Friday, April 27, 2012

Gunsmith will be the fall of production worldwide

Ubisoft has provided me with the recent trailer showing off the gunsmithing feature behind Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. The trailer is a bit cheesy, but what it shows of the game looks amazing. Oh the gunsmithing looks pretty cool as well. We have had game integration between platforms and mobile devices before, with Mass Effect 3 and Elite for Call of Duty, it seems to be a catchy little gimmick to get a light fix while away from you console, however, in terms of this title, you can take apart your gun and reassemble with different components, with over 20 million combinations. Lets hope this takes off better than EA’s and Activision’s attempts.

And now for a peak at some classic skinned MK kombatants

Warner Bros. has been releasing teasers and trailers left and right for their upcoming Vita title Mortal Komabat. Not that they really needed to as the console version was my favorite fighting game of last year and is probably the only game that made me ill, don’t ask, there was alcohol involved. But from the sounds of it and the trailers, this portable version seems as though it will have even more content than it’s console predecessor. Check out the trailer to take a look at some of the femme fighters in klassic attire.

Risen 2 gets new release date, but only for consoles

This just in from the fine folk at Deep Silver, Risen 2 has been slightly delayed and is now expected to hit store shelves on July 31st. All is not bad news though as both of the console versions will include extra content. This content, dubbed “The Air Temple” will include several hours of gameplay on top of the existing story. Also just in, Risen 2 is now available on PC.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I have become a digital hoarder, thanks to Verbatim

I have spent about a week with the Store ‘n’ Go portable hard drive from Verbatim, and figure it is about time I start on my review rather than organizing, backing up, and reorganizing everything I own. This portable hard drive in which I was provided by Verbatim is the 500gb with SuperSpeed USB 3.0. SuperSpeed 3.0 means up to 10x faster transfer speeds while being compatible with USB 2.0 ports. In the box you get the hard drive and USB cable, and in the hard drive you get Nero BackItUp & Burn along with Verbatim’s Green Button energy saving and Verbatim’s Formatter software. Tech specs aside, let’s play with this thing already.
I never thought I needed a portable hard until I recently started using my camera and GoPro whenever I get a chance. Those files add up and solid state drives are only affordable in smaller sizes, the next best solution has to be getting something portable to take on the go. Though I do not have USB 3.0 ports, transferring my music library was so much faster than any thumb drives I have used, transferring at around 2 gigs a minute. What is also convenient is that it is compatible with my Xbox, PS3, and car stereo to access music and movies from a compact in size hard drive than can be hooked up to at least something in every room. Aside from backing up movies and music to it while storing raw photo files and outdoor HD videos, accessing files are very fast without slow loading of even the large files, and does all this quietly.
The drive is compact and sports a glossy black finish. Where I am going with this is that a drive that is portable and will see a lot of miles just calls for some abuse. Those miles will easily be seen in the form of smudges and scratches after short use.  The drive comes with one cable so it is being powered from the USB port. I did notice a significant change in the power usage when the drive was attached and my MacBook Pro was not on the charger. Aside from those two issues, I really had no complaint with its performance.
All in all, this is a great device to back up those files taking space and performance from your computer. Along with backing up photos, videos, and documents, it doubles as a great on the go media library, eliminating the need to get up and dig through movies cases and can be used on multiple devices. This is one of the few drives that support USB 3.0, and it is competitively priced for the new technology that even if you computer does not support now, there isn’t a reason not to adapt early so you aren’t left behind when it comes time to upgrade.

Roccat makes PC Gaming oh so nice with the Kone[+]

Roccat has provided us with our next PC gaming device to review, the Kone[+] gaming mouse. Typically I try to go over all the features but with this little device, there are just too damn many to list, and lets face it our attention span just isn’t that long. I will fill you in on the good stuff and for more you can just head to So about those features, this beaut comes with a 6000DPI pro-aim laser sensor, Easy-Shift[+] button duplicator, 4 LED light system, 4 easy to clip in weights, and 8 programmable mouse buttons. So now that we have those out of the way, lets get to the real reason you read these things.
This mouse just looks and feels badass, with the satin feel that a number of phone cases are going with lately, but in a flat black. That along with the solid rugged scrolling wheel and light tubes going down each side, hell even the USB connection looks mean. This mouse isn’t all bark and no bite though, the Roccat driver + macro manager is really easy to use, surprisingly almost everything that can be tweaked. The manager also has Macro Presets for games and apps, that’s right Battlefield 3, Old Republic, and Starcraft 3 fans! Once dialed in and I was ready to go is when my heart skipped a beat, it is incredibly responsive, has plenty of cable to work with, and once weighted, I added the full 20g(4x5g), it felt incredibly comfortable and all off the buttons with exception to the one above the wheel were easy to access.
The bad, I am left handed and this gaming mouse has an ergonomic design, molded for you righties. Luckily I am not too far out of my element when it comes to ergo mice. Another issue I had was when trying to get the trap door to insert the weights, it was overly hard to open the first time. After numerous people “loosening” it for me, I was able to open and weight and get playing. Lastly, no macs allowed, well when it comes to the driver and macro manager that is, so you are able to use the mice on the macs but you will miss out in a great deal as to what it is capable of.
Granted, my previous mouse was not a gaming mouse but it was programmable and did a decent job to not take away from the gameplay, but after spending some time with some Portal 2 and the Diablo 3 beta, it did make gameplay more enjoyable and comfortable experience. Though the macro manager is not available on the quickly growing mac population, I can at least hope it wouldn’t be too much work to create or convert a driver for the operating system, until then I will be gaming from my wife’s laptop.

Monday, April 23, 2012

MashButtons goes Ballistic in iPhone case review

So every once in a while, there is a press release I receive and while I may form a positive or negative opinion on first glace, I tend to request the product for review to see if it exceeds my expectations. Some do and some don’t, while I must admit, I thought this product would be mediocre at best, since a number of companies are going for the rugged active protection seen in the Otter Box, Optrix, and the GoPro. Ballistic has provided me with the Ballistic HC, for what we can all assume to mean hard core. Because we all need a phone case that meets military guidelines, so we can all rest assured no damage will done when your phone take a couple feet fall out of your pocket onto the hard concrete. To make sure nothing bad happens to your precious, the HC has five freaking layers along with additional corner protection. Mesh over audio openings, a durable protector, and port covers help keep dust and dirt out.
I for one am close to a minimalist when it comes to accessorizing my phone and try to get the most compact case in which I could get for my phone. This also results in not always taking my phone with me because the thought of having to pay 500 dollars to replace it is not a thought I like to have. With this case, though it is bulkier than I prefer, it took about a day for me to get used to the added weight and now I am not sure I will ever remove it. Not because I am unsure I could remove my phone from the case without a toolbox, but because I am sure I can now take my phone anywhere, including with my on my ATV or out bicycling knowing my phone can survive the fall without so much of a scratch. I cannot emphasis how solid this case feels with the phone in it, and that is all without the optional silicone case, with the silicone case, god only knows what it will take to send my phone out of commission
The bad, can anyone guess what my biggest issue was, all together now, the size. With the silicone case it is a monster, but since I am usually at a desk and not in a battlezone or construction site, I bet it is pretty necessary. Without the silicone shell, it isn’t too bad, just heavy and about as thick as my first Moto Droid phone.  Please also note to clean the camera lens before putting together as there is a cover that will trap the dust in between. Lastly, and this may be an issue with my case as a minor defect but the cover for the charger port does not fit right keeping it from closing all the way and sometimes popping open.
All in all, this was the case I didn’t know I needed. Rather than babying the phone and being extra cautious not to let any harm come its way, I now don’t really care where I go or what I do, I will always have it on me. Not sure that is what I needed but I will take it. The case is priced at fifty dollars and in comparison to the similar Otter Box, I like the look and feel a lot more as it is more compact and sports a more “rugged” look. Best of all the polymer case doesn’t have that soft rubber feel that always empties your pocket whenever you reach for your phone.

Computer experts listen to our headset complaints and take action

One of my biggest issues on gaming on multiple platforms would be that most require a separate set of headphone for each, as most are not compatible for different consoles. Compuexpert and XJacker may have come up with a solution to the dilemma and that would be to make a kit that allows you to use your PC gaming cans on your consoles with the 360 Kit and the PS3 Kit. Along with the kits, we were sent the Soniq Rush Gaming Amplifier Kit, version 2.0, which enables gamers to take any standard PC headset and use it as an amplified headset. Version 2.0 contains updated and enhanced circuitry from the previous kit. Lets get to the point where we see how these kits compare.
I will start with the Soniq Rush 2.0, the kit that promises to turn any standard PC headset into an amplified headset that will work on the 360 or PS3, depending on what your flavor is.  I will give it to this little unit; it does pack quite a punch and turns a good headset into a loud as hell pair of headphones, which have volume and bass controls, at a price that less than I would have expected. The good is that they work as advertised, and helps to allow for late night gaming sessions that will not wake family of roommates. Unfortunately, with this unit there were two issues in which I notice in my time spent with the Soniq Rush’s, the first would be that there was a low hissing noise when there is no volume, mostly during loading screens or in the 360 or PS3 menu and the other issue in which I came across was that when I would touch it to change the volume or bass level, the console sound would lower and I would get a local radio station being broadcast through my headphones. Like I said though, the price of 30 dollars isn’t too much if you already have a good set of headphones for your PC and looking to use them on your console without having to purchase another set.
The other, less fancy but equally impressive unit would be the 360 or PS3 Kit. This kit does not include the amplifier so it requires less wire and comes to you at a fraction of the price at 15 dollars. With these you will have to use a headset with inline volume control since it does not have the volume control that is included with the Soniq Rush. You will sacrifice volume with this unit but you will also not get the hissing noise and radio broadcast upon touch with the amplifier. I must admit a 15 dollar kit to use your headphones with multiple gaming devices is the biggest reason to make this purchase, but unless you have some quality PC headphones, I would suggest the Soniq Rush 2.0 as they will provide the additional volume to immerse you into the gaming experience.

MashButtons goes outside to review the Spark in ear buds

Id America has provided us a pair of their recent ear buds, the Spark, to review and give our very own all ears impressions on these powerful little buds. The reason these bad boys are called Spark is because they were inspired by the design of a spark plug, and following in the legacy of the Gasket iPhone cases, which I must add are really damn cool looking for auto fans.  Aside from being manufactured by lightweight aluminum, the casing is comprised of two layers to ensure a solid build and the internals consist of a high definition acoustic filter to deliver that sound you yearn for. Along with the stylish design and focus on sound quality, there is also an in line micrphone and remote included.
What I loved about these buds first and foremost is that unlike a lot of headphone I have come across, these are loud as hell.  Most headphones I use, I keep the volume at around 80 percent when outdoors on bike rides or at the gym, but with the Sparks, I couldn’t even take it to 70 percent without being too loud. The mids and highs are also the best I have heard at the price range and at such high levels.  Lastly, the inline remote and microphone are a very welcome feature as my go to gym buds were the Bose in ears that do not have a mic or remote, with these, I am able to pause, answer, track forward and back with out having to look at and unlock my phone.
The bad, yes unfortunately there were a couple of thing that had me weighing the good with the bad for this review. For as good as these buds sound when the volume is high, there is little to no bass, which I mean, if I had to choose the volume or bass, I would definitely be picking clarity at high volumes. The other issue would have to be with how they fit in my ears. The ends of the buds that the cable attaches to would press into the back of my ears and with hard edge of the second layer and it got rather uncomfortable after a short amount of time.
All in all, I loved these buds when outdoors biking, hiking, or when at the gym. When it came to listening at home or at work, I just couldn’t do it without constantly taking breaks. The noise isolation and the high volumes are so good that they can have you braving the discomfort, it’s that good for the price point. At $59.99, these had better sound than the majority of the Skullcandy line up and powered headphones I have had to review at twice the price. These buds are available now and come in a sexy assortment of color combination, it would be nice though if you could customize the color combinations and the in line remote had an option for volume up and down.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fans of the upcoming Dragon’s Dogma, rejoice!

That’s right, those of you that have been counting down to the release of Capcom’s open world action RPG, you will have something to look forward to on April 24th if you own an Xbox 360 and April 25th if you prefer the PlayStation 3. This save the date actually consists of a playable demo that allows you two play as two different classes in two different experiences. But what also may be a big reason to look forward to the demo is that those who purchase Dragon’s Dogma will be able to export their character from the demo, into the game.

Kitana gets live action trailer for MK release

Last week, Warner Bros. had released a teaser in which shown a woman that appeared to be Kitana on a rooftop. Well the full length trailer is available now and can be viewed above.  This is all part of their fight anywhere blast for the quickly approaching release window. Mortal Kombat will be available May first for the Vita.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mashbuttons bring aerial combat indoors with Helo TC

It is another toy review over here from your resident gaming, tech toy, audio fan here at MashButtons, this time around is the review of the Helo TC RC helicopter from Griffin Technology. This little heli isn't your typical Blade or AirHog RC copter as this device is controlled via your iPhone, Android, smartphone, or tablet through a free app and provided 'flight deck'. Also new to Helo Tc over it's predecessor, the Helo, is a different look and the capability to fire missiles. Along with firing projectiles at coworkers or pets, even though the instructions say not to fly around a dog with an eyepatch, the TC can be flown by using the on screen joystick or tilting the remote device, and your flights can also be recorded and flown over and over again with just a touch of a button. So now that the features are out of the way, lets get on with the review.

Working in a laid back office that promotes having fun, the ability for aerial combat with the spring loaded missiles is a great feature to startle your headphone wearing desk mate. The micro heli is fairly easy to control in comparison other RC copters I have spent time with, mainly my two Blade heli's and faster to get up and running. You charge the actual helicopter with a USB cable that can be connected to either a wall, car, or computer USB and only takes about a half hour to charge and last about ten minutes before having to charge again. What is an RC device without crashes, right? I managed to take some healthy spills when it got away from me and hit the ceiling and wall, luckily even after a ten to fifteen foot fall, I did not have to break out the spare parts that came in the package. Spare parts were a surprise to me, as I have spent a large amount of money of skids, blades, and bodies on my other RC choppers.

I did have some issues during my time spent with artillery packing heli right out of the box. The biggest was with the flight deck as it requires 4 AAA batteries, which are not included in the box. The reason in which it requires the batteries is for the infrared sensor that transmits control inputs to the helicopter. Another problem I came across, was that I left the batteries in the flight deck over night as the instructions do not state to remove after use, so what happened in my situation was that I had dead batteries the next day when I went to use it and the brand new batteries that were left in overnight seemed to have have leaked as they had white powder on the batteries and connections. Luckily when I replaced the batteries it did still work. Lastly, this is not a quiet device, in fact it can be compared to a blender as when I was flying indoors, my wife and daughter were complaining about the noise from the other bedroom in which they heard the whirring over the TV playing.
I had a pretty good time with the Helo TC despite some nuances, and while the good out weighed the bad, the price tag helped in making those issues more palatable. The controls on screen worked great as you can see how much throttle is being sent, have individual buttons for the missiles, and a large joystick. It would be nice though if you didn't have to use the flight deck and connected via bluetooth like the AR.Drone utilizes. It does cost a fraction of the price of other similar products available, it is great for the first time RC heli pilot. For those experienced pilots, it is still fun as you can open up the capabilities more by turning on expert mode. The Helo TC is available now from Griffin Technology for $59.99.

Absence of Detention not attention in Disgaea 3 review

NIS America has provided us with their upcoming strategy RPG title Disgaea 3 for the PS Vita. Now this title was previously released on the PlayStation 3, but since the previous titles had been released on the PSP, it was only fitting that they release the 3rd on the Vita, with all of the DLC that is available on the console version. Dubbed Absence of Detention, the handheld version will add new characters, stories, and systems to the already existing DLC accessible to the console entry. On top of the existing DLC, the handheld version is equipped with a record shop, not the musical record, but more of an online leaderboard to show who on your friends list is best Disgaea evil overlord by displaying game stats and rankings. It is time to see how this compact version of the console hit holds up on the go with Mao, the evil honor student son of the king of the underworld.

I started the Disgaea series with the first title on the PSP, then again on the DS, loving the ability to play a strategy RPG title on the go. This genre has been fun to play on consoles, but always seemed a better fit for the gamer on the go. Since my first time spent with Disgaea franchise, I have had the opportunity to play and review the third and fourth games on the PS3, and it is eye opening to see how far the franchise has come with the introduction of new gaming technology and it was only a matter of time that the new handheld would get its chance for another Disgaea title on the go. Though I don't typically go back and play games again, particularly due to lack of time and knowing what happens, but this entry has all the DLC in which myself and many people may have missed if they stopped playing after my first playthrough. The graphics are beautiful on the Vita's vibrant screen and now there is more reason to take the Vita with you everywhere, because one of the new features tracks how far you travel with the Vita and then provides bonuses for the distance traveled, and you can now see how you compare against your friends in terms of performance in the record store. The title plays the same as the console version, but you will see slight differences in terms of characters, cut scenes, and hilarious over the top dialogue, making it feel fresh but familiar at the same time.

The bad, well that would be the touch screen capabilities to control the camera. I don't know if it is big fat fingers or the way I hold the Vita, but the camera view was changed every time my fingers came in contact with the back of the Vita, so I immediately turned that setting off. The other issue if you could even call it that is how massive the title is in regards to learning all there is to know about playing the game, whether it be time spent in the classroom, character customization, and proper development. These are things in which I have a love/hate relationships with in this particular franchise as you mainly learn through trial and large amounts of error. Lastly, would be the amount of grinding, after just a couple hours, you will find yourself going back and playing previous levels for more in game currency for equipment as you really have to work for your rewards.

All in all, I loved the portable and more complete version of Disgaea 3, though on a smaller screen, I felt it was much easier to get into as having the portable on the go, it is easier to pick and play where you left off in between breaks at work or sitting around watching TV, without making your family members have to watch and try to figure out why a grown man is getting so into a childish looking game with adult and industry humor. Though I have not played through this portable version to completion yet, I do see myself putting more hours into this now that it has the additional content I missed on my console playthrough. The price is less than the console version when it first came out but it is still a port of a game that is over a year old, with previously released DLC included and takes up a whopping 2.1 gigs of space on my memory card when downloaded from the PS Store.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Konami provides us HD screenshots for Vita's MGS

So we have know for a little while now that the Metal Gear Solid HD collection will be coming to the Vita, but Konami is now teasing us with screenshots as we inch closer to June's release date. We recently reviewed Snake Eater on the 3DS and though it looked great and there were some iffy control issues, I am greatly looking forward to playing Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater on the massive and oh so pretty Vita.

DiRT Showdown gameplay trailer has rat rods?

We have recieved another trailer for the upcoming rally now featuring demolition derby title, DiRT Showdown. As many may know, I loved DiRT 2, liked DiRT 3, but on the fence about DiRT Showdown. The reason being is that DiRT was always about rally racing at breakneck speeds and a fun online racing system. However, Showdown seems to be taking the series over the top with non rally cars, demolition based events, and dubstep. Attached is the recent gameplay trailer, which looks great, but where is the game I fell in love with?

Monday, April 9, 2012

3D TV now goes affordable AND green

Sceptre has provided us with the news that their 42 inch 3D LED HDTV not only has the highest Energy Star rating of 5.3 compliant but also totes the smallest price tag for 3D TV's that we have seen yet at a reasonable $799 MSRP. Along with these two huge features the set also makes use of passive 3D glasses which do require recharging or battery replacement and 5 HDMI inputs so you can hook up whatever you like to it without need for a splitter. This set is available now, so what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Way of the Samurai 4 annouced by XSEED

XSEED Games has just provided us with a press release stating that they will be bringing Way of the Samurai 4 to the PlayStation 3 as a follow up to the action adventure series. Already critically acclaimed and released in Japan, I am excited that this is being brought state side. The title is said to take player through post-isolationist Japan and chronicles the struggle for power between three warring factions. New features to be included will consist of branching story lines, multiple endings, unique online element, topped with the silliness we have come to expect from the franchise. Along with a couple screen shots, we got a release window of this summer.