Quicklook: Gioteck EX-03 Bluetooth Headset

April 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Features, Playstation 3

There are lot of Bluetooth headsets in the market, but what makes Gioteck EX-03 different from the others is its bang for the buck.

Since it’s a compact Bluetooth headset primarily, comfort is the first factor of consideration. Ergonomically it’s comfortable on the ear when you first put it on. But not for long. After a prolonged use of above 3 hours without break, I found out that the ear plugs tend to become itchy and uncomfortable. Once in a while you would have to unplug the headset and give your ears some rest after that itchiness that occurs after a certain amount of time.

Sound quality is surprisingly loud and clear. In the usual first person shooter on your console, all those messages and commands from your squad can be heard easily without any trouble. That’s usually the first thing that’s important with a Bluetooth headset and the Giotech delivers on that front. But an equally important factor is the sound quality of the mic with it so that you can speak back to your team members. Unfortunately, the praise can’t be stated for the mic that it comes along with. The box says that these are ‘noise-cancelling’, but that actually didn’t end up to be true unfortunately. There’ quite a bit of noise audible when you speak and that probably has to do with the distance of the mic from your lips when it’s on. An even bigger problem is that even when you’re not saying a single word, it transmits a fair amount of ambient noise back to your team at all times. Because of this, you’re then asked to pull down the in game volume before you get kicked out of the squad. Not the best of things to happen during a heated battle in a first person shooter.

When it comes to mobility, it really does score points because of its small size which makes it very portable and light-weight. If it wasn’t for the itchiness that begins to take place after a while, you wouldn’t even notice that it was on you for hours. As far as battery life is concerned, a 3 hour charge via USB will give you around 6 hours of game time. When the battery starts falling off, one can hear a beep every 3-4 seconds alarming the user of the depleting battery. This is also followed by the changing of the LED lamp light the usual blue to red.

 

But with a headset like this, you’ve got to look at the price point before you end up judging the product itself. Sure, it isn’t the perfect headset and has its set of flaws but what market is it aiming for? The headset costs the same as most other entry level headsets in the market that are specifically made for gaming. And on that front, it’s worth the price considering it meets the basic demands of a device like this. It would be great if the mic was just as good as it was promised, but that isn’t to say that it’s not effective.

10 Reasons Why You Should Attend Middle East Film & Comic-Con

April 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Features

After a series of delays, the Middle East Film & Comic-Con (MEFCC) is finally here and it is happening this month! Catering to comic book fans, Cosplay enthusiasts, film buffs and gamers alike, the MEFCC, which will be hosted at Mina Syehai from April 20th to April 21st, is stuffed with celebrities, writers, comic artists, and a ton of competitions, which promises a con this part of the world has yet to experience.

“We’re aiming to have something for everyone at MEFCC – from the 5 year old who loves Spider-man to those of us who loved Avatar and Iron Man as well as the hardcore fans out there who are looking take part in gaming competitions with PLG, get autographs from artists and so much more,” said Arafaat Ali Khan, PR Director at ExtraCake PRA, the team behind the event.

Below are ten reasons why you should be looking forward to the first ever Middle East Film & Comic-Con this weekend. Stand a chance to win a pair of tickets to the events by entering our competitions here and here.

1. Hollywood Celebrities

MEFCC has gone to lengths to make sure that the guests attending the event do not disappoint. And hence they’ve got an impressive roster of guests that includes actors from ‘Lord of the Rings’, ’24′, ‘Battlestar Galactica’, ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Conan the Barbarian’ and ‘The Walking Dead’ among others. Even the writer of the hit movie ‘Chronicle’ is attending the event. It doesn’t get any better than that.

2. Comics and Manga

Needless to say, Comic-Con is a haven for comic minded individuals. If you like comics and manga, then it is almost a scientific fact that you will be present at Comic-Con. Marvel comics, the company responsible for some the world’s most famous comic book characters, will have its own stand and exhibitions at the events. Furthermore, Jashanmal Comics Village and TV Manga Town will feature some of the most popular comic titles (such as Everlast, The Darkness, Kill Shakespeare) and international comic and manga artists.

3. Cosplay

Unleash your inner otaku with the Comic-Con’s Cosplay contest. Dress up as a film, comic book or anime character and participate in the cosplay tournament judged by the Cosplay Queen herself, Alodia Gosiengfiao. Comic-Con will also have the folks from Mr. Ben’s Costume Closet present at the event with their own costume filled booth. So, if you aren’t able to prepare a costume by the time of the event, Mr. Ben will be there for the rescue.

4. Panels

The veterans of the comic and film industry that we’ve mentioned above? Not only do you actually get to meet them, but you also get to hear them in some smartly devised panels at the event that cater to the niche manga and comic market as well as filmmakers who want to learn a thing or two from the pros of the industry. Highlights include ‘Character Creation with Mark Smylie (Archaia), Sohaib Awan (Jinnrise) & Mark Sable (Hazed)’, ‘Film Making Panel with Ali Mostafa, Ashraf Ghori and Max Landis’, and ‘The Art of telling the story with Conor McCreary & Anthony Del Col’.

5. Workshops

For those who want more than entertainment out of the Comic-Con, it can be quite an educational event as well. Classes cover animation from Xpanse CGI, drawing Manga by Yishan Li, talks about financing and a lot more. Even our own SAE Insitute Dubai takes part in illustration workshops. Suffice to say that you’ll come out learning more than few new things about arts in general.

MEFCC Updates: Schedule announced, trailer released, ‘Chronicle’ writer attending

April 10, 2012 by  
Filed under News

MEFCC is just around the corner and today we have a host of new updates about the event. The biggest one of course is the fact that the schedule of the event has been announced and it’s packed with something for everyone. Movie buffs will be glad to see that there are some excellent screenings arranged in collaboration with VOX Cinemas while a lot of workshops for manga and anime fans as well as people like me who want to learn filmmaking are present at the event as well. Plus, gaming championships.

The following is the schedule for the event for 20th and 21st April:

Click for a larger picture.

That’s not it. Far from it, in fact. Read the rest of the schedule at the MEFCC website.

Also, here’s the cool promo trailer that the guys have shot which has been directed by Ali F. Mostafa (City of Life). Stormtrooper walking down Dubai? Sold. Watch it below.

 
Now comes the bad news. Chad Michael Murry, who was previously announced to attend the event, will no longer be able to attend it due to a filming schedule. He tweeted this:
@MEFCC has been incredible 2 me & the show will b exquisite! Sorry 2 miss u guys this year but there will be more I’m sure. Cheers

He will be missed, but the guys over at MEFCC were quick enough to offset that with a great new announced. Max Landis, the screenwriter of this year’s surprisingly excellent superhero movie ‘Chronicle’, will also be attending the event and taking part in a filmmaking panel along with Ali F. Mostafa and Ashraf Ghori!

Are you guys looking forward to the event?

Win 6 tickets to Middle East Film & Comic Con (MEFCC)

April 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Competitions, Spotlight

The Middle East Film & Comic Con (MEFCC) is the only consumer event for fans of cult entertainment & popular culture in the Middle East.

Launched as consistent outlet for the many thousands of fans in the region and to support both the media, licensing and entertainment industry as well as encouraging a new generation of artists, writers, directors and entrepreneurs within the entertainment & artistic field.

The concept of the Comic Con (or Comics Convention) started in the late sixties to early seventies and has become a worldwide phenomenon much like the content in originally contained. Just as spaceships, aliens and superheroes have become a part of mainstream entertainment and pop culture there are now similar events in almost every major city around world attracting hundreds of thousands of fans every year!

The event is not only an opportunity to fans to meet celebrities & artists, watch exclusive previews, purchase limited edition merchandise or take part in exciting competitions – it’s also a chance to connect and make friends with the thousands of other fans from across the region.

Held in Dubai on April 20th-21st the event includes exhibitors, activities & speakers from all of the different areas you’d expect:

  • Science Fiction, Fantasy, Action & Superhero Movies
  • Popular TV Series
  • Video , Table, Roleplaying & Card Games
  • Anime & Manga
  • Comics & Graphic Novels
  • Cosplay & Competitions
  • Animation, Illustration & Pop Culture
  • Action Figures, Merchandise & Collectables

SSX Review

March 20, 2012 by  
Filed under PC, Reviews, Spotlight, Xbox 360

If you thought SSX on last generation consoles was an exhilarating ride that you’ve been itching to re-live, then this game is a god-send for you. Because the next-generation SSX by EA Games not only keeps the elements that worked intact, it amps up the excitement and thrill the series is most famous for and provides a rollercoaster experience for the fans.

SSX is a snowboarding game, and not a realistic one at that. Let’s get that out of the way first, because if you’re looking for a snowboarding simulator this is the entire opposite of what you’re looking for. The keyword here is ‘extreme’ and the developers really did deliver on that front. Let’s start with the single player campaign, which in itself is done in excellent fashion. There’s a loose story here about the SSX team battling it out with a rival team over nine different mountains and it’s titled ‘Deadly Descent’. And deadly it is, because each of those nine missions is a different beast altogether. The levels are brilliantly designed to give a non-stop adrenaline rush and completely succeeds in doing so. You start off with easier and more accessible slopes that you’re supposed to race down and every time you finish one, you unlock a new character and a lot of new equipments and points to upgrade your gear. But as the game goes on, you’re treated to some breathtaking and dangerous mountains with all sorts of obstacles around you. The highlight includes an avalanche rolling up right behind you as you try to outrun it. Some of the drops are so dizzyingly massive that it comes as close to giving you a feeling of real height as a game ever can.

It’s all in the physics, which SSX nails once again. We already know that the game itself is not realistic since no human can ever make drops or pull off moves as sophisticated as that, much less mid-air. But once you dis-regard that, it actually does a great job of replicating the thrills of snowboarding at such a fast pace while being at home. Fast pacing is something that helps the game a lot because you’re constantly on your feet trying to find ways to grab air and do some tricks without having a failed landing. The controls are complex this time around since there are signature moves for each character than can be pulled off, but watching them in action while you’re dropping down is immensely satisfying to watch. Even sound effects do a great job at complementing the sense of thrill with thwacking sounds of wind helping with the realism.

And then there’s the online, which is where you’ll be the most after you’re done with the single player campaign. EA has provided with a very powerful hub called Ridernet where you can not only play against other players in a variety of different kind of match-ups. Not only that, you can play against their ghosts to beat their best scores and times. It’s a very diverse multiplayer system that you can invest a lot of time into and the game does reward you for that. But at the same time, one glaring omission which might irk a lot of gamers (especially the fans of the series) is the unfortunate lack of split-screen both online and offline. Simply put, there is no way you and a friend can play against each other or together on a single map because EA has decided to not offer that for some reason. It’s not like the series never had it before – split-screen multiplayer has been present on the Playstation 2 iterations. So there’s no reason for it to not be here, and this impacts the game quite a bit in my experience.

The graphics aren’t  revolutionary but successfully transition the franchise onto next generation consoles. The players themselves look alright because frankly that’s not what you’re looking at most of the time. The environment is what counts and they are well detailed and modelled against their real life counterparts. But the biggest surprise here is the soundtrack which is actually pretty solid and adds a lot to the gameplay experience. We’ve got a lot of new artists as well as pros like Skillrex in the playlist and suffice to say that they managed to get a host of memorable tunes to go along with your snowboarding adventures.

SSX is a triumphant success that brings the thrilling snowboarding title to the starved gamers on the new generation consoles and does so by not breaking what already works but making it a lot more fun. Offline multiplayer is definitely missed, but everything else is surprisingly solid and makes for a much recommended title for sport gamers.

Twisted Metal Review

March 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Playstation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

Very few gaming franchises in history have the kind of distinct style and fan-base as ‘Twisted Metal’ does. The brutal and demented car-combat gameplay of the series has been a high point of Sony’s canon of games on the previous Playstation consoles and has been a part of most of our childhoods. Now, the franchise makes it’s mark on the Playstation 3 with its latest iteration by developer Eat Sleep Play. And it’s just as much explosive fun as you last remember it despite some minor setbacks.

Fans of the previous games will notice from the get-go that the controls are familiar and the training mission does a great job of explaining it to the uninitiated. Which is important, because there are a lot of different mechanisms at play here. Not only are there a plethora of special weapons and combos that you can pull off with every button including the directional buttons. Once you get your training to kill out of the way though, the game welcomes you to its all-new story mode.

The single player campaign story is divided into three parts and follows the characters Sweet Tooth, Mr. Grimm, and Dollface in short campaigns competing in Twisted Metal championship. As always, we have Calipso holding the deadly championship where the last man standing alive will be granted whatever wish he has. Through wonderful and stylish live-action cut-scenes, we see each character’s backstory and motivations for joining the championship and what they want as their ‘wish’ at the end of it. It’s great to see the characters back in grand fashion and the cut-scenes themselves are gritty and are the highlight of the game. It will take you a while to realize that they’re actually a great blend of animation and live-action that is reminiscent of classic grindhouse movies as well as some Rob Zombie films like ‘The Devil’s Rejects’. Unfortunately, the plot itself feels episodic and doesn’t hold up its momentum by the end of the game. It’s disjointed and feels very bare-bones after an incredible set-up, as if there just to have a reason for the matches to happen. Not to mention that it’s rather brisk and can probably be finished in a day.

As far as the levels go, most of them obviously revolve around deathmatches where the objective is to defeat every other contestant and be the last man standing. These are the most exhilarating parts of the game, but other types of matches that involve racing are tacked on and aren’t nearly as dynamic to play. But every once in a while, there are boss battles which are immensely fun and have an added level of crazy. The bosses in question are well designed and provide quite a lot of challenge, making the story mode more fun to play. Overall, the story mode basically serves as a warm-up for the insane multiplayer mode that the game really sells itself on. And rightfully so because it’s where the true essence of the game lies.

Twisted Metal offers both online and offline multiplayer for gamers, which is something it should really be commended for since many high profile games opt against it. In retro Playstation fashion, you can invite friends over and actually play split-screen multiplayer in quick battles that are extremely fun to play. Not only that, the game also offers the choice to play the story campaign as offline co-op which is way more than we could have expected to be honest. Once you actually go online though, the game has a lot to offer including detailed customization of cars as well as a variety of game modes that thoroughly entertain fans and newcomers alike. Here is where the game truly shines – large insane car battles where players all around the world are pinned against each other to fight it out in a brutally unrealistic manner. There are some significant connectivity issues though, and many times my attempts to connect online resulted with a network error and it’s not the first time I’m reading of this happening. But I expect the developers to fix this soon in an upcoming patch.

Despite some of the issues that are mentioned above, ‘Twisted Metal’ has always promised one thing and has always delivered upon it – a lot of fun. I’m sure fans have already bought the game, but it’s a solid recommendation to anyone looking for a brutal and exhilarating car combat game that does the unthinkable – successfully transitions to a newer generation console without alienating its fanbase or dumbing itself down like some other franchises have seemingly failed to do. I’m looking at you, Max Payne 3.

Angry Birds Space releasing on March 22

February 19, 2012 by  
Filed under iPhone, Mobile, News

Anyone who owns a smartphone is aware of the ridiculously popular and very fun casual game called ‘Angry Birds’ which has sold milions of copies online and has become a phenomenon of its own. Now, it’s getting a sequel that will have a whole new location you couldn’t have imagined the franchise going to.

Rovio will launch Angry Birds Space on  March 22nd, sequel to the game which has sold more than 700 million downloads worldwide. The setting, as you may expect by now, is going to be space and will feature new characters as well as features like slow-motion, light-speed destruction, and accurate physics. The company says it will be “the biggest game launch since the original Angry Birds.” I would agree with that. Just thinking about how many users will lap this up is crazy.

And yes, there is a teaser trailer for you to enjoy as we.. Excited?

PS Vita OS could be ported to smartphones and tablets

February 16, 2012 by  
Filed under News, PSV

The upcoming Play Station Vita is supposed to be Sony’s next big thing (although early sales figures suggest otherwise) and boasts a brand new OS to operate it. Now, it looks like the OS could make it’s way to other devices as well.

AV Watch reports the words of the Sony Computer Entertainment Senior Vice President Yoshio Matsumoto, saying the following:

“If you’re asking if we’ve made it in a way that’s expandable, so that it’s possible to apply to smartphones and tablets on top of achieving the high responsiveness we need for gaming devices – it is possible. That doesn’t mean that we’re applying it to smartphones and tablets at this point in time, but it’s been designed with expandability in mind.”

The only reason I’d be interested in that is it the games themselves work on those other devices as well. That would be pretty sweet.

But other than that, do we really need another OS saturating the market?

GamesFest 1.3 Picture Gallery

November 27, 2011 by  
Filed under News, PC, Picture Gallery, Playstation 3, Xbox 360

Shocker: Activision Announces New ‘Call of Duty’ Game for 2012

November 10, 2011 by  
Filed under News

While ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3′ has been breaking sales records worldwide, you would be stupid not to expect Activision to be developing another installment for 2012. And indeed, they just announced that they are.

1up reports that during an investor conference call today, CEO of Activision Bobby Kotick announced that a new ‘Call of Duty’ game is in development already for a 2012 release. That and two Blizzard games (World of Warcraft expansion and Diablo 3 I assume) are also set to release next year.

Details on the next in the series are non-existent at the moment, but it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that Treyarch will be the developer on that one. They developed Black Ops and this year would have given them plenty of time to cook up a new game with Infinity Ward handling MOW3. But the real question is – where does the series go from here? Will it stick to the modern setting or go back to World War II or an earlier event? Sticking to the modern setting for another year doesn’t make much sense, so expect the game to hop back a few decades. Maybe World War I or is that wishful thinking? I’d love a World War 1 game but it might not be the most visceral war to adapt into a game.

Thoughts?

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