Author - Judgeman

Symmetre Mouse – A Review


Today I look at the Symmetre mouse, an ambidextrous PC gaming mouse from Kaliber Gaming.  Reviewing mice and keyboards is always a little tricky for me, it’s like trying to review a brand new pair of shoes after  you’ve been wearing Converse your whole life.  I get used to the feel of a particular mouse or keyboard, then switch it all up with a new product.  The trick is trying to be objective and reviewing the product as fair as possible, but sometimes you just prefer your current mouse or keyboard, and that taints your view.  Yeah, you guessed it, the Symmetre didn’t fair too well this week.  Let’s find out why.


Let’s begin by saying that Symmetre is a truly ambidextrous mouse.  The design is perfectly symmetrical, hence the Symmetre name, with two thumb buttons on either side of a standard mouse configuration.  Standard left and right mouse buttons are exactly where you would expect them, plus a scroll wheel third button, and two switches that allow you to switch dpi profiles on the fly.  The Symmetre mouse ranges from 500-4000 dpi depending on the setting you have it at and features a USB 2.0 braided cable which is always appreciated.

The main feature of the Symmetre is its ambidextrous design, so let’s really discuss this feature.  As a right handed individual, I found the design of the Symmetre mouse to feel clunky in my hand.  It never molded to the shape of my hand like my other mice do, so from second one the Symmetre mouse never felt natural.  One of the flaws in a universal design, is that it never feels like it’s shaped to your particular hand since it needs to be universal, and that is truly where Symmetre failed for me.  I never once felt comfortable using the mouse, and looked forward to going by to my old stand by.

  • USB 2.0 Full speed gaming mouse
  • Fully ambidextrous design for right- or left-handed gamers
  • 9 buttons with custom programming software
  • Avago 3050 optical sensor
  • Adjust on-the-fly up to 4000 dpi
  • 64K built-in memory
  • 125/500/1000Hz adjustable report rate
  • 6600 fps frame rate
  • LED backlighting with “breathing” effect


The Symmetre mouse is a very clean design.  Designed to be completely symmetrical, Symmetra is the type of mouse that Death the Kid from Soul Eater would prefer (see how many of you get that reference, ha!).  Symmetre is back lit blue out of the box, which is always an appreciated feature from an aesthetic stand point.  The Kaliber Gaming is placed on the mouse in a non lit version.  Overall, the aesthetic is something that has become understood as the norm in mice these days.

Performance and Specifications

The Symmetre and I went through some good games together this last week, including being used in my two reviews of The Final Station and Zombie Night Terror.  The Symmetre worked fine, for the most part, but never felt just right in my hands.  Plus, missing the extra buttons that are a feature on my Bloody ML160 mouse hurt in my mmorpg time this week.  The Symmetre never felt like it fit in my hand, mostly due to the symmetrical design, and I hated the weight of the mouse.  The Symmetre was way to light for me, and never felt comfortable because of it.  I prefer heavy mice when I play, not sure why.  I prefer heavier hockey sticks when I play hockey, and that has carried over to my gaming habits.  While the Symmetre performed well, I never got comfortable with it, and could not wait until I could go back to my old mouse.

3-year Limited Warranty
Windows Vista®, Windows® 7, Windows® 8, Windows® 8.1, Windows® 10
Mac OS X 10.3+ (user interface software not supported)
Case: ABS, Polycarbonite, Rubber
up to 4000 dpi
Operation Temperature
0 to 40 degrees (Celsius)
Final Thoughts
In the end, I did not enjoy using the Symmetre mouse from Kaliber Gaming.  This is solely based on my own comfort level using the mouse and how it felt in my hand.  The Symmetre performed well in most game genres (not so much in mmorpgs, but again I went from my mmorpg Bloody mouse to the Symmetre), so the performance is there.  Priced at around $25 USD, the Symmetre mouse is an entry level gaming mouse that won’t break the bank, but you will get what you pay for.  Kaliber Gaming also has software that allows you to set your own macros and programs the Symmetre to do more, but unless the mouse feels right in your hands while you are using it, all of these features just won’t win over your heart.  Unless you are in absolute need for an ambidextrous mouse, I would have to not recommend the Symmetre mouse from Kaliber Gaming.
Symmetre Gaming Mouse Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)

Zombie Night Terror – A Review (PC)


Today, I review Zombie Night Terror, the second zombie themed PC game this month.  Yes, I can hear you saying it, “not another zombie game”.  One thing that can be said about the video gaming industry is, like the movie industry, when a theme or a genre is popular, even for a moment, then we get tons and tons of content from that idea.  Zombies have become the new World War II shooter in today’s market, so it takes something different or fresh to really get me to take notice.  While Zombie Night Terror isn’t the greatest zombie game in the world, in reminded me of another game from the early nineties that I used to play a lot of, Lemmings.  This connection alone made Zombie Night Terror, by NoClip, much more interesting and worth my time then I originally thought it would be.


Zombie Night Terror centers around a mad scientist who has created a new street drug called Romero (as in George).  This new street drug has a horrible side effect on the user, and by horrible I mean it kills the user and they return as one of the walking dead.  Apparently, the mad scientist didn’t concern himself with returning customers that were still breathing.  You are the hive mind behind this newly created horde, and you are out for blood.  And brains, brains too.

The story for Zombie Night Terror gives you a framework for why you are doing the things you are doing in the game, but it doesn’t really drive the overall game play.  The story is told through in game cut scenes, or through dialogue boxes that come in the shape of news reports.  Usually, these news reports are telling you about a new ability or feature that you can do, but more on that in the Game Play section.  Each level gives you a certain amount of humans you must eat and convert to move onto the next level, but there are also challenge objectives that can be done, like find the secret drug stash or kill every last human on a level.  Ultimately, the story is pretty simple to follow with nothing substantial or ground breaking, but it is a zombie game so what did  you expect.


Game Play

Zombie Night Terror plays a lot like Lemmings, a lot.  For those of you that are on the young side and don’t know what Lemmings was all about, let me describe the game play style.  You are placed in charge of a horde of creatures that have no mind of their own.  This horde will walk right into dangers and perils, without any thought of their own safety.  Your job as overlord, is to complete the task set in front of you, by commanding your horde in a way to preserve the most numbers.  As you loose members, you become less efficient, and it becomes harder and harder to complete the level.  That perfectly describes what Lemmings and Zombie Night Terror are at their core.

So, how does Zombie Night Terror differ from Lemmings?  Mostly in theme, but you have a few other things you need to worry about.  First, you can get a certain amount of syringes filled with Romero to infect humans anywhere in the level.  This could give you a tactical advantage, or help you kill off hard to reach humans.  You can find more Romero in the level as you play, but it is always a limited amount so what you you stick.  You will also have access to special zombie types that will help organize your horde.  Like the Overlord, who will block a path and tell your zombies to walk the other direction, or the Exploder, who can destroy certain walls on the level.  You also only have a certain amount of DNA to use, and you need this DNA to create special zombie types.  You can burn your own zombies to get more DNA, but must watch because the less zombies you have, the less effective your horde is.

As you kill humans, your horde becomes stronger and stronger.  The humans, however, won’t stand idly by and let you just eat their brains, oh no!  You will encounter tougher enemies, like bat wielding tough guys, or even SWAT officers, who could easily decimate your entire horde if you are not thinking ahead.  Controls are fairly simple, once you get used to them.  You use the arrow keys to move around the camera around the level. The HUD has a dashboard on it that allows you to choose your zombie type or use certain powers.  The rest is pretty much point and click, then watch humanity die.

Zombie Night Terror plays extremely well and is a great take on this genre.  Yes, it’s another zombie game, but it’s a zombie game based on Lemmings!  That’s something we haven’t seen at all yet. It will take some tactics to complete each level, you just can barrel through the game without thinking, but it will take some real planning to hit all of the challenges.  Zombie Night Terror allows you to pause the game by using the space bar, and this will allow you to think ahead and plan.  You can also use this time to see each route through the level.  There will be doors you need to break down or stairs you need to climb, and you will need to tell your horde to do just that by clicking on the icons near each feature.  These icons can be switched at any time, and doing so will help guide your horde or keep them locked in the attic until you have figured out your next move.



Like The Final Station last time, Zombie Night Terror uses outdated graphics to both help keep costs down on development, but to also make the aesthetic fit the game.  Zombie Night Terror looks like the old Lemmings game visually, using pixelated graphics that won’t win any prizes this year.  With that being said, Zombie Night Terror isn’t a bad looking game, not in the slightest.  NoClip chose to use these graphics with a monochromatic color pallete.  The game is almost entirely done in black and white, with the only two major colors being green and red.  Green shows the player where more Romero is, and red is, well, it’s the blood.  Lot’s of blood.

The sound design follows the visuals in aesthetics.  The characters all talk like they are rejects from a Sims game, speaking mostly the same type of gibberish, with all dialogue being shown in subtitles.  Again, a smart design decision that helps keep costs down for a small developer, while feeling like a conscience design thought.  If you are a graphics hound and only play games for the shiny, just skip Zombie Night Terror.  For those of you that are willing to look past the aging exterior, you will find a really, really fun game.

Final Thoughts

Zombie Night Terror is flat out fun and challenging.  This is a new take on a tired genre, and helped relive my high school years by bringing back memories of Lemmings.  Is it possible that I’ve been seduced because of my memory of another great game, sure.  I recommend this game anyway.  The theme and aesthetic work perfectly together, the game play and mechanics are finely tuned, and the game is just flat out fun.  What else do you need from a game that costs $12.99?  Zombie Night Terror is available now on Steam.

Zombie Night Terror Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)

The Final Station – A Review (PC)


Do My Best Games and tinyBuild Games have just released a side scrolling action game by the name of The Final Station.  The Final Station is a zombie-like apocalypse game set in the future, with you playing as a train conductor, traveling through the vast forsaken lands, always trying to reach your next destination.  Is The Final Station worth the train ticket, or should you just stay on the platform and wait for the next rain.  Let’s find out!


When it comes to the story, The Final Station borrows heavy from the typical zombie-apocalypse tropes that everyone knows, except it’s never clear as to whether or not you are really fighting zombies, or maybe an alien life form.  You begin the game as a train conductor, working a freight train on a normal, beautiful day.  As you travel with your supervisor to the next station, you begin to hear reports about an occurrence in the north.  This occurrence has the locals baffled and scared, and talks of the “second visitation” begins to circulate.  For much of the game, what this exactly means is up to interpretation, but as you progress to the north, a black substance begins to infect humans.  These infected humans then begin to exhibit zombie-like traits, and attack you on sight.  Your job is to continue hauling important materials for the government through infected lands, and look for survivors at each stop along the way.


The story for The Final Station is interesting enough, but I feel that is suffers a little bit from translation issues.  The story always feels like it’s just out of reach with the dialogue, and not from just bad script writing.  It feels more like the writers tried to convey a sense of mystery, but due to a lack of knowledge with the English language, the mystery just comes off more confusing then mysterious.  I tried to find out where Do My Best Games is located to see if this is actually correct, but couldn’t find any information of where the developer is based.  The story is helped along by forcing you to make a stop at each station on the route for access codes.  It would be too easy for the train to just be able to leave one city and reach it’s destination, so you are forced to stop at each station and find an access code that will unlock the train and allow you to continue.   The story hold up all right, save for the translation bit, so if you are ok with a little bit of muddled story, then you will get through The Final Station just fine.

Game Play

The game play for The Final Station is broken down into two segments:  train and station.  On the train, you have to keep the train moving.  This means keeping an eye on certain components as your train speeds along.  These components each have a small mini game that allows you to keep them in working order.  If you don’t then the train runs the risk of taking longer to reach the next station, or breaking down entirely.  You also have access to an instant messenger station that allows you to talk to other conductors to find out more about what is going on in the world.


You also have to manage your passengers that you find along the way.  Your passengers will get hungry or have injuries that need tending.  The only way to solve this is by having food and medical kits on the train, then choose which passenger gets which.  This becomes a resource management game, seeing what the pas
senger will give you if you delivery him or her safely to the next town, to determine if they are worth the med kit or food.  Worst yet, the med kits are the same ones you take with you when you venture into each station, so if you have a bad time at it in a station you may not have med kits to give the passengers on the train ridge to the next stop.

The other segment is the station.  Here, you get off of your train and venture forth in search of the access code, survivors and information in that order.  The access code is vital to continue along your trek, while the other items will make the trek easier and more interesting.  You have a limited amount of ammunition for your guns, and need to find more along the way, or purchase supplies whenever you are in towns.  You can also use parts of the environment to help defend yourself, but I found that aiming these items was touchy at best, so make sure you have plenty of time.  You will run into the zombie-like townsfolk in the stations, and they will be your biggest threat.  Each type has it’s own strengths and can be dealt with differently.  The standard enemy can easily be punched to death, while the armored type needs to be punched once to remove the helmet then can be shot int he head, and the shortest enemy is the fastest and the most deadly.

The Final Station is a fun game to play, until the repetitiveness of the actual game play comes into effect.  You only ride the train, then explore stations, that’s it.  It’s really fun in the beginning, and suspenseful and you play the first 10 or so levels, but then it just becomes repetitive and tedious.  On the good side, the repetitiveness of The Final Station wasn’t enough for me to stop playing the game nor not recommend it, I just have to caution that there really isn’t much more to the game then what I’ve mentioned above.  If you are fine with that, the The Final Station will work great for you.



The Final Station is a 2D video game that uses 8-bit style graphics, so even some of the oldest machines that are still functioning should be able to run this game.  It’s a good aesthetic for the game, and I know it helped keep the costs down.  The graphics do a good job in setting forth the aesthetic of the world, and the zombie-like creatures are particularly unsettling with just being black bodies with white eyes.  The music design for The Final Station is the real winner for setting the game’s aesthetic.  The music is moody and dark, and really helps keep the game feeling very much apocalyptic in nature.  Sound design works as well, and is much more realistic in nature then the visuals would imply.  No 8-bit gun shots here.

Final Thoughts

The Final Station delivers the goods on some solid game play for PCs out there that cannot run many games.  While the story line may be a little bit confusing and the game itself may fall into repetitiveness with the train-station-train-station level design, I still had a lot of fun with The Final Station. The controls were mostly responsive to get myself out of some sticky situations, and once you learn which zombie-like creatures you can punch, then ammo conservancy becomes a little easier.   Really, the choice to get this game comes down to what you are looking for.  The Final Station is a nice little, challenging, 2D shooter with some resource management mini games built in, and I was fine with that.  The Final Station is available now on Steam for $14.

The Final Station Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)

Kerbal Space Program – A Review (Xbox One)


Kerbal Space Program is the very first game produced by Squad, an interactive entertainment company based in Mexico City.  Kerbal Space Program (KSP) is the dream of Felipe Falanghe, who was prepared to quit Squad to work on this game.   Adrian Goya and Ezequiel Ayarza, owners of Squad, told Felipe that he could keep his job and work on this game once his assignment was completed.  The final product is probably the nerdiest game I have ever had the pleasure of playing, allowing me to toy with both the science of space flight and the insignificant lives of the little green Kerbals that foolishly volunteered for my space program.


Kerbal Space Program does not have a story line in the conventional sense, but it does have a narrative depending on the game type you pick.  KSP has three game modes:  Career, Scientific, and Free Flight.  In Career, you have to manage everything for your space program, from funding to reputation to research and development.  This mode is the most story like, since you have to research new items and run the risk of ruining your space program.  Scientific mode does not have the funding or the reputation stakes that Career mode has, but you will still need to have successful launches in order to earn points to unlock more items for your space crafts.  Free Flight mode is just that, everything is unlocked and there are no stakes.  Just build your ship and let it fly.


I am usually one that feels when a game is lacking in story, the game is lesser for it.  KSP does not have a story line, nor any type of character development or plot, but I never once missed it.  I was so focused on keeping the reputation of my space program up, while developing space craft that would not burst into flames the second I hit the launch button.  The lack of a story here will not impede your joy with KSP, that is, as long as you get a kick out of playing as a rocket scientist.

Game Play

Kerbal Space Program is one of those games that is easy to get into, but hard to master.  There is some deep mathematics and physics going on here, but it never feels academic.  The tutorials do a great job in getting even the worst of us into understanding orbit and escape velocity.  Starting off in Free Flight mode allows you to really mess with the different ways you can build a space craft, and the ways it all can go wrong.  You will have access to quite a number of different options, from hull designs to engines to fuel storage and wings.  You can build the classic rocket or a shuttle type craft that can use a landing strip to launch and land.

I spent most of my time in Career mode, where you begin with a small amount of items based on an entry level space program and develop from there.  Building your first rocket is easy.  KSP gives you a cabin, parachute, and engine.  As long as the engine and the parachute fire off on different stages, then there really isn’t a way you can kill your first Kerbal.  A safe landing increases your science points for more items, and your reputation to keep the facility open.  On my second try, I was able to get my Kerbal into orbit, which really impressed me.  Then it hit me, how do I get him down?  Well, that particular Kerbal may still be orbiting the planet to this day, but the knowledge I learned from that flight was vital.  Being able to reset a flight immediately without penalty helps to, especially for the weak at heart who can’t stand to see their little Kerbals fall back to the planet.

Just escaping the planet is a task, but when you factor in the many planets and moons you can launch your Kerbal to, or what your Kerbal can do during a E.V.A., you will be busy for hours.  KSP is like having a Lego set that will occasionally explode into a fireball of debris and little green people.  For me, either Career mode or Free Flight mode are the way to go.  Science mode felt pretty much useless to me, and didn’t offer anything that the other two modes didn’t.



Kerbal Space Program will not win any awards for aesthetic, sound design, or voice acting.  The graphics and visuals are basic, but do the job that they are intended to do.  Sound design is exactly the same, you get the sound of the engines but I wouldn’t expect much more.  Voice acting is all but non-existent.  Beyond a few grunts or groans, the Kerbals are mute.  I couldn’t even get one to scream as the rocket plummeted head first into the mountain ranges that surround the space facility.  None of these lack of visual or audio polish should deter you from playing Kerbal Space Program.  The game is solid and fun to play, even without cutting edge graphics or a Hollywood celebrity voicing the Kerbals.

Final Thoughts

Kerbal Space Program is a blast to play.  Period.  It is a challenging, scientific, space simulator that feels just about right and realistic, without pushing it too far.  The physics in KSP behaves almost perfectly without being frustrating.  The sense of accomplishment one gets from a successful launch and recovery, will only push  you and your Kerbals to expand  your space empire further and further.  Having the three different modes means you will find a mode that is perfect for the type of game you are looking for.  Kerbal Space Program is a great game for those that are looking for a challenge and to be able to see if their creations can fly.  This one is a must own for anyone interested in a challenge.  Kerbal Space Program is available now for the Xbox One.

Product Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants In Manhattan – A Review (Xbox One)

TMNT_Screen-2 copy

Platinum Games and Activision have brought us video game’s latest attempt to bring the world of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to life in digital form with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Mutants in Manhattan.  I would like to preface this review by saying that I have been a massive Turtles fan since my first TMNT comic way back in 1986.  The cartoonization of the Turtles left me somewhat disliking that particular version, making me always see the comic version being the true version, and anything other than that not up to par.  The Turtles have starred in five different tv shows and five movies spanning two franchises, all based on the non comic versions of the Turtles.  The last tv show by Nickelodeon, I have to say, has been the best of the lot for me and I was extremely happy when I saw that this game would be based on that show.  That happiness did not last very long into the game.


The story for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Mutants in Manhattan is your typical TMNT story line.  Shredder and the Foot clan have joined forces with General Kraang and the rest of the Kraang to unleash their next generic evil plot and the Turtles must rise up to stop them.  The story is pretty much taken right out of one of the Nickelodeon cartoon episodes, so it feels like I’ve seen this story a million times before.  There really isn’t anything special going on here at all.


The good news is that the developers don’t take anytime at all rehashing the Turtles origin story, since they are assuming that you already know that by now and don’t need it retold again.  There isn’t any character development, no surprise endings or twists, and really nothing more here then a generic Turtles story from a kids cartoon network.  Which is why I wish a developer would one day do a comic version and allow for much more character development, especially in the area of the constant clash of power between Raphael and Leonardo.

Game Play

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Mutants in Manhattan sticks with a video game genre that fits the franchise quite well:  the beat ’em up.  You select one of four Turtles, outfit your turtle with a load out (more on that later), then head into the stage where you will bash in the heads of every enemy the game throws at you, until you reach the arbitrary amount of baddies to start a boss battle.  The buttons do exactly what they do in every beat ’em up in the universe:  light attack, heavy attack, dodge, and jump.  By pressing left trigger, you can summon your Ninjitsu Power to defeat the enemies as well.  Each turtle will have their own special power, along with a series of generic ones that can be switched out via the load out screen.  As you level up through the game, you unlock upgrades to your ninjitsu powers.

This is all a very good base for what good have been a very good game, however, it ends up just being bland and boring.  The combat, which is the heart of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Mutants in Manhattan feels lack luster.  Your blows never feel like they have any impact, in fact I was never sure I was hitting anything half of the time.  You can spend the entire game just spamming the regular light and heavy attacks and win all the battles, making the ninjitsu moves unnecessary.  Then there are your a.i. partners.  You see, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Mutants in Manhattan does not support local co-op, so either you play online or solo.  If you choose to go solo, your team mates are morons.  Sure, they will try to save you if you go down, but I witnessed my a.i. companions trying to diffuse a bomb in the middle of the railroad tracks and were continually run over by the subway train.  The a.i. just would not move them out of the way.  You can switch between turtles as you play, but that just means the a.i. is now in control of the turtle you just left.



Platinum Games did the right thing and did Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Mutants in Manhattan in a cell shaded style, but the turtles all look a little goofy to me.  I’m not sure exactly what it is, but there is a small detail gone awry here somewhere.  I like the looks for most of the game, but each individual turtle just looks….off.  The colors are nice and match the cartoon well.  The turtles do sport their iconic colors from the cartoon series, though I would love a game that has them in their standard comic red eye masks.  Again, wishing for more of the comic turtles then the cartoon ones.

Voice acting is solid and the turtles sound pretty darn close to the actual television show, though they did not get the actual actors for the game.  For instance, Nolan North is Leonardo instead of Seth Green.  North does an outstanding Leonardo, but fans of the television show will be able to tell the difference if they listen closely.

Level environments are boring and typical for a Turtles game.  You fight in the subway, the streets, sewers, etc.  I found it fascinating, of course, that the streets level was completely devoid of any human life.  While I have never been to New York, it is hard for me to be able to imagine a time at any point of the day where a neighborhood is completely devoid of any life at all; no traffic, no people, nothing.

Final Thoughts

As much as I wanted to, I just cannot like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Mutants in Manhattan.  The look and the base game play are solid, and you can see a very good game lies beneath all of the garbage that got piled on top.  The combat, the root of the entire game, is boring and has no punch at all.  The ninjitsu powers are pretty useless when you can beat all the enemies just by spamming your basic attacks.  The dodge/counter mechanics feel clunky at best.  The levels are lackluster and completely devoid of life and soul.  Finally, the story is nothing special, at all.  You have seen this story a million times in a million Turtles episodes over the years.  I just cannot recommend this game, even to a hardcore fan of the television show.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants In Manhattan Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)

Hard Reset Redux – A Review (Xbox One)


Ah the classic first person shooter of my youth, how I remember you fondly.  Your ability to carry 50 guns for no explainable reason, non-regenerating health which forced me to explore the level to find the hidden health packs, and  the complete lack of any cover to hide behind to slow down the action, made you so much more difficult at heart then the shooters of today.  Even your lack of story really made the action felt fast paced and frenetic, compared to the Call of Duty or Battlefield of today.  But every once in a while, a developer remembers those tough, old first person shooters of their youth and sets out to remake then using today’s technology.  That’s how we get games like Hard Reset by Flying Wild Hog.  Hard Reset was released in 2011 on the PC and immediately received praise for being similar to games like Serious Sam or Painkiller, enough so that Flying Wild Hog decided to remake it to today’s graphical standards with Hard Reset Redux.


Hard Reset Redux is the old style shooter from beginning to end, and that includes the game’s lack of commitment to fleshing out a solid narrative.  Cut scenes are fully voiced and presented in a graphic novel style, but really don’t give us any more glimpses into the overall story.  The story goes roughly like this, you play as a armed protector named Fletcher in the last city of Bezoar.  Bezoar is now constantly under attack from rogue robots that have gained autonomy through their advanced a.i.  The robots are trying to wipe out the last trace of humanity, and it is your job to prevent this by simply killing every mechanical being you see.


Compared to other shooters today, Hard Reset Redux  has a very lack luster story that is told horribly.  There isn’t a clear narrative here at all.  Now, whether that is due to the developers not having a writer to put the story in a clearer format, the story was lost in translation, or simply wanted to be closer to the old school shooters of my youth isn’t clear.  The end result is that the story does not matter in Hard Reset Redux at all and will not add nor take away from your enjoyment.  In the long run, that makes Hard Reset Redux feel much closer to games like Quake or Serious Sam then Call of Duty.

Game Play

Hard Reset Redux goes back to the beginnings of the first person shooter genre for much of it’s game play mechanics.  To begin with, regenerating health is gone.  You much be able to find health packs in order to continue on in the game.  That means you will have to explore each level and find those secret areas in order to survive, and the enemy a.i. will make that a difficult task.  Hard Reset Redux focuses on fast paced action that is going to test your skills as a gamer.  This game is hard, but it isn’t unfair.  While the action will feel hectic, you will always feel like there is a glimmer of hope and that it is possible to get through a certain section alive.  I never played the first version of Hard Reset but from what I understand, Redux did re balance some of the game’s difficulty based on the negative comments of it being too hard.  Expect a challenge, but don’t expect it to feel impossible.

Hard Reset Redux does go against one of the old shooter conventions in terms of weaponry.  Characters used to act like pack mules and was able to carry 10 massive weapons at one time, but Hard Reset Redux will only give you two weapons; an energy weapon called the NRN and a projectile weapon called the CLN.  While Hard Reset Redux does limit the amount of weaponry you are given in the game, it allows you to modify these weapons in a great many different ways.  This includes boosting health, damage, ammo capacity or adding alternative fire modes to the weapons, like a shotgun or grenade launcher.

You pay for these upgraded at stations located around the city, using something called NANO as currency.  NANO is gathered from kills, or can be found just laying around the levels as you explore.  The secret areas will also contain huge stashes of NANO to help you purchase the modifications you are looking for.  NANO is plentiful enough to buy what you need to in order to progress in the game, and some of these upgrades feel absolutely necessary in later levels.  You also have a melee attack, that is a katana, but you will almost never use it.  It caused more hard to me then good.



Hard Reset Redux looks like it was cut from the same cloth as Blade Runner in terms of visuals.  The levels look dark and gritty, but with enough bright neon to light your way.  The robots looks suitable threatening, and you will have no problem in seeing what is an enemy that means to turn you into a soft pile of goo, and what is a vending machine.  The graphics have been upgraded from the original game, and look quite pretty on the Xbox One.  In fact, it compares nicely to many of the AAA game releases that have hit the console in the last six months, without the hefty price tag.

Voice acting is par for the course in a game like this, not great but not the worst I’ve heard either.  Since the story is almost non-existent, the voice acting wasn’t a big deal for me at all.  Sound design was quite good.  The sound effects and music adds to the gaming experience and makes the game feel even more hectic then it may actually be at that time.  The guns have a satisfying sound when fired, the robots sound convincingly menacing, and the city sounds like it should.

Final Thoughts

Hard Reset Redux is the classic first person shooter in a beautifully updated shell.  The action is fast paced, the a.i. is a serious threat, and the level design is an almost perfect marriage of exploration and keeping the action going.  Hard Reset Redux does everything right, and for the fraction of the cost of a AAA game.  Flying Wild Hog addressed the negatives of the original version of the game by re balancing the difficulty and by adding in extra content to keep the game from being to short.  All of this for $19.99.  What Flying Wild Hog have done is put out a serious contender for part of the market that the new Doom was aiming for.  For a third of the cost of Doom, you will get the same old school shooter action, the same great fight sequences, and the same gorgeous visuals.  Plus, you can order a pizza, some beverages, and still have some left over.  Hard Reset Redux is available now for the Xbox One.

Hard Reset Redux Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)
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Bloody ML160 Commander Laser Gaming Mouse – A Review


For about the last week, I have change out my normal mouse for the new Bloody ML160 Commander Laser Gaming Mouse from Bloody.  These types of reviews always take a little longer than a game review, since really for the first day or two you are just getting used to the configuration and the feel of the new mouse.  So, putting my Roccat Lua into the drawer of my desk, I connected the ML160 to my desktop and took it for a spin through a week of normal computer use, that featured some MMORPGs, FPS, and normal PC use such as web browsing and writing.


The ML160 has a nice set of features.  The obvious feature right out of the box is the replacement of the right mouse button for a 9-key number pad for mmo games.  Out of all the features, this was the one that I had to work my brain around since I have never used a mouse like this before.  The 5 key acts as your right mouse for everyday use, but when played in an mmo game, the number pad really shines.  The key response for all the mouse buttons, not just the number pad, is measured at less then .2 ms.  Truth be told, I could really feel that response speed when clicking the buttons.  Games felt much more responsive when using the ML160 versus my old Roccat.

Other features of the Bloody ML160 include 17 buttons overall that perform different actions (two on the side, left mouse, middle mouse wheel, 9 key pad buttons,  and 4 profile buttons), metal pro mouse boots for smoother gliding on the desktop, an infrared mouse wheel, adjustable resolution, and 4 weapon profiles.  After my adjustment time with the ML160, I have to say it is the most responsive mouse I have ever used.  I never felt any type of delay between the button press on the mouse and the action in game.



The ML160 has a nice aesthetic to it.  The mouse is large enough to fit in my hands and I never feel like I struggle with the over all design of the mouse. The only design issue I had is with the lack of a right mouse button for every day computer use.  Even as I type this and need to make corrections, my brain has to register where my finger is on the number pad.  What would have been idealistic would have been a slightly more raised 5 key, or some sort of nodule on the 5 key for finger placement.

The ML160’s buttons are backlit in red, which really makes the Bloody hand print logo show up nicely on the mouse.  The mouse wheel is also red when using the first weapon profile, then will switch to green, yellow or blue depending on the next profile you use.  Through the software, you can adjust these colors if you like. The cord for the mouse is a nice braided cord that is a great length when connecting the mouse to the back of your computer.  I never feel like I have less cord then I need.

Performance and Specifications

The ML160 performed fantastically during my week of using it for all of my gaming and computing needs.  Overlooking the right mouse button I mentioned earlier, the 9 key pad set up was great for running my mmo games.  I was able to use abilities without key strokes, and the abilities would fire off almost immediately.  Bringing my middle finger back to the 5 key as the home position was still problematic in high stress situations, but one I can live with.

The weapon profiles were fun to play with.  Each profile is designed to be used with a particular style of gun, so if you have a 3-burst weapon you would want to set your mouse to profile 3.  This feature will help keep your shots accurate and on target.  The ML160 also had 6 sniper modes that also helps increase your accuracy by adjusting your mouse movements and sensitivity to your weapon.  I have no idea if the ML160 made me a better gamer in my fps games, but it felt better to play these games.  I felt that I had the drop on people when we would meet due to the responsiveness of the ML160.

Sensor AVAGO A9800 Laser
Buttons 17
Connector USB 2.0 / 3.0
Cable length 1.8 meters
Size 126 x 81 x 40 mm
Weight 153 grams
System requirements Windows (all versions)


Final Thoughts

The Bloody ML160 is a great gaming mouse, not only for mmorpgs but also for fps games.  Excluding the minor issue of finding the home key on the number pad quickly when needed, the ML160 feels superior when it comes to responsiveness and accuracy for my game playing.  I found the ML160 light in my hands while I played and easy to move around the desk.  The mouse felt great and comfortable while I played, and even with just every day computer use.  If you solely play fps style games, then the ML160 may not be the perfect fit, but if you have any mmorpgs in your game rotation, then I highly recommend the Bloody ML160 as a great gaming mouse.  The Bloody ML160 is available now for $79.99.

Bloody ML160 Commander Gaming Mouse Score
Overall Score (out of 5)

Corpse Party – A Review (PC)


Independent games have always been hit or miss with me.  For everyone that I find just beautiful and fun to play, there are twenty that I could not ever see myself playing another minute and that is only thinking about what is released in the United States.  Japan’s independent game scene is a little bit different then ours, many dojin software creators make the games more for fun then profit.  The industry isn’t driven by profit or exposure, but more about making a fun game that the developer wanted to play.  Dojin software games, therefore, have a tendency to be more polished and more fun to play, since they are not rushed out to make a profit.  Developer Team GrisGris and publisher Marvelous USA have released one such product in Corpse Party, a Japanese role playing game that was originally released in 1996.  Corpse Party went on to be a big success for Team GrisGris, spawning six games in the series, multiple manga series, anime, and a live action film.  This version of Corpse Party is, follow me on this, is a re-release of the re-make of the original game.


The story for Corpse Party begins in a high school in Japan, where Mayu Suzumoto is preparing to transfer to a new high school, away from a sizable group of friends.  On the eve of her last day, the group of friends are helping clean up after class, when Ayumi suggests performing a ritual called “Sachiko Ever After” to bind all of the friends together to keep them from growing apart.  Any fan of the horror genre already will know that this ritual does not go as planned, and the group of students finds themselves transported to the decrepit remains of the Heavenly Host Elementary school, a school that once stood where the high school is today.  Heavenly Host Elementary played host to a series of ghastly murders years earlier, before being demolished.  The only way for the students to survive is to uncover the details surrounding these murders and to help free the ghosts that still wander the halls of Heavenly Host Elementary, before the students themselves met an ugly end.


The story for Corpse Party is, by far, the best thing about this game.  The story is gripping, intriguing, and makes you want to uncover what had happened years before to these poor students.  Corpse Party drips with atmosphere, which helps keep the story and the player on the edge of their seat.  The story is also broken up into five chapters, each with multiple endings and detailing different sections of the overall story.  Corpse Party also adds in four bonus chapters, including a retelling of “Tooth” from Corpse Party:  Book of Shadows.  I felt that the game did a great job in pacing the tension and balancing the overall feeling of the story, but that dialogue….

Japanese games have had a lot of issues in the past with translation over into English.  No one will forget just how popular “All your base are belong to us” became from Zero Wing.  Well, I think Corpse Party gives that one a run with “I’m gonna butter up my pooper with it real good!”.  No, seriously, that is a line from Chapter 1.  While lines like this do remove me from the tension that the game was building so expertly, I have to forgive it because I understand the tricks and traps of translating between the two languages.  However, yeah, I have to knock a few points off just for that line.

Game Play

Corpse Party plays like a very traditional Japanese role playing game, for the most part.  You begin the game with two students that travel around the elementary school in a line.  As you explore the Heavenly Host Elementary School, you will discover dead ends, hard to reach paths, and corpses, lots of corpses.  Your quest is to collect the information that is littered around the school to discover who these corpses were and what exactly had happened here decades before.

What isn’t so traditional about Corpse Party is that there is no combat, no stats, and no inventory per se.  Sure, you collect names tags and pieces of lumber to help you explore, but no inventory in the sense we are used to for a jrpg.  Since there isn’t any combat, death will usually come as a surprise to you, and usually because you did something out of order, or turned down the wrong hall, or explored a dead end that you were not supposed to explore.  This will lead to a lot of reloading of a previous save.  As a friend of mine put it, “the story is fantastic, but the game is a total dick”.

Your actions and choices will help determine what story ending you get.  There are multiple ways and paths to explore the Heavenly Host Elementary School, so you never feel railroaded into a particular path, but unless you are a veteran at this type of game, it can feel a wee bit overwhelming.  Corpse Party will not hold your hand through the story, nor does it really particularly like you.  If you can live with this uncertainty and dislike, you are in for a treat.



Corpse Party is rendered in a retro 2D graphic style that helps recreate the original game from 1996.  From an aesthetic point of view, this is a fantastic design decision, however, I did have a hard time in telling what items were.  It took my almost a half an hour just to discover a plank of wood that I could use to get over a whole in the floor to get out of the first classroom.  Many items you will never guess what they are until you interact with them and get a description from the game.  I am always for retro gaming aesthetics, but with the technology we have today, designers should at least make the items look like they are supposed to.  Still, I felt that the overall visual aesthetic worked real well for Corpse Party.

The original Japanese voice cast is used for Corpse Party.  With over 5,000 lines of spoken dialogue in the original Japanese, Corpse Party delivers the original gaming experience that was released in 1996.  Since the acting is in Japanese, it is impossible for me to tell how well the dialogue is performed.  I mean, it sounds good and all, but I can’t tell if they are over-acting, under-acting, or just giving us a shopping list.

Final Thoughts

Corpse Party is a great retro-style Japanese role playing game story that is almost completely ruined by the game play.  I love the story, the atmosphere, and the tension that Corpse Party delivers to the player, but the game play is one that almost borders on frustrating due to the absolute lack of any direction.  In some cases, I love this freedom, but for some reason it was a negative for me in Corpse Party.  By no means negative enough for me not to recommend Corpse Party, but one that I feel I need to mention.  Corpse Party is a great game, and a great example of what the Japanese independent game industry is capable of.  If you are a fan of creepy Japanese rpgs, then Corpse Party is an absolute must for you.  For everyone else, this is a solid game to pick up and play for about ten hours.  Corpse Party is available now on Steam.

Corpse Party Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)

Dark Souls 3 – A Review (Xbox One)


There are some video games out there that just finishing the game is a huge accomplishment.  These games go down in history of being the hardest games to complete, and to finish one was a badge of honor.  Being of the older generation of gamers (not saying how old mind you), my earliest accomplishments of beating NES classics such as Mega Man, Contra, Battletoads, and Ninja Gaiden still fill me with pride.  However, we lost some of this pride as games progressed.  Developers started putting in multiple lives, save points, or just made the games easier to beat in order to reach a wider audience.  That was, until From Software and Namco Bandai released their version of pain and suffering in the form of Demon Souls.  Demon Souls, and the Dark Souls games that followed, turned up the heat on gamers everywhere.  I have friends that either love or are absolutely afraid of these games, there isn’t an in-between.  When I beat Dark Souls, I felt the same pride at that accomplishment that I felt as a kid beating those super hard NES games, and that just made me want more.

So, here we are with the release of Dark Souls 3, what very well could be the last in the line from From Software.  While I feel that the game is still harder then most of the games on the market today, I also feel that this game is the easiest on the new player to the series, the most accessible to the average gamer.  Now, I know that “accessible” is a bad word to many gamers, just look at the Starfox controversy lately if you want to see that in action, however there is still plenty of challenge in Dark Souls 3 for the veteran player to work through.  Is Dark Souls 3 the ending that the series so richly deserves, or does it fall flat by trying to reach out to a wider audience?  Let’s take a deeper look.



Unfortunately, the overall Dark Souls plot is still a little muddled for me.  I catch glimpses of clarity when I understand where the games fit in sequence and the overall story that wraps the games together, but that usually gets tied up at the end of each game, not while I am playing it.  I will stay away from spoilers here, and just give you the overall story of the game.  If you are a veteran of the Dark Souls franchise, you will know that the story goes much deeper then what I have here, but part of the fun of playing the game is discovery.

Dark Souls 3 story begins during an Age of Ash, where the First Flame is just about to go out.  No one has tried to link the First Flame, to rekindle the fire and prevent the coming darkness.  As the world succumbs to the darkness, a bell rings out from Firelink Shrine.  This bell awakens the Lords of Cinder and you, the player, as the last hope to link the First Flame and push back the darkness.  You begin the game as one of the Unkindled, an undead that is unfit to even become a Hollow.  This difference in terminology has different game play effects, which I will talk about later, but in terms of story it means you are the lowest of the low.  You are not even fit to become a cinder in this world, but you are the last hope to rekindle the First Flame.  You set out, seeking the four Lords of Cinder, then must decide on whether to fulfill your purpose and link the flame, or let the world finally plunge into darkness.

The tone of Dark Souls 3’s story is similar to the other games of the series.  There is always the present feeling of desperation as the world decays around you.  But with Dark Souls 3, you get a different feeling to your character, based on how the game deals with your death.  Since you do not Hollow like in previous games, there isn’t such a feeling of desperation when you die.  You never quite feel like you are climbing up a steeper hill with each death, like you do in Dark Souls 2.  This does affect the overall tone of Dark Souls 3, especially in comparison to the previous two games in the series.  This isn’t a bad thing, not at all, but it does change how you play the game.  I’ll expand more on this in the next section.


Game Play

In Dark Souls 2, your death meant you were cut off from your humanity.  Every time you died you lost a little bit more of your maximum health, until your humanity was restored.  With being Unkindled in Dark Souls 3, this mechanic was removed.  While Embered, you will have your maximum health raised quite a bit, then will lose that when you die.  You can restore this health by using an Ember, which replaced Humanity in Dark Souls 3.  For me, this changed how I played the game versus how I played it in Dark Souls 2.  I was much more willing to run into an unknown place to grab items, or tackle a new boss without reading a guide online, because I no longer truly feared death.  Sure, you could still loose your souls, but all you loose really is the bonus health, and some of the bosses just didn’t require that much to begin with to beat.

The other biggest change in the franchise is the addition of Focus Points.  You now have a blue bar that sits underneath you health bar, that will affect your fighting arts and magic use.  Magic is no longer limited by a certain number, now you are limited by the amount of Focus you have, and that can be restored by using your Ashen Estus Flask.  You can even talk to the blacksmith in Firelink Shrine to alter how much of which Estus you carry.  If you are not using much Focus, you can carry more Health Estus, and vice versa.  Focus Points are not limited to magic, but also affect how much you can use a fighting art.  Fighting arts are determined by the type of weapon you are using, some will allow you to shout for an area of effect attack, others will let you flip through the are or sharpen your blade to give yourself life drain.  Weapons are no longer chosen by their stats, but also the move sets you get with your fighting art.

The rest of the game play is very much old Dark Souls.  You will still progress through the world, searching for souls, bonfires, and bosses.  There are plenty of NPCs to interact with, many being recurring characters from older Dark Souls games.  The controls and mechanics, aside from the Focus Point system, feels like the older Dark Souls games.  The enemies range from tough, to maddening and that can happen in just a few steps from each other.  The boss fights feel all over the place though in terms of difficulty.  For instance, I was able to one shot High Lord Wolnir but was crushed on a consistent basis by the demon that was guarding the path to the Smoldering Lake.

Online play and interaction still works the same as previous games, as well.  While Embered, you run the risk of being invaded by another player.  You can also summon players to your world to help you conquer an area’s boss, or summon an NPC to also help you and to further that character’s story line.  Factions return again in Dark Souls 3, and many work well with the online play.  You have factions that focus on killing other players, while others focus on protecting the helpless players in the world from those that will hunt them down.



Dark Souls 3 is beautiful, from an aesthetic point of view.  The world is old, and looks to be entering it’s last days.  The environments also look to have a thin film of ash on everything, which works well in terms of the story.  The design of the world is well done, and it an absolute joy to explore, if you didn’t have hundreds of enemies looking to have your guts for garters.  Boss fights are visually stunning as well, and I found myself on more then one occasion focusing on some aspect of aesthetic instead of what was killing me.  Dark Souls 3 is easily the best looking game in the series.

The biggest issue with Dark Souls 3 in terms of aesthetic, comes in performance.  On the Xbox One, Dark Souls 3 will experience nasty frame rate drops, especially during some of the boss battles.  This is incredibly frustrating, especially when dodging and speed are so vital to your ability to survive encounters.  I have seen Dark Souls 3 played on PC, and this frame rate does not occur there.  I have no idea how the PlayStation 4 fares, but the Xbox One does suffer from this frame rate drop, so be warned.

Final Thoughts

Dark Souls 3 is, thus far, my 2016 game of the year.  It isn’t just a great game for fans of the series, but also the best game to play if you have never experienced a Dark Souls game before.  Dark Souls 3 is the most accessible game of the franchise, and that isn’t a bad thing.  The challenge is still there for the veteran player, but newer players will find it easier to get used to the game, but it is in no sense of the word, easy!  This game will still kick you in the shin, steal your pudding, and strut away laughing at your pain and sorrow if you underestimate it.  If this is truly From Software’s last Dark Souls game, then the series ends on a very high note.

Product Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)


Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 420X Headset – A Review (Xbox One)


Turtle Beach, one of the premier video game headset manufacturers, has just released a new wireless headset for the Xbox One, the Ear Force Stealth 420X Headset (shortened to the 420X for the rest of this review).  The 420X might just be one of the best headsets I have ever owned, and most definitely the best one I’ve had for a console.  The headset fits quite nicely, never pinching nor feeling to small for my head, and is incredibly comfortable to wear for hours of gaming.


The 420X is completely wireless while in use, the only cord that comes in the package is used to connect the headset to the Xbox One for charging.  Using a USB wireless connector, the 420X stays connected for up to 30ft, which is perfect for me to grab a soda from the garage and still be able to talk between online games.  All the controls for the 420X are on the headset, including game and voice volume, bass boost, mute, and a button for presets.  The power button is on the right ear cup, dead center so you can easily feel for it and turn it on or off while the headset is being worn.  The 420X also features a removable omni-directional boom mic, so you can use your headset for music or mobile gaming.

I love the fit of the 420X on my head.  Comfort for me is pretty high on my must have list for gaming headsets, if the headset hurts after a few hours of gaming, then it just isn’t a good quality headset.  The 420x has synthetic leather ear cups that fit over the ear, keeping outside noise to a minimum while keeping your ears from sweating.  I also love how the ear cups swivel to match the shape of your head.


The 420X is a very clean looking headset, which is pretty typical of Turtle Beach.  Most of the headset is set in a matte black color, with some green highlights around the ear cups.  The Turtle Beach logos are also green, and glow green when the headset is on.  This is just your clean looking, basic design for a gaming headset, which I love.



I was able to use the 420X extensively over my testing period, focusing on a few different types of games.  Games like Dark Souls 2, The Division, Black Ops 3, Far Cry Primal, and Borderlands 2 sounded fantastic through the headset.  During multiplayer, I was able to hear footstep directions to give me a better indication of where my opponents were.  With single player games like Dark Souls 2, the music and sound effects really came through nicely and added to my immersion into the game.  Voice communication was clear with no issues at all, though finding the mute button was somewhat difficult at times.  I guess my only complaint with the 420X really is that it was hard to find the controls while the headset was on.  Feeling for the mute button was difficult, and I had a hard time remembering which volume control wheel controlled which volume.


  • Digital Signal Processor: Digital Signal Processor for independently controlled chat, game and mic signals
  • Audio mute: Audio mutes automatically when carrier signal is lost
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Polymer
  • Shut down: Automatic shut down after approx 10 minutes of carrier loss or silence to conserve battery power
  • Weight: 8.6oz
  • Speaker Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Battery life: >15 Hours
  • Speakers: 50mm with Neodymium Magnets
  • Digital Wireless RF wireless carrier reception.: 2.4GHz
  • Speaker Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Microphone Design: Removable Omni-Directional Microphone
  • Earcup Design: Around-Ear (Closed)
  • Headband/Earpad Material: Perforated Synthetic Leather (Black) with Foam Cushioning

Final Thoughts

The Ear Force Stealth 420X Headset by Turtle Beach is the best headset I have ever used for the Xbox One or Xbox 360.  The wireless connectivity is a must with my current living room set up, the voice communication was clear, and the headset was incredibly comfortable to wear over long periods of time.  I do wish the controls on the ear cups were a little easier to use or the buttons and wheels separated over both ears, but that is a fairly minor issue unless you are adjusting these items constantly during game play.  The price is set to be around $150 MSRP, which could be considered a little steep, but worth it if you are looking for a quality wireless headset.

Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 420X Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)