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


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

  1. 1. Gaming Systems - What You Need to Know to Make Gaming More Fun See the top 3 gaming headsets reviewed on this page... Customer reviews reveal about everything you need to know! Get the best gaming headset at the best price! Wii 3 Common Wii Issues Solved It is easy to love the Nintendo Wii, it has plenty of great games, has a fun control system and it is a gaming experience that you can easily share with friends and family. This is why when something starts bugging up on the system, people will get worried. To help ease things out, here are a few useful tips to try out before hurriedly bringing your system to the nearest repair center. Non-Responding WiiMotes Now 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 going south? First, check the batteries. These controllers use two AA batteries to run, so click on the home button to see if how many of the four lights on the controller light up (more lights mean higher charge). If the controller is not responding, you might want to replace the batteries. So let us say you have all four lights indicating a full charge but the game is still not responding to your commands. This may be a synchronization issue. Remember that your controller 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 your system find the controller. Inaccurate Aiming More often than not, games will require you to make use of the infrared sensor to aim at the screen and navigate menus, shoot guns and simply move things around. There are occasions when this starts acting abnormally. Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 1
  2. 2. One of the first things you should do is to confirm the set up of the sensor bar. From you Wii’s system menu, you can set the configuration of the sensor to assume that it is located 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 devices behind you. Be sure to look around your playing area to see if there might be items that are interfering with your system’s performance. Lastly, check the overall lighting. In some cases, the light in the room may be too strong and is interrupting the feed between the controller and the sensor. You may choose to turn off the lights or diffuse it a little to allow for a better level of communication between the WiiMote and the sensor bar. Unable to Back Up Save Files This is not really a hardware issue, but more of an incompatibility problem. According to Nintendo, the Wii supports only certain SD cards. This can be a little annoying if the SD card you currently have is incompatible with the console, but sadly, the only way to remedy this issue is to purchase a brand new card. Nintendo lists SanDisk and BD&A as officially compatible, but users are also recommended to update to version 4.00 or higher of 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 Wii owners tend to run into. However, if your Wii console is still suffering from issues, it is advisable that you take it to the nearest authorized Nintendo service center for a quick check. Backtracking on Your Wii: GameCube Gaming One of the many great features about the Wii is that it is compatible with plenty of old games. Many are already quite familiar with the many Virtual Console games which allow you to play NES, SNES, N64, Megadrive and other platform titles on the Wii. Of course, 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 GameCube games. There are four dedicated ports on the system to plug in the old GC controllers and 2 memory card slots for save file access. No need to worry about the smaller GameCube discs, 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 top picks. Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 2
  3. 3. No fan of this generation-transcending work of science fiction can go without experiencing the amazing gameplay that Rogue Leader has to offer. Featuring plenty of amazing voice over work, sound effects that seem to pop right out of the move and a gameplay that truly places you in the heat of the action, this game takes Star Wars interactivity to a whole new level. The game also features a whole array of ships ranging from the well known X-Wing to the more obscure A-Wing as players fly off in missions that coincide with the events of the original trilogy. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes We have a love-hate relationship with this game. Silicon Knights was given plenty of freedom with the remake of the original Metal Gear Solid game for the Playstation and had it graphically updated for the GameCube. The result is a visually stunning work of art that comes pretty close to the graphics for Sons of Liberty on the PS2. The gameplay has also 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. While the 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 –among others. While the canon story has not been altered, fans of the series felt that the changes were too out of character. Still, for those who have yet to play the MGS series, this title is a great way to be initiated into the world of stealth based action gameplay. Animal Crossing Oh, 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 GC version of this life simulation game plays a lot simpler and less stylized than the newer version –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 not planning to play the new AC game, this might be the best time to take the game out of storage and pop it in for a trip back to your town. Party Host and More: the Nintendo Wii The Wii is taking the concept of friendly get-togethers into a whole new realm with its motion gaming controls and multiplayer functionalities. Of course, figuring out which titles to go for is not exactly the easiest thing to do –especially when there are hundreds Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 3
  4. 4. to choose from. Here are four of our most recommended titles to help you figure out which games would best fit your party needs. Super Smash Brothers Brawl Sometimes, 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 promises plenty of fast paced action to keep even the most hardcore player of the bunch focused on the game. Smash Brothers brings back a great lineup of Iconic Nintendo characters such as Mario, Samus, Fox, Zelda and more into a free spirited battle tournament. Parents watching on will appreciate many of the old and new Nintendo franchise cameos ranging from 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 Blox When EA announced that Steven Spielberg was working on a game, we were wondering what kind of fantastic stories he would be bringing to interactive life. Nobody expected that the man would spearhead the creation of a game that would later take spotlight of any party: Boom Blox. It sounds silly and even the concept is hard to take seriously: you throw balls at blocks. But give the game a quick whirl and after five minutes, you and your friends will be addicted. The game pits you against your friends in turn based ball-throwing battles where you each pit your accuracy and skill at strategic block knocking. There are various gameplay objectives such as blowing up a specific number of blocks or knocking off blocks in a certain order to win. Highly replayable, intuitive controls and an overall fun gameplay experience makes this title a must have for parties. Wario Ware Smooth Moves Of course, when it comes to motion gaming, you have to bring out Wario Ware Smooth Moves. Players take turns as they each try to do various motions in order to achieve the various stage objectives. Each stage only lasts a few seconds or so you players have to think fast about what to do. On a multiplayer game, you and your friends have to communicate fast in order to pass the WiiMote (you only use one) around to the next player. Fun, frantic and certain to tire payers out within an hour or two; this is the best way to whip up an appetite before serving the hors d'oeuvres. Wii Sports It is old and comes free with your Nintendo Wii, yet Wii Sports is still a much recommended title for those who want to have various activities without having to change 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 Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 4
  5. 5. custom Miis to use prior to the game –as each player can select their own Mii avatar to play. 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. This little home console will solve all your entertaining needs. Time to Party with the Nintendo Wii No other console in the gaming industry has closer to becoming the absolute party system like the Nintendo Wii. With its wide range of local multiplayer games, motion based controls and comparatively affordable price tag (as compared to the Microsoft Xbox 360 and the Sony Playstation 3), the Wii quickly made carved out its niche in the video game industry when it launched in 2006. Now, half a decade later, the Wii is still among the most played console systems. For the most part, the system has a steady following among die-hard Nintendo fans. With exclusive games under the Super Mario, Pokemon, Metroid, Zelda and other first-party franchises, 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 others provide draws in a definite charm that is hard to deny (the massive Nintendo crossover game, 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) allow multiple 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 there are no messy piñata bits to clean up either. Boom Blox, Mario Party and Wii Party are just 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 for other next generation console, it is important to point out that the Wii also gets its share of some pretty impressive games. Sky Crawlers is an impressive and challenging flight simulation 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 solid point and shoot gaming experience that relives many important events in the RE storyline. Grasshopper Manufacture’s No More Heroes series takes on the 3D hack and slash genre to a whole new level with its stylish delivery and innovative use of the motion controller. Aside from having a great game lineup, the Wii itself is a pretty good console in terms of hardware. Available in white, black and red, buyers have options on being able to choose the visual style that suits them the most. It also comes with a stand which supports the Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 5
  6. 6. system in an upright position (for those who are saving up on space or simply feel that it looks 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 web browser or a picture viewer. Thanks to the console’s WiFi features, going online is as simple as setting up your router information. Additional channel functions such as news readers 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’. In terms of data file size, this is roughly 512 MB. Not that big, but fortunately, the system supports 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 play these, users will have to hook up the old GC controllers to one of the four specially designated ports on the console. There are also two GC memory card slots on the Wii which 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, or simply love to play video games but do not have the time (or resources) to invest in hardcore games, then the Wii is your number one choice. It offers easy and fun to play games, innovative controls and a great range of functionality that would make any type of gamer happy. The Top 5 Revolutionary Games for the Wii Nintendo Wii has been considered to be the pioneer in motion gaming. Released years ahead of the PS Move the Xbox Kinect, the Wiimote controlled console has shown us all how fun and exciting motion gaming can be. Of course, not all Wii games make full use of 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 and Nunchuck to a whole new level. No More Heroes We open this list with none other Goichi Suda’s masterpiece of a beat-em-up: the No More Heroes series. In terms of controls, not much has changed from the original and the sequel (No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle), but regardless, this game is still one of the most quirky motion controlled titles to be released. Lead character Travis Touchdown ends up joining a tournament of assassins, and in order to reach the top spot, he has to eliminate the rest of the competition. The game opens with the beam-sword wielding hero starting with the tenth spot and as you progress through the story, you get to meet whole host of sexy and bizarre assassins that stand in your way. Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 6
  7. 7. There’s plenty of adult humor in this game, some subtle, others crude. The action sequences on the other hand, are plenty of violence. It is encouraging to see that Nintendo is now making room for more mature players (after all, most of us who grew up on Mario and 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 makes full use of the buttons, motion and even Nunchuck movement to execute Travis’ wide range of moves. We are also going to tip our hats off for the “phone call” event sequences where you need to press the controller against your ear (the Wiimote has an internal speaker) as well as the slightly naughty beam-sword charging motions. Of course, we will not be going into that, it is up to you players to explore. Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces While we are not too fond of the Japanese novel or the anime, the Sky Crawlers game on the 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 a sword, as a regular controller and in this case, as a flight stick. The WiiMote can be used to control your plane’s pitch while the Nunchuck handles the acceleration. Tilting both from 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 unlike a typical flight stick which rests on a base, the WiiMote is supported entirely by your arm. 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 to get past these issues. The game itself makes use of Ace Combat’s game engine, which means that many of the factors considered in flying have been simplified to a point where the game is actually enjoyable (without having to think too much about calculations). Simplified, however, does not mean unrealistic. Reckless flyers will still find themselves stalling and crashing if they do not act with care. Overall, this game provides a nice change of pace for many Ace Combat veterans. The old 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 start taking the game a lot more seriously even on the normal difficulty. If you are a fan of great dogfights and have been looking for a new way to experience it, Sky Crawlers is the way to go. Trauma Team Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 7
  8. 8. Combining various point and click game genres can be a little tricky, but the folks behind Trauma Team certainly know how to make a great game. This little gem of a Wii title is basically an advanced version of Trauma Center for the DS. Not only does it improve on the 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 what story 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. This continues 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, some require medical surgical procedures, and others require players to talk with patients for diagnosis. There are a total of six individual gameplay features on this game, and they all come together to bring a truly inventive experience in the use of the Wii’s motion controller. 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 4 As ironic as it may seem, a game that was not meant for the Wii is also one that has completely redefined the concept of hardcore motion gaming. Enter Resident evil 4. This little pseudo-zombie fest of the great sci-fi survival horror series from Capcom takes on a whole 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 obvious that the creators wanted to do something different. An optional chainsaw controller was released 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 of controls 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. In terms of graphics and storyline, not much has changed. Those who already played the PS2 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 has been out for a while) and any Wii owner wanting a little more thrilling than the usual fare of Nintendo titles. The innovative use of the Wiimote and the way it changes the gameplay experience from the original title will certainly be an experience players would not want to miss. Elebits Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 8
  9. 9. Last on our list is Elebits, a storybook style, children’s sci-fi game that had us wondering just how much potential the Wiimote truly has. For a point of perspective, players have to remember that this is one of the first Wii games ever released, and for that time, the graphics 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 and it is up to the player to find them all and capture them with a unique laser-gun-zapping apparatus invented by the protagonist’s father. To play the game, players simply have to point and zap objects in game. Initially, you can only 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 enough of the alien-like beings, your zapper will become more powerful, allowing you to move larger 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 objects around. Various power ups will boost your ability to grab, push and even thrown objects up in the sky –which is a great way of clearing the view. It is a fun and light gaming experience, mixed in with a few challenging timed missions. Elebits is a perfect recommendation for those who want a quick taste of real motion controlled gaming. Wii for Two: Two Cooperative Games for the Win Everybody loves to talk about the many multiplayer aspects of the Wii, how impressive the system is for entertaining plenty of people and how well it functions for the family in general. But for standard two player games – that is an issue that is often unanswered yet much valued by hardcore players. So today, we are giving you our favorite cooperative games for the Nintendo Wii. Of course, with plenty of great two player campaigns available on the Wii, we’ve decided to serve up a pair of titles that will really want to make you work with a friend: a couple of the best horror games. Obscure: the Aftermath Survival 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 company doesn’t take the fright away. Enter “Obscure: the Aftermath”. This scary little masterpiece is a sequel to the original Obscure and introduces players to the two survivors of the first game and a whole new bunch of college coeds. The game is scary, disturbing and frantic. When a bizarre sexually transmitted demonic plague starts creeping about the school, players must controls various pairs of characters Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 9
  10. 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 each other. Gone are the days when you are safely picking a lock on a door (which often opens up a user interfaces that temporarily halts any enemies). In Obscure, you will have to count 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: Overkill Normally, when people talk about on-rails shooters for the Wii, the Resident Evil Chronicle titles (Umbrella and Darkside) are among the first to be mentioned. But when you want to have a little more fun shooting down zombies and just enjoying with your buddy, 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 enough swearing to make a B-movie starring Samuel Jackson blush. It is funny, witty and still surprisingly 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 in the game comes from the second main character, Isaac Washington. The cooperative aspect of the game mainly involves shooting everything onscreen as fast as possible –which is certainly easier with two players. For bosses however, a little more communication 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 aspect that the titles have been truly designed for. If you have not had the chance to try either Obscure: the Aftermath or HotD: Overkill, then now is the best time to bring your best friend over for some real gaming action. Getting More Out of Your Wii Nintendo’s motion controlled gaming console is considered to be one of the top systems in terms of overall entertainment. While its value to hardcore gamers may not be on the same level as the Playstation 3 or the Xbox 360, the Wii has more to offer to a broader market of casual gamers and of course, families. If the Wii is currently on the center of your home entertainment system, with the console playing host to friends and family, you might want to consider investing a little bit of money and time to grab these very useful accessories. Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 10
  11. 11. First off, the Wii Balance Board –normally, we would not recommend getting a console peripheral that is only useful for one game (Wii Fit), but in this case, the Balance Board is a must have. Not only do you get to do really amusing things on it (you can test which among your friends can balance best on one foot), but there are plenty of useful applications that use the board. These applications mainly improve exercises that help you 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 various add-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 make playing a little harder), it is always fun to see your friends waving a plastic sword at virtual enemies onscreen. Speaking of playing in front of a screen, get better WiiMote straps. Nintendo’s WiiMote comes with straps that are used to tie the controller to the player’s wrist (which will help prevent people from accidentally throwing the controller). There are already countless tales 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 that actually 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 most of us are far more lethal with a remote control style grip. But they do actually enhance the gameplay experience. There is also an additional extra motion sensing device that goes on the bottom of the WiiMote as well –which helps tracking your movements a lot more accurate. To get more out of your gaming on the Wii, it is a good idea to buy rechargeable batteries. There are two variants. One is the typical AA battery size that replaces the standard batteries. The other is a Lithium Ion based battery that replaces the standard battery and the battery cover. The good thing about the L-ion battery is that is often comes with a charging dock so that you can be sure that every time you play, your controller is all charged up and ready to go. So the next time you find yourself with a little extra gaming budget. You might want to pass out on grabbing the latest game releases and instead, look for some worthwhile purchases that would enhance your gaming experience with your current library. More for Wii: Using Your Console for More than Games Chances are, your Nintendo Wii is sitting quietly at the living room, the family den or the designated game room –one way or another, it is rare to have this very social gaming console to be sitting quietly inside one person’s room alone (but, yes, it does happen). If Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 11
  12. 12. your household is the type that has the motion gaming device strategically located for everyone’s best enjoyment, then you will certainly appreciate these little tips we have. Tracking Playtime The Nintendo Wii is the perfect parental helper when it comes to keeping track of your children’s gaming habits. The system will log in the title of the games being played and for how long. While it does not keep exact track of the time a game was played or who was the person who played it, doing so enables you to see if anyone has been sneaking in extra gaming hours at night. The Wii is more than just a sly tattle-tale however, this log is public and can be used by anyone (though it cannot be tampered with or edited). For gamers, this helps ease out time issues by allowing you to track your own gaming habits. If you have been having trouble balancing time for obligations and gaming, then a quick review of this log might help you properly organize your schedule. Virtual Post Its Another great thing about this system is that it allows you to post virtual notes. If you need to step out for a bit and need to remind your buddy to clean up the sink before playing, a simple note on the system’s dashboard will often suffice. For messages are not meant for today, there’s a calendar that allows you to write important announcements and letters well ahead of time. Oftentimes, there are various users of the console (and each person has a Mii). You can write messages that are addressed to specific users for that personal touch –just remember that the content of the letter is still public. Occasionally, some Wii games will make use of this feature to post game highlights and achievements –a feature that we would certainly want to see in more titles. For the most part, the message system gets the heaviest flow of functionality from the users of the device. If you have not tried out this feature, now is a great time to do so and teach your family or roommates about it. Browsing the Web If you have downloaded the Internet Browser channel, all you need to do is to turn it on and get online. The browser makes use of a custom Opera-powered browser that allows you 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 Flash Player -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 can provide, it is a good idea to invest in a USB keyboard which you can hook up directly Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 12
  13. 13. into the Wii. This eases out the slower process of using the onscreen keyboard (which you 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 and your family in plenty of useful ways. All you need to do is to poke around the console’s many features and settings to see what else it can do for you. Channel Surfing on Your Nintendo Wii The Wii gives the game console experience with a whole new twist: turning your favorite Nintendo 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 a whole swath of empty channels. With the main game channel placed on the upper left corner 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 your Wii. First up is the official Nintendo Channel. From here, players can get the latest new on all things Nintendo and more. Previews, demos and video interviews regarding upcoming games and features are updated frequently on this channel. It also allows you to grab very exclusive 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 all downloadable content. There are both WiiWare and Virtual Console games, as well as additional channels that can be purchased. From here, players can load up their account with 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! The Virtual 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 16 system. Each game for the various consoles will appear on the main screen as a separate channel. Going back to your Miis, there’s a great way to enjoy your personal avatar outside of the default Mii channel. Enter the Check Mii Out channel. This is the place to go to if you want to see other people’s creations, to compare avatar designs and to compete in special weekly challenges (usually a create-a-Mii with a theme). If you did not get to join the competition, you can still join the fun by becoming part of the judging system. Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 13
  14. 14. And while we are on the topic of socializing with other Nintendo users, the Everybody Votes channel is one interesting polling system. Here, various questions are asked of the population in general. It’s a great big giant survey machine for the Nintendo community and 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 add them 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 international news coverage on a wide range of topics (politics, science, sports, entertainment and more). Most of the content is from Reuters so users can be assured of the accuracy of details. Be warned however, as most news is often bad news -so some parents might keep their 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 on an SD card to view the content on the TV. This works best for system using component cables in order to achieve the best image quality. Also, the Wii will detect any MP3 music 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 time to set up your WiFi connection and experience all the useful and fun functionalities that the console has to offer. Nintendo Wii: Facing the Next Generation Wave At the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo, Japanese video game developer and console manufacturer Nintendo has confirmed that they will be unleashing a brand new home console system that will rival the power and capabilities of the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. While it sounds impressive, it is also a signature of Nintendo: hardware is not everything. Sure, the new system will be powerful –compared to the 360 and the PS3 which were released several years ago. The famous Nintendo motion gaming system, the Wii also faced a similar situation many years ago when it was first launched. The system came out ahead of its competitors at Microsoft and Sony and enjoyed plenty of sales. When the 360 and the PS3 came out months later, critics stated that the Wii’s lower spec graphics would be the downfall of the 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 the system often playing second fiddle to owners of the PS3 or the 360. But it is this market Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 14
  15. 15. position that makes the system so strong. Among casual gamers, the Wii is the number one system of choice. For hardcore gamers, the low price point and entertainment value of the Wii makes it an ideal secondary system to own. This meant that most PS3 owners had a Wii as a secondary console and the same applied to 360 owners. There were fewer gamers who bought 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’s game library is always among the most important factors to consider for any person choosing to purchase a system. Right off the bat, it is pretty obvious that the Wii has a significantly younger target market. 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 DS as well). With plenty of games that focus on light tasks, bright colored visuals and simple storylines, the Wii makes for a perfect children’s console. For slightly older audiences, the Wii has some pretty good titles that should not be passed up. Dead Space, Mad World and No More Heroes are just a few of the hardcore titles in the 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. It may not be a first choice for the discerning, hardcore players, but if you are looking for a secondary 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 its lower spec hardware as compared to later generation systems. But the Wii was never meant to take up the niche currently occupied by the PS3 (or the 360); instead, the Wii was developed to bring the joy of video games to a much broader audience –something that other systems would find difficult to achieve. See the top 3 gaming headsets reviewed on this page... Customer reviews reveal about everything you need to know! Get the best gaming headset at the best price! Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 15
  16. 16. Xbox 360 Covering Your Gaming Needs with the Xbox 360 The 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 may argue that Nintendo’s Wii console is a third alternative, many often see the motion gaming 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 and bringing 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 is considerably one of the consoles of its time. Many complained about its robust size and the shelving space it occupied. Microsoft addressed this problem by creating a smaller system with the additional option of being able to decide whether you want it flat or standing 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 the home console well and beyond that of high end PCs. This helped usher in great games such as Mass Effect, Halo 3, Gotham Racing and many more as developers now had faster 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 this is much smaller than the Playstation 3’s Blu-Ray discs, it still provided a significant amount 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 of your home entertainment system. The device hooks up to the internet through LAN or WiFi and allows players to connect to the Xbox Live network –a paid service which allows 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-coded buttons which allows players to easily create a mental map of the layout. The only drawback is that it makes use of standard batteries. Microsoft does sell an official rechargeable battery pack kit (complete with specialized chargers) for those who love to have long gaming sessions. Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 16
  17. 17. Microsoft has also launched a second version of the Xbox 360, the “S”. This new slim version has a lower energy consumption rate, built in Kinect support and more importantly, is rumored to be resilient to the issues that caused RRoD failures for the first batches of 360 systems. RRoD, or Red Ring of Death, is a nickname given to the indicator lights of the 360 that indicates a complete system failure. There are plenty of theories and hypothesis as to the varying 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 the unit to soar, as its lower voltage rates appears to make the system immune from the much dreaded Red Ring of Death. Being Microsoft’s second platform in the home gaming console, the 360 has shown how far the PC software developer has come in terms of being able to expand. In terms of gaming, Microsoft is now one of the biggest names in the gaming industry, with their high end console, impressive games and impressive online service, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 community continues to grow each day. Your 360, Your Style: Special Editions of Microsoft’s Gaming Console The Xbox 360 is an extremely impressive gaming machine featuring high end video graphics hardware and a library of games that is sure to satisfy any hardcore gamer’s needs. But function is not there is to Microsoft’s very successful seventh generation video game console. The Xbox 360 also delivers plenty in terms of form. The new sleeker design (as compared to the original Xbox) of the original 360 and the highly stylized 360S bring to users a devices that will fit perfectly well in the center of your home theater. But if you have been looking for something more, something extra special, you might 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 designed colors –made to look like Master Chief’s armor. Even the pack-in controller, headset and charger has been designed in a similar fashion to fit with the overall look. Halo fans will love 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 XIII 360 special edition comes in a basic white color scheme with an imprinted design. Being white, it looks a lot like the standard 360 edition until closer inspection. The package also comes with free game related DLC and of course, the game itself. While we cannot exactly 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. Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 17
  18. 18. For those looking for a strikingly good color for the Xbox, a special Resident Evil 5 edition of the console has been released and this one comes in a solid red finish. In terms of overall design, there are no RE-specific designs on the console itself, making it a great alternative 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 edition versions of the Xbox 360. The special launch edition is a very exclusive version of the system that has only been given to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 launch team. These editions were never available commercially and can only be obtained from the Launch Team members themselves –in the unlikely event that they are willing to part with the console itself. According to reports, the launch edition is mostly white like the original but comes with a customized faceplate, a date engraving, and green highlights on the console (which is gray in the commercial release of the 360). Currently, only one launch team edition has been 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 style you want. There are plenty of custom faceplates and skins for the Xbox 360 available both from official sources and third party manufacturers. The designs also range from simple flat colors to well detailed art (gaming-related and otherwise). If the above special editions are way off your budget, you might want to invest in a skin instead. Full Circle: Completing Your Xbox 360 Setup Microsoft’s Xbox is an impressive gaming system. It packs quite the punch in terms of hardware power, and provides players with an incredible amount of games to choose from. But simply owning the system and several games alone is not all that you need to get the most out of your Xbox 360. Here are a few useful tricks that we found for players to try out. Your Game, Your Music Now this is actually a documented feature: you can play MP3 files on your HDD through the console menu from within any game. Of course, you would have to check if your game allows you to turn off the music (usually found in a game’s sound/audio settings page). This is a pretty neat trick for games which do not rely so much on the in-game music to deliver a story (racing games, sports titles, etc). But do remember to use it with a little moderation, it would be odd playing Alan Wake to a Lady Gaga song. It Also Plays the iPod Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 18
  19. 19. If you own an Apple iPod, you can hook it up to your Xbox 360 and play the track straight from the iPod itself. This may seem a little strange; after all, Apple is one of Microsoft’s biggest competitors (basically, they are industry rivals). But yes, the option is available on the Marketplace. Once loaded on your console, you will be able to browse your media easily. This will also allow you to charge the device while plugged in. Create a Special Name Is the alphabet too limited for your Gamercard? Then fear not. While Microsoft has not allowed the use of special Ascii characters, they did actually use support for eastern languages. Simply switch over your input settings and you can choose from a wide range of unique characters. Remove Excess Data Much 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 your 360 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, R Bumper, X, X. This will allow you to clear the memory as well as some of the game system data –just be warned that you might need to re-download any important DLC content you lose in the process. Go Blogging Tired 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, it would be such a hassle to manually create blog posts each day, so the best thing to do is to 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 by the folks at Gamer DNA. 360 Voice will create an automated blog for you that is updated by your 360. It will list down the stuff that your Xbox publishes on your Gamercard and post 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 Live We all love our games, and we certainly love being able to talk about gaming experiences with our friends. Microsoft brings these two and many more great features together in a single online connectivity service, and this, is Xbox Live. Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 19
  20. 20. Originally debuting back in 2002, a year after the launch of the original Xbox home gaming console, Xbox Live officially went online. Better known under the nickname, XBL, this Microsoft-run online feature brought together multiplayer features, social networking, online achievements, media downloads and so much more in a single location. Within days of its launch, gamers scrambled to log in, create their own Gamertags and become part of the quickly growing community. Today, XBL is mostly accessed by Xbox 360 users –which currently account for the largest portion of the XBL community. They are joined by users of the older Xbox system, PCs and new users of Windows Phone 7 mobile devices. All in all, the XBL community currently plays host to over 30 million users (as opposed to over 70 million for 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 a numerical tally of in-game achievements accomplished by players. While the Gamerscore count cannot be used or consumed in any manner, many players often use this as a basis of comparison of their skill and progress as compared to others on their friends list. In order to ensure that the Gamerscore is not tampered with, Microsoft employs several undisclosed tracking methods in order to seek out cheating players. When found, those caught manipulating Gamerscore data are stripped of points and are publicly labeled as cheaters. When it comes to skill comparison however, Microsoft has a much better tracking alternative: the TrueSkill match finder system. This little feature allows Xbox Live to keep track of a player’s in-game performance and ranks players according to their actual skill level. This allows the system to create match ups of players of similar skills levels in order to balance the game difficultly. While there are some known exploits in the system, many players often prefer TrueSkill’s ranked matches as a way to gauge their own playing levels. Aside from providing players with bragging rights, the XBL service also provides plenty of content for players to download. Netflix, Hulu and other media sites can instantly be accessed with the XBL account for video content (some media services are restricted depending on the region of the player). Other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are also incorporated into the service as well. More importantly, the XBL service also provides additional game related media and content. Trailers, downloadable demo versions and expansion packs are all available on the XBL service (though some will require payment). With the Xbox Live service, Microsoft has been able to provide a comprehensive gaming experience for players on the Xbox 360, Windows PC and WP7 smart phone users with its great library of media channels, game add-ons and online community. If you own one Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 20
  21. 21. of the abovementioned systems and have yet to make your own account, you should create one immediately and catch up on all the great content that you have been missing out on. Only 360: 5 of Our Favorite Microsoft Exclusives Nothing makes a console stand out more than its line-up of exclusive titles. While the Xbox 360 may be best known for its highly competitive multiplayer FPS titles, it also has its own share of hardcore games from other genres. Naturally, if you want to get the full experience 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 list of our top five favorite exclusive titles for the 360. Alan Wake Intriguing, suspenseful and highly imaginative, Alan Wake is a great game that players should not pass up on. You take control of the titular lead character, Alan Wake, as he embarks on a strange quest to save his wife from a race of bizarre beings known as the Taken. The gameplay is a combination of exploration-investigation and horror-action; players seek out various clues to find Alan’s wife while trying to get past beings that are only vulnerable when exposed to light. Combat is combination of using in-game light sources and basic firearms –forcing players to include a lot of strategy into their playing style. Combined with lushly detailed environments, the creepy and haunting atmosphere of Bright Falls, a musical score designed to keep you on the edge of your seat and very lifelike voice acting this is a game that certainly ranks high in the immersive-meter. Gears of War 2 Despite the 360’s heavy reputation as a console for competitive players, it also has its share of great local coop games. And in this category, none stand out more than Gearbox’s Gears of War 2. This epic third person shooter game allows you and a buddy to team up and take down more of the invading alien horde known as the Locust. The combat is visually visceral, and keeps you glued on the screen. Much of the game’s atmosphere is similar to that of wartime film footage, complete with shaky-hand-cam effects, dirt splatters and of course, gore. Keeping you away from focusing entirely on these details is the action. Gears takes you (and optionally, a friend), into the heart of the Locusts new location underground, surrounded at all times and shooting your way towards the goal. A deep and well delivered story narrative provides players with a reprieve from the action-intensive gameplay. Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 21
  22. 22. Halo 3 Master Chief is back with the third game in the main Halo trilogy and once again, players are back in the Chief’s iconic armored boots. The game brings players back in touch not only with the big MC, but also with other returning cast such as Cortana, the Arbiter and more. Speaking of the Arbiter, he and the Covenant are taking a big role twist in this game as players get to directly interfere with the politics of the alien race. Halo 3 also reveals more about the rings, the flood and more importantly, provides the groundwork for an even more epic undertaking for the next game. Much of Halo’s classic FPS gameplay is back, along with a few new extra weapons. There is also a bit of balance with the use of special thrown weapons and melee combat –giving players that much needed diversity that most first person shooters lack. Tales of Vesperia Nothing 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 of Vesperia. The Japanese version of the game has been released for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 (with the PS3 getting additional content). However, only the 360 was given an English version. The game takes you to the fictional planet of Terca Lumireis, a land where people rely on magic as much as technology. This magic is basically a unique kind of planetary energy stored in blastia -when the blastia start reacting to strange viral form of magic energy, the binding forces of the planet hit a terrible imbalance. Taking on the role of ex-knight Yuri Lowell, 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, a deep storyline with light delivery and of course, Namco’s Tales-series real time combat. Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation Once again, another title in the list comes from Namco Bandai. This is Project Ace’s special work for the Xbox 360, AC6: Fires of Liberation. Taking on the same story universe established in previous Ace Combat titles, players take flight and burn through the 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 the perspective of civilians. The gameplay brings back more of that fast-paced and simplified dogfight controls that have made previous AC titles famous. Speaking of which, gigantic bosses and massive, epic dogfights dot out major points in the story –providing players with a unique kind of challenge not seen in other flight simulation titles. Overall, with its great game controls, action-oriented gameplay and stylish aircraft simulation, this is one dogfight game that will keep you happily playing for hours on end. Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 22
  23. 23. Xbox 360: Surviving the Red Ring of Doom We have all heard the horror stories and for many owners of early generation Xbox 360 consoles, the Red Ring of Doom/Death (also known as RRoD) is the eternal boogeyman lurking in the shadows of the Microsoft console. What makes RRoD so ghastly for players is simple fact that it count compromise and destroy all your progress. But before we get into that, let us see what RRoD really is. The term “Red Ring” comes from the three quarter-circle red indicator lights that appear on the console once it experiences any form of general hardware failure. In short, RRoD is actually a visible symptom for a wide range of potentially dangerous issues with the console. In a few very rare cases (such as voltage spikes/power surges), fixing the RRoD simply require plugging the device from the power outlet and giving it time to cool down before resuming play. Most of the time, users will have to send the device back to Microsoft for replacement 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 that Microsoft is manufacturer of the device (and is most suited to fix it) player tend to pass up on this service since they have a policy of completely wiping out all data on the console. This means that all game data, save files, media and more are completely removed 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 to check 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 still does not turn on properly, it is time to take it to a professional. While there are plenty of online tutorials and how-to guides to take apart your Xbox 360, applying thermal paste and even installing a third party cooling system, these are not recommended. Not only do they void warranty, but unless you yourself are a professional in handling delicate electronics, 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 the Xbox 360, making sure that your system does not overheat is a key factor in maintaining a long life. First off, store the device in dust free area –if you can spare a small sheet to cover it with, do so. Keeping out the dust allows the system to cool itself better – Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 23
  24. 24. naturally, remove the cover when you need to play it. Next is to ensure that you run the system in a cool, well-ventilated area. This means that all the vents should have ample room to ‘breathe’. Do note that not only does the console need to be checked; the power brick also requires similar attention as well. Online Games on Demand: Xbox Live Arcade Microsoft’s Xbox Live gaming service is one of the largest online game markets –along with the Playstation Store and Steam. Featuring a wide range of games that is constantly updated on an almost daily basis, XBLA provides players with a game library that is available 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 lack the 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 Heroes Originally available in retail for the older Xbox system, MvC2 has been updated and upgraded for the XBLA and of course, HDTV gaming with the 360. The game now supports 720p graphics, online match support (for finding matches and even watching other fights) and more importantly, it fixes many of the bugs and slowdowns that plague the 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 the 360). This fighting game brings back all of the air combos and chain commands of Capcom’s famous gameplay engine. With a full roster of 56 characters from both the Marvel and Capcom universes, players get to mix and match their favorite characters for the ultimate team combinations. Castlevania: Harmony of Despair In today’s age of high end video gaming, sprite based 2D games are often considered as primitive works or novelty items. But the same cannot be said of the Castlevania franchise. While there are already plenty of games in the series that feature 3D graphics and gameplay, the 2D titles pretty much stand well on their own. XBLA offers Harmony of Despair, a unique, semi-mission based Castlevania game that brings back characters from 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 the various monsters and bosses that plague Dracula’s castle. Each character plays differently, using different types of equipment, skills and even their own leveling system Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 24
  25. 25. for increasing stats. Thanks to the optional cooperative game mode, this game is a definite must-have for Castlevania fans. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 Combining 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 other hardcore shooters such as Raiden, Gradius and more. Retro Evolved 2 brings back many of the core elements that has made the original game a hit: multidirectional movement and shooting, along with massive waves of enemies. New to the sequel is six new game modes varying from surviving waves, earning as much 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 highly recommended for XBLA players. Bring On the East: J-RPGs for the Xbox 360 One of the hardest challenges that Microsoft faced with the original Xbox home console was the fact that they had little Japanese game developer support. This affected the console’s sales performance slightly in western markets and strongly in Japan. With the Xbox 360, Microsoft is showing that they are learning from their mistakes. The next generation console now sports a vast number of JRPG titles, and even a few special exclusives for the US market. Here is a quick peek at some of these great games. Namco Bandai’s Tales of Vesperia The “Tales Of” series from Namco Bandai is one of the longest running RPG titles in Japan and Vesperia is one of the latest titles. While the Japanese version of the game is available in both the PS3 and the 360, only 360 owners will be able to enjoy the English version of this game. ToV follows the adventures of Yuri Lowell, a former knight out in search 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 and together, they try to unravel the mysteries of magic and ether. Vesperia makes use of a semi-real time combat system known as the ATB which adds a degree of action to the battle sequences. Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIII The latest in the famous Final Fantasy series originated by Squaresoft, FFXIII brings you the tale of Lightning, a soldier who takes on a system she once served in order to save her sister. While many of the older generation of FF fans find Square-Enix new RPG Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 25
  26. 26. formulas to be a little dry and unimaginative, it is hard to deny that the game developer truly 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 went through several cuts and edits in order to shrink down content for the HD-DVD. While many fans cried foul at losing content, 360 users in the US finally had their first taste of the FF series. Microsoft’s Lost Odyssey Taking the lack of actual Japanese support for the older system into consideration, Microsoft has teamed up with Mistwalker and independent game company headed by legendary Squaresoft icon, Hironobu Sakaguchi. Their product: the ambitious Lost Odyssey RPG for the Xbox 360. This game rings back many elements of the original FF series that has been lost in the newer titles. A simplified items and inventory system, an easy to follow turn based, menu driven combat engine and of course, a plotline filled with plenty of twists and turns. While critics have panned the heavily political undertones of the game, many have also recognized the brave step that Mistwalker and Feelplus are taking in order to re-shape the JRPG 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 of the game system might put off newer players. Beyond 360: Add More to Your Xbox So, you have finally bought an Xbox 360, hooked it up to your HDTV and bought some of the best titles available. The question is: what would you need to further enhance your gaming experience? Here is a quick lineup of our much recommended additional purchases 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 most gaming outlets and convenience stores –making them incredibly accessible. The big picture here is that players get to sign up for an Xbox Live account, take part in multiplayer games and of course, be part of the of the XBL community. With a majority of 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 good WiFi router. Another advantage of buying a card is that you will not need to input your credit card data online. Gaming with batteries is hard, and anyone who has had a Nintendo Gameboy or a Sega Gamegear will tell you, those batteries will run out –sooner than you think. So what is a good plan for your wireless controllers when you tend to clock in several hours of Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 26
  27. 27. gaming each day? Get rechargeable batteries. This is made easy by Microsoft, who sells official rechargeable battery packs that allow you to charge whether your controllers are in standby or in use. This means that you get to enjoy a more seamless gaming experience -and at the same time, save the environment since you will not be throwing batteries 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 online gaming – after all, communication is a the key to having a good time. Try to find a good Xbox 360 compatible headset in order to make full use of the system’s voice chat functionality. 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 instantly communicate 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 on your scope. Speaking of chat (pun intended), you might not be too fond of a direct conversational approach. In this case, the Xbox 360 controller keyboard is a great add on. This chat-pad or “Messenger Kit” sticks directly between the controller grips and provides players with a fully functional QWERTY keyboard to make use of while you are gaming and cannot afford to put down the controller. While it does take a while to get used to, being able to instantly 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 the console 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 USB receiver comes with Windows drivers that allow players to use various Xbox 360 accessories on the PC. Of course, you will still need to do a little joypad mapping in order to make full use of your controller, but it certainly is a lot better than having to shell out even more just to buy a separate joypad for your desktop system. Legends Face Off: Xbox 360 vs Playstation 3 When 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 was big and bulky. Despite its obviously powerful hardware capabilities, many gamers used to Nintendo and Sony’s consoles felt that the cumbersome device was nothing more than a watered down gaming PC. Within weeks of its launch, the Xbox showed that it had tremendous 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 gaming console industry (along with competitors Sony and Nintendo), and Microsoft’s most recent system, the Xbox 360 is considered to be one of the most powerful gaming devices Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 27
  28. 28. ever launched. It, along with the Sony Playstation 3, is expected to be main systems for this 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 a doubt, Sony’s use of GPU technology, accessibility features and more ergonomic controller gives it an edge over the 360’s much simpler system. This little advantage however, comes with a price –literally. The 360 console itself is significantly cheaper than the PS3 (though many argue that with the additional charger packs or batteries, XBL subscription, etc, the 360 has a higher overhead and long term cost) 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 its use of HD-DVDs; this media storage has a lower capacity than a Blu-Ray disc, making some 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. After all, it is the games that truly matter at the end of the day. And for the Xbox 360, despite facing off against a system with a more powerful hardware configuration, they have been able 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 the system is easier to develop for. In most cases, there are fewer bugs in the Xbox 360 version of a game when compared to its PS3 counterpart. Also, Microsoft’s close relations 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 Gears of War series are among the top favorite titles for the system. Several made for Windows titles and series have also been brought over, such as the original Mass Effect from Bioware (the first game was an exclusive since it was co-produced by Microsoft, the sequel was created, developed and published entirely by Bioware and EA, allowing the title 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 to use PSN. But after the events of the massive PSN hacking attack during late April of 2011, Microsoft’s online service was put in a better light. Since the features on both networks are quite similar (achievements and trophies, friends lists and private messages), the two are often compared to each other. All in all, the 360 is a much preferred and recommended system for players who love to go online and compete with others. Most of the 360’s best exclusive titles tend to be first person shooters with a strong online multiplayer component. Also, a vast majority of existing players in the community share a similar passion. This highly competitive Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 28
  29. 29. environment allows players to find varying challenge levels that single player titles are unable to provide. See the top 3 gaming headsets reviewed on this page... Customer reviews reveal about everything you need to know! Get the best gaming headset at the best price! Playstation 3 The Top Five Console Defining Exclusives for the Playstation 3 A gaming console’s most defining point is not the brand, price, maker, hardware or any other feature –no matter how impressive any of these may be. The true way to understand and 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 literally hundreds of game developers out there, having a game exclusively made for a single system would mean having a game that is played best on that one specific console. For the Playstation 3, these are the top five exclusives that will truly show you the value of Sony’s latest generation hardware. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots This is the largest game in existence (sans downloadable content) and makes use of the Dual Layer Blu-Ray disc to its full potential. Creator Hideo Kojima is rumored to have said that he had to cut down on content in order to fit the game into the limitations of what is currently the largest read-only commercial media available. And once you see the game, it is easy to understand what he meant; MGS4 is full of amazing content, rich graphics and fluid animations. With its immersive gameplay, deep storyline and epic movie-like delivery, this game is a worthy medium for Solid Snake’s final chapter. Heavy Rain Drama, intrigue, and suspense –these are a great mix of flavors for a movie, and for the first time, executed so well in a video game. Heavy Rain takes storytelling in the game genre to a whole new level, placing you in control of four completely different characters as their lives all converge in a single storyline. Chase after the Origami Killer to save a child in a gameplay that is a combination of mild exploration with heavy focus on quick time 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) Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 29
  30. 30. UK game developer Media Molecule has made a great formula: an ever lovable mascot, a cute 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 grab your way through several pre-programmed levels. But the core of the game is with the ability to create your own stages and share them with others. The sequel, LBP2, brings back everything from the original game and further extends the amount of things you can create 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 in completely redefining the concept of an open world. In Infamous, the level of freedom in gameplay and exploration is taken apart and rebuilt into something completely unreal. Players take control of Cole, who is granted with unique electricity based powers that augments his physical abilities, aside from allowing players the ever-cool power of shooting lightning bolts from their hands. You can run, climb and glide to almost anywhere in the game and getting players moving along is a powerful storyline that makes 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 truly manage to stand out. For the Playstation 3, Naughty Dog’s “Uncharted” series is a trilogy you would not want to miss. So far, two of the games have already been released and there is plenty of excitement for the third. And that is not a surprise. Protagonist Nathan Drake certainly knows how to play a crowd and the gameplay will keep players constantly on the move and in action. Be it jumping around cliffs or engaging in gunfights, Uncharted is a game series that knows how to keep a great pace -not to mention the fact that the graphics look amazingly good. Of course, to say that these five titles alone define the PS3 would be misleading. They are simply the cream of the crop. There are plenty of other great titles that can bump this list into a top ten or even a top twenty, including, but not limited to: Gran Turismo 5, Demon Souls, Valkyria Chronicles, Yakuza, Killzone, Resistance and so much more. The Playstation 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 3 Sony and many third party developers are offering a full lineup of excellent gadgets and add-ons for the Playstation 3 home console and we are here to give you a quick view on the must-haves for any hardcore gamer. Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 30
  31. 31. First up is the updated Six Axis controller, the Dualshock 3. Now, for those who have bought the later releases of the PS3, this controller would already have been packed into the unit. For those who bought the early launches however, this force feedback controller will provide you with that extra level of immersive fun. A vast majority of the PS3’s games support the rumble feature. Most provide the usual fare of light to heavy shaking synched with onscreen explosions and vibrations, but some game provide an even deeper level 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 quick alert to players that there are enemies nearby. The Playstation Move is Sony’s foray into the motion control industry and for their first device to use the technology, the Move is very promising. The main Move controller is a wireless, camera and motion tracked device; its accompaniment, the navigation controller, is an optional tool that proves to be quite useful in many Move-compatible games. There are plenty of games that make use of the new technology: Resident Evil 5 Gold gives the game a more action-oriented feel, puzzle-platformer Echochrome 2 makes use 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 the Japanese game developer. The GunCon itself feels pretty well balanced and weight just right when supported with two hands. While the Move does provide players with excellent gun-play controls, nothing makes a shooter game more immersive than actually holding a device that feels like the real thing. Some players may be put off by the need to set up the infra-red nodes, but once you are done, you can hook up a second GunCon without any problems. The only real problem with the controller is the fact that aside from 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 controller set. While this may seem to be quite a massive investment, any gamer would agree that the new wireless music controllers are well worth it. The guitar now supports a wide variety of features, and it looks quite grand –and the fact that Fender designed some of these Guitars certainly factors in. The drum pads are responsive and easy to use. While we 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 have liked to add to this list, few are as surprisingly useful as this last entry: the PS3 remote control. Aside from being an amazing video game system, the Sony HDMI powerhouse also 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 home theater experience by having a device that has all the playback functions you would ever need. Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 31
  32. 32. The Playstation 3 Really is Everything No 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 and responsive controllers, a powerful hardware setup that makes it a cost effective alternative to computers and a multitude of side functions that can make it the central hub of your entertainment center. In size, the Playstation 3 is massive. It takes up plenty of shelf space. While a new slimmer version of the original has been launched, both will still require some ample territory. Fortunately, the console can be made to stand upright –which is a great bonus of those living in tight quarters. But all that size is not without purpose, beneath that shiny exterior (or cool matte finish if you’re using a slim), is hardware that brings plenty of high end computers to shame even several years after its launch. The system makes use of Blu-Ray media –which is heavily supported by Sony. This new form of disc storage packs in a massive amount of data: up to 25 GB for standard, 50 GB for dual layer and over a hundred GB for the BDXL types. So far, the largest game for the PS3 is Kojima Production’s Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots which make use of the dual layer disc –which makes the game impossible to port to other consoles. This means that games made specifically for the PS3 can be larger and bigger than ever before as 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 CPU runs the whole device –which is part of a more elaborate system that makes use of eight Synergistic Processing Elements which help out with the various load requirements. NVIDIA and SCEI have worked together for the graphics processor, the RSX reality Synthesizer 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 the excellent hardware, but the features and games. First off, the PS3’s Six Axis controller is so well made that no other controller fits the grip of the hand so well. Making use of a directional pad, two shoulder buttons, two shoulder triggers, 4 buttons and two analog sticks, the device looks like it will take a contortionist to manipulate. But once you try it yourself, you will realize how natural it feels and how intuitive the manipulation of the controls 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 it complements the use of the controller. This OS may seem simple, but it has a lot of many Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 32
  33. 33. useful features from media playback to web browsing to system data and save-file management. Periodic updates to the OS allow Sony to add more features and fix any security issues that may arise. The PS3 also makes use of the Playstation Network, a free online service that allows Sony to provide system updates, mini-social networking, online games, multiplayer sessions and various downloadable content (such as game add-ons and media). Recently, SCE has launched the Playstation Network Plus program, a paid subscription service that provides PSN+ users with exclusive content, freebies and discounted rates for paid content. A supplement to the PSN network is the Playstation Home. This is a free and optional game that allows a player to create a character and interact with other players using 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 games concentrate on single player modes and focus more on delivering deep storylines as opposed to catering to those who prefer multi-player gaming sessions. While there are plenty of PS3 titles that offer offline and online multiplayer features, the system’s game lineup is a testament to its value for real gamers. If you have a passion for gaming and prefer high quality games that deliver in story, graphics and gameplay, then the Playstation 3 is your best bet. Tackling Common Playstation 3 Issues The Sony Playstation 3 is a powerful home console, and its hardware it still among the best 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 and problems are bound to happen. While some are easy to figure out, some will require you to do a little more researching and 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, here are a few things you might want to try out. If HDMI feed does not work and the video is reset to standard definition, simply hold down the power button until it shuts off. Then, turn it on by holding down the power button for about 5 seconds (a beep will be heard). The great thing about this is that it allows the device to auto-detect the HDMI cable once it boots up again –just be sure that the cables are connected snugly. For games that freeze and hang up, there is no need to panic or worry. While this is definitely 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 know the difference, try pressing the PS button on your controller. If the system does not Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 33
  34. 34. respond and all you see is the frozen game screen, then it is likely that the console will shut itself off. If the XMB appears, it is unlikely that the system will reboot and you will have 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 issue since backwards compatibility is not present in all Playstation 3 units. As such, you simply have to check the hardware specs on your device. Also, remember that even if you have backwards compatibility, PS2 games have region coding. Unlike the Blu-Ray PS3 titles (which can be played on any region PS3), you will not be able to play UK PS2 games on your US console –which means that hardcore players will still need to import a PS2 to play OZ. One major issue that the PS3 currently has is with the system updates. While Sony does bring in plenty of new features with every update, there are many reports of systems that are locking up or freezing due to the OS changes. The problems are more common for users who have swapped out their hard drives for higher capacity ones, which means that if 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 the new updates. In most cases, this will require users to bring their console to a nearby Sony Center -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 to get everything in one sweep. Trophy data cannot be stored on an external drive so be sure to always update your PSN account. If you are a Playstation Plus member and have the 3.60 version update, the cloud storage feature will allow you to individually store locked save files. Rare Finds: A Look at Limited Edition Games for the PS3 There are games, and there are ‘the’ games. While most video game fans would be more than happy to get a regular copy of their favorite titles, die-hard collectors will certainly want to get their hands on some of the more impressive and proportionally pricier limited editions. 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 and freebies –uniquely chosen by the publisher and developer of the game. To get a better understanding of what these freebies are and what the terms mean, here’s a quick reference guide that will get you started. Game of the Year: now this is a label that you will see pretty often. These are not limited versions of the game. Instead, they are special re-release versions of an existing game that Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 34
  35. 35. often includes plenty of valuable extras. DLC such as expansions, in-game items, extra characters, are often packed into the GotY versions of a game. But be wary, some versions are better than others. By default, games with the extra content included within the Blu-Ray disc (such as the Fallout 3 GotY) are more valuable than a GotY edition that comes with a special voucher for downloads (such as the Borderlands GotY edition). Do note that not all games use the GotY tag, some games use their own unique names; such as Dragon Age which uses the term Ultimate Edition. Collector’s Edition, Limited Edition, Special Edition - now these are all used by various publishers, but they usually mean only one thing: it comes with plenty of extras. These specials usually include a bonus disc which contains an in-game soundtrack or additional media (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), to spiffy looking USB flash drives (Force Unleashed 2). Speaking of which, there are “DLCs” and “Pre-Order Bonuses”. Now these are not always 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 as Gamestop) will often net players some exclusive freebies –and yes, there are some gamers who would order from various stores just to get the exclusive extras. Some require 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 downloadable content. 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 content are only timed exclusives (they may become available for everyone, at a price, much later on), and there is a very active online community for the sale and trading of pre-order bonus PSN redemption codes. Steelbook editions are games that come in special cases. These metallic cases are manufactured 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 impressive on a display shelf. However, PS3 owners should be aware that the inside clip that holds the manual on some games may be a little brittle, and Steelbook’s two-disc holder makes it hard for people to take the Blu-Ray discs out of the tray (so be wary when a special edition has multiple discs like Capcom’s Dead Rising 2: Zombrex Edition). Still, it is hard 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 the game, after all, you are going to be paying for so much extra content. The real question is: do you want it? The answer to this question differs a lot from person to person. Some extras are quite practical while some are simply eye-candy for hard core fans. Getting them also means having to line up early in a store or making sure to get a pre-order slot. Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 35
  36. 36. A good rule of thumb for an average gamer would be to stick only to special versions of your own favorite games, this makes all the effort, time and resources spent acquiring the game 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 be easy to spot these games. They come in big boxes with specially designed game art. They are a marked with tons of text and descriptions of the freebies they contain. The price tags are higher and just holding the box tells you that there is much, much more than a simple game inside. For many casual players, these editions do not really matter (since they really cost a whole lot more). But for those for whom gaming is a passion, these are rare treasures. Join us as we take a quick journey and open some of these curiously covetous boxes. Grand Theft Auto IV comes with a very impressive limited edition of the game: you get your own metallic, locked cash box. Right off the bat, this set is heavy; the tall box deceptively hides how much stuff has been crammed within. The cash-box (or mini-safe) is metallic, brush-painted black (as opposed to using a dark metal) and comes with two keys for opening the lock. The case itself has a bevel of the GTAIV logo. Aside from the slick looking mini-safe, the set also comes with a black duffel 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 of the Move-compatible shooter game. The bonus includes a large replica of a Helghast Helmet (the same one seen on the Box art), a posable figure of a Cloaking Marksman, a hardbound art book, and special DLC content. The DLC content for this game includes the in-game music, a dynamic theme for the XMB, as well as map-packs and limited special XP rates for the multiplayer mode. Sadly, this is one of those extras that often clash 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. While the 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 a DLC voucher. While this may seem a little underwhelming, we are thoroughly impressive with the quality of design and detail for the Sackboy plush and the wooden bookends. Review the best gaming headsets © All Rights Reserved – Neil Brooks 36