Weekly Byte for 5/17/2010

Release List

Tuesday, 5/18

  • Split Second – Retailing for $39.99, simultaneous console release
  • Shrek Forever After – Movie Tie-in, $19.99
  • Dragon Age : Darkspawn Chronicles DLC – $5.00

News Bytes

  • Has another PC version been leaked by box-art? Gears of War was unofficially announced when PC Gamer ran a ‘Gaming on Vista article prior to the OS release, showcasing Games For Windows store displays with Gears Of War boxes bearing the shiny new Games For Windows LIVE logo on top.  Oooops.  Well, now it seems Fable III has broken in similar fashion, as boxart provided by Microsoft to Games Press had the “Only on 360 and Windows” golden stamp on the case.  The picture was quickly pulled down, but I know what I’ll be looking for this E3!  There have been many teasers of great PC announcements to come from LA next month, so it should be a wonderful time to be a PC gamer!  Now the question remains, will we see a retro port of Fable II?
  • On the positive side of the Call of Duty turmoil, it seems Treyarch has given credit to PC players’ complaints. When Treyarch head, Mark Lamia was asked about the upcoming Black Ops PC port, he confirmed that dedicated servers would, indeed, be supported.  In a very obvious politically worded statement, Lamia denied any reasoning to not support dedicated servers, but stated that steps would be taken to protect the experience to provide a similar experience to that of consoles, while still providing the positive features unique to the PC platform.  Gee, I hope they continue Infinity Ward’s tradition of Modern Warfare 2’s acclaimed PC specific features like mouse support and voice chat.
  • Torchlight in a Perfect World? Announced today, was the purchase for $8.4 million dollars made by Chinese MMO developer, Perfect World.  With Perfect World now retaining a majority share of Runic Games, it will be interesting to see what agreements are made for the already planned Torchlight MMO.  Will this be an acquisition of support to add resources and leave the game alone, or will Perfect World be muscling their way into the creativity process of the already breakout success of the single-player dungeon crawling franchise? Apparently, we have two years to wait until we see the final product, but keep your eyes for more details.  Also curious, is the nature of Runic Games previous MMO attempt during their days as Flagship Studios–the Hellgate : London multiplayer experience.  Hellgate offered both free and paid options for their MMO multiplayer, it will be interesting if Perfect World will not only disturb the creative process, but also the pricing structure to recoup some of their investment.
  • Isaac spreads the PC love. Like many high school relationships, the PC port of Dead Space 2 has been on again off again more times than we care to know.  My favorite aspect was the denial of the port by EA, immediately followed by the statement’s of Ziff Davis being more surprised about the cancellation than the fans(which he quickly retracted).  Well, now we can breathe easily—-at least until next year when Visceral’s sequel officially creeps onto consoles and PC.  EA PR has, once again, confirmed that a PC version will hit shelves Q1, next year.

Geared Up

I decided to take a different turn on ‘Geared Up’ this week.  Instead of trolling the internet looking for some cool gaming accessories, peripherals or case mods, I decided to feature some of the gear I prefer to use in my own gaming exploits.  Please keep in mind, that I have paid for all of these items, and do not receive any samples, review products or incentives from the companies that produce these products, they are just the peripherals I have grown to prefer.

Mouse Pad – Gaming on the go, my mouse pads take a fair beating being trucked around in my laptop case and tossed around from lap to desk to wherever.  When my most recent one died, I decided to table my skepticism and try out the Rocketfish ‘Gaming’ Mousepad.  I have to say, I am certainly impressed.  The pad features two differently textured surfaces mounted on either side of an aluminum plate, sized 18.4″ x 13″.  One side is textured for speed, the other for control, and it holds up nicely.  Of course, be careful to place this in your bag where it will not scratch your machine, if you choose to travel with it, but it’s easily recommended at the price point of $19.99, as I’m sure it will outlast and outperform it’s cheaper alternatives.

Mouse – Razer Diamondback 3G, Red.  Sure, it’s not the latest or the greatest, but this Razer series is tride and true in it’s performance.  Newer and more sensitive models are available, but for a current retail of $40, this is a great mid-ranged model that performs well.  The Diamondback is equipped with a 3G infrared sensor, capable of a maximum of 1800 DPI.  With it’s drivers installed, it also has 9 programmable buttons and on the fly sensitivity options.  I personally only need one button to map my ‘Melee Attack’ to, but it’s always nice to have the extra features if need be.  I also prefer to turn the mouse sensitivity to it’s highest setting, and lower the sensitivity in each game to it’s lowest to achieve the smoothest movement, but that’s one of my quirks.  Razer has since made multiple wireless mouse options, but I prefer the gold plated corded one to a wireless option anyday.

Headset – Funny enough, I stumbled upon this headset not for my gaming needs, but my podcasting needs.  That being said, I can once again sing Razer’s praises in this category with the Carcharias headset, still retailing for $79.99(Thankfully I found it for significantly less).  The only downside is it’s lack of Surround Sound support, but the Carcharias excels in everything else.  The padded earcups are velvety soft, and dare not irritate or chafe your ears during the longest of gaming sessions.  The sound is crisp, and is relayed through two, gold-plated 3.5mm jacks that plug into your headphone/mic jacks.  The boom mic will swivel up to be tucked away, or to switch to the other ear for headset reversal, and the braided cord with volume and mute controls reaches a whopping 10 foot length.  As with the mouse, there are better options out there, but I can’t find any faults with these mid-range products—they outperform anything priced comparatively.

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