Tuesday, January 29, 2013

PS2 classic Disgaea 2 out now for us newcomers and fans

In case you don't check PSN regularly, like myself, you may have missed this little nugget of information. Disgaea 2, was re-released on the PlayStation Network last week. This ten year old classic is the reason we have Disgaea 3 and 4. As a fan of the series, albeit entering the franchise on the third title, you owe it to yourself if your itchin' for a classic.

Today's giveaway brought to you by V-Moda

It has been a while but the time has come again. The time in which we get to give back to you, our readers. What we tossing out are two V-Moda Remix Remote earbuds. Those unfamiliar to V-Moda, they make beautiful, solid, and great sounding headphones. The Remix Remote comes equipped with three button inline remote, 9mm driver, and Kevlar cables.

In order to win these bad boys, follow us on face book and be the first to tell us you want some free swag. Check em out HERE!

Monday, January 28, 2013

New Bioshock Infinite trailer is that of an episode of Nova

2K Games has released their latest trailer for the quickly upcoming Bioshock Infinite. This trailer, dubbed Columbia, A Modern Day Icarus, is something straight out of the history video's we were all forced to watch in high school. Check it out if you are a fan and looking for a little back story about Columbia to tide you over until D-day.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Corpse Party releases Book of Shadows for Vita and PSP

It has been almost two weeks since the release of Corpse Party: Book of Shadows on the Vita and PSP. Corpse Party is a mystery tale in the way of traditional Japanese horror classics which joins a teacher and eight students who conjure a curse that places them in a constantly changing mirror of their school, Heavenly Host. The visual style is that of retro-styled 2D art, original Japanese voice work, and over two dozen possible endings in this story driven horror game.

While the gameplay style was not to my liking as it was more of an interactive graphic novel and the story takes advantage of the Nature rating. While the writing while I was able to play it seemed interesting, awkward, and over the top, it was the amount of reading to the lack of interactivity that didn’t keep my interest. As the gameplay style is that of searching environments for clues to uncover the mystery before it is too late.

Book of Shadows is available now for download on the PlayStation Network for $19.99.

Phiaton's Moderna loses the battery and adds a chamber

Phiaton has provided us with their latest earbuds, Moderna. We have previously reviewed noise cancelling headphones from Phiaton along with a set of Bluetooth noise cancelling headphones, but never a set that does not require a battery. The Moderna’s definitely want to be noticed in the rapidly growing headphone market with features such as the Carbon Graphite accents, red tangle free oval cable with remote, dual chamber structure for more bass, and Phiaton’s own Multi Tune Acoustic Design. Along with a great design, a plethora of tips are provided to make sure you are comfortable wearing the Moderna in any situation.
These earbuds are stunning to look at, with the glossy carbon fiber outer casing and headphone jack to the red oval cable, they catch the eye when worn. They not only look good, they are easy on the ears to boot, in both comfort and audio quality. No matter what eartips you like in a headphone, they are included in this small package, I prefer the Medium silicone tips, but you get three other sizes to choose from along with the RightFit Silicone and Comply Foam tips. The highs are incredibly crisp and at times overpowered the bass. The bass has depth and accompanies the highs well trying to provide that sound you get from over ear phones but in the compact packaging.
I did not expect the experience I got with the Moderna earphones, I knew I would be getting the comfort, but the looks are up there with the Ferrari's I recently reviewed and sound is comparable with Phiaton’s other models, even without the active noise cancelling. For those that use their earbuds in the gym or on a bike, these stay in place without worry of falling out with the way the RightFit tips fit, my only complaint is with these tips, you lose a lot of the bass that you get with the silicone or the comply tips. The Moderna MS200 is available now with a price tag of $149.99.

Supertooth provides us with their latest Disco

Now that the smoke has settled and I am fully recovered from CES and satiated my Borderlands 2 fix, it is time for the onslaught of reviews. Supertooth has provided us with the Disco 2 and as many of you remember, we got some time with Supertooth’s initial Disco which got favorable reviews. The Disco 2 has decided to drop the more rugged, outdoor soundbar design and went with the more sleek and elegant look. Those unfamiliar with Supertooth and their Disco’s, we are talking about Bluetooth speakers. This speaker supports Bluetooth 4.0, has a battery life of 3-10 hours depending on the volume, 1,500 hours of stand-by time, and supports any of your Bluetooth devices as long as your device has A2DP.

Much like my experience with the first Disco, my time with numero dos was great, the setup as always was simple, taking less than a minute before filling a room with tunes. The design was also a standout feature, it is a lot easier to make a more permanent fixture to any room and carries a long standby life so you do not have to charge often, but with its small stature, moving to charge or another bedroom is easy. The sound quality is definitely much better at louder volumes than I experienced with the Disco, where at high volumes I got distortion when playing wirelessly, with the Disco 2 I got no distortion at medium volumes, and based on the range of my playlist, still had the clarity at high volumes. The only down sides to my experience would be how easy it is to get interference in playback if you have multiple wireless devices being used in the same room. That and it isn’t as portable in terms of outdoor use as the first Disco.

This is one mighty miniature wireless speaker that delivers when you need it whether it be at low or high volumes. The best part of my experience was the set it and forget it aspect, it is small enough to go practically anywhere in your house or garage, the standby times reduce the frequency of recharging and the two internal speakers deliver, whether you are listening quietly yourself or entertaining a large number of people, it can still be heard and enjoyed by all. What is even better is that the Disco 2 comes in a number of colors and at a cheaper price of ninety nine dollars without skimping on the sound quality.

Friday, January 25, 2013

BioShock Infinite announces in game goods for pre-order

It's not uncommon to get in game goods when you pre-order from your local retailer, but 2K decided to one-up the rest. In the above trailer, there is enough exclusive items to fill a minute and a half long trailer. The Industrial Revolution Pack you get with preorder, includes access to three in-game gear items that boost combat abilities, 500 bonus in-game currency, five lock picks, and the Industrial Revolution puzzle game which unlocks stories of Columbia and allows players to pledge their allegiance to the Vox Populi or Founders through Facebook.

Next up on the Injustice roster...

It has been a while since we heard from the folks at NetherRealm and Warner Bros. about the upcoming fighter, Injustice: Gods Among Us, and the silence has seem to have broken. This time around, the reveal shows off none other than Lex Luther himself. So far we have a lineup consisting of Batman, Green Arrow, Cyborg, Harley Quinn, Nightwing, Solomon Grundy, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern. I am curious to see who else will be uncovered by April 16th.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Will new look help or hurt? DMC Released

Dante is back in his fifth console title, this time losing the number and going by the name of DmC Devil May Cry, and we were lucky enough to get a copy from Capcom for the Playstation 3. DmC goes back to Dante’s early years where the youngster of course has no respect for authority, going through life being tormented by demons as a result of being the offspring of an angel and demon. Devil May Cry is known for its action and long chained combos to unlock new skills to add to combos by hunting demons in Limbo. While Ninja Theory is new to the franchise and Dante has a whole new look and age, it is time to see if it is a worthy successor to Devil May Cry 4.

My time spent as Dante in Limbo was exactly what I expected, fun. Let me elaborate, once the action starts, it is incredibly hard to stop playing. The gameplay is fast, the more moves you unlock, the longer the combinations will get, and the more I changed my play style as Dante’s character evolved. On top of the visceral action, the boss battles were up there as well in terms of enjoyment, due to the length of battle and the size and design of each boss. Top that off with a matching soundtrack by Noisia and it is an all around good time.
I was not a big fan of the new look and as a fan of the series, I think this may have been step back. This can be a big deal for some, especially those that are fans of the original. The appearance of Dante is just about the only thing that was not familiar in my play through. DMC was also  easier than I remember the franchise, I only died a couple times on normal and I remember that even on normal, gameplay was more frustrating and difficult in the previous games. Lastly, the game was pretty buggy, I can think of at least five times over the past week where I have been playing that I have had to reboot in order to fix game breaking bugs.

DMC was exactly what I had been expecting, which was a fast hack and slash action title from a strong franchise with a different face. You get the mindless fun of stacking huge combo’s and the need to utterly destroy anyone and everyone on the screen. It is hard for me to say it felt like a Devil May Cry game after playing the first titles, but that may be the feel that Ninja Theory wanted going into development. It was hard for me to put down, easy to come back to, had a fun story, and non stop action. Newcomers to the franchise will definitely enjoy gameplay, veterans should give it some time as it quickly grew on me.

Stern Brings The Pin To CES 2013

Now that we are back from CES, and finally all caught up, I forgot to mention what may have been my favorite experience of the show, Stern and their consumer friendly Pin. It is a fully functional pinball table in a smaller size for a better fit in the home. Many of us dream of game rooms or have our own already with prized possessions of past gaming and the Pin is a good fit, especially if space is limited. Like I said, it is consumer friendly and that means it is set up for freeplay, easy to assemble, and comes in two tables, Transformers and Avengers. Being able to play this pinball table, with free martini’s, and the Man, Gary Stern, of Stern telling stories of the good old days of the arcade and pinball made for the most memorable experience of this years show.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Revengeance gets trailer and demo announcement

So Konami has release a new trailer for their upcoming Metal Gear Rising which just so happens to be developed by one of my favorite developers, Platinum Games. Revengeance's trailer also reveals the announcement of a free demo making itself available on January 22.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tylt's answer to dead batteries comes in the form of Powerplant

Last up from this year’s CES is the Powerplant from phone accessory specialist, Tylt. Last year, Tylt had left a lasting impression for it’s chargers and cases. This year what stood out to me was their power bag and the rechargeable battery packs. While we did not receive the power bag, we did receive a couple chargers and cases. The biggest lifesaver would have had to been the Powerplant. This device is a portable rechargeable battery pack, this one designed for the iPod and iPhone, but should one of your devices not charge by 30 pin, there is a USB output for the device of your liking. The Powerplant is holding a 5,200mAh lithium-ion battery, LED indicator for the charge level, and 2.1 Amp circuit to charge two devices simultaneously.
The Powerplant is plain and simply just that, a big ass battery on standby for that time of need. All of us have had it, that day where your battery dies too quickly, you need power for just a couple more minutes to find your destination, or when you are in a head to head race between your remaining charge and an important phone call. On top of that, it is never fun to send an office-wide email asking if anyone has the right charger for your phone. The Powerplant is built to hold a charge for up to a year, so even if you don’t need it after being charged, you can leave in your bag or car or wherever you fear of seeing the low battery warning. This was my saving grace at the show, mainly, because I was was on my phone so much, my battery was dead by lunch everyday, then the fine green spandex wearing ladies at Tylt came to my rescue with the now always on me, Powerplant.

Overture, Moshi's version of the Billfold for iPhone 5

Next up is a case from Moshi, this case is named Overture and is a great item for comparison to Beamhaus’ Billfold as both have similar designs, features, and functions. The Overture is a slim plastic case that the iPhone 5 snaps into and then wrapped in leather and has a cover that folds over the front of the face to keep the screen protected. The front cover also includes 3 card slots, and a full length pocket for additional storage. As most cases for the ever coveted iDevices, we get full 360 degree protection, an opening for the camera, and as much function as there is fashion.

In comparison to the Billfold from Beamhaus, Moshi’s Overture is far more functional, but in terms of quality, the leather quality of the Billfold was superior.  I preferred the Overture for a couple of reasons, the first being that the phone snaps into a case leaving the front open so that you do not have to remove to check messages. the other reason in which I preferred the Overture was for the storage, it has a much better layout than the Billfold, one that actually has the potential to replace a wallet as opposed to being an accessory to wear with only certain outfits.

SonicSport set new mold for active earphones

Next up in the CES headphone product reviews are the Sonic Sport earphones provided to us by Audio Technica. What these do that others don’t would be that they are IPX5 Waterproof Certified, have an active fit contour, and the lack an in-line remote. The C-shaped ear tips are designed to fit in the outer ear, without being bulky to stay in place and the angled housing is designed to guide the cord behind your neck. Last but not least, the package comes with multiple tips and sizes, one tip is made for noise isolation, while the other is ridged to allow in ambient noises.

These earbuds are perfect for those that frequent gyms, jogs, anything you throw at it, the Sonic Sports will not budge. At first these did not fit well without discomfort after brief usage, luckily there are multiple sizes of both the rubber ear tips and the C-shaped tips, so that you can fine tailor to your liking and eliminate the discomfort without losing them and interrupting your workout. The earphones pick up mids and highs well, but does lack in the bass department. The lack of inline remote is also a surprise to me, even if you don’t have to worry about adjusting your headphones, you still have to change volume and tracks from the device.

Munitio brings their Nines to CES 2013

Now that we are back from the show, it is time to review some of the products we got to take home with us. The first of those being the gold Nines from newcomer, Munitio. The Nines are an earphone toting 9MM drivers and contains a three button in line remote. The design strongly models 9MM bullets, keeping that high quality straight down the Kevlar wrapped cable to the 24k gold plated plug.

While many know I prefer over the ear headphone but also enjoy a good set of ear buds if they can deliver good quality at high volumes, a they would mostly be used while being active. The Nines can do just that, they get blaringly loud while having crisp, clear sound quality, but then topped with bass enhancing chambers to widen the range you will hear. On top on the high quality sound they deliver, the Nines simply look badass and are built to withstand a beating.
On the downside, the hard edges of the earphones pressing up against the back of my ear makes for discomfort after long periods of listening. There are three sizes of the noise isolating silicon hollow points, but I would have preferred they be a bit softer to fit more snugly and increase the amount of time to listen comfortably.

The Munitio Nines are available now at a price of $169.00.

Logic 3's answer to the headphone, Ferrari

Logic 3 is the latest to provide us a product to review and this beast is a set of headphones made in collaboration with Ferrari. I did say Ferrari, and these bad boys are the T350’s, a model from the Ferrari Cavallino Collection. Aside from having a design that I have been drooling over for the past week, they come with Active Noise Cancelling, leather surfaces, and craftsmanship that can only be found in fine Italian vehicles. On top of the build quality, the premium headphones come equipped with 40mm drivers in a closed case to help seal and reduce outside noise. That isn’t all, you also get a carbon fiber carrying case, compatible with all mobile devices by coming with a number of cords depending on your device of choice. It’s time to take these babies for a test drive.

Every time I put these on my head, I smell new car and tune out any and all noises with music playing at even low volumes. The noise cancelling is my favorite feature, particularly when traveling, even without the cord plugged in, they cancel out most outside noise. Plug the cord in and turn on just about anything then you will realize why you got them. The soft leather feels amazing while the clarity is great with a broad range. These are the first headphones I enjoyed more at a lower volume, mainly because of the clarity you get without any outside distractions, Now for the real reason you would want to get these over the rest, Ferrari’s quality and look that is sleek and different from the rest. You get exactly that with the T350.

The biggest complaint in which I had was that there was a lot of sound bleed. Just shy of half volume, and I can see people around me mouthing the words of what I am listening to. While it is nice to tune out distracting noises, crying babies, or the sound of an airplane, they may not be a good idea for the office, and people can be screaming and you still won’t hear it. Lastly, the range is nice at lower to medium volumes, turn them up and depending on how deep or heavy the bass, they will not handle it.

So I have to say that these are the big boy headphones of headphones. They may not be the best sounding that I have reviewed, but these are by far the coolest and get the most comments, daily. To get the best experience, live concert albums are highly suggested, have a drink, close your eyes, and it is as if you were there. You will not want to leave home without them when traveling as you never know when you will need them. They do take two AAA batteries and are not rechargeable but you get a lot of life from two batteries. The T350’s are available now from the Ferrari store at a price tag of $488.00.

Roccat's latest answer to PC gaming, the Isku

The Germans are at it again, creating gaming mice and keyboards for gamers worldwide to enjoy. This time around Roccat has provided us with Isku, their latest gaming keyboard. The Isku is an illuminated keyboard that is able to do about anything you want it to after spending a little time in the driver. Other features include 36 easy access Macro keys, Macro Live! Recording with dedicated button, and driver that allows users full control to their gaming experience. While designed for gaming, you still get a set of multimedia keys for easy access to track control, volume, and the web. After the beating it has been taking, lets see how it rates.

What I really appreciated was the solid build, and attention to the design all the way down to the USB cable. The keyboard has some weight to it and the non slip contacts keep from movement on your workspace while the large granular wrist pad keeps your wrists at a good level to slow down fatigue in long gaming sessions. The reason in which the Isku stands out to me is the ease of setting up macros, whether it be timed keystrokes or long combinations, setup is fast and simple using the Macro Live! Record key. The illumination is a nice touch and makes for easy identification of keys in low light and each profile has it’s own color backlighting.

On the other side of the spectrum, I have yet to find out how to use caps locks as it is assigned to the Easy-Shift[+] key. While we are on the topic of things in which I was unable to change or figure out was the illumination settings. The backlighting pulses on and off and while you can adjust the speed and brightness, I was unable to set to a solid lighting. Making changes in the driver is fairly easily, allowing you to manually adjust about anything on the keyboard, my biggest issue is with keys M1-M5, they are too easy to hit on accident and happened often.

I liked my time spent with the Isku, because not only was it a nice keyboard that matches my Savu mouse and support Roccat Talk which allows you to change functions on the fly. Aside from the futuristic look and heavy duty build quality, Isku works flawlessly by tailoring to the games you are into any way you like. Like any devices we use on a daily basis, it does take some time to get used to the layout, resulting in unintentional commands and potential death to you and your guild. Roccat’s Isku is currently available with a price tag of $79.99.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Add Power to all your speakers - Griffin TWENTY Review

Awesome!  That's actually my summed-up feelings of the Griffin TWENTY Airplay Amp.  But before I close things up, let me unwrap my reasons for why it's awesome and hopefully outline a few places where it falls short.

Griffin has come a long way as of late, originally, a maker of third-party chargers, cases, and other various accessories, they've really started to enhance their offerings.  I've been using the TWENTY Airplay Amp now for about a week or so, and it's pretty amazing.  What does it do though?  What IS IT?  The Griffin TWENTY Airplay Amp is, well, an amp to power your better speakers and use Apple's proprietary wireless protocal (Airplay).  Say you don't want to buy an Airplay doc, or that you have some nice desktop speakers that are unpowered, but you'd love to run airplay audio to them...here is where the TWENTY shines.  It's an audio amp, that you plug an Apple Airport Express into.  The design was originally created around the last generation Airport Express, (but still works with the new Apple TV-like Airport Express), then you add a left and right speaker (and option for a subwoofer) and voila, you can stream your itunes library, or even your Spotify audio to the speakers of your choice.

It's certainly not perfect, but I like what they're doing here.  There are limitations, the biggest of which, in my opinion, is the lack of power.  The TWENTY only is pushing 20 watts per channel (hence the name), but most bookshelf speakers can handle between 80-110 watts, and the closer your power source to what the speakers are capable of, the better sounding the setup.  I'd like to see different versions pushing 50 watts or so, I mean, it's pretty standard to have 50 watts x 4 in most car stereos, lets push 100 watts x 2 here.  It would add a bit of cost, which leads me to my next concern...the cost as-is now.  At $100 retail, it's not exactly cheap to get into this, however where this differs from the investment into a really nice Airplay enabled speaker dock, is being able to use ANY speakers you choose.  I had some Mirage Nanosat Prestige speakers hooked up which sounded really nice.  Nice mids, and great highs - just throw a sub there, and you got a heck of a setup.  So, $100 for this unit, another $99 for an Apple Airport Express (or $69 if you go the last generation refurb route, which I highly recommend)...then the speakers.  I guess the point is this is for those who already have unused speakers and an airport express...

Again, for a 2.0 version, would love to see at least 50 watts (or more) per channel, perhaps even an equalizer built in at some point?  Oh, and since their design is based on the older generation Airport Express, any next version will likely factor in a redesign here for Apple's more "AppleTV-like" Airport Express currently available.

Overall, highly recommended, and will definitely keep my eyes on Griffin's products, as they're expanding out in some really creative ways.