Category: PC

Review: Thorium 100 & 300 Series Offer Gamers A Real Alternative

Thorium 300                               GmP                 image 1

Thorium 300                               GmPWith the popularity of videogaming never before reaching such dizzying heights as it is right now the demands by gamers on manufacturers and companies to create ever better technology and peripherals to fuel their single and multiplayer cravings have never been greater.

Naturally with increased resources and research going in to making these ‘next generation’ of PC and console gaming accessories there is an undoubted rise in cost by the companies charged with their invention. This inevitably results in steeper prices for the consumer as rising manufacturing bills and production costs have to be accounted for.

With this in mind it is with great pleasure that we bring to you all a joint review of the Thorium 100 and sister product the Thorium 300, gaming keyboards. These cut price peripherals are just the latest in a procession of budget options for gamers everywhere by the UK’s biggest and best independent technology and gaming retailer eBuyer.

Now we know what you are thinking, ‘budget’. It is now that many readers will recoil almost in mock horror at the very word like some kind of outraged scalded cat, but we are here to tell you that consumer-programming and indoctrination by advertisers aside; ‘budget’ does not have to mean ‘bad’.

Designed and delivered by Element Gaming, although the 300 series is the only specifically touted as a ‘gaming keyboard’, the Thorium range is perfectly suited to the needs and requirements of gamers from the casual, ( Thorium 100 ), to the more hardcore players among you, ( Thorium 300 ).

Ergonomically and aesthetically gorgeous in their sleek black shell the Thorium 100 and 300 keyboards both share a similar size that opts for the larger proportions as opposed to the dinky-digit portable nightmares such as the Razer Tartarus. ( and at a whopping £76 for what is little more than a chat pad stuck on a Tesco’s pricing gun you start to wonder where some of these companies get the figures they charge for these fads from? )

But, we digress!

Thorium 100                               GmPThere are some differences in the design between the Thorium 100 and the Thorium 300, in that the ‘true’ gaming model ( the 300 version ) has a far larger wrist support for those longer bouts of MMO mayhem,, as well as offering up a multi-facetted feature set for macro’s that is a must have for any true PC gamer.

Of course, as with any QWERTY keyboard the main thing to worry about are the button themselves, and coming off the back of he favoured Logitech keyboard’s for this review we have to be perfectly honest with you all when we tell you that the Element Thorium’s ‘both’ have outdone themselves with surprisingly efficient models that have perfectly sized buttons that give ideal response and resistance when depressed.

In fact this pair of delights has been nothing less than ‘surprising’ all round when you consider that their nearest ‘gaming’ rivals are all priced way above the meagre £9.95 for the Thorium 100 and the paltry £24.99 for the Thorium 300. But time and again with the Element Gaming keyboards you will soon discover that this is a pleasant sensation and one not unlike when you hear a boxing commentator describe a great fighter being usurped by a contender ‘punching well above their weight’

Both wired, both offering 50g of pressure and both bringing affordability to the gaming crowd the Thorium 100 and Thorium 300 do have similarities, but it is also in the differences that they have unique strengths too.

Take the features offered by the Thorium 100, for example:

WASD keys with a free ‘key pulling’ and replacement tool. Extremely easy key travel: meaning that you get the same instant response times,  between when you depress a button and the time it takes for the action to appear on screen/monitor,  in a Thorium 100 that you would  find in a keyboard with a much higher price tag.

But the staggering thing is that when you get all of this comfort and performance in a keyboard costing less than a couple of grilled chicken sandwiches at McDonalds.  ( we kid you not )

But wait, there is more.  Much more!

Thorium 300                               GmP                 image 1Just when you thought that Element Gaming couldn’t possibly outdo themselves for bargains and tech at affordable prices they go and throw the Thorium 300 into the melting pot and give gamers everywhere a genuine reason to be cheerful and think that Christmas has come a couple of months early.

Jumping up a definite division and taking on the heavyweights with a lightweight RRP comes the star in the Element Gaming range. The Thorium 300 is, without a doubt, the very best of all the affordable keyboards we have tried, and believe us when we tell you there have been may, ( and yet, none were around the price of the Thorium with the vast majority of what their manufacturers describe as ‘budget’ peripherals actually coming in at around the £40-50 mark )

With a much larger set up the Thorium 300 is easily the most comfortable of the two keyboards thanks to its wider base-board allowing for the housing of additional macro buttons on the left of the QWERTY keys, as well as the highly practical built-in wrist protector on the lower segment. There is also the added functionality of the top section ‘menu bar’ that allows users to form presets for their favourite homepage, search engine and email provider on one side, and also video playback and volume controls on the other.

All of the buttons are softly lit using pleasantly shaded LED’s, and this means that users can comfortably perform keystrokes without eyestrain for late night or darkened room gameplay. No need to worry about software and updates, either, as Windows 7 and 8 both auto-install everything you need to keep your new Element Gaming keyboards operating at optimum output.

Lastly comes the the wired USB cable which comes in the form of the much preferred threaded cable. ( as opposed to the basic plastic cover of the Thorium 100 ). This type of detail is, more often than not, only ever found on keyboards, mice and headsets with a much higher price tag, and yet Element Gaming have included it here in what ahs to be accredited to them as a nice touch.

All told the new Thorium range from Element Gaming is  a  fine opening slvo for this fledgling company, and will, we are sure, be the foundation of a gamer favourite, should this standard of care, product performance and finish be added to all of their future products.

Both keyboards performed well under testing in both the standard office atmosphere as well as in the online arena. The Thorium 100 is more than capable of delivering for casual gamers playing browser based and simpler format titles, and the Thorium 300 more than handled anything that Diablo 3, World of Warcraft, League of Legends and Path of Exile threw at it.

number 7 pool ballIf you are looking for an entry level keyboard before setting off an that eternal path to gaming Nirvana then we can highly recommend the Thorium range, particularly the 300, as your starting point. The build is more than capable, and will not let you down in moments of pure panic and stress when you are surrounded by legions of the undead during heavy battles in Diablo 3.  At less than £30 what more could anyone ask?  Scores on the doors for the Thorium range look a little something like this:

Thorium 100 is worthy of a sturdy 6 out of 10and the Thorium 300 achieves a well deserved 7 out of 10. Do NOT be fooled by the price, these are keyboards that will stand you in good stead regardless of the task you set them.

To take a look at the entire Element Gaming range and place your own order for either, ( or both ), of these cracking keyboards then click here to be whisked on over to the eBuyer website.

Mythborne Launches First Open Beta Server

Mythborne 1         GmPGlobal games publisher R2Games has announced that its newest free-to-play browser title, Mythborne, will soon be entering its Open Alpha phase. To celebrate the launch, the game will be holding a series of in-game events to help players get acquainted with all the game’s features and systems.

The Mythborne Open Alpha test is set to close on Friday, September 12th at 00:00 EDT, after which all character and account data will be wiped. The Open Beta server will go live on the same date, on September 12, 2014 10:00 AM EDT.

Mythborne is a 2.5D browser-based RPG, loosely based on ancient Greek mythology. The game features turn-based battles determined by attack speed, and the ability to recruit and deploy multiple Heroes to join players in battle. As well as five available classes with unique skills, Mythborne includes core systems such as Character Upgrade, Hero Recruiting, Dungeons, and more.

To play Mythborne, go to http://myth.r2games.com/.

Learn more about Mythborne here:

Official website: http://myth.r2games.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mythborne
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mythborne

The Open Alpha test will close on September 12th to give way to the new version

Farming Simulator ( 2013 ) review

Farming Simulator 2013           GmP Gaming    image 1Giant Software return to the rural life with their latest Farming Simulator title. But is this to be another bumper harvest, or can we expect some premium manure? Let’s find out as we take to the tractor in the latest GmP review.

For those readers out there who think that videogames are little more than all action first person shooters or generic sci-fi romps through darkened stricken spaceships full of blade-handed bad guys or flesh-eating monsters then may we advise them to raise their heads from the latest flavour of the month Youtube commentator and maybe turn their attention to the more social side of the videogaming community as a whole.  There are literally a whole wealth of alternative’s out there for gamers to enjoy without having to sit through yet another science fiction schlock horror, or, Heaven help us, one more overtly jealous Call of Duty clone trying to emulate the shooters online success.

One such option is the sedate pacing and the simulator genius of Giant Software’s Farming Simulator series of titles. Launched in 2011 this third outing for the in-depth take on the highs and lows of  rural life takes players through the entire range of emotions that befall real-life farmers and small holders every day of the year. Players must get their hands dirty performing even the most mundane of tasks from ploughing, seeding and planting and, ultimately, the harvesting of crops, right through to taking stock to market, selling, bartering and the buying and selling of not just agricultural machinery and parts, but also the hiring and firing of farmhands too. One thing is certain in the life of a farmer, be they digital or flesh and bone, and that is that no-one can say that there is never anything to do.

The game itself is a high quality mix of solid graphics and a well-balanced control system stretched across an immense amount of in-game play time. Expect no less than ‘days’ being logged when you enter into your Farming Simulator career, as opposed to those meagre hours being offered up by those titles who seem to be getting shorter and shorter with every passing year, Farming Simulator bucks that trend and just keeps on having more and more added to its repertoire.

You begin your chosen path by taking control of a modest small-holding located at the centre of your world’s play area. For such humble beginnings there is a just the right amount of tools, machinery and livestock required for you to get your farm up and running. Of course, Giant Software have been canny in their introduction to the pastoral way of life by making the opening harvest an instructional that acts as a refresher course for those familiar with the series, but also as a Tutorial Mode for those novices and newcomers to the Farming Simulator franchise.

Farming Simulator 2013           GmP Gaming    image 2With that players will be tasked with getting to grips with machinery and vehicles such as the tractor and combine harvester, as well as learning how to add different attachments to the vehicles to better cope with the varied tasks necessary for everyday farm life.

But as any farmer worth his/her salt will tell you there is a lot more than just machinery and maize to deal with if you want to be competitive in todays agricultural markets. There are the livestock to consider most of all. Will you specialize in beef? What about our equine friends? Or poultry? And will you have the necessary funds and feed to keep your stock healthy and happy so that they stay productive and prudent expenditures?

The format for your free roaming farmer is one of open world opulence and wanderlust as you are permitted to quite literally go where you please in search of required tasks and mini-games. But, be warned: There is a staggering amount to do in this rural realm, and Giant Software live up to their name by inputting a wealth of objectives into their latest title.

So, then, off you trot to your small holding; dungarees’ freshly pressed and work boots newly polished as you get to grips with your opening chores in the games rather excellent Career Mode. With little more than a few fields to til, and a handful of hens to cluck over you will soon discover that you have to plough, see, harvest and then sell your crops in the local market before building up enough wealth to expand your little empire.

To merely dismiss this as ‘all you have to do’ in Farming Simulator is much akin to saying that ‘all you have to do in Call of Duty is fire a gun’. There is so much more to this game than merely sticking a wheat sheaf in your mouth and muttering ‘innum’ to passing ‘townies’.  Farming Simulator is a far cry from many people’s idea of what it takes to work the land, and nothing like the image you have in your head when you consider a videogame based around the subject.

Modern day farming has moved on a great deal from smock covered yokels in straw hats, and nowhere is this more plainly evident than in Farming Simulator. Players have a wealth of tools, machinery and vehicles at their disposal to better assist with their empirical assault on the agricultural world. There is even the opportunity to employ AI-controlled ‘farm hands’ as an alternative labour saving and time/cost efficient method of allowing the player to multitask and complete several objectives at the same time. This is actually an imperative tactic relatively quite early on in the game, as players soon discover that managing and maintaining an ever-expanding small holding is a hectic and punishing schedule.

Farming Simulator 2013           GmP Gaming    image 3So,back to the action we go and it’s another early morning start for our cyber ‘Farmer Palmer’ as we begin to increase the size of our holding with land purchases, expansion and extensions of the outhouses and barns, as well as upgrading the current vehicles from any one of the available 100 that developer Giant Software have put on offer for your perusal.

One complaint with the vehicles, however, has to be addressed and that is the dashboard and ‘clocks’ that should offer up all manner of the expected data players would hope to find in a real-world version of the motorized transport at hand. Unfortunately, and in a game that prides itself on being a ‘simulator’, this is ere the ‘sim’-ilarities end as the digital vehicles have no such indications of speed, rev counter, fuel gauge and the like. A shame, really, in a game that, even though not the most graphically powerful title, still does offer up a realism that is somewhat lacking in other simulator titles.

One nice addition to the updated Farming Simulator format has to be the PDA which permits players to access a wealth of information at a mere touch. Everything that the modern-day small holder could ever hope to find is contained within its technological ‘brain’, with the player able to check on stock prices, shares, weather forecast, financial statements and accounts, machinery and repair status and a whole lot more besides. The PDA could well be the saving grace for the ‘blip’ that is the lack of detailing in the vehicles, such is the ease of use and the near unlimited access to all of the relevant information you require.

Rather surprisingly Farming Simulator is not just a single player affair as developer Giant Software branch out with an online community that allows players to assist each other, for financial compensation naturally, with many necessary jobs and tasks around each others acreage. But we offer fair warning to those ‘trolls’ looking to bring mayhem to the serene world of the more sedate multiplayer experience. Just as the PC version of Farming Simulator has its own fiercely loyal set of fans, so to do the console, ( and even the handheld ), versions.

number-7-pool-ballTo summarise, then, is to genuinely have our eyes opened to the fact that there is still far more choice out there to the gamer fed up to the back teeth with bombs and bullets, aliens and lasers. Farming Simulator is surprisingly entertaining, and extremely in-depth, I its approach to the modern world of agriculture. The graphics are capable without being too detailed, the gameplay may well not be blistering, and nor will any of the vehicles be challenging the hot lap at Monza in F1 2013, but nevertheless it is still very much an engaging affair that has its rightful devotee’s and legions of admiring followers.     7 out of 10

 

Developer:                      Giant Software

Publisher:                       Focus Home Interactive

Version Tested;              Xbox360

Rating:                             7 out of 10

 

Dragons on the march!

Dragons Prophet   GmP Gaming   image logo 1The day of the prophet draws nearer – it’s only a few more weeks until the highly-anticipated MMORPG Dragon’s Prophet launches. Berlin-based publisher Infernum and developer Runewaker are still working very hard to provide players with new updates and improvements. This week, Infernum presents a brand-new trailer showcasing the numerous tactical opportunities within the Frontier System, which was shown to media representatives during gamescom, as well as new game features that will find their way into Auratia with the official launch of Dragon’s Prophet on September 18th.

Currently there are more than 1,000 guilds deeply immersed in preparations for the massive cross-server PvP battles and are
already forging alliances to take control of the floating islands. Only the strongest and most cunning of them will emerge victorious from the territory wars and be able to gather valuable resources as well as enjoy other benefits. For example, the ruling alliance can raise taxes, regulate the rental prices for player houses, and significantly modify the infrastructure of the floating islands. In addition to that, defensive towers, mining facilities including NPC controlled caravans that transport resources, as well as monsters guarding the strongholds, allow alliances to create unique and distinctive realms.

More details about the different phases during the territory war as well as the plentiful options available to ruling guilds will be published in the upcoming weeks.

Further information including the Dragon`s Prophet game download can be found on the official European Website.

Call of Duty®: Black Ops II Vengeance DLC Pack Coming to PlayStation®3 and Windows PC on 1st August

Call of Duty Black Ops 2Vengeance can belong to PlayStation®3 and Windows PC players when Activision and award-winning developer Treyarch makes its third epic Downloadable Content (DLC) Pack for the record-breaking Call of Duty®: Black Ops II available. Vengeance takes players to exotic locations around the globe and also serves up a new chapter to the Zombies experience with “Buried” where the undead residents of an abandoned subterranean Old West mining town have come back to claim their home.

 

Call of Duty: Black Ops II Vengeance delivers four new, diverse multiplayer maps:

  • Cove: The stage is set for all-out conflict on this small, forgotten island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, with players battling it out amongst the wreckage of a jet that crash-landed during a smuggling operation gone wrong.
  • Detour: A destroyed suspension bridge, high above an East Coast waterway, packed with scattered vehicles, exposed iron and collapsed pavement where the head-to-head action will play out on multiple levels.
  • Rush: Get ready for fast, close-quarters engagements in this paintball course turned full-combat arena, giving players new opportunities and challenges to use the cover to their advantage.
  • Uplink:  In this re-imagined adaptation of the fan-favourite multiplayer map “Summit” from the original Call of Duty®: Black Ops, players clash deep in the rain-soaked jungles of Myanmar, high atop a hi-tech mountain facility.

 

Treyarch continues to expand the Zombies story world in imaginative, mind-tripping ways with “Buried.”  Once players meet up with the four survivors of Tranzit, they’ll begin to encounter the undead residents of an abandoned underground Old West mining town.  A healthy arsenal of equipment and weapons will be at players’ disposal, but with one very special addition – something so powerful it will also appear in all other Call of Duty: Black Ops II Zombies maps (with the purchase of Vengeance DLC) –  the Ray Gun Mark II.

 

Call of Duty: Black Ops II Vengeance DLC Pack is available al a carte or for download by season pass holders. Call of Duty: Black Ops II game (sold separately) is required to play this Map Pack.

SteelSeries Sensei Raw Gaming Mouse review

SteelSeries Sensei raw               GmP Gaming        image 1The latest range of products from award-winning manufacturer SteelSeries has left gamers from all corners of the industry in no doubt that this is a serious play for total domination at an affordable price by the critically acclaimed team. The Sensei Raw Gaming Mouse is a perfect example of design and durability combined with form and functionality, and all at a wallet-friendly fee. Let’s take a look into this ambidextrous delight a little closer as we bring you the low down on the high points of SteelSeries’ newest addition to their gaming family.

Following up on the success of the original Sensei mouse was never going to be an easy task for any product designer. It’s user-friendly, ergonomic curves were beautifully balanced against the excellent positioning of additional feature buttons and their undoubted practicality. Well, let us rephrase that statement a little, shall we? ‘ Following up on the success of the original Sensei mouse was never going to be easy for any other design team’. Fortunately, the men and women at SteelSeries are no ordinary ‘techy types’.

Moving away from the glossy finish of the elder statesman of the Sensei range, the ‘Raw’ comes in with a more down to Earth and gritty approach as it takes on a decidedly more rubberized matte finish. Of course the pleasing aesthetics do not end there as those gamers who are found of a more ‘futuristic’ feel to their peripherals will be pleased as punch, no doubt, with the pulsating SteelSeries emblem beaming its logo out from the hand plate of the mouse like some kind of technological timing of a cybernetic heart beat.

Naturally the easy on the eye looks of the Sensei Raw are not the only good-looking things abut the latest mouse from SteelSeries, as once again the sheer practicality of its design marries perfectly with its functionality.  Unlike a good many other gaming mice on the market the Sensei Raw has opted for the simplistic and uncluttered approach, as opposed to some of the more multi-buttoned monstrosities of the less ‘cultured’ of the peripheral manufacturer’s out there.

SteelSeries Sensei raw               GmP Gaming        image 2Although the Sensei Raw has dropped the on board ARM processor unit of its older brother, something that users will not bat an eye at, it does at no time ever dampen its performance or hinder the player in any shape, way or form. Just as the Sensei Raw now has only one colour throbbing in its chest, unlike the many millions of shades of grey of its predecessor, the Sensei Raw still outshines the original in all area’s thanks to the dazzling list of specifications as shown below:

Features & Specifications Here are the basic SteelSeries Sensei [RAW] features and specifications by the numbers, courtesy of SteelSeries.

  • 7 programmable buttons. Practically speaking it’s 2 (the 2 thumb buttons).
  • White LED lighting: DPI indicator, scroll wheel, and the SteelSeries Logo
  • Black glossy or rubber coating.
  • 125/250/500/1000Hz polling rate
  • Up to 5760DPI (dots per inch)
  • 2 DPI modes (“High” and “Low”)
  • Support for programmable macros and multiple profiles
  • APM (Actions per minute) measuring system
  • Weight: 90 grams (0.2 lbs)
  • Height: 38.7 mm (1.5 in)
  • Width: 68.3 mm (2.7 in)
  • Length: 125.5 mm (4.9 in)

As is clearly demonstrated by SteelSeries, with their detailed coverage of the innards and workings of the Sensei Raw, this latest gaming mouse is more than capable of standing up against any one of the heavily muscled MMO specific ‘uber mice’, whilst at the same time being easy enough for even the mot novice of PC gamer to take advantage of as they blaze a trail through something as basic as Angry Birds.

It is in this universal appeal that best describes the Sensei Raw’s true potential, as whether you are a gamer, or not as the case may be, the Sensei Raw is more than capable of stepping up to the plate for even the most busy of hands.

During the actual testing of the review unit we put the Sensei Raw through its paces with a lengthy bout of League of Legends, World of Warcraft, DoTA, Battlefield 3 and even ARMA 2. To say that this sexy little unit performed admirably is to totally understate the ease with which the Sensei Raw took care of every task and trial thrown at it, even during the more tense moments of a particularly raucous firefight in Battlefield 3, as well as a fractious assault during League of Legends.

SteelSeries Sensei raw               GmP Gaming        image 4The Sensei Raw then went on to prove its worth in the practical arena as we then adapted its functions to the more mundane and every day tasks required by millions of people in businesses and offices around the globe every single day.  The ‘Raw’ coped with this particular ‘challenge’ with the rightful disdain it deserved as its handily placed additional  ‘programmable’ buttons, which are situated along the mouse on both the left and right side panels, brought the same kind of instant easy access to imperative commands to make extremely light work of everything that was asked of it.

Of course, the extremely controllable scroll wheel, and handily placed additional ‘wheel button’ just below it, make for fast, sharp movements that are complimented by expansive sensitivity zones of the two main mouse control buttons at the fore front of the unit.

It is rare in this day and age to find any kind of product, especially one that has been targeted at a particular market, that operates at the same optimum performance in anything outside of its designated area, but the Sensei Raw has managed to not only break the mould of this stifling tradition, but to reshape and rework it to its own ends, and in doing so SteelSeries have managed to produce a gaming mouse that can be used by the customer at any time, and for all tasks on their PC.

Again we point out that it is because of this ease of use that the Sensei Raw should be the first port of call for not just the more avid and experienced PC gamer, but also the casual and novice players, as they are able to become better acquainted with its handling and performance as they use the mouse for the more day-to-day requirements of a PC user before they break off for a quick round or three of DoTA or Call of Duty.

Before we venture further, however, we simply must point out the second to none  performance offered up by the unification of the QcK mousepad and the Sensei Raw,  as the two peripherals produce a staggeringly wide range of movement of the cursor for what is, in effect, barely a tweak of the wrist or the touch of a hand as users are greeted with a panoramic approach to the gameplay area to be affected by even the slightest of player movements.

This is complimented greatly by the sheer pinpoint accuracy and delicate precision that the two SteelSeries items produce when used together. Because of this we cannot recommend them both highly enough.

SteelSeries QcK mousepad    frostbite blue           GmP Gaming        image 3When used in conjunction with the simply supreme SteelSeries QcK gaming mousepad it becomes blatantly obvious, to even the first time user of a SteelSeries product, that the two work in perfect harmony with each other. This is thanks in no small part to the beautiful finishing of the QcK and its specially designed non-slip rubber base and intricately woven cloth top section. But when you add to that the sheer silky smooth glide of the Sensei Raw, with its High performance UPE material covering a huge proportion of the underside base area, then the Raw becomes easier to handle than any other mouse we have covered to date.

Everything about the Sensei Raw screams ‘user friendly’ at you from the top of its rubberized lungs. Macros become a walk in the park as the Sensei Raw shrugs them off with relative ease, allowing the player to create and control even the most complex of command tree’s with the merest of button depressions or flicks of a non-sweat slicked digit. However, if you are the type of person who thinks that racing stripes really do make cars go faster, and that more buttons really do make you a better MMO player then the Satsuma Twunt Funster FX Behemoth is out there on Amazon somewhere just awaiting your £250 checkout.

This brings us nicely to the crust of the biscuit, the cost of the Sensei Raw. SteelSeries have done the unthinkabkle, in terms of manufacturing in the videogame industry at the moment at any rate, in that they have managed to make a simply spectacular product even better as they revise their original Sensei into the peripheral powerhouse that is the Sensei Raw, and then giving it a jaw-droppingly amazing £47.99 price tag! Simply outstanding by anyone’s reckoning.

So, then. We come to the final summary, and where to begin? Do we mention that the Sensei Raw has removed unnecessary features in favour of a more slimmed down and sleeker machine? Or do we opt instead for the fact that this new design has totally revamped an already stellar reputation and taken the orbiting respect of SteelSeries even higher into the realms of the stratospheric?  Perhaps we should mention that achingly gorgeous range of movement and precision again, or maybe the eye-opening price tag in an age when every penny counts?

Truth be told…it is not one ‘single’ thing about the Sensei Saw that should be outlined or highlighted as a ‘deal maker’, as what the unit does it does to the very best of its abilities, and far in excess of even some of its far pricier rivals we hasten to add. Rather it should be pointed out that it is all things combined that make this gaming mouse by far and away the stand out choice that see’s the Sensei Raw towering head and shoulders above the competition, as well as becoming the clear favourite in the 2013 Editor’s Choice Awards for the more discerning PC gamer.

GmP Editor ChoiceIt is the design, it is the form and functionality of this beautifully and painstakingly crafted mouse, it is its accuracy, range of movement, pricing, additional features, specially crafted materials and purpose designed features that make the Sensei Raw the stand out product of a highly competitive market. But what it isn’t, however, is about doing one thing better than anyone else, it’s about doing all things equally to deliver a flawless performance, and Steel Series have cracked it with the Sensei Raw gaming mouse and QcK mousepad. But more so, it is the in the way that the guys and girls at SteelSeries have managed to bring all of these highly practical functions and facets together in one perfectly built peripheral, ‘that’, good GmP readers…THAT, is why the SteelSeries Sensei Raw, as well as the SteelSeries QcK mousepad, score a truly justified perfect 10 out of 10

 

Omerta:City of Gangsters Review Its more ’10” Calzone than Don Corleone!’

Omerta      GmP Gaming  image 1Kalypso Media take gamers back to the time of Fedora’s and Tommy Gun’s with their latest strategy title that combines RTS elements and classic top down turn based shooter action, but will Omerta:City of Gangsters be making you an offer you can’t refuse, or will it be sleeping with the fishes? Let’s find out in our latest review.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if someone ran riot with a creative crayon and turned Farmerama or The Sims into a bloodthirsty gangster game that has more in common with the Godfather and Saints Row than the digital version of Desperate Housewives or ‘corn rows’. Well, it sounds better than it plays as Haemimont Games, the critically aclaimed developers of the award-winning Tropico series, do just that and give us a gangster game that suffers more from a split personality than it would care to admit.

Set during the Prohibition Era of the roaring Twenties and Thirties in the fictional US city of ‘Omerta’, this ‘City of Gangsters’ leads Xbox360 and PC gamers by the hand as Omerta takes players on an XCOM styled adventure. Although the plot may not exactly be bursting with originality, or have some of the most convoluted storylines, it is still, nevertheless adequate enough to set the scene for future missions and objectives. But this is as good as the compliments get for the City of Gangsters.

You play as ‘The Boss’, a shadowy character fresh from Sicily settling into a new life in the land of opportunity that is the good old ‘US of A’.  How you come to be there is up to you, as you are given a choice of three back story ‘plotlines’ that read like something out of the Good Mafioso Handbook but really have no bearing on the proceedings past, present or future. . This build up of the back story comes during the games initial character and profile creation sequence, where players get to choose the name, origins and attributes of their ‘Boss’. Don’t worry too much about the selection of such things as ‘toughness’, ‘strength’ and ‘street smarts’ as, truth be told, they actually make little to no impact during the gameplay that we could tell.

Moving on, then, we come to the opening ‘tutorial’ of Omerta, such as it is, and are offered up a quick insight into the games controls, which are standard RTS styled only streamlined so that they may be effective for the console players. Although it may well seem that the instructional ‘level’ can take a good hour or so to complete, the actual nitty-gritty of getting used to the controls, the recruitment of additional men and the format of objective allocation between your newly enrolled thugs and gangsters is pretty much standard fare across the board and could have been settled in half that time, or less?

The heart of Omerta lies in its strategic basis, but where the developer has also incorporated the use of a top down turn-based shooter format in certain area’s of the game, such as when your character is asked to free an ally from the clutches of a rival gang during one of the titles tutorial missions, then it becomes clear that Omerta is ‘six of one and  half-dozen of the other’ as it wanders around aimlessley not really knowing if it wants to be an RTS or a shooter title?

Omerta      GmP Gaming  image 2This is a recurring problem throughout the game, as just when you get settled in to one style of play the game will invariably change the format and so, once again, you will find yourself having to manage a situation with a different set of controls than the set you have previously become accustomed too. Not that it is a huge issue, mind you, and certainly one that’s not any kind of deal breaker, but these ‘cross genre’ titles never sit that comfortably with us, and we would much prefer that a developer settled in for one definitive style as opposed to releasing a hotch potch collection of maybe three or even four.

Nevertheless we continue on our life of crime by first dipping our pint glass into the warm ale of illegal alcohol trafficking with a spot of theft and bootlegging. This, it would seem, was the staple of most 1930’s era gangsters, and Haemimont Games have stayed true to the tale by allowing gamers to continue in the time-honoured tradition of ‘Bugsy’ styled villainy. So, one quick trip to the local ‘Informant’ later, as this is where you will acquire most of your local info and knowledge of the available ‘jobs’ and ‘premises’ that are up for grabs, and we are off to the local distillery for a spot of five-finger discount. ( although we have never quite understood this term as surely it should be ‘four finger and a thumb discount’? But, then again, it doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue as silkily as its in-bred counter part ).

After a successful night of breaking and entering in the local Beer Factory our gang of crooks, well, it’s really just you and your newly recruited partner in crime, we set off into the sunset to offload our ill-gotten gains at the local ‘speak easy’. These hotbeds of debauched ‘anything goes’ action are the night clubs of the day which housed gangsters and molls in equal measure, so it came as quite a shock to us when we discovered that it was not the shady ‘madame’ run establishments and illegal drinking dens that were to be the centre of our criminal empire. Oh no!  In fact, the base of our operations for urban expansion into the league of local villains in Omerta was not any of the usual stereotypical sin laden brothels or Bowery’s, but in fact it was to be that veritable ‘lynch pin of criminal king pins’, that ‘school of hard knocks  for hard cases’,the…..erm,    ‘pizza parlour’?

Wait a minute, what? ‘Where!?’

That’s right folks. Forget what you have seen in a myriad of James Cagney movies, suspend all belief of all that you have read and observed during hours of research into the life and crimes of Al Capone, the innocuous ‘pizzeria’ was really the place where underworld leaders plotted and planned for regional domination. All those nights you watched The Soprano’s, all those wonderful episodes you TiVO’ed of Boardwalk Empire were all wrong. Because it wasn’t luxury 5 Star hotel rooms at the Plaza where plans were hatched by megalomaniac masterminds such as Mya Lansky, it really took place over a ham and pineapple cheesy puff crust at the local Pizza Hut. Seriously, Haemimont? I mean, come on…? Seriously?  This is more Don Calzone than Don Corleone!

Omerta      GmP Gaming  image 3The entire game has been committed to retail after what has to be a list as long as your arm of shocking oversights by a lack lustre quality assurance team of half-hearted play testers who, for the life of Haemimont, need to be shown the door as quickly as possible. Simple things such as being able to see in the darkened area’s of poorly lit buildings is a must, if you can’t see what you are doing and where you are doing it, in a visually interactive entertainment medium, then all hope is most certainly lost. But to have the guys that you employed to let you know these issues are causing problems doing littele else but merely holding up their thumbs and sniggering like school girls when you ask if everything is okay is a tragedy waiting to happen.

Just how the QA team at Haemimont Games are not being held accountable for allowing the makers of such sterling titles as the Tropico series to publish a plainly broken title such as Omerta is beyond us.

Clunky mechanics, tired gameplay and a storyline thinner than a Pete Doherty promise of abstinence at his weekly probation officer meeting all make for a truly dire trip down memory lane for any gamer who expected to be taken back to the Thirties for a rousing romp through shoot outs and turf wars. Players do little more than command a few pixels to enter into bland looking ‘buildings’ and then wait for the ‘ping’ to alert them of an objective completion like some kind of microwavable mission clock for the mentally challenged.

We really wanted to like Omerta. So much so, in fact, that we have since tried to play through this  game again after scrapping the first review because it was littered with expletives and ranting remarks that made for about as enjoyable a read as Omerta played for the gamer. There really is nothing that we can say that even remotely approaches a positive for City of Gangsters that would come off as anything like believable.

Omerta, as an RTS, would have worked, had it been minus the stunted shooter segments. Well, when we say ‘shooter’ what we really mean to say is ‘miss-er’, as it is doubtful that we ever hit anything that we were ‘aiming‘ at? If, indeed, ‘aiming’ is what we were doing, and not the top down equivalent of a turn based ‘spray and pray’?  But, for some unknown reason, the developer instead opted to bring what is, in effect, a PC dominated genre across to the console player? If even the mega successful Halo franchise couldn’t get the console gamers to get interested in the real-time strategy genre then, trust us, nothing will! But then to tack on, in what had to be an after thought, a top down shooter section of gameplay is just unfathomable?  Has any console had anything that even remotely approaches a smash hit with a top down title? Let alone a top down shooter?  Maybe the Sacred series could claim to be the King, or Queen even, of that particular crown, but ‘shooter’? Not on your life.

Console gamers want fast paced, in your face action! Omerta has neither. Console gamers want blockbuster, Hollywood style shooters such as Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty, or they want scream-fest survival horrors like the upcoming Dead Space 3 to give them their third person fix of fantastic storylines and graphics, and for the open world experience if your title isn’t coming close to a Divinity or a Skyrim then you may as well save yourself the trouble and just pack the game straight off to the Bargain Basement and hope for a ‘Cult Status’ to bring you some modicum of success and financial remuneration.  Omerta has none of this.

number 3 pool ballIf Haemimont Games take this back to the drawing board and tears out the top down nonsense, rips away the RTS and just concentrates on giving gamers what they want, and that is a gangster title where they get to actually ‘play’ as a gangster,  maybe something like an RPG where players are able to build up their character as they progress through the ranks?, then maybe, just maybe they will be able to save this franchise? If not? Then the only thing the drawing board will be calling them back for is a complete change of direction.  Omerta:City of Gangsters could well take this years ‘Goose Egg Award’ and its still only February.  3 out of 10

 

Omerta City of Gangsters:  PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360                   (   version reviewed   Xbox360 )

Developer: Haemimont Games

Games Publisher: Kalypso Media

 

Razer Tiamat 7.1 review

Razer Tiamat 7.1         GmP Gaming   image  3Following up on our glowing report of the Razer Naga Hex gaming mouse, with the champion controller receiving 2013’s Editor’s Choice Award we now move along to its ‘partner in crime': The Razer Tiamat 7.1 Surround Sound Wireless Gaming Headset. So, cancel your current order for whichever set of cans you are thinking of purchasing and settle in for an eye-opening review of what are quite possibly the sweetest sounding ‘headsets’ this side of the pro gaming circuit.

Well, what can we say? Usually when we begin to review a new set of products from a manufacturer that we are not too familiar with we always come across at least one ‘fly in the ointment’ of their range of goodies. But if Razer continue in the same vein as they have started, then the only fly this company’s ointment seems to be a bionically enhanced hybrid capable of supersonic flight and with laser cannons surgically implanted onto both wings.

This hot streak of must have hardware is kept on its even keel with the latest headset from the gamers gaming manufacturer, with the simply outstanding Razer Tiamat 7.1, This delectable delight, complete with the first ‘true’ surround system ever installed into portable headphones, has raised the bar for the industry standard for what gamers have come to expect from their peripherals by such a considerable height that rival manufacturers have complained of requiring crampons and climbing equipment just to stay in the race.

The first thing you notice about the quality of the Tiamat products are the packaging that houses your sparkling new headset.  No ordinary shrink-wrapped nightmare that leaves your fingers bruised and bloodied after repeated slashings and stabbings as you fumble helplessly with a Stanley knife trying to free you new headphones from  their wrappings, oh no! Just simple style and elegance that starts from the moment you peel open the left to right box, and continues with uniform regularity right throughout the entire Razer Tiamat 7.1  unboxing and product design.

One cannot help but to notice from the moment you free the Tiamat 7.1 headphones from their snug mounts, the sheer quality that permeates every pore as you soak up the sleek presentation and second to none product build in almost osmosis fashion. The Razer ‘cans’ shout their intentions from the rooftops with their larger than life appearance, but with the audio bleed that it is barely noticeable to even a friend who is quite literally being carried ‘piggy back’ style across the room, the only person to hear the call is you.

Boasting a sturdy framework of both high-end dura-plastcs and tough wearing synthetics the Razer Tiamat 7.1 pulls out all the stops as it marries the latest technology with gamers desires and wants when it comes to in-game audio and voice chat capabilities.  The headband is flexible, yet hardy enough to withstand even the most bitter of rage quitting tantrums, and the actual ‘braided’ cabling itself, which runs from the headset to its highly attractive ‘control panel’ and then on to the PC, ( or even the Xbox360 should you not mind foregoing the surround sound? ), is far superior to just about any other unit within a relative price range, thanks to its ‘corded’ texture and quality.

Razer Tiamat 7.1         GmP Gaming   image 1Before we go further we must pay special mention to the attached ‘control panel’ as this is where the ‘magic happens’, to quote every celebrity show off on MTV Cribs. Sturdy in its build, the control unit is just the right size to nestle comfortably beside you, as you play on either monitor or connected HD TV or projector screen. Razer have got the dimensions of this device ‘just so’, in that it is neither too big, nor is it too small….but ‘just right’. Kind of like the Goldilocks of the gaming headsets if the breaking and entering trespasser was testing out headphones as opposed to porridge.

The format for the control unit is simple, and yet effective, in that it has three main buttons that deal the delights with each depression bringing new heights of aural pleasure to your enchanted ear drums. The first offers up the option of muting the stereotypical ‘trash talker’ with their now tiresome tirades of ‘heard it all before’ nonsense.  So, if you have ever fallen foul of those ‘Ventrilo Comedians’, ( and we use the term ‘comedians’ in its extremely broadest sense of the imagination ), then you will know all too well just why a ‘microphone mute’ button can be a blessing to all.

The second button on the control unit is the speaker ‘toggle’, whilst the third option brings forth unprecedented levels of audio amazement hitherto unexperienced by may, in that it allows the user to select either the 2.0 or the simply spectacular 7.1 ‘true’ surround sound. We highlight the word ‘true’ because, to our knowledge at least, the Razer Tiamat 7.1 ‘is’ the only gaming headset to offer up a genuine 7.1 surround sound experience, even though there may well be others who claim to just that.

Of course, there is also the ‘usual suspects’ of volume control, with the sexy looking stainless steel dial, as well as the volume ‘toggle’.   It has to be said, however, that the Tiamat 7.1 does allow for compete control of its volume and speakers with its simplistic approach to available buttons. But to be fair to Razer this far easier to understand format of giving the customer the best performance with just a few mere depressions of singular switches and/or buttons, is far better, as well as being in stark contrast, to the myriad of controls, sliders, toggles, buttons and graphic equalizers of, say, another famous gaming headset manufacturer, who shall remain nameless but lets just call them ‘Terrapin Sands’ for wat of a better word.

Whistles, lights, loud noises and the like are all well and good, but when all you want them to do is the job that they were designed for it comes to something when they are out performed in all area’s by three buttons and a volume control. Says a lot, though, don’t you think?

The volume knob on the Razer Tiamat is a solid stainless steel affair, which, in a handy addition to its main function, you can also press to mute any ranting no-mark coming through to spoil your game. The toggle switch is another remarkably useful, as well innovative, feature. Users can use it to quickly alter from the Tiamat’s individual speakers ( which are positioned either in the front, center, side, sub or rear of both of the headsets stylish earcups ). But the fun doesn’t end there, not by a long chalk. There is also the major advantage of users being permitted to ‘manipulate’ not only the main volume, but also the mic volume also, resulting in each of these volume levels acting independently of each other for a genuinely game enhancing performance. There is also the mysterious looking illuminated fascia around the volume control which glows with an eerie green hue as you increase or decrease the volume, as each notch produces or removes another single Jade coloured ‘bar’ that allows users to know the exact level of their system. The speaker and headset ‘toggle’ is yet another example of an excellent idea executed perfectly in practice. There’s also the micro-USB port, housed at the rear of the control unit, where users can insert the speaker input dongle, ( this item is also included with the headphones ‘out of the box’ ). Once you plug your speakers in, you can automatically swap between headsets and speakers with the merest click of a single  button.

Razer Tiamat 7.1         GmP Gaming   image 6Moving on to the ‘piece de resistance’, so to speak, and we now come to the bit we have all been waiting for, the ‘earcups’. This truly is where the real magic takes place, and with a staggering 10 individual drivers making up 5 speakers in each earcup it is no surprise why. The Razer Tiamat 7.1 is a true masterclass in gaming design ‘by gamers for gamers’, and even though it may indeed sound a little corny to use Razer’s own tag line when reviewing their products, when it comes down to the fact that Razer are the only company employing gamers to ‘listen’ to the wants and needs of ‘real’ players, and then passing along these research findings to other ‘gamers’ to then design and manufacturer the resultant products, who are we, then, to argue otherwise? If that’s corny then book us all on the next day trip to the land of the Jolly Green Giant, because if there was ever one person we would have wanted to design and build our perfect peripherals it would be a ‘gamer’. Case solved.

Nowhere is this claim that Razer products are indeed designed by gamers for gamers more evident than in the earcups of the Tiamat 7.1 headsets. Sporting a mouth-watering 40mm Sub Woofer, 30mm CCAW Voice Coil for the front of the headset as well as the rear, and  another pair of 20mm Side and Rear Surround Sound Speakers that all unite to bring a symphony of harmonious headset Heaven that, we guarantee, will be quite unlike anything that you have eve had the distinct pleasure of experiencing during your time spent in-game on any title past or present.

The final nail in the coffin of the Tiamat’s rivals has to be the retractable mic that pulls out of the earcup like a hidden dagger from Ezio Auditore’s sleeve in Assassins Creed. Strong, flexible, practical and yet invisible should you opt for the silent approach when paying your game of choice, the Tiamat 7.1 gives it users the choice of whether or not they even want the mic stalk to be deployed, without, it has to be argued, the possibility of damage, as is the case with a number of the Tiamat’s competitors as the go the alternate route of allowing the mic to be removed altogether. We do not like this, and instead, prefer the Razer approach as it is always the way of things that items that are removable or always breakable and ‘losable’.

The drivers in the Razer Tiamat 7.1 have been so designed to allow them to produce a staggering level of ‘three dimensional’ audio output that is as unsurpassed by any of its rivals as it is crystal clear in its clarity. This ‘3D sound effect’ permits players to get a real sense of perception and depth to their gameplay, as not only does it grant the wearer the ability to pick out individual sounds such as footsteps or rifles and weapons being readied, but it also allows players to better judge the direction from which the encroaching enemy is coming from thanks to this unparalleled performance by the five strong gang of gorgeous speakers.

Yes, we know that the price tag is around the £150 mark, depending where you go to of course, ( but we have to say we can only recommend that when you are purchasing something for that kind of money, that you do so from the manufacturers own website or stores simply because of the better guarantee of genuine products and replacements should there ever be anything to crop up further down the road ), but the simple fact of the matter is that you get what you pay for. Should you decide that you only want to shell out around fifty quid for a headset then welcome to the wonderful world of ‘meh’, with its easily damaged products, vanishing guarantee’s and even more invisible after-sales team to assist you with queries and issues.

The Razer Tiamat 7.1 is set at that price for a reason, and the reason is a simple one, because they are worth it! If you happy with mediocrity and suffering second-rate products from morbid manufacturers then good for you, knock yourself out on the latest 4Gamers or Power A ‘Asda Own Brand’ bargain basement knock off and all of the multiple trials and tribulations that they bring with them.  Not to mention the fact that those gamers who often settle for inferior products are the said same gamers who, invariably, end up paying more in the long run on replacements after their ‘Average Joe’ items constantly break and let them down, as opposed to the sensible gamer who opted to fork out the price of admission to the ‘Razer Zone’, and only had to do it once because they are still wearing the same set of headphones that they bought long after ‘Joe Bloggs’ is on to his sixth or seventh set of ‘Aldi’s Finest Phonics’.

Although the message to gamers regarding the expense may be a stern one, it is, nevertheless, a sound piece of advice, and one that readers would do well to heed in all aspects of life.  You only get what you pay for, and if you pay peanuts then you get a product designed by monkeys. It really is as simple as that.

The Razer Tiamat 7.1 is worth every penny of its very reasonable asking price, in our humble opinion, and should you make the wise decision to invest in a set of these stunning ‘cans’ then we can assure you that you will be enjoying all of the features, functions and peerless performance that this headset offers long after other less reputable manufacturers have since been bought out by Samsung and are now consigned to history.

GmP Editor ChoiceQuite literally the Razer Tiamat 7.1 is second to none, but could quite well be master of all. The output produced by the five strong collection of speakers in each earcup, combined with the sheer style and quality inherent in the build will leave you with a satisfied smile on your face every time you pull these comfort driven delights onto your ears when you play, as opposed to other gamers who opted for a rival choice and are left with nothing but ‘buyers remorse’.  This is the second of the Razer range that we have brought to you in as many days, and it is also the second Razer product to be presented with our Editor’s Choice Award for quite simply being the most spectacular PC headset we have had the pleasure of putting to the test in its price range. The Tiamat 7.1 continues the new tradition of top marks for the Razer range with a maximum 10 out of 10

 

 

 

 

Razer Naga Hex Review

A gamers favourite falls under the critical gaze of the GmP review team today as we take a look at one of the top peripherals for pro and amateur players alike with the Razer Naga Hex. This magnificent mouse is the next step in a virtual gaming revolution from the manufacturer who prides themselves on being ‘By Gamers For Gamers’, something we ourselves have something of an affinity with. So, ever onward then with the latest low down on a high-end gaming gadget that should grace every serious players station.

It’s not often that we get to review a product, here at GmP, that takes little to no introduction. Don’t misunderstand us here, we know that you, our readers, all know your Mad Catz from your Gioteck’s, and your Turtle Beaches from your Triton’s. But if we were to say, ” what about your Cyborg’s?”, or maybe ” what about CTRL? ”  Would you even know what in the Hell we were talking about? Exactly!  Because, dear readers, even though you may know the company behind the products, to name the peripherals themselves would, more often than not, leave all but the more hardcore element out there with a bemused look of wide-eyed ‘WTF?’ on their faces. But, in the same breath, if we were to say to you all, ” Do you remember the Onza? “,  or how about ” Have you seen the sexy looking Deathadders? ”  Then, to a gaming man or woman, the vast majority of you will hold up your hands ‘a la the Great Cornholio’ as you mock bow like some kind of Beavis and Butthead clone chanting ” We’re not worthy! ”

And that, good GmP gamers, ‘that!’ is the difference right there!

Making waves in the manufacturing market, thanks in no small part to some of the finest third-party peripherals that your hard-earned money can buy, Razer, the gaming company run by gamers, for gamers and actually being used by gamers, have been smashing it out of the park ever since their arrival on the scene back in the heady days of 1999, when even Prince could not have partied any better than these guys after wining yet another monster collection of awards and accolades for yet another corking collection of simply stunning hardware.

Razer Naga Hex         GmP Gaming   image 2The first item up in our rundown of the Razer goody roster is the stellar gaming mouse, otherwise known as the Naga Hex. This multi button, multi function, multi-tasking marvel gives gamers the competitive edge when taking on the challenge of all comers in the MOBA battle arena, or to those players who just like to spend their days dishing out devastation and destruction to the massed armies of whatever foe they are currently taking on in their favourite gaming experience.

Sleek in its design, and as sexy as Jade Raymond in a Catwoman outfit, the Naga Hex has, just like its Ubisoft counterpart, all its curves in just the right places. Perfectly suited for long periods of extended play, thanks to the ergonomically enhanced outer shell that permits the players ‘paw’ to nestle gently on top of the coveted controller, much in the same way it would if said hand was ever to caress the curves of the lovely Miss Raymond, the Naga Hex has the looks as well as the ‘cooks’ under the hood, so to speak, to keep this recipe for success simmering just nicely in this melting pot of style and technology.

But, all Gordon Ramsay-eque  soliloquies and tenuous links to food aside, we have to say that, impressed as we were not only in the pretty packaging that delivered Razer’s masterclass in mouse design to our door, the biggest surprise, and though you may think after we have just described the Devils Kitchen of magic and witchcraft that keeps this peripheral ‘cooking with gas’ that it was the second to none tech that dazzled our bewildered eyes , but you would be wrong.

Yes, the Razer Naga Hex comes armed with some of the latest gadgetry wonders and cutting edge circuitry that would beguile even the most indifferent of aloof electrical engineers, such as the Synapse 2.0 ‘brain’ that is housed in the beautifully crafted casing. And ‘yes’ we do know that it is also capable of up to a whopping 250 clicks per minute, giving action-RPG and MOBA players the ultimate in ‘ass kickery’ firmly at their fingertips. But even though it has these sweet as the proverbial nut functions and facets, and even though it has an auto-synch mode that, through the aforementioned Synapse 2,0 ‘megamind’ detects, updates and installs the very latest downloads and settings from the Razer technicians direct to your spiffy new gaming mouse. EVEN after all of that….oh, and did we forget to mention that you also have a full six to twelve mappable function buttons on two different presets that can allow even the most novice of players to walk into a lobby full of veterans and hand them their handkerchief’s to wipe away the now streaming tears of anguish that flood their faces, did we forget that when we were lost in thought as we prepared tell you what we ‘really’ like about the Naga Hex?

Razer Naga Hex         GmP Gaming   image 3Well, here we go. After all that you have read, and after all the gorgeous tech and impressive installs and free of charge updates, the thing that we most liked, nay ‘loved’ about the Naga Hex was…..

…it’s purely perfect peripheral performance!

Flawless is a word that is tossed around in gaming reviews almost as much as the stomach churningly overused ‘epic’, but when you have sat at your HD TV with the HDMI from your gaming PC running the crystal clear signal of your gameplay across to your 50″ ‘monitor’, and you now sit at your sofa armed to the teeth with your ‘weapons of choice’, namely your Razer Tiamat’ headset, your  ‘Black Widow Ultimate’ keyboard, and then add-on the silky delivery of the Naga Hex, ‘then’ you will understand what the words ‘epic’ and ‘flawless’ truly mean when your are describing your gaming experience.

Don’t misunderstand us here, if all you want is for us to run down a list of the products specifications like some kind of monotone narrator in a nasal whine, then knock yourselves out on these little beauties:    The Naga Hex features a 5600dpi Razer Precision 3.5G Laser Sensor, with a 1000Hz Ultrapolling/1ms response time. What? You tech-heads want more? Okay, then…this is what Razer themselves list as the throbbing powerhouse that pulsates beneath your sweating palm:

courtesy of Razer

Technical Specifications

  • 6 MOBA/action-RPG optimized mechanical thumb buttons
  • 11 total programmable Hyperesponse buttons
  • Special switches in buttons for 250 clicks per minute
  • 10 million click life cycle
  • Razer Synapse 2.0
  • 5600dpi Razer Precision 3.5G Laser Sensor
  • 1000Hz Ultrapolling/1ms response time
  • Approximate Size : 116 mm / 4.57” (Length) x 70 mm / 2.76” (Width) x 46 mm / 1.81” (Height)
  • Approximate Weight: 134 g / 0.30 lbs

This mouse, as well as the accompanying Razer products of the ‘Black Widow Ultimate’ keyboard and ‘Tiamat’ headset, both of which reviews you will find by clicking on their links, were deliberately given to a staff member with scant  experience of PC gaming during this review, purely for experimental purposes to see if they could improve said writers performance, and we have to be honest with you the results were quite astonishing! Not only was said staff member able to hold their own in such titles as League of Legends and Warcraft, but they were veritably punting posterior in Battlefield 3 and DayZ. But the biggest complement of the day, and the final word in the Naga Hex review, has to come from that very novice PC gaming staff writer, when they ended their time in DayZ with a grin the size of Yorkshire, and a string in their step that was previously only reserved for their console based gameplay.

GmP Editor ChoiceSo well did the Naga Hex perform, so silky were the controls, the button presses and the lighter than air glide of this graceful gadget, that this peripheral not only enhanced a previously console-only  gamer’s enjoyment, it positively lifted it up to ‘parts unknown’.  Taking a confirmed console gamer out of their comfort zone and transporting them across to the ‘Razer Zone’ with unsurpassed ease into the battlefields and battle grounds of the PC arena is no small feat, but when you have peripherals as fantastic as these at your disposal then you too could be transformed from a mere ‘kill feeder’ into an ‘Ultimate Warrior’, As the great man himself once said, ‘Load the spaceship with the rocket fuel, load it with the warriors!’  Yup, we think he was probably as mad as a box of frogs too, but if he was talking about  loading  his warriors with the Razer Naga Hex then we have to say that his knowledge is unquestioned!    The Naga Hex scores the very first Editor’s Choice Award of 2013 and a thoroughly deserved  10 out of 10

 

 

 

 

 

Resident Evil 6 Review

Resident Evil 6     GmP Gaming      image 7Capcom revive another fantastic franchise with their latest offering in the Resident Evil series. But will it be a case of breathing new life into an old corpse, or just a jump lead to far for another Frankensteins monster? Let’s have a look in the GamesMediaPro review of Resident Evil 6.

Believe it or not, and we have a bit of a confession to make here, Resident Evil, ( as well as that other Capcom classic franchise that we have just reviewed: Devil May Cry ), have never been our favourite titles. In fact, if anything, they were two games that we completely shied away from during the early console gaming years Why? We aren’t quite sure? Maybe it was the fact that we were up to our ears in goblin innards and orc blood as we battled every RPG and JRPG that we could get our grubby little hands on, or maybe it was the fact that we were blinded by our loathing of load screens back then and so ultimately never truly strayed too far into the console market? Whatever it was we are glad to say that this famine of fantastic franchises ended when we delved deep into Resident Evil 4, and then were dumbfounded at the shenanigans and ground lost in Resident Evil 5. As for Devil May Cry? Stay tuned to learn of our progress there with our DMC review on January 15th.

So, Resident Evil 6. What to do? Do we pass it along to the girls for their scaredy cat opinions, based solely from what they could see out of one eye as they crouched terrified behind the office sofa? Or do we put away our disappointments from Resi Evil 5 and plough on with the true kind of professionalism only found at PS3 Universe? ( sniggers   Ed. ) Decisions, decisions.

Well, speaking of the ‘decision’ we faced we are pleased to be able to inform you that not only did we make the correct one, in opting to review Resident Evil 6 ‘for the boys’, but that without a shadow of a doubt that it was also one of the best choices we have made in quite some time, in relation to videogames.

Resident Evil 6 came into the public eye on a wave of negative publicity, but there is no doubt in my mind, that the vast majority of gamers who have sampled the many delights that await you in Capcom’s stunning sequel will agree with us on this one, that as a modern survival horror title Capcom have pulled out all the stops and ticked all of the right boxes in updating their flagship franchise and bringing it screaming into the next millenia like a wailing mutant zombie banshee.

New look visuals, new locations, new storylines and new characters all bring Resident Evil 6 back into the limelight as they combine with a completely overhauled set of game mechanics that grant gamers the kind of freedom to enjoy their survival horror action like the have always wanted too…on the move and with all guns blazing. Naturally the format has not changed so much that die-hard followers of the franchise wouldn’t recognise is as a Resident Evil title, but the new approach to not only the graphics, but also the way the game is played itself, will play a major role in securing new visitors and inhabitants to Raccoon City for many a year to come.

Resident Evil 6     GmP Gaming      image 4Moving along into the latest storyline and the premise behind the goings on, currently inflicted on the beleaguered residents of this ‘city under siege’, see’s a new kind of destruction and madness being unleashed by a nemesis worthy of taking over the mantle from any one of the usual Umbrella Corporation suits. ‘Simmons’, to give our ‘bad guy’ his title, is a slimy as they come. You know the type? The kind of man you feel you have to wipe your hands on a towel after meeting them for fear of being forever tainted by their oily handshake.

The plot entails any number of interweaving campaigns, in an extremely nice touch by Capcom, that gives gamers excellent value for money right from the outset with four converging stories that are all just begging to be played in what has to be on of the finest examples of Co-oP gaming in recent memory. Of course, single player is there for the asking, but nevertheless co-operative gaming is where the true heart of Resident Evil 6 lies.

Players, even throughout each of the solo campaigns, are tasked with executing their own segments of the convergent mission’s that will see our foursome of deadly duo’s, albeit that there is the only solo expeditionist in the enigmatic figure of the sultry Ada Wong, as they all work towards linking up in the explosive finale. Leon and Helena, Jake and Sherry, Chris and Piers, and Ada Wong have each been granted so much variety to their individual missions that special commendations need to be awarded to each of the development teams separate sections for allowing gamers the vastly differing range of weapons, skills, attributes and even the heads up display’s, that come as part and parcel of each of the quad-core of campaigns that link up to be a single storyline.

Leon and Helena kick things off, as well as the various soft bits of the advancing night crawlers, with their tutorial-cum-introduction to the games weapon format and inventory system. Both of which are incredibly simple to use and even easier to master as you progress throughout the game’s storyline. D-Pad for your weapons, as you scroll silkily through the arsenal of available armaments, whilst the ‘Y’ , ( triangle for PS3 players ), button brings up the list of lovelies that make up your inventory for everything from the familiar green and red herbs, to the more explosive ingredients of hand grenades and heavy weapons ammunition.

In a complete reversal of fortunes for Resi Evil players everywhere, Capcom have managed to totally eradicate the cumbersome clutter that was the outgoing inventory system of previous titles in this best-selling franchise, and have, instead, implemented a new simplified version that will leave players with blister free digits blissfully gliding across the D-Pad with far greater efficiency.

Resident Evil 6     GmP Gaming      image 1Starting players out with the Helena and Leon mission was something of a genius move, as these two sizzle and crackle with sexual tension in the games’ tangibly dramatic build up, that will leave players on the edge of their seats as they become ever deeper embroiled in this twisting and turning plot that has suspense and style oozing out of ever splintered door that the pair must warily open, or through every shattered window that the duo must peer through as they strive to find their way out of their university starting point and get to grips with the hordes of infected now roaming the streets of an embattled Raccoon City.

Handling is spectacular, especially when compared to its elder sibling Resident Evil 5, and the fact that players may actually do something as basic as ‘move’ when they are shooting the head’s off encroaching undead is somewhat of a revelation. If truth be told this was one of our biggest gripes when faced with playing the earlier editions of this famous franchise, the fact that the inventory made it a chore to select defensive, or even offensive items, items when facing down a constant stream of screaming brain munchers was bad enough, but to be firmly rooted to the spot every time you pulled your pistol from its holster was always asking a bit much of my patience, especially during boss battles with hulking mutated demon-like brutes intent on ripping my head off with their bare…well, claws.

The combat mechanics are a joy to behold, thanks in no small part to the Capcom’s new movement system during the fisticuffs, but whereas the fighting may have been vastly improved the variety of enemies now facing you down across the rubble strewn streets of Raccoon City have been positively blessed.

There are so many new features in Resident Evil 6, so many little surprises and suspenseful shock a minutes, that it is sometimes quite easy to overlook the fact that Capcom have designed a veritable entire zombie army of mutant warriors from scratch, just for your digital enjoyment. Every foe you face is a new demon, and every boss you battle has different moves , different weapons and different murderous skills all aimed at separating your spinal cord from your brain.

This Resident Evil revolution continues throughout the entire campaign regardless of which character you are currently inhabiting, and in an extremely nice touch the handling and the familiarity of the format for the inventory and the weapons carries across to each of the new storylines. Although that is the only thing that is a constant, as everything else about the quad of corking tales is like chalk and cheese.

Resident Evil 6     GmP Gaming      image 6Moving on through the game takes you now to Jake and Sherry. This pair of unlikely Co-oP partners reveal a continuation of story’s past, as well as a hint to possible stories future, with Jake being the son of Wesker no less, and Sherry being the now womanly figure of the former 12 year-old girl we first saw padding through the means streets in Resident Evil 2.

Back for more, though, Sherry, now a fully fledged operative and DSO agent, joins forces with the spawn of Wesker as the two are tasked with doing their part in bringing an end to the current terror that stalks Raccoon City. Of course, the two also come complete with their own particularly impressive set of acrobatic moves and manoeuvres as they shoot, slash and pound their way across the city in pursuit of their objectives and ultimate goal.

The same can also be said of the third pairing of the game, as Chris Redfield returns complete with new partner in tow in the shape of fresh-faced marine ‘Piers’. This is where Resident Evil flexes its impressive set of rippling muscles and shows off its diversity as it drops players firmly into what is, in effect, a third person shooter. Now, although this is normally the point when the reviewer scathingly claims that this is nothing more than a shameless attempt at appealing to the more Western audience, and subsequently raps Capcom’s knuckles with a ruler for it, much like an irate geography teacher who has just been asked by his 12 year-old nemesis where “Uranus” is, I do not jump on this band wagon, and I do not scold Capcom for this decision. Instead, I do feel that Capcom have  managed to offer  gamers a title that allows them to sample, pretty much, all of the industry’s latest best-selling genres, and all in the comfort of a single title, in one of the best-selling franchises that videogaming has ever seen.

Condemning Capcom for offering players variety is like slapping the waiter at a Mexican restaurant for bringing you multiple dishes of dip for your tortilla’s. How ‘dare’ he bring you a smorgasboard of the chef’s best-loved samples, how ‘dare’ he serve you choice, as opposed to firmly planting a meagre single portion serving of generic slop. Would that have made you happier?

No. In this reviewer’s humble opinion, and now you will understand better my earlier statement when I said that ‘in a way’ I was glad that I had not been a long time player of the franchise, as it seems to me that Capcom have been caught in that infamous catch 22 situation by their own success, and that is being ‘damned of they do and damned if they don’t.’

Judging from some of the scandalous abuse levelled at Capcom in recent years, regarding their desire to bring in new players to their audience, and attempting to work out just how to implement this whilst at the same time staying true to their original fan base of hard-core gamers, has been somewhat disgusting. The fact of the matter is that times, technology and tastes change. Things mature, things move on, and as we stated in the Devil May Cry review also, if Capcom must learn to adapt to survive and be successful, then why cannot the detractors who still think that the Playstation 2 was the ‘golden age of gaming’ do the same.

Resident Evil 1996  GmP gaming image 1Well. lets just look at that for a moment. Imagine, then, if you will, that when this game launched it had done so with NO previous PR or trailers for you to get a taste of what was in store for you, and now take that suspense and return it to launch day and now picture yourself eagerly running home with your new copy of Resident Evil 6 in hand and inserting into your console with bated breath only to discover that the game on-screen is not some technological wonder of cutting edge graphical movement and design, but is instead a single joystick controlled, non-camera operative, bland run through of 16 bit styled graphics with clanking mechanic’s and flickering backdrops.  Imagine, then, just how ‘thrilled’ you would have been to have ‘gotten what you wanted’ as Capcom released their latest title in the same vein as the games you wish that they had harkened back to?  Now see the ridiculous nature of your argument and get with the 21st Century and all of the wonders it brings  with it.

Finally, we come to the solo segment of Ada Wong. This tainted temptress that has more than one trick up her sleeve, and is definitely not afraid to use them. This high-kicking, crossbow hunting hard ass is as awesome as any Jill Valentine, and is as bad to the proverbial bone. Players will soon come to realise that the converging stories still have a surprise or two in store for them as they watch the cut scenes in each of the four ‘campaigns’ as they march ever onward to the storylines conclusion. But, in Ada Wong there is much mystery and intrigue still in store no matter how much information you glean from the myriad of Resident Evil 6’s cinematic moments.

number-8-pool-ballThankfully, however, Capcom has dispensed with the need to pander to the few as they seek to bring the next level of survival horror action and entertainment to old players and new. Resident Evil, as a franchise, has never looked and never played  as good as it does right now, ( and yes, I have since gone back to replay the original games to back up this argument ).  Capcom have ironed out all of the creases and smoothed out all of the wrinkles from previous titles and has now introduced its all-new format with this latest outing for the zombie killing king of the hill. This is one franchise that has certainly arose from the dead of its past and risen , much like the red-eyed monsters you are charged with releasing from their unGodly nightmare, and returned Resident Evil back to the top of the tree as it reclaims its rightful position as champion of its genre.           8 out of 10

 

Resident Evil 6 :      PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox360             ( version tested     Xbox360 )
Developer:  Capcom
Publisher: Capcom