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M. Wilkinson (Portsmouth, Hampshire)

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Fallout 3: Game Of The Year Edition (PC DVD)
Fallout 3: Game Of The Year Edition (PC DVD)
Offered by Netro Enterprise
Price: £19.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is a fantastic game - 10 out of 10, 3 April 2015
Be wary. This is a fantastic game - 10 out of 10, no problem - but if you like Bethesda games you might know they have a reputation for bugs. Just a heads-up - if you have a multi-core processor or run windows 7 (or like me, both) then you will have issues - like game ending freezes that require you to ctrl-alt-del to get out of it. The game itself I have played extensively on the xbox, its an post-apocalypse, open-world classic but this is a review of the specific PC version for windows on disc which I bought here on amazon and to put it simply - it doesn't work.

A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
by George R.R. Martin
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 stars because the writing is still good... but DAMMIT, GEORGE - NO!, 2 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
OK, I discovered the series a little late, somewhere around the time when season 3 was starting to be aired, I enjoyed the series, although I had what are apparently the traditional misgivings (major characters get killed off, male genitalia and procrastination), now having read all the way to the fifth book, I start to realise that the niggling doubts are becoming severe and G.R.R.M. is in danger of ruining his epic series. I wonder how worried the network would be if they knew that this far ahead in the song of ice and fire (what might end up as season 7 or 8 of the TV version), Danaerys is still a long way from Westeros and not even heading there. To put it bluntly, the series has begun to feel like it is tripping over itself in an effort to slow down and drag the story out. A terrible shame as the first few books were so damned good.

I don't know if should give spoilers - if you've read the last four books I can't imagine that you'd really stop here but major characters continue to drop and I wouldn't mind if it made sense but at the climax of this book - it simply doesn't. A character dies when there are still so many unanswered questions and unfulfilled potential and you'll think 'no... that's just stupid' - its even implausible. It just wouldn't have happened like that! You might have to read the book to know what I mean but chances are, when you do - you'll agree.

So, the procrastination is worse than ever and a major character dies almost making you wish they hadn't been included in the first place. If the series carries on like this, I get a feeling many people will start a song of ice and fire but lose interest before the song is done.

Since this review is attached to a particular addition, let me say the hardback presentation in a slipcase is good, but not great. LOTR had an anniversary addition (From the American Amazon site) that was leather bound with gold-leaf edged pages. Now that was a work of art.

Dragon's Dogma: Official Design Works
Dragon's Dogma: Official Design Works
by Capcom
Edition: Paperback
Price: £27.19

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good artbook but format and content could have been a little better, 2 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I think I prefer the format of some of Udon's other concept art books, the monster hunter ones are much longer and give more room but the fairly stiff paper isn't too difficult to handle and the binding is ok. At 312 pages you get a fair amount of content for the money as well.

One problem I have is that coming out in what is nearly the middle of 2014 I would have expected some concept art from the Dark Arisen addition and I was a little disappointed that there was none. Some concept art for Eliminators or the Gazer and the Bitterblack weapons and armour would, I think, have earned the book an additional star.

Having said all that, I would still recommend this book for anyone who likes the design in the game or anyone interested in fantasy art for sheer inspiration.

Dragons Dogma: Dark Arisen (Xbox 360)
Dragons Dogma: Dark Arisen (Xbox 360)
Offered by APE-GAMES
Price: £11.68

4.0 out of 5 stars Not a perfect action RPG but it comes close., 23 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Though the game is open world its world is not as expansive as a game like skyrim and there are far fewer places to visit, also the way the world is set up you have to travel through certain areas to reach others and shortcuts can be hard to come by, added to this is a strange fast travel systel involving you buying special one time use gems but the game world is quite pretty and as the combat is fun you shouldn't mind this too much. In comparison to Skyrim in fact the combat is better, more exciting with more dangerous enemies and more types of attacks you can use. You can even clamber up a giant cyclops to stab him in the eye, or on to the back of a dragon to cut at its wings. The difficulty involves a relatively steep learning curve although it gets much easier once you've leveled up enough to avoid most of the 1 hit kills.

The character customisation is excellent and if you're in to that kind of thing, you really can make your character look however you want, a tiny old woman, a huge hulking barbarian with tree trunk legs and a big gut - and everything inbetween. In true JRPG tradition you can give your character pink hair! There are a huge variety of weapons and armour in the game and reminiscent of monster hunter, you can use salvaged parts of defeated enemies to upgrade your gear. Though the plot is simple and the side quests are uninspired there is still enough epic action to make you forgive the games shortcomings.

It is worth waiting before you try exploring bitterblack isle. The enemies in the dark labyrinth beneath that island make the games regular enemies seem a push-over in comparison.

The main quest can provide a good 20 hours of gameplay, more depending on what sorts of side quests you try for. In fact that's one detraction from the game, many quests can be locked out if you progress too far in the main quest and sometimes you will fail a quest for a reason you never would have been able to foresee. Make the wiki your friend and you won't have the problem much. Also the levelling process involves differences in stats so to be the best fighter, you might want to level a while as an assassin for the attack boost or a strider for the stamina gains. I wish they'd done that a bit differently but you also get a 'pawn' which you can design like your main character and choose their vocation and special skills, too. Learning how to best use the skills is what will give you the edge in combat, especially for magic using characters. Some of the spells have ridiculous cast times - like more than ten seconds, but if you're followers can keep the enemy off you that long you have access to some potent and epic looking effects. If you're online the pawns you summon at so-called rift stones are actually the main pawns of other players. I tend not to be online so I got random generated ones which is fine but doing it offline means a deficit of rift crystals which causes some problems later on when they become the main currency.

The game is well worth taking a stab at just for the good graphics and exciting combat. You will feel a real sense of achievement after killing your first drake considering the battle is likely to take you a good 20 minutes.

Have fun.

Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition (Xbox 360)
Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition (Xbox 360)

4.0 out of 5 stars Its not Skyrim but its a good solid RPG, 11 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this a year or so ago and have only started to play it recently. One of the first things you notice is that you have a different 'Origin' story (Oh, I just got that) at the start of the game which, depending on your choices gives you one of 6 different start quests, giving your characters a bit of personality and good material for roleplay when you return there later in the story - so to get the most of this, I would have to say that the game does pay to replay. At first I didn't like the clunky RPG style of combat where for some character types, combat involves holding down the A button but for mages the game is a bit more fun, flinging AOE spells around and decimating the enemy.

There are a few other niggling problems that can distract from enjoyment like the FAR too common invisible walls. Your character can't jump and not being able to go a place you want to explore hurts immersion a little bit. The most obtrusive example I recall was where my character could not walk through a puddle because... well you'll have to use your imagination because it looked ridiculous. Its also not open world - don't get me wrong, that's fine, it wasn't sold as if it was, but when mini-locations get reused (I'm thinking a part of a city where as you travel you keep getting inserted in to the same damn mini-map and you're supposed to pretend its somewhere else - but that also detracts a little.

The story is pretty good and some of the voice acting is top notch. One memorable quest involved my elf mage returning to the circle and getting drawn in to this shadow realm where you have to shapeshift in to one of 4 different forms to get through, I found that quest incredibly well designed - almost good enough to be its own game.

There's also a lot of DLC included in this version which will mean that there is a lot to do after the main game is finished, so even with its shortcomings I would have to say that to anyone who has ever enjoyed an RPG this game is well worth a look.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 17, 2016 3:39 AM GMT

The Elder Scrolls Anthology (PC DVD)
The Elder Scrolls Anthology (PC DVD)

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly Epic... but not without its flaws..., 2 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I only got in to the Elder Scrolls series when Skyrim had been out several months but after experiencing that and loving it (I'd describe it as the best game ever) I wanted more and picked up a Game of the Year edition of Oblivion (Elder Scrolls IV) and though I heard many good things about Morrowind - which is apparently more popular than the edition of the saga that came after it - never had the chance to play it on xbox.

I think its great to have these all on PC now so that aside from having all the expansion packs I can now access mods and maybe even come up with some of my own. There's already a wealth of mods out there to make the games better and include more content. Falskaar just as one example of the top of my head is well worth looking in to.

The first two in the series are available for free on the internet but for the sake of completion its nice that they're here as well. As for Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim - well, they each offer dozens if not hundreds of hours of entertainment. The whole thing is beautifully packaged and includes maps (though not terribly detailed) of almost all of Tamriel; the continent where the elder scrolls are set. It'll be great to familiarise myself with all these games as I wait patiently for the sixth installment in the series (Unsure about TESO).

*Well, I'm updating my review and I feel I have to take off a star for a number of issues that have detracted from the enjoyment. First of all, since Morrowind as one of the more recent titles was released on xbox, I had planned to use an Xbox controller for windows and thought I'd be able to do so without problem but nope. It doesn't work. There's no real support and the only advice I found involved downloading other programs that allow you to alter controller settings - something that just shouldn't be necessary. Also as Arena, Daggerfall and Morrowind are the older more 'hard-core' games you will find that getting in to them (I'm doing it for the Elder Scrolls lore more than anything) is not easy and the games themselves don't come with any manuals. There might be a readme.txt file on the discs but I think they could have done better. Also, despite taking a longtime installing Morrowind and Oblivion both need the disc in before they will work. I don't know if this is standard for PC games (I usually play on xbox) but since my dvd drive is external and has to be plugged in to my laptop I found it a large inconvenience. Feels like more DRM rubbish that PC users tend to suffer for. Feels like when you buy a dvd and have to watch all the anti-piracy warnings?

Really the set is about the last two games, you get them and the dlc expansions and the older games are better thought of as more of a bonus. If you wouldn't buy it just to have Oblivion and Skyrim you might be better advised to save your money. Having said that, there are projects going on 'Skywind' for example, that just might completely revitalise the older game if they ever get around to making it work.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 12, 2013 7:12 PM GMT

LaCie Minimus 2TB USB 3.0
LaCie Minimus 2TB USB 3.0

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars First class external hard drive, 1 Jan. 2012
I received this from a computer savvy family member because I'd had some problems playing files off a 3tb external hard drive on our HD tv - it seems that 2tb is as much as current models can 'see' and its formatted as NTSF so it can hold big HD movies files of 10 gig or more.

The hard drive is compact, very quiet and with a metal finish its absolutely beautiful. First class product. I'll get another Lacie drive the next time I have storage needs.

*An update is required for this review - after owning the drive about 3 years the USB connector on the drive end stopped working - making it unusable. The data I had on it was completely lost. It could have been recovered if I'd taken the broken drive to repair but I decided it wasn't worth it. In the meantime I got myself a 4 terabyte Seagate drive which is better in just about every way - apart from maybe aesthetics - however, since the metal casing on the Lacie occasionally gave me mild electric shocks where I'd picked up static walking across carpet, maybe that's something I can live without. (reduced to 3 stars from 5)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Xbox 360)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Xbox 360)
Offered by Excess Gaming
Price: £13.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply put, the best game that's ever been made, 28 Dec. 2011
That sounds excessive but I feel its absolutely true in this case. The game looked very good but when I started playing it I was amazed by the customisation available for your starting character. You can choose from 10 completely different races from men, elves or even a lizard man, cat person or even an orc! When you've taken the time to decide how your character will look you name him and then you're off. The action's thick and fast and after the first little bit of dungeoning you're off to pick your speciality - will you become a magic user, stealthy thief or brutal warrior? The magic stones you activate lets you learn those sets of skills more easily but you can come back and select a different one later and there's nothing to stop you becoming a well rounded character - no matter what you do, you'll end up casting spells and doing some lockpicking/thievery and fighting, too.

The graphics are fantastic. I used to think Legend of Zelda was the final word in fantasy/RPG type games... How naive! Once you've explored the first town called Whiterun (The charming village of Riverwood doesn't count but that's fun, too!) You'll begin to get a vague idea of how truly epic this game is. I can't begin to imagine how long it took - when games like Modern Warfare (Which I like, so don't get me wrong) can do well when the campaign is only 8 or so hours, suddenly you have a game like this which could take 100 hours - or maybe more! Their are plenty of towns and a huge wilderness with caves, dungeons, hideouts and giant camps - an early mission asks that you collect a mammoth tusk for someone - good luck with that as a low level character. Like all open world games the travel can get a tiny bit tedious at times but the random encounters keep it fun - not just attacks but wandering minstrels and even a thief who asks you to surrender your hard-fought-for gold! There are also tiny problems with the AI getting in your way or not keeping up and the loading screens are a little on the long side but really nothing is major enough to detracts from this miracle of a game.

The combat is good but for me the magic is one of the best parts of the game. I was blown away the first time I summoned a fire atronach to fight for me. I could spend the whole review just talking about the amazing things that are possible in this game, just to make a point, I once played this game for about 14 hours straight. I can't imagine doing that in any other game I've ever had but this is something else. The character generation is so much fun that I've got a few characters on the go at once but all low level.

I can't wait to get deeper in to the game, level up, develop my skills, get more powerful and see more of the beautiful, beautiful world that Bethesda has made. If they announced they were doing some sort of expansion I'd give them my bank details right now. It kind of makes me think what's going to be possible on the next generation of console considering how long in the tooth the xbox is now. I think the future is bright!

Incidentally, if people want a guide to the game - its the kind of game where that's useful and fun to have - you can still get them from (not

Totally amazing game, I can't really imagine people not liking it unless they dislike all video games anyway. Absolute instant classic - You must play this game.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 10, 2012 3:18 PM GMT

Red Dead Redemption - Game of The Year Edition (Xbox 360)
Red Dead Redemption - Game of The Year Edition (Xbox 360)
Offered by Ace Goods Co. Ltd
Price: £19.98

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great game and excellent value for this edition but it has some minor flaws, 29 Nov. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am fairly new to the xbox format so I never got this game when it first came out although I did think 'An open world game set in the wild west? Sounds pretty cool' and indeed it is. The graphics are excellent - better than some newer games in the same genre - shame on you saints row third - and the excellent music and thought that's gone in to the game make it a very immersive experience. You won't want the game to end, and as its open, when you do complete the missions, you can if you choose continue with side missions, games, gaining outfits and challenges (to become a legend of the west) or simply skipping from town to town, cheating at poker and getting in to duels.

I have to say something about the music. Its as good as you'd see in an old western and an original song by Jose Gonzalez (best known for the song 'Heartbeats') that plays when you first enter Mexico was so beautiful that I was distracted from the gameplay and rode my horse off a cliff which killed me, and stopped the music - damn. The side games include poker, blackjack, liar's dice, arm wrestling and horseshoe throwing are all fun even if they're not easy to master.

So why not 5 stars, well despite coming out a year after the original game and including lots of neat extras - not the least of which is the undead nightmare segment which is a whole game in itself, though it follows on from the first one - the game still has its glitches. Most of these are not very upsetting but the fact that your character cannot swim and dies instantly in even shallow water can be irritating and because of the games complexity some things aren't as easy as they should have been. I'm thinking of duels, primarily. Pay attention when the tutorial kicks in. It won't repeat, you can't bring it up again and you'll keep wondering why you keep losing your duels. I've looked on youtube for better explanations and no matter how people describe it, its more complicated and awkward than it should have been. Also, the much touted, 'play it your way' thing is a bit over-rated, though you can make small amounts of money committing some crimes, the bounty on your head is annoying and lawmen appear out of nowhere to begin shooting you down - in short, you pretty much have to be a good guy - and the set adventures show lots of cut scenes that imply you're basically a good guy so trying to go against this doesn't get you far. Really there should be different missions accessible depending on the type of person you're playing. One other last little problem - getting around can be tedious. Once you've spent an hour in total riding from town to town on your horse it can get pretty old. It also would have been nice to customise the character's appearance but never mind.

That aside, I find the game to be great fun, very immersive and well worth the price, especially if you're going to venture in to the multiplayer side of it as well. Excellent game with some minor problems, but not enough problems to stop it being good fun and taking up many hours of your time with good entertainment and total escapism in the wild west.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 8, 2012 7:52 PM GMT

Xbox 360 250GB Console
Xbox 360 250GB Console

87 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best console available, 16 Nov. 2011
I only recently got myself an Xbox 360 and as this newer matte black edition was cheaper than the older shiny version (which quickly get smudged with finger prints) I decided to go for it, since it also had the 250 gig hard drive, which considering a lot of games ask you to install updates and such (Battlefield 3 has a HD texture pack that takes up nearly 1.5 gig on its own) is worth having. From using a Nintendo Wii for the last couple of years, starting this up was a revelation. Its a high-def experience from start to finish. The Xbox live experience is going to take some getting used to - it features places to download movies and all sorts. One downside is that to play games online you will need to get a gold subscription for about £40 and this is important - you CANNOT get the most out of this product without buying an HDMI cable - IT DOES NOT COME WITH ONE. Of course, you can get them on amazon for less than £2.00 and they work great.Wired--up v1.3A HDMI to HDMI Gold Plated Connectors 1.8m Cable for HD TV's/ Xbox 360/ PS3 I bought another one for my new blu-ray player.

I've been kind of limited to offline play with my new (new to me) games but experiencing the high def graphics has been quite an experience. The digital dolby sound on a lot of the games has to be heard to be believed. If you have an HD television you need a game system like this to get the most out of it, as long as you have even a passing interest in playing video games. £170 (bit less than I paid, actually) is quite a lot for a videogame console and you'd hope it would be a little cheaper as its coming to the end of its useful life span and is likely to be superceded with an updated xbox some time next year or in 2013, still for the visual experience and the low prices of some of the older games, its still well worth getting in to the xbox 360 while you still can.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 7, 2013 3:29 PM BST

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