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Robert Poulsen "Alright Sally" (England)

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Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy VIII

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Between a rock and a hard place, 27 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Final Fantasy VIII (Video Game)
Thinking all the time, never saying a word. Looking miserable, wearing awful black clothes. Being rude to people, mood swings.
Remember when you where a teenager? Perhaps you are one, and that is why Final Fantasy VIII is a hidden gem, concealed by the fact, hype and fans of 7 & 9.

Final Fantasy VIII is in many ways like other FF's, its set in a huge explorable world upon which, a situation arises, threatening its existence, companions are gathered along the journey to prevent it. But what 8 has done is extraordinary although it has to be said, unappreciated. This fantasy is through the eyes of a teenager, Squall, dubbed a Leonardo Dicaprio look-alike misery guts. Which is without doubt true, and possibly a strong reason why so many detest this game, living-reliving the life of a teenager in a world that is the closest to this one than any other FF game beyond 7. Effectively taken place in a Garden (school/college) where the students are trained to be become functioning members of an elite group of soldiers known as SEED. Ok not exactly a clever or exciting plot at first glance but this is only the beginning of something overlooked. Everything about it has that youthful learning element to it, such as the SEED tests as a means of gaining regular income, testing your knowledge of enemies, magic and general surroundings, you participate in field exams where you are graded accordingly on time, battles, attitude, spirit etc. oh and you're not aloud to buy a porn mag because you're to young.

Like all successful square games, it begins slow but picks up the pace by new events, addictive mini games and tugs on your heart strings with a puppy love storyline. Clearly, gamers have taken one look at the indifferent main character they must control and shake their fist in disgust that they aren't a mysterious mercenary, fun loving optimist athlete or a womanizing thief with a tail. I'll admit there are moments in the dialogue where you get annoyed at the ignorance of said character, such phrases like "go talk to a wall" are aimed at someone spilling their emotional guts and "whatever" occurs repeatedly followed by "....." making Squall an essentially unresponsive cold jerk.. what he wants you to think.. however the time I played this, I was of a similar age, disposition and could defend 'some' of his actions. As time wears on though, more light is shed as to why your guy seems so hormone ridden, a past frequently visited in game that should be cherished to understand. Ahh but Square likes messing with you and cant resist a sub-plot, cue Laguna (main), Kiros & Ward, three laughable soldiers in the Galbadien Army (who later become a threat to SEED) running around like headless chickens on a journey of old, with Laguna the exact opposite of Squall - a moronic happy-go-lucky journalist. This change of setting and character can be greeted with relief or reluctance as it occurs when things are about to get interesting.

Battles are both improved and altered with the addition of a new "Draw" system, abstracting magic from creatures and specific points in the world, and simpler nice touches like summoning times with button bashing and chance (due to low health) involved with limit breaks. GF's or Guardian Forces (that's summons, eidolons, aons to you an me) are introduced in a brilliant new way, instead of merely stumbling across them all the time, you must battle them or draw them from powerful boss's. All of which is overawed by this games surroundings. When a place has a name like Fisherman's Horizon you know its gunna be weird.. in a good way. Towns like Deling resemble London with an array of shops and structures like Big Ben. Dollet seems like an old French town with cobble roads and 18th century architecture, even the score fits thanks to the genius that is Nobuo Uematsu. I could write a thesis on how spectacular the soundtrack is but I'll just say look at the soundtrack itself for reviews. Such is the realism of the setting but don't be fooled, around the 3rd disc you'll stumble across the city of Esthar, a gigantic technological wonder the size of a continent.. then you wake up as a writer in a rustic village called Windhill, magic.

Shame that such an innovative, well designed game is largely considered poor, when really its similar to all the others. It still has the apocalyptic doom threat, it still has a global scourge of an adventure if you're into doing things properly. There's the giant airship that takes you there. SPACE, 7 went into space for a few minutes, 8 goes there for a while and conjures up some of the most cinematic and thrilling events that square couldn't come up with on earth, so much so they put in a song with vocals and as you know that's a special almost rare treat. Plus you can play cards with cactuars on em!
Stunning FMV's accompany the key moments that all culminate into an epic journey of self discovery and destiny. It sounds cheesy but I implore you, give it a chance, this game is superb.


Awaken
Awaken

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Real Feeling, Real Emotion, 25 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Awaken (Audio CD)
"Our lives, the passion we have inside, defines who we are.." The first few words from the title track "Awaken" tells you that Jesse Leach is back. The original front-man of Killswitch Engage has put aside his distain for music and screaming, conquering the demons that plagued him to leave the band in the first place after releasing 2 fantastic, fresh albums into a dull heavy metal scene. Most fans adapted to the replacement, Howard Jones, but some still followed Jesse whilst he had a brief stint with a newly formed band "Seamless". The Empire Shall Fall is no Seamless. This is more heavy, more political and generally more satisfying. Awaken sees Jesse go back to his best with mighty screams that rival anything he's done in the past crammed into every single track. Admittedly, this album is a grower because it sounds alright at first but rapidly becomes one of your favourites amongst the KsE tracks of old, but with more focus on political situations as well as the events of 9/11, found in "Choir of Angels".

"Underneath all of the rubble, even after all these years, lies the pain of the truth, awaiting to be revealed. Concealed by these, I dub: Murderers. Betrayers. Count the cost of your lust for power."

No message has ever been put across so powerfully nor elegantly, from soulful vocals to a fiery accusation. Such is the brilliance of some of the songs - literally, hairs on the back of your neck will stand because of the demonic bellowing of "Our Own" or the sequence of duel guitars sweep picking underneath the mighty cry of Leach. Consequently it seems difficult to admire every track as some strike a chord in you while others can be forgotten and simply blend into other songs at first. In particular "Lords of War" a dynasty warriors-esque tune with guitar tapping in sync as well as masterful guitar solos, followed by "Voices Forming Weapons" a double bass driven song with rather tame shouting. Luckily "These Colours Bleed" provides some brilliant head banging riffs that would make even a radio-friendly critic slightly nod in agreement, or at least crack a smile. If you're looking for a sound similar to the glory days of KsE, go and reminisce because whilst the brutal screaming is there, the melodies are less catchy (clearly the current members provided their fair share of material) and obviously the lyrics aren't about what Killswitch are peddling now.

As much as I like the new KsE albums from "The End of Heartache" to their self titled 2009 effort, the song writing has been kicked in the teeth by replacing the spiritual lyrics with mushy love poems. TESF has meaningful messages, not about break ups but breaking down barriers and stereotypes.


Final Fantasy VII Official Guide: v. 1 (Brady Games Strategy Guides)
Final Fantasy VII Official Guide: v. 1 (Brady Games Strategy Guides)
by David Cassady
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not 100%, 20 Nov. 2010
People who generally buy walkthroughs tend to want to complete a game to the fullest or at least find all the important sub-plots, items, weapons etc. That's where this fails. This book may claim to have everything covered but i just doesn't come close. Fairly decent things are left out such as exact locations of materia or simply wrong locations possibly due to this being an American version (example - Final Attack materia is considered a "Chocobo Racing Prize" when its actually acquired at the battle square), even the ever lucrative "W-item duplicate cheat" is left out. The layout and pictures may look well done but it all seems half baked with wrong stats about enemies in the bestiary, brief boss strategies and incorrect weapon/item names.

It may seem harsh to rate this lower due to inaccuracy and spelling errors but the strategies really are a let down as they assume you have levelled up enough prior to you being stuck. Frankly with the internet, an unlimited source of information, has all the answers, so its sad to say that to buy this is to really call yourself an FF enthusiast because its nothing more than a collectors item.. unless you just want to get through the game plain and simple then go for it.


Final Fantasy VIII (PS)
Final Fantasy VIII (PS)
Offered by Click4entertainment Limited
Price: £97.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Between a rock and a hard place, 19 Nov. 2010
Thinking all the time, never saying a word. Looking miserable, wearing awful black clothes. Being rude to people, mood swings.
Remember when you where a teenager? Perhaps you are one, and that is why Final Fantasy VIII is a hidden gem, concealed by the fact, hype and fans of 7 & 9.

Final Fantasy VIII is in many ways like other FF's, its set in a huge explorable world upon which, a situation arises, threatening its existence, companions are gathered along the journey to prevent it. But what 8 has done is extraordinary although it has to be said, unappreciated. This fantasy is through the eyes of a teenager, Squall, dubbed a Leonardo Dicaprio look-alike misery guts. Which is without doubt true, and possibly a strong reason why so many detest this game, living-reliving the life of a teenager in a world that is the closest to this one than any other FF game beyond 7. Effectively taken place in a Garden (school/college) where the students are trained to be become functioning members of an elite group of soldiers known as SEED. Ok not exactly a clever or exciting plot at first glance but this is only the beginning of something overlooked. Everything about it has that youthful learning element to it, such as the SEED tests as a means of gaining regular income, testing your knowledge of enemies, magic and general surroundings, you participate in field exams where you are graded accordingly on time, battles, attitude, spirit etc. oh and you're not aloud to buy a porn mag because you're to young.

Like all successful square games, it begins slow but picks up the pace by new events, addictive mini games and tugs on your heart strings with a puppy love storyline. Clearly, gamers have taken one look at the indifferent main character they must control and shake their fist in disgust that they aren't a mysterious mercenary, fun loving optimist athlete or a womanizing thief with a tail. I'll admit there are moments in the dialogue where you get annoyed at the ignorance of said character, such phrases like "go talk to a wall" are aimed at someone spilling their emotional guts and "whatever" occurs repeatedly followed by "....." making Squall an essentially unresponsive cold jerk.. what he wants you to think.. however the time I played this, I was of a similar age, disposition and could defend 'some' of his actions. As time wears on though, more light is shed as to why your guy seems so hormone ridden, a past frequently visited in game that should be cherished to understand. Ahh but Square likes messing with you and cant resist a sub-plot, cue Laguna (main), Kiros & Ward, three laughable soldiers in the Galbadien Army (who later become a threat to SEED) running around like headless chickens on a journey of old, with Laguna the exact opposite of Squall - a moronic happy-go-lucky journalist. This change of setting and character can be greeted with relief or reluctance as it occurs when things are about to get interesting.

Battles are both improved and altered with the addition of a new "Draw" system, abstracting magic from creatures and specific points in the world, and simpler nice touches like summoning times with button bashing and chance (due to low health) involved with limit breaks. GF's or Guardian Forces (that's summons, eidolons, aons to you an me) are introduced in a brilliant new way, instead of merely stumbling across them all the time, you must battle them or draw them from powerful boss's. All of which is overawed by this games surroundings. When a place has a name like Fisherman's Horizon you know its gunna be weird.. in a good way. Towns like Deling resemble London with an array of shops and structures like Big Ben. Dollet seems like an old French town with cobble roads and 18th century architecture, even the score fits thanks to the genius that is Nobuo Uematsu. I could write a thesis on how spectacular the soundtrack is but I'll just say look at the soundtrack itself for reviews. Such is the realism of the setting but don't be fooled, around the 3rd disc you'll stumble across the city of Esthar, a gigantic technological wonder the size of a continent.. then you wake up as a writer in a rustic village called Windhill, magic.

Shame that such an innovative, well designed game is largely considered poor, when really its similar to all the others. It still has the apocalyptic doom threat, it still has a global scourge of an adventure if you're into doing things properly. There's the giant airship that takes you there. SPACE, 7 went into space for a few minutes, 8 goes there for a while and conjures up some of the most cinematic and thrilling events that square couldn't come up with on earth, so much so they put in a song with vocals and as you know that's a special almost rare treat. Plus you can play cards with cactuars on em!
Stunning FMV's accompany the key moments that all culminate into an epic journey of self discovery and destiny. It sounds cheesy but I implore you, give it a chance, this game is superb.


Nokia 5230 Mobile Phone on Vodafone PAYG
Nokia 5230 Mobile Phone on Vodafone PAYG

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A 'phone' phone, 13 Nov. 2010
Mobile phones today are all about cameras, internet and applications. Frankly I think its stupid, you want a camera buy a camera, a. its bound to have better resolution, more mega pixels etc. b. you don't look pathetic trying to take a decent photo with a phone.
But seriously, this phone is fine, its a touch screen with a measly 2megapixel camera and can be used to surf the web, but the last 2 clearly aren't this phones forte'. If you like me, want a phone that's not a messy pile of different media, get this. Menus are simple to navigate, as is writing texts and calling, its got a decent lock switch and its fairly fast reaction wise.

The nokia 5230 still has all the other things that past phones had like calendars, calculators, rubbish games and what not. The only real downside is if you're going to use this phone to its full potential, you'll need to purchase an official nokia usb cable (sold separately) and download a couple of useless apps like ovi and pc suite which are rather dull and pointless as one is trying to be itunes and the other for general access is just unnecessary.

So if you want a phone - this is fine
if you want a touch screen phone instead of pulling out a brick of a sony ericson - go for it
if you want to be a flash git with a Swiss army knife of a phone - look elsewhere.


Demos
Demos
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Demos Indeed, 23 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Demos (MP3 Download)
Alkaline Trio vocalist and guitarist Matt Skiba has put together a collection of 15 songs which were saved for himself (or more likely deemed unworthy for an Alkaline Trio album) to release on a solo album. 'Demos' is exactly what you get with sketchy recordings, unfinished songs (instrumentation wise) and songs best left on the rehearsal room floor. Unsure whether this was released as a serious effort for sales, in search of appreciation, or as a more appropriate specialist one off for the super loyal fans. Whatever it is, it doesn't really pull many strings and resembles a fair amount of the sound in a modern AT. With 15 songs and a total of 45 minutes, you'd feel you're getting your money's worth.. until you get about 3 tracks in.

The album kicks off with a typical Alkaline sound in 'You didn't feel a thing' with a slow paced, gurgling, melancholy, riff on a lone guitar and organ. Simple but alright at two and half minutes. Unfortunately things go downhill in terms of sound quality with 'Angel of Deaf' which is a mixture of acoustic and synthesized strings while Skiba lays down a horrid vocal performance with an effect that only enhances it. It does have a bit of a contrast in there too as the pure synth makes for some relief. The technical mess that is 'I cant believe you' follows. Again not particularly a bad song, just that its filled with dodgy voice masks and effects, almost spoiling a nice idea. A hazy trip that just keeps on going. Luckily things pick up immediately with 'Haven't you' a good ol Skiba acoustic number capable of featuring on the end of any trio album. A chorus line of "I thought I lost it all the day that I lost you. It's taken me until just now to find the truth.. you've always been here haven't you?" is one of the brighter lyrics to feature. "How the hell did we get here" another techy but funky track with guitar effects ranging from purple rain to the rawness of old punk rock. The chorus provides a break from the digital noise with a crunching, lone guitar.

'Cradle to the grave' is depressing for all of 3 minutes. An idling riff, ambles on whilst a vocally descending Skiba struggles to come up with anything memorable. 'Red White and You' is by far the worst thing I've heard from Matt Skiba. No idea what's going on with lyrics, melodies or intent at all. Full of distressing echoed singing and low notes it sounds like he's just messing about. 'Radio Vienna' sounds exactly like all the other songs melody riffs except with a radio broadcast in the background and several crushing, earth tremors interrupting constantly. 'S.O.S' definitely could have been seen on an Alkaline Trio album - classic chords and vocal melody - although considerably happier lyrics with "S.O.S please rescue me, you're out of breath I'm out of steam". After patiently waiting through all the filler (or skipping) "Nausea" (cruel & usual) easily the best produced track, boasts a brilliant chorus bound to put a smile on anyone's face, a cure for Nausea it seems. "Nausea, I'll never forget the night we met, no. Nausea I still feel you in my bones" has Skiba harmonise with himself rather well. The chorus vocals are a slightly incoherent jumble whilst the guitar work scales all over the guitar in a delightful manner.

Things fall apart again with 'Into Thin Air' - another mediocre nothing of a song. More stretched vocal work and the same guitar line and upbeat melody here and there. Gladly 'Merry-GoRound' doesn't break 2 minutes and only features skiba and a guitar which doesn't seem to work as well without his old band mates Dan Andriano and Derek Grant. 'Special' is a demented song that adds to the growing list of reasons to stop listening. Poor audio quality and harsh piano keys offend the ears. 'Razor Blade Blues' is in the same vain as 'Red White and You'. Slow and dwindling spirit. All you can think is that the guy has run out of ideas, saying anything that comes to mind, hitting any note and just throwing any old song on the album. Despite all the supremely poor content, one of the simplest songs proves that Skiba is at his best without all the jumbled effects and better off with just an acoustic guitar and back vocals. 'Magicland' sounds silly but that doesn't matter when its a good track. "Sunday and I'm feeling bored, I'm feeling like my head is sore, just can't take it any more" is a saddening verse but delivered in that classy upbeat attitude. "feel the darkness" gets churned out for a chorus but the highlight is surprisingly a 2 note keyboard riff.. says it all really.

So as the case with many solo artists albums, this ones for the die hard fans, not to say it doesn't feature some decent songs (which should be more recognized) but the fillers are probably why its called 'Demos'. The best way to sum up this compilation of demos is like a glimpse into the process of Matt Skiba's song writing. Several songs have that classic Alkaline trio sound.. by that I mean you recognize the song structure and guitar patterns (like songs based on 3 chords). On the very first listen you realize that its not really a solo album as such, and shouldn't be scrutinized as one, its more like a collectable for proper Skiba fans.


Halo: Reach (Xbox 360)
Halo: Reach (Xbox 360)
Offered by Excess Gaming
Price: £16.31

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short & Sweet., 15 Sept. 2010
Reach received such a hyped up release that its easy to see why many people have (and no doubt will) write about it being a poor game. Truth is though, the only downsides about reach are that the campaign seems short and the levels forgettable. Oh and the story.. you can't expect the story to knock you off your feet, just like odst, 3, wars and 2. Perhaps Bungie focused on the battle system and online play?

If that's the case then that's fine and dandy.
crisp new maps and remodelled ones, the horribly overpowered battle rifle is gone and replaced with a one shot DMR, the halo1 pistol is back!, new covenant + UNSC weapons and newish ways to fight instead of just constant BR. Despite some of the bland campaign levels there are events that stick with you such as flying around a ruined city in the rain, being in space, the truth and reconciliation area and of course using every past vehicle plus the revenant and SPACESHIPS. The idea of special abilities featuring unlimited drop shields, jetpacks, sprinting, decoys, stealth/radar jammer, and armour lock is another plus. All of which are featured in campaign and multiplayer. There's even an armoury for unlocking and buying new gear for your Spartan or elite. Sharp.

Even people uninterested in the halo franchise would find this game appealing, with its various multiplayer modes, firefight options and decent campaign, yes Halo Reach is top.


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360)
Offered by Excess Gaming
Price: £15.62

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Real Enough, 30 Aug. 2010
This comes from someone who played Halo franchise first. - I understand why this is the alternative.

Yes, there is good reason as to why the Call of duty series is a competitor to Halo, many reasons in fact. Its just the 'fan boy' camaraderie that wee's a little bit on the image of both titles. Both eager to detest the other.

COD:MW2 is realistic. At least, compared to other 1st person shooters, featuring a wide array of actual weapons used today in warfare and no doubt sound like the real deal (probably). The campaign is not your average story due to its switching of characters, various landscapes and areas, something overlooked by most games today glamorising an invincible warrior capable of taking not just several bullets and explosions to the face but being lucky enough to avoid the eventual truth that people kill and get killed. Make the connections where you like, my point is that this game genuinely is far more realistic than some of the games on the market. Do we play games for realism? not necessarily, some try to escape it but others rely on it. Sure you'd have to be wearing a butt load of Kevlar and be one lucky s.o.b to take several rounds from an AK47 and live, sure not all troops get the insane amount of air support shown nor the weapons and funding, but its those kitsch additions that can make this game special, enjoyable to say the least. That and the plot is basically USA vs. USSR.

Sounds pretty awful when you hear that you have to be Americans and fight the Russians. Lucky for us all, that's hardly the case considering the U.S is pretty much getting rinsed throughout the game. That and there is a nice touch (if rare) of hearing the odd accent of the British. We get enough of the bold & brash American commando linguistics in films, thank you very much.

Special Ops is a very welcome game mode, replaying some of the games high points with the option to play with friends. There is some real fun to be had sniping countless enemies with the cover of a snowy forest, atop a well equipped tower or wherever the hell you like really. Snow mobile races are usually a laugh too, hurtling down a mountain weaving in and out of forested wilderness. However, if you'd rather just burn through countless clips of ammo, fighting your way through hordes of soldiers then no fear, this game caters. The downsides are of course, online multiplayer with numerous screaming/swearing children from the U.S - mute them - then its as addictive as halo3. Another is the campaign is too short with roughly 10-15 hours of a first time play through on regular difficulty. If you're going to be a bit harsh, you could say the fighting is bias considering the enemies can cover efficiently, merely raise a gun to fire without exposing themselves to gunfire, whereas you must hope you didn't overdo it on the ol' analogue stick. A minimal negative but still questionable.

So, top notch action - check
quality multiplayer modes - check
over the top weaponry and slow mo - double check
perfection? - "close, but no cigar" (Don Corneo, perverted fat man, wall market)


FIFA 09 (Xbox 360)
FIFA 09 (Xbox 360)
Offered by 6 Hungry Weasels
Price: £5.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Average at best, rediculous settings., 9 Aug. 2010
This review is from: FIFA 09 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
You watch football, you play football games. Its damn common and played by millions of people worldwide.. but EA still can't manage to produce a solid footie game. No, I'm not a pro evo fanboy, I've played it once and I can begrudgingly say fifa takes the cake. just.. and its only a cherry bakewell.. without the cherry. Pro evo is just too 'Arcady' with little customization and missing a good manager mode.

So what's good about it? I always find that when the transfer window is open, the game is far more enjoyable, loaning out players, Placing bids etc. Sorting out formations and the starting 11, who gets the armband, who takes the all important penalty, all great little features, most present in 08. The music is another story though.. with countless Spanish crap and garbage we get on the radio like the cringe worthy bile that is the ting tings. Luckily enough, the 360 can play its own tracks. The graphics aint too bad to be fair, but its clear that they only added detail to the big names, i.e. Rooney, Lampard, Torres. The rest simply have a generic default face, black/white/asian/ blonde/black/brown hair. Manager mode is one of the games best features without a doubt, you'd have to be rather simple to just play exhibition matches non stop.. not to mention actually enjoy the matches... tough. Be a pro is also a good mode.. if only for 4 seasons.. shame, suddenly there's no point. Onto a real c*ck up now, the referee. 09 has to have one of the most biased games of all. Your players will almost always give away a free kick, even if you don't slide tackle, even if the computer controls YOUR play and runs him into another, or if you have the misfortune of seeing the game switch players just as you are going to kick the ball or slide tackle fairly.. a player without the ball, behind someone slides in and breaks him. red card. off. stupid. at least this is reserved for tougher difficulties. The classic throw in problem STILL exists. The ball is going out of play, it doesn't matter who it touched last, one of your team will sprint flat out from half way across the pitch to slide into it and give away a throw in or even a corner. pathetic.

Fifa games have always had flaws and 09 is no acception, something everyone who plays them knows, but 09s real problem is unfortunately a biggen because it affects every aspect of the game.

Difficulty settings. Amateur is just that, you'd get scores only seen in rugby. Semi Pro, what most people start on.. until they figure out they can just through ball non stop, and get bored of winning by 5+ goals. Then there's Professional. balderdash! I played about 2-3 seasons on this and still managed to do well, my only reasoning for doing it on pro being that you get realistic scores which means you work harder and appreciate the goals you get. However, the way the computer gains skill is utterly ridiculous. Now teams in the lower divisions manage to pull off sensational skill moves and possess strength that can only be described as steroid laden. Sure anybody can pull off skill moves but the worst advantage the computer gets is stamina. Despite players having a miniscule amount of gas left, players in their 30s and players with an overall rating of below 50 can manage to outpace the fastest of players on full stamina, rubbish! But wait there's more! Suddenly you'll notice that your team can no longer pass a ball accurately, score on the volley ever again, score with an open goal and so on. Basically you can forget having good possession, because weather you can pass with assist on or with manual settings, your players will fail miserably, especially with through balls. Your shots will more than likely go straight at the goalkeeper, ANY shot that hits the bar, post or slowly looks to be crawling in.. BAM the opponent morphs a player onto the goal line and the ball sways towards them, and despite facing the goal, their leg WRAPS around the ball as their body turns and Walla, it is cleared. REALISTIC. Don't even get me started on world class and legendary. At least 08 had achievements for playing them.

You'd think the possibility of injuries would be realistic. wouldn't you? Well too bad, No matter what kind of tackle, vicious or even ignorable, your players will go down hard.. and the perpetrator will skip away with the ball, thumbs up to the ref, goes to score from 40 yards. The probability of you getting awarded a free kick is low, very low.. about 2 a game if you look for them. Penalties are even rarer, and when they do pop up, chances are the keeper will pull a blinder and reach the top left corner. fun.

Most of those problems though, are reserved for the computer vs. human games. Play with your mates and a lot is rectified. Although you will hear down the mic the following:
"I DIDNT PASS THERE!"
"How is that a foul?"
"How is that not a foul?"
"Do you want to play something else?"
"yes."
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 6, 2012 2:51 PM BST


This Addiction
This Addiction

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine., 23 Feb. 2010
This review is from: This Addiction (MP3 Download)
'This Addiction' - the staggering seventh full length album of Alkaline Trio's existence. The fact that this band has got such a huge back catalogue of songs is plain insane when you imagine how alternative their genre and sounds are, not to mention their loyal but minuscule fan base. 2 Years after a sub par release in 2008's 'Agony & Irony', the Trio have toured, rested and got all the phoney baloney special effects and synthesizers out of their system, to write a solid album that sounds much more like the group of old. Written and recorded in the bands hometown in Chicago, via their very own record label, Heart & Skull, its their most successful album to chart and although past their best years, none could say they don't deserve the slight succes. The songs are simpler, sharper and smarter.

ALBUM
Title track 'This Addiction' belts straight into the album with strong octive chords and an upbeat attitude. "You hit me just like heroin, I feel you coursing through my vains.. I once tried to kick this addiction.. I swear I'll never kick again" are the first edgy words announced by vocalist and guitarist Matt Skiba. The verses are simple and clean, solid percussion, lengthy chords and rock and roll bass, building to the ever catchy chorus of "This addiction. Can't seem to live without you. This addiction. No going clean. This addiction. I go through withdrawal without you, sick with this addiction in me." Dan Andriano starts the 2nd track 'Dine, Dine My Darling' a play on words due to the bands liking for The Misfits and their song 'Die Die My Darling'. Its a slow, gurgling song with lazy backing vocals but it still has a pleasant 2nd guitar and lots of guitar slides and spitfire drumming. The weakest Andriano song out of the way.
'Lead Poisoning' initially seems like a lame duck due to its stop start rhythm that seems to be going nowhere until you get an echo of a faint trumpet in the background. There is no chorus despite all the building and anticipation, however there is the return of a hilariously wonderful trumpet solo to brighten up a really iffy track. Once heard, it becomes the only thing to look forward to really as Skiba's lyrics and vocals are too simple and obvious. 'Dead on the Floor' sees Matt come out swinging for the next round though, with a far superior lyrical performance. "Like two ships in the night we're colliding and sinking into the black sea of our love" is typical of his story telling antics. The guitar work is sturdy like the ticking of a clock and the bass gets up to all sorts of rambunctiousness that makes it far more fun. The mood of the song is questionable, at first being rather ok then departing into an 'Oh well, never-mind' tone.

'Warbrain' comes to mind when 'The American Scream' starts. Two guitars again, one that flows through the majority of the song, even the best parts - its bridges - head shaking brilliance. The lyrics are rather adolescent mentioning 'smoking guns' and 'cemeteries' - common subjects in older albums when the band were in their 20s. Dan Andriano's classic song writing shines brighter than the sun in 'Off the Map', a feel good sing along that Alkaline Trio have been producing since the 90's. Once again there is no chorus, but built up bridges and heartfelt plee "See I'm so far off the map the sun is shining. While its raining and I'm draped in silver lining and I can row row row my boat back to shore some day.. So are you coming with me? Anchors away!". After each rendition follows a superbly worked 'solo' thats unexpected but so necessary. (I even made the little effort of learning this song because of its entertaining properties). If ever there was a trademark or stereotypical Matt Skiba song it would be 'Draculina' singing about blood and guts covered vampire babe he's dreaming off. Best parts are the second guitars fiddling away in the back, something A3 are getting used to now. Vocal melodies consequently are stretched and unoriginal, merely repeating the name and adding 'whoa ho oh's' and 'Draculina ah urghh ah'. Also featured is the hammond organ, last seen on 'Good Mourning'.. nice subtle, touch there.
More influences coming through in 'Eating Me Alive' as its synth driven riff bursts to life. This time though the bridges let the song down until the title line chorus prior to all the vampiric shenanigans and "I can't stand this dark feeling, this shark eating me up inside.. Eating me alive!". Regardless of its frankly, silly tales of demons, its a good return to plain and simple song writing and despite its title and lyrics, its probably the happiest of all the tracks. I've never liked 'Piss & Vinegar' though. The 9th track just doesn't do anything for me, sounding like a mixture of all the low points of the album, reminders from other Skiba tracks and an out of place close-line of "feels like its raining all the time". Some of the guitar work does brighten things up a bit and the drums are always as sharp as ever from Derek Grant, but its by far the lamest song on the CD.

'Dorothy' is another memento-like song from Skiba, again addressed to some woman. This time though its a bit darker with insect noises and a saddened melody. All the instruments seem tuned down and the only light of happiness is the vocals and an interlude.. that and a really mysterious sentence from an unknown. Then comes the closer 'Fine'. To date, it is 'the' most technical and well crafted songs the Trio have written. If the odd pace of the drums weren't enough of a clue, the guitar that sprinkles a bit of magic surely gives it away - that Dan (normally the bassist) has taken up the guitar and Matt moved to the drum kit. Although the sound is totally new and original, the noises are all in the right order, as the 2 oldest members of the band play the first instruments they started out with. It beggars the question whether they should have stuck to this formula a long time ago. The melody, lyrics and theme are all signs that its an Andriano special. Some classy church bells make an appearance similar to 'We've had enough'. It doesn't sound anything like what you're expecting and yet still manages to be a quality song. I take nothing away from any other of their songs, because they have so many greats, but this is beyond outstanding for them.
"I'm gunna wake up from this dream with nightmares lined up on my street, but I'm fine, I'm fine. Needed a hand to keep my head up so you put hooks in both my ears and I'm fine, I'm fine."

"Yeah its a chronic pain in my ass but no, its not a burden. Its ironic that I drink to make insides stop hurting and Its a love that gives me heartburn, its a song that makes my stomach churn and I wouldn't trade my hand for all the aces in the deck.. cause I'm fine. Cause I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine"

BONUS TRACKS
If that ending wasn't good enough for you, prepare for some bonus tracks. As always, Alkaline Trio lose their heads as they've left out 2 great songs and slapped them on as b-sides. 'Kick Rocks' is an experienced punk riot. What starts as a harsh guitar riff becomes an anthem and the lyrics go into party mode. "So take a sip from the hourglass" Dan says, "We can make time stop" apparently. "..and watch from the window upstairs while they all kick rocks" generously harmonising with Derek Grant - who really should take part in singing more - great voice. 'Those Lungs' another Dan song, shamefully demoted to a bonus, continues the absolute top notch lyrics, devotionally telling "When I get home I'll keep you up for hours, I'm gunna need breath in those lungs. And when you're finally able to fall asleep though, the sun might disagree..I am gunna lay right there and watch you breathe, till you wake up to me" followed by some lovely guitar melodies and rampart percussion.

After that theres some live, rustic, acoustic versions of 'This Addiction', 'Dine, Dine My Darling', 'Dead On The Floor' and 'Fine'. This is something very kind of the band to include as they are all such brilliant musicians, not particularly in technical terms but emotion and soulful. The acoustics also act as examples as to how the songs were built in the first place. Some would say the acoustic performances outshine the fully mastered songs. The acoustic renditions of 'Fine' and 'This Addiction' are the real gifts though as the latter features lowered, snappy drums and the former is equally perfect to its full version. The guys really know how to keep their loving fans happy.

DVD
Being a big fan of this band, I had to go for the special edition. I bought it for under £15, which is what most mainstream artist's albums RRP usually start at, but this includes a whole, DVD of the band performing in 2008, live at The House Of Blues in Nevada, Las Vegas - top that >insert any famous mediocre singer here<. There are no warm up acts or introductions but you do get camera work / quality better than their other DVD release 'Live on Halloween' (it still looks a bit 'digital' as the guitar strings look fuzzy and pixelated). The band take to the stage in far more showman like circumstances - Matt Skiba wearing a fancy shirt with suspenders, Dan Andriano in a nerdy sweater-vest bless him, Derek Grant in a standard shirt with a pentagram. Theres all sorts of shots thrown in, from stationary views behind and beside the members as well as from a 2nd story and of course numerous clips of the hysterical audience singing along, crowd surfing and raising a defiant fist at every opportunity. At times its sounds like there is playback helping out a wee bit, mainly when the band let the audience sing, that has been toned down for the video sound. Still you can't blame them with the energetic song list and their respective 30 something ages - Its still live.

Ever the showmen, theres minimal mistakes and interesting reworking of songs - from additional lyrics to guitar effects and breakdowns. It has to be said that Skiba is sometimes out of his depth at times when he needs to hit a long or high note. That and his voice generally lacks the furious emotion that used to be his strongpoint. Now its all about precision and playing it safe. There is some use of a 2nd guitarist backstage (not shown) to help out on newer songs. Whoever it is royally mucks up 'I found away' being far too loud and overdoing verses and goes AWOL on 'Warbrain'. The sound quality is constant throughout, with minimal shrieking mic feedback and optimistic audience cries. They keep it professional, making only brief speeches and into's before playing the next song. Deserving the title of punk veterans, who have influenced the bands the likes of Greenday, they don't have to over commit like they once did and instead, theres a lot more posturing rather than screaming or moving about - all this though helps keep the sound tight.

Lighting is no more than a disco to be honest, mostly making use of every single colour at once, only occasionally adding mood lighting and set triggers. Still, it doesn't ruin the splendor of seeing the band members in their sweaty, beer sipping, glory. The fact that the performance is slightly better than satisfactory is redundant, because you're getting the DVD for a minimal mark up of the price, so its a pretty sweet deal anyway, that and the setlist is half bad either, adding some lesser heard songs as well as falling back on some classics from 'Goddamnit' making it a successful act for all fans, new and old. It all comes in recyclable packaging too, as a folding out case which includes the lyric book (decorated with sevens (to note it as the 7th album) and numerous pictures from photo-shoots. You even get a small advert for Vagrant / Hassle records, displaying other bands, albums and merchandise. This Album/CD/DVD combo is the ideal package for all fans of Alkaline Trio, you got the album and all its leftovers and for dessert a live show. If you're not a fan, you've missed out and this probably isn't for you to enjoy, though it is a complete bargain and I'd urge you to check it out, whether you buy it or listen online, theres a good chance you'll be hooked on the charm of alternative pop punk rock's finest.

SETLIST (18 songs)
Calling all skeletons, Nose over tail, I lied my face off, I found away, In vein, Private eye, Mercy me, Warbrain, Blue Carolina, Time to waste, Armageddon, Love love kiss kiss, Goodbye forever, My little needle, Crawl, Help me, My friend Peter, This could be love.


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