When we’re not jumping, pumping and gyrating neck deep in a field of sweating bodies at the hottest rave massive, many of us like to retire onto the beloved couch for some much needed Netflix n’ chill or, something I love to do, GAME!
With limitless boundaries over concepts and execution, it’s no wonder that gaming culture has already become a post-birth DNA code, written into all the cerebral cortexes and synapses of our brains. Whether you’re a console maven (PS4, XBoxOne, Wii, Nintendo 64, etc.), desktop destroyer (PC, Mac), portable pocket player (PS Vita, Nintendo DS) or a cellphone swiper (Android, iOS), chances are you’re spending many hours sniper-pwning rookie recruits, fowl-bombing piggish buildings, ball poking mon-sters and/or dominating and conquering lore-filled lands with just one click...
We at Magnetic commend and applaud all of you who immerse yourselves in this vast cosmos of virtual, augmented, high def, dolby powered 1080p/4K FUN… Chances are you already own a Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo or all of the above… that being said, check out our last minute list of gaming must haves for this holiday season…perfect for gifting a loved one, friend or the best person ever…YOURSELF!!!
TVS/MONITORS: one of the most crucial parts of the equation is a high definition TV or monitor. If you haven't graduated from the 100 lb. square glass tubed dinosaurs to a thinner flat panel 1080p/4K definition screen, then STOP "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" Head to your favorite tech store or website and BUY something at least 42" / 1080p / 120hz / LED from one of the majors: Samsung, Vizio, LG, Sony, Toshiba and/or Panasonic . Trust us... without this first step, you cannot cross over to the world of TRUE gaming.
HEADSETS/HEADPHONES: While these are not necessary, we are huge fans of owning a pair...if you wish talk to online players and to not piss off your neighbors, roommates, girlfriends or boyfriends with loud explosive volumes, check out some options from three companies that we love.
LUCIDSOUND (www.lucidsound.com): Talk about beauty in gaming. These headsets are the most gorgeous in the world of thumb sticks and button pushing. With soft quilted pleather accents coupled with aluminum shaped arms, these were by far the most fashionable out of the headphones that we put on our “holiday must haves” list.
The LS20 is the wired set that provides all of the aforementioned accoutrements with a cleverly integrated volume/mute wheel, removable boom mic (also has a built in mic), built in amplifier with bass boost, rechargeable (20 hour) battery and 40mm drivers, all encapsulated in a manageably small package. I found myself COMPLETELY at home, walking around the hipster streets of NoHo while listening to the Basement Jaxx “Tokyo Mix” thumping loudly through the ever-so marshmallowy soft ear cups. Even though the LS20 is an able stereo performer, as soon as you plug them into your console or PC, it quickly becomes apparent that these are much much more. Attach the incredibly responsive mic in a quick snap and BOOM, your audibly charged gaming world is open for conquering.
Being the smaller of the two LS offerings, I found them to be easy to handle and a pleasure to wear. They are a bit heavier than the others but i didn’t find that to be a deal breaker. My girlfriend originally thought that they were high end audiophile headphones from the look of the gold toned aluminum and white pleather accents. At only $99.99 it’s hard not to love this feature packed headset.
The LS30 wireless is all that the LS20 would want to grow up to be. Following the same high end fashion-styling, the LS30 cuts the cord with excellent wireless performance. Further upgrades from the feature-packed smaller sibling include: larger drivers (50mm), which in turn calls for a slightly larger frame, separate innovative volume controls for game and microphone and 3 different EQ modes to cater to your gaming pleasures (normal, bass boost and treble boost). This bigger brother does take a slight hit on battery life (15 hours vs. 20 hours in LS20) but quite honestly it was not a concern. Setup is beyond easy with a simple plugging in of the supplied LS dongle and a quick setting change for all audio through headphones on the PS4 and voila, running through Zombies in Spaceland (Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Activision) was an even more exhilarating experience. The mic performance is also on point with clear Honeycrisp sound.
Overall this headset quickly became my girlfriend’s favorite out of them all. For a reasonable price of $149.99, the LS30 brings you so many features shoehorned into a style-forward package that MANY can appreciate and fall in love with.
RAZER (www.razerzone.com): Industry favorite Razer definitely delivers quite the arsenal of headphones for the noobish needs of the novice gamer all the way up to the enraged demands of the multi-prestige holding barbarian. We gave the ManO’ War and Kraken headsets a spin and were left in a state of “WoW”!
Kraken Pro V2 is the most affordable of all of the headsets we tested. With it’s SUPER lightweight cushioned frame and stay-puft ear cups, this headset definitely won in the endurance department. One of the biggest complaints for all headset gamers are the ear-aches and pain that come with prolonged headset use. High performance headsets with huge, heavy drivers can cause pain after hours of gaming and even though the Kraken Pro V2 rocks out with 50mm drivers, we were very happy to be pain-free after 6+ hours of intense first-person shooting. The Kraken Pro V2 is the reincarnation of an older fan favorite design that delivers very well balanced audio full of crispy highs and deep explosive lows along with a dynamic and clear mic that retracts. It's no wonder that many ESports players have these in their arsenals. Though all of the Razer headsets tend to run a bit large, their clean unobnoxious stealth design translates to stare-free boogying down the street, if you decide you to listen to your favorite bass drop or trap dump, before or after game time. If you’re on a budget the Kraken Pro V2 is definitely a worthwhile purchase ($79.99) available in green, black & white.
The ManO’ War 7.1 (MOW) wired headsets are the key to unlocking FULL AND COMPLETE immersion into your PC gaming realms. Like the Kraken Pro V2, you are treated to all of the lightweight cushy goodness but with the addition of 7.1 surround sound. Nothing compares to having a headset that jettisons you into the heart of whatever your game-cravings command. We gave these a spin and the amount of 360 aural clarity of all things around was astonishing. Razor sharp highs and enveloping lows delivered a more real-life feeling while running around a dilapidated Nazi stronghold on our PC. It was a bit jilting to be called a “pussy” by my girlfriend because she could hear my repeated shrieks of fear as Nazi zombies surprise attacked from behind. Sadly there wasn’t a 7.1 hookup to connect to our PS4 but for PC gamers this will be a slice of “favorite-cake”, and at only $119.99, it’s definitely a worthwhile buy.
The ManO’ War Wireless 7.1 is the most expensive Razer headset that we had to demo and bridges the gap for PS4/Xbox owners on the 7.1 surround sound goods. Where the wired MOW only offered PC users 7.1 sound, the MOW Wireless makes it all happen with the use of an easy USB dongle. Like its wired siblings, the ample cushions and lightweight designed frame secure the crown as endurance champion of comfort but with cordless freedom. The real treat begins once the 7.1 surround sound takes over. I noticed my zombie killing performance was definitely enhanced due mostly in part by the ample amount of directional sound that alerted me when a decaying corpse was a step away from my throat. But sound and comfort aren’t the only benefits of these wireless gems...to top it all off, there are many customizable features that you can tweak with the assistance of your computer. If you’re a fan of LED lighting, then Razer has you covered with programmable colors as well as a handy red LED on the tip of your mic to let you know if you're on or off. You can also program how the mic and headphones perform audibly. Overall the hardware and customizable software for the price point definitely makes this a hot item for any gamer. You can find these for $169.99 online directly from Razer.
TURTLE BEACH (www.turtlebeach.com):
The Elite Pro system is hands down one of the best ways to flood your ears with a tsunami of amplified pew pews and bang bangs. A multi-adjustable non-powered wired headset allows you to get into the shit with clear crisp mic and audio performance but the real magic happens when you marry the headset with the eardrum blowing amplifier aka the “Tactical Audio Controller” (TAC), which provides in-game volume control with individual sliders on top of a large rotary dial for master volume. Professional and hobbyist DJs will feel right at home with the user interface of the TAC. In the thick of battle there have been many times that I've yelled out vital info and/or missed the same due to an over abundance of explosions, gunfire and/or other battle oriented sounds. With the TAC you have the power to fine tune what you need to hear to make your experience that much better. But remember with great power comes great...financial responsibility...That old saying, “you get what you pay for” really rings true as this is an expensive gaming peripheral system but it definitely is a Ferrari in all respects (MSRP: $199.99 headset / $199.99 TAC - both presently on sale for $169.99 each).
GAMES GAMES GAMES: The world is TRULY your oyster with the vast selection of games that are available. Access has never been easier with the availability of online downloadable games as well as store bought hard copies. Check out some new releases from two of the dominant companies that cater to PS4 and Xbox.
I cannot lie, I am a slave to Call of Duty with a voracious unrelenting appetite for “killing fools”. Night after night I religiously sign on to satisfy a rabid hunger for online multiplayer future war and Spaceland Zombie battles. Nothing says “ahhhhh” more than sniping enemy after enemy and racking up a 3-5/1 KDR. Yes I’m addicted and i love it. Don't forget to purchase the "Legacy Edition" to get "Modern Warfare: Remastered" on top of the current release (can't be mad at 2 for 1).
One of the coolest features in modern day gaming is the ability to teleport action figures or toys into a game to do battle. Skylanders has been a long time purveyor of such abilities where fans can purchase their favorite characters to change up the gameplay and teleport them into the action. The latest release of Imaginators gives players the ability to build out characters instead of sticking with their default configurations, unlocking an infinite world of possibilities in gameplay.
Feeling that itch of "Destiny"? Well look no further. Activision has dropped "The Collection" which contains all maps, DLC and 5 adventures that make this epic series complete. Who says your Guardian quest has to end...ever.
ELECTRONIC ARTS (www.ea.com):
The Battlefield series has always been for the FPS purist. With stand alone game play and intricate battle mechanics, it's no wonder that Battlefield 1 (the 15th installment) has fast-become a very welcomed game in this beloved series. Timewarp back to the era of World War I and with your M1 Garand in hand prepare for one of the most beautiful epic battle shooters of 2016. Navigate through old war trenches as you rely on bolt action rifles, pineapple grenades and bayonets to get through the fray.
EA's release of Titanfall 2 on all platforms has finally made it possible for PS4 users to FINALLY join in on the mech-intense action. Trudging through amazingly detailed maps and ripping through unrelenting armies of lethal enemies, it's hard not to get addicted to this adrenaline charged FPS. With epic arsenals of future-weapons and the ability to hop into uniquely powered mech titans, this "shoot em up" is beyond mind blowing and definitely is one to keep you glued to the screen for hours on end.