Xbox Elite #XboxE3



One of the most exciting announcements that Xbox made, in my opinion (read this for my top 7 announcements from #XboxE3) was the launch of their XBOX Elite Controller.

The controller features removable and interchangeable parts, which allows users to customise it according to their own preference and feel, to maximise accuracy and responsiveness.
Here is a picture showing you the controller with the parts taken out.



All the buttons are from the front of the controller, except for the 4 longish metal paddles on the top right side of the picture. Those are situated behind the grips, 2 on each side.

The next few pictures are taken by me as I hold the controller, so you can estimate the size and positioning.


This is roughly where the back paddles will sit in relation to your grip


The Xbox Elite with the back paddles taken out and also showing the 2 levers/trigger locks behind


The hardware underneath the replaceable Dpad and thumbstick


The faceted Dpad attached to the controller

This is going to be a modders dream, I can forsee them creating custom paddles, Dpads, thumbsticks and buttons, and embellishing the controller.

There will be an app for Xbox One and Windows 10 which will allow you to customise features, and will allow you to save profiles that are stored on cloud, 2 of which can be uploaded to the controller and can be switched between using a mechanical profile switch.

It’s a good weight (roughly 350g), it feels solid, without being too heavy, and heavy enough so that it doesn’t feel cheap.
It will set you back 149 USD, and it is set to be available in October 2015.
[For SEA users though, the controller will not be available as a standalone in the region. It will only be purchasable together with the Xbox Elite console.]
And these are the official product shots, for your viewing pleasure.



For more information on the Xbox Elite, including a product video, please visit this link

#XboxE3 2015 Briefing – The TOP 7 Exciting Announcements

[This is a totally subjective article based on what I find exciting and interesting.]
The XboxE3 Briefing event has just left me picking my jaw up from the floor, and even though I’m not a huge console game fan, I think I’m going to be making a purchase soon.For starters, here’s what we walked into this morning :


*disclaimer, my lens needs a servicing, so there’s a weird clicky sound through most of the videos I took… =(
Here’s the full playlist :
And here’s the facebook page photo album :

1. Microsoft HoloLens and Minecraft
This is handsdown the most exciting announcement.
Here’s a video of how these 2 will work together. It’s amazing how the camera was able to pick up what the HoloLens was seeing!
Even though I’m not an avid Minecraft player, THIS made me sit up and take note.
It’s also playable cross platform. The demonstration at the event shows it being played with the Surface and the Xbox.

2. Xbox Elite Wireless Controller
– 4 new bumper pad locations
– Swappable components
– Full sensitivity customisation
– User profiles
Check out the video explaining these features from theverge

3. Fable Legends – Playable cross platform!

An Xbox One and Microsoft 10 exclusive.
I guess I just love whatever is free to play, and as a predominantly PC gamer, being able to play cross platform is so exciting!

4. Partnership with Valve VR!
This was a by the way announcement, but it was one of the few statements that made me go “WOAH” out loud.
I’m excited to see what this will bring to the gaming world, and I’m hoping for a more in depth explanation on what this partnership means for us!

5. Fallout 4


Mods created on PC will be playable on Xbox, for free!

6. Xbox One will be backward compatible with Xbox 360 games


I believe this will be done in stages, with games added batch at a time.
This is amazing, and I’m really impressed at how the team has managed to make this happen. This is a huge step forward for consoles (Here’s looking at you, Playstation)

7. Day z On Xbox, and Ion
DayZ will be playable on Xbox, but that’s not all. The creators have also announced a new MMO called Ion which will also be released on Xbox.

[GAMING/REVIEW] Battlefield Hardline (PS4) – 5 Reasons why you should play it.

bf hd

[Read my first post on Battlefield Hardline (BFH) here]
Battlefield is long known for their huge maps, big teams and a multitude of vehicles to pilot.BFH keeps true to these features, and then adds more.

Here’s 5 reasons why you should play BFH

1) It plays like a Drama Series
The game was designed to be more than just a game. The single player mode will keep players riveted as each level continues like a different episode in a TV Drama. What Visceral contributed to BFH was the storyline and a character driven plot based around the protagonist, Nick Mendoza.
There’s plenty of dialogue and cut scenes, and really, sometimes you forget that you have to something other than just watching the plot unfold.
It was especially absorbing for me playing the single player on the PS4, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be just as enthralled on any other platform.

2) New Content
I don’t know about you, but I like games that don’t just stay static. Patches and DLCs are a very welcome feature for me, because sometimes they are game changing, and they breathe new life into it.
Whilst the Visceral staff were not able to comment on whether any DLCs were planned, they did say that there will be added features coming out for the BFH Premium members.
These include maps, Gun Bench (Which can track kills!), Challenge modes, tournaments and ladders, and Legendary status (which allows replayability).
There are a bunch of other perks for premium members, but I think that the above it are well worth the upgrade already!
Check out the whole list of premium features and perks here

3) New Game Modes
The new urban warefare setting has allowed the team to create a whole lot of new modes for BFH.
For example, “Hotwire” where teams capture objective vehicles, “BloodMoney” where teams have to pick up or steal cash and deposit it into their own vault, “Crosshair” where the cops have to escort a VIP and fend off attacks from the criminals within a timelimit of 3 minutes.

4) Competitive Modes!!
I’m one of the gamers who will never be satisfied with just playing a game for enjoyment, and BFH satisfies my need to take gaming to the next level – Competitions! It’s just rewarding for me to be able to match my progress and skill level against others. So for those of you who share my thirst for blood, do try out the competitive modes “Rescue” and “Crosshair”. You get 1 life per round (ie, you don’t respawn until the round is over); at halftime, you switch sides and teams play a BO7 (best of 7).

5) Cool stuff
If you haven’t seen this video of the in game motorized couch, watch it here

The American Dream, a motorized sofa, is the fastest land vehicle in BFH, and it’s only available on one map, provided you can find it!
It’s location is hidden, and it spawns once per match. It seats a total of 4pax (including the driver) and can be repaired.
It’s a tribute to Paul Mathus, the Director of Product Development, who in his younger days submitted a video of  himself on a motorized couch in his entry for “Battlebots”.
It appears from 28 seconds in, it’s awesome.

I can’t wait to see if there are any more hidden gems in the game, or whether any will sneakily be added!
Even if none are, I love the personal touch and cute story behind this one.


Here are some pictures from the event in HongKong which EA so kindly sent me up for!

Here’s how we were welcomed into the gang of criminals, mugshot!

Some pretty BFH branded gear provided for our use at the game testing areaDSC_9176

Yep, that’s me in the reflection!DSC_9178

Travis Hoffstetter, who gave the press interview together with Forrest Tarleton.DSC_9185


Free Stuff! a Duffel bag, BFH PS4 review set, a cops money clip and a brochure. Not pictured here is a BFH poster .

The various journalists and media trying out the game on PS4. Some just kept going at it in Blood Money, while others went for the single player storyline (ie, ME!).DSC_9196

Post-interview with Travis

Picking lucky winners of various products sponsored by Sony – including a grand prize of 1 PS4!DSC_9200

One of my fellow Singapore journalists won a 1 month subscription.
Sadly… I have no luck… 🙁DSC_9198

Just a parting shot of the BFH headset.DSC_9199

[A big thank you to EA for sending me up for this event. It was really interesting and I got to meet media from around asia, as well as the development team who created this awesome game!]

[GAMING] Battlefield Hardline (PS4)

bf hd

EA has generously decided to send me up to HongKong (17-18 March 2015) for their Battlefield Hardline launch!

I’ll have a hands-on preview session as well as a group interview with Travis Hoffstetter, Senior Designer at Visceral Games.

I usually talk about the hardware I use, so it’s going to be interesting reviewing a game instead. From my experience and research, the Battlefield franchise is well known for its large team vs team battles (team size and map size – wise) as well as allowing gamers to pilot many different vehicles. Battlefield Hardline, true to tradition is set in a huge landscape, and will feature urban warfare.

Instead of having nation wars, Battlefield Hardline will have a cops vs criminals theme, and will feature new competitive modes and game modes. The Battlefield 4 single player was criticized for being somewhat weak, but in Battlefield Hardline, the single player mode is inspired by modern tv drama and promises to be extremely exciting.

So well, that’s it for the preamble. I’ll update with more information from the press event!

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with the trailer and links =D

Get a piece of the action in the all-new Battlefield Hardline that brings you speed, strategy, and story.

Watch the official launch trailer for Battlefield Hardline:

Battlefield Hardline will be available March 17 in Asia on Origin for PC, Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360 and PS3.

Players can pre-order Battlefield Hardline now by visiting or Origin at Press assets for Battlefield Hardline are available at

[TRAVEL] Japan in Winter (27 Jan – 6 Feb 2015) – Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, Nara, Kyoto


Day 1 – Arrival at Kansai (12pm)
Day 2 – Rinkku Premium Outlets
Day 3 – We split into 2 groups, one went to USJ and we went to Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Day 4 – Spent it sick =(
Day 5 – Himeji & Kobe
Day 6 – Move to Kyoto
Day 7 – Kiyomizudera, Yasaka Shrine, Tofu kaiseki in Gion
Day 8 – Heian Jingu, Rozan-ji Temple, Imperial Palace grounds, Yoshida Shrine
Day 9 – Arashiyama, Togetsu Bridge, Tenryu-ji Temple, Bamboo forest
Day 10 – Nara, Todai-ji Temple, Kasuga Taisha, Kofuku-ji Temple
Day 11 – Kinkaku-ji Temple, Departure from Kansai (7pm)

*** Skip to the end of this portion if you don’t want to read about the logistics***

Air Tickets : Cathay  Pacific

Travel Time : 3hrs + 3hrs, and 2 hour layover in HKIA
Cost : Roughly SGD$650 round trip

Upon reaching Osaka, get your SIM cards or pocket wifi rentals picked up at the airport.
The ordering of the SIM card of pocket wifi usually has to be done 1 week before arrival. I didn’t use this company, but you might want to take a look : .
I previously used Veltra ( and it was good and cheap. No complaints about it.
I’m never ever going to order a SIM card again because
– the data was capped at 1GB (I ordered the 4G SIM card) and ran out on the last day
– I got it to put into my Huawei device, but discovered that my device was too new and the SIM Card wasn’t compatible, so I ended up putting it in a spare mobile phone and tethering.

Osaka 3 bedroom apartment, 6 days, SGD$1000+

CHEAP AND CHEERFUL! 3BR Namba!! in Osaka

Apartment in Osaka, Japan. A great little 3 bedroom in the heart of Nipponbashi’s Den Den town. Perfect for groups of friends, small families or couples who are travelling together, this is an awesome place for those who want to be near the action but are on a budget! ***… View all listings in Osaka

We stayed at an airbnb apartment about 10mins walk from Namba station. The location is pretty decent, lots of food and sights, and 5mins walk from Kuromon Market. It has an in-suite kitchenette and washing machine, as well as 3 bedrooms; which is good if you’re travelling in a group. It was comfortable, and decent sized by Japanese standards, and a pocket wifi device was provided, as were heat packs, bath amenities, towels etc

On to the cons : the heating consisted of 3 mobile heaters – 2 blowing out hot air and 1 used heating elements… something like how a toaster works. The 2 blowing out hot air also used gas, and I was in constant fear that the hose would detatch and kill us all at night. I guess it would be ok to stay there in summer or the warmer months.
The walls are really really really thin as well. I can hear the people in the next bedroom turn around in bed, cough, mumble… This wasn’t a problem for my other travelmates, but I’m a really really light sleeper, so it bothered me quite a bit.

Almont Hotel Kyoto


I’m going to go right ahead and recommend this hotel with 5 stars.
The rooms are soundproof, clean, comfortable… the service staff are helpful and polite. Getting there from Kyoto Station is easy because the road leading to the hotel is flat, and about 10mins walk – it was easy to push suitcases and carry stuff over.
What tipped the scales in favour of a 5/5 rating from me was the public bath. It’s open in 2 shifts a day, and there’s always a steady stream of people going in and out, a testimony of how popular it is. It took a while for me to wrap my head around the idea of soaking in a hot pool with other ladies, sky clad, but I’m glad I did. There’s something therapeutic about letting the heat from the water replace the winter chill in your bones, even if it’s just for 5 minutes a night.
There’s also a Lawson across the street, and lots of food in the Station.

***          End of Logistics section           ***

Day 1 – Arrival (12pm)
Day 2 – Rinkku Premium Outlets
Day 3 – We split into 2 groups, one went to USJ and we went to Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Day 4 – Spent it sick =(

In Osaka, if its your first time, you might want to visit the Osaka Castle and gardens, buy a katana home and dress up as a samurai or something. We walked around dotonburi, denden town and stopped by kuromon market every day.
I planned to visit the owl cafe, but it didn’t work out because I was unwell and wasted a day.

If shopping is your thing, then the Premium Outlets is worth exploring. It’s not possible to finish all the shops in one day, so if you’re intent on combing through every single shop, you’ll probably need 2 or 3 days. I’m not a huge fan of shopping, so I could have given this a miss. It’s also only one stop from Kansai Airport, so you can plan to drop by right before you fly off.

The best part about Osaka is possibly the Kuromon Market. They sell Kobe Beef, Tuna Sashimi (ootoro, chutoro etc), soups and various other quality fresh produce, for much cheaper than restaurants.

DSC_8105 DSC_8107 DSC_8110 DSC_8113 DSC_8100

Osaka Aquarium was a nice trip. It’s not a very big exhibit, and their main tank isn’t impressive – the viewing wall is small and fragmented because the tank is a weird shape. However, they do have a resident whaleshark, which made it worthwhile. To me, at least.


A couple silhoutted against a tank of marine life.

Oh, and super cute whale shark plushies… =D


Day 5 – Himeji & Kobe

Himeji is a beautiful place. When you visit the castle (restoration works finish this month!) make sure you get the combined ticket to the Himeji kokoen too, its the castle gardens and there are something like 9 different themed gardens.

On the day this picture was taken, it was a clear day, with light snow flurries. The wind was killer, but totally worth braving for this view.


This is a little pavillion in one of the gardens, which you can sit in if you take your footwear off. Taking winter footwear off was too troublesome, and sitting around in winter jackets didn’t appeal to me, so we didn’t sit in it. There are huge ass fish in the ponds too.

It’s really quite amazing how much effort is put into landscaping and caring for the plants. Even in winter, they look beautiful, especially when a little sun highlights everything.


Unfortunately, for reasons, we didn’t get to spend much time in Kobe. We planned to reach Himeji around 11, have lunch there and explore, then move off to Kobe in the afternoon around 3, walk around and have a good  beef dinner.

We hit Kobe around 6pm and decided to try out A1. It’s not Kobe beef, but it’s still a tasty, nice steak nonetheless.

Day 6 – Move to Kyoto
Day 7 – Setsubun Festival at Kiyomizudera, Yasaka Shrine. Tofu kaiseki in Gion

One of the rare times you’ll see a Geisha/Maiko performance in public, for free!
I have to say though, that Kiyomizudera is much nicer to look at in spring. In winter, it just lacks the colours, and the snow is mostly too light to stick.


Bean throwing festival at Yasaka ShrineDSC_8296

Geisha/Maiko performanceDSC_8313 DSC_8343
Day 8 – Heian Jingu, Rozan-ji Temple, Imperial Palace grounds, Yoshida Shrine


The Largest Torii gate in Kyoto (Maybe in Japan too), Heian Jingu

I believe this is a Setsubun ritual where they take turns to drink something.


Heian Jingu




Yoshida Shrine Setsubun festival and outdoor food and games stallsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tying the bad fortune on a tree so that it won’t follow you homeDSC_8534

Using ricepaper sieves to catch goldfishOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA DSC_8566
Day 9 – Arashiyama, Togetsu Bridge, Tenryu-ji Temple, Bamboo forest

I would love to wake up to this view every morning… Tenryu-ji Temple gardens.
We paid 600 yen to have access to the gardens as well as the temple itself. You have to take off your shoes, but it’s worth the trouble to be able to sit on the tatami mats with the warm sun in your face.


Here’s another view of the Tenryu-ji Temple, this time from the garden, directly opposite where I took the photo above.


Exiting from the Tenryu-ji Temple, you can head directly to the Bamboo forest.

Its so calm and pretty, and silent.
This is easily my new favourite location. There’s something transcendant about walking through the bamboo forest, listening to the leaves swish against each other… Except when there are drunk Korean tourists yelling at each other. After they passed through, though, it was very enjoyable.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There was a couple having a DIY wedding shoot there too. I managed to sneak some pics of the bride as she was posing. It’s a really nice location to do a shoot!


There are lots of rickshaw pullers around too. They will try to sell you their services. The people I saw taking the rides seemed to really enjoy themselves. Kiyomizudera has plenty of rickshaw pullers around too, and it might be more exciting to take a ride there because it’s on a hill. Arashiyama is pretty flat.DSC_8781

Stopped by a little kushiyaki place for dinner.

This is my ultimate favourite… a meat patty with a raw egg yolk and teriyaki sauce. mmmmmm…!

Chicken skewers, with ume and wasabi topping.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This dessert was so good that I had 2 servings. Toasted bread with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup…

To die for.

Day 10 – Nara, Todai-ji Temple, Kasuga Taisha, Kofuku-ji Temple

Nara is the place to go for animal lovers. I had my funniest experience there this trip, and it didnt just involve deer.
At Nara, you can buy deer biscuits, it’s much much cheaper if you buy in bulk, I can’t remember the exact price though. So, once you buy the biscuits, the deer will throng you, so be prepared. They can get really aggressive, especially the males. We weren’t prepared and we got butted and bitten and one pile of biscuits dropped onto the floor and all the deer were munching it up happily. They even bit our unopened cookies and plastic bags out of our hand. So, just BE READY, once the biscuits reach your hand, you’re a target.


Stay away from the males if you’re worried. A couple of them were fighting each other and their heads were bloody from repeatedly butting each other.

Males can be identified by these bottle cap looking things on their heads. There’s an annual ceremony in Nara where they remove the horns of the males.

Speaking of ceremonies and festivals, there’s a hillside burning festival every year in January, and we missed it by one weekend. It’s the 3rd or 4th weekend of every January, and it seems it’s quite a spectable.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Todai-ji Temple.

It has a pair of little golden horns on top, and plenty of deer milling around.DSC_8852

In the inner temple grounds, there are no deer, and you have to pay to enter.

This temple houses the largest buddah statue, and it’s really quite huge.DSC_8865

On the way to the next temple, Kasuga Taisha, I decided it was safe because there were few deer around, and I opened up a dumpling to eat. As I took my second bite, a huge crow flew over from behind and plucked the dumpling right out of my hand. I was kind of dismayed, cos I was quite hungry, but pretty amused at the same time.

So, just beware of other animals, other than deer!


Managed to trot over to Kofuku-ji Temple as the last few rays of the setting sun shone on it, making it look peachy.


Some school girls getting harrassed by deer at Todai-jiOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And a well earned dinner at the market near the Nara train Station.
The beef sukiyaki was delicious, and the homemade tofu too. I’m still dreaming of the yummy flavours…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Day 11 – Kinkaku-ji Temple, Departure (7pm)

On the last trip, I visited the Silver Pavillion Temple (Ginkaku-ji), but unfortunately, it wasn’t a sunny day and the temple didn’t look that great. I discovered the difference even a little bit of sunlight makes to these temples at Kinkaku-ji this year. The exterior practically glows and comes alight, as though it has some kind of power source within it. It’s gorgeous.


The entrance to Kinkaku-jiDSC_9026

Some shots of the temple, from different angles



Along the main road, there’s a little restaurant serving what looks like fusion cuisine. This meal summed up everything I was craving for the whole trip – Japanese Curry, Raw Egg and coffee.
The curry and egg baked rice was awesome, and I think it was my favourite meal there.

The coffee was soso, a nicer coffee would have made the meal even more enjoyable.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Places and things I missed doing this trip, which I would like to do next time!

– A good Japanese kaiseki meal
– A stay at a traditional ryokan
– An outdoor onsen
– Fushimi Inari Temple
– Owl Cafe
– A longer time in Kobe, and a proper Kobe beef meal
– Visit the snow monkeys at Arashiyama
– Rent a bicycle