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Concrete_Donkey

Concrete_Donkey

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Has it really been ten years? That's frightening.

Reviews written

since 07/12/2003

52

Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360) 13/11/2013

Things To Do With Trevor - Then You're Dead

The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins 26/11/2012

Atheism for Dummies - The God Delusion

Dark Souls Limited Edition (Xbox 360) 24/01/2012

Curiosity Killed The Tw*t

Dark Souls Limited Edition (Xbox 360) "I can't take this"I feel your pain, friend.The text is scrawled on the floor, a digital message in a bottle left by a fellow Dark Souls player online somewhere out there. It's now the fifth time I've descended this darkened stairwell. Sword in one hand, shield in the other, I inch forward with the nervous gait of a dead man walking. Actually, if I fail this time, that metaphor will become a statement of fact (more on that later). If I can't emerge from this duel, I think I may have to give up for another night. Surely the sanctuary and welcoming glow of a bonfire must be around the next corner?I leave the stairwell and turn left onto the medieval gallery. Almost on cue, a ghostly re-enactment of some other players' grisly demise plays out just in front of me. Perhaps it was the same stranger who left that desperate message. While my stats have remembered my previous four failures, the enormous undead knight ahead hasn't. It still stands motionless, filling the arched doorway with the same silent menace as before. I look through my inventory one last time. Shall I go with the Spear this time? The Scimitar? Will changing armour leverage an advantage? These are important choices; I'm down to my last half-bar of energy, and I can't face fighting the long way back a sixth time. I have to be careful, as the game world doesn't stop while I make my decisions, and I'm vulnerable. If this were Skyrim, I'd be spamming the save function about now, but in Dark Souls, the game decides ...

The Big Short: Inside The Doomsday Machine - Michael Lewis 19/10/2011

How Our Futures Were Stolen

The Big Short: Inside The Doomsday Machine - Michael Lewis It seems a fitting time to review a book recounting events which preceded the global financial meltdown. Around the world, tented villages of angry civilians are growing outside the very offices where The Big Short's drama unfolds. Michael Lewis has earned a reputation for shining a light on the darkest areas of Wall Street via 'Liar's Poker', his best-selling work on the stock market crash of the 1980's. Lewis, like so many of his Ivy-League university contemporaries, had been handed the levers of the global economy at the ripe age of 26, with no life experience to call on, and, as he openly admits, not much knowledge of the products he was peddling to investors. Disillusioned and dissatisfied, he walked away. It's an unusual career move for a (presumably) handsomely paid young graduate to break rank from the marbled hallways so dependent on vested interests, and write two novels exposing the egotism and outright lunacy at the very heart of Western economies. That alone makes this book somewhat unique, and written with a level of access not reserved for your everyday journalist. Rather than engage in dry analyses of the esoteric products and instruments which caused the credit crunch, felled Lehman Brothers, and all but toppled the developed economies, The Big Short introduces a handful of interesting characters through which to contextualise the disastrous events we see in the news and feel in our pockets to this day. These characters were not only real; they were among a ...

World Of Goo (PC) 27/07/2011

It Takes Goo, Baby

World Of Goo (PC) At first glance, this looks easy. I'm not unduly worried about the dangerous looking spikes protruding from the floor, because these handy balloon balls will support the weight of my structure when gravity attacks its integrity. I start plucking the bustling black goo balls off the vine-like structure, their little eyes widening when selected. The first few go on fine, their viscous appendages reaching out and eagerly grasping adjacent goo balls. Several later however, and my structure starts to sag, straining under its own unsupported weight. Contact with the spikes below would spell certain doom, so I pluck a red balloon ball off the framework and affix it to the precariously dangling end. It helps, but it's not enough. I pick another and attach it to the same spot, only this time gravity is overwhelmed rather than equalised, and my fledging goo-bridge lurches skywards. Disaster strikes - I didn't see the spikes on the ceiling. Both balloons pop, sending everything crashing back down, the momentum of the fall forcing the outermost goo balls to brush the spikes on the floor, taking a dozen or so of their friends with them. I frantically try to salvage my efforts by harnessing more balloons, but it's an uncoordinated, unmitigated disaster. My goo bridge, along with around twelve of my goo balls, est morte. It's frustrating, but I still manage a laugh at the stifled squeals that accompany their demise. Time for a rethink. I love games that encourage smugness then make you ...

Amnesia: The Dark Descent (PC) 13/05/2011

Scariest Thing Since I Last Bumped into my Ex...

Amnesia: The Dark Descent (PC) Something is stalking me, but it's been over an hour and I still don't know what by. I do know I want to avoid it at all costs, as that guttural growl sounded utterly horrific, and more than a match for my lantern. I extinguish the flame and cower in the gloom, my eyes adjusting to the darkness enough for me to see the length of the desolate corridor in one of Castle Brennenberg's crumbling wings. A shuffling sound and creaking floorboards alert my attention to something nearby. Should I run? I can't sit here for long; the darkness is affecting my state of mind, and I'm starting to hallucinate. Creeping, scratching noises accompany the arrival of an army of crimson bugs, crawling around my feet and obscuring my vision. I must act now, before I deteriorate. Against all instinct, I emerge back into the flickering torchlight. The bugs subside. I slowly advance down the hallway. The growl returns, only much louder this time. It must be right behind me. In panic, I sprint down the hallway toward the door at its end. I can feel it gaining on me, I daren't look back. I don't think I can make it. I hurl the solid wooden door open, but I need to stop and close it to buy valuable seconds. As I turn, I catch a glimpse of some shadowy monstrosity just feet away. I slam the door shut - almost instantly, its thick panels buckle under a thunderous impact. It won't hold long. My vision deteriorates as the stress levels increase. I have to hide. The only chance to save myself is by facing ...

Left 4 Dead 2 (Xbox 360) 27/11/2009

Valve in 2nd Excellent Flesh Eating Zombie FPS Game Non-Shocker

Left 4 Dead 2 (Xbox 360) Valve are eager to let you know there are changes afoot in Left 4 Dead 2, although they choose a typically understated means of announcing them. There’s still an awful lot to feel familiar with: four survivors huddled in the gloom; a pile of munitions and medical supplies to choose from; a nagging feeling that an army of undead are within a tentative stride of breaking cover and gnawing your ears off; yes, much of this will feel analogous to the first. Then you see it, conspicuously propped against the supply table – a humble fire axe. If you have played the first game, this is where you’ll instinctively think ‘fun times’, ditch your pistol, and brandishing said axe wade into the chaos with a moronic grin on your face. If you haven’t - a Left 4 Dead précis to explain why. An intrinsically multiplayer experience, the original concept was simple – haul ass with three friends across a city devastated by the zombie apocalypse. Hundreds of swarming semi-deads stood between you and your rescue, all dispatched in shoals at random by the games’ omnipotent director. To intensify the challenge, these more populous ‘common infected’ were joined by an elite group of four, ideally human controlled, ‘special infected’ lurking amongst the throng – each with unique and potentially devastating abilities. The fulcrum of this formula was the unequivocal need for absolute cooperation and interdependence to succeed. The relationship between infected and survivor stirred the animalistic core of ...

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) 03/11/2009

A DIFFICULT STONE TO PASS...

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) Having joined a barely conscious and badly wounded Nate Drake on a shattered train surrounded by frozen mountaintops, you are at once involved in and confused by Uncharted’s story. That is, you are for the split second it takes for the carriage to slide off the edge of a previously unseen sheer drop, leaving you dangling perilously above an icy abyss, the fragile coupling your only separation from certain death. The fall sends Nate ricocheting down the now vertical vessel, with only a desperate one-armed lunge saving his skin at the last (note: get used to this). Cinematics then segue into gameplay, in an instant flipping your role from intrigued onlooker to main protagonist. For a moment it caught me off guard - most average adventure games would continue directing the action from here – but Uncharted isn’t your average adventure game. Your first task at the controls is to clamber up the outside of the increasingly unstable carriage, your nervous ascent contending with falling debris, howling winds and unreliable footholds. For a few magic moments, I was the lead in a Hollywood Blockbuster, with scripted CGI events melding into real time and back again (note: get used to this too). This chaotic and bewildering opening sequence is actually the midpoint in Uncharted’s story arc; a technique used in Hollywood for years but seldom transposed into games, and it’s not the first time you’ll notice credible parallels with the silver screen. For 12 explosive hours Naughty Dog ...

Killzone 2 (PS3) 13/05/2009

Can We Just Euthanise the Space Marines Please?

Professor Layton and the Curious Village (Nintendo DS) 19/03/2009

Professor Layton & Captain F***wit Collide... Layton Wins.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Xbox 360) 16/12/2008

Answering the Call (of duty, not nature)

Left 4 Dead (Xbox 360) 28/11/2008

Valve, Zombies & Guns? 'nuff Said

Flight Of The Conchords - Series 1 (DVD) 25/11/2008

Michael Jackson's Off The Wall? I'll Say He Is!

Fable 2 (Xbox 360) 19/11/2008

Absolutely Fableous?

Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360) 17/11/2008

Top Gears (ouch)

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