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S. Behrens "Shaun" (Germany)

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Football Manager 14 (PlayStation Vita)
Football Manager 14 (PlayStation Vita)
Offered by Ace Goods Co. Ltd
Price: £34.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Now the addiction follows you everywhere, 24 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've had this game for little over a week now, and I have already sunk way more hours into it than I'd care to admit. Essentially, everything that makes the PC game's Classic mode is here. The only problem is, now you don't just lose time in front of your laptop playing this; now you can play everywhere. The bus/train. In bed. In the toilet. In fact now there is no escaping its clutches, while before leaving the house was at least a way to stop playing a little while.

The criticisms leveled at this game in other user reviews are justified - the interface is difficult to navigate sometimes. Buttons are too small and require precise placement of your fingers. The amount of times I have selected the wrong option due to this is too often. Moving players around is also rather awkward for a mobile platform - you have to hold down the left bumper while dragging a finger from your right hand across the screen. This creates a bit of a dexterity challenge, and shouldn't be the case for using a UI on the go.

However, despite these UI negatives, the game is still incredible, and if you are a fan of the Classic desktop game mode, you are going to lose your life having it with you wherever you go. It's also a game well-suited to portability. You can easily knock out 2 or 3 games within a short space of time, and is also good for those times when you're daydreaming about the game. At work and suddenly thinking about that player you just bought? Just make a quick toilet break and you can take a look at his profile, planning his place in your next game.

All in all, a good game to have on your Vita. Hopefully they release another one next year (depends on how this one sells, I guess), because with a more suitable interface, this game will be perfect.

Madden NFL 13 (PS3)
Madden NFL 13 (PS3)
Offered by AllGoodDealz
Price: £9.24

22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seeing Through the Internet Smoke, 2 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Madden NFL 13 (PS3) (Video Game)
It seems that in the US, the internet has gone crazy over this game. And not in a good way either. This review is not a review as such, but is hopefully a voice of reason for someone considering purchasing Madden 13, but who has been a little put off by the outcry.

The main complaints of the public seem to be a "lack of franchise mode", "no fantasy draft", and "no local co-op in franchise mode".

Up front, I'll state the truth about what is a blatant misconception:


It's just no longer called "Franchise Mode". You find it under CONNECTED CAREERS > CREATE A COACH. And don't believe it when you read that you "cannot play solo franchise mode offline" anymore. That's rubbish. There is an option that lets you specifically set up an offline connected career as a coach.

The next two points would have some use as a kind of "buyer beware" warning, if they weren't posted with venomous vitriol by a thousand 16 year olds: there is, in fact, no fantasy draft anymore, and you cannot play local co-op in franchise mode.

First up, fantasy draft: this option in previous Maddens used to allow you to have all the NFL players in a huge draft, letting you select your team from scratch for franchise mode. This is no longer a feature in Madden 13, meaning you have to start with the default rosters. If this was a main reason that you used to play Madden, then you should be cautious about buying it. For me, however, it's not an issue, as I only used fantasy draft once in a Madden game before.

Secondly, local co-op for franchise mode (or a coach connected career, as it now is): This might be a bummer if you liked to play franchise mode season by season with a friend in your living room, each of you controlling a team. This feature is no longer there, and again, you need to be cautious if this was something you valued from the previous games.

For me, these are the only two things you would need to be cautious about. And, as far as I'm concerned (but I may be terribly mistaken here), I would think only a minority of people would honestly be put off by these two features not being included. Which makes the exaggerated protests against Madden 13 even more ridiculous.

The fact of the matter is that this is by far the best Madden I've played. Ever. And I feel like this is another case of internet hate going way too far, and perhaps causing some people to miss out on what is truly a great sports game. We've unfortunately given these unintelligent, hop-on-the-bandwagon internet trolls way too much power - the demands for a Mass Effect 3 rewrite springs to mind. There is nothing wrong with complaining about what you see as issues with any game, but when the user score on a review aggregating site like Metacritic are at around 5/10 based on untruths or over-the-top condemnation, then that ends up being a little misleading to readers trying to get an understanding of the pros and cons of the product.

So, to summarise: Madden 13 is fantastic (you can read about the good things in other reader reviews here). Only if you value the old fantasy draft feature (which will no doubt be back for Madden 14 after this internet hue and cry) or you loved playing franchise mode in local co-op, should you think twice about getting this game.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 12, 2013 4:28 PM GMT

Batman: Arkham Asylum (Xbox 360)
Batman: Arkham Asylum (Xbox 360)
Offered by PROGAMES
Price: £13.99

47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lives up to the hype, 8 Sept. 2009
"I set a trap, and you sprung it gloriously"...And with these words, spoken by a maniacal (and superbly voiced) Joker, begins one of the first ever superhero videogames that actually FEELS like a superhero game.

I won't go too much into the storyline; much of that is everywhere on the internet, and also in these Amazon reader reviews. Rather, I will talk about the many things the game does right, and also the one or two small things it doesn't quite nail.

First and foremost, it must be said that the Batman portrayed in Batman: Arkham Asylum is perhaps one of the best renderings of the iconic hero outside of the comics and graphic novels. Strong-willed, resourceful, forward-thinking, brooding, supercool...everything that makes a good Batman is there, brought to the fore and exploited by the game designers with amazing results. Add to that Kevin Conroy's tone-perfect voice acting, and you have a Batman that stands out in his own right as one of the franchise's finest embodiments of the character.

The same can be said about the lead villain, The Joker. There is something so charismatic, so appealing about this Joker that his cut scenes are an absolute joy to watch...you can't help but be mesmerized at his movements and his crazy laughter. And although the plot is pretty flat and standard madman-hatches-a-crazy-plan fare, this Joker takes the scenario to a new level simply because you believe that this character is, in fact, completely insane in a chillingly calculating way.

Other villains that make their appearances are treated with similar respect. Even the more recent addition to the Batverse, Harley Quinn, is portrayed well here, despite being in a completely reworked costume (do not believe the comic book geeks on the forums - the changes made to her outfit are for the better).

For true Batman fans, the game features plenty of nods to many of the series characters in the form of artefacts to be found around Arkham Asylum. Finding these unlocks character biographies and fact sheets. Some of the more important villains featured in the game are fleshed out even further with interview tapes detailing some back stories and scenarios not really pertinent to the game - but which add to the entire experience.

The combat is relatively simple and easy to execute, and yet surprisingly deep. Once you have mastered the controls, you can't help but try string together combos to get a freeflow bonus. The animations for Batman's fighting style, incorporating various types of martial arts moves, is expertly implemented. Not only that, but some really cool gadgets (and of course the old faithful Batarang) are added into the mix. The result is a fluid and ridiculously addictive gameplay mechanic that carries over into the non-storyline challenges. Be warned though - these combat and stealth challenges are nefariously tweaked to result in a "just-one-more-try" effect at 2 in the morning...

The two distinct types of combat also help to keep things fresh. The combat against unarmed foes relies on your reactions and ability to string together combos. The combat against armed gunmen, however, requires a completely different, stealth-based approach. Very few things come close to making you feel like the Batman quite like picking off your enemies silently, one by one.

Although Batman: AA very definitely lives up to the hype surrounding it, there are some small issues here and there. The most disappointing of these are the boss fights. Most of them are relatively samey, relying heavily on Batman's Batarang and his ability to dodge attacks. Don't get me wrong: the bosses are fun to fight. However, a little more inspiration and variety would have gone a long way, especially with the anticlimactic final battle.

Also, every now and then the controls are just not precise enough - on a handful of occasions I tried to drop in silently behind an armed enemy so that I could perform a silent takedown, only to find myself landing directly in front of aforementioned enemy with an assault rifle pointed at my cowl. Holy unexpected death, Batman.

So then, a quick summary of my feelings:

+ Batman! Joker! Brilliantly and lovingly depicted.
+ Almost like a walk through a museum of the Batman universe.
+ Gameplay is solid.
+ Incredible (and I mean that) graphics, audio, and soundtrack.

- Disappointing and samey boss fights
- Controls not always precise enough (but not REALLY problematic)
- Sometimes the camera gets itself into really awkward and unhelpful positions.

All in all, forget the fact that this is a licensed game. Don't consider whether or not you are a Batman fan. Just get the game. It is a superb piece of entertainment that will immerse you, surprise you, and keep you interested. And it will make you feel like a superhero to boot. Result!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 24, 2009 4:01 PM BST

Ashes Cricket 09 (Xbox 360)
Ashes Cricket 09 (Xbox 360)

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's halfway not cricket, 10 Aug. 2009
Let me start this review off by very plainly stating that Ashes Cricket 2009 is by far the best cricket game made to date. Of course, this is no major feat considering the drivel that has come before (EA Sports' almost unplayable Cricket 07, anyone?), but at least it's a step in the right direction towards a really solid cricket game in the future.

The Ashes
The biggest downside is, unfortunately, the title game mode. A game that bases itself on cricket's premier test match affair, the Ashes, should accurately recreate it. Ashes Cricket 09 does this to some degree - England and Australia are fully licensed (meaning the player names and "likenesses" appear in the game). However, this does not extend to all aspects of the mode. Ashes Cricket 09 contains one major, nearly gamebreaking, flaw.

The AI batting team seems not to have realized that they are playing in a test match. Although they are dressed in the whites and are playing with the red ball, they start attacking from the first ball of the first over, 20Twenty style. And I'm talking ATTACKING here - if you bowl even average balls, you can easily concede 10 - 15 runs in the over.

Once you figure out how to bowl a good line and length, it's easier to keep the AI batting team to around 7 or 8 an over. Problem is, this is still too high. Bowling becomes about preventing 4 boundaries in the over and hoping for a lucky wicket somewhere.

Right, with that major thing out of the way, let me get onto the good. I feel that Codemasters has implemented a really solid batting aspect here. Timing is, as with the real thing, vital. You have quite a bit of control over shot selection if you use the back foot/front foot buttons, and it really is the most fun aspect of playing the Ashes.

Online play
However, where this game really shines (and the only reason I gave it a 4 stars rating for "Fun") is online play. The game takes on a whole new dimension when playing against human opponents, and there is a fair amount of unpredictability to it when compared to the single player experience. There is a real thrill requiring 12 runs with only 2 wickets remaining, facing your opponent's best bowler with your tail-enders. The 20Twenty mode in particular provides just over an hour's with of intense gameplay.

The good and the bad
In summary, here is a more detailed rundown of my view of the positives and negatives of the game:

+ Great batting controls
+ Fun online play
+ The bowling mechanism is more fun than in previous cricket titles.
+ Excellent tutorial mode

- Absurdly aggressive AI batting mentality.
- No byes or leg byes. Ever.
- No wide balls bowled by the AI. Ever.
- Some minor bugs somewhat mar the experience.
- Graphics are a little outdated, and player likenesses are terrible.

All in all, if you are a cricket fan, you will probably enjoy this game as long as you are aware of the quirks it contains. The package is somewhat lacklustre, with average graphics and presentation. Although the online play is utterly addictive and fun, the single player experience suffers a bit from a completely unrealistic AI batting mentality.

Codemasters has delivered a game that does somewhat of a good job of recreating cricket, but it certainly raises hopes for the future of cricket videogames.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 26, 2010 6:50 PM BST

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

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story set in an amazing atmosphere, 30 Nov. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bioshock (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
One of the best games I have played. A little on the easy side (on the normal setting) due to the automatic respawn after you die (where the enemies keep their damage you originally inflicted on them), but this game is all about the story and the undersea city you find yourself in. And with the large amount of creative ways you can take enemies out, this game is nothing short of brilliant. Play it if you haven't.

Absolution Tour [DVD] [2006]
Absolution Tour [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Muse
Price: £14.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Live Muse can never ever be three stars or less...ever., 12 Jan. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Absolution Tour [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
P>As for the actual concert, it is reproduced in a way that brings across the sheer power of their Glasto performance. The remastered sound is excellent too. The only two things that were SLIGHTLY disappointing to me have already been mentioned by other reviewers: first, the exclusion of Citizen Erased (which I'm CONVINCED must be on the DVD somewhere as a hidden feature); and secondly that the Glasto version of Stockholm Syndrome (which had me all emotional on the night) is not included.
These two minor points prevent me from giving the package five stars, but they really are minor.
I was at the Glastonbury performance, and to me owning this DVD is a perfect memento of one of THE most memorable nights of my life. The power and beauty of Muse is very apparent on this disk, and you should purchase this immediately, whether a fan or just a casual Muse listener.

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