Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive- Gears of War Edition Review

Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive- Gears of War Edition Review

To say console manufacturers sent out their first wave of next gen hardware woefully underprepared to store the typical library of an average user would be an understatement, to say the least. For the most part, unless you bought a special edition console around the holidays, you’re probably stuck with a 500GB unit—which really won’t cut it. Even still, if you did opt into a special edition console like the 2TB hard drive Gears of War model Xbox One, it doesn’t hurt to have a little more memory. That’s where Seagate has you covered with the Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive Gears of War Edition.

The thought of 4TB of storage for a system is pretty fantastic. When you do the math, that’s around 50 extra games, all of which fit in a device small enough to fit in your pocket.  It only weighs in around 28 grams, which makes it surprisingly light, but sturdy. Also packed in is a 45 centimetre USB 3.0 cable that ensures faster speeds. In our tests, we noticed it was only a fraction slower than the internal hard drive loading similar games, and the load screens were faster than its peers.

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Outside of functionality, the Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive Gears of War Edition is made for hardcore Gears of War fans. Aesthetically, this is the most intense looking hard drive on the market with red and black battle worn detail, complete with the iconic COG logo across the middle. If that wasn’t enough, the Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive- geared of War Edition comes with two Gears of War packs that unlock XP boosting bounties, along with special character and weapon skins. Priced at $99.99 USD, the only issue is that this hard drive is only available at Game Stop, and even then it’s hardly an issue.

There isn’t much to dislike when it comes to the Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive Gears of War Edition. In terms of functionality, it is on par and sometimes even better than its peers. With an inexpensive price point, bonus features for Gears fans, and a paint job to complement my favourite Xbox One model, it’s hard to say if fans can find a better option on the market.

HyperX CloudX Revolver Gears of War (Headset) Review

HyperX CloudX Revolver Gears of War (Headset) Review

Co-developed by Microsoft and The Coalition, the HyperX CloudX Revolver Gears of War headset (which is a mouthful, for the record) is a special edition of HyperX’s popular series of headsets, releasing alongside the highly anticipated Gears of War 4.

HyperX CloudX Revolver Gears of War (Headset) Review 7The first thing I noticed was the cool design of the CloudX Revolver. It’s styled with the franchise’s signature logo in a striking crimson red colouring. For all those who own the Gears of War-styled Xbox One S console and controller bundle, it directly fits into that same “All Red Everything” aesthetic. I’ve never been the biggest fan of the franchise, but the style of the series (especially that logo) was always something I thought looked badass, and the design of the headset captures that really well.

The CloudX Revolver isn’t all just looks. The headset delivered solid sound quality, providing a frequency response up to 28kHz with the sound coming in crystal clear, and no real problems or sound clipping. The detachable noise-cancelling headset also worked well, which proved useful during random sessions of Overwatch with my friends.

HyperX CloudX Revolver Gears of War (Headset) Review 4The headset weighs in at 364 grams and features a sturdy steel frame, a cool leather headband and memory foam ear cushions on 50mm drivers. It’s easily the most comfortable pair I’ve used in my recent excursions into gaming headsets. I was able to wear it for hours and felt very little discomfort when just listening to music.

HyperX CloudX Revolver Gears of War (Headset) Review 6The only real issue I have with the headset is the relative lack of features. Retailing for nearly $200 CAD, the CloudX Revolver does not come with many features or customizability options. The steel frame is not adjustable, which made it a bit awkward at times where it was on my neck and I ended up looking like Batman having to rotate himself when facing someone. It’s a bit disappointing compared to other headsets in that price range. I wish it came with the ability for boosted audio  (which makes all the difference in games like DOOM or Battlefield) or other audio options aside from basic volume control.

HyperX CloudX Revolver Gears of War (Headset) Review 10For what it’s worth, I had a really good experience with the HyperX CloudX Revolver Gears of War headset. While it may be light on features compared to other headsets in a similar price range, the lightweight-yet-sturdy frame, solid sound quality and Gears of War design style more than make up for it. I would say it’s worth recommending to Gears of War fans, or anyone who just wants a really badass-looking and fairly priced headset.

 

Pixels & Ink #222 – Gears of Jed

Pixels & Ink #222 - Gears of Jed

While Cody continues to protest the CGM podcast co-hosting duties, Mel and Brendan sit down with Jed. He discusses Gears of War 4 and Yo-Kai Watch 2. Mel saw Warcraft and Brendan leads the gang in a latest gaming news discussion. In a special interview segment, Lisa chats with Philippe Morin from Red Barrels about Outlast 2 from X16 in Toronto.

Read morePixels & Ink #222 – Gears of Jed

Gears of War 4 (Xbox One) Review

Gears of War 4 (Xbox One) Review

I found myself thinking “Well, this is more Gears of War all right” while playing Gears of War 4, but that’s not a bad thing by any means. There is a lot here to love for fans of the series, and it isn’t a bad place for newbies to get into the series either, considering it requires no previous knowledge to enjoy. Plus, for a limited time you can get all four of the original Xbox 360 titles when you buy the game.

That said, it may be hard to go back and play previous titles considering this entry features the best gameplay in the series.

Gears of War 4 (Xbox One) Review 1The game centres around a group of anti-establishment characters living outside the normal society made by the COG government. Gears of War 4 has a whole lot of diversity. Of course, the lead is a white male and the son of Marcus Fenix, the hero of the original trilogy, and his sidekicks are a black guy who serves as the comic relief (just like Cole did), a girl of questionable race, and a Spanish guy that is a drunkard (probably a stereotype they should have avoided). I appreciate that the series has always included characters of colour, but they always seem so stereotypical aside from Dom, a character from the original trilogy who was Spanish without being a drunk. The characters here aren’t huge departures from what we have already seen in the series, and the lead character, JD, doesn’t get enough time to shine as his dad shows up and steals the show for a lot of the game.

I rather enjoyed the story of these rogue humans fighting both the COG, with their army of oppressive robots, and the other monstrosities they come across. There were some definite missteps however, such as essentially trying to remake and reuse some of the most emotional moments from the original trilogy. I suppose if this is your first Gears of War these moments will hold more weight but I didn’t love seeing something I’ve already seen before acted out with different characters; it just felt cheap. The worst parts of the story are the two times where characters are going to ask for help from another, specific character but refuse to say their name. This comes across like a parent talking in code in front of a child, but in this case, the players are the children and it’s just insulting. I get that the developers were trying build up a surprise, but having the characters awkwardly avoid saying someone’s name for multiple cutscenes is just poor writing.

While the story in Gears of War 4 isn’t the strongest there are two scenes that really stole the show for me: the ending and another ‘so-bad-its-good’ puking scene that I can’t stop laughing about. The latter scene is so unintentionally comical that it rivals the record-setting vomiting found in Team America: World Police. I’m probably going to go back and replay that scene after I finish writing this review because I love it, it’s special to me and The Coalition better not dare to change it.

The waist-high walls and weapons from the original trilogy are back and both feel very familiar. The Gnasher shotgun still dominates, chainsawing a foe in half with the Lancer feels as good as ever, and the gore is more detailed than in prior entries and is so meaty. There are plenty of new additions to your arsenal, like the weapons from the COG robots , which include a fast-firing electric shotgun called the Overkill, a gun that fires saw blades appropriately named the Buzzkill, and a few other less memorable additions. There’s also new movement options available to players like the ability to automatically jump over walls by holding another button while running that also allows you to kick enemies in the face if they are crouching behind said wall, or alternatively, you can crouch behind the wall and reach over and snatch them to quickly perform an execution. These new movement options allow the game to flow faster than ever and will certainly have a major impact in competitive multiplayer. The snatching ability also eliminates the waist-high wall stand-offs seen in previous titles, which is a welcome change.

Gears of War 4 (Xbox One) ReviewThe first half of Gears of War 4—featuring most all of the new weapons and enemies—is easily the better half, with the later stages slowly slipping back into familiar territory—which gets a bit repetitious. Thankfully there are a few scenes involving some new vehicles that provide a break from the same old same old that I won’t spoil here.

Early on you get to experience an intense electric storm, but by the end of Gears of War 4 there had been so many scenes in these storms they no longer felt exciting but annoying, as grenades fly sideways because of the strong winds. There is one particular storm scene where you have to aim a catapult while adjusting for the wind that is easily the worst (though very minor) part of the game, as it is near impossible to predict where your shot will land. For some reason the developers decided to place wind physics over gameplay and that section suffers for it.

From a visual standpoint, this is hands-down not only the best-looking Gears of War yet, but easily one of the most graphically impressive titles for the current generation. Not only have the browns and greys been ditched for more colourful settings, but there are also tons of particle effects such as fire, rain, wind, and (of course) the chunks of your opponents’ bodies. While you’ll see many of the areas in this entry appear similar to those that you’d find in previous titles, they all look leaps and bounds better than ever. One thing to note, however, is that the Xbox One version only runs at 30 fps in the campaign and horde modes and at 60 fps in versus multiplayer, while the PC version runs at whatever your computer can handle.

Thanks to Gears of War 4 being one of Microsoft’s Play Anywhere titles, those that purchase the digital version get a copy for both Xbox One and PC for the price of one physical copy of the game, so I played both. Graphically and mechanically the campaign suffers from running at 30fps on console, though competitive multiplayer is about the same. Obviously, a $300 (or less) console isn’t going to be able to compete with a $2000 (or more) computer which typically ran the game between 80 to 100fps, and rarely dipped below 60fps.. The PC version is the best version and seems to be properly optimized (unlike the recently released Forza Horizon 3).

Gears of War 4 (Xbox One) Review 4While I didn’t get a chance to sample multiplayer at length, I did manage to get in a few matches with the bots who, surprisingly, made for formidable opponents. The classic elimination style game types are back as you remember them including fan favourites Warzone and Execution. Joining these are fun new additions such as Dodgeball, where your goal is to eliminate the enemy team while every kill you achieve brings back a teammate, and Arms Race, where your team’s weapon changes every three kills.

Horde mode has been completely revamped with a new class system and a progression system. There are five classes, and each spawns with different weapons and have different unlockable perks available as you level up. Also new is the fortification system, which allows you to build weapons, decoys, barriers, and turrets using energy that enemies drop upon their death. These new additions make Horde play like a combination of the classic formula mixed with a hint of tower defense mechanics as well as weapon purchasing—like what is found in Counter-Strike—and it is a ton of fun and a great change. Gears 4 has easily the best version of Horde so far and is a must play if you’ve got friends as it requires a lot of cooperation.

Gears of War 4 (Xbox One) Review 5
Horde 3.0 – Overkill

The game launches with ten maps (for use in both competitive multiplayer and the revamped Horde mode), including a sexy remake of the classic Gridlock map. 24 maps will also be coming over the next year at a rate of two a month, according to the game’s season pass. Ten maps, feels like plenty, I can only imagine the variety we will have in a year’s time.

Also new to the series are unlockable customizations for multiplayer that include characters, costumes, and skins for your guns, but these are purely cosmetic content. They can be unlocked via an in-game currency earned by simply playing matches, but can also be purchased with yet-to-be-revealed microtransactions that were not available at the time of writing. While I typically frown upon full-priced games adding microtransactions, in the past, these customization options were locked behind paid DLC, so in a way this is a positive and gives players something to work towards in multiplayer other than merely level or rank. If you’re a zombie fan there are zombie skins of many of the characters, though if my experience with Zombie Dom is anything to go by they will constantly yell “brains” at such an annoyingly frequency that your teammates will hate you
Gears of War 4 (Xbox One) Review 6
As a big Gears of War fan, I can honestly say this is the best entry in the series. While the campaign isn’t my favourite it still has a lot of character, the graphics are unmatched, the new Horde mode is fantastic, and it is all around one heck of a good time. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to curb-stomping locust scum as ‘modern day Fred Durst look-a-like’ Marcus Fenix.

Universal Developing Gears of War Movie

Universal Developing Gears of War Movie

Gears of War 4 launches next Tuesday, so the series is enjoying some time in the spotlight again. It looks like this will be the beginning of a trend, though, if today’s news is any indication.

Announced on a Gears-focused livestream, it appears that a Gears of War movie will be heading to theaters in the future. This news was confirmed by Larry Hryb, aka Major Nelson, on Twitter shortly after the announcement. It appears, then, that the news is legitimate and not just an offhand remark.

This comes as a surprise, after Universal’s very own Warcraft failed to generate much enthusiasm, both at the box office and on the critical front. One would think they’d be hesitant to bankroll another videogame-based movie, but apparently that’s not the case.

No real information has come out other than this announcement. That means no release date, director, cast, writer, or anything along those lines. Hopefully, they’ll be able to get someone who can strike the franchise’s signature balance of grim philosophizing and dunderheaded action.

It’s worth nothing that Gears movie has been in development for almost a decade at this point. To put it bluntly, it’s been in development hell for quite some time, and most people had thrown it on the pile of video game movies doomed to pre-production. However, for Microsoft to announce it during a stream means that there’s probably some significant progress that’s been made. While it still is just a vague tease, it’s a vague tease given out to millions of people at once, on a live a broadcast no less. There’s a strong likelihood that it’ll actually come out, sooner or later.

Video game movies seem to be enjoying (?) a return to prominence, with last year’s Agent 47 and Pixels, plus this year’s Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed. One can only hope that, at some point, we’ll actually get one that’s worth shelling out money for.

Hopefully, Gears of War may be that movie.

Canadian Gears of War Fans Receive Contest #GearsSquadGoals

Canadian Gears of War Fans Receive Contest #GearsSquadGoals

Microsoft Canada launched #GearsSquadGoals, a contest running through October 10 to get Gears fans ready for the next saga, Gears of War 4.

The contest gives Gears of War fans the opportunity to ”band together and showcase their passion for the franchise in hopes of unlocking the ultimate crew trip.”

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The ultimate trip in question? The winner and three friends will see Run the Jewels perform in Austin, Texas at the SOS Music Festival, or receive the VIP treatment at a Gears of War eSports event in London, England.

The hip hop group Run the Jewels debuted a new song in the Gears of War 4 Horde 2.0 premiere trailer, and the duo are also going to be playable characters in multiplayer in Gears of War 4.

To enter, fans will have to complete a variety of challenges with their squad, ranging in difficulty from Novice to Extreme.

Following particular social media accounts like @XboxCanada and taking pictures of specified activities, like two squad-mates enjoying a Gears of War-branded Rockstar energy drinks, are considered to be Novice  1Challenges, among others.

Intermediate Challenges require more time and involvement than the Novice Challenges do, and some even need a little commitment. Would you cut a Gears of War COG into your hair for 30 entries, or sing an original Gears of War theme song and post it online for 20?
There is only one aptly named Extreme Challenge, titled so because of its difficult requirements: Complete every single challenge. Completing the Extreme Challenge will reward the “ultra-dedicated soldier” with 500 entries into the contest draw.

To get around the fact that some of these challenges do indeed require a purchase, like the challenge that requires an assembly of Gears of War copies, an original handwritten 100-word essay may be mailed in instead.
Once a challenge is completed, photo or screenshot proof must be taken and posted on Instagram or Twitter with #GearsSquadGoalsContest to be automatically entered.

Scouring the Terms of Service revealed that although submissions can be posted on both Twitter and Instagram, contestants will only be awarded contest entries for the first submission related to each challenge. Additionally, each person in a “squad” may enter individually with the same photo for the same challenge and also receive entries. Whether this will cause tension between squad-mates, considering a different squad may be used for each challenge, is yet to be seen.

To enter, you must  be over the age of majority in your territory of residence, and you have until the end of October 10, 2016. Gears of War 4 is set to release a day later on October 11 for Xbox One and PC, and winners of #GearsSquadGoals will be notified on October 17, 2016.