The Land of ESH

Log OutLog In

Posts Tagged ‘Events’

E3 2012 | Workin’ Out Was Never This Fun!: Zumba, Fitness Core

Party your way to a better you! With the introduction of the Kinect (from Microsoft), Playstation Move (from Sony), and Wii Motion (from Nintendo) there has been a massive surge in the number of games in the fitness genre. Many of these games are designed to appeal to the healthier side of life. Many gamers […]

ESH E3 2K12 Photo Album Is Live!

Want to see E3 through the sistahs eyes? well you don’t have to wait anymore! The sistahs have uploaded their E3 album: E3 2K12 Through the sistahs eyes Just for you guys! Instead of making many small albums; they are come compile only the best pictures from all three days of the biggest game industry […]

Event Hype: E3 2012 Livebloggin’

Coming Soon: 2012 E3 Media Briefings Every so often team ESH has the pleasure of attending events in person, and this year 4 members of the crew will be descending on LA next week to bring you all the video game news, previews, and hands-on recaps than you can shake a stick at. (Why you’d […]

Madcatz Cyborg M.M.O.7 Mouse Review

Certified Geek gets a new mouse! Will he like it? Or is it a miniature Deceptacon programed to destroy the human race one mouse hand at a time?

Madcatz is not known for their quality products. Their reputation came from selling cheap replacement console controllers. They still have a rather large presence in that market. In the past few years, they have spun off a couple of subsidiary brands: Satek and Cyborg. These aimed at producing quality, high-end computer gaming peripherals. These brands have attempted to take a fresh look at the high end market and design truly unique products.

The Cyborg series that we are looking at here today tends to be all sharp angles and open areas giving it a fully inorganic and skeletonized look. They look like the T-1000’s of mice and keyboards. Surprisingly they are extremely comfortable proving how much material is wasted on most other products with flowing lines designed to make them look comfortable.

The M.M.O.7 mouse is a spin off of the Rat series of mice also created under the Cyborg name. This is truly a mouse created for gaming. It has an extra scroll wheel which is operated by the thumb.  It also has a mouse specific shift button giving each of its thirteen other buttons the option of serving double duty. The mode button triples that number giving a total of seventy eight total programmable options. There are also lock toggles on the primary left and right mouse buttons which can make those buttons be constantly active, even when not being pressed.

The interchangeable parts include: three palm rests,three pinky grips and five removable weights in six gram increments for a total of thirty grams. Each can be independently removed to tailor the weight to the user. Additionally, the thumb and palm rests can be adjusted higher or lower on the mouse giving even more customization. Personally I like the thumb rest all the way up, the tall palm rest half way up, the wing pinky rest, and all of the weights in.

If that wasn’t enough customization the sensitivity of the mouse can be adjusted from 25 DPI all the way up to 6400 DPI in 500 DPI increments. X and Y sensitivity are independently controllable as well. Four settings for sensitivity can be preset and changed on the fly with the push of yet another button. This is handy for me where I like 6400 DPI in games but prefer a slower 4500 DPI in Windows.

With that being said, it is a total bitch to configure. It works wonderfully after it it configured but it took me five hours to get it that way. It doesn’t come with an installation disk which really wouldn’t be an issue if the web address for the installation files were provided. Once the drivers and the configuration program are installed you can finally read a manual on the mouse, however it is not as clear as it could be. The biggest issue I had was in missing one of the downloads when installing the mouse.  The pre configured settings are really important I couldn’t get the buttons to work inside of WoW without them but on the downloads page they just looked like random links that were not needed.

After the installing issues in this mouse, I love it. It is the most comfortable, and adjustable mouse I have ever owned. I switched from a Razr Naga to a Steel Series WoW Cataclysm mouse to the M.M.O 7 mouse, and each has felt like a significant upgrade.


Certified Geek

Episode 287: Pax East 2012…I Haz a Happee.

sometimes a picture explains it all

As you could tell from Panda’s Frickin’ Fridayz video, all of Land of ESH’s tweets and comments on their respective Facebook pages, that PAX EAST was all they wanted to talk about it. KingBabyDuck and Blueonic join the sistahs along with: Teg from the Boston Bastard Brigade. Robert “The DCD” Workman, CaptainChaos (from the B-team) and DJ Ranma S from Anime Jam Session.

The group did a live broadcast of this roundtable on Ustream. You can find it on the the B3’s Ustream Page.

Enjoy our PAX EAST roundtable ESH Podcast Episode 287: Pax East 2012…I HAZ a Happee

PAX East Hands On: SPEC OPS: The Line

20120407-175349.jpgThe last SPEC OPS title I touched was actually on my SEGA Dreamcast back in 2000, so when I first heard that 2K Games was working on a new entry to the franchise, I honestly didn’t pay much attention. Then I thought about how much I had been enjoying 3rd person shooters of late and decided to give this new outting, SPEC OPS: The Line a second look.

When I play a 3rd person shooter I look for 3 things: easy to use – but accurate – controls, characters with a little bit of depth to them, and an interesting plot-line. Ultimately, I want my play-through experience to be challenging, but not impossible. As long as these things are present, you will typically get my money and a smilie/happy NinJa. With these things in mind I sought out the 2K Games booth today to get hands on with SPEC OPS: The Line to determine whether or not this new addition to the old franchise would be worth it.

The Setup

In the game, you [the player] takes control of Captain Martin Walker who is voiced by one of my favorite voice actors, Nolan North. Sandstorms have all but destroyed the once vibrant and affluent city of Dubai, and Captain Walker accompanied by Delta Team Bravo (two NPC support characters) have been tasked with recovering Colonel John Konrad from a rescue OP that has somehow gone horribly wrong.

The Basics

If you’ve ever played a 3rd person shooter, you’ll feel very comfortable playing this game. Expect the standard fare when it comes to weapons and their use in the game. Like any strong 3rd person shooter there is a wide range of weapons you will encounter as you play through the game that will allow you to make mince meat of your enemies as you progress through the story. Players will be able to take advantage of “Squad Commands” that help you focus your support NPC’s attacks to a specific enemy targets of your choosing in real time, allowing you additional cover or time to flank an enemy for easier targeting. My demo was on an XBox 360 system, so the Squad Commands button was mapped to the right bumper. I am not sure if it was due soley to the button mapping or simple ease of use when it came to issuing “Squad Commands” but I found myself using Squad Commands far more often in this game than I directed my support team while playing Mass Effect 3.

The tried and true mechanics of 3rd person shooters are also present in The Line, so you will duck walk, run for cover, weapon swap, ammo hunt, grenade toss, and snipe your way through the game. What is different about this game is how much the environment the player works his way through will directly affect the player. The sandstorms I mentioned earlier are actually dynamically created as you play the game, and not only can, but will affect you. The game engine randomizes when and where sandstorms appear, or how devastating they’ll be to an area. These storms might open up a path for the player to traverse, or close off a path to the next area they must explore. Storms can even affect a players active firefight. While The Line is not the first game to use dynamic terrain mechanics in their game, use in this storyline adds an addition silent character to the story that makes it more interesting to me.

I’ve said it before that I’m not a 3rd person shooter junkie, but I’m starting to enjoy them more and more, and SPEC OPS: The Line is no different. Because of previous titles I’ve played, I jumped right in and was able to concentrate more on the story being told than trying to remember how to crouch or cover. I had 40 minutes to spend with the game today and I have to say, I’m glad I thought about giving it another look. SPEC OPS: The Line looks great, sounds good, and feels balanced.

The game releases in June and will be available on the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3

Panda Chats With Producer Matt Charles About Borderlands 2

…and she’s sad to report that she couldn’t get an exact figure on the % of wub wub

Day Two started on high note for me. I got 30 undisturbed minutes with the eagerly-anticipated sequel from Gearbox Software, Borderlands 2. We are returning to Pandora and playtime is over.

I stood dead center of the space while talking to producer, Matt Charles, who was just as excited as I was to talk about this game. Instantly, my first question was the one we all wanted to know: Was there really 96% more “wub wub”? Charles smiled at it, either because I wasn’t the first to ask this, or because I was the first to actually ask this. Sorry dubstep fans, at this time Gearbox could not actually gauge the amount of “wub wub” from Borderlands to the this upcoming title. “We didn’t have any dub step in the first game so it’s hard to give you the exact amount that is present here” Charles commented.

Secondly, I asked about the weapon upgrading system. The question centered around how Borderlands 2 was going to expand on the already existing weapons format. Matt was happy to talk about how weapon upgrades would be optimized through the skill trees of the characters. He did not speak about being able to upgrade a particular weapon through mods stations.

PC gamers have always had an advantage over the console gamers. They always find ways to mod EVERYTHING. Matt reassured me that Gearbox was aiming to make the experiences in Borderlands 2 as similar as possible cross platform.

There has always been a question lingering in the back of my mind. I am more than 96% certain Borderland fans have it too: Who are these people? Matt did elude to the expansion of our silent heroes, which I was relieved and anxious to hear about. “We are still using silent heroes in Borderlands 2, but you’ll be exposed to missions that will introduce their backstories. The question that I’ve personally played with will be brought to light in this sequel; not answered, just exposed.

When it came to my question about multiplayer outside of the cooperative campaign gameplay, Matt reinforced that Borderlands’ foundation was the cooperative campaign gameplay. “Don’t forget that you can traverse Pandora in single player.” Which to me sounded like he wanted to add “but why would you want to?” However, it doesn’t look like Gearbox is looking at competitive death match type multiplayer. There is a stronger presence of healthy competition in the game. Matt began to talk about enhancements to the trading element. “No more having to drop weapons on the ground.” He said. From the smile I got, I could tell he could see my ridiculously huge “YES” grin. Trading has been given a tint of trial and reward. Now players can attach a condition to the trade: dueling. Players might have to win a duel to claim that awesome new sniper rifle with + 25% poison damage.

Speaking of sniper rifles, I asked Matt about the element of stealth; mainly if we were going to get more instances that would require it. Nodding slightly, Matt spoke about the elusive new character: Zero. Zero is an assassin, and has an ability to send out a decoy that when used effectively could help bring about more instances of stealth, or time needed to pull out the big guns.
I then asked Matt if the lovable claptrap will play a bigger role in Borderlands 2, to which he answered, “Claptrap would say he does–yes.”

–I can ONLY imagine what that means!–

My last two questions for Matt were about something I talk about constantly:personal customization. First, I asked him: Are we were going to be able to further customize our characters? “We are working on some things yes.” He started, “but I can’t really go into what those things are right now.”

Nice and to the point Matt. We have something to look forward. So lets all sit still and wait.

At the very end of my time with Matt Charles, I asked, who– of the returning characters– got the most restructuring? “Well, Axton, is similar to Roland from the first game” Matt began, ” but Maya ,the Siren, has grown, even though she is a Siren, like Lilith from the previous game; her abilities are different. Instead of phase walking, she has the ability “phase lock” which allows her to enclose certain enemies in a force field type sphere. She is my favorite character.”

Well there you have it folks, this was my talk with the producer himself. It was an honor to get a chance to talk to him AND get some hands on. But if you want to know about my hands on you’ll have to wait for my next piece!

Frickin’ Fridayz With Pandalicious: PAX EDITION

Things just got real…..Panda real

Panda and the gang are at PAX EAST- and here’s some of what happened when the three are left alone

PAX East News: Max Payne Mobile

20120406-135833.jpgIt should be no surprise that Rockstar Games is focused on introducing (and re-introducing) the Max Payne franchise to gamers new and old. What is surprising – at least to me – is that part of the Payne universe is extending to mobile.

Rockstar announced earlier today that the original title Max Payne will be released on for both iOS and Android based devices on April 12th and 26th respectively. The Rockstar team promises, “the full classic Max Payne PC experience… optimized for both iOS and Android devices,” so players should expect some amped up graphics – especially on HD capable devices – “user-customizable controls” and Rockstars’ Social Club connectivity.

The iOS version of Max Payne Mobile works on the 3GS, 4, and 4S iPhones, the iPod Touch 4, and all versions of the iPad, including the new iPad. At the time of writing this article, a list of supported Android devices had not yet been released.

PAX East Interview: Witcher 2

20120406-113702.jpgDay one of my PAX East experience started with Agnieszka Szóstak, the Marketing Specialist for CD Projekt RED…the fine folks behind The Witcher 2 and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition

“We listened to the feedback we got from our community [going into] Witcher 2” said Szóstak, “they told us that the last act of the game was a little short, and the ending wasn’t as satisfying as it could be, so Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings we fixed this.” CD Projekt RED promises an added 4 hours of gameplay over the first outing, as well as over 100 different gameplay elements they tweaked – or just flat out fixed – from The Witcher 2 in Assassins of Kings. Ms. Szóstak added, “We’ve added new characters, new levels and weapons we really hope players will enjoy…like a Brigita.”

Ms. Szóstak explained that Brigita is a character players will meet and have to escort through a forest level. “I don’t want to give [too much] away, but Brigita has a really deep storyline and is a very interesting character.” As we talked, Ms. Szóstak made it clear that you don’t have to have played the previous games to jump into The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. The game has a short story intro that will bring any new players to the platform up to speed with Geralt (the lead character in the game) and how they arrived at the spot where The Witcher 2’s begins.

Assassins of Kings was designed for the PC but CD Projekt RED had their eye on the XBox 360 community at the same time. “We didn’t want to just take what we were building for the PC and port it to the Xbox. We wanted to make an experience just as rich and [thought out] for the XBox players as our PC players.” Ms. Szóstak told me that PC players can use their XBox 360 controllers to play the game on their gaming rigs with the same ease of use as the console players, and that the console version has been optimized to work well with the button limitation on the controller. “You can control the camera manually on the Xbox 360 version of the game if you want using the analog stick, or have it move dynamically with the player which allows for single handed movement control in the game” added Ms. Szóstak.

Assassins of Kings continues to offer varied endings to its story based on decisions players make throughout the game (like the Mass Effect series), “so multiple play throughs are needed to get the full experience.” “But we aren’t forgetting our PC fans. Those that bought and played the previous Witcher 2 will get all of the Assassins of Kings content for free.” Ms. Szóstak noted it was an element that sets CD Projekt RED apart from other dev houses and she’s right; few houses offer a completely updated full version of their game to previous owners at no cost, but the team at CD Projekt RED appreciate the people that buy and play their games, and this is their “thank you” to those people who support what they create.

And even though I haven’t touched a Witcher game since the first title, that right there, sold me on pre-ordering the game right now. (But for the XBox 360)

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings drops on April 17th simultaneously on the PC and Xbox 360 in the US.