Profile for Fat Bob > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Fat Bob
Top Reviewer Ranking: 5,556,173
Helpful Votes: 152

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Fat Bob (lancs)

Page: 1 | 2
The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle, Book 1): 1/3 (Demon Cycle 1)
The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle, Book 1): 1/3 (Demon Cycle 1)
by Peter V. Brett
Edition: Paperback

18 of 81 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor man's LOTR, 26 July 2009
Can't believe the reviews this book is getting. Its NOT a 'literary masterpiece' or a 'new take on the genre'. Its poorly written and derivative. With its little map showing places such as Sunny Pasture, Soggy Marsh and Tibbet's Brook, and its main character called Arlen who's never stepped foot outside his village but is destined to save mankind, its just a poor man's LOTR. Alongside these innocent (albeit stolen) ideas the author has crow-barred in some adult themes, e.g. incest, which are handled so clumsily I often laughed out loud. Needless to say I couldn't bring myself to finish it.
If you're serious about reading and you're looking for something original in the fantasy/sci-fi genre do yourself a favour and read Perdido Street Station by China Mieville.
But on the other hand if like the majority of the reviewers on this page you'll read any old tripe then maybe the Painted Man is the book for you!!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 2, 2012 2:16 PM BST

The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Heart-warming?? You must be joking!!, 9 May 2009
This review is from: The Kite Runner (Paperback)
Despite all the good reviews i have to say i didn't enjoy this at all. Having read A Thousand Splendid Suns (which i liked) I'm starting to think Hosseini is a one trick pony. All he writes about is misery, depression and tragedy and by the end of the Kite Runner i was totally numb to it all. There was death, rape, cancer, massacre, child sex abuse, poverty, suicide, cruelty - you name it, its in there. Even happy occasions like weddings and births are over-shadowed by illness and death.

And thats all you get. These events are mulled over and revisited over and over by the narrator Amir, an unspeakably selfish brat who lost all my sympathy after page 70 and who spends the rest of the novel trying to make himself feel better.

I find it odd that some reviewers have called this story heart-warming; its anything but! Its about child sex abuse for gods sake and the child concerned is left broken and scarred for life. Hosseini tries to offer some hope at the end, but its a token gesture and the attempt at a happy ending falls flat. In fact the last 20 pages were waffle and could have been cut.

On the plus side the writing is excellent and evokes a powerful image of Afghanistan and the section about the Taliban was interesting, hence the 2 stars.

Maybe i'm being harsh. If you're into those tragic life-story books you'll love the Kite Runner but for me there was just too much misery, and not much else.

Pan's Labyrinth [DVD] [2006]
Pan's Labyrinth [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Ivana Baquero
Price: £4.01

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantasy film for grown ups, 11 Sep 2007
This review is from: Pan's Labyrinth [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
I love this film. I've seen it 3 times and I'll watch it again soon. There's just something about it - the setting, the acting, the costumes, make-up and the animation of the fantasy characters. Pan (the faun) is brilliantly ambiguous, and superbly realised. It's dark and creepy, with adult themes throughout.

Unfortunately the reviewer below seems to have walked into the wrong screening. She was obviously expecting Mary Poppins or something similar. Yes, there are some scenes of graphic violence, intended to shock, but I'm a grown up and I can handle it. To say the violence never ends, or goes on for `hours and hours' is ridiculous. I can think of a couple of occasions where I winced, particularly the bottle scene, but so what? There are a million films out there that glorify violence but in Pan's labyrinth its never gratuitous, it's simply used to illustrate the brutal regime of the wonderfully portrayed Spanish captain. The violence is shocking but infrequent, and adds weight to one of the most atmospheric and original films I've seen.

It was met with worldwide critical acclaim and I was disappointed that it didn't win the Oscar for best foreign film. It's definitely not for children, hence the 15 rating, but I would recommend it to almost anyone else. Don't let the absurd 1 star review below put you off.

The Darkness (Xbox 360)
The Darkness (Xbox 360)
Offered by Bonkers4Bargains!
Price: £15.75

3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 10 Aug 2007
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Other reviewers seem to like this game but i'm not impressed. The graphics are good, but thats about the only thing. Its let down by bad level design, poor story and poor execution. My main gripe is that i often find myself wandering round empty streets with nothing to shoot at, looking for an address. Jackie doesn't move very fast, so it becomes quite tedious. When i get to my destination i have long conversations with characters about a story line so bizarre that i lost interest ages ago. Theres too much emphasis on the story and its just nonsense. You even end up in the trenches in WWI, for no particular reason.
I found the Darkness Powers to be pretty uninspiring too. The Darklings (little goblins that can be called on for help) aren't any use at all, and the game can be played without really using them. they don't seem to follow my commands. And the huge tentacles that protrude from either side of you are fiddly to control and they obscure your view.
The guns aren't great either, not much choice, and you don't get the satisfaction from blowing someone away like you do in say, FEAR, for example. The animation/reaction of fallen enemies just doesn't cut it.
I'm about half way through but i'm fast losing interest. Its not a patch on Chronicles of Riddick, which was a great xbox game by the same developer. I love FPS games, and i've waited ages for this one but i'll be trading it in, probably unfinished, for Bioshock in a couple of weeks.

The Darkness may be worth a look if you're bored and you can get a cheap 2nd hand copy, but don't expect to be blown away.

Halo 3 (Xbox 360)
Halo 3 (Xbox 360)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £11.99

37 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review by A.Moron, 4 May 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Halo 3 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
I've seen a couple of screen shots for this game and I have to say Halo 3 will definitely be the best game ever!! Of course I haven't actually played the game because its not out yet, so I really don't know what I'm talking about. But as I'm basically a moron who reviews games and rates them as classics and masterpieces before I've even played them, I'm giving this 5 stars and I recommend that you should all buy it, based on my extremely limited views.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (Xbox 360)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (Xbox 360)
Offered by media-4-u
Price: £9.99

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more of the same..... which is no bad thing, 30 Mar 2007
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This is a very good game. Short, and not very challenging on the middle difficulty setting, but still very enjoyable. Graphically I think it's the best thing on the 360, including Gears of War. There are sections, particularly during the daytime levels, where the graphics look almost photo-realistic. There's some good level design too. I liked sweeping the built up areas, taking cover and sending the squad ahead, taking out the hostiles and then moving on. Of course, this is nothing new but its all done really well.

The game isn't without its faults though. Its 12 months since I played Ghost Recon 1, but after playing on Ghost Recon 2 I was amazed at how similar the games are. At first its like nothings changed. Even the menu and loading screens are exactly the same. The setting (Mexico) is the same, and even when you cross the border you don't really notice the difference. I also felt a bit restricted in weapon choice. Although there are plenty of guns, you're always forced to choose between a gun with an optic scope and an RPG type weapon. Unwilling to sacrifice the scope, I never used the RPG and I felt this was a bad design fault.

But there are improvements too. The graphics are awesome. The cross cam is now full screen, giving you better access to the actions of your squad and heavy support. You're still not controlling them, but it's a cool feature. And, importantly, I didn't come across any of those weird bugs from the first game (remember when your character would stand up with his arms out like Jesus on the cross at the most inconvenient times?).

In short, its more of the same, but better. I felt slightly conned initially due to the similarities with the first game, but I stuck with it and the differences and improvements became apparent. Its worth getting, but something more radical would be welcome for Ghost Recon 3.

p.s. note for R. Turner - if the 360 is so lame compared to your PC, stop playing 360 games. Why on earth would you play Ghost Recon 2 on the 360 if you already knew it was so much better on the PC? Are you thick or what? And if you haven't played it on both formats, shut up.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas (Xbox 360)
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas (Xbox 360)
Offered by passionFlix UK
Price: £6.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Quality......, 11 Jan 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I was really surprised by this game. I've never played any of the other Rainbow games; they never seemed to get top ratings in mags compared to games like Halo and Half-Life. This however is excellent. I enjoyed it more than Gears of War and F.E.A.R (2 great games).

The first level was slightly disappointing - it felt too similar to Ghost Recon (the deserted Mexican town, the sound of a baby crying in the background etc). But the Vegas levels are great. From landing on The Strip, taking cover behind cars, to infiltrating the occupied casino, there's a constant feeling of being pinned down under enemy fire. The normal difficulty setting is pretty challenging (you will die a lot) but the regenerating health system works well - a cool blurring effect means you've taken a hit and need to retreat quickly before your vision fails completely and the screen turns red.

There's plenty of variety in the levels too, ranging from Mexico, to the Vegas casinos, vaults, plush apartments, restaurants, streets, an under-construction casino set in a gothic church and finally the Hoover Dam. Gameplay is pretty much the same all the way through (clear an area, move on) but its great fun and most of the action takes place in close quarters, meaning things get pretty intense, pretty often. The weapons feel authentic and can be modified with scopes and silencers, and the ability to command your squadmates is intuitive and simple. For example, you can rappel down walls and burst through windows with guns blazing in a planned, simultaneous attack. Quality.

The cover system is better than Gears of War. You can duck behind an object, line up a shot, then use the thumb stick to pop up or out to the side, take out the target, then duck back into cover. You can also blind fire. It's a brilliant feature, and the most important innovation in the FPS genre in years. It adds a new dimension to gameplay, and will surely become the norm for future FPS titles. I have Call of Duty 3 lined up to play next, but I know I'm going to miss Rainbow's cover system.

It's had some stiff competition in the last couple of months, but Rainbow Six Vegas is probably my favourite 360 game to date. Not to be missed.

The Forever War (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
The Forever War (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
by Joe Haldeman
Edition: Paperback

13 of 57 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not that good, 10 Jan 2007
Having never read any science fiction before, I decided to have a go at the SF Masterworks range. I enjoyed Lord of Light, but found The Forever War to be hugely disappointing. I was expecting a serious, action-packed war epic, depicting military life and the horrors of war. The first 70 pages were promising; I liked the boot-camp training and the dressing-room banter, and the idea of the soldiers being the first to fight an alien army on a distant planet. But this is where the problems start. The Tauran army offer little or no resistance and the battle is over in minutes. We then have to plod through 170 pages of mediocrity until the final battle right at the end of the book. In the middle of the book there is a huge build up to another battle, which we never actually get to hear about - its ludicrously snatched away from us at the critical moment (Mandella misses the whole thing due to injury).

The time dilation aspect is also poorly handled. Its difficult to comprehend, and there are problems with the authors vision of the future. In 500 hundred years time everyone is homosexual. Great - a war book where the whole platoon is gay. There's even a cross dressing Sargeant Major, complete with lipstick! It just seems a bit unrealistic and not what I was expecting. Also, they are still using similar methods of warfare (fighting-suits and laser fingers) - it's like Sir Francis Drake turning up in 2007 to find that we're all still firing cannons from wooden ships!

I also felt that the time dilation detracted from the author's anti-war message. 500 years in the future, Mandella (now a Major, even though he's hardly seen any combat) has a completely new platoon and there are no characters remaining from the start of the story. Who cares if someone dies, if they were only introduced to the story 10 pages before the end? There's no human angle, no character building. The soldiers don't discuss their families and loved ones (Mandella has no family or friends left due to the passage of time). There are no heroic deaths (most people die due to malfunctions with equipment), no innocent victims worth caring about, no mention of the number of casualties inflicted throughout the war (was it in the hundreds, thousands or millions?).

By the end I was totally unmoved. The pointlessness of war is explored, but surely the horrors of war make a better, more convincing anti-war story? A review on the cover calls The Forever War "a perfect book". I'd describe it as a bit dull, and ultimately disappointing.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2011 10:27 AM GMT

Lord Of Light (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Lord Of Light (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
by Roger Zelazny
Edition: Paperback

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Confusing, vague, but still good, 12 Dec 2006
I'd like to say i loved this book. There were sections/chapters that blew me away, but ultimately the story was beyond my comprehension. On finishing it i looked up an explanation on Wikpedia website, and realised that much of the book had gone completely over my head. I'm by no means thick, but there are so many characters (and they all have at least 3 names each - the main character Sam has about 10!) and Zelany writes at such a pace that i think he forgot that very few of us are experts on Hinduism.

The concept is amazing and this kept me interested, but its poorly explained. The ideas are so huge that the book should have been twice as long - i wanted to know why humans had colonised this distant planet, how the so-called gods developed super-human powers, how old were 'the First'? These things were obviously skirted over intentionally by the author, but i found that his writing, while brilliant, was also very vague. For example, near the end there is referrence to 'the tall man of smoke with a wide hat'. Apparently this is a referrence to a nuclear bomb, and i now acknowledge the geius of this, but it was completely lost on me at the time. I just thought it was another character!

So overall, i feel the book just isn't accessible enough to warrant 5-stars. I doubt anyone, no matter how intelligent could claim that they didn't find this a struugle. I think only the author himself knew the answers to some of the most important questions raised. The reviewer below states that its a fast read, but then goes on to say you can't read it fast, so i think he's completely confused! Maybe true enlightenment can only be reached after a second read. I'll definitely come back to this book one day because its probably the most original and epic book i've ever read, but be warned... Its hard work!!

F.E.A.R (Xbox 360)
F.E.A.R (Xbox 360)
Price: £25.10

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 16 Nov 2006
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: F.E.A.R (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
This is the game I've been waiting for. I've played most of the top-rated 360 games and I've been disappointed with most of them. But F.E.A.R is probably the best FPS I've ever played, even better than Half-Life 2.

Forget the storyline and characters, F.E.A.R is all about visuals and game-play. It's a serious, no-nonsense game. The graphics are the best I've seen, the 10 levels mainly consist of dimly lit industrial sites and office blocks, and all are ultra-realistic with great lighting and shadow effects. Enemies are well animated and react intelligently e.g. when cornered they will dive through a window to escape, or hit the deck and crawl under something. These little touches continued to impress me throughout the game. There are also numerous set pieces, including armoured vehicles bursting through walls and releasing scores of enemy troops, helicopters appearing and lowering ED209-style robots into battle.

The weapons are all useful and sound great. The heavy machine gun and shotgun are my favourites, but there's also the Penetrator which fires metal spikes that pin enemies to the walls, and the long-range Particle Gun, one blast of which reduces enemies to a steaming skeleton. Awesome. All of these guns can be use in conjunction with the slow-mo effect triggered at any time by pressing LB. Blowing someone's head off in slow motion never gets old. Its even possible to shoot someone in the chest a couple of times at close range and then finish him off with a flying kick to the head, every impact and drop of blood captured perfectly in slow motion. (And you can't do that in Call of Duty 3!!)

Despite some people saying it gets repetitive, I never got bored - in fact it's the only game I've wanted play again after completing it. I honestly can't fault it, but I've a feeling it will be over-looked and not get the credit it deserves. Its annoying that rubbish like FIFA or Need for Speed will sell more units, when F.E.A.R is a truly innovative game and easily the best thing on the 360 so far. Any self-respecting 360 owner should own this game.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 20, 2008 7:30 PM GMT

Page: 1 | 2