X Rebirth - PC Review

The latest set of updates have turned this game around for the better

Fairy Fencer F - PS3 Review

A humorous, fun JRPG that does a lot of things pretty well

SteamWorld Dig - Wii U Review

Creative and fun, but with flaws

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair - Vita Review

A spectacular follow-up to the original game

Metro Redux - Xbox One Review

It is absolutely worth going back to the underground for these updated titles

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Beneath a Steel Sky - PC Review

This is an old game, and not one I would have picked up on my own, but it was given to me for free when I signed up with Good Old Games (gog.com) a while back. As I was playing through some of my games in alphabetical order (that's where the Bob Came in Pieces review originated from too), I ran into this click-and-point adventure.

With a game this old, and honestly limited, I don't really think I need to break it down into its four technical aspects. I mean, the graphics I imagine were average at best for back then, but by today's standards are poor. The audio is actually decent - there's some interesting music and a handful of sound effects to go along with what you are doing.

There's a certain charm to the game and its story that reminds me of the old point-and-click games I played when I was younger. The puzzles were pretty basic for the most part, and I don't recall getting stuck on any one part for too long. It seems like I beat the game in a very short period of time. Also, there's no real incentive to replay the game as the storyline is very linear and once you have completed it, there are no alternate endings or anything like that.

There are definitely better places to get your retro game fix I think. This is a game genre that is almost completely gone today, and that is a shame, but I just don't feel like this particular title holds up that well even against other games from its era.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Saitek Cyborg V5 - PC Review

Okay, this isn't a game review, but I got a very cool new keyboard from my dad for my birthday back in May. Now that I've had some time with it, I figured I'd share my thoughts on it.

Saitek Cyborg V5 CCB44026N002/06/1 Black USB Wired Game Keyboard

Pros: Keys look good, quiet keyboard, good button layout
Cons: could be a bit brighter, kind of smallish space bar
The Bottom Line: This is an excellent illuminated keyboard. Even with heavy use, it works perfectly.

 
I picked this keyboard up about two months ago for a few reasons. One, the keys on my factor HP keyboard were starting to lose their spring, and the letters had all but rubbed off on about a quarter of the keys. One of my co-workers uses a back-lit keyboard at work, and it occurred to me that an illuminated keyboard would probably be excellent for me as well. I do most of my computing in a den where I keep the lights off and do not get much light from the windows - I prefer the dark room for seeing my monitors.

Most of the time, this is not an issue - I type very quickly and effectively, but there are times when I struggle to find some of the less commonly used keys, like the function ones, delete, scroll lock, etc. This really only comes up in gaming, which I do quite a bit of as well.

I did quite a bit of searching for illuminated keyboards and while the majority are blue or white, I found an image of this Saitek Cyborg V5 and noticed the glow was red - which happens to be my favorite color. After keeping an eye on the keyboard for a few weeks, I happened to catch it while on sale and decided to order it.

The keys feel very good - they're soft-press ones, so for those who like click or clack sounds from their keys, they will be disappointed, but I prefer the quieter keys. The only one that makes any significant sound as I type is the space bar.

It is a USB keyboard, so it has the somewhat standard volume up/down/mute buttons, which all work just like you would expect. This is a full size keyboard, which I use on my lap and fits very comfortably. The shape is a bit odd when you look at it, with elongated, rounded corners, but they don't really help or hurt how I use it since it is on my lap. If you use the keyboard on a desk, this is where the rubber pads are at for traction and as a test I tried it out and it seems to hold its position quite nicely. There is also an option wrist-rest snap-on piece that you can attach to the front of the keyboard and that I do use for wrist support. It is nothing special, but matches the rest of the black keyboard visually and is comfortable.

The real highlight however is the illumination. For starters, the keys show up great in daylight, which is one complaint I've seen for similar keyboards in the past. The letters and numbers show up as an easily visible white with no glare on them. Using the illumination at night works exactly as I had hoped. There's a single button that has 3 modes: bright, dim and off for the illumination and it is in the upper-right next to the audio control buttons.

The keys show up very well in the dark when lit, and help me to find those slightly lesser-used keys easily. The biggest cons I can think of is that I thought the keys would be a bit brighter than they are, and that the space bar is just a bit shorter than I'm used to - both both are very easy for me to overlook