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Forza Motorsport 3
6 New from
I think that this is the best "proper" racing game available for consoles at the moment (and I have all 3 current gen consoles and a huge collection of racing games).
Superb online (you are not able to set up your own public lobbies though, so it's best to play it with your mates or check out the official website forums for other people to race with). Good online community of mostly friendly and clean-racing people.
Handling is superb and the racing is great, even off-line where you have access to a rewind button that lets you go back and correct mistakes, just like GRID.
The livery editor can be used to create some incredible designs, if you have the talent.
This really is the best racer out there, until GT5 comes out. Just have to wait and see who's best!
Xbox 360 Hard Drive Transfer Cable
5 New from
The good -
Transfers your game saves, DLC and other game related saves, such as replays for racing games. Will transfer data from any size old style xbox 360 hard drive (20, 60, 120 and 250 GB - I transfered from an older 250 GB) to the new slim 360 250 GB HDD.
I traded my Transfer Cable in at a high street retailer after use and got 2/3 of it's value back in the trade (although this was the day after the new 360 came out, so trade prices are likely to drop as time goes on).
The bad -
Won't transfer your installed (from disc) games (it did transfer my Forza 3 - disk 2 data though) so you will have to re-install all your games again. OK, so you don't need to install your games, but it makes most of them load a bit quicker and run better, so it's recommended. You will have to recover your gamer profile from Live before you can get back online.
Not really a bad thing, but it moves data, not copies it. So it deletes all the data it moves from the old drive (although it did leave the installed games on the old hard drive that it could not move).
Superstars V8 Racing: Next Challenge
3 New from
This is a super-basic, sim-style racing game, without car modding or painting. It only has a handful of tracks and cars (all touring cars, no 800 bhp monsters here) and it's based on a racing series that no-one outside Italy is likely to have heard of.
So it's rubbish then? No, to be honest, it's actually pretty decent.
The developers obviously did not have a lot of cash (that's an understatement) and so they made the best of what they had and did not try and over-reach themselves like some other dev's do (take the almost-great Race Pro as an example of that). They concentrated their efforts into getting the basics right and it's paid off.
See it as a spiritual successor to the old PS1 ToCA Touring Car games and it becomes a lot more appealing, rather than putting it up against the likes of Forza 3 or other AAA racers.
If you played the last game, then I can tell you that this is quite a bit better. It adds cockpit views (normal, and slightly zoomed in over the wheel), better AI and all-in-all, it's a lot more solid than the original game (that said, it has frozen on me once in about 4 hours of gameplay).
The single player is challenging but short (Stick the difficulty on "Legendary", turn off the driving aids and it will be a challenge for any racing game fan).
The multiplayer seems solid too, except at the moment there is hardly anyone playing. With a bit of luck this will change as the game gets out to all the retailers.
So to round up, it's very basic and would probably be more at home on a an old Xbox rather than the 360. That said, it's still a solid and fun sim-style racer.
Keep your expectations bargain-bin low and you might just enjoy it.
District 9 (Nine)
21 New from
This could have been a disaster - turning the alien invasion movie concept on it's head - but Blomkamp and Jackson have made one of the best sci-fi movies ever with District 9.
It's truly original, intelligent, superbly scripted (although you can't really call it scripted, as most of the dialogue is ad-libbed) and shot, well acted and (unusually for this type of film) emotionally engaging.
The films real strength is that it manages to combine this with some of the most intense and exciting action sequences without ever "losing the plot" and degenerating into something stupid. Very few films can say that about themselves.
It really is the ultimate "action movie with brains", even though they are quite literally splattered all over the camera at times (although, thankfully, it's not anywhere near as gory as I was led to believe).
The film also looks great on Blu-Ray, as you get a full screen picture without the "letterboxing" that you get with a lot of other movies.
Need For Speed: Shift
9 New from
I've not owned a Need for Speed game before, mainly because it really was not my type of thing (I much prefer the likes of Race Pro and Forza).
Maybe that's EA's mistake, and this should have never have been a Need for Speed game in the first place. It will probably disappoint loyal fans of the series and sim fans won't touch it with a barge-pole because it's a Need for Speed game.
So it's fair to say that it's too realistic to be an arcade game and too lightweight to be an outright sim racer (OK, so some cars can be fitted with Nitrous tanks, but you can avoid that altogether and it won't affect your game at all).
Who's going to like it? People who don't mind compromising on absolute realism and who just want a great racer that is exciting to play.
OK, so the handling is a bit different to other games you might have played before, and some people have commented that the cars feel too oversteery (not sure that's a word, but never mind). True, some of the early cars feel that way, but once you get to the second, third and forth tiers of cars, they are much more balanced and realistic to drive. Once you learn that you can't just mash the accelerator all the time and that you have to balance the throttle a lot more than you do in other games (the game actually rewards you for doing this) then even the early cars become good to drive (it's worth noting that I play with driving aids all off - so I can't comment on what it feels like with them on).
The game looks great too, especially in-car (better than even the great Forza 3 in that department).
The levelling up system is quite clever and classes you into either a precision or aggressive driver, this rating carries on into the multiplayer where it will try and match you to other drivers that race the same way you do.
The only complaint I have is that the AI (on Hard) is far too aggressive and on medium is too easy to beat. Having said that the AI cars do crash spontaneously and quite realistically. It all adds up to races that feel quite real and exciting to be in. Although if you pick hard AI then you will have to re-start a lot (no rewind feature here).
I, like many people, bought this for something to do until Forza 3 came out, but it can certainly hold it's own amongst top tier competition like GRID and PGR and will probably appeal to some of the people who liked those games.
All in all it's a great racer!
Sennheiser RS 130 Wireless Cordless Headphones (RS130)
Usually, when I buy something like these, they get used once or twice and then sit there gathering dust. Not with these great cans though.
I use these pretty much every day - in fact I've got a couple of pairs - for TV / movies and playing games. I discovered a whole layer of audio in Call of Duty: World at War that I could not hear before and it makes it a much more intense experience playing whilst wearing these cans turned up nice and loud (not too loud though - you don't want to wreck your lugs).
A couple of things worth mentioning. Firstly, these attach up to your audio / TV with a standard headphone jack, so you can just plug them in - through the base station - like any other set of 'phones and use them with pretty much anything. The only problem with that is you don't get real surround sound out of them, although you do have a button which "expands" the sound and this really is a nice effect (I leave it on this mode all the time when watching TV or playing games). It's far from a substitute for a proper 5.1 set-up though.
Secondly, you need to turn up the volume on you audio / TV kit quite high and adjust the sound through the headphones themselves - this reduces any hiss.
All in all, I think these are the best TV / audio accessory that I have bought. Great sound, comfortable to wear, batteries last for ages between recharges (never run out on me yet), great design of phones and base-station. Can't fault them!
Xbox 360 Super Elite Limited Edition Console Bundle with 250GB HDD + Forza Motorsport 3 + Extra Black Wireless Controller
Considering you are getting 2 controllers and a copy of the excellent Forza Motorsport 3 for 240 quid, this bundle is actually not a bad little deal at all. Add to that the whopping 250GB HDD, which is not available anywhere else (for the moment), then if I was looking for a 360 console at the moment, this is the one I would get.
Also, there have been reports that this 250GB Elite model (also due to be appearing soon in a Modern Warfare 2 bundle) has a redisigned motherboard, so this console could well be more reliable than some older versions.
Superstars V8 Racing
6 New from
OK. so it's all a bit last gen (it's not a looker, to say the least), but turn off the driving aids and get online and Black Bean's racer can be a blast. Bonkers handling is a laugh, great sensation of speed and it seems pretty solid online. Helps if you like your racers a bit on the sim-ish side though (although it really isn't a sim).
7 New from
This is probably the most realistic racer on PS3. It's handling isn't easy to get to grips with to start with, but if you put in a bit of time and effort then this game's qualities start to shine through.
2 New from
It may not be the best looking game (it's a lot more functional than it is flashy) but if you are a real motorsport fan, looking for a realistic racer, and you are willing to spend a bit of time mastering it, then you could do a lot worse than Race Pro.