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Dan Morgan-kane (U.K.)

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Dead Space 3 (PS3)
Dead Space 3 (PS3)
Price: 11.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Evolution of the Series, but 'Dead Space' has changed..., 25 Mar 2013
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dead Space 3 (PS3) (Video Game)
...and whether or not that is a bad thing is entirely up to the gamer. That will (largely) dictate whether you enjoy this game or not. If you are more into the frights, shooting and story 'Dead Space 3' has got your back. If you're chasing that pure horror experience (perhaps that the original managed to provide well), then I'm afraid you will largely be left out in the cold.

But I am the former and I defend this game. The truth is that 'Dead Space' has a pre-established back-story and experience. Largely because of this and the benefits of familiarity to gamers, it certainly appears as if 'Visceral' has gone with a theme of continuation placing the story completely (which was increasingly familiar with the Necromorphs and their tactics, if not all their guises) at the motivational centre of the experience. I for one, would have preferred a fresh, completely haunting experience and I do believe now that this story (even if not this universe) has reached its natural conclusion. Indeed, towards the end of the game, I could feel the familiarity of the game-play and the experience beginning to work against it. It's been powered along by evolutionary steps in narrative, and game-play and environmental variety up to now. But, the system is five years old now and it's starting to show a bit in places.

But I do not for one second, criticise the team for taking this direction. The characters, the back-story and the experience all mean that, without completely shifting the focus of the game (probably away from Issac Clarke, from being primarily a horror-shooter, and the whole "Marker-Plot"), it wouldn't really have fitted all together. Neither choice was perfect.

There are some criticisms to be had though. For example, I'm still not on-board with the whole micro-transaction thing, and I would encourage almost all not to invest purely for the sake of the experience. There are also one or two minor technical choices, such as the unified ammo system, which seem to upset the balance between shooting and survival. But with fantastic production values (if perhaps a somewhat over-intrusive musical score), familiar game-play with a great weapon customisation system, an incredibly well-balanced co-op mode and a pure, natural narrative driving the whole thing coherently, there's a lot to love about 'Dead Space 3'. In short, it's certainly worth smashing through the story and trying the co-op, and definitely deserves your cash more than any other horror-based game out there at the moment.

Andrew James Coffee, Nut and Spice Grinder - Powerful 150Watt, Stainless Steel Blades
Andrew James Coffee, Nut and Spice Grinder - Powerful 150Watt, Stainless Steel Blades
Offered by Andrew James UK LTD
Price: 29.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Cheap, cheerful & easy!, 19 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Quality product at a budget price. I personally have purchased this for use with linseed as well, and for that purpose (that is, for sprinkling the seeds on my morning meal without having to spend 20 minutes manually grinding) it does a stellar job. 20 minutes of graft are turned into 5 seconds of a button press. I wasn't sure exactly what I'd be getting for about 15, especially when I tried to read the manual beforehand! But, the product performs more than adequately.

However, do bear in mind that grinding in any decent quantity or for any length of time can wear the motor out (so I'm told, and given my experiences so far I'm inclined to believe that). But I was expecting to have to pay about 40-50 for the ability to have fresh ground seeds on my breakfast and am delighted to report that this model does the job very well for much, much less! A great value product and a worthwhile purchase indeed!

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3)
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3)
Offered by MDS Entertainment
Price: 7.95

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncharted 3: so much praise..., 3 Nov 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
...and yet, I can't help but feel I'm missing something. I really, really wanted to love this game: and whilst it's very good, I don't believe that it's as amazing as the hype would have you believe. You know when you love a game, you just love it. Uncharted 2 was easy to love because it took massive strides forward in a number of ways for gaming. The story was fantastic, the characters were funny, complex and interesting: and the graphics, oh those graphics. But, I just don't feel the same amount of glowing positivity for this than I did for its predecessor. When reviewers talk about a "masterpiece", it being "hard to imagine a game being better" and this being the "greatest in gaming history", I don't support anything like that view. Uncharted 2 was closer to being a "masterpiece". I know that it's apparently unpopular to criticise Uncharted 3: but that's the truth, from my perspective.

Here's why.

Uncharted 3 has those same components (that made the original so compelling, mostly). Aesthetically, it's fantastic. It looks and sounds as good as the hype would have you believe. I can't help but wonder if people are getting a bit caught up in a few elements. There's nothing wrong with that; if you enjoy it because of that then great! But there are flaws that, although there in the previous games, weren't noticeable because we were all so transfixed by the innovation and what was being achieved. Strip away that innovation (since this edition is more evolution than revolution), and suddenly those flaws become that much more noticeable. Sometimes you can get away with that (as in God of War III, for example: which capitalised on it being the first PS3 title in the franchise, whilst doing very little to the structure of the game); but I don't feel that Uncharted is one of those games. The experience needed to move on in someway: and it just hasn't. Again, how you take that could be either as a good or a bad thing. But on the plus side it does mean that if you haven't played an Uncharted game before, then prepare for an awesome ride. As a stand-alone product, Uncharted 3 is absolutely jam-packed with quality (compared to other games), and deserves it five-star rating.

The graphics, whilst generally the best you've ever seen on a console, are only that way because the story and game-play is practically on-rails; and too passive, too often. It's delicate balance to achieve (the whole, "I'm in a movie-game!" thing), and I think the experience has suffered a small amount for it. I found myself switching-off on numerous occasions as a result. It wasn't a problem before; but suddenly, with a lot of what makes Uncharted great no longer being a novelty, it became the case this time around. Perhaps this wasn't helped either by the (this time shorter) story. Whilst peppered with good moments, it was nothing like as grabbing as the previous two. Sully's a good character, but in my view the least interesting of the cast, and this game hasn't changed that for me. I wanted to see the more interesting characters (like Chloe, Elena and Cutter) more often than I actually did.

The 3D is really good on this game. But, the frequently contrasting nature of the colours means that anything less than a stellar 3DTV will produce cross-talk. For reference, I have a Panasonic 3DTV (the 2011 entry-level 'ST' range) and had enough cross-talk that I had to switch the 3D off to not be put off from the experience.

The controls are a series of love-it/hate-it affairs. Often it was addicting and smooth. Others it was clunky, frustrating and forced (into the on-rails story mode and the environment): enough that I felt it was worth mentioning in this review. The AI, during my campaign, were generally pretty smart (with flanking maneuvers, and other clever tactics). But they killed themselves more often with grenades than I did! So, there's alot to work on there, too.

Lastly, the online is great. Put it into context though (against the likes of CoD and Battlefield) and suddenly most people realise that even though it is as such, you'll almost invariably end-up on one of the big-hitting FPS's. It's like England failing to make World Cup finals; no one know why it keeps happening, it just does.

So we conclude with the overall feeling that, yeah, Uncharted 3 is a really good game. Don't be put-off by the amount of this review dedicated to its flaws; Uncharted 3 has a lot going for it as a stand-alone product (especially for newbies) and is worth your time. I don't give fives stars for many games (because as a stand-alone product, it is worth that). But its longevity is in question: and for me it was a ride I enjoyed, but with those negative elements being enough to drag it down from brilliant to just very good. I've finished it, traded it in and haven't looked back since. I think that'll be a bit more common an experience than the media would have you believe.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 (PSP)
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 (PSP)

3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but addictive, 25 Jun 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
That, in a few words is how best to sum up Konami's latest effort on PSP. The problem is, PES is actually a good game at heart. It's closely linked with the PS2 classics we all remember from 'Back in the day'. It has a similar look and feel to them, and indeed seems almost identical in both content and game-play. But, whilst we all remember those originals fondly, and it has improved (especially over previous PSP editions), PES 2011 still retains many of the same flaws that have existed for many years.

As the commentary is as inconsistent as ever, so too is the game-play in the same way; relying on specific situations that trigger responses. It's so far been proven to be a flawed approach (as reality simply isn't so containable in anything so complex), and any serious time with this game will reveal this.

This stems from the strange design decision regarding picking teams for World Cups (in which an extra range of teams are magically 'unlocked'; surely frustrating for gamers from those countries), to the world's most frustrating AI. Namely, if you're inclined - even slightly - to 'Nerd Rage', I'd suggest you stay well clear.

The AI's general structure (based not on an underlying system, but individual scripts as mentioned above) create situations where defenders run away from attackers, where players suddenly take on the reaction-times of a corpse, and where even your quickest strikers often have the turning-circle of an aircraft carrier (with the planes on). These are to name but a few...

More incidents that regularly occur are; inconsistent button responses (often too sensitive or not enough), poor controller layouts causing you to lob-shot in your own half, late/early responses causing you to foul an opponent when in-fact you were attempting to pass the ball, your players constantly running head-long into each other, and the practical impossibility of scoring a header inside the six yard box. The opponents can 'double-team' you without the referee calling a foul; they seem to regularly take on 'superhero' status and are impossible to tackle (not 'very hard', I mean literally 'impossible'; which links into the issues surrounding your own players); the game just keeps changing the rules on you. That is what marks PES as a very, very frustrating title as you engage with it more and more.

So in summary; PES 2011 retains a lot of the charm of the series in its heyday. But just bear in mind that with that brings everything that tinged it, too. So if you do buy this, make sure to stock-up on chill-pills, too.

Hospitality: Drum & Bass 2011
Hospitality: Drum & Bass 2011
Price: 5.92

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible and well-made, 16 May 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
That's pretty much the gist of it. As I personally am delving deeper and deeper into the seemingly sheer insanity of drum 'n' bass, this Hospitality album kicked it all off for me, and I look on it with fondness and respect for its quality. It's hyped-up in it's content, not it's packaging, and whilst it is true to the nature of drum 'n' bass (as I know it to be) it's still connected enough to the more mainstream sections of dance music, that you'll slip into this fantastic genre with ease through this disc, and not look back! It's more melodic than other d'n'b albums I've come across (that are intended for the more core-based audience). In my experience, those albums focus less on those melodies and more on the rhythm of the hyper nature of it's core components (perhaps thereby creating an alternate 'melody' purely from said components?). Anyway, that's why Hospitality's 2011 album doubles as a good intro (at least for me - coming from euphoria and trance) as well as a quality d'n'b album all by itself.

It's not perfect, for sure; a few tracks don't really resonate with me as much as others. As I go further into the genre, perhaps my view will change on what this album represents, but it strikes such a solid balance of the hard-hitting nature of d'n'b and the familiar melodic mainstream dance tunes, that it's still my favourite overall album; and with a bit of luck, it might become yours, too!

Homefront (PS3)
Homefront (PS3)
Offered by b68solutions
Price: 8.49

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Homefront, a new contender?, 25 Mar 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Homefront (PS3) (Video Game)
For those in a rush; not really. Homefront is an overall inferior title to Battlefield, most CoDs, Killzone 3 and Uncharted 2. It's actually a decent game; but, Homefront's so far up Call of Duty's alley (and no better at the job) that people simply aren't likely to trade-in their favourite shooters for it.

In more detail, Homefront is the story of the American resistance to a North Korean occupation, set sometime in the near future. You take the role of a pilot rescued by said resistance (in order to aid them) and take the fight to the brutal enemy.

The story itself is actually one of the strongest points of Homefront. A complex narrative is weaved that created some really interesting and immersive set-pieces.

KAOS Studios has taken alot of local inspiration for Homefront, and could be criticised for relying heavily on existing practises. One such example is the scene wherein you ride in a prison transport near the start. Clearly, it's taken inspiration from the execution scene in the original Modern Warfare. Another example is the easter-egg collection available to help explain the back story, a method used in many games, such as the Dead Space franchise.

But, KAOS do themselves justice by going further in several important areas. For example, innocent civilians aren't just men and women anymore, they're mothers and young children too. I never actually saw a child being shot (a move that is perhaps too far at this stage anyway), but to include them as amongst those visibly affected by the trauma unfolding around them was a great decision, and really added new depth to the experience. Another example was the incident wherein you must bury yourself amongst Holocaust-like pits (filled with your fellow Americans) to evade capture and certain death. It's gritty, doesn't apologise for what it is, and hits hard; surely a move to be praised in a world where almost no one wants to "rock the boat", for as much as the added immersion itself.

Homefront also tries to mix things up as frequently as possible, and I think this was a good decision that kept things feeling fresh as enthusiasm was starting to wane. You'll get a wide range of the usual roles to fulfil (such as heavy-weaponry, sniper, stealth assassin etc.) and although it's a linear experience it plays well enough.

But, enthusiasm does indeed wane at points. Too often, it falls back onto well-worn practices, and the general lack of invention (as opposed to variation) does odour Homefront. Technically, it's also a mixed-bag. In terms of the graphics; details on the weapons you hold and on parts of the environment are fantastic. Most of the time though, the game looked average - like a launch title would. The controls handle OK, but feel a bit numb in places and with the exact same layout as CoD, don't help defend against charges of lacking invention.

The single-player campaign is also short. I completed it (on average difficulty) in just over eight hours at a Steady-Eddy pace. I did have something of an after-taste in my mouth come the end, too. The campaign finished so abruptly and so anti-climatically that I wonder if a fuller story had been written, and was hacked apart to get a sequel (or three) in. A wider context of the situation was also not concluded, nor explained in the campaign. I don't pay to play story modes so that I can get background for a game three sequels down the road. Make a story, then if we like it you'll know about it. A sequel is then usually welcomed by the community, and you can expand on the story then. The campaign should either have been longer, the story smaller or the charge less.

The multi-player unfortunately, is beyond my reach since the servers would not let me on, and in fact were so insistent that my console froze every time I retried to enter the game-modes. Obviously, it would be unwise to opine on something I've not been able to try; although I hear it stays consistent with the CoD-cloning and has little beyond a few spurts of innovation to separate it from the crowd.

So in summary, Homefront is a game that does have a few notable strong points about it. However, it is likely to be lost in the crowd of quality FPSs due to presentation issues, a broken multi-player (for some) and the simple fact that we already play something else that does the same job, but slightly better.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2011 2:54 PM BST

Dead Space 2 - Limited Edition (PS3)
Dead Space 2 - Limited Edition (PS3)
Offered by b68solutions
Price: 14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Dead Space Returns; Gorier, Louder & Uncut!, 6 Mar 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
The original Dead Space was, in a nutshell, great. It combined and learned from the best of Sci-Fi and horror and crafted a video game experience that gripped gamers across the western world. Now, we have the inevitable sequel. What's it like? How does it stack up against both the best in the genre and its predecessor?

Actually rather well, in short. Boiled down to its core, Dead Space 2 is to Dead Space 1 as Aliens is to Alien. Gorier, louder and in my view better for it. It was the right way to go, I think, and for the most part well-executed.

But to some degree, there is definitely something missing from the franchise (such as any kind of innovation in relation to the tools that Isaac weilds); I was hoping for a bit more interaction than card collecting and simply 'buying' at a shop. I also feel that the scares lack any real evolution from the original. There's no doubt that you're heartbeat will be abnormally high throughout, but not more than a few times did I think to myself, 'that was really scary', (unlike the original, which really played me throughout). As you progress the game just throws the kitchen sink at you. That's not a bad thing in itself, but did fit in with the 'creative shortage' feeling I got rather better than I'd have liked.


That re-generating Necromorph at the end was more tedious than terrifying. Dead Space 1 was scary largely because it was foreign. Don't play the same tricks again, because it won't evoke the same feelings.


How about randomised Necromorphs, for example? There was some variety, but I was slightly disappointed to find that, once you die in a certain spot, you can almost count on an exact re-run next time. Predictability is, generally, not scary. Nicole was a good opportunity to get creative and her episodes were, well, rather uninspired. It was guns blazing, limbs flying and quite frankly, I like that. But Dead Space 2 was a little too 'Meathead' and not enough 'Create-To-Survive' to be anything more than a really jumpy shooter and that is a bit of a shame.

This is typified in the multiplayer element which is, quite frankly, as forgettable as it sounds. There were some cool ideas, but they were never likely to really shine through (and indeed for me that has been the case). It's just lots of throwing yourself about as a Necromorph, or running and gunning as an engineer. Teamwork is the key, but there's little of it on show. Even when there is, it's no more satisfying than any of the other hundred shooters available. In fact, you do feel somewhat out of control of events as the Necromorph side of things are really clumbsy (such as the interface consisting of too much X button-mashing, the camera being too close and the executions being pulled-off as much by luck as judgement).

But, Dead Space 2 is still a really good game. The presentation and atmosphere is among the best I've seen this generation. The story, and its hero, have developed really well. With cool characters and interesting backgrounds, you'll have no trouble looking passed Dead Space 2's slightly over-simplified approach, just to re-capture that spiking heartrate in the shadow of an impending ambush (however dwindling it may be come the end); that feeling of satisfaction as your Line Gun shot slices through several Necromorphs causing them to 'stop 'n' drop'. Those primitive urges are served well here in Dead Space 2, and with a deep, immersive universe that is presented with such class, you'll most likely be quite satisfied with this in your collection (alongside the superb original). In my view, Dead Space also sits atop the horror genre (in terms of quality) and there is little that can favourably compare to Visceral's efforts at the moment. That's why this game gets five stars for fun and four overall. Enjoy!

Gioteck PS3 Slim In2Link Pack (main unit plus expansion pack)
Gioteck PS3 Slim In2Link Pack (main unit plus expansion pack)
Offered by Yellow Bulldog Ltd
Price: 4.89

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stylish, but ultimately not much use., 14 Feb 2011
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
The In2link USB expander is an attractive accessory. It's one that aims to fulfill a need that many, many PS3 owners have suffered; a total lack of USB ports to meet the ever-expanding available devices that use them.

In that purest form, the Gioteck In2link EMS will meet that need. It does in fact have four USB ports (one of which may be exchanged for a charge cable, with a reasonable length), but unfortunately, it's not quite as simple as just having more ports...

You see, many devices that are USB-powered are also quite demanding for said power. USB-powered hard drives, racing wheels, and basically anything that does more than charge stuff, simply overwhelm the expanders, and this is something that can't really be helped. But the decisions made by Gioteck on how to handle this issue are odd. The device itself actually has an AC adaptor port, and the instructions recommend the use of an adaptor should the situation arise where extra juice is needed. Great, you'd think; but, not only is this adaptor not included, information on how to purchase or obtain this item is also non-existent. I don't know, maybe it's blatantly obvious to some, but to me it isn't and it's a bit frustrating having to investigate something that should be either bundled-in or easily found.

Other features on the devices (such as the charge cable, AC adaptor port and an IR reader) are cool features to have, but in reality not too much use to most of us. I can't remember ever in my life having the need for an IR reader, for example, and I don't see that changing.

Unfortunately, the device also failed to work completely after a PS3 crash recently, and that suggests to me that below the stylish exterior, lies very low-grade parts.

Overall, the Gioteck In2Link EMS is a cool-looking bit of tech that, in terms of style, out-classes anything else available. However, the real-world functionality is basic and the components are of, in my opinion, suspect quality. So, for anything beyond charging multiple devices, consider the worth of this device before purchasing.

Gran Turismo 5 (PS3)
Gran Turismo 5 (PS3)
Offered by MDS Entertainment
Price: 6.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In a word, there's only one way to describe GT5..., 4 Dec 2010
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Gran Turismo 5 (PS3) (Video Game)
...and that word is, 'unfinished'. It's been a very long and painful journey these past five years, and although the initial release was met with pure relief for the hardcore, it wasn't long before they realised what everyone else had (and was therefore left with a dull, aching feeling). Gran Turismo 5 is STILL not finished.

This is evident in the menu screens (where lag, long loading times and an almost total lack of 21st century techniques - especially online - take precedent). It occurs in the game design; a new 'level system' takes huge swathes out of the good bits of the 'Gran Turismo grind' experience (what happened to the PP system?) and simply tacks-on systems from games now eight or nine years old; it doesn't even require skill to beat most A-Spec races). Bugs and general slow-down occur from time-to-time; and 'promised features' were either relegated to a temporary (read: arcade) role, or left out entirely. The unfinished feeling also occurs in the graphics (with terrible jaggies, lighting, damage & smoke effects); and the sharp drop-off in quality between standard and premium cars throughout the game.

In fact, it's safe to say that the only area that seems complete are the physics side of things. Driving, you know, the most important bit, is a dream. Hands down, GT5 has the best driving to be found on console.

But, it is marred by compromised promises and design choices so bizarre, you have to conclude that things must have gone quite wrong somewhere down the line. Maybe it was the realisation that the PS3 maybe isn't powerful enough to stop a planet; or maybe it's that Polyphony just tried to do too much with the system.

Newcomers will be divided by those choices and will either focus on the driving, or get distracted by the design. Which way you fall will likely decide whether you're going to keep Gran Turismo 5 in your collection, or trade it in.

To the fans, the five year wait has not been worth it. But, at the end of the day, Gran Turismo 5 gets the driving right, is still a real looker (in places) and with so much depth, is therefore still the best driving game on PS3. But, by god only just.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2010 1:06 PM GMT

Call of Duty: Black Ops (PS3)
Call of Duty: Black Ops (PS3)
Offered by MDS Entertainment
Price: 7.99

55 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeping The Momentum..., 23 Nov 2010
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Some of the one-star reviews here are, quite frankly, worse than the online will ever be. Naughty Bear is a one-star game; Iron Man is a one-star game. Those games are both train-wrecks; narratively, technically, and so on. Call of Duty: Black Ops, however, is not. Whilst Black Ops is more evolution than revolution, it is a solid merging of both MW2 and WAW's DNA. Granted, spawns are a bit of a mess sometimes, and a quite frankly ropey online simply isn't good enough on a game that practically depends on it. Where were all the betas? In a move that reminds me of the saying, 'better late than never', Treyarch have announced that a patch is on the way. Also, the engine used last in WAW is starting to creak now.

But, to come in and rate it as lowly as possible is not only, I think, totally unfair and misrepresentative of the overall quality and feature-rich content within Black Ops; it clearly shows how emotional some people get over video games. Anyone who steps back and reflects calmly on this will recognise that; whilst releasing an online service that struggles to hold a connection isn't acceptable, rating the game on one element also isn't good enough, especially if you're posting a review about the whole package.

When it works, which is regularly (online solo; groups of more than two will likely struggle), it's an addictive shooter; a good natural evolution of the previous games. Obviously, this will improve over time and will therefore eliminate the largest criticism to be made at Black Ops. The Zombie mode is better than ever and I'm personally once again totally sucked-in to the whole thing; it's great fun! The wager matches are a breath of fresh air and also a good, tense affair; whilst the campaign has been roundly considered as among the best in the franchise (and by major publications, such as IGN).

So, let's retain some perspective, eh?
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 6, 2011 4:55 AM GMT

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