Bonus Review Round-Up
Since we've so much to talk to you about, we've been forced to offer up a Bonus Review Round-Up...
Turtle Beach X12
Format: PC, Xbox 360
Price: £54.99 (www.lygoworld.com)
For the modern gamer, a decent gaming headset is pretty much an essential purchase. Unless you're (un)lucky enough to be living on your own, chances are there's always someone more than willing to complain about all those explosions echoing around the house, and the expletives constantly heading your way from 12-year-old kids. Lucky for us then that Turtle Beach have deemed us worthy of their excellent X12 headset.
First things first. Despite a price that isn't exactly sky high when you consider how much those repulsive 'Beats' sell for, it immediately feel like an incredibly expensive piece of kit. Build quality has obviously been high on the agenda, with an incredibly solid feel. Even the mic will remain in the position you set it, making it perfectly find to use for even those with the most unusual shapes of head/face.
Putting it on only reinforces your initial thoughts, with these being more than comfortable enough to happily wear for even the lengthiest of gaming sessions. The wonderfully thick padding for your ears and head help make these one of the comfiest headsets I've ever been lucky enough to try on. The tightness has been judged perfectly too, making sure that the sound stays firmly for your ears only, with very little sound bleed whatsoever, even with volumes at pretty hefty levels.
On the cord from the headset to is a small control unit. This gives you the chance to immediately mute your own chatter, so you can offer expletives when you've been the victim of a ridiculous headshot, plus control both chat and game volumes, as well as tweak the levels of bass.
Sound wise, if you've never gamed with a headset on before, you forever will after giving this a try. You'll pick up so many incidental noises that you'd never heard up on before, with such clean and crisp audio coming straight into your ears. With some pretty extensive testing, particular with the excellent Battlefield 3, it did make the entire experience that much more exciting. Hearing bullets and explosions in such a fashion was an incredible leap upwards even from the moderately expensive speaker kit I used to use. It truly will improve you're experience, particularly in games where pinpoint sound is an absolute essential.
Basically, if you're a 360 or PC gamer on the lookout for a gaming headset that's going to do the job for the foreseeable future, you can't really do any better than the Turtle Beach X12. Now you'll have no excuse for that awful K/D ratios
Need For Speed: The Run
Formats: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 18/11/11
The Need For Speed series has gone through so many reinventions that's it's tricky to deduce just what number we're on now. This latest twist is to turn the series into something much more akin to a blockbuster car focussed movie. But does this tweak to the engine give Need For Speed: The Run the horsepower to hit the top of the grid and take top spot. Pun-tastic!
It's probably the most important news that the single-player mode will take roughly around about 2 and a half hours to play through. And that's the entire thing. Yes then you've the chance to improve times and so forth, but the single-player portion of the game could basically be all over by the time you're really hitting your groove. It's a heck of a ride while it lasts, but that kind of time scale just can't cut it when the likes of Forza Motorsport 4 has still got its hooks in us after dozens of hours of game time.
For an evenings rent, then you could do a hell of a lot worse than pick up The Run. It's a thrilling ride, with some stunning visuals, incredible production values, and the same brilliant sense of speed that the series has consistently offered. But when they're asking for the same cash for this as Skyrim, which could easily keep you hooked for years, we can't honestly give it a true purchase recommendation. Great while it lasts, but it's over quicker than a Liverpool title challenge.
Release Date: Out Now
Pixeljunk is back and after two successful "Shooter" games They're turning back the clock and going retro with their own take on R-Type style arcade classics.
If the Pixeljunk series are known for anything then it would be great music, quirky graphics and innovative gameplay. In Sidescroller they've employed their usual audio/visual flair with a great soundtrack and awesome graphics. Apeing the vector display works well and for good measure they've also added warping to the corners of the screen to simulate the goldfish bowl curve of an arcade screen.
There are 3 weapons to chose from; bullets lasers and bombs each of which can be powered up and improved as you play, though the bomb never really achieves anything other than novelty status and aside from an achievement for use, your ship's spin attack is also a little redundant. There are some cool environmental effects to enjoy, like blasting through ice with your laser, flying through fountains of magma and navigating pulsating, organic tunnels.
Aside from removing the death penalty for touching walls (a welcome ammendment) and a score multiplying combo meter which I resolutely ignored there's not really much new here in terms of gameplay. I guess the downside of Pixeljunk going retro is that there isn't really much room for them to innovate with the gameplay. That said though, at a $10 price point you can't expect the moon on a stick.
It's not the best Pixeljunk game out there, but if you want to get your retro on and want to do it with graphics that'll make your balls tingle, it's not to be missed.