Xbox

All posts tagged Xbox

**Note: Use discount code ‘tootie’ on the GamerModz website to receive 10% off of your total order price!

I recently received a PS3 controller from my sponsor GamerModz to review.

I was told that I could choose any design and add-ons that I wanted, so I went ahead and started going through their site.  As with the Xbox 360 controller that I received a few months back, the process was easy and straightforward.  All I had to do was choose the controller for the platform that I would like, select a design from the large library that is available, and choose any extra mods that I would like included in the controller.  I went with the Green Swirl design and had all white buttons/L & R buttons//thumbsticks added.  Now I am not someone who uses rapid fire, etc, but I also went with the SPS-X3 Rapid Fire mod so that I could give my opinions on all aspects of the controller.

gmc1

It took only a couple of weeks to arrive from the day that I ordered the controller, which I think is definitely reasonable – especially when you see the quality of the product.  Once I received the controller, I checked it over for any drip marks or bumps on the finished product and am pleased to say, found none at all.  I checked over all of the buttons and other inserts and all buttons and triggers  were pressable with no excessive force and everything seemed as it should be.

After fully charging the controller, I synced it to my PS3 and couldn’t wait to give it a test run.  I fired up some Black Ops to put the controller through its paces.  Firstly, I noticed that all of the buttons, etc, worked perfectly well.  No excessive button smashing was needed to get the controller to do what you want it to, so I knew that the buttons were fine.  The thumbsticks and L & R buttons also did what you would expect without any extra force required.  After giving the controller a proper workout in multiplayer, I grabbed a friend and set up a custom match so that I could test out the rapid fire.  Following the included instruction manual (also available on the GamerModz website) was the easiest thing in the world to do.  Everything is there for you in black and white, and following the steps couldn’t have been easier.  I toggled through and tried out each of the modes – No Rapid Fire, Single Trigger Rapid Fire and Dual Trigger Rapid Fire.  Each mode worked as you would expect and I didn’t notice any issues there.

gmc2

After thoroughly testing out my new controller over the past week or so, I am very happy with it.  There is no sign of any markings on the controller itself, and all of the buttons, etc, still work as perfect as they did on the day that I received it. If rapid fire is your thing, the mod set will be perfect for you.  If you are just looking to jazz up your controller a little, then GamerModz could well be the site for for you.  Massive thanks to the guys over at GamerModz for sending this controller out to me for review.

Everyone likes to have something that represents them in one or another, whether it be a snazzy new phone case or a custom designed controller for your favourite gaming console.  So when I asked the fine folk over at NiftyModz if it would be possible to review one of their controllers and they agreed, I began looking forward to it.

I spoke with Ben from NiftyModz via email to let him know what I would like on the controller.  I mentioned that I would like my favourite colour in there somewhere (green), my gamertag (TootieTazzy), and the logo for the site that I am Community Manager for (XBLGamerhub).  Armed with these few details, he went to work.

When I first saw my controller, I was instantly impressed.  The marble green that he had used as the main shell colour was gorgeous, and coupled with the all pink inserts and buttons, the colours just matched each other so well.  He had included the XBLGamerhub logo on the left side of the controller and my gamertag, in a really nice font, on the right side.  The paint job itself is very high quality with no drip marks or roughness.  Just a very smooth and glossy finish, which is what you would expect.

nifty3

Flipping the controller over, there was even more goodness.  He had included the paddles on the back and had assigned them to the buttons that I chose – in this case, X and Y.  The paddles fit nicely in with the way you hold the controller and are not intrusive in any way.

When I used the controller for the first time, I went through and checked that all of the buttons, triggers, thumbsticks, and paddles worked as they should – which they did.  I found the paddles a nice addition and will also find it hard to play without them now that I have gotten used to them.

nifty2

Overall, I am really liking the controller.  The finished product is much better than I ever thought it would be.  If you would like to see more designs from NiftyModz, check out their YouTube channel and give them a follow on Twitter!

Big thanks to NiftyModz for sending this controller out for review.

cs-logo

Upon hearing the name “CastleStorm” I was definitely wondering what this game could be about. Once it had downloaded, I fired the game up and was instantly hooked. Coming to you from the awesome minds that are Zen Studios (Pinball FX 2 geniuses), I was really looking forward to getting to grips with CastleStorm.

The basic goal of the game is to go toe to toe with the enemies and try to take down their hordes of Vikings and wolves that are determined to breach your walls and destroy your castle. For you to win, you have to either hold off waves of enemies, destroy the enemy castle, or capture the flag and return it to your base.

There are several ways for you to attack the enemy and defend your castle. First up, you have your mighty ballista. This is the main point of attack, for me anyway, and it brings a variety of attacks – from arrows to exploding apples. You even have the choice to use sheep, which never provides a dull result. Now whilst the ballista can be the easiest choice of weapon, it is not always the easiest to aim. Next up, there are the troops. You have a large selection of troops to despatch, from soldiers to knights, to the comedic looking donkey riding troops. You can have the choice of which selection of troops you want to use during battle by spawning as your food and money supply increases. Personally, I find that the archers have the most affect but I like to send out a few of each to cover all angles.

cs2

Next, we have the Hero (Sir Gareth). You can choose when and where you would like to use him. Simply press Y on the controller to use him and then choose a point on the map to spawn him. I find that he is very useful when you are waiting for troops to get to where they should be and also for when there is a large group of enemy troops approaching. You can choose between using his bow and arrow, or stick to the easier to use melee attacks. The Hero does take a little bit of time to ‘recharge’ so use him wisely. Finally, there is the option to use Magic, for both attacking and defending. You have a healing spell to give your troops a little more oomph if needed, as well as a magic missile that targets enemy troops. Again, choose the spell you would like to use and select the place of impact for casting.

With all of the above, you need a way of being able to view the enemy castle easily and quickly. The camera zooming and movement controls can take a bit of getting used to as there is a lot of button pressing, especially when you are having to spawn troops, fire your ballista, cast spells, and summon your Hero. It can take a bit of getting used to, you just need to use it a few times.

You have the choice of playing through a single player campaign, co-op with a friend, or go head to head in online multiplayer. The intended outcome is always the same no matter which mode you play – defend the castle and defeat the enemy. Whilst playing the single player campaign you have the usual campaign missions to complete, as well as side missions where you have to survive waves of enemies – each wave more difficult than the previous.

cs3

There is a handy castle editor too, which enables you to chop and change the layout. This could be a good strategy point as you can move rooms to either the back or front of the castle, depending on their importance. Since the front of the castle gets attacked first, the important rooms can be located at the back to make them harder to get to. As you play through the game you also unlock extra rooms that have extra bonuses, etc, so the castle editor does become important. Editing your castle is not mandatory, so you can skip this if you wish.

As you play through, you will find that you unlock more and more items and with the coins that you earn after each battle, you can upgrade everything from your troops to your weapons to your spells.  You can even upgrade your recruitment office so that you are able to expand your maximum troop number.

Looks wise, the game is very nice to look at. With its cartoon style graphics and wide choice of characters, everything fits together quite nicely. You can tell from both the realistic visuals and the way the game works that a lot of time and effort went into making and developing it.

To wrap things up, CastleStorm is a game full of fun and battles, and will easily provide hours of fun. It will keep you thinking about how to plan your next assault and is definitely worth the 800 MSP that it is available for on Xbox LIVE.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

The constant hassle of remembering to charge batteries or the inconvenience of your controller dying halfway through a game can be a major pain. This is part of the reason I changed to a charging station so I could hook up my controllers and leave them to charge. I couldn’t switch to a wired controller because of the two rowdy dogs that are constantly running around the room. Wouldn’t it just be easier to be able to leave out the batteries altogether? Well, now you can!

Evil Controllers have come up with a new Vision Backplate that you can attach to the back of your controller, getting rid of the need for batteries and rechargeable packs. The guys over at Evil Controllers were kind enough to send me out one of their Vision Backplate DIY Kits for review purposes.

photo 1

The Backplate itself has been completely redesigned, resulting in the controller being a lot lighter than it previously was. The Backplate does not change the feel of the controller, but does make it easier and more comfortable to use due to there being no battery pack on the back. Overall, the removal of the battery pack should reduce uncomfortable hand cramps that occur during long game sessions.

When the Backplate kit arrived, I was glad to see that everything needed was included. I had the Backplate, the required Torx Screwdriver tool and a 6ft Mini USB cable that is used to charge the Backplate.  The installation help video is below.

I will admit, the thought of removing the need for batteries altogether was a bit daunting. I had visions of me totally screwing my controller up or breaking the Backplate to the point of no repair. These thoughts and visions were totally uncalled for.

When it came to fitting the Backplate, it really could not have been easier. It was a case of taking the back of the controller off, removing the battery spring connectors and then putting the Backplate into place and putting the screws back in. That is it! After screwing everything back into place securely, just hook up the controller to the included USB cable and plug into your console and let it charge. There are LED Charging Indicator lights on the top of the controller where you plug the USB cable in – Red for charging and Green for charged.

You will also find a small red button next to where you plug in the USB cable. This button allows you to turn the controller off with a simple click. So, say for example your controller turns on accidentally and there is no console within range, instead of having to hook it up to a console, you can just press this button and the controller is off. I know this was easily addressed when using a battery pack by just removing the battery pack and plugging it back in. I think the red button is a good way of getting around this issue and kudos to Evil Controllers for including something to make things just as easy.

Evil1

Because having a built-in battery instead of a battery pack can cause the inside of the Backplate to get a bit warmer, you will notice that air vents have also been included. Warm air should be able to easily leave the back of the controller. In turn, this should extend the life of the controller.

The tech specs state that the lightweight Backplate should hold over 36 hours of charge. I haven’t used the controller for 36 hours as yet. I am at about 15 hours so far and still on full battery charge when I press the Xbox Guide Button on the controller. I usually lose a couple of battery bars when using my rechargeable packs after about 4 hours, so, so far so good.

photo 2

I am really excited to have replaced my bulky battery pack with the newly designed Vision Backplate. Not only is it one of the easiest modifications that I have added to my controller to date, I think that it is a great idea and it has such a simple, yet effective design to it. If you suffer with the same issues as I did with batteries running out, or forgetting to charge battery packs, then this will solve everything at once, as well as adding a bit of style to your controller.  Prices start from $29.99 USD.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

When it comes to the world of online gaming, communication, more times than not, is the key. Having a headset that provides excellent communication is a definite must have. The EX-03 chat headset is available as a bluetooth version for use with the PS3 and a wired version for use with the Xbox 360. Gioteck were kind enough to send over the Xbox 360 version for the purpose of this review.

The Gioteck EX-03 chat headset for the Xbox 360 is a military styled headset that is designed exclusively for gaming on the Xbox 360. It has a unique military style camo effect, flexible over the ear hook and a noise cancelling microphone.

ex03b

The headset comes packaged in a nicely designed, flat style box. As soon as you remove the headset from the box, you are greeted with a packet of three different sized earbuds to attach to the ear piece on the headset, along with the headset itself. The cable on the headset is a flat, non-tangle cable, which is always a positive for me because I have a habit of tangling things easily.

The three earbuds that are included are small, medium, and large. I like the fact that they provide separate earbuds rather than either making you remove and replace the one that comes pre-installed, or, having to just use the generic one that comes with the headset. They are easy to attach to the headset too. It is just a case of pushing the desired size bud on to the ear piece.

The ear piece that goes into the ear has a slight angle to it. This allows the ear piece to sit comfortably just inside the ear and lessens the likelyhood of it slipping out. The flexible ear hook fits nicely over the ear and combined with the angled ear piece, ensures that wearing the headset is a very comfortable experience.

On the non-tangle cable you will find an in-line control switch which enables you to change the chat volume and also to mute your microphone. As far as the positioning of the controls on the cable, they are not too far down so that they get in the way of gaming, but not too far up that it gets difficult to use them.

ex03h

The microphone on the chat headset is one that sits snugly up against your cheek. It is long enough for you to be heard but not too long that it gets in the way or picks up any breathing sounds.

Sound quality wise, I had no issues. Voices of the people that I was playing with game through nice and clear, and I was told that my voice came through loud and clear, with no static or distant sound.

Overall, I like the Gioteck EX-03. It is comfortable to wear, the voice chat came through nice and clear on both ends and the non-tangle cable is a godsend! For the price that you pay (found on Amazon for £8 GBP), you can’t go wrong.

___________________________________________________________________________________________