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Farewell chums... Our reviews will hopefully help consumers unless they take down the site completely... Perhaps one day someone will recognise the hard work we've done and come up with a better way to utilise it than the French ;) ta ta

Reviews written

since 08/03/2012


Final Fantasy VI (PlayStation) 27/11/2017

Amazing, Endangered, Important, Overlooked, Underrated

Final Fantasy VI (PlayStation) More vowels than a Hawaiian phone-book. VI *Hands up* I openly admit to ignoring this game for years. The game that came before my beloved favourite, Final Fantasy VII. You'd think if I were that much of a fan, I'd be interested, nay, obliged to check out the so-called 'best-game-ever's predecessor. I've had access to this for a long time, over 10 years now and only just got around to giving it a serious go. That's a lie, I was put off by the dated graphics and gamers putting it above VII in their rankings. What I mean by that is there's a trend I've noticed amongst FF fans. The values of 3 bug me - fans of VI, IX and XII tend to stick together in proclaiming their games as superior because they're old, nostalgic or have sh*t battle systems (12). Newcomers to the series sing the praises of 'the highest grossing game' XIII and its disgusting sequels 2 and 3 - they don't know any better because they haven't played any others. As a general rule, VII is most popular, VI is more 'veteran', IX 'went back to it's roots' and XIII is for morons! Yep, the fan-base is very immature, myself included. It's why it's so hard to give a game a chance when the people championing them are so stuck up. Hence another reason I'm playing today - I believe Final Fantasy is dying, becoming more Final than it was supposed to be. I'm yet to play XV (I want to!), Still need to play some of the older generation titles and I've skipped XI and XIV altogether because I hate MMO's (FF games have largely ...

Canon CB Battery charger (8478A001AA) 20/11/2017

Have you charged yet? Flash once for yes, twice for no!

Canon CB Battery charger (8478A001AA) CB-5L - AKA - I hate Mondays Another Monday, another lull in work and motivation. Alas I find myself holding a Canon battery charger, staring at a 1p reward from ciao. Sad times indeed. Even sadder is that Ciaos site on mobile doesn't like to play ball when it comes to the specific criteria sliders which reset whenever they like so if they look off compared to my advantages list, you'll know ciao is to blame (as usual :) What to say about a battery pack charger? For starters, it's my preferred brand (Canon) and its old, really old. This thing was used to charge the battery for works Canon 20D SLR (previously taken apart and repaired by yours truly, then packed up with a shutter error - I will fix it again!) The one I have used at work has been in circulation for 10 years - so there's my user experience. Price & Availability It can still be purchased new despite the models being discontinued, from Canons official website for a stonking £57.49 and even then it is classed as a replacement or spare (probably no different from originals in kits) better off buying it used for around £10 or google for the best price new - currently £24. In my experience, knock offs work just as well but you can expect a safer product from Canon. Pros & Cons As another has mentioned, it is rather robust at doing its job - 90 minutes charging time from flat was claimed and I'm inclined to agree from my own experience. Reliability goes on there too considering it's age and use from my end. It's ...

Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM for Canon 18/11/2017

Mac & Cheese

Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM for Canon Lens Addiction It's a real thing. It's practically Freudian: Who has the biggest one? Boys and their pee-pee measuring eh? Yes, the 100mm is an impressive spectacle isn't it? Having a higher focal range usually means you've got to have bigger glass. I digress, majorly. Why did I buy this specimen? I needed to complete the ever morphing jigsaw that is my lens collection, but in my defence, I had zero Macro lenses and that is this ones primary focus. Oooh SLR wordplay :) To clarify what this means is that the lens can replicate an image in life-size. A 1.0x magnification if you will. Also, this enables you to get much closer to a subject but that's going down the road of positives for this product... Price & Availability I managed to find mine for exactly £551.03 - new, with all the trimmings (cap, hood and baggy) A bargain as you can expect to put away between £540 and £700 for this. I have no issue with buying pre-owned/used as long as the seller is reputable and know what they're talking about, otherwise you risk getting dust ingrained glass. It's still in production, so any of you self employed brethren out there can slap this on their expenses bill, same goes for those who must have something new out of the box (or just need the box... weirdos). Positives Considering I work with a 50mm capable of an f-stop of 1.2, you'd think this lenses 2.8 would be a bit of a let down - not so it seems with a macro. The detail it can get is phenomenal as is the length at which you can ...

Canon EOS 6D 15/11/2017

Photographs of Legend, Video of Yesterday

Canon EOS 6D Intro 2016 - I couldn't believe it. There I was, back working for the company I had left in 2014, rocking my trusty 700D with a colourful mix of EF and EF-S lenses at the Dunsfold Aerodrome. *Swoop* the Mclaren GTR 97' Longtail flies past on track and I take a snap. Milliseconds after I had fired, I hear this metallic clunk. The sound of my new contractor colleagues 6D putting my semi-pro gear to utter shame. *Woosh* the Longtail blitzes past again. Again, I shoot but instead of being satisfied that I got everything in frame and focus, I'm dismayed at the plastic, mouse click sound my cameras shutter makes. Instead, envious at my coworkers vastly superior full frame kerchunk. It was that moment that I knew I had to trade up. To think I had been on several professional shoots for weddings with such low rent kit. I know it's not all down to your equipment but rather the brain behind it, but in the real world, it does help, hugely. The evidence was there in the JPEGs & RAWs afterwards. While I knew what shots the boss wanted and acquired mostly video for the record, his photographs were larger, sharper and had that 'magic' despite the guy possessing minimal, if any photographic knowledge - demonstrated by me needing to teach him why some of his shots were too dark or grainy - the basics of F-stop and shutter speed. Attached are photos of the 6D and a sample shot with the Canon 24-105mm 4L. Positives Apart from that amazingly satisfying shutter sound!? The sheer difference in ...

Mass Effect Andromeda (PS4) 13/11/2017

Andromeda, Take it in your heart now lover

Mass Effect Andromeda (PS4) "In the year 2185, humanity lives in a golden era of interstellar travel. Our discovery of ancient alien ruins on Mars propelled our understanding of science and technology ahead by thousands of years. While many now enjoy the newfound freedoms and challenges of exploration in the Milky Way, others now look to even more distant stars. For the hundred thousand adventurers embarking on this one-way voyage, the future begins in..." ANDROMEDA ~ Mass Effect: Andromeda Opening Scroll "Begin your journey. Join the Andromeda Initiative today." (Introduction) Oh how i'd longed for this. Another taste of some superb single-player, sci-fi action, roleplaying with the standard set high as a AAA game. I had been late to the party when it came to the original trilogy, joining juts before the release of 3, in time to complete the first 2 and fell deeply in love with the franchise. I, admittedly, like most, found the climax to the third and final instalment rather disappointing. No-where near enough to put me off the series, myself and many others hoped that Andromeda would redeem a once great name. It has been in the making for a long time, the devs Bioware had got to work in 2012, straight after the 3rd game, so although it seemed an age that we were deprived of our nerdy space fix, they likely couldn't have put it together any faster. Finally settled down, with an almighty speed of nearly 2mb at my disposal (I'm used to about 300k!) I went over to for a fairly priced key ...

Sony MDR-ZX110 11/11/2017

The Answer to Incessant German Whistling!

Sony MDR-ZX110 8:00AM - Barely an hour goes by... ...You've only just managed to get a sip of the still-boiling hot coffee from the hot drinks van... when the office whistler makes his first annoying attempt. He isn't aware he is completely tone-deaf, other people are trying to have a conversation or that said people around him find this act completely cringe-worthy, or would tell him to STFU... because he is the 'chief' and people get fired because of him. What does one do? Play videos on YouTube of a certain scene from Wanted? Play music loud and hope he doesn't try and join in? No. One opens a bag, a draw, turns on an iPod, a phone and slams these bad boys on faster (Schnell, schnell!) than you can say "sieg heil!" Sound Those who don't swear by a certain brand of ear/headphones will likely know if what they're listening to sounds tinny or poorly delivered. These fall into the 'decent' category in that they provide bass and clarity. What's useful is that you can place one ear-piece off one ear and still hear others around you and good music - mind you, this does cause a weird sensation when you move your jaw - you hear things clearer, like when you yawn, odd. They cover (most) of the ears and can still be used (at lower volumes) for being aware of your surroundings but once you hit that noise cancelling switch, you're in your own little bubble. Providing you have your tunes set at a high-ish volume and are listening to something typically loud (not classical or acoustic) you'll be dead ...

Alien Covenant (DVD) 09/11/2017

In Space, No one can- Just watch the damn film and shut up!

Alien Covenant (DVD) Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla (Introduction) Never surprised to see my fellow Ciao members and I at a disagreement for the umpteenth time. I don't need to name names, just read the other reviews for yourselves, one claims the film has a great cast, then contradicts itself claiming they're 'mis'-cast. The other spouts nonsense of Alien 3 being too feminist despite the films only female role nigh on getting raped and ogled by a jail full of murderous men. Amusing that said film fails the comical 'bechdel test' (a ridiculous method of defining whether a film is 'feminist' enough!) failing on the very first requisite (and others) - It has to have at least two [named] women in it. So instead of dragging conflicting opinions and political commentaries into this, how about we just get on with the film eh? I mean the first 2 Alien films were ground breaking enough, whilst pushing a strong female character to the forefront without it feeling ham-fisted, patronising and pandering like in today's cinema. Sure the Alien name got dragged through the mud with the 2 spin-offs including Predators but Prometheus at least tried to restore the franchises honour - whether you liked it or not, you gotta admit it was at least classier than Resurrection and nowhere near the lows Alien Vs. Predator. So I say again: just watch the film and let it stand on its own. If you can't do that, compare it to the only comparable in Prometheus - countless critics and people on here hated that so ...

Event Horizon (DVD) 06/11/2017

Liberate Tuteme ex Event Horizon

Event Horizon (DVD) Coffee, Sci-Fi, Coffee, WORK After one of those early morning chats at work, eagerly sipping the daily dose of caffeine, I found myself banging on about sci-fi. In particular, Event Horizon. Brought up by a colleague of whom I share similar film tastes with, it shocked them to learn that I had not sat through this 90s cult classic. The dude from Jurassic Park and Morpheus from The Matrix? Absolutely, I thought! I hadn't seen much more from Sam Neill or Laurence Fishburne whose most recent work Passengers was surprisingly enjoyable. Claiming it was a good watch and that its set design was very real and similar to that of the films from Ridley Scott and James Cameron... Names who should not be mentioned in the same sentence as Paul W. S. Anderson. The director of this film hasn't always been in my bad books - the first Resident Evil film was a great little joy ride with a scantily clad Milla Jovovic walking through a sterile-zombie-nightmare with Marilyn Manson rocking the mic. Then he kept making more RE films. You can see my opinion of all of them here on Ciao. It makes for whimsical if depressing reading. Seeing as this film was made several years before my preferred release, I somewhat naively believed that the older the better may be the case with Anderson. I only get to write this now with it somewhat fresh (lingering) in my mind and off work (again) with a suspected chest infection. Ah well, gotta keep busy and slate an apparent 'cult classic'. Plot & Crew Set in the ...

Starwing (SNES) 27/08/2017

What does the Fox say? BERDABUR-DABBA-DABBER!

Starwing (SNES) Another trip down memory...spacial plane I know what you're thinking if you've had a look at the screenshots I've supplied. Were graphics really THAT bad in 1993? Not really, it just so happens that this games mechanics meant the visual had to look like dogsh*t to function smoothly enough. Starwing to use Europeans and Starfox to everyone else, this was one of the first handful of cartridges put into my Super Nintendo back in the day. 4 when it came out, I must've bought it used or heavily discounted when i was at least 6. A sprog among technical video games, this one was always tough - and retro games already had a reputation of being difficult (normally so the arcade machines could get more money from desperate customers). This series somehow carried over onto the Nintendo 64 some 4 years later and then, remarkably stayed alive for a 3DS incarnation and a release on the WII U only a year ago. More re-imaginings than sequels, it was likely released again to cater to those with a weak disposition to nostalgia amongst the waves of remake/rebooted films (Disney). The Plot... if any Some scientist has been banished from 'the good' planet and seeks refuge on 'the bad' planet (you'll see the official names in a screenshot provided) With revenge on his mind, he sends hoards of machines to destroy his enemies while you, the good guys, are assembled to take him and his creations down along the way in your elite squadron of fighter pilot things. While there's very little else to get ...

Sniper Elite 3 (Xbox One) 25/08/2017

There are only so many times you can shoot a Nazi in the balls.

Sniper Elite 3 (Xbox One) We've all been there... Sometimes we just need to sit back and eat junk food, sing along to that sh*te song on the radio all day everyday or put your feet up and sit through an easy watch but absolutely terrible film with Adam Sandler. The same can be said for video games. Whether the fix is Candy Crush, World of Warcraft or God forbid Call of Duty (hell, any of them are heresy to the 'true' hardcore gamer) Such was my mood when scrolling through my video game library - I just wanted to shoot some virtual scum and watch the aftermath. The World War II theme sat well with me too (although I'd usually like a full on customised start with some real classy history involved in my WW2 epics) Enter Sniper Elite 3 - what start with the third game? Well, I figured the developers must've had enough time to sort out all the kinks and bugs from the past two games. That and graphics had advanced by nearly ten years since the original (two for the second) and achievements were thrown in and all - good for the trophy wh*re. That and I certainly didn't want to sit through 2 more mediocre games just to fulfil a nerd urge. To be perfectly honest, I used to laugh at the guys at school who thought they were cool by being 'lone-wolf-sniper-rifle-ace-of-spades' BS. This game is definitely suited to those dudes and left well alone during the Steam sales and such for anyone with a modicum of gaming credibility or taste. WWII: Africa Pretty standard stuff. The US vs. Axis powers.. Well, not quite ...

Canon EF lens - 50 mm F/1.2 for Canon EF 22/08/2017

If Anchor Spreadable Made Camera Lenses...

Canon EF lens - 50 mm F/1.2 for Canon EF Introduction After working as a contractor, doing mostly photographic work, I came to the realisation that I was in need of a couple more lenses: a wide angle and a fixed or prime lens. Wide acquired in the 17-40mm 4L Canon, next up was this. the 50. I like calling it that as if it's a .50 calibre weapon of some sort - the impact is such. I not only spent a large amount of money on this lens (£750 - used) but a heavy amount of time into searching for, studying and deliberating whether I actually need such a beast. Of course I do. Months of waiting, watching and finally witnessing one in good condition fall in price from the usual £900 (probably including a box) to this. I wouldn't even bother searching for a new one - over £1200! For those who don't know much about the mechanics behind photography, some of this review may not be clear so here's a very brief description of the topics - aperture/F-stop = depth of field - a small f-stop means very small area of focus, lots of background blur, high number means more in focus but needs more light. ISO is the cameras sensitivity to light - high ISO = more light but more grain. Shutter speed is self-explanatory but the higher the speed, the less light and vice versa - so therein lies the dynamic. If you want everything in focus, you need a high F-stop, which means it'll be darker, so crank up the ISO or make the shutter speed slow and use a tripod. kay? :) 1.2 (F-Stop) My boss's favourite thing in the world ever when it comes to ...

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES) 20/08/2017

"Baby Come Back! Listen Mario..You can blame it all on me..."

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES) Origins Forgive me as I get a bit doughy-eyed reminiscing about one my favourite retro video games: Yoshi's Island! Acquired back when video game stores were scarce and my local merely stuck the Super Nintendo cartridges to the wall with a price sticker slapped on it, it's colourful front cover/label was enough to entice a 6 year-old me. I had of course already been in possession of the first Super Mario World game, a tough adventure for such a young lad - and so I had taken my first few steps on a gaming right of passage - following a sequel. Little did I know that this one would set the rare precedent of being, in my opinion, a better game. Heresy! I hear some Mario loyalists cry - I understand. The original was the reason my beloved Yoshi even got to see the light of day, however no.2 introduced some complex (at the time) controls, even more gloriously vibrant environments and a soundtrack as catchy if not more so, than it's predecessor. Some seven years later, the game would get a new platform: the Gameboy Advance, along with a slight title change from world 2 to 3 for seemingly no reason other than the handheld platform. I own both and to my knowledge there is no difference except perhaps the graphical capabilities, frame-rate or even soundtrack format. It is sad that to this day, another game attempting to bring such a lighthearted, pastel colour fuelled adventure would not be in my best interests - because I am aware that nostalgia plays a large part in my fondness for ...

What is your summer song 2017? 03/08/2017

"After the GIRLS of summer have gone..."

What is your summer song 2017? Musical Snobbery As much as Ciao would like you to, in their own words, write about "world-wide known" songs on the radio, there's not a chance in hell of me recommending a poorly attempted bit of Spanish in Despacito, an ear canal abusing, shrill shriek of the hypocritical Zara Larsson or all 46,000 'DJ' remixes of songs that have weird noises instead of a chorus, clogging the radio waves. Normally I'd try desperately to stand out from the crowd and pick a song from the 80s, 90s, 00s or something never broadcast on radio but regardless of those first few sentences, I am trying to be more open with music tastes - just not the songs performed by those morons on MTV, written by 85 people in the backroom! Last year I might've made a shout for Sigala's Sweet Lovin - possibly the only current, mainstream song you'll get me agreeing is pure unbridled joy. The girlfriend is most certainly having an influence, especially as I'd class my drunken jam to be almost anything by Little Mix. She's even got me digging out old school disco classics like The Hampsterdance - anyone remember that one!? Christ it was terrible. Terribly happy. You won't find a single bloody Ed Sheeran song here though, thank God, so look elsewhere sheep. So let's get to it - a summer song - even though it seems like we've had most of the sunshine over the last month and have started enduring so much rain, flooding and the like more recently... 'Stay Right There' - Airia The song I've chosen isn't a complex mix of ...

Rock Band (PS2) 05/07/2017

"...Who likes all our pretty songs and he likes to sing along..."

Rock Band  (PS2) Intro Ever-persistent to get the other half sharing an activity of mutual interest, I remembered the single days where me and my fellow brethren would put our loneliness to the test and see if we could perfect the art of video game instrumentation! At one point, a close friend insisted on attempting drums in real life solely because he enjoyed hitting the rubber and plastic controller (I bought him some Spongebob Squarepants drumsticks) I had already been playing guitar for a good 4-5 years so it was a little more natural for me... hitting buttons on a guitar shaped controller. Back then though, none of us had the bravado to take on vocal duty, plus we still lived with our parents and one of us screaming into a fake microphone late at night was simply unacceptable. With a place of my own and a doting girlfriend focusing on guitar riffs, I knew the track that I could deliver the goods on. I'd gone through the transition of pop to rock in secondary school and partook in the brief comeback summer of grunge. At least enough to have memorised most of the words off of Nirvana's Greatest Hits. Put simply, I rocked the ever-loving f*ck out of In Bloom for 95% (Sarah even managed a 90% for a song she'd never even heard off - sacrilege! - albeit on easy) The game is also available on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii - if you're using the latest generation consoles, you'll likely need an adaptor to utilise the instruments (if old) as well as a multi-USB port if you plug in ...

Portal (PC) 17/06/2017

This was a Triumph!

Portal (PC) The Cake is a Lie 2007 - Oh yeah, the college days. I had yet to come to my senses and acquire a pc, still slumming it like a console peasant on an Xbox 360 and this title came a calling on the live arcade. Couldn't tell you why I bought it, maybe it was on sale, who knows. A mostly white walled, first person game were you shoot a gun that doesn't kills stuff. However, from now on I shall claim it a sign from God because whatever the reason, it was well worth it. Nowadays I can't help but insta-purchase it on Steam (hence why I'm reviewing the PC version). Now, for a gamer to buy a game they already own a second time takes a certain amount of dedication, loyalty and downright incompetence with money. I possess all of these qualities. Little did I know that a handful of my friends had also picked up this little gem, be it from the same source or the 'The Orange Box' - a package containing both Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2. I couldn't give two f*cks about these games frankly. One was a sequel to a game I missed in its prime, the other an online mammoth that keeps bringing in nerd monies from those creating hats for in-game characters - not my style at all. Anyway, now that I've got my customary swear out of the way to annoy Supercilious Simon "Let down by the poor language" *Raises monocle* I can start getting into this review, enter the Portal, so to speak... Christ that was lame. Note to self, don't write a review at midnight. "That thing you burned up isn't important to ...
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