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Reviews Written by
R. J. Tunley "onesecondglance" (UK)
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Classica
Classica
Price: £10.48

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic in every sense, 11 Jun 2009
This review is from: Classica (Audio CD)
a reissue of the original from back in the day, this album still holds against the test of time even if modern production values aren't your thing.

"Classica" is for many the apex of the "early" Novembre style - the melo-death riffs present here are among their finest, and the songwriting shows a far more developed structural skill than previous efforts. "Nostalgiaplatz" hints at the epic rock of later albums such as "Materia", whilst "Onirica East" showcases their unique atmospheric take on the death style.

whilst the screamed vocals are certainly not their best, they are unerringly well-placed in the arrangements - enhancing the overall mood of the songs. the drumming, on the other hand, is above criticism, being simply stunning - a distinct step up from previous efforts and a real pleasure throughout.

it's actually almost easy to forget just how great the guitar work is here, too, such is the abundance of great tone and musicianship. we're treated to a masterclass in combining technical skill with melodies that complement the songs; and, above all, are filled with emotion, unlike the soulless shredding of so many of the Scandinavian school. as we cascade into the double-hand tapped climax of "Tales From A Winter To Come" into the pinch-harmonics of the outro it's clear that we are listening to people devoted to wringing beauty from their instruments with every note - musicians in the truest sense.

i've owned this album for more than five years now, and it still moves me to gush in praise whenever it's mentioned. i think that says it all - it's a bona fide classic.


BloodRayne 2 (PS2)
BloodRayne 2 (PS2)
Offered by sicodaddy
Price: £29.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lament for what could have been, 12 Jan 2007
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: BloodRayne 2 (PS2) (Video Game)
I've just finished playing this game, and by the end it felt as though it couldn't come soon enough. Bloodrayne 2 promises much, and delivers a certain amount, but in the end it just isn't up to scratch.

Let's start with the positive - the game looks gorgeous. The in-game character modelling is excellent, and you're never in doubt which characters you're looking at or interacting with. This is particularly important since several of the boss enemies are quite similar in appearance. But their individual subtleties do shine through and this is one of the major triumphs of the game.

Secondly, the gameplay design is superb, with the level of thought going into the available moves and way the game is laid out being a strong point. Rayne is just as powerful as you would expect a half-human half-vampire uber-assassin to be, and carries an extensive arsenal. The idea of using the harpoon to solve killing puzzles is a great touch and just one of several really original ideas to be found here.

Unfortunately, it's in the execution of these ideas that the game really suffers. Sure, there are graphical glitches aplenty - but this is pretty standard for the PS2 and could have been ignored if they were the only problem. Likewise, the sets are all pretty similar, and before long you'll be afflicted by repetitive-tunnel-syndrome. Again, though, this isn't any worse than any other game on the market. No, the real issue is the fact that this game just isn't that much fun.

The killing puzzles that could have been a real standout are all too often contrived and ill-thought-out, and most of all too fiddly to be really enjoyable. The game also suffers from having too many bosses, with there generally being at least two or three lesser bosses to fight in every single stage. Any sense of drama or tension about such occasions rapidly diminishes through repetition, even with Rayne's laconic quips to spice things up.

Generally, though, it's just the lack of variety in gameplay that really saps the enthusiasm out of you - once the afore-mentioned killing puzzles have become tedious, the rest of the game is pretty much run-slash-shoot-slash-jump. For hours and hours. It doesn't help, either, that the difficulty level is totally inconsistent, going from easy-as-winking to desperately difficult in the space of a single room. Funnily enough, the game designers have built in an entire cheat mode facility into Bloodrayne 2, which significantly improves the enjoyment of the game. There is a huge amount of satisfaction in turning on all the cheats and becoming the unstoppable killing machine the game is all about. Disappointing, then, that cheating is the only way to feel that power, whereas games such as God of War achieve that just by being better.

Overall, then, Bloodrayne 2 *could* have been a really enjoyable addition to the 3rd-person hack 'n' slash adventure genre, but poor execution of some good ideas renders this horse lame.


Sony NWA1000S 6GB HDD Walkman - Silver
Sony NWA1000S 6GB HDD Walkman - Silver

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great before - even better now they've fixed the software, 16 Feb 2006
Having had this player for about a month before they upgraded the software, I'd have to agree that Sony had seriously let themselves down. Uber-cool design and a great sound, combined with a decent memory size and easy to use controls make the actual hardware second-to-none and I was heartbroken when mine got stolen. Testament to how much I loved this player is the fact I went straight out to buy the exact same one immediately afterwards.
But... there was the software. One of the least helpful manuals I have ever encountered simply compounded the frequent crashes and inexplicably long time it took to rip CDs. However, a recent upgrade to the software *seems* to have somewhat solved the crashing problem and ripping seems to be a little faster now. I doubt they've done anything about the manual though. Here's a hint - you'll need to change the settings to rip as ATRAC3 and adjust the bit rate down to either 64kbps or 48kbps to actually fit on the 300 cds they claim you can.
One of the main disappointments about the software is that it's completely impossible to rip enhanced CDs - they come up as a data CD and you'll be forced to resort to ripping them as mp3s through a less fussy program like Windows Media Player. On the plus side, the "Gracenote" track listing system is fantastic and recognised even the most obscure of my collection.
So... on the whole, best digital music player you can by, bar none. That is, if you have the patience to work out the software.


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