Razer Kraken Gaming Headset review

The Kraken… just how cool is that for a name of a headset? It certainly sets the bar high when you name your product after a legendary water beast! Razer is renowned among the PC crowd for their quality headsets and gaming peripherals, now they are stretching out on to the Xbox One with their first stereo headset – so how does the Kraken fare?

razer-kraken-xbox-one-gallery-12The Kraken is beautifully packaged, with the headset proudly on display behind thin transparent plastic secured down by the Velcro backed flaps of the packaging – it certainly looks the part!

First things first, you need to get your headset connected to your console. Simply plug it into your controller via the 3.5mm jack and connect the controller (while it’s switched off) to the Xbox One via the USB that comes supplied with the headset – ‘update in progress’, job done – it’s as simple as that.

After fracturing the wire in one of my previous headsets, I was a little concerned that the Kraken’s connecting wire from headset to controller wasn’t detachable and therefore not replaceable, upon further inspection and after some use I noted that the connecting wire and jack are in fact quite durable and so a potential fracture looks like it may well have been considered and not as likely as I had previously thought.

razer-kraken-xbox-one-gallery-7The headset chat adaptor that is included in the box is identical to the official Xbox One adaptor save a few differences to the aesthetic. By default the game and chat volume is equally balanced but you can increase or decrease either one and also adjust the overall level of sound in the headset. The trusty mute button takes centre spot on the adaptor for when you just don’t want your group to hear the level of cuss words that come out of your mouth, or when your wife walks in wanting a conversation about what the kids want for their tea!

Having previously used a wireless receiver for connecting a headset, this was the first headset I’ve used that only needs to be connected via the controller – that’s right, no additional leads are required – simply plug it in to the controller and it works, gone are the days of being tangled in a mass of wires, mind you if you did get tangled the bright vibrant Razer green wires are easy to unravel.

razer-kraken-xbox-one-gallery-2The mic clicks down into place and stowed back again when not in use, it’s positioned neatly at the end of a flexible boom, which is rigid enough to perfectly get the mic into a position that you prefer. Be warned though, the mic is very sensitive so best not put it too close to your mouth unless your friends like hearing you breath heavily down the mic. As for clarity of voice, the mic gives crystal clear sound – the difference was extremely noticeable when I swapped out the Kraken for another pair I own. Unfortunately (like most headsets I’ve used) you can’t hear your own voice, which can mean you might end up talking far more loudly than you need to. Remember to mute the headset when you’ve stowed the mic – there’s no auto-mute for when it’s in the upright position, which I feel is a feature that should have been included.

While the mic isn’t obvious when stowed it’s enough to put me off wearing these while walking down the street with them plugged into my iPhone, I couldn’t help but feel like an idiot wearing a pair of gaming headphones out in the neighbourhood!

razer-kraken-xbox-one-gallery-1The headband of the Kraken features little padding, but I never understood why some headsets put so much effort into headband padding – take beats for example, they have virtually no padding and they’re super comfortable.

Unless you have large ears, the ear cups are perfectly adequate in size and have ample padding. The lightweight design of the headset make the Kraken one of the most comfortable pair of cans I’ve worn – this is no fashion show, but you also don’t look like an idiot while wearing them.

razer-kraken-xbox-one-gallery-3The sound of the Kraken is great, offering a beautifully crisp balanced clarity to your games although if “you’re all about the bass” then you might be left wanting because I found that the Kraken lacks the deepness to bass making them sound rather too high on the treble – this also means explosions won’t rock your head as much. Once my ears became accustomed to the lack of bass I can’t say I missed it and the high treble enabled me to pick out other sounds like my good ‘friend’ Dave trying to sneak up on me and stab me in the back – apparently that’s what friends do!

I would have liked for there to be some options to adjust sound on the Kraken, like a bass booster or a way to reduce the treble – while some games sounded perfectly balanced, others were far too ‘light’ because the bass just wasn’t coming through well – the opening menu of Titanfall and sound of your Titan coming thundering down to earth just sounded weak and needed that extra thump from the bass.

Range wise, the headset doesn’t quite make it round all the rooms in my house and even a trip to the kitchen suffered some loss in connection.

The Kraken is a no fuss headset, it looks great, the mic is crystal clear and the sound mix is almost spot on. To top it all off the Kraken is one of the most comfortable headsets I’ve worn – congrats Razer you certainly have my attention, now how’s about a 7.1 surround sound version?

Thanks to Razer Europe for supplying TiX with a review unit

You can buy the Kraken for Xbox One directly from Razer for £89.99.

Xbox One Screenshot feature gets a screenshot

That Phil Spencer is such a tease, last night he took to twitter to show off one of the most wanted Xbox One features – the ability to take screenshots.

The screenshot was captured from his Xbox One dev kit, no doubt the feature will be rolling out in the coming months with Xbox One Preview program members getting access to the new feature first.

Double tapping the Xbox button on your controller brings up the floating guide screen where you can access a multitude of features including the ability to press X to “record that”. The new screenshot feature works in a similar way with the ability mapped to the Y button – I would also assume that you’d be able to call out to the Xbox to “Screenshot that” using Kinect.

Looks like Xbox One will soon be flooding twitter with its own #XOshare – I can hardly wait!

The ‘Zombie Army’ is invading on March 6

Rebellion’s Zombie Army Trilogy will be marching onto Xbox One from March 6 and here’s some brand new screenshots to ponder over.

The self-published title combines the excellent Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army and Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 2 plus a third never before seen campaign. The Nazi zombies were a cult sensation when they first appeared on the PC edition of  Sniper Elite V2 and now us console gamers can finally get in on the action.

Neverwinter closed beta keys are being distributed

screenNever

The Neverwinter closed beta test began on Feb 5 and keys to access the beta are still going out – I received mine last night! The ‘free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG’ only runs for three days so if you’ve got a code redeem it quickly – there’s not much time left to experience one of the first “premium free-to-play titles” headed to Xbox One.

Once you’ve taken your first steps in Neverwinter’s universe, make sure you pop over to the official Xbox One Neverwinter forums to leave your feedback or report any bugs that you’ve encountered.

While it may be flaunted as “free-to-play”, Neverwinter has a variety of ‘booster’ packs that can be purchased – although I wouldn’t advise buying anything and expecting it to work in the beta!

Something for the weekend: Blast Processing

Rich couldn’t be bothered to write-up a short ‘Something For The Weekend’ piece this week. He claims to be too busy or something, I don’t know, I wasn’t really listening. I think he’s just lazy, lazy and foolish, for he has given me the reigns to this week’s feature mwahahahaha.

So with me in charge of picking something videogame related to entertain you this weekend, I’ve found a real treat. I searched far and wide, scouring my  collection of YouTube channels, and I think I’ve found something special, something amazing, something, in fact, I made a little while ago. I present to you Blast Processing.

Join Greg, Neale, Steve and Leena – NPCs who have become sentient – as they battle their way through a videogame themed world, run by the mysterious and all-powerful Players, some of whom want the NPC abominations dead.

Written and directed by the supremely handsome Greg Giddens – me – Blast Processing released as a web series in 2013, running into 2014, before a full cut version was released late 2014, which is what I offer for your viewing pleasure below. So enjoy, laugh, and cry for the next hour or so and don’t tell Rich or Dave about this shameless self promotion. Also, to all you mean commenters out there, bite your tongues. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will hurt forever…

Grip Games opens the Tower of Guns

tower_of_guns

Grip Games, the publishers behind the frankly brilliant Unmechanical: Extended, have announced a new Unreal Engine based title coming in Q2 of 2015.

Looking like a hybrid of Doom, Quake and any tower defence game you could muster, Tower of Guns looks set to try to revive the classic first person shooters of yesteryear from the comfort of your shiny new Xbox One.

Developed by Grip and Terrible Posture Games, Tower of Guns is the console version of the hit of the same name on Steam. Terrible Posture Games is essentially Joe Mirabello, an artist who has contributed to ‘several’ AAA titles and fancied taking a year out to see what he could achieve. Tower of Guns would appear to be the result and looking at the announcement trailer below, it was well worth it.

The game itself will feature totally random levels, so that no playthrough will be the same, countless weapons, mods and abilities, insane bosses and lots of secret stuff to discover.

Here it is then, Tower of Guns’ announcement trailer, get ready to climb some stairs, lot of stairs.

 

Xbox One’s February system update is rolling out

Preview members have had access to February’s update for a while now and I can tell that you that I’ve found the Game Hub to be the most useful. You can access everything you need from the game itself to extra content in the Store but my favourite feature was the leaderboards – you can see how you stack against your friends – who has the most kills, best accuracy or game completion.

Here’s a list of all that is in the update and a handy video showing the features off. For more detail on the finer points of the update, visit Xbox Wire.

  • Controller improvements
  • Game hubs
  • Party chat updates
  • Custom backgrounds and tile transparency
  • TV updates

Breaking News! Another Call of Duty will be released this year!

treyarch

I strongly recommend you take a seat before you read any further as this will blow your mind.

Treyarch have just confirmed on Twitter that they’re currently developing a Call of Duty title and it’ll be launching this year.

The Call of Duty series is currently being worked on by three different studios, each releasing a title once every three years. Treyarch in 2012, Infinity Ward in 2013, Sledgehammer Games in 2014 and Treyarch in 2015. It’s a pretty great pattern as it’ll hopefully mean games receiving plenty of polish and tonnes of new features.

Treyarch and David Vonderhaar have been teasing details about this upcoming title for a few days now and it’s so far seems to be pointing in the direction of a return to World War II.

You can’t help but be slightly curious as it’s been a bloody long time since we’ve had a truly great World War II title.

Dark Souls II re-release gets new trailer

_bmuploads_2012-12-07_760_darksouls2_15

It’s creeping up on us,  the release date for the sacrificial lamb in the Dark Souls series. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is coming out in April and you know what that means, right?

That’s right, there’ll be a slow trickle of fantastic trailers coming out in the lead up to the release and below is the next in line.

Including the original Dark Souls II, in glorious 1080p and 60fps, plus the available three ‘Crowns’ DLC, The Lost Crowns: Crown of the Sunken King, Crown of the Old Iron King and Crown of the Ivory King, all bundled up in what essentially is a game of the year edition in Scholar of the First Sin.

If you haven’t got Dark Souls II, what better introduction could you have to the story of the curse bearer in the world of Drangleic?

In Scholar of the First Sin, you’ll also have to face the vicious new black phantom Forlorn that can invade at any time and anywhere.

Need some more convincing? The trailer is below, and long time Dark Souls II players will notice a couple of spoilers in the trailer, be a smartypants and let us know if you do.

 

 

Warhammer’s Vermintide creeps on to Xbox One

announcement_screenshot04-1024x576

There’s a new first person adventure game coming to Xbox One and it’s set in the Warhammer universe. The game is split both shooter and melee brawler, Swedish indie developer Fatshark are the brains behind the Skaven with a release date of the ‘second half of 2015’ penned in.

Combining gritty combat with cooperative multiplayer action, Vermintide will provide the player with a completely new perspective of the Warhammer Fantasy universe, through the eyes of the heroes they play,

said Martin Wahlund, CEO of Fatshark.

Staying true to the fantasy lore, with familiar foes and locations, we look forward to winning the hearts of enthusiasts and newcomers with this new take on the Warhammer story

Set in the city of Ubersreik, you will be able to choose from five heroes and work cooperatively to repel an invasion from the Skaven. Naturally each hero has their own unique style, abilities, gear and personality. The Skaven on the otherhand are cruel rat-creatures who favour the forces of Chaos – their clans are large in number but remain disjointed, should they unify and rise up from their underground lairs they would easily overwhelm all who oppose them.