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Acis (Ireland)

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Assassin's Creed II (PC)
Assassin's Creed II (PC)
Offered by 4GamersUK
Price: 5.65

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ironic features, 13 April 2010
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
Product Features
Platform: PC
...
* A NEW-FOUND FREEDOM -

Being only able to use the game when the internet is on, when your servers are up, etc etc, is not a new found freedom, it is a new found constraint.


Dragon Age: Origins (PC)
Dragon Age: Origins (PC)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: 5.99

24 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Forgiving flaws?, 30 Nov 2009
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Having been playing the game now a while I remain amazed at just how well received it has been and how willingly most seem to brush flaws and problems under the proverbial carpet. The game is okay, and there is some enjoyment to be had from it, but it is also very often an exercise in un-necessary frustration and disappointingly lacking in "immersion" for a game of this style.

Surprisingly, it handles some features less ably than Baldur's Gate, made many years ago now. There you had six characters interacting and on screen, Dragon Age has just four. Tactical options or instructions, plus "formations", are gone or just ineffective. In Dragon Age, for example, in order to get your party to spread out, and hence use "ranged" weapons effectively, you need to tell the characters to "hold" position. However, when in the hold position is toggled, then the characters generally do not fight back when being struck - so say you pull back an archer and set him to fire on some beastie, he kills that beastie, then stands there doing absolutely nothing when some other creature steals up on him and starts bashing him over the head (You may get the sense that you are playing "Moron Age", not "Dragon Age"!). Take off the "hold" option, and your archer automatically charges back to the group, nullifying his ranged threat. As a strategy game, this is just rubbish. Additionally, you have to constantly monitor and adjust everything as the game devolves into a typical pattern of: hit pause, make a change, hit pause, check things - change view, hit pause, hit pause, hit pause, see the character doing absolutely nothing and wake him/her up, hit pause, hit pause, hit pause. And hopefully, assuming you haven't broken the space bar at this point, eventually win the battle (which is, in turn, pretty much the same as all the other battles given the strategic inflexibility of the engine).

Another very irritating thing is the frequent cases of enemies re-spawning immediately - go into a room, kill all the monsters successfully, but they immediately pop up again and you have to kill them again but they immediately re-spawn and maybe for a third time you have to kill exactly the same monster set. It becomes just a "strategy" of holding on if you can, which is tedious and not very interesting.

Then there's the endless repetitive dialogue. Want to talk to a merchant you have to put up with the exact same longueurs - appropriate on first hearing, totally tedious on even the second and on. Character comments themselves are often as pointless: want to open that door... "It has begun... " says your character. What has? The door? What are you on about? Meaningless and pointless. In general, there were times when my concentration drifted on the longer scenes and I forgot who the participants in the conversation actually were!

The map is fast travel only, ie just jump directly to major sites without any actual travelling. I remember reading many a heated debate about the mere inclusion of "fast travel" in Oblivion but here that's all there is. A surprisingly backward inclusion for a game in this day and age. The second Baldur's Game was like that but that at least had the excuse of the technology of the day - not so now. Also, sections of the game get cut off from you once visited, preventing you from returning: overall, it is not the open, exploratory experience some of the big recent rpg games have delivered.

Anyhow, I'm getting long winded here now myself. It's not a bad game overall but it is a flawed game and a somewhat unbalanced game. I'd still recommend giving it a go as it has a strong "lore" element to it but I would also tell anyone about to purchase it to beware the odd over exuberance in these reviews here. Edge magazine recently gave the game 5 out of ten - it isn't receiving universal praise - so be leery to avoid disappointment.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2010 6:50 PM GMT


Anno 1404 (PC)
Anno 1404 (PC)
Price: 4.99

18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Have to react to erosion of rights, 7 July 2009
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Anno 1404 (PC) (Video Game)
It is becoming more and more prevalent now that Games publishers are only allowing you play games "for a while". Essentially, this is what a limited activation does. Inevitably people will need to, at some stage, re-install a Windows OS, be it through errors on the disk, in the registry or just simply through upgrading their hardware (probably with the idea of getting a better gaming experience!?) but with limited activations you no longer get the guarantee that the game you could successful play pre-new install will still play. It's a shocking development. Imagine each time you got a new CD player, there was a chance none of your old CDs would play? Or DVDs?

Stop supporting this madness and stop buying games that carry these Draconian limitations.


The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House
by Kate Summerscale
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A student essay perhaps?, 7 Feb 2009
I spent some time as a college lecturer and this book brought back that time vividly as it reads just like a student essay. The most striking aspect is how over anxious the writer is to prove that "all sorts" of research was done. The result is that completely tangential passages are repeatedly thrown in, irrespective of the fact that they are often simply not interesting nor illuminating of the core narrative. There's also the typical repetition found in a student work where, having lost sight of the point and direction of the text, the writer will fumble through previous ideas to get back on track. For a published work this is very surprising. I would have expected an editor to have acted on that and reduced the work to around 60% of its current length.

So, an interesting topic for a book that has been blighted by poor, immature writing, bad construction and lazy editing. Some of the historical facts inserted into the book, in themselves, are interesting, and thus saves me rating this at the lowest "one star" rating but, on the whole, I would not recommend the book at all.


Two Worlds (PC DVD)
Two Worlds (PC DVD)
Offered by PNA247
Price: 3.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better now, 21 Mar 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Two Worlds (PC DVD) (Video Game)
Following a somewhat flawed release, this game can be heartedly recommended in its current (patched) guise for those that enjoy an adventure story, well presented and not overly demanding of quick clicks and nimble keyboard skills.

The mechanism of "horse riding" your way around the country, coming across bandits, discovering small new towns, each with its own small set of "issues" to be dealt with, whilst over-arching all is the main story of a sibling rescue, is essentially very enjoyable and I now look forward to the promise of an expansion pack that will continue on this adventure some more.


Bioshock (PC DVD)
Bioshock (PC DVD)

93 of 116 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shocked?, 13 Sep 2007
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Bioshock (PC DVD) (Video Game)
There's a massive difference I think, between those that play this on PC and those that play it on Xbox.

On the one hand, the XBox does not have all that many games of this ilk and consequently it appears fresh and new. On the PC however, it threads familiar enough territory and does not seem exceptional.

More pertinent, on the XBox, you pop in the disk and play the game, let your mates play, bring it to their house, play as often as you like... On the PC version there's very significant copy protection measures that limit how many times that you can install the game per user account, not just per PC. Also, the PC DVD comes, bizarrely, without the game!! ie the "exe" needed is not there, you have to download it from servers. Which really makes me wonder what will happen if I fancy playing this in a years time or whatever, who knows who then will own the rights to the game or if the company can still afford to run these servers?

It's an unusual way of doing things, pretend that you are selling the game but actually you are only really renting it to people. Even more annoying is the way nothing about this is mentioned on the Bioshock box or even in the manual. Nothing is said when you try to install the game. You are just left to discover some time in the future that your "activations" have run out or your game (ie "exe") is no longer available for download.

Whatever about the qualities of the game itself, shooting things in very nicely rendered surroundings for about 8 hours then game over, for PC users there are far more fundamental reasons to avoid this game. Game publishers do have a right to protect their products but not, I think, in this underhand secretive way that the publishers of Bioshock have undertaken. It's true the game does not last very long and perhaps is not special enough to warrant re-installing many times in future, but we should at least have a choice in this matter and at least know about these limitations when buying. I would avoid on PC for those reasons.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 22, 2008 5:43 PM BST


The Adventures Of Ghosthorse And Stillborn
The Adventures Of Ghosthorse And Stillborn
Price: 10.24

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bland Coco, 28 Jun 2007
CocoRosie's first album was home made, experimental, left field and fun. Their second brought more polish, higher production values but still kept a playfulness and pleasantly gauche quality. This release now though I found horribly predictable and bland. Very disappointed with this release, stuff like "Rainbow Warriors" is just half-baked and, hard to avoid the word when discussing the album, bland. If you're coming to CocoRosie for the first time, you won't go wrong with either of their two earlier albums but steer clear of this.


Neverwinter Nights 2 (PC DVD)
Neverwinter Nights 2 (PC DVD)
Offered by SC-WHOLESALE
Price: 16.99

26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 14 Nov 2006
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This has been a sadly disappointing release for the Baldur's Gate/NWN series - key areas are let downs. For example, the game has become very linear compared to the previous games in the RPG series. It is far more a "Go there" , "Now do that" sort of game and the sense of exploration has just evaporated. A concrete example of that is the simple fact that the game no longer utilises a "fog of war" - go to a new area and the whole area is visible immediately, no guarded exploration (and hence potential excitement) necessary.

Other things that badly affect gameplay are terrible "AI" for the party members in your group added to shocking "path-finding" - basically, you may have three characters and get involved in a fight only to realise one of the characters is not fighting but just standing watching others get smacked or else he/she is stuck on the corner of a tree stump unable to move past. It's only after a few hours playing do these things become more and more evident and the frustration level with the game rises to very significant levels.

There are other things wrong too - the camera can be very difficult to control in places and can get "stuck" (more frustration), the Inventory is amazingly bad for a game of this pedigree (eg no way to sort objects, everything just jumbled together into the one "bag" - quest items, weapons, potions etc etc - and then given small, indistinct icons that have you squinting and searching for the simplest item. "Cut scenes" trigger at wrong times, voices of characters don't always synchronise with the characters, ... it goes on ...

From my experience playing so far, I've decided to shelve the game for the moment. It is the perfect example of a game that will need several patches before reaching it's potential - leave it til the new year sometime and the experience should then have improved. I'm hoping that will be true anyhow!


Pro Evolution Soccer 3 (PS2)
Pro Evolution Soccer 3 (PS2)

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A step back, 21 Nov 2003
Unfortunately, PES3 is a bit of a disappointment to someone like me who has played the series from its days on the Super Nintendo.
The single - player game is where it loses altogether. Unlike the new Fifa, where the play can slow down a little to allow you see the field and your potential moves, PES3 speeds up play against you (the player) but, bizarrely, slows it down for the cpu. When a cpu player is attempting to control the ball, the player you control fixedly stops and cannot be moved, whereas when the ball is bouncing and your player is trying to control it, you get barged out of the way and the cpu gains control.
This is just really annoying!
But also there are other matters.
The coding of ref responses is absolutely astonishingly bad. I cannot understand how this could have passed testing. Perfectly timed sliding tackles can result in red cards but hauling down a guy from behind who is last on goal can result in just a goalkick! PLUS! A new entry in the daft stakes: handball!
Now, maybe I missed it in the manual but I never saw no button for moving my player's hand to the ball? Consequently I would think they cannot "handball"? This bascially amounts to random freekicks every so often. Stupid.
Then there's the offensive AI. Defensively, the game works by surronding your player by about eight players who all run faster and respond faster than your player. Offensively, they just stand about! Or at least, do not take up useful attacking positions. For example, your midfielder will take a ball, turn to the wing, be facing a wing player who has attacking runs set, etc, and the wingman will gradually just drift back into defence!!! Absolutely will not move forward into a useful attacking position.
What really bugs me, though, is if your midfield intercepts a ball and charges forward. You now, say, out number the opposition 3 to 2. Not for long though! HAving broken thorugh, your forwards now take it upon their selves to rush back to defensive positions, leavin gyour midfileder as a sole attacker!!! Bizarre again. The coding is far too restrictively maintaining overall formations.
Finally, before I remember even more stuff and get even more annoyed at this game, one-twos. What are they? One player passes to another, runs, then receives a return pass? In PES3 one player passes, runs a few yards then stops running, the receiving player takes it and then passes to whoever - not necessarily the original player but whoever is near... -ish. If the receiver is a bit far away, the original player has not only stopped running into position but will have stopped, turned around and be trotting back to where he came from. Did I mention Bizarre? Its bizarre. again.
Overall so, the game has some terrible disappointments (still that rubbish way of taking frees too; where you cant see where you're aiming, nor know exactly how hard you're hitting the ball, given that the "power bar" produces different results each time....)
eugh STOP! enough... its a let down. A very big let down


F1 Career Challenge
F1 Career Challenge

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars twitchy, 16 July 2003
This review is from: F1 Career Challenge (Video Game)
I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who doesn't have a steering wheel accessory - the steering is incredibly twitchy with a regular controller in hand (its either straight ahead or severe turning, nothing much in between). Atmosphere is very good - though I think, at this stage, EA should give up putting scary, oversized heads on the ingame characters... Don't know what they're trying to do with that one, meld sport and horror into a new genre?
Anyway - if you're well into sitting in front of your telly, imagining yourself racing sportscars and have the accessories, go for it, otherwise its just very frustrating and definitely not worth it...


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