Curse

Note: Curse isn't a game, it's a piece of software designed specifically with gamers in mind. Curse is a group chatting program (akin to the likes of Skype) that is designed to be lightweight and make voice communications between a group sound good. This is not an advertisement for Curse, nor is this review sponsored by Curse. Curse is owned by Amazon, and is partnered with their Twitch service.
I've been using Curse for about a year and a half now. It started with Steam's built-in voice chat not being enough to cut the mustard when a friend and I would play The Division together. Since then I've used it during Overwatch sessions, and most recently one of our smaller groups has been using it to play Titanfall 2 (review forthcoming). It's a bit of a hard sell at first. Steam has group voice chat, and you can voice chat with one friend at a time on Origin - and Curse is an additional program to download along with an additional free service that requires a short sign-up process. It is worth it.

Upon opening the program you're prompted to sign in or create an account. You can link your Twitch account if you'd like, but there's so many other live-streaming apps out there designed to stream. The main page has a group of options like starting or joining a call, release notes, a feedback portal, and some articles from the wider Curse network. Next in the chat section (where you'll likely spend most of your time) you can chat (video, voice, or text) with one friend or many through my favorite option, "Groups."
My landing page. Other names blocked for privacy.
Through the chat page it's easy to start doing whatever it is you want to do. Within minutes, my friends had downloaded and signed up and I created our Titanfall 2 group in the app and they were in. Make a group call and people connect at their leisure. Once everyone is connected, Curse does a decent job of balancing out different mics, but there's a volume bar under each user's name where you can do some off-the-cuff adjustments to equal out the chat. I haven't yet tried linking Curse with my broadcasting software Open Broadcaster Software (review forthcoming) for an audio call, but if there's a way to use it as its own source, it will really enhance the quality of our live-streams, rare as they may be.

The next tab is Connect. Find a friend, make a call or forming a group can be done here easily. Friend sync is after that and it's a handy feature to connect to Twitch and Steam to automatically find your friends using Curse and connecting with them - though I've only been pleasantly surprised by the feature once. The Discover tab is a cluster of servers, which I've not yet experimented with at all, but I might in the future - who knows? Something this program does great is the customization options. Set your viewing theme and a color for it, upload a picture to your profile and the groups you make, plus set a bunch of preferences about how you'd like the program to run.

The real meat of Curse though for me is the audio quality during calls. After trying to use Origin chat to no avail (one of us always appeared as "offline," mics wouldn't pick up regardless of settings, and no group chat), and using the Steam chat which is the choppiest chat I've had in a long time, Curse is a breath of fresh air. It's simple, it makes your friends sound clear and returns the favor by constantly making sure your sound is good and balanced, and it's effective over long play periods. People don't cut out of chat, we don't lose connection to each other, and I'm happy to say it's a quality sound. Download Curse for your gaming group.

Let's Review:
  • Easy
  • Customization options
  • Account linking for a central experience
  • Group chats
  • Call quality is phenomenal
I recommend downloading Curse.

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