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XCOM Enemy Unknown (PS3)
XCOM Enemy Unknown (PS3)
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: 9.74

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars XCOM - TIME SPENT ON PLAYSTATION: UNKNOWN, 23 Dec 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
How crap was Syndicate on the PS3? Seriously! As a mature gamer I loved the original (which probably ranked in my top 3 Amiga 600 time-sponges in the early 90s, topped only by Frontier & Civilisation), so to be greeted by a tedious sub-par FPS with delusions of Deus-Ex was a real kick in the teeth. It was therefore with some trepidation that I decided to give this, another re-boot of a 90s strategy game, a try.

Thankfully Fraxis & 2K decided not to take the easy option. The result is a genuinely engrossing turn-based strategy game (never thought I'd use those words in the same sentence) which is challenging but addictive.

The controls, both in battle and pre-preparation are very intuitive and, unlike other recent console attempts at strategy games such as Red Alert 3, don't require hours of tutorials and memorising of which-button-does-what.

Gameplay is very rewarding and you WILL get attached to your fully-customizable squad. Though patience & planning are rewarded the game never gets boring and (like a bag of Pistachio nuts) it's very hard to put down.

Though I've been waiting for years for the latest Hitman (which did take my attention away for a few weeks), this little-known and under-promoted game has got me hooked and is an encouraging reminder that not all developers write off the gaming community as FPS obsessives with the attention span of an N-DUBZ fan and the intelligence of a bagel.


James Bond: 007 Legends (PS3)
James Bond: 007 Legends (PS3)
Offered by 666 Media
Price: 12.45

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm a mug! The power of a bond license to sell a lazy FPS., 28 Oct 2012
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
I have to confess I was very excited about this release. I felt that Goldeneye Reloaded was rather unfairly panned, largely as it could never live up to the expectation that comes with the name (particularly to we older gamers). It was fairly enjoyable so I assumed that Activision would, in this release, improve the formula, bringing the Bond experience in line their higher-end FPS games, such as the sublime Modern Warfare series. I was very wrong.

This game is a lazy re-skinning of Goldeneye Reloaded, so-much-so that I could imagine each of the missions being released as DLC for the aforementioned title. On one early level it is blatant to the point of mockery, with parts of the factory levels obviously ripped from Goldeneye's Facility level.

No effort appears to have been made to improve the FPS engine, with the only additions being in-game "hacking" & "investigation" puzzles that alternate between the kind of rubbish that makes WII owners feel included and trace-and-track elements that make for a poor man's Arkham City.

One of the worst things has to be the loading times. It's 2012! There is no excuse for any game to make you stare at a loading screen for 20 to 30 seconds while waiting to replay the same level you just failed. This is particularly punishing on the terrible snowmobile level, which itself plays like a Tesco Value version of the early mission in Modern Warfare 2. If Activsion's better shooters have (for some years now) managed to negate this, allowing you to jump straight back into the action, why does any game developer think this is still acceptable?

When there is so much potential for film tie-ins to add to the experience of some great films, especially in this case where so many talented people, from Naomie Harris & Judy Dench to David Arnold (whose musical score is probably the high-point of the game) have gotten involved, this feels like a tragic waste.

Don't waste your money. Even a die-hard Bond fan should probably leave this alone, at least until they can pick it up second-hand for under 10. Which probably won't be long.


La Cafetiere Coffee Mill, Black
La Cafetiere Coffee Mill, Black
Price: 18.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Very poorly designed, 5 May 2012
Put simply, it's not that great at grinding beans. You'll find yourself having to give the whole unit a shake to get smaller beans into the grinding mechanism, and larger beans; forget it. I've actually resorted to mashing up the beans with a mortar & pestle BEFORE putting them in the grinder. Utter pants!


Batman: The Killing Joke (Deluxe Edition)
Batman: The Killing Joke (Deluxe Edition)
by Alan Moore
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars The best Batman graphic novel so far, 4 July 2011
Firstly, let me just say that Alan Moore is, in my worthless opinion, one of the greatest writers (graphic novel or otherwise) ever. He has managed to span varied themes with seemingly (but in all probability not) little effort. However, please don't put this review down to some kind of pre-conceived bias (I'm also a big fan of Neil Gaiman but wasn't wasn't overwhlemed by "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?"). With the depth and scope of his other works it seemed almost like some commercial side-project for Moore to produce a Batman story (and bear in mind that I love Batman), but such snobbish assumptions were annihilated when I read this fantastic book.

The unusual thing about this story is that Batman is almost a supporting character, with this story instead giving substantial depth to the Joker. It goes into the Joker's origins in flashbacks throughout the story while running, what appears to be at first glance, a comparitively standard story of peril with the Caped Crusader coming to the rescue. But what the story actually does is make you understand why the Joker does what he does...

***SPOILER WARNING - PLEASE DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU HAVE NOT YET READ THE BOOK***

The plan that the Joker carries out against Commissioner Gordon is not simply a case of revenge or hatred. Other than the (often used) motivation for the Joker's (or in many cases, other literary or film psychopaths) actions, i.e. that of wanting to break the monotony in a boring world, the Joker genuinely seems (in a perverse way that only a sociapath could devise) to want to help him to expand his mind. The idea that who we are, our perceptions of reality & of right & wrong are solely determined by our minds and that we can break away from the pre-conceptions that are installed in us by society and simply enjoy the warm embrace of madness, of letting go, appears to be the motivation for his actions. By exposing Gordon to the kind of stimulae that would drive the average person insane, the Joker hopes to not only bring Gordon around to his point of view but to set him free.

After reading this novel I felt that I really understood the character of the Joker and this perception has heightened my enjoyment of many other stories in which he features, including the latest film. It has also confirmed to me that Alan Moore is a genius and my only regret is that he hasn't attempted any interpretations from this franchise. I could imagine Moore writing a very good Two-Face story (Duality, personal & public polarisation of right & wrong etc.).

In any case, I can't recommend this book enough. Even if you don't consider yourself a Batman or Alan Moore fan, this is a must-read.


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