Dell XPS 27

The Dell XPS 27 is a Windows 10 PC. It has excellent display and reasonable performance. More notably, it has the most refined sound system built into a PC, and a UHD 4K display, making it very suitable for home entertainment.

It provides the choice of Core i5 or i7 processors. You can choose a touchscreen display or a non-touchscreen but brighter display. It has a total of 10 speakers(although only 6 is visible) that provide great audio. It can provide extremely loud audio with little distortions. It provides rich, accurate sounds at low volumes, proving its audio system very sophisticated.

Dell XPS 27 AIO (2017)

Price $3720.15
Display size/resolution 27-inch 3,840 x 2,160 touchscreen display
PC CPU 3.6GHz Intel Core i7-7700
PC Memory 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz
Graphics 8GB AMD Radeon RX 570
Storage 512GB SSD, SD card slot
Connections 1 x Ethernet, 2 x USB-C/Thunderbolt, 4 x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A; 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, 1 x HDMI out; audio out, headphone jack
Networking 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

While it isn’t usually used for gaming, it certainly can be. It can provide midlevel-frame. As long as you aren’t too hung up on the frame rate or need to max the quality settings. You can configure it to deliver decent game play with basic VR capability.

It does have its downsides though. It has cables that run from the back which might be fine for some people, but if you need to use the USB ports regularly, you would face several difficulties. In order to reach the ports, one would need to contort their hand awkwardly to reach it, and one would have to try to reach blindly. Otherwise they would have to rotate the entire PC which is difficult as it has rubber legs that increase friction. It also weighs about 17kg. It doesn’t have the best design for an all-in-one, and the webcam is poorly placed.

Overall this PC has terrific audio quality, excellent visuals and although not designed to do so, it can be used for gaming as well. Though it does has its downsides, I would say that its worth the money and I would recommend it to friends and family if they are in need of a decent PC for a reasonable cost.

Photo Courtesy of:

http://www.zdnet.com/product/dell-xps-27-2017/

Rome: Total War

Romebox.jpg

Metacritic Score: 92/100

Rome: Total War is a critically acclaimed strategy game developed by Creative Assembly released in 2004. It is set in between the late Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire where you control one of three Roman factions to conquer the playable map. However, later in the game you would be able to choose more factions to start your conquest with. The game is classified under two genres simply because it is a real time tactics game (Battles) within a turn based strategy game (Campaign Map). The game puts emphasis on war over diplomacy and deterrence, which would mean that one has to employ the right military tactics and decisions on the battleground. However, this do not mean that diplomacy and deterrence are not important in the game. Diplomacy is needed to ensure friendly ties against other factions that are much more powerful than yours. A strong army also deters weaker factions which are at war with you from attacking you. Making your populace angry will result in rebellion, which an be a nuisance to deal with especially when you have other enemies to deal with. There many elements that cause the populace to be unhappy, so you have to take the right actions such as building an arena or public baths to pacify them. One can choose to complete the short campaign which only requires you to capture 15 provinces or the long campaign which requires the player to capture 50 provinces to win the game.

Campaign Map

There is also a custom battle which allows for the player to take control of one of the listed armies to combat the A.I.: The Greek Cities States, The House of Julii (Rome), The House of Brutii (Rome), The House of Scipii (Rome), The S.P.Q.R (Rome), Egypt, Seleucid Empire, Carthage, Gaul, Germania, Britannia, Parthia, Macedon, Pontus, Armenia, Numidia, Scythia, Dacia, Thrace and Spain.

You would also be able to challenge your friends using the armies listed above in multiplayer battles to see whose tactics are the better. There are also real historical battles that are recreated in the game for your gaming entertainment. Some of these battles include the Battle of Telamon and the Siege of Sparta.

Overall, even though this game might be 12 years old, but it never ceases to amaze the players with its diversity and endless replay value. The amount of content and free updates it has easily puts games released in the 2010s to shame. Much can be learnt from this game such as financial spending to interesting military tactics to historical factions and events (not be entirely accurate). The game is sold at a price of $10.50 on steam which is relatively cheap for a game of such magnitude. Those who love real time tactics games should not miss this game.

Photo Courtesy: http://i637.photobucket.com/albums/uu93/lolMSB/rtw8.png
http://www.totalwar.org/games/screengallery_rome/images/TotalwarOrg_Rome_0062.jpg
https://bjornlee.files.wordpress.com/2007/01/rome-total-war-20040824042254068.jpg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/73/Romebox.jpg

HP Pavilion HPE h9z

The HP Pavilion HPE h9z is a PC that offers alright expandability and a good set of connectivity options. But there are many better options compared to the HP Pavilion HPE h9z as there are many other gaming PCs which are better and in the same price range. Since it is not really great when compared with others, it is just impossible to recommend it to someone.

It cost $1,049 and these are the things it offers. It’s motherboard chipset is a AMD 970X. And it’s CPU offers 2.8GHZ AMD FX-8100. As for memory it offers 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM. It uses a 1GB Nvidia GeForce 550 Ti for graphics. As for it’s hard drive, it has a 1TB 7,200rpm. And finally as for it’s operating system, it uses a Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

If you are considering about whether you should purchase this, I strongly advise you to not buy it and get another PC instead. As there are many better alternatives that are cheaper and run much better.

Photo Courtesy of : http://cnet3.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2012/03/15/5218b376-67c3-11e3-a665-14feb5ca9861/thumbnail/770×433/1b98925d331102afb2d0cc5d00a5e53e/HP_Pavilion_HPE_h9z_35135410_01.jpg

Particula

Particula is a tower defense game made by Microblast Games. The game revolves around the human mind where negativity tries to invade and you have to stop it. When you first start you have the currency of energy which you use to place towers in the designated spot.

There are only 3 types of towers in the game, each with its own different abilities. Their base cost is the same though. The tower types are fire, ice and poison.

The first tower you would be getting is Cristallum, Flamma or Arcane as they are the only towers you can afford at the start. Cristallum or ice tower has the purpose of slowing down enemies so that they don’t get out of the tower’s range that quickly, this is effective with large groups of enemies. You can see the stats of your towers by clicking on them.

You can also upgrade your towers when you find that their attacks are no longer effective against the enemy. The tower’s attack speed and damaged can be upgraded using energy which is gained from destroying enemies.

In the game there’s only 2 types of enemies, the normal negativity orbs and boss negativity orbs which get progressively stronger each wave.

The music in the game however is simply fantastic. It is very calming and does not get stale even after listening to it after awhile. However with the limited amount of towers and maps available, gameplay simply gets stale after a while. It could be much more fun if you’re playing with a friend as there’s Co-op mode in this game, otherwise it would be the same old thing for every game you play.

As for the graphics, the game is very pretty and does not have any part of it that could be of an eyesore.

In conclusion, this game has really good music and graphics but however gameplay gets boring after awhile as the game lacks variation and is very limited with maps, towers and enemies. Though if you love tower defense games this could suit your taste otherwise I would not really recommend buying it at the price of S$1.25 from Steam which could be the reason why the game is really limited in features.

photo courtesy of:

http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/343360/header.jpg?t=1447962550

http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/particula/screenshots/gameShotId,771918/

Defy Gravity Extended

 

Defy Gravity is an indie game made by Fish Factory Games. The game itself is a 2D platformer that place it space. It has interesting features and is quite unique. You play as a gravitymancer and your name is Kara. A gravitymancer is someone who has a gravity controlling device that manipulates the world and laws of physics itself.

Instructions ingame

The game although has pretty simple mechanics and not so outstanding graphics, the gameplay is extremely fun and can keep you playing for a good bit. You are able to create gravity wells which are small pockets of gravity and anti-Gravity. Gravity pockets pull certain object towards it and anti-gravity pockets push them away instead.

Gameplay image of a level

There are 24 unique levels in this game, from simple jumps to challenging puzzles that take some thinking to solve. The custom soundtrack this game has is also fairly calming and peaceful, you could listen to it for an astonishing amount of time.

It might take quite a while to understand the game and its features as sometimes instructions might not be clear, but once you are familiarized with the controls it would be easier from then on.

In conclusion, this game is not only simplistic with fun mechanics but it is really unique in its own ways. The game itself costs S$3.50 and it can be found on the steam market. The only downside to this game is the length of the game. You could easily finish the game in just two to three hours but it is generally worth the price and has good replay value.

 

Photo courtesy of:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/96100/

http://www.dealspwn.com/defy-gravity-extended-9p-steam-202463

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/I4w1v31iLl0/hqdefault.jpg

 

A Dark Room

A Dark Room is a role-playing text-based game developed by Doublespeak Games. A Dark Room was originally released on PC in 2013 by Candy Box before releasing it in the App Store for IOS devices in 2014.

When you first start up the game, it gives a feeling of being cheated by the developer as noticed by most people who had just started. You will be thrown into a dark environment with only the option to “light fire” and almost immediately after clicking it the environment becomes brighter. You will have the option to “stroke fire” to make the room brighter.

Suddenly a stranger stumbles into your “firelit room”, not long after you are able to enter a silent forest to gather wood. The stranger then introduces herself, saying that she can build things for you. From then on she is known as the “builder”

The builder will construct items for you that will be beneficial for you. Some of the items are the traps to get meat or a one-time-build cart to allow you to cart wood instead.

Once your builder constructs a hut, you’re able to start housing wanderers from the wild to join your village. As your village progresses it grows even bigger and random events will pop up and it gives you some options for you to choose.

At one point of the game you’re able to travel out into the wilderness. This makes the player realise that A Dark Room is in fact a hybrid of two genres. Inside the room and in your village it is a text adventure while travelling out into the world it is a Rougelike with RPG elements.

Out in the wilderness, you will face many enemies to battle and as you travel out you will require food and water which can either obtained in an outpost that you captured or from your village.

While playing A Dark Room, there aren’t any bugs or glitches that I had encountered so there wouldn’t be anything game breaking from stopping your progress. It is well optimised and can run smoothly on most devices without much performance lost. The story is really intriguing and will be sure to make you satisfied at the end. Although it can be really long and time consuming but you do not need to sit through it all in one session as stroking the fire saves your game.

In conclusion, if you’re really interested in hybrids like A Dark Room, you’ll be really pleased to play this game. Despite its simplicity, it is still fun and yet engaging. It cost S$2.58 on the Appstore but it would definitely be worth the cost.

 

photo courtesy of: https://twitter.com/adarkroomios

Razer Blade 14

The Razer Blade 14 is another one of Razer’s gaming laptops. This laptop has made some huge improvement compared to some of the previous gaming laptops they have made. This laptop has a upgraded Nvidia graphics and hugely improved IGXO 3,200×1,800-pixel-resolution touch display.

The Razer Blade 14 has a price tag of $2,399 and it has a 14-inch, 3,200×1,800 screen. It has a 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-4702HQ. And it has a PC memory of 8GB 1,600MHZ DDR3 SDRAM. It uses a 3GB Nvidia Geforce GTX 870M for it’s graphics. It has 256GB of storage. It does not have a optical drive. As for networking it uses Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0. It’s operating system is a Windows 8.1 (64-bit)

It is 0.7 inch thick and weighs 4.47 pounds and can easily be placed in a bag allowing you to carrying the laptop to wherever you want. The keyboard and touchpad are great, welly placed and responsive. But for gaming you would most probably use a external mouse instead of the touchpad. It also allows you to go on social media and use it like a smartphone thanks to it’s touchscreen. It has glowing green keys which makes the laptop look even more flashy. It also has a Razer logo that glows from the back lid which makes the laptop look very good.

One of the best few features of this laptop is it’s new IGXO 3,200×1,800 display. It is such a great feature as it has such a high resolution screen together with touchscreen function. The new display is glass-covered, brighter, and very vivid, it has wonderful viewing angles, and it is a multitouch.

Games aren’t really meant to be played at such a high resolution though. Steam’s main UI seemed to be downscaling to lower-res. But, as for everyday usage, extra pixels are always good.

But sometimes after playing a game for half and hours causes the bottom of the laptop to get really hot. The battery life also drop quickly. It has around a 90 minute battery life when you play BioShock Infinite at medium graphics setting. Like all other Razer laptops, this laptop is also Razer Synapse 2.0-enabled, too, which saves game setting for the keyboards and peripherals in the cloud and allows deeper customization.

There are three USB 3.0 ports on the edge of this laptop, along with HDMI. It has Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.22ac Wi-Fi and a 2MP Web camera and a microphone which are slightly better than those in average laptops.

The Blade has around 4 hours, 20 minutes of battery life. As when playing games at different settings on battery power will result in between 60 minutes to 90 minutes of life.

So overall, in my opinion I think that this gaming laptop may have a few weaknesses but they are not very major and I think that the good points of this gaming laptop covers it. I think that this laptop is able to be carried around easily. The high res screen of this laptop and the high speed causes it to have a lower battery life but I think that it is worth sacrificing the battery life of this to have a better quality screen and performance of the laptop. So in conclusion, I think that this laptop is worth it to buy if you have the money, you are into gaming and travel frequently but just be sure to bring your charger due to the low battery life of this product.

Photo courtesy of : http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2419746,00.asp