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Top Gaming Systems - What You Need to Know to Make Gaming More Fun


You'll learn simple fixes, tips, and see highly recommended games for gaming systems such as the Wii, Playstation 3, Playstation Portable, Xbox 360, and the Nintendo DS!

You'll learn simple fixes, tips, and see highly recommended games for gaming systems such as the Wii, Playstation 3, Playstation Portable, Xbox 360, and the Nintendo DS!

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  • 1. Gaming Systems - What You Need to Know to Make Gaming More FunSee the top 3 gaming headsets reviewed on this page... Customer reviews revealabout everything you need to know! Get the best gaming headset at the best price!http://www.bestgamingheadsetps3.orgWii3 Common Wii Issues SolvedIt is easy to love the Nintendo Wii, it has plenty of great games, has a fun control systemand it is a gaming experience that you can easily share with friends and family. This iswhy when something starts bugging up on the system, people will get worried. To helpease things out, here are a few useful tips to try out before hurriedly bringing your systemto the nearest repair center.Non-Responding WiiMotesNow here is a common issue. After all, a WiiMote is how you control the console.Without it, playing a game is practically impossible. So what do when things start goingsouth?First, check the batteries. These controllers use two AA batteries to run, so click on thehome button to see if how many of the four lights on the controller light up (more lightsmean higher charge). If the controller is not responding, you might want to replace thebatteries.So let us say you have all four lights indicating a full charge but the game is still notresponding to your commands. This may be a synchronization issue. Remember that yourcontroller is wireless and that the Wii has to detect it before the two can work together.Simply press the red sync button near the SD card slot on your console to help yoursystem find the controller.Inaccurate AimingMore often than not, games will require you to make use of the infrared sensor to aim atthe screen and navigate menus, shoot guns and simply move things around. There areoccasions when this starts acting abnormally. 1 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 2. One of the first things you should do is to confirm the set up of the sensor bar. From youWii’s system menu, you can set the configuration of the sensor to assume that it islocated on top or the bottom of your TV screen.Another factor to consider is if there are lights in front of the TV and lights behind you.The sensor bar may accidentally pick up IR feedback from lights and other devicesbehind you. Be sure to look around your playing area to see if there might be items thatare interfering with your system’s performance.Lastly, check the overall lighting. In some cases, the light in the room may be too strongand is interrupting the feed between the controller and the sensor. You may choose toturn off the lights or diffuse it a little to allow for a better level of communicationbetween the WiiMote and the sensor bar.Unable to Back Up Save FilesThis is not really a hardware issue, but more of an incompatibility problem. According toNintendo, the Wii supports only certain SD cards. This can be a little annoying if the SDcard you currently have is incompatible with the console, but sadly, the only way toremedy this issue is to purchase a brand new card. Nintendo lists SanDisk and BD&A asofficially compatible, but users are also recommended to update to version 4.00 or higherof the system firmware to further improve compatibility.So there you have it, three of the simplest quick-fixes for three of the main issues that Wiiowners tend to run into. However, if your Wii console is still suffering from issues, it isadvisable that you take it to the nearest authorized Nintendo service center for a quickcheck.Backtracking on Your Wii: GameCube GamingOne of the many great features about the Wii is that it is compatible with plenty of oldgames. Many are already quite familiar with the many Virtual Console games whichallow you to play NES, SNES, N64, Megadrive and other platform titles on the Wii. Ofcourse, players will have to use the classic controller in order to play the games properly.But one great feature of the Wii that is being overlooked is that it can play GameCubegames. There are four dedicated ports on the system to plug in the old GC controllers and2 memory card slots for save file access. No need to worry about the smaller GameCubediscs, simply pop them into the disc tray and the Wii will automatically center it for you.If you are asking, ‘what is so good about the GameCube?’ -here is a quick list of our toppicks.Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader 2 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 3. No fan of this generation-transcending work of science fiction can go withoutexperiencing the amazing gameplay that Rogue Leader has to offer. Featuring plenty ofamazing voice over work, sound effects that seem to pop right out of the move and agameplay that truly places you in the heat of the action, this game takes Star Warsinteractivity to a whole new level. The game also features a whole array of ships rangingfrom the well known X-Wing to the more obscure A-Wing as players fly off in missionsthat coincide with the events of the original trilogy.Metal Gear Solid: The Twin SnakesWe have a love-hate relationship with this game. Silicon Knights was given plenty offreedom with the remake of the original Metal Gear Solid game for the Playstation andhad it graphically updated for the GameCube. The result is a visually stunning work of artthat comes pretty close to the graphics for Sons of Liberty on the PS2. The gameplay hasalso been adjusted to bring in controls and functions available in the PS2 sequel.The downside is that the Knights had a little too much freedom with Twin Snakes. Whilethe general storyline has not been changed, minor character details have been adjusted.Otacon has become a Nintendo fanboy, Snake has turned into a bit of an acrobat –amongothers. While the canon story has not been altered, fans of the series felt that the changeswere too out of character. Still, for those who have yet to play the MGS series, this title isa great way to be initiated into the world of stealth based action gameplay.Animal CrossingOh, we already know, there is Animal Crossing: Wild World for the Wii. But somehow,nothing beats the charm and feel of the original AC for the GameCube. Most importantly,this is a great way for old GC owners to continue their towns and their game. The GCversion of this life simulation game plays a lot simpler and less stylized than the newerversion –which is something that a lot of the older fans of the series would appreciate.In any case, if you have been missing out on KK Slider’s weekend concerts and are notplanning to play the new AC game, this might be the best time to take the game out ofstorage and pop it in for a trip back to your town.Party Host and More: the Nintendo WiiThe Wii is taking the concept of friendly get-togethers into a whole new realm with itsmotion gaming controls and multiplayer functionalities. Of course, figuring out whichtitles to go for is not exactly the easiest thing to do –especially when there are hundreds 3 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 4. to choose from. Here are four of our most recommended titles to help you figure outwhich games would best fit your party needs.Super Smash Brothers BrawlSometimes, there is nothing that can hold down the hyperactive needs of a preteen boy –let alone four of them. Fortunately, Nintendo’s four-way beat-em-up 2D fighter promisesplenty of fast paced action to keep even the most hardcore player of the bunch focused onthe game. Smash Brothers brings back a great lineup of Iconic Nintendo characters suchas Mario, Samus, Fox, Zelda and more into a free spirited battle tournament. Parentswatching on will appreciate many of the old and new Nintendo franchise cameos rangingfrom the Game and Watch era to the more recent Animal Crossing and Nintendogs title.Metal Gear Solid fans will also be happy to see Snake pop up as a playable character.Boom BloxWhen EA announced that Steven Spielberg was working on a game, we were wonderingwhat kind of fantastic stories he would be bringing to interactive life. Nobody expectedthat the man would spearhead the creation of a game that would later take spotlight ofany party: Boom Blox. It sounds silly and even the concept is hard to take seriously: youthrow balls at blocks. But give the game a quick whirl and after five minutes, you andyour friends will be addicted.The game pits you against your friends in turn based ball-throwing battles where youeach pit your accuracy and skill at strategic block knocking. There are various gameplayobjectives such as blowing up a specific number of blocks or knocking off blocks in acertain order to win. Highly replayable, intuitive controls and an overall fun gameplayexperience makes this title a must have for parties.Wario Ware Smooth MovesOf course, when it comes to motion gaming, you have to bring out Wario Ware SmoothMoves. Players take turns as they each try to do various motions in order to achieve thevarious stage objectives. Each stage only lasts a few seconds or so you players have tothink fast about what to do. On a multiplayer game, you and your friends have tocommunicate fast in order to pass the WiiMote (you only use one) around to the nextplayer. Fun, frantic and certain to tire payers out within an hour or two; this is the bestway to whip up an appetite before serving the hors doeuvres.Wii SportsIt is old and comes free with your Nintendo Wii, yet Wii Sports is still a muchrecommended title for those who want to have various activities without having tochange discs a lot. Players get to participate in various sports such as tennis, boxing,billiards, air hockey and more. The best part here is that you can get your friends to make 4 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 5. custom Miis to use prior to the game –as each player can select their own Mii avatar toplay.The next time you become the designated host of a party and are stumped on what to do;do not hesitate to fire up the Wii and buy some new batteries for the controllers. Thislittle home console will solve all your entertaining needs.Time to Party with the Nintendo WiiNo other console in the gaming industry has closer to becoming the absolute party systemlike the Nintendo Wii. With its wide range of local multiplayer games, motion basedcontrols and comparatively affordable price tag (as compared to the Microsoft Xbox 360and the Sony Playstation 3), the Wii quickly made carved out its niche in the video gameindustry when it launched in 2006.Now, half a decade later, the Wii is still among the most played console systems. For themost part, the system has a steady following among die-hard Nintendo fans. Withexclusive games under the Super Mario, Pokemon, Metroid, Zelda and other first-partyfranchises, the core fan base of the Wii will always have something to stick around for.There is no doubt that the iconic value that Pikachu, Samus, Link and many othersprovide draws in a definite charm that is hard to deny (the massive Nintendo crossovergame, Super Smash Brothers Brawl sold over 9 million copies).Aside from the main Nintendo series games, the Wii is often the top choice for family-room consoles. Many of the games on the system (both first and third party titles) allowmultiple players to play together at the same time, either cooperatively or competitively.This makes many Wii games as excellent party choices for entertaining guests and thereare no messy piñata bits to clean up either. Boom Blox, Mario Party and Wii Party arejust some of the few games that are sure to liven up your get-togethers.While many hardcore gamers are focusing more on titles being released exclusively forother next generation console, it is important to point out that the Wii also gets its shareof some pretty impressive games. Sky Crawlers is an impressive and challenging flightsimulation game from the Namco Bandai’s Team Aces (developers of Ace Combat)which allows players to use the Wiimote as a flight stick.The Resident Evil Chronicles titles (Umbrella and Darkside) provides players with a solidpoint and shoot gaming experience that relives many important events in the REstoryline. Grasshopper Manufacture’s No More Heroes series takes on the 3D hack andslash genre to a whole new level with its stylish delivery and innovative use of the motioncontroller.Aside from having a great game lineup, the Wii itself is a pretty good console in terms ofhardware. Available in white, black and red, buyers have options on being able to choosethe visual style that suits them the most. It also comes with a stand which supports the 5 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 6. system in an upright position (for those who are saving up on space or simply feel that itlooks better that way). In terms of functionality, there is plenty to do on the system.First off, the Wii’s basic OS allows players to add functional channels such as webbrowser or a picture viewer. Thanks to the console’s WiFi features, going online is assimple as setting up your router information. Additional channel functions such as newsreaders and the official Nintendo channel can also be downloaded as well.The system internally stores game saves and channel data files into pre-set ‘blocks’. Interms of data file size, this is roughly 512 MB. Not that big, but fortunately, the systemsupports certain brands of SD cards for backing up data. Aside from playing Wii games,the console can also load up the much older Nintendo GameCube games. In order to playthese, users will have to hook up the old GC controllers to one of the four speciallydesignated ports on the console. There are also two GC memory card slots on the Wiiwhich will allow players to store their GC game saves.If you love having friends and family over, have roommates who are fun to play with, orsimply love to play video games but do not have the time (or resources) to invest inhardcore games, then the Wii is your number one choice. It offers easy and fun to playgames, innovative controls and a great range of functionality that would make any type ofgamer happy.The Top 5 Revolutionary Games for the WiiNintendo Wii has been considered to be the pioneer in motion gaming. Released yearsahead of the PS Move the Xbox Kinect, the Wiimote controlled console has shown us allhow fun and exciting motion gaming can be. Of course, not all Wii games make full useof the motions controls –some games can be played just fine with the optional joy pad-style ‘classic’ controller. Others on the other hand, take the use of the Wiimote andNunchuck to a whole new level.No More HeroesWe open this list with none other Goichi Suda’s masterpiece of a beat-em-up: the NoMore Heroes series. In terms of controls, not much has changed from the original and thesequel (No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle), but regardless, this game is still one of themost quirky motion controlled titles to be released.Lead character Travis Touchdown ends up joining a tournament of assassins, and in orderto reach the top spot, he has to eliminate the rest of the competition. The game opens withthe beam-sword wielding hero starting with the tenth spot and as you progress throughthe story, you get to meet whole host of sexy and bizarre assassins that stand in your way. 6 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 7. There’s plenty of adult humor in this game, some subtle, others crude. The actionsequences on the other hand, are plenty of violence. It is encouraging to see that Nintendois now making room for more mature players (after all, most of us who grew up on Marioand Donkey Kong are now a whole lot older).The controls for this game place it as the first entry on the list: the combo system makesfull use of the buttons, motion and even Nunchuck movement to execute Travis’ widerange of moves. We are also going to tip our hats off for the “phone call” event sequenceswhere you need to press the controller against your ear (the Wiimote has an internalspeaker) as well as the slightly naughty beam-sword charging motions. Of course, wewill not be going into that, it is up to you players to explore.Sky Crawlers: Innocent AcesWhile we are not too fond of the Japanese novel or the anime, the Sky Crawlers game onthe Wii is one of the most impressive flight simulation titles we have seen on the device.The big advantage of the Wiimote is its versatility. Players can use it as a gun, as asword, as a regular controller and in this case, as a flight stick. The WiiMote can be usedto control your plane’s pitch while the Nunchuck handles the acceleration. Tilting bothfrom side to side will control turning and rolling.It is fun, though a little exhausting after an hour or so –which is due to the fact that unlikea typical flight stick which rests on a base, the WiiMote is supported entirely by yourarm. Also, the lack of a base means not having a reference point for a ‘neutral’ position.Some inventive players are known to have crafted their own mounts for the Wiimote toget past these issues.The game itself makes use of Ace Combat’s game engine, which means that many of thefactors considered in flying have been simplified to a point where the game is actuallyenjoyable (without having to think too much about calculations). Simplified, however,does not mean unrealistic. Reckless flyers will still find themselves stalling and crashingif they do not act with care.Overall, this game provides a nice change of pace for many Ace Combat veterans. Theold school planes and new approach to the delivery will certainly be a welcome change.The challenge level for some of the special boss fights will also force players to starttaking the game a lot more seriously even on the normal difficulty. If you are a fan ofgreat dogfights and have been looking for a new way to experience it, Sky Crawlers is theway to go.Trauma Team 7 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 8. Combining various point and click game genres can be a little tricky, but the folks behindTrauma Team certainly know how to make a great game. This little gem of a Wii title isbasically an advanced version of Trauma Center for the DS. Not only does it improve onthe gameplay of the original, it adds plenty more to the mix.Players start off the game by choosing one of six characters. Doing so determines whatstory missions will be played and how the gameplay will turn out. After each mission,players will be returned to the character screen and the same process plays out. Thiscontinues until all story missions start overlapping each other in a much larger plot event.Each character introduces a new form of gameplay. One involves investigation, somerequire medical surgical procedures, and others require players to talk with patients fordiagnosis. There are a total of six individual gameplay features on this game, and they allcome together to bring a truly inventive experience in the use of the Wii’s motioncontroller. If you have been looking for a game that delivers in terms of controls,storyline, visual style and gameplay, then Trauma Team is a definite must have for you.Resident Evil 4As ironic as it may seem, a game that was not meant for the Wii is also one that hascompletely redefined the concept of hardcore motion gaming. Enter Resident evil 4. Thislittle pseudo-zombie fest of the great sci-fi survival horror series from Capcom takes on awhole new style of gaming as it got ported over to the Wii.Now, looking back at the original Playstation 2 version of the game, it is pretty obviousthat the creators wanted to do something different. An optional chainsaw controller wasreleased for the Sony which introduced a new way for the player to ready their weapon(the special controller had more than aesthetic value).With the Wii version, RE veteran Leon –and his epic emo hairstyle, gets the full set ofcontrols that the PS2 controller hinted at.Movement is controlled by the Nunchuck and the gun control makes use of the Wiimote.This turns the game into something of a hybrid 3D-adventure and on-rails shooter. Interms of graphics and storyline, not much has changed. Those who already played thePS2 version will not find anything new outside of the control system.This game is a must have for RE fans who have yet to play RE4 (and you should, it hasbeen out for a while) and any Wii owner wanting a little more thrilling than the usual fareof Nintendo titles. The innovative use of the Wiimote and the way it changes thegameplay experience from the original title will certainly be an experience players wouldnot want to miss.Elebits 8 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 9. Last on our list is Elebits, a storybook style, children’s sci-fi game that had us wonderingjust how much potential the Wiimote truly has. For a point of perspective, players have toremember that this is one of the first Wii games ever released, and for that time, thegraphics had been pretty good and the controls were nothing short of amazing.The main story is simple, bizarre beings known as Elebits have starting popping out andit is up to the player to find them all and capture them with a unique laser-gun-zappingapparatus invented by the protagonist’s father.To play the game, players simply have to point and zap objects in game. Initially, you canonly zap small objects as you move things around the house (small books, chairs, etc),doing so will uncover various Elebits that can be captured. One you accumulate enoughof the alien-like beings, your zapper will become more powerful, allowing you to movelarger objects such as entire shelves, phone booths and cars.The real fun in this game is when you are moving around the stages and tossing objectsaround. Various power ups will boost your ability to grab, push and even thrown objectsup in the sky –which is a great way of clearing the view. It is a fun and light gamingexperience, mixed in with a few challenging timed missions. Elebits is a perfectrecommendation for those who want a quick taste of real motion controlled gaming.Wii for Two: Two Cooperative Games for the WinEverybody loves to talk about the many multiplayer aspects of the Wii, how impressivethe system is for entertaining plenty of people and how well it functions for the family ingeneral. But for standard two player games – that is an issue that is often unanswered yetmuch valued by hardcore players. So today, we are giving you our favorite cooperativegames for the Nintendo Wii. Of course, with plenty of great two player campaignsavailable on the Wii, we’ve decided to serve up a pair of titles that will really want tomake you work with a friend: a couple of the best horror games.Obscure: the AftermathSurvival horror games tend to lose their fright factor when there’s more than one player –take Resident Evil 5 for example. But there are times when even having more companydoesn’t take the fright away. Enter “Obscure: the Aftermath”. This scary littlemasterpiece is a sequel to the original Obscure and introduces players to the twosurvivors of the first game and a whole new bunch of college coeds.The game is scary, disturbing and frantic. When a bizarre sexually transmitted demonicplague starts creeping about the school, players must controls various pairs of characters 9 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 10. through obstacles and puzzles as they try to escape chainsaw wielding psychopaths,mutated flying monsters and a whole host of other malicious beings.The cooperative aspect really shines through as players must support and protect eachother. Gone are the days when you are safely picking a lock on a door (which often opensup a user interfaces that temporarily halts any enemies). In Obscure, you will have tocount on your partner to shoot down any nasty things that might be coming up your back.For the ultimate in a two player scare fest, we definitely recommend playing this game.House of the Dead: OverkillNormally, when people talk about on-rails shooters for the Wii, the Resident EvilChronicle titles (Umbrella and Darkside) are among the first to be mentioned. But whenyou want to have a little more fun shooting down zombies and just enjoying with yourbuddy, then you will certainly want to pop in House of the Dead: Overkill instead.This game features plenty of 70’s inspired fashion; grind house movie visuals and enoughswearing to make a B-movie starring Samuel Jackson blush. It is funny, witty and stillsurprisingly dark. The game is considered to be a prequel of all the HotD games –showing players the early beginnings of lead character Agent G –the heavy language inthe game comes from the second main character, Isaac Washington.The cooperative aspect of the game mainly involves shooting everything onscreen as fastas possible –which is certainly easier with two players. For bosses however, a little morecommunication and planning are required in order to get the best ranks.Alone, players will still be able to enjoy, play and finish these two games. But in two-player mode, players get to experience a rich and fulfilling cooperative gameplay aspectthat the titles have been truly designed for. If you have not had the chance to try eitherObscure: the Aftermath or HotD: Overkill, then now is the best time to bring your bestfriend over for some real gaming action.Getting More Out of Your WiiNintendo’s motion controlled gaming console is considered to be one of the top systemsin terms of overall entertainment. While its value to hardcore gamers may not be on thesame level as the Playstation 3 or the Xbox 360, the Wii has more to offer to a broadermarket of casual gamers and of course, families.If the Wii is currently on the center of your home entertainment system, with the consoleplaying host to friends and family, you might want to consider investing a little bit ofmoney and time to grab these very useful accessories. 10 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 11. First off, the Wii Balance Board –normally, we would not recommend getting a consoleperipheral that is only useful for one game (Wii Fit), but in this case, the Balance Boardis a must have. Not only do you get to do really amusing things on it (you can test whichamong your friends can balance best on one foot), but there are plenty of usefulapplications that use the board. These applications mainly improve exercises that helpyou keep track of your weight –something that many gamers would appreciate.When it comes to pointless accessories that offer loads of fun, nothing beats the variousadd-ons to the WiiMote controller. They range from simple items such as a sword, shield,tennis racket and the like. While they do not add any functional value (some even makeplaying a little harder), it is always fun to see your friends waving a plastic sword atvirtual enemies onscreen.Speaking of playing in front of a screen, get better WiiMote straps. Nintendo’s WiiMotecomes with straps that are used to tie the controller to the player’s wrist (which will helpprevent people from accidentally throwing the controller). There are already countlesstales of various plasma and HD television screen that have been smashed by an over-eager player’s WiiMote. Better straps would help fasten the controller to the wrist better–just be sure to tell all your users to put on the straps when they play!Aside from the usual array of swords and hammers, there are a few WiiMote add-ons thatactually help, such as the steering wheel, the gun-grips and yes, even the Link crossbow(from Link’s Crossbow Training). These do not necessarily help you aim better –as mostof us are far more lethal with a remote control style grip. But they do actually enhance thegameplay experience. There is also an additional extra motion sensing device that goeson the bottom of the WiiMote as well –which helps tracking your movements a lot moreaccurate.To get more out of your gaming on the Wii, it is a good idea to buy rechargeablebatteries. There are two variants. One is the typical AA battery size that replaces thestandard batteries. The other is a Lithium Ion based battery that replaces the standardbattery and the battery cover. The good thing about the L-ion battery is that is oftencomes with a charging dock so that you can be sure that every time you play, yourcontroller is all charged up and ready to go.So the next time you find yourself with a little extra gaming budget. You might want topass out on grabbing the latest game releases and instead, look for some worthwhilepurchases that would enhance your gaming experience with your current library.More for Wii: Using Your Console for More than GamesChances are, your Nintendo Wii is sitting quietly at the living room, the family den or thedesignated game room –one way or another, it is rare to have this very social gamingconsole to be sitting quietly inside one person’s room alone (but, yes, it does happen). If 11 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 12. your household is the type that has the motion gaming device strategically located foreveryone’s best enjoyment, then you will certainly appreciate these little tips we have.Tracking PlaytimeThe Nintendo Wii is the perfect parental helper when it comes to keeping track of yourchildren’s gaming habits. The system will log in the title of the games being played andfor how long. While it does not keep exact track of the time a game was played or whowas the person who played it, doing so enables you to see if anyone has been sneaking inextra gaming hours at night.The Wii is more than just a sly tattle-tale however, this log is public and can be used byanyone (though it cannot be tampered with or edited). For gamers, this helps ease outtime issues by allowing you to track your own gaming habits. If you have been havingtrouble balancing time for obligations and gaming, then a quick review of this log mighthelp you properly organize your schedule.Virtual Post ItsAnother great thing about this system is that it allows you to post virtual notes. If youneed to step out for a bit and need to remind your buddy to clean up the sink beforeplaying, a simple note on the system’s dashboard will often suffice. For messages are notmeant for today, there’s a calendar that allows you to write important announcements andletters well ahead of time.Oftentimes, there are various users of the console (and each person has a Mii). You canwrite messages that are addressed to specific users for that personal touch –just rememberthat the content of the letter is still public.Occasionally, some Wii games will make use of this feature to post game highlights andachievements –a feature that we would certainly want to see in more titles. For the mostpart, the message system gets the heaviest flow of functionality from the users of thedevice. If you have not tried out this feature, now is a great time to do so and teach yourfamily or roommates about it.Browsing the WebIf you have downloaded the Internet Browser channel, all you need to do is to turn it onand get online. The browser makes use of a custom Opera-powered browser that allowsyou to view web content in a more TV-screen compatible output (larger fonts and all).There’s also a specialized YouTube channel for Wii users and support for Adobe FlashPlayer -which is more than what we can say for many Apple gadgets.For those who truly want to make full use of the web experience that the console canprovide, it is a good idea to invest in a USB keyboard which you can hook up directly 12 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 13. into the Wii. This eases out the slower process of using the onscreen keyboard (whichyou control with the WiiMote) and makes typing a whole lot faster.The Wii is more than a just a game console, it has been designed to work for you andyour family in plenty of useful ways. All you need to do is to poke around the console’smany features and settings to see what else it can do for you.Channel Surfing on Your Nintendo WiiThe Wii gives the game console experience with a whole new twist: turning your favoriteNintendo party machine into a multipurpose hub for the family with its add-on channels.First time users of the system will notice that the main screen of the system OS features awhole swath of empty channels. With the main game channel placed on the upper leftcorner and the Mii channel on the second slot, one wonders what else can be added.Here’s a quick list of all the great additional content that Nintendo has to offer for yourWii.First up is the official Nintendo Channel. From here, players can get the latest new on allthings Nintendo and more. Previews, demos and video interviews regarding upcominggames and features are updated frequently on this channel. It also allows you to grab veryexclusive sneak peeks at upcoming WiiWare titles as well.Another great channel to have is the Wii Shop channel. This is the place to go for alldownloadable content. There are both WiiWare and Virtual Console games, as well asadditional channels that can be purchased. From here, players can load up their accountwith Wii Points as well as send gifts to the people on their Wii friends list.Of course, once you have downloaded your favorite games, it is time to play them! TheVirtual Console not a single channel but a multipurpose tool that emulates the Neo Geo,the old NES, SNES and N64 consoles, Sega’s Genesis and even the TurboGrafx 16system. Each game for the various consoles will appear on the main screen as a separatechannel.Going back to your Miis, there’s a great way to enjoy your personal avatar outside of thedefault Mii channel. Enter the Check Mii Out channel. This is the place to go to if youwant to see other people’s creations, to compare avatar designs and to compete in specialweekly challenges (usually a create-a-Mii with a theme). If you did not get to join thecompetition, you can still join the fun by becoming part of the judging system. 13 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 14. And while we are on the topic of socializing with other Nintendo users, the EverybodyVotes channel is one interesting polling system. Here, various questions are asked of thepopulation in general. It’s a great big giant survey machine for the Nintendo communityand is a great way to see how far or similar your view is from the public opinion.The statistics are provided in a daily basis and there are new polls to answer each week.The great part about this is that if you have got questions of your own, you can also addthem to the poll.The Nintendo News channel is a great way to introduce your non-computer savvy folks(or roommates) to the power of RSS driven news content. There is local and internationalnews coverage on a wide range of topics (politics, science, sports, entertainment andmore). Most of the content is from Reuters so users can be assured of the accuracy ofdetails. Be warned however, as most news is often bad news -so some parents might keeptheir children from this content until they reach a certain age of comprehension.Last on our list is the photo channel. From here, users can access image content stored onan SD card to view the content on the TV. This works best for system using componentcables in order to achieve the best image quality. Also, the Wii will detect any MP3music files on the card and play it as a background to your slideshow.If you have not added any of these amazing channels on your Wii, now is the perfect timeto set up your WiFi connection and experience all the useful and fun functionalities thatthe console has to offer.Nintendo Wii: Facing the Next Generation WaveAt the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo, Japanese video game developer andconsole manufacturer Nintendo has confirmed that they will be unleashing a brand newhome console system that will rival the power and capabilities of the Xbox 360 and thePlaystation 3. While it sounds impressive, it is also a signature of Nintendo: hardware isnot everything. Sure, the new system will be powerful –compared to the 360 and the PS3which were released several years ago.The famous Nintendo motion gaming system, the Wii also faced a similar situation manyyears ago when it was first launched. The system came out ahead of its competitors atMicrosoft and Sony and enjoyed plenty of sales. When the 360 and the PS3 came outmonths later, critics stated that the Wii’s lower spec graphics would be the downfall ofthe system. Now, many years later, the Wii is still performing strongly in the market.There is no doubt that the hardcore market has long moved on from the Wii -with thesystem often playing second fiddle to owners of the PS3 or the 360. But it is this market 14 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 15. position that makes the system so strong. Among casual gamers, the Wii is the numberone system of choice.For hardcore gamers, the low price point and entertainment value of the Wii makes it anideal secondary system to own. This meant that most PS3 owners had a Wii as asecondary console and the same applied to 360 owners. There were fewer gamers whobought an Xbox and a PS3 –let alone those who have all three systems.Sales and distribution are not the only things important to a game console. A system’sgame library is always among the most important factors to consider for any personchoosing to purchase a system.Right off the bat, it is pretty obvious that the Wii has a significantly younger targetmarket. If you are planning to purchase a system for a preschooler or a grade-schooler,then the Wii should be the first choice on your list (and you might consider getting a DSas well). With plenty of games that focus on light tasks, bright colored visuals and simplestorylines, the Wii makes for a perfect children’s console.For slightly older audiences, the Wii has some pretty good titles that should not be passedup. Dead Space, Mad World and No More Heroes are just a few of the hardcore titles inthe Wii’s library. There are also some interesting ports of old games such as Obscure,Resident Evil 4 and Okami that have been brought to new life with the motion controls. Itmay not be a first choice for the discerning, hardcore players, but if you are looking for asecondary system, it is hard to go wrong with the Wii.In the end, the Wii has plenty to catch up on in terms of capabilities mostly due to itslower spec hardware as compared to later generation systems. But the Wii was nevermeant to take up the niche currently occupied by the PS3 (or the 360); instead, the Wiiwas developed to bring the joy of video games to a much broader audience –somethingthat other systems would find difficult to achieve.See the top 3 gaming headsets reviewed on this page... Customer reviews revealabout everything you need to know! Get the best gaming headset at the best price! 15 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 16. Xbox 360Covering Your Gaming Needs with the Xbox 360The home video game console market is currently dominated by two powerful giants:Sony’s high end Playstation 3 and of course, Microsoft’s Xbox 360. While some mayargue that Nintendo’s Wii console is a third alternative, many often see the motiongaming system as a secondary platform designed mostly for casual players. On its end,Microsoft is taking all of the lessons they learned from the original Xbox system andbringing all the great things back for their new console –plus plenty of great innovations.One of the first massive improvements of the 360 is its size. The original Xbox isconsiderably one of the consoles of its time. Many complained about its robust size andthe shelving space it occupied. Microsoft addressed this problem by creating a smallersystem with the additional option of being able to decide whether you want it flat orstanding upright (a feature that was first used in the original Playstation 2).The Xbox 360 also brought in new hardware that pushed the gaming capabilities of thehome console well and beyond that of high end PCs. This helped usher in great gamessuch as Mass Effect, Halo 3, Gotham Racing and many more as developers now hadfaster processors, better graphic cards and bigger storage space to work with.Speaking of storage space, the 360 makes use of the HD DVD media format. While thisis much smaller than the Playstation 3’s Blu-Ray discs, it still provided a significantamount of freedom that standard DVDs could not afford.Beyond its lineup of great titles, the 360 itself is a gaming marvel fit to be in the center ofyour home entertainment system. The device hooks up to the internet through LAN orWiFi and allows players to connect to the Xbox Live network –a paid service whichallows users to access Microsoft’s online gaming platform and various media services.The console also works as a media hub of sorts –able to playback varying types of image,music and video file formats.The 360’s wireless controllers are well made for fast paced gaming, with color-codedbuttons which allows players to easily create a mental map of the layout. The onlydrawback is that it makes use of standard batteries. Microsoft does sell an officialrechargeable battery pack kit (complete with specialized chargers) for those who love tohave long gaming sessions. 16 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 17. Microsoft has also launched a second version of the Xbox 360, the “S”. This new slimversion has a lower energy consumption rate, built in Kinect support and moreimportantly, is rumored to be resilient to the issues that caused RRoD failures for the firstbatches of 360 systems.RRoD, or Red Ring of Death, is a nickname given to the indicator lights of the 360 thatindicates a complete system failure. There are plenty of theories and hypothesis as to thevarying causes of RRoD, though all conclude that once the system hits this stage,recovery is nearly impossible. This issue has caused demand for the Jasper edition of theunit to soar, as its lower voltage rates appears to make the system immune from the muchdreaded Red Ring of Death.Being Microsoft’s second platform in the home gaming console, the 360 has shown howfar the PC software developer has come in terms of being able to expand. In terms ofgaming, Microsoft is now one of the biggest names in the gaming industry, with theirhigh end console, impressive games and impressive online service, Microsoft’s Xbox 360community continues to grow each day.Your 360, Your Style: Special Editions of Microsoft’s Gaming ConsoleThe Xbox 360 is an extremely impressive gaming machine featuring high end videographics hardware and a library of games that is sure to satisfy any hardcore gamer’sneeds. But function is not there is to Microsoft’s very successful seventh generation videogame console. The Xbox 360 also delivers plenty in terms of form. The new sleekerdesign (as compared to the original Xbox) of the original 360 and the highly stylized360S bring to users a devices that will fit perfectly well in the center of your hometheater. But if you have been looking for something more, something extra special, youmight want to take a quick peek at these special edition versions of the Xbox 360.No list of Xbox 360 special editions can be complete without the Halo 3 special edition;this system is considered to be the top choice of Xbox fans for its specially designedcolors –made to look like Master Chief’s armor. Even the pack-in controller, headset andcharger has been designed in a similar fashion to fit with the overall look. Halo fans willlove the slight contouring of the side plate to match the style of the Spartan armor.Final Fantasy fans have also been given a special console as well. The Final Fantasy XIII360 special edition comes in a basic white color scheme with an imprinted design. Beingwhite, it looks a lot like the standard 360 edition until closer inspection. The package alsocomes with free game related DLC and of course, the game itself. While we cannotexactly recommend this one for aesthetic functions (since it is still mostly white),hardcore fans of Square Enix would certainly want to have this in their playroom. 17 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 18. For those looking for a strikingly good color for the Xbox, a special Resident Evil 5edition of the console has been released and this one comes in a solid red finish. In termsof overall design, there are no RE-specific designs on the console itself, making it a greatalternative for those who simply want a red version of the console. As a special edition,this Xbox 360’s controller and headset accessories are also colored red.Really hardcore collectors might want to watch out for a few very limited editionversions of the Xbox 360. The special launch edition is a very exclusive version of thesystem that has only been given to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 launch team. These editionswere never available commercially and can only be obtained from the Launch Teammembers themselves –in the unlikely event that they are willing to part with the consoleitself.According to reports, the launch edition is mostly white like the original but comes with acustomized faceplate, a date engraving, and green highlights on the console (which isgray in the commercial release of the 360). Currently, only one launch team edition hasbeen reported to have been sold by the original owner.Of course, buying a brand new special edition console is not the only way to get the styleyou want. There are plenty of custom faceplates and skins for the Xbox 360 availableboth from official sources and third party manufacturers. The designs also range fromsimple flat colors to well detailed art (gaming-related and otherwise). If the above specialeditions are way off your budget, you might want to invest in a skin instead.Full Circle: Completing Your Xbox 360 SetupMicrosoft’s Xbox is an impressive gaming system. It packs quite the punch in terms ofhardware power, and provides players with an incredible amount of games to choosefrom. But simply owning the system and several games alone is not all that you need toget the most out of your Xbox 360. Here are a few useful tricks that we found for playersto try out.Your Game, Your MusicNow this is actually a documented feature: you can play MP3 files on your HDD throughthe console menu from within any game. Of course, you would have to check if yourgame allows you to turn off the music (usually found in a game’s sound/audio settingspage). This is a pretty neat trick for games which do not rely so much on the in-gamemusic to deliver a story (racing games, sports titles, etc). But do remember to use it with alittle moderation, it would be odd playing Alan Wake to a Lady Gaga song.It Also Plays the iPod 18 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 19. If you own an Apple iPod, you can hook it up to your Xbox 360 and play the trackstraight from the iPod itself. This may seem a little strange; after all, Apple is one ofMicrosoft’s biggest competitors (basically, they are industry rivals). But yes, the option isavailable on the Marketplace. Once loaded on your console, you will be able to browseyour media easily. This will also allow you to charge the device while plugged in.Create a Special NameIs the alphabet too limited for your Gamercard? Then fear not. While Microsoft has notallowed the use of special Ascii characters, they did actually use support for easternlanguages. Simply switch over your input settings and you can choose from a wide rangeof unique characters.Remove Excess DataMuch like the PC, the Xbox 360 is prone to storing random stuff in its memory. Indeed,there will come a time when your system will start slowing down a bit. If you think your360 is being encumbered by a load of unneeded files, you might want to try this out.Select your HD from the user interface and press Y. From there, press X, X, L Bumper, RBumper, X, X. This will allow you to clear the memory as well as some of the gamesystem data –just be warned that you might need to re-download any important DLCcontent you lose in the process.Go BloggingTired of telling your friends what you have been playing –or not have been playing?Then get a blog that will instantly update them on your gaming habits. Of course, itwould be such a hassle to manually create blog posts each day, so the best thing to do isto have your Xbox 360 console do it for you.Sign up for an account at 360 Voice, and you will have access to a special service run bythe folks at Gamer DNA. 360 Voice will create an automated blog for you that is updatedby your 360. It will list down the stuff that your Xbox publishes on your Gamercard andpost it online for you to share. Of course, you should set your Gamercard info to “public”instead of “private” for this service to work.Achievements, Gamerscore and Multiplayer - The Best of Xbox LiveWe all love our games, and we certainly love being able to talk about gaming experienceswith our friends. Microsoft brings these two and many more great features together in asingle online connectivity service, and this, is Xbox Live. 19 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 20. Originally debuting back in 2002, a year after the launch of the original Xbox homegaming console, Xbox Live officially went online. Better known under the nickname,XBL, this Microsoft-run online feature brought together multiplayer features, socialnetworking, online achievements, media downloads and so much more in a singlelocation. Within days of its launch, gamers scrambled to log in, create their ownGamertags and become part of the quickly growing community.Today, XBL is mostly accessed by Xbox 360 users –which currently account for thelargest portion of the XBL community. They are joined by users of the older Xboxsystem, PCs and new users of Windows Phone 7 mobile devices. All in all, the XBLcommunity currently plays host to over 30 million users (as opposed to over 70 millionfor the PSN). This has made Microsoft’s online community a strong, self-sustaining,online industry for many developers and game publishers.One of the main functions that XBL provides is the Gamerscore count. This is basically anumerical tally of in-game achievements accomplished by players. While the Gamerscorecount cannot be used or consumed in any manner, many players often use this as a basisof comparison of their skill and progress as compared to others on their friends list. Inorder to ensure that the Gamerscore is not tampered with, Microsoft employs severalundisclosed tracking methods in order to seek out cheating players. When found, thosecaught manipulating Gamerscore data are stripped of points and are publicly labeled ascheaters.When it comes to skill comparison however, Microsoft has a much better trackingalternative: the TrueSkill match finder system. This little feature allows Xbox Live tokeep track of a player’s in-game performance and ranks players according to their actualskill level.This allows the system to create match ups of players of similar skills levels in order tobalance the game difficultly. While there are some known exploits in the system, manyplayers often prefer TrueSkill’s ranked matches as a way to gauge their own playinglevels.Aside from providing players with bragging rights, the XBL service also provides plentyof content for players to download. Netflix, Hulu and other media sites can instantly beaccessed with the XBL account for video content (some media services are restricteddepending on the region of the player). Other social networking sites such as Facebookand Twitter are also incorporated into the service as well. More importantly, the XBLservice also provides additional game related media and content. Trailers, downloadabledemo versions and expansion packs are all available on the XBL service (though somewill require payment).With the Xbox Live service, Microsoft has been able to provide a comprehensive gamingexperience for players on the Xbox 360, Windows PC and WP7 smart phone users withits great library of media channels, game add-ons and online community. If you own one 20 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 21. of the abovementioned systems and have yet to make your own account, you shouldcreate one immediately and catch up on all the great content that you have been missingout on.Only 360: 5 of Our Favorite Microsoft ExclusivesNothing makes a console stand out more than its line-up of exclusive titles. While theXbox 360 may be best known for its highly competitive multiplayer FPS titles, it also hasits own share of hardcore games from other genres. Naturally, if you want to get the fullexperience of all the gaming goodness that this Microsoft gaming console has to offer,you need to try out its many different games. To help you get started, we compiled a listof our top five favorite exclusive titles for the 360.Alan WakeIntriguing, suspenseful and highly imaginative, Alan Wake is a great game that playersshould not pass up on. You take control of the titular lead character, Alan Wake, as heembarks on a strange quest to save his wife from a race of bizarre beings known as theTaken.The gameplay is a combination of exploration-investigation and horror-action; playersseek out various clues to find Alan’s wife while trying to get past beings that are onlyvulnerable when exposed to light. Combat is combination of using in-game light sourcesand basic firearms –forcing players to include a lot of strategy into their playing style.Combined with lushly detailed environments, the creepy and haunting atmosphere ofBright Falls, a musical score designed to keep you on the edge of your seat and verylifelike voice acting this is a game that certainly ranks high in the immersive-meter.Gears of War 2Despite the 360’s heavy reputation as a console for competitive players, it also has itsshare of great local coop games. And in this category, none stand out more thanGearbox’s Gears of War 2. This epic third person shooter game allows you and a buddyto team up and take down more of the invading alien horde known as the Locust. Thecombat is visually visceral, and keeps you glued on the screen. Much of the game’satmosphere is similar to that of wartime film footage, complete with shaky-hand-cameffects, dirt splatters and of course, gore. Keeping you away from focusing entirely onthese details is the action. Gears takes you (and optionally, a friend), into the heart of theLocusts new location underground, surrounded at all times and shooting your waytowards the goal. A deep and well delivered story narrative provides players with areprieve from the action-intensive gameplay. 21 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 22. Halo 3Master Chief is back with the third game in the main Halo trilogy and once again, playersare back in the Chief’s iconic armored boots. The game brings players back in touch notonly with the big MC, but also with other returning cast such as Cortana, the Arbiter andmore. Speaking of the Arbiter, he and the Covenant are taking a big role twist in thisgame as players get to directly interfere with the politics of the alien race. Halo 3 alsoreveals more about the rings, the flood and more importantly, provides the groundworkfor an even more epic undertaking for the next game. Much of Halo’s classic FPSgameplay is back, along with a few new extra weapons. There is also a bit of balancewith the use of special thrown weapons and melee combat –giving players that muchneeded diversity that most first person shooters lack.Tales of VesperiaNothing says video game more than a Japanese RPG, and Namco Bandai’s semi-exclusive offering for Xbox 360 owners is the incredibly fun and intriguing Tales ofVesperia. The Japanese version of the game has been released for both the PS3 and theXbox 360 (with the PS3 getting additional content). However, only the 360 was given anEnglish version.The game takes you to the fictional planet of Terca Lumireis, a land where people rely onmagic as much as technology. This magic is basically a unique kind of planetary energystored in blastia -when the blastia start reacting to strange viral form of magic energy, thebinding forces of the planet hit a terrible imbalance. Taking on the role of ex-knight YuriLowell, players embark on a journey that could very well spell the fate of the planet.JRPG veterans will know what to expect: funny voice acting, well written dialogue, adeep storyline with light delivery and of course, Namco’s Tales-series real time combat.Ace Combat 6: Fires of LiberationOnce again, another title in the list comes from Namco Bandai. This is Project Ace’sspecial work for the Xbox 360, AC6: Fires of Liberation. Taking on the same storyuniverse established in previous Ace Combat titles, players take flight and burn throughthe skies as the ace pilot, Talisman.Fighting to defend the fictional Republic of Emmeria from invading Estovakian forces,players are slowly introduced into the harsh repercussions of war as told from theperspective of civilians. The gameplay brings back more of that fast-paced and simplifieddogfight controls that have made previous AC titles famous. Speaking of which, giganticbosses and massive, epic dogfights dot out major points in the story –providing playerswith a unique kind of challenge not seen in other flight simulation titles.Overall, with its great game controls, action-oriented gameplay and stylish aircraftsimulation, this is one dogfight game that will keep you happily playing for hours on end. 22 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 23. Xbox 360: Surviving the Red Ring of DoomWe have all heard the horror stories and for many owners of early generation Xbox 360consoles, the Red Ring of Doom/Death (also known as RRoD) is the eternal boogeymanlurking in the shadows of the Microsoft console.What makes RRoD so ghastly for players is simple fact that it count compromise anddestroy all your progress. But before we get into that, let us see what RRoD really is. Theterm “Red Ring” comes from the three quarter-circle red indicator lights that appear onthe console once it experiences any form of general hardware failure. In short, RRoD isactually a visible symptom for a wide range of potentially dangerous issues with theconsole.In a few very rare cases (such as voltage spikes/power surges), fixing the RRoD simplyrequire plugging the device from the power outlet and giving it time to cool down beforeresuming play. Most of the time, users will have to send the device back to Microsoft forreplacement or take it to a third party to have the console fixed.Many players prefer to take the system to a third party developer. Despite the fact thatMicrosoft is manufacturer of the device (and is most suited to fix it) player tend to passup on this service since they have a policy of completely wiping out all data on theconsole. This means that all game data, save files, media and more are completelyremoved from the system. With many games averaging at least 20 to 30 hours to finish,many gamers are not too happy with the prospect of having all their gaming hours be lost.So what do you do when you get hit by RRoD? The first thing that players should do is tocheck on all the quick troubleshooting steps. This usually involves letting the device rest,checking if the vents are blocked or if the power brick is heating up. If the console stilldoes not turn on properly, it is time to take it to a professional. While there are plenty ofonline tutorials and how-to guides to take apart your Xbox 360, applying thermal pasteand even installing a third party cooling system, these are not recommended. Not only dothey void warranty, but unless you yourself are a professional in handling delicateelectronics, attempting to do this on your own could lead to disastrous results.As always, an ounce of prevention is indeed better than a pound of cure. In the case of theXbox 360, making sure that your system does not overheat is a key factor in maintaininga long life. First off, store the device in dust free area –if you can spare a small sheet tocover it with, do so. Keeping out the dust allows the system to cool itself better – 23 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 24. naturally, remove the cover when you need to play it. Next is to ensure that you run thesystem in a cool, well-ventilated area. This means that all the vents should have ampleroom to ‘breathe’. Do note that not only does the console need to be checked; the powerbrick also requires similar attention as well.Online Games on Demand: Xbox Live ArcadeMicrosoft’s Xbox Live gaming service is one of the largest online game markets –alongwith the Playstation Store and Steam. Featuring a wide range of games that is constantlyupdated on an almost daily basis, XBLA provides players with a game library that isavailable almost every day, at any time. But what is good about downloadable games?After all, the common connotation about these (literally) smaller games is that they lackthe depth and content that is available in many hardcore titles. This however, is not true.And here are a few of our top picks from the Xbox Live Arcade service.Marvel VS Capcom 2: New Age of HeroesOriginally available in retail for the older Xbox system, MvC2 has been updated andupgraded for the XBLA and of course, HDTV gaming with the 360. The game nowsupports 720p graphics, online match support (for finding matches and even watchingother fights) and more importantly, it fixes many of the bugs and slowdowns that plaguethe original version when used on the 360 (despite being a backwards compatible title,Marvel VS Capcom 2 suffers from plenty of performance issues when played on the360).This fighting game brings back all of the air combos and chain commands of Capcom’sfamous gameplay engine. With a full roster of 56 characters from both the Marvel andCapcom universes, players get to mix and match their favorite characters for the ultimateteam combinations.Castlevania: Harmony of DespairIn today’s age of high end video gaming, sprite based 2D games are often considered asprimitive works or novelty items. But the same cannot be said of the Castlevaniafranchise. While there are already plenty of games in the series that feature 3D graphicsand gameplay, the 2D titles pretty much stand well on their own. XBLA offers Harmonyof Despair, a unique, semi-mission based Castlevania game that brings back charactersfrom Portrait of Ruin, Symphony of the Night and more in a single game.Players (and a friend) get to choose from varying lead characters as they track down thevarious monsters and bosses that plague Dracula’s castle. Each character playsdifferently, using different types of equipment, skills and even their own leveling system 24 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 25. for increasing stats. Thanks to the optional cooperative game mode, this game is adefinite must-have for Castlevania fans.Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2Combining fast paced action, stylish retro graphics and a bullet-hell type of gameplay,Geometry Wars: RE2 proves that it has what it takes to go toe-to-toe with many otherhardcore shooters such as Raiden, Gradius and more. Retro Evolved 2 brings back manyof the core elements that has made the original game a hit: multidirectional movementand shooting, along with massive waves of enemies.New to the sequel is six new game modes varying from surviving waves, earning asmuch points within a time limit to surviving without firing a single bullet. Creatively fun,addictive and hard to put down, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 is certainly highlyrecommended for XBLA players.Bring On the East: J-RPGs for the Xbox 360One of the hardest challenges that Microsoft faced with the original Xbox home consolewas the fact that they had little Japanese game developer support. This affected theconsole’s sales performance slightly in western markets and strongly in Japan. With theXbox 360, Microsoft is showing that they are learning from their mistakes. The nextgeneration console now sports a vast number of JRPG titles, and even a few specialexclusives for the US market. Here is a quick peek at some of these great games.Namco Bandai’s Tales of VesperiaThe “Tales Of” series from Namco Bandai is one of the longest running RPG titles inJapan and Vesperia is one of the latest titles. While the Japanese version of the game isavailable in both the PS3 and the 360, only 360 owners will be able to enjoy the Englishversion of this game. ToV follows the adventures of Yuri Lowell, a former knight out insearch of a way to restore balance to the Blastia cores which govern magic energy.His adventure brings him back in touch with his long time friend, Flynn Scifo andtogether, they try to unravel the mysteries of magic and ether. Vesperia makes use of asemi-real time combat system known as the ATB which adds a degree of action to thebattle sequences.Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIIIThe latest in the famous Final Fantasy series originated by Squaresoft, FFXIII brings youthe tale of Lightning, a soldier who takes on a system she once served in order to save hersister. While many of the older generation of FF fans find Square-Enix new RPG 25 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 26. formulas to be a little dry and unimaginative, it is hard to deny that the game developertruly pushes the limits of the video hardware in today’s consoles.Originally meant to be released only for the PS3 in Blu-Ray format, the game wentthrough several cuts and edits in order to shrink down content for the HD-DVD. Whilemany fans cried foul at losing content, 360 users in the US finally had their first taste ofthe FF series.Microsoft’s Lost OdysseyTaking the lack of actual Japanese support for the older system into consideration,Microsoft has teamed up with Mistwalker and independent game company headed bylegendary Squaresoft icon, Hironobu Sakaguchi. Their product: the ambitious LostOdyssey RPG for the Xbox 360. This game rings back many elements of the original FFseries that has been lost in the newer titles.A simplified items and inventory system, an easy to follow turn based, menu drivencombat engine and of course, a plotline filled with plenty of twists and turns. Whilecritics have panned the heavily political undertones of the game, many have alsorecognized the brave step that Mistwalker and Feelplus are taking in order to re-shape theJRPG industry. This game will certainly be a fan favorite of Sakaguchi purists and older-generation RPG fans, though the deep storyline and slightly reverse-experimental feel ofthe game system might put off newer players.Beyond 360: Add More to Your XboxSo, you have finally bought an Xbox 360, hooked it up to your HDTV and bought someof the best titles available. The question is: what would you need to further enhance yourgaming experience? Here is a quick lineup of our much recommended additionalpurchases to help you make the most out of the Microsoft gaming system.First off, buy an Xbox Live subscription card. These little things can be found in mostgaming outlets and convenience stores –making them incredibly accessible. The bigpicture here is that players get to sign up for an Xbox Live account, take part inmultiplayer games and of course, be part of the of the XBL community. With a majorityof the 360’s best games featuring multiplayer functionality, this is a much needed feature.Of course, you will have to have a decent internet connection, and preferably, a goodWiFi router. Another advantage of buying a card is that you will not need to input yourcredit card data online.Gaming with batteries is hard, and anyone who has had a Nintendo Gameboy or a SegaGamegear will tell you, those batteries will run out –sooner than you think. So what is agood plan for your wireless controllers when you tend to clock in several hours of 26 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 27. gaming each day? Get rechargeable batteries. This is made easy by Microsoft, who sellsofficial rechargeable battery packs that allow you to charge whether your controllers arein standby or in use. This means that you get to enjoy a more seamless gamingexperience -and at the same time, save the environment since you will not be throwingbatteries in the trash bin every two or three days.Of course, it will take more than a fully charged controller to enjoy a session of onlinegaming – after all, communication is a the key to having a good time. Try to find a goodXbox 360 compatible headset in order to make full use of the system’s voice chatfunctionality. While you might have to bear with a few obscenities every now and then(well, a lot more often than we would prefer actually), this allows you to instantlycommunicate with your team mates in order to formulate strategies, cheer for your squad,or simply talk about how nice the weather has been while you are stalking out a target onyour scope.Speaking of chat (pun intended), you might not be too fond of a direct conversationalapproach. In this case, the Xbox 360 controller keyboard is a great add on. This chat-pador “Messenger Kit” sticks directly between the controller grips and provides players witha fully functional QWERTY keyboard to make use of while you are gaming and cannotafford to put down the controller. While it does take a while to get used to, being able toinstantly type out letters is significantly faster than having to use an onscreen keyboard.Lastly, to add even more value to your Xbox 360 accessories (outside of gaming on theconsole itself) you might want to consider purchasing the Wireless Gaming Receiver.This is a great add-on, but only for those who love to play on the PC. This little USBreceiver comes with Windows drivers that allow players to use various Xbox 360accessories on the PC. Of course, you will still need to do a little joypad mapping in orderto make full use of your controller, but it certainly is a lot better than having to shell outeven more just to buy a separate joypad for your desktop system.Legends Face Off: Xbox 360 vs Playstation 3When Microsoft first entered the home console gaming arena with the original Xbox,many felt as if the world famous software developer has lost its marbles. The Xbox wasbig and bulky. Despite its obviously powerful hardware capabilities, many gamers usedto Nintendo and Sony’s consoles felt that the cumbersome device was nothing more thana watered down gaming PC. Within weeks of its launch, the Xbox showed that it hadtremendous potential as a dedicated gaming system, and what followed was history.Now, Microsoft is considered to be one of the three main companies of the gamingconsole industry (along with competitors Sony and Nintendo), and Microsoft’s mostrecent system, the Xbox 360 is considered to be one of the most powerful gaming devices 27 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 28. ever launched. It, along with the Sony Playstation 3, is expected to be main systems forthis generation of gamers and it is said that they hold that post for years to come.So how good is the Xbox 360 compared to the Playstation 3?There are several factors to consider, and first up is the hardware and cost. Without adoubt, Sony’s use of GPU technology, accessibility features and more ergonomiccontroller gives it an edge over the 360’s much simpler system.This little advantage however, comes with a price –literally. The 360 console itself issignificantly cheaper than the PS3 (though many argue that with the additional chargerpacks or batteries, XBL subscription, etc, the 360 has a higher overhead and long termcost) and is a great choice for those who want to set aside budget for more games.Still, this does leave the 360 a little lacking in terms of full potential. Take the case of itsuse of HD-DVDs; this media storage has a lower capacity than a Blu-Ray disc, makingsome games impossible to port to the 360 without using multiple discs.Of course, judging a console simply because of its hardware is not the way to go. Afterall, it is the games that truly matter at the end of the day. And for the Xbox 360, despitefacing off against a system with a more powerful hardware configuration, they have beenable to make a pretty even stand because of the game selections.In terms of multiplatform games, the Xbox 360 plenty of edge thanks to the fact that thesystem is easier to develop for. In most cases, there are fewer bugs in the Xbox 360version of a game when compared to its PS3 counterpart. Also, Microsoft’s closerelations with developers give them a slight advantage in terms of patch availabilities.The Xbox 360 has several exclusive titles of its own. Bungie’s Halo and Gearbox’s Gearsof War series are among the top favorite titles for the system. Several made for Windowstitles and series have also been brought over, such as the original Mass Effect fromBioware (the first game was an exclusive since it was co-produced by Microsoft, thesequel was created, developed and published entirely by Bioware and EA, allowing thetitle to be available on multiple platforms).Online, the XBL service takes a bit of a hit for being a paid service –unlike Sony’s free touse PSN. But after the events of the massive PSN hacking attack during late April of2011, Microsoft’s online service was put in a better light. Since the features on bothnetworks are quite similar (achievements and trophies, friends lists and privatemessages), the two are often compared to each other.All in all, the 360 is a much preferred and recommended system for players who love togo online and compete with others. Most of the 360’s best exclusive titles tend to be firstperson shooters with a strong online multiplayer component. Also, a vast majority ofexisting players in the community share a similar passion. This highly competitive 28 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 29. environment allows players to find varying challenge levels that single player titles areunable to provide.See the top 3 gaming headsets reviewed on this page... Customer reviews revealabout everything you need to know! Get the best gaming headset at the best price!http://www.bestgamingheadsetps3.orgPlaystation 3The Top Five Console Defining Exclusives for the Playstation 3A gaming console’s most defining point is not the brand, price, maker, hardware or anyother feature –no matter how impressive any of these may be. The true way to understandand experience the value of a game console is through its exclusive games.In this day and age, exclusive titles are not as common as one would think. With literallyhundreds of game developers out there, having a game exclusively made for a singlesystem would mean having a game that is played best on that one specific console. Forthe Playstation 3, these are the top five exclusives that will truly show you the value ofSony’s latest generation hardware.Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the PatriotsThis is the largest game in existence (sans downloadable content) and makes use of theDual Layer Blu-Ray disc to its full potential. Creator Hideo Kojima is rumored to havesaid that he had to cut down on content in order to fit the game into the limitations ofwhat is currently the largest read-only commercial media available. And once you see thegame, it is easy to understand what he meant; MGS4 is full of amazing content, richgraphics and fluid animations. With its immersive gameplay, deep storyline and epicmovie-like delivery, this game is a worthy medium for Solid Snake’s final chapter.Heavy RainDrama, intrigue, and suspense –these are a great mix of flavors for a movie, and for thefirst time, executed so well in a video game. Heavy Rain takes storytelling in the gamegenre to a whole new level, placing you in control of four completely different charactersas their lives all converge in a single storyline. Chase after the Origami Killer to save achild in a gameplay that is a combination of mild exploration with heavy focus on quicktime events. Heavy Rain features cinematic camerawork, emotionally moving voice-acting and a story pace that will keep you on the edge of your seat.Little Big Planet (Series) 29 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 30. UK game developer Media Molecule has made a great formula: an ever lovable mascot, acute platforming system and granting players the ability to create anything they want.Little Big Planet’s main game lets you take control of Sackboy as you jump and grabyour way through several pre-programmed levels. But the core of the game is with theability to create your own stages and share them with others. The sequel, LBP2, bringsback everything from the original game and further extends the amount of things you cancreate and expands the level of interactivity that players can have.Infamous (Series)If there is one thing that the seventh generation of consoles should be known for, it is incompletely redefining the concept of an open world. In Infamous, the level of freedom ingameplay and exploration is taken apart and rebuilt into something completely unreal.Players take control of Cole, who is granted with unique electricity based powers thataugments his physical abilities, aside from allowing players the ever-cool power ofshooting lightning bolts from their hands. You can run, climb and glide to almostanywhere in the game and getting players moving along is a powerful storyline thatmakes you feel like you are reading a comic (and the panel style delivery certainly helps).Uncharted (Series)3-D platformers are a dime a dozen on the video game world, but only a few trulymanage to stand out. For the Playstation 3, Naughty Dog’s “Uncharted” series is a trilogyyou would not want to miss. So far, two of the games have already been released andthere is plenty of excitement for the third. And that is not a surprise. Protagonist NathanDrake certainly knows how to play a crowd and the gameplay will keep playersconstantly on the move and in action. Be it jumping around cliffs or engaging ingunfights, Uncharted is a game series that knows how to keep a great pace -not tomention the fact that the graphics look amazingly good.Of course, to say that these five titles alone define the PS3 would be misleading. They aresimply the cream of the crop. There are plenty of other great titles that can bump this listinto a top ten or even a top twenty, including, but not limited to: Gran Turismo 5, DemonSouls, Valkyria Chronicles, Yakuza, Killzone, Resistance and so much more. ThePlaystation 3 is truly an impressive console with an even more impressive game library,and all you need to do is to start exploring these amazing games.Gearing Up Your Playstation 3Sony and many third party developers are offering a full lineup of excellent gadgets andadd-ons for the Playstation 3 home console and we are here to give you a quick view onthe must-haves for any hardcore gamer. 30 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 31. First up is the updated Six Axis controller, the Dualshock 3. Now, for those who havebought the later releases of the PS3, this controller would already have been packed intothe unit. For those who bought the early launches however, this force feedback controllerwill provide you with that extra level of immersive fun. A vast majority of the PS3’sgames support the rumble feature. Most provide the usual fare of light to heavy shakingsynched with onscreen explosions and vibrations, but some game provide an even deeperlevel of interactivity –providing tactile cues for players that is not provided visually.Metal Gear Solid 4 makes use of this feature by vibrating the controller lightly as a quickalert to players that there are enemies nearby.The Playstation Move is Sony’s foray into the motion control industry and for their firstdevice to use the technology, the Move is very promising. The main Move controller is awireless, camera and motion tracked device; its accompaniment, the navigationcontroller, is an optional tool that proves to be quite useful in many Move-compatiblegames. There are plenty of games that make use of the new technology: Resident Evil 5Gold gives the game a more action-oriented feel, puzzle-platformer Echochrome 2 makesuse of the Move as a flashlight to alter the shadows in-game and in Little Big Planet,Move allows players to have better control over content creation.Namco’s GunCon 3 is a top notch addition to the existing gun-controller lineup from theJapanese game developer. The GunCon itself feels pretty well balanced and weight justright when supported with two hands. While the Move does provide players withexcellent gun-play controls, nothing makes a shooter game more immersive than actuallyholding a device that feels like the real thing. Some players may be put off by the need toset up the infra-red nodes, but once you are done, you can hook up a second GunConwithout any problems. The only real problem with the controller is the fact that asidefrom Time Crisis 3, only a few other games support it.Music fans will certainly not want to pass up on the impressive Rock Band 3 controllerset. While this may seem to be quite a massive investment, any gamer would agree thatthe new wireless music controllers are well worth it. The guitar now supports a widevariety of features, and it looks quite grand –and the fact that Fender designed some ofthese Guitars certainly factors in. The drum pads are responsive and easy to use. Whilewe could have used a little more flexibility in terms of pad arrangement, the current setup(which players can add cymbals to) is not that hard to get used to.While there are plenty more peripherals and add-ons for the PS3 that we would haveliked to add to this list, few are as surprisingly useful as this last entry: the PS3 remotecontrol. Aside from being an amazing video game system, the Sony HDMI powerhousealso acts as a Blu-Ray player (Playstation 3 games are hosted on Blu-Ray discs after all).While you can use the standard controller with the system, nothing completes the hometheater experience by having a device that has all the playback functions you would everneed. 31 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 32. The Playstation 3 Really is EverythingNo hardcore gamer’s home setup will be complete without the powerful Playstation 3.Sporting a large library of amazing exclusive game titles, the most ergonomic andresponsive controllers, a powerful hardware setup that makes it a cost effectivealternative to computers and a multitude of side functions that can make it the central hubof your entertainment center.In size, the Playstation 3 is massive. It takes up plenty of shelf space. While a newslimmer version of the original has been launched, both will still require some ampleterritory. Fortunately, the console can be made to stand upright –which is a great bonus ofthose living in tight quarters.But all that size is not without purpose, beneath that shiny exterior (or cool matte finish ifyou’re using a slim), is hardware that brings plenty of high end computers to shame evenseveral years after its launch.The system makes use of Blu-Ray media –which is heavily supported by Sony. This newform of disc storage packs in a massive amount of data: up to 25 GB for standard, 50 GBfor dual layer and over a hundred GB for the BDXL types. So far, the largest game forthe PS3 is Kojima Production’s Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots which make useof the dual layer disc –which makes the game impossible to port to other consoles. Thismeans that games made specifically for the PS3 can be larger and bigger than ever beforeas developers now have more space to add content.And to read that content, the PS3 has the hardware to match; a high speed 3.2 GHz CPUruns the whole device –which is part of a more elaborate system that makes use of eightSynergistic Processing Elements which help out with the various load requirements.NVIDIA and SCEI have worked together for the graphics processor, the RSX realitySynthesizer which enables the PS3 to handle games for output in true 1080p HD video.Of course, only developers truly get to enjoy these stats.Numbers and specs aside, what makes the Playstation 3 shine for players is not theexcellent hardware, but the features and games. First off, the PS3’s Six Axis controller isso well made that no other controller fits the grip of the hand so well. Making use of adirectional pad, two shoulder buttons, two shoulder triggers, 4 buttons and two analogsticks, the device looks like it will take a contortionist to manipulate. But once you try ityourself, you will realize how natural it feels and how intuitive the manipulation of thecontrols can be.Using the PS3 is a breeze thanks to the cross media browser, better known as the XMB.This custom UI has been designed by Sony to make content a lot easier to access –and itcomplements the use of the controller. This OS may seem simple, but it has a lot of many 32 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 33. useful features from media playback to web browsing to system data and save-filemanagement. Periodic updates to the OS allow Sony to add more features and fix anysecurity issues that may arise.The PS3 also makes use of the Playstation Network, a free online service that allowsSony to provide system updates, mini-social networking, online games, multiplayersessions and various downloadable content (such as game add-ons and media). Recently,SCE has launched the Playstation Network Plus program, a paid subscription service thatprovides PSN+ users with exclusive content, freebies and discounted rates for paidcontent. A supplement to the PSN network is the Playstation Home. This is a free andoptional game that allows a player to create a character and interact with other playersusing the software and also to obtain various Playstation Home exclusives.Overall, the PS3 is a system designed primarily with gamers in mind. Many of its gamesconcentrate on single player modes and focus more on delivering deep storylines asopposed to catering to those who prefer multi-player gaming sessions. While there areplenty of PS3 titles that offer offline and online multiplayer features, the system’s gamelineup is a testament to its value for real gamers. If you have a passion for gaming andprefer high quality games that deliver in story, graphics and gameplay, then thePlaystation 3 is your best bet.Tackling Common Playstation 3 IssuesThe Sony Playstation 3 is a powerful home console, and its hardware it still among thebest that technology can offer despite the fact that it has been out for at least two years.And as one would expect from a system this powerful and complicated, issues andproblems are bound to happen.While some are easy to figure out, some will require you to do a little more researchingand tweaking. At worst, you might have to send the unit to an authorized repair center.But before you hit the panic button when things are not working as they should be, hereare a few things you might want to try out.If HDMI feed does not work and the video is reset to standard definition, simply holddown the power button until it shuts off. Then, turn it on by holding down the powerbutton for about 5 seconds (a beep will be heard). The great thing about this is that itallows the device to auto-detect the HDMI cable once it boots up again –just be sure thatthe cables are connected snugly.For games that freeze and hang up, there is no need to panic or worry. While this isdefinitely a symptom of something else entirely, the freezing itself with either self-restore(the console will sometimes automatically reboot) or you can do a manual reset. To knowthe difference, try pressing the PS button on your controller. If the system does not 33 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 34. respond and all you see is the frozen game screen, then it is likely that the console willshut itself off. If the XMB appears, it is unlikely that the system will reboot and you willhave to hold down the power button until the console shuts off.Playing your PS2 games; this is not really a problem and is more of a hardware issuesince backwards compatibility is not present in all Playstation 3 units. As such, yousimply have to check the hardware specs on your device. Also, remember that even if youhave backwards compatibility, PS2 games have region coding. Unlike the Blu-Ray PS3titles (which can be played on any region PS3), you will not be able to play UK PS2games on your US console –which means that hardcore players will still need to import aPS2 to play OZ.One major issue that the PS3 currently has is with the system updates. While Sony doesbring in plenty of new features with every update, there are many reports of systems thatare locking up or freezing due to the OS changes. The problems are more common forusers who have swapped out their hard drives for higher capacity ones, which means thatif your unit has not been changed at all, you are less likely to have any problems.Naturally, users who have tried to hack their PS3 are most likely to be affected by thenew updates. In most cases, this will require users to bring their console to a nearby SonyCenter -at which point, it is likely that all files and savegames may be lost.Of course, it is highly recommended that players back up their data periodically(especially before making a software update). Use the “entire system backup” function toget everything in one sweep. Trophy data cannot be stored on an external drive so be sureto always update your PSN account. If you are a Playstation Plus member and have the3.60 version update, the cloud storage feature will allow you to individually store lockedsave files.Rare Finds: A Look at Limited Edition Games for the PS3There are games, and there are ‘the’ games. While most video game fans would be morethan happy to get a regular copy of their favorite titles, die-hard collectors will certainlywant to get their hands on some of the more impressive and proportionally pricier limitededitions.These special versions are named in a wide variety: limited editions, collector’s edition,director’s cut, gold edition, game of the year edition. Each release has its own extras andfreebies –uniquely chosen by the publisher and developer of the game. To get a betterunderstanding of what these freebies are and what the terms mean, here’s a quickreference guide that will get you started.Game of the Year: now this is a label that you will see pretty often. These are not limitedversions of the game. Instead, they are special re-release versions of an existing game that 34 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 35. often includes plenty of valuable extras. DLC such as expansions, in-game items, extracharacters, are often packed into the GotY versions of a game. But be wary, someversions are better than others. By default, games with the extra content included withinthe Blu-Ray disc (such as the Fallout 3 GotY) are more valuable than a GotY edition thatcomes with a special voucher for downloads (such as the Borderlands GotY edition). Donote that not all games use the GotY tag, some games use their own unique names; suchas Dragon Age which uses the term Ultimate Edition.Collector’s Edition, Limited Edition, Special Edition - now these are all used by variouspublishers, but they usually mean only one thing: it comes with plenty of extras. Thesespecials usually include a bonus disc which contains an in-game soundtrack or additionalmedia (such as a behind-the-scenes or developer interviews), an art book, posters, cards,and in many instances, very special items. These items can range from vinyl discs(Bioshock 2), to digital Pip-Boy clocks (Fallout 3: Special Edition Amazon bonus), tospiffy looking USB flash drives (Force Unleashed 2).Speaking of which, there are “DLCs” and “Pre-Order Bonuses”. Now these are notalways made part of special editions, but they do add some collectible extras for real fans.As in the example mentioned, ordering from Amazon (and many other stores, such asGamestop) will often net players some exclusive freebies –and yes, there are somegamers who would order from various stores just to get the exclusive extras. Somerequire more than just ordering from a specific store, some extras will need you to pre-order (to sign up and pay for a game before it is launched).The most common form of store-exclusive extras would be DLC or downloadablecontent. These are software add-ons to games that provide players with additional in-game content as opposed to something you can display on your shelf. For the most part,store exclusives that are physical objects are given more value since some DLC contentare only timed exclusives (they may become available for everyone, at a price, much lateron), and there is a very active online community for the sale and trading of pre-orderbonus PSN redemption codes.Steelbook editions are games that come in special cases. These metallic cases aremanufactured by the Steelbook Company (which also creates special editions for movies,and other disc based media). These cases have a very solid feel and look quite impressiveon a display shelf. However, PS3 owners should be aware that the inside clip that holdsthe manual on some games may be a little brittle, and Steelbook’s two-disc holder makesit hard for people to take the Blu-Ray discs out of the tray (so be wary when a specialedition has multiple discs like Capcom’s Dead Rising 2: Zombrex Edition). Still, it ishard to deny that Steelbook editions of games are visually superior to regular releases.As one might expect, these editions are often priced higher than regular versions of thegame, after all, you are going to be paying for so much extra content. The real questionis: do you want it? The answer to this question differs a lot from person to person. Someextras are quite practical while some are simply eye-candy for hard core fans. Gettingthem also means having to line up early in a store or making sure to get a pre-order slot. 35 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 36. A good rule of thumb for an average gamer would be to stick only to special versions ofyour own favorite games, this makes all the effort, time and resources spent acquiring thegame will be well spent.Playstation 3 Specials: What’s in the Box?Special games come in all shapes and sizes. If you have been to a game store, it would beeasy to spot these games. They come in big boxes with specially designed game art. Theyare a marked with tons of text and descriptions of the freebies they contain. The pricetags are higher and just holding the box tells you that there is much, much more than asimple game inside. For many casual players, these editions do not really matter (sincethey really cost a whole lot more). But for those for whom gaming is a passion, these arerare treasures. Join us as we take a quick journey and open some of these curiouslycovetous boxes.Grand Theft Auto IV comes with a very impressive limited edition of the game: you getyour own metallic, locked cash box. Right off the bat, this set is heavy; the tall boxdeceptively hides how much stuff has been crammed within.The cash-box (or mini-safe) is metallic, brush-painted black (as opposed to using a darkmetal) and comes with two keys for opening the lock. The case itself has a bevel of theGTAIV logo. Aside from the slick looking mini-safe, the set also comes with a blackduffel bag that sports Rockstar’s signature logo, a hardbound art book and a music CD(stored in a specially marked slip case).Killzone 3 has a special Helghast Edition box and this is definite must-have for fans ofthe Move-compatible shooter game. The bonus includes a large replica of a HelghastHelmet (the same one seen on the Box art), a posable figure of a Cloaking Marksman, ahardbound art book, and special DLC content. The DLC content for this game includesthe in-game music, a dynamic theme for the XMB, as well as map-packs and limitedspecial XP rates for the multiplayer mode. Sadly, this is one of those extras that oftenclash with the design of your indoor furnishings (unless you have got some dystopian-military-future theme going on that is).Little Big Planet 2 from Media Molecule gets its own special edition of the game. Whilethe box is quite massive, the contents are actually a lot less than we had envisioned.Basically, the box contains four things: the game, a pair of book ends, a plush doll and aDLC voucher. While this may seem a little underwhelming, we are thoroughlyimpressive with the quality of design and detail for the Sackboy plush and the woodenbookends. 36 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 37. Sackboy stands at a pretty nice 6 inches, though he really does not stand up on his own,you will have to prop him up on a display stand or simply have him sit down. Thebookends are pretty amazing. They will support almost any kind of game storage (Blu-Ray, Steelbook, PS2 Amaray cases), and of course, works well as regular book ends. Youmight want to have them displayed close to each other to get the full effect of the design.Now these are just three of the many limited editions of games that have been releasedfor the Sony Playstation 3, there are a whole lot more and many of these are made veryspecial because of the extra content they contain. Metal Gear Solid 4 comes with aspecial making-of Blu-Ray disc that contains hours of special footage, interviews and arare behind the scenes look at Kojima Productions.Batman Arkham Asylum comes with a massive wooden replica of the Batarang (no, wehave not tried to throw it). The set comes with a special stand for the projectile andeverything is housed in an impressive Batman-logo shaped case. Fallout 3 comes with aspecially designed tin lunch box, a bobble head and a digital clock made to look like thePip Boy gadget. Indeed, there have been so many released and there are so many morecoming, the only thing you should take note of is: which one would you want?Local Coop: Twice the Fun with Your PS3We all know how fun it is to play a video game, and thanks to the wonderful power ofwireless communications and faster internet connections, we can play with many of ourfriends and even complete strangers online. But what about the times when friends comeover? It is hardly fun to be one sitting down doing nothing aside from watching yourfriend play. This is where local multi-player games come in, while not that common inmany games, there are some pretty outstanding titles that make use of the feature.While it is not much used, the Playstation 3 supports multiple players (up to 7). And sofar, only one game can use the feature: the PSN-only X-Men: Arcade by Capcom. Thisold school side scrolling beat them up will feature the iconic Marvel Mutants in theirearly 80’s iterations as they take on the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. It is a simple gameand is good for about two hours of button mashing action and laughable old-schoolantics. While it is easy enough to finish with a single player alone, it certainly makes fora decent activity small get-togethers.Resident Evil 5 is a game that tells you right off the bat that you are not alone.Protagonists Chris and Sheva accompany each other as they take on the Tricell’s Majiniand more of Umbrella’s BOWs. On cooperative mode, the game uses a split screen setupthat allows you and a friend to strategically take down hordes of zombies (in essence, asthey are technically not zombies). You can pass ammunition, heal your partner or evenhelp out when your ally gets tackled by an enemy. Our favorite part is how the twoplayers can link their melee attacks for some devastating damage against certain boss 37 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 38. characters. On the highest difficulty of this game, we certainly recommend going at itwith a human partner.Sadly, as much as we loved Capcom’s RE5 system, the same cannot be said about LostPlanet 2. The game beautiful, the gameplay is excellent and the story is quite wellwritten. As much as we would love to enjoy this game with a friend, local coop splits thescreen into two very small parts. The result is a screen so small that you would have tosquint just to see the details. So unless you’ve got a massive 60 inch HDMI screen, don’tbother with the local coop here. But if you do, prepare for a massively epic adventure.Gearbox’s Borderlands is certainly ranking high on our multiplayer games list thanks tothe fact that popping in and out of multiplayer mode is so easy. Also, the Diablo inspiredrandom-drops system allows players to work together to hunt and trade for betterweapons and equipment. While the game itself has a few bugs (particularly with the DLCcontent), it is a highly enjoyable system that is best experienced when working togetherwith a friend. Besides, once you both get to ride in your own missile-launching desertrovers and start raining explosive death, you’ll be glad to have someone to high-five.There are plenty of other great FPS titles that support local coop such as Kane and Lynch,Army of Two (and their respective sequels), Lord of the Rings Conquest, Resistance (justthe first, the sequel has no story coop), and many others. But split screen is not the onlyway to play in coop games locally. There are plenty of titles such as Trine, Sacred 2,Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Little Big Planet and others that use single screen multiplayermodes. All you really need a good partner who loves to game as much as your do!Live, Play and Get Connected on PSNSony’s Playstation Network has been running for quite some time now and if you are aPlaystation 3 or Playstation Portable owner who has yet to sign up –now is the time to doso. The Playstation Network, or PSN, hosts a wide array of features and services thatmany gamers should not be without. Of course, a decent internet connection will beneeded. Seeing as the PS3 supports both LAN and WiFi connectivity (the PSP makes useof WiFi exclusively), this should not be much of an issue for a typical household. Asidefrom being accessible, it is also completely free.The first big feature of PSN is the Trophies. While many gamers may not admit it, thereis a great and guilty pleasure about achieving your first trophy; then later, your firstplatinum; much later, competing with all of your friends for getting the highest trophyscore in the group. So compulsively addicting is the hunt for more trophies that playersare encouraged to go out of their comfort zone in genres to try out new ones –just to earnmore trophies. It is a win-win situation: developers make more sales, and players learn toplay new games. 38 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 39. While we did mention the trophies first, simply summing the use of PSN simply for thatwould be misleading. PSN is the complete and comprehensive online service for anyPlaystation owner. First off, the site offers the latest news and information hosted on theofficial Sony Playstation Blog. Since PSN allows users to create accounts for each localnetwork (US, UK, Japan and Asia), players are able to access unique content to eachregion.Downloadable content (also known as DLC) is another major reason why players shouldaccess the PS Network. Simple content for the console such as themes, wallpapers, andmusic are readily available. Game add-ons on the other hand provide an expansion formany existing games. Some will provide users with a new character costume or anadditional weapon or in-game item.Other DLC will completely enrich the game to a whole new level –some by literallyadding a new level or stage and others by adding so much content that it is practically agame in itself. Not all DLC however, is free. Some of this content will require players tomake an online purchase. While the additional cost may be a bother, most of the contentoffered is well worth the investment.Of course, social networking is a key feature for PSN users. Players can get connected toother PSN users through a friends list which allows them to send and receive messages toother players. This also helps facilitate online multiplayer game sessions among users.Once added to the friends list, a player may also check and compare their current trophiesand latest games played.For those who have already started using the Playstation Network, this is one extrafeature that Sony has recently enabled: the PSN Plus. This is a subscription based servicethat allows users to get more content from PSN. Paid users will be able to accessexclusive PSN+ content and also, discounted rates for all paid DLC –some of thedownloadable content are given out for free for Plus subscribers as well.Our recommendation to any PS3 owner is to make full use of PSN’s services. Evenwithout subscribing to Plus, you will get plenty of important features and additionalcontent. Also, connecting online is the only way to back up those hard earned trophies(choose the sync to server option). The recently opened cloud storage on the other hand isthe only way to back up locked save games. With service access already built into theconsole, there really is no excuse to not sign up.Konami Codes on Your Playstation 3Any hardcore gamer knows the ever-famous “Konami Code.” This series of buttonpresses, when entered in the right sequence at a certain point in a game will unlock a 39 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 40. myriad of freebies. Originally used in the first Gradius game in Japan and later, madefamous in the US version of Contra. This button sequence has made its appearance on awide variety of platforms, including HTML, and the next generation Playstation 3 is noexception. Here’s a quick list of some the currently known uses of it.Also, for those not familiar with the code: it is up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right,triangle, circle.For Castlevania - Lords of Shadow: Kojima Productions has made it a point to insert thecode in the game. Do the sequence in any loading screen and players get to unlock acomplete cheats menu. However, doing this will prevent you from saving the game orearning trophies, so only use it if you want to goof around without fear or dying; morepractical players will use this to explore a little more, then reload an uncheated save.If you are a little tired and weary of the announcers in MLB 10: the Show, then youmight want to try out these three code variations. Enter the sequence mentioned above,but replace the triangle-circle with either Up, Right or Left. Doing so will mute out thevoice of Dave Campbell (up), Mat Vasgersian (right) or Rex Hudler (left).For those of you seeking out a slightly more powerful weapon in Mercenaries 2, bring outthe PDA and type in the button sequence. Doing so will unlock the slightly imbalancedNuclear Bunker Buster. This is particularly useful early on in the game.US users of the PS3 will discover that the Netflix application on the console will requireplayers to use the code as part of the service deactivation sequence. In Lucha Libre AAA:Heroes of the Ring, will enable players to enter the minis sub-game mode of the game.The code should be entered at the player selection screen (this will also unlock a trophyas well!).In order to get the Old School trophy in the Saw II: Flesh and Blood, players will have toenter the Konami code (which will have to be done while holding down a trigger button).This can be done as early in the game as the start screen.Silent Hill: Homecoming will allow players to unlock a younger version of Alex in thegame (this is the same character model that appears in the game’s flashback sequences).While it does not change the story in any way, it certainly feels a little scarier when he’s alot younger.The Beastie Boys are actually unlockable characters in the new NBA Jam 2010 game. Doget them, enter the Konami code at the start screen, also, note that the code here will usecircle-cross instead of triangle-circle. Players needing a quick health refill in Orange Box(for Half-Life 2, Episode One and Episode Two), enter the code and a 25 point healthrestoring medkit will spawn right in front of you. 40 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 41. Last on our list, a quick additional costume for Resonance of Fate; at any point during orafter the fifth chapter, go to Leanne’s closet. While browsing the closet (while the textshows), enter the Konami code. This unlocks an additional shirt called the 8-Bit Girl.Aside from these, there are plenty more uses of the Konami code. We can certainlyexpect to see this iconic button sequence popping up in more Playstation 3 games andconsole features in the near future.Gaming Throwdown: Sony’s PS3 takes on Microsoft’s Xbox 360There are already plenty of arguments and theories all over the web comparing the PS3with the 360 and each viewpoint and idea has its own merits. This however, is a morespecialized look at comparing the two systems: from the point of view of a player togame relationship. And we’ll throw in the spoiler here as well: the PS3 wins this matchhands down. As for how and why, here is a quick breakdown of top three categoriesconsidered.There are many ways to define hardcore gaming –particularly for many who are quitecompetitive. But that is where the differentiation begins. For the sake of this argument, ahardcore gamer is not a player that focuses on competing with other players. It is theplayer that focuses entirely on the game.Indeed, the Xbox 360 is not short of single player titles such as JRPGs and the like, but inthis regard, the 360 has very few exclusives and the releases of the multi-console oneswould always have a superior PS3 version in terms of having more content or betterperformance. Heavy Rain has been lauded as a more cinematic game than Alan Wake.Meanwhile, the Uncharted series and Konami’s Metal Gear Solid 4 have no equivalentson the Microsoft system.The 360 costs a lot more to run than the PS3; sure, in terms of price, Sony’s console has aheftier tag. But the 360’s online service is subscription based and the controller requiresbatteries. In the long run, you will spend more on the 360. Now, this may not seem like agaming concern, but in truth, it is.The more money you spend on maintaining a system, the less you spend buying moregames. Also, the 360’s history with freezing up and getting corrupted is a major turn-offfor single players. The threat of possibly losing all your save files (which is basicallyseveral hundred hours of effort) due to the Red Ring of Death, or Red Dot of Death for 41 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 42. the new slim 360, will keep you on your toes each time you boot up the device. Microsoftwill offer to help fix your system –or offer you a refurbished console.Neither of these solutions will restore your files, and both will still require you to shellout some cash. Sony’s PS3 may have had its fair share of problems, but never on thesame level as the RRoD. Having a more stable system to play in provides that pricelessfeeling of security for any hard core gamer.Developers are discovering the power of Blu-Ray. The two systems use different mediafor games; PS3 titles are stored in Blu-Ray discs which have higher capacities than theHD-DVD that Microsoft uses. This means that as games get bigger and bigger,developers are able to store more content on the PS3 disc, and eventually, they will fill itto the brim. At which point, Xbox games will have to resort to using multiple discs.This may not be an issue for some titles, but in certain genres, such as open world games,this will mean that the gameplay experience will no longer be seamless (if the earlierareas are in the first disc, going back to them later in the game might require players toexchange discs). At the moment, this is not yet the status quo and only one gamecurrently falls under this category: the abovementioned MGS4. And somehow, that onesingle exclusive is more than enough proof for this point.Of course, there is no such thing as a better system overall. While we do appreciate manyof the positive features of the PS3, there is no console that will manage to satisfy theneeds of every single unique gamer out there. In the end, the choice of selecting a consoledepends heavily on the needs of the player; and ultimately, all video game fans wouldsimply want to have both.See the top 3 gaming headsets reviewed on this page... Customer reviews revealabout everything you need to know! Get the best gaming headset at the best price! 42 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 43. Playstation PortableThe Playstation Network Goes PortableSony’s Playstation Network is considered by many to be superior to its only competitor,Xbox Live. The free service, availability of plenty of content and the sheer fact that ittranscends the base console (the Playstation 3) are all major reasons to support it.Speaking of transcending, the PSN is accessible to the PS3 as well as through regularweb browsers and of course, the Playstation Portable.At this point, a little clarification is needed. Since the introduction of the PSP’s webbrowser (starting with version 2.0 of the PSP firmware), there has already been access forthe PSP on Sony’s official network. This was launched in 2005. The service known as thePlaystation Network would be launched a full year later –at which point, going to theSony official page through the PSP would link directly to the PSN. By 2008, the 5.00firmware update would provide PSP owners with a new PSN XMB icon which allowedthem to get online on the network instantly. This same update also allowed users toregister Playstation accounts for the device itself.For the most part, most of PSN’s regular services are available for the PSP. This includesobtaining the latest news from the official Playstation blog, being able to check the latesttrailers and gameplay videos for upcoming games, get new themes and wallpapers for thePSP and of course, access downloadable content such as PSP Minis, full PS games andadd-ons for existing titles.The big thing missing from the PSP’s PSN network is the ability to keep track of trophies–which is more due to the fact that PSP games do not come with trophies (it has beenconfirmed that the upcoming NGP will have trophy support ), and also, being able totrack PSN friends.Unlike the PS3 version of the PSN, the PSP does not have a feature similar to the PSHome. Originally, a 3D avatar-based software for the PSP was being developed under thename of PSP Room (which used the infinity symbol for the double “o”). This project gotpast the initial development stages and reached up to beta testing. However, due to issuesthat Sony has chosen to keep secret, the game was canceled.Recently, Sony has opened up Playstation Plus options for users who want to get a littleextra value from the PSN Store. Subscription based special access privileges are grantedto users who pay an extra monthly fee. These include free content such PSP Minis, PSoneClassics and expansion packs for existing games. Aside from all the free stuff, players 43 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 44. also get special discounted rates on many items as well as access to exclusive content(media, wallpapers and in some rare cases, Plus-only DLC content for certain first partytitles).For the average PSP gamer, having access to the PSN is a godsend. It provides plenty ofgreat content at no cost, and delivers information and free stuff right at your fingertips;making it the perfect way to catch up with all things Sony, gaming and portable.Gear to Go: A Quick Look at Sony’s Playstation PortableA little over 5 years ago, Sony Computer Entertainment launched the PlaystationPortable. This tiny little machine fitted nicely in a small bag, had a battery that lasted forhours on end and promised to deliver a massive library of games that would fulfill anygamer’s heart. While that last bit of promise took a bit of time, Sony came through forhardcore video game players around the world, and provided us all with ports of some ofthe PS1 and PS2’s best titles and also having a few innovative titles of its own.With this new handheld system, Sony also introduced the Universal Media Disc (UMD),a new form of disc based storage media. Basically, this was a super-mini DVD that camewith its own protective plastic cartridge. The UMD is able to store over a gig and a halfof data and provided game developers with plenty of ROM space for games. The mediawas also used for movies that are meant to be played on the handheld.The Playstation Portable, better known as the PSP, comes in several forms. Its’ very firstincarnation, the PSP-1000 was launched in the US back in 2005 (it was launched at theend of 2004 in Japan). In 2007, the PSP-2000 Slim and Lite version reintroduced thedevice in all markets (Japan, US and UK) with a device that weighed much lighter, had alonger battery life, had a microphone input and video output port (for component cables)as well as better brightness settings. The third version, PSP-3000, arrived just a year laterand introduced a built in microphone and enhanced the performance even more.A fourth device, the PSP Go! deserves a little special mentioning as well. This devicedoes not use UMDs and instead, makes use of the built in storage for games. It is smallerthan the regular PSP and packs mostly similar specs to the PSP-3000. Mostly shied awayfrom by the hardcore market (due to its download-only nature), the device served more ofa purpose as a portable media device than a gaming machine.The PSP is considered to be one of the most versatile devices of its time. Featuring itsown operating system and user interface, the PSP is able to handle a wide variety ofmedia for people on the go. The built in image, music and movie player allowed users toview JPG, BMP and PNG files, play MP3s and AAC audio content, and also supportedUMD movies and MP4 videos as well (it should be noted that while UMD games are not 44 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 45. region locked, the UMD movies are restricted by a region code similar to conventionalmovie DVDs).The built in WLAN and web browser keeps the device online and also allows players toaccess the Playstation Network Store –logging in using the PSP will automatically takeusers to the portable portal of the site. For storing game saves, media files and DLCcontent, the PSP makes us of Sony’s Memory Stick Duo. And when connected to acomputer, the device can also serve as a basic USB storage alternative.Gaming fans will want to have this system in their arsenal –whether they are on the go ornot. The gaming library hosts a wide range of must play titles for a wide range of gamegenres (featuring exclusives such as Monster Hunter Portable, Metal Gear Solid: PeaceWalker, Patapon, Loco Roco and many more). For those who are simply looking for agood media player with web capabilities, the PSP Go or the PSP-3000 is mostrecommended as they are the smallest and lightest of the group.Portable Packing: What You Need When You Bring Your PSPThe point of having a portable handheld gaming machine is so that you can move aroundwith it. Bring it out during those long hours of waiting, and be able to send it back to yourbag instantly without having to worry. This also means being able to bring your favoritegames with you without having to carry a bag full of boxes, in this and many otherconcerns, the PSP is a great system to have. And here is a quick list of things you willwant to have when you travel.First off, a protective casing; manufacturer Capdase has a large library of solid and softcases for the PSP’s many variants. The best ones come with their own carry cases as well.Look for a carry case that suits your style (for those with special colored PSP units, atransparent case works best), and ensures that the screen is well protected.Speaking of screens, invest in a good screen protector. These days, this is as easy asbuying a screen protector for an iPhone 4 or an iPad, simply reduce the size with a cutterand a ruler so that it fits your PSP screen. The best thing about these screen protectors isthat they are meant for touch screen devices which mean that they are fingerprintresistant. Since this goes directly on top of your screen, it works as a permanentprotective layer.A good microfiber cloth is always recommended. These are small and easy to store sohaving them around will not be an issue. Best of all, you can easily wipe the screenwithout worrying about making the typical scratches that from rough cloth and otherfabrics. 45 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 46. Speakers are a definite must have, especially if you will be out in noisy locations. Theofficial PSP speakers are simple comfortable earphones with excellent sound quality sothere is no need to buy a new one if you are short on budget. But if you really want to getgeared up, try some Sennheiser or Audio Technica branded ones for impressive audioquality. For those who want to go for style, Skullcandy has a host of impressive looks tochoose from. Sony also has earphone -attached control dock for music fans which is amust-have for those who will be using the PSP as a music player (it also serves as a miniextension cable as well).For those who spend a lot of time outside (or play games that are heavy battery users), asecond battery is definitely recommended. The default PSP battery is small andlightweight to having a second one in your bag should not be a hassle. For those whoreally spend a lot of time away from home, bring along your charger as well. It should benoted that owners of the PSP-2000 and later models have the option of charging througha mini-USB cable too. There is an official car charger that is available for gamers withaccess to a vehicle.Gamers will definitely want to bring their games and thankfully, UMDs are designed tobe carried around. Thanks to the non-removable casing, there is very little risk ofscratching UMDs; just be sure to avoid touching the exposed area of the disc. Those withplenty of downloaded PSN games (or lots of media) will want to invest in a secondmemory stick to help make file management a lot easier.Lastly, bring a small bag! Lugging around the PSP openly could potentially damage thedevice’s screen if it gets bumped around a lot. A small secure bag with protectivepadding should do well for handling your PSP and any accessories and games you decideto bring along.Sony’s PSP Bringing New Life to Cooperative GamingWe all know the fact that the Monster Hunter series is making waves all over the worldthanks to the fact that the PSP has got some pretty sweet WiFi Ad hoc gamingcapabilities. But does the multiplayer adventure really stop there? After all, with thedeluge of the 3D hack and slash adventure genre, it seems pretty hard to fathom that othertypes of games would also be available –but they are. And here are three of the mostunique cooperative play experiences you can get on the PSP.Patapon 2Patapon has made plenty of waves with its unique beat system controls. Now, the super-cute army simulation game takes you and a friend in control of special, customizedheroes that will dish out attacks that matches that of a full squad. As a team, players can 46 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 47. link up with up to four friends as they march towards various goals in order to hatch anegg. Succeed and the egg hatches into a special item awarded to the host player –with afew side items awarded to everyone. In order to encourage more cooperative play,players will take turns changing the designated hosts.It may sound simple, but between lugging around a giant egg and facing off massivelygigantic creatures, you and your team will have your work cut out for you. This gamerewards timing and cooperation: do not hesitate to call out what needs to be done (attack,dodge, charge, etc) and keep your rhythm up to reach your hero’s fever induced supermode.Ace Combat X2: Joint AssaultWhile the single player for ACX2 has been a bit of a letdown for many hard core fans ofthe incredibly popular dogfight simulation series, the cooperative move is undoubtedlyone of the most innovative ever made for a game. Up to a total of four human players canlink up for this game and depending on each player’s choices and performance, many ofthe stage events can change.On a regular mission, players all fly together in a single map in order to reach a certaingoal (reach a location, destroy certain targets, etc). On special missions, players aredivided into two teams, each with their own map and specific goal. By doing this, playerscan affect what happens in the adjacent missions. Something similar to stopping enemiesfrom lifting off –effectively prevents what would have been a third wave orreinforcements for the other players.Of course, there are also competitive missions that you and your friends can play –butwith the game’s offering of a full campaign cooperative play, why pass up on such anexperience?Lego Star WarsThere is more than one to choose from and all of the Lego SW games are known for theirimpressive multiplayer gameplay experience. In this series, two players can link up tocontrol various characters in the famous science fiction storyline. While most of theevents follow what is considered to be Star Wars canon, the delivery has been changed tosuit the Lego universe a lot better. Most noticeable is the less serious atmosphere and themany humorous scenes that have been inserted in the game. And yes, it is eternallyamusing to watch Darth Vader using the force to combine a bunch of Lego bricks to forma bridge.The gameplay follows your typical 3D action platformer –with an added twist: you areusing Lego! Combining the power of the force and the fact that the entire universe ismade of bricks, players can switch in and out various characters, build objects, and evenbreak apart obstacles much like you with the actual toys. Each character is designated 47 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 48. with one of several ‘classes’ (with a few abilities transgressing each) that helps playersget past the many obstacles in the game. Fun, easy to learn and even better when it isplayed with a friend, Lego Star Wars has become one of our most cherished multiplayergames of all time.Tweaking Your PSP: Stuff You Can Do Without Modifying YourSystemThe PSP is a great portable gaming device, and considering its large library of impressivegames, there is plenty of reason to have fun with it. However, there are times when a littletweaking is needed to make your gaming life a little easier, and here are a few things youcan do with your device without voiding your warranty.Make use of the quick hibernate functionInstead of turning off your system fully, just quickly slide up the power tab to set it tointo quick hibernate. This is perfect when you are playing a game that does not allow youto pause during a certain sequence or event and you have to really put the device down(you either have to stand up from the waiting lobby and meet your appointment or simplyneed to check the computer for the latest FAQs about the game you are playing). Thisalso lets you continue your game progress without worrying about the battery life somuch –speaking of which, when you see the battery light blinking and you might notmake it to the power outlet and charger in time, going into hibernate can buy you thatextra amount of time.Switch out the memory stick for single-auto-save gamesThe great thing about games that the real world does not have: save points -whichbasically allow you to redo any wrong decision or action you take. But what about gamesthat have auto-save functions? This is where having a second memory stick comes in.Simply copy your original save file into a new stick, and then switch back and forthdepending on your needs. Of course, you will need a computer and to carefully back upand rewrite the save files. Keeping tabs of your save backups will also help a lot here.For classic PSP-1000 owners, watch the batteryWhile not exactly a trick and more of a maintenance issue, those using the older PSP-1000 models might notice that their batteries may no longer be charging when using WiFidespite being plugged in. This is due to the old battery not being able to keep up with thedevice needs. Sadly, the only way to solve this is to buy a new one.Speaking of the battery, set the PSP to save consumptionIf you are out on the road and you want to maximize your battery, here are few thingsyou can do. First off, lower the brightness settings. Those little buttons to the left of 48 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 49. “select” allow you to tweak audio and screen brightness settings. Even on lowest, the PSPscreen is still easy to see so do not hesitate to lower this. As for audio, strap on earphones(they use less power than headphones and the PSP speakers) and set the volume to amanageable level. Lastly, if you are using your PSP as a music device as opposed togaming, be sure to set the screen settings to shut off after a few minutes.Lastly, use the lock!A lot of PSP owners are not aware that there is a key lock function on the device. Simplyslide down the power tab and the PSP will not accept input commands. This is actuallygreat if you are watching a cut scene and do not want to accidentally skip it by pressing abutton and for those on MP3 mode.Aside from swapping out the memory stick, most of these tips are in some ways, semi-documented on the PSP’s manual. All you need to do is to read carefully and you mighteven find out more useful and practical ways to use the various features of this powerfulSony handheld gaming console.Portable Gaming Redefined: The Top 5 Signature PSP GamesThe Playstation Portable is a truly impressive system, with hardware that easily matchesthat of the PS2 (which was one of the top ranking systems during the time of the PSP’slaunch), many hardcore gamers feel that its extensive library of games are a must havefor any real gaming collector. Of course, the PSP has had its share of critics and one ofthe most often raised points against the system is that it relies on ports of major consoletitles. We beg to differ. In fact, here are several exclusive made for PSP-only titles thatgames should look out for.PataponVisually deceptive, this cutesy looking title is actually one of the most original gamesever to be developed. By combining music-beats with adventure and RPG elements,Sony’s army drumming game has introduced an all original way to play.In Patapon, players take on the role of the Mighty One, a powerful deity that commandsthe Patapon army across forests, marshes and deserts. To do this, players must use fourdrum beats to command their armies to charge, attack, block and retreat. Special drumbeats will also allow one to access special deity powers such as manipulating the weather.In between stages, players are able to micro manage their armies by defining the jobspecialties of the various “-Pon” units and what equipments they will use.The story is simple, yet intriguing, placing players on top of a bizarre mythos worshippedby oddly amusing eyeball creatures. As players advance through the game, they learn 49 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 50. more of the history of the Patapons, their journey to the ‘Promised Land’ and the manyobstacles they face.Metal Gear Solid: Peace WalkerGaming legend Hideo Kojima brings the epic saga of Metal Gear Solid to the PlaystationPortable in this amazing prequel story to the first Metal Gear game. Following Big Boss’trail after the events of Snake Eater and Portable Ops, the legendary soldier finally finds aplace to call his own and provides a home to soldiers from all backgrounds.However, earning a base comes with its own strings. In exchange for the high techfacilities, Snake takes on the needs of small war-torn country and their plight from whatseems to be an invasion. As the story unfolds, players learn that the invasion is merely afront and that a new Metal Gear project is underway. With nuclear threat on the horizon,the Boss gears up once again to bring down his foes. And this time, it will no longer be asolo mission.Players now get a chance to link up with friends (thanks to the PSP’s built in WiFi ad-hoccapabilities) and in-game allies to take on this new chapter in MGS. Also, managing thehome base will require players to set aside soldiers to manage research, medicine andeven prepare some hearty dishes in the mess hall.EchochromePuzzle games are a dime a dozen and very few games in this genre could ever stand out –let alone be defining for a gaming system. But such is the legacy of Echochrome. Storywise, there really isn’t anything here. You control a doll like figure (similar to the ones byartists for posing references) through a series of platforms, stairs and holes as you movefrom point of origin to the goal.This is made challenging by the fact that many holes lead to bottomless drops, and thestairs and passageways lead to either open air or dead ends. To get by these players mustmanipulate the game’s camera to change the way they view the stage. By altering theangle of view, the scene changes; stairs are given an illusion of being connected to anopen ended path. And this illusion is more than enough to the game to consider as reality,players are able to walk safely across. The puzzles are original and the solutions areapplaud-able, Echochrome and its many challenges certainly deserve all the praise it gets.The game’s simple black and white 3D graphics allows players to concentrate on thegame’s puzzle aspects and the soundtrack is often quiet and thought provoking. With itsimpressive gameplay, excellent delivery and hundreds of stages, expect to this game pickat your brain for many enjoyable hours on end. 50 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 51. Final Fantasy VII: Crisis CoreSquare Enix is taking a new approach to the FF7 franchise by re-introducing the real EX-SOLDIER, Zack. This legendary side character played a bit part in the original series byserving as lead character Cloud’s ideal (he was delusional to the point of claiming Zack’sactions as his own) and through the in-game narrative, we learned that it was Zack whorescued Cloud from the Shinra Mansion at Nibelheim.But what really happened? Crisis Core answers this question and so much more. Othermajor FF7 characters are given notice and appear in game as well such as Sephiroth,Yuffie, Aeris and Tifa. Side characters such as Tseng, Rufus, Reno and Rude also makevarying appearance and Cid Highwind also gets mentioned in game. For fans of theoriginal game, this is massively nostalgia-inducing game to play.There is more to Crisis Core than relying on the fandom of the first game however. Thegame makes use of a unique active combat system that blurs the lines between a hack-and-slash and menu driven RPGs. Players get full, real time control of Zack in combat,and is able to access his entire array of physical attacks and materia skills. As one wouldexpect, SE has provided this game with some of the most amazing graphics seen on thePSP, smoothly combining real-time models with pre-rendered content.Loco RocoAs much as we love hardcore titles, there are some truly innovative casual games thatmanage to charm our hearts to unimaginable degrees. Such is Loco Roco. The game issimple, use the L and R shoulder buttons to shake, shift, and tilt the world as your LocoRocos roll, slide and bounce their way to the goal. As much as we would like to expandmore, that is really all there is to this game, and yet it manages to be so good to play.Aside from its impressive simple yet addictive gameplay, the game features some of thebest music to be featured in a game with styles varying from lounge to rock to pop. Thestylized graphics provides players with a visual delight as the oohs and aahs of the LocoRoco further endear them to players.As we said, this is a casual game, but it is still something that hardcore players should notpass up. After all, it is in the innovative titles such as these that the groundwork for evengreater games is based.Wrapping UpOf course, there are plenty more games for the PSP that are truly amazing to play:Radiant Mythology, GTA: Liberty City Stories, Dissidia Final Fantasy, Jeanne d Arc andso much more. The three games above are merely a sampling of the many great choicesplayers have with Sony’s powerful handheld gaming system and the only real way youcan know how great these games are is by trying them on your own. 51 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 52. Ad Hoc Party: Multiplayer Adventures With Your PSP!There are plenty of reasons to love the Playstation Portable, and one of these is the factthat the device has its own built in WLAN feature. Just flip up the WiFi switch and youare ready to go online or connect with other players. While Sony has opted to not allowgames to have multiplayer options via the PSN, the PSP does support ad-hoc connectivity–giving players all the more reason to meet up with their friends and play together. If youhave been itching for some solid cooperative multiplayer gaming fun, here’s a quick listof our most recommended games to try out.Phantasy Star PortableWithout a doubt, Sega’s Phantasy Star series is one of the most famous multiplayergames of all time. Even with its initial incarnations on the Dreamcast, the game hasalready been placing its multi-player feature on the forefront. On the PSP, players get tocontinue the story of the Phantasy Star universe after the events of the first couple ofgames, bringing a completely new cast of characters and locations.The game’s menu driven navigation lets you get around the usual array of shops andmission lists in a flash, with the system waiting only for the host player to confirm thecommencement of a mission. Once started, players get to explore the mission maps in afull third person action mode. The ingame combat is easy to grasp and the lock on systemfeels very intuitive. Overall, this game makes for a perfect starter’s run on multiplayer.For those looking for a deeper gameplay, you might want to check out the next entry.Monster Hunter PortableOriginating from the PS2, this strange dinosaur-monster hunting game has taken theworld by surprise. Capcom has come up with a really good formula: a main town wherethe player has plenty to do such as cooking, mining, fishing and crafting items. Then topit off with specialized missions that place the player out in search of massive creaturesthrough deserts, forests, ice capped mountains and more.The hunting theme is quite evident in game, from the concept of having to track down atarget monster in a large map to the visual details of the town and character models. Inmultiplayer, the large variety of weapons and items allows players to join andcompliment each other’s fighting styles. Currently considered as one of the most famousmultiplayer games on the PSP, this is one game you cannot afford to pass up.Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker 52 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 53. Unlike our previous two series entries, Peace Walker is a standalone game. This epicprequel story to Metal Gear (and sequel to Snake Eater) brings back more of the stealthbased action and cinematic storytelling that MGS is known for. But new to Peace Walkeris the ability to link and team up with your friends to accomplish missions.While it is possible to complete story mode alone, the game is best played with a friendor three. As a team, players can utilize varying squad formations, make joint attacks andaccomplish missions faster and more efficiently. As a bonus, creator Hideo Kojima hasteamed up with Capcom to put in a few special Monster Hunter stages as well –placingBig Boss (and friends) up against some of the meanest enemies on the MH bestiary.Godz Eater BurstIt may seem like an odd title, but this Namco Bandai game is currently the bestcooperative game out there yet. The controls and combat are often cited to be verysimplified and we certainly agree –but remember this is not necessarily a bad thing. Withmultiplayer games, it is quite often that you have to mind a lot of things in theintermission areas. While there is also some inventory management and crafting to bedone in GE Burst, these functions are made simple to accomplish and understand.The result is a game that lets you focus on the fun part: hunting giant monsters. Thesemonsters, or Aragami, are some of the most epic creature we have yet seen in acooperative game (and we have seen the whole lot that MH has to offer). You, with ateam of three will have to work together and take down these nasty beasts. Did we saybeasts? Because we meant to, after all, there are plenty of missions in the game whereyou and your team will also have to face a squad of these titanic monsters. More oftenthan not, players will have to split up and strategize properly to succeed.There is no doubt that there are plenty more amazing multiplayer genres available on thePSP, some allow for competitive gaming, and others are also cooperative. But there is acertain charm to the third person action hunting genre that makes it hard to resist. Be itthe in depth character customization, or the many things you can do in game, or the factthat you can take on some of the most epic monster battles ever made in a game. Eitherway, you can expect to see of these types of games to appear in the future, and morereasons to stay connected with your friends.Gaming Health: Taking Care of Your PSPThe PSP is a great handheld device; it has lots of games, great controls and can do a lot ofother things (browse the web, play music and videos, etc). But as with many electronicdevices, the PSP has its own share of problems. And for those who want to be able totake care of their Sony gaming device, here are a few good tips on how to ensure that thePlaystation Portable runs without any issues. 53 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 54. First off, use a screen protector! This may seem like a small thing, but it helps a lot. In theevent that the external screen gets scratched, players have the option of purchasing a newPSP face plate, but this is expensive and requires you to take apart the device. A screenprotector saves players from this trouble and also makes the screen a lot easier to clean.For those with plenty of dust inside the screen, it is possible to take out the faceplate.This is done by turning off the device, and removing the battery. From the back, playerscan access the screws that hold the front plate in place. Be sure to also clean the areasunder the buttons and contact points as well. Be careful when placing the plate back asthe positions of the control buttons and analog nub must be aligned with the contactpoints on the device (to ensure that the controls will stay responsive).In order to make sure that the software runs properly, it is important that players useofficial Magic Gate Memory Stick Pro Duos for the PSP. To check this, simply highlightthe “memory stick” icon from the XMB and press triangle. This will bring out a menuthat allows you to check the memory stick’s properties, check here if the Magic Gatesettings show verified (as opposed to unknown). To ensure that the stick is original, it isbest to purchase directly from an official Sony retail store.Speaking of the memory stick, players should often back up player data. This is quiteeasy as the PSP itself can be hooked up directly to a computer (thanks to the mini-USBport on top of the device). To enable the connection, go to the last menu on the left of theXMB and select USB connectivity. The “PSP/SAVEDATA/” folder is where all thegame saves are stored so it is crucial that players back this up frequently. Use yourcomputer’s safely remove USB device command prior to disabling USB connectivityfrom the PSP. Also, it is recommended to set the power button on lock status whiletransferring files.Overall, the PSP is hardly prone to any software issues. Sony provides constant firmwareupdates for the PSP to provide users with new features, better security and to remove anyexisting bugs in the system. When updating your firmware, be sure that your battery is atleast 75% full and it is most recommended to update while connected to a wall outlet (toensure that the system does not lose power during this critical process). So far, theupdates do not seem to be region locked (using a US update on a Japanese unit does notinterfere with performance), but it is still recommended that players use a firmwareupdate designed specifically for the region of their device.PSP Countdown: Things We will Miss When the NGP ArrivesThere is plenty of talk about the Next Generation Portable –basically, the PSP’ssuccessor. As much as we all would want to call it the PSP2, Sony’s official name for thenew device is the NGP. And so far, most of the hardware features are proving to be quiteimpressive and promising. Despite all things optimistic, it is hard to deny that there will 54 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 55. be a lot of changes, and most certainly, a lot of features will be missed. Here’s a quick listof some of the things we would wish were present for the NGP.The UMDThe universal media disc has its fair share of detractors, limitations and issues. But thebottom line here is that disc based media has always been a key element for the PSP.While modern flash based storage can easily match discs in terms of storage size, there isa certain charm to the UMD that will be lost. Also, there are plenty of reports that theNGP will be hosting save files on the new game media itself. The only good thing here isthat Sony will still be selling physical games –as opposed to the PSP Go style of havingonly download content.The XMBSony’s Cross Media Bar has been lauded to be an award winning user interface design –and after using it, we can clearly see why. Used in the PSP, the PSX and many Braviamodels, the XMB provides users with an easy to use interface for accessing a widevariety of features and controls for Sony systems. Now, a new UI has been introduced forthe NGP and it will be making the most of the touch screen input. While impressive, itcertainly looks a lot more cluttered and less composed when compared to the moredignified approach of the XMB.For PSP owners, the XMB has been a major factor for making the device easy to use.Since it is based on the control pad’s directions (up, down, left and right), moving acrossone set of options to another takes only one tap of a button. Viewing media, managingsave files, changing settings have all been made easy with the XMB. Also, a large choiceof PSP themes allows players to change the look of the XMB icons and background.Without a doubt, this UI will certainly be missed.Removable BatteryIt may not seem like a big deal for many users, but a removable battery is a greatconvenience for those us who love to travel. Playing with your favorite games while onthe road is a treat that many gamers cannot do without. But sadly, as impressive as anybattery capacity may be, games that use plenty of processing power and WiFiconnectivity will certainly take a serious drain on your charge. When you are in alocation without a decent wall outlet or access to car charger, the only hope you have forgaming is to pack along a second fully charged battery or two. Those of you who love toplay ad hoc games will certainly be familiar with how much value a removable batterygives. 55 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 56. In the end, despite all the little drawbacks on the side, there is no doubt that the NGP willstill be much looked forward to. After all, with such powerful hardware and a promise ofgreat launch titles, who would not be excited? But the PSP is far from obsolete. Withmost of the PSP’s major titles just being released, we can expect to see more enjoyablehardcore gaming on this classic Sony handheld before it finally waves goodbye.Sony’s Playstation Portable Takes on the Nintendo DSFor the most part, the handheld console market has been heavily divided between theSony PSP and the Nintendo DS. Together, these two devices literally controlled theindustry, and despite the advent of app gaming for smart phones, game developers knowthat if they wanted to produce big games, it would be on either one of these two.Of course, there is a distinct difference between the two devices and while the ideal is tohave both (and have access to both gaming libraries), one simply cannot help butcompare. So here it is: the PSP vs DS showdown.Model to ModelOne of the biggest arguments that DS owners make is that the later versions of the DSmatches that of the PSP. However, on a side by side comparison, the only DS to get a legup is the DS XL –which offers a larger screen (there is no PSP version with a screenlarger or smaller than the original). However, even this is not that big a deal, the PSP’sscreen size is still packing a higher resolution. Other features such as the DSi’s browser,media player and camera have all been available since the first PSP device –though thecamera is an external attachment that hooks up on top of the PSP. To match the DS’smicrophone, the PSP introduced a mic jack for the PSP-2000 model and a built in mic forthe PSP-3000.Input ControlsSony’s PSP brings to players a directional pad, an analog nub, four buttons and twoshoulder buttons. The Nintendo DS makes use of a resistive touch screen instead of anub. While the DS has an advantage of a second screen, the fact is that most gameshardly utilize the secondary screen for any worthwhile purpose (nothing that a pop-outmenu on a single screen layout could not change). And even titles that seemed reliant onthe touch screen (GTA: Chinatown Wars, Knights in the Nightmare), eventually wereported to the PSP without any control issues.The big drawback for the DS is that they did not make use of a capacitive touch screen(in fairness, the technology was not common back then). Since players would need tohold a stylus with one hand, supporting the entire device with the other hand becameslightly difficult. This was especially the case for the first edition of the NDS which wasparticularly heavy for just one hand. 56 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 57. PortabilityRight off the bat, the PSP’s better with its’ quick hibernate mode and simple controls. Aswith any device that makes use of a stylus, DS players have to be mindful of where theyplace their sticks. The quick hibernate mode gets a special mention since you never knowat what point in the game you will be when your train reaches your stop. While placingdown the lid of the DS sets the game into sleep mode, the battery drain is strong. The PSPallows players to quickly press up the power button and send the entire device intohibernation. This lets you head off the train, get to work/class and return to your game atthe exact point where you left off later in the evening. With the DS, you’ll be praying thewhole time that the battery does not run out.Hardcore GamesThere is no lack of casual gaming titles for both devices. But with established hardcoretitles, the PSP has a much larger library. So far, Nintendo has been doing great with manyof its big-name first party developed games such as the Pokemon series, Metroid andinnumerable Zelda and Mario games. With third party developers however, Sony hasmore to offer. Capcom’s Monster Hunter series pushes the PSP’s connectivity features tothe forefront by emphasizing multiplayer gaming (other such games include NamcoBandai’s Ace Combat X2 and Godz Eater Burst, Sega’s Phantasy Star Portable series,Square Enix’ Lord of Arcana, and Konami’s MGS: Peace Walker). Other majorfranchises such as the “City Stories” for Grand Theft Auto also appear on the PSP as fullgames as opposed to the sprite based mini-games that appear on the NDS.While this may seem one-sided, the NDS is not without its good points. But for the mostpart, there is very little that the Nintendo device has to offer for the hardcore gamingmarket. As we mentioned above, a gamer’s true ideal still lies in being able to get bothsystems and play all the great games available!See the top 3 gaming headsets reviewed on this page... Customer reviews revealabout everything you need to know! Get the best gaming headset at the best price! 57 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 58. Nintendo DSClash of the Handhelds: NDS vs the PSPNintendo has been the king of the hill when it comes to handheld gaming. Starting withthe launch of the original Game and Watch devices, the company started small, focusingonly delivering simple gaming enjoyment to players worldwide.With the launch of the Gameboy, the Japanese game company opened up a whole newindustry with the very first handheld gaming console. The rest has been history, with thelaunch of several other devices, Nintendo has knocked out competitors such as Sega’sGameGear, the Wonderswan, and the Nokia N-Gage (among others).With the launch of the DS, it seemed that nothing could ever come close to Nintendo’sthrone. Until Sony launched the PSP; featuring a wide screen display, graphics thatsurpassed the original Playstation One and support from a wide range of gamedevelopers, many knew that the two systems would clash against each other for marketshare. And they did.The PSP won over many gamers for its very hardcore choices of game titles, itsmultimedia playback features and its WiFi capabilities. The DS on the other hand took ona much larger market, targeting both hardcore gamers and casual players at the same time–taking in crowds that the PSP could not cater with its lack of casual titles. In terms ofmarket performance, the NDS dominated the handheld gaming industry –leading thesales against the PSP with a difference of millions.Of course, the DS lacked many of the side features that the PSP offered. But this helpedgive the DS an edge: a lesser price tag. Even with the more sophisticated DSi, it was stilla lot less tech-heavy than Sony handheld. And with the introduction of smart phones withWiFi browsing and media playback, less people saw the need for having a moreexpensive gaming device that is over-laden with features that their phones can do.Naturally, many gamers own both devices –as the number of exclusive titles for eachdevice is quite extensive, there are plenty of reasons to own both. The PSP concentratedheavily on time-consuming hardcore titles as well as some very addictive multiplayergames. The DS on the other hand, was perfect for quick gaming sessions with its lightergame content and less competitive titles. It also helped that the DS had access to a widerange of Nintendo exclusive IPs such as Mario, Animal Crossing, Pokemon and more. 58 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 59. In terms of hardware, the PSP is obviously much stronger of the two. While the DS didhave two screens, it had very low 3D graphics capabilities and could only render screensat a limited resolution. The PSP on the other hand, could easily handle PS games withoutso much as a single slowdown and has an even faster loading speed than the originalconsole. Because of this, many of the games on the DS tended to be sprite based whilethe PSP enjoyed a bigger abundance of 3D polygon titles.So who won the war? The DS obviously made a lot more money for Nintendo than whatthe PSP did for Sony. But the PSP is also the first handheld –while Nintendo has hadplenty of experience in the industry and is obviously far more established. With therecent launch of the 3DS and the upcoming NGP, the two game companies are going togo at it again. Either company could very well take the lead, but one thing is for sure, wegamers will have plenty to look forward to.Meet, Connect, Play: The Best Multiplayer Games on the NDSNintendo’s DS gives you the freedom to enjoy your games on the move. You can be onthe road, sitting in a lobby, taking a ride in the subway and you can still enjoy yourfavorite game titles. And with this freedom of movement, you have all the chances tomeet up with all your favorite gaming buddies. So what’s a group of gamers to do?Here’s a quick roundup of the best multiplayer experiences you can have with the DS.Lego Star WarsThis here is actually two different games, there is the Complete Saga of the Lego StarWars which covers the events of the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy movies. Andthere is also the Clone Wars which covers the events told in the animated shorts and theCG movie and series.All in all, you can expect more than 40 hours of cooperative campaign gameplay as wellas plenty of replay value with the free play option –which is a requirement for anyoneplanning to complete all the in-game collectibles.This game supports up to two players so for those of you meeting with larger groups willcertainly want to buddy up when playing this game. In terms of difficulty, this gamepresents little more than the usual platforming challenge, but mostly,Lego Star Wars is highly recommended for its fun gameplay and even funnier delivery ofa story that we all know and love.Contra 4 59 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 60. Contra is one of the oldest game series that we have ever played and come to love. Thegame places you in control of one of the two gung-ho super action-star heroes as theyface hordes of bad guys, dodge screen-fulls of enemy bullets and take on the mostgigantic sprite based bosses a side scrolling game has ever seen. With Contra 4, much ofthat classic gameplay is kept intact for you and your bestest bud to enjoy.The premise is simple, if it moves, shoot it. Grab power ups along the way, dodge anyenemy and be sure to jump over any obstacle. Between the frantic action, a little changeof pace is delivered through changes in game perspective (there are side scrolling and topdown stages). In terms of storyline, it is as simple as it gets: giant evil alien horde iscoming, and you have to stop them by blowing up everything that stands in your way.Simple, fun and easy to play, the best type of gaming experience that you and yourfriends could ever want.Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of TimeFor those looking for a game with a deeper gameplay, a bit of focus on inventorymanagement and a much deeper storyline, no need to go further. FFCC: Echoes of Timehas it all for you. Do not let the childlike appearances of the lead characters fool you, thisis a full on J-RPG by the great minds behind Square Enix. An epic storyline, a solidcombat system (think Vandal Hearts meets Zelda), amazing visuals for an NDS and thisgame will leave you with almost nothing else to wish for. Also, the game lets you connectto a Wii playing Crystal Chronicles as well.Bringing Out the GBA on Your Nintendo DSThe Gameboy Advance was one of Nintendo’s best handheld game systems. As aprecursor to the DS, the GBA brought forward a new era of handheld, color-screengaming. Before the advent of mobile phones with VGA screens, the GBA was the firstsystem that delivered SNES quality gaming to millions of players on the road.Now, more than a decade into the future, some of the GBA’s best titles are still amongthe most well played classics of today. If you have been wondering what that largecartridge slot on the bottom of your DS is, it is actually a GBA cart slot. Yes, not onlycan the DS play its many special touch screen based games, it can also be used as a GBA.Here are some of those classic titles that you might want to get back into.Super Robot Wars OG 1 & 2Banpresto’s Super Robot Wars series is one of the largest gaming franchises in Japan,and the OG set is the only one that has ever been translated into English. Thanks to thefine folks at Atlus USA, the Original Generations of SRW are getting a full Englishlanguage treatment, from the text heavy dialogues to the complex menus. This game is a 60 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 61. strategy based combat simulation that features hundreds of giant robots, an epic storylineand some of the heartwarming characters to ever pilot a 5 ton hunk of steel. If you are abig fan of the Japanese imports of the other SRW games, supporting this title just mightencourage Atlus to localize the others as well.Final Fantasy Tactics AdvanceThe second strategy combat game in our list, FFT Advance brings to you another take onthe world of Ivalice. Unlike the first FFT game on the Playstation 1, Advance brings youto an alternate version of the medieval fantasy world. Here, players join a guild that goesout to accomplish various missions to money and reputation. Each combat stage is ruledby judges, who special laws could be a bane or a boon depending on the situation. Lawsare basically random, so players are encouraged to save before each combat –if the lawsyou get are extremely unfavorable, it is recommended to reset the game and pray thatbetter ones pop out.Summon Night – A Swordcraft StoryJapanese RPGs are plenty on the GBA, but Summon Night gets a special mention thanksto its unique battle system. The real time side scrolling combat elements coupled withweapon crafting makes for a very dynamic gameplay experience. Also, players areencouraged to use various types of weapons throughout the game –which makes thebattles less repetitive since each weapon has its own set of moves. Player take control ofa young man learning to a master blacksmith, and in this world, these craftsmen are morethan just artisans, they are also masters of the very weapons they build.A giant tournament is being held to determine the top crafting students and between eachmajor match, players are able to explore a deep subterranean dungeon in order to findnew materials for crafting. As the story progresses, more areas of the map and thedungeon can be explored.There is plenty of inventory management here, especially when handling the weaponcrafting. But once you are able to make that high leveled elemental drill and use it tobring that boss down, it will be all worth the effort.Classic Nintendo on the DSNintendo is truly a remarkable system manufacturer. The DS, Wii and the 3DS currentlyhold one of the largest shares in the video game industry market. But beyond theirconsole devices, Nintendo is also the company that brought to us some of the most iconicand well loved characters in the industry. And thanks to the DS, you can take theseamazing characters on the road with you. Here are some of our favorite Nintendooriginals for the touch screen handheld. 61 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 62. Mario Kart DSWhen Mario Kart first came out on the Super Famicom (Super NES in North America),Nintendo showed us all that they had what it takes to deliver a top notch racing gameengine and still deliver the fun and wackiness of the Super Mario IP. The DS versionholds true to the reputation of the original kart racer. Mario Kart DS brings to you theentire cast, Mario, Wario, Bowser, Daisy, and a few new additions such as special karts,more power-ups and all new race tracks inspired by the many stages of the differentMario games released over the years.The biggest advantage of MKDS is that it supports multiplayer through the use of theDS’ direct link or through the internet with the Nintendo WiFi Connection. There is nodoubt that the inclusion of online multiplayer has pushed the replay value of this racer ahundred fold.Star Fox CommandCombining strategy with simulated vehicle combat, Star Fox Command changes allprevious notions about Nintendo’s dog-fight sim. Fox McCloud and company now haveto decide on how they are deployed on the field and what actions they must take toefficiently achieve missions goals with a set amount of time. The implementation of thestrategy element may have turned off players hoping for a more straightforward, pick-upand play experience, but many appreciate the much deeper gameplay feel that the pre-battle preparations now deliver.Animal CrossingAnimal Crossing first came out for the Nintendo Gamecube. This life simulation gameplaced you in control of a citizen in a fictional town with various animal neighbors. Thegame’s “real”-time system encouraged players to play the game on the daily basis, aswell as playing at different hours of the day in order to catch time-specific events. Playersalso managed their own home which could be decorated with a vast number of appliancesand furniture.In order to earn money, players much fish, dig and take part in various activities. Playersmay also send items or money to other players as well –which important for those whowish to complete matching furniture sets. On the DS much of the gameplay remains thesame –but with the added convenience of portability. Back then, players would have tomiss out on in-game events due to obligations to work or family. Now it is easier to seeevents that you would have normally missed for school or work since you can bring theDS with you wherever you go. Just be sure to play the game on your break times ofcourse! 62 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 63. Nintendo DS: Gaming Device or Office Desk Novelty?The obvious answer is, of course, gaming device. But putting aside that logic and justlooking at the interesting other features that the DS (and the DSi) actually deliver, onemight actually think that they are tinkering around with some random gadget that is rightat home at your office desk. So, have tried checking out what you can do with the DSaside from playing games?First off is the clock mode. Okay, for those wondering: it is a dedicated function or modeof the NDS and is readily available from the touch screen menu after you turn on thedevice (it is on the screen right after the initial warning advisory page). In this mode, theonly thing that the device does is show you the time. Not really all that useful since youwill be wasting batteries and there are plenty of other time-telling device that use energyin a much more eco-friendly manner. But yes, you can if you want to, and there is evenan alarm function for users who simply feel like leaving the device plugged into thecharger the whole night.Pictochat is a much more useful function –though its practicality still borders on sheernovelty and entertainment. This is basically a scribbling program that you can use tointeract with other DS devices.The picture chat content makes full use of the touch screen for users to share theircreations with each other. Sadly, there is no way to save the images you create so enjoythem while they are still there on your screen. Both Pictochat and the clock mode willrequire you to switch the DS off and back on in order to access another function (or thegame cartridge).In late 2008, Nintendo launched the DSi, an upgraded version of the dual screenhandheld. This new model sported several new side features that provided users withfurther functionality.Among the most noticeable is the addition of two VGA cameras, one inside and anotheron the outside. This allowed users to take photos of the people and things around them orif they wanted to, their own selves. The images could then be stored on the new SD cardslot or uploaded to a Wii console. Speaking of the SD card slot, the DSi also allowed forthe playback of several media file formats, such as MP4 and 3GP recordings (but it stilllacks MP3 playback capabilities)And making full use of the DSi’s internal WiFi capabilities, support for access of theofficial Nintendo WiFi service has been added to the device. This allows players to linkup online for multiplayer games or for downloading DSiWare software. These can eitherbe small games or useful applications for the device. 63 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 64. Overall, we are pretty happy with how the DS functions even without the game. While alittle bit more of functionality in terms of file format compatibility or the option to storegame saves on the SD card would have been nice, there’s already a lot being offered bythe DS system on its own. All you need to do is tinker around and see for yourself.On the Road with the Nintendo DSWhether you are planning to take a quick drive across town or planning a full weekendgetaway, it is always a great idea to consider bringing your Nintendo DS along. Thesystem offers great games, portability and a decent battery life that makes it well suitedfor gaming outside the house. But sometimes, just bringing along the device is notenough. Here are a few useful ideas you might want to consider when taking your DSalong with you.Invest in a strap. A strap can easily hook into the side of the Nintendo DS (there’s a smallprovision for it) and will allow you to keep your DS on hand –literally. Why is thisuseful? Because you never know what might happen.You might be walking along the road or sitting near a ramp and when you least expect it,you get nudged and the device slips out of your hand. The strap will prevent your DSfrom heading straight into the floor.Get a extra styluses. The stylus in the back of your Nintendo DS is going to see plenty ofuse, after all, most games will require you to use the touch screen. However, being suchas small device, the stylus can be easily misplaced, dropped and altogether, lost. You canchoose to leave the original stylus behind at home and opt to invest in a cheap third partytemporary replacement when you leave the house. In fact, bring two or three extras. So inthe ever unfortunate event that you do end up losing the stylus, you can easily grab a uickreplacement from your bag.Speaking of your bag, it would be a great idea to invest in a good carry case. There areplenty of third party carry cases for the DS as well as a few official Nintendo ones. Mostof these have holders for the system, several game cartridges and pockets for your stylus.Bigger ones will also have space for your charger as well. These are great to have as theywill keep your DS and your games safe and well organized (no more need to fish aroundyour bag for that Nintendogs cartridge that you brought along).A screen protector will be a big help in keeping your DS screens scratch free. There areplenty of official ones that you can stick on straight to the two screens (be sure to cleanthe screens first before application) or you can choose to buy larger screen protectors(those for larger devices) and simply cut out a pair to match your DS screen. 64 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 65. Battery power is always a big worry when travelling for long periods so it is always anice idea to bring along the DS charger. Those with a bit of money or those who spend alot of time on the road will want to buy a second charger (solely for travelling) and anadapter for the car. This will ensure that you will always have access to your games atany time. Just be sure to double check the voltage label on your device before plugging itinto any outlet.With these simple accessories, you can easily enjoy a long trip with your Nintendo DS.And while there is always a great adventure to be had while gaming, do not forget toenjoy the actual trip itself.Solving Mysteries on the NDS, One Touch at a TimeThe Nintendo DS plays host to a treasure trove of great games, and plenty of which fallunder the mystery adventure genre. If you are a looking for a good point and clickadventure that will keep you on your toes, here are our favorite mystery games for theNDS.Hotel DuskWith amazing visuals, a deep, intricate storyline and a unique way of playing on the DS,Hotel Dusk certainly has it all made. Players will have to flip their DS sideways (withoptions for left-handed users) and play with the screens in a vertical orientation. Thisprovides the illusion of having a single screen –a visual effect that heavily influences thegameplay.In Hotel Dusk, players are in control of Kyle Hyde, a former NYPD officer in search ofhis old partner, Brian Bradley. His quest leads him to the mysterious Hotel Dusk, andthere players will have to explore the various rooms, lobbies and passageways to seek outclues about what happened to Brian. The hotel is also occupied by various tenants andstaff, talking with these people will reveal further information about the mystery ofBrian’s whereabouts and the twisted past of Hotel Dusk itself. The story is very deep,involving a rich back story about art fraud, mysterious criminal organizations and falseidentities. Armchair detectives will certainly have a field day with this game.Time HollowTime travel is one of the most difficult science fiction elements to make use of, andKonami’s Junko Kawano certainly made this one a solid work of art. The game placesplayers in control of Ethan Kairos and together with the “hollow pen” players are able tocreate portals in time in order to observe or directly interfere with events of the past. Withboth of his parents suddenly disappearing, Ethan finds his world changed as if his parentshad died a full five years ago. 65 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 66. With his own friends mysteriously dying one after another, Ethan must seek out cluesabout the past and chase after another mysterious individual who also uses a hollow pen.The story is well written and it paces along at a pretty good rate. Much of the narrationprovides plenty of concise bits of information that players need to understand the gameworld and the overall story. Depending on the player’s actions, one of several possibleendings may be unlocked –and only by solving all the mysteries can a true alternateending be found.Trace MemoryWhen Ashley Robbins celebrated her 14th birthday, she certainly did not expect toreceive a gift from her father –who was supposed to have died when she was just threeyears old. The gift, a device called the DTS is uniquely designed to work only for Ashley.Along with this strange contraption is an invitation from her father who tells her to go to“Blood Edward Island”. Thus starts the plot for Trace Memory, a deeply moving mysterysolving game that places players in the heart of a mysterious island, accompanied only bya ghost with no memories and faced with puzzles every step of the way.The stylus controls both movement and puzzle solving so expect to be using the touchscreen a lot. AS with all mystery games, Trace Memory’s intricate storyline will onlyreveal its greatest secrets to the most inquisitive of players.Touch Gaming: Our Top Nintendo DS Touch Screen TitlesThe Nintendo DS’ biggest feature is the use of a touch screen along with a regular screen.This dual screen gaming handheld has opened up quite a lot of doors in terms of gamedevelopment and its vast array of titles features some of the most innovative uses of thetouch screen user input. Here are our top three favorite touch screen heavy games.Knights in the NightmareCombine a deep storyline with amazing fairytale book artwork and an innovativegameplay approach to tactical RPGs and you have got Knights in the Nightmare. ThisAtlus made “strategy-shooter” is the first of its kind. Making use of the touch screen,players must navigate their cursor across a bullet-hell of magic bolts and energy waveattacks as they zip through the full menu and unleash their own powerful magics andattacks.Tactics, fast reflexes and quick wit will help players win through the toughest of battles.The story is pretty intensive –players take control of the soul of King Wilmgard, andtogether with Maria, mysterious Valkyrie, the two try to unravel the mysteriessurrounding them. 66 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 67. Phoenix Wright: Ace AttorneyThe first of the Phoenix Wright series of games, Ace Attorney places players in control ofPhoenix Wright, a young attorney who finds himself handling the oddest of cases. Muchof the gameplay takes part in the touch screen menu. There, players much study variouspieces of evidence in order to help solve crimes and win their cases in the court.The touch screen menu handles most of the dialogue selection and logic based puzzlesthat will progress players through the game. The story is well written and divided intoseveral inter-linked chapters that build up into a single climactic final act. Those who fallin love with this game will be happy to know that there are also other titles in the PhoenixWright series that offer a similar gameplay experience –with the exception of the MilesEdgeworth title that focuses more on the investigation part as opposed to the court case.NintendogsNow this one is a no brainer. When you have got a several cute puppies on screen at thesame time, it is nearly impossible to not try and touch them. This is where the power ofthe touch screen truly shines. With the stylus, players can pet, stroke and poke theirvirtual pet puppies to their hearts content. This is also how you manage feeding andgrooming them as well. The use of the touch screen in the game is intensive with many ofthe tricks to be learned requiring you to give gentle nudges on the screen.Walking the dog also requires you to be attentive with the way you “hold the leash”.Overall, it is a very engaging experience. And whether you are tossing a Frisbee, guidinga dog through an obstacle or simply petting your pup for a job well done, it is hard todeny that much of Nintendog’s charm comes from the virtual interaction that you havewith your pet.A Last Look at Gaming on the Nintendo DSIt will not be long before Japanese game giant Nintendo announces that the production ofthe NDS handheld game console will finally cease. Initial estimates are saying this couldhappen sometime around 2012, though some insist that the device will still be inproduction until 2013. Regardless, the Nintendo DS has taken hold of the handheldgaming industry ever since it first came out last 2004 and has never let go since.Naturally, a game system’s true strength lies in its games and the NDS’ game librarycaters to the whole palette of gamers from super casual to the almost deeply hardcore.Titles range from the as-expected Nintendo lineup of favorites such as Metroid, Super 67 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 68. Mario and Star Fox, and a few new additions such as Animal Crossing. From third partydevelopers, there are plenty of point and click adventures such as Trace Memory,Phoenix Wright, Professor Layton and several others.A new innovation is the touch-reliant gaming genre, which introduced titles such as TheWorld Ends with You, Knights in the Nightmare and Rub Rabbits –titles whole gameplayfactor relied heavily on the touch screen controls. Of course, the user input method wasalso encouraging for the development of many strategy games such as Advance Wars, FFTactics Advance DS and many more. Between all these titles are a deluge of musicgames like Rock Band and Ouendan.As well as plenty of innovative and off-beat titles such as Brain Age, Love Plus, HotelDusk and so much more. Nintendo knew that with its unique dual-screen approach, theywould start a new trend in the gaming industry –and they did.The choice to be innovative with the system came with the development of betterresistive touch screen technology. Back in 2003 to 2004 (the development period for theDS), capacitive touch screens were pretty much unheard of, let alone multi touchcapabilities. For its time, the DS’ stylus based gaming opened up plenty of doors forgame makers.For some, it was Nintendo’s courage to double up the screen which made the DS trulyshine. Aside from the touch screen between the cursor pad and the buttons, the flip lid hasa regular screen –allowing games to display two completely different visuals at the sametime. Some games used this feature minimally –using the secondary screen as a map orinventory window. Others use it as an integral part of the game, where players controlaspects of the two screens at the same time.On its own the DS also served a few other purposes. The device can be used as a deskclock complete with its own alarm –not quite the best use for it, but you can if you wantto. And the built in Pictochat feature allows you to communicate with drawn images withother DS users.It sounds silly, but you could lose a good couple of hours just having fun with it. Ourpersonal favorite however, is the GBA backwards compatibility feature. You can simplyplug in a GBA cart in the bottom of the device and the main system menu of the DS willoffer you a choice of choosing which game to boot.The new 3DS is offering just as much as the NDS (except the backwards compatibilitybit) and offers many new features. But with the NDS’ already established gaming library,and the fact that it is already in the hands of over 50 million gamers worldwide, meansthat it will be a long time before this Nintendo handheld legend fades away.Moving on From Your DS to the 3DS 68 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 69. When it comes to gadgets and technology in general, upgrading is a part of life. That timewhen you move from one version to the next is simply a matter of when. But this doesnot necessarily entail that you purchase the latest piece of tech the moment it arrives onyour store shelves. There are many important factors to consider before knowing it istime to move on, and when it comes to the Nintendo 3DS, you need to remember a fewimportant things before finally retiring your older DS.The Nintendo DS is a very impressive piece of hardware; it dominated the handheldgaming industry for more than half a decade and has a vast library of games. What makesthe 3DS so promising is the fact that besides its own lineup of 3D game titles and highend hardware specifications, it has complete backwards compatibility support for all DSgame cartridges and a limited degree of support for DSiWare (which factors in regionlocking and the requirement of a GBA port).First factor: your GBA library. Simply put, even if you can play all your DS games on the3DS, the same cannot be said for your GBA titles. If you have been a big fan of portablegaming for a long time, chances are, you would have a pretty decent sized library of GBAcartridges. Having the DS around will still allow you to access these classics. Somewould argue that the 3DS has its own virtual console for emulating older GB titles –which is true, but this completely forgets the fact that your physical library of games willnot be useable on the new system. Nor will you be able to port the game save files onyour cartridges.Second: Portability. Now, we do not question the 3DS’ viability as a portable gamingsystem. It is light and easy to carry around. But when you do not plan on playing a 3DSgame when you go out, then the original DS should be more than enough. Also, theinherent 3D factor of 3DS titles often require you to be sitting still to get the full effect –whereas you can easily play a DS game while strolling down a shopping aisle. Having theDS around will leave you with more gaming options to choose from.Lastly: Battery Life. A 3DS, on a full charge, will only last for about 8 hours at mostwhen running a DS game and about 5 hours for a 3DS title. The oldest DS will give you afull 10 hours of game time while the newer DSi and DSi XL systems provide between 14to 17 hours of playtime. While the 3DS would be good for a quick errand out, the DSfares far better for long road trip across state lines.But is there a reason to own both? Right now, unless there is already an existing 3DSgame that you really want to play, then no. Owning a DS is more than sufficient. In thecoming months, more 3DS titles will be launched which means there might be one or twotitles you would find impossible to pass up.See the top 3 gaming headsets reviewed on this page... Customer reviews revealabout everything you need to know! Get the best gaming headset at the best price! 69 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks
  • 70. 70 Review the best gaming headsets© All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks