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Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
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Let it go George...let it go....
Picture quality on bluray is amazing.
However the animation is a bit ropy. Plot seriously in danger of over-writing what's gone before. And why on Earth did they revamp the star wars opening theme? The iconic scrolling narration method is now replaced with a bizarre literal narration from the guy who I swear did the tv adverts in the movie Starship Troopers. Very reminiscent of ironic futurama styled narration. It's rare a film makes me check my watch 45 minutes in, wishing it was over. Even Steven Segal movies don't do that to me. In fact the music has been given a complete overhall. Gone is the classical style, replaced instead with oddly out of place rawk music.
That's without the fact that I'd invested good time and hard earned money buying the last animated clone wars saga. Which, despite it's odd style is way better than this nonsense.
Family Guy Blue Harvest got more right and that's a parody.
The Mummy 3: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor
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This film is just awful. It literally has no redeeming features.
The dialogue is awful. The characters you know and love form the first movie have been turned into rubbish cliches of themselves (ooh, Jonathan's the cheeky one, lets make sure no-one gets to forget he's the funny one by giving him all the funny lines we wrote in our lunch hour) . There is one unintentionally hilarious scene in particular. How do they get around the fact that the main female lead from previous movies isn't reprising her role? lets just get the rest of the cast to pretend it's the same person. It just doesn't work. She doesn't do the character justice or take her in any new directions. Not her fault, just bad script.
Jet Li should have been a selling point, but quite how he can go from something like Hero to this tripe is just a bad career move.
I've only ever walked out of one movie at the cinema and that was Van Helsing. The only reason I didn't leave during this film is that the previous films were so much fun and didn't take themselves too seriously and were well written. I just thought it would get better but it never did. It's for films like this that play should let you have a "no stars" option.
Oh, and the Yeti's look awful.
Spider-Man: Web Of Shadows
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Well I was dubious about getting this game after the dismal Spiderman 3 game but somehow this is a great game! The fighting is responsive and arcadey, which makes it lots of fun and you can actually see spiderman on the screen compared to the incredibly dark lighting issues of the last game. Changing between the red/blue and black suit on the fly never gets old. If your like me I've wanted to test drive the black suit since Spiderman 2. Spiderman 3 allowed you to wear the suit but it made very little difference to gameplay. But in Web of shadows you can essentially do everything you'd expect spiderman to be able to do(with the exception of of sitting on flag poles and lamp posts and that pointless "hanging upside down and sliding down the web" move from previous games).
One bizarre design choice was that they have reverted back to spiderman's webs seemingly attaching to the clouds when swinging through the city. At first this seems like a backwards step, but this break away from realism never hinders the freedom you get from propelling yourself around the city and if anything, just adds to the arcadey fun and for once spiderman finally feels like the A-List superhero he is meant to be. You actually feel powerful. Gone are the rubbish fighting mechanics from previous games where you had to fight a single mugger then run away from his friends to regroup to plan your next attack. Now you can wade in without a plan and take on a bunch of bad guys without ever touching the ground or taking a single hit.
The game environment is enjoyable destructible, things break how you'd expect them too when spiderman gets through at them or you through a bad guy.
The voice acting is pretty terrible, but you do get used to it. And the camera canhave a mind of its own. But then it does have to contend with a character than can go up or down by hundreds of feet at the touch of a button, so it's sorta forgiveable.
Getting to chose between good or bad choices at certain points in the game may not change gameplay in a dramatic way, but it does at least simulate the feeling that you are a hero in a living breathing world and you can make important decisions. Do you cheat on MJ for example and start hanging out with black cat? Or do you stay faithful and tell the tramp to bog off?
Despite my beast intentions the temptation to stay in the dark suit is pretty much overwhelming. Its more powerful, you can pick up cars and through them and as you unlock more moves you can shoot tendrils out to grap people 100 yards away etc. The downside is people stop cheering your name and run away and scream the more you rely on the darker option. And you can see why, as when a car knocks into you as your walking across the road are you really not gonna tap circle to pick it up and through it into the ocean. For the first time you can experience the inner turnmoil peter faces when he wears the dark suit. You can't fight the dark side it would seem.... It's the most fun i've had in a spiderman game since playing as Venom in Ultimate Spiderman. Imagine that throwaway fun experience and through in better moves, a more arcadey feel and the incredibly ace black suit and you've got yourself a fun free roam sand box superhero game. Something of a rarity at the moment. I got this for 25 quid. The game is not worth more than 30. And 25 quid for a bit of what you like aint too shabby at all.
SanDisk 2GB Micro SD Memory Card
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Works well, arrived in a couple of days and comes with the adapter for compatability with other devices. Bought mine for the LG Cookie phone and works perfectly.
Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe: Collector's Edition
This really is the Mortal Kombat you know and love.
The DC characters are very powerful and yet well balanced with the MK characters. The special moves are ace and yet it never resorts to button mashing. Its more a game of timing and countering your opponents moves.
The special moves are visually awesome (most notably Captain Marvels) and despite some seemingly unfair special moves that seem impossible to counter (I'm looking at you Flash) there is always a way to counter or a character you can use to overpower them. The single player story mode is strong (although the voice acting is cheesy and at some points a little lame - However their is some genuinely funny dialogue) it's basically just a tenuous set-up to get both sets of characters in the ring.
Arcade mode sees the return of the towers, whereby you work your way through a list of characters (you can choose to fight just MK or just DC or a mixture of both) with every character having an alternate ending sequence.
Online mode is everything you could have hoped form. Out of the 50 or so fights I've had I only experienced one bit of nasty lag, and that was on release day. There has been no lag since.
Playing your mates online is easy thanks to a user friendly lobby creation system. But offline you can manually adjust the character AI mid fight in practice sessions to really perfect your skills.
The collectors edition comes with a cool comic that serves the purpose of setting the scene of the game whilst your at work before you get home to play the game. The free poster is cool but useless if your over the age of 17. But the metal tin is cool. Whether it's worth an extra fiver is a matter of preference. There are no extra characters with the special edition.
All in all, it's good solid fighter with great online support and a fun single player campaign.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
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Lego Star Wars nailed it, taking everything fun from being what you imagined being a Jedi would be like and then letting you be every character you ever wanted just because it could. Deflecting bullets Jedi style, all the right noises from the lightsaber, even letting you turn the lightsaber off (secret touch of genius). Escapism at its best.
What us fans have wanted though is an adult star wars game that captured that feeling. In my opinion this game has the best interpretation of force powers thus far. The problem is, that isn't really saying much.
Way better than the 'luminous truncheon's' of Star Wars Revenge of the Sith game, this game makes you feel badass. Sure the cameras a little wonky, lack of visible saber damage on enemies is a bit of a disappointment (But you can at least do the classic 'saber through the chest' shtick!).
All in all it plays like Psi-Ops but with a light saber. And although it won't be winning game of the year, if you ignore the hype, expect an average experience then you might be pleasantly surprised. Lots of neat little touches (like saber burns on the walls when the saber touches them, droids glowing where you've cut them into two and using electricity powers during a saber combo extends the saber to twice its length for the duration of the combo) mean that this looks like it could be a fun game, albeit a bit arcadey.
Intriguingly, the menu has a lightsaber option that is greyed out n the demo. Fingers crossed that means different lightsabers will be useable. And there's a chance to blow out the glass in a hanger bay whilst Jar Jar is standing in front of it.
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban: Hermione Granger Gold Plated Time Turner
Gifts & Gadgets
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Truly beautiful. Although probably not strong enough to be worn everyday (which is why it loses a star). Great design, right down to the writing on the inner parts -which all move and can be turned just like in the film by the way - although do not spin on their own by magic. Darn physics eh,,,). The box is cool but fiddly to set the chain in. Worth persevering wit though as it's mirrored interior really shows off the excellent design. Of all the harry potter props i've accumulated this one is just great.
Harry Potter: Sirius Black's Wand In Ollivander Box
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I've had the good fortune to hold a lot of these wands made by this company and I must say this one, along with the Snape wand, are two of my favourites. The detail on this one separates it from the rest for me, and unlike the Harry Wand it weighs just right. If Sirius is your man this is the wand for you. The presentation, as with all these wands is fantastic. It matches the designs of the boxes in the first movie. Just opening the box makes youf eel like Ollivander made it just for you. The only thing you need to figure out now is whose wand you'd prefer more. Snape's or Sirius's. They are both of equal quality, weight and presentaion. This one has way more detail though.
I've seen these sold for 30 quid in some places and they would be worth that to be honest. Play.com packaged my order up well and it arrived in perfect condition.
Justice League Elite
Great book. although you can't really read this without reading volume one as they compliment eachother. By embracing the flaws of humanity these novels (Volume 1 and 2) have added substancial depth to its characters. The characterisation of the members of the Justice League Elite are so well built that they seem to outshine the actual JLA.
The way the Justice League Elite "do what they can with what they have" is inspring on a much deeper level that I expected it would be. These characters are very human, very ugly and yet you find yourself rooting for them all the way until it's very well thought out finale. On top of this the flash has never seemed cooler. He is the voice or reason, haunted by his own demons and torn (Seriously, the way he deals with this dilemma really has to be read by all Flash Fans) between his role in the JLA and JLE
Less preachy than recent JLA stories, the story is as refreshing as it is well written. A joy from start to finish. Long live the JLE.
A movie tie-in designed on multi formats on a last gen console should be awful. And yet...
The cut scenes are completely contradictory, one minute Tony Stark is against weapons, the next he's saying how wonderful his Iron Man Suit is at blowing up stuff.
What you get is a game that does not feel dumbed down and simplified for the old gen console (Unlike so many ps2 games at the moment that seem to have been made intentionally awful in order to make you buy a ps3 or 360. I bought Iron Man on ps2 instead of ps3 as it was 25 quid instead of 40 and was willing to sacrifice the lush looking graphics for what I assume is identical gameplay, and I wasn't disappointed. Missions are samey, the bad guys are generic, but the cut scenes are beautifully rendered. And it is amusing to watch Tony Stark go from Noble Humanitarian to War mongering weapons fanatic. The controls work better than you expect, however, and it really is a rush flying through the environments and breaking the sound barrier. The unlockable suits are fun to try and add replay value if only to see what they look like. The upgradeable weapons add a much needed diversion but as they upgrade automatically this sort of undermines the RPG element that could have been so much more.
In short the flying feels like all the good bits of the Superman Returns game, and the selection of weapons on offer are humble but satisfying. The lack of a health bar adds to the feeling that your really are invincible, only having to jump start Tony's heart every now and then if the stress gets too much for him. The questionable game story and dialogue might not sit to well with Daily Mail readers, but for those of us that feel little Tommy isn't going to build a robotic super suit and start murderising the worlds weapons dealers after buying the game (Would this be bad?) it's a guilty pleasure.
One last thing, if your expecting a free roam world like that of Spiderman 2, you may be a little disappointed. Levels have you confined to a set area, however these areas are fairly large and it rarely feels like you are confined. One sky base mission feels fantastic to fly around. For all its sameyness, the game delivered certain opportunities to do supercool superhero things, and does a good job making you feel powerful. And in the end, isn't that why we keep buying all of these superhero games?