No, Problemgon, New World is not “problematic”. You are.

[caption id="attachment_4238" align="aligncenter" width="300"] New World @ Amazon Game Studios[/caption]

Where do I even begin? This has been coming for a while now and I think I’ve finally snapped. I’ve reached the point where I can’t just brush it off anymore as it is having a blatant effect on the gaming culture and painting it in a bad light. For the last few months I’ve been seeing a lot of “controversies” (or “nontroversies” rather?) over video games as well as pandering to people pushing agendas within our gaming communities and I think it’s about time we as gamers start taking the blinkers off and taking note of this venom that’s seeping into our culture, because let’s face it, gaming is a culture.

 Take Amazon’s new game, for example, New World, which they are dubbing as a Survival MMORPG set in a 17th Centaury style fictional land about these explorers arriving and braving the ‘new world’ full of magic and danger. Many are comparing the game to Ark but I think it looks more like Conan Exiles had a love child with The Elder Scrolls Online or older MMOs from back before I knew what the internet was. There are the typical gameplay tropes you’d expect, surviving, crafting, building and exploring but mixed with hubs and character progression akin to traditional MMOs. I don’t want to go too much into the game as this article isn’t really about the game itself. It’s about the fact that upon reading two articles from two very different websites about the game, the one site has a brain when talking about the game and asking questions about the game with the intent to inform while the other site has an agenda.

  [caption id="attachment_4239" align="aligncenter" width="300"] New World @ Amazon Game Studios[/caption]

The two sites in question are Red Bull Gaming and Polygon. I’ll provide links to both sites so that readers can read them both and come to a well-informed opinion but I will be including screenshots of certain things I’d like to comment on. So, in the same vein agenda driven ‘journalists’ like to say, this is my hot take.

Polygon Article: https://www.polygon.com/2019/2/8/18216053/new-world-game-mmo-impressions-preview-colonization-controversy

Red Bull Gaming Article: https://www.redbull.com/za-en/new-world-amazon-games-mmo-interview

An attack on an 'island resident' the caption says, pretty sure that's a zombie...but okay.

 

New World is a Problematic game according to Polygon. Why? It’s set in a new world where players are colonialists who have arrived on the shores of this new world and have to survive. It is also the time of tailcoats and Tricorne Hats which appears to be a big no-no in world building these days.

[caption id="attachment_4242" align="aligncenter" width="229"] @Polygon[/caption]

The writer of the article even states that this setting, although draws from history is set in a fictitious region. So he's upset about a game set in a make belief world that just happens to pull inspiration from the time period. I may be going on a limb here but maybe some of these journalists may be writing down words and trying to make a fuss about something without realising what the words they are jotting down actually mean? It's good to know what words mean before writing something, just a thought.

   

I'm not downplaying history here. History is full of people killing each other for land or money or just for the sake of killing each other. Greed is at the root of all evil, that we can all agree on. Throughout history, all kinds of people have been inflicting harm upon each other. This world has and always will be a bleak place. But by this 'safe space logic', certain parts of history are taboo or at least drawing from them is problematic? These ideas infringe upon creative freedom though. Imagine if all storytellers were scared or banned from touching upon certain things because it may or may not step on toes. But alas, this is exactly what these people want. They want everything to be their way, to conform to their ideas because dare it triggers someone, oh no we can't have that.

The main thing here, or at least what the writer is trying to make the main thing, is the theme of the game. But let's just point out that there are no indigenous people in this game. This is a fantasy game where players have to explore a land untamed with danger. A world where magic is real and the corruption it brings is real too. Any reasonable person would agree that there were no zombies in America during the 1600's...

[caption id="attachment_4244" align="alignleft" width="171"] @ Polygon[/caption]

Oh geez, did Polygon just compare indigenous people to zombies? Isn't that a little counterintuitive to their whole rant here? Looking at the image to the side, the writer just compared Native American Indians to shuffling zombies to suit his reasoning to take a stab at the game. Maybe he has it in for Amazon or something? Maybe he didn't get a refund for a game that offended him? I am absolutely shocked that someone who is educated enough to string words into sentences and build paragraphs would make such a twisted and unfounded connection between zombies and indigenous people. By trying to find offence the writer ended up being offensive himself. The irony is as dense as the reasoning behind all of these nitpicks.

The lore of the game is similar to things we've seen in other games, like Path of Exile. The land is cursed or corrupt hence foul creatures emerge. But the writer of this article clearly wants to paint the picture that these withered creatures are an analogy for something. If you look for fault, you'll find it. That's how the world works. Are these people really progressive? I have to ask because looking at what was written there feels very regressive to me. Is he is going out of his way, beyond all reason just to try to look for something that isn't there?

This entire article is basically one big nitpick at the game but just wait, the pulling at straws gets worse!

Now there is some fact behind this writer, as soon as he starts to make sense he tosses it right out of the window though, as expected.

[caption id="attachment_4246" align="aligncenter" width="234"] @ Polygon[/caption]

Yes, the European Settlers had been exposed to some nasty germs which buffed their immune system, this is due to plague being ripe among overpopulation and/or lack of hygiene. Everyone knows that. And yes, when exposed to the germs that the Europeans carried it wreaked havoc on the population of the indigenous people.

The society at the time was very religious and they did write this off as a justification for everything that was going on at the time and for what they were doing. It was wrong, any decent human being will say it was wrong. But again, this game has no indigenous people. The zombies that do wander are former settlers who had come before and have turned into the wandering husks that they are now. There are no villages of indigenous people that players can expose to Cholera.

[caption id="attachment_4247" align="alignleft" width="271"] @ Polygon[/caption]

The game focuses on PVP between guilds. The game even allows players to create their own Settler determining their race and gender (whether these races are fantasy races like Drawves or Elves or just the colour of the player character's skin remains to be seen) that alone throws out the writer's earlier attempt of bringing race into the game. There's this trend where these game journalists try to nitpick a thing in a game and spin it as something political and when the developer they are talking to says it clearly isn't, the journalist rebukes them and goes on about how it clearly is because, well, you know, "I want it to be and also I need to make it so for the purpose of my article". That's the mentality behind this writer. I've seen this so many times and yet again, without fail, it happened again. Have to give them points for being persistent. I warn you, dear reader, the next image is so stupidly absurd that it may cause the death of some brain cells. I at least have the common decency to give a heads up before showing such utterances.

[caption id="attachment_4248" align="alignright" width="179"] @ Polygon[/caption]

Polygon, word of advice, if a developer says a game isn't what you are trying to make it out to be then it really isn't what you are trying to make it out to be. Now you're really just grasping at straws. They say that the devs are at fault for making these analogies (which is utterly absurd mind you) and the community are a bunch of bigots for enjoying the game but isn't it funny how the only people who are complaining about this and reaching far and wide to pull at these straws are the writers at Polygon and sites like them? It's like they really want it to be the case so that they can have something to rant about. Some could argue it's all about getting clicks on their site but looking at that article I pick up signs of delusion, maybe at first these articles were designed to generate clicks but I think the clickbait game has played the players who play it. They try to depict that the gaming community is so intolerant but when one looks at the community as a whole we clearly aren't. We don't care about who loves who, who believes what or what someone looks like, we just want someone to chase that sweet Victory Royale/ChickenDinner/Apex Champion Status with.

Gaming is a diverse community and a South African Clan,  named F2O, is a testimony to that. They have brought together so many people from different backgrounds and have formed a bond like family. So no, there isn't an intolerance for diversity in gaming, there's an intolerance for bullsh*t.

The only ones who are divided are people like this who write articles like the one shown above with intent to divide. The players who got into the alpha joined looking for fun and not a sensationalized political agenda and low and behold, they are a lot happier about it.

  [caption id="attachment_4249" align="aligncenter" width="281"] F2O Gaming @ Facebook[/caption]  

Talking to a fellow writer on this site about this made me realize something, after reading this article and the article by RedBull Gaming he said how reading the Polygon one was actually draining. The article was about 95% of the writer wanting to be offended but not being able to articulate a rational argument while the last bit briefly informed him on how the game is. Whereas the one by RedBull Gaming was actually informative and a joy to read that created hype for the game.

[caption id="attachment_4250" align="alignleft" width="246"] @ Redbull Gaming[/caption] Here is an example of how different the writing is compared to the agenda driven one that was shown previously. As I said and I'll say it again, the one writer had a brain. The other had an agenda. Are we going to let agendas taint games? Must all developers walk on eggshells for these apparent gamer sites that try to find social injustices in everything? Here's a grand philosophy, I don't think the folks over at these major game news sites can truly grasp this so it may be a mind boggler, but maybe...just maybe video games are a form of escapism from the harshes of reality and we play games to enjoy them rather than be fed a political agenda/message or look for things to nitpick at? Oh wow, mind blown. The crowd goes "ah" as this groundbreaking realization is revealed to them.  If I ever get to interview the devs of this game I hope I get to talk to Patrick Gilmore who was interviewed by both parties and ask him what actually went through his head when he was asked that ridiculous question by the Polygon journalist. Because I'd really like to know. And if anyone at Polygon saw this, I'd undoubtedly be labelled as all sorts of nasty things because well, firstly I don't share their opinion and secondly, as a fellow writer of all things video games, I'm calling them out on their misguided and agenda-driven 'journalism'. (if we can even call it that..)        

Well to them, I'm sorry if my abundance of common sense offends you.

New World is expected to have a beta in the coming months but no official announcement has been made as of the current time of writing.

Read more

Just Cause 4 – Familiar, in a bad way!

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

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

  Image result for megarom
Read more

Interview with Toy Photographer Eric Ruiz

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?

https://web.facebook.com/ErbigToyPhoto/?

 

All images provided and owned by Eric Ruiz.

     
Read more

Spyro Reignited Trilogy Review

Image result for spyro   I have many fond memories of a certain little purple dragon named Spyro and playing the Reignited Trilogy was a welcome walk down memory lane with a beautiful new flare. The graphics, colours and cartoony art style are all just amazing to look at. From Spyro’s cute animations to the scenery of the levels, the modern technological advancements have really breathed a new flame into these games. The game is gorgeous, there are no two ways about it.   Image result for spyro   Also, the audio has been done over. The voice work is so much better. I remember the odd breathing between words in the older Spyro I played way back when, as if the mic was too close to the speaker but this time around the voice acting is done so much better even though a lot of it can be awkward when characters say things like “press the action button to do this!” But overall, the voices are so much clearer now. The music has also been remastered too which makes the catchy tunes more dynamic although there is an option to switch to the unedited music which is a nice feature.   Image result for spyro   Other than the graphics, voice acting and some altered controls from the original, not much else has changed. The game still plays like the old one. The controls have been altered to the better though. In the original, the bumper buttons panned the camera which was just awkward, this time the analogue sticks control the camera which does make it game feel easier than what memory serves but it is a much welcome change. Other than that, it’s still that action-packed quick thinking platformer that was adored all those years ago. With a drive to get 100% completion on all levels, players will find secret areas where they can experience mini-games or collectibles. In the first game, I managed to get 100% completion on one play through and get the secret level completed to leading me to 120% completion. But Spyro 2 is where the harder work began. That’s where the replayability starts as you only acquire certain skills to get to secret areas later on in the game.   Image result for spyro This remaster comes with the original three games, for those who didn’t know. All made dolled up for this generation of consoles. One can clearly see the amount of love and passion that the dev team, Toys for Bob, has for Spyro just by looking at the game. It’s nice to see these fantastic games made for a newer generation and for us old-timers who hold onto better days.   Image result for spyro   Although the gameplay may be considered dated compared modern games, Spyro in its remastered form still holds its own, although not an open world sandbox, the early stepping stones to that genre can be seen here with hub worlds that have portals to levels which can be done in any order the player chooses. It feels unfair to rate Spyro according to the modern-day mechanics which do promote more openness and customization. So I’ll be rating Spyro: Reignited Trilogy as a remaster and as far as remasters go, it gets a 10/10 from me.   Written by Mr Groovy B   Image result for 10 out of 10 stars
Read more

FIFA 19 Review – closer to the Beautiful Game

The Fifa franchise is easily one of the most-loved franchises around.  To gamers and non-gamers alike, we have all, at some time in our lives, played a couple of rounds of Fifa.  Whether it be out of choice or whether it is after a long night out and a couple of friends grab controllers and start up any of the Fifa versions.  Early Axes has always been a fan of Fifa, not to the point where  we would sit and play every day.  When Prima Interactive gave us the code to the latest Fifa 19 we were very excited to really go deep into the latest outing in the Fifa-franchise which now has the UEFA Champions League license.

The Journey Continues

  Image result for fifa 19 720p   The last time we laced up our boots was with Fifa 17, and that is the last time we spent time with The Journey.  Many people prefer games with some sort of story and Fifa's The Journey brings that story to a otherwise great sports game.  You take control of Alex Hunter, his kid-sister Kim, and best friend Danny Williams as they each go through their career and possible career in football.  You will need to make choices which affect the story in subtle ways.  Be it making a conscious decision or a brash emotional decision.  The decisions affect the way your manager, coach, the public and your fellow players feel and act towards you.  During your journey you will have rival players in your own team which as you interplay with them more and more, your teamwork will increase making you play better alongside them.  As in the previous Fifa Journeys, you have to attend team practices during the week which increases stats.  The Journey also allows you to customize your player with clothes which is seen during the really well scripted cut scenes which are used to progress the story.   Image result for fifa 19 720p   We are simply loving The Journey.  The gameplay is extremely smooth and there are some nice added features such as flicking the ball to a teammate when receiving a pass under pressure.  Add even more minor tweaks such as body feints, precise ball controls and more, comes the same opposite effects.  Balls bouncing off chests and knees when you don't time your flick just right will see the ball roll away and into a opponents grasp more often than not.   Above all the new tweaks added to Fifa 19 the new animations is just phenomenal and makes the game play fantastically smooth.  During the roughly 16 hour long "campaign" which plays through 3 consecutive running storylines you will help Alex adjust to the life of a superstar at Real Madrid.  Help Kim through the struggles of being a 17 year old football prodigy in the USA womens team at the World Cup.  And finally Danny, as he struggles with staying in a team as well as being compared to his estranged older brother.  

Game modes  and Features Galore

Image result for fifa 19 uefa 720p   Fifa 19 also focuses more on realistic passing, gone are the days of just simply passing to the fastest player on your team and watching them round the whole team to score goal after goal.  Passing now requires you to create space as well as perfect your pass strength.  Lots of emphasis has been placed on strength, physically strong players will no longer be able to run attackers off the ball and steal it. The biggest addition to this years' Fifa outing is the huge addition of the UEFA Champions League.  All the drama of the Europe's Top Club Competition is on offer.  The instantly recognizable music and graphical overlays that are used throughout the season is perfectly done to create a perfect realistic feel.  The level of detail, which in Fifa's case has always been amazing, is simply breathtaking making it feel like each match could be one happening in the real UEFA league right this moment.   Image result for fifa 19 720p   Player models and details are also ever improving from the beads of sweat during a game, to the fog and even snow that changes the feel of the game completely!  If it is a windy day, loose fitting jerseys can be seen fluttering in the wind. The UEFA Champions League and its little brother, the Europa League, are seamlessly woven into all modes including career mode.  Kick-off mode which has been stagnant for very long also sees a complete rework delivering new modes such as House Rules which sees rules, some of which come straight from the playground, such as Headers and Volleys while some bring more chaos to the beautiful game such as " no rules" which as the name suggests makes everything acceptable.  Jumping onto the Battle Royale wagon Fifa 19 brings Survival mode.  Survival mode sees random players being ejected from the scoring side which in theory sees the trailing team gain the advantage.   Related image   FUT returns to Fifa 19 with even beefier content.  Play the Journey and you will unlock FUT content.  There is now also live content updates in forms of FUT-cards.  These new modes go a long way to spice up the rather stale normal game modes since its launch with Fifa 97.  It is still unclear whether these game modes will hold much interest in the months to come after launch due to them being available (strange as that may be) offline, this being said these modes are a welcome addition seeing as the pro club and career mode seems to be virtually untouched.  Another nice touch added to FUT, albeit largely untouched, is Division Rivals.  Division Rivals has you compete against players of similar skill level for weekly rewards.   Image result for fifa 19 house rules

Final Verdict

With a plethora of new modes and additions really beefing up an already fantastic series, FIFA 19 is able to build on last years outing in significant fashion.  Although not all of these additions might hit their intended mark they do however more in the correct direction making the franchise better with each outing.  The addition of the UEFA champions league, house rules and the new Gears-of-War-esque shooting system definitely does enough to get players, old and new, to buy FIFA 19.  Although we all know that FIFA fans would have bought FIFA 19 no matter what the reviews read.  The Journey adds a good, albeit scripted, campaign which I personally enjoy.  EA Sports have really catered for a whole new market with their Journey-like campaigns in other sporting titles as well.  Old fans will quickly jump into career and FUT, while more casual players will love the Journey as well as the house rules which is perfect when you have a couple of mates over!  Nothing says boys night quite like Fifa-night!   Image result for 8/10 stars  

Special thanks to Prima Interactive for supplying this review game

Image result for prima interactive  
Read more

State of gaming in SA

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

Unearthed: Upcoming South African multiplayer FPS

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

Elex – Review

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

Xbox Games Pass List

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

[Updated on 29 September 2017]

Current Xbox Game Pass Titles

Xbox One

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

Xbox 360 (Playable on Xbox One)

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

Path of Exile – Review

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

Classes and skills

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

Gameplay and Combat

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

Overall impression

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

Razer Wolverine – the New kid

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

Headset Review – Astro A40 TR

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

Xbox One Tips and Tricks

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

3 Open World Games To Keep an Eye On!

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to become an Insider:  Sea of thieves Insider

2. ELEX

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

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

Read more

Fantastic masonry blog

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc commodo ligula id fringilla posuere. Ut convallis magna a mattis congue. Curabitur commodo sit amet odio mattis varius. Curabitur vulputate condimentum lacus non interdum.
Read more

Sunrise blog post

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc commodo ligula id fringilla posuere. Ut convallis magna a mattis congue. Curabitur commodo sit amet odio mattis varius. Curabitur vulputate condimentum lacus non interdum.
Read more

Running man post

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc commodo ligula id fringilla posuere. Ut convallis magna a mattis congue. Curabitur commodo sit amet odio mattis varius. Curabitur vulputate condimentum lacus non interdum.
Read more

Man in a hat

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc commodo ligula id fringilla posuere. Ut convallis magna a mattis congue. Curabitur commodo sit amet odio mattis varius. Curabitur vulputate condimentum lacus non interdum.
Read more

Woman in a car

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc commodo ligula id fringilla posuere. Ut convallis magna a mattis congue. Curabitur commodo sit amet odio mattis varius. Curabitur vulputate condimentum lacus non interdum.
Read more

Manhatan bridge post

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc commodo ligula id fringilla posuere. Ut convallis magna a mattis congue. Curabitur commodo sit amet odio mattis varius. Curabitur vulputate condimentum lacus non interdum.
Read more

Shouting in blog

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc commodo ligula id fringilla posuere. Ut convallis magna a mattis congue. Curabitur commodo sit amet odio mattis varius. Curabitur vulputate condimentum lacus non interdum.
Read more

Another blog post

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc commodo ligula id fringilla posuere. Ut convallis magna a mattis congue. Curabitur commodo sit amet odio mattis varius. Curabitur vulputate condimentum lacus non interdum.
Read more

Beautiful masonry blog

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc commodo ligula id fringilla posuere. Ut convallis magna a mattis congue. Curabitur commodo sit amet odio mattis varius. Curabitur vulputate condimentum lacus non interdum.
Read more

Fantastic blog types

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc commodo ligula id fringilla posuere. Ut convallis magna a mattis congue. Curabitur commodo sit amet odio mattis varius. Curabitur vulputate condimentum lacus non interdum.
Read more

Fantastic blog view

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc commodo ligula id fringilla posuere. Ut convallis magna a mattis congue. Curabitur commodo sit amet odio mattis varius. Curabitur vulputate condimentum lacus non interdum.
Read more

We are Altus

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc commodo ligula id fringilla posuere. Ut convallis magna a mattis congue. Curabitur commodo sit amet odio mattis varius. Curabitur vulputate condimentum lacus non interdum.
Read more

Blog post without image

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc commodo ligula id fringilla posuere. Ut convallis magna a mattis congue. Curabitur commodo sit amet odio mattis varius. Curabitur vulputate condimentum lacus non interdum.
Read more