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Genji: Days of the Blade (PS3)
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This could and should have been brilliant. Think about it, it's set in a feudal Japan type era, you get to run around with a samurai sword (plus other weapons) and hack demons to bits. You have a choice of characters who have very different attributes and weapons, plus you can change between them at the press of a button during the game. You've also got RPG elements where you collect various objects to improve your weapons, health etc. And personally I think the graphics are good for the style they are in (though probably not pushing the PS3 anywhere near it's limits). So far so good you might think, but then we come to the thing that completely destroys the game. The camera angle. You see it's fixed, and if it was fixed directly behind your character that would be ok, but it isn't. Each scene you go into it's in different directions and most of the time completely useless, you can't see what's going on around you. In one bit near the beginning you have control of the female character and you have to use her weapon as a sort of grappling hook to bridge a gap. You have to aim at a stone pedestal thing across the gap which then winches you across. But the camera is behind and to the side so it makes it ridiculously frustrating to hit the object. This is completely unforgivable for any next gen game. You should be able to just flick to first person mode or be able to move the camera view around to aim. But you can't and it ruins the game so I cannot recommend it even a little (unless you enjoy being frustrated to the point of launching your sixaxis across the room).
The price of £19.99 is very reasonable for a PS3 game but look what you could get instead.
1) Super Stardust HD. Probably the best downloadable game I have ever played. At points there is a ridiculous amount of things on screen at once (100's I would say) and it gets so frantic you're convinced you're going to die at any moment, but you manage to fight through it and it's fantastic. I remember Super Stardust from my Amiga CD32 days (anybody else have one of these?), it was good then, it's brilliant now.
2) Tekken 5. Well it's Tekken, if you're a Playstation owner you have to have Tekken (and this is a good no-frills fill in until Tekken 6 comes out).
3) flOw. Not technically a game but it shows that the motion sensing will work and was a good idea to include. And it's a very relaxing experience after playing Super Stardust HD.
We've still only spent around £15 so that leaves us with enough money to buy a pint and a couple of lottery tickets!
So the choice is yours, do you want a game that will frustrate the hell out of you or 3 excellent PS3 experiences, some booze and the possibility of becoming a millionaire? Not a difficult choice is it?
Xbox 360 Core Console
The red lights of death have now appeared on my 360. I've had the console since launch and never had a problem. Yesterday I didn't even know about the red ring of death, then I read an article about Microsoft extending the warranty to 3 years because of this problem and now rather suspiciously my 360 has been struck down right in the middle of a game of Forza!
It's good news that the warranty will be increased and that I will get my 360 fixed for free, I'm just waiting to see how quickly Microsoft reply to my email about it.
So the advice I would give to anybody thinking of buying a 360 is to wait a while until Microsoft confirm that any new 360's they make have had the faulty components replaced because apparently the hardware failure that causes the ring of death is very common (hence the extension of the warranty's). Having the extended warranty is good but having a console that has a better lifespan and therefore doesn't need the extended warranty is better.
XBox 360 Premium Console & Forza Motorsport 2 Bundle
XBox 360 Core Console & Viva Pinata & Memory Unit
Xbox 360 Premium Console with 20GB HDD
Sony Ericsson K800i Bodyglove Case
After purchasing the crystal case for my K800i and it cracking and becomming useless within about 3 weeks I decided to go for this. First impressions are that it is very well made and the K800i does fit very tightly inside which means it doesn't make the phone look and feel a lot bigger than it is, which is good. The front of the phone is completely covered except for a hole for the little joystick thing so it protects the screen from scratches and prevents dirts from getting on the keys, and as the cover is quite thin and flexible there isn't any issue with using the keys through the plastic.
As far as I'm concerned there are 3 things wrong with this product but as none are major they don't make it a 'no don't buy it' product.
Firstly the holes for the button and bits don't seem to line up perfectly (especially the lens cover), though everything is still accessible so like I said, it's not a major issue.
Secondly, as the case clips together in one top corner at the back the other side isn't anchored and therefore comes away from the phone. As there are holes cut into this part it makes it look fairly weak and if caught on something it could tear the casing quite easily.
And finally the belt clip. It's good that you can adjust the angle of the clip (it rotates 90 degrees to both left and right), but it would have been nice if I could disconnect the clip from the casing if I wanted to as most of the time I don't want my phone hanging off my belt, I just want the case to protect the phone from being scratched and getting dirty.
As I said none of these things are major and don't detract from it being a good product, just my personal grievances!
Crystal Case For Sony Ericsson K800i
The problem with most mobile covers is that they make your phone look and feel much bigger than they are, and we're not in the 80's anymore so we don't particularly want to carry a brick around. Having just got myself a new K800i I wanted something to protect it a little, especially the excellent screen and the lens cover for the camera which is far too exposed. Seeing this on Play I thought 'what a good idea' so I bought one. When I received it I thought it looked and felt a bit cheap and had some rough/sharp edges. All the holes are in the correct place for the K800i's buttons (it has a lot too!) so no problem there but the part that covers the screen makes it look a bit blurry but still useable. The main problem I had were the fasteners either side of the phone (where the case clips together). As it pushes the case out a little when the phone is inside it puts pressure around the fastener and in my case that caused it to crack and made the fastener useless (the case kept falling off after that). Of course this could just be the one that I received and others may be fine, but I'm not going to buy another one to find out! All in all I think it's a good idea just a little poorly done and worth 2.5 stars (but you can't do half stars so I was generous and gave it 3).
Maxell DVD+R 16X Speed / 4.7GB / Shrink Wrapped 50 Pack
I have used 100's of these Maxell discs (both the '+' and '-' vaieties) and have never had a dud one. Well apart from the time my PC decided to shut itself off in the middle of writing, but that's hardly the discs fault!! That one became a nice shiny coaster for my beer. Meaning that it was recycled and therefore environmentally friendly too. So, good value, reliable and nice to trees. What more could you ask for in a blank DVD disc!!!
(As I just copied and pasted my review from the '-R' version of these discs I suppose I should add a bit more!)
Just be careful that you buy the correct format disc. I have a laptop which I bought in 2001 that has a DVD-Rom drive. As this is a read-only drive I didn't think it would matter if the discs were '-R' or '+R' once they had been written/burnt, they would just be read-only and therefore DVD-Rom. Nothing with my laptop said certain disc types wouldn't work so never thought anything of it. I burnt several '+R' discs worth of data which I intended to use on my laptop, but when I inserted them it didn't even recognise that a disc had been inserted so I couldn't use them. However '-R' discs work just fine on my laptop!!! So to cut a long and tedious story short my advice is to make sure you buy the correct discs or you will end up with a lot of shiny beer coasters!!
Music for the Jilted Generation
The Prodigy - CD
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And that song is 'No Good'. Probably one of the best club tunes ever created. I remember when I was a little younger being in a club very early in the morning after a few sherberts and this song coming on. Everybody went nuts! Good times. Still sounds good in the car when you crank up the volume.
The rest of the album cannot reach the heights of this track but that's not to say it's bad, because it isn't. If you like the newest stuff the Prodigy has released then you should get this just to hear their earlier work as it is quite different. Would be better value around the £5 mark though.
Official Sony Blu-ray Remote Control (PS3)
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.....you intend to use your PS3 to watch DVD's, Blu-Ray's, listen to CD's or MP3's. Yes the controller works just fine, but using a remote control is better and more natural. Plus the fact that it's Bluetooth and not infra-red is a big plus because line of sight will never be an issue again, it doesn't matter which direction you point the remote you know it will work. Try sneaking it into the toilet when someone is watching a film for added hilarity, works best on parents.
It does seem bigger than it needs to be, but it is well made and has a nice black-metallic finish on the top. Which is different from the PS3 itself which seems a little strange. Bear in mind that because it's Bluetooth it will probably use the batteries up quicker than if it was infra-red, but it does use 'AA' batteries and not the smaller and more expensive 'AAA' variety.
Finally, if you fancy a bit of a challenge try playing some games with it. As most of the controls on the Sixaxis are also on the remote (except the analogue sticks and the motion sensing obviously) you should be able to use it with some games. Though if anybody ever beats me on Motorstorm using it please don't tell me as I will be highly embarrassed!!