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Wolfenstein: The New Order (Xbox One)
Wolfenstein: The New Order (Xbox One)
Offered by ALE Trading
Price: £24.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Killing Nazis Fun, 12 May 2017
Amazing game! You have to play it on Uber to get a bit of a challenge though. The campaign is huge, and the gameplay is superb. The only thing missing is zombie Nazis, instead there are some crazy robots to fight which are great fun. I will say this, the game is a little slow to get started, but once you are into the proper missions, it's mind blowing. So stick with it.


Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas (Xbox 360)
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas (Xbox 360)
Offered by ShoppingSmart
Price: £12.23

2.0 out of 5 stars Stupidly Difficult, 25 Oct. 2015
This game is challenging on the normal difficulty. On realistic, it's annoyingly hard. A good game should get the right balance between being a challenge and being fun. On realistic it's a painful slog and quickly gets boring. I have played a lot of games, I completed Halo3 on legendary and that was difficult, so it's not like I'm not used to difficult FPS games.

Part of the problem with RSV is the lack of checkpoints. There are some places where you clear up to 4 rooms of guys before getting one. The amount of times you find yourself replaying the same thing is infuriating. There is one section where you have to save a team mate who was captured earlier, you then have to see off waves of enemies. At the end you don't get a checkpoint, you have to clear another room of guys. Usually, just before a particularly challenging section a game gives you a checkpoint, this game doesn't. Also, the enemies seem to be able to kill you just by looking at you, they seem to be able to shoot round corners and often when you are killed you are staring in disbelief as you have no idea why you died. Sometimes you spend ages clearing a section, thinking you are done. Suddenly guys come in from every direction, you then go back about 20 minutes before having another crack. You forget what's going to happen and don't get a chance to just practice dealing with the really hard bit.

It's just annoying. It's a shame, because with a few more checkpoints and less stupidly difficult sections it could have been really enjoyable.


Thief (Xbox 360)
Thief (Xbox 360)
Offered by bnhtrade
Price: £12.32

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok but not enough like playing Thief, 22 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Thief (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
I was very excited about this game coming out, unfortunately I found it to be rather disappointing. I am a huge fan of the original Thief series, in particular Thief 2 which I regard as a true classic. What I loved about Thief 2 was the sense of being dumped in a huge environment with only the vaguest idea what you were supposed to do or where you were supposed to go. The missions were mostly highly non linear with multiple possible routes for completing them. A lot of the time you had to wonder around for ages trying to figure out what was going on. I felt that this new Thief didn't capture that at all, it seemed to me that it was mostly inspired by Thief 3 which was in of itself a disappointment when it came out.

Partly what made Thief 2 so special was that it was as much an audio game as a visual one. The sound wasn't there simply to accompany what you were looking it, it was a huge part of the game. You had to listen very carefully to what was going on and it also helped create the weird atmosphere of a big creepy building late at night. Thief managed to do this to some extent but nearly enough to warrant calling itself Thief.

Another huge disappointment was the length, I stared at the screen in disbelief when the credits rolled. It took me longer to complete the final epic mission on Thief 2 than it did to complete the whole of Thief. There were 8 short linear missions with a few optional side missions.

Occasionally there were a few moments when it seemed like I was playing Thief but they were too brief and too far apart. Also, a boss battle in Thief? I know you had the option not to play it but it's far from keeping with the spirit of the game. Same goes for the bits where it suddenly turned into Prince of Persia. Seriously, what was that all about?

Maybe the premise for a Thief games is too dated for modern gamers. Thief was a slow paced game where often not much happened. It was also challenging, in this Thief the player didn't have to find a certain amount of loot to complete the mission. All you had to do was get from the beginning to the end of the mission following a largely prescribed root. I did like the fact you could be assessed as either a ghost, an opportunist or a predator. It made me want to go back later and replay the missions, which you can, to complete them as a Ghost. However, their locations aren't marked on the map!

There were some good elements to this; the graphics were great, the atmosphere was very good in places and some of the game play was excellent. It just wasn't "Thiefy" enough for me.


Bioshock (Xbox 360)
Bioshock (Xbox 360)
Offered by Netro Enterprise
Price: £15.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get the door Sydney, 10 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Bioshock (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
I have been playing Bioshock again for about the 10th time and it still amazes me what an incredible game it is. The quality of games has been in terminal decline in my opinion but Bioshock stands out as an example of what is possible.

When I first played Bioshock I didn't get it at all. Like many people I thought the Vita Chambers were a bad idea because they allow the player to keep throwing themselves at enemies over and over until they are defeated. The game didn't seem to be encouraging players to become more skilful. Then suddenly the game clicked with me and I "got it".

There is a whole philosophy which permeates both Rapture and the game itself; namely the Objectivism of Ayn Rand. Whatever you may think of Rand, personally I think she was an unhinged nut, to fully understand Bioshock you have to understand this philosophy. It is explained throughout the game in both what we hear Andrew Ryan say and in the various diaries that can be listened to. The idea behind Bioshock is that it is what you make it. It is your responsibility as a player to make it an interesting experience for yourself. Sure, you can just keep being brought back to life over and over and you will get through the game eventually. Or you can learn how to hack turrets and robots, you can learn how to use all the plasmids, you can learn how to turn your enemies against each other. You can, in short, make it an amazing game for yourself. That was the philosophy of Rapture itself, it was supposed to be a place where people were responsible for their own experiences. Of, course it turned into a genetic nightmare.

Another theme throughout this game is manipulation. Everyone in the game, including yourself, is being manipulated. If you learn how to manipulate others it becomes a much more interesting experience to play the game.

I don't think there is any other game with the same richness, depth and satisfaction as Bioshock. I also don't know of any other game that is worth replaying as many times. In fact, I find the more times I replay Bioshock the more I get out of it. Other games seem so flimsy and forgettable in comparison. It's a true classic.


Britains 40639 - JCB 3CX - 1/32nd
Britains 40639 - JCB 3CX - 1/32nd

5.0 out of 5 stars great toy, 11 Sept. 2011
I bought this for my nephew on his 3rd birthday. His face lit up when he saw it and he was transfixed with it for hours. It's excellent quality and a detailed model. Highly recommended.


How to Develop a Perfect Memory
How to Develop a Perfect Memory
by Dominic O'Brien
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 14 May 2011
This book is superb. That's all there is to say. I learned the technique for memorising a pack of cards in two days. These methods really work. They require some initial effort but once you have the work done the methods get easier and easier to use.


Mr Nice
Mr Nice
by Howard Marks
Edition: Paperback

12 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars boring old fart, 5 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Mr Nice (Paperback)
It's strange how your views of the world alter as you get older. When this book first came out Marks was held up as a hero of the 90s drug taking sub culture. Although drug taking was so wide spread in the mid 90s that I'm not sure sub culture is the correct term. Many of the people I knew read this book repeatedly and loved to talk about the exploits of Marks. I myself bought and read the book and dreamed of how amazing it would be to do all the things he did. I even went to see Marks give one of his talks where he signed a copy of the book for me. I was thrilled to have met him. Then the years went by and I grew older and wiser.

Imagine the following. An international exporter and importer of wine writes a book detailing all the deals he made to import wine from different parts of the world into the UK. He intersperses this with stories about how amazing he thinks he is, about how good he is at getting women into bed and discusses his involvement in prostitution. Would you be in the slightest bit interested in reading this book? No neither would I. Change the story from importing legal wine to importing illegal cannabis and the story suddenly becomes cool for some people.

I openly admit that when I was younger I was sucked into this BS views of the world. In my 20s I genuinely believed that taking drugs was extremely cool and something to be aspired to. All the best people took lots of drugs as far as I was concerned. Almost everyone I knew bought into this fantasy. I now regard taking drugs as boring, self indulgent, childish and dangerous. I've also seen first hand the incredible damage that this "beneficial herb" as Marks calls it does to people's lives. Contrary to popular myth it is addictive and damaging. The worst thing about cannabis though is that it turns perfectly likable intelligent people into tedious self indulgent bores. A bit like Marks himself.

When I think back to all those years ago when I saw him give a talk in Blackheath in London I realise what a waste of £10 it was. I paid to watch a huge ego get stoned and share with the audience his very high opinion of himself. Like all stoned people he ultimately just wanted to talk about himself. If that's your thing then read this book.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2016 2:36 PM BST


The Meme Machine (Popular Science)
The Meme Machine (Popular Science)
by Susan Blackmore
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.10

6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars yada yada yada, 27 Jan. 2011
Reading this book confirms my suspicion that Susan Blackmore is an intellectual light weight catching a ride on the coat tails of Dawkins and Dennett. Not that Dawkins is a real intellectual heavy weight. Dennett is however a force to be reckoned with although I don't agree with everything he says. I don't know if meme theory is the real deal or not but this book didn't convince me that it is. To pick one point, Blackmore proposes a memetic theory of language. She starts by surveying and pretty much dismissing any other view of language. Then gives her "account" of how memes can explain language. She does all this in 27 pages. It's not as if her writing style is highly condensed or cryptic. It's about as challenging as reading a Harry Potter book.

Perhaps there is real milage in the meme idea but this book just came across as widely speculative and overly self confirming. What's also annoying is the way that Blackmore uses it as a way of explaining why people believe things that she simply knows aren't true. However meme theory also explains why the things that Blackmore knows are true are successful memes.


Velvet Assassin (Xbox 360)
Velvet Assassin (Xbox 360)
Offered by BLUESHINE
Price: £13.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars you might like it, 5 Dec. 2010
I think people have been unnecessarily negative about this game. It's not a great game but it is good and well worth a play. The frustrating thing about it though is that it could have been so much better.

Cons:

Some of the missions were so similar I honestly thought I was replaying an earlier mission at one point.

Some of the missions were so different that you had the feeling they had been put together by a different team of people.

I didn't like putting on the SS uniform, it reminded me too much of Hitman

Extended combat sequences in what was supposed to be a stealth game. A character designed for stealth is extremely annoying when you actually have to move quickly and fight.

Inconsistent reactions from soldiers/guards and also some extremely unrealistic reactions. I don't think if a guard found another guard dead they would forget about it a few seconds later and carry on as normal.

The character couldn't do very much. A few more moves would have been nice and more ability to interact with the environment. Also it was a bit silly that you couldn't shoot lights out.

Pros:

An interesting and increasingly unhinged character.

Very atmospheric.

Good cutscenes.

Excellent game play in parts.

I liked the graphics despite what some people had to say.

A honest and shocking portrayal of just how evil the Nazi's were.

The overall impression though is that it was made by a team of people who weren't led properly and weren't communicating with each other. Some parts were like Splinter Cell, some parts like Thief and some like Wolfenstein with elements of Hitman and Tomb Raider scattered around. It had so much potential and could have been a classic game. There parts I thought were amazing but some of it was just plain annoying.


Knots And Crosses (A Rebus Novel)
Knots And Crosses (A Rebus Novel)
by Ian Rankin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a good first novel, 21 Oct. 2010
This isn't a great book but as a first attempt at writing a novel it's fine. For a detective story the plot isn't particularly complex and there are few twists. There are no "so it was him" or "so they are involved" moments. However what it does well is create a fantastic atmosphere and depicts a seedy and depressing Edinburgh. Although this doesn't have as much impact as it did in the 80s since Irvine Welsh blew out of the water once and for all the myth that Edinburgh is middle class heaven. We are also introduced to the classic character John Rebus, ok he's a bit cliched being a troubled detective with a failed marriage behind him but lovers of crime fiction lap that stuff up. Overall it's well worth a read.


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