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Reviewed By: Steve 'Occasus' West [03.13.01]
Manufactured by: Microsoft
Suggested Price: $49.95
Find a MUCH lower price on this product Right Here.

Did You Just Say Upgrade?

Yes, I did. Above and beyond its chat features, the GameVoice adds voice command capability to your games. This is definitely the coolest part of the GameVoice, and is not included with the GameVoice Share. (GameVoice Share is the free, chat-only portion that allows users who already have a headset to connect with GameVoice users without buying the hardware.) Read your space sim's pre-flight docking checklist and have the game respond. Space/flight sims not your bag? How about RTS or wargaming? Tell your units what formation to use, to attack, to hold their ground, or to shoot anything that moves. Almost every command can be vocalized. Still not interested? Must be an FPS player. Save the voice commands for special items, because if you're in the middle of a firefight, the last thing you want to do is let your computer's ability to phonetically recognize what you're saying determine whether you live or die. Voice commands are not 100% recognized, but the failure rate is very low.

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Where Can I Get Help?

GameVoice, unlike the Strategic Commander, has its own web site where users can get updates, game profiles, and troubleshooting help. In addition, the user-run GameVoice Club has a hoard of profiles, their own affiliated clans, forums, contests, and the only GameVoice test server I know about.

Game Profiles

If GameVoice does not include a profile for your game, you can probably download one from GameVoice or GameVoice Club. If neither of these sites has what you need, you can easily create your own profile or modify one from another game with similar controls. The Command tab in the GameVoice application lists the voice commands and their keyboard equivalents, so you can see which commands are available, add custom commands, or print the whole list for in-game reference.

What About The Puck?

Some people really hate using the control module, saying that they are "leaving the controls" or "asking for death" to use it. I like having the control module, since the most logical key bindings are typically already in use by the games. In RTS games and other games where most of the interaction occurs through the mouse, I put the puck on the left side of my keyboard. In shooters or other games where I can perform most actions through the keyboard, I move the puck to the right side of my mouse pad.

Did Someone Say Beta?

The 1.2 Beta promises full compatibility with Windows 2000 (I didn't test this part, but I've heard good things) and adds a push-to-talk mode with a programmable keyboard PTT button. For those users who don't like their hands leaving the keyboard, the beta version also adds a keyboard button for voice command activation. I didn't notice any difference between the retail and beta versions - except for the push-to-talk mode and keyboard buttons, of course.

Stuff That Kicks Ass:

  • Voice quality
  • Voice commands
  • Multiple channels
  • Can bypass MSN Messenger

Stuff That Sucks:

  • Disconnect bug

I like my GameVoice so much that I can live with the disconnect bug. Your mileage will vary.

84% with disconnect bug
95% when the disconnect bug is fixed

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