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A. Evans

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Chasing Dean: Surfing America's Hurricane States
Chasing Dean: Surfing America's Hurricane States
by Tom Anderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another cracker from Tom, 20 April 2012
After having enjoyed Tom Anderson's first book, when I saw Chasing Dean I knew it was a must-buy. I was not at all disappointed. The story follows the Tom's journey up the East coast of the US in the company of the irascible (and possibly semi-fictional??) Dr Marc Rhys; both chasing the atlantic waves generated by Hurricane Dean.

As a fellow surfer from South Wales this book was very easy for me to enjoy. Tom writes very well and I never got tired of his descriptions of surfing sessions or of Dr Marc's never-ending 'pro-Welsh-ness'. What makes the book more than just a glorified surf report, though, is the Tom's descriptions of Southern and East Coast US towns which rarely get any mention anywhere else. It's a wonderful surf-travel book and one that I was hooked on from start to finish.

Tom's first book, Ride the Magic Carpet, is probably the better read, simply because it tells a more rounded story. Nonetheless, Chasing Dean is still an excellent book and I'm now looking forward to reading his third, Grey Sky Green Waves. Llongyfarchiadau Tom!

Rough Ride
Rough Ride
by Paul Kimmage
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.83

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true whistle blower, 28 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Rough Ride (Paperback)
Rough Ride's publication was one of the seminal whistle-blowing moments in cycling, and it earned Paul Kimmage a shunning from the sport he once loved. At the time, it was derided by the greater cycling world as the work of loser, an also-ran, someone who felt forced to cheat because he couldn't take the pace.

Time, of course, has proved Kimmage right. Since the book's publication, professional cycling has been rocked by scandal after scandal, each one increasingly public. It is only now, decades after the book's original publication, that certain teams are beginning to make real efforts to eliminate doping from the ranks of pro cyclists.

In that sense, Rough Ride has earned its place as one of the classics of sporting literature, and a must read for all cycling fans.

Rugby World Cup 2011 (PS3)
Rugby World Cup 2011 (PS3)
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £7.63

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it to support rugby games in general, 25 Oct. 2011
Before the review, a plea: if you like rugby, like videogames, and are lucky enough to have the money, please buy this game. Why? Because rugby games will *only* get better if the companies that publish them make money, and therefore will afford to invest more money in making them. Why are FIFA games so good these days? Because EA can afford to perfect and polish with a new big-budget release every year, knowing that they'll get their money back.
Anyway, on with the review....

This game is nowhere near as bad as some people here are making out. Previous rugby games have been pretty much unplayable due to failure in two areas
i) tackling - it quite impossible to individually control a defensive line consisting of several players, and so it was all too easy for the opposition to make line breaks
ii) the breakdown - the most important aspect of rugby is very difficult to get right. The old Rugby Challenge on the PS2 didn't do badly (better than EA 06 and 08), but it was still lacking.

In my opinion Rugby World Cup 2011 makes great inroads into these areas. There is an AI defensive line that works well, making tackles where it should, skipping them when it shouldn't. The trick is to trust it, and not assume control of individual players mid line and have them flying off on a dive tackle (it just creates a hole). Leave one guy back as a 'sweeper' which you control manually, and you have a pretty good defense.

But the most convincing area of this game is the breakdown. There is a very logical 'effort/risk meter', which is always shown for both teams. See an exclamation mark for your opponent and that's your cue to pile in. If not, don't bother and keep men out for the line. If you pile people in needlessly don't come crying when the opposition has a 3-man overlap. And if you run into space with no support you will get turned over, or pinged for holding on. It's all done realistically, and most importantly *consistently*.

Once you understand these rules, the game plays like a charm, although the lack of tactical depth means that it will probably grow stale pretty quickly. So:

Breakdown Control is excellent
Defensive line is good
Consistent AI
Nice presentation and most official teams (not that that is very important for me)

Mediocre graphics, but nothing unplayable
Lack of tactical depth
Lack of replayability, once you're bored of the World Cup.

Here's hoping that EA are planning to do what they do with the footie and bring out a more comprehensive game (Rugby 12) the year after the cup. If any of the devs read this - thanks and keep going!

Rugby 08 (PS2)
Rugby 08 (PS2)

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The best rugby game, but still not good enough, 14 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Rugby 08 (PS2) (Video Game)
Rugby 2006, despite being an initially playable game, had one glaring flaw which pretty much ruined it. The culprit - the turnover system. Unfortunately, Rugby 08 is the same.

Turnovers are decided, seemingly randomly, at the instant the tackle is made. The decision appears to be completely independent of field location or player numbers, and it is phenomenally frustrating to see a forward losing the ball when surrounded by several players of his own team, then seconds later see a winger hold on to the ball when he is on his own and totally isolated.

The result is a criminal lack of depth to the gameplay. You can't, for example, go through the phases gaining the hard yards, because within a couple you can absolutely guarantee you'll be turned over. You can't have the forwards bashing away at the tryline. It renders your defence a joke, because you can commit five forwards to rucking the ball away from a single isolated opponent without success, and so leave a 5-man hole in your mid-field for the opposition to run through.

This means there is only one way to play the game, which is to hoof it upfield into touch, wait for the inevitable turnover to regain possesion, then run it in with a couple of sidesteps from your star backs when you think you're close enough. This is initially quite good fun, and doubtless appeals greatly to those who don't know the sport. For those of us who realise that it has much greater depth, it is a failure.

Rugby 08 addresses NONE of the flaws of 06. With the exception of some minor changes, many of which detrimental (loss of classic camera angle?!), it is essentially the same game.

Until EA or anybody sorts out a decent way of representing how possesion, turnovers and defence work in rugby, my advice (as both a keen gamer, rugby fan and player) is to not waste your money, and stick to watching it on the box instead!

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