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Arcade Fire - CD
18 New from
Much like the single Reflektor, this album requires repeated listening to fully sink in. When I first listened through the album I was not massively impressed. It sounded like a complete mess, and to be honest I didn't even go on to the second CD. Luckily I didn't give up on it, and tried again, this time through headphones. I don't know if this makes sense but this is definitely a 'headphones album' - it has a much greater presence if listening through a decent pair of headphones and really immerses you more than usual.
Once I listened to the second CD I started to realise how great this album was. You can almost treat each CD as a separate album if you want - this tends to be the way I listen to it, one or the other but rarely one after the other. Each has a distinctly different sound and feel.
Standout tracks for me are Reflektor, We Exist, Normal Person, Joan of Arc, Here Comes The Night Time II, Awful Sound and Porno, but honestly, each track is great once given enough time to grow on you.
This album is really easy to dismiss as 'messy' or 'they've forgotten their roots' on first listen but it really rewards the listener on repeated plays, and just gets better and better every time. I can't applaud the band enough for taking themselves in a new direction and succeeding brilliantly with an album which I'm sure they were aware wasn't going to win them much mainstream success. But honestly, I'm not sure they're that bothered.
At Your Inconvenience
Professor Green - CD
19 New from
I really enjoyed Greens first album and this one is even stronger. Highlights for me are At Your Inconvenience, Read All About It, Spinning Out, Remedy, Avalon and Forever Falling, but to be honest there isn't really a weak track on there. Spinning Out is an amazing cover of the Pixies track Where Is My Mind. As a fan of the Pixies I wouldn't have believed that it could be covered that well by a rap artist before I heard it. He also uses loads of orchestral sounds and piano backing which work great with the beats and rapping. Top class.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (With Bonus Explosive Mission Pack)
3 New from
The original Deus Ex remains among my top 5 favourite games, so Human Revolution was going to have to be pretty special to impress, and somehow they've managed it. It stays very true to the formula that made Deus Ex so great and adds a load of new stuff which makes it even better. The cover system is excellent once you get the hang of it. The detail in the level design is impressive and the range of different ways you can approach each area is also impressive. You almost always have the choice to shoot your way in, crawl through a vent, pay your way in, find an entrance in the sewers, or even talk your way in using the excellent conversation system (there's even an augmentation to make yourself more persuasive).
One thing that is quite different from the original is that combat is a far more readily viable option. Most situations can be dealt with by shooting. Although you can still overcome every situation using stealth, it is just easier sometimes to go in guns blazing.
The hacking system does get a little tedious after a while. When you get the hang of it and it's actually simple - but a bit of a chore when you have a load of PC's to hack in one room. Of course this is the world of Deus Ex, so most passwords can be obtained by finding pocket secretaries or reading emails on other machines.
I had only one major issue with the game, and that was the boss fights. They are just dreadful, and are completely out of place in the game. Depending on which way you choose to approach the game, you can find yourself hopelessly un-prepared for the boss fights, for instance if you've focused all your augmentations on stealth rather than combat. Either way they are terrible - they go against the spirit of the game entirely, forcing you to fight to the death in an enlosed arena, which is in direct contradiction to the way the rest of the game is played. I'm almost tempted to drop a star from my rating just for this, but that seems a bit harsh as other than this miss-step it is almost perfection.
The game also drops an absolute ton of references to Deus Ex, and any fan of the original is bound to be intrigued and amused by many of them.
All in all it's a triumph, and you're going to get multiple play-throughs given the wealth of options available to you. I'm on my second play-through now, and I'm going for the ultimate stealth run. So far I haven't killed anyone. Next time I'll go through as a complete murderous psycho. It's worth it just to see the different reactions you get from the major characters and the way the story progresses depending on what you do.
The Temper Trap - CD
17 New from
This is an amazing album, currently can't stop listening to it. Bought it on the strength of the track sweet disposition which I heard on a film, and so glad I did. The track Soldier On is in my opinion one of the best songs I have ever heard. It's one of those albums that would appeal to a wide range of musical tastes. Get it, you won't be dissapointed.
Sony KDL-40EX403 Bravia 40 inch Full HD 1080p Freeview HD Internet TV LCD TV
Fantastic picture on this TV and great connectivity. My only gripe with it is the speakers are not too impressive, very flat sound. Otherwise great, obviously even better if plugged into a decent audio system.
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World: Limited Edition Steelbook
Just an amazing, groundbreaking film, Edgar Wright does it again. Is it possible for him to make a bad film? Recommended for any fans of his previous works and obviously fans of the comic or comics in general.
Also I feel it's worth mentioning that this is a Blu-Ray / DVD combi pack, which isn't made clear in the description, so if you don't have Blu-Ray you can still get this Steelbook edition (which is beautifully presented as always).
Sid Meier's Civilization V
4 New from
Overall I am fairly disappointed. I've been a massive fan of the series since the very first game, and I don't even want to think about the amount of hours I've spent playing Civ4 the past few years (it's terrifyingly high).
First, the positives. It is quite nice looking, though not as good as I expected. Unit animations are fantastic, particularly when ships fire their guns. Watching the canons going off on a Ship-of-the-Line is beautiful. The soundtrack is brilliant. The guy who does the narrations is no Leonard Nimoy, but does a good job.
However Civ5 just isn't hitting the spot. I'm already tiring of playing it. I'm probably going to go back to Civ4. The main reason, the main thing I just can't get over, is the 1 unit per tile thing. It just doesn't work. Movement is so restrictive it just becomes tedious managing an army and having units dotted all over your farmlands because you can't put them in to cities is annoying. You can't move onto the same tile as an allied unit either, leading to ridiculous traffic jams all the time. If an ally fills up an area of land with units and you don't have a unit with enough movement points to pass through them in one go, you won't be going anywhere any time soon. A much better idea in my opinion would have been to have had a unit limit per tile, say 4 per tile. This would stop the large stacked armies issue from Civ4 and stop the issues I have with Civ5.
Another thing which, while it may seem small, has rather ruined the game somewhat for me, is the embark feature. Any unit can simply move on to a water tile and abracadabra, it turns into a boat. No more transports. This is just stupid. Once a unit is at sea it can't be stacked with warships for protection, meaning that if you really need to protect it you need 6 ships to surround it in order to protect it, and even then it can be killed by multiple bombardments anyway. Massive seaborne invasions are, while possible, not fun any more. Once you embark more than a few units things get clogged up on the high seas pretty quickly and defending them effectively on their way over is almost impossible.
Great people are not as useful as in Civ4 and I don't really care much when one appears any more.
I for one enjoyed the religion aspect of Civ4. It's a shame they removed it completely. And while I didn't use espionage or corporations much, it's still a shame that they feel its a good thing to remove such options. This is the issue with Civ5, everything has been dumbed down. Economy and science research are not as customisable either, in fact it's basically all automated. Gone are the sliders of old.
Another major problem for me is AI Civilization growth. AI Civs grow at a laughably slow rate, and seem to stop expanding all together at some point, so on a huge map the game always ends up with vast tracts of unoccupied land.
City states, while an interesting addition, now just annoy me. Luckily you can choose not to have any in the custom game options.
There are too many gripes for me to enjoy the experience. Some of the issues I have could be fixed with patches and hopefully some good mods somewhere down the line (the only reason I still play Civ4 so much is the Diversica mod - which adds huge amounts of content to Civ4, probably why I'm having so much trouble adjusting to the simplicity of Civ5). However the underlying game mechanics such as 1 unit per tile will not change, except maybe if some clever mod types are able to do it.
I'm sure this Civ will be great for people new to the series, but for many hardened Civ,Civ2,Civ3,Civ4 players like myself, it just doesn't cut the mustard. I think Civ4+Diversica mod will be reining supreme for another few years for this Civ fan.
Arma II: Operation Arrowhead
1 New from
Great expansion, refreshing after previous OFP expansions which have been a bit lacking. In particular the new nightvision/thermal imaging tools are awesome and the UAV actually works properly now, although the AI flies it way too low and has actually crashed into mountains a few times while I'm the gunner, but hey ho. The new map also makes a nice change of environment and the single player campaign is worth playing.
Thumbs up from me.
David Bowie Men's Ziggy Stardust T-Shirt (Black)
really good quality big print, love the design. recommended for bowie fans.
The Stone Roses Men's Big Lemon T-Shirt (Play Exclusive) (White)
love the shirt. great quality print, looks fantastic. definately recommended for any roses fans.