I love this time of year. For lots of reasons. Christmas time is always great on its own but with the added bonus of my birthday at the beginning of December, makes the whole month a nice high point before i descend into my cold weather driven depression for the rest of winter. Where to begin...
Oh, well i'm 30 now so, my gamertag is no longer ironic, i'm actually old enough to be considered "old". I did, however, get a little money from said birthday to get some new toys. "What toys?" you ask, for starters, i found some deals on pc hardware and upgraded my video card and CPU to a Radeon HD 7770 and a Phenom II x4 965 Black Ed replacing my GTX 260 and Athlon II x2 250. What a performance buff that brought. I'm now able to max most games and keep steady framerates while others i may drop to high just to keep things in the 60 fps range.
Along with that stuff I had some Best Buy giftcards so first, i checked out the Razer Onza TE Xbox 360 Controller. I actually really enjoyed my time with this controller and only took it back for 1 major reason, it broke after a couple weeks. Seriously, if you have a chance to get your paws on one of these, check it out. The face buttons are as responsive as mouse clicks, the rubber finish on it feels super comfy in your hands and the adjustable thumbstick tension and programmable extra shoulder buttons are a nice extra. I was using it to play Black Ops II when i noticed the left thumbstick seemed to interrupt my sprinting forward after a few steps. Plugged it into a pc and pulled up the windows joystick calibration screen and saw the same thing. When i took it back, the store was out of stock so ended up just collecting my refund.
This all worked out for the better because a couple days later, i saw a Logitech G35 Headset on sale for more than half off it's normal price. I have had my eye on these for a while but they're always just outside the range of what i'd want to pay for a headset. This thinking was fueled by the idea that there's no way that my brain would care or even be able to tell the difference regular between stereo speakers pumping sound into my ears or 7.1 Dolby Digital ones. Well, i was wrong. First of f let me clarify that these are made for PC use only. However, thanks to some creativity on my gaming setup and the generous amount of flexibility in the windows 7 audio controls, She works with my 360 as well as my gaming pc. The greatest change i noticed when jumping from my existing Turtle Beach x12 headset to this one was in the accuracy in the way the game conveys positional audio. I've spent the majority of the time playing Black Ops 2 on 360 with them thus far and i can already see the benefits. Hearing gunshots and being able to accurately and instantly deduce where they originated from has changed the way i play this game. I no longer spend minutes hunting for guys to shoot. Now i can just hear them and know where they are. Another thing i notice is that the overall responsiveness on the audio seems more in sync with what's occuring on the screen. Gunshots sound loud and snappy, explosions are impactful and disorienting, and (at the risk of sounding like a salesperson) the overall immersion of the game is amped up. i can hear brass hitting the ground, fires crackling, and distictive tone differences in a barage of gunfire that would before have just sounded like a single deafening succession of booms.
I quickly booted up some other pc games i had on hand. NFS Hot Pursuit was amazing. As was of all games, Diablo 3. I had no idea the amount of sound in the game that was being just overshadowed by not being able to be conveyed all at once through stereo. I'm saving what i'm sure will be a real treat for tonight with Battlefield 3. I liken this experience to the first time i bought a graphics card, or the first time i saw a game in HD only this time, the treat is for my ears. Recommend you guys check it out for yourself if you every have the $$ to commit since i agree, they aren't cheap investments.
Merry Christmas all!