Category Archives: Culture

Rosewill RK-9200 Dual LED Illuminated Mechanical Keyboard Review

When it comes to gaming keyboards, one who has never used one might wonder – why? It’s just a keyboard after all right, they are all the same – right? Keyboards are definitely not all made the same though, and just a few seconds of typing with the Rosewill RK-9200 Dual LED Illuminated Mechanical Keyboard make that clear right away for anyone with half of a kill at using a keyboard.

In terms of luxury features, there’s a lot of that here as well. Each key is individually back-lit meaning that they will always have a strong glow. You can set your keys to one color, and then WASD and Arrow keys to a different color to cause them to stand out when your hands are lost on the keyboard mid-game and you need to quickly re-assert yourself. This has proven to be extremely useful. The two colors the keyboard supports are Green and Red with a number of brightness settings including a Pulsing Brightness Cycle.

For this review, the RK-9200 I had was using the Cherry MX Switch set (Blues) the RK-9200 allows more than 3 keys to be pressed in at once allowing for a more tactile and accurate experience when playing games, meaning there’s less thought about the input device going on through the player’s mind during gameplay, and more focus on the action.

Comfort Level: High / Accuracy Level: High

Specs / Features:

  • 104 Keys / 12 Key Rollover / Individually Backlit Keys
  • 3 Blue LED CAPS/NUM/SCROLL Lock Indicators
  • Cherry MX Blue Switch: Key stroke: 4.0mm+/-0.5mm
  • Operating Force: 50 grams / Life Cycle: 50 Million Times
  • 58″ Removable Braided USB Cable
  • FN + F Shortcut and Media Keys / Windows Key Lock/Unlock
  • 5 Backlight Modes (Low/Med/Max/Breathe/Off)
  • Limited Warranty period (parts): 1 year

Final Verdict:

Overall the best thing about this device is the fact that it’s accurate, immediate, and provides an input that can be trusted for upcoming titles like Dead Island: Epidemic, The Witcher III, and more. The keyboard sits firmly with a good amount of weight that keeps it from slipping and sliding while gaming.

Overall Score: 9 / 10

RGN Tech Rating: Gold Device

Manufacturer: Rosewill

More Info | Buy Here

Review Copy Info: A review sample was provided to RealGamerNewz by the manufacturer for the purpose of the review.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20140408 and was last modified on 20140408 .

ControllerMAX (AKA CronusMax) Tech Review

This device has the ability to make a game better without the need to wait for official patches to be approved. It also has the ability to make you better at a game. Putting aside for a minute the many detailed cross-platform features which this review will get into later, the CronusMAX (or ControllerMAX as it has been renamed to) is capable of adjusting, tweaking, and literally hacking the input your game console receives. This even works with next-generation game consoles like the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox ONE. By purchasing this device and using the accompanying software, players become part of a community of users that develop and release miniature patches that go into the device as plug-ins and can be designed to improve the performance of controls for any particular game (for example fixing the dead-zones for Gears of War Judgement to a player’s liking). These plug-ins can then be adjusted or completely modified / re-written by the end-user as well. This opens the doors to a very much never-ending chain of possibilities.

Gtuner software mentions scripts and modding making it the world’s first ever rapid fire function accessory for next-gen controllers and including enhanced deadzone updates to existing library of games and much more drive by community or even self-programmed if you have the knowledge.

The prize feature of this device though is that it allow gamers to use virtually any existing fighting sticks, racing wheels, and other accessories across next-generation game consoles in addition to the opposite console families they were designed for. That is to say that gamers can actually use this device to control the PlayStation with Xbox accessories or the other way around. Also a huge benefit is the support for DualShock 4 functionality extended to many PC games which currently won’t work without scripting applications that are a bit unreliable to say the least. Using the Gtuner software that is free to access, the ControllerMAX device makes playing PC games with a DualShock 4 much more practical.

The only negative feature about this device is that there is no beginner mode or ‘noob’-friendly way to set up the device. Users must get the software on their own and configure the device to the latest Firmware (a few times Windows automatic hardware recognition got in the way of this, causing some necessary trial and error to follow while doing first set-up procedure). Users must also do their own research to how the device works using the site’s manual or other community guidelines which are not always extremely easy to figure out. Once this is done, and a fairly technical person can do it quickly, then the device has an immense amount of potential uses that can be unlocked by the user with a little patience, finesse, and downloading. However, for a beginner / ‘noob’ user this is not a device you want to purchase without extensive research or having a tech-savvy friend around to set it up for you.

The device must be told which output format to give (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4/etc.) and then the controllers/accessories that will be plugged into it must each be given a profile. Again, this isn’t exactly difficult once a tech-savvy person gets the process going properly, but newcomers to this niche of accessory devices will have a hard time – and some might not be able to successfully use this device at all. We hope that in the future ControllerMAX will have a more user-friendly version for beginners to use their software and hardware device.

Final Verdict:

This is hands down the most powerful accessory for input/output on the market and is very diverse with enough intuitive interface design to easily surpass the user experience of any software alone. The hardware aspect really does make a difference. RealGamerNewz highly recommends the ControllerMAX and rates it an overall score of 9 out of 10 making it an RGN Gold Accessory.

Official Trailer:

Overall Score: 9 / 10

RGN Rating: Gold Accessory

Manufacturer: ControllerMAX

Review Copy Info: A review sample of this hardware was provided to RealGamerNewz by the manufacturer for the purpose of this review.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20140310 and was last modified on 20140310 .

SteelSeries H Wireless Gaming Headset Review

The first thing users experience when they put on a pair of SteelSeries H Wireless Gaming Headsets is the comfort level and flexibility of the accessory. Users can wear these over a hat comfortably. It becomes evidently clear upon getting your first listen that they also provide a great value for the sound quality and technical quality provided. The battery life is very good fresh out of the box, and holds up pretty well over the initial span of time they were tested through.

The unit comes with a spare battery which is charged in the docking station attached to the audio mixer. this is where devices are hooked up through USB, Optical Audio cable, or standard audio cables depending on the input device being used. It sounds good loud, and it sounds good quiet; with good bass and treble at pretty much every level of sound. There is a little bit of a tweak once you hit a certain gate after which you are basically pushing the unit to the max, however it performs very well once users adjust and adapt the experience to the types of frequencies they are trying to play.

For those looking for detailed specs, here they are straight from the horse’s mouth:

I found that the SteelSeries H Wireless Gaming Headset sounds better for music and surround sound gaming than a lot of other headsets on the market and for the price point SteelSeries H Wireless Gaming Headsets are very high quality and do precisely what users would expect. Listening to FLAC files with lossless encoding from my favorite artists or testing out the latest virtual hologram audio in computer and console games is a great experience. Many other headsets have a tinny sort of sound associated with their frequency, but this headset transcends expectations and provides a refresh, clean, and strong sound throughout.

The unit can use two batteries therefore a wire never has to be plugged in at any time. The base unit that provides the processing for mixing, etc. will take a battery within it and charge it. The headset also has a USB compatible port for direct connections. The mixer uses Optical Audio for consoles like the PlayStation 4 for example (but not limited to it). Having tiny arrows that show users which way to gently unscrew and then tighten these hidden ports (for battery and hard wired tasks) is a nice touch and keeps the experience feeling high class and like the customer is being taken care of with extra thorough care.

This unit produces very detailed and subtle sound effects that sound like they are coming from the same room as the listener LiveMix filters out voice chat and gameplay sound perfectly without tweaking but can also be fine tuned to what the gamer wants to hear. It is compatible with Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital across multiple platforms including Windows and Mac OS X platforms, PlayStation platforms, Xbox platforms, and Mobile platforms.

Final Verdict:

All in all, there is virtually nothing to complain about and everything to praise with the SteelSeries H Wireless Gaming Headset coming in at a respectable price point with quality normally expected only from higher priced products. The sounds are crisp and clear with the unit itself displaying a luxury feel producing physical comfort to go along with the sweet melodies and audio auras of your favorite video games. As always there is going to be room for improvement, and with this device we would like to see more customization for the mixer base device in future refresh efforts done with this concept if possible. The SteelSeries H Wireless Gaming Headset receives a 9.7 out of 10 making it a Platinum RGN Device.

Official Trailer:

Overall Score: 9.7 / 10

RGN Tech Rating: Platinum Device

Manufacturer: SteelSeries

Review Copy Info: A review sample was provided to RealGamerNewz by the manufacturer for the purpose of the review.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20140228 and was last modified on 20140228 .

Final Fantasy VII (New PC Version) Review

Final Fantasy VII is arguably the single handedly most well known role playing game ever released out of Japan. Originally hitting the Sony PlayStation exclusively in 1997, this game has gone on to see a retro release on Windows PC in 1998 and is also available as a digital download from the PlayStation Store (compatible with PSP, PS3, and PS Vita). However, until now – there have been no noticeable adjustments made to the game’s look across these versions. Square Enix has taken the liberty of putting out a New PC Version that now comes with achievements, enhanced graphics, and a few other features that attempt to avoid spoiling the game while at the same time bringing it in line with modern releases of the genre.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Final Fantasy VII plot lines and lore though, allow me to first introduce what makes this game an incredible “must-play” masterpiece before I discuss the enhancements that this new version brings to the table.

Final Fantasy VII, or FF7 for short, has been referred to as “the best Final Fantasy” by a large group of series fans. Those who haven’t played it before might not be aware of this, but despite the fantasy theme this game maintains – most of its intrigue is mature and advanced, deep rooted emotional conflicts that take place during an Armageddon-like event, draconian conspiracies, shadow government rule, corrupt corporations, biological experimentation, destruction of the planet for un-natural resources, and much more. Beyond that, the game’s well defined characters see a myriad of adventures that could be considered side-quests by modern definition yet feel completely as part of the intended full experience.

First off, as with most FF games, greed and the desire for ultimate power and control have brought mankind to the brink of extinction due to worldwide calamities both long-term / ongoing and short-term / on the way. It’s the end of the world as the game’s main characters know it. With society suffering from the problems ranging from those listed in the paragraph above and it’s implied many times that the ones we live with in real life today are also present for the citizens of Midgar and the world in general. The main villains in the game are the evil corporation ShinRa who use the planet’s life force energy similar to oil drilling in real life but exponentially made worse by the fact that life force is the soul of the planet and recycled souls of animals, plants, and human beings are what makes up the life force. ShinRa also uses the energy to create Mako which is similar to nuclear energy the way it is radioactive, except this stuff causes a ShinRa SOLDIER to transform into a monster given enough exposure.

Sephiroth is one of those monsters, and so is the main playable character Cloud Strife (an interesting name for one who goes through much strife throughout the course of FF7’s timeline and seems to have a cloudy memory of who / what he is and comes from). During the game Sephiroth will ultimately rise up to take the main presence in the villainous side of things as even ShinRa wants to stop him. The player is inducted into a resistance group known as AVALANCHE who fight against ShinRa and attempt to protect the planet from Sephiroth who seems to have gone on a murderous rampage since discovering his origins as a dark secret experiment within ShinRa laboratories.

Though this narrative sets up for some high intensity and emotional value, and takes place over many hours of time, some of the best gameplay scenes in Final Fantasy VII occur almost randomly or off of the main trail the game provides. Whether taking it upon themselves to save the Phoenix at Fort Condor (a detailed strategy mini-game), defeat the Battle Arena at the Golden Saucer, or seek out rare monsters such as Ruby Weapon and Emerald Weapon, players have many optional pieces of content to discover. Many of these other experiences feel like they have had their own mini-game engine built into FF7, and this further cements the title as a technical accomplishment for the time period it was released in – while also helping to prevent it from getting stale in a modern play-through.

In addition to a compelling narrative, plenty of deeply thought out side-content, and seemingly endless hours of grinding / leveling up – Final Fantasy VII also features a pretty unique magic system for its time. Magic spells are held in containers that are like glass balls called Materia. This means that Materia can be switched around between characters, so no one spell gets stuck with a character – it can be replaced or used by anyone else if swapped around between battles. For example, if Cloud masters  a Materia that would mean that all spells are unlocked within it and if that Materia was removed from Cloud’s weapon and placed into Barret’s weapon then Barret would be able to cast all of those spells instead.

In addition to this, some Materia gives abilities like Steal and can be upgraded (to Mug for example which includes an attack as well as a Steal move in the same turn). There are also some weapons / armor that allow for two Materia pieces to be linked together. This comes in handy with extender / modifier Materia like ‘ALL’ Materia which allows a user to use a spell against every enemy (cast Fire3 on three enemies at once) or towards every party member (cast Cure2 on three allies at once).

Final Fantasy VII features one of the most well known Summon systems and is extremely simple thanks to the Materia system mentioned above. Simply have a Summon Materia equipped for a particular Summon (example: Ifrit, Shiva, Ramuh, Odin, Bahamut) then use the Summon command mid-battle. A cut-scene is called upon and the Summon will attempt to do epic damage using some really cool to watch moves. Of course, some Summons of FF7 have been accused of being way too long of a cut-scene in past days, so be sure to turn the Battle speeds all the way up in the menu system. You can also set ATB to Active meaning that enemies will not wait their turn to make a move and you’ll have to be quick on your toes. This also makes things go by quicker though and can be a fun sort of challenge for those who are mastering the game.

Speaking of mastering the game, Final Fantasy VII is a lot about grinding and even more about strategy. Players will be encouraged to wander off of the main mission for hours at a time fighting enemies that they find to yield an acceptable amount of experience (used to level up characters) and AP (used to level up Materia). Once leveled up in terms of character levels and Materia abilities, players will find that they still need a high level of strategic knowledge and understanding to win battles. Not everything is so easy as the battles done to grind up levels, and critical thinking is still needed to survive – especially when using an Active ATB. It’s also pretty important to note that anytime a new character is introduced in Final Fantasy VII, their level will be higher or lower based on your party members and how much time you’ve spent leveling them up. Also, There are definitely areas of the game that require specific knowledge about how to defeat enemies and what level to be at before even attempting it.

Now before we go any further in discussing what players might already know about the game, one thing that veteran FF7 players will want to know about right away is controller support. There are tons of hacks and homebrew applications to make the craziest controllers work on games that don’t officially support them, but these can be annoying to set up or maintain. Happily this New PC Version of Final Fantasy VII provides support for more than just the Xbox 360 controller. Legacy controllers by Logitech were found to be working as well. The DualShock 4 is currently not supported straight out of the box for this game though, which is disappointing considering the timing of this release and the fact that it could have easily been added in. That being said, the game feels great on one of your older controllers and is of course a PC game so is wide open to modification.

Final Fantasy VII uses a tool called Tifa’s Boot Leg to manage / install mods for the game. Some of the mods that have been created by the PC Gaming community for FF7 so far include things like an “Ultra HD” mod with very high-resolution graphics, “Nightmare Mode” (a more difficult version of the game where enemies are supposed to be smarter and tougher), and stranger things like the “Aeris Revival Patch” which allows a main character whose life was cut short to carry on with the rest of the crew towards the final mission.

Modding the game will disable the chance to use Square Enix Cloud Saves and disable the ability to earn Steam Achievements, which means players might be better off doing a clean run-through of the game before indulging in that sort of thing. Enhanced graphics are just slightly tweaked in the stock version of the game, but look better than ever with a very small amount of liberty being taken on the expansion of the level of detail seen in characters’ facial expressions.

This time around, players not only have the benefit of the enhanced visuals and de ja vu feel of replaying this classic RPG from the 90s, but also the opportunity to listen to new accompanying material while doing so. Random AKA MegaRan has teamed up with Lost Perception to produce Black Materia, a musical rendition of the events that take place in the game featuring modern hip hop beats created using the actual Final Fantasy VII soundtrack itself. I highly recommend listening to this album while playing the game as it really humanizes the entire big picture scenario for players who may want to know what’s going on in a more relatable way without waiting the many tens of hours for major plot details to reveal themselves. Take a listen to some of the tracks below, or preview the entire album for free here.

In many ways, Final Fantasy VII can be seen as a parable to real life. Whether it be the government conspiracy, corporate takeover, or the Mako Reactor startling resemblance to Nuclear Reactors seen on Earth, it would seem that Final Fantasy VII is trying to tell us something. The way that magic takes a new form as Materia is reminiscent of Magicite from Final Fantasy VI and equipping different Materia to different characters provides an even more elaborate way to train magic for all characters that isn’t redundant like switching Espers to teach every character the same spell in FF6. The Materia system and how it works, as well as the benefits from it, tells the story of how technological enhancements change the battlefield from earlier times to the modern age. Even the FF7 Summon-based Materia which essentially holds the essence of the being it summons is still red like the FF6 Magicite which was the remains of an Esper (beings made up of pure ethereal energy).

Evolution of man on Earth has led to the destruction of natural resources much like in the way that it has in Final Fantasy VII. In real life, humans still have time to work through these issues in slow motion using political systems and scientific research painstakingly done in labs over long periods. However, in the Final Fantasy VII video game, these issues are seen in a fictional world made up of magic, monsters, and war of the classes and must be addressed immediately as the hybrid Sephiroth attempts to clean the planet of all human beings.

Tons of side content exists in FF7, and every character has deeply rooted backstories that can be discovered and explored one way or another. As mentioned previously, places like the Golden Saucer provide many activities. But if a giant casino in the sky with tons of games to play and contests to win isn’t enough to keep your interest, there’s also snowboarding, Strategy RPG gaming at Fort Condor, buying a mansion on the beach, flying the airship around an open world full of secret items and events, and something called Materia caves full of valuable magic gems.

Hidden characters Yuffie and Vincent are unforgettable for veterans of this game and are easy to remember how to obtain, but if you’re new to the game you’ll want to make sure you do a quick google search on them both. You can get them very early in the game and it doesn’t ruin the experience to know ahead of time how to get them since it’s not a part of any spoiler heavy scene. In addition to these things rare equipment, Materia, and weapons can be found in the game’s massive open world only by searching, using vehicles such as the airship or dune buggy, racing Chocobo creatures, breeding Chocobo creatures, and traveling far and wide fighting the monsters that inhabit the world.

Final Verdict:

It can honestly be said that Final Fantasy VII stands the test of time. This New PC Version feels as great as the original and doesn’t require players to look past aged 3D models. Many modding capabilities are available (though not officially supported), but even simply playing through the product Square Enix has provided to the modern Windows PC community is a thrill and brings back memories. Players who have beat the game in the past won’t be able to stop playing, especially if they hook up a controller. With the way the turn-based RPG genre has been going for a while now, this release is exactly what the industry needed and should be looked at as the ideal, masterpiece RPG formula for all others to strive to return to. Final Fantasy VII gets a perfect 10 out of 10 Diamond RGN Rating and is recommended to all gamers.

Official Trailer:

Overall Score: 10 / 10

RGN Rating : Diamond Game

Available Now On GamersGate

Developer / Publisher: Square Enix

Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the vendor for the purpose of this Review.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20140224 and was last modified on 20150423 .

SteelSeries Rival Gaming Mouse Review

The SteelSeries Rival Gaming Mouse is by far one of the most accurate gaming mouse devices I’ve used in my many years throughout the PC Gaming industry. With comfort being one of my top priorities when selecting a gaming mouse, the Rival satisfies and doesn’t look half bad either.

A slowly pulsing glow on the SteelSeries logo (with custom colors or even multiple colors cycled) calls me back to my computer for long gaming sessions that never cause a cramp, and accurate head shots are achieved with ease thanks to the SteelSeries Rival being in my hand. Regular computer usage is obviously incredibly improved as the mouse always knows what I want to do – that’s right the SteelSeries Rival increases productivity and precise actions during work sessions too.

Installing the SteelSeries Engine software unlocks everything gamers want out of the mouse – which is installed easily and with no hassle for free.

SteelSeries Engine is a software that will allow the advanced features of the Rival Gaming Mouse to be accessed, activated, and enhanced. Custom keys can be set for each button on the mouse. There are 6 buttons in total. The left mouse button, right mouse button, and two buttons on the left hand side of the mouse, plus the scroll bar up, scroll bar up and down as well as clicked in place. There’s also a button that changes CPI / DPI on the spot.

Unfortunately it’s really disappointing that SteelSeries didn’t see fit to make each of the side grips into clickable buttons as well. They’ve done such a good job with the rest of the mouse in terms of accuracy, speed, customization, and gamer-centric control with quiet and responsive buttons that don’t go off by accident mid-game, that I really expected to be able to click the side grips once they were in my hand.

That being said, the mouse is extremely ergonomic and provides plenty of buttons to satisfy even without the missed opportunity of side grips potentially being clickable – which seemed like an obvious idea upon taking hold of it. In addition to that macros can be programmed by the user to act as scripted combinations of input to take place at the push of a button.

Two settings are set by the user which allow you to maintain two different sets of mouse sensitivity. The mouse sensitivity is measured by CPI (Counts Per Inch, also known as DPI or Dots Per Inch) and this mouse is equipped with a laser that ranges from 50 to 6500 and can be manually set in increments of 50, offering a really precise controller for PC Gaming – especially at the price level the Rival comes in at.

Once the two settings are set a button is used under the scroll wheel to swap sensitivities. The applications of this are pretty widespread. For example, one speed of the mouse is on standby for slowing down to take aim in one type of game – but another for fast paced rapid movement at any given time.

With lasers this powerful, I prefer to go without a mousepad and just use my desk. There are patterns on my desk which resemble what you’d see inside a piece of wood that was cut open. I find that using most mouse pads with a laser mouse this powerful will cause issues such as inaccurate control, input lag, or complete unresponsiveness at times. Keep in mind, these mice are basically taking tons of pictures rapidly and comparing them to each other to figure out movement. With the SteelSeries Rival I never once encountered any of the issues I mentioned above, which is why I’m so impressed with it. But using a mouse pad (especially one that has symmetrical patterns or solid colors) may not work out as well.

Another thing users might point out is that the use of a wired mouse is more convenient. There’s nothing more game-breaking then spending time and energy worrying about the battery level of a mouse. Some may prefer wireless, but the SteelSeries Rival is superior to a lot of wireless mice in accuracy and is designed well enough that users forget the wire is even there.

Perhaps as a luxury feature – If you know somebody with a 3D Printer then you can even engrave your name, clan, brand, or gamer alias onto an insert that slides into the SteelSeries Rival, as seen below.

Final Verdict:

The SteelSeries Rival Gaming Mouse offers a very thorough and powerful solution to gamers who just want to grab a reliable and fast mouse at a reasonable price. The convenience of not having to recharge it, since it’s wired, coupled with the solid accuracy and comfortable design make it stand out from its competition off the bat. The software included takes up little to no resources and allows for a great amount of customization. This device could be improved if the right and left grips, which feel great in the hand already, were also clickable buttons. If so, SteelSeries would have to do this without making them go off by accident mid-game though – or it would decrease the quality of the mouse from a gaming perspective. As it stands, the device performs great in games and gives very reliable input that you can count on to never let you down.

Official Trailer:

Overall Score: 9.2/10

RGN Tech Rating: Gold Device

Manufacturer: SteelSeries

More Info | Buy Here

Review Copy Info: A review sample was provided to RealGamerNewz by the manufacturer for the purpose of the review.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20140211 and was last modified on 20140211 .

VRC 1000 – Virtual Racing Chair Review

The Quest:

Since the first time I used a steering wheel for a racing game I instantly became a racing fanatic and far and away it became my favorite genre for gaming. No other gaming peripheral has ever offered me the level of immersion that a good FFB (Force Feedback) wheel does while playing any game. The only problem I encountered once I purchased my first wheel was what to mount it to. I went the normal route of using a desk which was okay for a little while but shortly after I wanted something that added a more visceral racing feel. Then the search to find the best way to mount my wheel began.

Over the years I have tried everything from DIY rigs to manufactured ones I ordered online. The problem I ran into was most DIY rigs I built were too bulky, heavy, and not very attractive (WAF – wife acceptance factor is extremely important to the sanctity of an any relationship, especially mine). Most of the manufactured rigs I purchased lacked flexibility, compatibility, adjustments, stability, and had various other shortcomings I could not deal with like a center post, cheap seats which became uncomfortable for extended gaming sessions, fasteners that cause visual imperfections on the chassis. The other big drawback is the lack of choices living in the States (USA). Most top quality rig manufacturers are over seas and the shipping cost to America can run nearly as much as the rig themselves.

In walks Carriage Works VRC 1000 – Virtual Racing Chair

A few months back I was going to pull the trigger on yet another rig from Europe to replace the current DIY rig I was using. The night I was about to place my order for this model overseas, I stumbled across, literally by accident, a rig built and manufactured here in America from a company called Carriage Works. They specialize in building car parts, grilles, rims, etc.

At first glance I thought this rig I stumbled across on this site was custom order only and not something I could readily order and receive in a week or two. Besides I had questions that I needed answered before placing an order to begin with so I contacted Carriage Works via email to inquire about this rig of theirs. I needed to know about its compatibility with my current hardware, the Thrustmaster T500 RS and more importantly the Fanatec CSR Elite Wheel which was brand new wheel to the market at the time I was going to place an order for this rig.

Matt Cunningham, lead designer of the VRC 1000, contacted me himself directly and informed me that their rig was not yet designed to accommodate the Fanatec line of wheels. He extended me the option to send my wheel to Carriage Works so they could take the needed measurements and laser cut their wheel deck to accommodate Fanatec products. They also did the same for the Thrustmaster T500 RS and TH8 shifter for this series wheel. I sent them the wheel and Matt kept me in the loop every step of the way. Sending me pictures and updating me on future accessories they have on the design table. Matt was as passionate and excited about designing this rig as most gamers would be to use it.

Initial thoughts:

Usually I feel like a kid on Christmas morning when waiting the arrival of a new product to enhance my gaming experience, but after having already having exhausted several rigs in the past, my anticipation was even keel at best. Even though a couple of the previous rigs I tried would have pleased most users, I personally ended up disappointed over time with the functionality, durability and comfort for long gaming sessions. So when the UPS truck pulled up to my door I was definitely intrigued but not overly excited. The VRC 1000 arrived in 3 large boxes. The largest and heaviest box was the rig itself with the parts to fasten it together. Here’s what you’ll find in the boxes:

  • Box 1 (Largest and heaviest box) – VRC 1000 Frame (practically assembled), Shifter Mount, Fasteners (nuts, bolts, etc) and the instructions to assemble the rig, seat and LCD stand.
  • Box 2 – Racing Seat (color depending on which you choose)
  • Box 3 – LCD Stand (optional)

Assembling the Rig:

Carriage Works might possibly be the best company I have ever dealt with when it comes to instructions and ease of assembly. They not only include an easy to follow step by step manual with colored pictures, but they also include a DVD that has an assembly video. How cool is that?

All the fasteners came in separate labeled bags for each part of the assembly stage which made it that much easier to get through the assembly process. There was nothing difficult about assembling this rig. I put together by myself in roughly 20 minutes but I do recommend having someone around to help mount the seat. I have assembled dozens of devices similar to this over the years so it wasn’t too difficult to figure a quick solution to mounting the seat by myself but I recommend, as does Carriage Works themselves, having someone around to lend a hand. So grab a friend or family member to be on the ready when it comes time to mount the seat.

Adjustability:

This is where this rig really shines. Nearly every thing on this rig is adjustable. The seat sliders forward, back and tilts. It also allows for the three different height settings when attaching it to the seat to the rig during assembly. The front of the frame (yoke), which affects the height of the wheel base, can be set to varying degrees heights using the aluminum adjustment bars on each side of the rig. This adds a lot of versatility to find just the right height you prefer you wheel to be set. The wheel deck (bracket assembly the wheel is attached too) can be tilted up and down and also gives you the ability to move the wheel closer to you with a dual tier deck brackets plates and tensions knows under the wheel deck. The pedal plate (gas, brake and clutch pedals are attached) can be moved towards and away from you with tension knobs attached to the bottom of the front sides of the rig pedal plate. The only thing on this rig that is not adjustable is the shifter mount which is not a problem for me personally. I am 5’ 10” and this rig fits me like a glove.

As a result of all of these adjustability, my initial impressions were this is one of the most well thought out engineered rig I have yet to use. I found the sweet spot for me with in minutes of sitting in the rig for the first time by using the plethora of adjustments the VRC 1000 offer the user. About the only complaint I have, and it’s a small one, but I could see it affecting taller users, is the height of the pedal plate to the bend of the yoke frame height on the front of the rig. Initially I had my pedal plate set as far forward as it will go and my toes barely clear the bended 1 3/4” tubing of the front of the yoke itself.

Time to turn some laps:

Okay it’s here, it’s assembled, my hardware is mounted, all the adjustments are to my liking and it’s time to take this baby out for a test drive. From the minute I sat on the seat and grabbed on to the wheel, I felt like I was sitting in a car and almost forget I was actually in my gaming room itself. The level of immersion I felt from the minute I sat in this rig and completed my first initial lap I was in sim racing Nirvana. I knew this was money well spent and that Carriage Works created a rig that would be the centerpiece of my gaming room for many years to come. Seriously, once I found a good seating position and mounted my steering wheel, pedals, and gear shift, I completely blocked out my surroundings and I was only fixated on the screens (triple panel display) and trying to improve my lap times and cross the finish line first.

Pros:

  • Build quality – built like a tank with almost no wobble at all
  • Appearance – elegant powder coat finish, looks like racing art
  • Adjustability – This rig offers a plethora of adjustments

Cons:

  • Can’t rake pedals
  • Shifter arm not adjustable
  • Price – but you get what you pay for and this is money WELL SPENT  for any serious racing fan

Final Verdict:

Bottom line, if you are a fan of racing games, you want a VRC 1000. This rig is the absolute best option at this price point and no other rig offers the same level of comfort, versatility and build quality. Yes, there are cheaper alternatives available, but no other option comes close to the VRC 1000 . It is in a league of it’s own and I doubt it will ever be outdone in it’s price point. If you’re serious about your racing immersion, you owe it to yourself to invest in the VRC 1000

Overall Score: 9.5 out of 10

RGN Rating: Platinum Device

Manufacturer: Carriage Works Accessories Inc.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Brian R on 20131209 and was last modified on 20140211 .

Madden NFL 25 Review

Madden NFL 25 is an NFL Football game where you hold down the trigger button to run after catching the ball, and—haha, just kidding. The fact of the matter is Madden NFL 25 is at the top of it’s game, showcasing 25 years of innovation from the dedicated team at EA Sports who works closely with their community to remove exploits, enhance gameplay experience, and maintain realism which has never been matched in the industry. You could probably use this game to predict a lot, as EA Sports has worked very closely with NFL players to create the game by monitoring their body’s performance and their behavioral tendencies as well as implementing state of the art motion capture technology.

With the Madden Ultimate Team system you’ll grab a bunch of characters like a pack of trading cards after selecting a Captain and then go from there. As you form your starter team you’ll be thinking about the re-introduced Chemistry ranking that each player (and your team overall) will be rated on, doing things like forming a good Blitz defense or a tight running game will help you with getting rewards such as a first round bye while competing in the new Head-to-Head Seasons Mode in Madden NFL 25. If you form a team that isn’t cohesive but just randomly selecting players, well then obviously there’s not going to be lots of chemistry between them. The game also features long-term goals beyond the gameplay experience including leaving behind a legacy with trophies ranging from Legacy Score 2+, to 500+, to 1,250+, 9,000+, 13,950+, and more. This helps to really cement the game’s longevity in addition to the couch co-op potential which has long been a draw for sports games on console. Who ever said couch co-op is dead though? It’s certainly alive and well in Madden NFL 25 which supports up to 6 players at once on one PS3. Tell your buddies to bring their controllers, it’s going to be a serious gaming session this time around.

Madden’s Career Mode eventually became Connected Careers Mode in recent Madden history, and Madden NFL 25 basically evolves that to another level with Connected Franchise Mode bringing back what was good about Madden before this new vision while implementing what they learned from it as well. You can now also be a Franchise Owner and on top of everything else, you get to worry about the bottom line (dollars that is). In Connected Franchise (Owner Mode) you’ll be in control of “everything from personnel to merchandising”. You’ll get to pick everything from the team’s logo, name, uniforms, to even the city, stadium (which vary in cost and size), and still call all of the shots playing the Coach and Owner roles simultaneously.

Gameplay / Controls: As far as picking plays is concerned, you can rock with ‘Gameflow’ which was introduced in Madden 11 or you can go into Conventional play-books which default to “Ask Madden” selections in case you don’t want to spend lots of time picking plays. For me, Conventional gameplay (choosing what play you want based on looking at their drawings and/or picking them by name) is extremely fluid in Madden NFL 25. There’s no reason to complain about how long it takes now, it doesn’t take long at all. You can clearly tell passing plays from running plays and even though I’m no football expert I’ve always enjoyed picking my own plays through the years because at least I can understand what’s going on, switch it up when things aren’t working, and figure out what plays my particular play-style is compatible with. In the past I used to just Hail Mary everything, but Madden NFL 25 brings a difficulty associated with its realism which will require you to think a lot harder about what you’re doing.

Some other improvements to the Madden Ultimate Team system include throwing in players from the reserves much easier. Now you won’t have to leave the Best Lineup button to grab inactive players whose chemistry score and/or skill-set is exactly what your team needs at any given moment. There are 351 new plays in Madden NFL 25, 20 new formations, 2 new play-books (Pistol and Run and Shoot), and 2 new Legend Coach Play-books (Mike Ditka and Jimmy Johnson). Without boring you all with an exhaustive list of every single changed made to the game (you can probably bug EA Sports for one of those), let me just say that blocking, running the ball, and blitzing feel in some cases a lot more fluid, and in all situations things feel at least slightly more accurate to what your intent was when pressing the buttons.

Input lag is virtually non-existent, and predictive patterns at EA Sports are really getting to an overly impressive level that easily makes the Action / Adventure genre’s sometimes frustrating lack of accurate responsiveness to your input just look absolutely silly. Playing Madden NFL 25 is as graceful as us old timers remember the old Madden games being on Super Nintendo and later the original PlayStation, although something tells me decades from now people will look back on this and laugh. With things this smooth on current generation consoles though, I’m very interested to see what the next-generation version of the game has in store for players.

Featured Player and Coach Legends in Connected Franchise:

  • Barry Sanders
  • Cris Carter
  • Curtis Martin
  • Dan Marino
  • Dave Casper
  • Deacon Jones
  • Deion Sanders
  • Derrick Brooks
  • Derrick Thomas
  • Night Train Lane
  • Emmitt Smith
  • Franco Harris (Unlockable)
  • Fred Biletnikoff (Unlockable)
  • George Blanda
  • Isaac Bruce
  • Jack Ham
  • Jerry Rice (Unlockable)
  • Mean Joe Greene
  • Joe Montana (Unlockable)
  • John Elway
  • John Mackey
  • John Randle
  • Kellen Winslow
  • Kurt Warner (Unlockable)
  • Lawrence Taylor
  • Marshall Faulk
  • Michael Irvin
  • Mike Ditka
  • Otto Graham
  • Randall Cunningham
  • Ray Lewis
  • Reggie White
  • Rod Woodson (Unlockable)
  • Ronnie Lot
  • Sammy Baugh
  • Sean Taylor
  • Shannon Sharpe
  • Steve Largent
  • Steve Young (Unlockable)
  • Troy Aikman (Unlockable)
  • Walter Payton
  • Warren Moon (Unlockable)
  • Warren Sapp
  • William Perry (DT-Unlockable)
  • William Perry (FB)
  • Coach: Bill Walsh (Unlockable)
  • Coach: Dick Vermeil
  • Coach: Jimmy Johnson (Unlockable)
  • Coach: Joe Gibbs
  • Coach: John Madden (Unlockable)
  • Coach: Mike Ditka (Unlockable)
  • Coach: Tom Flores (Unlockable)
  • Coach: Tom Landry
  • Coach: Vince Lombardi

Offline 32 Character Control, Offline Fantasy Draft, Create-A-Player, and a lot more features are also present in the game thanks to EA Sports listening to fan feedback, honestly there’s just too many to even list. If you’re a hardcore member of the community you probably already know what I’m talking about, but you by no means need to be a hardcore Madden community member to enjoy this game. Pop it in and start playing just like you used to before things started to get confusing. This game plays fluid and smooth and is fun the entire time.

Graphics / Art Direction: The graphics in Madden NFL 25 are the best this generation has to offer. The visual theme is all about realism, so it’s obvious what Art Direction you should expect out of Madden NFL 25. Gameplay everything looks great, and you really get immersed in what’s going on, you never have to guess or look passed pixel problems. The replays are surreal and make things look even better.

Soundtrack, Audio, Voice: In Madden NFL 25, the commentary feels real, I honestly don’t know how they’ve done it. Instead of just hearing what may have sounded like automated code in the past, it actually feels like the commentators are really watching the match live. EA Sports has always had advanced methods to make this type of audio illusion of realism but there were always subtle hints that gave it away, now they’ll basically tell you how to win. In Madden NFL 25 the commentary is indistinguishable from a real live football match on television’s commentary. You’ll even catch them making long term observations and criticisms about the way the NFL has changed over the 25 years since Madden has been bringing the sport to life for those of us who aren’t good enough to play this sport for a living.

Multiplayer Aspect: Online Matches are matched depending on how close somebody is to Skill Level with you. If you don’t want to wait for this to happen, you can go to Quick Match which will automatically find somebody further and further from your skill level just to get you in the game that much faster but still get the most balanced game out there. You can also hop in lobbies and chat while waiting for somebody to join. For the first time you can Download and Upload Player Sliders, CPU Sliders, Defensive Play-books, Rosters, Offensive Play-books, and more using the Madden Share system on PS3 and Xbox 360’s EA Sports Network. “Warning: The contents of this file may contain offensive language”; bring it on baby! The Main Menu has been redesigned and feels like Windows 8 / PlayStation Store the way it’s got tiles that are easy to navigate and identify.

Replay Ability- Very High

Engine Performance: The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game are using the Infinity Engine 2 while the upcoming Xbox ONE and PlayStation 4 versions will use the new Ignite game engine. We reviewed this game on PS3 and experienced no glitches during our play-through.

Final Verdict: There are some people out there who say “I don’t like sports games”, there are even some who complain that sports games are released yearly. To those people I challenge you to actually pick up this game either as a rental or purchase and find out how Madden NFL 25 is bringing back the classic feel of football video games being as much about the video game experience and gameplay as they were about football. You don’t need to have a favorite team or care who throws the ball the best where you come from to enjoy Madden NFL 25, and if you are a sports buff there’s no doubt that the massive roster, new innovations in Connected Franchise Mode, the Madden Ultimate Team system, and improvements all around in terms of realism; you’ll be satisfied with this title.

The only reason this game is not a 10/10 Platinum Game is because the current generation hardware is feeling outdated and at some points might be having trouble pushing the boundaries and keeping up with the innovations EA Sports has in store for Madden NFL 25. Overall, RealGamerNewz scores this game a solid 9/10 and it has earned itself an RGN Rating of Gold. This game is being advertised by EA Sports as a return to the nostalgia of Madden but with the most evolved gameplay experience seen in NFL video games thus far, and we are happy to report that is exactly what Madden NFL 25 is.

Official Trailer:

Overall Score: 9/10

RGN Rating: Gold Game

Developers: EA Tiburon

Publisher: EA Sports

Available On: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 Worldwide on August 27, 2013

Played On: PlayStation 3

Next-Gen Version on Xbox ONE and PlayStation 4 Available November 2013

Review Copy Info- A physical copy of the game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20130823 and was last modified on 20130826 .

Tristans Twisted World: Madden NFL 13 Review

Madden NFL is definitely one of the biggest games that comes out every year but never gets stale to its own dedicated fanbase. FIFA and Madden are the two EA Sports front runners for this current generation. The only negative thing about yearly releases is that they don’t always top last year’s model and changing things up in terms of gameplay can get messy sometimes. Madden 12 was a let down for some gamers, but what about EA Sports Madden NFL 13?

Soundtrack, Audio, Voice: The soundtrack for the game is comprised mainly of classic NFL music and big hits from the new age of music. I would enjoy a tad bit more variety, but can’t really complain since on the Xbox 360 version you can enable custom soundtracks at any time. Audio such as sound effects and announcer volume is clear, the fans and players sound as good as they can with a yearly release. Surprisingly, the announcer’s voice work is good despite tons of recycled lines.

Graphics, Physics, Glitches, Engine Performance: The graphics are improved slightly from last year and still manage to capture the feel of the NFL. The physics are now powered by the new Infinity engine bringing different hits and a more realistic feel every single time. Unfortunately this improvement doesn’t come without a cost. The Infinity engine may use realism but adds tons of overlooked glitches. Sometimes the player’s character will be trying to catch the ball when suddenly it shoots across the screen and into the defender’s hands as if drawn to it by a magnet. The Infinity engine brings tons of new things to table, but this improvement remains moderate with the advent of new glitches also coming into the gameplay experience.

Players and Gameplay: The many variations on how some players are programmed makes them different to play as. For example, when playing as RG3 players can run away from defenders a whole lot easier. When playing as Big Ben players can break tackles easier. When playing as Tony Romo players can be sacked and fumble the ball easier. Each player is a tad different in the way that they are made to act statistically. Of course you can make your own characters as well. The gameplay is basically what you expect from a Madden NFL title but with more options and on the Xbox 360 version, having a Kinect makes it much better. This year’s Madden installment also has changes in blocking and passing making it much more like NCAA Football.

Multiplayer/CO OP: The multiplayer is a fun way to play either head to head or in CO OP. You can can skill rank by winning with their leveling system. It matches you with players that are similar to your rank. To play with other friends I suggest communication because random CO OP is not the way to go. Getting to how the match’s quality is improved from the lag fest of Madden 12.

Connected Careers: The new idea of everyone being able to play together or play solo as either coach and player brings Madden NFL 13 to a new level. If you play as coach you can make your own, play as current, or even play as a legend. A player career is pretty much the same way with a created player, current player, or legend. You can take your player and coach until you retire and see if you are good enough for the Hall of Fame. The main goal is similar to game modes that appeared in earlier entries to the Madden series such as Franchise and Superstar and the new coach spin is similar to the Head Coach video game series. It seems like this idea will be an idea that many sports games will go into depth on in the near future, Madden NFL 13 definitely has a lead.

Final Verdict: This game makes up for most of the mistakes that Madden NFL 12 made, but not all of them. Madden NFL 13 causes the series to evolve and rebuilds the structure of its core from the ground up while keeping what was good about it, in more than one way. This game receives a total of 8.75 out of 10 from Tristan’s Twisted World and RealGamerNewz.com .

Replay Value: High

Overall Score: 8.75/10

Review Copy Info: Madden NFL 13 was purchased by RealGamerNewz.com for review purposes

Available on: Xbox 360 , Playstation 3, Wii, Wii U, PS Vita, and Computer

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Tristan Werbe on 20130411 and was last modified on 20130412 .