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X-Men: Destiny Review

Developed by Silicon Knights and published by Activision, X-Men: Destiny is the latest video game title based on the X-Men comic book series to hit gaming consoles worldwide. However, does this title live up to its widely popular comic book, animated and live action film counterparts or is it just a mutation on its own? Let’s find out, as ITF Gaming reviews X-Men: Destiny.

X-Men: Destiny is situated in the X-Men timeline just after the death of Charles Xavier, and starts off at a memorial peace rally in San Francisco for the late Charles Xavier. The rally may be mutant kind’s last hope for peace with humanity; however, the rally is attacked by a mysterious entity. As cliché as it might sound, the three mutants whose destiny’s lie in your hands obtain their abilities just as disaster strikes.

Each character has their own story and background in the X-Men universe; Football star Grant Alexander, Japanese refugee Aimi Yoshida, and Adrian Luca, who just so happens to be the kid of a anti-mutant advocate must chose who to side with, whether it be the Cyclops and the X-Men or the Brotherhood of Mutants. While the player progresses through X-Men: Destiny, the storyline is pretty much the same, however each characters dialogue or personality differs substantially throughout the title.

As a child I grew up watching the X-Men battle it out against Magneto, in a never ending fight for peace and justice. I grew to know the characters and I had already set my mind on which characters were my favourites amongst the heroes and villains. X-Men: Destiny stays true to the original character concepts from the animated series, which was a real trip down memory lane. However, the storyline of X-Men: Destiny seems to miss this mark on a few occasions, as it feels short, monotonous and lacks the excitement of the original X-Men series.

While the storyline of X-Men: Destiny has missed the mark, the gameplay of this title is quite entertaining to be quite honest. Gamers gain the ability to equip their chosen character with some interesting abilities that range from: Density Control, Energy Projection and shadow Matter. In addition to these abilities, gamers can pick up X-gene enhancements, which primarily give the player the opportunity to experience a host of abilities used by their favourite characters from the series.

I will admit that combat in X-Men: Destiny also has a monotonous feel to it; however this is countered when one obtains new abilities throughout this title. Overall, most of the fun in this title comes in the form of testing out new abilities and tackling some crazy boss fights.

The sound experience in this title is great; the voiceovers have been done in a professional manner and so have the sound effects of the abilities and environments. An example of environmental sound would be hearing the floor board’s creek as my character stepped on to them. This added a nice feel, as well as some much needed authenticity to this title.

X-Men Destiny has a killer intro sequence and some good looking cut-scenes; however when it comes to gameplay X-Men: Destiny feels unfinished, unpolished and a slight rush job due to the patchy frame rate and duplicate enemies that you face. To be quite frank, X-Men: Destiny has a lot of potential, and could possibly fall in-line with the Prototype games if the developers spend more time on a sequel. Overall, X-Men: Destiny is not a bad looking game; however it needed more work in the graphics area and a larger variety of enemies to battle it out with.

Conclusion:
X-Men: Destiny is not a bad game; it will bring back loads of nostalgia if you had the opportunity to watch the animated series. In addition the nostalgia factor, the gameplay is fun and offers a variety of abilities to test out and some crazy boss fights.

While the graphics in this title may not be the greatest, the sound of this title makes up for this. I do feel that X-Men: Destiny could have been in-line with the Prototype series if the developers spent more time on this title, as the X-Men franchise is one that could do this sort of attention. I believe that if a sequel is pushed out for Destiny the developers should aim for the intensity and experience that Prototype had on offer.

The Breakdown:
Storyline: 6/10
Gameplay: 7/10
Sound: 7/10
Graphics 5/10

Predominantly reviewed on Xbox 360.

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Six Ways Video Games Can Benefit Children Through The Holidays

Editor: Celina Jones

Video games can offer light relief from school work as well as being educational in their own right. Here is a look at the six best reasons to allow your kids to play video games during the school break.

Relief And Escapism:
We all need escapism from our daily lives, that is why we have holidays after all. Next time your child asks if they can spend time on the computer think about how much you last enjoyed watching a film or drama on TV. It is just as important as allowing them to watch their favourite TV shows.

Cognitive Skills:
Many games encourage a level of thinking that you simply don’t get from reading a book. Games by their essence require interaction which makes them instantly more enjoyable than passive learning options, especially games such as Scooby Doo. Games which build cities or focus on farms and other occupations will encourage children to make decisions based on weighing up options and then discovering cause and effect.

Hand/Eye Coordination:
One of the biggest advantages to allowing your kids to enjoy video games during the holidays is that it encourages their hand/eye coordination. This is especially true of sporting games such as golf, cricket or football although many games help with this. Several games such as Scooby Doo video games where children are cracking mysteries encourage problem solving skills.

Educational Games:
For children who don’t thrive in the classroom and also for those who do, educational games provide a method of leaning which is far more accessible than they are familiar with. Video games are not necessarily going to replace a teacher and a chalkboard, but they can help shy children learn in a comfortable environment or encourage children who don’t enjoy school to learn through play.

Socialisation:
Many games feature inbuilt socialisation tools. Sometimes this is in the form of a chat box or through a camera or headphones and microphone. Obviously care needs to be taken that they are communicating with other children only. Some games require team skills and kids can play with their friends who are also online. The benefit of this is that you know who they are speaking to and it also helps them learn how to work as a team to achieve their goals.

Let Them Have Fun:
Although games offer a number of benefits as outlined above, it is worth remembering that they were first invented as a means of fun and what is wrong with that? Kids work hard all term and unless you have forgotten – it is not easy growing up. Children are entitled to a childhood and video games are a fun part of this. Provided you set limits on the amount of time they play there is nothing wrong with allowing them to play just because it is fun for them.

Video Games are sometimes open to bad press but in fact they can be hugely beneficial to your child. The constant pressure of school work means that kids need the holidays to relax and unwind and playing games can be a part of this. Many games are educational and help kids with Maths, English, Science and other subjects. Sport games canaid hand eye coordination whilst online games can encourage children to socialise with other kids. Decision making and other cognitive skills can be developed through computer games too.

Video games also offer stressed teenagers some much needed light relief, a bit of escapism and most of all, a chance to have a little fun.

About the Author:
Jones is a parenting blogger who encourages a range of learning methods in her kids. She also enjoys baking cookies and playing football at the weekends. She believes Scooby Doo is one of those cartoon games that can make your kids smile the moment they start playing it.

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The Top 5 iOS Games

Editor: Brady Ruiters

Those in possession of an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad will know that there are a large number of games and apps on the App Store. I haven’t really had my iPhone that long but I have come across quite a few games that have really grabbed my attention. So I’ve narrowed down the amount of games to a list of which I think might just be my Top 5. Here they are in no particular order:

Dead Trigger
This was probably the first action game on my phone and had me quite addicted for quite a while after I had downloaded it. You play as a survivor of a zombie outbreak who finds a settlement of people in desperate need of a hero. The stranger just has the set of skills to help the people out. Dead Trigger is a First-Person Shooter which handles quite well for a game touch screen controls. There are a number of weapons to make use of during the game, provided that you have the right amount of cash saved up from completing missions. Players can also earn gold by completing daily bonus challenges. The gold is used to unlock some of the more powerful guns such as the minigun or as I like to call it, the meat grinder. Dead Trigger is free in the App Store.

The Room
One of my latest acquisitions, The Room, is a puzzle game which challenges the player but also keeps them wanting more. Each puzzle is unique and interesting with different tasks being required to solve said puzzle. It also challenges the player to think out of the box. You find yourself in a room with a safe that has been really well-locked, and the goal is to open it up. There are many other things which detail the story a little more, but you’ll find that the story is hardly the fun part.

Other details which tweak the experience of this game vary from amazing graphics, sound and a quiet, mysterious like feel in the room and of the gameplay, in addition to that safe you so badly want to open. All of these factors as well as the intricate puzzles you’re faced with adds to the desire to get that safe open as soon as possible. The game is never impossible to get through but it is still interesting enough to keep the player hooked. The first puzzle of The Room is free to try on the App Store while $1.99 will unlock the rest of the game.

Angry Birds
I’m sure many of you have seen this one coming but the Angry Birds phenomenon cannot be denied. The game is simple yet so much fun to play; anywhere and at any time. Well, maybe not at your job or maybe a funeral. All the player has to do is launch the birds across the level with a slingshot in order to exact revenge on the always plotting pigs. Players can also challenge themselves to use as few birds as possible when completing levels. A number of themed games have also been released to make the gameplay a little more interesting including Angry Birds: Seasons, RIO, Space and the most recent release, Star Wars. Each game costs $0.99 on the App Store.

ORC: Vengeance
This is quite a recently released game but it hasn’t stopped making waves since its first download. ORC plays very much like a Diablo-style dungeon crawler. The best part is that you can play a quality game like this wherever you go. Players assume the role of Rok, an Orc Warchief that was separated from his clan. The previously imprisoned Dark Lord has been freed because of the ego and pride of humans. Rok seeks to fix things by whoopin’ ass all over the different levels. The controls are pretty easy to get the hang of and the game looks great. Expect lots of loot, Role-Playing Game elements and challenging boss fights. ORC: Vengeance is a whopping $0.00! That’s right, absolutely free.

Infinity Blade
This game created quite a stir at its release in December of 2010 as it was the first iOS game to run the Unreal Engine 3. Infinity Blade starts with the player’s character launching an assault on the immortal God King’s castle. Unfortunately, the King’s guardian defeats the player and the God King drives the Infinity Blade through the character, absorbing his essence. 20 years later, the character’s descendant is out for revenge and decides to battle their way through the castle. The enemies are a little more challenging but the new warrior has all the items and skills of their fallen ancestor. Upon reaching the God King again, the new warrior is still not strong enough to take him down and so rises another descendant to take up the challenge. The gameplay comprises of one-on-one sword battles that can be rather challenging. The controls are easy to learn but quite tricky to master. Infinity Blade also looks amazing for a mobile game so players will not be disappointed with its visuals, especially when playing on some of the later iOS devices. It currently costs $5.99 on the App Store but frequently goes on sale, seeing the price drop to as low as $0.99.

Are there any games that you would like to add to the list? Post them in the comments section below.

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FIFA 12 Review

FIFA 11 was once again the leading football video game across the globe last year. This year, continuing demands for innovation in the series have led to new features including: a trinity of Player Impact Engine, Precision Dribbling and Tactical Defending. While these new features improve the game as a whole, will veterans of the FIFA games enjoy them? FIFA 12 delivers an authentic Match Day experience, faster and easier navigation, and over 500 officially licensed clubs.

In FIFA 11 the best way to obtain the ball was to put pressure on the opposing team. The game took the stance that the best offence is a good defence. By launching an offensive assault of fullbacks en mass, the player was able to almost haphazardly gain possession of the ball. FIFA 12 has revolutionised this system by introducing ‘contain’ and ‘jockey’: that means you must constantly control the opposing players’ movements and force them to make errors. It is a much more strategic way of going about things and better mimic’s real-world football. The new system also means that slide tackling is less effective, unlike FIFA 11 where it was the most dependable option for defence. If you are not extremely cautious with your timing, you will give the opposition a clear path to your goal posts.

Tactical defending also adds realism to FIFA 12. If you actually mark your man, as opposed to running around while you wait for the ball to be kicked or thrown, you are more likely to gain possession and if you keep up your fitness, other players will sometimes fall behind giving you a decisive advantage over the opponent. Veterans of the series may find these new additions challenging, but the pressure system of last year can be toggled on. However, bear in mind that this style of play is a much more primitive mode and restricts both strategy and realism.

Precision dribbling means that you can get those extra few feet, while the Player Impact Engine notes how fast players are travelling, making player clashes relative to their movement. This means it feels like you are looking at a real-world game of football, as opposed to a bunch of polygons with preset animations that occur according to certain actions. Career mode has been tweaked to be closer to the real-world business Sport in today’s Football. You must pay close attention to the statistics in order to make progress. You must even contend with the testy players as they whine about certain things, which I thought added realism to this feature.

FIFA 12 is another extremely polished EA title. The graphics are solid and emphasise the realistic approach that the game’s creators are aiming for. The professional players’ likenesses are almost flawless and the stadiums are accurate in their design. Crowds do sometimes look like clones, but let’s be honest; you’re not really playing the game for the appearance of the audience. Lighting only heightens an already impressive graphic experience.

The cheers of the football fans, commentators and accompanying soundtrack are all done in the usual vain of the EA FIFA series, but the quality is clear and adds nicely to the overall experience.

Online:
You can participate with your friends in online friendlies or take part in the almost intimidating ten leagues of online play that EA offers. Here points must be earned to advance up the ranks. The highest three leagues will then progress to the Continental Cup at the end of each season. You will always faceoff against teams that are a similar rank to you. In friendly matches you can post your best results, share game experiences and challenge other people. Then there’s EA Sports Football Club that is supposed to recreate real-world challenges. Players must complete challenges like keeping the match at a certain score for a certain time to mimic real-world matches. This will have to be monitored over a period, however, as it is a fairly new concept.

Conclusion:
Not only is EA still the king of authenticity in nearly all major sports leagues, but now it is really creating its own leagues through online networks that are accessible in titles like FIFA 12. The game has few flaws like minor graphics defects and only adds realism to the ongoing series of FIFA games. If the new features are too much for someone to handle, the game offers easy-to-learn tutorials, and players can toggle on older game features to adjust gameplay to their desired preferences.

The Breakdown:
Gameplay 9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 8/10

Predominantly reviewed on PlayStation 3.

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Mahjong On-line – Imagination at its Best

Game is a word that keeps coming up in our life every now and then. Games for some are just for fun and play, while for others, it is money. There are many games that we play as a child and there levels keep increasing with our growth. Man has always been on the quest and look out for things that can ease his efforts and make life easier. As a child, one plays with toys, then with his growth he looks out for people with matching frequencies who can be friends, further then virtual companionship is made. This is the basic criteria that the gaming industry is based on. A friend in need is a friend in deed and so is the gaming, which has become very intimate to each one of us.

The gaming industry thus provides one with such virtual friends who are effective in solving the loneliness of a person and at the same time, efficient in providing him enjoyment. The field of gaming has been expanding ever since its inception as the way of thinking and mentalities of children keep changing with generations. Today, the gaming arena has become so fast and big that every day sees a new product in the market. Starting from games to gaming consoles, everything has experienced great advancement. Every show or film that is introduced on the screen does not take long in coming out as a game. Today’s child, more than his real toy is behind his parents to get him a gaming console. Be it from a video game initially, to a Game Boy or a PlayStation. This industry has been experimenting on many new concepts and games that can draw the interest of the public thus earning revenue to the industry.

Gaming – made approachable on-line
Such a technique that has been gaining popularity is on-line gaming; that will interest many kids and adults alike across the globe. The whole concept of on-line gaming was developed due to the increase in the access of the Internet connectivity, which is finding an increasing number of subscribers every day. Therefore, games are becoming accessible to people in any part of the world irrespective of whichever part of the world that the game is being developed.

The creativity of the game developers are such that there is a whole gamut of choices available to the consumer. There are games associated with all fields of life such as adventure, sports, action and many more.

Chinese game with a difference
Mahjong on-line 
is a game developed in China that is mostly related to puzzle-solving which can be played with the aid of Internet connectivity. It was initially made as a puzzle incorporating 136 tiles. Each tile represents Chinese alphabets or characters with which the puzzle is supposed to be solved by the player. Considering the acceptability in the international market, it was further developed in a manner that was adoptable by people from different parts of the world by making the alphabets or characters on the 136 tiles recognizable by everybody. There are free Mahjong games on-line which can be reached by the interested easily without having to spend a penny on it. It also helps one to apply the mind and increase the memory power.

Among the various games that are available on-line, Mahjong on-line is rapidly catching the imagination of game lovers and with free Mahjong games on-line, the subscriber base of this form of gaming is on the rise every passing day.

About the Author:
This post is sponsored by Ryan Holman. He is one of the leading experts in the field of mahjong on-line games. He has impressive thoughts about free mahjong games on-line. He especially enjoys writing article that offer ideas and information to help people gain their knowledge about gaming topics.

Guest Contributor

Every now and then someone seems to smuggle their way onto the ITF Gaming ship of life… These stowaways are referred to as “Guest Contributors”. They are awesome minions that write like demons and don’t mind when we poke them with a stick

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PlayStation Vita Reviews

Wipeout 2048 Review

Welcome to the world of anti-gravity racing, welcome to the world of Wipeout 2048! Wipeout 2048 puts you in the driver’s seat of an anti-gravity vehicle in a racing league that is set in a distant future. While we all remember the days of Wipeout back in 2005, when it was first released on the PlayStation 1, we tend to wonder if the game has actually evolved since then, especially with the 2012 release of Wipeout 2048 on the PlayStation Vita.

Wipeout 2048 is still at its core the Wipeout we have experienced in the past, it’s packed with high-speed racing, tight corners, air brakes and additional power-ups that will hinder any opposition vehicle on the track. Speed-boost-pads have also made a return in order to increase the intensity of the gameplay itself, which really adds to the challenge of the Wipeout universe.

The single player experience of Wipeout 2048 is spanned across 3 seasons of the AG League, which ultimately moves you through each speed class featured throughout the title. The only issue with Wipeout 2048 is the fact that it lacks a variety of courses; however the 10 courses on offer do mix things up a bit with a variety of interesting challenges ranging from zone races, time trials and combat challenges.

Wipeout 2048 also incorporates a variety of multiplayer options, which will allow you to challenge PS Vita players as well as PlayStation 3 players. This is done via the Cross-Play feature, which adds an additional incentive to experience this futuristic racing title.

When it comes to graphics, Wipeout 2048 features beautifully designed courses, stunning anti-gravity vehicles and some really great lighting effects. I especially enjoyed this titles opening sequence, as it is visual marvel and really shows what the PS Vita’s captivating screen can pull off. Unfortunately, even though Wipeout 2048 is a visually stunning title the gameplay is not as smooth as expected and tends to drop in frame rate if too many vehicles start assaulting one another at the same time.

The sound featured throughout Wipeout 2048 is very upbeat and vibrant, which really adds to the pace of each race. This is a great addition to the title and adds to the experience of the futuristic feel of the title.

Conclusion
Overall, Wipeout 2048 has evolved into a genuinely great title; however, the gameplay is not as smooth as expected, and it tends to drop in frame rate if too many vehicles start assaulting one another at the same time. Additionally, Wipeout 2048 lacks variety as it only features 10 tracks throughout 3 seasons. The sound featured throughout Wipeout 2048 has a very futuristic vibe to it, which really is a perfect fit for this title.

If you are interested in getting back into the Wipeout experience then this title will fulfil your needs; however, your needs will only be filled for a momentary duration, unless more tracks and gameplay options are added via DLC.

The Breakdown:
Gameplay: 7/10
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8.5/10
Online: 7/10
Lasting appeal: 6/10

Predominantly reviewed on PlayStation Vita.

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PlayStation Vita Reviews

Army Corps of Hell Review

Developed by Entersphere and published by Square Enix, Army Corps of Hell brings dark humour, vicious combat and a rather interesting storyline to the PlayStation Vita.

Players assume the role of the King of Hell, and additionally control an army of goblins in order to reclaim the title as the King of the underworld. Facing off against demons and massive bosses, you travel through various levels to take back a throne that is rightfully yours.

When it comes to gameplay, Army Corps of Hell reminds of me of Overlord in a sense, which means that your army of goblins are sent out to a targeted enemy in order to rip it to pieces while the King of Hell idles in the background. Goblins come in three different classes ranging from Soldiers, Spearmen and Magi. Soldiers tend to get up close and personal and generate massive amounts of damage to enemies, while Spearmen attack from distance and Magi eliminate magically protected enemies.

Army Corps of Hell has quite a few items and weapons that are scattered throughout each level. Additionally, it also features a really great Alchemy system, which comes in handy when upgrading your goblins weapons and the creation of new items in order to assist you as you take back the throne of Hell.

The graphics featured in Army Corps of Hell are not entirely the best I have experienced on the Vita; however, some of the levels do look rather vibrant and feature some really phenomenal lighting effects.

Army Corps of Hell features a really intense heavy metal soundtrack, which really sets the mood perfectly. This indeed is a major highlight of this title; however, the actual in-game sound effects tend to lack the same enthusiasm as the heavy metal soundtrack.

Conclusion:
While Army Corps of Hell utilises the power of the Playstation Vita quite well, it tends to be slightly repetitive when it comes to gameplay. This can be seen in the repetitive level design and duplicated enemies that you face off against. Army Corps of Hell is truly an interesting concept; however, it is a title that has missed the mark due to average gameplay and its repetitive nature.

The Breakdown:
Gameplay: 6.5/10
Storyline: 8/10
Graphics: 6.10
Sound: 8/10
Lasting Appeal: 6/10

Predominantly reviewed on PlayStation Vita.

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PlayStation Vita Reviews

Uncharted: Golden Abyss Review

Welcome to the world of Uncharted… on the PlayStation Vita! Now for those of you wondering how you go from a rather large television screen to the smaller, more compact screen of the Vita, it’s actually rather easy. However, is Uncharted: Golden Abyss any good? Let’s find out!!!

Uncharted: Golden Abyss is set before the events that occurred in the original uncharted title. This time around Nathan Drake is tasked to try to uncover the mystery behind the 400-year old massacre of a Spanish expedition. During this venture, Nathan is caught in the middle of a rivalry between Jason Dante, an old friend, and Marisa Chase, whose origins I will not disclose as it would be classified as a spoiler.

When it comes to the storyline of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, fans of the series will soon notice that it is an originally designed, classic and in-depth addition to the world of Uncharted. This will truly surprise those who have ventured into the world of the PlayStation Vita, as some may have been expecting a rather dumbed down version of the original titles.

Nathan Drake’s Journal makes a return, which is filled with the collectibles you find throughout the adventure. These collectables come in the form of photos you will need to take, charcoal rubbings you need to rub and other interesting collectibles. The mere fact that you have to use the rear touchpad and the touch screen display in order to clean off items, piece together maps and complete charcoal rubbings is a major incentive to try out this title. While using the mentioned options is a bonus, there is also the simple to use controls that can be used in order to do all this; however, I would recommend using the Vita’s above-mentioned features in order to get the job done.

Mixing up the gameplay a bit is also the addition of onscreen swiping actions, which will involve swiping your finger across the screen in order to counter attacks, cut hedges to reveal secret areas and complete additional actions. This mixes things up quite a bit; however it does take a little time to get used to this feature.

Uncharted Golden Abyss is a visually stunning title when it comes to graphics. This can be seen in the luscious green grass and the truly stunning lighting effects. I wouldn’t say that it looks as good as Uncharted 2: Among Thieves or Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception but it certainly is on par with the first Uncharted title.

When it comes to sound, Uncharted: Golden Abyss is a clear winner, especially if you use a headset or earphones. The voice acting is superb as always, and the music featured throughout the title is nothing less than top notch.

Conclusion:
Uncharted: Golden Abyss is a perfect example of what the PlayStation Vita can do. Players will thoroughly enjoy the captivating storyline, beautiful graphics and amazing sound; however as much as I did enjoy this title, I did come across a few problem areas. On occasions Nathan Drake tends to get stuck in certain areas, which is generally fixed by a quick reboot of the title.

Additionally, there are certain switches that involve Nathan and Marisa to work together in order to open a door… this tends to be phenomenal task as Marisa tends to do her own thing on occasions, which can be rectified once again via rebooting the title. While these glitches are present within Uncharted: Golden Abyss, they are not entirely game breaking; however, it is slightly annoying having to keep restarting from the same checkpoint due to them.

The Breakdown:
Storyline: 9/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 8.5/10
Sound: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 8.5/10

Predominantly reviewed on PlayStation Vita.

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ASUS G Series G53SW Review

Welcome to the world of 3D gaming with the ASUS G Series G53SW 3D laptop. This powerhouse laptop sports a quad-core Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX460M, full HD/LED display, 8GB Ram and 2X 500 GB Hard drives.

Design:
The matte black stealth aircraft design of the G53SW is superb, due to the fact that minimal cleaning is needed and it simply just looks wicked. I have spent a lot of time using laptops with a glossy finish and these are a pain to clean to keep them looking in tip-top shape. The entire casing and design of the G53SW is sleek and feels great to handle and the rear vents keep it running cool and provide noise dampening.Once the lid has been opened you are presented with a matte black keyboard and a 15’ 6 inch HD/LED display. The keyboard lights up, which is an added bonus while gaming in 3D as you will be able to see each individual key. The short-cut keys are a great addition to the design and are positioned on the upper left near the screen; these are used to turn the lighting effects on or off, switch through battery modes and turn the 3D effects on and off.The G53SW is not the lightest machine to carry around, although it does beat hauling around a massive display and tower to attend LANs or other events.
Keyboard:
Typing on the G53SW is a breeze for those of you that will use it for word processing, sending emails and other things that involve words and numbers. The only downfall is the size of the keys that are used for gaming; these seem to lack the larger design that other gaming laptops feature. Although this is not a major downfall, ASUS really should have considered larger keys.The touchpad has a great feel to it and is about as accurate as you would expect from a high end laptop. It also features pinch to zoom and the left and right mouse pad buttons are a pleasure to use.Display:
The G53SW pushes visuals to the limit with full 1920 x 1080 HD capabilities. Clean crisp colours is what you expect to get from a laptop designed for gaming and to be honest, this is exactly what you get. Movies and games look insane on the G53SW HD/LED display and the 3D capabilities are astounding.I had the pleasure of testing Call of Duty Black Ops on the G53SW and the end result was around 8 hours my life disappearing while playing in 3D. This was due to the fact that I just couldn’t pull myself away from the fantastic 3D visuals.The G53SW utilises NVIDIA GTX 460M with 1.5GB GDDR5. This graphics processor offers native DirectX11 for a huge graphics gain in high definition gaming and video capabilities.The G53SW  features 3DTV Play from NVIDIA, which projects the high definition graphics of this laptop onto any compatible 3DTV via HDMI 1.4. This includes 3D video, games and photos, making this laptop a massive entertainment system for home theatre use.

Sound:The G53SW presents crisp, clear sound quality and clear audio. Positioning the speaker’s right above the keyboard is rather clever and something that most laptop manufacturers should consider in future designs (thumbs up to ASUS).Gaming on the G53SW sounds fantastic and brings most games to life. Black Ops was great to listen to and I found myself wanting the pump up the volume every time something exploded. The best part of the sound is it is not over powering in the sense that it distorts, instead sound is crisp and clear and that’s what is truly needed while gaming or viewing Blu-ray Discs.Temperature:
While reviewing the G53SW I decided to see if this monster heats up over time and the results were pretty impressive, it runs fairly cool and doesn’t tend to reach the higher levels of heat I have experienced using other laptops.

Conclusion:
The ASUS G Series G53SW 3D laptop is a monster in its own right; it features a quad-core Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX460M graphics, full HD display, 8GB Ram and 2x 500 GB Hard drives.The matte black stealth aircraft design is great and it gives the laptop a visually appealing look. The keyboard was a pleasure to use although larger keys would be welcomed.The display, sound and 3D capabilities on the G53SW were phenomenal to use and in addition offer a crisp, clear audio and visual experience. The G53SW runs fairly cool and is whisper quiet.Overall the G53SW 3D laptop is fantastic to use in everyday life as well as a monster when it comes to gaming. The only downside was the fact that it is quite heavy although this does beat hauling around a desktop PC to LANs and other events.

Instead of ending the review off with my rating, we took the ASUS, G53SW 3D laptop to the Ground Zero LAN hosted at the Klipriviersberg Recreational Centre in Kibler Park and gave PC gamers the chance to test it out, and here is what they had to say:

Travis Lima: “Really enjoyed playing on the laptop, it is definitely the future of gaming….. Um ITF Gaming do you think you can borrow it to me for the remainder of the weekend PLZZZZZZZ!!”

Carl Du Plessis: “The 3D laptop was pretty awesome! =) I wouldn’t mind getting one, but I think after a few hours, the glasses could give problems with my eyes. I would still use it for hours on end though…”

Mohammed Ebrahim Bhamjee: “The laptop was absolutely amazing! Playing a game with the 3D glasses brought the game a new level and that was so amazing! I would definitely want to buy the laptop.”

Mike De Wet: “It was awesomely awesome”

Andrew Lima: “The ASUS G-series is a really kick ass laptop. I must say was a real excitement to test it out at out LAN! Thanks to ITF GAMING!Ricardo Tavares: “The 3D on the laptop is freaken sick!!”

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Sony Xperia Play impressions

We had the opportunity to test out Sony’s latest gaming device/mobile phone last week… and we loved it!

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is a stunning mobile device that features all the capabilities of a sleek, stylish mobile phone that incorporates the ability to play HD Playstation games. The Xperia Play is the first PlayStation certified Android smartphone and incorporates dedicated gaming keys, shoulder buttons, analogue touch joystick and support for multi-player gaming.

The Xperia Play quite honestly has a great feel to it, while other devices on the market have an awkward haphazard feel to them, the Xperia Play feels quite natural. I was not entirely too fussed about the general features of the phone, but rather the capabilities it had when it came to gaming. The Xperia Play comes pre-loaded with up to seven games, and features some rather impressive graphics that show outstanding detail, especially when it comes to a mobile device.

After playing around with the device, I had the opportunity to find out the inner details of the Xperia Play from Craig Cottrell, ‏national sales manager for Sony Ericsson South Africa.

”The Xperia Play features a 4” multi-touch 16 million colour screen and offers a unique console-like gaming experience. The devices features stereo sound and is powered by a 1GHz CPU.”

Cotrell added that the device features an Adreno 205 graphical processor, optimised for advanced gaming and includes an 8GB micro SD card.

”Sony Ericsson currently has its own application/games market that is currently featured on the Android Market Place. The market is currently populated with over 100 titles including: Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Minecraft, Ice Breaker, The Sims 3, Asphalt 6: Adrenaline, Crash Bandicoot and a host of applications for the Xperia Play.”

While the Xperia Play represents everything one needs when it comes to mobile gaming, it also offers users all the features that accompany an Android powered mobile device. The Xperia Play is definitely an impressive device, and it showcases the potential to give most handheld devices a run for their money. We give the Xperia a well deserved thumbs up when it comes to gaming.

Features/ Specs:
Colours: Black, White
Size: 119.0 × 62.0 × 16.0 mm / 4.7 × 2.4 × 0.6 inches
Platform: Android 2.3
Memory Card: Up to 32GB
Battery life: 6 – 9 Hours (dependent on location and coverage)

Camera:
5.1 Megapixels
Image stabiliser
Geo-tagging
Touch focus
Video recording
Auto focus
Flash
Send to web

Music:
TrackID music recognition
Stereo speakers
Sony Ericsson Music player
PlayNow: Download music and games to your phone.
Music tones
Bluetooth stereo (A2DP)
Album art

Web:
Web browser – WebKit: Full Internet browser with support for standard protocols, images and video.
Pan & zoom: View web pages as you like – get a quick overview or zoom in on details.
Google Voice Search: Use your voice to search the web or to quickly launch a call to a friend.
Google search: Find what you’re after with the Google search function.
Bookmarks: Quick access to your favourite Web sites.
Android Market: Get apps and games – download straight to your phone.

Entertainment:
Media Browser: Media content in one place for fast and easy access.
YouTube: View your favourite YouTube videos, or upload your own – access is easy via the YouTube application.
Video streaming: Real-time video streaming, e.g. live cam
Motion gaming: Turn, swing, move your phone to control the action.
Gesture gaming: Position yourself in front of the phone’s camera and move your body to win the game.
Dedicated gaming keys: A full-throttle experience via keys designed for gaming.
3D games: Enjoy quality games with full colour and depth.