight visit back to the time of yore, sometimes for quick button events that don’t always guarantee an agreeable result. The characters will constantly talk to each other and it's up to you to decide their response, will you be reassuring? Comforting? Undermining? Or a complete bi…….WAAAAAAAH!! AMANDA I TOLD YOU NOT TO SNEAK UP ON ME WHILE IM PLAYING THIS!!!
The Dark Pictures Anthology has a rather large focus on the character relations that you can build or break by way of the decisions you make. These actions do not only have a single effect on the storyline. Upset someone now, and have that consequence resonate back to bite you later. This makes every single decision, be it made with the head or the heart, have a massive cause and effect on the story. You will also be persuaded by the demons of your past or the past of a past life… Or the past of a past life’s past life? Ghastly distorted disfigured and mangled visages of what was once human and it's up to you to make the right choices or face the consequences.
And if the game itself isn’t creepy enough, you will periodically meet “the curator” a mildly pleasantly unpleasant person, who will talk you through your choice as the game goes on, being a little more than cynical of your choices if not very judgemental in his opinion….he offers “tips” if you can call them that from time to time but don’t expect a clear-cut answer it’s a riddle within a mystery.
It's up to you to get the 5 lost souls through this horror town to hopefully a good ending, hidden throughout the game are postcards with pictures which provide the player a small vision of what may or may not come to pass, based on your decisions made up to that point, I cannot say if they help or not. But that’s all on you...
The visuals of the game are stunning if not eerie, the music will always keep you in a state of unease, when those violins start up the hairs on the back of my neck start doing backflips… Even if nothing happens… At that point anyway. The fog always there, always foreboding, spurring you on and keeping all the horrors and nasties hidden until the time is right. I kind-of just scared myself there. Little hope has a wonderful if you can call it that, way of building tremendous amounts of suspense. Be that with the eerie soundtrack or perfectly placed silences. If you don't turn in your chair a few times during this game there is something wrong with you.
Is it over yet?
During this night you spend trying to save these 5 characters you will learn so much about the witch-trails in general. And especially the horrors that would be the reason for so many innocent people to be put to death. Just like the curator will mention on several occasions, nothing is quite what it seems. And that statement rings true throughout the terror-filled night. Whether you care to listen to the voice of reason, or rather dig a bit further, maybe lend an ear to a creepy little girl, you might just make sense of this nightmare.
The Dark Pictures Anthology is so good at telling an intricate story that they are able to take a story, that at first, seems like nothing makes any sense, and have you piece the blocks together to help you experience one of the most "aha" moments ever just before the credits roll...
Little Hope is the second outing in the Dark Pictures Anthology - series. Its predecessor, The Man from Medan, built a solid foundation, but at times had some graphical issues and lost its scare-factor after a certain point. Little Hope doubles up on the foundation and gives the graphics a massive step-up. The game is beautiful even on the aging Xbox One. The atmosphere is spectacular and you will be hard-pressed to find something that builds a better feeling of impending doom while delivering a great story!
Little Hope offers many replays, and I for one would advise it! Is it for everyone? Hmm, this is not easily answered but if you are looking for something to put a chill in your bones and deliver a fantastic story, then Little Hope is the perfect title for you. If you have ongoing heart conditions or serious bedwetting issues… Hard pass for your own sake. I greatly enjoyed my first run at this game and will definitely play it again to see if I can do better… 1 out of 5 is good right?
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to switch every light on I own, watch some cartoons in the fetal position. AMANDA MY BLANKEY IF YOU WILL.
Special thanks to Prima Interactive for the review content
Logitech has been around for a while, and they are known for making some of the best hardware. The G432 is an updated version of one of Logitech's most longstanding performers, the G430. The G432 is all that an upgrade should be, keeping what made the previous version good, and tweaking the flaws. Let us jump straight in and see what made the G430 great and what makes the G432 even better.
The G430 was light and sleek headset sporting bright blue accents. The G432 takes that and updates it, slightly. The steel headband is still present and swiveling earcups are kept. Pleather covered earcups are a great improvement with bright blue accents around the earcups. The G432 is still extremely light, almost to the point of being too light. This, however, is definitely a user preference and some find light headsets to be their favorite. Compared to many other headsets the earcups do feel like they sit slightly loose on my head. This is also something that will change from user to user. I am comparing it to the Astro A40's and other headsets I have recently reviewed. The G430 was lacking in the audio performance department but fortunately, that is one of the aspects Logitech certainly did improve on.
The flexible boom mic that is fitted to the left earcup, can be folded away completely allowing the G432 to look like simple earphones when no microphone is needed. One of the really nice features of the boom mic on the G432 is that when all the way down the mic works as usual. If you want to quickly mute yourself, all you do is flip it up slightly and it will go into mute mode. Drag it down again and you are back online free to speak. The volume dial is also situated on the back of the left earcup, simple and easy to find.
Logitech has also spoilt the user by supplying every connection type known to man. As standard, the G432 has a 3.5mm connection but supplied, is a splitter that splits audio and mic separately. Along with this splitter is the DAC, a USB device that your 3.5mm jack plugs into. This is a nice touch by Logitech ensuring the headset can be used in any possible way. Not many manufacturers include these adapters in more budget orientated headsets. Good job Logitech!
Although the G432 does suffer from a few minor design flaws that affect comfort, like the loose-fitting earcups, these are all up to user preference. Personally, I think they are reasonably comfortable and don't get too hot when wearing for long periods of time. A colleague however had no issue with the loose earcups but was more concerned about the heat buildup after wearing for a couple of hours. So overall it is an even split.
I made the conscious decision to start the sound test using the G432 with the 3.5mm connector. When using the 3.5mm connector the first noticeable feature that is lacking is the use of Logitech Ghub. Ghub is the software that you can use to adjust everything including the kitchen sink on all compatible Logitech devices. Switching over to the DAC made a significant change in the audio quality. The soundscape is tremendously good and closer compared to many other headsets in the same price range.
When you connect via the DAC is when the G432 comes alive and the wonderful GHUB shows its true capabilities. The G432 features a virtual 7.1 surround sound thanks to DTS. Setting this up is simple and has you listening to an audio track and adjusting all the speakers accordingly. Using it in games such as Rainbow 6 Siege and Escape from Tarkov game me such a distinct advantage due to the games focusing a lot on audio. In games such as Mafia Definitive edition, the hustle and bustle of the 1930's city really come to life when you walk down the street and people are speaking and cars are buzzing past.
This is not the only feature. Equalizers are completely customizable and if you are not happy with your personal settings you can simply download someone else profiles from the GHUB community. Noise reduction on both the microphone and the audio is great. Especially if you have a noisy household and you don't want to torture your party members with barking dogs or moaning children. The mic quality is really good for its price range but it is definitely more aimed and multiplayer communication rather than any form of streaming or production worthy efforts.
The Logitech G432 is a great entry-level headset for someone who needs a complete package for a budget price. The audio drivers are really good and the mic is more than respectable for first-time buyers. The G432 will not be your final headset by any means. It still suffers from a few tiny flaws such as the lack of clamping over the ears but it certainly has more going for it than against. Straight out of the box, the G432 will work with any device, but if you are going to be using it on PC, be sure to use the DAC and the Logitech Ghub. This will really make the G432 sing.
Many might consider the G432 somewhat bulky and not friendly as an everyday headset. But compared to many other brands and higher-end headsets, the Logitech G432 can definitely stand its ground when it comes to audio performance.
Special thanks to our friends at Logitech for the review content
The Dirt franchise has become synonymous with being the all-in-one off-road experience! It has brought us hardcore rally simulators as well as pick-up and play- arcade racers. If you are looking to thread a needle through the Welsh forest while struggling to see through a rainstorm, not sure if that is a corner or a wall, then Dirt 2.0 is what you are after. If you are after a fun-filled, colorful experience which will see you flying around Cape Town, listening to South African accents cheering you on, or flying through marble mines in Italy struggling to see your opponents flying by you. All while having the guys from Donut Media, explaining how and what you need to be doing, then Dirt 5 is unashamedly the fun-filled off-roader you want!
Dirt 5 is obviously a racing game, and with the next-gen consoles being really close to available. It makes sense that Dirt 5 is arguably the racing showcase that will be used to show us what next-gen can do. We, however, did not review it on next-gen but graphically you would expect Dirt 5 to take the current-gen consoles to their max. With games like Forza Horizon 4 already being able to produce eye-searing graphics, Dirt 5 could only hope to match that and we would be ecstatic. Starting up the game, it looks promising. You are met with an option to either have the game focus on keeping good graphics or to focus on higher FPS. Naturally, we tried both.
Well, prepare to be underwhelmed. Graphically Dirt 5 is lackluster at best, with switching between graphics and fps modes not making an impacting change at all. Fortunately for Dirt 5 games are not all about graphics, right? Well, Dirt 5 definitely makes up for the above in its variety.
The career mode in Dirt 5 will have you putting your proverbial pedal to the metal for a significant time. In theory, there are 75 tracks in total. yes some of them are reversed versions of each other but 75 is still a big number. The thing that I found made the campaign so much fun is the fact that the sheer size of the career is broken into many small pieces. None of the races or modes feel too long that you find yourself getting bored. In the same breath, I have to say I immediately turned the difficulty up a notch as to give me a fight all the way to the chequered flag.
In Dirt 2.0 the job is simple. Get from the start to the finish as quickly as you can without destroying the car. Dirt 5, being the quirkier brother, throws in a few fun "challenges" to spice things up. Drift for X amount of time, or trade paint in the air, each race will have these challenges. Complete them and it will add towards your reputation and a few other categories which are needed to unlock more car customizations.
Cars and Customization
Dirt 5 has a respectable lineup of cars. Compared to the likes of NFS or Forza it might fall slightly short but respectable none the less. NFS has its over-the-top car modifications and Forza allows you to tune every last centimeter of the vehicle, Dirt 5 does not do the same, actually, it doesn't allow you to customize your car, performance-wise, at all! Dirt 5 is more about aesthetics. As you progress through the career mode and complete more of the side missions as mentioned before. You will unlock decals for your vehicle. Some of them in form of stickers to slap literally anywhere on your car. Others will be wraps for your vehicle allowing you to customize your ride to your heart's content.
What this means is that each vehicle and I use vehicles because not all contraptions are cars, there are buggies and other off-roading abominations have a specific rating. It is rather simply put. Performance and handling. Closer to A-rating the better. The thing that I was slightly upset about is the lack of variation when it came to how the cars felt when changing between classes of cars. This might upset the more die-hard racing fans because it removes the learning curve for each vehicle, but on the flip side, it allows for a much easier pick-up-and-play experience!
Fun in the sun and mud
Although Dirt 5 is not as visually stunning as Forza Horizon 4, it is still extremely fun and entertaining. Whether you are flying through forests in China, cruising around the streets of Cape Town listening to the South African accent coming over the PA system, or slipping and sliding across the frozen water of New York. Dirt 5 has excitement on every track and every corner. What makes the tracks even more amazing is how your surroundings react to your vehicle speeding past. When fighting your way through the Italian marble mines, the dirt and fine marble dust can be seen sitting at the back of your car. Drive through some water and see it wash off. These are the little things that take me back to the fun I had playing Colin McCrae Rally on the PS1. And that is partly why I will always have a soft spot for the Dirt-franchise.
As mentioned before a total of 75 variants of tracks are available, giving a meaty amount of variety to work through. Now change the weather and time of day and see how these tracks become something completely new. Have it rain and be dark and you're favorite drive through the forest will have you careening into the first- and every tree thereafter.
Last but not the least, there is a playground mode. Which, when released to the public on the launch, will allow you to build custom tracks and have up to 12 friends join you to experience your masterpiece or Frankenstein track
Dirt 5 does not quite match its rivals in terms of visual showcasing. and it's not quite there as a simulator-esque game like Dirt 2.0. But what it lacks in those fields it makes up for in spunk and just general pickup and have fun attitude. It is a genuinely fun game and throws in some voice acting from some of my favorite car guys, Donut Media, as well as the voice actor gods, Nolan North and Troy Baker, Dirt 5 is sure to put a smile on your proverbial dial.
Special thanks to APEX Interactive for supplying us with the Review content
When Roccat announced the Horde AIMO and marketed it as a "best of both worlds" hybrid mechanical keyboard I was intrigued. Taking the having the precise linear distinction of mechanical keys, paired with the soft and quiet sound and feel of a membrane keyboard seemed to be a fantastic combination. Making the keys low profile even upped the excitement by another notch. But this was not the only aspect of the Roccat Horde AIMO that had people excited. While bringing the best of both, the Horde AIMO would bring a host of popular gaming keyboard features such as programmable keys, RGB control, multimedia keys to name but a few.
Opening the Roccat Horde AIMO and taking it out of its box, you instantly feel that it feels old school. Generally, that would insight a feel of quality, in this case, it feels more like old design and build quality. What needs to be said is that the Horde AIMO is big, no I mean VERY big! A large part of this size is taken up by the removable wrist rest, which is rather flimsy but not having it attached does make the edges of the Horde a bit rough. If you are someone who likes symmetry and things to be either straight-edged or rounded, the Horde AIMO is not always sure who it is catering for. With rounded finishes here and sharp, straight edges there, it is not quite sure what design it wants to follow. The left side looks sleek and has perfectly placed macro keys. On the right, it has a host of keys and features that can be found on most gaming keyboards in recent years. The large dial on the top right can be used as a Windows 10 scroller wheel straight out of the box, and when paired with the feature keys, can be used to scroll through RGB settings and many more, nice feature and always handy when wanting to turn the volume up or down. The top left seems to feature a cellphone holder like many of the older Roccat keyboards used to have but upon closer inspection, it seems to not be so.
Roccat claims that the "memhanical" keys are a mixture of the precise and linear movements of mechanical keys and the soft and quiet of membrane keys. Roccat also claims that the keys don't need to be pressed all the way to actuate, upon using and testing I find the statement to be not true. The buttons would only actuate when bottomed out, not a deal-breaker by any means, but if you have ever experienced a true mechanical keyboard with either the Cherry MX Brown or Logitech's Romer G-switch, you will know how pleasant it is. The low profile of the Horde AIMO keys also lends itself more to a membrane feel rather than mechanical. For general use, the keys feel springy and don't provide quite as much resistance as what I would expect.
The 5 programmable macro keys that are found down the left side of the keyboard has become a standard amongst most full-size gaming keyboards. The Roccat Horde AIMO however, does have a long row of keys and a large dial on the top right side. The dial is not only a volume knob when used in conjunction with the multimedia buttons, not only can the RGB effects be changed, but screens can be changed and RGB brightness adjusted.
This all sounds fantastic and works well in principle but in reality, it makes for a lot of tedious pressing and unpressing of the desired function that it becomes more of a hassle than it needs to be. The idea is great, and if music is your main use for the Horde AIMO it will serve you well but for everything else, the software does a more than adequate job.
The Roccat Swarm software has been known as one of the more reliable software packages over the years, and with this being my first dabble with Roccat, I had to scratch around a bit to find out how the latest version of Swarm compares.
What I did notice is that it seems that Swarm does suffer from a few bugs at present. Not only are you never sure if you have the latest version installed, the updater pop-up jumps out warning you that you are outdated, straight after updating. But when making changes you should not click apply and then OK. By doing this it seemingly reverts to defaults and you start the process over again. Simply pressing OK and continuing stores the changes.
Another bummer for MMO fans is the lack of on-the-fly Macro recording which makes casting a vast array of spells or attacks in quick succession rather cumbersome. Roccat's AIMO RGB is described as a clever system that adjusts the RGB lighting to what you are playing. I agree that the colouring is interesting although I can't quite put a finger on what it is using to decide its colouring. On the Roccat Kone AIMO mouse the lighting is bright and really beautiful, the Horde, however, is hardly noticeable in a well-lit room.
The Roccat Horde AIMO happily taps away at nearly everything you throw at it. Be it playing CS:GO, some Rainbow Six Siege or Flight Simulator. Typing is as pleasurable as typing can generally be. But nothing quite sets the experience apart from a good quality office keyboard, let alone a mechanical keyboard. Yes the Horde AIMO is cheaper than mechanical and more expensive than an office keyboard. That is why it finds itself in an awkward grey area.
But, then again, it also did not perform tremendously better than a mechanical keyboard...
The Roccat Horde AIMO can be given credit for trying. The membrane-mechanical keys, the AIMO lighting effects, and the many uses of the dial. Did they all work out to the way Roccat planned? Probably not, but they are by no means terrible.
The Horde AIMO will definitely not suit those aiming for top spots in competitive gaming but for those who are willing to look past the questionable looks and slightly elevated price tag compared to other membrane keyboards. Then the Roccat Horde AIMO is your keyboard. I would personally hold off until they launch the next iteration where they possibly fix the shortcomings of this version.
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for the review content
If the 2 X back-to-back Blockbuster Video Game Champ chooses Roccat as his weapons of choice they have to make a good product right? Roccat is a German peripheral-making company that has recently been acquired by Turtle Beach. Roccat has decided to enter the highly contested gaming mouse terrain, taking on big names such as Logitech, Razer, and Corsair to name but a few heavyweights. The Germans are renowned for making perfectly engineered equipment. We had the privilege of getting our hands on the Roccat Kain 122 (wired) AIMO as well as the Kain 200 (wireless). Can these German-engineered mice show the other heavyweights in the industry that simple and clean designs and Roccat's new TITAN click technology can set these mice apart? Let's find out!
The Roccat Kain pairing is the first Roccat-made mice that I have had the pleasure to test and put through their paces. I naturally went and did some research and checked the previous mice that came from the Roccat stable. It is safe to say the Kain 122 and its wireless brother, the 200, carry the family resemblance, albeit a striking one. The Kain AIMO has a narrow design and with a rather raised arch, it allows for a very comfortable grip and resting for hands of all sizes. It slants off to the right allowing for a more natural grip when holding it but also means that the Kain AIMO is a right-hand-only mouse. The two buttons located on the inner-right is perfectly placed. Some brands place their inner-programmable keys too high or too low, causing the user to either accidentally press the keys when moving the mouse, or having to regrip to reach them. The Kain has got the positioning spot-on, easily accessible yet not accidentally pressed.
The left and right mouse buttons are not placed next to each other like most mice are. there is a strip of brushed metal dividing the two keys which adds to the straight and square lines that dominate the Kain design. At the top of this brushed metal piece, there is a DPI button, neat and square, elegant yet functional use of a button that has hampered many brands in their sleekness of design. Not to mention the scroll wheel that protrudes the brushed metal strip. The left and right mouse buttons
The sleek and smooth design of the Kain AIMO range and lack of any rubbery grips makes for a very appealing look but the smooth finish can, for some, make the Kain feel slippery. With the Kain 122 weighing in at a middle-of-road 89g ( Kain 200 weighs 105g) meaning it is light enough to be able to whizz it across your mousepad without feeling like you have nothing in your hand, and not sacrificing the feeling of quality. Unlike many of the bigger brands, the Kain-range has no weight adjustment, although I think Roccat got the weighting just right.
Both the Kain 122 and 200 are fitted with the Roccat signature Owl-Eye Optical sensor which is good for up to 16 000DPI. This is substantially higher than many other mice in the same price bracket. Although 16 000 DPI is generally way too high for any sane person. a realistic maximum DPI would be more in the range of 3 200, but much like kilowatt rating in cars, it's more for show than anything else. Roccat has its own software called Swarm. This allows you to save up to five profiles to the mouse, as well as assign keys to the programmable buttons, change the RGB lighting and program your DPI steps that can be flicked through using the DPI button located in the middle of the two mouse buttons.
Roccat has taken the mouse-click and thought about how to improve something we have taken for granted since the birth of the gaming mouse. By simply repositioning the switch to a more natural location, the new Roccat Titan switch feels more distinguished and more precise. The buttons are also hinged giving it a cushioned feel when clicking. Although the Swarm software is not nearly as refined as Ghub from Logitech or Synapse from Razer, it is extremely straightforward, and apart from a small struggle we had to save DPI settings to the mouse, Roccat Swarm was extremely straight forward and provided great explanations of what each setting would do.
Both the Kain -122 and the 200 feature phenomenal thresholds for acceleration with the minimum being 40g and the maximum of 400IPS (inches per second). Basically said, even if you have superhuman flick ability in your favorite shooter, you will not be able to blame the Roccat Kain 122 or 200 for not being able to keep up with your speed.
Some of the features that set the Kain 200 apart from its wired brother, is obviously the wireless part. The Kain 200, in wired mode looks identical to the Kain 122. When using it as a wireless mouse the cable simply unplugs and can either be plugged into a dongle, that can be placed near to where you are using the mouse, or the wireless receiver can be plugged straight into a USB port. The Kain 200 uses a 2.4Ghz range for best-uninterrupted performance while stretching the battery life on its 1000 mAh battery as far as possible.
For myself, who moves between peripherals on regular intervals for review purposes, but also try and keep a high level of skill in games like Rainbow Six Siege and Escape from Tarkov, changing a mouse can have a devastating impact on your performance. Your mouse is your weapon and like soldiers, we spend many hours honing our skill with our weapon of choice, suddenly switching it out with another generally makes you play and aim worse. My regular daily mouse is the legendary Logitech G903 lightspeed closely followed by the amazing Razer Viper Ultimate. Both premium wireless mice. The Roccat Kain 122 or wireless 200, can easily hold its own against the likes of these two heavyweights. Jumping into my favorite games with the Kain 200 was an absolute blast. I hardly noticed any adjustment time and the Owl-eye Sensor is fantastic feeling extremely accurate and true. With its lesser focus on RGB and gadgets and more emphasis on creating a great experience while not being overly flashy, Roccat has created a spectacular mouse!
If you are looking for a mouse, wired or wireless, that sits more in a mid-range price category while competing and beating many of the high-end gaming mice out there, then the Roccat Kain-range is definitely worth taking a look at. If it is good enough for the Doc, to cause Violence, speed and momentum, then it is surely more than adequate for all of us!
special thanks to Apex Interactive for the review content
Technology has seen many trends relating to size. There was a time that everything went smaller and smaller. Phones became the size of pebbles. Then as tech evolved more size increased again, to the point where its tough to distinguish whether your phone is a tablet or your tablet is a phone...
PC hardware is no different, but as a general rule of thumb, bigger is better. Gaming keyboards were the keyboards that featured the most buttons and gadgets and even displays. Endless amounts of programmable keys and USB ports galore. With the increase in eSports and general competitive gaming to the masses so has the demand for more dedicated competitive keyboards. Queue the 60% keyboards!
For those who don't know, a 60% keyboard takes the footprint of a standard 115key keyboard and cuts 40% of it reducing it to roughly ~65keys depending on the keyboard. This means that the Numpad and, usually, the arrow, scroll, delete etc keys will be removed or relocated and used in conjunction with a function key. Taking this approach really is a big gamble if you are Razer or any brand in this case. The 60% keyboard is very polarizing to the audience. If you are a gamer only, the Huntsman mini will be a pleasure to use as it will provide you will much more mousepad real-estate to fling your mouse around on as well as being easier to pick up and take to your next LAN event. On the flip side, for users who do not solely use they keyboard for gaming, productivity will take a knock, and even more so if you are someone who needs to enter numbers into fields often.
The Huntsman Elite, Razer's flagship keyboard has a list of features that is difficult to envision fitting on to a keyboard. USB ports, media controls, volume dials, wrist rests, and the list continues. The Huntsman Mini, however, is a stripped-down, bare-bones version. Only sharing the name and optical switches from its feature-laden brother.
The Huntsman Mini is clearly targeted to take the fight to the Ducky One keyboards and boasting impressive dimensions of 30 x 10 x 3cm it is definitely placing itself firmly in the fight. The slightly raised keycaps allow for the Huntsman Mini's RGB to really show its true ability. The keycaps themselves feel really solid and premium to touch and the cheeky font, when illuminated, looks really nice. For the more keen-eyed, there is a subtle Razer inscription on the lip of the keyboard, and no more bombastic illuminating Razer logo.
Looking to the bottom and the back of the Huntsman Mini, you will find the usual "For the Gamers by Gamers" pattern across the back. The braided USB C-type cable, which is also interchangeable with other type-C, slots perfectly and clips in and out with ease, without feeling flimsy or like it might disconnect and the slightest tug. There are also two sets of feet to raise the keyboard, 6- or 9 degrees respectively.
So you have the Razer Huntsman Mini but now you need to use your arrow keys or the delete key, what do you do? Luckily Razer was merciful and provided for a Function key ( Fn) and adequate amount of side-printed functions. These keys can easily be seen from a seated position and when the Fn key is pressed all illumination will be killed off and the function-binded keys will light up in white. Apart from these keys you can do other things like changing preset RGB effects, do macro-binding or even use media keys using the Fn key.
Gaming and features
The biggest appeal of the Huntsman mini, apart from the size, would be the Purple optical switches. For those who don't know the difference between Optical and mechanical, mechanical uses a mechanism to move the keycap down and activate a microswitch that is placed under the keycap. Optical switches have a stem attached to the bottom of the keycap that, when pressed, will interrupt a light source. This break in the light will then indicate a keypress, essentially making the response time, the speed of light.
When typing the optical switches, even though not mechanical, still give you a pleasant sound and resistance. Just enough to give a sense of confidence when pressing but not too much to make it a pain. The biggest pain with 60%'ers is to use some of the keys that are readily available on normal keyboards, you need to use the Fn key, so as mentioned before using the Huntsman mini for writing and office work could be a little more cumbersome.
Moving to gaming, like what the Huntsman mini was intended for, it is fantastic. For the first time, I have enough space on my desk to try turning my keyboard more towards the vertical orientation as many pro's do. The new orientation does a lot for comfort and I would recommend it to most. Something that I had to get used to is the short travel of the keys, (3.5mm) this had me moving sooner than anticipated and often losing gunfights while playing Rainbow Six Siege. This has become a normal situation by reviewing peripherals and getting used to new mice and keys regularly.
The happy-medium of firm, yet soft, when it came to keypresses was greatly appreciated while playing Escape from Tarkov where the slightest accidental keypress can be the end of your raid. Resting fingers on keys have often had me blowing my team, or myself, up with accidentally thrown grenades. The Huntsman Mini keys are firm enough to provide rest for weary fingers without causing unpleasantries ingame.
The Razer Huntsman Mini uses the same software as all the other mice and keyboards, Razer Synapse, is a rather simple to use software allowing you to tweak everything possible on the hardware. But, seeing as the Huntsman mini is aimed at esports, Synapse is not needed for everything. Although small, the Huntsman mini has space for 5 onboard profiles which include keybinds and RGB settings.
The Razer Huntsman Mini is the first 60% keyboard the brand has released, and it is a successful one. The Huntsman Mini feels very premium with its optical clicky switches and double-shot keycaps. Although pricey, the feel of ease and confidence when pressing down on the keys make the price tag seem as little of a concern as that last enemy you shot.
If optical switches are what you are after, and a 60%'er is something you are considering, the Razer Huntsman Mini is a no-brainer!
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the hardware
Ultrawide monitors are generally seen to be for the users who either need the extra size for work, or for those who just want to stick with the latest trends, and can afford them. So when AOC dropped the monstrous CU34G2x at my desk, I was rather excited to see what all the fuss is about.
The AOC CU34G2X comes in a box that could easily hold the total contents of my wife's shoe cupboard and even just taking it out the box is a mission if you are like me, vertically challenged.
The Ultrawide gaming monitor section has become flooded the last while which makes it really tough for new entries to really get a foothold in the market. Unless companies take drastic measures with design, their product is bound to look similar, in some way, to the competition. In recent times, the gaming monitor design has seen a red accent and RGB becomes the order of the day. AOC however, decided that they might take a different approach. Instead of trying to look different, they have decided to rather SHOW why they are different. With its minimal design and reserved looks, the AOC CU34G2X goes out of its way to show that it can fight with the more expensive monitors in the market today!
In a world where it seems like the only way to get approval from the community is to cram in the most ridiculous amounts of RGB, AOC has chosen a more "grown-up" look. the straight and square lines, paired with the thin bezel, gives the CU34G2X a very office-friendly look. Many of the newer monitors prefer to go with lighter bases and frames but AOC chooses to use metal which makes sure this monster display is not toppling over or going anywhere. The footprint of the stand is also surprisingly shallow considering the size of the monitor. This subtle design might not be for everyone. If you are forking out a large sum of money, you want your purchase to stand out in a crowd. The AOC doesn't do that, but rather keeps its head down and get the job done!
What it lacks in lavish designs it definitely makes up for in features. It packs a 34inch, QHD, 21:9 aspect ratio (3440x1440), 144Hz, and 1ms response time. With a list of features like that its tough to not get excited. Did I mention it's curved? And it features Adaptive sync, which means Gsync and FreeSync are both catered for.
But it does not end there, seeing as it is ultrawide, it allows for multiple inputs, these can come in the form of either HDMI (x2) or Display Port (x2). With more than enough USB ports to cater to nearly every possible device, you may need to connect.
For someone like myself, who did not believe in ultrawide, and whether or not it is actually useful or just a nice to have, the AOC CU34G2X really has changed my mind for many reasons. Not only is the curve (1500) enough to improve immersion, it is also not too much and when using it for mundane office work the 21:9 display makes having multiple tabs and/or spreadsheets open side-by-side an absolute dream! Coming from a 27" QHD 144hz, 1ms monitor myself, I quickly realized how much I was truly missing out on, especially when it comes to the color gamut. Straight out of the box, the colors seemed true and natural which means that AOC hit the color adjustments just right. Playing some escape from Tarkov made me realize how dark certain parts of Interchange really should be. After an adjustment period, the games felt significantly more vibrant thanks to the dark blacks and vibrant colors. Another feature of the AOC GU34G2X is the addition of HDR. I have not experienced a true HDR monitor before so this was my first try. When turning on HDR in Tomb Raider the visuals simply blew me away. Colors and depth become amazingly clear. I did however find that turning on the HDR setting on the monitor itself does make for a strange smudged effect on games that are not HDR supported.
The CU34G2X is crammed full of nifty dials and settings that you can set and play with. Shadow control will improve visibility in darker games. Color saturation will help get the perfect color pallets if the stock one doesn't suit your taste. Crosshair overlays ( naughty), an fps counter, a few predefined picture modes such as FPS, RTS, racing, etc. PIP, or Picture in Picture, is something that might seem silly when not using a bigger monitor. I tested this feature while playing a game of golf on my Xbox One, which was connected via HDMI, and watched the F1 from my pc, connected via DP, on the same monitor with a PIP.PBP, Picture by Picture, is another nifty feature for those who already like to use a second monitor for work or play. Now you can get rid of the second and use the ultrawide to provide you with enough screen to have moth displays on one. Never Alt+tab to another window ever again. Simply have both open next to each other!
Adaptive Sync is also a big selling point for this monitor. Apart from the long list of everything that makes the AOC CU34G2X remarkable already, the real deal for competitive gamers would be the AdaptiveSync. Allowing the monitor to refresh at the rate at which the GPU provides the frames. And AdaptiveSync caters for both Nvidia and AMD users alike. No more upgrading GPU's and sticking to a brand due to the monitor you have.
The AOC CU34G2X ticks the boxes without stumbling. The 34'' ultrawide display is wonderful, something I will be sad to see leave (maybe AOC will gift it to me?). Make that display 144hz, give it 1ms response time, and 1440p... There has to be a catch right? R15 000, give or take some, in comparison to its competition, makes the AOC CU34G2X even more appealing. The general look and feel will slot seamlessly into any work/office environment. AdaptiveSync is simply a no-brainer these days and AOC has taken it upon themselves to provide it.
Other than a slight improvement in the HDR technologies, which would bump the price significantly, and bumping the max brightness ever so slightly, the CU34G2X is a masterpiece and has been able to convince me, someone, who didn't believe in the "gimmick" of ultrawide, to rethinking life if I were to go back to a normal monitor...
What is one thing that seems to get associated with gaming in a way that is neither healthy nor flattering?
Pizza and Energy Drinks.
Both of which I’ve had my fair share of but not because “that’s what gamers do” and more because they’re just really delicious.
I'm not here to debunk the myths around pizza (By the way - pineapple does belong on a pizza) but the stigma of energy drinks especially is one that is quite well deserved as gamers usually push sleep out the way to game because of other real-life commitments forcing most of us to become creatures of the night. I know that this was true to me as I used to consume copious amounts of various energy drinks – partially because they were so tasty but mostly because I’d probably developed an addiction to them.
One thing I’m sure we’ve all experienced from these drinks (unless I’m just soft) is that it spikes us to a point, but the inevitable crash is always lurking not too far away, where we then need another drink to spike us again. This can often lead to jitters and strange sensations as our bodies go through a sugar, caffeine and other energy ingredient induced high.
So why then review an energy drink?
Most of us have heard of these new energy supplements targeted at gamers coming onto the market and promising us to the moon and back that they are healthier and better for you in the long run and also help you to focus, react and just stay awake generally (I write as I sip on my Pineapple/Lemon mix).
But for us South Africans, most of these products are imported and come at a very hefty price tag!
But there is hope – and that hope comes in the form of EnerGhack Energy supplements.
The guys over at EnerGhack were super generous in sending some my way for me to test and try. And test it I did, as you’ll soon see, as I put it through the paces as I used it through a very busy time of my life and pushed EnerGhack to its limits, as well as my own, as I experimented with it in other areas of my life that fall outside of gaming.
Now for those of you in the world who like to know all the nitty-gritty about food and read the labels and other information, this next section is for you.
The following information is directly from EnerGhack.
Benefits of EnerGhack;
very low caffeine content to ensure no jitters.
contains Stevia, a natural sweetener, instead of synthetic sweetener to ensure a healthier, great-tasting drink and no energy slump.
Straight out the gate – I just want to take a second or three to applaud EnerGhack with their customer service and presentation of their product.
When I originally got my first batch of EnerGhack, it product was well packaged and came with some freebies like 2 samples of the other flavours, stickers, a small bag and a few other things all wrapped up in a branded tube to make sure everything is safe and sound in the shipping process.
I have since received two more packages from EnerGhack and every time their service was swift and professional and there are always a few extra goodies to sweeten the deal.
This wasn’t a test – but if it was, they’d have passed with absolute flying colours!
While most energy supplements claim to help you with reactions, focus, endurance, energy and hydration while gaming, EnerGhack takes it a step further and out of the realm of gaming and makes the claim that it will help you with studying, gym and other high energy activities.
So, I took this statement are really put it to the test.
Luckily this drink came at a very busy time in my life (as you will see in a bit) even though lockdown started in South Africa and things were meant to quieten down a bit, in my life – it was the opposite.
So, I used the product in the following scenarios to see how it would help;
Gaming (of course)
Being a family man who holds a rather busy job in the education industry, Gaming for me is usually a late-night thing once family time and other priorities are sorted. Thus, fueling my need for some kind of energy-boosting thing – which lead to a rather unhealthy addiction to energy drinks (thanks for nothing Much Loco).
I started using EnerGhack as soon as it arrived and tried it instead of my usual coffee to kick off a session. I first sipped on it slowly throughout extended gaming sessions as well as downing a full serving in one go. Both times no jitters and sugar rushes were experienced and I did feel like I could go a little bit longer before feeling the inevitable fatigue of a long day.
Disclaimer – don’t down a full serving in one go because the flavours really are good and you’ll want to enjoy it over a long period of time.
This is not the only review I’ve written in the period of having EnerGhack and the product really did help fuel me through the long writing process. I’m generally a coffee drinker for this as the “sipping process” helps me to pause and gather my thoughts before moving on. Also, I just really enjoy a good cup of coffee and I don’t think any energy drink or energy alternative would change that as I drink it for the enjoyment more than the caffeine (sorry EnerGhack – I still love your product).
Substituting this other little joy in my life for the time being with EnerGhack, I felt that the sipping process was much the same and did allow me to pause and gather my thoughts. But I do acknowledge that that is more due to my routine than the product itself but EnerGhack did fill that purpose so it’s a winner in my eyes.
Exams and studying
On top of all of the other things going on in my life, I am currently studying, and June is always an exam season. EnerGhack was once again used in place of my usual study coping methods during this stressful time and I do believe that the product was effective as I could go for extended periods of time without feeling distracted or drowsy. With COVID-19 being around, my exams took the form of online assessments this year and so I was able to drink that during the exams themselves – results still pending so I’ll leave my comment on this one till I see the marks.
Being very fortunate to live in an area with vast open spaces, I am an avid mountain biker and regularly go on rides that range from short and quick 5km rides to longer rides stretching into the 40km plus categories.
I used EnerGhack, as well as giving some to my riding partner, to keep in a bottle as an addition to our 2L of water in our hydration packs. We agreed before setting out that we’d only use it when we felt we needed a bit more of a boost and not when we felt thirsty (that’s what the 2L of water is for). After trying this across a broad spectrum of trails and rides, both my riding partner and I did feel that EnerGhack come in for the save when we needed that extra boost and we both felt less lethargic after our long rides. Granted – that could be a placebo effect but it’s only while using the product that it was noticed so I’m going to say it’s because of it.
Obstacle and Trail Building
Another one of my hobbies, which is a spin-out of my love of Mountain Biking, is MTB trail and obstacle building. These builds can sometimes take hours at a time and obstacles require focus and precision in the build process, while the trail building and installing the obstacles requires some serious endurance as you move vast amounts of dirt or dig deep holes to secure the posts of the obstacle.
Once again, I shared some EnerGhack with my riding partner, who is also a big fan of building, and we got stuck into the tasks. With the aid of EnerGhack, we both felt that it kept us hydrated and gave us that little extra “go” during long and very labour intensive build processes. So again – EnerGhack come through for us here.
Labour... yes, Labour
Yes – that is what you think it is.
During this test and review period, my wife and I welcomed our second child into the world.
My wife entered labour in the evening and was admitted to the maternity ward at hospital, but because of this not so little thing known as COVID-19, I was told I wasn’t allowed to be with her until she was in “active labour” (the medical boffs amongst us will know what that is I guess) and had been moved to the labour ward. Now, if you know anything about labour, this could be 5 minutes, 5 hours or more.
I then spent the night in a hospital lobby staying awake with the help of EnerGhack and a good old PSP until I was finally admitted to the labour ward around 7am the following morning.
With all coffee shops and that being closed at this stage of our lockdown in SA (not that any would be open at 2am), the only source of extra energy I had was the EnerGhack that I brought along with me – and it REALLY did help. The minute I felt the drowsiness of a long day kicking in in the early hours of the morning, a few sips of EnerGhack really snapped me out of it and kept me going for an extra hour or so.
Overall, EnerGhack really did deliver on what they said they would and in all of the scenarios and times that I used the product, no jitters or slumps were experienced and I wasn’t left with that weird artificial sweetener taste in my mouth.
While we're on the topic of taste – the flavours of EnerGhack are all incredible in their own way but mixing them literally blew my mind as the flavours merged and worked in ways my brain could not even comprehend. I even let my wife have a few sips and her exact words were “you can taste that it’s an energy drink but its not gross at all,” which is all the proof you need knowing that my wife absolutely hates the taste of other energy drinks.
Currently, EnerGhack comes in four flavours. These are Raging Raspberry, Blueberry Bomber, Tropical Pineapple and Cosmic Lemon.
Of all the individual flavours, Raspberry and Pineapple definitely came out on tops in my books, and the mix of the two is very high up on my list of favourite mixes.
Being fortunate enough to have access to the full flavour range, I experimented with various different flavour combos and my favourite mix is definitely Lemon/Pineapple, followed closely by Raspberry/Pineapple. I even went as far as to mix all 4 flavours into one and, while not bad at all, it just turned into a “just fruity” flavour and definitely didn’t feature on my list of need to try again combos.
I do hope that new flavours will be added to the menu soon like hint hint mango, litchi and guava.
As you’ve probably guessed it from reading this review, I absolutely LOVED EnerGhack and do feel that they deliver on their promises of assisting with reactions, focus, endurance, energy and hydration. Their flavours taste great and the product is actually really cost effective.
One tub of EnerGhack will set you back R289 and will give you 30 servings, you can do the maths on the exact amount but that’s less than R10 a serving. And if you buy their combo deals, that price reduces even further, making it more cost effective.
They also often run specials – so, if you watch their social media accounts closely, you can get an even sweeter deal.
I do love that they are a local product and that does always make me happy to support local industries.
Overall, I give this product a VERY solid 9 out of 10 stars.
Thank you so much to Jan and the guys over at EnerGhack for giving me the opportunity to review this awesome product.
I am not the biggest of fans of media boxes. I am even less proficient at anything Android. Yes, yes I am one of those people who prefer their devices to be of the fruit variant. Call me a snob so we might move on. When Apex Interactive sent me the Mediabox MBX4K Ranger to try, I was in two minds. This being my first review of a device like this, and also my first real-time spent on an Android platform.
Before we dive into the details of the MBX4K Ranger here are some of the technical specs:
Model: Mediabox Ranger MBX4K Ranger
CPU: Arm Quad 64-bit Cortex-A53 up to 1.5GHz
OS: Android 8.0 TV
Video: HDMI 2.0b
Audio: Audio over HDMI or Optical with Dobly support
Video: Up to 4K @ 60fps
Wifi: 2.4GHz/5GHz 802.11 a/b/c/g/n/ac
Ethernet: Yes -10M/100M
Power: 5v/2A 8w usage
Ram: 2GB DDR
Storage: 8GB flash expandable
The MBX4K Ranger is a neatly packaged box that comes with the actual device, the power cord, HDMI cable, a quick start guide, and a sleek, voice controllable remote. The MBX4K is a sleek black box with a red accent at the bottom. On the front, there is the power light, red for standby, blue for on. The design is discrete and the box itself is the size of one's palm which allows it to be easily placed in any home setup without being ugly or cumbersome. On the side, the media box comes with 2x USB ports and an SD slot for storage expansion. The remote is a sleek and stylish black remote featuring the usual power, scroll, and select buttons, but this model also features Google Assistant, which really is a wonderful feature. Simply press the Google Assistant button on the controller and speak into the controller. Want to watch Youtube, simply tell the remote so, and it will be!
Setting up and getting watching
For Android users, the setup should be simple to navigate. The interface is smooth and fast, the only possible downfall is the onscreen keyboard that is not qwerty but rather alphabetical (who types that way?). This can easily be solved by using another android device to do the setup. A quick link of your android account and sign in to the usual apps is a breeze. The general navigation and use of the MBX4K Ranger feel fast, responsive, and snappy. The MBX4K Ranger comes pre-installed with a few of the standard apps such as DSTV Now, Youtube, and Showmax, other standards in my household is Twitch and VLC, all of which were easily found and installed and were working within a few minutes.
4K HDR is something that not many of the more "budget-friendly" media boxes can brag about. I don't have a 4K HDR TV myself so I had to take the MBX4K Ranger for a little road trip to someone who does. I was optimistic but pleasantly surprised when I turned on the HDR feature in the settings and selected a 2160p@60fps and it worked... It does however cause the whole UI to be in HDR which can make some things look slightly strange. But the fact that the HDR actually works already is a big bonus for the MBX4K Ranger.
Android 8 TV ( no Netflix on MBX4K Ranger store, unfortunately)
So to this point, the MBX4K Ranger has been ticking the boxes and becoming a very comfortable unit in my living room. Until my missus wanted to watch some Netflix. No problem, surely this box of tricks will run Netflix.... right? Wrong! The Netflix app is not natively supported but Android 8.0 TV which is actually rather infuriating as it had been performing so well to this point. I took to the web to find out about possible ways to get it working, thinking that my non-Android brain was obviously doing something wrong. Going straight to the FAQs on the MBX4K Ranger site I found some manuals on how to use third-party stores to install a "cracked" version on the MBX4K Ranger. Another option being, downloading a Netflix APK and manually installing it. After many hours and many cuss words, I finally gave up and accepted my fate, no Netflix.
But can it Kodi?
I am sure most people buying the MBX4K Ranger would be considering it for Kodi. I am very pleased to tell you Kodi 18 installs straight from the Play Store without the slightest of problems and runs without any sort of hiccup! You will still need to perform some sort of wizardry to get all the Repositories working and they will be laggy but as for the app itself, it works seamlessly!
The MBX4K Ranger is by no means the perfect all-in-one media box. Small issues such as the lack of a web browser, which could have ticked the Netflix box in an alternative way, Wifi disconnects and just general lack of freedom that you would normally expect from devices running any form of Android OS. The lack of Netflix compatibility is what really got me! The MBX4K Ranger navigates and runs tremendously well and the clean look and feel to the UI does make it look professional and seem much more high-end than what the price tag suggests. The remote is really wonderful and I even like it more than the Apple TV remote. Throw in the Google Assistant and the controller is amazing!
It does however run HDR which is better than most! Kodi works like a charm, DSTV Now, Youtube, Showmax all run without any issues! If Mediabox can provide an update that will allow us to natively run Netflix without performing any rocket-science, the MBX4K Ranger will be the flagship media box for those who are willing to part with their other, more premium, branded boxes.
The MBX4K Ranger retails for R1 499 at various retailers
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for the review hardware
My very first experience with an AOC monitor happened way back in 2009 when I unknowingly bought arguably the best and most durable monitor I would come to have. At the time I simply wanted a 1080p display roughly 24inches big. My trusty AOC has been by my side through many consoles, a few PC's, office, home, friends, LAN's and even being borrowed to friends. Through all of that without a single hiccup. Fast-forward 11years and being able to unbox the latest in the AOC monitor range feels like I have come full circle. Let's hope the G2 range can stand up to the legendary status of its grandfather before it left in my mind. Let us dive straight in...
Design and build
The AOC CQ27G2 design and build is simple yet stylish. Featuring a matte black finish all around and a few red streaks to accent the sleek design. The "almost bezel-less" design makes the 27inch display appear even bigger although, when the monitor is in use the bezel is clearly visible. A thin black bottom, accented with a red stripe finishes the bottom of the screen off really nicely and a small and unobtrusive light to indicate power mode can be found on the right. Unlike many of its competitors, the CQ27G2 does not boast an OSD joystick. This can make navigating extensive OSD menus rather cumbersome but once set, these settings are generally not changed so it can be overlooked.
The stand of the AOC CQ27G2 has a wide-V footprint which fortunately won't take up much of your desk space. The stylish silver finish compliments the rest of the screen tremendously well and the cable management hole has more than adequate space for keyboard, mouse, and any other cables you might need to have neatly managed. The stand also allows for a wide range of movements of the monitor. Before we get to that, it is worth mentioning that the AOC CQ27G2 is fully VESA capable, with the 100x100 mount. The stand allows for the monitor to be raised by 130mm and provides -4° to 21.5° of tilt and 34° of swivel adjustments. Being a curved display, these angles and adjustments should be able to satisfy the fussiest of monitor-adjusters... (do you get those people?)
The connections for the monitor, which are as follows:
DisplayPort 1.2 x 1,
HDMI 2.0 x 2,
3.5mm Jack x 1
All are situated at the bottom of the monitor and face down, for wall mounting purposes. From the moment I pulled the monitor from its box to start assembling, the general feel of the packaging and the product in hand is that of quality. The AOC CQ27G2 feels solid and well built. Other monitors, such as my personal 27inch 144hz QHD monitor from another well-known brand, in the same price range as well, feels quite flimsy and like it might fall over if its bumped. The AOC CQ27G2, however, does not come with built-in speakers. Most would not find this to be a problem as, generally, the built-in speakers as very underpowered. The CQ27G2 also comes standard as both G-sync and Free-sync capable.
Display and Performance
With the arrival of the AOC CQ27G2 came a feeling of sheer excitement as well as significant amounts of dread. This being the first monitor I have ever reviewed. This on its own posed some challenges and significant research regarding terms and general aspects of gaming monitors. So bear with me as I try my hand at this monitor review.
The CQ27G2 has a 27" VA panel that is capable of 2560x1440 resolution while giving a superb 144hz and a response time of 1ms. The backlight can do 250cd/m2 and the general contrast ratio is 3000:1. So what does all of this gibberish mean? The resolution of 2560x1440 means that this monitor can display at a higher resolution than the normal 1080p or "full HD". 1080p only has 2,073,600 pixels on the screen with 1440p delivering over 3,600,00. in simple terms, the more pixels the sharper the image, and as screen sizes increase so is the need for the increase in resolution.
The CQ27G2 boasts a 1ms response time that, in today's terms, has become the standard if you want to call your monitor a gaming monitor. For those who don't know, response time is the time it takes for a single pixel to go from grey to grey. Along with this, the AOC delivers this in 144Hz. Refresh rate refers to how many frames it can produce within a single second. Regular monitors generally output between the 60-75hz range. If you have not experienced 144+Hz I would strongly suggest you try it. Once you see the silky smoothness of 144Hz you will never want to go back.
G-sync/Free-sync are ways that AMD and Nvidia stop screen tearing to occur. Both of these technologies will allow your GPU to sync its refresh rate with that of the monitor creating perfect sync between the frames that your GPU delivers and the frames your monitor displays. In the past, as well as with more budget monitors, they generally only support one or the other. Which can cause a headache when changing GPU's or if you don't research before you buy.
Monitor panels are a thing of great mystery, as I have come to learn during my research. You have 2 general types of panels. TN panels generally struggle with angles, colors, and contrast, but they tend to be fast, and as many may say, in this case, speed is worth a few sacrifices. VA panels, on the other hand, drop the speed and focus on picture quality and reproduction. Then you get IPS, the best of both worlds apart from their singular drawback... Price!
Even though the CQ26G2 has a VA panel, I was immediately blown away when I fired up Assassin's Creed Odyssey! I have never experienced colors and lighting to pop so spectacularly. Never have I experienced a sunrise or sunset, apart from the real thing, on any monitor! This might just be because it is my first experience with a VA panel but, man oh man am I hooked! Games with vibrant colors are close to unrecognizable when displaying on the AOC CQ27G2. With the research I have done, I have discovered that curved panels, like the CQ27G2, are prone to having uniformity issues across the panel, I conducted a simple test of moving a black box across the screen and apart from the slight variant in color here and there it is hardly noticeable.
With so many monitors around, all featuring many different panels, refresh rates, and just general features of which many can be considered gimmicks, it is really tough to make a decision on which one will suit your needs. This is where I would generally recommend finding a price range first, then deciding on screen size, resolution, and then refresh rate. All the other should be secondary. The AOC CQ27G2 sits firmly in its price range, with some monitors spec'ing similar to it but not quite up to its level. So I would say the AOC ticks the price box. Size, resolution, refresh rates are all comfortably ticked, with few being able to give 27 inches, 144Hz, AND 1440p for around the R7000 mark (give or take).
My recommendation would be if you are in the market for a 27inch gaming VA monitor then you should not hesitate to consider the AOC CQ27G2! Not only is it crammed full of features such as boost, HDR and even an onscreen crosshair (naughty) but it gives a wonderful image and literally had me dumbstruck by what I had been missing out on! And did I mention it is curved...
AOC has hit the nail on the head with this monitor and other "big name" brands should take note, AOC is not here to compete, they are here to take over!
Special thanks to AOC and Rectron South Africa for providing the Review hardware
Keyboards are keyboards, right? They all do the same thing, you type on them. Some of them might have a few cool gadgets and most these days have lots of RGB. Many even have an arsenal of options when it comes to the keys. Be that mechanical or not, and if so, a rainbow of colored switches all with their very own characteristics. Some are loud and clicky, others are more quiet and tactile. Basically, there is a switch for everyone... Furthermore, there are keyboards that provide high keycaps, giving you more travel when pressing the key. Other manufacturers even do optical switches. Logitech has leap-frogged all of these and decided to be ahead of the curve... Introducing the G815 low-profile GL-switched keyboard!
Keyboards come in many shapes and sizes, and some with rather crazy designs and features. In more recent years we have seen the return of the minimal design and a bigger focus on providing a premium feel. Much like the Xbox Elite controller stands head and shoulders above the competition due to its sleek design and presence by design, similarly, the G815 radiates thanks to its minimal and sleek design. The Logitech G815.
The G815 is best described as a rectangular keyboard with perfect square lines, only broken by the wide roller on the top right corner of the keyboard. The brushed metal finish gives the G915 a timeless and classy finish. It also does not show finger smudges like the polished black plastic of other models do. While many might think that the design might be lacking. After using the G815 a bit it quickly becomes apparent that a tremendous amount of time was put into refining the look while keeping it minimal yet providing all the needed features, macros and media keys. All of this while keeping the design edgy.
The G815 is extremely thin, at a measly height of only 22mm, Logitech had to do something drastic with their keycaps to get it this low. And that is what they did. Logitech partnered with Kailh to produce a new switch, departing from the previous Romer-G's, and what they created is the GL switch, which comes in 3 variants, clicky, tactile and linear. This new partnership has allowed Logitech to create a low profile key that allows for lots of travel while not compromising the low profile design, the best of both worlds. To give you an idea of the travel of these switches compared to normal Cherry switches. The cherry switches have a travel of 4mm compared to the 2.5mm of the GL.
While we are on the subject of switches, the responsiveness of the GL switches alone is a feature. While playing any form of a competitive game, we all know that responsiveness is something we all wish we had more of. Faster response from our own side might mean the difference between winning and losing. With the shorter travel distance, the G815 really gives you an advantage against the players on non- low profile keyboards. The G815 also has 5 programmable macro keys situated on the left vertically. They are perfectly positioned for your pinky to quickly slip off to the side and press that macro when needed. The spacing and positioning of the keys are perfect. I had absolutely zero adjustment period. miss-types were at a minimum and the ones I did have was my fault not due to the keyboard feeling strange.
Next to the ever-present Logitech emblem sits four M-buttons, these are profile keys. The G815 can store up to 3 setups on the keyboard itself, meaning you can quickly jump between games and, with a press of a button, your macros will be switched for that game. To make it even better is because the presets are saved on the keyboard itself, you can unplug it, take it to a friend, and have your presets with you instantly.
The G815 features 4 media buttons situated under the roller wheel which controls volume. The wheel might look strange at first but it has a premium feel and allows for the slightest volume adjustments. Neatly hidden at the top of the keyboard is also a USB-port. This is very nice when you want to plug an external or a wireless dongle for your G Pro wireless mouse. It is however only USB2.0 so don't expect fast transfer speeds.
As with pretty much all the Logitech keyboards, the GHub is where all everything can be controlled. The G815 comes with the usual array of preset RGB options such as the rainbow effect and screen sampler that gives a really neat look, as well as the audio visualizer. Pair this with other LightSync hardware to deliver a really great look. The really nice addition is the ability to create your own lighting effects. It might seem daunting at first but Logitech provides you with a few to start off with. If designing your own one is not your style, simply download and apply one of the community created ones. You are bound to find one that you like.
The GHub is also where you will find the key-bind options for your macros. This is a pretty straight forward process with the Ghub detecting games that you play and giving you options of what you would possibly want on these macros. Thanks, Logitech, didn't even know I needed my meds on macro when playing Escape from Tarkov.
Low profile keyboards are often not great for the day to day work and gaming. If they are they generally take some time to get used to. The Razer Huntsman, for example, has such a soft touch that I found myself pressing keys without noticing. Once I was used to it it was a great keyboard, but that was after many backspacing. The G815 slotted right in and was on point from the first keystroke. It is a wonderful keyboard to use for typing and the "clicky" variant that I reviewed had just enough click to satisfy without annoying people in the room next door. On a visual note, the G815 is spectacular and looks great paired with any setup. Whether you want full RGB, or extremely minimal, the G815 is up to the task.
When it comes to gaming, the keystrokes felt very true and I felt confident in my strokes which most definitely made a difference in my playing. As a whole, the G815 is a amazing keyboard that not only looks premium, but feels, and plays as premium should. It is built sturdy and will provide many hours of faultless enjoyment. The only possible problem with the G815 is its price. Coming in north of the R2000 mark does put it in the "expensive" bracket. But if you are doubting whether the price is justified, I can comfortably tell you, it is.
If I could have my pick of any keyboard to have as my daily, this would be it.
special thanks to Logitech for providing the review content
Ambidextrous mice have not ever been much of a thing, so if you are a left-handed mouse user you have never had too much of a choice when it comes to picking up a gaming mouse. Logitech did a great job when they brought us the near-perfect G903. For a very long time, I myself thought that the magnificent G903 could not be beaten. Then Razer sent me the Razer Viper Ultimate. Can the Viper Ultimate dethrone the legendary G903 or does it just fall short? Let's find out!
As I have mentioned in previous reviews, Razer has certainly evolved. They are no longer the RGB focused company that sell their product with RGB crammed into every nook and cranny. No, they have matured and the latest range of hardware that has been launched in recent years truly is remarkable. Not only has Razer forced the established names to take notice they have also driven development within the market. Making it better for us as consumers. Whether you are an entry-level gamer or consider yourself a hardcore gamer, Razer has a product to suit your budget, without the product feeling budget!
When it comes to the Viper Ultimate it's well priced in its competitive range. The first thing you will notice when unboxing the Viper Ultimate is just how light it is. For those who prefer more weight to their mice, unfortunately, the Viper Ultimate does not come with addable or removable weights. Usually, mice that are really lightweight can sometimes feel flimsy in-hand. Somehow Razer has managed to make the Viper Ultimate feel sturdy and strong while being extremely light. The design is much more minimalist and only an RGB Razer emblem adorns the Viper Ultimate right on the spot your palm will normally rest. While the smooth plastic on the top feels nice to the touch. The grippier sides make sure the Viper won't slip out of your hand anytime soon.
The Viper Ultimate, as the name suggests, is the top tier Viper. It is wireless thanks to Razer's own Hyperspeed technology. I was skeptical at best, of the wireless technology having, as they say, the same performance as wired. I first went wireless on my own G903, so logically i will compare the Viper Ultimate to that. And I am pleased to tell you the statements are correct. I cannot distinguish between wired and wireless with the new tech. It is simply astounding.
Let's get to the important bits, how does the Razer Viper Ulitmate truly perform? Firstly, Razer claims it to have a battery life of around 70 hours with heavy use. The lockdown has given me the chance to truly push the Viper with a lot of extra gaming hours. And I am confident in saying that it can go the distance! I went roughly a week without charging and I still had juice left in the tank. Charging is also really simple, just place it on the extremely good looking docking station, which also serves as your wireless hub and stores the USB dongle for when you do want to skip the dock.
Razer has really taken it to the next level, the new sensor, called the Razer Focus + Optical sensor, that is being used in the Viper is rated for 20 000DPI. Personally I think its no need to have a sensor that can go higher than even 10k DPI. I have never played on DPI settings higher than 1600, but that might just be personal preference. Another spec that Razer brags with is the 650inches per second tracking speed. It is really tough to describe what it feels like but when taking the Razer Viper out of its cradle and you start to use it. The accuracy level is un-rivaled. At times it felt like my cursor was attached to my eyes rather than my hand...
This is where the Viper might run a little short for some. Although the battery life of the Viper is really good, the problem comes with the dock. As beautiful as it looks it only charges the Viper when the PC is on. And when it is charging it takes around 4 hours for a full charge. This would be easily fixed with an option to plug it straight into a wall socket so that it would constantly be able to charge.
The Viper also makes use of the Razer Synapse software which can take some time to get used to and for newer users, the software can be rather daunting! With a little bit of tinkering though, it works really well and allows for tremendous customization especially if you use more Razer products. Another of the features that should be mentioned is the fact that you can calibrate your Viper for the specific mousepad you are using. This lets the sensor know what type of surface it is being used on and therefor adapts and tracks better.
The Razer Viper Ultimate can easily be compared to the near-flawless Logitech G903, and for good reason. It can match the Logitech in nearly every step. The Viper Ultimate is nearly a no-brainer in its price range. The G903 ultimate trumps it not due to it being a better mouse, but simply because it has the powerplay feature. Which lets you charge on the mousepad while playing, wirelessly. But taking into account the amount of money you need to spend to use this feature, I would whole-heartedly recommend getting the Viper Ultimate! Value for money and the tech that you will receive will simply blow you away!
The Razer Viper Ultimate is arguably the pinnacle of the Razer mouse stable! Go on, get one, you won't be disappointed!
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review content
Logitech has long been known to make hardware that can slot into any environment as well as any budget. All of this, while being seen as one of the leading brands in all things gaming. This is no small feat. It is tough to find a Logitech product that isn't, at worst, good. It is easy to find the truly exceptional. To find either at the sub R1000 mark, from a major manufacturer, is where it gets tricky!
The Logitech G305 sits firmly in the middle. It's not quite adventurous enough in design or function to revolutionize the industry. Yet it is more than capable of handling everyday challenges that might arise during PC gaming or productivity.
If you are not careful, you would assume the G305 to be a G Pro without RGB and the cord being chopped. The design is identical down to the ridged scroll wheel. Some might say this is a bad thing, but for those who have used the G Pro will know, it is simply sublime. The G305, just like the G Pro, is a sleek and comfortable mouse that has absolutely no wasted space.
The G305 comes as a six-button mouse. Left, right, clickable scroll wheel, DPI adjuster and two thumb buttons. Which, depending on whether you use it left- or right-handed, will be inside or outside. A big selling point for the G305 is the fact that it is also wireless. Not only that, but it weighs in at a measly 96g! A big chunk of this being the AA battery that sits inside it.
From the moment you take the G305 out of its box, it will work on any PC. Thanks to the dongle that fits perfectly inside the mouse when you pop off the top cover. This is also the way that you would insert and replace the AA battery it requires to run the mouse. By using a AA battery this obviously means that the G305 is not rechargeable like many of its family members. On the flipside, Logitech rates the battery life to be around 250 hours if you are using it for an 8 hour day. By making the G305 non-rechargeable is also an easy way to cut costs. The DPI switch, which simply scrolls through the four-set DPI settings, sits perfectly under the wheel, barely protruding out. If you want to customize your DPI levels, a quick visit to the Logitech Ghub will have you adjusting them quickly.
Many folks might see wireless, and instantly think that that equals to slower response times. Logitech has proved everyone that wireless doesn't need to mean slow input. The lightspeed range, which covers nearly the entire modern Logitech range, boasts a 1ms response time, even on wireless use.
Some people might argue the fact that the G305 only offers wireless through the dongle, and not through Bluetooth like many of its counterparts and even lesser productivity mice within the Logitech stable. This means you won't be able to use the G305 with tablets, mobile phones or some gaming consoles. But at the same time, this just proves the point even more. The Logitech G305 is content to be what it is.
Even though it might come across as rather mundane and boring, the G305 still boasts the Hero sensor, which is one of the best optical sensors around. Although in this version it is only capable of 12 000 DPI.
No review would be complete without putting the G305 through its paces. Upon arrival, I was using it in the office for productivity. Going from a trusty Microsoft mouse to the G305 felt really great. The wireless felt great and its small form factor just felt right when using it in a cluttered environment.
When I got home, I simply popped in the dongle, and off I went. Playing some Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem, moving over to For Honor and then to some Rainbow 6 Siege. As expected the G305 handled them all superbly. It did not favor any of the genres more than any other. I did find my aim to be not as true as it usually is but that is due to changing up my mouse that I use most of them time. The clicks feel true and the movement smooth and predictable.
At the end of the day, the Logitech G305 does not put a foot out of line. Whatever you throw at it, it takes the challenge in its stride. It is elegant, it is small, and it is uncluttered. For the individual who wants some RGB, it, unfortunately, does not cater to you. You could drop considerably more money and get into the top of the line G900 range which will give you all the features and then some. But the G305 will serve the same core function at a fraction of the cost.
Special thanks to Logitech for providing the review content
In a world where multi-purposing, as well as minimalism, is a popular trend. It's only expected that it will filter down to gaming. With many gamers taking their mouse with them to the office, you need a mouse that can handle the rigours of spreadsheets and presentations. While being able to step-up when the gaming gets tough! All of the above, and at a respectable price. Not easy to tick all the boxes...
Say hello to the Razer Deathadder V2!
Straight off the bat, the Deathadder has a sleek and simple design which makes it perfect for the office- and home use. The size and way your hand lays on it feels more comfortable. The slight slant away from your open hand feels more natural placing less stress on your wrist. This might sound silly but after using it and trying another mouse, the difference is very noticeable.
The Deathadder features the standard 2 click buttons on top, the scroll wheel that is also clickable, along with two programmable buttons on the inside of the mouse. It is also good to note that the Deathadder is a right-handed mouse, so lefties, you are out of luck. Just behind the scroll wheel, the two DPI buttons can be found. The wheel and buttons are at a lower level to the area your palm will rest. This helps to stop accidental DPI changes when your hand moves around on the mouse.
RGB has become all the craze lately, with everything, including the kitchen sink (or toaster) featuring RGB. The Deathadder, although, more reserved, also feature a two-zone RGB setup, one being the scroll wheel the other being the large Razer logo which will mostly be covered by your palm during use. Setting up the RGB can be easy, or slightly more complicated depending on how in-depth you want to customize. If you are not too phased, using the Razer Synapse program will give you 5 quick effects such as Breathe, Static, Reactive, Spectrum and Audio Cycle. If customization is your thing you will need to download Chroma effects from the Razer website. Using Chroma effects you can customize to your heart's content. Having more Razer products obviously will make Chroma effects even more powerful.
Although the Deathadder can easily be mistaken for the run of the mill mouse, it does possess some serious tech under the hood. Turning it over you will see what looks like the normal slide guards. But on the Deathadder they are a special material specifically designed to allow for great smooth movements across most types of mousepads. Don't forget to set up your specific material or surface that the Deathadder slides on. The Deathadder can also have 5 DPI steps saved using Razer Synapse of course. The sensor found in the Deathadder is good for up to 20 000DPI. Although, I highly doubt you will find yourself setting them that high.
The left- and right-click buttons are where another big part of the magic happens. These are no mere mechanical switches. No, they are optic switches. That means instead of a button being pressed to make a mechanical switch, these click buttons use light to activate. There is a constant source of light that, when clicked, breaks the beam of light causing the mouse to register the click. What this means is your clicks are literally registering at the speed of light... Let that sink in...
The two inside programmable buttons can be programmed to act like any button on both your keyboard or mouse. This is especially handy when things get hairy in-game or you simply need to page back through your browser. If you are someone who prefers to play MMO's then obviously having only 2 programmable buttons on the mouse is a bit of a letdown.
The Razer Deathadder V2 is the perfect mouse for those who like to work and play equally hard. It is good to note that if you are not a fan of bigger mice, then the Deathadder might not be exactly your choice. Neither would it be for those who play ability heavy games. But for the price and the features that you get within that price, the Deathadder is a sure-fire contender for the best in class!
If you need a mouse that can game and work and you don't want to break the bank, the Deathadder V2 is what you have been looking for.
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review content
In a world where everything needs to happen at lightspeed. Your focus and reactions need to be that of a Formula 1 driver. Managing that is not as easy as simply getting a good nights' rest. This is where many people turn to energy drinks or large amounts of caffeine intake.
We have all read and heard numerous stories of how bad energy drinks are for you and of the many people who have either died or have had major health problems because of said energy drinks.
For gamers, we fight the good fight. We need to be at our peak mental ability as well as agility. Most of us only get to jump into our game of choice at the end of a long day of whatever it is you call work. Most of the time, by that time, we are never at our best. Hence we turn to energy drinks of boat-loads of caffeine. This is where X-Gamer comes in. If you consume too much of either caffeine or energy drinks you will inevitably start to feel shaky or general not well.
Does it X Gamer give you that kick?
The people over at Apex Interactive were kind enough to send me a shaker with a few samples of the new flavours of X Gamer. These flavours consist of a whole host of new and interesting flavours like gummy bears and cape town swiss roll. Apart from having the most innovative and original names, the flavours are, for the most part, just as spectacular.
As I am not a man of science, instead of boring you with ingredients and nutritional values and all those boring things, the only logical way to test if X Gamer can really replace a cup of coffee or it alternatives is to replace my morning coffee with a shot of X Gamer. So for 2 weeks, I took up the challenge. Drinking a 500ml X Gamer, in its very good looking shaker, for 2 days and then skipping to days etc. On the first morning, I tore open my sachet of X Gamer, dropped it into 500ml of water in the shaker closed the lid and by the time I wanted to shake, it was nearly completely dissolved. I gave it a shake just for the sake of it and started sipping on it while my colleagues gave me funny looks while sipping on their cups of brew.
Within 20min I could feel the difference. I felt more spritely and energetic. Both of these feelings obviously help for a more focused mind as well as I felt a lot less drained by midday compared to my usual day. Which, by that time, I would have been on my third coffee. Mixing the X Gamer with 500ml of water also helps for the fluid level intake which I am really bad at. By 2 pm, the time the energy drinks usually start to wear off and you start to feel run-down and shaky the X Gamer was still going strong with absolutely ZERO negative feelings. On the contrary, It actually made me feel like drinking water instead of more coffee. This might be due to the slight parchedness it leaves in your mouth. All I did was fill up my shaker with some H2O and off I went.
What's in the Bottle?
For those who are interested in the details. Each serving will provide 129kJ of energy and 200mg of caffeine and 1000mg of Taurine. There are of course other ingredients such as Niacin (31.2mg) and only 3g of carbohydrates for those who are non-carb diets. However, where X Gamer stands head and shoulders above the competition is the number of other vitamins it consists of. For those who would like a more detailed analysis.
Dosage per 10g serving
Equivalent to about two cups of coffee
Taurine is found in large amounts in the brain, retina, heart, and blood cells called platelets
niacin may help lower cholesterol, ease arthritis and boost brain function
VITAMINS do I need to say more
support immune function, prevent inflammation, promote eye health, and lower the risk of cancer.
Thiamine is important in the breakdown of carbohydrates from foods into products needed by the body
It is involved in many processes in the body and is necessary for normal cell growth and function
It's significant to protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism and the creation of red blood cells and neurotransmitters
Same as above...
It plays an essential role in the production of your red blood cells and DNA
More good stuff
helps your body convert food into energy
It's necessary for making blood cells, and it helps you convert the food you eat into energy
makes you strong
mineral that can improve insulin sensitivity and enhance protein, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism
make hulk strong
Boron is used for building strong bones, treating osteoarthritis, as an aid for building muscles and increasing testosterone levels
sunblock for your eyes
filter harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light and help protect and maintain healthy cells in the eyes
Should you buy it?
If you are considering using X Gamer as a replacement for the Vitamins and supplements you get from your local pharmacy, then I would say you are out of luck. X Gamer is touted as an energy drink to enhance endurance and focus. And that is what it provides. Would I recommend switching out your favorite can of Energy drink for a tub of X Gamer? MOST DEFINITELY! There are significantly more healthy ingredients in X Gamer compared to energy drinks. Not only that, but the "coming-off" on X Gamer is gradual and won't have you laying in a heap of lifeless flesh when it has worked its way out. Did I mention every single flavor is extremely yummy!!!
The pricing is also decent with Takealot coming in at prices ranging from R499 to R749 at the time of checking. This might feel like a steep price to pay. But considering what you pay for your Seattle coffee on the way to work... X Gamer makes a lot more sense!
Special thanks to the people over at Apex Interactive for the review content
Guys and gals about a month ago I discovered that one of my clan mates was in a serious accident and could only use his one hand to play games, at first I was in disbelief as I've seen people with 2 hands struggle, then I spoke to friends about it and a very good friend of his assured me, that this legend of a clanmate did in fact game with 1 hand.
I thought about this for a moment and it really inspired me, most people who have serious accidents feel defeated by life and then find the strength to carry on, which in itself is inspiring, but my now good friend Mr.T, which I will now code name him, took a greater step forward and found a way to carry on gaming without the help of expensive custom made controllers or voice-activated software, he mastered the art of holding an XBOX remote in one hand and playing games.
I asked Mr.T if I could interview him, he agreed, but my greatest challenge was, what questions to ask? Do I ask about the accident? Do I ask what he misses most? Then I thought why ask about the negative side of things.
Let's ask this LEGEND the same questions I would ask anyone, with 1 or 2 being less of. So asking questions which show the world that once you’re a gamer, you're ALWAYS a gamer, showing that spirit and passion never dies and we as gamers are never alone in our struggles, we may be toxic at times, we may rage, we may relay in great detail what explicit things we've done to someone's female parent… But if it came down to it we would all support one another, lifting each other on our shoulders and giving them the drive to carry on….. and someone like Mr.T, he showed me that never giving up on what we love most is a good way to keep doing what we love most.
Were you a gamer before your accident?
- Yes, I used to play more PC games in the beginning, but after the release of the XBOX 360, I only then got into console gaming.
HA hear that “master Race”
Why did you want to keep gaming?
- After my accident, I did not immediately take up gaming again, but due to boredom I tried until I could handle the controller, and have never looked back.
When “screw it” just won’t do.What were the obstacles you had to overcome to keep gaming?
- The biggest obstacle physically was getting the controller to work for me since I play with a standard controller. Mentally it is the worry that what you do is bringing the team down.
If you’ve ever seen him play Siege, you'd think he was MNK.What is the greatest challenge you still face as a gamer?
- Because I move the right analog stick with my index finger, I am unable to make some of the quick / finer movements.
My thumb likes to think it’s a pinky from time to time…What games do you enjoy playing?
- I play mainly co-op or party games since I game with my cousin. I hate playing alone. When it comes to genres or types, I really cannot choose, if it is interesting, I will play it.
There is nothing better than jamming with friends….What’s your all-time favorite game?
- That is a difficult one to answer, but for the past few years, I would have to say Rainbow Six Siege.
YES FOLKS SIEGE….and why??!?!?!!? Because siege is life When you’re not gaming what do you like to do?
- Read manga or watch YouTube / Netflix.
Man after my own heart Do you get any help when you game?
- I sometimes ask my cousins to play parts of games if I struggle, but it does not happen often due to them being in different towns.
I still need help, I'm yet to make it off that damn bridge in Darksouls…Don’t judge meWhat game moment made you rage the hardest?
- I cannot remember really, but know that Crash Bandicoot has made me rage quit and switch the console off.
Ahhh yes, the one who started it all…..stupid spikes traps EVERY TIME I JUMP THEN YOU GO UP!!!!!!
Fellow Gamers lets all raise our remotes, our mice? Mouses? Whatever you pc people call them and our phones, yes mobile gamers we include you too, and salute a fellow gamer, through sheer will power, determination and a bit of boredom found his way home and took back his place in front of the monitor, screen, Full HD 292-inch tv with crisp refreshes and crystal clear sound and….. sorry Takealot shopping is NOT your friend when trying to make a point, *AHEM* welcome back gamer, you will always find a place on my squad and a spot in my party chat and above all else… my Respect.
With the drastic incline of interest in the esports scene in recent years, creating esports-orientated hardware has been every company's goal. Every teenager who has ever gotten a win in their favorite battle royale game, or dominated (even once) in a shooter, now thinks they have what it takes to become the next, I had to go Google names, Bugha, skadoodle, nicewigg or Pengu. But becoming an esports athlete does not only require tremendous amounts of skill and dedication but having the correct hardware does also lend to becoming a more competitive gamer. Having a better headset will give you better audio queues in games where that matters such as R6 Siege. A better mouse will give you that quick-flicks when you are caught off-guard in Apex Legends. But not much is ever said about the keyboards...
Razer, after releasing the Huntsman in 2018, to great response, has now made the Huntsman more esports inclined with the Huntsman Tournament Edition. Let's dive into the Huntsman TE and see why this is the option you need to look at when looking for an esports keyboard.
So small, yet so powerful.
One of the first things that you need to realize when you look at buying a TE version is that you will be looking at a ten-keyless keyboard. This means that it is a keyboard that has no Numpad, and in comparison to gaming keyboards, it also has all media keys removed. Leaving you with only the essentials. The reason for the smaller form is not because someone wanted a smaller keyboard. No, it is, as the name might suggest, to easily bring along to LANs or tournament environments. To ease the packing up process, the cable is easily detachable. The USB-C connector easily detaches from the top left corner of the keyboard.
The biggest thing to remember about having a ten-keyless keyboard is the fact that there is no Numpad, for those of you who are constantly punching numbers into a spreadsheet, this is not the keyboard you need or want. Like all Razer products, it features loads of RGB and linked with the ever-evolving Synapse which, in my opinion, is probably the best peripheral software around. After spending a lot of time playing around in the Synapse software, fiddling with macros and lighting effects, as well as setting up profiles for the Huntsman, of which you can store 5 of them on the keyboard memory so you have your profiles with you even when you don't have your pc, I decided to leave it on ambient awareness. This mode lets the keyboard mimick the colours that are displayed on the screen.
As the name states, the Huntsman is aimed at the esports gamer. In the esports realm performance, precision and reliability are the key aspects of selecting your weapon of choice. What is very important to know is that there are a vast amount of mechanical switches. From brown, red, blue, green, nearly every colour of the rainbow. Each with their own characteristics, some are clicky, some are not. Having a Logitech as well as a Razer Blackwidow as my daily keyboards, one being membrane, the other being Razer green mechanical clicky switches, both with actuation distances of 2mm. The Huntsman trims down on this 2mm and actuates at 1.5mm. 0.5mm doesn't sound like much, but when you do use it, you will find that even resting your fingers on keys too heavily will have you typing strings of A's in chat.
An easy way to compare is that the Huntsman will type even when you are merely thinking of typing. For twitch gaming, which means games where reactions play a big role, the 1.5mm actuation makes the world of a difference and I could see the improvement in my gameplay once I got used to the light actuation point. For those who will be using the Huntsman for typing, expect many moans and even more backspaces for all the unwanted double letters. I started the review with the Huntsman and quickly reverted to the Blackwidow due to all the typing errors.
The Huntsman makes use of optomechanical switches. For those who are not clued up, this means when you press down on the key it interrupts a lazer underneath the switch. This has two main advantages, firstly it means there is nearly no latency, providing the quickest input possible. Secondly, it means there are less moving parts which mean that the keyboard should last substantially longer. Esports players are particularly hard on their hardware, similarly to players who tend to rage often, the Huntsman comes prepared for such user and should be able to withstand some serious punishment.
At first, the Huntsman might seem very pricey for a keyboard that gives you less than other cheaper keyboards. No numpad, no media keys but more price. Don't be fooled by this. The optomechanical keys and precision of them makes this keyboard a near-must for any gamer who is looking for a dedicated gaming keyboard. The small form factor, as well as the removable cable, is a massive plus for the LAN enthusiast. The casual gamer who does do some typing and general work on their computer might have to think twice, as the sensitive keystrokes and minimal actuation distance can become extremely infuriating to those trying to do simple typing.
The Huntsman is not a keyboard that is going to make the average gamer a pro. But if you are a player that has some inclination to a certain game and you are that in-tune with the game that it feels like near-telepathic flow when you are playing, the Huntsman will have you playing and reacting as fast as you can think. The Huntsman is ready to be the conduit between your brain and the game!
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review hardware
IT'S NEARLY CHRISTMAS!!!
Logitech G and Early Axes wants to make you the lucky owner of some great Logitech G peripherals! All you need to do is the list below! Who knows the Logitech Santa might stop by for an early Christmas gift! Head over to the EarlyAxes Facebook Group and do the simple steps below!
1: like and share the original post!
2:give Logitech G a like!
3:Tag 2 friends
4: Tell us what item in the G-Range do you like most and why!
The competition will run until the 6th of December 2019!
Competition is only open to SA residents!
Need for Speed is a name, that when said by most, brings back nostalgia and fond memories of better times. When NFS was what it originally wanted to be, a street racing game. Before modded cars and silly spoilers etc. Yes, it later really became huge with the likes of the spectacular Underground, Underground 2 and Carbon. After that things seemed to slowly fizzle out for the NFS franchise becoming a rather lacklustre title will still pumping out releases quite regularly.
With the last outing, Payback, NFS seemed to have found their way back slightly. This placed a large amount of pressure on the next outing, being HEAT. NFS Heat is a fantastic game. With great and vibrant environments that, mostly, feel living and lived in. A really new and fresh day/night mechanic and Police chases that are not simply run away from with pure speed. But where it lacks tremendously is with the cringy cast they selected.
lights, revs and narcissism!
Palm City, the area that plays host to NFS Heat is basically one giant nightclub. With blinding amounts of neon lights, and a seemingly ever-present bassline which possibly explains the narcissism of the characters... Even though other titles like Forza Horizon has done the party-vibe before NFS Heat feels a little too aggressive and in-your-face with it. You are a rookie on the scene in Palm City. After selecting your avatar from a good couple of options and customizing him or her to give them the personal feel you will be tasked with getting cash to spend on your gifted clanger of a car, as well as improve your overall rep in the racing scene. What follows is a rather familiar formula of doing races, smashing billboards and competing in a few drift challenges to build up bank and rep, cringy I know. I found the first few levels to be somewhat slow until hitting enough rep to continue the story.
The races in NFS Heat have two distinct, but contrasting, personalities. By day, races are organized and planned with barriers and the needed all set up and ready to race. These races generate money for you as an aspiring racer. But it is during the night when Heat truly shines. These races are more raw and visceral and these races act as XP races to boost your level so you can unlock cars, races and upgrades. Although, at night you are not the only ones out on the streets. The police turn-up their patrols and bring out their most powerful and aggressive cars. Whether you are simply taking a cruise or mid-race if they spot you they will come after you until you either shake them or they ram you into submission.
Another aspect of the night racing that really adds to the drama is the fact that your rep earned at night only "banks" when you turn into a garage. Meaning that if you get busted by the police before being able to do so, all your hard work of grinding is lost!
Cars, Cambers and Spoilers!
The underground-series made NFS famous for the over the top styling and modding. Since the franchise has stuck with the modding and Heat is no different! The majority of the stable of cars in Heat will look rather familiar to players of Payback. One of the great additions is that Ferrari have decided to get back on board and they brought a large ensemble of cars to add to the garage! Toyota, however, has once again decided to skip this outing leaving us wanting some Supra goodness, both mk4 and mk5!
As is par for the modding-course, all the JDM classics from the '90s are here (apart from the Supra). Supercars are in abundance and big American muscle can be found all over! Many European monsters and even some fast Volvo's! There are definitely cars for everyone! These cars also have every fine little detail that their real-world counterparts have. And they look especially great in the rain, as does most of the world of Palm city. With the slightest detail such as raindrops running down body panels and windscreens.
The cars' handling has also been reworked from previous titles. Drifting can now be initiated by taking your finger off the throttle and then ploughing it through your controller to start your skid. For the driver craving more the "realistic" feel this can be troublesome for the times you actually need to feather the throttle through corners. Luckily this setting can be changed back to brake-for-drift. For the first time in an NFS game, the feel between FWD, RWD and AWD can actually be experienced in the way cars handle, even if its only slight!
Engine swops, as in Forza, is one of the key modding features in Heat. This takes away some of the performance ceilings that many cars hit rather early in their tuning life! But what really caught my eye was the way you can tune your exhaust note. Want it loud, brash, tinny, or just want it to sound like a run-of-the-mill daily, you can tune it! The livery system is back and as good as before. Style your car the way you want it. From a classic black on black to the way out pearl paint with minute rims and even those who are into the stance scene, heat has styling options to suit everyone!
Need for Speed Heat has taken little pieces from all its previous games and built something that really lives up to the NFS games of old! Apart from the cringe-worthy acting, Heat is a truly great and enjoyable arcade racer with great customization options! Now, all we need is the playlist from Underground 1 and 2 and this game would be perfect! For those who have been burned by previous NFS titles, this is your salvation!
Special thanks to Prima Interactive for the review content
The current-gen of consoles has brought us many positives and even more joyous occasions. Terrific games, better graphics and finally crossplay! With each generation the number of hours we spend with the controller in-hand increases. Since the wireless controller became the norm since the 360 and PS3 era consumers, especially Xbox users have moaned about the usage of batteries, or the constant recharge of the PS controller. A generation later and Microsoft has still not ditched the AA battery setup in their controller. This means you either need to buy rechargeable batteries, or stock-up on AA batteries because you will eat through tons of them!
I am fortunate enough to have access to both Xbox One and PS4 consoles and spending more time on my Xbox, the charging station that Apex Interactive sent me was a welcome sight! PDP does make cost-conscious products. To most companies, cost-consciousness means a budget product at a budget price. For PDP this is not true! Their range of controllers and headsets tick the quality box as well as the budget box!
What's in the box?
The PDP Gaming Ultra slim charging station comes with an extremely sleek and nicely designed station. The station is extremely slim lined and minimal in design and with the space it takes up on your desk or counter. It has two magnetic connection points as well as two mood lights to give it some RGB feeling. At the bottom of it it also has two LED indicators to show when the controllers are properly fitted. 10/10 times I have tried to place the controller incorrectly the magnetic positioning has corrected my placement to ensure good and firm contact to the charging ports. Many other docking stations require you to have a free USB port to plug it into. The PDP ultraslim has its very own 2-prong plug that plugs straight into a wall socket, giving you that always-needed USB port to use for an external hard drive or headset amp.
PDP also provides two rechargeable battery pack that simply fit inside the Xbox One controller the same way normal batteries would fit. The cover is then replaced by the provided PDP cover which has an opening perfectly slotted to provide great contact between the battery pack and the charging station.
With the PDP battery pack connected the Xbox One controller feels slightly heavier than it does with standard batteries but the weight difference is hardly noticeable and the result is worth the extra few grams. During the time I spent using the PDP ultraslim charge station I put in multiple gaming sessions that lasted more than 8 hours, save for a few bathroom- and snack breaks and the batteries did not skip a beat. In fact, I hardly got past the 50% mark that the Xbox provides to show controller battery level.
If you are one of the players that have spent a small fortune on buying AA batteries then the PDP ultraslim charging station has your name on it. Straight out of the box it provides battery packs for 2 controllers with the ability to charge both of them at the same time. Not only does it serve as a charging station it is a good looking way to store your controllers when not using them. Coming in at close to R700 it is easy to see why this is the change you need to make instead of constantly buying AA batteries!
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for the review hardware
When you think RPG titles one of the first names that come to mind is Fallout. And you wouldn't be wrong by saying that the likes of Fallout 3 and New Vegas are arguably some of the best RPG's around. But since then the Fallout has gone downhill. The likes of Fallout 4 and the devastatingly bad, Fallout 76 has driven the Fallout name to an all-time low.
Thankfully the people over at Obsidian decided to take their skills, which has given us titles like Star Wars: Knights of the old republic, Fallout New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity, and revive the Open-world RPG genre that was being held together but the incredible Witcher 3. The Outer Worlds has been coming and I have tried to keep away from all the hype... Can it be the Fallout we have all wanted? Or will it splash about like Fallout 76... I am very pleased to tell you that this is possibly the greatest not-Fallout game EVER!
Where am I?
At the start of this game, mad scientist Phinneas Wells wakes you from an awfully long cryosleep, 70 years to be exact. He needs your help, of course! You are tasked to go to Halcyon, the outer most planet in the galaxy, also controlled by a bunch of big corporate entities. The people that live, or should I say survive, in Edgewater, the first town you visit, are exploited. The medicine supply is distributed amongst, and to those who can contribute the most, first. The gravedigger is the first you meet, he needs a hand in collecting some money for the rent of future burial sites... How you go about the collection is up to you. Do you persuade, take forcefully, steal or simply kill. The Outer Worlds takes the "choice" system to the next level with tremendously involved decision making, which sways the outcome of your choices dramatically.
Another group of villagers have been lucky enough to escape, but the major of Edgewater wants you to bring them back. Siding with the mayor means your travels in the vast wildlands of Halcyon won't only have you looking over your shoulder for monsters. Add destitute villagers who are now fleeing from Edgewater. Siding with the villagers will also have other ramifications in Edgewater... Choices choices choices, can you stand by yours?
Why so Serious?
The Outer Worlds can easily be compared to the likes of Fallout when it comes to gameplay, which for the most of the time, that means it has rather strong and serious undertones. The gameplay and mechanics certainly take most of its ideas from Fallout. Where it does differ from the Fallout series, is in its storytelling and how it incorporates satire EVERYWHERE! The story and dialogue choices, which are the heart of the storytelling and decision-making that really makes The Outer Worlds great. But drawing too much from the tongue-in-cheek games like Borderlands, does make some decisions more difficult to make. Not knowing whether the dialogue is meant to be satirical or seriously did creep into a fair amount of choices made during my playtime.
Missions or side missions can be tackled much like in Fallout. You can either try to talk your way through them if you have enough skill points on charisma and persuasion, fight your way through, all guns blazing, or try to avoid any type of conflict by sneaking around the enemies.
Although the game tries to make it seem like these decisions have real consequences, unfortunately, they don't do THAT much apart from making certain factions like, or dislike you more which in turn will make them treat you less kindly when interacting with them.
More good than Bad
[caption id="attachment_5478" align="aligncenter" width="967"] The Outer Worlds_20191016111537[/caption]
The above mentioned are the only slightly negative things about The Outer Worlds. Let us start with the skills and upgrades and abilities. In other games, you will find yourself dumping all your earned skill points into a few skills, such as strength, dexterity and vitality. Skills such as chemistry and charisma are often almost pointless. In The Outer Worlds, this is not the case. Quite the contrary. You can build an almost completely non-combat character that will still be able to fight wildlife and marauders, who don't like to reason but be able to almost talk your way out of any situation. This opens up for tremendous amounts of replayability.
The loot, inventory and upgrading system is another feature that really makes The Outer Worlds shine. While there is a vast array of weapons and armour to loot across the many planets in The Outer Worlds, each item can be customized itself. This will encourage you to try a host of weapons and find which work best for certain enemies. Found a weapon that you really like? No need to worry, weapons can be upgraded in many ways, damage, elemental damage and more, making even one of your trusty old weapons relevant throughout the game.
A friend in need
Any type of work is always better with a friend. In the Outer Worlds, these friends come in the form of companions. There are a total of 6 companions to be found throughout the game. These companions each have a skill tree and skillset of their own. Meaning each companion will be useful for different situations. Are you the type that shoots before you ask any questions? Pair up with a companion that has good charisma and you might not have to shoot quite as much. Need someone with good creativity and lockpicking, maybe your companion can help with that!
Some of the skills that your main character can learn have a passive effect on your companion which means you need to take great care when applying those skill points. Not only can these companions be kitted out from head to toe, but they each also have their very own personality and back story. As the story progresses and you find yourself moving to different planets, so the companion story arc evolves as well which makes exploring their story and missions fun and satisfying in their own right!
Although I reviewed The Outer Worlds on the original Xbox One, it still looked wonderful, colours are bright and vibrant, the worlds all look so contrast and the way each towns design and feel just add to the message they are trying to send is splendid. Player models and faces are some of the best I've seen from a game of this type!
At its core, The Outer Worlds doesn't change much from the recipe that Fallout has created, and that shouldn't bother many people, in fact, it should welcome a few of those who are hesitant about this game. What does help its cause is the stellar performance when it comes to the story and the narrative. Not only does it provide a great compelling story which I WANTED to follow and see through to the end. It gives you tons of quirky and fun moments within the story. To go with that is the brilliant cast of characters that you meet and come to love or hate as you go through this game.
The Outer Worlds is easily the best and most polished game of its type. It takes from other games in the genre and identifies stumbling blocks and strategically sidesteps them with ease. The Outer Worlds also does not overstay its welcome, it is long enough to have you engrossed without boring you. It might lack the sheer size of a title like Fallout but that is one of its greatest strengths, biting off smaller pieces and making sure each and every one of them is perfect!
The Outer Worlds delivers a thought-provoking story that will have you laughing and taking on some difficult decisions within moments of each other! A roller-coaster ride worth taking! Could this be one of the best games of 2019... Most definitely!
Special thanks to Prima Interactive for the review content
2D scrollers have never been high up on my list of games I have to play. Thinking back, the only 2d scroller that really got my attention was Jazz the Jack-rabbit, and Duke Nukem 2D ( damn I am old). Since then my focus has shifted, games like Doom and the original call of duty and medal of honor arrived and blew our child-minds. Gran Turismo 2, Final Fantasy and a whole host of games and generation of consoles and games came and went. 2D scrollers were a thing of the past, weren't they?
No, a wide array of scrollers were still being made. Great ones as well. Hence, when Trine 4 magically appeared in my inbox (thanks Apex) I met it with a strange sense of dread and excitement. Dreading that I was jumping into the fourth installment of a series I knew nothing about. But excited to see what the current standard of 2D scrollers was like comparing to Jazz and ol' Duke 2D.
The Knight, Wizard, and Thief
If you are like me, new to the Trine series, Trine puts you in the boots of 3 playable characters. Each with their own unique abilities. You will need to utilize each of the character's abilities if you are to make your way through the ever-changing puzzles. The knight has a shield which he uses to deflect incoming projectiles as well as reflect light. His trusty sword can break objects as well as slay the troublesome enemies you might come across. The Wizard can conjure up a box that can be used for climbing onto or hold mechanisms in place. The Thief, equipped with a bow, can shoot 3 types of arrows as well as connect ropes to rings as well as to the boxes the wizard conjures. Using these abilities and your wit, you need to overcome the puzzles Trine throws at you.
Trine 4 predominantly focuses on using the 3 characters and their abilities to solve puzzles. Using the thief and wizard, predominantly, you can solve most of the puzzles laid out before you. On the odd occasion, you might need the knight to reflect or deflect things that block your path. There are however a few combat stages that are scattered across the stages. These, unfortunately, do nothing for the game and I found myself wishing them to be over rather than enjoying them. They are also rather straight forward. Simply select the knight and bash and deflect until you have defeated all the enemies.
A happy and lovable place
Trine 4 has the most beautiful and vivid maps and areas that I have come across in a long time. The forests, caves and even dilapidated castles are all spectacular and lovely to see. Even though it is a 2.5D scroller, the backdrops feel alive and vivid. From the birds flying overhead, or the spiders and other animals crawling past in the background, all seem so natural. This gives Trine a wonderful sense of fantasy, much like I felt while watching the Harry Potter series. A sense of a truly living world happening around you. To add to this lovable and enjoyable setting is the way the game challenges you but without frustrating you. There are areas where you will get stuck for a few minutes but they do not hold you back long enough to get you frustrated. I found myself enjoying the odd challenge here and there. The respawn system is also extremely forgiving which will see your fallen comrades not stay downed for very long.
While spending around 12 hours in Trine 4, I never once experienced a "game over". Trine does not try to have you fail. It does not need to keep you playing for longer by making you struggle. It relies on its wonderful storytelling and fun, yet challenging puzzles to keep you hooked. And hooked you will be.
Better with a friend
As if that wasn't enough. You can also party up with a friend and have a second character, constantly, by your side. This will see you fly through many of the puzzles but also have the game adjust itself to make it a little more challenging. All in all the game has great replayability if you want to give it a bash solo, or with some mates.
what really makes Trine 4 a great installment in the series is the fact that you need no previous experience or knowledge of the games to enjoy this one. The story starts at a rather neutral point where no back story or history is needed. For those who are not new to the series, there are many references and jokes that you will enjoy and relate to. All in all, Trine 4 is a game I didn't know existed, yet after playing it, I am really happy I had the chance to. Trine 4 is a happy and fun experience that will eat up time and leave you with a smile on your face and a happy heart.
If you want to spend some time with a friend and take a break from the grind of the mainstream shooters or competitive racers, Trine 4 is what you need to wind down and have some casual fun!
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for the review copy
Another year means another installment of many titles. Games such as Madden, NHL and even Call of Duty come to mind. Many of these titles have already captured their audience, be it recently, or over decades of titles. Amongst these are many that simply don't reinvent themselves. Soon these titles start to carry labels like "reskinned". Call of Duty is one of these titles have come out in a big way with Modern Warfare, hoping to shake the feeling of paying again for a game you bought last year.
To some, the FIFA franchise is the same. Not really changing things up year on year. But let's be honest, football doesn't change. It has been played for many years and apart from new leagues and new stars, the game has not changed. So for FIFA to be innovative they have to look at tweaking mechanics and making it more realistic. Which they have done a great job of over the years. With yearly updates and tweaks to dribbling and defending and even contesting, FIFA has kind of reached a pinnacle. Then came "the Journey"! Creating a story mode for a sports game seemed preposterous. But FIFA did it and did it well.
And so we come to FIFA 20... Another year, another FIFA title, with new features and mechanics and an all-new Volta mode!
Football made for the street!
Let us get straight to the biggest addition from Fifa 19 to 20. VOLTA! For those who are familiar with the old Fifa Street, this it's new version. Unfortunately, the addition of Volta means we say goodbye to the corny, yet very enjoyable, The Journey. Volta brings football to the streets. Playing in a 3v3 on the roof of a skyscraper while doing moves that Messi can only dream of, really makes for fun times. Throw in incredible celebrations and solid customizations and you have a great new mode to the FIFA franchise. Volta comes with a few modes of its own. Not only can you play kick-off style games there is also a story to it, albeit extremely cheesy, following in the steps of the Journey, but it also has a massive customization section. Volta does not do as much justice to a "sports game with a story" as The Journey does but it does give some variation to the football genre.
Changes on and off the field
Fifa titles generally don't seem to make that many adjustments from one year to the next, Fifa 20 is no different. Looking at gameplay you will be hard-pressed to spot the difference between Fifa 19 and 20. Once you grab the controller though, you will feel the distinct change in speed. Where Fifa 19 felt very quick all the time, Fifa 20 takes that but fleshes it out. If you play with a team known for their speed on the attack, things feel extremely fast, and visa Versa. This creates a new style of ebbing and flowing throughout a match. In Fifa 19 even using some of the fastest players around it felt like you could easily be reeled in. EA took some good steps in addressing this and it feels like players truely feel at the correct speeds now.
According to EA they have also changed some of the ball physics to make the ball feel lighter. In my opinion, it felt heavier and I struggled to weight my passes and kicks correctly. This can very easily be changed in future updates if more people seem to experience a similar feeling. Apart from that, the other tweaks are all rather minor. Animations have been smoothed out and more variation has been added.
Free-kicks have been tweaked and, at first, they might seem a whole lot simpler. At first, it feels like all you need to do is point and shoot. You will soon learn that doing that will have you shooting all over the place. There are many factors that come into effect when doing this. Wind, curl, and even the quality of the kick-taker.
Career and FUT
Career mode has been a little of a step-child for the FIFA franchise. Not receiving much love over the last couple of years and never seeing any updates. This year is different. FIFA 20 sees the biggest update to the career mode in a long time. Career mode is excellently presented, as with most things Fifa, pre-seasons, training camps, all to boost your performance. Career mode now focuses on team morale more than anything. Red faces next to player names will indicate their morale is low and green will show high morale. Higher morale means better team chemistry means better performances! Morale is directly linked to player performance and the way you and your manager conduct themselves during interviews.
FUT is one of the main reasons most people play FIFA and this year sees more improvements in the form of more iconic players, more team, season and individual objectives and much deeper customization options!
FIFA 20 is once again a strong outing in the FIFA franchise, the addition of the Volta and the reworking of career mode does give it enough to be a strong successor for Fifa 19 which in itself was one of the best in the franchise in a long time. Volta takes the place of the Journey, which drops a small part for a large new genre of football. The gameplay tweaks are not all good in my opinion but tweaks are still changes which is what FIFA is known for, constantly innovating the footballing genre.
FIFA fans will undoubtedly still get this year's outing no matter the verdict. All in all, FIFA 20 is a good title, maybe not the best, but with the new Volta mode, it does offer much more in terms of being a fun, hop on and play title.
Special thanks to Prima Interactive for the review content
Sequels are the toughest games to make. If your first game was a success, then the sequel needs to pull all the good qualities of the first installment and tweak the weaker ones. On the flip side, if your first game was rather lack-luster, then you are expected to revamp completely. Both come with large amounts of pressure to deliver. The Surge was a great title from the company that brought us Lords of the Fallen. Lords of the Fallen was stunning, but was possibly too hot on the heels of the Souls franchise and copied too many ideas from the likes of Bloodborne and the Souls series.
Tweaks and changes
The Surge 2 does, however, make some good changes and welcoming tweaks to the system that was used in the original Surge. Unlike the first Surge, you now have the ability to build your own character. No matter what character you build and choose however, you still start the narrative as a plane crash survivor after the nanites from the first game escape. Surge 2 is more of gameplay with a solid narrative-type game rather than a strong story with decent gameplay. The combat has been tweaked and feels wonderful. Each rig with its weapons and armor falls into a well-explained class and easy to grasp. Looking for a light and fast rig, the Operator is the way to go, prefer being a damage sponge, Goliath class is your go-to class. And if you are looking for something in-between, Sentinel is your class.
These classes can be upgraded using cybernetic implants, accompanied by a host of high and low tech weapons, you are sure to be having some dismembering-fun in no time! What really struck me was how each of these weapons and armor that is at your disposal has an effect on the movement and flow of your rig. When you are using the Operator rig you feel like you can chain attacks together and bounce between enemies like Spiderman, but on the flip side, you can be sent flying across the battlefield with a single blow.
Blocking and injectables are both new systems that improve Surge 2 dramatically. The blocking and parrying system feels like it has been directly taken from For Honor. For those not familiar with this system, it does take some getting used to but once you are comfortable, it is extremely robust and very rewarding. The block and parry system works extremely well when using the goliath class with its extremely slow attack speed. Guessing the attacking direction correctly will see you parry and counter which is extremely satisfying when done correctly. The newly added injectables also add a whole new dimension to the fighting dynamic. Even though two goliath classes are identical, applying a variety of injectables can because both these Goliath builds to be completely different. This increases the replay-ability of Surge 2.
Slashin' and Lootin'
Executions are very clever and satisfying. As before, you need to target specific body parts and once you have done enough damage, you can dismember that limb. The animations for these dismemberments are spectacular. But what makes it truly great is the way it integrates into the looting system. In Surge 2 most of your loot is collected from downed enemies. Instead of this loot just being random, the way you fight the opponent will determine the loot that they drop. Looking for a very specific piece of armor? You will need to find an enemy wearing that exact piece of armor and dismember it. This gives the player reason to go and hunt down specific enemies. At the same time,it puts an interesting take on the looting and grinding aspect because it puts less emphasis on grinding until you find the item you looking for and rather has you exploring until you find someone with that item.
The story thus far...
Surge 2 has a straight forward story that is told the same way. The plot has its moments that are interesting but apart from that the plot feels very direct and expected. As before the story is told by interacting with NPCs and picking up recordings that tell you more about what has been happening since the nanites have devastated the world. The story of Surge 2 will take you to a wider variety of locales compared to the first game. Instead of being stuck in industrial areas and cities. Surge 2 will take you to a more diverse set of locales as well as have a larger variety of enemies to contend with. It does, however, feel like Surge 2 put more effort into building more diverse and beautiful open worlds and left out a few touches on the plot and story aspects.
With the story being told via NPCs and recordings that can be picked up, and the game allowing you to explore areas in any order, the story can become disjointed if you wander into an area and get plot details out of order. When the dust settles on Surge 2, the general feeling was that the incentive of gathering stronger loot is more than what progressing the story was. This is not a negative point but it is something to be aware of if you are looking for a more story-driven RPG.
Surge 2 does not reinvent the wheel when it comes to Souls-like titles, but that is not what it was trying to do from the start. What is does do well is the basics, it ticks the boxes. At times it feels like that is all it wanted to achieve and that it's happy with being mediocre. Then you get into the combat and the spectacular upgrade system, not to mention the way it makes use of a parry system that really gives the combat system life. Surge 2 might not be a replacement game for the hardcore Souls fans, but it is definitely worth the time and hours that you will invest in it. If you were a fan of the first game then it is a no-brainer, you will love it.
Surge 2 is a good game, will it be placed along with greats like Dark Souls or Bloodborne, probably not, is it the best of the rest, most definitely!
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for providing the review content
If you are here you probably have an opinion on Borderlands already. Either you are a fanboy or girl, or you simply hate Borderlands. I have yet to come by someone who is on the fence about the Borderlands franchise. Most people love it, but there will always be the odd few who swim against the stream and declare it to be utter trash. I fall in the first group, I love Borderlands! So how do you write a review about the game that popularized the loot & shoot long before the likes of Destiny and the Division came around, as well as the follow-up, although maybe not in release order, to arguably the greatest game ever, Borderlands 2? Well, why would you change a winning recipe?
And so it begins...
Borderlands is a franchise known for going against the grain, and the opening moments prove that. Unlike other sequels changing from the predecessors, Borderlands is so confident in itself that it dares to be familiar. This shows how confident gearbox and Borderlands are with themselves as well as this installment in the franchise. And it is with good reason that they are. From the opening moments you will be met with the usual Borderlands story, you are vault hunter, tasked with helping Lilith, a Siren from the previous installments, to find vault across the universe before the calypso twins (Anti-heroes and twin brother and sister) find them and DESTROY THE UNIVERSE(queue dramatic music). Not to mention the utterly hilarious jokes and jabs that are strewn across the wastelands of Borderlands.
This is part of what makes Borderlands so great, instead of changing up their whole game they keep the things that is loved by the fans and tweak the things that can only improve the experience. The shooting has been completely reworked to give a more enjoyable experience as well as giving the movement system a more fluid feel. You can now traverse obstacles easily. Graphically Borderlands 3 has taken its unique cartoon-styled graphics to a new level. Fewer reds and oranges and a whole lot more color! Borderlands 3 is lovely on the eye with lots of bright new colors and even MORE weapons. As if the weapons, you will be hard-pressed to find a game that has a wider variety of truely "original weapons" . Ranging from your run-of-the-mill shotguns to seriously interesting alien tech that instead of reloading, you throw at your enemy and explode on impact.
Welcome to Pandora
Borderlands 3 will start you on the very familiar planet of Pandora. You will need to help clean out all the bandits from Pandora, which is rather normal, but this time around you are not stuck on Pandora only. Your journey to stop the Calypso twins will have you traveling to many jaw-droppingly beautiful planets. It is not a simple fast travel from the one planet to the other either. Your spaceship is an explorable and living area in itself. Feeling a lot like the submarine that you spend time on in between missions in Wolfenstein: the new Order. Every environment that you have the pleasure of exploring will provide vast amounts of loot as well as countless NPCs that provide hours of laughs if you stand around and listen to their dialogues. Borderlands 3 also introduces us to four new vault hunters who are joining in on the fight
Borderlands 3 also introduces 4 new Vault Hunters:
Amara - the Siren
The Borderlands official website describes Amara as: "Gifted with powerful Siren abilities, Amara is a renowned champion of the people and bonafide badass. Using her action skills she can Phaseslam the ground to damage nearby enemies and knock them into the air, Phasegrasp enemies in place with a giant ethereal fist, or even Phasecast an astral projection of herself that deals damage to everything in its path." With 3 skill trees to populate Amara can use her elemental powers to crush opponents or throw them around like rag dolls. Amara is perfect for any fight.
Moze- the Gunner
Moze the gunner is best described as: "Moze is a battle-hardened former Vladof army soldier who specializes in mechanized combat. She uses an action skill to digistruct and climbs into her bipedal tank, Iron Bear, which has hardpoints suitable for mixing, matching, and mounting high-velocity Railguns, rapid-firing Miniguns, semi-automatic Grenade Launchers, flamethrowers, pneumatic fists, and homing rocket launchers." Moze has a history of fighting bad guys, using her trusty Iron Bear mech she is able to hold her own in any gunfight even when grossly outnumbered and outgunned.
Zane - the Operative
Zane the Operative: "Born into Pandora's notorious Flynt family, Zane is a semi-retired corporate hitman who always has a gadget up his sleeve. His action skills include a SNTNL drone that flys around and attacks enemies with a machine gun, a deployable Barrier shield, and a Digi-Clone that simultaneously distracts enemies and dishes out damage and which Zane can teleport to switch places with." Zane comes from a notorious family in the Borderlands, having seen his fair share of combat during his time as a lone operative he can use his very unique skill set to take on whatever Pandora, or the other planets can throw at him.
FL4K - Beastmaster
"FL4K is a wandering robot who always brings one of their three loyal pets into battle to buff stats and attack enemies. Their action skills let them send forth dive-bombing Rakk, teleport Gamma Burst-irradiated pets through rifts, and even Fade Away to temporarily become invisible while moving faster and regenerating health." FL4K is the perfect lone hunter, with one of his three pets that help in battle, when FL4K is around even the toughest hunters become prey.
Glorious Weaponry & Missions Galore
A common trap that games like Destiny and the Division fall into is monotony, the endless grind can become extremely draining and painful. Borderlands avoids this by keeping a frantic pace of new weapons, enemies and weapon archetypes. Another way that Borderlands keeps your interested is by making ALL missions feel important. If your ECHO-3 device didn't label them as side missions there would be nothing to distinguish them from the main storyline. These side missions will have your traveling to all the planets with the odd fetch and carry mission here and the but generally, these missions do not feel like fillers rather than crucial to experiencing the full Borderlands experience. The less-favored missions can easily be appreciated and loved by the simple humor that Borderlands throw at the topic.
Gearbox was also very proud to state that they boast " 1 billion guns", they might have crooked the books slightly by giving nearly identical guns a different name and slightly tweaked stats. But what they have done well is to give each weapon manufacturer a distinct feature. Vladof guns have 2 different firing modes, the guns that the children of the vault don't need reloading they overheat and need to cool down. All of these tiny elements help to sell the illusion of an endless amount of weapons to find. Borderlands 3 takes it a step further, Each weapon has its own character, whether you have your revolver hammer cooking or the chatter of the assault rifle as it sprays lead, or the red hot barrel of your shotgun after slaying a team of skags. These little things make you appreciate what Gearbox and Borderlands 3 have achieved with this long-awaited installment.
Friend or Foe
Borderlands has always been known for the wonderful split-screen action and endless hours of looting and shooting you can have with a buddy, or 3. Borderlands 3 is no different. When you join up with a buddy online, the party leader can choose whether loot is evenly shared amongst each other, with each player only seeing his or her own loot, or it can be a free for all, fastest looter wins. Borderlands even jokes about that! Everything is lighthearted in Borderlands. There are also a couple of new modes : Mayhem mode, which is a wave-like mode where enemies become increasingly tougher with the reward of increasingly stronger loot. True Vault Hunter mode (the new game plus) and circles of slaughter (true horde mode) and Proving grounds which resembles Diablo 3 rifts. With all these modes that can be played solo or with friends as well as taking them on with each of the 4 vault hunters, you will be playing Borderlands 3 for a long time to come!
If you are a Borderlands fan, you probably already have this game and you are neck-deep in the action. For those who are not yet captured by the Borderlands franchise, Borderlands seems like a light-hearted game that doesn't take itself too seriously. And on the outside that is true. But underneath that smug exterior laced with on-the-nose humor is a very VERY, if not the greatest loot&shoot franchise ever. Borderlands 3 takes a known and loved formula and improves on something that seems perfect. Borderlands 3 ticks all the boxes. Great story, extremely loveable characters, humor that you will not find in any other game, original mechanics and gunplay, stunning graphics and hours and hours of mayhem and fun! Why should you buy this game? Easy, there is no reason you shouldn't!
Special thanks to Prima Interactive for supplying the review content
The Battlefield we all wanted... But it's COD
As an avid COD fanboy, this has to be the most refreshing game I have played in a long time. With a rise of jetpack gameplay that went three years strong, we finally get propper boots on the ground with the satisfaction of customization (see later on) on your weapons. Don't get me wrong, COD WW2 and BO4 was nice, but very limiting and got stale real quick.
With the introduction of crossplay, I can definitely say, this is balanced from a PC players experience, BUT. Console aim assist is STRONG. Coming from console to PC, I can clearly see why they need it, but I do not agree with the snapping on to the head, this is something that might need to be fixed as I saw many examples of skilled players abusing this. Que times will most definitely be down.
With the introduction to the bigger playlist, I can say that the balance between chaos and fun is PERFECT on the 20-man domination game mode. Going through all the different playlists by simply ticking a few options is very refreshing, I really hope this carries over from the BETA. As for the "Battlefield" game mode, this is the most chaos I have ever seen in my life, but it works. But ultimately, Ground War feels like a dollar store version of Battlefield 4.
As for the competitive future of the COD franchise, this will be very interesting. I love the Cyberattack game mode, this has a lot of room for growth especially when you can revive your fallen brothers in arms. This mode will punish you for your mistakes, but won't be rewarding your opponent's luck, so no more cheeky cross-map 'nades, you'll be right back on your feet. This is a very refreshing mode other from Search and Destroy and personally I hope this mode takes off.
With the introduction of the 2v2 game mode, I can most definitely say this will be my favourite playlist and has so much room for growth with 3v3 and even 4v4 added at a later stage. Close quarters combat combined with having to rush to pick up a weapon can be so rewarding due to having to work with what you have. Adding on these game modes, the realistic mode feels like a reskin of normal hardcore mode all players are familiar with.
Yes, this is a BETA. This has to be the most well-rounded BETA I have played in a while. Apart from the weapon balancing issues, there is not much to complain about. The versatility you get with gun customization can be very rewarding and satisfying, but the cons are just as heavy as the pros. Customizing your gun to your playstyle feels very fitting in this field of play.
We as a community have been very vocal about how we feel about our games and I definitely feel the developers have heard our frustrations, this is their answer, and I love it. The modern marvels of competition, it only benefits us as the consumer and forces the market to step in the right direction, so if our hardcore fanboys can stick together and simply show the developers we will play the best games and stop being loyal to empty promises, we will change the gaming industry and bend it to our will.
Stay tuned for the full review at launch.
Review by Jason Cloete
When playing PC games, peripherals are your tools. A good headset can mean the difference between hearing the footstep of the guy coming around the corner. The mouse can get your crosshair centred onto that headshot before you get to be on the other end of the scope. And lastly comes the keyboard. Often overlooked as the "lesser-needed" tool. Surely a regular standard keyboard can do the same as what the gaming, mechanical, branded keyboards can do, right?
Razer is no novice when it comes to making gaming keyboards. The Blackwidow itself is not the first of its namesake either. The Razer Blackwidow has enjoyed being one of the top mechanical keyboards around, for a fair amount of time. Instead of accepting their design, Razer has kept on improving, striving for perfection. Have they achieved it?
First things first, the Blackwidow, is different from its brothers, the Blackwidow Elite and the Blackwidow Tournament edition. Apart from not hitting your wallet as hard, you will be hard-pressed to tell them apart at first glance. What really has made the Blackwidow series a firm favourite is its styling. It has a rather understated design with nothing flashy or that screams GAMER. At first glance, if you don't notice the Razer logo, you might mistake it for a regular office keyboard, boasting a Numpad and nothing else out of the ordinary.
The Blackwidow only shows its true colours, pun intended, once you turn on the Chroma. And with the addition of all the new features to the Synapse 3 software, Chroma has no reason to be restricted to only a keyboard or a mouse. Your whole gaming- rig and room can now partake in the Chroma effect. With the addition of Philips Hue, home integration is a reality when gaming, add in the game integration with games such as Apex Legends enjoying integration as a standard, and Chroma becomes fantastic
The Razer Blackwidow is a fan-favourite for good reason. it has fantastic build quality, feeling solid and well built. Razer also puts its green switches to good use in the Blackwidow, stating that it even has reinforced sidewalls on every key to ensure there is no wobble when pressing down on keys. The green switches provide a good balance between tactile feedback as well as being clicky. The Green switches are also rated for 80 million keystrokes, so don't expect them to give up on you any time soon. Typing and gaming both feel divine on the Blackwidow, keystrokes feel confident and strong under your fingers.
Another way Razer has marketed the Blackwidow for both work and play is the exclusion of the dedicated macro keys. Instead, they use their very own Hypershift. Hypershift allows you to assign any key of your choosing to a secondary function. Don't worry if you have different macros for different games, the Blackwidow has onboard storage for a host of macros which you can simply flick through when needed. If you are scared of losing those macros due to someone highjacking your Blackwidow and changing your fine-tuned macros, Razer even provides cloud storage for your macros. This allows for quick and easy setups when moving between PCs or Blackwidows alike.
But with the good comes the bad. The Blackwidow has had time to refine itself and it has, very successfully, done so. The braided cable has 3 options of routing which is nice if you have a less than normal setup, but what would make it nicer is if the keyboard had a place to store your excess cable. If you are someone who travels a lot with your gaming gear a removable cable would actually be the best feature. Another slight let down is the commission of the wrist rest. Leaving the wrist rest of the equation does drop the price by a substantial amount but other gaming keyboards in the same price range can throw in the wrist rest at the same price.
If you are wondering about the differences between the Blackwidow and the Blackwidow elite, here is a link to the review we did on the Elite.
The Razer Blackwidow is a great keyboard. It boasts great mechanical keys, paired with an underrated look which looks great attached to an office computer as well as a fully-fledged gaming rig. Being subtle when it needs to be, and with a little bit of Chroma, becomes the RGB monster than Razer is known for. Being the cheaper option to the very formidable Blackwidow Elite, whilst losing some of the extras of the Elite, does shape it to be a competitive mechanical keyboard in the sub-R2000 range. Unfortunate to see the loss of the wrist rest, but adding this as one of your tools of the gaming trade will not leave you disappointed.
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review item
What I CAN say….and what I CANT
Hello fellow gamers, this is both an informative article AS WELL AS a direct and complete understanding of the LAW regarding Free speech & Hate Speech. This is to help, those select few, know why you got that com ban, Perma-ban, legal warning, etc. Complete removal of an account within EAX itself, Microsoft T&C’s, most (if not ALL) media forums will be the LEAST of your worries should you decided to test the boundaries of what you can and can’t say/do… so lets set the boundaries clean and clear and keep everyone safe.
First things first, we in South Africa are protected by a bill of rights, 1 of which, is the Freedom-of-speech or Freedom-of-Expression, which allows you to do and say whatever you want within the following criteria:
Freedom of the press and other media.
Freedom to receive or impart (give) information or ideas
Freedom of artistic creativity
Academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.
Now the ugly side of the coin. Hate Speech, this is a term used when an individual or group use the freedom of speech to a NEGATIVE effect from within the following Criteria:
Be harmful or incite harm
Promote or propagate hate
So how can you tell the difference? A very clear, easy way to determine if you or someone else is using hate speech is this: if you are directly calling for, or yourself are causing harm or hurtful acts upon a group or individual based on ethnicity, race, gender or religion, etc then that is, in fact, Hate speech in which case you've broken a law and can be formally charged.
Using derogatory terms is ALSO classified as hate speech, the Kessie Nair case is a very good example of hate speech, he is LAWFULLY being charged with hate speech on 2 counts:
Calling President Cyril Ramaphosa the “K****R President”
His social media posts prior to the racist outburst spurred the people of Chatsworth to engage in “sporadic acts of violence” with very racist undertones.
To split hairs down the middle acts of OR calling for acts of violence towards a certain group is hate speech which is a LEGAL cause for arrest AND imprisonment, this INCLUDES using of Derogatory terms.
Let’s lay out what we’ve learned into 2 simple examples which will clearly show when you are using your freedom-of-speech and when you are using Hate-speech:
Person “A”: “HAHA I killed you more times than you did me, you suck at this game!!”
Person “B”: “That’s fine, I really don’t like your poor attitude and would find great pleasure in never speaking to someone of your low caliber again”
You are fully within your right to show displeasure (anger, disgust, etc) and express this towards your aggressor and nowhere have you insulted them as anything other than someone with poor sportsmanship and a very damaged attitude towards someone else's feelings.
Person “A”: “HAHA I killed you more times than you killed me, you suck at this game!!”
Person “B”: “fuck you, you K****R naai, I hope someone kills your family”
The case in scenario 2 has 2 main factors for hate speech….1stly the racial slur and 2ndly the CALL FOR violence against the individual. This is a very serious offense and is punishable by JAIL TIME should the court judge feel this necessary.
In some cases which I will state below the Penalty for the act(s) can be quite severe:
Used a very racial slur (mentioned previously above) over 40 times towards a SAPS police officer and was fined R100 000 (one hundred thousand Rand).
Used a very racial slur (mentioned previously above) and was fired from his job within the SARS offices, to which he appealed and was immediately and without question found guilty in a judicial court.
These 2 cases are the "lesser" of the severity, there are countless others where people have been IMPRISONED, pending the offense and the severity of its nature.
The line between expressing displeasure and being hurtful is very clear and easily distinguishable. And before anyone thinks that they found a loophole regarding hate-speech by not “directing it at anyone” even using hate speech in GENERAL on ANY SOCIAL MEDIA FORUM can be considered as being an INTENT TO INCITE HATE/HARM.
I will briefly provide clarity on "intent to incite", this is a term whereby an individual is making an attempt to provoke or promote another individual or group of people to carry out an act of harm towards another individual or group, this is NOT limited to physical harm, emotional harm is just as serious as physical harm. In layman's terms, it's getting someone else to do your dirty work for you.
Nearly there people, finally we address the tender issue of “Context”. By issuing a verbal slur at your so-called “friend” is not a saving grace from the law. You may call your friend whatever you like (this is ASSUMING they are not offended or feel that you are belittling their character) in a PRIVATE capacity. The term “private capacity” is a direct term in which ONLY THE 2 INDIVIDUALS are conducting a conversation, simplified this means that you send a message to 1 (one) person, not a group of people, not an online chatroom, not in an open-air discussion. The issue of “Context: is very sensitive as you may call your friend a name, yes he/she may not be offended BUT someone else might. This is a very common occurrence within social groups and I pose a personal experience in which the term “soutie” was aimed at myself, I very easily laughed it off as it was one of my close friends who said it, unfortunately, an acquaintance of another friend, did not find this funny and was immediately offended and began to retaliate quite aggressively.
I bring all these points to a purpose, the EAX Admins are tasked with keeping order and protecting our dedicated and appreciated players, irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. We are tasked on very few occasions to bring down the hammer and remove select few players who forget that we are all human, we are all born of the same earth and we are all bound by the same rules and laws, no one is above these laws. And the Strictest of actions will be taken to those who take pleasure in belittling another human being for their own enjoyment.
The EAX admin goes through a due process of voting and compromise to try and benefit the offending player, a sentence is put forward and voted on and if majority fails the suggestion itself fails too until a majority vote is reached and a sentence agreed upon. There is no process without proof, so please take care to record, or snapshot, screenshot, etc. as this is critical evidence when the hearing takes place “innocent until proven guilty”, is often the verdict as no proof is provided. We cannot act upon someone’s word alone.
One last final note and this is not a hollow threat nor is it a scare-tactic…. We the admin AND each player are fully within their right to challenge an individual or group should a serious offense be made AND legal action will too follow. We will not tolerate ANY form of negative behavior and should someone feel the need to take action outside of legal boundaries then we the EAX admin will follow the legal requirements to formally charge them in an effort to promote a clean community and beyond our community a better country.
We are all Gamers under the same sun, let's not sully that with an ill-placed word or ill-tempered rage statement, consider the person's feelings or at the very least the legal action that can be taken against you.
The entry- to mid-range headset market is a crowded one indeed. With the likes of Astro, Turtle beach and PDP flooding the market with their budget-conscious headsets. It can easily become overwhelming and difficult to decide which one is for you. Razer doesn't make this any easier when they dropped the latest version of their tried and tested Kraken series.
I have reviewed the Razer Kraken before in its previous generation and I was on the fence. It was decent but lacked a couple of essentials. Let us see how the 2019 version goes about reclaiming current fans as well as tick a few of the unticked boxes of previous years.
Razer has a pretty distinct design and colour scheme. The Kraken looks exactly the same as the previous generations. Razer, unlike some of the other big names in the gaming peripheral game, are not scared to be bold with their designs. The Kraken features bold and big earcups that stick out far with a bold Razer logo on display. Did I mention it is VERY green? Razer makes a very clear statement. They make peripherals for gamers. The Kraken features the same retractable microphone as in previous generations as well as the same thick padded headband.
Build quality remains the same, which is not a bad thing. The Razer Kraken feels strong and sturdy. Sturdier than some headsets that fit into a higher price bracket. Inside the box, you will find the headset itself, the cable with the inline volume control as well as mic mute slider, as well as a splitter for pc use.
The previous Kraken that I reviewed had a few shortcomings when it came to comfort. Razer did listen and they have made the earcups oval-shaped. This makes a massive improvement in comfort around the ears. They have also filled the cushions, which is covered with faux leather, with a gel-based foam making it fit the contour of your head much better. The thick padded headband, as well as adjustable cups (up and down), helps to find the perfect fit. With the Kraken being a heavier headset, the demand for a firm and strong headband is a necessity.
The only letdown in the comfort department is the fact that the earcups do not have the ability to swivel. This causes some troubles with finding a snug fit and also creates leaks which don't help when trying to achieve passive noise cancellation. But, this can be solved if you do a few minor adjustments and find the sweet-spot in terms of position on your head.
Sound & Microphone
Ultimately, the reason for buying a headset is for the sound. Being in the sub R1500 there is a fair amount of competition. The likes of the Astro A10 and Steelseries Arctis 3 really set the bar rather high with wired headsets. The Razer Kraken, unfortunately, doesn't come with a mixer so the mixing levels will need to be done in-game or via a 3rd party app. The volume wheel sits nicely and neatly packed on the inline control and gives sufficient volume.
The Kraken does a good job when listening to a wide variety of music. Delivering punchy and deep bass which has enough oomph that you can almost feel the bass tones kicking. Mids are very audible and allow for clear tones. The highs are not that high and often they get lost and leak into the mids. During times with less mid-range, you do experience the highs, but they are drowned out by the mid and bass tones.
When gaming on PC, the same was experienced but this can easily be adjusted by simply applying an equalizer which then made the tone balance much better. Unfortunately, on console, there are no equalizers to be used. The Razer Kraken, however, does have really good spacial sound. Playing games such as R6 Siege and Apex Legends on both console and PC. I usually use an Astro A40 TR which uses an external amp, allowing for massive amounts of customization to try and use sound to the best advantage possible. The Kraken obviously does not have all the gizmos the A40 TR has but it does a great job of indicating sound direction on both console and PC.
The Razer Kraken retractable mic is nothing out of this world. it does the job and it does it well. It gives clear voice to your party without any frills. The lack of mic monitoring is a letdown as most of the competition in this price range do provide monitoring.
The Razer Kraken is a commendable and very capable headset. It delivers good comfort matched with gamer orientated styling all while delivering superb spacial sound. The sound spectrum is great but the highs can be a slight bit stronger. Add in swivel earcups and mic monitoring and the Kraken is nearly perfect!
All in all, Razer delivers once again, keeping up their name as one of the leading names in gaming equipment!
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for providing the review item
The vast majority of games these days tend to focus on big action or open-worlds and on the odd occasion, a gripping storyline. It's not very often that these stories decide to touch on sensitive, and real topics such as loss, depression and other REAL issues. Each and every one of us struggles with on a daily basis. Maybe not one of the aforementioned issues as such but internal and VERY personal issues. Mental health is a very real issue in all walks of life. Many people battle this disease on a daily basis without letting anyone know. Fighting their monsters alone.
Sea of Solitude is a game that makes that phrase, literal. Sea of Solitude is from a German studio called Jo-Mei Games. With the help of EA Originals, Sea of Solitude is a haunting, yet brief, adventure through Kay's mind. A place that shifts and changes from a spectacularly colourful seaside town to a dark and gloomy, monster invested nightmare. These monstrosities and challenges are challenges that the creator herself faced in her own life. What makes Sea of Solitude so hard-hitting is not the challenges themselves but watching them unfold. The writer Anna Borges wrote about chronic and passive suicidal tendencies. She said that it's like living in an ocean, but not like fish and sea creatures do, but alone with an expanse of water all around. She went on to write that it feels like swimming through a storm. Other times the water is clear and calm, but you are always in the ocean. People in these situations have things that keep them going. Treatment or support, something that keeps them afloat when they tire.
To Kay, her lifeboat is that...
From Darkness to Light
When you find Kay, she is in near-complete darkness. The first words she utters: I haven't seen the sun in... I don't remember! This sentence sets the mood for Sea of Solitude. Not too long and you find your first spot of light. When you reach it the world changes from the gloomy darkness to a bright, vibrant and happy place. This is what Sea of Solitude is, as in life, finding a speck of happiness between the doom and gloom. Not only does the light change the way the level looks, but it also changes it completely. It will lower or raise the water level giving you access to other parts of the level allowing you to progress. shoo-ing a few seagulls here, finding notes in bottles there. Reading these notes shed some more light on the story of Kay, as well as the girl who came before...
Sea of Solitude plays a lot like most third-person adventure games. Blending platforming, stealth and puzzle-solving by means of environmental obstacles. Kay is able to jump and run, she has a small wooden boat that she uses to manoeuvre through the flooded streets. This boat is also her only safe place when she is in the dark world. Another ability she possesses is her flare. When Kay is lost she can shoot her flare, and it will guide her in the direction of her objective.
Fleeting, yet lasting
Sea of Solitude is not extremely challenging, but that is not what it's supposed to be. The game is very well designed and streamlined. The story of Kay is told through a variety of flashbacks. You might hear Kay and her mother at an ice cream shop discussing what her soon-to-be baby brother will be called. Hear an exert from her parents fighting, or her brother struggling to find some attention he so craves. All of these interactions in the form of a monologue helps to drive the story and keep the player pulling back the layers of Kays' story.
It is always said that your actions and experiences shape the world around you, in Sea of Solitude, this is completely true. As you progress and learn more about Kays' story, the world changes. The experiences and traumas that she endures don't always manifest themselves subtly, the way they do is what makes it so impactful. Many people in Kays' life are manifested in different ways. Later on, Kay comes across a horrifying fish monster, or ghostly children or even a big buzzard flying overhead. These are all manifestations of people and things that Kay has had to endure. She also faces a monstrous version of herself, this being the way she sees herself. Weak, bad and worthless. But finding that glitter of light will make all the bad thoughts disappear.
Mental health has been touched on in games before. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice was lauded for taking such a big step in making it known with its dark and gritty tale. Stories like these are normally personal and not easily obtainable or even effectively told. Sea of Solitude is tremendously approachable. The bright and approachable environment makes it easy to get into, and once you are in, the story will do the rest.
What really makes this game great is, if you are willing to do some introspection, you might see even the slightest of a speck of yourself. If that is the case, Sea of Solitude will multiply into something that when you reach the end, can look back and use as your own wooden boat when YOU feel like you might be treading water in an endless ocean.
Special thanks to Prima Interactive for supplying the review copy
Gaming mice, how far they have come. Some of us might remember a more simple time. A time where if your mouse wasn't moving well you would open it, clean the ball tracker and off you went. Those were simpler times. Since then the technology has improved at a dramatic rate. Introducing us to the optical mouse. Microsoft might have been the leaders in that field, bringing us the legendary IntelliMouse. Not only was it groundbreaking in terms of accuracy, but it was also ergonomically sound as well as priced perfectly.
This was groundbreaking at the time. But since then, other companies have jumped on the bandwagon and the technology has skyrocketed. Not only has the sensor tech improved. We have seen the move to mechanical switches, refinement of ergonomics to cater for left- and right-handed users. Adding wireless and Bluetooth functionality, charging pads and the colour onslaught of RGB. The big names in the mouse category such as Logitech, Corsair and SteelSeries has pushed the market to develop at such a rapid rate that it could be tough for new brands to step into the market. MSI has decided that it wants in! Can it claw its way into a very established market and fight it out with the big names?
Look and Feel
The MSI Clutch GM60 looks nice! With RGB under the left- and right-click buttons as well as under the logo, it does illuminate nicely. So from a looks perspective, the Clutch GM60 does fairly well. The feel of it is rather confusing. Coming in at around the R1500 mark it is rather expensive. That price would have you feel inclined to expect a more premium feel. The Clutch GM60 comes with many swappable parts like side panels that click on with magnets as well as a swappable top cover. The fundamental problem with them is they don't change the ergonomics of the mouse that much. The side panels do help if you prefer to have the sides of your hand off or on the desk while working, but other than that it has no real point. The Clutch GM60 does have a decent weight which is nice for someone who likes a slightly more meaty mouse. Unfortunate that the weight cannot be adjusted like many others in its price range. The swappable panels feel rather plasticky as well. Making them feel more premium would go a long way to justifying the price.
Then we get to the RGB. RGB is not for everyone, so this section might be slightly opinionated. The Clutch GM60 has 3 zones of RGB. Featuring the usual 16.8 million colour spectrum. The RGB zones are all covered with a frosted type plastic making the colour softer. personally I quite like that.
Performance & Software
After some homework, we found that the Clutch GM60 is fitted with a Pixart PMW 3330 sensor. This is a decent sensor, being used since 2016 on mice like the Asus ROG Strix Pugio and Evolve. This sensor allows for decent DPI options and has respectable accuracy. I personally use a Logitech G903 as my every day and swopping it with the Clutch GM60 I could definitely feel the difference. But once again, we need to compare apples to apples, and when doing that the Clutch can hold its own rather well. Pairing the Pixart sensor with OMRON keys definitely creates a strong and durable.
The MSI software that accompanies the mouse needs some work. One of the features that the other bigger brands have that really sets them apart is the ability to control everything from one app or hub. Like Razer and Logitech does. If you have multiple MSI devices, you can pair certain aspects of it and work it from the app but generally, the app needs refinement. Everything works but feels clunky. The RGB feature in the app, noticeably, lacks the ability to match the RGB with what is on your screen. Unless we couldn't find it.
The MSI Clutch GM60 is by no means a bad mouse. Considering that this is MSI's first step into the gaming mouse section they have made a good first step. Their biggest adjustment would need to be to find its own identity. The Clutch GM60 is not sure what it wants to be. Does it want to be a budget/entry-level gaming mouse. MSI is marketing this as an esports focused mouse and it is not, but that is okay! Instead of trying to compete in an already saturated market aimed at a small target market, they should promote it for what it is, a mid-level gaming mouse. It ticks the right boxes. It has customizable panels, removable cable, very capable sensor and switches, and it has programmable RGB. Those all make for a more than acceptable and capable mouse.
This makes it a really good first-step for MSI. What they need to go and do not is focus less on features, as they did with the Clutch GM60, and focus more on their design and refinement. Any brand can slap features on a mouse and call it good. The Clutch GM60 feels slightly rushed and a case of accepting designs and imperfections because they were "good enough" rather than perfect. But a brand like MSI, that is synonymous with quality, albeit, in other sectors, we can expect their next iteration of the Clutch series to be significantly better and probably rivalling the other big brands.
A single sentence to describe the Clutch GM60: A jack of all trades, but (unfortunately) a master of none, yet.
Special thanks to MSI gaming for providing the review hardware
Controllers, or as the PC people like to call them, gamepads, are not common amongst PC gamers. Apart from the odd titles such as sporting titles like the ever-popular Fifa, some RPG... Okay wait, many games are suitable for controllers. So when MSI sent us the GC30 wireless controller for review, we were quick to give it a test on a wide variety of titles as well as comparing it to the Xbox 360 and Xbox One controller.
MSI is one of the biggest brands in the computer as well as peripheral game and with the GC30 they are branching into the gamepad market. The GC 30 is the wired version with the GC20 being the wired. Can the MSI controller take on, what has been argued to have been the greatest controllers around? Well, let us find out!
From taking it out of the box and holding it for the first time there is an uncanny resemblance to the Xbox 360 controller. This is definitely not a bad trait to have seeing as the 360 controller is probably the greatest controller ever made. This point also proves that the GC30 is smaller than the Xbox One controller. The button layout matches that of the 360 controller. It boasts two textured grips on either side which reside nicely in your palms when holding it. At a quick glance, the GC30 can easily be confused with the 360 c0ntroller if it was not for the MSI badge that sits where the usual Xbox logo will be on the other controllers.
The ABXY buttons act and feel the same as the 360 controller which means they are perfect, during our time spent with the GC30 no trouble or uncertainty could be felt when pressing the buttons. One of the nice touches MSI has added is the ability to simply pull off the traditional D-pad button and swop it for a dish-like button, commonly found only on the Xbox Elite controllers. This button comes into its own when playing combat games when quick combos are needed. The stick length is also similar to that of the sticks on the 360 controller, which is slightly longer than those on the Xbox One controllers.
The GC30 is a one-controller-for-all, not only can it be used on PC, simply using the default setting. If you are an Android user the GC30 can be flipped to the Android setting and it will work with a range of games on your Android device. The default setting will make your GC30 been seen as a native 360 controller on any Windows 10 computer. Do you want to use the GC30 on other consoles such as Xbox One or PS4? No problem, simply plug the wireless adapter into your console of choice and off you go! Another big advantage the GC30 has over the competition is the inclusion of rechargeable battery straight out of the box. This is one of the features that Xbox players have been calling for but Microsoft has never indulged in. MSI, on the contrary, did!
If a budget controller that can function on a pc is what you are after then the logical choice would be the Xbox 360 controller. But if a strong all-around controller is what you are looking for, then the MSI Force GC30 is the logical choice! Not only does it provide a wired and wireless option on consoles as well as PC, but it can also be used on Android devices. Boasting a price tag around the R799 mark can be rather steep for some but a slightly steeper price does mean you will have a build quality that can match the likes of the 360 a One controllers
Special thanks to the MSI Gamingfor supplying the review item.
I know what you are thinking... This is just a revamped version of F1 2018... And you would be very wrong! For a franchise that brings out a yearly release there is not that many things to add apart from the graphical tweak here, adding a new mechanic there, but Codemasters have had the mechanics and feel for their Formula 1 games down for a rather long time. Being able to balance the harshness of a simulator without scaring away too many players, yet not feeling too arcade-like that makes the enthusiast uninterested. What Codemasters did with Formula 1 2019 was much more substantial. Not only did it receive a good rags-to-riches story to play in the career mode, it also included Formula 2 with a completely unique handling model to bite into and master.
This is a leap forward compared to previous games in the franchise! The career mode kicks off in F2 where a turbo problem has you lose a few positions and puts you in a situation where you need to either chase down your rival or let your faster teammate pass to do the chasing... Your actions play a role in how your career mode will play out so choose carefully! The F2 part of the career only spans over a handful of F2 races but gives you a good insight of what the F2 championship will be like, and from what I have experienced, the F2 Championship is very worthy and time should definitely be invested into it.
After aligning with a driver academy, each of which pushes you towards a certain group of F1 teams, you will have the option of signing with an F1 team that will suit your driving style and driver attitude. From here the Career mode is quite similar to the F1 2018 career apart from one thing, Driver transfers. unlike other sporting titles, where players will transfer during pre-defined times of a season, F1 2019 goes along with the Fifa approach of having driver transfers and driver and team dominance mirror that of its real-world counterpart. Gone are the days of drivers and teams being stuck inside of a predefined performance bracket, unable to change or adjust.
Senna vs Prost
Arguably the greatest rivalry in motorsports. When Codemasters announced this as part of F1 2019, the ideas that came to mind were endless. Reliving their rivalry through countless battles and situations could have made for great gameplay and some of the toughest situations which will really test the skill of the player like it did the 2 racers in real life. But instead, Codemasters completely dropped the ball with the opportunity and decided to simply offer a measly invitational event where you run on-track completing objectives while Senna and Prost meander along 6 seconds off the pace, not much of a "rival" as the game toted it to be... Wait, it gets worse, you only need to complete 3 of the 8 challenges to unlock the legendary cars that Senna and Prost drove. Hopefully next time, or with future updates, the historic driver and car inclusion can be improved.
The customization in F1 2019 is really strong, while it has an element of microtransactions, the majority of items are obtainable without spending any real-world money. These customizations do offer a nice touch to career mode and really comes to its own in multiplayer. It is always a good feeling when your custom painted car is flying and leading the charge in an online event. Not only can you customize your car, but you can also change your helmet, gloves and suite as well. A new way the game is trying to keep lobbies clean from all things nasty is the addition of a super license.
New to F1
Esports is another new addition and the portal for esports that can be found directly on the main menu will take you directly to the pinnacle of competitive F1 gaming. Although there was not too much happening on there due to this review happening pre-launch it is sure to be a very popular section of the game. Let's hope the ping does not affect us too badly. The theatre and showroom are both new additions the one letting you review your automatically created highlights while the latter lets you bask in the glory of the current cars as well those from former glory days. The Events area now boast weekly race events for which you can receive competitive points to use to purchase liveries and more. Online leagues now become the perfect place to host your very own F1 league allowing admins to apply grid penalties and edit results while racers will get attendance ratings so you can see who your trustworthy and reliable drivers are.
With good improvements to career mode, the addition of Formula 2 and a possibly strong esports scene along with the ability to host your own league, F1 2019 is able to take an already solid franchise and give it the step-up it deserves. Codemasters have really applied improvements across the board, night races are spectacular and even the feel of bumps in the road creating nervous braking and hitting the curb too hard makes you winch as you hope your car is fine. The only aspect that falters the perfect overtaking manoeuvre is the disappointment of the Senna vs Prost rivalry. If Codemasters can salvage that, there is little reason it should be a 10/10!
special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review copy
The time that most gamers have been waiting for is officially here!
E3 2019 brings us all the latest and greatest news and inside looks at some of the most highly anticipated games, and a peek at some new developments.
For those that are interested, E3 2019 officially started with the EA Play event but you can watch the rest of it right here;
And the rest of the event looks like this;
Microsoft - 22h00 CAT Sunday 9th June
Bethesda - 02h30 CAT Monday 10th June
Devolver Digital - 04h30 CAT Monday 10th June
PC Gaming Show - 19h00 CAT Monday 10th June
Ubisoft - 22h00 CAT Monday 10th June
Square Enix - 03h00 CAT Tuesday 11th June
Nintendo Direct - 06h00 CAT Tuesday 11th June
E3 2018 brought us a lot of awesome news, so we can only imagine what E3 2019 is going to bring! If you missed any of the conferences, don't worry! You can catch up on all the E3 news here.
The EA Play event brought us news from the gaming giant on some of their latest developments and updates to some of their current big titles.
The event included information on titles such as Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Apex Legends, Battlefield V, FIFA 20, Madden NFL 2020 and The Sims 4.
So let's break it down and see exactly what's happening.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Now this is a game that I, personally, have been keenly following since its announcement a few months back.
The EA Play event treated us to 15 minutes of gameplay footage and WOW! What a game this thing is shaping up to be.
The game is canon and is set just after Order 66 was given so, for those Star Wars fans out there, it's set between Episode 3 and 4 and before Rogue One. The 15 minutes of gameplay showed our blue lightsabre wielding protagonist, Cal Kestis, running through spider infested levels and kicking some serious Imperial butt! We are introduced to some of the force powers swordmanship that is available in the game, and both are really impressive!
We are also introduced to Star Wars' next very lovable droid (move aside BB-8) in the form of Buddy Droid 1, commonly known as BD-1. This little guy is essentially your backpack as we see him dispensing health vials, as well as projecting holographic maps and accessing power ports for you. He's a very active little guy and moves around on Cal's back as the various situation's demand it.
If you missed the gameplay footage, you can check it out here.
Once the graphics and things are polished on this game, it really is looking to be a killer!
The next item up on the list was details on Season 2 of the latest Battle Royale game to take the world by storm. This information included a few weapon buffs, details on a new weapon, what the next battle pass will entail and a new Legend.
The new weapon is the L-STAR which can only be found in care packages, so you can only know that it's going to be powerful! There are no attachments and ammo for it so you take it as you get it, kind of like the Mastiff.
The biggest excitement in this part was the announcement of the new character, Wattson. She is a defensive type character, with a background in electrical engineering, that places energy type fences as barriers for her squad. Her ultimate ability can block anything coming towards her and her team, recharge the squad's shields AND accelerate Wattson's fence cooldown so she can place more. Another added bonus is that she can fully charge her ultimate ability with one Ultimate Accelerant.
The latest game in the Battlefield franchise got some screen time at this year's EA Play event and, in it, we were informed of a whole lot of new things coming our way.
The first, and probably biggest, piece of news is a new map, called Al Sondon. This is a massive map that focuses more on the large scale battle side of things which Battlefield has always been known for.
They also spoke about Marita, a new map which recently dropped into play.
We were also introduced to Operation Underground, which brings back memories of the much loved map from earlier Battlefield titles, where players have many flanking routes to get behind enemy lines as well as a more intimate, in your face, style of battle.
There was also a lot of talk on the next step for the Battlefield V franchise, Chapter 5.
The team is hard at work trying trying to recreate one of World War 2's most infamous battlegrounds, Iwo Jima.
This include new weapons, vehicles, and possibly gamemodes that were specific to that aspect of the war.
The FIFA franchise is definitely one of EA's biggest and best selling titles and fans to the game are fiercely loyal and look forward to any and all new developments in it (as all game fans do I guess).
The EA Play event focused heavily on the Volta game mode that is new to FIFA and coming to FIFA 20. This game mode brings football back to its roots, the streets!
The gamemode is very similar to the FIFA Street games but, rather than being a standalone, it is now included in the main game.
Volta brings with it new gear to customise your player's look and feel, as well as a female character creator.
In the main game, the usual updates and modifications have been made to bring the title closer and closer to the feel of actual football (minus the gamer actually playing and getting tired - we wouldn't want that). There have also been major tweaks to the freekick and penalty systems.
All of this will be seen and felt when you actually play the game.
Madden NFL 2020
The biggest conversation from this game will be the live updates (South African internet users groan) that will happen to the game during the NFL season. This is really cool as it'll keep your game as authentic to the real thing as possible! This includes player line-up changes as well as plays that the teams use in the NFL, keeping your playbook for each team as close to the actual NFL coach's as possible.
Have a look at the reveal trailer here.
By the way - GO STEELERS!
The Sims 4
Now, this was a feature that surprised me!
EA Play brought a new expansion for all the Sims lovers out there (myself included).
Sims 4 Island living is here and is dropping on Console on the 16th of June and on PC on the 21st of June.
As with all Sims expansions, you can expect new fashion and home items and a new location, which I'll talk about in a bit, but some of the really cool additions are these;
There are mermaids - you can create and design them, interact with them, and they have powers.
You can go underwater and SCUBA dive - time to explore the deep and dark places of the Sim world.
You can befriend dolphins - that's just freaking awesome.
Now, back to the new location.
The Island Living expansion brings an active volcano into the Sims world. Not much is known about this yet but the possibilities in my head are endless!
The Sims 4 is also taking an environmental awareness stance (big up to the creators on this one) in that if you don't look after the island, like littering and such things, the game will get worse. So pick up the litter and look after the environment - in the game and out.
Take a look at this trailer for the new Sims 4 expansion.
E3 2019 officially kicked off with Microsoft showing us some of the things we can expect from them in the near future and, with Sony nowhere in sight at this year’s conference, Microsoft took full use of the opening.
We got details on the next generation of Xbox, codenamed Project Scarlett, and a look at the trailers of games like Halo Infinite and Gears 5, as well as when we can expect them to drop.
These are just some of the things that were revealed at E3 2019 but if I told you all the secrets up front then there would be no point in writing further…
So let’s break it down.
After months of speculation and rumours, Microsoft FINALLY let its fans know what to expect from its next-gen console and, man, what a machine it is!
This thing is said to have 4 times the processing power of the Xbox One X and manages to run at 120 fps, double that of the One X (yes – we know PC Gamers, we know). Project Scarlett also boasts 8K resolution, more photo-realistic lighting effects thanks to new and improved ray tracing (google it – I had to too). Now we can go on about all the other tech stuff but the thing that piques my attention the most is a new breed of SSD, which is said to be 40 times faster than current SSDs available on the market – hello super-fast loading times.
Take a look at the reveal video here.
All of this will be coming to a store near you sometime near the end of 2020.
With streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, is all the rage at the moment, it was only a matter of time before gaming twigged onto the true essence of “cloud-stream gaming.” We’ve gotten pretty close to it with services like EA and Origin Access and Xbox Gamepass, but those are not true cloud-stream gaming services as a download of the game is still required.
xCloud is Microsoft’s next big market changer as it allows the game to play a game without actually downloading it onto their device but, rather, having it stored in their own private corner of the xCloud. This service also turns your console into your own “little” cloud and gives you the ability to play games on almost any device, from almost anywhere.
I’d imagine this service is going to need a pretty big and steady internet line to play (shakes head in South African) so I’m not sure how functional it’s going to be in countries that don’t have mega-WiFi – Only time will tell I guess.
This new service will become available from October this year.
New Elite Controller
After just releasing the Elite V2, which was a colour change with some improvements of the original Elite, Microsoft announced the launch of the Elite Series 2 wireless controller. It is said that this controller has over 30 new ways to play like a pro. Some of these ways being adjustable-tension thumbsticks, interchangeable components, tons of customization options on the Xbox Accessories App on Xbox One and Windows 10. It’s also said to have a rechargeable battery that will go for 40 hours between charge cycles.
And it's damn sexy too!
Gears 5 and Halo Infinite
New instalments for some of Microsoft’s biggest, and most loved, exclusive game franchises are on their way to a console near you (provided you’ve bought it).
Have a look at these trailers to get some hype!
Gears 5 will be available from the 10th of September this year! While you can expect to see Halo Infinite in the later months of 2020 and will be launched on Project Scarlett.
The studio that brought us Dark Souls has given the guy, who gave us the first five books of A Song of Ice and Fire and the good seasons of A Game of Thrones, yet another reason to not finish the final two books! But you know what? I’m not even mad…
George R.R. Martin (the guy) and FromSoftware (the studio) have collaborated together to bring us the fantasy game we didn’t even know we needed, Elden Ring.
This game looks great! See for yourself here.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
One of the best and most iconic flight sims and games, from my childhood, is making a comeback after almost a decade of leaving a gaping whole in the video game industry.
Microsoft Flight Simulator is one of Microsoft’s longest-running product lines and has been largely regarded as one of the best flight sims available to the general public – although that might just be my own sentiment talking.
Coming in 2020 on PC, you can once again take to the skies in the plane of your choice, from light aircraft to huge passenger carriers, and fly anywhere in the world, night or day, rain or shine and land at realistic, real-life airports and landing strips all over the world.
A game that has already generated so much hype since it’s sneaky reveal at E3 2018 has generated even more if that’s even possible.
But have a look for yourself.
No - you weren't seeing things.
Yup - you really did see that!
Watch it again if you don't believe me.
Surprise Game Reveal
Staying true to form, Microsoft unveiled a game we weren’t expecting!
The Blair Witch Project is being turned into a first-person horror game that looks a lot like Silent Hill.
This game is sure to give even the most hardcore horror gamers out there a fright or three.
Have a look for yourself if you don’t believe me.
The Microsoft conference was jam-packed full of goodness, if you missed some of the other games that were revealed, check out their trailers here.
Bethesda, never one to leave their fans disappointed once again brought the magic... Opening with a touching tribute and shout-out to the players, and what we as the players, mean to Bethesda.
Todd Howard was first to take the stage and apologised for the rough start of Fallout 76. Next was The Elder Scrolls: Blades, the very popular mobile game. New features such as dragon questline and single person arena modes. The features don't stop there, Blades is coming to the Nintendo Switch!
Fallout had a rocky start, but with tons of updates it has become a rather happy community, and now, the latest update called Wastelanders, bringing with it Human NPC's, more main quests, choice and consequences as well as a host of new weapons and gear. A new and refreshing game mode is also included, Vault 51 needs a new overseer, and in true gaming logic, the only way to decide that is by way of... a Battle Royale... a 52-man fight to be the overseer, named Nuclear Winter!
Ghostwire Tokyo is a new paranormal action adventure game. This title will take you to Tokyo where people are going missing, your job is to find out why. Along the way, you will meet both good and bad spirits, who will aid or increase your struggles during your adventure. Looking at the trailer, it would seem that a great deal of your time will be invested in trying to discover which elements are normal and which are paranormal...
Elder Scrolls: Online
Dragons! Dragons have come to ESO. Elsweyr was recently launched, allowing players to explore the homeland of the Kajhit and try out the new necromancer class. The previous season of ESO showed us how dragons were brought to the world of ESO, now see what they are doing to the world and its inhabitants in the new world premiere! Introducing the new order of dragon hunters that will be launched with the next expansion called Dragonhold which will complete the season of the dragon. August will bring Scalebreaker, a dungeon-crawling release adding much-requested gameplay to the ESO game.
Elder Scrolls: Legends (mobile)
Bethesda is really investing in the mobile game genre, and taking their biggest names and taking them mobile. ES: Legends is a card based game coming to mobile, similar to Gwent. ES Legends will be available for download immediately.
With the release of Rage 2 Id Software has created what is arguably one of the best open world shooters ever, and they are not planning on stopping there. In the near-future Rage 2 will be getting its first expansion bringing with it a host of new characters, missions, vehicles, and weapons. The new expansion is called Rise of Ghosts. Oh and wait, you can now drive... a Mech!!!
Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot (VR)
Time to head back to Europe and kill some more Nazis, this time in VR! You find yourself in the shoes of a French hacker working for the resistance, hacking the Nazi war machines and turning them on their creators!
More weapons! More custom playstyle and MORE NAZIS TO KILL! What is better than killing Nazis? Killing them with a friend! Grab a friend and jump to the 1980s, BJ is missing, you take control of his twins on the hunt to find their dad, either doing it solo or with a friend! This is going to be BLOODY GORGEOUS!
DeathloopDeathloop is a new and interesting title coming from the creators of Dishonored. Showcasing 2 assassins stuck on an island prison/paradise, depending on who you ask, in a timeless loop hunting and killing each other over and over. With Arkane studios at the helm, Deathloop promises to bring a mind-bending story as well as providing many ways to approach and complete the task at hand.
Orion (new game-engine tech)
With all the talk of game streaming, Orion tech can be applied to any game engine and make it more efficient for streaming! Up to 20% faster per frame and 40% lower bandwidth, for us, this means faster streaming of games as well as making it cheaper and less-hungry on data. You will still be able to stream your game at max settings even if you live further away from data centres.
DOOM is arguably the poster boy title for Bethesda, and Doom Eternal solidifies this statement! Insane speed, tremendous amounts of blood and gore! Doom promises bigger and better! Demon slaying is the game, and DOOM Eternal brings the newest and best way of doing so with new map designs, new weapons and new enemies to try them on, all while finding your own way of slaying!
Square Enix is a powerhouse company boasting some of the biggest game names in the industry and at 2019 E3 they did not hold back!
Final Fantasy VII remake
Yes, it is finally happening, after many years in development hell and many sneak peeks at previous E3 conferences, Final Fantasy 7 is finally getting some worthwhile info to share. With visuals that are simply breathtaking, this, arguably the greatest in the Final Fantasy franchise will pull at heartstrings of new and old alike. Final Fantasy 7 is going to be large it will spand 2 bluray discs! New players to Final Fantasy 7 should not worry, the game has been tailored for newbies and veterans alike. Gone is the turn-based fighting system and welcome to the FF15-style combat system.
Final Fantasy VII will drop on 03:03:2020
Life is Strange 2
After Life is Strange 2 and The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, comes a continuation of one of the most emotional roller coaster rides you can possibly have in a game. Daniel is starting to control his powers and meets up and shares it with fellow friends and foes along the way. Life is Strange cannot be classed in words; all you can do is simply experience this narrative splendour for yourself.
The latest chapter is available now
Dragon Quest Builders 2
The builders have been abducted and it is up to you, and your mysterious partner to save them! Defeat the children of Hargon and become the master builder, but wait, building is always better with a friend, now you can call on your friends to help you save the world!
Battallion 1944 is getting many new features and game modes as well as new weapons! As well as a new multiplayer system allowing for easy leagues and tournaments as well as major bragging rights. Check out the fast-paced video to see all the newest additions to what is sure to be a classic.
Square Enix Music
The music app that gamers want! You now have Square Enix game soundtracks at your fingertips! Simply hop onto all leading subscription services and listen to your favourite Final Fantasy soundtrack immediately!
Final Fantasy 14 – Shadowbringers
The third expansion for the immensely popular FF14 game is coming, it releases on July 2 and brings with it enough content that would warrant a new standalone title. New jobs, gunbreaker and the dancer, new races and even more.
Outriders is from the creators of bulletstorm and Gears of War, from the video it seems to be a shooter set in an alien time period and sees 3 humans making a stand against an enemy alien force. One of the human characters are seen to be using telekinetic powers. Can this be a new challenger for the Gears of War crown?
Final Fantasy VIII
The Final Fantasy that got me into gaming is getting a remaster. One of the biggest games in the franchise and the title that rooted a name in the Western markets is being remastered! To the fans of the game, this will be a welcome remaster and to the new players, it’s worth every hour spent.
Finally, an Avengers game that can be excited about. This only being a announce trailer, it didn’t give much in terms of gameplay but it sees the Avengers taking on a new enemy. And it seems that the Avengers have lost and the human race has lost faith in them... But they are not going to take it laying down!
Stay tuned for more information on E3 2019...
With a much-anticipated audience waiting to see what 1 of the leading game developers had in store, we had some ups...but maybe not enough?
Ubisoft threw a varied assortment of interesting trailers and line ups at us from new additions, to a new movie to a tv show ripping on game development and a PC subscription service. Let's start with some of the lesser yet still interesting news, it involves the latest in the assassins creeds "Odessey" which is getting a story creator which allows you to create and design your own quests using a web-based tool. And scheduled later to drop on us is "discovery mode" very similar to origins Education mode.
We move onto some more interesting news and news some of us have been waiting eagerly for... The new Watchdogs game, set in good ol jolly England, well Britain to be more exact, and the biggest twist on the game? You can control virtually ANY character in the game from that tough looking biker to sweet old Agnus, allowing you to build up your own crew of vigilante hackers.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint has already been on everyone's lips but who could've anticipated that Jon Bernthal would be a prominent role in the game, he even showed up on stage with the very best doggo "bam bam", the game is scheduled for launch October 4th.
A Very strange and unusual announcement was that Rob McElhenney, creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, is making a tv series which mocks game development and is titled "Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet", no one is quite sure where Ubisoft fits into the plot but many of us can guess.
And Siege fans we were gifted with the announcement of Rainbow Six: Quarantine, its a co-op Squad based survival FPS, and is being spearheaded by a whole new Montreal Team, Will it be with new operators? will it be something similar to outbreak? we can only wait and see.
And another PC subscription is making its way out of the woodworks, as Ubisoft Unveiled Uplay Plus, which offers over 100 games INCLUDING its DLC and is set to hit your screens September 3rd.
Kinda Exciting news of a Division movie which will be coming to NETFLIX and is being directed by Jake Gyllenhaal, Will it be able to live up to the hype the game had? and we are all dying to see who will take on the iconic roles of our beloved agents.
Step up Sports fans as Ubisoft drops a new game title into the mix, Roller Champions is a competitive multiplayer roller Derby set in a futuristic vibe. And will set to be free-to-play when it drops.
The team behind Assassins creed Odyssey is working on another yet slightly smaller project called "Gods & Monsters" which dives into Greek mythology, it actually looks pretty good, but we sit in our now butt worn seat for more info, all we know is it will be available 25 Feb next year.
And with that readers Ubisoft drew to a close, leaving us hungry and wanting more. Did Ubisoft run out of ideas or are they planning to hit us with earth-shattering news in the near future, Ubisoft, in my opinion, is a well-liked and dedicated development team, with everlasting potential and a drive to keep us all entertained. Were you all excited or let down by the Ubisoft panel? we would love your honest opinion on our FB page, drop us a comment and let us know.
I recently dove into a really old box at home and BEHOLD.... MOTH ATTACK, just kidding, I find my old ps1 games collection, the nostalgia came rushing back to me and then made me think of something very scary.
We play games and fall in love with armor sets, weapon mods and character skins but when did we have to start PAYING instead of PLAYING for them?
Where are the "kill 1001 goblins to unlock this hero hat" or "drive on 2 wheels for 5km to unlock this new car"? No, we are all faced with financial ruin just to get that complete armor set that is purely cosmetic and leaves our landlord taping his foot waiting for rent money.
We all understand and hate the concept of "pay to win" which gives players an advantage over others who lack the rich daddies or overcompensating parents with equally deep pockets, and many of us refuse to give in to developers greed and simply stop playing the game or play without the bought help and grind it like a legend.
[caption id="attachment_4641" align="aligncenter" width="300"] My beautiful picture[/caption]
I take R6 for an example this is a game which I believe in most part is still honoring the tradition of a good grind equals a good reward, you play you win or lose you earn points, get enough points BOOM new operator, new weapon skin or headgear, it does have some real money purchases for the elite uniforms but compared to what you can unlock with the points, its still a really good balance
So I ask when did we all become so eager to spend hard earned cash on cosmetics? And no ladies, not your "cosmetics" you all keep staying beautiful as you all are, where's the grind for the grand prize? where's the trick shot off 5 walls character unlock?
I think its time to put down the credit cards and pick up our socks, give us something to PLAY YOUR GAME FOR developers instead of draining our pockets for inconsequential cosmetic gimmicks that you will simply change and expect us to do the same next month.
It has been said that due to "Harsh Circumstances and foul rulings" Team PUFF was "given" the victory over team DREAMHACK, this couldn't be farther from the truth.
Here at EAX we pride ourselves on keeping things fair and balanced, we do not favor one team over another, nor do we "support" a singular team, we stand behind ALL our teams, from new entries to seasoned veterans.
And to further elaborate should one of our: real-life friends" be in a team which is questioning gameplay, player or even a specific instance the matter will be ruled upon by ANOTHER EAX admin member to prevent bias decisions and only truthful and honest rulings will be made
It is stipulated in our rules and regulations for each and every league that "ANY streaming of a match WILL BE DONE SO WITH A TIME-DELAY" and "Streaming may only take place should BOTH teams agree or is a final and an EAX APPROVED streamer is allocated". We have, from day one, strived to provide a stream with a delay to eliminate any form of stream-sniping and with the new addition to our streaming roster we have been granted that ability, hence it was implemented with immediate effect.
No measure to too strict or too loose to ensure all our teams are on equal footing, ANY and ALL infringements will be investigated and punished should it be required. Everyone is free to petition these rulings WITH the support of evidence.
Infringements with extreme and generally immediate effects are Cheating, RACISM, SEXISM, Harassment and similar acts of misbehavior.
Within reason the EAX Admin team will try to accommodate certain requests, and any kind of game changes made 30 min before the match is due to start is highly disruptive and often unfair, example map change or in the event of a scheduled stream, a change of streamer, people are asked well ahead of times and as a courtesy to them and their time, no change will be made whatsoever, so long as all rules and regulations are followed respectfully.
We at EAX are not completely heartless and bans will be lifted (Pending reason for the ban) at a certain stage, were firm believers in 2nd chances but be forewarned, a 2nd infringement will result in a harsher ban up to and including permanent.
No one is perfect and in the event that an EAX Admin has made a mistake, it will be rectified immediately and all punishments uplifted. So should you feel that this is the case feel free to question it but please support it with physical proof, Verbal begging and pleading will not sway rulings. And should you wish to lodge a complaint, as in our rules and regulations, please make use of the screenshot function of the infringement so we have proof on our end validating the punishment on the player or team in question.
With great respect comes a mutual understanding and fewer fights and disagreements. Use your head and before you lose your cool and send a racist or sexist or IST-ist remarking, consider how you would feel receiving that kind of message. Let us all be mature adults and game on!
To many, she is the mascot of Fortnite. With her big purple and blue eyes, that scar above the one eye and her sadistic looking stare. She was one of the earliest and skins in the game as well as one of the most popular so it wasn’t surprising when she was the first figure revealed in McFarlane’s Fortnite line. Now full disclaimer, although there are new waves within the line and so much more to come, these things cost quite a bit so that is why I’m only reviewing her now for our readers.
The packaging is simplistic but pops as it is covered in pink. The window display shows Cuddles, her gun and her pickaxe as well as her stand in clear view while there are product shots of the other figures in the line on the back of the box and some in-game shots of her on the side of the box. There isn’t too much else going on with the box though if you’d like to keep her in her packaging on your shelf it can work, though the box is a little big.
This figure pops out of any environment, be it a shelf or in the bushes while posing for a photo session. Her hot pink colour scheme is complemented with white sections on her torso and shin-guards. She stands out about as much as a bobble-head pink bear would. Her fur is nicely sculpted and there are some slight shades of pink in them. The scar above her right eye is nicely detailed which shows the white under layer or her mask. The white on her belt seems to clash with the white on her torso as it is really bright which is a minor thing to gripe about compared to how good this figure looks.
Her gloves are Magenta which just adds some spice to the whole figure. You’re getting a lot of pink with this figure’s colour but I appreciate the different shades of pink here and there just to add some variety.
She comes in at about 7 inches tall making her 17cm.
Cuddle Team Leader comes with:
A Legendary Assault Rifle
Rainbow Smash Pickaxe
Cuddle Bow Back Bling
And a Base
The base is the same that came with Skull Trooper and is a standard with these figures. It’s a simple round black disk with little stilts that fit into the peg holes in the soles of her feet. It has Fortnite engraved on it too. There’s not much to it and it really is just there to help her stand upright on the shelf.
The Assault Rifle takes the shape of a SCAR. It looks like it was pulled directly from the game. The paint is clean but simplistic. There’s no fancy little bits and pieces, just a gun coloured in cream paint with black edges.
The Cuddle Bow Back Bling is a small solid black bow with a little peg to fit into her peg hole on her back. The peg is a little big though and it takes a lot of force to stick it into the hole (haha) but once it’s in there it’s a tight fit. It’s a nice touch although it isn’t all that much.
Then comes her Rainbow Smash Pickaxe which is just wild. It’s a lama with a horn like a unicorn which is one of the most iconic pickaxes from the game. The light blue fur on the unicorn is nicely sculpted and the purple main looks like a Mohawk more than anything else. Words can’t describe how crazy this thing looks. It is a bit top heavy though so making her hold it in some positions can be a little tricky. I have noticed some bend in the pickaxe’s pole though, being a softer plastic it came slightly warped out of the packaging and even after I used the hot water/hair dryer trick it still looks a little skew to me. But other than that it looks great.
Cuddle Team Leader is really flexible. Though on my figure at least there are some joints that are a little too loose, namely her left shoulder where the shoulder cap keeps shifting too far in but this feels like something that is only on the figure so more of a Quality Control issue, every figure line has those.
But other than that she comes with a good range of motion:
She has a joint in the head which can be pulled off in case you’d like to put another female head on her for an unmasked version. I’ve seen people slap a Harley Quinn head on there. She also comes with a ball joint at the base of the neck
There’s a barbell or dumbbell (I’m not sure which name is the correct one) joint in her shoulders with a shoulder cap to hide that a little as well as a hinge that goes from that into her shoulder to add rotation.
Double jointed elbows and knees
Swivel at the biceps and wrists with the wrists having an extra hinge
Ball joint in her mid torso and another one in her waist so she has a lot of movement going on in her torso.
She has hinges at her legs as well as a swivel/hinge at her ankles and toe articulation.
It’s one hell of a good figure. It pops where wherever she goes. She has a unique look and a great range of movement. She’s by far my favourite out of my Fortnite collection so far (I only have three).
She’s also a well sought after character amongst the Fortnite community.
She can fit in any situation when it comes to photos, she can fill in as filler or be that crazy serial killer stalking other characters in the bushes. After all, she is a homicidal lady dressed as a pink bear. Or she could just go out on a picnic with some characters. I’ve had photos of her forcing dishwashing liquid down other figures’ throats and eating Pringles with some other characters. For a photographer, there is a lot you can do with her. But for collectors who prefer just having a desk or shelf look pretty, she adds a whole lot of colour to any environment.
Versatile for scene setting
The only minor gripe is that pole on the pickaxe that just won’t straighten all the way.
EAX just loves to spread good news and great deals with our readers and we are going to do our best to bring all of you some of the best deals available to grow those collections and be part of the hype!! I Myself use CDKEYS.COM and I'm Very happy to say they are safe and reliable, all transactions are immediate and the code is sent to you directly and very securely.
Whether it's picking up latest games, or looking for that good ol' classic CDKEYS has specials on a whole host of games. Don't be a scrub and pay full price when this safe online shop offers discounted rates on ALL its products
Specials and deals change constantly so you can always guarantee to pick up something new at a better price and not just on games but their DLC CONTENT TOO. Halleluiah praise the RAM and pass the ammunition.
R33.89 (Skyrim - Dawnguard DLC)
The true meaning of life is love, peace and uncapped fibre
Now before you all think this new console is coming to compete with Google Stadia and push "the future of gaming" even further out of reach for our potato internet South Africans, it's not. In fact, it's not even really the "next" thing in gaming but rather the "previous" thing.
The Amico will appeal to all the older guys in the gaming community, as well as all the retro gaming fans out there! The Amico is the latest console made by console legend from the past, Intellivision. These guys have been around since 1979 and were one of Atari's biggest competitors through the 80's. These are the guys who started the console war!
Now some of you newer generation gamers are thinking why would I want a remade retro console? Well, this thing is shaping up to be pretty cool and quite advanced. It includes things like WiFi (WOW), two colour touch screen controllers, HDMI and USB ports (so it will work with modern TVs) and - wait for it - RGB LIGHTING! It can't get much cooler than that!
This console will be a hit for young and old alike. It's designed to bring the social lounge aspect back into gaming and will be simple enough to use and play for even the most technologically disadvantaged folk and no-skill gamers among us. The Amico's ease of play and simplicity will definitely be a party maker, and if you have more than 2 people at your party (is it even a party with 2 people?), there's a controller app for the Amico that allows you to connect up to 8 players into a game! They are also including competitive online multiplayer and leader boards so that you can compete with your friends for bragging rights and some unique achievement trophies.
The console will be hitting the market late 2020 and will be coming in at the very tempting price of about $180, with games going for $2.99 to $7.99, every one of them exclusive to the Amico! The console will launch with several built-in titles and over 20 games in its online store, including Earthworm Jim. As they said, they are creating a console that parents will want to buy, not one that they are asked to buy. That's a bold statement but Intellivision is really working hard at making the Amico appealing, and there is definitely a large and growing group of gamers who would be into this console.
This console will definitely do well on the market and will surely become a feature in most homes, with it's highly niche target market and affordability. Intellivision is doing a lot right with the Amico, but let me not bore you by going on about this console, here is a video from Intellivision themselves telling you exactly what you can expect from the Amico.
And if that's not enough for you, check out their website;
Epic Games is literally taking over the market by buying new studios to add under their umbrella.
The studio that brought as many good things, and Fortnite (think of that what you will), has recently acquired the independent development studio, Psyonix, which brought us Rocket League - what's not to love with cars and giant exploding balls?
This was a wise move on the side of Psyonix as it brings them more resources, both human and financial, to continue to support Rocket League's growing competitive e-sports league. They also plan to bring the game to the Epic Games store later this year.
Once the game appears on the Epic Games store, it is unsure if it will remain in the Steam store but all sources and evidence are suggesting that it will no longer be available to purchase through Steam.
Now what does the mean for those of you who have already purchased and logged some serious time through Steam?
In a statement made by Epic, it seems clear that there are pre and post Epic store phases. Currently (pre-Epic), the game is available to purchase on Steam and it is playable and supported (obviously). Later (post-Epic), the game will be available to purchase in the Epic store but will still be playable and supported on Steam for those who have already purchased it there. However, Epic has not officially announced that it will stop selling the game on steam, it's all guessing at the moment, but that does seem like the most likely outcome as Steam and Epic are direct competitors.
This buy over should not come as a surprise to anyone as Psyonix and Epic have had a long-standing partnership, dating back to the early days of Unreal Engine and games like Unreal Tournament 2004. Psyonix was even founded a short distance from Epic Games headquarters in 2001. Both companies are also well known for pushing the bar in cross-platform gaming, with Psyonix supporting cross-play in Rocket League and Epic supporting it in Fortnite (which helped fuel its rise).
However beneficial this acquisition is for Epic and Psyonix, it will raise many heads as Epic continues to spend huge amounts of resources to chip away at Valve's dominance in PC game sales. Epic purchasing a studio with a hit title, and pulling that away from Steam will come as a huge blow to Valve.
Streaming has become the latest craze, with popular streamers like DrDisRespect and Ninja becoming household names and earning money that can be measured in weight rather than value, many everyday-gamers want to do the same, stream their gaming. But it's not as simple as just pressing a button and begin to rake in massive amounts of money. There are a few hardware additions that need to be made, namely a capture card, (which I will review in next few weeks), a good camera, and most importantly, so that you can interact with your viewers, a good microphone!
For streamers on a budget in recent years the go-to microphone has been the Blue Yeti microphone, being the best bang for buck microphone in the section. With the microphone section being a rather slow and stagnant section which doesn't see monumental increases in technology through new models. Razer decided they have had enough and targeted the budget market... Say hello to the Razer Seiren X!
The Seiren X is built off the same core as the Seiren, which is a good starting point already, and with the main aim to dethrone the Blue Yeti, a price cut needed to be made, and as with any price cut, some compromises needed to be made to achieve this. The Razer Seiren X is the perfect microphone for the on-the-go streamer due to its driverless setup. Simply plug it into a USB port and it will instantly be recognized as an audio input device, easy as that! The stylish shape and presentation of the Seiren X is perfect for anyone looking for a minimalist stream setup as well as a small unobtrusive microphone.
The Seiren X is really sleek and simple in its look as well as use. Simply plug it into a USB port and you are ready, with only a volume knob and a mute button ( which will go red when muted) as well as a headphone input jack underneath, the Seiren X oozes simplicity! The underneath headphone port allows you to plug your headset directly into the mic and broadcasting your audio through there instead of connecting straight to your pc/console. One of the downfalls that go with cutting prices which means cutting features is that the Seiren X lacks the ability to change your capture modes, like the Seiren and the Blue Yeti has. Luckily this does not hamper the ability of the Seiren X and many users of the Blue Yeti have made comparisons and opinions seem to be that the Seiren X works just as well without the option to change.
Razer has confirmed that the cardioid pickup pattern, for those not in the know: sound is only recorded from in front of the device instead of 360 degrees around like a traditional mic ) has been specifically adapted to ensure the most pin-point capturing to date from a cardioid setup. The Seiren X also features a handy shock mount to ensure your recording or chat is protected from bumps and other sound anomalies that may occur during streams.
What makes the Razer Seiren X a very viable option for startup streamers or general gamers is the ease of use and setup. During the review time, we used it predominantly during gaming sessions as party-chat microphone and the overwhelming response from fellow party members was that they could not believe how crisp and clear my voice sounded, even with the mic being at least 0.5m away from where a traditional headset mic would sit the voice clarity and volume was amazing. It is good to state that when using a mechanical keyboard the clicks from the keys can often be picked up by the mic if placed closer to the left side of the keyboard. Other than that the Seiren X is amazing! Not being a streamer myself, I have never considered buying a loose standing microphone until this review item came my way.
The Razer Seiren X has bridged the gap and has brought competition to the entry-level section of streaming mics. Between it and the Blue Yeti, all streamers should be able to find a microphone that caters for their personal needs. If you need something easy, and quick to use the Seiren X is your go-to microphone. If you want more options and capturing customization the Blue Yeti will be your weapon of choice. Both are well priced and both task them or their jobs spectacularly!
special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying review Hardware
Movie adaptations are usually not a great way to start any game creation. Games that have been adapted from movies have, for most parts, been rather dismal in execution as well as general interest. So when the creators of World War Z decided to take a stab at the zombie genre with a 6-year-old movie as their lead, many people had their doubts.
The game might be aesthetically based on World War Z but the game takes most of its ideas from the legendary Left 4 Dead franchise. Left 4 Dead is arguably the best zombie game ever made, it is a cult classic where teamwork is needed from a 4-man team. World War Z takes that and ups the stakes by adding a slight narrative hook and plenty of zombies! The difference comes with the way the zombies operate. The movie was very controversial by the way it depicts the movement of the zombies and how they create tidal waves of death. As you can imagine battling against a sprinting wall of decaying flesh can only result in absolute gore and with a few friends in tow, absolute satisfaction!
To a seasoned gamer battling against individual zombies or even larger groups of zombies using the wide variety of weapons, that can be upgraded many times, will be a piece of cake, but attempting to take on the running wall of death will need lots of teamwork and a calm mind otherwise imminent death will be swiftly met.
Where in the World are we?
World War Z is broken into 11 levels split across 4 anthologized episodes. As expected these levels will find players stranded in large, zombie infested, areas while having to defend themselves against the undead. During these instances, you will be given brief moments to loot the area and set up defences such as barbed wires and automated turret systems to help fight the barrage of zombies. If you decide to tread into these situations with randoms you might find yourself coming to a grizzly demise rather quickly, but teaming up with friends ( or players with microphones) can be rewarding as a well-coordinated team can lay waste to hundreds of zombies without even breaking your defensive line.
Each of the episodes will take you to different locations, from New York City to Secret Russian military bases. Each episode will also put you behind the sights of different characters which helps to keep the dialogue from becoming stale. Levels are wonderfully constructed moving from vast open spaces to tight corridors seamlessly without feeling forced. "Missions" within each stage don't feel out of place either with your team needing to find supply crates or launch codes within the stage to be able to progress. This forces you and your team to not simply bunker yourself in and try and kill every single zombie on the planet, but move around and put yourself at risk and force teamwork to be used. 11 stages might not seem like that many but thanks to wonderful randomization with regards to weapon placements and enemies, World War Z offers a lot of replayability!
Progression is found in the form of weapon upgrades and character classes. They are all quite similar apart from the special item that they have on offer, be it grenades, molotovs, or explosive ammo drops. The passive abilities do not come into their own until around level 10 so to reach that many levels need to be completed as sometimes the progression can seem a little slow.
World War Z is not without its flaws, the character mobility can sometimes become an issue like in the instance of climbing onto cars. Some cars can be climbed upon and the satisfaction of laying waste to the oncoming horde is great, but there is no clear indication as to why, and which, cars can be climbed and which not which does pose somewhat of a problem when running away from a swarm. With a very well populated environment, the lack of destruction is quite noticeable with explosions not even leaving dents or craters in the surfaces. Another mechanic that got thrown by the wayside is dodge, which would be invaluable when fighting a charging bull zombie. Apart from that the experience on Xbox has been pleasant apart from the odd disconnect from the server that saw me lose quite a fair amount of accumulated XP, other than that it has been smooth sailing.
World War Z does not stop at 4 player co-op or PvZ modes, there is also a more traditional 4v4vZ which will put you and your 4 man team, against another 4 man team and the hordes of undead. These matches do seem to be less popular and we didn't get more than 2 matches. The PvP matches to accentuate the dodge problem quite a bit more and for now, the PvP modes feel more like a distraction. Maybe with future updates, they can become more relevant.
World War Z had more things against it than in its favour when it was announced, but contrary to what was expected from a film adaptation it has turned out to be a good game. The environment is detailed and a spectacle to see, the character models are detailed and personalized, even the zombies seem to be individual, even after being filled with lead and rag-dolled across the screen. At its core World War Z is lots of fun, even more so if you have a group of dedicated people to play with. It could become a little stale if Saber Interactive does not keep expanding with additional episodes in the future.
Looter shooters, as they are known, have become a popular type of game in recent years with the likes of Division 1 and 2, the free-to-play Warframe, the utterly loved-hated Destiny franchise and Japanese wonders like Monster Hunter World are all some of the big names within this category. Most of these games are all redefining what looter shooters should strive to be. Better drop rates, more variety, less-boring (looking at you Destiny) yet the real question is, where did it all begin...
It all began with the daddy of all Looter shooters, BORDERLANDS... Borderlands is where it all started, and now, soon before the announcement of Borderlands 3... 2K and Gearbox is bringing all the magic back, Remastered!
When Borderlands released in 2009, it's distinctive hand-drawn art style was met with great acceptance and love, a decade later nothing has changed. Borderlands is actually a rather strange title to get the remastered title, because, frankly, there isn't much to be improved upon... Getting GOTY status does however package all of the DLC along with the base game, so for those who didn't take in all the DLC's originally, they are now all nicely packaged.
Visually there is not that much of an improvement when it comes to the console version apart from the 60fps gameplay and, for the Xbox X and PS4 Pro, HDR support which does give the colour pallet a new and vibrant look. Another welcome addition is 4-player split screen as well as co-op on console! Apart from that, not much is needed in terms of upgrade with a solid variety in campaign mission and classic comedic gold from claptrap what more could you possibly need.
Gearbox promised that The Destroyer, the final boss, would be more exciting to fight, but it is still just a bullet sponge and not that big of a challenge. Players of Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel will also receive 75 golden keys and two of the new weapons for GOTY edition.
Not having the DLC's when I originally played Borderlands, this time around it has been an absolute blast being able to experience the game that defined the genre with all of its splendour with all the DLC's and small little polishes and tweaks of the very few problems it might have had.
Taking an already near-perfect game and giving it a GOTY treatment is rather unexpected. But when that game is Borderlands it is always worthy. For those who have not yet experienced the mighty and hilariously amazing Borderlands-franchise, this GOTY edition is the perfect way to experience it. If you are like many others, someone who has sunk tremendous amounts of hours into this game in the past, why not do it all over again, I promise, it will be just as magical as it was the first time!
Thanks to Prima Interactive for supplying the review code
The latest release to face this question is Sekiro, a game where death is constantly haunting players to the point where players are saying “they need to have an option to adjust the difficulty”. A game's difficulty has always been a question for debate but no one has taken the time to stop and look back at all the game we’ve played over the many years and seen an obvious truth. From the humble beginnings of the cartridge console difficulty has always been based on the players skill and not a setting that can be manipulated, from one of the earliest releases for PS1 Crash Bandicoot all the way to Dark Souls and now Sekiro, games have both added and removed the ability to change “how hard the game is”, O’l crash never allowed change but we climbed up and fell down and we beat the game and in the end we loved it, to an XBOX original and in my personal opinion the Father to online Multiplayer FPS, Halo, which gave gamers four yes FOUR options of difficulty from easy to normal to heroic and finally your favourite and my, LEGENDARY, we dipped our toes in with normal to get settled in but the ultimate rush was charging your warthog into battle on legendary and watching the bodies and debris fly. To a more recent Title which has been an all-time favourite of mine Assassins creed, which in its more recent releases has given players different areas with increasing difficulty allowing players to avoid or take on bigger and more deadly enemies. And finally your Pet-peeve and mine Darksouls, a game with ruthless disregard for player sanity as you die over and over and OVER AND OVER AND GRAAAARR…ahem but I digress, I still pressed on and nothing was more satisfying than finally beating the game and realising that all the hours of grind and frustration amounted to a sense of accomplishment.
So I've bounced around only a few titles with varying “difficulty settings” but the ever burning unanswered question remains…should players be allowed to change the difficulty at will? I say …a confident no. We are gamers through the highs and lows, the deaths and victories, the triumphs over the bosses and the heartbreaking fall from mountains….dammit Roach, we have been moulded and sculpted by games to the point where a game says “ hey instead of playing easy and getting little satisfaction from winning…..lets go next tier and push ourselves”.
If we were given full reign over how hard the game is we would always win and where’s the joy in never tasting defeat to fuel your desire to win? Games teach us that, you will NOT always win, life isn’t always fair, things will Not always go in your favour, but more than that teaches us how to deal with that trial set before us, you have the tools now make it work for you, here’s the challenge use your intellect to conquer it. Last time I played Rainbow six Siege or R6 to veterans, I never saw a difficulty setting to change to allow me to play against easier players cos much like myself there are other people watching the same screen and thinking the same thing “I love this game”, our prized diamond tier players were all copper once, they didn’t have difficulty settings all they had was the will to get better and overcome their short falls and rise up to the challenge of others and EARN the diamond badge which they wear with pride .
We as gamers look adversity in the face and laugh, we challenge ourselves to do what we are told is not possible, we game our hardest and we rage our hardest but never has it ever been said we QUIT our hardest and there’s a reason for that. WE WILL NOT BE BEATEN, we all have that drive inside that won’t let us give up, that fire in our bellies for the bigger and better loot, the spark in our eye for the next big win. Let us not use the difficulty setting as a cheap road to victory but instead a change of direction, we all have in the past taken our favourite game and used it to create humour to entertain ourselves, I myself have done this in one of my already mentioned titles, halo. Who hasn’t played bumper cars with warthogs? Chicken with ghosts or a much-filtered version of battleships with the wraith.
Let me leave you with this “perseverance breeds excellence”, practice and patience will see you to that ultimate goal of the end game credits, believe in your abilities and keep trying. We are gamers and we will not be beaten.
The Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2, is as the name suggest, the top of the range headset made by Turtle Beach. It is the second iteration of an extremely capable, yet very complicated headset + mixamp setup. The V1 Elite Pro, which was also reviewed by us, was a really great headset doing everything right but lacked the ease-of-use that other headsets in its class had. Turtle Beach took a step back, analyzed their mistakes and went back to the drawing board and came back with a complete redesign from the styling to the features. Not only did they improve every aspect of the Elite Pro V2. Turtle Beach went to the people who would be able to provide the best feedback on gaming headsets, pro-gaming organizations themselves. OpTic Gaming and Splyce were brought onboard to find out what is needed to make a good headset great, and that's what they did. The Elite Pro 2 is certainly a force to be reckoned with, be it sound quality, comfort, features, it can compete! But is the only thing that can possibly stop its class-dominance its hefty price tag?
Design and Features
From the very moment you take the headset from its box, it makes a bold statement, not by the way it looks, but by presence. If you are impressed by LED's and lavish styling then the Elite Pro 2 is not what you are looking for. The elite series, as I have mentioned in previous reviews, all share the exact styling queues. We had the privilege to review the white version but it is also available in black. The glossy plastic finish gives the headset a great feel when you hold it and the subtle and small Turtle Beach logo gives an even bigger sense of refinement rather than slapping branding all across it. The elite range from Turtle Beach does not need to be plastered with logos, they are distinctly Turtle Beach. If you do feel the need to spice up your headset slightly, the ear cups can be pulled off rather easily from their magnetically positioned homes and swapped out with alternative designs that can be bought from Turtle Beach.
The Elite Pro 2 sits comfortably thanks to the steel headband that connects the cups, the headband itself is very sturdy yet flexible. The leather earcup padding is something to behold. Many headsets do most things right but seem to falter on their comfort. The Elite Pro 2, just like the Elite Atlas, has arguably the most comfortable feel to any headset I have ever tried. The padding is infused with cooling gel, and it is safe to say that it works beautifully. The earcups are also slightly larger compare to the V1 version which makes for comfortable spacing around your ears.
The memory foam cups do a really good job of cancelling out external noise, although some noise does filter through, as passive noise cancelling goes, they are extremely good. If they start to show signs of wear and tear, simply pull them off and replace them with new ones.
The mic, which is the same as the mic fitted to the Atlas, can be detached anytime needed as it is a rather large microphone and not having the boom feature will have you either stowing it away or having it in use all the time. Luckily it is bendy enough to ensure you will find the adequate working position.
Lastly, to go with the sleek minimal design the headset itself is completely devoid of any button, sliders or rollers apart from the 3.5mm line-in from the amp which has its own mute button attached to the cable. Other than that it is a sleek and well-refined headset with a great directional microphone ready to pick up any and every word shouted in victory, as well as mumbled in defeat.
The Elite Pro V1 had a rather big and technical looking mix amp, with many buttons and sliders to make it all look rather tough to use, and it was until you found the sound to be the way you like it. So at a glance, the V1 could be rather daunting but with some getting used to it is fantastic when small adjustments are needed. Fast forward to the V2 and Turtle Beach has gone for a more user-friendly approach with fewer buttons and dials. The V2 only offers a singular knob which serves only as a volume control. It has a dial in the middle that can be adjusted and customized to do nearly anything your heart could desire from an amp mounted light. Keeping up with the times meant that all the controls of the SuperAmp were moved to an app, either on your phone or on your pc, depending on where you are putting the Elite Pro 2 to use. I have been using it on my phone and I do have to say it is rather good... The SuperAmp connects to your phone via Bluetooth which is turned on by a small button on the side of the amp. Upon pressing it a voice will announce that Bluetooth is now on. Simply connect your phone to it and download the app and you are ready to go.
Upon entering the app you will be hit with a plethora of options which can be overwhelming but working your way through them will allow you to customize your preferences to the tiniest detail. The first and most basic option is the chat mixer, which is a simple slider which will balance the amount of game sound to chat sound. The second slider will be mic monitoring, this has become a must since having the feature. Mic monitoring gives you feedback from your own microphone allowing you to hear how loudly you are speaking. This is a must for anyone thinking of streaming or even who play lots of party-based games. No one likes THAT person who is constantly shouting or breathing into the mic.
Turtle Beach has created a signature sound effect called SuperHuman Hearing, this is a setting that allows you to hear a different set of sounds more clearly. This is very useful for hearing footsteps during battle royale games. The Elite Pro 2 naturally has this option that can be toggled on or off whenever needed. Along with the SuperHuman Hearing is an array of smaller settings such as chat boost, which will lift your chat above the gaming noise and make chats more clear and easier to distinguish. In this price range surround sound support is simply a must and the Elite Pro 2 does support DTS Headphones 7.1 albeit simulated, it still does a pretty good job with the directional sound being on par with what you would expect. The SuperAmp also comes with a few preloaded equalizers for some of the more general gaming genres such as shooters, racing, battle royale and a host of others.
This is only the tip of the feature list for the SuperAmp if none of these settings is to your liking you can simply go to the next page and start creating and making the ideal setup for your needs. Compared to the previous SuperAmp, Turtle Beach has made vast improvements to it and it has become much more user-friendly and the fact that you can take calls from your connected phone during gaming is a really nifty touch. Well done Turtle Beach!
Sound quality is a very personal thing, and many brands have a very specific trend when refining their sound. Personally, I have always found Turtle beach to be rather "tinny" and I went into this review with that predisposition, wow was I wrong!
Turtle Beach has created a phenomenal headset with the Elite Pro 2. Not only is the comfort level sublime it has the audio chops to match. Delivering hearty and full bass tones while keeping the mids and highs distinct in every situation I tested them in does show that the Elite Pro 2 deserves its title as the flagship Turtle Beach headset! Movies and music all sound great and the directional audio does great work to deceive you into thinking there are more speakers in your earcup than what there really is.
There isn't that much to say about the sound quality of the Elite Pro 2, other than it did not put a foot wrong during the hours and hours I spent with it. If you are serious about gaming and you are looking for a Turtle beach headset that feels the same way, the Elite Pro 2 is that headset.
The Turtle beach Elite Pro 2 takes its predecessor, learns from its mistakes and turns itself to a headset that cannot be faulted. It is wired yes, but, as all serious gamers will know, wired is the way to go. Minimal input delay and best sound integrity. What is even better is that the setup can work on all major platforms. Swopping from pc to console, or back, is a breeze with easy setup, the Elite Pro 2 is literally the only headset you need. But, yes there is a but, it comes with a really REALLY hefty price tag of around the R8 000 mark. This is really expensive and could be the only hurdle in the way of the Elite Pro 2...
Thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review hardware
Gaming headsets can be a tricky thing, so many brands, so many options and features all coming with an ever-increasing price tag it is sometimes tricky to balance price and features into a certain price bracket. Turtle Beach have created their Elite category for the mid to high-end gaming headsets. The TB Elite Atlas is one of the fortunate headsets to bare the Elite badge as well as the signature Elite styling and build.
The Atlas is a mid-tier gaming headset that has a reasonable price tag considering the great build quality and accurate and concise audio. The lack of any form of surround, be it true or simulated is a drawback, as well as no preset equalizers, might not cater to what everyone needs. Although these things can be rectified if you are using the Atlas on PC, it is something to take note of if you are going to be multi-purposing the Atlas.
Build and Feel
If you are looking for a colourful out of this world design headset, the Atlas is definitely not that headset. This headset is very black, with only a few hints of silver creeping through here and there. The Elite range all share a similar design with a very industrial feel, giving the sense of being here to do a job and not muck about. The build is made from hard plastic as a majority which would tend to cause a feeling of cheapness but not in this case. The Atlas still feels strong and capable while feeling lightweight enough to not have you feel weighed down after some time.
The earcups have been slightly enlarged from the last experience I had with the elite range, being the elite Pro V1, which felt slightly small around the ears. The new earcups sit snugly around your ears and are super comfortable. Once you put them on the memory foam goes to work and they adopt the contours of your head perfectly creating a great seal to block out external noise. The earcups are thick and soft as well as covered in leather which feel great!
If you really want to change up from the black colour scheme, the speaker plates are removable and for a price you can buy custom plates to personalize your headset. These custom plates do nothing to improve nor lessen the sound quality they are simply for aesthetic purposes. The headband that sits under metallic headrest which looks really fantastic, it gives the headset a nice touch and stands out among the general blackness of the headset. The foam layer is also adjustable and thick enough to stop any discomfort from encroaching on your game time.
The Atlas microphone is the same as on the new Elite Pro 2, but for some reason it feels on a lower build quality level than the one on the elite pro 2. The mic is plugged into the left earcup which allows for only a one-sided setup as well as no boom-feature which, if you don't need to take a drink or bite during play sessions is no problem. The mic is directional meaning it is pretty good at picking up only your voice and blocking out all the other unnecessary noise.
Sound and Audio
The quality of a headset is unfortunately not only based on its looks and features, but mainly judged on what its main intent is, to create amazing sound for whatever the circumstance is. The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas does deliver on that platform rather well. The main thing i noticed was how distinct the mids and lows vary, it is really seldom that you find headsets where the levels don't run into each other somewhere along the spectrum creating a washed out mix of lows and mids that can't be distinguished. This was very evident during my time spent in games such as Insurgency Sandstorm and Rainbow 6 Siege. Even the faintest of sounds could easily be distinguished even during intense fire-fights the sound stays true. For gaming purposes the preset equalizer works great.
Using the Elite Atlas outside of its familiar gaming environment is where its faults start to creep in. Using the Elite Atlas to listen to music, even with a Bass -equalizer selected, results in a rather tinny and hollow experience. This is where the lack of even a basic customization feature does leave the Atlas lacking.
Another downfall of the Elite Atlas is its lack of surround sound, be it virtual or not. I am not a big fan of the virtual surround sound as to me it is not a very true experience and in most of the gaming situations the directional setup, especially on console, ends up being more of an enemy than a ally. When using it on PC the catch all Windows Sonic system does help but still doesn't do much for the headset in terms of functions and features. What is even more puzzling is that you can find more features and functions in the lower, albeit lesser build quality, Turtle Beach Stealth 700 for a lower price.
The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas is a very capable mid-range headset. It has very good build quality and looks the part as well. It can claim the award for being, arguably, the most comfortable headset in its price range with the most amazing earcups and padding you can find on the gaming headset market. Mic pickup and quality is superb as well. Gaming audio quality is crisp and clear with great attention to the fine audio queues in games.
It seems like Turtle Beach were tasked with making a truly premium mid range headset but went bonkers on the comfort, feel and general audio quality and had no more funds to spend on features that have become almost a "standard" in recent gaming headsets.
The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas still remain more than a capable headset but for those looking for a more feature-rich headset, the Atlas is not the one you are looking for.
Turtle Beach is a driving force behind gaming headsets especially on console and in recent times they have starting a big drive to provide budget headsets without budget quality. They have flooded the market with their Recon range, which is the wired range as well as the stealth, which in turn, is the wireless range. All of these headsets are meant to be budget headsets. Although the Stealth wireless range can still be pricey, simply due to the fact that wireless tech is still more on the pricey side at the moment. Turtle Beach also delivers its signature styling in all their headsets. Although they are not as flashy as some of the other brands like Astro and Razer under their toned-down styling is still a slick headset that is very capable. These toned-down styling queues do not mean the headsets are less capable, rather it makes them more appealing to those who are looking to multipurpose their headset for not only gaming but general use as well, and Turtle Beach headsets do that brilliantly. Turtle Beach currently has a host of Recon headsets, last of which we reviewed was the Recon 200.
This time around we have the chance to get our hands on the Recon 70, which apart from the wired cable can easily be mistaken for the Stealth 700 when it comes to looks. Let's jump straight into it!
Aesthetics and feel
From the first time you pick up the Recon 70 you will notice it has a fair weight to it, not nearly as weighty as the Astro A40's or a Razer Thresher but a decent enough weight to feel like you are dealing with a respectable piece of hardware. The headset itself is predominantly made from moulded plastic which does help to keep the weight down, but in my personal opinion does create a sense of it being less "well-built". Styling is similar to the Stealth and other Recon headsets as mentioned before. The headband features a thin band of foam covered in leatherette which does help for the extended gaming sessions but it could be a little thicker in my opinion. Earcups are nice and big and fit nicely over your ears with ample space inside as well, this has been a past problem with some of the Turtle Beach headsets and they have definitely fixed that with this iteration. The earcups are also covered in leatherette which is a huge improvement on the 600 range which had cloth covering and would become extremely itchy when ears start getting hot during long sessions. The leatherette covers also improve sound isolation and wearing the headset does cut out the outside world a fair amount. The Recon 700 uses a 3.5mm jack to connect to any device that boasts a 3.5mm headphone port and has a fair length on the cable. It does however not have an inline mute or volume controller, the volume controller is situated on the left earcup which can be a bit of a pain when you need to take your hand off the controller when adjusting volume. This is a small drawback, nothing to make you doubt your decision but something to take note of none the less.
Functionality, Sound and Features
The Recon 70 is aimed at the budget, and entry-level, gamer. With a cut in price to fall into the budget category comes a cut in features. Unlike the Recon 200 which boasts a chat mixer, active mic monitoring and active noise-cancelling, the Recon 70 is a lot more bare-boned in comparison boasting none of those features apart from the superb flip mic that is exceptional and can outperform mics on headsets that are easily triple the price of the Recon 70.
The real reason for any headset is not about the brand or the features it's about the sound quality. Turtle Beach has always prided themselves in delivering top quality sound of any occasion. The Recon 70 is fitted with a 40mm driver, as many of the other Turtle Beach headsets are. When listening to music they deliver crisp and clear mids and highs. At times the mids do seem to wash into the highs slightly but nothing to frown upon. The lows are punchy but not as deep as I would like them. When listening to music or watching a movie, I also found that even at max volume the headset was not too loud. This is not a problem, but in some situations in gaming when you possibly need that extra volume the Recon 70's can be found lacking. For gaming purposes, the equalizer settings are just right. none of the ranges are overwhelming allowing you to distinguish between sounds easily.
Using the Recon 70 in a party can be a little trying at first because on no mixer. Once you have set the mixer on console to the correct levels it is a great headset to use especially for battle royale games where communication is key. Teammates will never miss what you are saying because the mic quality is fantastic.
The Turtle Beach Recon 70 is a budget headset, and in that range, it is a good headset and for the measly price you are paying for them, you will need to look far to find better build quality and feel. What Turtle Beach has done is positioned themselves really well in all price classes. Providing users with a upper- and lower price range headset. They have also improved on the few "mistakes" on previous headsets. The earcups are bigger and deeper, creating the correct over-ear effect instead of the on-ear effect that is caused by earcups being too small or shallow
If you are looking for a sub R600* headset the Recon 70 is your best choice. If you looking for a sub R1000 headset the Recon 200 is a no-brainer with all the added features.
The Recon 70 is perfect for someone on a tight budget stepping into the headset arena, it provides everything one needs in a headset, no frills or fuss. Plug in and play headset.
Special thanks to Apex Interactive SA for providing the review hardware. If you are interested in buying one please visit their website.
It’s no surprise that Fortnite has been given the action figure treatment. I’ve said from day one of Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode that these characters would make good figures. And so that day has come. It was a smart move to include Skull Trooper in the initial line up as he is by far one of the most sought after skins in the game, in fact, he was my first skin which I then used for a year straight (because I couldn’t afford anyone else and missed the first few battle passes). When I saw Skull Trooper being added to the lineup, I was quite excited but having never bought a McFarlane toy before so I had no idea what to expect. Apparently, McFarlane Toys isn’t known for much articulation so people that knew more than I did were sceptical...until they got their hands on one.
The box is quite big but its simplistic design and the broad window display is done nicely. Skull Trooper and all of his accessories are nicely displayed and the box is good enough to go on a shelf if someone wanted it to. It has Skull Trooper’s in-game portrait on the side and a preview of the other figures in the wave is found on the back. No background in the box other than a plain yellow backdrop. It would have been a cherry on top of the cake to have a printed lobby screen though. The box looks good and eye-catching enough but it’s what’s inside that matters.
Skull Trooper looks amazing. Essentially he is a guy in tactical gear that drew a skeleton layout on himself which the figure captures perfectly. There’s patch work on his pants and his one shin guard is strapped to his leg with visible straps. His face captures that cartoony style that Fortnite is known for which some people might not like but that’s just the style of the game translating to figure. The figure might not stand out as much due to his dull colours but he does look menacing enough on the shelf which is what most people are after.
Skull Trooper stands at 7 inches tall (about 18cm) so he’s more in scale with NECA figures.
Skull Trooper comes with:
A Bolt Action Sniper Rifle
And his Death Valley Pickaxe.
The base is a nice addition. It’s a simple round black disk with little stilts that fit into the peg holes in the soles of his feet. It has Fortnite engraved on it too. There’s not much to it and it really is just there to help him stand up right on the shelf.
The Bolt Action Sniper Rifle is a splitting image of it's game’s counterpart which leaves it looking very simplistic, unfortunately. It has no elaborate detail and is just a cream coloured gun with a bit of black here and there. I suppose it can’t be faulted too much due to this being the design in the game but with the addition of gun wraps added to the game at the end of last year, hopefully, McFarlane picks out some fan favourite wrap designs to apply to future weapons with their upcoming figures.
The backpack is just a black bag with some little detail here and there on the zipper and the bag itself. It’s keeping to the dark colours that Skull Trooper sports. It fits his design, which is a very simple design, to begin with. It just clips into his back with a peg hole. The backpacks can be worn by any figure though just like in the game so it’ll be interesting to mix and match them.
And then there’s the Death Valley Pickaxe which is by far the best thing to come with him. It’s a bull skull strapped and nailed to a pickaxe but it looks so good! The brown straps add some colour to not only the pickaxe but to Skull Trooper when he holds it. The Bull Skull is nicely sculpted and I like the wash they applied to its hollowed out eyes, it looks like its staring into your soul. It looks like something a psychotic serial killer would wield (and who are we to say Fortnite characters aren’t just that?)
As with both the gun and the pickaxe, there’s a problem of Skull Trooper’s black paint rubbing off from his hands onto the lighter coloured accessories. It’s not that much of a big deal as it can be wiped off and it does give the gun and pickaxe a dirtier and more weathered look but I can see how some people would be annoyed at this. It’s just something one has to take into consideration when making him hold his weapons.
There is a ton of movement Skull Trooper can get into. His head can spin in a full 360-degree turn. It can look up quite well but the bandanna around his neck seems to block him from looking down, and no the bandanna is not removable. His arms can stretch out and can rotate with a swivel at the bicep. The shoulders can also move up and down with some fiddling. Double jointed elbows make for some really good pose ability as well as hands that can hinge up and down and swivel. He has a ball joint in the bit torso and a ball joint at the bottom by his waist so he can crunch, arch back and tilt. His hips are something I’ve never seen before. The joints are so well hidden one would think they’re not there but they are you just have to work them. There’s a swivel that allows them to point out and they can bend out although that can cause the white on his upper leg to rub off on the edge of his waist, again, some paint rubbing. He can kick forward decently and at least there’s some back motion. He has double knee joints which are just amazing as well as a hinge at the ankle which goes forward, back and sides to side and a toe joint.
I’d say for fans of Fortnite this is a must buy. It looks good, it has good articulation and it has game accurate weapons. For people who don’t play the game but like collecting good figures, I’d recommend it too as Skull Trooper can easily be henchman fodder for your other figures. The only real gripe is the paint rubbing which is a minor thing. He can get into some really nice poses and he can look good on a shelf. Or he can be some good luck charm to sit next to you while you play Fortnite.
The vast majority of us, at some stage during our gaming journey as kids, or adults, would have picked up a PS1 controller and played one of 2 racing titles. Both spectacular in their own rights and they would have shaped the way you look at racing titles and which you would love and keep playing into the future. The one would be Gran Turismo and the other was the legendary Colin McCrae Rally! No one who ever took a spin in Colin McCrae Rally will forget just how wonderful, for the time, the game felt, racing down the muddy tracks, in cockpit view, rain and mud belting down on your windscreen as virtual driver-you, flicks through gears with windscreen wipers swishing from side to side trying to keep your view clean for long enough to not smash into a tree. This was the epitome of rally simulation and for many people, it sprouted a deep love for rally as well as an eternal love for the 22B Subaru Impreza driven by the late, great Colin McCrae.
Jump forward 21 years and Codemasters have returned with a racing title that is here to make a statement. Saying Dirt 2.0 is a return to form for Codemasters is underselling it a bit. Dirt Rally was arguably the pinnacle of the racing studios' achievements and with Dirt 2.0 they have done the right thing. Taken an already great system and simply tweak and improve it in every single way possible. Dirt 2.0 is not just a second iteration of a loved classic, it takes the bar and raises it plenty-fold on what racing/rally simulators should strive to be.
Dirt 2.0 is the king of the rally simulators, and it won't be dethroned anytime soon...
When in doubt, flat out!
These words were the maxim of the great Colin McCrae, for players new to the rally simulator scene, they would be ill-advised. Dirt 2.0 does not hold your hand or provide many training wheels. It is aimed at the hardened enthusiast that thrives when things are difficult and tough. Dirt Rally (1.0) was renowned to have some of the most ruthless AI you could find in any racing sim games. Dirt 2.0 features a difficulty slider much like the F1-series of games allowing for pre-set levels of difficulty. Sliding the slider all the way to the easiest setting does allow you to make a fair amount of mistakes and still trump the opponents. Leaving the slider on the default settings will require some practice and concentration to climb the timesheet. Sliding even further into the difficulty will require you to be fast, faultless and seamless. Based on difficulty level, anything other than easy will make it tough to not call Dirt 2.0 the Dark Souls of rally games.
The devil in the detail
Simulator games strive to be as authentic as possible, as close to real life as you can get without strapping into a ridiculously overpowered car and thrashing it down narrow, winding roads, at speeds that are incomprehensible to normal humans. Dirt 2.0 provides this in bucket loads! From the locations and tracks that are no longer procedurally generated but rather, meticulously crafted. This does make for fewer route options but it also allows for all the little idiosyncrasies that can be found in real rally routes, giving them more character and realness. Dirt 2.0 has taken it a step further on this outing with its new surface degradation system which sees racing surfaces becoming more rutted or churned up the lower down the starting order you are. Starting in 1st place compared to 29th changes your day on track severely! Deep ruts will have you fighting to keep control of the steering (using a gaming wheel would enhance this struggle significantly). A controller does dampen this sensation a bit but there are enough vibrations and audio queues to help relay the feeling.
Surface degradation is not the only factor in bringing tracks to life. weather and time of day in Dirt 2.0 does not only provide aesthetic changes it affects racing surfaces as well as the way your vehicle puts down its minimal amount of grip.
Finally, we get to the cars, and if by this stage you are not yet convinced about Dirt 2.0 taking control of the many available cars you will soon find out why. Most racing games struggle to accurately portray the way different cars feel and perform, be it mid-mounted rear-wheel drive, or front mounted, all-wheel drive to the less desirable front mounted front wheel drive. Each of these is perfectly imitated. Time has been taken to give each car its unique look, sound and feel, the brutish Group B cars that thunder along with a constant threat of violence, the Sierra RS500 that, if you dare to flatten your right foot ( or right trigger) will push you into another dimension. Or jumping behind the Lancia Fulvia and putting it through its paces on a rain-soaked road. Hearing the 115 bhp singing through to the front wheels as they spin beyond the point of grip. Even on the controller, it is possible to feel the weight of the car flop backward when going up a hill and the steering start to jitter as that weight heaves forward when coming down a hill. In short, the handling in Dirt 2.0 is sublime!
Given the amount of detail put into the driving experience, it is understandable that a bond will form between driver and car, and when mechanical damage, caused by a moment of carelessness can be excruciating! This being said will probably hint you towards taking a more cautious approach to racing. But there is something to be said for dragging home damaged card fenders and bumpers scraping along the road as you cross the finish line.
Career mode, or My Team, has you building a team and a garage. What is rather weird about it is the fact that it requires you to be online while playing it. Possibly because of the daily and weekly challenges against other Dirt players. Cash is a bit of a problem early on in the progression but for the players who don't like to micromanage, you can jump straight into some standalone championships. World RX series is also one of the championship options, tracks like Catalunya, Silverstone and Mettet make their debuts in this mode.
Playing Dirt 2.0 has come leaps and bounds and Codemasters have revitalized themselves with their latest iterations of racing titles, including F1 2018. There is only a single thing I can fault this game on, and its not even so much the game as it is the hardware it was reviewed on. Comparing Dirt 2.0 on the original Xbox One compared to the Xbox X sees a drop in graphical integrity, as expected. Don't get me wrong Dirt 2.0 looks sublime, but it looks even better on the X. Secondly, again not a problem as much as a preference, driving on a controller does not come close to the thrill of sliding behind a serious racing setup! Playing this with a wheel and peddle setup will see Dirt 2.0 wipe the metaphorical floor with all of its competitors. Dirt 2.0 indulges those who have a passion for motorsport, every fiber of its being has been crafted with love and attention to detail. Driving through muddy pits with my wipers struggling to keep my windscreen clean, I can't help but see flashes of a much younger me, falling in love with what is now arguably one of the best driving experiences out there!
If Dirt 2.0 does not tug at your nostalgic heartstrings, it will make you love it after the first outing!
Anthem was shown to the world at E3 in 2017. We were shown a graphically beautiful game showcasing an astonishing open world with amazingly lush environments and a densely populated wilderness which can be explored on foot or flying. Taking control of, what can be most easily described as your very own Ironman suite, your Javelin. Gameplay looked amazing, combat seemed to be something to rival the likes of Destiny. Taking your Javelin into combat in any manner you choose, be it on the ground with the Colossus, which is the 'tank' class, the Ranger, 'all-rounder', Storm, controls magic, or the Interceptor, all about moving fast and getting in and out quickly. Combining these classes with 3 of your best friends seemed great! Having Bioware at the helm of this monumental RPG-title could only produce something stellar. With Bioware heading colossal titles such as Dragon Age, Mass Effect and even the legendary Star Wars: The Old Republic, Anthem has absolutely EVERYTHING in its favor.
When the Beta arrived players were met with gross server issues, many players clocked less than 1 hour of play during the Beta weekend due to these issues. Still, there was good feedback from the ones who did manage to clock time during the Beta. Roll forward to launch day, which was met by a group of fans on two polar opposite opinions. Many were still extremely excited for what was toted to be the "destiny-killer", which is a rather big statement, but from what was shown during gameplay it could easily reach or surpass that statement. The other half was getting ready to be met by a broken, unpolished, mess of a game. What was found when the finished product loaded up on my console was neither the former nor the latter...
The Story begins... in the middle?
Anthem is set on an alien planet where mankind has scraped out some sort of existence due to the brave and heroic actions of a small group of exosuit warriors known as the freelancers. A strange alien race known only as the shapers took control of the "anthem of creation", a strange energy that permeates everything. These aliens suddenly decide to disappear and leave all their Anthem-infused tools to cause major destruction and disruption all throughout the planet. Leaving only the freelancers to try and clean up and resolve as much of the Anthem-caused chaos as possible... Reading that Anthem sounds like it's setting up to deliver a narrative experience worthy of an Oscar nomination at least! Instead what you get is a story that feels unfinished and disjointed.
Fort Tarsis is what you would call home in Anthem, a large, visually stunning, bastion of mankind on the planet. Filled with many charismatic characters to speak to. Problem is, none of these characters ever accompany you out on missions and they also never leave their set positions... making them feel more like enthusiastic quest-givers from MMO titles than actual characters in a RPG. Never spending actual time with them or enduring hardships causes there to be absolutely zero connection with them, and this makes the regular insights into their lives annoying and empty. Which is the complete opposite of the enemies of Anthem which has such minimal screen time that I still have no clue as to what their mission or motivations for their mission really are?
Unlike games such as Red Dead Redemption 2, interacting with secondary characters offer absolutely nothing in terms of character progression or story progression. The interactions feel nothing more than an awkward exchange of dialogue to fill time and space. With Bioware at the helm, you would expect Mass Effect-like characters that actually have effects on your story and even make re-occurring appearances throughout the game. Shame on you Bioware!
Completing a mission will have you brought back to Fort Tarsis to painstakingly have to trek across the whole of the fort, walking down the same streets and alleys over and over to collect a mission and come back to the launch pad to start it. Fort Tarsis, as beautiful as it feels like a waste of time at the moment. It is supposed to create freedom of choice and exploration but at the moment it is simply a painful way to reach the start of the next mission.
Time to suit-up!
Hopping into your Javelin and zooming off into the jungles of Bastion does make things better. Firstly the jungles are ridiculously dense and pretty. Secondly, yet have I to experience the joy of flying through the jungle with your squad mates on either side on the way to your next mission. The flying makes you feel like a true hero and doing it with friends makes it ten times better! But once the missions start, things become repetitive. The first couple of missions feel fresh and fighting is good but after your fourth mission, things have become boring and repetitive.
Whether just playing a random mission, or free roaming or taking on a stronghold mission ( these are like a 20 minute Strike like in Destiny 2), Anthem still only has a handful of objectives which the game just reuses time and again. No matter my mission, be it finding a lost scientist or destroying a shaper relic I will ALWAYS need to defend a specified area for 30 seconds and then use my radar to find "valuable" intel on my objective, which I could not be bothered to even remember. During these missions, you will quickly discover that a map that was toted to be large and features many hours of exploration is actually rather small and has you fighting in the same areas and caves on multiple occasions during the campaign.
What saves Anthem a little is the fact that combat can be rather enjoyable. Each javelin brings a unique combat perspective and having a squad with each type of javelin in it can become extremely powerful and make you feel like a real hero. The essence of the combat system in Anthem functions around teamwork. The squad will need to first inflict status effect from one ability, called a primer, before using a second ability, detonator, that will trigger a combo and cause massive damage. Problem with the combo system is that it never gets explained apart from a short brush-over in the tutorials. Lack of clarity extends to the entire loot system. Loot has aimless stats that is never explained and finding a weapon you actually like but happens to be weak, simply has you searching for a higher grade of the same weapon. Even your javelins have stats which are all pretty mundane and cumbersome.
Working against its own Strengths
Anthem has so many loose threads that I constantly find myself asking why... Why is the mission screen so detailed? Why does it tally experience points after level 30 when these points serve no purpose anymore? Why would I need hundreds of crafting materials if I can only craft weak gear that I will never use? and so the list goes on...
EA and Bioware have already detailed the way forward for Anthem and just like Destiny 2 and The Division, it is sure to change a great deal in future updates and possibly become a very playable and enjoyable game. Bioware has been extremely quick to respond to comments and criticism and on how they plan on correcting problems.
Fundamentally Anthem has a lot going for it. Spectacular scenery, amazing flying mechanics, decent combat, but the pacing of the campaign is way off, moving at snail's pace at the most boring of parts and racing through pieces that should have been fleshed out to give the story some more meat. Would I recommend it right now? Probably not, should it be looked at after a few updates and expansions? Most definitely!!! Anthem needs to focus on keeping aspects that are supposed to be fun, fun, and not let them become a choir. But there are many aspects that can be lauded, customizing your Javelin and stepping out into the sunlight with your fresh new paint and weaponry is really satisfying and defeating a stronghold on grandmaster difficulty cannot be explained in words. Let's hope that Bioware can shape this the way Ubisoft took a very broken Division and created a great game, with time.
When Metro 2033 arrived on our screens in 2010, it was surrounded by fast-paced shooters such as Call of Duty, Counterstrike, Crysis and similar titles. The combination of slow-paced, gameplay which has you trapped in post-apocalyptic Soviet metro rail tunnels fighting against mutated creatures seemed quite far off the ever-popular zombie genre which was gathering quite the following at the time. But DeepSilver proved us wrong by creating one of the most suspense-filled titles that would have you jumping at every knock of a tin can and every noise in the dark as you scrounge for what little ammo there is on offer as you start moving less towards the lit areas but more towards the safety of the darkness. Metro 2033 not only weaved an intriguing story of Artyom and what he has to do to survive but also paints the picture of the bleak existence of the human species when they are no longer at the top of the food-chain. The atmospheric and claustrophobic narrative and gameplay instantly grabbed and sucked players in and Metro 2033 was a popular game amongst most players. Soon after a second title, Metro: Last light took players back into the tunnels with a little more top-ground exploration and more tweaks and improvements.
And 2019 sees Metro Exodus grace us with its presence. It has been teased at previous E3's and stunned us with its grisly beauty. But many wondered if Metro Exodus would be able to stand in the shoes of its predecessors when it ventures away from the confined and atmospheric tunnels and venture into a more open-world environment and what can be confirmed is that it has become apparent that it most certainly can!
Exodus picks up 2 years after Last Light. Exodus is a largely self-contained story that follows the main protagonist Artyom, his wife Ana, and a few spartan rangers left from the last great war. They set out from a war-ravaged Moscow in search of habitable areas with the hope of finding other survivors in the seemingly dead, apart from monsters, world, aboard a train. This ability to travel allows for a dazzling variety of settings that you can experience through different seasons, seeing as Exodus plays out over the time of around a year. Ranging from snow-blanketed Moscow to sand-swept deserts and lush forests. All of these settings are well-realized and have adequate amounts of mutants and humans both friendly and hostile.
Although Exodus has broken out of the chains of the past letting you explore the more vast open expanses, some story missions will have you exploring the traditional dank underground corridors. With the newer technology, the lighting effects are extraordinary and the audio makes these areas feel even more ominous and claustrophobic.
During the first couple of hours of Metro Exodus you will be met with a Metro game that is unlike the ones that came before. No longer will you be trapped in the tunnels but you will be met with the open and outside world, which, in its own right, is spectacular. But you will also meet many characters, unlike the previous games where you were alone for large periods of the game. At times some of the acting feels slightly forced and rushed but nothing to take too much notice of. It is also worthy to note that this is the first AAA-metro title so this will be a learning curve for them. But the narrative still remains splendid and with a clever opening sequence that brings new players up to speed with what has been happening in the metro as well as refreshes the memories of old returning players.
Crafting & Currency
No longer does the world of metro run on an ammunition-based currency, instead of having merchants and stores you now have a crafting backpack and workbenches scattered around the world. These benches can be used to craft everything from ammunition to upgrades for your guns and armor and bracer, as long as you have the relevant parts required. If you want to upgrade your weapons, you can dismantle weapons found in the wild and use those components and place them on your current weapon. Even though you can craft your own bullets the game still revolves around choosing whether to take the shot and conserving ammo rather than go in all guns blazing.
The backpack brings an invaluable addition to the game, having you customize and change attachments to your weapon on the fly and not having to return to base before being able to equip them makes it possible to venture in the great unknown for longer periods before being forced back to base. A steady aim has become even more essential in Metro Exodus compared to previous titles as the enemies seem to have become more intelligent. pushing and flanking you if you give them the opportunity as well as noticing if you were to extinguish a light to create the cover of dark areas.
The combat of Metro Exodus is painfully good. You will find yourself carefully moving your way around gathering ammo to ensure your future survival when out of nowhere mutants will attack causing you to spray your hard-earned lead savings and having to start all over. Without giving away too much, the enemy types in Exodus are really vast and combat will never feel repetitive.
Metro Exodus has some incredibly detailed environments, but so do many other titles, but what helps Metro is the minimal menus and on-screen indicators. This does wonders to help you feel engaged and the way the on-screen displays are crafted, looking down at them doesn't feel like you are looking at a menu, it feels like its just a subtle display, that, in real life, would have been there anyway. These fine nuances are what makes the realism great. There is no large glowing indicator on the horizon silently shouting for you to head in a certain direction. Don't get me wrong Metro doesn't leave you with absolutely nothing to navigate with, Artyom has a compass strapped to his arm, so a subtle swing of the needle on his arm can point you back in the general direction. Likewise, there is no map in the corner of the screen. Instead of spotting a glitter of candlelight in a window of a cabin in the distance will show you a possible area of interest. This way of letting the player discover in their own way does make for pure indulgence.
Apart from the constantly varying quality of the voice-acting, the subtle details and ramifications of your actions in Metro Exodus is something truly great. Doing little things such as finding a teddy for a little girl on the Aurora seems like a silly quest, but coming back later to see her playing with it makes your efforts worthwhile. Not all actions have such minor effects on the world. Disobey an order to not shed any blood during, and your actions might come back to brutally haunt you when you least expect it. Many of the actions and decisions will be unbeknownst to you until much later in the game, that is what makes the story so interwoven, at no point will you be able to make out which action is a good or a bad action, these actions will simply snowball till you reach the end where they will have an effect on which ending you will experience.
Metro Exodus has not changed its recipe, it has not succumbed to the run-and-gun meta that has become the norm of late, no, Metro Exodus encourages you to take your time and not only take-in and appreciate the most detail-rich and atmospheric environment of any story-driven shooter on the current generation platform. One of the only problems I do find with Metro Exodus is that apart from the diary entries Artyom reads aloud at the beginning of each chapter, he is a completely silent protagonist.
But all in all Metro Exodus takes you on an exhilarating and sometimes, horrifying, atmospheric journey through a Russian dystopia jammed full of detail and characters both good and bad around every corner. Should you try it? Most definitely! You will need to search far to beat the effective use of the survival horror mixed with many hair-raising moments.
What cannot be argued is that Metro Exodus is one of the most visually breath-taking games around at this moment and playing it will be not only a visual treat but hair-raising bliss at the same time.
Our favorite Russian-Rambo has also wandered and experienced the horrors that can be found in Metro Exodus, here is a video review of his views of the latest installment of the Metro-franchise.Watch on Youtube
Coming from a console gaming background, I could never understand what the fuss was about when it came to gaming keyboards and mice(?) over ordinary ones. With the recent venture into PC gaming as well as the happy coincidence of the Razer Blackwidow elite arriving at my desk for review, I was eager to put the Blackwidow through some gaming-related tests.
I am happy to proclaim that I will NEVER be able to go back to a normal type of keyboard EVER again!
Razer has been known to be arguably the best gaming peripheral maker around, setting benchmarks with each top-tier creation that they make, forcing their opponents to try and keep up. The Razer Blackwidow Elite is no different. Although similar in design to the Huntsman-range, it removes some of the annoyances associated with the huntsman range. You will find more discrete media controls found at the top-right of the keyboard with a ridged knob that can control either volume of lighting. An elegant wrist rest that sticks to the bottom of the keyboard via magnets. USB 3.0 and 3.5mm passthrough ports situated on the left shoulder of the keyboard. No more macro keys that usually bump up the size of the keyboard and no more deeply recessed keycaps that could possibly hamper the ability to see the spectacular backlighting that the Blackwidow Elite has to offer. It is not easy to fault the Blackwidow at all apart from slightly below average cable management and, at-times, wonky software. But generally, this is arguably as close to the perfect keyboard you could possibly come.
Razer, as one of the leading creators of peripheral equipment, has created their own type of key switches. You will have an option between three different styles of keys: loud, tactile Greens, quiet, tactile Oranges, and quiet linear Yellows. In theory, these new options make for a more comfortable and responsive key but in all honesty ( with no prior Razer key reference) they feel extremely solid and very durable and the clicky noises are nice and not too overbearing.
As you would expect from premium keyboards there are nice features. Most noticeably are the media controls in the top right corner. Some of these features are built right into the design of the blackwidow. USB pass-through has become somewhat of a standard feature in this class of keyboard but the 3.5mm audio pass through is a really nice touch, and the audio quality is pristine. No matter how much I go into about how glorious the Chroma lighting on the Blackwidow is, can describe what it is to see it for real. Using the software that you will need to download when you first plug the keyboard in, you will have the ability to not only link other chroma devices together but also set the lighting to pretty much anything your heart and mind can desire. Razer has taken its colour profiles one step further with custom profiles for certain games! When playing with different characters in Overwatch, your blackwidow will automatically change to character specific colour patterns. Chroma is synonymous with the Razer brand and with the latest version of it the possibilities are literally endless with what you can achieve, the only downfall is with such power comes great complexity. Setting up Chroma across multiple Razer products can be extremely time consuming as well as immensely challenging, yes the results can be astounding so don't simply give up.
The rest of the Razer Synapse software package is rather straight forward. Allowing you to reprogram certain keys, create custom macros, link games with profiles which are easily toggled between, as well as toggle between various game modes which disable certain buttons, such as the windows key.
The Razer BlackWidow Elite was subjected to a variety of work ranging from everyday office typing and browsing to CS:GO, Apex Legends and R6 Siege. It was fantastic throughout the many gunfights as well as a barrage of keystrokes it had to endure during the writing of reviews. During CS:GO and Siege I did, however, find that some macros would have been nice, but it only took a few minutes to program my function keys into macros.
The Razer BlackWidow Elite has not only impressed me, but it has made itself invaluable to me... I cannot go back to anything else. The couple of weeks I used it as my everyday keyboard for everyday productivity as well as gaming and it is simply spectacular. Not only does it do the core features, typing, amazingly well. It blends functionality with great and worthwhile functions and packages it in a stylish well-made unit. I am 100% sure that Razer will keep improving on what is already close to flawless, and in that way keep shaping and defining their market! If you are a PC gamer, and in the market for a new keyboard, then the Razer BlackWidow Elite is for you, if you are a Razer fan the steep price tag shouldn't bother you too much and running all your Razer Chroma items together is a sight to behold.
Whether you like it or not mobile games have been on the rise for years. With our smartphones getting more and more advanced with each new version so too are the games that we find on our app stores.
One such game is Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem. A turn-based strategic RPG that includes the familiar characters from the timelessly classic Looney Tunes franchise and right off the bat, it brings a certain nostalgia seeing these characters whack each other over the head with hammers. That slapstick humour is probably one of the reasons why so many enjoyed watching Looney Tunes as a child and this game honours that in every way, from the graphics and art style to the sound and even the materials needed to tune up characters, it’s Looney Tunes through and through.
The gameplay is standard turn-based RPG stuff that we have seen on the app store before. Players level up their toons and build the ideal squad then face off against the AI or teams put together by other players (more on that later) by taking turns utilizing their squads. The formula may be a bit overused for mobile games but it is a formula that is fun and has the depth that causes one to carefully plan their next move. This genre of game is similar to chess. One needs to know how their characters fit in the squad and their strengths and weaknesses. Support characters that buff and heal, Tank characters that taunt and put out heavy damage. Attackers that aren’t so good with taking damage but dish a lot of it out with Area of Effect abilities. The game feels balanced and it’s fun to see a new foe and study their abilities as you try to figure out how to deal with them quickly and effectively.
There is a campaign that that involves Marvin the Martian who has captured all the Toons and has made clones which is a clever excuse for so many different variants of the same character. (Bugs Bunny does different things to his clone, Barber Bugs and so on). To collect a character one has to acquire a certain amount of pieces that they get from a currency called “Reatomizers”. The more you get, the higher star rating the character. The depth of the game comes in the levelling up system. By gaining pieces players can evolve the character’s star level. Which levels up their base stats, then there are the XP potions that level them up according to the player’s own level and finally the tune-up levels which add passive skills as well as a boost in ability stats. These require materials like anvils and dynamite which can be gained by completing missions or telling Toons to complete time-based tasks in the game's cute town building mode.
Luckily, completed campaign missions that have been cleared on a three-star rating can be “auto-won” which skips the fight and gives the rewards at the cost of the energy needed to enter the duel. Each region has specific Toons that are required to complete the missions within that region. So Desert characters are needed for the desert region although there are two separate regions, namely the WB Studios and "Avalooney" regions that don’t have their own campaigns but rather lend their characters to other regions which is a nice balancing technique if a player wants to do a desert mission but lacks any desert characters but has a few good WB Studio characters.
The PVE is fun and with a quick pan of the map, one can see possible future regions in the works, like a Blueprint of a town layout in the corner of the map. It’s no surprise as characters like Taz and Tweety are featured in the loading screen but are not in the game at the time this review was written yet a quick glance at the game’s social media pages shows them in the games art style which is a clear indication they are quickly on their way and judging from the community’s response to the beloved characters, the anticipation sits heavy in the air like an anvil over Daffy Duck’s head.
The PVP is where a lot of fun is to be had. Even more so with the Alliance feature. My friends and I have formed an alliance and partake in PVP events whenever they appear which is at least twice a week. These events are cleverly planned out. For every PVP fight a player does, they get a rating. To earn three stars which is the best rating one can get they need to take out each enemy on the screen. These stars contribute to the clan’s chest which levels up every X amount of stars and with each level up the chest becomes more lucrative. Best of all, once the event is over the chest opens instantly which is a good thing because the PVP isn’t only about taking stars and increasing your league points. It wouldn’t be Looney Toons without some mischief. Each region has a bank, these banks are used to open crates with good ol’ loot inside. But it takes time to open these crates. Players are then required to lay down a squad to defend that crate while the clock ticks because, you guessed it, the PVP is raid based. Your squad defends while a player tries to attack and steal. It’s all about numbers, the stronger the squad, the better the defence. The AI is quite formable so the system works well.
The game's animation and characters work well. Who knew Looney Tunes would translate into a turn-based game so well? Characters behave just as you’d expect. Granny, the nurturing old lady is a healer. Houston the Bulldog is a Tank. It makes sense in this Looney world. Some of the animations are similar. Bugs Bunny’s basic attack is pulling a lever and dropping an anvil on a character while Wile E. Coyote pulls on a lever and drops a safe on a character but I suppose in a game such as this, too many different animations may be a bit too much. A nifty little feature comes in the form of a fast forward button which speeds up the animations which are perfect for sneaking in a quick few rounds while on lunch break.
There is a ton of things to do in this game besides the campaign, from daily objectives to daily challenges as well as timed events and the PVP and that’s not mentioning the town mode where players have to build dwellings and send their Toons on timed tasks to farm resources. This game keeps one busy.
As for microtransactions, the game feels balanced enough to make those feel like a choice and never forced on a player in order to progress which is a thing a lot of freemium and even some Triple-A games have forgotten these days. I have not spent a cent in the game and not once have I felt like I had to in order to enjoy it. The grind is there but it isn’t a ridiculous grind.
The part of the game that does feel lacking is the Town aspect. It’d be nice to see more content there in the form of decorations and more customisable options for our little towns. Seeing the Toons march around in the streets just makes me want to make their world a nicer place to live in. Also, rotating buildings would be a nice touch.
Overall, Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem is as fun as it is chaotic and I'm still surprised how this game has hooked me as it has. With the copious amount of things to do and earn and making enemies by stealing chests, this game has a lot to offer and it’s even more fun in a clan with friends. Playing this game will make you feel a tad Looney and to be honest, there’s nothing wrong with that. It's nice to see these classic characters doing what they do best on a modern platform. Though I really wish there were more to do with the towns.
Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem gets 9/10 carrots from me. That’s what’s up, Doc.
Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem is free on the Play and App Store
Games in recent times have become all about either having a "massive Open-World" in which to explore! Or "endless features", the dreaded "battle Royale" or even "no singleplayer" built into their every grain. And with good reason. That IS what is popular at this point in the gaming world. Darksiders 3 takes all the above and throws them out the window. No Open-World, no Battle Royale, No multiplayer! What you get is a third-person hack-slash game that has almost no regard for the "norm" of hand-holding or tutorials. Darksiders 3 feels nothing to stop your progress right in its tracks throwing a seemingly impossible puzzle or boss fight. But with some exploration and trail and error, you can move on with the roughly 20 hour story! In the past decade we have not seen many games not following the recipe of booming open-world exploration and playing Darksiders 3 makes you realize that that is perfectly fine!
For those who have not played any of the previous games, Darksiders puts you in the shoes of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. War, Death, Famine and this time around you step out as Fury! She is tasked to go and find the Seven deadly sins, which has been released on humankind due to a rather intricate backstory running through Darksiders 1 and 2. All you need to know is that THE seven deadly sins have been released and Fury needs to stop them all. Each of these sins are naturally a major boss fight. The acting can, at times, be rather predictable and somewhat cheesy but this doesn't take away from the great, yet simple, fighting system that the Darksiders-franchise employs!
Graphically Darksiders 3 can not stand up to the likes of Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War and many of the other major titles of the last year, but Darksiders 3 doesn't seem to care. Darksiders 3 takes its stylized cartoonish characters and makes it its own. The environment does look rather bland and limited but once again Darksiders 3 makes no excuses and just accepts the way it is and keeps moving forward.
Hacking and slashing is where Darksiders 3 REALLY excels! This might be a hack-slash game on the surface but you would do well to not simply meander into a large group of enemies and simply expect to mash buttons and walk out of the fight unscathed, oh no. For you to survive, even on the easiest difficulty it will require you to observe and place some well-timed counter attacks as repayment for your enemies unkindness. If you don't you will be swiftly punished. As the game goes on you will eventually build up quite the tell-signs of each type of enemy you have faced.
As you continue through the game Fury will receive many arsenal upgrades which not only gives you new ways to destroy the hordes of enemies thrown at you, but with the expanding arsenal comes new movement powers which will grant you access to areas around the map which you would previously not be able to reach. This is a clever way of re-using the same map later on during the game. Being one of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse you would think that after some leveling up, naturally, Fury would become immensely strong which allow her to make short work of all the fodder-enemies that gets thrown at her. But no, thanks to enemy scaling, Fury can be thwarted quite easily by normal scrub enemy. After the first few boss-fights the tables suddenly turn, instead of simply evading and hacking away at the lifebar of the enemy boss, it will feel like you have hit a wall. None of your coaxing will get the boss to reveal its weakness or "tell". But with persistence relief will finally come, I assure you. In this form Darksiders 3 goes back to old school gaming, where developers were not scared to throw immense difficulty at you, making you work for every inch you get in their game.
Darksiders 3 is not a open-world game, instead it is more old-school. Leading you from one room to the next all while working towards your main objective. The next of the seven deadly sins! During your adventure you will mainly be occupied by killing enemies but there is also environmental puzzles which will keep you occupied for awhile on more than one occasion.
Overall Darksiders 3 doesn't try to be like anything else. It knows what it is and what it tries to achieve. And for that I commend it. Yes the environment can be a little bland, yes the graphics doesn't match what has become a standard in the current industry but that is okay because Darksiders 3 is not meant for "everyday" gamers. Darksiders 3 comes to life when it challenges you, and it really does challenge you. Yes this can make Darksiders 3 seem rather old fashioned, but with the way Darksiders 3 ends, maybe the next Darksiders can spice things up and bring the franchise to the modern gaming time.
Toy Photography has a huge community on Instagram and the work of famous Toy Photographer Mark Hogancamp has been featured in art galleries and his inspirational story is even being adapted into a movie coming later this month starring Steve Carell.
Anyone that knows me knows that I love action figures and I like snapping photos of them even more. So I decided to do a little interview with the guy whose photography inspired me to take my toys off the shelf and tell the stories that I wanted to tell through photography.
This is Eric Ruiz.
Q: Can you please introduce yourself and tell our readers a bit about you?
A: My name is Eric Ruiz, I'm 34 years old, I was born and raised in Los Angeles CA, I'm currently living in Xalapa Mexico. I'm a US Marine Veteran. I like Martial arts and I teach Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in my dojo down here in Mexico. I'm a fan of Marvel, DC, DragonBall, Wrestling and of course video games Ps4.
Q: How did you get into toy photography and for how long have you been doing it?
A: I was really looking for another way to keep my mind busy, after been in the Marines, sometimes it's hard to keep your inside beast under control, so I discovered that there was a marine taking pictures of his Stormtroopers and making some war scenes with them, I started following him on Instagram (@galacticwarfighters) and I got in love with his work and I said I have to start playing again, I purchased my 1st camera (Sony DSC-300) and since I have always been a fan of action figures I started taking pictures of them, at first it was just for fun but then I started getting more and more into it, so I enrolled my self into a photography degree online, I finished a few months ago and I was very pleased with the results.
Q: How did you discover the toy photography community and what are your thoughts on it?
A: I discovered the community when I started using the tag #toyphotography. A lot of Toy Photographers came and likee and commented [on] my photos, so I started following them and I think it's one of the greatest communities out there.
Q: Do you consider toy photography as an art form?
A: No doubt, I think the work that you put behind the scenes on a photo, the pose, the practical effects, the set up to get to the final product it's an art no doubt.
Q: Tell us about the process of how you take a picture. From finding a spot to idea conception to the setup and finally taking the picture.
A: First I get the idea of what I want to do, what's going to be the figure or figures I'm going to use, then I decide if it's going to be indoors or outdoors if I'm going to use practical effects or digital effects etc. If it's going to be an outdoor shot, I make sure the spot it's suitable for the location, I like taking most of my photos outside due to the natural lighting but I also take a bunch of shots inside, if it's going to be inside I make sure the area it's clear of house items, you don't want to make a scene of Kratos fighting Thanos and there is a bottle of soda in the background, I make sure that the scenario fits or simulates the dopeness that is needed for a fight like that.
Q: What is your camera setup? Do you have multiple cameras?
A: The set up depends on the environment, I always tried to keep the ISO to the lowest to avoid the graininess in the pictures, I have 2 cameras both are Sony. I have a Sony A9 and the camera I started with [a] Sony DSC-300.
Q: Are all your photos planned beforehand or do you have spur of the moment pictures?
A: I will say is a little bit of both, sometimes I try to recreate scenes from movies and sometimes they just flash into my head and sometimes from those pictures comes the next idea and so on and so forth.
Q: Tell us more about the practical effects that you add in some of your pictures.
A: They are my favourite, the practical effects that I have been using are fireworks, and my best friend the compressed air, it also depends on the photo that I will be taking but the compressed air works for mostly every photo. I use it to create a bit of atmosphere. I also use flour to recreate snow, water and dirt also work really good for practical effects.
Q: What is your favourite figure in your collection?
A: I would have to say Kratos from Neca
Q: What is your advise to collectors who may want to dabble in toy photography?
A: The main thing is to have fun doing it. Doesn't matter what your goal in Toy Photography is. Try to learn as much as possible about photography, maybe you can't get into a photography school but, there are a bunch of tutorials that you can use on YouTube, don't get discouraged if other Toy Photographers have a better camera of better figures, each of us have different styles and different goals and lots people have the money to invest in gear, figures etc. But that's is not the most important of all, you can have the best camera ever, but still, your photo can suck, so it's better to study and learn about photography and then if there is a chance, you get a good camera. But no matter what just have fun!
You can follow Eric on Instagram @erbigtoys as well as finding him on Facebook via the link below. Because where else will you see Thanos pushing Deadpool in a trolly?
Never in the field of human conflict, has so much, been owed by so many, to so few!
World War 2 saw what is arguable some of the fieriest and horrific actions known to mankind. Gaming thrives on moments like these. We see many games pushing the envelope when it comes to wow-ing the audience. Many FPS titles desensitize the player from what is happening making it out as if one man with a gun and bravery can single-handedly change the course of history and that life is nothing more than waiting a few seconds to respawn or going back to a checkpoint and trying again. Battlefield 5 wants you to experience what it feels like to be one of the many soldiers during this time. Battlefield 5 makes you experience the futility of being just a number. Battlefield 5 shows you the atrocities of war!
Many developers have decided to drop campaigns, such as Call of Duty Black Ops 4 did to rather focus on what is popular at the moment, which is battle royale. The few games that do decide to include a single player aspect, can often become more of a tutorial to the more popular multiplayer section. Battlefield 5 however decided to keep the campaign, and looking at the massive production value that was put into BF1's war stories it was only right to assume more of the same when it came to BF5. The war stories of Battlefield 5 are very much like those of BF1. They feature unknown stories and tell the untold stories of brave men and women who fought in the great war.
The 4 chapters which all are roughly around 2 hours long, will take you on a whirlwind adventure through some of the most beautiful scenery ever seen in the Battlefield franchise. Battlefield has always been known for its large-scale warfare and being a run-and-gun shooter with weapons and ammo everywhere. This is why it is strange that 2 out of the 4 chapters of the war stories are predominantly focused around a just-okay stealth system. Also another strange aspect is that most of these missions are fought on foot instead of using all the vehicular warfare that BF has become known for. Apart from the intriguing stories that these chapters have to offer and the stunning surroundings and environments you will be fighting through, the BFV war stories, unfortunately leaves a lot on the table in terms of possibilities.
The first chapter, Under no Flag, sees a former bank robber being recruited to join a "special" group of soldiers by a veteran soldier. Their mission, sabotage. Their missions take you to Northen Africa with rather linear stealth missions to start later turning into a final stand. The storyline is rather cliched but the acting and many humorous dialogues between the two really strengthens their characters during the rather short time you spend playing with them. During the second mission is where the world opens up allowing you to tackle each objective in any order you please.
Nordlys, the second campaign take you to a Nazi occupied Norway where you take control of a young female resistance fighter. The best part of this chapter is the ability to jump on snow skis and silently skiing past unsuspecting Nazi's killing them silently with throwing knifes! As you progress through the frozen masterpiece that is Norway, with spectacular views of the northern lights as well as spine-chillingly spectacular snow storms, DICE employed a new mechanic which requires you to warm yourself to avoid freezing. The longer you stay out in the blizzard the slower your movements and reactions will become. This chapter is great in itself but due to the resistance fighters being Norwegian this meant subtitles. What also adds to the punch of this chapter is it showcases what many non-soldiers were willing to do to save their own countries which DICE does a great job of portraying the feeling of being a single person trying to overthrow the might of a Nazi Germany.
Chapter 3, which probably is the best of the chapters available at launch, called Tirailleur which showcases the costs of human bravery, sacrifice and ambition. Seeing many non-French natives coming to fight for a country they have never seen. Not only does it showcase the mentioned topics it also deftly deals with the topic of race during the liberation of France. Apart from all the racial and political ties during this chapter, this is the first time that you feel you are part of a platoon during a war, rather than a super - call-of-duty-esque- soldier. From the start you are fighting next to your fellow soldiers who get cut down right next to you on either side. For the first time you feel vulnerable, which is what it must have been like, your life can be ended at any moment by a stray bullet, and that is what is achieved in Tirailleur. Seeing autumn leaves blowing over the corpses of your friends really hits home the atrocity of war! This is also the chapter that shows you a glimpse of what Battlefield is known for, large-scale warfare!
The fourth and final chapter is The Last Tiger which has you take control of a non-Nazi German who has been assigned to a tank crew. The Last Tiger being spectacular as expected with lots of tank warfare which is really well done giving you the sense of power of being in a Tiger tank yet the large target placed on you in any battle but even more so it tries to give the view of a non-Nazi who is thrust into a war he does not necessarily agree with. DICE has gone to great lengths to make their rather short campaign have some significance with the stories they tell. Battlefield V does a really great job of that building from the great playability of the BF1 campaign and adding an emotional connection to it. Telling us how terrible war really is and how many unnamed people lost their lives to protect what we have today.
DICE said right from the beginning that the multiplayer experience in BFV would be more team orientated. Gone are the BF1 glory days of simply grabbing your Helreigel and annihilating the enemies to the point of having a score card with players sitting on 40 kills for 0 deaths, no, this has changed dramatically for the better. DICE has taken the default mechanics and moved them a few steps closer to hardcore. Health regeneration has been drastically changed and is now limited as well as the hotly debated TTK ( time to kill) has also been reduced making you take less bullets before you die. And the spotting system being almost entirely removed apart from a few applicable gadgets sees BFV lend from other more tactical shooters such as Rainbow 6 Siege, making for a better all-round experience. Snipers deal less damage which leads to a much snappier feeling of gunplay without buffing and nerfing other classes. The removal of the spotting mechanic encourage you to spend more time being engrossed in the superb environments rather than being stuck staring at your HUD. On a whole, all these changes have created a team-oriented experience, more accurate gunplay which makes hitting that headshot so much more satisfying which, in turn, creates a more satisfying experience.
Why should you focus on squad play? Here is why. Health regeneration does not regen past a certain point, unless you use a medikit, of which ( unless you are a medic) you can only carry one. When spawning you will be issued with significantly less ammo, above that ammo supplies are less abundant, meaning your support-class player has become extremely valuable. These adjustments make you consider your actions more carefully. No more running into situation mindlessly. Any class can now revive a downed team mate but with less effectiveness than a medic can, another incentive to both have a medic on your squad as well as sticking with the said medic. The revive action has seen a much needed nerf by means of making the animation somewhat slower.
The weaponry of BFV feel great. Apart from the new customization features that feels a lot closer to Battlefield 4 customization level, the overall recoil and feel of the weapons are much more predictable and manageable compared to the spray of BF1. Classes, apart from the medic which only wields SMGs, are not limited to one type of weapon. Support class can wield from shotguns, LMGs and MMGs. What makes this even more magical is that each of these weapons feel unique enough to have them feel like they each have a use for different situations. Another big change is the fact that scopes now come unlocked from rank 1. No extra grind is needed to unlock the basic sights. This is a very thoughtful change as there is nothing more frustrating as unlocking a new weapon but having no sights to use on it yet which sees you becoming useless for some time as you are required to run around using no sights until you can unlock them.
2 new features in the weapon system is the weapon progession and aesthetic customizations. Weapon progression allows you to customize your weapon to your play style as you rank up the weapon giving you options to reduce recoil or be more accurate from hip-fire for example. This way you can setup each of your weapons individually over time. The second customization feature is aesthetic skins which are unlocked by performing certain tasks. Not only is this a welcome feature it is also fun to be able to see a fellow soldiers skins and appreciate what needed to be done to acquire said skins rather than randomly get them in loot crates.
The vehicular warfare, as Battlefield is known for, is somewhat dwarfed by the fact that, unlike BF1 where vehicles were less, you will find yourself force-picking assault class just to try and manage the sheer number of tanks or planes. In BF1 tanks and planes were a menace but you knew that there were not that many of them. But that was World War 1 and so we have progressed to a more mechanical age and the increase in vehicles make sense, but I can't help but feel that the relationship between infantry and vehicles is somewhat binary.
Battlefield maps are notorious for being magnificent specimens of gorgeously crafted environments that possesses the ability to make destruction seem magical, and BF5 is no different. The 8 maps that are available from launch will take you through the war-torn streets of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The next map, also in the Netherlands is Devastation which showcases the destruction that was left during the battle between the Dutch and the Germans. Devastation also features dynamic destruction so expect it to change significantly after a few explosions. Twisted Steel will take players to the serene fields of France, with open fields which are great spots for aerial bombardments as well as sniper choke points. Yellow fields is another French map this time taking place around a little village with lots of close quarter battles as well as artillery playing a big role in this map. Hamada takes you to North Africa which saw many large scaled tank battles. DICE has said that Hamada will require good teamwork in using tanks and vehicles to capture the objectives. Airfield is the second North Africa map and sees a destroyed airfield with many burnt out planes play host to all our warfare. The last two maps are situated in the snowy mountains of Norway, dubbed Narvik and Snow Mountain. Narvik takes you to a ( once) beautiful mountainside village that has seen serious war, lots of cover is provided by the war-torn buildings with a rather large bridge playing host to many a long range enthusiast . Snow mountain, as the name suggests, wil have you battling around and in the mountains, not much in the way of vehicular warfare but do expect the occasional bombardment from above.
Not all these maps transpire well to all the available game modes in BF5 but these will certainly be tweaked and corrected with future updates. New and noteworthy additions to the already long list of game modes that we saw during BF1 are; Grand Operations which will as in the past expand as the (free) DLCs arrive over time. Conquest and Domination are likely to be the popular modes and DICE's take on the Battle Royale, Firestorm is sure to be a hit among most players when it launches some time after the launch of BF5.
Battlefield 5 is a good game! Delivering what has become expected from the franchise and improving on it. There is no embarrassment in borrowing ideas from other games like Battlefield has done. But firstly DICE will need to take drastic measures in curbing the amount of glitches which are abundant at the moment. If DICE can clean this up and listen to their audience in terms of doing what the audience want they will have a hit! Graphically the game is astounding even on the Original Xbox One without HDR or 4K. The campaign is rather short but not many people who have bought Battlefield 5 would have been buying with the campaign as their only reason for buying! Firestorm which has not yet been launched will play a massive part in the longevity of Battlefield 5. Multiplayer is where the magic happens and to be honest at the moment the magic is slightly underwhelming. Yes the ideas and changes are great but they have not been executed to their full potential just yet. Battlefield 5 is a very formidable game and if DICE do the future updates right, Battlefield 5 has the potential to trump even the likes of the legendary Battlefield 4.
Please DICE, don't let this become another Battlefield 1, rather spend some time fixing all the little niggly bits and give the battlefield-family what they truly want!
Simulator games have been around for as long as I can remember. Flight simulator was a big one and many other games strive to be more simulator-like with each outing, such as majority of the racing titles like Assetto Corsa and Forza Motorsport. These are all more mainstream titles and if you were to delve deeper into the simulator-genre you would be surprised at how many people want to simulate everyday mundane jobs in gaming. Games such as Euro Truck Simulator and Construction Simulator are taking realism to the next level including every inch of detail. Simulator games caters to the inquisitive side of the human nature. Have you ever wanted to drive a truck, fly a plane, build a roller coaster, race a F1 car... There is a simulator for everything!
Focus Home Interactive has been at the forefront of the Simulator genre with their various outings of Farming Simulator. This time around they have made huge improvements which really makes Farming Simulator 19 something special. Featuring a complete graphical overhaul ,which is immediately evident, Farming Sim 19 takes gets you elbow deep in the real farming experience, from starting up your tractor to sowing every seed.
Right from the start it is advisable to work through all the tutorials, and they are rather extensive. Farming is not easy, and there are many steps involved if you want to be a fruitful farmer, in real life or in the game. After the extensive tutorials you will be able to start your first farm. This is where you will get your first glimpse of the new reworked graphical system. Every inch of farming from the mechanical aspects to the graphical are meticulously copied and the results are amazing. walking through grass or crops will have them bend and sway according to the way they are manipulated.
Farming simulator 19 gives you, the farmer, the freedom from the onset. If you want to become a logging mogul, you can grab your chainsaw and build your empire one tree at a time. If you are more interested in being a livestock farmer, which is one of the newer features of the Farming Simulator franchise, you can focus on chickens, sheep, pigs, cows and even horses. You can also go the more traditional way of crop farming which will have you planting and growing crops and then selling them at the store. All of these realistic options comes as a breath of fresh air as many Simulators create rather ludicrous scenarios.
The options don't end there, apart from the above mentioned, you can also simply hop on your tractor, a John Deere if you'd like, which is the newly included brand by the way, and meander about the vast countryside and even do a few fetch-and-deliver or lending a hand on neighboring farms. It's a worthy side note that neighboring farms are few and far between in the rather barren countryside. When you get down to farming your own land is when the game becomes interesting. Without really any sort of direction or mission you are literally left on your own with no clear objective apart from farming and amassing money.
So, there you are, fresh from your tutorial, ready to face farming head-on, but what next... And that is one of the biggest challenges of Farming Sim 19, for greenhorn farmers who have not spent time on previous titles the UI can be extremely challenging as well as having absolutely zero cues on what you should do next. This is a double edged blade tho. Nice in the sense that it will allow you to do whatever you want, but frustrating in the sense that even when you decide what you want to do, you might not know how to do it. After some time you should at least be able to find your way around the UI and the magnitude of steps that go into any process that you take on. Even a simple task like growing wheat takes many steps before you will see your very first head of wheat starting to appear. From cultivating, plowing to sowing, to clearing weeds, fertilizer. The list goes on. Same goes for all the other types of farming you can try on farming Sim 19 and the 300 plus types of heavy machinery at your disposal, which sounds great but for a non-farmer knowing what 90% of them do is a challenge in its own.
A nice touch that players can be thankful for, unlike real farming where you need to wait months for your newly planted wheat to grow you can now simply speed up growing times which makes the longs waits slightly shorter. Now all of this seems rather hard work, thankfully you can hire someone to do the monotonous work for you. You could tune into one of the numerous radio stations while riding your tractor up and down but if you need someone to plow your fields, simply hire a helper! If AI help is not your thing jump into the 6 player multiplayer! This lets you join a few buddies and work the farm... The multiplayer did see its fair share of problems joining other gaming sessions but the first patch is set to sort all of that out. It is also good to note that multiplayer farm sessions don't carry over to your single player sessions.
Farming Simulator 19 takes all the good aspects from previous titles and improves in every way possible. Graphics have been reworked and really looks great. Farming Sim 19 is a extremely fun game to play and will have time flying by faster than you can imagine. Hours will become minutes. To new players tho, Farming Simulator 19, like its predecessors will cause some frustration during the first few hours as the UI is not very intuitive and does not offer much in terms of guidance. Looking past that, Farming Sim 19 is a enjoyable title and shows improvement and expansion on previous outings.
AAA-titles are becoming a regular occurrence these days with so many big developers churning out titles at regular intervals, gamers have become picky. Along with regular big-title games being released gamers have been burnt on regular occasion with games being over-hyped, and on release those games end up being sub-par. This can easily be because of the rush to release titles and many companies have fallen to this mistake. Rockstar is not one of those companies...
When Rockstar released GTA 5 many people said that it is the perfect game, the game that other open world games should strive to be like. It was also said that no other game would ever beat it... Until now...
Red Dead Redemption 2 has been in development for 8 years, which is a really long time, but in those 8 years Rockstar created what is arguably one of the best games currently available. Red Dead Redemption 2 takes the dirty and disgusting western time period and turns it into a sprawling immersive wonderland with the most living open world that has ever been created.
Wild West at its Best
Red dead Redemption 2 is a prequel to the 2010 Red Dead Redemption. In RDR2 players will step into the opinionated and, at times, rude, Arthur Morgan. Along with his merry band of outlaws you will find yourself hiding out in the snowy mountains at the start of RDR2. Here you meet a much younger but no less miserable Jon Marston. This is where the magic of Red Dead Redemption 2 starts. Most open-world games have you exploring the vast and sometimes lush map and when the urge strikes you can head over to the nearest town, look for a large glowing icon above a NPC's head and start a mission. This is where RDR2 starts its transformation of what the standards for future games should me. In RDR2 nothing feels scripted. missions, side missions, treasure hunts and everything in between, just happens. At no point does anything feel planned. While happily taking a ride through nature you might stumble across a damsel in distress, or a man needing help with his horse's shoe... The world of RDR2 doesn't stop if you are not interacting with it, take some time to observe the NPCs and you will find that even the wildlife go about their lives. on many occasions I found wolves hunting deer, bears fishing in the river, or wolves cornering a unsuspecting bear. No game EVER thus far has created a living world like the RDR2 world. If you tell 10 people to go and explore the world of RDR2, chances are that none of them will experience the same things while out and about. With many open world games the novelty of travelling and exploring the mountains and rivers quickly wear off. This is one of the ways Rockstar forces you to explore the world they created. In RDR2 one of the controversial talking points have to be the interesting take on fast travel, with the fast travel system only unlocking further into the game and being slightly limited can be negative to some wanting to rush through the game but this way you are forced to take to horseback and explore the wonderful world that has been so meticulously crafted!
Apart from the vast open world and many things to encounter, RDR2 offers a ridiculous amount of scripted missions, 104 missions to be exact. To put this into perspective, GTA 5 only had you taking Michael, Trevor and Franklin on 74 scripted main missions... Let that sink in. In RDR2 you will spend your 104 main missions sheriff-shooting, bridge-blowing, bank robbing and the lone "follow the objective". The main missions all have a large part in story- and character building which all happens in the craziest of ways such as inventive tasks, costume changes, outrageous modes of transport or peacefully teaching a boy to fish.
Storytelling in RDR2 once again shows why Rockstar took their time with this title. Many AAA- titles with large production budgets and massive teams working on them still churn out rather predictable storylines with plot-twists that can be spotted from miles away. RDR2 takes the standard of modern story telling and pushes it even further. CD Projekt Red and the Witcher 3 was arguably the best story telling around, except maybe for The Last Of Us. RDR2 makes both those titles look normal. The tale of Arthur Morgan takes ambitious twists, and the epilogue is nothing short of astounding.
Lesser games will use side missions as a way to justify charging you a large sum of money for a lackluster story. RDR2 takes side missions to the next level by making each of them worth your time. Animal hunting alone involve tracking scents and clues before targeting your preys' vital organs for that clean kill. The hunting in RDR2 alone is more engaging than all of the Cabela's games combined. Apart from supplying your camp with food via fishing or hunting, you can also use your resources to upgrade certain parts of your camp which offers a management aspect to the game as well. The camp supplies is not the only thing that needs to be managed. Arthur needs to eat, drink, sleep and bath if he wants to be the best sharpshooter he can possibly be. Hair and beards need to cut and trimmed and once in awhile Arthur needs to take a bath otherwise the townsfolk will not want to interact with Arthur.
Rockstar has also added some finer details, not only to the astounding world which ranges from the snowy mountain tops, the open plains with herds of bison and wild horses grazing everywhere to the swampland infested with alligators or the towns where every brick has been detailed and every NPC has a story to tell. Rockstar has also brought a companion app that can be used on IOS and Android devices which even further enhances the immersion. With the opening of maps being rather cumbersome, using the app allows you to have a live map next to you at all times, not only does this help you, turning your in-game map off will see your partners or other NPC's give more descriptive directions as to where you need to go. The physics that has gone into RDR2 is simply astounding, walking through snow sees the snow adjust and fall to the way you manipulate it. Ride through thick brush and the branches will move and bend as well as having Arthure flinch and adjust. These little things is what takes RDR2 from being a great game to a Perfect game!
RDR2 currently has no multiplayer function with the beta going live later in November but if it is anything like what we experienced in Red Dead Redemption and GTA 5 it is sure to be wonderful!
Truth be told, words do not describe Red Dead Redemption 2. Walking through your camp, stopping to play cards with your gang members, that is RDR2. Wanting to provide food for the camp, that is RDR2. Grooming and feeding your horse, not because you have to, but because you want to, that is RDR2. Taking the time to sit around the fire and listen to the stories your gang has to tell, that is what RDR2 is about. Red Dead Redemption 2 takes what other games offer and makes you feel like you want to do it, not that you have to do it. From the moment the first cutscene starts to the moment the credits roll, which hopefully isn't soon, you will sit with a childish grin on your face. Is this the best game of this generation? The Witcher 3 stood head and shoulders above all other games owning that title, but it now has a partner alongside it as arguably the best game of this generation. But with that comes a ominous toll of the bell, similar to when GTA 5 was released, does this mean the end of this generation is near?
But until then we can bask in the glory of Red Dead Redemption 2! Still not convinced have a look at the launch trailer here.
Special thanks to Prima interactive for supplying the review copy of Red Dead Redemption 2 on Xbox One
This past weekend I attended a wedding at a really nice farm out in Mpumalanga’s countryside. Before I left home I made sure to pack my backpack with a handful of action figures in case there were photo opportunities. The results were amazing and I’m still in the process of periodically uploading them to my Instagram feed, but looking back, this got me thinking. The action figures are only part of the joy in collecting and I think any collector would agree that the hunt is just as exciting.
When it comes to collecting action figures there’s more to it than just picking one that looks cool. We are drawn to the characters that resonate with us and owning a physical version of those characters is like a symbol of the fond memories we have of watching them in our movies, series or video games. We get to embody our enjoyment of the character. Some collectors prefer to keep them in their boxes on their shelf, others display them in poses in their room but people like me enjoy bringing them to life in pictures. To tell a story that only I can tell with them. I would never see Boba Fett hunting down Rick and Morty anywhere else but in the scenarios that I create with my figures. Sharing these pictures I take with a much wider community gives me a sense of accomplishment and seeing others post their shots on Instagram inspires me.
This is all just part of it, though. What excites me the most is the hunt. There aren’t many local shops that sell these things around here so I’m forced to look on the internet and spot action figures that catch my eye. For example, a Mezco Judge Dredd: Cursed Earth figure that comes with a jumpsuit, weapons with removable magazines as well as a nifty poncho. After spotting my prey I do some research which normally includes seeing how popular the figure is on Instagram and seeing what other people are doing with it. Then I move onto watching reviews to hear about the pros and cons of the figure which normally ends up making me want it more. Finally, I move onto looking at my other figures to see what kind of stories I can craft. Judge Dredd would fit in nicely with my classic Robocop figure as both are 80’s icons of dystopian law enforcement. Then comes walking around my house and yard, taking in all the information I have about the figure’s pose-ability and planning pictures around that before actually thinking about getting the figure. A lot of times I go through this process and end up not getting the figure in question. One thing a collector must accept from the beginning is that you can’t get them all.
But for the ones you can get, the hunt is part of the fun. Whether it’s stumbling across it in a shop or seeing it online, the idea of having it stirs as soon as one’s eyes fall upon it. With the lack of stores that specialise in these things does seem to hinder the South African geek culture. In my area, we don’t have these things besides a Toys R Us but that isn’t a comic book store that specialises in catering for us geeks. There are a few in the bigger cities but not many people know about these things.
Does South African Geek Culture need a larger soapbox to shout from? Do we need to show retailers that there is a market for these things? Wouldn’t it be nice if we had more stores across the country that catered for our need to collect and admire our collectibles? I personally think we need to be more vocal and support what little market there is in this country. South Africa was a tad late to the party on the concept of collecting action figures as only recently have I seen Funko Pops appear in stores local to me. The bigger cities are getting them first, no doubt. But I remember a few years ago not many people here knew what a Funko was while my family in New Zealand was raving about them.
Either way, whether the market for it is strong or not, the hunt for plastic never dulls.
What do you think? Do we need more comic book shops in South Africa?
Toejam & Earl was a funky little game. An isometric adventure game with various colourful levels that required the two heroic aliens to navigate around the strange and obnoxious human stereotypes while picking up crates that rewarded gadgets that could hinder or facilitate the players’ quest to find all the pieces of their broken funky ship. The soundtrack was catchy, graphics vibrant and the level design was superb. Each level had an elevator that took players to the next level. Fall off the map? And you end up on the level you were just on or end up on the first level. The game took ‘levels’ literally. It made the game a dangerous maze and out of all the games on this list, it is by far the most unique. With Toejam & Earl: Back in the Groove in development which retains the gameplay and style of the original but with four player co-op, fans of this classic have something to look forward to.
Ah, the days when movie games didn’t suck. Aladdin was a little gem on the Sega Genesis which captured the flare of the classic movie as well as adding some of its own video game tropes to the original story. The animated look and nods to other Disney films was a nice touch and the levels were challenging. Would it be too far to say that maybe Aladdin’s video game adaptation took cues from the original Prince of Persia? The similarities are there. You can see it in the gameplay. The platforming elements were crazy and the combat, although simpler than Prince of Persia, it wasn’t a walk in the park. The dungeon levels felt like a Prince of Persia game and the soundtrack could only be good being a Disney movie. I put a lot of hours in this game, not as much as another little Disney movie game that struts its luscious mane later on in my list, but Aladdin: The Video Game is worthy of its spot on my top ten list.
Tom & Jerry in Housetrap
I grew up watching Tom and Jerry trying to kill each other every night. Something about Jerry outsmarting Tom fascinated me and looking back on how dark this cartoon really was, it explains a lot of my taste in games and series/movies. Tom & Jerry in Housetrap was a little game that borrowed heavily from the classic Spy vs Spy gameplay but it was better! Why? Because you could play as either Tom or Jerry! It had a fun story mode that referenced classic episodes like the fantastic ‘Push Button Kitty’ episode where a slacking Tom was kicked out of the house in favour of Mechano, the robot cat. Spike the bulldog and the Duckling make an appearance too in capture the flag styled levels where Jerry had to rescue the ducklings while Tom had to catch them and throw them in the oven. As the story progressed so did the house. New rooms added new environmental traps and weapons, thrown or otherwise, to use against the other player or AI. The game sported cartoon graphics and watching Tom and Jerry’s fur pull off from the vacuum cleaner just like it did in the cartoons never got old. The game was the most fun to play with a friend although I imagine it caused a lot of squabbles among younger players. As far as a Tom & Jerry game goes, Housetrap captured everything the classic cartoon was loved for. Looking back, this game is just one of the examples of why Playstation 1 had some of the best games in history. That’s how much I loved this game.
Syphon Filter Trilogy
I remember spending many weekends in these three games on the Playstation 1. The story was really good and still sticks with me. It was my first foray into the third person shooter genre. The level design promoted stealth and tactical thinking but when things didn’t go to plan, shooting everyone was still a valid option. The cutscenes were well done for the era and the characters had more depth than most characters in games these days. Gabriel Logan, Teresa Lipan, Lian Xing. I remember all of them. The one character, Lawrence “Larry” Mujari was a South African character and there was even a level set in South Africa. Syphon Filter had a similar yet more grounded theme to the Metal Gear Solid series. These games set me on the third person shooter path and for that, I’ll always remember them and how much of a challenge they were. If these games get a remaster I’ll be over the moon!
Bugs Bunny and Taz: Time Busters
Another game I’d like to see a remaster of would be Bugs Bunny and Taz: Time Busters. This game was a real gem on the Playstation 1. There were a series of Bugs Bunny games on the PS1 but out of all of them, this one stood out the most. Players could swap at any time between Bugs and Taz to complete puzzles using each characters unique skills. The AI companion was always following you and switching was as easy as pressing a button. In fact, it felt an awful lot like the Lego games just minus the lego blocks. The puzzles required thought and the action required quick reflexes. The game had runner levels and racing levels and the sceneries were vibrant. From Aztec to Viking, there was a lot to see and do in this third-person adventure game with everyone’s favourite wise-cracking Bunny and snarling Tasmanian Devil. The game captured the Loony Toons humour perfectly and with such a wide of variety of levels and interacting with so many familiar characters, it’s no wonder it was such a joy to play, especially when with a friend. We need more split-screen games these days...
Toy Story 2: The Video Game
I played this on the PC, my old Windows 98’, and as far as movie games go, this was really well done. Toy Story was my favourite movie out the series and although Woody wasn’t a playable character, the game had such a good level design that I still remember most of it while the song from the first level still plays in my head when I think back to it. From the puzzles to platforming and using Buzz’s laser in combat, it all just went together in perfect harmony. The bosses on each level were a challenge and the game had a lot of replayability as each new level required X amount of Pizza Planet tokens which players had to get by winning races, defeating bosses, solving puzzles or generally helping the various characters scattered around each level and some characters gave Buzz a power up to use in that level. The bosses had a clever design too, most of them required the player to climb up to the top of the level (no easy feat) and then duel with them on top of the highest point in the level. The second level, Andy’s Neighbourhood had a Zurg Kite on top of a tree that was such a mission to get to and defeat and the boss could knock players right off forcing them to climb all the way back up to finish the job. Those boss battles stuck with me and are probably the reason why I really like fighting enemies on rooftops of elevated areas in modern video games. The game has aged badly though as the graphics weren’t very good, to begin with. But if you don’t mind ugly and just want to experience a good third person game with a touch of everything then try to look around for it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Manhattan Project
The side-scrolling beat em’ up games were always more fun with a co-op buddy and this TMNT game was no different. I used to play this with my cousin every time he came to visit. We must have finished it a dozen times over and each time we enjoyed every second of it. The game had cool levels and tough bosses that made it a challenge no matter how many times we finished it. The four turtles had similar move sets but the way they used their weapons were different. Don and Leo had more range than Ralph and Mickey, or at least it felt that way if memory serves. This has gone down in my memory for being one of the best, if not the best co-op beat em’ up I’ve played.
This game was and still is the definition of a movie game done right. From the early levels playing as little Simba, jumping on bugs and pesky hyenas to the endgame where adult Simba’s mighty slap sent enemies to oblivion. The levels were well designed and had a good balance between platforming and combat. The soundtrack mimicked the movie’s score and the whole game captured the essence of the movie perfectly. I watched that movie religiously as a child and I played the game just the same. I remember the cheer I gave when I finished it for the first time, only to reboot it and start again. I spent so many afternoons on it when I was younger. The memories made in this game are going to be with me till the day I die. And for that, I will roar its praises from the highest peak of Pride Rock.
Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage
I never played the first Spyro game. I received Spyro 2 with the Playstaion 1. I had no idea what to expect when I loaded it in for the first time. From an array of colourful levels and hub worlds to tricky boss fights and puzzles, this game had a lot of variety to it. It never once felt repetitive with charming characters and a good storyline with funny characters. I pretended to be sick so I could skip out of school to play this game...hence why I’m so smart today. If you missed out on this jewel then fear not as the stunning remaster is right around the corner.
Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic
This game is a fond memory for a lot of gamers that I’ve spoken to over the years. But for me, it was my first RPG and it was set in the Star Wars universe which I’ve been a fan of since I was five. The story was brilliant, the semi-open world was beautiful at the time and the combat opted for a more strategic approach than a button basher. The moral choices and character builds promoted replayability more than other games I was playing at the time. I replayed this game so many times that I lost count. It is of the opinion of many that this is the best Star Wars game ever made. And thinking back, I have fond memories that remind me why that is not just a mere opinion but a well-grounded fact. We need more Star Wars games like this.
Gaming headsets is a very large market, with the likes of many big-name manufacturers such as Astro, Steelseries and the very well known Tutle Beach being some of the biggest names in the industry. The problem with gaming headsets is that they tend to be rather expensive. Whether it is because of the features they possess or the logo they have branded on them, gamers have become used to forking out rather substantial amounts of money to get decent headsets. Turtle Beach is experiencing a bit of a renaissance at the moment with their new range of headsets which range from entry-level budget headsets to the top-tier headsets that the professional esports players are using. What really makes the Turtle Beach range attractive is the features they pack with their base headsets which come in at a budget price. Making Turtle Beach one of the most competitive headsets on the market at the moment.
Turtle Beach created the Recon 200 wired headset with the new, ever so popular, Battle Royale mode in mind. Battle Royale game modes require teamwork, therefor the Recon 200 focuses on crisp and clear microphone and accurate directional sound, for those moments you find yourself surrounded.
Budget Price, Premium Features?
The Turtle Beach Recon 200 is a wired headset with a 3.5mm headphone jack, meaning it can be used on nearly any device that has a headphone jack. This makes the Recon 200 a good buy if you are looking to buy a multi-purpose headset. Being made with Battle Royale in mind the microphone was obviously a major focus, lending the flip up mute feature from their stealth-line the recon 200 has a short boom mic which delivers tremendously clear and crisp chat, without picking up any ambient sounds. The Recon 200 boasts the ability to work with surround software such as Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic although it doesn't boast the compelling soundscape of its higher-end counterparts. The key feature that puts the Recon 200 above its price-range counterparts like the Astro A10's, is the mic-monitoring which allows you to hear yourself when speaking, eliminating those awkward moments of not realizing you are screaming. This features uses a built-in battery which is charged via the included USB cable.
There are however some negatives to the Recon 200. Gaming headsets are designed to be worn for extended periods of time, meaning they are generally comfortable to wear. The Recon 200 earcups are clad with faux leather, which generally is not a bad thing, but when worn for extended periods of time faux leather doesn't allow for breathing causing a clammy and warm feeling inside the earcup. Not a nice feeling after multiple hours of gaming. The earcups are rather narrow which might have some users opting to place the headset ON the ears instead of OVER the ear as intended. The headband which leans to the too-tight side of comfort rather than the comfortable side also lacks the padding which is required for the long gaming sessions. Although the Recon 200's boast capable sound quality with general use, upon using it in high volume situations with large explosions and overwhelming noise, the 40mm drivers of the Recon 200 struggle and tend to distort washing out most of the distinct sounds which can generally be distinguished when using other headsets which boast the larger 50mm drivers.
Turtle Beach really has refined the Aesthetic appeal of their headsets. Many other big-name manufactures such as Astro sport rather "un-conventional" styling or plaster their hardware with as much RGB lights as possible ( cough cough Razer). Turtle Beach has taken a step back and created a slick and sheek designs creating appeal for gamers and non-gamers alike to use their hardware not only in a gaming environment but in everyday situations as well without being looked at funny.
The recon 200 copies the design and build of the Stealth 600 and 700 series with a carbon fibre finish, paired with matte black covering provides a classy, minimalist look. Neatly tucked behind the one earcup you will find the volume wheel, mixer control, which lets you adjust how much in-game sound or party chat you want to hear from your headset. The power slider and USB charging port is also situated in a neatly paired group. The Mic monitoring, which requires the headset to be charged beforehand, is estimated to be able to be used for nearly 12 hours on a single charge. Earcups also have a diagonal swivel which helps to get that "fitted'" feel.
Turtle Beach has really provided gamers and non-gamers alike, with a extremely budget friendly product with the Recon 200. Not only is it multi-functional headset but it also has features that can generally be found on higher end headsets. The only factors that hamper a otherwise good headset is the comfort , which should be rather high on anyone's list of necessities when looking for a headset. The second factor doesn't really affect everyone but the 40mm drivers can be a negative for those who want loud booming volumes from their headsets.
Overall, at the price the Recon 200 is a really competitive headset only matched by the likes of the Astro A10's.
Majority of games can be generally classified into two sections: Casual and Simulation. Gamers want the games they play to be true to life, although life is not always as exciting or easily put into a game, therefor developers tend to take some artistic license and change and brighten up the game to make it more exciting for the gamers. No genre is more split into two categories than the racing-genre. Gaming studios make a decision early on in development whether they want to make a title focused on being fun, casual and easy to play. Or to go the realism route, and stay as true to realism which, most of the time, makes the game a lot tougher to get used to.
Big Moon Studios clearly decided on the latter and went with the truest Dakar representation that there has been! Dakar , which has since been moved from the the original route taking drivers from France all the way down to Dakar in Senegal. Due to many attacks on crews and drivers and general unrest in the countries, it was decided to move the race to South America. Dakar 18 takes you and your vehicle of choice all the way to the dunes of Peru where the race starts.
Where the hell am I???
For people who do not know how the Dakar works. It is a race across some of the most extreme terrain without any GPS equipment with extremely long distances to travel each day. The format being used is called Rally raid. Rally raid is actually a really large scale navigation game seeing racers dash between checkpoints trying to beat opponents as well as not destroy their vehicles in the process. Not having GPS devices mean the driver and navigator need to use a compass, paper roadbook and the odometer of the vehicle to navigate their way to the checkpoints.
No other game puts as much emphasis on navigation as Dakar 18. When you start up the game you will be taken through a tutorial. It is HIGHLY recommended that you do not skip it. You will be told how to read your roadbook and understand all the scribbles that you will find there. Once you have completed the tutorial... do it again! If you are not a veteran and you are highly comfortable with navigation it is recommended that you select the rookie setting. Rookie setting will give you a Compass indicator to the next checkpoint when you are not on some form of road or track.
You will be able to choose from all the vehicles that take on the Dakar rally, from the new 450cc motorbikes, quads, normal vehicles and lastly the giant trucks. Once again it is recommended that you use the latter two categories because it provides you with a navigator that will read the roadbook notes back to you which will save you from having to flick your eyes to the roadbook while trying to keep your car from getting stuck in a sandpit. The whole aim of Dakar 18 is to let you experience what it is truly like to compete in a rally raid. You will need to read the roadbook, use the knowledge and hints given to by the book and then look for the visual cues in the environment to guide you to your next location. These cues can range from a large rock, a clump of grass, remnants of a house or even a car track disappearing over a dune... all while trying to not destroy your vehicle. Camera modes are rather interesting in Dakar 18, the normal bumper and chase cams are available if you want but the experience only hits home when you use the cockpit view where you will be overwhelmed by the noise, as well as the helicopter view for those "tv-like shots" of you careening through the desert.
Sand, sand and little bit of not-sand
During the opening stages of Dakar 18 you are racing over dunes and through gorges in Peru which mostly consists of just sand. This might paint a bleak picture of the surrounding but the way Dakar 18 has managed to capture the seemingly endless rolling dunes is breathtaking. If you ever wondered what it might be like to get lost in a desert, don't look at your road book for a few minutes and you will quickly find out what it feels like.
After the day-one patch (which arrived a week late) there was a large graphical upgrade which did help a rather lack luster graphical experience to become more acceptable. Nothing special like some of the other racing titles out there but Dakar 18 does not give you the feeling that it ever wanted to compete on a graphical level. Post patch vehicle dynamics and physics have improved dramatically. Vehicles drive differently from other classes, Steering the vehicle through different terrain now feels that way where as before every terrain felt the same. This being said Dakar 18 tries really hard to be a simulator but the driving mechanics are definitely arcade like. Hopefully this will be patched in upcoming patches.
Vehicular damage is a large aspect of Dakar 18. Simply putting foot to the floor and flying over sand dunes sure sounds enticing but in no-time you will need to stop and repair your vehicle which will end up costing you valuable minutes and see you dropping down many spots on the leader board. The drivers and vehicles have been faithfully recreated in Dakar 18 seeing all the faces and liveries from the real Dakar rally appear in the selection menu. This goes a long way in strengthening the realistic aspect of Dakar 18.
Game modes? what game modes?
Simulators are usually rather barren games. Lacking enthusiastic cut-scenes, energetic music and general refinement when it comes to the aspects that they are not trying to be a simulation of. Dakar 18 doesn't offer much when it comes to game modes. The career which is the obvious mode that takes you through all the stages of the Dakar rally. There is a multiplayer mode which includes couch co-op via split screen which will have you and a friend jump into any of the stages available throughout the race for some fun in the sun and sand. Treasure hunt will see you hunt for random items through stages you have already completed. This becomes tiresome really quickly, slowly driving around an area you have already slowly driven around in without any sense of purpose really doesn't sound appealing at all. No matter the game mode you choose they all boil down to one fundamental idea: using a roadbook to travel through a 5.791 square mile explorable map racing from point to point with minimal assistance.
Dakar 18 has a identity crisis. It does not know whether it wants to be a full on simulator or a more casual arcade racer. Dakar 18 is by no means a bad game, yes it lacks the game modes and the graphical polish many of its rivals offer. The fundamental idea the Dakar rally is brilliantly captured. No other title captures the fundamentals of rally raid like this game. Rally raid makes for really abrasive gameplay. In any other game, racing or not, getting lost is considered a bad thing. In Dakar 18, getting lost is where the game begins and where Dakar 18 shows what really makes it a great game. From the start Dakar 18 can be underwhelming and frustrating with its lack-luster graphics and infuriating navigation, but if you invest time to understand what Dakar 18 is trying to achieve, you might be pleasantly surprised. With a little open-mindedness many driving game fans should find enjoyment - even though limited - in the Dakar experience.
WWE 2K19 is a good game... if you are a WWE fan. While for someone who isn’t, it can be a very confusing ordeal. But either way, there is fun to be had. It goes without saying that fans will appreciate it more than those who are just there to play the game. The roster has a lot of wrestlers to choose from and the character creation is surprisingly impressive. Fan or not, this game has a lot of variety to it and requires some experimenting...
Yes, they can see you
The character creation is impressive. From creating MYPlayer for the story mode or a Superstar, there are a lot of options from recreating oneself to creating a little green alien guy or even a Marvel Superhero. Ever wanted to see if Captain America can pin Venom down? Well, with some time and effort you could create a superhero themed wrestler. From height, to weight and even place of birth and intro, everything is yours to tinker with, including things like how much body oil they have rubbed on their muscular bodies. From their entrance walk (and if you so wish, a separate entrance outfit) to their personality and even the stitching in their clothes, the customisation options are endless. And yes, South Africa can be a place of birth for your wrestler, which was a welcome surprise. There are a ton of cosmetic items to unlock which can really add to the style of your wrestler. Facing a guy that’s ten times your size? You could put on a safety helmet just for a laugh. That’s the nice thing about this game, it has the simulation aspects in it, but at the same time players can do silly things that make it feel less serious.
Never back down
The gameplay is a tad tricky to figure out at first. Your wrestler isn’t this machine that can take hit after hit. They will eventually get tired as their stamina bars deplete and each hard hit will cause damage to their body which is indicated in the HUD in the bottom of the screen. The weaker they become, the easier they are to be pinned down. And that is an advantage highly skilled players can use against their opponents. The reversal system is a key element to success; it’s all about that split second quick time event that suddenly appears above your wrestler’s head before they take a knock. It does get a bit annoying when you end up in a loop of constant bombardment after missing those extremely fast reversal opportunities, but this is only in the beginning as when the system becomes more familiar one predict what their opponent is about to do by studying their move sets but still, the controls feel tricky. After pressing a button that supposedly did one thing ends up doing something completely different. Maybe over time these get easier but after all this time in the game, it feels like the wrestler does his or her own thing most of the time.
There is a skill tree that gives players certain perks which eases things a bit which is a nice touch but it still feels like the game boils down to player skill and not a bunch of passive skills.
Every Star has a Story
The storyline is quite interesting. Without giving too much away, players start on the indie scene and work their way up to WWE. The story is full of that back stage melodrama that WWE is known for. So fans will surely get their kicks from the storyline which is a fully voiced protagonist. Some matches have certain objectives that are tricky to meet, like hitting your opponent in the parking lot after bringing their health down to a certain stage. These trigger dragged out cut scenes that can, thankfully, be skipped seeing as though if you lose a match, there are no checkpoints so you have to restart from the beginning.
The Sound of Repetition?
The commentary is outright boring. Compared to Fifa games or other sports games, the commentary in this one gets obnoxious after awhile. After the first few minutes the commentators start saying the same things over and over. How many times is the commentator going to say the same line that takes a stab at my opponent’s ridiculous name? Or how many times are the commentators going to ask how these wrestlers are still going after throwing each other around a bit? It gets tedious after a while. But other than that, the music is what you’d expect from a game like this; there are some catchy tunes in the menus. The crowd reacts well to the action and the sound effects are spot on. But commentary and dialogue just feels outright lazy and makes a long match a chore to shovel through which is such a shame because in a quick play match the commentary is better, yet in the story it’s just the same tedious thing over and over.
Sweat and Tears
The graphics are decent enough. A lot of detail went into the wrestlers, which is expected. Seeing sweat gleam off their backs is a very nice touch. The stages are flashy and the way the characters move and react to being whacked in the head with a chair (among other things) looks spot on. Facial animations in the cut scenes are a tad on the cringe side of the spectrum though.
Variety is the spice to life
Not keen on the story? Well, WWE 2K19 has a ton of things to do from online multiplayer to various match types, like Hell in a Cell and the Back Stage fight scene, to name a few. There is even a tower mode where players face a series of opponents that escalate with difficulty, much like other fighting games. There is a lot to mess around with other than the story mode, as well as local multiplayer. It’s always fun to beat your friend near to death with a chair while Triple H watches on, paying no mind.
WWE 2K19 is a fun game. Obviously fans of the sport will enjoy and appreciate it more. But even so, there is a lot to play around with and there is a character creation system that is going to satisfy content creators amongst the community, plus a story mode and a variety of modes on top of that. It’s really fun for a casual party trick when having friends over or to tackle the online scene which is where most players might spend a lot of time in. But the dragged out cutscenes with what feels like lazy dialogue, poor commentary and tricky controls hold it back.
When I think of Golf I instantly think of immaculately cut fairways, pristine greens and well kept bunkers. impeccably dressed golfers casually walking up and down after a little white ball. Sinking birdies at every other hole, all while the calmest voice known to man comments on how well they are playing. In reality for us non-golfers, golfing consists of wading through thick grass looking for your ball while shouting a string of profanities after each shot all while other golfers stare and make comments on your less than acceptable dress-sense... Or is that just me?
When we think of Golf in gaming Tiger Woods is the one and only name that comes to mind, yes we had Rory McIllroy which was rather lack luster affair. Since then EA has seemingly washed its hands with the golfing franchise, someone needed to step into that role. Golf Club has stepped up and taken it upon themselves to be the leading, if only, golfing title around.
Previous outings in the Golf Club franchise were nor here nor there. But HB studios endured and with the help of 2K games they have acquired the PGA Tour which makes the Golf Club 2019 bolster its course stock by adding 6 real world courses including TPC Sawgrass ( home of the Players Championship) and TPC Scottsdale ( home of the Phoenix Waste Management Open). These courses are all included in the career mode with fictional courses filling in the blanks. This is still not ideal but its a major step in the right direction.
The Golf Club has always strived to be a golfing simulator and not a casual golf game like the EA franchise was. Golf Club 2019 does not falter on that promise!
Stepping straight into the career mode I was met with spectacular vistas and sprawling grass and superbly recreated courses! It is a worthy mention that the character creator is immensely deep. I am not even going to try and describe how many customization options the Golf Club 2019 provides. I found myself simply relaxing and letting the cutscenes play between walking to the tee and teeing up etc. The chirping of birds and the wonderful crack of a well-struck shot made we wonder why I never picked up a club in real life! I was however expecting a little bit of player likeness, by no means was I expecting to tee-up with the likes of the new and improved Tiger but some form of likeness would have been nice.
Commentary, at times, feels a little out of place during the career but generally I found commentary to be one of the main parts of any golfing title to help me relax, which in The Golf Club is really important when it comes to actually playing golf. The progress system, which sees you play against a rival player on the tour as well as letting you unlock sponsors such as Under Armor feels like enough reason to make you come back and try and improve your score and attributes. It is also good to see that in the multiplayer aspect that your upgraded stats and abilities which you build during the career, does not influence you, creating a level playing field.
Finally stepping onto the course, the mechanics of Golf Club 2019 are astounding! This is by far the most challenging and rewarding golfing-sim on the market. Firstly, the swing mechanic relies heavily on swing tempo, which takes some time to get used to. The slightest of hesitations during the transition from back- to forward swing and you will quickly be trudging through the thick and unforgiving roughs. But when you get it all right and you hear the crack and see your ball sailing straight and true down the fairway, that is when you appreciate the 20 shots you shot out of bounds or straight into the bunker. Once you feel a little more comfortable with your shots it becomes extremely satisfying when you hit a rather bad tee shot but, playing from the rough and you create your own shot with varying power and spin and you scramble from there! Truly an amazing feeling. After all of this you might find yourself, if you lucky, on the green. This is where Golf Club 2019 is shoulders and neck above any other golf game. The Golf Club 2019 does not call itself a simulation for no reason. Golf is difficult, and putting is one of the toughest yet most satisfying parts of golf. As player you don't get given much except undulation of the green. You need to read, decide and judge speeds to keep the ball rolling to where you intend it to go. If that is not enough trying to play the real-world courses will have you languishing in pain after reaching the par 5 green in 3 and still walking away with a double bogey, simply due to the punishing putting system.
the animations in Golf Club 2019 are really well done, the way your golfers' knees buckle when you miss that important put, the anger and frustration of a miss-hit tee shot to the fist-pump after a birdie put. The crowd animation as a whole seems like it was stripped from a PS2 -version of Tiger Woods, the crowd claps in unison sometimes not even facing the right direction but these are all minor and can be easily over sited.
As a whole the Golf Club 2019 is a very solid title and if you as player is willing to invest some time and effort into this title you will be richly awarded with a tremendously good game. What makes the experience even sweeter is that all your mistakes can easily be chalked up to doing something wrong, that causes you to adapt and improve and once you know your weaknesses and play to your strengths, the Golf Club 2019 will be the most addictive golfing sim you will EVER play!
I am a South African, on the sporting front we thrive on Rugby, Soccer and Cricket. From a young age that is what we are instilled with. The girls would play Netball or Hockey, both of which I do not know much about the rules apart from either getting the ball in the hoop or in the goals. But recently my friends from Prima Interactive were friendly enough to send me a review copy of 2K's NBA 2K18. For those of you who are not familiar with the title it is the latest iteration of the yearly Basketball franchise.
Being South African, as well as being on the short side, Basketball has never been anywhere close to on my radar. So when this game arrived I had to brush up on my Basketball knowledge. While NBA2K19 was busy installing I checked out some Youtube on the basics of basketball as well as some history of 2K gaming developers. 2K is the company that brought us gems like Mafia 3, the Bioshock franchise and ofcourse the Borderlands series! Just those names alone should give a clear indication of what potential NBA 2K19 has to be great... Or fall short of the amazing company in which it finds itself.
I did some reading on previous versions in the NBA franchise games so that I could make a better comparison. NBA 2K19 has taken massive strides to bring gameplay as close as what is currently possible to reality. Not only does this bring forth stricter simulation it also rewards players with more skill and punishes those who lack discipline! One of the first things that are new to NBA 2K19 is the Takeover meter. Takeover has the potential to boost or weaken your players key attributes. It is a pretty simply system. Do what your players' type of player does best, be it defense, dribble, passing etc, and do it well and the takeover meter fills. Once filled, all those skills will get a boost making your player even better at what he does best. This places emphasis on the fact that once NBA player find their rhythm they can single-handedly take over a game.
Compared to previous years, it is now considerably more difficult to even get close to the hoop against AI defense without running some form of distraction or running play ( yes I learnt some jargon). Shot meter color and position can now be changed and positioned to suite your personal preference. Something I definitely experienced and like alot is the accuracy and preciseness of on-court actions making for quick and accurate responses when you need to make adjustments. layups and shots now show the shot meter more clearly as well as the shot meter staying with you for longer and giving you a more clear indication of when you should release. Some say the new system makes it alot easier to take shots, I did not experience it that way at all it took me quite some time and a barrage of profanity before I sunk my first shot.
On defense you need to really be attentive on the player you are defending, you cannot spam the button to stay on the ball handler. You need to manually contest each shot and if you do not pay close attention to possible fakes you will waste your opportunity and the attacking player will have a open shot.
Becoming a star
Previous MyCareers have not been lauded for their compelling stories, I watched a few videos on how the stories played out and they are cringe-worthy. NBA 2K19 turns up the drama and makes it believable! Called "the Way Back". Your created player, who was unfortunately not drafted, starts off in China trying to make a name for himself before making his way into the G-League and later winding up in the NBA. As usual you develop rivalries and relationships along the way which is told by truly spectacular cutscenes. The cutscenes truly blew my mind! Some well known voices and faces lent themselves to these cutscenes, the likes of Anthony Mackie, Haley Joel Osment, Michael Rapaport to name but a few.
MyCareer focuses on the grind. After many hours you will arrive in the NBA. This is where the writing disappears and you find yourself in the Neighborhood, players of old will recognize this as the social hub where you can practice, play ball, complete activities and, ofcourse, purchase things. Here you can spend virtual currency, which can be obtained by playing ball, or you can spend your hard earned money and upgrade your player faster. The Neighborhood aspect is something I truly love because it serves as a social gathering place as well as a facility but my only concern is because it hinges on a social input, I hope that their is enough interest to keep it alive way past its initial launch and keep thriving for months to come.
Franchise and other modes
The franchise mode, which has been known to be tremendously deep and customizable, does however not get the quality-of-life upgrades like MyCareer gets but it is still deep enough to make it a worthwhile adventure to undertake. MyGM plays exactly the same as previous years continuing the truly terrible story, called "The Saga Continues". The textbox filled, sleep-inducing snore-fest has no voice acting and shortly after starting it I quit, so unfortunately ( fortunately) no more from that side.
MyTeam, 2K's version of EA's Ultimate team, still craves cold money to really make itself great. Yes you can simply grind away for in-game currency but I which they could move away from the blatant emphasis on microtransactions.
Last, but not least, there are the 2 game modes known as Blacktop and 2KU. Blacktop gives you the option to show off your streetball skills in either 1v1 up to 5v5 giving you access to all the greatest players past and present. 2KU on the opposite end of the scale, teaches you all the in's and out's of the game. For new- and old players it's worth the time to check out 2KU to keep up to date with all the latest refinements that has been brought to NBA 2K19.
NBA 2K19’s focus on realism is somewhat daunting at first, but once you get the hang of all the new changes it is easy to appreciate why they were made. With crisper player animations, more lifelike visuals, and more balanced gameplay, NBA 2K19 is an incredibly rewarding basketball sim that compels you to learn all the game’s intricate maneuvers. NBA2K19 has made me want to watch Basketball and has a story mode that can easily compete with the likes of Madden and FIFA!
Since I can remember F1 has been part of my life. From a young age I was in front of the TV watching the likes of the late great Ayrton Senna do battle with Alain Prost, until that tragic day... I watched as Schumacher won nearly all of his championships. What I am trying to say is that I have lived and breathed Formula 1 since I can remember. Once i was old enough to manage the keys, it was just logical that my mother would put me behind F1 1992 on PC. I consider myself to be quite knowledgeable when it comes to Formula 1. Whether it be tactics, track knowledge, team history and general terms used in F1. So when Apex Interactive sent me the new F1 2018 by Codemasters I felt like I was the right man for the job...
First things' first, I have probably not touched a F1 game since I was a kid and I can't explain why. This means I have zero reference regarding how F1 2018 compares to its predecessors. When I fired up F1 2018 I was simply blown away! First order of the day, naturally, is to jump into the career. You have the option to create your avatar and mildly customize him as well as pick a helmet design and manipulate the colors to suite your style. Next up is choosing the team you want to join. I would have liked to see the game start you off in a lower team and make your way up the ranks, but F1 2018 allows you to pick whoever you please, I went for the realistic approach and joined Sauber.
I considered myself a bit of a racing-sim-amateur so I went for assists, after one lap I decided to push the difficulty level up by at least 2 levels. Removing the assists and ABS. Suddenly the game came to life! Not only do you have to be so connected and in tune with your race car, you actually need to use your free practice sessions to get to know braking zones, corners and your car in general. A nifty feature that serves more than one purpose, is the training programs that are allocated to you during practice sessions. These range from learning the track. Fuel management, Tyre management and qualifying laps. These challenges reward you with some knowledge of how to go about your upcoming race as well as research points which you car pour into the development of your car.
And so my F1 journey begins. After a brief introduction of the magnitude of screens and settings and adjustments that you have at your disposal I decided to jump straight into the action and headed off to Melbourne Australia. I was met with a barrage of settings and things that I could adjust which, if I had no F1 knowledge would have blown me away. Luckily I could grasp all the technical jargon from listening to many years of Murray Walker and made a few adjustments and set off on my first out lap...
With the introduction of the new halo safety system the cockpit view is somewhat difficult to get used to. You now have a large pillar in the middle of you field of view which complicates things... But seeing as this is a sim-racer i chose to stick with it and i quickly got used to it. The attention to detail on the steering wheel is simply astounding. Not only can you see all your car info from tire temperatures to engine management settings your driver will throw his hands in the air if a fellow driver cuts you off at at turn. All very nice touches which improves the realism.
Graphically everything looks really nice and even though you race along the tracks focusing on the road, not really the surroundings, it really has got a nice feel to the environment around the track. I had hardly gone around the track twice when my engineer told me rain is approaching soon and that is when this game stepped up even more. Suddenly race tactics changed. Drivers were diving into the pits, others staying out to try and take advantage and risk of not going over to wet tires just yet. I was panicking due to the struggle with grip I was having. I cautiously made my way into the pits and got my wet tires. After losing a few spots I had to fight my way back up the leader board. I eventually ended the race in 6th position.
After a few rather average looking scenes of teams celebrating etc I was taken to a debrief where you get shown how your view and rep from other teams change depending on your performance. But what I really found post race was how intense of a racing sim this game is when you turn up the difficulty level. Not only was my fore arms sore from gripping my controller so tensely but I was physically tired. That is part of the beauty of this game. Not only is it just a F1 racing game. It forces you to know your own driving ability as well as understand the sport of F1 and how the cogs of the team work together to produce a great race weekend and how suddenly things can change due to rain. The game seamlessly throws the rain into the mix and everything changes faultlessly. Tyre degradation, team tactics etc are amazing! Not only is it the type of game that focuses on all aspects of the F1 brand like contracts and team development that caters for the more die-hard fans of F1 but it can be played by casuals racers as well.
In between race weekends there are also classic events and short track events to change from the intense racing of F1. You can jump into race cars of yester year and take them around shortened sections of well known tracks like Suzuka. This brings a welcome change of pace and its a nice touch.
Overall I think anyone who is even remotely a F1 fan should get this game. Whether you are a casual- or sim-racer. F1 2018 has enough to keep everyone coming back for more and the multiplayer is sure to attract many more people. Codemasters has taken their F1 game and turned it into a franchise to compete on the level of FIFA, Madden, NBA and all the EA sports titles. If you are any sort of F1 fan and want to play F1 when you are not watching it, this is the game you NEED!
a very special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying me with this review copy
It does not matter how well Hello Games' improves and evolves the extremely ambitious No Man's Sky, it will always be considered one of the bigger disappointments in gaming history. This is due to many factors like Sony egging the developers on as well as the gamers can be blamed for not noticing the warning signs in time. We do not live in a world where a entirely procedurally- generated universe would ever work as well as expected, ambitious as it is it did sound a lot better than what the end result turned out.
Fast forward 2 years and Hello Games' deserve some credit, they have been grinding out new updates and fixes to No Man's Sky free of charge, as well as brought it to the Xbox. All of those culminated to the "NEXT" update.
One of the major problems with No Man's Sky is the way it was marketed... It was never really specified what type of game No Mans' Sky was trying to be. What it ended up being is a sort-of Space trader with elements of games like Rust and Don't Starve. You start the game when your spaceship crash lands on a unknown planet with you as a player having zero clue what to do. Apparently the updates have made your mission of finding the center of the galaxy as well as unearthing the secrets of the alien intelligence named atlas. Although this goal still is EXTREMELY vague!
To achieve anything in No Man's Sky you need resources. Your ship needs fuel as well as your spacesuit and your multi tool which is essentially a gun, scanner and gatherer. If you do not need all the resources you have gathered via exploring and using your multitool you can sell it off at trading stations for, hopefully, a good amount of profit. Unlike games like ARK your hunger is not an issue, in NMS only thing you need to worry about is your spacesuits' ability to withstand the extreme heat and cold of the various planets you explore.
It took me a rather long time and lots of forcing to initiate any form of combat and i was rather disappointed with it. Gun play is rather bland and flat, yet it is still easy. It is kind of expected with a game like No Man's Sky seeing as it's not a shooter. Secondly the game is too laid back to have its player do things you should do in shooters. The space combat is better, by better I don't mean great, just better than on-foot combat.
The thing that No Man's Sky really does well is the visual artwork. NMS can produce some tremendous vistas at times which can make you forget about all the grinding less than stellar game play! Realistic clouds float around overhead when you are on the planet surface with lush fauna and flora. Something I loved was how when you come in to land on a planet your ship passes through clouds which can be seen through your cockpit. As much as all the procedurally generated fauna and flora along with the string of dinosaurs, aliens and dragons look great their lack of any form of artificial intelligence becomes glaringly obvious rather quickly.
Multiplayer does make this rather bland game a little bit more exciting. I mean it is always better to be bored with a friend than on your own right?
When analyzing No Man's Sky the way I have now it is easy to think that it is a terrible game. At its core idea and build it has the best foundation for a game, only thing is that with all the updates and changes the foundation is all that has changed, it still has a rickety shed built on top of that foundation. Hello Games can possibly fix this with lots and lots of resources being invested into No Man's Sky but whether or not it would be worth the effort is where it gets tricky. In terms of potential No Man's Sky is endless! Maybe the problem occurred right at the start of this title's life when the hype was aiming at the stars but the end result struggles to get out of the earths' atmosphere...
The Razer Thresher line is known for its quality craftsmanship as well as sublime audio, so how does the wireless Xbox version stack up?
When the latest version of the Razer Thresher arrived at my desk I was extremely excited to try it out. I had previously given the Razer Kraken a go and I was neither here nor there... With the arrival of the Thresher I could give the wireless mid- to premium level headset a proper go. With this iteration of Thresher for Xbox being the first to make use of the Xbox Wireless protocol. This means that the Razer Thresher connects directly to your Xbox console. No dongles, no wires, no mess! Lets get into it!
From the moment you open the box of the Razer Thresher you realize that you have a quality piece of hardware. packaging is sublime and I couldn't wait to pull the Thresher out of its molded foam housing. It has similar design queues as the Thresher ultimate and the Thresher 7.1 but just cuts out some of the expensive bells and whistles to bring it in at around R1 700 give or take a few which is a very good price range to be in considering that its only big name wireless competitor is the Turtle Beach Stealth 600.
I have now been using the Razer Thresher for more than a week and it is easily one of the most comfortable headsets I have ever used. Razer is known for their top quality materials and the Thresher doesn't stray from that. The headstrap is made from light but sturdy metal while it features a floating headband which adjusts to fit most head sizes comfortably. The earcups are covered with thick high quality memory foam that allows for a surprising amount of breathing considering the leatherette-type covering. Earcups are also rather deep and roomy making for a comfortable space for normal ear sizes. One of the positives, but also part of the negative of this headset is the superb isolation effect the earcups offer. Blocking out most of the surrounding sound meaning you hear only what you need to hear and nothing else...including your own voice, but more on that later.
Sticking with the slick design of Razer, the Thresher as a completely retractable mic for when you are not in the need of communications. There are Razer logos on the outside of both earcups which light up (in green of course) when connected and ready for use, or flash when being connected or ready to connect to your Xbox One console. The PS4 variant naturally has blue logos.
All controls, power-on/off, volume, mixer and mute are all neatly tucked away at the bottom of the earcups allowing for easy to reach controls. With a simple press of the respective wheels you can either mute the volume through the headset entirely or mute your microphone which will be signaled by a nifty reg light at the end of the retractable mic.
The Razer Thresher really delivers when it comes to sound. The Kraken, the Threshers baby brother, left me rather underwhelmed by the volume as well as the clarity and destinctive-ness of different sounds. This is not the case with the Thresher. It delivers deep and thumping bass notes considering it is a wireless headset. Personally I always find that wired headsets seem to have a deeper bass note to wireless, whether this is true or whether its just my ears playing tricks I do not know. Mids are clear and even at low or high volumes the sound ranges don't bleed between each other meaning you get clear sound no matter the volume. Voices don't get drowned out by thumping bass or screeching highs. Where the Threshers really shone was when it came to party chat. No headset I have ever used has made a party chat sound this good! Mic doesn't pick up unnecessary noise making that noisy chips that you are eating less of a irritation for your fellow party members.
Overall there is not much wrong with this headset and you have to go really far to find one. The only problem I did have, and I did allude to it earlier in my review is the lack of Mic monitoring. For those who don't quite know what Mic Monitoring is the simple explanation is that mic monitoring simply takes what your microphone picks up and plays it back through your headset so you can hear what you are shouting to your team mates. Many people might think this isn't much of a hassle, and you would mostly be right. But the Thresher does such a great job of sound isolation that without mic monitoring I have had my wife come into the room asking me to keep my voice down on many late night sessions.
Another small disappointment is the lack of virtual 7.1, even though I am not a big fan of it, its a feature that many people love and the lack of these 2 features really makes the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 and the slightly more expensive Stealth 700 become a viable alternative.
The Razer Thresher could easily be in my favorite wireless headset in this price range but with the lack of virtual 7.1 and mic monitoring it moves into my top 3! If those features don't mean much to you and you are looking for a great sound landscape with unrivaled comfort and ascetic appeal, then the Thresher is a must have headset!
As always a very special thanks to Apex Interactive for generously providing this headset for review as well as making it available to become a prize of a lucky Early Axes member!
When most people think or hear Astro they think expensive, flashy premium headsets, and they are not wrong. the Astro A40 and A50 range are exquisite headsets, one being a wired version and the latter, a wireless version. Astro are known for making exceptional headsets and I, using the A40 TR's as my everyday headset, can vouch for that. You have to fork out some cash if you want to get into the Astro market... Until now!
The A10 ( and even A20) are both premium headsets priced in the budget and middle sector market respectively. So when the Astro A10's arrived at my desk from Megarom Interactive I was very excited to give them a go and to see how they stack up against its big brother the A40.
I was lucky enough to be given time with the Astro A10 with the M60 mixamp that plugs into the bottom of the V1 controller. The packaging is good quality as you would expect from Astro and inside the box you don't find much but a quick setup guide ( which is not really needed) the headset, mixamp with cable and a spare 3.5mm cable to use if you have a V2 Xbox One controller. Personally I would like a sticker or 2 so I can show off that I have a Astro headset.
Upon first inspection and feel the A10's feel light, yet not flimsy light that you would be concerned that they might break. Build looks and feels good, using hard plastics instead of the more chrome and metal approach of the A40 which is surely the reason for the distinct difference in price tag as well. The boom mic is fixed to the one side of the headset and can fold away nicely when not in use.
Comfort and use
Putting the Astro A10's on are very pleasant, starting with the earcups. They are nicely padded with good quality foam allowing for a snug and comfortable fit and good seal without making your ears get too hot. I do find the earcups being slightly shallower and smaller than the A40's but my ears never touched the sides or the inside of the earcups so normal ear size gamers should have no problems in that department.
The headband has adequate padding which is perfect for those marathon sessions. The headband, as advertised, is extremely flexible and can be bent and rolled in many forms but I did not feel comfortable testing this out but it is good to note that the headband allows for lots of flex so large heads or large hairstyles will be accommodated comfortably.
The M60 Mixamp which simply plugs into the bottom of V1 xbox controllers really is nice and simple to use. It comes with a simple 5 button layout, a volume up and down, a mute, which is centrally located and lights up when you are muted, and 2 mixer buttons allowing you to increase, in steps, the mix between game or chat volume. The only thing I would have liked to have seen on the M60 mixamp, like its bigger brother the M80, is a equalizer button. During certain games I found sound to be a little tinny, but after playing with the in-game sound settings I was fine. This would be a nice-to-have feature and makes tweaks easier.
Astro has a interesting design when it comes to their sound. When you buy a budget level headset from most brands you expect a budget sound. Astro takes this and throws it out the door. They have one 50mm speaker system that they use in ALL their headsets, yes if you have A10 or a A50 you are using the same speaker. That is why, for its price the A10 delivers top class sound.
Using the mixamp like previously stated needs a tweak or two to get the sound just right but from there they are amazing. I plugged the A10's into my PC first to try out some music. It is good to note that the A10's support Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic on PC and Console.
Sound is really spectacular, bass is deep yet not overpowering to the point that it may drown out the mids and highs. Mids are solid and clear and highs are sharp yet not ear piercing!
Going over to the mixamp and console gaming the bass takes a little dip but the crispness of the highs and mids are exceptional. Playing games like Rainbow 6 Siege I could hear the slightest of creaks in the floor or a spent cartridge from a rifle dropping to the floor, 2 rooms away! Alternatively when I went over to the dark environment of Vampyr the living and breathing 19th century London came to live with the A10's allowing me to hear the dogs barking in the distance and the scurrying rats from the sewers.
If you are looking for premium sound at a budget price I think the Astro A10's is a no-brainer. All round quality is superb and Astro after sales service is top class I have personally had great response and service from them. The A40 and A50's are visually more impressive and use more expensive materials. The A10's are visually more subtle but is distinctly Astro. All-round a good buy.
These are one of the lines that really struck me when I started up Vampyr. Vampyr, a game by DontNod studios, is set in morbid 1918 London right after World War 1 during the outbreak of the Spanish flu. As the name suggests, Jonathan Reid, you, are heading back from the war when you somehow turn into a vampire. I did find that in the early stages it felt like I had missed something in the story but nothing to put you off.
So as being a vampire goes you tend to have a insatiable thirst for blood. But what truly creates a predicament is that Jonathan is a doctor. The game does a great job of trying to tempt you into giving in to your primal instinct and lust to feed which will make you significantly stronger. Or do you stick to your oath of protecting human life... This is a major theme throughout your journey in Vampyr. The game tries to tempt you into feeding on helpless victims as it even gives you more XP. It says so during loading screens as well just to really try and tempt you.
This is where Vampyr really stands out. I was drawn into the dark environment and surroundings, yes the colours and palettes are gloomy and morbid but that's what you expect from the type of game. Upon closer inspection you will find the city is a living organism. Every single inhabitant you come across has their own person story and whether you choose to help them in a number of quests is completely up to you. No matter how large or insignificant their roles in the story seem, they all have a place and a repercussion to what could happen in the world if you choose to sink your teeth into them.
The narrative side of Vampyr is really strong, yes at times it treads on familiar and somewhat cliche grounds at time but that can be looked over easily as you strive to get behind what really happened to Jonathan and how he came to have his affliction and the eternal lust for blood. This is what made me resist the urge to murder every single inhabitant simply to grow stronger and have nothing stand in my way. No, I needed these people to help me piece together what really happened to me. Killing them doesn't always show you its consequences immediately either. I killed off a seemingly insignificant bar maiden and felt nothing for it. She was rude to me. I am a vampire. I did what any normal vampire would. Only much later did I come to curse my actions when her death triggered a significant impact on the story line.
Another aspect of Vampyr is the overall health system of districts in the city. Kill off inhabitants of the district and the general health will decrease. Until you reach a level where all manners of foul creatures will start to inhabit the district. This helps to hammer home the idea of not killing for fun as keeping the districts healthy as well as keeping yourself strong is a continuous balancing act.
DontNod really were being clever, you might wonder why, knowing what you know now, even kill off civilians? That way you keep the health up in all the districts and if you get stuck just lower the difficulty level. Oh no my bloodsucking friends, there is no difficulty level, if you are stuck somewhere, only way to get stronger is to feed. And we are back to the balancing act I have mentioned previously. The civilians are walking XP, and the more you interact with them the more you learn about their families. The more XP they are worth. Again, therein lies the foundation of Vampyr, do you harvest the XP from that beggar on the corner who has told you about how he lost his wife and child to the plague so that you can become stronger and make the game easier? Or do you grind it out and let him be?
On to the more functional things. Visually the game is stunning and disappointing at the same time. It is able to set a mood of dread that permeates through each of the districts. But it is this mood of dread that makes the game seem bland and colourless at the same time. The environments have been fleshed out spectacularly and they feel lived in and alive. I found voice acting to leave alot to be desired and lip syncing was not great.
The fighting system leaves a lot to be desired. It feels clunky and repetitive. You will find yourself dodging and hitting until the enemy is dead. Nothing special here. Vampire abilities do sweeten the pot a little bit but nothing to truly rescue the fighting system.
Vampyr could have been great, and it could still be if DontNod address the issues and patch them quickly. For the players who are looking for a narrative journey that will have to walking away still thinking if you made the right decision long after you put down the controller, then Vampyr is for you. Don't expect stellar combat and bright and vivid visuals. Prepare for moody and eerie beauty.
When the copy of OnRush arrived at my desk, specially sent from Apex Interactive, I was rather torn. I am not the biggest racing game fan, yes I do love cars and I do love gaming yet mashing the two together never really got my heart racing. More a slight flourish every now and then. But at the same time, who would give up the chance to put a free game into their console, fire it up and play it only to have to give your honest opinion on it? So off I went, opened up the cover popped it and did the small 2.4gb update, and off I went.
At a very crude level I suppose you can call OnRush a racing game, but that is the only thing it has in common with the likes of Forza and Need for Speed. In OnRush the aim of the game is not to beat your opponent to the finish... Oh no, in OnRush there is no first place and last place, or even laps for that matter. Simply a winning and a losing team, and the race itself is called a stampede. And that is a very accurate description of it. It is simply a mashup of cars that careen through a course causing destruction and mayhem at frequent intervals. This somewhat chaotic approach to racing takes time to get used to but once you accept that you are not going for hotlaps and fast sectors in OnRush the game has a certain charm to it that keeps you loading up another "stampede".
Another thing I quickly noticed was that during OnRush my acceleration button was firmly planted ALL the time. Most of the time in conjunction with the boost button, because speed makes everything better in OnRush! The boost can be generated in a few ways, namely, taking out other players, getting air, or doing tricks and barrel rolls on bikes or driving over dead drivers tombstones. If with all that you still find yourself without boost, the game provides literal "fodder" yes they are called fodder in-game as well, which you can take out and gain some boost.
Apart from the boost gauge you get your Rush meter, filling the Rush meter activates what is easiest described as your boost on steroids! The screen blurs and a aura appears around your car with the change of soundtrack which really sells the feeling of you truly blasting of after, or ahead of the pack. Although this Rush features surely sells the part of making you seem invincible but in OnRush you will quickly learn that you are far from untouchable!
There is also a fair amount of vehicles to choose from each bringing with them a set of advantages for example the Blade, a motorbike that leaves a trail of fire when you use Rush. The outlaw, drains boost from opponents when you pass them. Many more ingenious features have been built into the vehicles which I really think adds to the fun- factor of Onrush.
In OnRush you have 4 game modes at your disposal of which Overdrive is the most basic. The aim of OverDrive is to simply rack up as many points for your team by keeping the boost going, demolishing opposing team members or activating your Rush. This is a perfect way of warming up. Countdown is a race against the clock where each team is allotted 30 seconds to rack up points while driving through gates which give you a few extra seconds to keep going. Lockdown is the OnRush version of king of the hill. You will find a circle moving along at generally the same pace as the stampede and the aim is to keep your team in this circle for 5 continuous seconds, which sounds like no time at all, until you try it... Lastly you have Switch which ,like the name suggests, has you starting off with the starter vehicles like the blade or outlaw and with every wreck you are required to upgrade to the next class of vehicle until you reach the top class at which time your mission changes to elimination to get rid of the opponents remaining switches.
Superstar mode is OnRush's take on single player mode. Although it feels more like a tutorial to the multiplayer than a actual campaign. Did I mention you can Co-op with up to 6 people, that's a nice touch. Each mission is created and made to suite the vehicle given to you which is more of a way to familiarize you with all the cars and their abilities.
When I fired up OnRush I immediately felt some old-school Burnout in the mix and with the vibrant art-style it really gave me some Overwatch mixed in there, and even the menus all have a sense that the developers of OnRush definitely played a load of Overwatch, which is not a bad thing. Graphically Onrush is really good, it looks, sounds and plays like a game that is meant to be fun, and that is what it is. If you are looking for a serious racing sim-like game then steer clear of OnRush. If you want to join a few friends, cause mayhem and have fun OnRush is your game! OnRush will change the way you think of racing titles and that is, what I think, the developers were trying to achieve.
There is no other arcade racer like this. Period!
Thanks to Apex Interactive for being so generous and allowing me to try this game out.
E3 2018 has finally arrived and what a spectacle it has been! I will be writing a little bit about every developer and the titles that they bring to E3 everyday! So lets not waste time, no one wants to read my ramblings, you want to see the games! So lets jump in! ( see what I did there?)
for obvious reasons I am not listing every single title announced at E3.
ELECTRONIC ARTS (EA)
EA came to E3 with many of there games already mentioned or leaked in some way, shape or form. Battlefield V kicked the conference off mentioning that it will take on the Battle Royale gamestyle as well. DICE also teased one of the war stories of Battlefield V which will surely be great like the previous single player campaigns.
Next up was FIFA 19, featuring, for the first time ever, the Champions league! FIFA 19 is set for release on September 28, 2018!
Newly acquired, Respawn, teased a new Star Wars title named Jedi Fallen Order which is set during the dark times between Stars Wars 3 and far... And yes, there will be light sabers! Sticking to the Star Wars theme, Battlefront 2 is getting new content, mainly focusing on the Clone Wars. New maps, new heroes ( Obi-Wan Kenobi and General Grievous)
Next up was Unravel 2, picking up from the first one but building on the emotional journey of Yarny. This time bringing in some new co-op features that makes a already great title even better. To make it even better, Unravel 2 is available now on EA access! Get it now, grab a friend and enjoy the heartfelt saga that is Unravel 2!
Titles like Madden 19 , which is heading to PC for the first time in a decade, as well as NBA live 19 were also showcased promising bigger and better plays.
Last but not least was Anthem... Anthem is arguable the most anticipated title on the EA roster and they showcased some more gameplay showcasing multiplayer as well as strong RPG features.
Microsoft kicked their conference off with more than 50 titles on show! Smartly dodging the bi question about exclusives. First up was a Halo Infinite, it took awhile before any sign to prove it was Halo appeared but nothing says Halo quite like a shot of Master Chiefs' helmet. Phil Spencer said " greatest adventure yet"... And that is saying something.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps was up next delivering stunning visuals which will be coming somewhere in 2019. Sekiro: shadows die twice is a new title from FromSoftware and it brought fond memories of Nioh which promises to deliver a true masterclass in the mythical Japan which will be coming in 2019. Todd Howard from Bethesda made a unexpected visit to the Microsoft conference to show some more gameplay of the impressive Fallout 76. It really looks visually spectacular and promises to deliver hours of playtime. DontNod and Square Enix brought a suprise title to E3 in the shape of The Awesome adventures of Captain Spirit which, coming from the creators of Life is Strange, promises to be a thought provoking emotional rollercoaster. To make it even better this this game is absolutely free, and available right now!
DeepSilver delivered with their hauntingly beautiful Metro: Exodus. Building on the previous iterations and expanding and developing from it Exodus is bringing a massive and awe-inspiring open eerie wasteland while you will be battling off mutated creatures as well as religious fanatics! The long-awaited squeal to Kingdom Hearts is coming and it brings with it Elsa from Frozen. Sea of thieves teased releases of the next two expansion hoping to bring dwindling player count back. Microsoft newly acquired Playground games showed us Forza Horizon 4 which is set in Britain and is bringing the best open word racing experience ever! With amazing seasonal weather which affects all players and it is coming Game Pass at launch!
From here im going to run through the rest of Microsoft quickly:
PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds gets new content and map.
The Division 2 is officially announced and looks magnificent!
Xbox GamePass is pushing for a large amount of new games. New games available now: Fallout 4, Elders Scroll online, Division.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider gets gameplay footage which will blow anything and everything out of the water!
Session deliver the next best thing to Skate 4 with a true skating simulator.
Black desert Online is coming to Xbox with a Beta dropping soon.
Unexpectedly, a new Devil May Cry 5 was announced from CapCom stating: DmC is back!
Dying Light 2 brings parkour aplenty.
Just Cause 4 is back, chaotic as ever!
Gears of War 5 brings all that you would expect!
And last but not least as the conference was closing we were treated to possibly one of the best games coming in the future. very well disguised as you will see in the video was CD Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077! It was only a trailer with no gameplay footage but what we have learnt from the Witcher 3 is that when CD Projekt Red makes a game, they do it well!
Bethesda is known for its plethora of games and all of them with long histories ranging from the first consoles and early PC's. E3 2018 started with the sequel to the previous-gen masterpiece Rage 2. Learning and improving from the previous outing Rage 2 bring crazy characters, stunning scenery, awe-inspiring visuals mixed with all out chaos in the wastelands! Next up is a full-fledged sequel to one of the fathers of the modern day shooter, DOOM eternal! It did not show too much expect the tried and tested double barrel shotgun getting loaded and ready to do business! Prey was launched about 1 year ago and was met with great reviews for good reason and Arkane studios were happy to announce new DLC content for Prey, namely Mooncrash.
Bethesda was not done yet producing what was a rather big surprise to many in the form of Wolfenstein Youngblood, no more BJ Blazkowicz, rather step into the shoes of his twin daughters in the 1980's and see them take on the Nazi's same way their farther does! Fallout 76 was once again mentioned with some more details showing that this title will be "completely online" even though single player would still be capable.
Starfield hints at a FPS/RPG hybrid but we will need to wait for QuakeCon for more info. Beteshda closed out there conference with a simple teaser for Elder Scroll 6... nothing more than a aerial shot over a coast side land with the words Elder Scrolls VI.
Square Enix had a rather strange E3 conference. Starting out of the blue and having no one even speak apart from the intro. Because many of their titles had been mentioned before their conference I am leaving out the likes of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Just Cause 4, The Adventures of Captain Spirit, and the long awaited Kingdom Hearts 3. So lets get the ball rolling.
Dragon Quest XI was announced and charmed many with its quirky yet warm art style and role play. Dragon Quest XI is coming to PC and PS4. One of the few actual new games that were announced and looks truly promising is Babylons Fall, it depicts a host of pictures during the ages and ends off in a soldier, seemingly defeated, but at the last moment using his power to slice through his foe without lifting a finger... Nothing more has been said not even a proposed launch date.
Final Fantasy XIV X Monster hunter are not new to collaborations and this one will be nothing different. Expect some monster hunter in your FFXIV online. These events kick off later this year. The Quiet man was the last reveal from Square Enix and it was rather strange. It starts as live action and switches to, what we think is gameplay, of a deaf man beating up hoodlums in a alley... Did I mention he seems to be deaf? Coming to PC and PS4.
And just like that the Square Enix conference was finished
The Ubisoft conference was, as expected, completely and utterly crazy! It started with a massive display with dancers and bands, carnival style. Not only was this the intro to the conference but it was the reveal for Just Dance 2019. That jumped straight into the awe-inspiring, jaw dropping, face melting, dare I say i, most anticipated title of this generation, Beyond Good and Evil 2! Visually spectacular into movie followed with pre-alpha gameplay footage.
Next up was Rainbow Six Siege... Siege has had a unprecedented growth, the community is now 35 million strong. But what Siege wanted to showcase was not the game, but a documentary...Another Mindset. Ubisoft really took it to the next level with their announcements and Trials Rising was no different! Next up was some more news on Division 2. In a strange turn of events the next title shown was Mario Rabbids.
Skull and Bones was next and it looks spectacular! The cinematic trailer was simply spellbinding and this title looks extremely promising. Details were given on how looting works as well as how important the environment is from the weather to the tide to the trade routes! Check out some gameplay here.
Elijah Wood himself announced Transference a first person mystery where you need to jump between players trying to solve the strangeness happening around you. Transference comes to traditional consoles as well as VR. Starfox and starlink: battle for Atlas was next to make an appearance.
For Honor was also mentioned in the Ubisoft conference. Until next week, if you are playing on PC you can grab For Honor for free on Uplay! But that is not all, Marching Fire is bringing, what seems to be, the Chinese Dynasty to the mix. The Crew 2 was up next, with its Beta being available a little while ago the new teaser simply displayed more of what seems to be a immense open world racer! Open beta coming June 21st.
After its hiatus after some less than stellar titles Assassins Creed has come back with vengeance in the shape of Orgins. Now Ubisoft takes the next step and brings us the Roman themed Assassins Creed Odyssey! You have the option to pick from 2 protagonists, whichever you choose you play with that character for the whole game.
The Sony conference, as expected was going to be highlighted by a few key titles and Sony did not waste time with showcasing Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part II showcasing Ellie and how has grown into a woman, and a true killing machine. The cinematic trailer blends straight into some gameplay footage showcasing how truly amazing the title is going to be. After a brief intermission where they discussed Black Ops 4 as well as showed a new VR Tetris, it was straight back to the big titles with Days Gone which got a brief show straight to a strange looking Twin Mirror, next up a very cute looking Ghost Giant. Destiny 2 showed a different side of Cayde-6 as he sits staring down the barrel of a gun as the camera pans showing a broken and defeated wasteland the shot goes off and you hear what you assume is Cayde-6's body drop to the floor... The new Destiny 2 expansion called Forsaken.
After some strange flute playing we were treated to gameplay of the jaw-dropping Ghost of Tsushima. Not many games create the atmosphere of the ancient samurai times quite like this. Remedy did not give too much with a teaser for a title called Control. Which looks a lot like Quantum Break from what I can see. a Resident Evil 2 remake was very well received by everyone in the arena, coming Jan 25 2019.
Death Stranding continued its strangely beautiful display of story telling and spectacular story telling. Sony finished off with footage of Marvel's Spiderman and it looks simply amazing! Take a look and see for yourself but our friendly neighborhood Spiderman seems to have his work cut out for him, but he might have some help from a friend...
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. Facebook. Twitter
If you would like to see some of the cosplays that were at the convention please take a look at the gallery below.
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A special thanks to Aiden and Alex for taking the time to visit FANCON and flying the EARLY AXES flag.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
>>>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?
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.
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.
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.
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...
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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?
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!
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!
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?!
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?
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!!!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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 ;)
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
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
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.
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!
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!
Much can be said about Star Wars Battlefront 2. Good, bad and some neutral. So let’s start with the good.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some Bad News Below...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Once again a special thanks to Prima Interactive for supplying me with the game to review.
Reviewed by Ghost86
Edited by BigJapester11
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.
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 - gratisMay 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