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Red Vs Blue: The Recollection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Red Vs Blue: The Recollection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Burnie Burns
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: 11.40

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Those were the best seasons ever... of all time, 28 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you're considering purchasing this, you probably know what to expect. A solid 5 1/2 hours of Recollection, divided between three seasons across three discs. The first two seasons, Reconstruction and Recreation, are all machinima, with the former holding a more serious plot than the Blood Gulch Chronicles. Recreation harks back to classic RvB with, as the title suggestions, recreation. The third season included in this boxset, Revelations, would be better suited to the name 'Revolution.' It introduces CG action to the series, which could have easily devolved into mindless acrobatics but in practice, manages to retain the humour of the series and allows the plot to be advanced in ways previously impossible.

I was surprised at how well put-together the DVD was, with hours upon hours of special features - it's worth the purchase for the exclusive audio commentaries alone, which accompany each season and often serve as comedy in their own right. You learn a lot about how they actually make this - machinima is a lot more difficult than just going into Halo 3's theatre mode and shooting, it's revealed - and the reasons behind the directions the story takes, with some jokes between members of the cast too. Then there are the other extras like the PSAs, behind-the-scenes videos and the mini-series of Recovery One and Relocated, both essential to understand the stories of the seasons.

I only picked this up because it was cheap and I figured it'd save the time of a torrent, but it's really surprised me by how good it is, enough so that I've been convinced to order seasons 9 and 10 on DVD too. And yes, it's region free and will work on UK DVD players/Xbox/PS3.

Final Fantasy IV - The Complete Collection (PSP)
Final Fantasy IV - The Complete Collection (PSP)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fly me to the moon..., 13 May 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Final Fantasy IV first released on the SNES in 1991, and quickly cemented itself as one of the greatest games of all time. Unlike previous Final Fantasy games, IV had a very strong plot which still holds up today as an epic tale of redemption and sacrifice, as well as quite possibly the best character line-up of any Final Fantasy game.

20 years later, and here we are, with 'Final Fantasy IV - The Complete Collection.' And it is truly complete. The UMD disc contains the original Final Fantasy IV game (with 'high definition 2D,' as some call it) as well as the previously Wii-exclusive 'The After Years,' which chronicles what happens after the rather open end of the main game. Bridging FFIV and The After Years is a completely new episode titled 'Interlude,' which, although short, serves its purpose nicely.

The gameplay is virtually identical to the GBA remake that came out some years ago; a relief to me as I personally found Final Fantasy IV on the DS a little too hard, and so The Complete Collection's difficulty is just right for me -- you'll still be using strategy and may get your sorry arse kicked by a few bosses, but at least now you won't nearly have half your party wiped out after a couple of random encounters. For those who have never played FFIV, the gameplay is very 'old school JRPG,' with you having an ensemble of characters, each tailored to their own roles (Mage, Warrior, Fighter, etc) who you control in turn based battles against enemies. Breaking up these battles is a huge overworld to explore, lovingly rendered in some of the most beautiful sprite art I've ever seen.

And the graphics truly are lovely. They manage to be evocative of the original's 16-bit graphics whilst simultaneously not looking too outdated; I personally hated the cutesy blocky 3D graphics of the DS remake, and so I find this perfect. The only issue is that some scenes in the DS version can sometimes be more cinematic, and so a few more CGI movies at key moments wouldn't have gone amiss here.

The music is absolutely wonderful, with the lovely option to be able to switch between the 'remastered' soundtrack and the original SNES soundtrack on the fly. I personally prefer the former, but I know there will be many nostalgic people who'd prefer to listen to the soundtrack in 16 bit glory. No voice acting, which is to be expected, although I did find it quite nice in the DS version; an option to enable/disable voice acting would not have gone amiss.

All in all, you couldn't hope for a better package for Final Fantasy IV -- if the DS remake was the director's cut, then this is the definitive, extended edition. With well over 40 hours of gameplay here, this game will keep you going for a while.

An excellent addition to the PSP, and well worth the purchase. If you're not a fan of classic JRPGs, though, this probably isn't for you.

Dragon Age 2 (Xbox 360)
Dragon Age 2 (Xbox 360)
Offered by Shop4World
Price: 14.78

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very different to Origins, 5 April 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
"There are men who struggle against destiny, only to have it swallow them whole. And there are men who embrace destiny, and do not show their fear... These are the ones that change the world forever."

Dragon Age: Origins was very much a typical, epic tale of high fantasy. An ancient threat returned from the darkness, and threatened to bring ruin unto the world. You were one of the few Grey Wardens, the only ones who could destroy the evil forces plaguing the land.

It was cliché, but a well executed one. Through interesting characters and intriguing storytelling, as well as some fantastic voice acting, Bioware (Baldur's Gate, Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect) managed to create an enthralling, well-woven tale.

Interesting then that Dragon Age II, Bioware's second visit to the world of Thedas, takes the plot in a very different direction. Gone are the epic, sweeping battles, vistas and traipsing around the world. Because whereas in Origins you created your Grey Warden from the ground-up, Hawke, the protagonist in Dragon Age II is very much a predefined person. Always Hawke will be human, and always he/she will rise to become the Champion of Kirkwall.

And therein lies a problem many will have with the game. Dragon Age II is very much the story of Hawke and the political and social turmoil in the city of Kirkwall over a ten year period. As such, the story is far smaller in scope. For the most part, you will remain in the fairly expansive city of Kirkwall and the outlying areas in the Free Marches. Obviously, this eliminates much of the 'epic' from the sequel to what can only be defined as a fantasy epic, which may make Dragon Age II feel a little out of sync with its predecessor.

However, if you have no problem with a smaller-scale tale focused more on the characters and how little events cascade over the years into large ones, then Dragon Age II's story will certainly entertain you. It begins with Hawke and his family fleeing from Lothering (which some may remember from the first game as the first village you arrived at after the Battle at Ostagar) and the Darkspawn Blight, which has yet to be ended by the Hero of Ferelden.

It's here at the very beginning that an interesting element of Dragon Age II's storytelling is introduced, in the form of embellishment. Bioware have opted to have the plot take place over a ten year time-frame and therefore a dwarf named Varric, who supposedly 'knew the Champion before he/she was the Champion' is recounting the tale of Hawke to his interrogator Cassandra, a Chantry Seeker. We are told at the very beginning of the game that the world is in tatters, the Hero of Ferelden is missing (unless he died in your Origins playthrough) and Hawke, destined to become Champion, is the only one who can put it back together.

This framed narrative is a very interesting way for Bioware to tell the story, and on the occasions that Varric embellishes the story, the results are often something to see. Cassandra quickly cuts through the crap, though, and soon enough Hawke's story is on the straight-and-narrow... mostly.

What ensues is a very personal but gripping adventure following Hawke from his/her rise from penniless refugee to one of the most important people in the world of Thedas. This premise seems a little outlandish at first but in practice is very believable, showing that the right person in the right place at the right time, with a little determination and will, can change the world.

Whilst at the beginning of Origins we are immediately introduced to the threat of the Darkspawn, in Dragon Age II the unique nature of the ten year narrative renders it so the conflicts can be introduced far more subtly. The seeds are sown in the very first act; tension is brewing between the very oppressive Templars of Kirkwall and the Mages, a Qunari dreadnought has shipwrecked off the coast, and more. The build up to events exploding is very well paced, and when all hell finally breaks loose, it's suitably epic. The ending of Act II in particular is a highlight, solidifying Hawke as one of my favourite protagonists of all time.

Contributing to this is the fact that Hawke is a very good character. For all Commander Shepard's moments and no matter how much we all love him, his lines are delivered very dully by Mark Meer most of the time, and aside from a few small titbit we know little of his history.

With Hakwe, it's a very different story. The class you choose (Warrior, Rogue or Mage) has an impact on the story; these differences are especially tangible when playing Warrior/Rogue and then Mage. As a Warrior, Hawke has spent much of his/her life keeping his apostate (a mage who has broken free from the Templar's prison) sister, Bethany, safe from the grasp of the Templars. If Hawke is a mage though, he/she too is an apostate, adding an interesting dynamic to the game.

Hawke's voice acting is exemplary, with a smashing voice actor and artfully delivered lines. The inclusion of a dialogue wheel was a beneficiary decision, with the need to trawl through a box of text to speak now defunct. A slight but very useful addition to the typical Bioware-dialogue wheel is that icons now appear inside the wheel when selecting an option to denote the tone Hawke's speech will take; a smiling mask symbolises sarcasm, a fist aggression, angel wings kindness, a diamond charm, a gavel judgement, and so on. This may seem like a very small and inconsequential addition, but in practice means that very rarely does Hawke ever say something you didn't think he would.

Of course, Hawke would be nothing without a strong supporting cast, but thankfully Bioware more than delivers on this front. In Origins I disliked several of the characters, whereas in Dragon Age II I loved all of them aside from one, who I merely liked. Backstories are well fleshed out, voice acting is of a high-calibre, and the friendship system from Origins has been fixed. This time around, a companion won't leave your party simply due to disagreeing with you killing a rogue blood mage; instead, relationships and even romances can be formed around rivalries too. Each character has a range of abilities as well as a set unique to him/her, and each can be specialised to create a well-rounded out party.

And you'll need it. I personally played Dragon Age: Origins on the Xbox 360, and whilst the story and characters were both fantastic, the gameplay was tolerated rather than enjoyed. Often it became a matter of pressing 'A' once and waiting with tedium for your character to whittle the enemy's health down. In Dragon Age II though, controls have been streamlined for the Xbox, and I found myself using tactics in almost every battle, pausing the game with the radial member and queuing party attacks up.

However, that's not to say the gameplay is perfect. A major annoyance with the game is randomly spawning enemies. In an attempt to seemingly pad up the game, Bioware have made is so enemies spawn from no where, turning combat into a real grind at times. It also ruins the stealth factor that could be used in the first game, and renders it so strategically placing archers and mages is useless since enemies will spawn on top of them anyway.

Still, it's a major step-up from Origins and I found myself enjoying the gameplay this time rather than suffering it. Combat is accentuated with some great music, which itself is consistently fantastic. Haunting strings, strumming electric guitar, lute, violin, piano; the composer for this game is very talented, and I often found myself standing around merely taking in the musical score.

Music and combat aren't the only things that have been stepped up, either. Origins is one of the ugliest games on the Xbox is has to be said, due to a poor port from the PC. Even Oblivion, a five year old game looks better than it. Dragon Age II, however, has stepped up the graphical bar nicely so that it looks current-gen. It's no Crysis 2, and it barely reaches the levels of the first Mass Effect, but at least this time around Dragon Age isn't a pain to behold.

All in all, Dragon Age II is a fantastic game. It's not flawless unfortunately, and it's painstakingly clear at some points that Bioware have been pressured by EA to rush the game out as cheaply as possible in order to regain profits no doubt lost by upcoming The Old Republic MMO. Thankfully, the corners cut were cut by masterful stone-masons, and weren't just chipped away. This leads to a game which has polish, substance and style, with a few irksome factors.

Even if you never played Origins, Dragon Age II is a perfect entry point to the world of Thedas. And it improves on almost everything from the first game, culminating in an extremely enjoyable 40 hours or so of game-time with motivation still present for subsequent playthroughs. Only a few small issues bring what would be a nine down to a high eight.

Overall Score - [8/10]
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 11, 2011 9:02 PM BST

Red Vs Blue: Blood Gulch Chronicles: First Five [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Red Vs Blue: Blood Gulch Chronicles: First Five [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Burnie Burns
Price: 27.69

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best machinima, 18 Mar 2011
I watched this series a few years ago, and recently picked the boxset up on DVD. The series began as a few guys were messing around creating a little video set in a game called Halo. It became popular and so they did more episodes, and well... the rest is history.

The Blood Gulch Chronicles are the best Red vs Blue has done, in my opinion. Newer seasons have featured gritty plots, and most recently impressive CGI, but they lack the humour and charm of these five seasons. The characters are all lovable, the plots are mental but strangely compelling, the music is catchy and the voice acting is pretty good, improving vastly as the series goes on.

Definitely worth your money. This was the one of the first machinima series ever created, and to this day it remains the undisputed king.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 24, 2012 12:20 PM GMT

Professor Layton And The Eternal Diva [DVD]
Professor Layton And The Eternal Diva [DVD]
Dvd ~ Chris Miller
Price: 5.10

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly captures the games' quintessence, 12 Mar 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm a rather large fan of the Layton games, and primarily play them for the stories and characters rather than puzzles, and so I bought this for a few pounds expecting maybe a light bit of fun driven solely by fan service, like practically all game-tie-in movies.

My expectations were utterly surpassed.

The plot was beautiful, and majestically told. A compelling adventure with much better flow than any of the games due to the lack of interrupting puzzles, full of emotion and surprise, as well as that indefinable steampunk-esque feel I love about the games. The movie managed to retain all the quintessence and charm of the games, with the same unique and fantastic art style exemplified by seamless CGI effects blending into the animation. The musical score was enrapturing, capturing the mood of the movie perfectly. The characters were perfect, and the voice-acting was magnificent with Chris Miller giving his typical brilliant performance as Layton, and the supporting cast all being superb too.

The perfect combination of plot, emotion, character and just the right amount of action made this a movie that stands up on its own merits, and not just because it's part of the Professor Layton franchise.

I don't watch anime too often, but this was one of the best I've seen. I started watching this expecting a bit of light entertainment to kill an hour or so. Now, I absolutely cannot wait for the next movie. Level 5 have outdone themselves.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Nintendo DS)
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Nintendo DS)
Offered by Bargain Games UK
Price: 17.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A review of the trilogy, 29 Jan 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 

When some of you hear "Phoenix Wright," that will be the first word to pop into your heads. Until a few months ago that was pretty much all I knew about the series too, as well as the fact that it was a game in which you played as a lawyer.

But it's much more than that. Sure, the basic premise of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and its sequels is that you play a defence attorney defending clients from criminal charges, which are almost always murder. When you first meet Phoenix, he's a nave young rookie and you wonder how on Earth he ever graduated law school.

Then you realise that this series isn't meant to be realistic. As such, you get lawyers who haven't touched a law book, detectives who couldn't investigate their way out of a paper bag, a semi-senescent judge who should probably be in a care home rather than a court room, and even spirit mediums being a pivotal point of the plot.

And I wouldn't have it any other way. Part of what makes the Phoenix Wright series so incredible and unique is this ludicrous element it has to it. I can't remember once seeing a character you could define as normal in the trilogy, yet this is what helps me remember them all. Which is great, as it makes for unique dialogue and hilarious scripting.

Yet despite this, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney makes you care about the characters, far more so than in any other game I've played, even Mass Effect. Over the course of trilogy you come to adore each and every one of the characters, even the prosecutors, who are at first merciless cut-throats who silence witnesses who would damage their 'record', forge evidence and still try to get your client found guilty even when all the evidence is screaming to the contrary.

None of this would work, though, if the plots weren't any good. Thankfully, they're consistently amazing. The amount of effort the writers put into these games is phenomenal; a case that will at first seem simple and straight forward will take a twist and become something new entirely. At times they're even quite dark, yet somehow despite the 'adult' themes in the game such as murder, suicide, blackmail, and betrayal they still manage to stay light-hearted and will have you chuckling from beginning to end. The great thing is that these plots aren't just self-contained incidents; you will constantly see events being tied back to past cases and even to cases from years ago before Phoenix became a lawyer, especially so in the third and final game.

Accentuating the brilliant plots and characters is a superb soundtrack, which isn't just great in how it sounds but also in how it's used. Despite being largely synthesised tracks and compressed into a DS-friendly file format, the game manages to be as kind to the ears as a game with a bombastic orchestra. From the first tentative notes that play when a new trial begins to the cautious tones that play during a witnesses testimony, and then the exhilarating crescendo that leaps up when you shout Objection! into the microphone and begin to destroy said testimony, the music of Phoenix Wright is a defining feature of the series.

Graphically the game is lovely. Sure, it doesn't boast incredible realistic visuals, but it has a distinct, distinguishable charm adding to the atmosphere of the rest of the game. Each character has only a handful of models that they will alternate to during the course of the games, but each contains so much life that their limited number doesn't matter. All of the games are presented in a fantastic, almost 'anime' style, which fits the nature of the game perfectly. As well as each character having ludicrous personalities, their appearances also match these. The haughty, arrogant prosecutor who is your main rival in the first game is dressed in a stuffy garb with frills and pompadour to match his actions. The lovable failure of a Detective who recurs throughout the trilogy is archetypally dressed in an oversized, scruffy waistcoat. Phoenix himself is probably the most normal looking of the characters in his vanilla blue suit and red tie, even though his hair looks like it could be a murder weapon in itself.

Diverting away from the feel of the game, the actual gameplay is perfect too. Phoenix Wright is commonly called an "interactive visual novel," but I don't think that name does the gameplay justice. Certainly, the games are completely linear, but that doesn't mean that you won't love playing every second of it. The games are divided into two halves; the courtroom sections that the franchise is best associated with, and investigation sections, due to the fact that Phoenix apparently moonlights as a detective. Both are distinct and enjoyable enough to keep the player constantly engaged, although the courtroom segments are arguably the highlight of the game. Investigation is still fun, having you examine crime scenes and other locations, grilling witnesses and other bystanders for information, and all this is made even more interesting from the second game onwards by the addition of 'psyche-locks;' secrets a witness or other character hold which can only be broken by the presentation of evidence contradicting their excuses.

Still, this element pales in comparison to the rush of exaltation you experience when presenting evidence turning a case upon its head in court, and adding to this smug satisfaction is that way the characters react, from the judge looking shocked to the prosecutors slamming the table/whipping the witness/having their hair blown away/their laser face mask exploding. As said above, the series is completely over the top and ridiculous at times but in this case this isn't a negative factor, but an extremely positive one.

There are a few minor negatives regarding the franchise, small but still present. The primary one is that the actual DS intractability is limited, due to the fact that the games are actually translated ports of the Gameboy Advance series which was only released in Japan, Gyakuten Saiban (literally, Turnabout Lawyer.) As such, aside from one bonus case at the end of the first game which will allow you to indulge in testing for fingerprints at a crime scene, spray for blood with forensic fluid, or rotate evidence and examine it at all angles, the intractability with the touch screen is limited to using the stylus to advance text, indicate evidence or highlight areas of a crime scene you wish to examine. However, the entire game is controllable with the stylus and nothing else, which is incredibly nice, and shouting Hold it! when demanding a witness elaborate upon a statement, Take That! when presenting evidence to counteract a claim or Objection! when finally delivering the final blow which will render the witness' testimony irreparably flawed into the microphone is extremely satisfying, even if you do feel a little silly upon doing it.

At times though the game can be pretty hard, when you are asked to present evidence contradicting a claim or doing something akin to that. If you mess up too many times then the Judge declares your client Guilty, which is basically the Phoenix Wright version of a game over screen. This results in you having to play through a segment of the game from your last save point (and these only take place a few times during a trial), and trawling through text you've already poured over can be a chore. As long as you're attentive though, this shouldn't be too much of a problem. Sometimes it will be incredibly tempting to visit Game FAQs but do the best you can to resist; progressing through the game due to some online guide robs trials of all their fun.

These few minor flaws mean very little when held up next to the consistently fantastic franchise as a whole, however. Indeed, aside from those few small points there isn't anything else I wasn't pleased about in the Phoenix Wright trilogy.

All in all, if you have a DS lying around which hasn't known love in a long time, then pick up these games. They're so good that I'd recommend investing in a DS to play these games even if you don't have one already. There really isn't any other game you can compare them to; they belong in the point and click genre but are a world away from games like Broken Sword and Monkey Island; unique in every way, and a refreshing break from a market over-saturated with shooters and same-same RPGs.

The Phoenix Wright series is without a doubt the best series on the DS, and is in general one of the best gaming franchises around.

Final Fantasy XIII (Xbox 360)
Final Fantasy XIII (Xbox 360)
Offered by Global Xpress
Price: 14.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best entry in the series yet, 25 Jan 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I've played most of the Final Fantasy games, across multiple platforms. As such, I approached XIII a little cautiously after having read multiple reviews online, from critics and consumers alike, which were pretty negative; pretty much a first for the main entries in the Final Fantasy series (bar XI, but I don't count that due to it being an MMO.)

Indeed, I very nearly didn't buy this game. I'm overwhelmingly glad that I did.

Final Fantasy XIII isn't just, in my mind's eye, the best in the series; it's also one of the greatest games I've ever played too.

I'll start by addressing the negatives I read in many reviews:

Linearity: This game is very linear, and so if you dislike running down a pre-set path to the next objective, then this isn't for you. It's a little bit of a shame, but not the huge disappointment many make it out to be. I actually enjoyed the linearity in all honesty, as it allowed for a much tighter and closer narrative, and I didn't have to wonder where I was supposed to go like I did in some earlier Final Fantasies.

Combat: I've heard people say that the combat in XIII is a simple case of mashing the "A" button. That's not true. Yes, the tutorial is unnecessarily long and the game holds your hand when you don't want it to, but once Square Enix decides to kick off the training wheels the complexity and brilliance of Final Fantasy XIII's combat system comes into play. Rather than focusing on selecting the right attacks, this game has you change the roles of party members to suit the situation.

For example, if an enemy is on the attack, you might want to switch one of your three party members to "Sentinel" to attract the enemy and help deflect the attacks, perhaps also setting one of your members to "Medic" to heal when needed and maybe one to "Synergist" to 'buff' your party with protection spells. If your enemy is defending, you might switch to "Ravenger" to cast spells, "Commando" to attack physically and "Saboteur" to cast 'de-buffs' on the enemy, weakening it with curses and such.

It works brilliantly, and is definitely the best and possibly most difficult Final Fantasy combat system I've seen.

Story: Anyone who says the story is no good is wrong. The only flaw is the lack of a strong, clear-cut antagonist but this game isn't about you stopping a Sephiroth or Kefka. It's set in a beautifully crafted universe with a gripping and emotional plot about pre-determined fate and free-will, as well as the rebellion against total power and the effect senseless fear can have on the world. You're fighting fate and destiny, not a madman. It's definitely one of better Final Fantasy plots.

Sure, overall the game has a couple of flaws but other than those it is absolutely fantastic, and whilst you'll sometimes curse the difficulty of some sections or the slow plotting you'll come away at the end thinking, rightly, that the game was one of the greatest gaming experiences you've ever played through.

Roll on, XIII-2.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (DS)
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (DS)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: 12.86

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you liked Ace Attorney, get this, 22 Jan 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a game spawned by the creative genius of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Shu Takumi has a reputation for creating games with fantastic writing, clever twists and wonderful characters, and his latest work doesn't disappoint in that regard.

Ghost Trick has you playing as the disemodied soul of a man who has just died. You don't remember anything about what has happened, and no time is left for you to figure this out before a scene presents itself before you; a man with a gun has a woman cornered, after she discovered your body.

The title comes from the gameplay elements, which I'll explain. The person you play as, Sissel, can exist in what is known as the 'ghost' world. You lack physical form, but are able to possess inanimate objects and manipulate them. This is done by entering 'Ghost' mode, possessing the 'core' of the object you want to manipulate and then pressing 'Trick' to affect it. You can release the claw holding a demolition ball, sending it crashing below; you can move a swing to hit someone and momentarily distract them. All of these manipulations can be used in an attempt to save someone's life.

And thankfully, the game is graphically able to show these manipulations with grace. The developers painstakingly animated every little movement in Ghost Trick, of which there are thousands. The result is quite potentially the most beautiful game on the DS, with some of the greatest 2D animation I've ever seen, even in anime and cartoons.

Unlike Phoenix Wright, Ghost Trick features engaging, very interactive gameplay; a rarity among point-and-click adventures. At first it is a simple matter of manipulating the right objects to save someone's life, but later on more intricate systems come into play, having you time travel back four minutes before a person's death to save them and gain new ethereal powers.

Despite this, the focus is still on the plot and characters. I had been a little worried that it would not meet the high standard of Ace Attorney in this regard, and so I was pleased to see that not only does it match Takumi's earlier work; it possibly surpasses it.

To say anything would spoil the surprises, but rest assured that the game took the preconceptions I had regarding the plot, and twisted them beyond recognition. The sheer number of amazingly executed plot twists is staggering. The writing is of a consistently high calibre standard, with some of the best localisation I've seen in a game, and the characters are all very memorable and unique, just like with Ace Attorney.

The music of the game is also superb, and whilst it doesn't feature too many of the fantastic pieces that help define Ace Attorney, it is still a very pleasing game to the ears. There is no voice acting, but that was to be expected.

A selfish part of me hopes for a sequel, but I also know that the game ended perfectly, wrapping up all loose ends in an artfully contained package. To create more games would ruin this, I think. In conclusion, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is one of the best games on the Nintendo DS, one that everyone who owns the console should try.

Dune Messiah
Dune Messiah
by Frank Herbert
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.30

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Dune, 13 Dec 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dune Messiah (Paperback)
It's a lot shorter than the original.

That was the first thing which struck me when I opened the packet and the book came out. I'd say that Dune Messiah is about four times smaller than the original masterpiece Dune, and this short length has an impact on the content.

Dune was an amazing, inspiring story about revenge, corruption, politics, religion, monopolization, hardship, and in general was probably one of the greatest books I've ever read. I can't say the same about Dune Messiah. Where Dune had multiple plots and sub-plots, Messiah sticks for the most part to one conspiracy plot throughout the whole of it.

It makes for enjoyable reading, but in all honesty I came away from the book a little disappointed. If you were a fan of the first book, I do recommend getting this as it tells you about what happened after the events of Dune. Don't expect a literary masterpiece though.

Stargate Universe - Complete Season 1 [DVD]
Stargate Universe - Complete Season 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robert Carlyle
Price: 19.00

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As a newcomer to Stargate, I loved it, 13 Dec 2010
I've never seen SG-1 or Stargate Atlantis, and it's unlikely that I will for a while (due to there being so many episodes!)

So I came to Stargate Universe a little apprehensively after watching the finale of Battlestar Galactica and needing a new Sci-Fi series, thinking that I wouldn't understand it due to having never seen Stargate before. Thankfully, that was not the case.

The series opens gently, introducing the universe and the very strong ensemble of characters. You're told about the Stargates, the Ancients, and state of affairs in the series' universe. There were a few things that I had to search on Wiki to understand properly (Lucian Alliance and the reason why the Ancients aren't here anymore, namely.) But for the most part, speaking from experience, newcomers to Stargate will find Universe an excellent place to start.

The characters are all very interesting and although I didn't gel with them as quickly as in other shows, eventually I've grown to like them all. Doctor Nicholas Rush especially is a very interesting character; at first he seemed a lot like a BSG Baltar clone but later in the series develops into very much his own unique character. Robert Carlyle acts brilliantly in this series.

The plot of the series is at first slow, and the first few episodes mainly deal with the hapless crew trying to survive on an Ancient ship on the other side of the universe. Eventually though they begin to assert some control over the Destiny, and the stories of the episodes become fantastic. When I first heard that there were aliens in the show I wasn't sure what to make of it, mainly due to having spent years watching Doctor Who's cheesy (but lovable) aliens. Much to my delight, the aliens in Universe are fantastic, acting as you would think an alien would act.

Stargate Universe explores a few issues prevalent in society today, but nothing radical. The show doesn't hold as much thematic depth as some other Sci-Fi shows, but that's not a huge problem as the plot is fantastic and the idea of a ship sailing through the universe is truly inspiring.

I've heard a lot of hardcore fans of SG-1 and Universe complain about this show, calling it a Space Soap Opera. It's not; it just has strong character development. Trust me, this is science fiction at its best, with a strange precursor race, alien worlds, occasional space battles, and more. Just don't go in expecting it to be a bombastic show constantly full of action.

Season 1 had a few flaws and certainly isn't the greatest Sci-Fi show out there, but I still enjoyed watching it vastly. I heavily recommend it.

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