Hardware Platform RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Hardware RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network PlayStation 4, PS5 Black Friday Deals & Sales 2021 https://www.gameskinny.com/jdi99/playstation-4-ps5-black-friday-deals-sales-2021 https://www.gameskinny.com/jdi99/playstation-4-ps5-black-friday-deals-sales-2021 Mon, 08 Nov 2021 20:23:10 -0500 GS_Staff

With Black Friday just around the corner, and some retailers already rolling out the discounts and deals, it's time to take a look at some of the best current and upcoming PlayStation 4 and PS5 sales.

As we hurtle headlong into the holiday season, there are plenty of games on offer already with more to come; there are also some hardware discounts too. Though, widespread PS5 system restock may be a bit too much to ask for even a year after launch. Most are still sold out.

Related articles:

A number of the biggest retailers, from Amazon and Gamestop to Target and Best Buy, are getting in on the action. Here are the best deals we know of so far. Use the links below to jump to each retailer's section.  

Amazon Buy 2 Get 1 Free PS4, PS5 Games

This isn't exactly a Black Friday specific deal, but it's available in November, so we're counting it. Amazon will conceivably have more deals in the weeks ahead, and we'll add those here. But for now, this BOGO offer is almost too good to pass up. 

This Buy 2 Get 1 sale is on a wide range of video games, including those for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Series X. It includes many of 2021's Game of the Year contenders, as well as brand-new releases like Call of Duty Vanguard and Far Cry 6.

The best part is that you can mix and match, picking up any combination of PS4 and PS5 games, or any for Nintendo and Microsoft consoles. The offer also includes movies, music, books, and other items. 

Head over to Amazon, and sift through the qualified games. To take advantage of the deal and redeem the offer, Amazon says that you'll need to add three items to your shopping cart and the savings "will automatically be applied at checkout, if eligible." 

A few highlights for PS4 and PS5 include:

  • Call of Duty Vanguard
  • Assassin's Creed Valhalla
  • Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Riders Republic
  • Immortals Fenyx Rising
  • Resident Evil Village
  • Outriders
  • Watch Dogs Legion
  • Demon's Souls
  • It Takes Two
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Hitman 3
  • Far Cry 6
  • Mortal Kombat 11

Adding extra incentive, some of these games are already discounted, some heavily. You could theoretically grab three brand-new games for the price of two, and still pick up a handful of others on the cheap.

PlayStation 4, PS5 Black Friday at Target

This is another sale that kind of, sort of falls under the Black Friday banner it seems. Like Amazon, Target also has a Buy 2 Get 1 free deal for video games. And since it's in November too, we're including it here. An ad scan mentions that these deals are valid through November 13, so act fast. 

Also, just like Amazon, this is a Buy 2 Get 1 mix-and-match sale, including all gaming platforms, movies, books, and more. Here are some highlights:

  • Madden 22
  • The Last of Us 2
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Marvel's Spider-Man (GOTY)
  • Marvel's Avengers
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Scarlet Nexus
  • Days Gone
  • Star Wars Squadrons
  • Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon

There are plenty more on offer as well, as the sale for video games alone spans 29 pages with 24 entries per page. While some games cross over with Amazon's sale, such as Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Hitman 3, and It Takes Two, it appears that more recent titles, such as Far Cry 6, CoD: Vanguard, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart are not included in Target's sale.

Either way, you can check out what's on offer by heading over to Target's BOGO video games page. We'll update this page with more Target deals as they pop up through the month.

GameStop PS4, PS5 Deals

GameStop's official Black Friday ad doesn't appear to be in the wild just yet. That will probably be coming soon, though. Until then, there are a few PlayStation 4 and PS5 games on sale. 

  • Deathloop ($39.99)
  • Far Cry 6 ($49.94)
  • Riders Republic ($49.94)
  • Madden 22 ($43.49)
  • Tales of Arise ($49.99)
  • Resident Evil Village ($45.99)
  • MLB The Show 21 ($49.00)
  • Scarlet Nexus ($39.49)
  • Aliens: Fireteam Elite ($33.88)
  • Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon ($49.99)

All told, there really aren't that many scintillating deals as of right now. While the sales over at Amazon and Target are almost too good to pass up, you could hold off picking anything up from GameStop right now. But don't let us tell you what to do with your money. Head over here to check it out.

Best Buy PS4, PlayStation 5 Sale

Best Buy has been offering Black Friday deals since mid-October, but it doesn't have much of anything for PlayStation 4 or PS5 right. Outside of discounts on Madden 22 ($49.99), FIFA 21 ($19.99), and Outriders ($19.99), we'll have to wait until closer to the traditional Black Friday day to see what else pops up.

Walmart PlayStation Deals

Walmart is another retailer that hasn't shared all of its plans for Black Friday 2021 deals on video games, which is slightly odd considering the retailer's holiday ad is already out. Regardless, Wal-Mart will be having an Early Access Black Friday sale for Walmart+ members starting on November 10 at 3 p.m. EST. Early Access is not available to Walmart+ trial members.

There's really no idea what to expect, though it's safe to assume some PlayStation games will be on sale. We're probably looking at deeper discounts on older games, with the shallower deals hitting recently-released titles like Back 4 Blood and Vanguard.

PlayStation Store Discounts

There are currently 590 items, games and DLC included, on sale as part of the PlayStation Store's November Savings extravaganza. Again, another set of discounts not carrying the Black Friday moniker but a set of discounts nonetheless. This one runs until November 19.

It's very likely a specific Black Friday event will hit the store in the coming weeks. 

In the meantime, you can save on all kinds of digital games, including: 

  • Maneater ($23.99)
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice GOTY ($38.99)
  • Final Fantasy XIV Complete Edition ($23.99)
  • Subnautica ($16.49)
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn ($9.99)
  • Monster Hunter World: Iceborne ($20.99)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition ($34.99)
  • Crysis Remastered ($14.99)
  • Mafia III: Definitive Edition ($9.89)
  • Control ($11.99)

The above doesn't even begin to scratch the 25 pages worth of games and DLC available. Check it out here. On top of that, there's also a Retro Sale and Games Under $15 Sale as well. 

Those are the Black Friday and before Black Friday PlayStation deals and sales available right now. We're still waiting to see any movement on consoles, controllers, and most other hardware; DualShocks and DualSenses are still going for full price. Bookmark this page, as we'll be updating it throughout the month. Stay tuned. 

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Nintendo Switch Black Friday Sales & Deals 2021 https://www.gameskinny.com/vk75o/nintendo-switch-black-friday-sales-deals-2021 https://www.gameskinny.com/vk75o/nintendo-switch-black-friday-sales-deals-2021 Mon, 08 Nov 2021 17:28:30 -0500 GS_Staff

Black Friday is upon us once again, and there are quite a few Nintendo Switch sales and deals to be had. Some deals are live now, while other sales will go live starting on November 21. Some may arrive even later in the month (ya' know, when Black Friday is supposed to start). There are plenty of games on offer, though, as any Nintendo fan may expect, there aren't too many hardware deals available.

Related articles:

A number of the biggest retailers, from Amazon to Gamestop to Target, are getting in on the action, of course. Here are the best deals we know of so far. Use the links below to jump to each retailer's section. 

Nintendo Black Friday Games and Bundles

The Big N itself will be offering sales and deals starting on November 21. Those include discounts on a wide range of first-party titles, as well as a Nintendo Switch bundle. 

A recent sneak peek at those deals confirm that Nintendo will be offering a Switch bundle for $299, which includes a base Nintendo Switch (not the OLED variety), Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and 3 months of Nintendo Switch Online.

This console bundle sale isn't exactly new; a 2020 GameStop Black Friday ad features it front and center. Right now, it's unclear if it will appear at other retailers or be exclusive to Nintendo. Either way, it's not something to pass up for those in the market for a Switch at a steal.

Aside from that bundle, a number of high-profile games will also be on sale from Nintendo itself for $39.99, including: 

  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
  • Splatoon 2
  • Astral Chain
  • Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Mario Kart Live will fall to $59.99, and Ring Fit Adventure will go for $54.99. It doesn't appear that some games, such as Metroid Dread and Mario Party Superstars will receive any discounts. These sales will be available until November 27, according to Nintendo, and when they do appear, they can be found over here.

Amazon Buy 2 Get 1 Free Switch Games

Ok, so this is technically a Buy 2 Get 1 on a wide range of video games over at Amazon, including PlayStation 4 and PS5, as well as Xbox One and Series X. But perhaps the biggest piece of news is that some Nintendo Switch games are included as well. 

Head over to Amazon, and sift through the qualified games. To take advantage of the deal and redeem the offer, Amazon says that you'll need to add three items to your shopping cart and the savings "will automatically be applied at checkout, if eligible." It seems not every game is up for grabs, but a good few are. 

The best part is that this is a mix-and-match deal; it applies to not only games for other systems but also movies, music, books, and more. 

A few highlights for Switch include: 

  • Minecraft Dungeons
  • Hot Wheels Unleashed
  • Monster Hunter Stories 2
  • Doki Doki Literature Club
  • Dying Light Platinum Edition
  • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD
  • Rune Factory 4
  • Kitaria Fables
  • Hades

Nintendo Switch Black Friday at Target

While it doesn't specifically mention Black Friday, Target also has a Buy 2 Get 1 free deal for video games. And since it's in November, we're including it here. An ad scan mentions that these deals are valid through November 13, so act fast. 

Also, just like Amazon, this is a Buy 2 Get 1 mix-and-match sale, including all gaming platforms, movies, books, and more. Here are some highlights:

  • Mario + Rabbid: Kingdom Battle
  • Pokemon Let's Go, Pikachu!/Evee!
  • Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
  • Luigi's Mansion 3

It should be noted that Target's selection is far smaller than Amazon's currently. Either way, you can check out what's on offer by heading over to Target's BOGO Switch page. We'll update this page with more Target deals as they pop up through the month.

GameStop Nintendo Switch Deals

It doesn't appear that GameStop has released its Black Friday ad just yet, so we don't exactly know what's up for grabs or at what prices just yet (if you've seen it and it exists, drop a comment below, and we'll update this article). 

Regardless, there are currently some Nintendo Switch games on sale at the retailer, including: 

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • Mario Golf: Super Rush
  • Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD
  • Nickelodeon All Star Brawl
  • Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze
  • Super Mario Maker 2
  • Yoshi's Crafted World
  • Pikmin 3 Deluxe

All told, there are roughly 12 full pages of sales, though some games that return for the query don't seem to be on sale, so you'll have to do a bit of minimal sifting. Head over here to check it out.

Best Buy Nintendo Switch Sale

Best Buy has been offering Black Friday deals since mid-October, but it doesn't appear that the retailer is in full-fledged holiday sale mode just yet. There are only a handful of video game deals available through their website as of this writing, and their Black Friday ad hasn't appeared just yet. 

There aren't any Switch-specific deals and frankly, not much of note. 

Walmart Nintendo Switch Deals

Walmart is another retailer that hasn't shared all of its plans for Black Friday 2021 video games, which is slightly odd considering the retailer's ad is already out. Regardless, Wal-Mart will be having an Early Access Black Friday sale for Walmart+ members starting on November 10 at 3 p.m. EST. Early Access is not available to Walmart+ trial members.

There's really no idea what to expect, though it's safe to assume some Switch games will be on sale. 

Those are the Black Friday and before Black Friday Nintendo Switch deals and sales available right now. Bookmark this page, as we'll be updating it throughout the month. Stay tuned. 

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Flexispot 63” Ergonomic Gaming Desk Review: Game Ready https://www.gameskinny.com/2xdqy/flexispot-63-ergonomic-gaming-desk-review-game-ready https://www.gameskinny.com/2xdqy/flexispot-63-ergonomic-gaming-desk-review-game-ready Fri, 17 Sep 2021 18:40:22 -0400 Jonathan Moore

A good gaming desk can go a long way to making any play session better. There are a ton of options out there, but Flexispot’s 63” Ergonomic Gaming Desk makes a good case for being an option you should consider. It’s spacious, sturdy, and provides a few options that could make it stand out in a crowded field at $229.99.

I’ve been using the Ergonomic Gaming Desk for a few weeks now, and it’s certainly an upgrade over my previous Ikea desk — which, to be fair, wasn’t a desk made with gaming in mind. Regardless, I’ve enjoyed my time with this particular Flexispot model.

Flexispot 63” Ergonomic Gaming Desk Review: Game Ready

A render of the Flexispot ergonomic gaming desk showing its dimensions.

The desk measures 63” wide by 28.7” deep. As one of the company’s height-adjustable variations, it can be set to three different heights: 27.6”, 29.5”, and 31.5”. Unlike the Electric Height Adjustable 55” desk, this one doesn’t use motors to change the settings you’ve chosen. Instead, you select a height when putting it together and use bolts to keep it there.

I used a tape measure on my previous desk and then used that measurement to test the height while sitting in my office chair before selecting an option. Admittedly, such a method is a tad cumbersome and not the most efficient way of doing things, but it’s also very nice to have the three different options in the first place.

Resetting the height is relatively easy — just move the bolts — though you’ll need to turn the desk over on its top to readjust, moving all of your gear off of it if you change your mind later.
And while most of the desk assembly can be easily done with one person, you’ll certainly need another person to help attach the crossbeam to the legs.

The black metal legs, feet, transverse beam, and center beam are sturdy and well-made, and the desk comes with four plastic feet pads to keep the desk from sliding on wood or laminate. All of that assembles into a single unit before getting attached to the desktop itself with screws.

The desktop has a nice, smooth black finish that doesn’t seem to be easily scraped, though I’ve not tried purposefully for obvious reasons. The back of the desktop does have a thins, if long, white scratch in it, though, so it’s something to be aware of since both sides carry the same finish.

An angled shot of the ergonomic desk, showing the headset hook and headset, cupholder, monitors.

The desk comes with some nice quality-of-life features, as well: a plastic cup holder, a plastic headphone hook, and a fiber cable management net. All of these attach to the underside of the desk and can be placed on either side. Just as with adjusting the height, make sure that you’re sure which side you want to attach these. They can be removed after assembly, but it can be a bit of a (small) pain.

Since cable management is one of the desk’s bigger selling points, the net requires special attention. It’s made of a black mesh held together with a type of bungee cord that allows it to stretch across one side of the desk (note: the manual I received showed the net on just one side of the desk or the other, though another manual online shows the net going across the length of the desk, which I’ve not tried).

Getting the net to the intended attachment points on one side is a bit of a hassle since the net quickly builds tension when stretched out, but once it is attached, it does a good job of corralling your cables if your computer is on the same side of the net. Otherwise, you will get a bit of dangling underneath the desk and need to add additional support for your cables, which isn’t included.

The desk also has two holes and grommets on either side to help with cable management. The grommets themselves have moveable shutters that can be closed when they’re not in use. These also help to hold down the fully-covered mousepad that comes with the desk.

Made of "3mm thick silicone material in [a] microfiber cloth surface with solid stitch edges,” the mousepad functions well. Its black with red lines design and Flexispot branding (which I could do without) screams “video games;” I think HyperX’s Fury S Pro is a tad more elegant, but this one will likely look just fine with your other gaming peripherals, especially if you have an RGB setup.

It’s also a bit faster (slicker) than my Logitech G Powerplay mat, but its smoothness can be easily overcome with a few DPI tweaks to most any mouse your might be using. Everything being equal, it’s quite nice to have a full-surface pad that covers the entire desk so that even if you are using another pad, you’ll have a smooth surface to land on.

It also helps that the pad is waterproof and wicks any spills into a puddle immediately. I dropped a bit of water on the pad to test it, and it stayed puddled in a single spot for more than an hour before I wiped it up. The one slight negative I have with the pad is that it only attaches to the desktop at the cable management holes in the back and can ripple up along the edges, making for a less than ideal look unless it’s flattened by something heavy.

Two weeks of use, and the pad still hasn't flattened out along the back or on the left and right front corners. Good things (if that bothers you) the pad can be removed and the desk surface is a good alternative.

A small water puddle on the desk's red and black mousepad.
Pet hair shows up on the mousepad easily as well, as you can see.

The primary point of frustration with this Flexispot model (and, to be clear, I’ve not tested or used any of their other desks) is that the manual is confusing and parts bags aren’t labeled correctly. Instead of simply going to the right set of bolts based on the nomenclature on the bags, I had to identify them based on their design and size. Sure, not a huge deal, but plenty of other manufacturers get this right, so it’s an easy quality-of-life fix I’d hope to see made in the future.

To make matters a bit more vexing, some of the instructions call for specific bolts to be used, but they don’t fit in the places they’re meant to go. There were two times I had to deduce that another set of bolts went in a specific location based simply on trial and error. Again, not a monumental con. Just something that would make assembly that much easier.

That said, disassembly is easy. I had put the entire desk together before realizing one of the legs wasn’t secured properly. Taking nearly everything apart, tightening down the leg bolts, and reassembling the entire desk — cup holder, headset hook, and cable management net included — only took about 15 minutes.

Flexispot 63” Ergonomic Gaming Desk Review  The Bottom Line

A full shot of the desk with monitors, computer tower, cup holder, headset hook, and mousepad.

Pros

  • Very sturdy and can hold 176lbs
  • Large surface area perfect for multi-monitor setup
  • Waterproof, full-surface mousepad
  • Headphone hook and cup holder
  • Comfortable desktop

Cons

  • Assembly instructions can be unclear
  • Mousepad can wrinkle, bend at the edges
  • Cable management net could be bigger

All in all, this Flexispot model is sturdy and accommodating. The desk doesn’t wobble, and I’m able to easily fit one 24-inch monitor and one 27-inch monitor, a full-sized keyboard, a mouse, an Xbox Elite controller, and my computer tower on the desk comfortably — and with some room to spare.

The full-desk mousepad is a nice touch and since it’s removable, gives you the option between hard and soft surfaces, should you choose to remove it. Its waterproof design also makes sure spills are contained. It's comfortable for hours of playing games or doing office work, and though the screws on the underside can scratch your legs or clothes, you could swap them out for news ones if so.

Even though I’d prefer the mousepad had a few more connection points to iron out some of the literal wrinkles it has from shipment, and I wish the manual was a bit clearer, it’s hard not to recommend this desk as a good mid-tier option at $229.99. If you’d like to build your own desk, which comes with a number of adds-ons at extra cost  such as mounter mounts cable spines, and even a smart bike trainer stand  head over here.

[Note: Flexispot provided the desk used for this review.]

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Bloodhunt Beginner's Tips & Tricks Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/rhz2b/bloodhunt-beginners-tips-tricks-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/rhz2b/bloodhunt-beginners-tips-tricks-guide Fri, 10 Sep 2021 11:28:00 -0400 Hayes Madsen

Bloodhunt is the latest entry in the Vampire: The Masquerade series, this time dropping players into a massive battle royale on the streets of Prague. If you're familiar with battle royale games you'll know what's going on, but Bloodhunt does introduce a variety of vampiric twists that make it unique. 

With that in mind, here are a few tips and tricks to get you started on you Bloodhunt career. 

Start Each Match With Your Heightened Vision

Heightened Vision is Bloodhunt's equivalent of Detective Vision, and it highlights spots of interest, weapons, consumables, and NPCs. Every time a match kicks off you'll want to pop on your vision and get a quick lay of the land, keeping an eye out for caches of supplies that you can raid. 

You won't have much time before you start running into other players, so you'll want to gear up as quickly as possible. In addition, Heightened Vision will show you Resonant NPCs, which we'll talk about later. 

Make Full Use of Your Archetype Abilities

Archetypes are the characters classes of Bloodhunt and the game currently has six to choose from. Brute and Vandal are offensive focused, Saboteur and Prowler are stealth focused, and Siren and Muse are support focused.

Each Archetype has two unique abilities mapped to Q and E that are on cooldowns when used. You'll want to take some time to get used to the skill of each class and know the more effective way to use them.

For example, the Muse has a healing field that can be deployed in the middle of a firefight to give your team a boost, while Saboteur has a stealth ability that turns them into a cloud of smoke, great for escaping firefights or sneaking up behind enemies.

Instead of jumping around Archetypes, it's best to focus entirely on one until you know it super well. 

Stick to the High Ground

Bloodhunt is a game laser-focused on verticality, as the rooftops of Prague become your hunting grounds. You'll need to spend some time on the ground, of course, to scavenge items or NPCs, but your best bet is to stick to the rooftops as much as possible. 

Roaming around on the ground puts you at a severe disadvantage to those above as it's much easier for them to spot you, and get the drop on you. Once you have enough gear climb the nearest building and check your surroundings, then do your best to stay hidden as you advance through the city. 

Avoid The Entity

While other players are your primary concern, they aren't nearly the only threat in Bloodhunt. Groups of NPCs known as The Entity are dotted all around the map, and they'll immediately gun you down on site. The Entity does guard equipment, but generally it's not worth the risk unless you're really geared up. 

On the map groups of The Entity are marked by red crosses, so you'd be wise to give them a wide berth, especially if you're playing solo. 

Use Resonance and Diablerize

Resonance is a unique system in Bloodhunt that gives you bonuses when you drink the blood of a Resonant NPC. When you use your Heightened Vision these NPCs will have a colored aura that surrounds them, and drinking their blood will grant one slot in the specified Resonance slot. You can read more about how this works in our Blood Resonance guide.

In every match you gain three different Resonance slots, so pick the ones that work best for your playstyle. You can gain more Resonance slots by Diablerizing players, which works like an execution. When an enemy is downed run up to them and hold the F key to Diablerize, which will grant you an extra Resonance slot and pop out all their equipment. 

If You're Playing Team, Revive Your Allies

If you're playing the team-based mode of Bloodhunt it's absolutely essential that you know how to revive your teammates. Allies can, of course, be picked up when downed but there's also a way to revive them completely from death. 

On Bloodhunt's map, there's a series of white crosses surrounded by circles and these mark revival spots. If one or both of your teammates are dead, head to one of the spots on the map and look for a white aura like in the image above. If you run up to the aura and hold F you'll be able to completely revive your teammates, but keep in mind that you're totally defenseless while you do so. 

That is for our tips to Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt. Check out our other guides for Bloodhunt here on GameSkinny.

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PowerA Spectra Infinity Controller Review: Pretty In Pink (And 19 Other Colors) https://www.gameskinny.com/5kwkn/powera-spectra-infinity-controller-review-pretty-in-pink-and-19-other-colors https://www.gameskinny.com/5kwkn/powera-spectra-infinity-controller-review-pretty-in-pink-and-19-other-colors Tue, 10 Aug 2021 13:58:15 -0400 Mark Delaney

Something I've learned from reviewing several controllers over the last few years is just how much better third-party options have gotten. It seemed like when I was a kid, the off-brand controller was the one you let your friend use when they came over for couch co-op, always second fiddle to your first-party controller. But that's no longer always the case.

One of the best examples of the huge strides third-party controllers have taken is the new PowerA Spectra Infinity Xbox controller. It stands out right away for its vibrant display of lights, but the notable features are more than cosmetic.

Offering some Elite-level upgrades, plus those awesome colors, for a fraction of the price of controllers with similar specs, the Spectra Infinity has become my go-to gamepad on my favorite platform.

PowerA Spectra Infinity Controller Review

Out of the box, the first thing I noticed about the Spectra Infinity was not its light show — I hadn't turned those on yet — but its form factor. The Spectra Infinity looks and feels exactly like the Xbox first-party controller.

It has the new social button, an improved, though not identical D-Pad, and the subtly smaller frame of the new Xbox controller. It's virtually identical in both dimensions and top-of-the-pad button layout, with only the somewhat lesser D-Pad and a more bubble-like menu button akin to the 360 days.

But while it's virtually the same if you measured it, layers are added to make it better than the basic Xbox controller. That starts with the textured grip around where your palms go. By now, I find the textured grip to be a necessary starting point of any controller vying to be exceptional, and it feels great with the Spectra Infinity. That's one box checked.

Then there are the onboard mute and volume controls, framed around a reliable and chunky single button where a left tilt turns it down, a right tilt turns it up, and pushing it in mutes your mic and emits a handy but unintrusive red glow denoting that you're muted. 

It's simple and yet so many competitors get this wrong. It's nice to see a veteran company like PowerA intuit how this function should behave at its best and apply it. That's another box checked.

What I didn't expect were some of the Elite-level features. While the Spectra Infinity doesn't offer back paddles, it does have two additional buttons built into the back, which can be easily programmed to copy any button. Playing The Ascent, a rapid-fire action-RPG, I moved my cooldown powers to these back buttons so as not to have to take my fingers off the triggers ever.

The time saved is purely milliseconds to seconds at best, but in this hectic game and especially in more competitive arenas like battle royale games almost all of which I adore — that difference is key. I didn't notice a huge disadvantage to having these be buttons versus paddles.

They come with a noticeable click akin to the shoulder buttons  LR/RB  and they're easy to avoid when you don't want to use them. If you really want to ignore them entirely, you simply don't have to program them to anything, and thus their clicks will do nothing at all.

The Spectra Infinity also includes customizable trigger locks with three distinct settings. At first, I wasn't enjoying the feel of the triggers, until I realized they just weren't set to match my preference. Setting them to the middle option, I found the goldilocks zone for my shooters like Fortnite and PUBG. 

Like the timing of using back buttons versus shoulder buttons, the differences are subtle, but less so when you're in a tough game or a multiplayer battle.

That's why I was pleasantly surprised by the Spectra Infinity. It packs more competitive features into its familiar frame than I expected. On top of those, the colors, while just cosmetic, are fitting of a gaming era defined by customization and looking unique. With three regions to assign one of 20 colors each, the possibilities are vast and the results always look great on the matte black frame.

I had fun matching the controller to the game tile of whatever I was playing, as you can see here. It's vibrant but never distracting, neon but not kitschy. It did take me a minute to understand how changing and locking in the colors works even with the manual that explains it, but after I did it once, it made sense. It's just not quite as intuitive as programming the back buttons.

The only glaring flaw I've come across with the controller is its braided cord. As I understand it, only Microsoft is permitted to make wireless Xbox controllers, which is why third parties always have theirs use a cord. A sturdy, braided, 10-foot cord has become the industry standard, it seems, and that's usually enough, but for some reason, the Spectra Infinity's cord tangles more often than similar controller cords I've been testing this year.

I haven't any clue why this is. In my hands, the cord feels like any competitor's, but this one, in particular, has required me to unplug it several times so I could untangle the cord like headphones from one's pocket.

As there's no wireless option, this could really hurt the usefulness of the Spectra Infinity, but after nearly two weeks with the controller, I'd say it's more of a recurring nuisance than a dealbreaker. It's easy enough to fix. It just feels like it shouldn't happen in the first place.

PowerA Spectra Infinity Review — The Bottom Line

Pros

  • Vibrant, customizable lights with many options
  • Some Elite-level features like back buttons and trigger locks
  • On-board volume control is well-designed and very handy
  • Mimics the first-party form factor precisely

Cons

  • D-Pad isn't as satisfying as the Microsoft version
  • Braided cord gets tangled easily

The PowerA Spectra Infinity for Xbox is a controller that looks flashy but earns it with a familiar yet mostly improved form factor. I love the onboard volume control and wish it would become a new standard. The colors are merely for show, but they look awesome and make the controller a fun gift for another Xbox or PC player in your life — I'll be getting another for my son.

The Spectra Infinity feels like a tricked-out first-party controller, with smart and stylish add-ons like a live-service player who spent lots of in-game currency. The whole package being just $45, much cheaper than most standard Xbox controllers while offering non-standard features, ranks this controller among the best and most affordable third-party options you can find.

[Note: PowerA provided the Spectra Infinity controller used for this review.]

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Roccat Pyro Keyboard Review: A Slick, Premium Keyboard with Minor Faults https://www.gameskinny.com/bgyxv/roccat-pyro-keyboard-review-a-slick-premium-keyboard-with-minor-faults https://www.gameskinny.com/bgyxv/roccat-pyro-keyboard-review-a-slick-premium-keyboard-with-minor-faults Fri, 23 Jul 2021 16:25:03 -0400 ChrisPenwell

Over the past few weeks, I've been testing the Roccat Pyro mechanical keyboard with games like Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection. 

It's an excellent keyboard overall, though it does stumble in a few areas. 

Being able to proficiently tap keys to beat up a troll or quickly crouch for a perfect shot is what you'd expect from a top-of-the-line keyboard. While the Roccat Pyro delivers on those essentials and a few others, including comfort, it can be tough to use for some players. 

Because of the firmer build, it can be tougher to type at first. I tested both my standard Acer Nitro 5 keyboard and the Roccat Pyro. Initially, my typing speed was worse, but as you get adjusted to the firm build quality of the Pyro, it regained to a normal rate. 

Often I stumble with the mechanical keyboard due to the gap distance between keys. At points with Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance, I fumbled the R button and activated my ultimate prematurely. While adjusting to the mechanical keyboard can take time, I'd recommend giving yourself some time to get used to the different feel of the Roccat Pyro.

However, it still feels difficult with my left hand to hold down the CTRL key to crouch while moving with the WASD keys. This is especially apparent when playing a tactical shooter like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The gap is quite severe, and I doubt I'll get used to that feeling as a predominantly console gamer. 

The Roccat Pyro feels excellent to control characters in the games I've tested.  It helped me dodge attacks from goblins in Dark Alliance with ease or line-up shots in Halo. It doesn't feel as awkward to move diagonally anymore like prior keyboards have in the past for me. 

As a freelance writer, hand strain is a huge factor for me. I often feel my hand cramp up while gaming for long hours, and I'm sure you want some sort of comfort if you have an office job as well.

Thankfully, with the Pyro keyboard, it comes with a slick detachable palm rest that feels sturdy when placed down. It can be easily installed by clipping it to the bottom of the keyboard, and while using it, my hands have more surface area to type. It eases the pain and should also help with those long gameplay sessions of Rainbow Six Siege, League of Legends, and Call of Duty: Warzone.

While the palm rest can be installed with ease, that also comes with the caveat of it coming loose too. With a slight adjustment of the keyboard, the rest easily slips off. With future iterations, the palm rest should be firmly locked into place.

The clacky sound that a mechanical keyboard can give is music to any writer or gamer. It gives you a satisfying feel on your fingers and the sound confirms the premium nature of this $99.99 product.

If you care more for the style of the keyboard, the look of the Roccat Pyro is slick. With a program you can install from the official website called Roccat Swarm, you can alter your RGB setup. The following are available for you to try:

  • AIMO Intelligent Lighting 
  • Wave 
  • Snake 
  • Fully Lit 
  • Heartbeat 2.0
  • Breathing
  • Fade FX
  • Ripple FX
  • Custom Mode

The free software is very useful and user-friendly. In the key illumination section, it gives you a preview of the lighting effects. Almost every setting looks cool, and if you want to brag about your setup, this is a good way to wow friends and family as the RGB lighting is quite bright, especially at night. 

You can also set five different profiles. You can add an image to each profile to make them stand out and switch them on the fly, making the process easy. A neat thing is that you can have your keyboard profile auto switch as it opens your designated games. Just link the .exe of the program, and you're good to go in the profile manager of Roccat Swarm.

Setting up macros is also easy as it gives a long list of functions you can add to an established key. Features like turning off the PC, changing the DPI, changing keyboard profiles, opening an application, and more can be mapped to the board. There is also an Easy Shift function that lets the WASD keys have a second function when the shift key is held. 

The AIMO lighting is hit and miss for me, though. While playing Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance, the colors change according to the environment. For example, if my character is close to a flame, the keyboard goes red. If I'm in a grassy area, it goes green. While I'd look mostly at my screen during gameplay, it's a nice touch, especially when it's dark when you could see the lighting better in your peripheral vision.

However, sometimes it didn't work and at some points displayed purple in a forest area where that color isn't present at all. I'd also like it to react faster to what's happening in-game as there's a slight delay.

In addition, the software, Roccat Swarm, doesn't do a great job of explaining what AIMO can do either with a vague description. After some marketing buzzwords, it just says that it presents "fluid, nature-inspired scenarios." After researching it, I'm still scratching my head, and the April Fool's video that's the top result on YouTube makes this feature even more confusing.

The Roccat Pyro feels sturdy with its brushed aluminum plate and claims that the switches have a lifespan of 50 million keystrokes each. The cable is 1.8m long and easily touches the floor from my desk, and you'll know which cable it is as the end has a keyboard symbol on it. Nice touch.

Another beneficial feature of the Roccat Pyro keyboard is the volume wheel on the top right. Without any hardware installation, it instantly can roll the volume up or down based on a simple twist of the nozzle.

As a relatively new PC gamer, I've always found out it frustrating to boot out of the game with the windows key and then click on the volume wheel to turn the volume down. Now, saving my ears from absolute destruction, I can simply bring the volume to a comfortable level with ease with the nozzle on the right. 

Roccat Pyro Keyboard Review — The Bottom Line

Pros

  • A satisfying, premium feel to the keys
  • Anti-ghosting functionality works like a dream 
  • The volume wheel 
  • Cool RGB lighting that is relatively bright, especially at night
  • Palm rest really helps with hand strain

Cons

  • Space between WASD and CTRL is quite wide 
  • AIMO software can be unclear
  • The palm rest can slip off easily

I'm slipping my feet (or fingers in this case) into the world of PC gaming, and after trying this mechanical keyboard, I cannot go back to the norm. While the palm rest slips off and the keys can be too wide for my own liking, the Roccat Pyro keyboard gives you a premium feel for typing and gameplay.

It also helps to have a slick RGB lighting set with the Roccat Swarm software. The Pyro can appeal to gamers who need proper setups with their competitive titles with its multiple profile options, and the Custom Mode gives you the freedom to separate colors on the layout. This is a keyboard most PC users would love, and I highly recommend it. 

[Note: Roccat provided the Pyro keyboard used for this review.]

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Backbone One Review: Nothing Short Of Essential https://www.gameskinny.com/k0794/backbone-one-review-nothing-short-of-essential https://www.gameskinny.com/k0794/backbone-one-review-nothing-short-of-essential Mon, 12 Jul 2021 08:47:42 -0400 Mark Delaney

Mobile gaming has come a long way since the inception of the App Store and merchants like it. For many years, to play a game on your phone meant to grudgingly accept an ad-laden hellscape where constant microtransactions and unwieldy touch controls scared off anyone but the most Candy Crush-obsessed.

While services like Xbox Game Pass and Apple Arcade have done well to clean up those first two issues, it's been left up to others to solve the controller problem. With the Backbone One, the problem is solved.

Right on time for players to enjoy the swiftly improving mobile gaming platform of the iPhone, the Backbone One controller feels like a must-have. Simply put, there's no going back.

Backbone One Review: Nothing Short Of Essential

Front facing shot of the Backbone One connected to an iPhone, Xbox Game Pass on the screen.

The Backbone One is a mobile games controller that expands and contracts to snugly fit your iPhone in its clutches, giving it the near-identical form factor of a Nintendo Switch. At about 10 inches wide when extended and weighing just under five ounces sans phone, the Backbone is unimposing as an accessory, making it all the more likely you'll never need to leave it behind, which is great because you won't want to.

The Backbone One has no internal battery of its own and instead uses a low-power draw from your iPhone to sustain itself. In my week with the controller, I found my phone did not lose battery noticeably faster than it would if I was intensely playing for long sessions without it.

That too is a huge plus, because even for an avid mobile gamer like me, there's historically been an upper limit to how much I'd be willing to play some games when all I had available were the faulty virtual controls of many games. So long as your mobile game accepts controller input, it seems the Backbone One is seamlessly compatible.

This ranges from App Store-native games like Oceanhorn 2 and thatgamecompany's Sky, both of which otherwise suffer from touch controls, to console and PC streaming services like Game Pass, Stadia, and GeForce Now. The drastically improving versatility of the iPhone itself is supplemented tenfold by the advent of a controller so ergonomically brilliant.

Three shots of the Backbone One; one attached to a phone playing Sea of Thieves, one empty, and one from the back of the device.

It's pretty easy to see what the Backbone team had in mind. More than just in size and weight, the Backbone feels just like a Switch in one's hands. So much so that for the first day that I found myself pressing its B button instead of the more menu-critical A button, my mind tricked into thinking I was holding Nintendo's beloved handheld on many occasions.

The subtle outward slant down the side of the would-be joy-con improves the grip of the controller as compared to its obvious inspirator. 

Adopting the Xbox's button layout, players on Xbox or PC will quickly find it familiar, with four face buttons (clockwise from the top, YBAX), two shoulder triggers and a pair of accompanying bumpers, a D-Pad in the bottom left, and the offset joysticks with their own LS/RS clicking functionality.

Clearly designed to erase any potential hassle of games being lost in translation from one format to another, the Backbone One smartly adopts the predominant controller configuration, and with it, welcomes all players new and returning to a world of mobile games.

All of this mimicry is aided by sturdy craftsmanship. The controller doesn't feel cheap in the slightest. Its contracting center snaps back into place reliably and every button, trigger, and bumper feels  I'll say it again  just like a Switch. I've used mobile controllers before that felt cheap, but I accepted it then as the best there was. The Backbone raises the bar and ensures I will be more critical of competitors going forward. 

The Backbone One app, capture trimming Halo gameplay.

The Backbone comes with its own app, which, while not at all mandatory, is a good transit center for players who may not know where to start. From it, players can branch out into one of the many game streaming services or check out downloadable games that will immediately recognize the controller.

With a built-in headphone jack, unintrusive lightning cable pass-through for phone charging, and a notification button, it feels like the Backbone team has truly thought of almost everything. It even offers a social button so players can easily capture and share clips and screenshots. 

If there's any downside, it's the fact that the Backbone doesn't allow for protective cases to stay on while in use. I never, ever like to take my iPhone out of its hard shell, and it's been an adjustment doing so with this otherwise immaculate controller.

Admittedly, the design of the peripheral does suggest there's maybe no way around this, but I wonder if the team that thought of just about everything could improve on this one missing feature in any future version two.

As if Backbone One users would not already enjoy an embarrassment of riches from the controller's physical features, right now, the Backbone One includes three months of Xbox Game Pass for all new subscribers at no extra charge. At $45 itself, that would be half the price of the $99 controller, but instead, it's gifted thanks to a recent partnership between Backbone and the newly mobile-focused Xbox team.

Backbone One Review — The Bottom Line

Xbox Game Pass home screen featuring Forza Horizon 4 and Halo.

Pros

  • Near-perfect form factor borrowing heavily from the most successful predecessors
  • Fully featured with a dedicated app, social/share button, and spaces for headphones and charging
  • New-in-box Xbox Game Pass subscription is icing on the cake
  • Immediately, irreversibly, and drastically improves mobile gaming

Cons

  • Must be used without your iPhone's protective case

The first moment I set my phone into the Backbone's shell, the accessory earned its name. The Backbone One feels foundational for anyone looking to get the most out of their mobile gaming hobby.

Be it with games downloaded from the App Store or streamed using one of several emerging major and minor competitors, I could not  and will not  fathom playing controller-compatible games on my phone without the Backbone ever again.

Mobile gaming has taken many leaps forward simply on its own merits  better games, improved visuals, more reasonable economies, etc. But now an outsider has delivered an accessory that allows for mobile gaming to take perhaps its biggest leap forward to date. The Backbone will make believers out of mobile gaming naysayers while rewarding devotees with their best experience yet.

[Note: Backbone provided the Backbone One controller used for this review.]

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Genki ShadowCast Review: Best Left in the Shadows https://www.gameskinny.com/0ym21/genki-shadowcast-review-best-left-in-the-shadows https://www.gameskinny.com/0ym21/genki-shadowcast-review-best-left-in-the-shadows Tue, 22 Jun 2021 10:29:24 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Human Things, makers of the Covert Switch Dock, now have another solution to one of the Switch’s main problems: connecting to a PC and capturing footage. The Genki ShadowCast is designed to fix both of these issues, and though it's marketed specifically for the Nintendo Switch, it works with other consoles from PlayStation and Microsoft.

Unlike the Covert Dock, however, the ShadowCast falls short on all its promises and embodies the word “budget.”

Genki ShadowCast Review: Best Left in the Shadows

The Genki ShadowCast thumbstick on a white platform on yellow background.

The Genki ShadowCast works in a few different ways. One of the primary draws is letting you display your Switch screen on a monitor or laptop, as ShadowCast is currently the only way to do that. It’s a simple process involving a USB-C to USB-A adapter that comes with it. 

The cord is fairly short, so you’d want a dedicated space for your ShadowCast setup if possible. It’s less of a problem with a desktop computer since you can just plunk your dock or PS5 on the floor near your tower. Things get a bit more cluttered if you’re using a laptop, though.

If you’re expecting the same upscaling you get when the Switch is docked and connected to a TV, you shouldn’t. ShadowCast's resolution is capped at 720p. While it offers a slight improvement for games running at lower resolutions in handheld mode — Xenoblade Chronicles 2 or Age of Calamity, for example — everything else looks the same. Just bigger.

The Switch’s only HDMI port is on the dock, which makes the setup a bit more unwieldy than I’d have liked, though that’s a Switch hardware issue and not a ShadowCast issue. If anything, it’s just encouragement to use Genki’s Covert Dock instead. Don’t go buy one of those just yet, though.

ShadowCast works with other consoles as well, so long as they have an HDMI port (so basically anything modern), though there’s only one reason you’d use ShadowCast for other consoles. It also functions as a budget capture card you can use with existing streaming software such as OBS. 

You’ll have to figure out how it works on your own, though. The user manual essentially just says “plug it in,” and the Genki Arcade app has no instructions (and doesn’t even let you install a shortcut). The app is also pretty barebones in general: a blank screen with a settings option that lets you toggle between performance and resolution mode. That's it. 

A diagram of the Genki ShadowCast showing connection points and instructions.

Most other cards have options for adjusting audio and other features to suit your needs and resolve issues that might crop up during a stream or a recording session. ShadowCast doesn’t offer such features, but it certainly needs them.

The audio is invariably poor, whether it’s coming through a set of headphones, connected to speakers, or via a laptop’s built-in speakers. Sometimes background elements, including music, cut out completely, leaving you with just vocal tracks or sound effects.

I’ve heard others say they resolved the problem by rebooting the app. However, it never worked for me on any of the consoles I tested (PlayStation 5, Switch, and Xbox Series S).

Shadowcast also suffers from performance and lag issues regardless of the setting you use. Capture cards almost always have display lag issues, but ShadowCast has an input lag problem. While it was never enough to ruin what I was playing at the time, it's still noticeable and shouldn't be there.

Camera movement is laggy and choppy in resolution mode, especially if there’s a lot to render, though some choppiness lingers even in performance mode. I noticed the worst issues with more recent games, such as RE Village on PS5, though it was present in older and less demanding games too.

Speaking of modes, I’m not really sure what resolution mode is there for. The only change you’ll likely notice is an increase in choppy movements, since the visuals hardly change, although you could encounter a few bugs even just trying to switch modes. On a few occasions, it stopped streaming the game feed and activated my built-in webcam instead.

Genki ShadowCast Review — The Bottom Line

A ShadowCast on red background next to a Switch, DSLR camera, and Mac laptop.

Pros

  • Lets you stream Switch gameplay to your monitor or laptop

Cons

  • Tinny, compressed audio that often cuts out completely
  • Low-resolution cap
  • Resolution mode has no discernable point
  • Barebones, buggy app
  • Lag problems

All this and the cap on visual fidelity make ShadowCast a big missed opportunity considering the market it wants to reach. Human Things bills it as an alternative to the likes of Elgato and says you, too, can be an influencer with the affordable Shadowcast.

Affordable shouldn’t mean half-baked, and users shouldn’t be punished with a product that hardly does what it advertises. It’s surprising and disappointing after seeing Human Things fulfill its promise with the Covert Dock, but perhaps ShadowCast was just rushed too quickly.

[Note: Genki provided the ShadowCast unit used for this review.]

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Panic Inc. Announces Playdate Pre Order Date, Price https://www.gameskinny.com/kpi8d/panic-inc-announces-playdate-pre-order-date-price https://www.gameskinny.com/kpi8d/panic-inc-announces-playdate-pre-order-date-price Thu, 10 Jun 2021 10:53:44 -0400 Josh Broadwell

We finally have a better idea of the Playdate pre order window thanks to a recent Playdate update presentation. Panic Inc. announced Playdate pre-orders will begin in July, and they'll give a week's advance notice of when the firm date will be.

The Playdate price is set at $179 and will get 24 free games over time. Two new games will be released every week for three months, including games from Katamari Damacy developer Keita Takahashi.

Additionally, Panic announced a joint initiative with Sweet Baby Inc., a self-described "narrative development company" that wants to "make games better, more meaningful, and more inclusive."

The partnership will help two teams comprised of people from less represented groups develop their first games.

If you don't snag your Playdate pre order right away, don't fret. Panic said they won't close pre orders and will continue manufacturing them until all orders are fulfilled. That said, later pre orders will naturally take longer to fulfill, particularly with parts shortages affecting Pladate manufacturing.

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RIG 500 Pro HC Gen 2 Headset Review: A Smart Beginner's Headset https://www.gameskinny.com/gfpuv/rig-500-pro-hc-gen-2-headset-review-a-smart-beginners-headset https://www.gameskinny.com/gfpuv/rig-500-pro-hc-gen-2-headset-review-a-smart-beginners-headset Fri, 28 May 2021 12:44:52 -0400 Mark Delaney

While controllers are compatible with most headphones that use the 3.5mm jack, there comes a time to step up one's game and invest in a real gaming headset. Eventually, for a certain kind of player, your earbuds just won't cut it anymore.

Once you've made that leap, the wide price range can be daunting. Gaming headsets can start from as little as $20 to as much as several hundred, so the buying proposition is less about cost and more about value. 

I've used many high-end headsets in my time, and they tend to hold up. I've also used some cheaper options, and they can come with their share of issues too great to justify. But that's not the case with the RIG 500 Pro Gen 2. For those getting their first pair of gaming headphones, or for those who need a versatile backup plan, it makes a strong case for your attention.

RIG 500 Pro HC Gen 2 Headset Review: A Smart Beginner's Headset

Right away, you'll maybe notice the RIG 500 Pro has a very similar form factor to the 700 Pro, which has become customary for RIG's products over the years. The nice thing here is that the 500 Pro, despite being half the price of its allegedly better sibling, features a partially metal frame. This is totally lacking in the 700, but the Gen 2 design of the 500 feels sturdier and more mature as a result. 

RIG wants to stand out from the Astros and Turtle Beaches it's next to on every in-store and digital shelf, and in your hands, the 500 Pro feels like a wiser, safer choice.

It's comfortable too, offering the brand's traditional self-sizing head strap that retracts or extends to fit virtually anyone's head. My eight-year-old son and I have been sharing the headset during my review time with it, and it's a small but appreciated feature to not have to resize it with each swap.

Another nice feature it has that the 700 doesn't have is a flip-to-mute mic. In live multiplayer, it's always better to have such a feature than search for a mute button on your earcup. The 500 Pro features inline volume control and reliably locks into place at full volume if you want it to, so no brushes against your shirt or from pets climbing on you can adjust your settings.

When you don't need the mic, it detaches easily too. I'm someone who plays even my single-player games with a headset just for their immersive qualities, so I like being able to take off the mic when it's not needed.

Certainly, the very best part about the 500 Pro is its two-year Dolby Atmos activation key included in the package. While this is a step down from other recent RIG products that offer lifetime access, the 500 Pro is best used by beginners looking to get their first gaming headset. With that in mind, you may want to replace it or make it your Plan B before that license expires anyway. Of course, if you wanted to extend it, you could do that by using the built-in app on consoles and PC.

In today's landscape, 3D audio is absolutely critical for a good headset, and it's pretty remarkable to see a peripheral like this  with an MSRP of $60  offer such a standout feature. Having said that, the audio quality overall is a step down from the RIG 700, which makes sense given their price delta, but it still came as a bit of a surprise, since in several other ways this is actually the better value between the two.

There is a distinct drop-off in audio fidelity with the 500 Pro  ambient noises and those at the forefront of a game blended together more  which isn't what you want in a headset. Like its doubly-priced sibling, the 500 Pro also doesn't cancel external noise as well as it should.

RIG wants to position itself as a brand for competitive gamers, but I can't recommend the 500 Pro to such players, because they'll still have to battle in-house distractions like garbage trucks outside, kids running around the house, or whatever else may be in one's vicinity. That's not to mention a competitive setting. 

One of my favorite genres is battle royale, so I always run every review headset through the battle royale test. In that genre more than all others, I feel directional, crystal-clear audio is vital.

I only made it a few rounds with the 500 Pro before I swapped to another similarly priced headset, albeit one that lacks some of the 500 Pro's better features, like inline volume. But ultimately, that sound profile is key to separating the good headsets from the great ones  those you can rely on to deliver critical in-game info, and those that are just putting speakers on your head  and in that way, the 500 Pro will maybe let you down.

Still, it's odd to see how this headset does sometimes outperform those in its own family that are allegedly better. You could get two 500 Pros for the price of one 700 Pro, and given the 500's versatility, maybe you should.

The 500 Pro HC works with not just Xbox and PC, but also PlayStation platforms, laptops, phones, and anything else really. In tethering players with a 4.9-foot wire, the 500 Pro maybe doesn't seem as cutting-edge as some other headsets, but it's able to stay multifaceted, and at $60, you're probably not going to find a wireless headset anyway.

RIG 500 Pro HC Gen 2 Headset Review — The Bottom Line

Pros

  • Durable, comfortable frame
  • Dolby Atmos 3D audio at a bargain price
  • Flip-to-mute, detachable mic makes for a great starter headset

Cons

  • Lacks proper noise cancellation for competitive play
  • Inline volume slide feels out of place and cheaper than the rest of the headset

The RIG 500 Pro HC Gen 2 offers a better form factor and some desired features that its more expensive sibling and some competitors don't have, like the flip-to-mute mic and Dolby Atmos 3D sound respectively, but it ultimately doesn't deliver a sound profile reliable enough to convince me this should be anyone's preferred headset for games like Warzone, Overwatch or PUBG. 

When the game is on the line, the 500 Pro may leave you hanging. However, as an entry-level headset, with a price tag that of a single new game and a shelf life of at least a few quality years of social multiplayer or immersive single-player, it's a much wiser choice.

[Note: Nacon provided the RIG 500 Pro HC Gen 2 headset used for this review.]

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Turtle Beach Recon 500 Headset Review: A Great Value For $80 https://www.gameskinny.com/yepev/turtle-beach-recon-500-headset-review-a-great-value-for-80 https://www.gameskinny.com/yepev/turtle-beach-recon-500-headset-review-a-great-value-for-80 Thu, 27 May 2021 00:15:01 -0400 ChrisPenwell

Leaping into the fields of combat, you'll need a handy headset to lead you to victory. While an in-game gun or a sword is definitely needed to best your foes, having a Turtle Beach Recon 500 in your kit can heighten your gameplay.

The headset's new dual drivers provide an immense amount of audio detail for the $80 price tag, and the form factor is excellent, especially for big-headed players like me. But what about the rest of the headset? Is it up to the test? 

Turtle Beach Recon 500 Headset Review: A Great Value For $80

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 shines in stressful in-game situations. A perfect example comes from a Call of Duty: Warzone match I played with a friend while testing the headset.

Down and out for the count, my friend was defending me to the very end. Thanks to the Recon 500, I heard distant footsteps on the far right side and could determine the diagonal source of the sound. With a wall in front of me and no vision at all, I was able to pinpoint their location in relation to my friend and warned him. Thanks to my callout, he was able to wipe the enemy out before they even saw him.

That's the moment when this headset wowed me, and you'll certainly have an advantage over other players with this budget-friendly peripheral.

What helped in this specific instance was the Recon 500 microphone. My friend reported that the audio was crystal clear and drained out the background noise, putting front and center what's truly important: your voice. Turtle Beach says that the Recon 500 delivers the quality that a professional gamer would hope for, and if my experience is anything to go by, that's exactly what this headset does.

In the PlayStation 5 exclusive roguelike Returnal, for example, you can hear every sound effect in crisp detail, despite the deep tones of the music and the overbearing nature of the action on screen. You can hear the pitter-patter of the rain hitting your helmet, the terrifying growls of every weird sci-fi creature (and where they're coming from), and the heavy pounding of each round being fired.

Overall, the Recon 500 offers a complex, enriching, and deeply bassy sound compared to other headsets I've used, such as the Gold Wireless Headset from PlayStation and the Razer Kraken X. The word "immersive" is overused in the gaming industry, but it perfectly fits what Turtle Beach offers here.

In another frenetic game I tested, Kingdom Hearts 3, the Recon 500 performed well yet again. While fighting the heartless, there are a lot of sound effects going on. Yoko Shimomura's glorious battle theme plays, Donald casts spells, and Goofy hyucks around the clash. It's all noisy, but I could still hear the heartless' attacks from yards away and knew exactly where they were coming from. Once the dust settled, I could detect the party's feet crunching in the snow beneath the loud music.

What helps the headset pick up these low-frequency and high-frequency sounds is the all-new patented dual drivers that Turtle Beach claims provide "ultra-detailed gaming audio across a massive soundstage." From my experience, it delivers that in spades; the cavalcade of sounds is impressively clear.

The superb sound imaging is also attributed to the wood composite earcup design that, according to Turtle Beach, "lends to enhanced acoustics" and a more realistic tone. While I'm no audio connoisseur, I do appreciate the rich audio that the headset offers.

Despite the excellent sound quality in Call of Duty: Warzone and Returnal, the quality of sounds in Fortnite was somewhat of a different story.

It could have been my audio settings or the game itself, but I found the positioning of the sounds jarring with this headset. As a nearby car blared out music, the sound was completely focused in the left earcup and was overwhelming. It roughly transitioned from left to right and sounded far too severe. With some games, your mileage may vary with the Recon 500, but with around six other games tested with this headset, Fortnite was the only outlier.

In addition to the strange sound sampling with Fortnite, the Recon 500's noise-canceling feature isn't as effective as you might like. I could still hear the TV in my living room as I watched a YouTube video on the Nintendo Switch. Your situation may vary depending on various factors, such as your setup. Still, if I were playing a portable game around my family, for example, the lack of noise-canceling would take me out of the gameplay experience. 

Durable But Not So Comfortable

As a glasses wearer, it's often uncomfortable to wear a headset as my glasses slip and slide against the material. Thankfully, due to Turtle Beach's lightweight frame, the Recon 500 is glasses-friendly; your specs will snugly fit between your ears and the headset. 

I've broken many a headset in my time since I have a huge head. In the past, the frames of PlayStation's line of plastic headphones and the Razer Kraken X snapped didn't hold up. I'm also hard-wearing with my headsets as they often fall off my small table. They often snap or simply stop working due to my unfortunate mishandling of the product.

Luckily for me, the Recon 500 headset is rock solid with its metal-reinforced headband. Also, the wood composite ear cups feel premium. The frame itself is metallic, and the plastic on top is hard, but it surprisingly stretches quite a ways to fit various head shapes. My big head can fit comfortably in the frame.

The 0.76m thick cable has a woven design, so it would not be prone to wear and tear, either. It also doesn't tangle easily from my experience so far. 

However, something that is slightly concerning is that the wire attaching the rounded earcups to the frame is slightly bent at all times. It wasn't a problem in my time with the headset, but it could become an issue with extensive use or over many hours of play. 

After a few hours of use, the headset begins to feel heavy, and I can feel the weight bearing down on the sides of my noggin. Despite that heaviness, the bottoms of the earcups feel loose around my larger earlobes. On a hot summer's day in a small room, your head will likely roast wearing this headset. Turtle Beach should have a fan add-on available for purchase...

All jokes aside, while the memory foam cushioning around the speakers is comfortable, the overall weight might be a downside for you. 

Something to keep in mind is that there's only a wired option for this line of Turtle Beach headsets. That alone may be a big turn-off for those who desire a wireless headset, especially at the price range. Those who have phones and don't have a headphone jack may also want to steer clear if they want to use this accessory as an all-in-one audio solution. 

On the other hand, one of its strengths is that you can take this on the go and look good while doing so if you have a phone with a jack. The microphone can be detached at any time, so you won't look silly with it hanging out like the Razer Kraken X.

The arctic white style is slick and has a unique pattern that will make you stand out; they're not as stylish as Beats or the biggest headset brands like Sennheiser, but you surely won't be laughed out of the building. 

Turtle Beach Recon 500 Review — The Bottom Line

Pros
  • Impressive audio quality that picks up all the little details
  • Durable for even the biggest head
  • Crystal clear microphone that can be removed
Cons
  • Feels a little heavy after a few hours of use
  • Memory foam should help, but it can get hot
  • Noise-canceling isn't as effective as you'd like

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 is a great and sturdy headset slightly betrayed by its heavy design and lack of cooling. 

[Note: Turtle Beach provided the Recon 500 unit used for this review.]

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RIG 700 Pro HX Headset Review: Rich Sound, But Missing Some Features https://www.gameskinny.com/gnazt/rig-700-pro-hx-headset-review-rich-sound-but-missing-some-features https://www.gameskinny.com/gnazt/rig-700-pro-hx-headset-review-rich-sound-but-missing-some-features Mon, 24 May 2021 15:23:48 -0400 Mark Delaney

Paradoxically, reviewing headsets can feel harder the more you do it. At least, that's been my experience. As one assesses more and more gaming headsets, the differences can sometimes become subtler, the gaps between mediocre, good, and great becoming ever greater white noise in one's ears.

But in that process, certain features also have a habit of proving themselves to be vital to any quality headset. I've long put a lot of weight into 3D audio. Headsets that use it are immediately a step above those that don't, and the RIG 700 HX unleashes that important feature.

However, it lacks another feature that I've come to understand is just as important: active noise-canceling. Without it, this headset sits firmly in the good territory, but a step below great.

RIG 700 Pro HX Headset Review: Rich Sound, But Missing Some Features

The RIG Pro 700 offers a few SKUs, but the HX I've been playing with is compatible with PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S. Out of the box, the RIG 700 Pro HX sports the same exoskeleton design many of the brand's headsets offer, which gives it a decidedly "gamer" look and feel. I'm fine with that personally, even as it's not my preference, but it makes up for that with its self-adjusting sizing strap, which elasticizes like basketball shorts to fit many head shapes and sizes.

The frame is plastic, which is a disappointment compared to the much cheaper RIG Pro 500, which includes a metal frame. I did wonder if that's because the 500 is in its Gen 2 form now, and thus maybe the next iteration of the 700 will get the same material upgrade.

On the cups, the Pro 700 features most of what players would expect. Comfortable and lightweight as they both are, the left cup also features several physical buttons for players to adjust on the fly, saving crucial time that would otherwise have to be spent in the Xbox or in-game menus. 

Players can adjust the game-audio-to-chat-audio mix, turn the volume up or down, and mute the headset, though the last control was a bit annoying to find and, as usual, not as convenient as flipping up the mic.

That mic is removable, which is nice, albeit almost expected these days, and best of all, the headset is wireless and functional up to 30 feet. I'm not joking when I say that's a helpful range for a bathroom or snack break that keeps you in the party chat. It connects via a USB-A dongle, and the battery lasts 12 hours, according to the team. In my tests, that seemed spot-on. I was really impressed with how long I could play on a single charge and even abandoned my usual policy of charging my device right when I'm done with it, knowing I still had plenty of time to go.

The downside of the headset being wireless is the charger connects via micro-USB, which never felt so sturdy during its time as the go-to port for devices, and now in the USB-C era just feels especially dated. 

Another huge feature is that 3D audio I mentioned. Using Dolby Atmos and the compatible app on Xbox consoles, it's extremely easy to customize your sound setup, either using different genre defaults or fully customizing your own sound profiles.

A mic that is lightweight, comfortable, and wireless is the foundation of something special, and the inclusion of lifetime Dolby Atmos access really starts to separate the headset from the competition, but sadly, the lack of active noise control reels it back a bit.

RIG intends to position itself as the brand for competitive players, and I always like to put all my reviewed headsets through the battle royale test, playing things like PUBG, Fortnite, and Warzone, to see how it stacks up in games where every step counts so much because it could be your last.

While the 3D audio provides a rich, full soundscape that, on its own, isn't less advantageous than that of much pricier headsets I've tested, the inabiltiy to cancel external noise really got in my way. When you've got kids running around and a partner working from home, that noise cancellation is so important, and the Pro 700 HX can't really help players dealing with similarly busy environments.

I can't fathom anyone using the Pro 700 HX at a tournament setting, and while few ever sit on stage and play games for cash and glory like that, many more do expect a headset to be as competitive as they are, and this is really where the $120 Pro 700 faulters most.

Still, headsets need to be compared to those in their price range, and among the most ubiquitous brands like the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 ($30 more), the RIG Pro 700 outshines the competition. It's also simply the case that I've used cheaper sets that outshine either of them. 

RIG 700 Pro HX Headset Review — The Bottom Line

Pros

  • Long-lasting wireless connection
  • Lifetime access Dolby Atmos 3D audio
  • Plenty of options buttons built onto the left ear cup
  • Self-sizing and comfortable

Cons

  • Poor noise-cancellation demands a quiet external environment
  • Plastic frame feels cheaper than even headsets in its own family of devices
  • Mute button can be hard to find due to placement and lack of texturing

While games are a matter of taste, most people reading headset reviews just want to know: is it worth my money? At $120, the RIG Pro 700 HX dips into the competitive price range and offers much of what such a buyer is looking for, even throwing in nice bonuses like the lifetime Dolby Atmos 3D. But it's not the fully-featured peripheral some will expect at that price.

Without proper noise-cancellation and built into a plastic frame, the Pro 700 HX feels like it has one foot in and one foot out of the market it wants to dominate. This is definitely still a good headset, and a better option than some of its biggest rivals, but for $120, serious players can also find better with money left over for more games too.

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Destiny 2 Upgrade Modules: How to Get Them https://www.gameskinny.com/n5ziv/destiny-2-upgrade-modules-how-to-get-them https://www.gameskinny.com/n5ziv/destiny-2-upgrade-modules-how-to-get-them Fri, 21 May 2021 18:48:34 -0400 Justin Koreis

One of the most important tasks for a Guardian in a new season of Destiny 2 is increasing the level of your weapons and armor. You could just equip whatever gear randomly drops, but eventually you will want your favorite pieces to level up with you. That is where Destiny 2’s Upgrade Modules come in.  

Upgrade Modules are consumables that allow you to take the light level of one weapon or armor and apply it to another of the same category. Helmets can upgrade helmets, kinetic weapons can upgrade other kinetic weapons, and so on.

This means that the light level of your equipment can grow alongside your Guardian, allowing you take on ever more dangerous enemies throughout the solar system. 

Destiny 2 Weapons Vendors 

The most common source for Upgrade Modules is one of the two weapon vendors.

Banshee-44 is located in the central section of the tower, to your right when you initially load in. Ada-1 can be found next to the Loom, down in the lower areas of the Tower’s western section.

Speak to Banshee-44 or Ada-1 and you will see items for sale. Each will offer two different Upgrade Module options in exchange for 5,000 Glimmer, 10 Legendary Shards, one Enhancement Core, and 25 of a Planetary Material.

Both vendors will be offering the same two planetary material options, which change daily. 

If you find yourself short on glimmer or materials, consider paying a visit to Spider at the Reef. He sells and exchanges materials and may be able to supply you with what you need to buy Upgrade Modules. Otherwise, you can wait for the next day when the requested planetary material changes, in hopes it is something you have an abundance of.  

Destiny 2 Concentrated Mattergems Farm

Concentrated Mattergems are a fast way to quickly accumulate Upgrade Modules, but they come with an important caveat: Their buff is removed when an Upgrade Module drops.

The truth is any elite enemy, those with orange or yellow health bars, will have an extremely high chance to drop an Upgrade Module.

The buff is consumed as soon as the module drops, and you can use another Concentrated Mattergem immediately thereafter. Combine that with areas with large concentrations of elites, such as the dark area below the Cosmodrome, or the beginning of the Prophecy Dungeon, and you can quickly farm a large number of Upgrade Modules.

The Concentrated Mattergems do come with another catch. They are purchased at the Eververse store in the Tower, and cost 200 Bright Dust each.

Currently there are very few ways to earn Bright Dust, which is also used to purchase cosmetic items. The only other currency accepted at Eververse is Silver, purchased with real world money, so buyer beware if you are considering spending all your Bright Dust on Concentrated Mattergems.  

Destiny 2 Crucible Rewards 

Lord Shaxx, manager of the Crucible, is another reliable source for Upgrade Modules. Rather than sell them however, he prefers to give them away as rewards for ranking up in the Crucible.

Reaching Rank 4 in either Valor (unranked Crucible) or Infamy (ranked Crucible) will earn you a pat on the back from Shaxx and three Upgrade Modules. These ranks can be reset, allowing you to re-earn the packages many times over the season, as long as you are putting your time into the crucible.

Destiny 2 Seasonal Rank 

Every Destiny 2 season brings with it another 100 seasonal ranks to climb, with various prizes along the way, including upgrade modules. Just keep playing the game and earn XP to increase your seasonal rank.

There are a few more Modules locked behind the paid season pass, but the majority are free for any players who put in the time to rank up.

Destiny 2 Mod Squad

Ghost, your small, sentient machine of light companion, has a handy trick up his non-existent sleeves to help you find Upgrade Modules.

The Modularity series of mods award Upgrade Modules after the successful completion of various in game activities.

There is a modularity mod for Crucible, Gambit, which require wins against fellow Guardians to activate, and Vanguard, which can drop after any successful Strike or Nightfall Strike.

Equipping these mods requires that your Ghost is using a fully masterworked Ghost Shell. The Modularity mods cost four Energy to equip, limiting what other mods you can use at the same time.

There is no penalty for switching to different Modularity mods to match your current activity but note that the mods are listed as “fragile,” meaning they will expire after Season 15.  

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Upgrading your equipment is essential to making your guardian as effective as possible at fighting back earth’s enemies. Finding Upgrade Modules in Destiny 2 is the best way sure you are always ready for the next fight.

For more tips on being the best Guardian you can be, and where to get the latest and greatest exotic weapons, check out our other Destiny 2 guides 

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RIG Pro Compact Controller Review: Elite Features Without the Sticker Shock https://www.gameskinny.com/st2ky/rig-pro-compact-controller-review-elite-features-without-the-sticker-shock https://www.gameskinny.com/st2ky/rig-pro-compact-controller-review-elite-features-without-the-sticker-shock Tue, 18 May 2021 13:15:58 -0400 Mark Delaney

For all the talk about the PS5 DualSense following its launch with the console last fall, the new-gen Xbox controller didn't earn much buzz itself.

It's a great controller in its own right, and it enjoyed some minor improvements alongside the Xbox Series X|S, but most major innovations were stuck behind the paywall of the Elite Controller, which retails for well over $100. That's where Nacon's new RIG Pro Compact controller comes in.

For the competitive-minded players who want some of the high-end features without the high-end price tag, the RIG Pro Compact controller is a one-size-fits-most option.

RIG Pro Compact Controller Review: Elite Features Without the Sticker Shock

The first thing you'll notice about the Pro Compact controller is its smaller size. While it's not built gimmickly small like some third-party controllers found on shelves 10 years ago, the Pro Compact earns its name because it feels more like a PS3 controller. It still features Xbox's offset analog sticks, but wrapped in one's palms, the Pro Compact takes some getting used to.

I wasn't even sure I would get used to it when I first started playing with it, but after about two weeks of extensive use across RPGs, sports, competitive multiplayer, and other games, I can honestly say I've grown accustomed to the Pro Compact and appreciate the many features that make its form more forgivable.

At the forefront of these features is the Pro Compact's lifetime access to Dolby Atmos 3D audio. Nacon claims it's the first Xbox controller in the world to offer Dolby Atmos, and it works with any headset. In the past, I've reviewed 3D headsets and found the feature to be the most important one a modern headset can have, so it's fascinating to see and use a controller that bestows any paired headset with the feature.

To activate it, you need only to enter the accompanied code inserted with the headset, then download the Dolby Atmos app on PC or Xbox. As Dolby Atmos access is usually $15 per license, the lifetime access with the controller is a huge benefit, provided the controller proves its worth in other ways. Thankfully, it usually does. 

With its own app also on Xbox and PC, the Pro Compact features complete button remapping, room for multiple user profiles (including two that can be assigned to the controller itself), and dead zone customization. While more casual players won't care much for these next-level features, the Pro Compact is unabashedly targeted at competitive players, and for that crowd, such features at the controller's pricetag of $50 are unheard of. 

While face buttons are bigger and flatter here than on the standard Xbox controller, I didn't come away thinking they were any better or worse than the usual counterparts. However, the shoulder buttons, including the bumpers and especially the triggers, are fantastic.

The LT/RT buttons provide the perfect amount of resistance and snap back into place reliably. Internal haptics make for a more nuanced rumble feature too. While nothing here is on the DualSense's level, it was great to feel the slight trigger rumbles when I'd place building materials in Fortnite. It was a feature that snuck up on me and I still love today, dozens of hours later.

I was also happy to find the dedicated share button, something that keeps the RIG Pro Compact in step with the Xbox's first-party controller, which just added it last fall. But moving the start and menu buttons to the outside middle of the controller is one aspect I simply couldn't get used to or see the reason for.

While these buttons hover beside the Xbox button on a first-party controller, grouped together in a trio, these buttons have been moved next to the Y button and to the northeast corner of the left analog stick on the Pro Compact. This not only moves them too close to other functions, but it also makes finding them less intuitive.

Unfortunately, I could never get used to these buttons being spread so far apart. For multiplayer games, where the left menu button so often opens a map or other crucial features, its placement on the Pro Compact only ever slowed me down, which flies in the face of so much else that seems thoughtfully designed.

The controller is always wired, which Nacon says is to decrease latency. I think the primary reason is because Microsoft doesn't allow third parties to create wireless controllers for Xbox, but I don't mind the wire anyway. Thickly braided, it feels very sturdy and comes in just under 10 feet long, which is likely plenty for most players.

The concave analog sticks feel great, and offer a smoothness during rotations more like the DualSense, all while being snappier than even an out-of-the-box first-party controller. The downside to the sticks is their asymmetrical thumbpads. The left stick features a grid-like design, but the right just includes a brand logo, which either suggests the logo is just as helpful as a genuine grip or admits this one piece of the controller went for fashion over function. 

Capping it all off is a D-Pad that feels closer to that of Xbox One controllers rather than Series X|S controllers. Improvements in this area were one of the aforementioned first-party fixes Microsoft introduced with its new controller last fall, but the Pro Compact falls somewhere in between the first-party offerings, offering neither the super satisfying click of the new one nor the imprecision of the old one. In this regard, it's good, not great, though it should be clear by now other parts of it are indeed great.

RIG Pro Compact Controller Review — The Bottom Line

Pros

  • Superb shoulder buttons
  • Included-in-box lifetime access to Dolby Atmos 3D audio
  • Smooth, snappy analog sticks
  • Long, nearly 10-foot cord

Cons

  • D-Pad takes a step back from the first-party counterpart
  • Movement of the menu buttons feels annoying and unjustified
  • Smaller frame makes it one-size-fits-most

The most important barrier one must cross to playing with the RIG Pro Compact is its form factor. It takes getting used to and feels almost nostalgically like the PS3 controller, but its smallness means not everyone will find it comfortable. Some other changes are a bit frustrating too, but not unforgivable if you can get comfy with it in your palms.

If it does fit, you'll unlock some high-end features for about a third of the price of its competitors, which is an impressive proposition. Getting button and dead zone remapping is a great start but mostly suited for the top 1% of players. Meanwhile, the excellent triggers and, most of all, the inclusion of lifetime Dolby Atmos 3D audio really delivers on the promise of the Pro Compact and enhances games of everyone.

It's not perfect, but for players who want something a step above the standard Xbox controller, the Pro Compact is hard to ignore.

[Note: Nacon provided the RIG Pro Compact controller used for this review.]

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At Last, Sony Unveils New DualSense Colors https://www.gameskinny.com/3mirn/at-last-sony-unveils-new-dualsense-colors https://www.gameskinny.com/3mirn/at-last-sony-unveils-new-dualsense-colors Thu, 13 May 2021 11:19:42 -0400 Josh Broadwell

The two-tone DualSense has some company, as Sony announced two new DualSense colors set to release in June: Cosmic Red and Midnight Black.

The new DualSense colors will cost the same as the original ($79.99) and are up for pre-order now on PlayStation Direct. Sony said "participating retailers" will also have them, though as yet, no new DualSense colors are available at any of the major stores.

You can get a better look at both in the video Sony released alongside the announcement.

Isabelle Tomatis, Sony's Senior Director of Peripherals, said:

We’re thrilled to introduce two new colors that will be joining the DualSense controller lineup starting next month: Midnight Black and Cosmic Red.

Midnight Black features two subtly different shades of black with light grey detailing to reflect how we view space through the night sky, and Cosmic Red offers a striking black and red design inspired by the unique vivid shades of red found throughout the cosmos.

As yet, there's no set date for the new DualSense controller release, but we'll update once that changes.

[Source: PlayStation Blog]

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New Report Outlines PS5 VR Eye Tracking, Haptics https://www.gameskinny.com/us2t7/new-report-outlines-ps5-vr-eye-tracking-haptics https://www.gameskinny.com/us2t7/new-report-outlines-ps5-vr-eye-tracking-haptics Tue, 11 May 2021 13:52:28 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Sony has remained quiet on the PS5 VR headset since first announcing basic details earlier in 2021, but a new exclusive report from Upload VR sheds some light on what to expect. The report, compiled from multiple Sony partners familiar who said Sony shared some of the PS5 VR set's specs, including resolution and eye-tracking.

The report says PS5 VR resolution will be 4000x2040 total, which means 2000x2040 per eye, and a dial adjustment that lets you move the lenses directly in front of your eyes if desired.

Peripheral image quality would be reduced through foveated rendering, a practice that uses eye-tracking to make rendering easier by focusing on what's in your immediate vision.

Finally, the report mentions the PS5 VR will use a special kind of haptic feedback. We knew the controllers would have haptics, but Upload VR reports the headset will have haptic feedback features as well.

Don't expect any more official news for a while, though. Sony CEO Jim Ryan said PS5 VR won't be happening until at least 2022 or later. The Upload VR story has many more details, so head over there and check it out

[Source: Upload VR]

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Sony Reportedly Planning Real-Time Expert Help for PlayStation 5 Games https://www.gameskinny.com/1kwss/sony-reportedly-planning-real-time-expert-help-for-playstation-5-games https://www.gameskinny.com/1kwss/sony-reportedly-planning-real-time-expert-help-for-playstation-5-games Mon, 03 May 2021 14:32:48 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Sony is reportedly expanding its PlayStation 5 help system with a network of game experts available to help players deal with a game's more difficult areas. The report comes from Video Games Chronicle and describes the expert help as an "Uber-style" service, though as yet, the expert help service is still just in patent form.

The patent shows the system as a real-time, text, voice, or video conversation between the expert and player, where the expert offers advice in place of the user having to find information online. These sessions could also be recorded asynchronously based on user search terms, and they would be subject to rankings and feedback.

Players earn expert ranking based on their achievements in a given game. In return, however, the experts would only get in-game rewards or perhaps an additional trophy for their time and effort.

All this is part of Sony's wider plan to expand accessibility in its games, including plans for an AI system to take over when players run into trouble. Currently, the PlayStation 5 offers short help videos for a handful of games that show how to complete certain tasks. Implementation is not universal, however, as some games, including Returnal, don't have them.

[Source: PatentScope via Video Games Chronicle]

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Metro Exodus Adds DLSS 2.0 and New Ray-Traced Graphics https://www.gameskinny.com/9mpd9/metro-exodus-adds-dlss-20-and-new-ray-traced-graphics https://www.gameskinny.com/9mpd9/metro-exodus-adds-dlss-20-and-new-ray-traced-graphics Thu, 29 Apr 2021 14:56:57 -0400 David Carcasole

In true Metro Exodus style, the latest upgrades to the game make it the best-looking version of the first-person shooter yet, as Metro Exodus will now feature NVIDIA's DLSS 2.0 technology and advanced ray-traced reflections, improved ray-traced global illumination, and ray-traced emissive lighting.  

NVIDIA has also released a new driver update to prepare PCs for the new upgrades. Players should check their GeForce app to prepare for the experience of new ray-tracing effects. 

The catch, however, with these upgrades for Metro Exodus is that they are unfortunately exclusive to specific GPUs, namely graphics cards with ray-tracing capabilities. This means only the latest cards from AMD and NVIDIA's 2000 and 3000 series cards will be able to take advantage of the upgrades. 

There's also no word as to whether support for AMD's version of DLSS, DirectML Super Resolution, will be added. For now, DLSS 2.0 support is only available for NVIDIA hardware. 

While the exclusivity for ray-tracing capable cards is unfortunate on the DLSS side, it also isn't surprising. The update will be available to all current owners of Metro Exodus but will have to be downloaded as a separate version of the game called Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition, which will be available on Steam on May 6, 2021.

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Microsoft Partners With Rainway to Bring xCloud Everywhere https://www.gameskinny.com/fgfgp/microsoft-partners-with-rainway-to-bring-xcloud-everywhere https://www.gameskinny.com/fgfgp/microsoft-partners-with-rainway-to-bring-xcloud-everywhere Mon, 19 Apr 2021 16:30:41 -0400 David Carcasole

Microsoft has partnered with Rainway to use their browser solution to easily bring xCloud to multiple devices running either Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari. 

This is a big step forward for Microsoft's streaming platform, and as xCloud is included with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions, it only further rounds out the phrase "best deal in gaming" when talking about Game Pass. 

"Our goal at Xbox is to enable gamers around the world to play the games they want, on the devices they want, with the people they want," said Kevin LaChapelle, the General Manager of Project xCloud through a press release.

LaChapelle went on to say:

To provide a consistent cloud gaming experience that spans multiple devices, we're making games available through browser, which provides the necessary performance, compatability, and speed that meets the needs of gamers. As we continue on our journey to deliver content on a range of new devices through the web, we're excited to partner with Rainway and utilize their cutting-edge browser technology in our streaming stack.

This partnership could potentially have incredible ramifications for cloud gaming, since one of the biggest draws to it is the incompatibility between browsers and the unreliable nature of Wi-Fi. Anything that Microsoft and others can do to make the stream as stable as possible will further move along the future of cloud gaming as a more tempting option for more players. 

The announcement comes alongside other news that Microsoft is rolling out xCloud beta access for Win 10 PCs and Apple devices starting on April 20, with support for Edge, Chrome, and Safari. 

Catherine Gluckstein, Vice President and Head of Product for xCloud, said in an Xbox Wire post that "we’re launching xbox.com/play where invitees can play over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles through Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari."

It's not exactly clear how participants will be chosen, though there is currently a sign-up form for certain regions available in the Xbox Insiders subreddit, alongside a good deal of information that explains how to get started.

According to Gluckstein, the beta is meant to "fine-tune" the xCloud experience. Stay tuned for more on xCloud. 

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First Major PlayStation 5 Update Adds Storage Options, Cross-Gen Share Play https://www.gameskinny.com/1yw7b/first-major-playstation-5-update-adds-storage-options-cross-gen-share-play https://www.gameskinny.com/1yw7b/first-major-playstation-5-update-adds-storage-options-cross-gen-share-play Tue, 13 Apr 2021 11:51:39 -0400 Josh Broadwell

The first big PlayStation 5 update will go live April 14 and add a number of new features, including limited extended storage options, new social sharing capabilities, and additional customization options.

The update allows PlayStation 5 games to be stored on external drives. However, they can't be played from there, and they won't receive updates on external drives. Updates will apply automatically when the game is transferred back to internal storage, and you'll have the option to choose which part of the game to transfer, such as a main campaign or a multiplayer mode.

Work on M.2 external drives that support the PlayStation 5's SSD is still ongoing, Sony said.

Speaking of updates, the PS5 update enables pre-download for game updates and substantial patches, so games are playable as soon as the patch goes live.

Share Play is getting the cross-generation treatment. All the Share Play features work the same as usual, including share screen and letting friends try games, for both PS5 and PS4 players. 

Some smaller enhancements include choosing when the system takes trophy screenshots, customization options for how game libraries display, and more options to control chat and voice settings.

The PlayStation App will be getting new updates in the next few weeks as well with updates to storage management and multiplayer options.

[Source: PlayStation Blog]

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