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Reviews Written by
Andromeda Descendent (Tarn Vedra)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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Titanfall (Xbox One)
Titanfall (Xbox One)
Price: £12.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three magic words: "Prepare for Titanfall!", 10 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Titanfall (Xbox One) (Video Game)
This is the first game I bought for my new Xbox One console, purchased this July, or more accurately it came with the console in a special offer but I would have bought it separately anyway. I hoped it would be as good as the hype and I'm very pleased to say that it is.

This is an online-only game based around multiplayer and campaign multiplayer; there is no single-player game as such. After a short tutorial you get into the action as a player on one of two sides (IMC and militia). The campaign is made up of nine maps, which are a mix of two game types. The battlefield is impressively full on both sides, because as well as other players (called "Pilots"), there are AI soldiers fighting you and alongside you. You win on some maps by racking up the most collective kills against enemy AI and Pilots, and on others by holding up to three areas of the map for the longest collective period of time.

The weapons are a mix of styles and you can spend quite a bit of time deciding which is right for you, but thankfully each weapon has challenges attached to it which give you XP towards levelling up. You can also hack robot AI fighters and large turrets which deal damage to enemy Titans.

Ah yes, Titans! After playing a few minutes into a match you automatically get a Titan – a giant mech war machine – which literally falls out of the sky. if you have a combination of luck and skill, you can get your Titan to fall onto the battlefield on top of an enemy Pilot, or at least an AI. The transition from being on foot to inside this massive war machine is seamless and once you're in, you're going to have an incredible amount of fun. As with the on-foot weapons, there are a number of Titan weapon options to choose from. You can also use various types of shield, even one which catches enemy Titan bullets and you can then release to throw them back at the enemy. When your Titan is destroyed, you can set it to explode (at the expense of other tactical options) and hopefully kill the attacking Titan or Pilot. Pilots can jump on your back and sabotage your Titan, but you can get them off if you choose electric smoke in your tactical loadout, or you can disembark and shoot the attacker off then get back in. Your Titan's AI will continue to attack enemies should you disembark to capture a hardpoint. Its kills count towards your score. When your Titan is destroyed you can earn time off the wait for a new one by racking up enemy kills.

If it sounds one-sided between pilots and Titans, it's not. Pilots can cloak and carry anti-Titan weapons, which can take a Titan down in a few shots if the player controlling that Titan does not rally against the threat or use the dash ability to escape and recharge their shields. The cloak is not perfect in as much as other Pilots can see your movement, but the Titans cannot. Whichever of the two you currently are – Pilot or Pilot in a Titan – you're going to have a lot of fun in this game.

In the campaign, you play your first run-through as one side and then on your second as the other. After that if you wish to play a campaign map again, the side is picked for you at random. The story is background noise at first and that's good on one hand because who wants lengthy cutscenes, but on the other hand it makes it kind of irrelevant. Repeated plays allow it to sink in more. The multiplayer option has more game types and more maps. The developers / publisher would love you to buy extra DLC maps, but there's so much going on already in this game that you may never feel the need to buy them.

New updates to this game are still coming out. The "burn card" feature allows you to earn temporary perks which you can select up to three of at the start of a match, and each one lasts until you die. Some of these give you better weapons, increased cloak, build time off your next Titan, and so on. If you want all the achievements, you'll need to play a lot of matches. However, even players who are more casual about this game may get there in time – reason being this is not a game you are likely to want to trade in; because it's so 'pick up and play', I for one can never see myself parting with it.

Oh and one final note – a crucial one – in some video games the long established players dominate multiplayer matches and the new or casual players don't stand much of a chance. In Titanfall the grading between these two types of player is perfectly balanced. The more you level up, the better you will do, which is as it should be; but because the AI don't care what level you are it is possible for a new player to get to the top of the leaderboard if he or she plays clever, especially because even a seasoned and kitted up Titanfall veteran can have their Titan brought down by a raw recruit if they don't pay attention to their shields and are too busy with the wrong target at the wrong time.

Overall, I have to recommend this game wholeheartedly. You may not play it as intensely over a short period as many other games, but you will keep coming back to it again and again during the lifetime of your Xbox One.

Tomb Raider Definitive Edition (Xbox One)
Tomb Raider Definitive Edition (Xbox One)
Offered by Shop4World
Price: £14.27

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A review from someone who also bought the 360 version, 10 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having finally bought an Xbox One this month, I wanted to play some games that were really going to show it off. I bought Titanfall and Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. Titanfall is a lot of fun and looks fantastic. AC4 looks good, but didn't initially blow me away. Having played the Xbox 360 version of Tomb Raider, I was strongly tempted to buy the Definitive Edition for two reasons – firstly because I enjoyed the game so much the first time around (not multiplayer, but let's not talk about that again), and secondly because I wanted to see what my new console could do compared to the old one. Seeing a game I loved in a whole new way was tempting, and I'm not good with temptation when it comes to video games.

So I started up the game and, yes, I have to say I was blown away by it. Lara is rendered in so much detail she looks almost real. In this game you really empathise with Lara, so this has more than just cosmetic importance. Being someone who loves to go exploring in video games, I love how breathtaking the views are and how the tombs and underground areas look even better than before. I found myself just wandering around some of the tombs and caverns looking at all the detail. It looked good before, but now every object no matter how minor is high resolution and the lighting and water effects give these areas a feel of solidity that, as good as the last gen version was, now seems like it was only hinted at before.

So yes, the game looks shiny and new, but what of the gameplay? If you've read this far, you'll already know I'm not going to review the game the way I would for those who have never played it before; there are plenty of other reviews here that will do that. The short answer is that the gameplay is the same as the original. I'm about halfway through, but so far there have been no surprises, unless you never bought the DLC first time around, in which case you will find a selection of new outfits for Lara and an additional secret tomb. The achievements are the same, and the game does not support the progress bar feature of the new console. I would have liked more collectibles put in for the return players, but that hasn't happened. One thing I did notice was that my reaction time against enemies transitioned from screen to brain to hands to controller to screen fractionally quicker than before. That may be a combination of the improved frame rate and, I have to say, a much more responsive Xbox One controller.

If you've never played this game, I don't hesitate in encouraging you to do so, or at least to read the other reviews here and watch some footage on Twitch or YouTube. If you have played this game on the previous gen consoles, then it all comes down to how much you enjoyed it that first time around. If you feel like you want to play it again, then you will get a lot more out of the experience with the new visuals of this Definitive Edition.

Russell Hobbs 21501 Aura Hand Blender - White
Russell Hobbs 21501 Aura Hand Blender - White
Price: £29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite new way to have 5 a day, 5 Aug. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very well made and easy to use hand blender. It is electric powered and the bottom part of it (wand, stem or whatever you want to call it) is very easy to fit and detach for washing. It comes with a clear 0.5 litre beaker with measurements down the side.

There is a variable speed dial on the top, and the power switch is on the handle, making it very easy to operate. It's not too light and not too heavy, and that means its no problem at all to keep it steady as you use it.

The booklet has over 30 recipes for soup, sauces and – my own personal favourite – smoothies. I love banana and strawberry smoothies, and wasn't surprised to see suggestion that in there, but I hadn't thought to mix apple with kiwi fruit, so I'm buying some kiwis in the next shopping trip. After trying it with sliced apples and blueberry juice, I realised that the apples have to be diced up smaller, but then it blended down just fine.

I only have one suggestion for improving it, and that is that I think the stationary guard around the blade should be made from something other than metal, so it doesn't scratch against the sides of the beaker.

It's a very useful kitchen tool. I'm pleased to have this.

Russell Hobbs 18965 Aura 3-in-1 Hand Mixer - White
Russell Hobbs 18965 Aura 3-in-1 Hand Mixer - White
Price: £23.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice solid mixer, 5 Aug. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This nice solid mixer has no less than three different types of attachment and up to 5 speed settings. The hooks, whisks and balloon whisk are (of course) detachable and can go in the dishwasher. If you want to increase the speed momentarily, there is a turbo button which you can hold down. The mixer is easy to hold, well balanced and gives really good results – be it for mixing ingredients together for baking or just for whipping up some Angel Delight.

There is a little drawstring bag to keep the hooks in after they've been washed.

This may be one of the shortest reviews I have done for a product, but that's because it does what it's supposed to – no more, no less. It feels right too, and its smooth design means there are no sharp edges.

This Is How We Do
This Is How We Do
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Well, that happened, 3 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: This Is How We Do (MP3 Download)
How is it I keep buying Katy Perry singles without ever buying the albums? This is at least the tenth time I've done that.

I saw the video for this on YouTube yesterday and it stuck in my mind overnight to the point where I had to buy it. It's a really fun song with a very simple chorus, which is probably why it sticks in the mind so much. Katy talks over it at points, but it seems to fit. When the song starts to fade, she asks for the beat to be brought back, and as a listener I agree with this, but 20 seconds doesn't seem long enough, so I hope someone sorts that out in a remix.

By the way, you have to see the video for this, even if it's just for the twerking ice cream.

Diggy Diggy Hole
Diggy Diggy Hole
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I'll be singing this when digging the garden over., 3 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Diggy Diggy Hole (MP3 Download)
I don't watch Yogcast, and although I think they created this song to accompany Minecraft videos, I may be completely wrong. Basically, I'm a crossover buyer who saw the video for this on YouTube and thought it was fantastic. It's the perfect accompaniment to watching a Lord of the Rings film, playing Dragon Age games and the like, and reading Terry Pratchett novels. I love how the tone of this is a balance between serious and silly. Marvellous.

Beautiful Times [feat. Lindsey Stirling]
Beautiful Times [feat. Lindsey Stirling]
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars New and also nostalgic, 3 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I loved Ocean Eyes when it came out and maybe I would have bought more from Owl City after that, had it not been for just how very similar all his songs sound. I felt that rather than listen to anything new, I could just listen to Ocean Eyes again. However this song caught my attention and it reminded me of all that I liked best about that first time I heard his music.

It's a very upbeat song, and the lyrics paint interesting pictures in your mind as you listen to it, although one of the lines – "I'm ecstatic, like a drug addict, locked in the attic, strung out and spellbound" is – perhaps unintentionally hilarious.

It seemed to me for the first couple of listens that this song ended far too abruptly, but after the third listen it made sense to me that he'd chosen to do this.

Lindsey Stirling is listed as featuring on this song, and if you wonder where she actually is when you listen to this, then you probably haven't heard her violin music before. She's fantastic, you should check her out.

Ultrasport Safeguard 100 Spine Protector Vest - Large
Ultrasport Safeguard 100 Spine Protector Vest - Large
Price: £64.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable and secure, 21 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am incredibly pleased with this back protector vest. I do a lot of winter activities and have bruised my spine in the past from slipping on ice, so something like this is invaluable to me. The vest is sleeveless and easy to put on. It can be put on over a T-shirt and under a coat or jacket. The material is light and feels comfortable. The back protector that sits over your spine is made from memory foam and although it feels a bit odd at first to have that at your back, it very quickly starts to feel natural to have it there. Of course, it makes it appear that your back is slightly hunched, but who's going to notice that; after all it's for outdoor use and - though I'm not a motorbike owner or rider, I have friends who are and they wear the most bulky of jackets, so this looks sleek in comparison.

The waist band with kidney belt protection fits as closely as you want it to, and is fastened up with Velcro. Although totally unnecessary, I have been wearing the vest whist writing this review, and it's so comfortable. Okay, I've taken if off now. It's hot weather at the moment, but I have only sweated a little bit where my back was covered, and even then not that much.

The back protector can be taken out and the vest machine washed, whilst the protector needs to be cloth cleaned. There is a red loop at the top for hanging the vest up on a hanger.

Some technical details:

This gives "protection class 2: Verification kerbstone test - impact energy 50J, residual energy imparted is <9kN".

Inside and outside material: 100% polyester
Outer shell: PU
Padding: PE/EVA mix
Abdominal belt / shoulder straps: 80% polyamide, 20% spandex
Piping: 100%

2 year warrantee

I would highly recommend this.

McAfee Total Protection 2014 - 1 User -1 Year (PC)
McAfee Total Protection 2014 - 1 User -1 Year (PC)

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use and reassuring, 21 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It took about half an hour to install the McAfee Total Protection 2014 onto a new laptop, which came at the time with a month's McAfee trial subscription. The install appeared to remove the previous instance from the desktop, although the Windows 8 tile from the Toshiba branded McAfee trial still remains.

I like the interface of the product. It's nice and clean and it's easy to navigate. A reassuring green bar along the top currently tells me my computer is secure (no action required). Along the side it tells me when my next scheduled scan is. The main window offers the following options:

"Virus and Spyware Protection" allows you to run scans, manage real time scanning and scheduled scans.

"Web and Email protection" controls the firewall and anti-spam, and SiteAdvisor LIVE, which blocks access to dangerous sites and fixes itself to Internet Explorer (and I would presume other browsers), giving a green circle with a tick in it next to, for example, web pages on a search result in Google. A question mark means the site has not been verified, so you need to proceed with caution. Doesn't seem to work with the alternative version of Internet Explorer you call up from the tile, only the one you operate from the desktop.

"McAfee Updates" is for checking you have the latest updates installed.

"Your subscription" tells you days remaining and allows you to edit your account.

"Data Protection and Backup" gives options for cloud storage, a password lock for protecting your files and a shredder for overwriting documents you wish to erase securely.

"PC and Home Network Tools" give an overview of networked devices and allows you to improve performance by removing unnecessary files.

"Parental Controls" allows you to activate this feature and set the options.

I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight
I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I like this, 21 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a really decent choice of free track. I hadn't heard of this band before, but they're apparently a fairly well known English folk band. Very energetic and I'm sure they must have a lot more like this in their back catalogue. It's very rare that I think to myself that I'd like to go see a band based on one song, but if they come anywhere near where I live I may well do that.

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