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J.P (England)

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Deception IV: Blood Ties (Playstation Vita)
Deception IV: Blood Ties (Playstation Vita)
Price: £15.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily the most unique game on the Vita, 1 April 2014
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The fact is, there are no other games like the Deception series.

Instead of playing the hero, you are the Devil's Daughter and killing humans is the name of the game. There is a different type of pacing to planning a well-laid, elaborate combination of traps to ensnare the opposition than say for hacking/shooting/zapping them. Timing is also very important and while it can be frustrating when your schemes go pear-shaped, it is also diabolically satisfying when the big-damned-hero comes charging in before being tossed about like a rag doll, burnt, chopped, sliced, pierced, crushed and humiliated before lying in a pool of his own blood. The end result being you cackling like a madman!
If it's a new gaming experience you're looking for then this is most certainly for you.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 28, 2014 10:06 PM BST

Paradise (What About Us?) [feat. Tarja]
Paradise (What About Us?) [feat. Tarja]
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice one ladies, 10 Oct 2013
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I must admit, when I first heard WT were teaming up with Tarja, I lost it a little. My expectations for this team-up was probably too a bit too high...
I do like the song, and I wouldn't expect anything less, but I'm not extremely satisfied with the melody or the emotional weight of it. Sharon sounds almost lazy in some parts, but eh - you can't be mad at these guys!

Silent Hill: Book of Memories (PlayStation Vita)
Silent Hill: Book of Memories (PlayStation Vita)
Offered by AllGoodDealz
Price: £14.95

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite games on Vita, 9 Oct 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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If you're reading these reviews then you're probably either a fan of Silent Hill or someone who is interested in dungeon crawlers. I am both, and therefore this game was a must have for me.

As other reviewers have mentioned, this is not a traditional survival horror game in any form. Instead, think of Diablo/Dungeon Hunter Alliance in terms of gameplay, even better, download the free demo, that should enable you to make up your mind.
The connection to the Silent Hill games is negligible, but it upholds very similar themes and atmospheres to the original series graphically and conceptually. I am of the old-school Silent Hill fan and deem anything made beyond Silent Hill 4 to be poor dilutions of the original spirit of the Silent Hill series, that includes Shattered Memories, Origins, Homecoming and Downpour. Individuals will have very personal attachments to certain installments, but that should not affect how one would enjoy this game. I treat this game; Book of Memories to be a spinoff, unrelated to the main games, which is exactly what it is.

Moving on, with regards to the gameplay, you are able to create your own avatar and assign skill points to attributes such as strength, defense, agility etc. Kill monsters, collect loot, and buy stronger equipment to beat down those pesky creatures. If you love dungeon crawlers or Action-Rpgs in general then you'll have a fun time wandering about in the randomly generated dungeons.
The way you fight also affects your moral affinity and what ending you get for the game, of which there are several. Be brutal and slash everything to pieces to get a "Blood" ending, or kill only blood monsters and keep your health up to get a "Light" ending. Overall, I found the game to be very enjoyable with high re-play value.

I bought this game shortly after the release date and only decided to write this review now because I think people may be missing out on what is a very good, but unappreciated game.

Price: £5.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My thoughts as a long time fan, 24 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Ketevan (Audio CD)
There are quite a few reviews here complaining about the lack of change in song style. And to be honest, if you're the type to constantly crave change and want something "fresh" from time to time, or love songs based just off the main melody, then you're probably going to think the same thing. Fortunately, for those with addictive personalities like me, this album is a perfect encapsulation of all her previous work in the last decade. There are songs here that will remind you of each of the previous albums, for example

'Never Felt Less Like Dancing' = "Call off the Search"
'Sailing Ships From Heaven' = "Piece by Piece"
'Idiot School' = "Pictures"
'Shiver and Shake' = "The House"
'I Will be There' = "Secret Symphony"

You'll start to notice now that I've mentioned it!

Each of her previous albums never really sounded the "same old" to me. They had their own personalities making all of them masterpieces in their own right.
Basically, what I'm saying is that if you've been a fan of Katie for a while now, you're not going to be disappointed with Ketevan. It's guaranteed to relax you after a hard day at work, or sipping a nice cup of tea on a weekend afternoon.

There is definitely a timeless quality to Katie's voice. I started listening at around the age of 15 (24 now) and I'll probably still be listening to and reminiscing over her songs till I'm old bones.

For those who would like to start listening to Katie's music, Ketevan is also a perfect entry point, since you'll get a perfect snapshot of the various albums in her back-catalog.

Otaku: Japan's Database Animals
Otaku: Japan's Database Animals
by Hiroki Azuma
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tough reading, but worth it in the end, 7 Sep 2013
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I am an obsessive fan of film, animation, books, comics, manga and video-games. In the western world, people like me who are a little too serious about it are labelled with the terms such as geek/nerd/weirdo, phrases that are cringingly becoming more chic and popular now with the rise of the 'sexy geek' in mass media.

In Japan, the same kind of people are called "Otaku"; lovers of Anime, Manga & Games.

This book is a hybrid form of writing - part academic and part journalism. It was written with the general public in mind, giving everyone a chance to understand complex social & behavioral theories behind geek/otaku consumerism in the modern era.

Hiroki Azuma attempts to explain the needs and interests of different generations of Otaku between the 1970s-late 1990s. The major theory he presents is the "decline of Grand Narratives" and the "rise of database consumption" in fictional works. I believe the phrase 'grand narrative' refers to overarching concepts in a work such as a world view, a personal/spiritual journey, a political ideology, man vs. nature etc.
The term 'database' is a trickier concept to grasp. It is basically referring to a cultural database of existing archetypes and stereotypes which form the basis of the appearances and personalities of fictional characters. In geek terms, it is a database of Tropes.

Although not explicitly revealed in the text itself, the tone of the book dictates a disapproving and slightly derogatory commentary on the rise of "database consumption" in the modern world. And while the targets for the essay are young Japanese male otaku, Hiroki Azuma suggests that this trend is fast becoming a reality around the world.
As a geek/otaku myself, I find this rather insulting and difficult to digest. If what he says is true, why is it that fictional works in my decade of youth (00's) are filled to the brim with "grand narratives", possibly more so than ever before? And why is it that we can have one or the other - "grand narratives" or "the database" and not both?

On top of disagreeing with many of the authors theories, I also question his aptitude for true analysis of the subculture. He had clearly researched the fandom to a great degree, but the study was fundamentally written as an outsider looking into a subculture, being essentially one man's perception of it all. These are just (interesting) theories. No subjects in question have been interviewed for ideas and contributions. Therefore, I am skeptical when sweeping generalizations can be said for a subculture that is most probably broken up into many niches in itself.

I would most definitely like to see a translation of the sequel to this work. It has been a frustrating but stimulating book to read, and any geek/nerd/weirdo who would like to understand himself and his position in the world a bit better would benefit from reading this.

The Escape Key
The Escape Key
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Decent band with some potential, 17 Aug 2013
This review is from: The Escape Key (MP3 Download)
I just want to start off by saying I'm not really a hardcore metal fan. My favorite sub-genre is Metalcore. Not exactly a trendy word to be using in the underground scene but it's what I like. I have a soft spot for bands like Trivium, Children of Bodum, The Agonist and In Flames.
I've recently been getting back into metal by checking out some hot new bands like Asking Alexandria, Motionless in White, The Defiled, While She Sleeps etc. Arcite's "The Escape Key" just happened to be reviewed in the summer issue of Metal Hammer Magazine so I decided to checkout their songs online.

The instrumental opening of the title track 'The Escape Key' caught my attention, & I decided to impulse buy the album straight away.

My general impression is that while the riffs, drumming, pacing, rhythm are all very interesting and varied, the vocals seem to be the weak link, though by no means bad. The screams & growls are pretty much standard for a Metalcore band, however, it lacks a certain brutality to it. Clean vocals are quite good although the singer sometimes follows the trend of the whiny style. Many of the songs have a melancholic feeling to them, which I think it a unique trait of sorts for the band.

The overall music is very good, a solid B+, but I feel Arcite have yet to find themselves vocally.

The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons: a Field Guide to Japanese Yokai
The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons: a Field Guide to Japanese Yokai
by Matthew Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £23.30

5.0 out of 5 stars For fans of Mythology, Cryptozoology and Folklore, 6 July 2013
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For a while now I've been very intrigued by the supernatural beasties, ghouls and strange creatures of the world.
I started this interest from reading world mythologies and following up on references to specific creatures mentioned in films/books/music and also the bible etc. Over time I have collected quite a few books on the subject of imaginary creepy things.

It is the collective beliefs of primitive minds attempting to explain the natural world around them that give rise to monstrous personifications of their own worst fears and nightmares. This fear of the unknown manifests creatively in human minds as a combination of the fantastical qualities of beast, human, and/or object.
There are so many varieties of wacky critters in the world that each country will have its own encyclopedias on the subject. Fellow fans will be familiar with the more popular creatures such as the Sphinx, Baba Yaga, Golem, Cyclops, Manticore, Wendigo etc.

Those who live in the western world will have come into contact with quite a few of these in mass market entertainment. But other than vengeful female ghosts, westerners probably haven't heard much of the supernatural of the East.
"The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons" is one of the best when it comes to Japanese Monsterology. The name is taken from a legend that says; each year during a summer night, there will be a parade of one hundred different Yokai haunting the streets of Japan, terrorizing and bringing death to those who happen to cross them. There is a famous painting of this scene referred to as 百鬼夜行圖. I encourage anyone who is interested to check out the images available online.

This book takes each of the one hundred Yokai and turns them into the prettiest collection of drawings I have seen, compared to any other monster encyclopedia I own. There is a back-story written for each and despite some complaints I have read online about them being too brief, I think they are quite detailed and satisfactory.
The book itself is printed very well - inside. The pages are a mock old-tome style, but the one annoyance I have is that the cover is only available as a Paperback. It feels very fragile for a reference book which I'm not too happy about. But given the quality of the content, if a Hardback edition ever presents itself online I'll be the first to snap one up.

Signature Killers
Signature Killers
by Robert D. Keppel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A massively underrated book on serial killers, 28 April 2013
This review is from: Signature Killers (Paperback)
I have an (possibly unhealthy) interest in serial murderers and have been reading books about them for over 7 years. During this time, I've probably read all subcategories of the genre, from the Crime Classification Manual, to biographies, semi-biographies, autobiographies, encyclopedias and case study books. I have been slightly disturbed by the grisly details, and fascinated by the lack of understanding the professionals have of the genesis of a serial murderer.

People are always asking "Why?", "What makes them tick?", and "What are their motives?". How can profilers "Get into the mind" of a killer? I've become bored of these questions that lead to no answers (or the same old). I've come up with my own understanding of why. But for those interested, at end of the book, there are the obligatory theories that attempt to address these cliche questions.
Robert Keppel does not pretend to know the absolute answers, but shares his experiences and knowledge gained as an veteran consultant in a unique way. Most works (including those written by authorities) are content with the following outline of a case;
1)The killers background, where he came from and early warning signs
2)The crimes and investigation, what he did to elude the authorities and how he was caught
3)Analysis, problems in his life that may have drove him to murder

This book talks about how a "Signature" is identified.
I have come across explanations of MO and Signature before, but Keppel also gives the WORKING definition. This is the essence of what the book is trying to expound. To this end, Keppel has made the effort to sometimes stress important points by reiterating and rewording. This is not an insult to the readers intelligence, as other reviewers have imagined, but an attempt to drill into the readers minds, the fundamental drivers of what creates a signature. And in a clinical and non-emotion driven way, describes the brutalization of the victims in report-level detail. These descriptions are not easy for a casual reader to stomach, and may seem pointless and perverse. They are not. Keppel provides the reader clarity on the significance of the wounds in a way that supports his driving point for the entire book. Even then, it seems the point has been lost on some of the reviewers here.

This book has given me insight that has put sense into a lot of things I've read about serial murders. If you are seriously interested in this particular subject, you could do a lot worse than this book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 6, 2014 1:18 PM GMT

Lady Snowblood / Lady Snowblood 2 Limited Edition SteelBook [Blu-Ray] [1973]
Lady Snowblood / Lady Snowblood 2 Limited Edition SteelBook [Blu-Ray] [1973]
Dvd ~ Meiko Kaji
Offered by UK_Media_Offers
Price: £13.75

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So you want to know if this film is for you..., 3 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Lady Snowblood is essentially an exploitation flick. The type of viewer who would get enjoyment out of this kind of film is one who loves slashers and violent horror of any genre.
However, I must say that being a rather old Japanese film, the cultural context, mannerisms and acting style will all be lost on 98% of western viewers, i.e. those who are not used to watching Asian cinema or are not of Asian decent. This does not detract from the entertainment value though if the viewer has an open mind and does not expect something akin to a Chinese martial arts film like Crouching Tiger or House of Flying Daggers.
Nope. Lady Snowblood is a good ol' slasherific revenge movie with low budget set pieces, cheesy dialogue, shockingly fake blood effects (although the violence is mild by todays standards), and a satisfying ending of carnage. The theme song "Shura No Hana" is surprisingly effective as a haunting track and adds to the overall feeling of loneliness in the film. The best quality of Lady Snowblood though, in my opinion, is the fact that it takes itself very seriously and is ultimately grounded on a harrowing tale of wrongful murder and anguish that is relate-able, not silly like other mock horror films- you actually care if Yuki is able to get her revenge or not.

As for Part 2: Love Song of Vengeance, lets just say that it's pretty much extraneous and does not hold a candle to the original. Despite not being a bad film per se, what it does is change the feel and legacy of the original, from a revenge motif to one of governmental conspiracy and social injustice.
But why choose Lady Snowblood as a vehicle of such a film? Her presence and significance in the script is secondary to almost every other character. Take her out of it and one would not see any connection between this and the original movie.

Having watched the original Lady Snowblood in VHS quality format I'm glad to say that the remastered Blu-Ray version is clearly a great improvement in terms of picture quality and sound.

Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen (PS Vita)
Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen (PS Vita)

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best stealth game released since Tenchu 2, 7 Aug 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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It's hard not to compare Shinobido 2 with the Tenchu series, given that both are ninja stealth games made by Acquire.

I'm a diehard Tenchu fan and hold Tenchu 1 & 2 to be the best stealth games in history (mostly due to nostalgia but also because they were innovative and unique for their time). Metal Gear Solid, Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, Sheep Dog & Wolf, & Summoner amongst others all have elements of stealth, but the only title that even comes close to the thrill of brutally gutting someone ninja-style is Manhunt.

That being said, ninja stealth is definitely not for the mainstream mass-market, which these days require games to be streamlined, fast, full of big action, or massive in content in order to be considered good. A lot like a Hollywood blockbuster film. Shinobido 2 on the other hand is more like the cult thriller or slasher that only the weirdos watch.

Personally, I think of the Tenchu/Shinobido series as "Ninja Sims", and enjoy them mostly for the atmosphere, music, and slow paced stalking. I could spend up to an hour on one stage exploring the level and taking out every single guy, then starting all over again.
The time limit on these missions may be the one flaw in Shinobido 2. While I understand that it adds difficulty, I like to take my time wandering about instead. On a plus side, there are so many different types of missions, it never gets boring. You can:

-Assassinate (the enemy general)
-Obliterate (take out all enemies)
-Protect cargo
-Destroy cargo
-Steal cargo
-Transport cargo
-Break heavily guarded Oxcarts

Another aspect of the game is choosing sides between 3 different factions in war. You choice of mission affecting the morale and military might on each side. This element is well done in my favorite RPG Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call (Nocturne) and works very well here too.
After the monstrosity that was Tenchu: Shadow Assassins we finally have a great traditional ninja stealth game which includes many interesting new elements. As for the main character Zen, I think he's much more likeable than Rikimaru of Tenchu which makes the game more fun to play.

Thanks for reading this review and I hope it convinces a like-minded gamer out there to buy this game ASAP!

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