Great wired and wireless headsets that won’t break the bank

With today’s focus on work-from-home strategies to mitigate COVID-19 transmission, the humble gaming headset is no longer a device that’s just for fun. Instead, it can pull double duty as a vital professional meeting tool during the day, and an essential component of safe home entertainment during off hours.

Here are the four best models I’ve tested that released this year, with official web site links for each. No affiliate links here, as I don’t believe in the practice.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo taken by the author.

Razer BlackShark V2 X (MSRP $59, Official Page Here)

This $59 modern update of an ancient gaming headset is easily the best budget audio offering ever produced by Razer, and it represents a brilliant path forward for their sound gear. It features their new “TriForce” drivers, highly tunable diaphragms that have been tweaked to offer Razer’s best sound-to-dollar ratio, and one of the more enjoyable gaming headset sounds on the market today. …


Not just another Demon’s Souls article!

Image for post
Image for post
Xbox Series S screenshot captured by the author.

We’re in the midst of a rare and exciting time for video game fans: new console launch season. One of the biggest new games is Demon’s Souls on the PS5. I totally get the hype around this re-release of 2009’s seminal PS3 classic…but it’s not my favorite remaster of the year for two very specific reasons.

First, PlayStation 5 availability has been a bit of a nightmare, and as a result I won’t be getting one till next year. Sony announced a specific day for pre-order openings…which most retailers then blithely ignored, instead deciding to open orders immediately. Chaos ensued. …


An awesome brawler with one of gaming’s best soundtracks

Image for post
Image for post
Official River City Girls marketing image. https://wayforward.com/rivercitygirls/

I completely love River City Ransom. I could make an argument for the original game being my favorite game of all time. It’s a perfect blend of brawler gameplay, exploration, and light RPG advancement mechanics that feels an awful lot like modern game designs in spite of being over thirty years old.

Its sequels have had different degrees of trouble replicating or exceeding the magic of the original. I reviewed some of them during a sadly abandoned week-long feature I was working on during my early days on Medium. The sequels have been, at best, loosely updated versions of the original design, afraid to take risks or push the boundaries of the concept. …


Now featuring a beautiful framerate, fast load times, and more fun!

Image for post
Image for post
Xbox Series S screenshot taken by the author.

In a console launch period light on traditional “exclusives,” the next gen upgrade of Borderlands 3 was secretly my most- anticipated release. I loved the game when it first came out last year, but it was clear to me from its questionable performance on the PS4 and Xbox One that it was built as a PC game first, and then crammed onto consoles.

That didn’t stop me from playing dozens of hours of the game across all three platforms, and heck I even bought it on sale on Stadia to try out there. …


And bigger upgrades are coming!

Image for post
Image for post
Xbox Series S screenshot taken by the author.

I do most of my Warframe playing on the Nintendo Switch, but I was recently lucky enough to get ahold of an Xbox Series S, so I dusted off my account there to check out the game’s performance on the new generation of console hardware.

Warframe already targeted 60 frames per second on the PS4 and Xbox One, but it could sometimes drop frames or resolution in order to maintain performance. It also loaded noticeably slower compared to the PC version on a modern machine. …


The 2019 prologue to Bright Memory Infinite gets a Series X|S port

Image for post
Image for post
Xbox Series S screenshot taken by the author.

One of the most promising-looking upcoming Xbox Series X|S games is Bright Memory Infinite, a graphically dense first person shooter announced by tiny one-man indie studio FYQD at one of Microsoft’s console reveal events. It’s due out sometime in the spring of next year.

Since that game isn’t done yet, the studio has re-released its previous game Bright Memory to try and whet everyone’s appetite. It’s a much smaller prologue or first chapter of sorts, first released on PC last year and now available as one of a small handful of exclusives for the launch of the new consoles. Bright Memory is an $8 downloadable game, and it won’t run on older Xbox One consoles. …


The new Xbox controller is more different than I expected!

Image for post
Image for post
Photo taken by the author.

Alongside the launch of the new Xbox Series X and S consoles this past week, Microsoft also released an updated controller. While the new pad doesn’t have the touch-based bells and whistles of Sony’s DualSense controller, it’s still enough of an upgrade to feel like a truly new device.

In a refreshing change from the planned obsolescence norm of the video game industry, Xbox One accessories are inter-compatible with the new Xbox Series consoles. Thanks to this decision, this new controller will also work with the older Xbox One consoles. …


HyperX’s standout new wireless headset launches today

Image for post
Image for post
Marketing image provided by HyperX.

For years, I’ve wanted HyperX to release a wireless take on their classic Cloud II gaming headset form factor, and today that day has finally come. It’s a week of much gaming celebration, between the two new console launches and recent computer CPU/GPU launches, and I think it’s also the perfect time for this great new wireless headset.

The Cloud II Wireless sells for $149.99, and if you’d like to buy one you can order one direct from HyperX or find a retail partner by clicking right here.

I make zero money from the product links in my stories because I don’t personally believe in that practice, so click away without suspicion! …


A premium price on top of free-to-play design choices doomed this energetic game from the start

Image for post
Image for post
PS4 Pro screenshot taken by the author.

Codemasters just released Dirt 5 for current and next generation hardware. On the cusp of new releases, I like to go back and look at the legacy that lead to them. Dirt 5 wasn’t made by Codemasters’ core racing game development team. Instead, it was made by Codemasters Cheshire, a studio that was responsible for the excellent Motorstorm series on the PS3 many years and company name changes ago.

Their previous game was a weird arcade multiplayer thing called Onrush. It’s the epitome of an elevator pitch turned into a video game. “What if we made Burnout and Motorstorm smashed together but as a free-to-play esports-inspired multiplayer game with elements of League of Legends?” That sounds like a weird nightmare, and in practice it almost is, but somehow it still all works together thanks to a brilliant graphics engine that makes this 2018 release look like a brand new game. …


A solid, svelte desktop microphone

Image for post
Image for post
Photo taken by the author.

NOTE: HyperX graciously sent me a final evaluation unit of this microphone to review alongside prepared marketing assets and technical information, but no money changed hands and I had full editorial control over this article.

As per my reviews policy, this article will never be monetized, but additional content about this microphone, such as comparison articles I write in the future, may be. This post contains zero affiliate links as I don’t personally believe in the practice.

Right on the heels of the updated RGB-infused QuadCast S I reviewed last month, the HyperX microphone family expands yet again, in a distinctly more miniature direction. …

About

Alex Rowe

I do radio voice work by day, and write by day and night. I studied film and production. I love audio, design, and music. Also video games.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store