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Andromeda Descendent (Tarn Vedra)
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Destiny Limited Edition (Xbox One)
Destiny Limited Edition (Xbox One)
Offered by findprice
Price: £75.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How do you become Legend? You grind., 1 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've played Destiny for almost two months now, typically for about two hours a day, sometimes more. But sometimes that isn't as much a mark of greatness as it is of a game that, once the initial - and quite short - story is over, relies mostly on grinding to reach that all important "legendary" status that has been right at the centre of such a long, sometimes seemingly endless pre-order advertising campaign.

Like many others, I paid about double the price of the standard edition to get a limited edition pack that contains a code for upcoming DLC and a few mildly interesting, but ultimately not very illuminating items. I had hoped for some in-depth backstory materials in the pack, but backstory is something the whole game seems to be short on. If you're expecting the story to develop into interesting areas and end with you learning more about the mysterious Traveller and the aliens who are attacking you, prepare to be disappointed because you learn absolutely nothing. The plot is the setting and the setting is the plot. This is never more evident than when you complete the final mission and get nothing but a new gun and a metaphorical pat on the head. I've never seen a game that didn't take you straight into the credits after finishing the story campaign before, but Destiny merely returns you to the destination menu and gives you an option to see "cinematic credits" that are anything but. It's almost as if Bungee were too embarrassed to have them start automatically, and for me it sums up what a huge anticlimax the game is.

That's not to say it isn't fun whilst it lasts, but as fun goes it's unexpectedly oversimplified. The single player campaign mode takes you to Old Russia, the Moon, Venus and Mars, but although you have a choice in when to play side missions, it's extremely linear. You make no decisions, you do not interact with non player characters (other than to trade weapons, armour and materials, and even that's when off-mission), you do not solve any puzzles, you do not really do very much with the vehicles provided and you move from point to point shooting everything that moves and occasionally standing still for a second so your "ghost" (a floating AI companion) can access computer terminals.

During the course of this story, you encounter four different collectives of alien aggressors, who each have a handful of different forms (think Halo Covenant species and multiply by 4). When they are not shooting at you, they shoot at each other. You can choose one of three different classes - Hunter, Warlock and Titan - and you gain more abilities as you level up. Whilst playing these campaign missions you can team up with friends, and you will also share the open world areas with other random players who can see and shoot the same enemies you can. Each world is large and every area within that map's geography is varied and unique. When not playing story mode, you can run patrols in these areas and earn extra XP, in game currency and items for completing missions and bounties (these mostly boiling down to killing specific enemies, getting precision kills, melee killing enemies without dying, and so on).

The graphics and draw distances are very good, and Venus stands out as being by far the most beautiful sci-fi environment in any contemporary video game, the best since we first landed on Halo. The Moon, Earth and Mars are not quite in Venus's league, but are still great places to patrol and wait for half-hourly public events to happen. These are short on-the-spot missions which are open to all players currently matched with you in the same map, and they give various minor level boosting rewards. To be thoroughly honest, I think it was not unreasonable to expect more planets in this game, because this is a game that huge numbers of people want to keep playing for a long time and the development budget was surely big enough to include them.

The levelling up mechanics of this game are unusual, and they work well to start with. When you reach level 20, you stop earning XP as a character and instead you start levelling up your armour. You can reach level 30 this way, but it can be a long hard slog to do so. Strike playlists, where you team up in a group of three to play one of five non-campaign missions are fun at first but the ascendant materials you need for becoming legend are doled out so sparingly that by you will likely be sick of these strike missions after a while and you still won't be levelled up completely.

Competitive multiplayer is not anywhere near the same level of fun as it is in Halo, and that is at least some comfort for me because I seem to be unable to play a full 10 minute game without the server kicking me out with some animal related error code (yes, Bungee name their error codes after animals). It doesn't happen in the rest of the game and I don't have any problems with my broadband. I am a long-time Halo player and I can count the number of times I have been error-kicked at the fault of the Halo servers on one hand with fingers to spare, but the treatment I and so many other players get from the Destiny servers is appalling.

Putting that to one side, there is another aspect of Destiny that seriously needs improvement. There is a meeting place called The Tower where you can get supplies and bounties, and interact with other players. It's a good idea, but it's so far removed from any RPG mechanics that it's sole-crushingly disappointing to visit it time and again and see the same people in the same places, get the same bounty quests and never have anything uniquely new to do. This is made even worse by the fact that one and only one character - a merchant - does come and go, only being available to interact with at the weekends. Why can't Bungee add story elements with characters coming and going whom you can interact with like an RPG game. It's like Mass Effect never happened.

I'm at level 28 at the moment, but as soon as my next pre-order game comes out in November I am going to abandon the grinding until the first DLC pack comes out. To be honest, if I hadn't already pre-bought the DLC I would be stopping right there. To achieve longevity in a game though making the player grind is lazy thinking, and my initial excitement at a new epic video game from Bungee has turned into disappointment at a game that should - whilst you are still levelling up - remain fun to play, but is now seeming stale and uninspired.

I loved this game very much and very briefly until it changed from being an exciting new experience to a repetitive grind towards that legendary level 30 status which every player who invested so much hope and money into this game wants. Hopefully I will reach level 30 on the DLC, or maybe Bungee will raise the level cap and - thanks in part to the eternally buggy multiplayer - I may never reach the top of it. And if I do reach the top level, will I feel like I have done what I have been encouraged for years by Bungee to aspire to and feel like I have become legend?

Dettol Anti Bacterial Surface Cleansing Family Pack (Pack of 216)
Dettol Anti Bacterial Surface Cleansing Family Pack (Pack of 216)
Price: £6.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good wipes from a trusted name, 26 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This giant box contains three large packs of Dettol Cleaning Surface Wipes, each pack holding 72 large antibacterial wipes. A re-sealable sticker over the opening on the top keeps the moisture in the wipes from evaporating. The wipes have a nice fresh smell when you put them up to your nose and sniff them, but from a distance they don't really smell much of anything. To me that's a good thing, because I don't like disinfectant-type smells hanging around in the rooms. They don't leave a sticky residue once the area you have used them on has dried.

They are also very easy to tear in two; sometimes you want to wipe a large area and sometimes you just want to wipe a small one, so if you don't want to use a whole wipe at once then you don't have to. They clear up stains very well, including cooking splashes and long-standing rings from tea and coffee mugs.

Here's some relevant info from the packet: It kills E.coli, salmonella, listeria, MRSA, Rotavirus and H1N1 flu. It is good for removing pollen, pet dander and dust mites. It is non-bleach and safe to use where food is prepared.

TTfone Mercury 2 Big Button Basic Senior Unlocked Sim Free Mobile Phone with Dock - Black
TTfone Mercury 2 Big Button Basic Senior Unlocked Sim Free Mobile Phone with Dock - Black
Price: £23.18

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very easy to use and well designed phone, 26 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I always like to know where my Father is and that he's alright, so I gave him a phone a while back to take with him even when he's not planning on calling anyone, but he was always asking me questions about how to do things on it and I know he had a problem with the keys being too small. I'm really happy because he loves this new – TT fone Mercury 2 – phone, and now he's even telling me about all the features.

The user manual is fantastic and describes how to do everything perfectly, but the menu is intuitive too. I swapped the SIM card from his old phone to this and programmed in a speed dial number and then he did the next one. The phone's big buttons are backlit, lighting up when you press any button on the keypad. Even better, when you press them a voice reads them out to you. Unlike his previous phone, the menu is incredibly easy to access and he can easily get to his stored contacts and text messages, the latter being something that he found very difficult to manage on his old phone.

There are some great features on the phone, including an FM radio, a voice recorder and a calculator. There's a torch as well. Everything on the phone seems to have been thought thoroughly through by the designers, so you don't have to go through the menu to get to the torch – you just unlock the phone by holding down the green call button, then hold the 0 key for three seconds to switch the torch on or off.

The SOS emergency button is a very reassuring feature – it can send a pre-written message to the numbers on the emergency contact list and will then cycle through the numbers that you add to it, so if the first person doesn't answer it will dial the second, and so on.

It's well built and also very easy to charge. There is a docking station and USB to mains plug included in the box. Both I and my Father are very pleased with it. I thought it might be a good thing when I ordered it, but it's exceeded my expectations.

Leitz WOW 1005 180 Degree A4 80mm Lever Arch File - Metallic Blue
Leitz WOW 1005 180 Degree A4 80mm Lever Arch File - Metallic Blue
Price: £6.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A very well made A4 ring binder, 18 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This large A4 ring binder is about as well made a folder as you're ever going to get. I've bought some cheap folders over the years, which started to show their wear and tear pretty quickly, but this one seems built to last extended use. It comes in a wide range of colours, according to the advert page inside, but I like the bright blue version and wouldn't swap it.

The bind and lock mechanism is easy to use. That might be something you'd be tempted to take for granted, but there are so many ring binders around where the locking mechanism is needlessly hard to press down to clip into place, and I don't think anyone's going to have a problem with this one.

My only reservation is that the spine has a label stuck on the side, and not a clear plastic strip and card insert – which is something I look for in ring binders because I do like to label them, but I also like to re-use them. That doesn't stop me giving it five stars though, because it's clear from the photo on Amazon that it is a sticker on the spine that you get if you buy this.

Leitz WOW Click & Store A4 Storage Box (Pink) - ref 60440023
Leitz WOW Click & Store A4 Storage Box (Pink) - ref 60440023
Price: £12.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to self-assemble and holds its finished form during use, 16 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This flat pack storage box from Leitz is called "click and store" because to put it together you unfold and reposition the 5 sides of the box – which are all in one piece – and click together the press studs before putting the lid on. I found it easy to do and the finished box is of reasonably good quality. There are handles on the front and back, and a label holder and insert card on the front. I think a silica gel packet comes with it because I found one on the floor after assembling it, and I think it must have fallen out without my having noticed.

The label says this is a medium sized box and the card in the packaging shows a range of different colours, shapes and sizes in this range.

Philips E14 Small Edison Screw 25 LED Non-Dimmable Bulb with Frosted Lustre, Warm White (Pack of 2)
Philips E14 Small Edison Screw 25 LED Non-Dimmable Bulb with Frosted Lustre, Warm White (Pack of 2)
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality LED lighting, 16 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a pack of 2 Philips E14 type screw in lamp bulbs. They seem very well made and they give a good warm white 25 watt equivalent glow, whilst using just 3 watts of power. They screwed in easily to the two small lamps I put them in. They have an A+ energy rating and it says on the packaging that they last 15,000 hours each or 50,000 on/off cycles.

Some LED bulbs can seem harsher than normal light bulbs, but the Philips ones I have had recently do not seem harsh at all and I would definitely recommend the Philips ones as a brand.

In Praise of Bees: A Cabinet of Curiosities
In Praise of Bees: A Cabinet of Curiosities
by Elizabeth Birchall
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £30.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very fitting subtitle – a cabinet of curiosities indeed, 15 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have always found bees to be very interesting creatures, so this book really appealed to me. The author, Elizabeth Birchall, has obvious read extensively about the subject because the book – quite aptly subtitled "a cabinet of curiosities" – covers an extremely wide range of history, myths and folklore.

This is a very nicely bound and presented book, with indented lettering on the cover, glossy pages and a yellow ribbon to mark your place.

It's not a scientific reference book as such, and should not be considered that way. You should be aware that the past creeps into almost every paragraph in one form or another – with factual descriptions frequently introduced or punctuated with quotes or observations from historical figures or references to folklore. Whilst this is very interesting in its place, it can make those parts of the book which you might feel should stick solely to factual description a bit hard to get through at times. There is a lot of prose and poetry in these pages, some of which was written by the author. It's an interesting addition, and there are a lot of good illustrations.

I learnt a lot about the history of bees in this book, though not as much about bees themselves as I'd have liked to. I did find the constant referrals back to anachronistic views of bees as given by various historic persons an irritation at times, when all I really wanted was the modern accepted facts not to be clouded. But I did enjoy the book and I would recommend it as much for that "cabinet of curiosities" as I would also add the cautionary note that this is more a social and mythological history of bees than it is a factual account of the bee, the hive and modern day beekeeping.

To quote a line from the book that sums it up well: "what an astonishing cargo of conflicting ideals have been loaded onto these small, useful insects".

Philips B22 6 Watt LED 40W WW 230V A60 FR ND/4, Warm White
Philips B22 6 Watt LED 40W WW 230V A60 FR ND/4, Warm White
Price: £5.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 40 watt equivalent LED bulb was just what I needed, 15 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I really wanted a 40 watt equivalent bulb for lighting my hallway and I found this Philips one to be perfect for the task. In reality it only uses 6 watts, being an LED lightbulb – not that I'd really notice the difference, with the one exception that its housing covers the "top" of the light bulb – not an issue for the hallway, but it may be a consideration for people wanting to light larger rooms.

It gives a nice warm light effect and it really helps show off the hallway's wood panelling.

It has an A+ energy rating and comes in some quite nice packaging, not that packaging is a major consideration for most! It says on the packaging that it lasts 15,000 hours or 50,000 on/off cycles.

Philips GU10 5 Watt 230 V LED Dimmable Spot Bulb, Warm White
Philips GU10 5 Watt 230 V LED Dimmable Spot Bulb, Warm White
Offered by Mercato Factory
Price: £10.42

5.0 out of 5 stars A warm light without the harshness some LED bulbs can give., 14 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This energy saving light bulb gives a 50 watt equivalent "warm white" light, which is slightly towards the yellow side and gives a much more natural lighting effect than the bright white LED bulb I had in that light fixture previously. Unlike that bright white LED bulb, this one seems much more welcoming and doesn't actually give that harsh impression that LED bulbs can give.

It's also dimmable, said to last 15,000 hours or 50,000 on/offs, and it has an A+ energy rating. I find Philips to be a good brand, and this bulb is of the good quality I'd expect from them. Although packaging isn't something you generally look for in a light bulb, I like the design of the packaging this comes in.

APC Back UPS 500VA AVR Power Supply Unit
APC Back UPS 500VA AVR Power Supply Unit
Price: £49.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I can't use it., 13 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's not often a product leaves me stumped for a meaningful review. In fact I think this is the first time. I ordered this review unit because I thought it might be useful, and might serve a longer purpose than testing it and boxing it up again - something I really try to avoid, as I like to use things not leave them gathering dust. But the manufacturers of this backup power supply unit have made a decision I do not understand by only having kettle-type sockets on it.

For a start, there's no mains plug. I thought all heavy duty electronic devices were required to come with a mains plug by law now - but apparently I'm wrong, for otherwise this would have one. That would not be too much of a problem, because I'd have bought one if I thought I could actually use this product for anything more important than a kettle.

Here's the problem -

My PC uses its own custom shaped type of connector, and there is no way at all that it will fit this.

My laptop uses a much smaller type of connector, and there is no way at all that it will fit this.

Even my laptop at work uses its own custom shaped type of connector, and there is no way at all that it will fit this.

So I can't use this device for its intended purpose and I really don't understand why the manufacturer has not put standard three pin mains sockets on it. The most I can say in the way of reviewing its features is that it is heavy and has a quality assurance test printout stuck to the side of it. If I manage to think up a way of using it with the PC or laptop - or someone helps me out in the comments (please anyone) - then all well and good, but for the moment all I can give this is a disappointed two stars.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 18, 2014 6:03 PM BST

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