Coffee Talk #648: Your Black Friday/Cyber Monday Wish/Get List

The ludicrous sensations known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are nearly here! For the next week or so, I’d love to hear all about your wishes and wants for this year’s shopping spectacular. As the deals pile up, please use the comments section to post any sweet deals you’ve snagged or that you recommend to your fellow RPadholics. If you’d be so kind as to keep an eye on Amazon’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals page, picking something up would really help out RPadTV (if you hit the link in this sentence before buying).

Sadly, I’m way too poor to buy much of anything this year. So I’m going to live vicariously through you guys and gals. Hopefully a bunch of you will enjoy some stellar deals so that I can feel a bit of joy and possibly bust out the following saying:

Ha! So let’s have it (please)! Share your Black Friday and Cyber Monday wishes and gets below (again, please).


Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about the rocky career of RGKnee, Derrick Rose’s endless aches, or the extremely unfortunate breakup of Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Colbert, Gamergate, and Anita Sarkeesian

I’ve been avoiding writing about #Gamergate because it’s stupid, overblown, and generally not worth thinking about…but this clip from The Colbert Report is too good. Watch Stephen Colbert chat with Feminist Frequency author and media critic Anita Sarkeesian about the Gamergate situation. Yes, Gamergate has cost me a couple of thousand dollars because some a-hole Breitbart readers click-botted my website, but I believe that you only have two choice in such situations — laugh or cry. Thanks to Stephen Colbert, I can chuckle at the whole stupidity of Gamergate and feel a little bit better about my day. Check out the clip when you get a chance and let me know what you think of it. You can earn bonus RPad points by identifying all the games you see in the clip. (Note: RPad points are worth as much as your Xbox Gamerscore…which is to say that they’re worthless.)

Edit: The video has been updated to two videos! The intro to Colbert’s Gamergate piece is above, while the chat with Ania Sarkeesian is below.

Stephen Colbert Report

Laura Shigihara’s Rakuen Trailer is Utterly Charming

I’m totally charmed by Rakuen. This upcoming adventure/puzzle game is being headed up by Plants vs. Zombies comoposer Laura Shigihara and it looks like a fantastic time for old-school gamers. On the gameplay front, Rakuen looks like a classic RPG, but the focus is on exploration and puzzle solving. The graphics also feature old-school flair, but use a distinct color palette. The music I’ve heard so far is lovely and totally works for the game’s dreamy tone.

Speaking of dreamy, I believe that the word rakuen is Japanese for paradise (I only took one semester of Japanese). The game’s story is about a sick boy whose dreams become a reality. Here’s an excerpt on the story from the game’s official website:

Rakuen is a story about a little Boy who lives in the hospital. His mother reads to him everyday from his favorite storybook, which is about a tribal child living in a fantasy world called “Morizora’s Forest.” One day the child wakes up to find that everyone in his tribe has disappeared. He soon learns that in order to escape danger, his tribe sailed away to a paradise isle called “Rakuen.”

The Boy deals with questions about empathy, hope, and what it means to leave behind a legacy by coming to terms with your own story.

On paper, Rakuen looks like one of those games that will melt your heart with a touching story enhanced by charming graphics and music. As a huge fan of 8-bit and 16-bit games, I’m predisposed to Rakuen’s perspective (that’s how the world is supposed to look, damn it!). I have a feeling that this game will work for me on every level and can’t wait to see more of it (and also play it, duh).

Rakuen is due out by the end of 2014. Check out the trailer and screenshots below, and let me know what you think of the game when you have a chance.

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Fenix Rage Preview Interview With Ted Lange

If you’re looking for an old-school hardcore platformer then you should definitely check out Fenix Rage. The game is being developed by Green Lava Studios and published by Reverb Triple XP. Fenix Rage is a relentlessly difficult platform game that’s extremely addictive and has lots of replay value. Some gamers that have watched videos of the game believe that it’s the next Super Meat Boy.

In addition to the brutally challenging main game, there are a few things that help Fenix Rage stand out. If you get tired of dying, you can take a break with the game’s arcade mode. This mode contains a number of diversions that use the same game mechanics and controls of the main game, but without the supremely challenging difficulty. If you want an under-the-hood view of Fenix Rage then you’ll definitely want to check out the “Fenix Box” levels. These levels give you a stripped down look of the game, showing off its tight controls and precise hit detection. Lastly, Fenix Rage makes outstanding use of cookies. Confections are collected in the game and play a part in the story. Actual cookie recipes and baking instructions can be unlocked in the game. One of the developer’s sisters is an avid baker and contributed her recipes to the game.

Check out the interview above with Reverb Triple XP executive producer Ted Lange. He provides copious details on Fenix Rage. For additional info on the game, be sure to check out the Fenix Rage coverage on PaulSemel.com.

A nifty side note about the game — some of its character and level designs were influenced by SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron. I totally forgot about that cartoon until Ted mentioned it. Good times.

Fenix Rage will hit Steam and other PC digital distribution platforms on September 24, 2014. The game will hit the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles in early 2015.

Fenix Rage logo

Fenix Rage icon

Endless Legend Preview

A couple of weeks ago, I caught a demo of Endless Legend, an upcoming 4X strategy game (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) for PC. The game is being developed by Amplitude Studio, the creators of Endless Space. Endless Legend takes place in the same universe as Endless Space, but is set during an earlier time period. As you’d expect from an experienced 4X strategy game developer like Amplitude Studio, Endless Legend is shaping up to be a deep, cerebral, and engrossing experience.

Versatility is one Endless Legend’s fortes. The game accommodates a wide variety of playing styles. The different clans offer various strengths suited to a particular style. Whether you prefer a militaristic offense, an airtight defense, or economic supremacy, Endless Legend offers complex gameplay that will tickle your fancy. Best of all, you can experience the game in different ways, depending on the play style and clan you choose.

Like other 4X strategy games, combat and exploration are heavily featured on the surface level, while intense resource management serves as the game’s underpinning. There are four basic resources in Endless Legend: food, industry, science, and dust. The last one is a resource that can be used for purchasing and maintenance, while one clan uses it in lieu of food. I was told that “influence” serves as a fifth resource of sorts, making it the Brian Epstein of Endless Legend resources (What? No Beatles fans?!?).

Speaking of clans, the developers gave me a quick rundown of some of the factions in Endless Legend. The Wild Walkers are the rough equivalent of elves featured in numerous fantasy games. The Broken Lords are knights and builders, that may or may not have a problem with dust-related vampirism. The Necrophages are evil, zombie-like insectoid beings that aren’t particularly nice. The Roving Clans are renowned for manipulating dust for profit. Lastly, the Vaulters are the science nerds of Endless Legend and their society revolves around ancient technology. The last one was slightly disappointing, as a strategy-game clan comprised of pole vaulters sounded all kinds of awesome. Lastly, I was told that there are up to 16 minor factions that can drastically alter gameplay.

The game’s main quest is divided into eight chapters, with each faction offering a unique experience. While side quests for minor factions are more generic, the developers told me that they aimed for variety with the main factions. In addition to battling, there will be quests that revolve around exploration and economy building. The player will sometimes be given broad goals, with multiple ways to achieve them. For example, the player can be tasked to get 10 of “resource X” and can do so through different means.

From what I was shown, Endless Legend looks like an intense game that will satisfy a very particular type of gamer. While 4X strategy doesn’t have the broadest appeal, gamers that are into it are super into it. Endless Legend looks like a home run for those kinds of gamers. At the same time, the game is surprisingly approachable. Yes, it’s very involved, but it’s also accessible to gamers that are curious about 4X strategy and have never delved into it. It certainly won’t appeal to balls-and-guns gamers, but there’s a chance that Endless Legend will create new 4X strategy fans while satisfying existing ones.

Endless Legend is currently in public beta and available through Steam.

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Arena of Fate E3 2014 David Bowman Interview (Crytek)

Arena of Fate is an upcoming multiplayer action game that’s being developed by Crytek’s Sofia studio. It features five-on-five battles with characters from different eras and cultures (both historic and fictional). On the practical side, Arena of Fate skirmishes can be completed in 20 minutes or less, making it ideal for gamers with tight schedules. On the cool-as-hell side, it’s awesome watching Little Red Riding Hood vs. Jack the Ripper, Nikola Tesla vs. Frankenstein, Baron Münchhausen vs. Robin Hood, etc.

In the E3 2014 interview above, Crytek publisher producer David Bowman talks in detail about Arena of Fate. Kindly watch the clip to learn more about the game and to see it in action. For additional details, the press release is copied below.

Arena of Fate E3 2014 Interview

History’s Greatest Heroes Clash in “Arena of Fate” – a Brand New IP from Crytek

Frankfurt am Main (Germany), Sofia (Bulgaria), May 22, 2014 – Step into the shoes of legendary heroes from history and fantasy and lock horns in “Arena of Fate”; an action-packed online multiplayer game coming to PC and consoles soon from Crytek.

Featuring fast-paced 5 vs. 5 battles, Arena of Fate expands Crytek’s range of Games-as-a-Service, and will be playable for the first time at this year’s E3 expo in Los Angeles. Players will be free to choose from a huge roster of famous characters before engaging in star-studded skirmishes with fresh gameplay twists.

Among the iconic figures in Arena of Fate are the likes of Frankenstein, Jack the Ripper and Baron Münchhausen. Tap into their famed traits in battle as you bring Frankenstein back from the dead, use Jack’s cleavers to gruesome effect, and launch across the map on Baron Münchhausen’s cannonball!

Managing Director of Crytek Black Sea and Game Director of Arena of Fate, Vesselin Handjiev, said: “Imagine Joan of Arc and Robin Hood cooperating to hunt down Little Red Riding Hood – Wouldn’t that be terrific? But besides the game’s iconic heroes, which everyone in the team really loves, we are also challenging ourselves to carefully craft a streamlined player experience that allows for both greater accessibility, and rich, deep, action-packed gameplay. We are very excited to meet the first wave of players in the arena this summer, and will be listening carefully to the feedback we receive and making the community’s contribution a key part of our efforts to perfect the fun.”

The game is being developed by Crytek’s Sofia studio, which was established in 2008 following Crytek’s acquisition of Black Sea Studios. Originally founded in 2001, Black Sea

Studios made their name with critically acclaimed real-time strategy game “Knights of Honor” and sci-fi online RTS/RPG hybrid, “WorldShift”.

Coffee Talk #629: Random Thoughts on E3 2014

Now that we’ve all had a few days to absorb the multimedia assault that was E3 2014, let’s talk about the show! I was working for two outlets during E3 2014, so my schedule was all over the place. I did see a lot of great games, but it’s likely that you guys and gals were exposed to more from reading various articles and watching different videos. The thing that surprised me the most about E3 2014 was that there were a lot of mainstream games that excited me. For the last couple of years, independent games like Journey, Sound Shapes, and The Unfinished Swan were my big favorites. While I certainly enjoyed several indie games at E3 2014, there were a lot of mainstream games I had a blast with too. Here are some random thoughts on the show…continued

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, the start of the 2014 World Cup, getting into a car accident on the way to The Vape Summit, or said accident crushing your coverage plans, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Now that we’ve all had a few days to absorb the multimedia assault that was E3 2014, let’s talk about the show! I was working for two outlets during E3 2014, so my schedule was all over the place. I did see a lot of great games, but it’s likely that you guys and gals were exposed to more from reading various articles and watching different videos. The thing that surprised me the most about E3 2014 was that there were a lot of mainstream games that excited me. For the last couple of years, independent games like Journey, Sound Shapes, and The Unfinished Swan were my big favorites. While I certainly enjoyed several indie games at E3 2014, there were a lot of mainstream games I had a blast with too. Here are some random thoughts on the show.

Yoshi's Wooly World E3 2014

Nintendo Ruled — The Nintendo booth is usually the happiest place at any E3, but this year it was my happy place. I absolutely loved Yoshi’s Wooly World, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, and Super Smash Bros. 4. Although I kept calling it Zelda Samurai Warriors, I had more fun than I expected to with Hyrule Warriors. Kicking ass with Zelda was extremely satisfying. I knew nothing about Splatoon going into E3 2014, but it was great fun as well. At the end of the day, Yoshi’s Wooly World was my favorite game of E3 2014.

Nintendo’s E3 2014 lineup was so well received that many people said things to me like, “I’m totally getting a Wii U now!” and, “Sweet! I’m really looking forward to dusting off my Wii U!”

On a side note, I pitched a high-ranking Nintendo of America exec on using Cat Stevens’ “Wild World” to market Yoshi’s Wooly World. Can’t you hear the commercial?!? “Oh baby baby, it’s a Wooly World.” That totally works…in my head, anyway.

Because I’m Batman: Rocksteady Studios’ first couple of Arkham games took Batman (and really, all superhero games) to new heights. I have a strong feeling that Batman: Arkham Knight will be the best yet. The demo had several elements from the previous games that I loved, plus some all-new Batmobile gameplay. The Batmobile stuff was so much fun that I can see myself enjoying that aspect of the game for hours and being completely satisfied. While I was disappointed that Batman: Arkham Knight got pushed to 2015, the E3 2014 demo showed a game that’s absolutely worth waiting for.

Batman Arkham Knight Batmobile E3 2014

Indie Love: Naturally, there were several indie games that I ended up loving. Some pals from Sony instructed me to play Hohokum and I’m so glad that they did. This exploration/puzzle game is so aurally and visually pleasing that it’s easy to forget about the game’s goals while you’re soaking up the lovely sights and sounds. The game’s soundtrack is by Ghostly International and features several tracks by Tycho. Hohokum just made me happy every time I played it and the same thing happened to everyone that I dragged over to spend time with the game. This was probably my second-favorite game of E3 2014, so thanks Nate and Zach for making me check it out!

Meanwhile, at the Microsoft booth, my buddy Charla instructed me to check out Lifeless Planet at the ID@Xbox area. Another exploration/puzzle game, I was really struck by the sights and sounds of this one too, but in a very different way from Hohokum. While Hohokum is all about making you feel happy, Lifeless Planet is all about creating a sense of isolation as you explore a desolate world. The game’s graphics and sounds do a fantastic job at creating a sense of foreboding solitude. I definitely want to see more of this one…but in a brightly lit living room so as not to wig out.

Lifeless Planet E3 2014

Lastly, Galak-Z is an old-school sci-fi shooter that blends elements of classic anime and shooting games. It’s fun to play and watch other people play. If you’re into masochistic shooters that delight you with difficulty then you’ll definitely want to check out Galak-Z. I fully expect this game to be a darling among videogame journalists.

Les Unite: Several of you feel that Assassin’s Creed 2 was the pinnacle of the series and the games have been going (slightly) downhill ever since. I’m totally with you on that, so I was cautiously optimistic after being delighted by the Assassin’s Creed Unity trailer. After seeing the demo, half of me feels that Unity will be the Assassin’s Creed game that many AC2 fans are crying for. The other, more cynical half of me fears that Ubisoft whipped up an outstanding trailer and demo. Still, let’s be optimistic here and (cautiously) hope that Assassin’s Creed Unity ends up being the game that many longtime AC fans want.

Assassin's Creed Unity E3 2014

Your Turn: Naturally, I want to hear how E3 2014 played in your head. What did you love? What did you hate? Any games surprise you? Any games disappoint you? As excited as I was to be at the show, I’m more excited to hear your thoughts on E3 2014, so fire away in the comments section (please)!

Coffee Talk #628: What You Want From E3 2014

E3 2014 is just around the corner. Honestly, I’ve been avoiding thinking much about it. My June is pretty nuts — E3, The Vape Summit, hosting a pair of store grand openings, family visits, and more. Obviously E3 shows are something that I always look forward to; they’re wondrous events that are unlike any other trade show I’ve attended (and I’ve attended a ton of ’em). It’s always awesome seeing new games, seeing how other games are coming along, watching the press conference spectacles, watching the publisher pissing contests, and (most of all) catching up with longtime colleagues in the gaming business. Still, I’m so detached from the industry at the moment that I don’t…continued

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, 50 Cent’s new album, the rumor that Marvel will cancel the Fantastic Four comics to spite Fox’s FF movie, or weeping that AJ Lee is off the market, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

E3 2014 is just around the corner. Honestly, I’ve been avoiding thinking much about it. My June is pretty nuts — E3, The Vape Summit, hosting a pair of store grand openings, family visits, and more. Obviously E3 shows are something that I always look forward to; they’re wondrous events that are unlike any other trade show I’ve attended (and I’ve attended a ton of ’em). It’s always awesome seeing new games, seeing how other games are coming along, watching the press conference spectacles, watching the publisher pissing contests, and (most of all) catching up with longtime colleagues in the gaming business. Still, I’m so detached from the industry at the moment that I don’t have the giddy feeling that I usual get going into E3 2014.

That’s not to say that I won’t be busy. I’ll be spending the bulk of my E3 2014 days working for EGM and a couple of minutes each day doing daily video recaps for a foreign outlet (they love me in Singapore). While I won’t have much “free” time, I’ll be using it to check out a few indie games that I’m high on and checking out stuff for you guys.

So how about it? What are you looking forward to at E3 2014? Are there any games that you’d like me to check out on your behalf? Is there an aspect of the console war that you’d like me to keep tabs on? Is there an executive you’d like me to throw a drink at? Share your E3 2014 hopes, wishes, dreams, and requests in the comments section (please!).

Coffee Talk #625: Videogame Journalists Done Good

StarWars.com recently announced that Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and Gary Whitta will be working on the first Star Wars standalone spinoff movie. The second name took me by surprise (gleefully). You see, Whitta is a former videogame journalist. He was the editor of several gaming magazines for Future US and was quite popular within the business. Since (mostly) leaving the business, Whitta has written the screenplays for The Book of Eli and After Earth. Working on a Star Wars movie will undoubtedly take his success to new heights.

Hearing about Whitta’s Star Wars news reminded me of Kieron Gillen. Another…continued

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, speculating on which player the Cleveland Cavaliers will take with the number-one pick in the 2014 NBA draft, your favorite Memorial Day barbecue food, or pregnant Mila Kunis, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

StarWars.com recently announced that Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and Gary Whitta will be working on the first Star Wars standalone spinoff movie. The second name took me by surprise (gleefully). You see, Whitta is a former videogame journalist. He was the editor of several gaming magazines for Future US and was quite popular within the business. Since (mostly) leaving the business, Whitta has written the screenplays for The Book of Eli and After Earth. Working on a Star Wars movie will undoubtedly take his success to new heights.

Hearing about Whitta’s Star Wars news reminded me of Kieron Gillen. Another former videogame journalist, Gillen has written some of the best comics published in the last five years. His work on AvX: Consequences was great enough to redeem the sometimes banal Avengers vs. X-Men event. Gillen made me a Kid Loki fan for life with his thoroughly entertaining run on Journey Into Mystery. His work on Young Avengers is, in my opinion, one of the most criminally underrated books released in the last few years.

Kid Loki Kieron Gillen Videogame Journalist

Guys like Whitta and Gillen make me happy. In Whitta’s case, it’s always awesome to see a colleague succeed. In the case of both gentlemen (I’ve never met Gillen in real life), it’s particularly satisfying to see them have fantastic success beyond the videogame world. Don’t get me wrong — I love the videogame business and will always be grateful for how it has enriched my life, but I have mixed feelings about being labeled a videogame journalist (even though I’m technically a verbal entertainer).

Within the business, videogame journalists aren’t thought of highly. There are exceptions, of course, but many journalists are only well regarded by PR people (and even that’s arguable). A lot of executives and developers look at journalists as pretty low on the industry’s totem pole. One famous developer once half-jokingly told me, “You know, you guys are just one step above GameStop clerks as far as being important to the business.”

Personally, I don’t disagree with what my designer buddy told me. I never cared about “being important to the business.” I love writing about games for people that love reading about games. The problem is that there are many videogame journalists that think they’re way more important than they actually are. Some of them genuinely think that they’re movers and shakers in the industry. Those kinds of videogame journalists always bothered me; they’re more concerned about promoting their own brand and meeting the right people in game publishing in order to get a better job than serving their audience with their words.

Self-important critics (from any industry) always bring me back to the words of Anton Ego from Ratatouille:

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.

While I would love to work at a videogame outlet that’s primarily concerned about making fun content and staffed by a team that loves serving an audience, I can’t help but be inspired by people like Whitta and Gillen. It’s awesome that they’re enjoying tremendous success outside of the videogame realm. It’s nice to see that the boys done good.

Kingston HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset Review

Millions of consumers know Kingston for its memory products. Most of you have probably purchased PC RAM or a memory card from the company. Kingston is trying to make a name for itself in the gaming world and one of the company’s latest gaming-focused products is the HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset. I’ve been using a pair for the last few weeks and while it’s not the best gaming headset I’ve used, the HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset offers a lot for a sub-$100 set of cans.

What’s in the Box: A rebranded version of the QPad QH-90, the HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset comes with the unit, two sets of ear pads (one leatherette, one velour), a detachable microphone, an audio control box, and a carrying pouch. The packing and presentation are handled in a classy fashion — much more elaborate than what you see with most competing headsets in this price range.

Construction and Build Quality: The HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset’s body is made primarily from aluminum. The aluminum construction allows the headset to be strong and light. The unit is very well made, with build quality that surpasses many competitors in the sub-$100 price range. Many European gamers I know rave about QPad’s build quality, but the brand is uncommon in America, so I haven’t had any experience with the company’s headsets. After using the HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset, I see what all the fuss is about. It “feels” more expensive than a $99 headset.

The one minor complaint I had with the unit’s construction was with the rubber cover for the microphone port. It comes off completely from the headset and I can see many gamers eventually losing it. It’s not a big deal at all, just a tiny annoyance.

Comfort: The most outstanding feature of the HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset is its comfort. You can wear these babies comfortably for hours and hours. The combination of a light frame and great padding (headband and ear cups) works fabulously. I’ve worn this headset for several three-hour sessions and didn’t feel any stress on my ears. After using it for six hours straight, the strain was minimal. The velour pads are more comfortable, as long as you don’t sweat a lot or use this headset in a hot room. While I generally abhor leatherette (made from the menacing Naugasaurus Rex), it was my preferred choice; it was more comfortable for longer play sessions and the sound it shaped was a little bit better than what the velour cups produced.

Kingston HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset Review Front

Sound Quality: To help break the headphones in, I left the headset on for a little more than two days playing a looped playlist. After the break-in period, I was able to get a better idea of the headset’s sound production. Mid-range tones are the strength of the HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset. The bass is good, but not overly emphasized (see Beats by Dre). The highs could have been better. Generally, I preferred the leatherette ear cups, as they helped produce a more detailed sound than what the velour cups offered.

For sound quality, it really depends on the application. Obviously this set is meant primarily for gamers, so in that respect I was happy with the output. This headset worked quite well with the various PC and console games I played. While it doesn’t give you as much separation as a 5.1 or 7.1 gaming headset, the HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset does a very good job with positional audio. I had no problems in shooters or stealth-action games with this unit. Directional sound was reasonably reproduced.

The headset works well for most movies too, though for action movies you’ll want to turn up the bass on the EQ. For music, I found the headset lacking, though this is a subjective area. I prefer a flat response for listening to music (see Etymotic) and wasn’t pleased by how the HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset performed. The lackluster highs were more obvious with music than other applications. EQ can help compensate, but it can be tricky to get great musical sound out of the HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset. This wasn’t a big deal to me, as it’s a gaming headset first and foremost.

Microphone: The mic quality is good, but shy of great. Most of the people I played online games with said that I sounded clear and the voice reproduction was solid. There were a few instances when my online gaming companions said that my voice had a little bit of echo or some tinniness, but those instances were infrequent and there were other variables that could have caused those problems.

For other reference points, I used the HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset for an hour of Skype calls. In these cases, the people I chatted with said that I sounded good. None of the friends I spoke with reported any echo or tinniness.

The microphone isn’t noise-canceling, so it will pick up some background noise in busy environments. Overall, the voice production of the HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset is very good. I wouldn’t use it to record a podcast or anything, but for the price range and what it’s meant for, this headset delivers.

Kingston HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset Review Microphone

Conclusion: The Kingston HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset offers a lot for a sub-$100 unit. I was impressed by the build quality and comfort. The sound quality was good for gaming, but not the best for music. The microphone was solid too. In this space, I’d also consider the Razer Kraken 7.1. It’s not as comfortable as the HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset, it’s made primarily from plastic, and the default balance is ridiculously bass heavy, but it offers better sound separation in the same price range. If sound separation isn’t a big priority for you then you’ll probably appreciate the aluminum construction, great comfort, and solid audio quality of the HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset.