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Mr. G. P. Schofield "fortysixter" (UK, South London)

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The Risen Empire
The Risen Empire
by Scott Westerfeld
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.79

5.0 out of 5 stars The Risen Empire Omnibus edition- Excellence personified in book form., 21 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Risen Empire (Paperback)
I first read this when the omnibus edition came out in paperback, featuring " The Risen Empire " and " The Killing of Worlds".

A fantastic, high sci- fi concept written extremely well.
The pace is just right, the characters intriguing, the story multi faceted and gripping.
Some of the concepts born in this book seem to be truly unique and are described very well, often with detailed scientific description ( none of its real of course, but it reads as real ).

The combat, both ground and space based is concisely and effectively described, and you find yourself simply drawn to the next page...and the next...and the next.

A genuine pure sci-fi story, that having just read a second time ( this time an E-book edition) in Jan 2013, I can happily say the book is every bit as good as I remember it from the first time round.

I'm not sure if the writer appreciates what he has achieved with this book, but this could be destined to be a sci-fi classic in years to come. Brilliantly written military sci-fi, with an in depth and cohesive body politic running things in the back ground.

I'm now going to move on to the next series of books Scott Westerfield has written, Starting with " Leviathan".

The Bourne Legacy (DVD + Digital Copy + UV Copy)
The Bourne Legacy (DVD + Digital Copy + UV Copy)
Dvd ~ Jeremy Renner
Price: 5.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine film, 7 Jan 2013
Lots more detailed reviews exist for this film so I'll keep it short.
This is a tightly produced movie with, yet again, seriously dark undertones.
The new agent, Aaron Cross is played brilliantly by Jeremey Renner and ably backed up by Rachel Weiss.
The supporting cast are terrific and those that are hunting our hero manage to pull off both menace and organised chaos in their search for
the "rogue" agent.
Thoroughly enjoyable, and hopefully a few sequels will flesh out the new generation of Agent that have supposedly replaced the "Bourne" generation. Much brutal melee combat will ensue I'm sure.
Highly recommended, 4/5 stars. And remember, this is the start of a new franchise, so is VERY different to the previous Bourne Movies.

Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds - The New Generation
Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds - The New Generation
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 14.72

2.0 out of 5 stars A poor retry / remix of a classic sound, 29 Nov 2012
Liam Neesons narration, whilst competent, is under produced, with his voice sounding unclear and somewhat disinterested.
I'm sure that wasn't the case, as Liam Neeson is a quality actor, not that you would tell by this under stated recording.
Conclusion:- Narration recording and production is poor

New actors/singers are used throughout the album. When it comes to the singing, the obvious limitations of these peoples voices is clear. They are pop stars of today singing music that was originally recorded by rock singers and more talented pop singers of the 70's. The re-recordings are as underwhelming as any of the recordings these new "artists" produced today.
A very limted group of "talent" who simply cannot produce a depth of vocal quality or sense of occasion those of the original album seemed to be able to muster. Why not get REAL talent from the modern day rock/metal world to record all of this?
Many singers from popular rock and metal acts of the last 20 years would have grabbed this album by the horns and given it new direction, fire and purpose.
Instead we get insipid vocals from partially talented singers, who have somehow amazingly made money from their poor products over the years.
Conclusion:- The new singers on this version of the album are dull and un-impressive.

The original music has had some changes made to it, and I found even after 3-4 listens a few flourishes and add-ons I missed previously. I'd recommend listening with headphones a couple of times. The music is the least disappointing part of this album.
See if you can borrow the CD from someone. Don't buy it.

This is OBVIOUSLY a "cash in" by Jeff Wayne to get a younger audience listening to the War of the Worlds album.
A fairly tragic version of War of the worlds, which, if as I mentioned earlier, was entirely re-recorded by Rock and Metal musicians and singers, would have been a grandiose and flamboyant affair.
Instead we have a somewhat aimless album for everyone ( except those that are going to make money from it ), which sounds wholly un-impressive, and for the most part, also sounds like its been produced and performed by rank amateurs.
I award 2 stars for the music, which didn't need anything added, but for the most part , doesn't take anything away from the original.

Conclusion:- Avoid entirely if you don't want your memory and enjoyment of the original sullied by this re-recorded tat.

Risen 2: Dark Waters (PC DVD)
Risen 2: Dark Waters (PC DVD)
Offered by PNA247
Price: 10.00

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars RISEN 2 ,( PC ) heavy graphical problems but a game with potential, 27 April 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
SO, Risen 2 first impressions, having downloaded it from STEAM overnight. ( This is a review of the PC version )

The engine, in my opinion, has some major issues ( Faults ). Objects "pop in" at very close range.
Trees and bushes change shape dramatically as you approach them, and textures flicker constantly in the middle distance.
This is very distracting.
Character animation is very stiff, and when they speak, they seem to flail their arms around to get what they are saying over to you,
which is probably because there is virtually no lip syncing or indeed, lip movement.
All the characters seem a little short and squat.
I'm running the game at 2560 x 1440, I haven't tried any other resolutions. Maybe a lower res would stretch the characters out.

The shadows cast by buildings and trees seem "twitchy", moving back and forth in an unrealistic manner on the floor.
The running animation is very odd. When you run, your characters torso becomes a fixed point in 3d space and does not move
and the arms and legs flap up and down in a very limited animation style. Overall, the engine is not great.
The engine would not have been great 10 years ago.
I assume the company made their own instead of buying a licence for the Unreal engine or some such.
It shows.

The animation style is very cartoon like on the game NPCs which clashed a little bit with what is otherwise, a very nice engine visually.
Textures are clear and sharp, buildings well defined & designed.

The voice acting steps things up considerably. The game has been localised , very well as far as I'm concerned, by an entirely UK English speaking cast.
All accents are either London or Cornwall based. UK slang words have been worked into the game well and used in the correct contect.
Most of the time.
Swearing is present and prevalent and is quite funny to hear.

The music is simply excellent, atmospheric and fitting to the environment, helping to set the mood well. It reminds me a little of the excellent music from Age of Conan, mainly the
Tortage city themes.

The mission structire so far appears to be the usual "fetch & bring back" type, or the "chicken & egg" conundrum, in that you have a final objective
but simply can't get to it without meeting certain criteria in the first place, and those criteria, also have criteria to meet.
Standard RPG fare there then, and this will likely make the game a solid single player RPG experience.

Combat starts out with a basic parry / slash combo , and as you level up, your earn skill points and gold to spend with trainers to improve your skills or increase your arsenal of moves.
Exactly the same as both Risen and Gothic 3.

So for now, is it worth 40 quid of STEAM?

Not to the casual RPG-er, but to anyone who has enjyoed the Gothic series, Two Worlds 1 or 2, Venetica, the original Risen, or Might & Magic 6 thru 9 this will be more of the same involving and fun gameplay. I wish the 25 version on Amazon had been there last night prior to me buying the over priced STEAM version.

If you think western RPGs stop with Oblivion and Skyrim, don't bother. This game will require a fair about of forgiveness ( the engine is seriously lacking), but in the long run
I think it will offer a lot of rewarding gameplay to the patient player.
That is of course, If you can tolerate the heavy graphical issues, which I hope will not plague the console versions as it has the PC version.
The game plays with mouse and keyboard OR the Xbox controller without issue.

I'll be playing Risen 2 to the end.

I think a score of 6/10 is fair.

Now give us a patch to fix the graphics.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 12, 2013 9:41 PM GMT

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (PC DVD)
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (PC DVD)
Offered by Online Game Shop
Price: 10.23

4.0 out of 5 stars Why the bad reviews? Excellent game, 23 April 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Great fun, extremely entertaining , graphically excellent, and marvelous on co-op as well as single player. I cannot believe people are scoring this game so low.

I purchased the game on day of release and was surprised when I found this game today ( 24 /4/2012) sitting on Amazon with 1 & 2 star scores.

I can only assume the score is directly related to the stringent online protection EA have put on the game if you want to co-op, and the fact there is no LAN play, the game only being playable via EA's game servers.

If you liked the previous "over the topness" of Red Alert 1 & 2 then you have it again here, in spades, with an outstanding cast totally hamming it up and having fun.

Missions are a mix of excellent base building, and the occasional run through quest. All fun, and all very well balanced.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this game and screw what the naysayers have written.

You like Red Alert? You'll love this

Battlefield 3 - Limited Edition (PC DVD)
Battlefield 3 - Limited Edition (PC DVD)
Offered by rockaway-records
Price: 32.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A mixed review, stability issues , incredible gameplay., 6 April 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
######################REVIEW UPDATED 16/11/2013.###############################

Battlefield 3 has been patched over the last year and is a stable and brilliant gaming experience.
Don't hesitate, go buy the Game of the Year edition and have a blast. Single player is ok, but multiplayer is where its at.

As I re-read the review mentioning instabilities in the early version of the game, I notice with interest that Battlefield 4 has multiple frame rate and stability issues. Plus, it's pretty much more of the same. Battlefield 3 was a massive upgrade over Battlefield 2 graphics wise. Although Battlefield 2 had the better designed maps & gave YOU the ability to create your own game server on the same PC as you were playing the game on, giving you the ability to host private games or just practice your flying etc. Battlefield 3 DOES NOT let you do this, instead you have to pay a monthly fee to a server farm to get your own server. A little unfair. But then, this is EA, and they often rip a player off . You can guarantee they are in cahoots with various server providers and are getting a back hander in some form or another for this service.

#################################END OF UPDATE 16/11/2013#######################################

I'll keep it brief-ish.

The game plays like a dream if you have the PC to run it. The recommended lower spec IS NOT ENOUGH. Be warned.

It's as fun as all the Battlefields before it. Over all, more mature in user base than COD . If you have played any of the other Battlefields you know what to expect. Awesome game.

When it runs that is !

Since the last patch, the one that added the Karkand map pack, I and many, many others have regular crashes to desktop. There you are mid-match or mid-level, the screen goes black, drops you out to your desktop, and you have no mouse pointer . You can only close the game with task manager !
An awful state of affairs for a game that is primarily designed to go online. When I last checked the official forums ( 5th April 2012) there were over 6000 posts about this issue. SO MANY people are experiencing it.
It happens between 2 and 5 minutes for me online, it takes a little longer in single player.

None of the suggested fixes have worked for me. So at this time the game is unplayable. And I bought Windows 7 pro 64 last year just so I would be able to play it ! Gutted !.

It should also be added that the EULA that EA enforce on you is very unfair, and very invasive.
You have been warned ! Again !
Origin is a terrible platform and a terrible system to hang major game releases from.

The browser based start up and menu screen is a bad idea. It all worked better in Battlefield 1942, Vietnam, 2142 and BF2. This new browser system is slow and clunky.

Anyway that's why my score is 5 stars for fun but 1 star over all.

I'll try and remember to change this review if they fix the game stability issue.
That's "IF".
As it stands, I can't play the game as , frankly, it's unplayable due to constant crashes.
I'm off to put a new month onto WOW for the Easter Event and try and forget about BF3 for now :(.

Dell U2711 Ultrasharp 27 inch Premier colour Widescreen Monitor
Dell U2711 Ultrasharp 27 inch Premier colour Widescreen Monitor

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great monitor and great service from Amazon, 6 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ordered the Dell 27" Ultrasharp after two bad experiences with a pair of Hanns-g 28 inch monitors, one bought from Aria and one from Amazon. Both of those had dead pixels and were returned, see my Hanns-g 28 monitor review on Amazon for further info.

The Dell Ultrasharp or "DUS27" is a different story, albeit a far more costly monitor ( 540 compared to 200) but what a difference, you really do get what you pay for. The Dus27 was ordered on April 4th and arrived April 5th. Amazon rock !

The build quality is amazing, with a steel base and support frame, 270 degrees of horizontal movement, adjustable height , a wealth of screen customisations, and a vast array of ports and connections on the rear and side .

Word to the wise here, make sure you USE THE DVI-D LEAD THAT DELL SUPPLIES with the monitor or you will not get the resolutuion you are after. The screen display looks very poor without it, unless of course you are using VGA or HDMI, but those are both limited to HD levels of display. The dual DVD lead takes it beyond standard HD, 2560 x 1440 to be exact.

Also turn off Dynamic Contrast from the display settings and the screen settles down nicely to a more consistent colour and brightness.

Talking of brightness, the monitor comes at a factory default of brightness and contrast being set at 50%. This is way too high and far too bright. Lower them both to 25% for a more comfortable view. The screen no longer glows like a torch !

This monitor is replacing a beautiful Samsung 26" monitor, that has served me for just under 3 years and is still going strong. It is still working well, and will now go into retirement.

A few bullet points on the Dell 27" Ultrasharp.

The screen is a true 27" screen, diagonally from corner to corner.
From side the side the screen measures 23.5 ". From top to bottom 13 1/4 ".
That's what my Wickes tape measure reads as anyway !

It is extremely heavy, I assume this is because of the metal base and metal support arm.

The Dell Ultrasharp comes with a "no dead pixels " guarantee, which is why it's so expensive ( no other company offers this kind of guarantee.) If it develops a dead pixel you have a three year warranty with Dell, who will replace it no questions asked.

There is no product registration info accompanying the monitor. I assume you have to go to Dells website ( the UK one ) and register it there.

I'm currently running it with a GTX 580 1.5mb Twin Frozr Nvidia card. The monitor will primarily be used for gaming. So far everything runs fast and smooth at max resolution 2560 x 1440 with no input or screen lag. Games tested so far ( they all look amazing ):-
Battlefield 3. Crysis 2. Two Worlds 2. Starcraft 2. World of Warcraft. Rift. Dead Island.

DVD and Bluray films look amazing.

So what you waiting for ? If you can afford it, this is a great gaming monitor, with a longer guarantee and better build quality than everything else out there.

Samsung T260 26-inch Widescreen LCD Monitor, 2ms, 20000:1
Samsung T260 26-inch Widescreen LCD Monitor, 2ms, 20000:1

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic build quality and picture, 3 April 2012
The Samsung 26 ( 25.5 ) monitor T260 is a visually stunning panel, heavy build quality with a lovely deep red wine bezel tint. This monitor is used ONLY for gaming, mostly at higher resolution ( 1920x 1200 ) and has maintained colour and responses times consistently since I pressed it into service a little over 2 years ago. Games look amazing, and if you play WOW, any of the latest PC games releases, or load up old DOS titles from GOG, this monitor does them all justice. I have also plugged my Xbox 360 into this panel, and that has never looked better, except when its on my 50 inch Samsung flatscreen.

It is a monitor that can only be viewed head on however, as all other viewing angles lose colour

I really am impressed with this monitor and Samsung just seem to do great screen either for your TV or PC.

It's just a shame AMAZON aren't selling this baby as I would buy a spare as backup. As such, at time of writing there is only one second hand one available, and I'm not having that !

If you can find it new, buy it !

DC World of Warcraft Premium Series 4 Action Figure - The Headless Horseman
DC World of Warcraft Premium Series 4 Action Figure - The Headless Horseman
Offered by Collectors Kingdom
Price: 29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great figurine, another quality WOW model, 3 April 2012
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:1.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a nice large figure, bright colours, impecable build quality, with only a slight issue of where to put his head ! It can go on his shoulders or he can hold it in his hand or it can stand on a transparent post , giving a floating effect.
I just sat it on his head.

Buy it now, before it starts getting too expensive. An example of that happening it the excellent Lich King figure which has started selling for 75 plus !...I ended buying it from a toy shop in Japan, and with postage, it cost me 46.00.

All ( well most )of the wow figures are great quality, and there are only few I haven't bought. The Pandarian will never find shelf space in my house ( I really don't agree with that as a race, its a joke gone too far ) , but the class that's coming with them ( Monk ) and the new zone look interesting.

The Taunka, another unpopular race, is another figurine I won't have in the collection, but gamewise, they at least have the merit of being NPC's only, which would be acceptable for the Pandarians, but not as a playable race.

The only other figure in the series I didn't buy was a gnome warlock with a void walker pet. Gnomes and Goblins are a bit crummy as races, but the two I do own have interesting mounts, a goblin rocket and a gnomish robot chicken. If the warlock with the void walker goes cheap, I'll get it, but not unless very cheap.

As I stated earlier all the WOW figures ( well most ) are worthy of collection, but they really take up the shelf space. But they also look great, and visitors to the house always comment on them.

They are also serious dust magnets, so every 6 months they get dunked in a sink full of water for a good clean. Thanks to their robust build and quality paint jobs, this never has a detrimental effect, and freshens them up again nicely.

HannsG HZ281HPB 28-inch LCD TFT Monitor
HannsG HZ281HPB 28-inch LCD TFT Monitor

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very poor monitor, but BRILLIANT service from Amazon, 3 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Lets start this review by saying how AMAZING Amazon have been regards customer service. I am not happy with the monitor, but AMAZON have so far, been amazing. And that's the reason I do most of my shopping on Amazon and will continue to do so with confidence.

Lets review the monitor :-

Took receipt of this monitor 1/4/2012

Set it up and instantly a bright grey dead pixel was apparent on the screen, dead centre,changing the background multiple times did not help the issue.

Overall the build quality of the monitor is acceptable. The picture is brilliant, and initially was overly bright, responsive controls allowed this to be fixed nice and easily.

However, the dead pixel was simply unacceptable. If you buy a car brand new would you accept the argument " because of its size you have to accept that some of the panels will have scratches on them ?"

I would suggest you wouldn't, so why do Hanns-g think a fault in their monitor screen should be acceptable?
It's brand new. It's cost you a fair amount of cash. Anything but perfection is unnacceptable.

Dead pixels on a BRAND NEW monitor are NOT acceptable under any circumstance and YOU should not accept it. A brand new item should be in perfect condition. Accept no less.

The monitor is in itself very nice , but NOT if it has dead pixels. Buyer beware. I also purchased one of these monitors from a week prior to my Amazon purchase. This one ALSO has a dead pixel, this time bottom right quadrant of the screen and bright red ! This has already been returned with a refund request, but was a lot of work to negotiate, not a friendly or efficient company to deal with, and once they process my refund, I shall shut my account with down and never use them again. So simply, AVOID Hanns-g monitors unless you are willing to gamble with dead pixels. And avoid Aria and use Amazon instead.

Once again, (pending the refund from Amazon), AMAZON have been brilliant and are arranging to pick my monitor up for purposes of refund on 3/4/2012. This review should in no way reflect on AMAZON, who I shall continue to use with confidence, it's not their fault Hanns-g build such shabby monitors.

UPDATE 5 April 2012. Amazon took reciept of the returned Hanns-G 28 inch monitor and have now furnsihed me with a complete refund. FULL marks to Amazon for excellent customer service.
As far as Hanns-G go, I will NEVER use any of their products ever again, both monitors were suffering from the same dead pixel fault. Terrible. A shame really as if they had no dead pixels I reckon they would be nice monitors. But who cares, the real success story here is Amazon. Great stuff.
I have since purchased a Dell 27" ultra sharp instead. I'll leave a review. Suffice to say, I didn't send that monitor back !

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