Afterglow Prismatic Controller & LVL 5+ Wired Headset – Review (@pdpgaming)

With so much selection as far as gaming peripherals go, it can be hard to choose between them all. Today I have the PDP (Performance Designed Products) Afterglow Prismatic Controller for the Xbox One to review, and this is one product that I am looking forward to getting to grips with. Alongside the controller review, I also have the Afterglow LVL 5+ Wired Headset review included.

The first thing you see is the eye-catching, high quality packaging. The front of said packaging shows a holographic type image of the controller that changes colour as you move the box around. The back of the packaging has information about the “Signature Prismatic LED Lighting” which informs you that you can change the colour and brightness of the LED lights. Also included is a brief description of the Dual Multi-Function Wheels, as well as the 3.5mm Audio Jack and controls.

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Upon removing the controller from the box, I was instantly impressed with the build quality. Made from a transparent plastic, you are able to see the circuit board and the internal parts of the analogue sticks, rumble packs, etc. The actual controller itself feels very close in quality to the official Microsoft Xbox One controller, as do the A, B, X, Y buttons and the bumpers and triggers. Also included in the box is the user manual, and a 10 foot USB cable.

Now, I will admit, I was expecting my first time using the controller and setting the LED colour, programming the rear wheels, and generally getting to grips with things, to be a bit of a daunting task. How wrong was I?! From the moment I had the controller powered on, I found it very easy to assign the wheels to buttons, as well as changing the LED colour to one that suited me, and lastly, putting the controller into Prismatic mode (I will admit that I found this by accident and it took me a few button presses to figure out what it was that I pressed initially).

There is a small button on the back of the controller, located in the middle between the two wheels that is basically your gateway to fully customising the controller to your needs and preferences. Simply click the button once so that the LED on the front of the controller changes to blue. You can then use the left analogue stick to control the brightness of the LED and the right stick to cycle through the colours. Once you have chosen your preferred colour, press the button on the back to store your colour choice. If you would like to use Prismatic mode, press the button on the back to get the blue LED on the front and click Up on the D-Pad. To set the rear wheels to your preferred buttons, press the same button on the back of the controller twice so that the LED shows as green and then press the wheel of your choice (the LED should then flash green) at the same time as the button you wish to map it to, then simply release the rear wheel. The wheels on the back each have three different functions – scroll up and down, and also press the wheel inwards – so six in total! Lastly, if you would like to turn off the rumble packs inside the controller, press the rear function button three times so you see a yellow LED on the front and click Down on the D-Pad. To turn them back on, press the function button three times and click Up on the D-Pad. If the rumble is on, when you get to the yellow LED light, you will see red LED’s on either side of the controller – if they are off, no red LED lights are visible.  Lastly, to mute the mic when you have a headset connected, press the button that is located beside the right analogue stick, and press again to unmute.

As previously mentioned, the controller quality is pretty amazing. I love the feel of the analogue sticks, maybe more than I like the sticks on the official Xbox controller. They seem to have more grip to them than the original controller sticks, meaning that the usual add-ons that I use for gaming are no longer needed! The controller itself is very light to hold, but it is still very comfortable to have in your hands. I feel that for my size hands, which I would probably say are medium-ish, the buttons on the back of the controller are in the perfect position. The only drawback that I have with this controller is the fact that it is wired. Now this may not be an issue for many people, but for some, maybe with young children or pets, a wired controller may not be the suitable choice.

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Now to move on and cover the Afterglow LVL 5+ Wired Headset.

I’m a stickler for headsets and always enjoy my game more when I have loud game play coming through a headset rather than a TV. To be able to do that, I need a headset that isn’t going to disappoint.

The LVL 5+ headset packaging, much like the Prismatic Controller, is very informative. The front of the box sports a nice side profile image of the headset. The rear of the box gives ample information on the back of the packaging, which includes additional bass impact drivers, easy accessible volume controls, and also the fact that it is compatible with the newer 3.5mm Xbox One controllers.

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In the box you simply get the headset, 2 x AAA batteries, and a user guide, though you really don’t expect to find more than that. The LVL 5+ headset has a long cable that comes down from the left ear cup with a 3.5mm jack on the end. It also has impressive 40mm Neodymium drivers. The volume controls are also located on the left ear cup, and so is the fully adjustable and flexible microphone. The Afterglow branded headband feels nice and comfortable due to the soft material used – this material is also on the ear cups, which only adds to the comfort. Lastly, the bottom half of the ear cups contains the LED lighting that we have become used to seeing on PDP products.

Getting started is really simple. While the provided batteries are not required, using them allows you to use the headset to its full potential. Simply slot in the batteries provided, plug-in the 3.5mm jack (please note; you will need either the Xbox One chat adapter, or a newer Xbox One controller with the 3.5mm port), and you’re good to go. Once the batteries are inserted, the LED lights come to life (green for Xbox One, blue for PS4). You also have the option to enable the Quad Boost function.

Sound quality on this headset is actually pretty good, especially for the price that you pay. I was told that the sound of my voice when using the microphone was clear, though the volume was a little on the low side unless I had the mic close to my mouth. The sound of the game play, however, was really good. I was able to notice the direction of explosions and gunfire, yet was able to sit back and take in the sounds during more relaxed game play. It is worth mentioning that the headset volume control does not work without the batteries. Whereas other headsets draw power from the controller itself, this one does not.

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I feel that with the Prismatic controller, PDP have covered all bases. While some features may take a bit of getting used to, or may even be seen as a bit of a gimmick, the controller is a pleasure to use and in some ways, I actually prefer it over the Microsoft controller. When coupled with the LVL 5+ headset, you really are good to go! The easy access volume controls, on-the-fly button re-mapping, and the impressive LED lighting on both products definitely sets them apart from competitors.  Both products compliment each other really well, and for the price you pay, I would highly recommend both the headset and the controller.

You can pre-order the Prismatic Controller from Amazon UK due for release on November 27th (£49.99).  You can pre-order the LVL 5+ Headset from Amazon UK due for release on November 20th (£37.99).  Both prices correct at time of posting.

Thanks to PDP for supplying both products for review.  Be sure to head over to their website, visit their Facebook, Twitter & Instagram pages!

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PDP Afterglow Prismatic Wireless Headset – Review (@PDPgaming)

When it comes to choosing a new headset for your gaming needs, there is definitely a lot of choice about.  As well as having a large selection of headsets, there are also many different price ranges to choose from.  Do you buy something cheap and cheerful, something in the middle, or splash out on top of the range gadgets with 5.1 this and 7.1 that? Well, I’m hoping that the Afterglow Prismatic Wireless headset from PDP (Performance Designed Products) will show that you don’t have to spend huge amounts of cash to get decent, all-round quality.

As always, with any product, the first thing you notice is the packaging.  The box for the Prismatic headset is easy on the eye.  The front shows a view of the headset from the side, showing the different colours available for the illuminated earpieces.  It also gives you a list of devices that the headset is compatible with.  In this case, you can use the Prismatic headset with the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii & Wii U, PC, and mobile devices.  It’s worth noting that with the Xbox One chat adapter, you can also use this headset with the Xbox One console, and I’m assuming that it works in the same way for the PS4, although I am unable to try this as I do not own one.  The sides of the box has a feature comparison chart, as well as a run down of the custom audio profiles (see images).  Lastly, the back of the box shows a list of what the headset can do – from extraordinary sound, to the easy slide microphone.

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Now for the box contents.  To state the obvious, there’s a headset in the box!  As well as the headset, there is a large collection of wires – 2.5mm to 2.5mm (chat cable for Xbox 360), 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, RCA cable with a 3.5mm connector, mini USB cable, and the wireless USB dongle (which is connected by default to the RCA cable via the 3.5.. connector).  As you can see, there is a cable for every occasion!  It is recommended that you charge the headset before using it for the first time, something that I did not do.  I soon charged it once I noticed a low hum while wearing the headset.  To charge, simply hook up the included mini USB cable and watch the lights in the earpieces flash away until the charging is completed, in which case, the flashing stops.

The headset itself seems to be very well built and sturdy.  The earpieces are made of a polyurethane leather type material, which only adds to the comfort of the ‘around the ear’ design.  The earpieces themselves are a decent size, but could possibly be a little bigger for those people with bigger ears.  The headset has a nice amount of flexibility, and is adjustable, although the earpieces do not rotate. The headband is made of plastic and sports the Afterglow branding and when adjusted, you can see the thin metal reinforcement strip that foes through the headband to the earpieces.  Lastly, the inside of the headband has a very nice padding which adds to the comfort factor when in use.  The left ear cup is where all controls can be found.  On the outside of the earpiece itself, there is a transparent plastic design.  Being able to see through to the inside allows you to see the circuit boards, etc, which actually looks quite nice! On the outer side of the earpiece is where the volume wheel is, as well as the mixer slider for voice and game sounds, connections for the 2.5mm Xbox 360 cable input, line in, and the mini USB port.  The front of the left earpiece is where the microphone can be found and pulled out for use, next to which is the Mode button that allows you to choose which lets you select the audio profile that you wish to use.  Lastly, on the outer left earpiece is where you’ll find the power/mute button.

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Now for the fun stuff!  Hooking the headset up to the PC was as simple as it could have been.  Simply plug the USB dongle into a free USB port on the PC itself, and then connect the 3.5mm jack to the speaker/headphone port on the sound card.  Once the drivers have installed themselves, you are good to go!  To turn the headset on, simply press in the button on the left earpiece until it lights up blue and you’re good to go.  Unfortunately, because of the amount of devices I have hooked up to my PC, there is a bit of a hum – this is only present on the PC and with the sound turned down slightly, the hum is not always noticeable.  To set the colour to one that you prefer, simply hold in the Mode button for a few seconds until it starts cycling through the available colours.  When you get to your desired colour, stop pressing the Mode button in and it will stay on the selected colour until the headset is powered off and back on again, or until it is changed manually – if you would rather stay colourless, you can depress the Mode button when you come to the part of the cycle that doesn’t feature a colour. The Mode button also allows you to choose one of the three audio profiles – Pure Audio (blue), Bass Boost (red) and Immersive (purple).  It’s easy to keep track of which profile you have chosen as there is a light at the end of the microphone that changes colour as you cycle through the profiles.

Even though the Prismatic headset is primarily a previous gen headset, I was unable to try it with an Xbox 360 as I sold it literally the day before it arrived.  I did, however, hook up the 3.5mm audio cable to the headset and also to the chat adapter connected to my Xbox One controller and was able to use it for both game audio and chat.  I was informed by friends that my voice came across nice and clear, and it was the same for me whilst listening to them.  I’ve also connected it up to my phone to listen to music, and as previously mentioned, it has been used on the PC.  My partner even likes to take it upstairs at bedtime and hook it up to the TV so that he can watch without disturbing me.

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As far as sound quality goes, I have no gripes with the headset.  Game play was clear and I was able to decipher which location footsteps and gunshots were coming from whilst playing Call of Duty, and hearing the revs of engines in Forza 6 was just mind-blowing.  On the other hand, watching TV and listening to music were both impressive, even more-so with the bass boost audio profile in play – I like to think that the 50mm speakers played a nice role in this!  While on the subject of the bass boost audio profile, the bass levels are more than adequate when in pure audio and immersive profiles – having that bit of extra oomph never hurts though.

Overall, I am very impressed with the Prismatic headset.  The sound quality is great, the build quality is sturdy & makes the headset feel like it can withstand every day uses with ease, and the fact that it can be used across multiple platform makes the whole package worthwhile.  Althought the lights are a cool feature, I can’t see myself sitting here each time I use the headset and scrolling through all of the colours to choose the one I want.  A great headset that won’t break the bank as much as other gaming headsets.  You can currently grab this headset for around £70 on Amazon UK (at time of posting).

Be sure to head over to the PDP website, visit their Facebook, Twitter & Instagram pages!

NoScope Gaming Glasses – Review (@NoScopeGlasses)

I’m sure that eye fatigue is something that all gamers and PC users have experienced at one point or another.  Whether it results in that annoying grainy feeling in your eyes, headaches, or even nausea, it’s never nice, that’s for sure.  Being a sufferer of all of the above, eyt having to spend extended periods of time on the PC and gaming, I was after a solution without breaking the bank. Today, I have a review of the newest gaming and PC glasses on the market from NoScope – a pair from their “Demon Series“.  Check out the unboxing video for a detailed view.

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A good starting point would be price and delivery.  You can pick up a pair of these glasses for around £19 GBP – that’s including delivery.  Delivery time from the US to the UK was only a week, so that’s definitely a plus in my book.

The glasses arrived very well packaged and protected.  The come in a rather large cardboard box, and when opened, the glasses themselves are in a transparent zip closed plastic bag.  Also bundled in with the glasses is a nice material pouch for the glasses which sports the NoScope logo, as well as a lint free cloth for keeping the glasses lenses clean and dust free.

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The glasses are made from lightweight plastic and it is said that “One size fits all”.  We’ll get to that soon though.  The glasses also have yellow tinted lenses that are supposed to help reduce symptoms of eye strain.  Between the lenses is a nicely placed NoScope logo – nicely placed because it is not too in your face, but it is noticeable enough so you know which company the glasses come from.

The glasses themselves are very lightweight and from what I can tell, the “One size fits all” claim is a valid one.  While I don’t have the biggest of heads, the size difference between mine and my partners is definitely noticeable – to put it nicely.  We were both able to wear the glasses for an extended period of time without experiencing any loose fitting or discomfort.  I have actually been able to sit at the PC for longer than half hour here and there without getting hit with a horrible feeling of dizziness and nausea, and that’s always a plus in my book!

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I know that compared to other PC/Gaming glasses companies, the NoScope glasses are only available in one style, and not currently available as prescription glasses, but for the price, you can’t really complain.  They do what you expect them to do at a price that everyone can afford.  Who knows, there could be more styles on the way – for the record, that would be awesome!

For the price you pay and the way that they combat eye strain and fatigue, I’ll be wearing these for a long time to come and will happily suggest them to people that ask.

Venom Vibration XT+ Multi Platform Gaming Headset – Review (@VenomGamingUK)

Today, I have the Venom Vibration XT+ Headset for review.  The XT+ is a step up from the XT model, and has added support for the PlayStation 4 console.  As well as working with the PS4, you can also use it with the Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and Mac.

First up, the packaging.  The front of the box has a half and half design going on.  The left side of the box has the Venom logo, the name of the headset, and a short bit of text informing you about the vibration technology that is included.  The right hand side of the front of the box gives you a view of one side of the headset through a clear plastic window.  Under this window there is a list of the platforms that this headset can be used with.  The back of the box lists several pieces of information related to the headset, including the fact that the headset boasts 40mm drivers, as well as the 3.85 metre cable.  At the bottom of the rear of the box there are a couple of diagrams showing how to quickly set up the headset for both component and HDMI cables.

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The headset itself is securely transported in a clear plastic insert.  The first thing I noticed when removing the headset from the box is how light the headset is.  It has a nicely padded, fully adjustable, Venom branded headband, padded earcups which both have the Venom logo, and the generous 3.85 metre cable. The cable contains the inline volume controls, the USB connector, component cable adapters, and the 2.5mm plug for the Xbox 360 controllers.  Also included in the box is a detachable microphone for the headset, and a user manual.

Connecting the headset up to your platform of choice is reasonably straightforward, especially if you are familiar with setting up headsets previously.  If you do get stuck, the included user manual is helpful as far as getting you up and running.

I don’t have a PS4 so was unable to test it with that console, but I did put it through its paces on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.  The headset vibration feature is something that worked surprisingly well and being able to control the amount of vibration using the dedicated switch on the inline control was a nice touch.  The vibration made all the difference during game play with the 30mm vibration speakers – it was as if it was bringing the game to life that little bit more.  Also included on the inline control box was the mic mute switch, and the volume controls for both chat and game volumes.  Having dedicated game and chat volume control is always a nice bonus because there is nothing worse than not being able to hear chat over the game volume.  The sound quality was very impressive for both game and chat on all platforms, and I was informed that my voice was nice and clear and there were no reports of any feedback or distortion.  Having the logo on each earcup illuminate in an eye catching red colour when in use just added to the list of nice touches that this headset contains.

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The XT+ headset was a pleasure to wear for prolonged gaming periods.  The padded headband and earcups definitely played a large role in the comfort department, as did the fact that the headset is nice and light.  I don’t have massive ears and did not encounter any discomfort during long sessions.  I cannot comment as to how comfortable the headset would be for people with larger ears, though I doubt there would be an issue, if I am honest.

Overall, I am pleasantly surprised with the Venom XT+ Headset.  It provides comfort, it adds to the game playing experience, and the fact that you can use it on your choice of platform (all except the Xbox One) is a bonus.  The vibration features adds an extra level to the game that you are playing and having the option to increase and decrease the level of vibration means that it isn’t something that is forced on you.  For the price you pay (£32.99 GBP) and the fact that you can use it on your choice of platform, this is a headset that I would highly recommend.

GamerModz PS3 Custom Controller – Review (@GamerModz)

**Note: Use discount code ‘tootie’ on the GamerModz website to receive 10% off of your total order price!

I recently received a PS3 controller from my sponsor GamerModz to review.

I was told that I could choose any design and add-ons that I wanted, so I went ahead and started going through their site.  As with the Xbox 360 controller that I received a few months back, the process was easy and straightforward.  All I had to do was choose the controller for the platform that I would like, select a design from the large library that is available, and choose any extra mods that I would like included in the controller.  I went with the Green Swirl design and had all white buttons/L & R buttons//thumbsticks added.  Now I am not someone who uses rapid fire, etc, but I also went with the SPS-X3 Rapid Fire mod so that I could give my opinions on all aspects of the controller.

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It took only a couple of weeks to arrive from the day that I ordered the controller, which I think is definitely reasonable – especially when you see the quality of the product.  Once I received the controller, I checked it over for any drip marks or bumps on the finished product and am pleased to say, found none at all.  I checked over all of the buttons and other inserts and all buttons and triggers  were pressable with no excessive force and everything seemed as it should be.

After fully charging the controller, I synced it to my PS3 and couldn’t wait to give it a test run.  I fired up some Black Ops to put the controller through its paces.  Firstly, I noticed that all of the buttons, etc, worked perfectly well.  No excessive button smashing was needed to get the controller to do what you want it to, so I knew that the buttons were fine.  The thumbsticks and L & R buttons also did what you would expect without any extra force required.  After giving the controller a proper workout in multiplayer, I grabbed a friend and set up a custom match so that I could test out the rapid fire.  Following the included instruction manual (also available on the GamerModz website) was the easiest thing in the world to do.  Everything is there for you in black and white, and following the steps couldn’t have been easier.  I toggled through and tried out each of the modes – No Rapid Fire, Single Trigger Rapid Fire and Dual Trigger Rapid Fire.  Each mode worked as you would expect and I didn’t notice any issues there.

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After thoroughly testing out my new controller over the past week or so, I am very happy with it.  There is no sign of any markings on the controller itself, and all of the buttons, etc, still work as perfect as they did on the day that I received it. If rapid fire is your thing, the mod set will be perfect for you.  If you are just looking to jazz up your controller a little, then GamerModz could well be the site for for you.  Massive thanks to the guys over at GamerModz for sending this controller out to me for review.

Custom Xbox 360 Controller – Review (@NiftyModz)

Everyone likes to have something that represents them in one or another, whether it be a snazzy new phone case or a custom designed controller for your favourite gaming console.  So when I asked the fine folk over at NiftyModz if it would be possible to review one of their controllers and they agreed, I began looking forward to it.

I spoke with Ben from NiftyModz via email to let him know what I would like on the controller.  I mentioned that I would like my favourite colour in there somewhere (green), my gamertag (TootieTazzy), and the logo for the site that I am Community Manager for (XBLGamerhub).  Armed with these few details, he went to work.

When I first saw my controller, I was instantly impressed.  The marble green that he had used as the main shell colour was gorgeous, and coupled with the all pink inserts and buttons, the colours just matched each other so well.  He had included the XBLGamerhub logo on the left side of the controller and my gamertag, in a really nice font, on the right side.  The paint job itself is very high quality with no drip marks or roughness.  Just a very smooth and glossy finish, which is what you would expect.

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Flipping the controller over, there was even more goodness.  He had included the paddles on the back and had assigned them to the buttons that I chose – in this case, X and Y.  The paddles fit nicely in with the way you hold the controller and are not intrusive in any way.

When I used the controller for the first time, I went through and checked that all of the buttons, triggers, thumbsticks, and paddles worked as they should – which they did.  I found the paddles a nice addition and will also find it hard to play without them now that I have gotten used to them.

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Overall, I am really liking the controller.  The finished product is much better than I ever thought it would be.  If you would like to see more designs from NiftyModz, check out their YouTube channel and give them a follow on Twitter!

Big thanks to NiftyModz for sending this controller out for review.

CastleStorm – XBLA – Review (@zen_studios)

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Upon hearing the name “CastleStorm” I was definitely wondering what this game could be about. Once it had downloaded, I fired the game up and was instantly hooked. Coming to you from the awesome minds that are Zen Studios (Pinball FX 2 geniuses), I was really looking forward to getting to grips with CastleStorm.

The basic goal of the game is to go toe to toe with the enemies and try to take down their hordes of Vikings and wolves that are determined to breach your walls and destroy your castle. For you to win, you have to either hold off waves of enemies, destroy the enemy castle, or capture the flag and return it to your base.

There are several ways for you to attack the enemy and defend your castle. First up, you have your mighty ballista. This is the main point of attack, for me anyway, and it brings a variety of attacks – from arrows to exploding apples. You even have the choice to use sheep, which never provides a dull result. Now whilst the ballista can be the easiest choice of weapon, it is not always the easiest to aim. Next up, there are the troops. You have a large selection of troops to despatch, from soldiers to knights, to the comedic looking donkey riding troops. You can have the choice of which selection of troops you want to use during battle by spawning as your food and money supply increases. Personally, I find that the archers have the most affect but I like to send out a few of each to cover all angles.

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Next, we have the Hero (Sir Gareth). You can choose when and where you would like to use him. Simply press Y on the controller to use him and then choose a point on the map to spawn him. I find that he is very useful when you are waiting for troops to get to where they should be and also for when there is a large group of enemy troops approaching. You can choose between using his bow and arrow, or stick to the easier to use melee attacks. The Hero does take a little bit of time to ‘recharge’ so use him wisely. Finally, there is the option to use Magic, for both attacking and defending. You have a healing spell to give your troops a little more oomph if needed, as well as a magic missile that targets enemy troops. Again, choose the spell you would like to use and select the place of impact for casting.

With all of the above, you need a way of being able to view the enemy castle easily and quickly. The camera zooming and movement controls can take a bit of getting used to as there is a lot of button pressing, especially when you are having to spawn troops, fire your ballista, cast spells, and summon your Hero. It can take a bit of getting used to, you just need to use it a few times.

You have the choice of playing through a single player campaign, co-op with a friend, or go head to head in online multiplayer. The intended outcome is always the same no matter which mode you play – defend the castle and defeat the enemy. Whilst playing the single player campaign you have the usual campaign missions to complete, as well as side missions where you have to survive waves of enemies – each wave more difficult than the previous.

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There is a handy castle editor too, which enables you to chop and change the layout. This could be a good strategy point as you can move rooms to either the back or front of the castle, depending on their importance. Since the front of the castle gets attacked first, the important rooms can be located at the back to make them harder to get to. As you play through the game you also unlock extra rooms that have extra bonuses, etc, so the castle editor does become important. Editing your castle is not mandatory, so you can skip this if you wish.

As you play through, you will find that you unlock more and more items and with the coins that you earn after each battle, you can upgrade everything from your troops to your weapons to your spells.  You can even upgrade your recruitment office so that you are able to expand your maximum troop number.

Looks wise, the game is very nice to look at. With its cartoon style graphics and wide choice of characters, everything fits together quite nicely. You can tell from both the realistic visuals and the way the game works that a lot of time and effort went into making and developing it.

To wrap things up, CastleStorm is a game full of fun and battles, and will easily provide hours of fun. It will keep you thinking about how to plan your next assault and is definitely worth the 800 MSP that it is available for on Xbox LIVE.

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Vision Backplate (Xbox 360) – Review (@EvilControllers)

The constant hassle of remembering to charge batteries or the inconvenience of your controller dying halfway through a game can be a major pain. This is part of the reason I changed to a charging station so I could hook up my controllers and leave them to charge. I couldn’t switch to a wired controller because of the two rowdy dogs that are constantly running around the room. Wouldn’t it just be easier to be able to leave out the batteries altogether? Well, now you can!

Evil Controllers have come up with a new Vision Backplate that you can attach to the back of your controller, getting rid of the need for batteries and rechargeable packs. The guys over at Evil Controllers were kind enough to send me out one of their Vision Backplate DIY Kits for review purposes.

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The Backplate itself has been completely redesigned, resulting in the controller being a lot lighter than it previously was. The Backplate does not change the feel of the controller, but does make it easier and more comfortable to use due to there being no battery pack on the back. Overall, the removal of the battery pack should reduce uncomfortable hand cramps that occur during long game sessions.

When the Backplate kit arrived, I was glad to see that everything needed was included. I had the Backplate, the required Torx Screwdriver tool and a 6ft Mini USB cable that is used to charge the Backplate.  The installation help video is below.

I will admit, the thought of removing the need for batteries altogether was a bit daunting. I had visions of me totally screwing my controller up or breaking the Backplate to the point of no repair. These thoughts and visions were totally uncalled for.

When it came to fitting the Backplate, it really could not have been easier. It was a case of taking the back of the controller off, removing the battery spring connectors and then putting the Backplate into place and putting the screws back in. That is it! After screwing everything back into place securely, just hook up the controller to the included USB cable and plug into your console and let it charge. There are LED Charging Indicator lights on the top of the controller where you plug the USB cable in – Red for charging and Green for charged.

You will also find a small red button next to where you plug in the USB cable. This button allows you to turn the controller off with a simple click. So, say for example your controller turns on accidentally and there is no console within range, instead of having to hook it up to a console, you can just press this button and the controller is off. I know this was easily addressed when using a battery pack by just removing the battery pack and plugging it back in. I think the red button is a good way of getting around this issue and kudos to Evil Controllers for including something to make things just as easy.

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Because having a built-in battery instead of a battery pack can cause the inside of the Backplate to get a bit warmer, you will notice that air vents have also been included. Warm air should be able to easily leave the back of the controller. In turn, this should extend the life of the controller.

The tech specs state that the lightweight Backplate should hold over 36 hours of charge. I haven’t used the controller for 36 hours as yet. I am at about 15 hours so far and still on full battery charge when I press the Xbox Guide Button on the controller. I usually lose a couple of battery bars when using my rechargeable packs after about 4 hours, so, so far so good.

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I am really excited to have replaced my bulky battery pack with the newly designed Vision Backplate. Not only is it one of the easiest modifications that I have added to my controller to date, I think that it is a great idea and it has such a simple, yet effective design to it. If you suffer with the same issues as I did with batteries running out, or forgetting to charge battery packs, then this will solve everything at once, as well as adding a bit of style to your controller.  Prices start from $29.99 USD.

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Gioteck EX-03 Chat Headset (Xbox 360) – Review (@GioteckArmy)

When it comes to the world of online gaming, communication, more times than not, is the key. Having a headset that provides excellent communication is a definite must have. The EX-03 chat headset is available as a bluetooth version for use with the PS3 and a wired version for use with the Xbox 360. Gioteck were kind enough to send over the Xbox 360 version for the purpose of this review.

The Gioteck EX-03 chat headset for the Xbox 360 is a military styled headset that is designed exclusively for gaming on the Xbox 360. It has a unique military style camo effect, flexible over the ear hook and a noise cancelling microphone.

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The headset comes packaged in a nicely designed, flat style box. As soon as you remove the headset from the box, you are greeted with a packet of three different sized earbuds to attach to the ear piece on the headset, along with the headset itself. The cable on the headset is a flat, non-tangle cable, which is always a positive for me because I have a habit of tangling things easily.

The three earbuds that are included are small, medium, and large. I like the fact that they provide separate earbuds rather than either making you remove and replace the one that comes pre-installed, or, having to just use the generic one that comes with the headset. They are easy to attach to the headset too. It is just a case of pushing the desired size bud on to the ear piece.

The ear piece that goes into the ear has a slight angle to it. This allows the ear piece to sit comfortably just inside the ear and lessens the likelyhood of it slipping out. The flexible ear hook fits nicely over the ear and combined with the angled ear piece, ensures that wearing the headset is a very comfortable experience.

On the non-tangle cable you will find an in-line control switch which enables you to change the chat volume and also to mute your microphone. As far as the positioning of the controls on the cable, they are not too far down so that they get in the way of gaming, but not too far up that it gets difficult to use them.

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The microphone on the chat headset is one that sits snugly up against your cheek. It is long enough for you to be heard but not too long that it gets in the way or picks up any breathing sounds.

Sound quality wise, I had no issues. Voices of the people that I was playing with game through nice and clear, and I was told that my voice came through loud and clear, with no static or distant sound.

Overall, I like the Gioteck EX-03. It is comfortable to wear, the voice chat came through nice and clear on both ends and the non-tangle cable is a godsend! For the price that you pay (found on Amazon for £8 GBP), you can’t go wrong.

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GamerModz Xbox 360 Custom Controller – Review (@GamerModz)

**Note: Use discount code ‘tootie’ on the GamerModz website to receive 10% off of your total order price!

I was very lucky to recently receive a custom created Xbox 360 controller from my new sponsor, GamerModz.  I had never gone through the process of creating my own controller before, so to say that I was raring to go is an understatement.

First things first – choosing the controller design on the GamerModz website.  The site itself was easy to navigate from the get-go and each step was very easy to complete, thanks to the step by step pages and sections.  It is as simple as going to GamerModz.com and clicking Create A Controller – which is located across the top of the page – to get to the page where the magic starts.  When you hover your mouse over Create A Controller you can choose from either an Xbox 360 controller or a PS3 controller.

Once you get to the Create A Controller page you are greeted with an untold amount of choice.  You can choose from different colours, patterns, and effects.  You can even choose from a large selection of bumper buttons, triggers, thumbsticks, and you get a large choice of colours for each – you can even personalise the LED ring around the guide button to match your colour/pattern theme.  To make sure that everything on your controller melds properly, you have an image of a controller on the left hand side that changes after each choice that you make.  This is so that you can see how the colours look with each other and ensure that there won’t be a clash of design and colour.  This is something that I found really useful as I am not the most decisive of people and like to see what I am doing as I do it.

After designing the controller I was given the option of which mod set I would like in the controller.   You do have a choice of a few mod sets so there is something to suit everyone’s taste.  To be able to review every aspect of the controller, I chose the Juggernaut mod set which has something for everyone.  It is their biggest mod set and includes features from Rapid Fire to Drop Shot to Fast Reload and Quick Scope.  Now while I am not one for using mods while playing a game I was looking forward to trying things out to see if and how they worked.  After choosing the mod set and making sure everything was ok, I placed my order and then just had to play the waiting game.

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From the day that I placed my order to the day that the controller arrived, it took 14 days in total.  This included weekends and shipping to the UK so overall, not a bad time frame at all.  Upon receiving the controller, I was eager to take a look and see how things turned out.  The controller itself looked amazing.  The finish of the design that I chose was spot on – a totally smooth finish with no being able to feel any lumps and bumps.  The whole of the controller was covered and this even included the battery case on the back.  I do have to admit, the whole yellow and black theme that I went with worked really well and the yellow LED lights that I chose seemed to finish the controller off very nicely.

Now that I had my controller in my hands, I went ahead and created a private lobby so that I could test out everything from programming the mod set, to making sure that everything was working as it should.  Using the included instructions (manual is also available on the GamerModz website), each and every function worked as it should without any hiccups.  It was very easy to choose which layout and function to use and it was even easier disabling the mod features so that you can use the controller as just a plain controller.

After using the controller for around ten days, there is no sign of any wear and tear on the controller itself and everything is still working as it should be.  Overall, the whole process of creating my own controller and using the GamerModz website was smooth and plain sailing.  I am over the moon with my controller and being able to put my own stamp on it using the Create A Controller section on the website has made it all the better.  Even if, like me, you don’t use the mod sets, the custom controller itself is most definitely something that I would highly recommend to anyone who wants something a little different.