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Thank you for creeping my Trails of Cold Steel review up to 30 rates!! Much obliged!

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since 23/04/2003

515

Lady Gaga Fame Eau de Parfum 19/06/2017

Has Fame Gotten the Better of Lady Gaga?

Lady Gaga Fame Eau de Parfum Fame is a perfume I actually picked up having read a review on here; it sounded like a nice perfume, whilst additionally being cheap enough that even if it didn’t live up to expectations, I wouldn’t be too annoyed. Celebrity perfumes are something that has by and large passed me by; I like perfumes a lot, so if I see a celebrity perfume with an appealing bottle or notes I don’t ignore it… but I don’t go over because of the celebrity. So, Lady Gaga created this perfume. I care very little. It is called Fame. Accords/Description The majority of perfumes are based upon top, middle and base notes with the top notes being the first impression that fades off first, the lighter or perhaps sharper edge, depending on the perfume. The base notes are usually the oakmoss or the musk, heavier scents that stay in the background but linger long after all the other tones have died away. Fame is different; Fame is based on three ‘accords’: Dark Accord: Belladonna Sensual Accord: Honey, Saffron and Apricot Light Accord: Tiger Orchid The dark accord was inspired by Belladonna, the deadly nightshade possessed by haunted beauties since the 18th century. From this darkness, the fragrance evolves to a sensual accord of opulence, a fusion of dripping honey, saffron and apricot nectar. And lastly, the light accord whispers magnificence while the rich floral layer of crushed tiger orchid and jasmine sambac embodies a timeless beauty. "Fame is an illusion. If you want it, anyone can have it”. My ...

PRINCE2 Foundation 14/06/2017

PRINCELY use of time

PRINCE2 Foundation The PRINCE2 Foundation Course is something I started doing to make myself somewhat more employable and be more likely to get promoted to a Project Management role as well as demonstrating commitment to professional development and all that jazz. When you work in the public sector such things are ridiculously important and way too much time is wasted attending half day courses about random crap just to show your manager willing. When it comes to courses that will actually impact on your employability however – like PRINCE2 – suddenly employers clam up and won’t cough up the dough. One of the many things wrong with the public sector…but don’t get me started on that, I could go on for hours. What is PRINCE2? PRINCE2 is actually an acronym and it stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments and is a structured project management method which is based on experience drawn from thousands of projects. The course is designed both for entry level project management personnel who wish to learn about project management generally – and the PRINCE2 method in particular, and also for more experienced Project Managers who wish to know more about the method used in PRINCE2 practice. PRINCE2 is one of the most widely accepted methods of project management worldwide, largely because of its generic nature and the focus on tailoring within it. It can therefore be applied to any project regardless of scale, type, organisation, geography or culture. The idea is that by following the PRINCE2 ...

Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon (PSP) 09/06/2017

Why is the future so boring?

Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon (PSP) Harvest Moon: Innocent Life and me have quite a back story here on Ciao. You see I first wrote and attempted to publish a review on this exact game not that far off a decade ago. I wrote it on Ciao’s draft service. Published it. Only to find that it had… vanished. What actually happened was a site glitch made it so someone else published the text in their own review – not on this topic – realised, replaced the text and my burgeoning talent was lost forever. I can hear the violins playing now. Anyway, I never re-wrote the review. Until now. Because despite having been underwhelmed a decade ago… I decided this needed another chance. Innocent Life tried to take the Harvest Moon franchise to a whole new level by bringing us a futuristic Harvest Moon. Set way in the future, Dr Grains creates a robot boy who is set-up to learn to be human and make the farm in an abandoned ruin of the town successful. Everything on Heartflame Island is done by machines and you, robot boy, are the exception as you have to set up the farm the hard way, with manual labour. Not only are you needed to get the farm up and running, you are also meant to win over the hearts and minds of the local townsfolks and solve the mystery of the volcano. Harvest Moon is known as a simple yet addictive farming game, that involves you building relationships, successfully running a farm and building it into something profitable, doing the daily mundane tasks as well as upgrading what you have and wooing your ...

Harvest Moon Hero Of Leaf Valley (PSP) 06/06/2017

Not One I'd Heroically Save...

Harvest Moon Hero Of Leaf Valley (PSP) As is my particular habit when gaming, I flick between old and new depending on my mood and the weather of the day. The PS Vita makes this very easy because Playstation have released an entire section of their shop dedicated to PS1 games and another section dedicated to their PSP games. Not all but a fairly large majority of the games previously released have been brought across to the newer handheld. There are no upgrades or anything, you get to play the game in its original form just on a newer device. Harvest Moon Hero of Leaf Valley isn’t actually a game I originally owned; in fact I owned very few games on the actual PSP. My ownership of the PS Vita however has given me an opportunity to explore this market without further cluttering up the house with mini-discs. I have long been a fan of Harvest Moon though, having played the original Gameboy versions and followed the game through the Nintendo handhelds. I haven’t followed the more ‘realistic’ 3D versions of the game on other consoles however, and that is most definitely what this is. So, the question is, can this hold up against my handheld favourites? The answer is no and the reasons are many and multiple; firstly, I found it boring. Secondly, I found the controls clunky and unresponsive. Thirdly, I found the graphics unattractive and the move to 3D simply meant there were less areas to go to as whilst more effort may have been put into each area, there were less of them and they were smaller. Finally, there were ...

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel (PS Vita) 01/06/2017

This Doesn't Trail Behind In The Slightest!

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel (PS Vita) Trails of Cold Steel is one of those games that I have looked at for ages before buying; it looked right up my street but was expensive so I waited for it to come on sale. And waited. And waited. And got bored. And bought it. And then it came on sale. Because that is the story of my life. Do I regret buying it? Nope. Not in the slightest. Because this game stole my soul and my time and my life and well, that says it all really! If I was doing an ‘RPG that you must have on the Vita’ competition, it would be a close run between Trails of Cold Steel and Persona 4; both take very different approaches to the RPG genre, but both are well up there in my top games ever list. Trails of Cold Steel is a game that follows Class VII through the elite and highly structured Thors Military Academy. Class VII is a class that has never existed before; usually the classes are split by background into noble and commoner, whereas Class VII mixes them all together. These are the brightest and the best and more importantly, they are students who use Orbment based weapons that can create links between characters for additional strength and attack. It’s a game that focusses on the relations between characters as much as it focusses on the internal and external politics of the world. It thereby excels at drawing the plot out on both the micro level and the macro level, drawing you in on both brilliantly. On the micro level, this is all about relationships; relationships between your team are more ...

Constructor (PlayStation) 30/05/2017

What do you mean you want double glazing!?

Constructor (PlayStation) Constructor is one of those really weird Playstation games that has somehow stuck with me after all these years. It’s one of those games that despite remembering it being frustrating as hell, I still had to download to the PS Vita because of the nostalgia value behind it. As you might be able to gather from the title, it is a game that revolves around a construction company; not typical gaming fare you might say and certainly an interesting spin on the idea. Released in 1997, that now makes this game a whopping two decades old which doesn’t half make me feel old. Even my old games are now old enough to buy alcohol… Astonishingly though, this isn’t quite such a non review as it might be. There are plans to re-release a HD version of this two decade old game on new gen consoles this year! This is very much a time management title and you control a construction company. Your aim is to drive other players (or in my case, computer AI’s) out of business and successfully manage your own business. There are several aspects to the game; the first is the need for building materials in order to build your structures, the second is the building of the houses themselves and upgrading them as and when you so please and the other immediate aspect is managing your tenants. Finally, you can build homes for undesirables who you don’t want anywhere near your tenants but setting gangsters on your enemy constructors. You start off simple, building a wood factory in order to build really basic ...

Versace Blue Jeans Eau de Toilette 19/05/2017

My Jeans Are Blue Not Pink!

Versace Blue Jeans Eau de Toilette I’ve never been one to be conventional. It just doesn’t work for me. And so if you tell me a perfume is for men, I will likely ignore you. In this particular case, I don’t know if I didn’t read it or read it and ignored it, but the result was the same. I have a perfume for blokes. And it is mine. I actually bought it because it was on sale at Debenhams when I bought my wedding tiara and I have never been very good at ignoring sales. I was not meant to be purchasing another perfume, but tough. Notes/Description Top Notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Anise, Basil and Palisander Tree (or Citrus Cocktail and Galbanum) Heart Notes: Geranium, Rose, Lavender, Jasmine, Sage, Heliotrope and Lily (or Juniper, Lavender, Jasmine, Violent and Nutmeg) Drydown Notes: Iris, Sandalwood, Musk, Vetiver. Patchouli, Tonka Bean, Vanilla and Amber (or Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Vetiver and Musk) Blue Jeans is a fragrance one always goes back to. A classic masculine fragrance with woodsy, citrusy notes with a spicy heart and a warm drydown. Released in 1994, this is a scent that has been going long enough to be called an absolute classic. My Thoughts My first thought is that you would never have this much confusion over notes with a woman’s perfume for heavens sake. Amazon doesn’t even bother to list the notes and every other source I have found gives slightly different information. Unless this is in an attempt to keep the trade secrets very, very secret, I have to conclude that this is simply because blokes ...

Final Fantasy Explorers (Nintendo 3DS) 16/05/2017

Middle of the Road

Final Fantasy Explorers (Nintendo 3DS) Final Fantasy Explorers is one of many spin off games based around the Final Fantasy franchise and in honesty I was expecting it to be crap. Why then did I buy it, I can hear you quite rightfully ask. Well…because it’s Final Fantasy and even though nearly all of the spin offs I have bought have been crap, something compels me to purchase them. That said, I was quite pleasantly surprised when I whacked this into my Pikachu console. It wasn’t half bad. That isn’t to say it was excellent or compelling, but when you’re expecting a heaped pile of dung it is quite refreshing to be pleasantly surprised. As with many of the spin-off titles within the Final Fantasy world there isn’t actually much of a storyline to this game. That’s worth saying from the get go because the mainstream Final Fantasy games are known for their awesomely intricate plots and beautiful world building. This is not. It doesn’t even try. The plot has something to do with collecting crystals which requires you to trek over the world to find and battle strong monsters called Eidolons who guard the crystals. And that’s about your lot, in brutal honesty. There’s no clever politics or character building here. You run around lots, fight monsters and collect stuff. Yep. Done. In terms of gameplay, it probably makes sense that it doesn’t follow a narrative structure in light of the fact that it has sod all narrative to follow. Instead, this game works off a quest based system and I have to admit, something within my ...

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir (PS Vita) 11/05/2017

Odin SMASH!

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir (PS Vita) Odin Sphere Leifthrasir was one of those games that I downloaded on a whim in honesty; it looked vaguely interesting and happened to be on sale when I was browsing and so it got picked up. I was utterly unaware therefore that the game was actually a remake of a PS2 game called Odin Sphere, until I came to write this review. I cannot speak of the original but other reviewers seem to have enjoyed it and it had to have been fairly popular in order to merit a re-make a decade down the line. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is at heart a side-scrolling beat ‘em up RPG game. Rather than my typical RPG fare which focusses on carefully managed battles and ways of strategically murdering enemies, this is very much a button smash, dash, boom kind of RPG game. Don’t get me wrong, there are still aspects of it which involve building up the character and locking skill sets and the such like…as well as levelling up favoured skill sets. It’s just a fair amount of the game also requires you to hammer the attack and magic buttons until your enemies submit to your superior fire power. It’s simple to learn and yet complex enough to master to keep you more than occupied in playing it. Yes, much of battle can be ploughed through by hammering the square button as fast as you can, but you still need to be aiming at the right enemy and be at the right height and bolt after enemies when they decide they can turn invisible and dart across the screen. Likewise, there are extra quirks within battles that mix ...

Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation) 09/05/2017

Retro at it's best

Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation) Final Fantasy VII is one of those original JRPG’s that has somehow managed to outlast the years and remain a popular favourite, with many clamouring for a re-release. This is the RPG that really boosted the Final Fantasy series into mainstream and it has therefore reached almost legendary status within the nostalgia community of gaming, however it isn’t just the nostalgia factor that makes this so excellent. Final Fantasy VII is rightly remembered for its immersive and interesting world, its plot line that serves to draw you in and propel you through the game and the impressive character building where you empathise and relate to the most weird of people. This is one of the original PS1 games that I have kept my discs for, but I have also downloaded the port of the game to my PS Vita… in fact it was one of the first things that I did upon receiving the console. Final Fantasy VII focusses on a group of what are, effectively, terrorists named AVALANCHE. Eco-terrorists working for the good of the planet, but still, good old, blow things up kind of terrorists and don’t care too much about collateral damage. In today’s paranoid age, this focus probably wouldn’t have got far past the drawing board. However, this was released well before 9/11, before Muslim extremism sprang into our consciousness as the gold standard for terrorism and although terrorism was always going to be emotive, it didn’t have quite the … impact, perhaps that it does now.That is likely how this got through ...

Atelier Rorona Plus The Alchemist Of Arland (PS3) 05/05/2017

AlCheMy R US!

Atelier Rorona Plus The Alchemist Of Arland (PS3) I own and have played this product on PS Vita, however as it is an online only purchase from the PS Store for this console it will not be added as a new product on Ciao. I was a bad, bad girl and even though I have no money and the little money I do have is meant to be going on the wedding preparation, I splurged in a fit of pique and bought myself new PS Vita games even though I knew I shouldn’t. One of these games (well, three actually, but that’s another review) was an Atelier game, the first in the series in fact; Atelier Rorona, The Alchemist of Arland. I’d been eying it up on the Store for a while and eventually just bit the bullet and decided I was willing to throw the money away. Atelier Rorona is in essence made up of three modes of gameplay that are built together into a system that makes all of them essential for the game. Firstly, you have the alchemy system where you sit (well, stand) in your lab and make alchemy concoctions out of intriguing ingredients. Secondly, there is the dungeon crawling aspect which has you fighting your way through different areas in which you can find ingredients for your alchemy both through gathering and fighting. Finally, there is the visual novel like aspects which is how the storyline progresses and indeed how you get many new areas, items and challenges within the game. You can’t progress through the story without progressing through the alchemy, but you can’t progress with alchemy without ingredients and you can’t progress with ...

Lush Bûche de Noël Cleanser 02/05/2017

No Christmas Joy For Me...

Lush Bûche de Noël Cleanser The mighty Bûche de Noël is food for your face and body, with festive ingredients including satsumas, cranberries and a drop of brandy. The fresh cleanser helps to bring back radiance to wintry skin. I’ve had great entertainment recently going through all of Lush’s fresh cleansers – and a few of the other varieties as well – in the name of cosmetics research. Well, actually, in the name of finding one to replace Fresh Farmacy and my love of samples…but that doesn’t sound as neat. Cosmetics research it is! Either way, those of you who are less Lush mad than I am will be grateful to know that we are nearing the end of my stash… although then I have scrubs and creams to get going with instead. Bûche de Noël is a Christmas special cleanser and is one of the seriously few occasions where I have to say, a Lush product did nothing for me. As this is a fresh cleanser it doesn’t come made up; you have to make it go from powder into a smoother cleansing agent manually yourself. There are obviously pros and cons to this particular approach; you have far more flexibility in how heavy a cleanse you want and whether you want a light lotion (more water) or a heavier clay (less!). It is however far more time consuming – particularly when you are using it for the first few times – and easy to make a hash of it; it took me many, many tries to get the right consistency with these things. I now scoop out somewhere betweena five and twenty pence piece chunk and drip water on it in my palm ...

The new Nintendo Switch 01/05/2017

Will I Switch? I'll wait for the price to drop!!

The new Nintendo Switch The Nintendo Switch is the latest console release from Nintendo; it was known in development as the NX and was released to a huge amount of fanfare on March 3rd 2017. Those who know me know that I have followed Nintendo’s consoles since way back to the days of the NES and the original Gameboy and it will therefore come as no surprise that my eyes have been glittering excitedly regarding this new gem since all we knew were two random letters. Every time it came up in conversation my ears would prick up and I would start wriggling excitedly. Do I own it yet? Nope. Two reasons; firstly, I’m getting married and all spare change is going towards that and secondly, it’s currently way, way too expensive. Anyway, as I don’t own one and I haven’t played one, I wouldn’t dream of reviewing it. However, a Current Issue based upon what a long time Nintendo fan who is drooling over the item thinks about it? Yeah, that’s within my remit and then some. So, first thing first, what really attracts me to the NX…or the Nintendo Switch as I guess I should start calling it? The idea of a ‘hybrid console’ and for those of you who ‘don’t do’ gaming, this means that this particular device has been released as both a handheld and a home console and normally there is a huge dividing line in the middle of those two. It has been released as Nintendo’s latest handheld console, set to currently co-exist but eventually take over from the 3DS, but it was primarily designed as a home console. How? I hear you ...

Blast Corps (N64) 28/04/2017

BOOOM! CRASH! SMASH!

Blast Corps (N64) Blast Corp was a game that my cousin had way back in the day for the N64. Me and my brother played it during a holiday on his console and from that moment on we badgered mum to get us our own copy. We failed miserably but thankfully as an adult I can make my own flawed choices and having lugged the old gem of a console down the stairs, this was one of my impulse purchases almost immediately after. I had more than fond memories of this particular game but in reality hadn’t played a huge amount of it as it was a holiday experience. Coming back to it with a split of excitement and trepidation I set forth upon my blasting career! The background to the game is quirky and utterly insane; a nuclear missile carrier is leaking and rolling forward and to make things more complex, automatically locking onto targets. If it hits a target it goes kaboom, the world goes kaboom and any survivors are left with nasty radiation poisoning (the game doesn’t go into that side of it mind you, you start again when you go kaboom!). Your job is therefore to plough through the levels in a series of weird, wonderful and downright wacky vehicles (or vague excuses for vehicles) destroying all of the buildings in the level that this nuclear carrier is heading for before it gets there. Yeah. The whole point of the game is just to create as much carnage as possible, providing you don’t hit the big nuclear thing as you go. That’s more or less it for background; there are no complex storylines or character ...

Papers, Please (PC) 22/04/2017

Are Your Papers In Order, Sir?

Papers, Please (PC) In a world where immigration is an ever more important aspect of life and there is constant vigilance in the world of passport checking and correct visa’s, Papers Please strolls into the gaming market. Well, actually it strolled into the gaming market way back in 2013, but that is completely besides the point. You wouldn’t think you could make a game revolve around checking passports and documents, but you would be wrong as that is exactly what this is. Within the game you take on the role of an immigration officer in the fictional country of Arstotzka which is distinctly hostile to its neighbours… not like the UK at all… at all. Your job as passport officer is to check and review all of the passports of those coming through the border, whether they are citizens or migrants. The list of rules you have to abide by get longer and more complex until you have to inspect passports and other documentation against tools, guides, lists and such like. You are only meant to let those in with the proper documentation (obviously) and you are rewarded for the number you let in properly and fined for your mistakes. With this money you keep your family fed, clothed and sheltered so you have a reason to get this right…however the game incessantly chucks moral dillemmas at you where you have to decide whether to take the fine or do your job. Gameplay incorporates a variety of different tools which you can use to ascertain whether the papers are genuine or to arrest terrorists or those with ...
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