Having walked the fine line between causal gamer and gaming fanatic for quite a while, I was always reluctant to drop serious money on peripherals for my gaming system. Until recently, I was content to use the one-ear headset that came with my Xbox 360 unit – it had a mic, let me hear what other gamers were saying, and was light on my head.
Recently, I finally relented and bought a legitimate headset to help up my multiplayer gaming in Halo 3. While I was pleasantly surprised at how the headphones truly added audio depth perception to the multiplayer experience, what really caught my attention was how much it also enhanced my campaign gaming.
This gaming revelation came when I popped Bioshock 2 in my system and put the headset on because I didn’t want to make noise in the apartment with the television. I had picked up the X11 Turtle Beach headset because it fit all my basic needs – was much more affordable because it was wired (with a 16 foot cord), had separate dials for chatting and the game, and it gave me a stereo experience with headphones that cupped over my ears for comfort. What amazed me was how much I was missing in the campaign’s subtle audio details that the headset allowed me to pick up more easily and accurately. It gave Bioshock 2 such an extreme enhancement of the audio dimension of the gaming experience that, for the first time, I actually felt I was IN Rapture, as the music and dialogue played AROUND me.
Unless (and even if) you have a surround sound speaker system, and if you spend a decent amount of time immersing yourself in campaign games, a good headset is a gaming investment which you’ll quickly find pays dividends to the enjoyment of your game. As storytelling experiences go, a good headset will allow you to further lose yourself in a great campaign without having to break the bank or raise the volume to prolific heights – and those around you might also thank you too.