PC Games to Look Forward to in 2017

2017 promises to be a great year for gaming, with PC releases from some of the major franchises hitting the shelves this spring. Here at Alberto Statti, we’re just itching to play them all, but here’s a selection of our most anticipated:

Tekken 7
Fans of the fighting games will be eagerly awaiting the release of Tekken 7 in early 2017. It’s been a long wait since its predecessor, Tekken 6, was released for the home console market back in 2009. The new instalment, subtitled “Fated Retribution”, features new game mechanics, gameplay changes and eight new characters. Favourites like Yoshimitsu, King and Nina return, and the story revolves around Heihachi, Kazuya and Jin, revealing mysteries like the Devil Gene.

Sniper Elite 4
Due for release on 14th February, Sniper Elite 4 promises improved AI, significantly larger maps and the introduction of climbing ability. The third-person stealth shooter is well known for its X-ray kill camera, which shows gruesome details of body parts being torn apart by the player’s bullet. This has now been extended to include other types of kill, such as melee and shrapnel. The story directly follows Sniper Elite 3 and is set in 1943, with protagonist, Karl Fairburne, assisting the Italian resistance.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Delayed from December 2016 to spring 2017, the second South Park game follows events in “The Stick of Truth”. As their alter ego superhero characters, the children of South Park cannot agree on a franchise plan so embark on a civil war with The Coon (Cartman) leading one side and Mysterion (Kenny) the other. Playing as the New Kid, the player must reunite the gang. Unlike the first game, players can choose to be a boy or a girl, leading to different dialogue.

Outlast 2
Horror aficionados will no doubt be keen for the release of Outlast 2 in early 2017, the survival horror sequel that uses a found footage approach to gameplay. This time round, the main character is a journalist investigating a murder in the Arizonan desert. Unfortunately, he encounters a village inhabited by a deranged cult. The plot is said to be based on the real-life Jonestown massacre of 1978.

Mass Effect: Andromeda
With a European release date of 23rd March confirmed, fans can at last get really excited about the fourth Mass Effect instalment. The sci-fi shooter is set in an open world for the first time with several planets to explore. Taking place six centuries after events of the initial trilogy, there is more of a feel of the original game in Andromeda.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands
The Tom Clancy series continues with the release of its fourteenth game and tenth main instalment, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, on 7th March. Taking a new approach that crosses GTA with Far Cry, Wildlands sets Ghost Recon players in an open world for the first time. The map is claimed by Ubisoft to be one of the most expansive they’ve published, and there’s a wide range of terrains. The return to a present-day environment coupled with the vast open world should exceed expectations.

Final Fantasy 15 – Worth it?

Final Fantasy XV

Are you a new or returning player to the Final Fantasy universe? Then worry not. We can help get you started on your brand new or continuing journey!

First things first, no matter which type of player you are, to get a bit of background it is worth watching the new Final Fantasy KingsGlaive film which helps to get you acquainted with some of the other characters in the game that are occasionally referenced.

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to watch the movie or the anime episodes(free on YouTube), they are just there as a sort of prequel (GingsGlaive happens between the first couple of missions in the game.)

Right now, the game is available to buy for Xbox One and PS4 and there is a possibility for it to be released on PC.

The game offers a bunch of new features that weren’t available on the other games:

  1. You now own a car which can be damaged and run out of petrol, you can fix it at a garage where you can also trick it out with custom paint jobs etc.
  2. Each character has their own abilities. Noctis can fish, Prompto takes pictures throughout your game, Ignis does the cooking for some very good buffs and Gladiolus allows access to survival missions which help gain a lot of XP and items.
  3. You can now take cover to gan HP and MP back!
  4. Warp points allow instantly MP recovery
  5. First real-world open game play
  6. Only 1 load screen for the entire area but on Xbox One is is a big load time!
  7. Fast paced combat, not turn based.
  8. A sort of wait system where everything pauses so you can potion up and think of what to do next (only lasts for a limited time)

Pros of Final Fantasy XV

  • The combat system is either a love it or hate it, returning players that are used to turn based might hate it but players that enjoy fact action may love it
  • The characters themselves are very like-able especially when resting where you get to see the pictures taken by Prompto.
  • So far through my play through, the story seems to be pretty good, and from what other Final Fantasy’s are like, only get better.
  • Open world exploration is great and proves some very nice scenery which you can drive/run to.

Cons of Final Fantasy XV

  • Sometimes the combat system can be buggy where you block and just get knocked down for 3+ seconds getting hit over and over.
  • Magic seems to be very lackluster. You spend a lot of time gather magic power just to use it within 2 minutes in a combat.
  • Being unable to save while in certain places certainly make sit very annoying if you die.
  • The camera not only in combat but in general is terrible. It doesn’t follow your character sometimes and other times it will just fly past your character while in combat at super speed causing you to start attacking in the opposite direction

Conclusion

Overall, the game is definitely something new and definitely overall a great game to play. Most of the problems in the cons section are more than likely bugs which will be ironed out. If story and immersion is what you want, then this is the game for you. I would recommend that you watch the anime and the film if you want to get to know the characters a little better.

by Alberto Statti

Best Wall Mountable PC Speakers

Wall Mounted Speakers

Last Updated: 24th October 2016

Buying speakers for your computer is a relatively simple process, determine your budget, find speakers in that budget then narrow them down based on features and preference. In 2016, you would expect Googleing wall mounted speakers for your computer would give a nice up to date list of speakers systems for you to match against your budget and preference. That is not the case. The first thing on the search is a direct link to Ebays own sales in the “wall mounted speakers” section.

Fear not, we have a …..solution. Not only will this solution prove to be perfect, it allows you to use any speaker systems! First things first, follow our best speaker brand guide to find the brand for you. Next determine your budget and required features.

Now that we have gotten the list of potential speakers down to at least 3 or 4, we will be needing a more in depth look at the speakers themselves. We will be mounting them using Wall Mounting brackets or Universal Speaker Brackets if they fit right so go through your speakers and see if the cheaper options work for any of the speaker systems you chose. Using the first link, the most cost effective ones are the Btech BT332 which screw to the wall and into the speaker system. This type of wall mount will require a speaker system that either has a hole to screw into or at the very least a speaker that is square and wooden. (Imagine wall mounting this with screws)

Alberto Statti
Logitech X230

If you speaker is square but is made of plastic and you aren’t particularly interest in screwing holes into your speakers, Velcro to the rescue! I will assume you know what Velcro is and how to use it. You best course of action is to use quite a bit of Velcro as you don’t want it loosening over time then suddenly dropping off the wall.

Velcro
Velcro

Now, I know that speakers that aren’t designed to be wall mounted wont have long enough wires, that is why we will now look at extension wires. The ones linked are extremely long so you could probably measure the extra you need and go to a local store and pick some up for cheaper. If you want the extra wire and ease of purchase provided by amazon, go for that one.

So you have your speakers, they are mounted on the walls using extension wires, now what? Cable trunking! Cabling is always a problem so the trunking can be used not only on your PC speakers but on your other component cables. In my case, I bought the smallest ones for the PC speakers, then bought the thickest one and attached it  to the back of my desk which custom drilled holes for cables to go into it and to my PC.

cabling - Alberto Statti
Cable management

Written by Alberto Statti

What are the best audio speaker brands?

The Best Speaker Brand For You

by Alberto Statti

Last Updated: 24th October 2016

Purchasing speakers for your computer isn’t just a simple “click and pay” anymore not only because there are now a huge variation of brands but there are also a huge variation of models within those brands. Thorough research needs to be done because if you are like me, you will want to be using these speakers for as long as possible (my current speakers have lasted 10 years and are so old I cant find a picture of them on Google).

First things first, lets create a list of all the noteworthy brands currently out there:

  • Bose
  • Corsair
  • Creative
  • Edifier
  • Genius
  • Logitech
  • Microlab
  • Altec Lansing
  • Philips

There are many many more brands out there but these are the best of the bunch when considering 99% of the population with speakers will have one of the brand above.

What determines a good brand?

Hearing about certain brands is good for them but not many people talk about why they are good or the best. This question can be simplified into four main reasons:

  1. The brand has great products
  2. The brands products perform better than their counterparts
  3. The brand has a great pricing scheme in place
  4. The brand has great warranty just in case you are the unlucky 0.01%

So which to choose?

All of the above brands have products that fall within those four reasons, but what determines the best brand is the one that offers the most cost effective product in your price range if all else is equal.

I can’t pick one brand and say its the best overall because not only could you live in a different part of the world which would skew the pricing, but the warranty each brand offers can be vastly different in each area of the world.

Here is how to decide which brand to choose:

  • Determine your price bracket and the max amount you are willing to spend.
  • Look at each manufacturers warranty for where you live.
  • Go to your favourite computer accessories website and sort all speakers by your price bracket and brands with the best warranty.
  • Determine which of the speakers listed fit what you need (2.1, 5.1, Bluetooth, wireless etc)
  • Once you have narrowed your list down to 2 or 3 speaker systems, check the reviews for each one.
  • Now that you know which speakers you want, double check other websites in case it is cheaper elsewhere.
  • Buy
  • Enjoy

Now what?

That’s it. Set up your system when it arrives and enjoy your new speakers. Revel in the fact that you made the most informed decision you could and it anything goes wrong, you chose the best brand with the best warranty.

Personally, Logitech have always been my brand of choice not only for the warranty but I just like their speaker systems more. Especially the ones with the small dial for the volume/bass etc.

Next up I will be writing about which are the best speakers to mount on your wall, these will be especially great if you have double or triple monitors so you can mount them above the monitors.

Best Ergonomic Computer Chairs for 2016

Best Ergonomic Office Chairs For Back Pain

 

Last Updated: 24th October 2016

In a world where almost everyone sits on a computer chair these days, it is becoming more and more important that the chair you use is ergonomic not only because poor posture can lead to upper and lower back problems along with neck pain.

AlbertoStatti
Poor Posture

This guide will help you determine which chair to get based on how much money you have to spend. Please note though, just because a chair is the best in a £100 bracket doesn’t mean that it will be what you need to stop back pain from poor posture. For those types of problems, more expensive chairs are recommended.

£69.99

For chairs at this price range, they are all pretty much the same. Just look for a chair that has plenty of wheels so it wont tip, possibly neck support and good cushion. Something like an AmazonBasics chair.

Alberto Statti
AmazonBasics Office Chair

£130

Now we are getting into the types of chairs with more specific aims. A chair with neck support is a must, arm rests would be great as not all desks are large enough to rest your arms on. Proper back support will be doable in this price range too. The ideal chair in this range is the Ikea Markus

Alberto Statti
Ikea Markus

£299.99

Moving into the next range, chairs in this category have improved quality and are known to last a little longer. There are still manufacturers that charge these prices for chairs that have lower quality parts but are still much better than their £0 – £200 counterparts.

One of the most popular chairs in this range is the ANCHEER Ergonomic Chair. It offers a fire resistant mesh, good quality aluminium alloy legs, adjustable arm and back rests and also offers a sliding seat if you have longer legs.

Alberto Statti
Ancheers Ergonomic Chair

£449

In this range, it opens up some very good back support chairs using high quality materials. In this range, the quality of all the chairs will be roughly the same so the best option is to go for looks, adjustments available and comfort. Say welcome to the Ergohuman Office Chair. It offers:

  • Seat Height Control
  • Seat Depth Adjustment
  • Backrest Tilt Tension Control
  • Backrest Tilt Angle Adjustment
  • Backrest Height Adjustment
  • Armrest Height Adjustment
  • Armrest Angle Adjustment
  • 10 Year Manufacturers Guarantee on the frame
  • 5 years on Mechanism and Armrests
  • 3 years on Castors, Gas Lift and Mesh
Alberto Statti
Ergohuman Office Chair

£900+

This is where you can buy the best of the best. There is a good choice in this range as everyone wants to be “The Best” but in my opinion, if you are going for excellent ergonomics, adjustability and breathability then a Herman Miller Embody Chair is the chair for you. They are made to be very durable and include excellent warranty. Read the brochure for more information.

Alberto Statti
Herman Miller Embody Chair

Written by Alberto Statti