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All posts by Hadlee Simons

  • Battleborn review: a poor man’s Borderlands with MOBA stuff

    You wait for a fantasy-style online first-person shooter and two show up. Yep, May has seen both Overwatch and Battleborn launch in an attempt to win over your dosh. Is Battleborn a reskinned Borderlands though or will it make me a believer in this FPS MOBA claptrap (heh)? There have been some questions over just how much of that Borderlands DNA has been injected into Battleborn by Gearbox Software. And truth be told, there's quite a bit... There's the cartoony graphical style, a coop story mode and visual elements to denote how much damage you're doling out to an enemy. Then there are the short cutscenes to...

  • Extremely Entertaining Expo: how could you forget these historic E3 presentations?

    It's almost time for the world's largest gaming expo, as E3 2016 gets set to take place next week. It's been the scene of some very notable conferences in the past though, so now's a good a time as any to look back at some of the more famous (and infamous) events. Sony undercuts the Sega Saturn price by US$100 with the PS1 US$599! Sony shoots itself in the foot with a disastrous E3 2006 conference Comedian Jamie Kennedy under the influence at E3 2007 Konami's bizarre/awkward 2010 conference was strangely charming Microsoft's woeful E3 2013 showing meant it was Sony's for the taking

  • Beyond Windows & BlackBerry: 4 niche mobile OSes that still exist

    It's hard to ignore the marketplace dominance of Apple and Google, as their iOS and Android platforms consume over 90% of the mobile platform market. Unfortunately, this dominance has largely come at the expense of other mobile operating systems -- and we're not talking about BlackBerry 10 and Windows 10 Mobile. Instead, we're looking at mobile platforms that are less prominent than even the likes of BlackBerry and Microsoft's offerings. Firefox OS The most recent casualty of the mobile OS wars, Mozilla's take on a smartphone platform was a rather interesting departure from the norm. For one, Mozilla opted to build its platform with web-based...

  • Xbox Live Gold subscribers get EA Access for free in E3 week

    Microsoft has announced that the EA Access subscription service will be available for free to Xbox Live Gold subscribers from 12 June until 22 June. In case you missed it, EA Access delivers a library of the publisher's games to Xbox One users for $5 a month or $30 a year. The 20-strong library includes NBA Live 16, Titanfall, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, FIFA 16, NHL 16, Madden NFL 16, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Battlefield 4 and Battlefield: Hardline. The publisher is also bringing selected backwards-compatible Xbox 360 titles to the service, starting with Plants vs. Zombies and Dead Space. What else does it offer? Other perks include...

  • Blades of Brim & War Tortoise: this week’s top mobile games

    Welcome to Gearburn's Mobile Game Picks of the Week, a weekly series in which Hadlee takes a look at the latest, most entertaining, or time-consuming mobile games on portable screens. It's Wednesday, which means time for our weekly mobile gaming roundup, where we pick a few of the latest and most notable titles for your device. Our highlights this time include a new game from the people behind Subway Surfers and a puzzler with over four billion possible levels. Blades of Brim (free - Android, iOS) From the team behind Subway Surfers, Blades of Brim is pretty much the previous game with swords, being...

  • What are the critics saying about Mirror’s Edge Catalyst?

    It's been a long time coming for a Mirror's Edge sequel. The first game was a revelation back in 2008, offering polished parkour mechanics, a signature minimalistic visual style and wonderful setpieces. Eight years later, we finally have Mirror's Edge Catalyst on PS4, PC and Xbox One, breaking free from the original's corridors and leaping into an open-world environment. So, what do the critics think? Ars Technica's Kyle Orland felt that, while the parkour mechanics still stood out, the open-world design was a hindrance. "There is definitely fun to be had simply running through Mirror's Edge Catalyst's beautiful cityscape like some sort of all-knowing speedster god....

  • Final Fantasy XII is getting the HD remaster treatment on PS4

    Sure, Final Fantasy VII gets most of the remake love among fans, but XII has its fair share of enthusiasts too. Fortunately, Square Enix seems to have listened to your pleas as the company has released a teaser trailer for Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, being a remastered version of FF12. Don't hold your breath for a release just yet, as Square Enix has confirmed a vague 2017 release date in Japan. The title was first released in 2006 on PlayStation 2, receiving critical acclaim. A sequel was released in 2007 in the form of Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings for the...

  • Xiaomi Mi Band 2 launched: 5 things you should know

    Missed the news last week? Yep, Xiaomi quietly launched the second-generation Mi Band fitness tracker a few days ago. What's new in this edition though? We list a few of the more notable features and improvements. It's got a screen Well, for starters, there's a tiny OLED display on the tracker, being scratch-resistant and having an oleophobic coating to boot. There's a button below the screen too, allowing you to cycle through displayed data (such as steps taken, time, temperature etc) on the screen. Don't want to tap the button? Then simply lifting your wrist will activate the screen instead. And yes, the Mi Band 2...

  • 4 Xiaomi mobile devices we’d like to see in South Africa

    You can't deny that the Xiaomi brand has made quite a splash in South Africa since it landed late last year. The Redmi 2 and Mi 4 (review) smartphones provide excellent value for money, coming in at just under R2000 and R4000 respectively. Local distributor MIA Group hasn't stopped here either, bringing in the R2999 Redmi Note 2 (review) and the R7999 Mi 5 flagship recently as well. Still, there are a few more Xiaomi phones and tablets we'd like to see on the African continent... Xiaomi Redmi 3 Quite possibly offering the best value for money this year, the Redmi 3 had a RMB699...

  • Watch: Here’s how Chromebooks run Android apps from Play Store

    Google made tech headlines when it announced that the Play Store was coming to its Chromebook laptops. But how will it all work? Fortunately, the Mountain View firm has published a YouTube video (spotted by Android Central), outlining the process. The video shows the Play Store working like a normal Chromebook program, with Google's Kan Liu saying that it would function like any other Android device. Want to install an app? Then merely hit the "install" button and track the progress via the Chrome OS notification centre. Liu said that general Android app notifications would "seamlessly" open in the Chrome OS notification centre. Chromebooks have a reputation for being...