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B. C. Brown (Yorkshire, UK)

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Resistance: Burning Skies (PlayStation Vita)
Resistance: Burning Skies (PlayStation Vita)

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A competent shooter, but overall a very average game., 3 Jun. 2012
Resistance Burning Skies is by no means a bad game.
Quite the opposite, it is a very competent shooter and works fairly well at a base level.
Unfortunately there are a lot of issues that stop it from being a must-have game, even for big fans of the previous Resistance games.

The controls are, for the most part, very good.
As the first FPS game on the Vita, it makes it very apparent that the console can make a shooter that feels just as comfortable as the hundreds of home console counterparts.
But there are a few missteps in the handling of touchscreen implementation.
Where pressing an on-screen button to mele and perform certain secondary fire actions aren't too bothersome, there are many instances where there are touch-screen prompts that interfere with the flow of the game and can be quite irritating in the middle of a fight.
It is also widely speculated that these touch-screen elements are the cause of the rather poor enemy AI, making it easier to use the touch screen to aim.

There is also a severe problem with polish.
The Resistance games, especially Resistance 3, has a very strong focus on polish, having appealing graphics, smart enemies, as few glitches as possible and a well written story with some very nice aesthetic elements to go along with it.
Burning Skies is severely lacking in many of these respects.
The graphics are by no means bad, but we already know it is capable for the Vita to do much, much better.
Many of the levels are fairly dull to look at from a design perspective as well.

There are numerous technical issues, with terrible pop-in at points, ranging from small textures to entire buildings.
Computer controlled partners freezing then suddenly teleporting next to you, enemies suddenly disappearing and on one occasion a glitch that forced me to re-start the level.

The story falls completely flat, and though there are a few small moments that really seem to show promise they are only ever fleeting glances and never pay off.
Even for huge fans of the previous games, the story adds absolutely nothing of value, and if you know the series story well enough you know that the things happening in this game are completely inconsequential in the larger scope of the series.
The hidden collectibles that usually add background and insight into the story are almost useless here.
The notes you find have nothing of interest to say and add absolutely nothing to the story, and and each of your weapons can only have 2 of 6 upgrades active at a time, which makes the upgrade collectibles completely useless after a very short time.
Despite this I continued collecting them only to realise there is no Trophy or reward for doing do.

Trophies in fact are very scarce in the game and other than a single multiplayer trophy it is possible to get all of them in a single play through without even intending to.

I have not played much of the multiplayer, but what I have has been completely average in every way with absolutely nothing new to offer to anybody that has played a few FPS games in the past.

Burning Skies is definitely not a terrible game.
It just feels unfinished, and uninspired.

I would recommend it to somebody who is dying to play an FPS on the go, once the price has gone down a bit.
For everybody else though, I'd recommend waiting for a better game later on in the Vita's life.
Even for hard core resistance fans, there isn't much to gain.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 16, 2012 11:52 AM BST

Mortal Kombat (PlayStation Vita)
Mortal Kombat (PlayStation Vita)
Price: £13.44

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant, possibly better than the home console version., 4 May 2012
I got Mortal Kombat on PS3 when the game very first came out and loved it.
The idea of getting it on Vita was appealing to me as it seems like the kind of game I could pick up and play in short bursts quite happily. (on the train and such)

The Vita version of Mortal Kombat it absolutely fantastic.
I've hardly stopped playing it all day.

Almost every single element of the original game is in tact for the portable version.
The entire story mode, the challenge tower, the unlockable costumes, fatalities and concept art...

There are even some new features added specifically for the Vita, such as touch-screen gestures for Fatalities which some people may find easier to memorise, though if you dont want to use them you dont even need to acknowledge that function is there.
There are also quite a lot of new Vita based minigames added in a separate challenge tower, and there are some really VERY fun ideas in there.

Obviously the graphics had to be downgraded in order for the game to fit on the Vita, and though they aren't quite as nice as in some of the other Vita games, the game does look very nice and though the models are less detailed the animations and attention to detail has not been sacrificed at all.
Every movement and piece of gore is just as wonderful as in the home console version, even the animated backgrounds are fully intact.

The game runs incredibly smoothly, which can be very important for a game of this genre, and the loading times are absolutely phenomenal.
They could easily be better than the home console version.

The online multiplayer has been simplified quite a bit, but still runs very smoothly and works very well.
It would be nice to see it refined and made a little more similar to the console counterpart in patches, but the current state is more than enough and does a perfectly good job of getting you in to matches quickly and keeping track of your information.

If you played Mortal Kombat on PS3 or 360 and want to get a portable version, you will not be disappointed by the conversion done here.

If you never bought the game before, I can highly recommend it to anybody that has played a previous Mortal Kombat game and enjoyed it, or just anybody with even the most fleeting of interests in fighting games.

So long as you are not intent on having the best possible graphics, I would even recommend the Vita version over that of the home console, as it comes with all of the DLC included as well as a substantial amount of content you will not be finding anywhere else.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 25, 2012 1:11 PM GMT

Army Corps of Hell (PS Vita)
Army Corps of Hell (PS Vita)

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A really enjoyable, but very niche, game!, 10 Mar. 2012
Army Corps of Hell isn't a game that has had a lot of attention considering some of the other launch titles it is competing with.
Other than game reviewers who are obligated to play every Vita game right now, I don't think I've seen a single other person playing it, and it is simple to see why.

Army Corps of Hell is a VERY niche game.
Where one of the big selling points of the Vita for many people has been its graphical capabilities, with games like WipEout and Uncharted setting a very high standard for the console, the graphics in Army Corps could be considered lacking to some people.
That isn't to say that the game is bad looking, quite the contrary.
Everything is very well designed and I personally found the aesthetic of the game very appealing, but on a technical level it is not as impressive as other titles available.
On top of that the heavy metal soundtrack and somewhat bizarre gameplay could easily turn some people off to the experience.

Despite all of that, Army Corps of Hell is a genuinely very fun game, and probably one of the more enjoyable experiences I have had on the Vita so far.
The experience the game lays out for you is very unique, taking many cues from the Pikin series while also being vaguely reminiscent of Patapon on the PSP.

The gameplay works well and is relatively simple in premise but hides deceptive levels of complexity.
The combat is very straightforward, but as the game progressed and you gain control of more minions and larger varieties of weapons and attacks a lot of planning can go in to your army before setting out on a mission, and as new enemies and traps are added to the levels it becomes more and more important to study the enemies for weaknesses and make quick decisions on how best to handle situations.
The game can get very difficult in some spots, especially if you are trying to get gold medals on each level.

The character customisation is again simple, but very enjoyable.
You can craft new weapons and armour for your minions using items you gain during missions, each item with different stats allowing you to do more damage, different kinds of attacks or in some cases give your minions additional abilities.

Every once in a while the minions will offer you a new item of your own, allowing you to alter the appearance and stats of the character you control.

The game also includes an ad-hoc multiplayer mode which I am unable to try out for myself at the moment, but does look very interesting.

Army Corps of Hell is definitely not a game that will appeal to everyone, but for those who enjoy more unique gaming experiences and has a fondness of the heavy metal aesthetic I highly recommend the game.

It's not perfect, but it's well worth the asking price and can keep one occupied for a very long time.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 16, 2012 3:28 PM BST

Orc Stain Volume 1 TP
Orc Stain Volume 1 TP
by James Stokoe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.50

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly unique and brilliantly illustrated., 18 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Orc Stain Volume 1 TP (Paperback)
I came across this book completely by chance, and it instantly caught my attention.

Having now read the book, I am amazed that Orc Stain is not more popular or well known.
The story and setting is incredibly unique and imaginative, I can honestly say I have never read anything quite like it before.
The world has a lot of very fun small details, and the first volume really makes me feel as though the author really has this world fully realised.

The art work is absolutely fantastic in this book too.
Everything is incredibly well designed and has a very unique aesthetic to it.
There is a huge amount of detail worked in to every image, with just as much detail put in to the background of every panel as in the characters which I find is a very rare thing in a lot of comics and graphic novels.

A friend of mine who is also very much in to comics had a quick look through the book and didn't responde to the art quite as well as I did, so I think it may be something that has niche appeal, but I implore everyone who enjoys well crafted comics and graphic novels to give it a shot.

As a quick warning, the comic does contain a few instances of nudity, both male and female, and quite a bit of gore, and some of the subject material is fairly adult orientated, but none of it is done in a realistic manner, and it is all very styled in its representation, and I think most people will really have no problem with it.

Just letting those with particularly delicate sensibilities know it may have content they are not overly fond of!

Pentel Sign Pen Black
Pentel Sign Pen Black
Offered by LPC Stationers
Price: £1.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good for more chunky drawings., 18 Dec. 2011
Really good fun pen.
I tend to use very thin pens in my drawings, but having this pen at hand is always good for when I just feel like drawing with much thicker lines.

It's very nice to draw with, and can create some quite fun hand writing too.

It feels to me that it would make quite nice children's illustrations in particular.

The Last Unicorn
The Last Unicorn
by IDW Publishing The Last Unicorn
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyed by a fan of the original film/book who has never read a graphic novel., 18 Dec. 2011
This review is from: The Last Unicorn (Hardcover)
I bought this as a present for my older sister's birthday.
She is a huge fan of the original novel and the old animated film, and she has never read a graphic novel before.

As a huge fan of graphic novels, I thought it would be quite a nice present to give her, and having now read it she really enjoyed it!

It has even really inspired her to draw, which is not a bad thing at all in my opinion!

Minecraft Pocket Guide
Minecraft Pocket Guide
by Adam Greenbank
Edition: Paperback

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please do NOT spend your money on this., 18 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Minecraft Pocket Guide (Paperback)
I have not bought this product, and I would not normally write a review for something having not owned it myself.

But having a print guide to Minecraft is COMPLETELY ridiculous.

People unfamiliar with the way Minecraft works, the game is constantly being updated by the developers.
They are constantly adding in new gameplay elements, new monsters and items and in some cases completely changing the way parts of the game works.

I do not even need to know the quality of the book to know that it is completely pointless.

If you really need information on Minecraft, there are many websites that will help teach you about playing the game, and will keep up to date information on changes made as well.

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