Tuesday, September 28, 2010

R.A.T. 7 Review

 Even though I consider myself a high end PC builder, it's very rare for me to spend the extra money on any of the peripheral items. Keyboards, mice, headphones/speakers and monitors have all taken a back seat to my large case fetishes.  Recently however I have been purchasing all of the above, probably because my 6-7 year old gear is kicking the bucket. It started with new headphones, which are good, then a new ASUS monitor that I absolutely love and then finally my topic for today, the R.A.T.7 "mouse".

 The R.A.T.7 takes on more of the appearance of a gimmick to lure in feature crazed fanatics then an actual, useful, item for every day use. But appearances can be deceiving, especially for this flashy item. With 5 programmable buttons, adjustable palm, thumb and optional pinky grips, this mouse fits even my long freak fingers/stubby thumb combo. I was sort of secretly hoping it would also help with my early stages of CTS but some how I think its actually making that worse. For it to fit the easy access weight system it has installed, MAD CATZ raised the palm rest just a tad bit to high for my hands which affects my wrist, but I'll admit that I have bad wrist posture anyway.

 Along with the varying degrees of customization, this mouse has great DPI (5600 DPI @ 6 mps). You might say "who the hell is going to need that?", and your right. That's why it has 4 customizable DPI modes that are adjustable on the fly. The R.A.T.7 also has one other secret little button that I'm sure you haven't seen before, it's a little red delight. Now, if your like me, you hate FPS snipers with a passion. I know they have their place, and I have even been accused of staring down a 50 cal.'s scope a few times, but if your one of those sniping ass-hats you will love this button. Located on the thumb rest, this red button drastically lowers the DPI while pressed to adjust for scoping. Although I'm sure this was designed with Pvt. Jackson in mind, I've found this very useful while sighting a pistol or assault rifle. BOOM, HEAD SHOT!

  Like I mentioned before, I dont buy a lot of mice, but over 18 years I have used my fair share and this one takes the cake. I must stress though that this is an enthusiasts toy and if you spend your day surfing.. well actually, if you get creative you can set it to perform any function on your browser that you can also assign a hot key to. Like setting the thumb scroll (up) to refresh and (down) to go back a page or close a tab, so never mind.

 Overall I have been very impressed with my new gadget, but be warned, before you go out to grab one be prepared to drop at least $80.00. This isn't a Microsoft mouse.

 -Beefy aluminum chassis
 -5600 DPI
 -Adjustable grips
 -Contains an actual laser, not a cheap L.E.D. tracker
 -Braided cord
 -5 Programmable buttons
 -"Sniper" button
 -Optional pinky rest
 -Neat weight and gear case
 -Soft "velvety" body texture

Not so nifty:
 -Tall palm grip
 -Heavy (I only use 1 weight out of 6)
 -Finicky programmable user modes
 -The forward and backward buttons along with the palm rest have a cheap "plasicty" feel.

As a side note; this mouse comes in a very beautiful package and case, I can't help but feel that the price could have been $20.00 cheaper if less was spent on the extra items.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Company of Heroes: Online Beta (PC)

 Why in the summer time do game releases always wither down to almost nothing? I know there is a perfectly good explanation but I don't want to hear it! It's during this time that one usually has the most free time and what better to waste that free time on then grinding a character or buffing your K/D ratio. Anyway, I recently found a new game to entertain me during this rather slow period in PC gaming, Company of Heroes: Online.

 If you remember playing the old COH a few years ago you will be very familiar with the game play. You still don't have to waste time collecting resources and it makes excellent use of squad combat and geography to mold your battles throughout the entire game.
 Now even though the battles might be the same, the navigable interface and GUI is a drastic change from the original, focusing more on online match making, obviously. Relic Entertainment's core business model has changed also, it looks to be trying to tap into the recent trend of in game micro transactions instead of a monthly fee, and for the first time ever I might buy into it, might.
 So far in the games beta phase the option to convert your hard earned money into "COHO Cash" has not been present and relies on what is called "Supply" which will work in conjunction with COHO Cash when the game is released, I assume. It is a point based reward given to each player after a match and is earned through game play and performance during the match. I believe this is Relic's answer to supporting a large, free, player base while offering perks to those who pay.

 So what exactly do you spend these Supply points and COHO Cash on? Well, a lot of different things, you may purchase advanced troops, special abilities, "Heroes", and various little perks that effect game play. I was very skeptical at first, due to game play balance between the "Allied" and "Axis" teams, which has always been a sore topic for the COH series. But it looks like COHO is actually doing a rather good job of making it all work, for a beta.

 The battles might play out the same way with the "Victory Point" and "Annihilation" games, but how you wage your war and the various tactical opportunities that are now present are too vast to cover in this article. I intend to write another to cover basic strategies and perks but for now I recommend you download this beta and give it a chance. If you were a big fan of the original Company of Heroes or enjoy medium paced RTS you should fit right in, once you navigate the interface.

You can find me on the Allied front as "Akearix".

The Rundown

 The time I spend in life can be dissected into a few very large chunks, one of the biggest albeit least important chunks falls under the category of Gaming. It is some thing that has dominated my childhood, my socially awkward teen years and now my early 20's and I do intend to continue this flashy life style trend deep into my elder years.
 Though my wife might find it distasteful, I have distant visions of myself "knifing n00bs" with futuristic Bio Feedback systems attached to my frail withered body and sporting the screen name; wrinkly_warrior135. I'll undoubtedly need the 135 because I know I won't be alone!
  It all started with the mighty Nintendo, moved up to the Sega Genesis, moved backwards to the Atari, switched to my trusty Magnavox HeadStart/SX  for a little Commander Keen and Castle Wolfenstien/3D, back to the Super Nintendo, flew through the many Game Boy iterations for the Pokemon craze, jumped up to PlayStation/PlayStation 2 and landed firmly with a shiny new Dell I had begged for one birthday. That Dell PC started a trend that would follow me to this day and most likely to my deathbed, PC Gaming.

 Lets keep things on track though, I don't intend on making this page only about PC gaming or even gaming in general. There are so many Blogs out there specializing in one area, and to be frank, its boring. My intent here is to discuss a whole variety of subjects, PC hardware, adventures, discoveries, recent reviews on items, current game tactics, tools, wanton selfish ideals, inane chatter and of course plumbing. Yeah, plumbing. Smack dab between the worlds of tools and computing you will find me. Its a small little niche I have carved out in this big life and I intend to share it, and what better place to find an audience then on the Internet!