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D. Condliffe "Jazz Maverick,:explorer" (Hampshire, England)

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FIFA 12 (PS3)
FIFA 12 (PS3)
Offered by Future Gaming UK
Price: £3.24

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better, closer, nearly, almost., 19 Mar 2012
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: FIFA 12 (PS3) (Video Game)
First off, I don't play on-line. I am only reviewing the off-line gaming so look for another review if you're in to playing on-line.

Choosing a football game in recent year has, to me at least, been a competition to find the least worst game. There is a whole list of problems with Fifa 11 which I'm sure everyone is all to aware of and, in my opinion, EA have actually addressed a lot of these issues. The main problem I had with fifa 11 was the terrible career mode and the career mode in Fifa 12 is vastly improved. There is now a functioning scout system, in which you buy a scout and send them to find players in different countries. Every month the list of possible players found is presented and you can pick to continue scouting, sign or reject players. The player selection cards show expected future level and current skill shown by a range rating, I find generally the current level is the best indicator. Fifa 11 just didn't have a scouting system at all... so one was added. Which is nice. I'm sure there are possible improvements but at least its been added.

They also changed the way players are bought/sold. In Fifa 11 if you try to sell a player you would take a loss from the valuation and if you tried to buy you would have to pay <20% over the valuation. Now that's not always the case. You can get a offer close to the valuation for a transfer listed player, sometimes anyway. You can also get bids lower than asking price for listed players too. Another nice touch is the price lowering as the contracts runs out, meaning a player close to the end of the contract can be bought for a very low price. Which is again... nice. Unfortunately you still can't give a reason to why you are turning down an offer. If a team offers you 2m more than the valuation for a unlisted player, I would like to be able to say increase you're price or he's not for sale not simply no. There is a 3rd option, stall, which allows you to prolong making a decision but its not especially useful, except if you are negotiating for 5 players but only want to buy 3. They also removed the restriction to re-balancing the wage/transfer budget ratio. I don't think there is a person in the world that can explain the reasoning behind that odd little function added in Fifa 11.

There is also lots of nice little immersion extras. A player who's homesick, although when Messi says so 5 days in to a season I get a little angry. True story. Or a team being bought by a middle eastern property tycoon, making Sunderland the richest club in the world. Odd choice but whatever. I would like to see these applied to your virtual pro, with the player given choices with potential gains and penalties. For example, saying things to the press or how you spend your free time, training, charity event, club etc. I would also like to have international call ups, obviously not just for your virtual pro but have the possibility of playing for England as your virtual pro player. The only thing i can think of that I really don't like is the sim game function. The problem seems to be a unbalanced equation somewhere which makes home/away the most important factor at producing the result. You're team could be a 5* dreamteam but if you sim away you lose against really poor opposition. To make matters worse you are practically certain to get an injury and a sending off. I can play a season and only get half a dozen yellow cards, I'm just fair like that, and yet will get that many in one simed game as well as a player sidelined for 3 months.

The AI seems improved and I don't think the certain goal situation occur as much, when the opposition team are certain to score due to the activation of a scenario dependant script or something like that, or are at least hidden better now. I used to hate playing the be-a-pro thing because the AI was so bad it wasn't really playable, although I'm told it's better online. Now it is actually worth a try, every now and a again, because the rest of your team actually play properly. I find it easier to play like this on higher difficulty because I am not that good with the new defence system, so most of the time leave it to the AI controlled team mates who can handle it. They also added slider bars to change the percentage skill changes with increased difficulty settings. Personally I found this removed some of the ridiculous 'Terry can out run Neymar' stat inconsistencies that ruined Fifa 11. It still not perfect, I have had Neymar out muscle Vidic and similar over/under powered interactions in matches but nothing like as bad as in Fifa 11.

A lot of people seem rather divided on the tackling system. So I will keep this short. The old system was to easy (button hold). This is to hard (a fraction of a second to get it right). Yes tackling is hard in real life and that should be reflected in the game and yes making tackling difficult turns people off from playing because it takes to long to perfect and reduces the fun. I think the best system is the new one but made easier. That seems reasonable to me. They need to also apply the increased difficulty to CPU defenders because the extra difficulty the player has to content with is not carried across to AI controlled teams. If tackling is made harder for us then tackling for the CPU needs to be harder to get right or you will end up with angry users that feel cheated. Other controls still have the same old issues, such as pass going in strange directions and the swapping player focus/control refusing to allow control of a player you want to control. There's also times when defending, the ball will end up at the feet your defender after, for exmaple, a deflection and it carries the circle button you just pressed to attempting to tackle to the offensive controls, causing a shoot from the other side of the pitch.

So better than Fifa 11 but still not perfect. That seems about right. I would still like to see kit customisation(don't you sometimes just want to change certain teams kits to pink?), stadium upgrades which appear in matches (symmetrical St James park would be nice or Bournemouth with a 100k seater), concentrated training (ie a week improving the teams short passing) and Song 2 by Blur brought back, but my list is shorter than it was so that has to be a good thing.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 28, 2012 4:40 PM BST

Blue Bloods - Season 1 [DVD]
Blue Bloods - Season 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Selleck
Price: £11.10

1 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars New Yawks finest, god, 911, family, USA USA and sometimes police drama, 18 Feb 2012
This review is from: Blue Bloods - Season 1 [DVD] (DVD)
There are some many cop shows out... so here's another one! But with this show you get something less stylish than CSI, less interesting characters than bones and less entertaining than hawaii 5-0 and a joke compared to the wire or the shield. You get a lot of not so subtle propaganda from a certain kind of right leaning nationalistic US ideology. Not to be anti-American but this is a little on the nose for my taste, the family dinner scenes are basically just political podiums for the writers.

The show itself is just a normal police drama about a police family (retired cop, current police commissioner, detective and a standard "rookie" cop and a assistant district attorney) and each episode basically jumps between each of their work day. It might work if the characters were likeable but, personally, I find I don't care about any of them enough to get drawn in to the show. The plus side of that is it makes good background noise for when I can't get to sleep. Tom Selleck's character is basically a politician who wont be a politician, instead opting to be self-righteous and pompous and refusing to deal with issues because he disagrees with their importance. The detective is a reactionary, small minded thug with gun, i think they were going for renegade but he seems more like a bully with anger problems. The rest of the character are bland and not even worth mentioning. The start sets up a nice corruption story to run through the season but never really delivers and then basically rushes a resolution in the final episode.

Chicago code was so much better.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 24, 2012 4:01 PM BST

Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC DVD)
Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC DVD)
Offered by MasterDVD
Price: £3.99

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My first and last MMO, 16 Feb 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
I wanted to give it 3.5 stars, which funnily enough is the average rating at the moment, but 3 will have to do.

I had never played an MMO before but KOTOR was/is a brilliant game so I decided I would try this one out. It's going to take something pretty special to get me to try another. That's not to say SWTOR is bad but I am now stuck paying a monthly fee (6 month sub) for a game I'm struggling to keep playing. I pre-ordered and started playing with a jedi knight character just before christmas and for the first month I loved it, would have given it a 5 star review with out hesitation. However, since getting to the current level cap I have been consistently unimpressed with practically everything about the game. I have started a couple more characters but find the desire to see the story out vanishes rather quickly.

For starters, the graphics. Below average, there not bad but off the back of battlefield 3 and skyrim(especially with the new HD textures and 3rd party graphics mods from skyrim nexus) they look embarrassing(seriously, look at some of the screen-shots at skyrim nexus and compare to the pics in the description above). They went for something called "stylised realism" which as far as I can tell is alastair campbell level spin employed to avoid having to say we are making everything cartoony, strangely disproportionate and using low detailed textures because we can't be bothered to make the game have nice graphics. The engine seems almost unchanged from 2003 when KOTOR came out. The other thing that irritates me is the "invisible walls" and tendency to get stuck in things, such as between a tree and cliff face or, my favourite, in a chair. To be fair the voice acting is very good thouh, everyone is voiced and it's done well, although you will notice generic dialogue repeats but that can be forgiven since the game is huge.

The first thing you do is pick a server, either US or EU and whether the server is player vs player, player vs environment or role play. Then you pick you team/side and make a character. The character creation screen is limited but there's enough to make an original-ish looking character. Any one class only has access to a selection of all possible playable species for some reason and there are no proportion sliders its all fixed meshes for features for you to choose from. The stories you play through are dependant on class and are pretty good, some nice KOTOR references and you get 5/6 companions who you can build relationships with and learn a little back story. I think the reason I am losing interest is the large amount time it takes to move the story along and the fact that you have to repeat the same side quests as you did with a previous character if you want to level up. I understand they want to make the story take long enough to justify the sub price but it is starting to feel like a chore. As with all games like this the quest are all the same - go here - kill him - click that thing - talk to her - get money. There is also choices you can make throughout the game, none of which are of great importance to the game as far as I can tell and light and dark side points based on decisions, which restrict equipment access.

There is a ridiculous space combat system which is little more than a point and shoot exercise. Anyone that played Republic Alliance, probably 10 years ago now, has seen the level on content on this mini game. It genuinely shocked me how bad the space combat is.

Once you've reached the level cap and done the story missions you are left with either spending 4 hours doing a hard mode group mission, called a flashpoint, to get some slightly better equipment if your lucky, most of the time the equipment is for other classes. This also gives you the chance to enjoy playing with someone that spends far to much time playing the game who spends far to much time complaining at everyone through an astounding array of undefined acronym and initialisms. Not a isolated occurrence I might add. Alternatively you can do PVP missions... all 3 of them.... over and over again. To add to the PVP fun, if you don't already have the best equipment in the game then you will lose, the only way to get the best equipment is to play.... a lot. Oh and if you're republic then you will lose, it seems unbalanced but I have been told its because the empire is " organised".. I don't buy it.

I'm told it's a good MMO but if you're not a hardcore gamer it's hard to see the appeal. I wish I hadn't paid for the 6 month sub because if I could stop playing now I probably would. I guess I will just run out the contract, maybe I'll change my mind at some point before August. Why is that such a depressing thought?

Between this, Dragon age 2, and Mass effect 3, I think bioware have decided not to make good games anymore and instead just pump out the next cash cow.

Samsung B2230H 22 inch widescreen LCD TFT Monitor (70000:1, 300 cd/m2, 1920 x 1080, 5ms (Black))
Samsung B2230H 22 inch widescreen LCD TFT Monitor (70000:1, 300 cd/m2, 1920 x 1080, 5ms (Black))

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 22 Oct 2011
What is there to say? For the price you cannot get a better monitor.

The graphics card compatibility issue some reviewers mention is really easy to fix, just email samsung and they will tell you how to fix the problem. It takes 30 seconds and I have only had to do it once.

100 Hits Legends - Nat King Cole
100 Hits Legends - Nat King Cole
Price: £7.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing deal, 13 Oct 2011
100 songs for £5. Surely it sells itself. You wont find many deals as good as that and given how poor today's music is why not go retro?

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PC DVD)
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PC DVD)

5.0 out of 5 stars Mods make it immortal, 13 Oct 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I've probably had this game approaching 5 years now and still play it for one simple reason. It has the best modding community there is. Tesnexus for example has every modification to the game you can think of and then some. My oblivion data folder is about 30gb because of graphics updates and custom content. You can make this game whatever you want it to be.

You want to play a jedi/predator/winged demon who rides a white tiger to you custom player home fortress? you can. How about a ghost with an ak47 and an x wing? You can.

The mods makes this the worlds best game.....until 11.11.11 that is.

Eye of the Tiger - 2006 Master
Eye of the Tiger - 2006 Master
Price: £0.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone needs to own this song, 13 Oct 2011
Sometimes we need to listen to Eye of Tiger to get in the right frame of mind to that thing we need to do.

So you need to have an mp3 on all the little electric trinkets we horde.

Fundamentals of Forensic DNA Typing
Fundamentals of Forensic DNA Typing
by John M. Butler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for forensic students, 13 Oct 2011
If you are doing anything related to forensic DNA typing buy this book. Simple as that. I have a couple of other forensic books but, for DNA at least, this is hands down the best. Just a little more detail than a undergraduate needs but still easy to assimilate.

Jim Dunlop JH-PT05H Silver Portrait EA
Jim Dunlop JH-PT05H Silver Portrait EA
Price: £9.09

5.0 out of 5 stars They're pics with Jimi on and a metal tin to keep them in., 13 Oct 2011
What more is there to say? They're awesome so buy some.

Maybe they'll channel Jimi's powers and make you a god? Who knows?

Batman: Arkham Asylum (PC DVD)
Batman: Arkham Asylum (PC DVD)
Offered by clickforgamesltd
Price: £6.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but i wish it was sandbox., 12 Oct 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
The average rating speaks for itself. One of the most best and most atmospheric games around and well worth buying considering the price(PC). I only wish it felt less linear, which is probably the key change in Arkham city. Personally I didn't like the nightmare sequences but that's just me.

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