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since 09/03/2011


Sony Xperia PLAY 11/03/2012

A bit more than a novelty

Sony Xperia PLAY Smartphones have basically overtaken the mobile phone market and are everywhere. I was converted late, and therefore the Xperia Play is the only smartphone I've owned. It doesn't include original chat features like the Iphone's Ping or Blackberry's BBM but it's primary difference is the inclusion of a slide-out gamer control pad, and the ability to play games equivalent to the PSP or early PS2 on your mobile, or to play PS1 classics, which is what I use the feature for mainly. If you're familiar with Sony game console controls, you'll adapt easily, as the only difference is the (understandable) lack of analog sticks. If you want an extra novelty on your android, or you're quite an avid gamer, you should get this phone. Also, 02 were selling it for £150 so if that ever happens again, snap it up quickly. The Xperia Play is quite a bulky phone and it needs to be, but this makes texting more cumbersome and slow compared to other smartphones. This does come with a plus side though, as it's bulkiness seems to make the phone more durable than its counterparts, as mine has had a fair few bangs without any damage. The design of the phone is good, with a button to send you straight to the home screen, one to go directly back (wether on the phone or using the internet), another for settings/options on whatever application you're using, and one to go straight to Google. Everything else (apart from the game controls of course) is touch screen, which occasionally becomes hard to ...

Fallout: New Vegas (PS3) 07/10/2011

A good piece of deja vu.

Fallout: New Vegas (PS3) Remember fallout 3? It was this great game where you could travel anywhere in an apocalyptic wasteland, shoot mutants, blow up towns and harass the disabled, known as 'ghouls'. Well the sequel is out and it's every bit as good but that's it. It's LITERALLY as good, almost no visible improvements have been made.... -GRAPHICS- Graphics that were good in 2008 now look pretty worn; it's quite an uncommon disappointment for game sequels, even spin offs, to use the exact same visuals and engine as they did two years ago, but it hits you as soon as New Vegas begins. The far off distance actually looks pretty good, mountains, the sky and rough terrain stretching off looks pretty impressive but the up close textures, objects and characters just look plain ugly. It can be a little difficult to get accustomed too but after being amazed at exiting the vault last game, it's a shame they haven't tweaked the visuals just a bit. -GAMEPLAY- Gameplay is also largely the same although they've added more and better bonuses such as fame/infamy with the numerous Fallout factions and followers who can't die like the f***ing atrocious Dogmeat from the last game. The gameplay is the same as before but is still great, full of bizarre side quests and combat with anything from hand-held chainsaws, repeating action rifles and plasma guns. The shooting itself however is also showing it's age a bit. You have too very different systems, the standard aim and shoot method and the original VA.T.S method, ...

L.A. Noire (PS3) 04/10/2011

L.A Snore

L.A. Noire (PS3) L.A Noire was hyped for weeks before it was released and it can be hard for any media to live up to that. In this case, it was impossible as L.A Noire genuinely wasn't as good as it seemed it was going to be. Graphics: The most interesting aspect of the game appeared to be its MotionScan technology, providing the best facial movements and the most realistic cut scenes seen in almost any game. You don't quite realise how unrealistic earlier graphics looked until you see the minute muscle movements and life-like dynamics of L.A Noire. Unfortunately, you don't get much of a variety of actions to perform with this new technology, most levels involve driving somewhere, searching for clues, climbing a drain-pipe, a mediocre shoot-out and then driving back to the station. Also, some textures and objects look slightly blocky and out of place with the realistic environment, but that's forgivable. 9/10 Gameplay: The clue searching parts are interesting and do require some deductive reasoning, and you're left more to your own devices than in other games which would likely instruct you too: 'Look at car for clues' to fill some space before the bank robbery set piece. But inspecting evidence and checking your notebook for links (the main convention of the game) just doesn't hold the whole game up by itself. The shooting dynamics can be recognised as Rockstar: walls for cover and a white dot for aiming, but L.A Noire's action sequences seem to have been taken back to the good ol' days ...

Resident Evil 4 (PS2) 04/10/2011

You look even better that I remembered

Resident Evil 4 (PS2) Remember excitedly waiting for RE5 to be even better than the prequel, and then it sort of wasn't? I'm probably exaggerating the emphasis put on waiting for a game release, but I wanted a game with the same atmosphere, depth, scares, jokes and gore but with a new setting and better graphics. The setting was new and the graphics improved but it felt a bit soulless. But now, Resident Evil 4, one of the best games on the PS2, has come to the PSN it's got a slick, new HD re-release. This is the version I'm reviewing, obviously. --Graphics-- Most HD releases for old games are more like getting a better DVD player rather than upgrading to blu-ray, but the new RE4 is comparable with almost any early-mid release PS3 game, especially regarding character models. The game is also brighter than I remembered it, straying away from the old problem which used to be characters, buildings and objects blurring into a confusing tapestry. The textures can look a drab and dated, especially in contrast with the new characters but overall this is one of the best HD updates. This can be make some of the psychics of the game stand out, but there's literally nothing to do to get around that. It also appears as if only some of the cut scenes have been updated, some are clearly PS2-era but I suppose this just makes the us see how much the other graphics were improved. 7.5 /10 --Gameplay--The game revolutionised horror action gaming. There is a constant sense of panic fighting, groaning Spanish ...

Hostel (Unseen Edition) (DVD) 30/03/2011

Deserving of the infamy, if only for commercial nature of films

Hostel (Unseen Edition) (DVD) Eli Roth seems to be a genuine horror fan, his Cabin Fever film seemed like a modern tribute to the 80s teen 'one-by-one' movie and Hostel is a tribute to old school torture exploitation. It revolves around a two backpackers and a friend they seemingly picked up, being systematically lured into visiting an apparent 'dream hostel' full of, basically, sl*ts. In their search for sl*ts they visit a brothel and then continue to this mysterious Slovakian establishment which is supposed to make all their dreams come true. Unfortunately, it is revealed before long that this place merely operates like the rest of society, and serves to make the very rich's dreams come true, this time including sadistic torture of foreigners. The horror scenes are well directed, often using Point Of View camera techniques to their best effect. The whole set looks extremely grimy and grisly and gives the right impression of simply, a hell on earth. In fact the dungeon scense were filmed in a 1910 insane asylum and apparently Roth had a string quartet playing because of the strange atmosphere. Watching Hostel is similar to how you feel in a hospital, a looked after business for cutting up humans with the sole difference being in Hostel it's to cause death and not prevent it, but this feeling brings the plot more to life. The characters are not the most sympathetic (as is often the case) but still fairly realistic and don't do TOO many idiotic plot-furthering activities. The torture, when it comes ...

Dead Space (PS3) 30/03/2011

Survival Horror still going strong

Dead Space (PS3) Dead Space is similar to the recent Hollywood western remakes in that it uses a very old-school storyline and plot devices, but spices it up with better visuals, sound and an overall modernizes the format. Dead Space is a mix of Resident Evil combat, classic disgusting flesh-mountain atrocities a la' Silent Hill or The Thing and the time honoured tradition of being stuck in space while aliens want to rip your face open. -STORY- The story involves a small team being stranded on a mining starship, under attack from infected humans called 'Necromorphs'. Most of the game involves travelling around on the ship, attempting to meet up with your comrades, repairing the ship's systems are trying to contact help. The game has very few cut scenes and most of the plot is explained via audio and video files you find, like any good survival horror. You don't have to pay much attention to the storyline to enjoy Dead Space, I think this is intentional but nice touches such as survivors committing suicicde in front of you and the clues pointing towards a strange cult make the plot fairly engaging and compelling. Oh, and there's a little twist at the end. -GRAPHICS- Good graphics but excellent character design. Sometimes the blood stained hallways can become a little repetitive but this is more than made up for the excellent visuals when out in space or the surprise animations of aliens smashing through windows etc. Graphics are great in combat, but afterwards the PS2 method seems to be ...

Gillette Fusion Power Blades 21/03/2011

Three main features on one razor...

Gillette Fusion Power Blades The act of cutting through hair on a man's face has long evolved from the old straight razor, with disposable, electric, vibrating and nuclear powered razors now being on offer; Gillette fusion does do something to push the progress a little further. There are five blades compacted together which give a close shave, but not any closer than earlier Gillette models with less blades. The best addition in my opinion is the large singular blade on the back of the head; This enables you to easily trim your facial hair before shaving it with the main razor or you can use it to shave the tougher hairs around your chin etc. This razor also has a vibrating function, which in all honesty is largely useless apart from when you need to get rid of hair in harder to reach places such as just under your nose. I find it hard to tell a major difference between the closeness with and without the vibrate on although the action itself can sometimes feel more comfortable and maybe slightly 'therapeutic' which seems important these days. The bulkiness of the handle to take the battery doesn't impair handling at all; in fact I prefer this size. It's fully watertight so don't worry about shaving under the shower. One drawback however is the price, although I found you could literally buy individual Fusion razors and use the heads they come with, and have it cost less than buying a multipack of Gillette Fusion razor heads. A strange marketing choice. Overall this is a sound razor, you don't have ...

Schindler's List (DVD) 21/03/2011

Not as amazing as some hype suggests, but important and well made

Schindler's List (DVD) There's defiantly no shortage of Holocaust films around, but Schindler's list is probably the most well known, big-budget film on a very sensitive subject, so how does it do? Well it's one of the most absorbing films I've ever watched, the black and white in high-def, the huge amounts of extras, soundtrack and overall atmosphere does almost literally take you into the world this film's set in. However, it does seem to lean a little to pretense and exploitation with some historical inaccuracy (Jews using gravestones to pave roads, Goth's death) and out-dated caricatures of the Nazis, but of course unlike Men Behind The Sun, Schindler's list rarely gains this criticism. Despite this, watching Schindler's List is still horrific and often seems like a documentary which of course makes the brutal and unnecessary killings look all the more shocking, and often the chaotic scenes (such as the liquidation of the ghetto) are so absorbing I had to remind myself my home wasn't actually being ransacked. The film is over three hours long but there isn't really any unneeded footage, every scene from German officials having a quaint get together to Jews being executed on the street has significance at some level. The acting is incredible, particularly Neeson's portrayal of Schindler himself. The extras show believable fear and terror when their Nazi counterparts are on screen and the Nazi soldiers in particular are aptly ruthless, although it's only Schindler who is presented as a three ...

Zippo high polished chrome lighter 21/03/2011

Makes lighting your smoke more enjoyable

Zippo high polished chrome lighter Zippos have been around for decades, and although they seem to be a lot more frequent in films than they are in real life, these lighters are the best option to go for and I'll explain why. To refill the lighter, you need to take the main part out of the case and pour you're lighter fluid/petrol into the cotton at the bottom (there's often a hole to pour it in) and place it back. Sometimes I've poured litres (exaggeration) of fluid and it's only produced a tiny flame, other times I've been greeted by the towering inferno but despite this my lighter has always returned back to it's standard sized flame before long, just try to watch how much you put in. How often you need to refill your lighter largely depends on how often you use it, but once every three days should be enough for the regular smoker. Although Zippos can be expensive, sometimes £40 or even more if you have it engraved, they are a good investment as a long as you can get hold of lighter fluid and flints, you're zippo will never stop working. On the minus side, changing flints cant sometimes by tricky as they are very small and the silver Zippos can get scratched pretty easily, ruining the way it looks. Also, if you have a roll up or joint (of legal herb) high zippo flames can seriously hinder you smoke, making it burn down to fast or sideburn within a second, but you can get use to the technique to stop this happening. However, Zippos have more elegance than disposables or clippers, the flame emitted is a ...

Cannibal Holocaust (DVD) 14/03/2011

Even to a Brit, jungle cannibals can be f**king scary.

Cannibal Holocaust (DVD) Having seen a large amount of gory, disturbing and sometimes even genuinely scary films, exploitation films are easy to spot with the over the top sadism, insane plots and bad camera quality. At first, CH seems sort of...unimpressive as we see the natives mowed down by an army with Uzis, without a drop of blood spilt most the time. The story is also pretty slow at first and seems the perfect stereotype for an exploitation film, as if it mixed parts from every other cannibal film in a boiling pot. However, the more the film progresses the better it gets. Strange as it sounds, CH can be seen as having something for everyone. The plot becomes quite interesting as we see a team of three people (an anthropologist, an armed guide and his 'friend') journeying through the Amazon jungle to find a missing team of film-makers, taking a cannibal captive and washing in the river naked with a load of cannibal girls, and probably genital-eating parasites. All this will appeal to the standard horror fan, but most notably CH was the first film to include the 'real footage' plot device, since the second half of the film is taken from the documentary team's footage, so it's shaky cinematography, unsubtle atrocities (like the forced abortion we see a native have) and the fact it really is filmed in the Amazon make it quite absorbing. After an hour you forget you don't have to deal with killing real animals yourself to eat, see your women raped by another tribe or with a sharp rock, being ...

God of War III (PS3) 13/03/2011

Another good next gen sequel

God of War III (PS3) I only got God of War III by recommendation from the local heroin dealer as I made the grave mistake of thinking it was more dragon, wizardry nonsense that seems popular still even today. If anyone is concerned this is World Of Warcraft disguised, I can assure you this is one of the best adventure/beat-em-up games around. Taking place in Ancient Greek Mythology, you play as demigod Kratos with severe daddy issues, as he literally goes to hell and back in order to take vengeance on Zeus, his father. -GRAPHICS- Refined characters and very clear backgrounds and texture, some of the grandiose set pieces look incredible, honestly some of the best I've seen, right from the beginning too. Cut scene graphics don't look overly outstanding compared to others now, but they're impressive nonetheless. An early scene has you fighting skeletal warriors on top of an moving Earth Titan, like a vastly improved bonus level from Shadow Of Colossus and that is when you realise this is another step forward in game console graphics. Combat animation is also great, litres of blood spewing out is commonplace and although it does look a little cartoonish (that's a problem for some) the viciousness of it goes well with the actual fighting. Bosses and mini bosses are also brilliantly designed and feature Centaurs, Minotaurs, Giants, Cyclops and of course, the Gods. -GAMEPLAY- I've played previous games since and God Of War 3 will please long term fans; it's a real evolution in gameplay. As ...

LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3) 10/03/2011

The biggest game on ps3 but with a few flaws

LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3) Usually, I hate the people who claim to be 'thoroughly disappointed' with a game sequel because it has 'lost its original charm' when all that's happened is they've clearly improved the design, as game sequels are meant to do. However, unfortunately I have to swallow my pride and admit Little Big Planet 2 has lost its charm, but mainly only in terms of story mode. The first LBP seemed like it really did transport you into a day dream, with lots of bright colours and bubbles and surreal enemies it seemed a lot more hand-crafted. The new story mode has a lot more shooting, whizzing balls of energy, about a third of the levels involve riding other creations and essentially it becomes every other platformer, with the layout of LBP1. There are some good new additions like the grapple hook which enables you to swing from objects and a helmet which shoots literally anything in the game but the dream-like atmosphere is defiantly gone which is a shame as it was the most original aspect I've ever seen on any platformer. Graphics are largely the same, which a few new tweaks and improvements to the backdrop of levels which is good, and since you can import all your LBP1 data you get every object you made/collected before plus a whole host of new materials and objects to work with. The level creation IS greatly improved, which is the most important part of the game if you have online, with there being a little less frustration involved in the process due to easier to use and new ...

Serbian Film , A(DVD) 10/03/2011

Better made films really are more terrifying

Serbian Film , A(DVD) There seems to be a new trend in exploitation films, and that is too actually make them good. With the popularity of Hostel and Saw, the infamy of The Human Centipede and foreign cult classics like Audition and Martyrs, a lot of the most unsettling films made in the 21st century are well directed, well acted and are even use have high quality visuals and audio. Except The Human Centipede. A Serbian Film is firmly lodged in my mind's top three disturbing movies and it doesn't use shock tactics or ultra violence to draw you in at first, but instead uses an interesting plot device in which a middle aged but still capable male porn star is persuaded into making an 'artsy' porno graphybecause of his lack of funds. What ensues, usually to a mix of a haunting, subtle soundtrack or hardcore sex sounds, is a surreal journey into depravity in which the viewer is left as confused as the protagonist. Strange scenes of women being beaten, then worse, are shown to be done routinely by the director's henchmen and then Milos himself as he becomes, via drugs and manipulation, increasingly under control of the company, who 'Make films no one else will, for special clients.' The viewer is treated to a mix of seeing a happy, humble home life for Milos and then of course violent, depraved, illegal sex acts committed by this mysterious film company. Also a disturbing twist to the genre is, most of the victims in the film seem quite happy to be abused and mistreated in this way and during ...

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3) 09/03/2011

Snake's swansong still one of the best games released.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3) Not being a big fan on the Metal Gear Solid series when I was younger, the only reason I played this game was because it came free with my Playstation 3; what a stroke of luck that was. It was the best looking game I had seen at the time, and the plot was like nothing I had seen was genuinely good. Playings MGS4 feels literally like an interactive movie, not in the way that heavy rain does, but in a way that you are shown the entire, complete picture of an espionage mission. I have completed MGS4 four times, and here's why you should at least rent it: -GRAPHICS- Easily the best out of 2008 and f**k, it best out of 2009 too. In fact, the incredibly detailed surroundings and shockingly good character detail rivals a lot of games being released now. The most amazing feature is OctoCamo, a smart-suit which blends into whatever texture you are pressed against; MGS doesn't p*ss around with this either, there's no 'generic blue' colour, whatever you go against your camo will change to match it perfectly. The cut-scene graphics (you'll have a long time to study them) are as good as any animated film, especially the incredible warfare scenes. I'm pretty excited to see how Rising looks. -GAMEPLAY- A big problem with MGS3 was that you couldn't move the camera, but you didn't have a sufficient radar to compensate. This game gives you slightly better radar (although not as advanced as the one snake used nine years ago...) and of course, free camera movement. ...

Cannibal Ferox (DVD) 09/03/2011

Cannibal Holocaust's unwanted afterbirth

Cannibal Ferox (DVD) Director Umberto Lenzi pretty much invented the cannibal sub-genre of the exploitation film(like The Man from Deep River), but you wouldn't guess it if you viewed this as it basically recycles the plot of the excellent Cannibal Holocaust and a few others and actually makes it less exciting, rather than adding to it like most pseudo-remakes. Amongst the large number of 'similarities', they butcher a real turtle the same, but it doesn't look nearly as disturbing. They show the white man harming the natives before they take brutal revenge but that just comes off as forced and cheesy. A graduate who disbelieves in cannibalism, her brother and friends have travelled to the jungle all just too prove Miss middle class girl's theory. Then they meet up with Mike (an erratic coke addict) and Joe (a non-erratic gravely wounded man), who claim to have escaped near death from the furious cannibals; the rest of the film shows, unsurprisingly, the unlovable team being bumped off by the jungle natives. A lot of people like to laugh at the most depraved scenes in horrors to look pretty damn cool and edgy, but even people without insecurity complexes will simply be amused by the killings as no character deserves any real sympathy from the viewer. Then again, maybe that was the director's intention. The film just isn't very entertaining from any standpoint unless you treat it as an unintentional comedy. The special effects are ok but there was better in cheap horror films by the '80s and ...
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