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L.A. Noire (Xbox 360)
L.A. Noire (Xbox 360)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: 13.67

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fun for a bit but, flawed and linear, 6 Jun 2011
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: L.A. Noire (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
I was expecting a sprawling free roaming game like GTA, but was disappointed to find a very linear storyline and gameplay. You have to really go where the game wants you to go. The gameplay itself is quite repetitive and basic. You arrive at a crime scene, search for clues, question people and in nearly every case end up chasing someone on foot or by car. There is some fun to be had from this for a while, but the game is flawed.
When interrogaing suspects, you can choose three options when they answer your question; truth;doubt;lie. You don't, however ever know what your character Phelps is going to say. So you can spend time reviewing the evidence, choose an option and get it wrong. Even this doesn't matter, because of the linear nature of the game, suspects won't get off because of your mistake. In fact in one scenario, the game forced me to charge someone who then turned out to be innocent.
The driving controls are unresponsive and tricky to master, and someone had the bright idea of doubling up the left thumbstick to move the vehicle and sound the siren/horn. So when you're tailing someone and put to much pressure on the stick, they instantly evade you. The siren has no function anyway, because the AI controled cars are useless and don't move out of your way.
A big deal has been made of the graphics and facial movements, which failed to impress me. The facial movements are tied into the interaction and questioning of people which as mentioned above is flawed. The graphics in general, I found to be flat and washed out.

All the marketing had this game lit up as almost an evolution, but ultimately it is extremely unremarkable and at times frustrating.

Philips GoGear MP4 player SA2MUS16S/02 Muse 16GB - Silver
Philips GoGear MP4 player SA2MUS16S/02 Muse 16GB - Silver

9 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Philips Oh Dear Muse, 8 Sep 2010
Firstly despire being listed as released in 2011, this player is available now from other retailers (incase you wonder how I can review it).

I was looking for a replacement for a dented, older Sony model. The new Sony's are said to have sound issues, so I looked at the iPod and Philips. Most reviews say that audio is the IPod's weakest link (being a jack of all trades) so I went for this Philips player.
And what a disaster. It certainly looks the part with a stylish silver casing. The touch screen is a good size and quite responsive. The unit feels robust. From there though it's not so good. The audio quality is very disappointing, lacking any real dynamism. Philips' FullSound system, designed to capture the potential of MP3 results in weak, distant sound. The equaliser presets improve things slightly, but the results are still quite flat.
When listening to music, there is a 2 second delay between tracks, which although not seeming a lot, is very noticeable. This is especialy irritating if, like me, you have "live" albums on there.
There are also other issues which really annoy. You can choose custom wallpapers for the Muse's admittedly vibrant screen, but the unit promptly resets these every time you turn it off. After half a dozen times of rooting through the pictures folder, you give up.
And the clock also inexplicably resets itself, every time it is powered up.

Maybe the supplied earphones (which Philips seem proud of) could be replaced and improve audio, but I think spending over 100 on an MP3/4 player should cover the cost of decent earphones already.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 7, 2010 4:52 PM BST

The Angel's Game
The Angel's Game
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.09

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What the hell was that about, then?, 16 Aug 2010
This review is from: The Angel's Game (Paperback)
As one of those books which everyone is apparantly reading, curiosity got the better of me and bought The Angels Game. Undoubtedly full of style and beautifully described ( a little too much, it could have lost 20 pages), it was an intriguing page turner. But the problem is, I got to the end and had no idea what had happened. Many story strands seemed unresolved and it was unclear exatly what had become of David Martin and indeed, who Corelli really was. Twists are fine, but I really do prefer a definitive resolution. And as other reviewrs have mentioned, the last part was absurd, seeming to give itself over to the qualities of a blockbuster movie, with chases scenes and an increasingly ridiculous body count.

The three stars are awarded for the genuinely interesting, fascinating characters, and the atmosphere of Barcelona created by the author. But ultimately this book just left me frustrated.

Alpha Protocol
Alpha Protocol
Offered by RAREWAVES
Price: 4.81

9 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Alpha Protocol, Zero Fun, 30 May 2010
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Alpha Protocol (Video Game)
There are few games which I turn off after a matter of minutes, but this is one of them. Ironically, the last one was Alan Wake which I traded in for this horror.
The quality of this game becomes apparant in the first few minutes as the title starts, where you are presented with graphics which look as though they belong on the earlier Xbox console. Flat undefined and completely unrealistic backdrops with astoundindly poorly drawn characters. No finesse. The control system is serviceable but the combat as someone else mentioned is not. It is clunky and inaccurate. At one stage I was prompted to take cover from an enemy by pressing "A" and proceeded to run straight past him, leaving me facing a wall and getting blasted before I could figure out what happened.
The conversation elements are dumb in the extreme. You are only allowed to choose a style; agressive, professional etc, with no choice of actual dialogue. The puzzles which consist of breaking alarm circuits and hacking are ludicrously difficult because of the time frame you are given to complete them.
If you are looking for a good RPG, try Mass Effect. For an intelligent, stealthy shooter go for Splinter Cell: Conviction. Just avoid this terrible game.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 12, 2011 9:56 AM BST

HTML: A Beginner's Guide, Third Edition
HTML: A Beginner's Guide, Third Edition
by Wendy Willard
Edition: Paperback
Price: 18.37

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Confused and unclear, 19 Feb 2009
I am really disappointed with this book. Different aspects of HTML are broken down into modules which is good, but the content is contradictory and confusing.
There are entire sections devoted to Tables and Frames which the author then seems to dimiss as obselete, steering the reader to CSS (style sheets). Why have those topics in the book? The CSS are not adequately explained and there are constant references to code elements throughout the modules but no clear indication as to where they should be placed. And some code which I enter, following the examples to the letter, simply does not work.

Best avoided.

Hama Digital Wrist Strap Metal
Hama Digital Wrist Strap Metal
Offered by Saverstore
Price: 7.19

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Does the job, 5 Feb 2009
As wrist straps go, it fulfils it's purpose and keeps your camera secured to your wrist. However, asthetically, it's a let down. It is indeed a metal strap which should give an air of quality, but it is covered in a nasty plastic tube which makes it feel cheap and tacky.

Panasonic DMR-EX768EBK Freeview+ 160GB Hard Drive DVD Recorder 1080P Up-Conversion - Black
Panasonic DMR-EX768EBK Freeview+ 160GB Hard Drive DVD Recorder 1080P Up-Conversion - Black

236 of 243 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Panasonic's reputation continues, 13 May 2008
The EX768 has replaced my ageing Panasonic EH50, which although much loved, couldn't record from my new Sony freeview telly without being very fiddly.

Panasonic have a good reputation with their DVD recorders, and this unit can only strengthen it. Anyone who already owns a "Panny" will instantly feel at home as the design structure of the menus and navigation is identical to previous models - clear, intuitive, and quite attractive.
The major addition to their latest releases is a Freeview tuner. Once you set up and switch on for the first time, it will automatically search and store channels. You can flick through the channels with the EPG, which is where the Panasonic falls down a little.
Instead of a digital EPG, only a Guideplus EPG is provided. This achieves the same end result, but the programme data isn't updated as regularly and the interface looks more rudimentary and basic than Panasonic's user interface (mentioned earlier). Oh and there are adverts on one side of the screen.
The features available are excellent. You can record one episode of a programme or an entire series with a few button presses. If you record a film which is split in two, for the news for example, the Panasonic will automatically cut it out. Whilst recording, you can watch another recording on the hard drive or DVD. There is a selection of recording qualities from XP to EP.
The Panasonic's editing facilites are as good as ever, with the ability to name, erase and create chapters and playlists. When transferring to DVD (permanently), there is also a choice of menu screens to use.

The remote is well laid out and uncomplicated, though the responsiveness could be better. The good news is that the flimsy scroll wheel from past units has been removed.

You could also check out the EX768's more expensive big brothers - EX78 & EX88 - which come with a larger hard drive, USB sockets, Jukebox facilites for more advanced music storage, and in the case of the EX88 an SD slot for digital photographs.

But ultimately, if you are simply looking for a high quality recorder to catch favourite films and programmmes in digital style, especially when on holiday and you need Series Link to capture every episode of your favourite soap, the EX768 is worth every penny.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 29, 2008 2:39 PM BST

Offered by Side Two
Price: 3.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Boys are back, 23 May 2006
This review is from: Fundamental (Audio CD)
The last PSB album, Release, seemed driven by guitar, piano and Neil's trademark meloncholic vocals. After what seems like an eternity, the Boys have gone back to basics - and they rock.

Fundamental takes us and them back to the very best of their early work - Electronic pop with grandiose, rolling melodies and fast, compelling lyrics. Listening to this album, you are constantly wrong- footed as the songs change direction unexpectedly and takes you elsewhere. Every track is a pleasure to listen to, without a single filler in sight. Fundamental sounds fresh and vibrant - Pet Shop Boys have never been better.

The truly stand- out tracks are Minimal, Numb, I'm With Stupid, Casanova In Hell, and Integral.

Go buy it!

Corel Paint Shop Pro X (Upgrade Edition) (PC)
Corel Paint Shop Pro X (Upgrade Edition) (PC)

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dodgy print quality, 16 May 2006
I have used PSP since version 7, and never had any problems, so I upgraded from V.8 to X. It is still very capable (Smart Photo Fix is amazing) and the new learning centre is useful. Corel have made the interface more attractive than Jasc.

However, when it comes to printing within PSPX, things go downhill rapidly. The software seems to resize the photos to the size of a postage stamp on the preview screen if you select "Print" from the tool bar. You have to select File>Print Layout to get it to work.

And the interpretation of the colours is very inaccurate. A picture which is perfect on screen comes out of my printer (Epson R300)very dark and gloomy. My monitor callibration is fine because other software (including my old PSP8) prints perfectly. I have to edit with PSPX, and then print from another program.

Unfortunatly, this means I really can't reccommend this upgrade.

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