Profile for Luke Carroll > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Luke Carroll
Top Reviewer Ranking: 36,800
Helpful Votes: 219

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Luke Carroll (Midlands, England)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3
pixel
Shadowrun: Neat
Shadowrun: Neat
Price: £1.93

5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended even for people new to Shadowrun, 21 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Shadowrun: Neat (Kindle Edition)
A real page-turner of a cyberpunk, hardboiled detective story. It feels genuinely gritty and dirty, with an interesting backstory for the characters nicely implied rather than laboriously spelled out at length. Being a novella, many of the characters don't get the development you'd perhaps hope for, and the end feels a little confusing as it rushes out a twisty conclusion, but it's still a great read and an atmospheric addition to the Shadowrun lore.


ComiCat
ComiCat
Price: £2.49

5.0 out of 5 stars The best comic reader I've ever used, 22 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: ComiCat (App)
Easy to use but has loads of features and settings to really customise your experience. The best comic reading app on any device.


Diablo III: The Order (The Diablo Series)
Diablo III: The Order (The Diablo Series)
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's quite a treasure I have here, 5 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book stands out as being the only one in the Diablo series of books to actually feature characters from the games, and to have any more than a tangential link to those plots. The Sin War series is set 3000 years before the games, and the various stories in the Archive are either non-canon or barely linked to the central storyline as portrayed in the three games. As such, regardless of its other qualities or faults, you actually feel like you're reading a Diablo story rather than a general fantasy story with "Diablo" written on the cover.

I'd agree with the otherwise ludicrous 1-star review in that it is pretty slow going at first. I feel the author doesn't really convey exactly what Deckard is trying to achieve or the urgency of that task, and as such you're spending your time waiting for a hook that stubbornly refuses to appear for a few chapters. Any other complaints are, in my opinion, typical of all such licensed novels and aren't really particular to this book specifically. The writing style can feel quite pedestrian, some of the descriptions fall a little flat and sound silly, giving the impression that the author is trying too hard. For example, his description of Hell, as viewed by one character, is meant to sound maddeningly depraved and horrific, yet rather than the Lovecraftian terror he reaches for, you just get a kind of mild disgust - more akin to looking at a bowl of worms that the darkest recesses of Hell. Again, those are things I've found in all licensed, franchise books like this. Of the Diablo books, this is the least guilty of those faults, Knaak's being the most guilty by far.

Cain's world-weariness is conveyed well, you get the feeling that he's just a dusty bag of old bones, animated only by the importance of his task. Leah comes across as haunted, distant and lost. She's been abandoned by her biological mother, then brought up to the age of 8 by a woman slowly being consumed by the awful memories of what happened in Tristram in the first Diablo game; a woman who seemingly alternates between hating Leah and being terrified of her. The fondness she later speaks of "Uncle Deckard" with is developed in this book as she goes from pariah to surrogate daughter of creaky old Cain. It's interesting to see the contrast with her warmer and more open personality in Diablo III, and frames her reluctance to accept Cain's belief in the prophecy of The End Times as less a lack of trust and more an attempt to block out her traumatic childhood memories.

This book is solid rather than spectacular, and while not exactly a fantasy classic, judged as what it is - further backstory and lore in the Diablo setting - it's a great success and has been rated accordingly.


Gaming Fantasy
Gaming Fantasy
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for fans of classic videogame music, 19 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gaming Fantasy (MP3 Download)
I won't say too much about it since it's kind of meaningless to explain music with text; as Frank Zappa said, writing about music is like dancing about architecture. You can check out her music on Youtube, which I recommend even if you're not going to buy this album. She chooses some excellent videogame music (and a track from Naruto, which is a terrible anime, but the song itself is very good, at least in her hands) as you can see above, and expertly recasts it in a classic mould, often relaxing, hauntingly beautiful and powerfully atmospheric.


Dragon's Dogma (PS3)
Dragon's Dogma (PS3)
Offered by MyMemory
Price: £11.00

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible game, sadly underrated, 27 May 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dragon's Dogma (PS3) (Video Game)
(This is a copy of my Xbox 360 review. The game is identical on both platforms however the PS3 is reported to have more framerate issues whereas the 360 lacks the v-sync of the PS3 version, meaning screen tearing can occur).

This game seems to have been misunderstood and unfortunately underrated by a number of gaming journalists. It's very hard to explain because it's actually a pretty unique game, but you can think of it like Dark Souls meets Skyrim if you want a really lazy way of summing it up. That doesn't do it justice at all, because here we have people that have worked on games such as Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and Breath of Fire all coming together to deliver an incredibly atmospheric and compelling action RPG.

The story follows your character, who shortly after being created by you - with an excellent character customisation system - has his or her village attacked by an enormous dragon. After an ill-fated attempt to fight it, your heart is ripped out and eaten by the colossal dragon. Yet, somehow, you're still alive, albeit with a huge scar on your chest like Sagat. You can also hear the voice of the dragon in your head, urging you to track it down if you want your heart back. Then it's down to you to make your way in the world and find him, though your village is still reeling from the attack and many of the side quests are based around this, rather than some guy just wanting 20 mushrooms because he has in inexplicable craving for fungus all of a sudden.

Shortly after this, you're introduced to one of the game's most interesting systems; the ability to design pawns - AI warriors who you can programme in fundamental ways to be the most useful sidekick for you. The really interesting thing is that other players of the game can rent your pawn off you. You keep your pawn, but a copy appears in the other players game and goes around helping them. Everything it learns, like how to defeat certain enemies and how to solve certain quests, will be remembered and when the player returns your pawn, it will be able to help you out with all its new info. And of course, you can also rent other peoples' pawns off them. Renting them uses Rift Crystals, an item that is commonly given out in game for completing quests, though pawns of people on your Friend List are free.

There's an interesting and varied character skill system, made all the more fun and addictive by the fact that the real-time combat is made by people who worked on Devil May Cry. It's not quite as exuberant as those games, but you can see the understanding and professionalism of those guys at work in this game's combat. Really, if you like games where you explore, go on an adventure, never know what's around the next corner and can expect a firm challenge from any enemies you meet (the larger ones can be climbed up, like in Shadow of the Colossus), and all in an open world with tons of secrets and hidden areas, you will love this game.


Dragon's Dogma (Xbox 360)
Dragon's Dogma (Xbox 360)
Offered by Shop4World
Price: £14.60

70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible game, sadly underrated, 26 May 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This game seems to have been misunderstood and unfortunately underrated by a number of gaming journalists. It's very hard to explain because it's actually a pretty unique game, but you can think of it like Dark Souls meets Skyrim if you want a really lazy way of summing it up. That doesn't do it justice at all, because here we have people that have worked on games such as Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and Breath of Fire all coming together to deliver an incredibly atmospheric and compelling action RPG.

The story follows your character, who shortly after being created by you - with an excellent character customisation system - has his or her village attacked by an enormous dragon. After an ill-fated attempt to fight it, your heart is ripped out and eaten by the colossal dragon. Yet, somehow, you're still alive, albeit with a huge scar on your chest like Sagat. You can also hear the voice of the dragon in your head, urging you to track it down if you want your heart back. Then it's down to you to make your way in the world and find him, though your village is still reeling from the attack and many of the side quests are based around this, rather than some guy just wanting 20 mushrooms because he has in inexplicable craving for fungus all of a sudden.

Shortly after this, you're introduced to one of the game's most interesting systems; the ability to design pawns - AI warriors who you can programme in fundamental ways to be the most useful sidekick for you. The really interesting thing is that other players of the game can rent your pawn off you. You keep your pawn, but a copy appears in the other players game and goes around helping them. Everything it learns, like how to defeat certain enemies and how to solve certain quests, will be remembered and when the player returns your pawn, it will be able to help you out with all its new info. And of course, you can also rent other peoples' pawns off them. Renting them uses Rift Crystals, an item that is commonly given out in game for completing quests, though pawns of people on your Friend List are free.

There's an interesting and varied character skill system, made all the more fun and addictive by the fact that the real-time combat is made by people who worked on Devil May Cry. It's not quite as exuberant as those games, but you can see the understanding and professionalism of those guys at work in this game's combat. Really, if you like games where you explore, go on an adventure, never know what's around the next corner and can expect a firm challenge from any enemies you meet (the larger ones can be climbed up, like in Shadow of the Colossus), and all in an open world with tons of secrets and hidden areas, you will love this game.


Diablo III (PC/Mac DVD)
Diablo III (PC/Mac DVD)
Offered by snowmansales
Price: £19.49

4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That's quite a treasure you have there in that Diablo 3, 17 May 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Diablo III (PC/Mac DVD) (DVD-ROM)
I played a lot of Diablo 2 when it came out, it's one of my favourite PC games of all time. Playing it again recently, certain flaws stood out like how while it's still addictive to grind for loot, and while it's cool to see a special enemy and eagerly kick the crap out of it in the hope of something special dropping, the actual fighting - the combat system - is kind of flat and repetitive. Diablo 3 keeps the things that Diablo 2 did right, but has made the combat incredibly satisfying, varied and meaty. There's a huge amount of ways to use each skill in conjunction with others - like using the Monk's dash-attack skill to run between enemy groups to keep your combo count going (which bags you more XP).

It may seem to Diablo 2 veterans that removing skills trees and the ability to level up individual skills would remove depth, but it's quite the opposite. Rather than putting 1 point into skills just to move along the skill tree to the good skills, you now get useful skills straight away that steadily become upgradeable in specific and fun ways. It's not usually just "X skill now does 10 more damage" like in Diablo 2, the very way in which the skill works is different. Your kick is now a fire kick, your summoned spiders can now leap around onto distant enemies, your poison darts now shoot 3 times quickly but don't do sustained poison damage any more.

Each class has unique quests and many specific cutscenes throughout the story (there's one for each gender of the five classes). There's a really adsorbing and atmospheric feel to the game, helped by the fantastic music which is a trademark of the series. The sound effects add a lot as you crack open old logs, beat enemies so hard they fall to pieces and open chests that splurge out loot all over the place like a bulimic girl who's just eaten a bucket of chocolate coins. Diablo 2 did all this as well, but Diablo 3 takes it further and improves on it. Everything about it is just so moreish, the achievements mean there's always something to aim for on top of getting better loot, levelling up, crafting items, doing quests and figuring out the perfect build. There's always something popping up and telling you how amazing that thing you just did was, or how you've accomplished something new or have a cool new skill to try out.

I couldn't recommend it more. Whether you play for the story, for the atmosphere, for the challenge (i.e. Inferno on Hardcore), for the co-op with friends, for the fun of figuring out great builds or just for the jangly music and chunky sound effects, you won't be disappointed. And this is before any patches and additional content, like Diablo 2 had with Lord of Destruction.


Diablo III - Collector's Edition (PC/Mac DVD)
Diablo III - Collector's Edition (PC/Mac DVD)

10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That's quite a treasure you have there in that Diablo 3, 15 May 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I played a lot of Diablo 2 when it came out, it's one of my favourite PC games of all time. Playing it again recently, certain flaws stood out like how while it's still addictive to grind for loot, and while it's cool to see a special enemy and eagerly kick the crap out of it in the hope of something special dropping, the actual fighting - the combat system - is kind of flat and repetitive. Diablo 3 keeps the things that Diablo 2 did right, but has made the combat incredibly satisfying, varied and meaty. There's a huge amount of ways to use each skill in conjunction with others - like using the Monk's dash-attack skill to run between enemy groups to keep your combo count going (which bags you more XP).

It may seem to Diablo 2 veterans that removing skills trees and the ability to level up individual skills would remove depth, but it's quite the opposite. Rather than putting 1 point into skills just to move along the skill tree to the good skills, you now get useful skills straight away that steadily become upgradeable in specific and fun ways. It's not usually just "X skill now does 10 more damage" like in Diablo 2, the very way in which the skill works is different. Your kick is now a fire kick, your summoned spiders can now leap around onto distant enemies, your poison darts now shoot 3 times quickly but don't do sustained poison damage any more.

Each class has unique quests and many specific cutscenes throughout the story (there's one for each gender of the five classes). There's a really adsorbing and atmospheric feel to the game, helped by the fantastic music which is a trademark of the series. The sound effects add a lot as you crack open old logs, beat enemies so hard they fall to pieces and open chests that splurge out loot all over the place like a bulimic girl who's just eaten a bucket of chocolate coins. Diablo 2 did all this as well, but Diablo 3 takes it further and improves on it. Everything about it is just so moreish, the achievements mean there's always something to aim for on top of getting better loot, levelling up, crafting items, doing quests and figuring out the perfect build. There's always something popping up and telling you how amazing that thing you just did was, or how you've accomplished something new or have a cool new skill to try out.

I couldn't recommend it more. Whether you play for the story, for the atmosphere, for the challenge (i.e. Inferno on Hardcore), for the co-op with friends, for the fun of figuring out great builds or just for the jangly music and chunky sound effects, you won't be disappointed. And this is before any patches and additional content, like Diablo 2 had with Lord of Destruction.


Television Maxi Poster featuring the Epic Medieval Fantasy 'Game of Thrones' Detailed Map of The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros 61x91.5cm
Television Maxi Poster featuring the Epic Medieval Fantasy 'Game of Thrones' Detailed Map of The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros 61x91.5cm
Offered by Poster Revolution UK
Price: £4.21

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Send this one to The Wall, 15 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The print quality is high, and the paper is high quality and slightly glossy, though not so glossy that it reflects light and obscures the details. The map is detailed, though not any more detailed than the maps in the novels apart from a texture to the various areas (e.g. Dorne being sandy, the area around the Wall being snowy), and it of course printed in a far higher resolution than those maps. It also came packaged in a cardboard tube so sturdy you could quite probably knock someone out with it, or play baseball with it if you're not so inclined to violence. It's also marked as an official HBO product, with the licensing details in very small print at the bottom of the map, should you feel a little apprehensive about "What if this is just some picture the seller found online and printed off himself" as is fairly common on eBay. This is certainly an official product. So in summary, it's a nice poster that has a classy feel to it and is somewhat more subtle and refined way of showing your love of the series than having a huge Sean Bean glowering at you across the room (though I'm sure some people would like that). It's also large enough that you can glance up at it as you read the books and picture where all the different characters are, and in more convenient, colourful and dramatic fashion than flicking to the maps at the front of the book.


Creative HS800 Fatal1ty Gaming Headset with Detachable Noise-cancelling Microphone (PC / MAC)
Creative HS800 Fatal1ty Gaming Headset with Detachable Noise-cancelling Microphone (PC / MAC)
Offered by PADNOTE
Price: £24.68

4.0 out of 5 stars Great sound quality, poor build quality., 14 Oct 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The sound quality is excellent, as is the microphone quality. Crystal clear and nuanced sound. However, the build quality is somewhat cheap and brittle. It doesn't feel like it's going to easily break, but the plastic has that almost bone-like quality that cheaper more rigid plastics tend to have. It's also quite a tight fit widthways, though the padding is comfortable enough. The padding within the top part is slightly distracting as only covers the very top part of your head and thus feels like someone is pressing on your head. You can adjust it in the usual way, and this is where the cheap build quality really shows through; I said earlier that despite the brittleness, it still feels solid enough - well the slide-out adjustable part crosses the line in that regard, it's only a few steps away from cake icing in terms of solidarity and apparent toughness.

The thing is, as long as you're not clumsy or heavy-handed, these headphones are great. You wouldn't want to wear them outside or in front of a group of people (e.g. DJing) because the band is a good 1.5 inches away from your head at all times thanks to the thick padding on the ears and top of the head, making it look like you've got a black halo. But then they're not designed for that, they're designed for gaming and they fulfill that role excellently. Just don't drop them. Final note: you really have to jam the removable microphone in or it won't work. I put it in to where it comfortably clicked in and nothing detected my voice until I squeezed the mic in beyond what felt the intended point.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3