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Daniel Craig: James Bond Double Pack
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I won't bother reviewing the films, but this is more of a note of what you get in this set. This set contains the two Daniel Craig Bond movies; Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008).These two discs are identical to the ones you get in the new 50th Anniversary 22 Disc Blu-Ray box set, complete with the 007 stylised menus that match the other movies from the set and also the previously released DVDs. As a result, you now get the uncensored version of Casino Royale which has been reclassified with a 15 certificate. For anyone who didn't know, parts of the Le Chiffre torture scene involving the knotted rope were slightly edited in order for the film to get a 12A on it's cinema release.All prior DVD and Blu-Ray releases have contained this edited version, but this new version is definitely uncut. I understand that Casino Royale has also been released uncut on it's own, but be careful, as the cover artwork is almost identical to the 2006 release, so be sure it has a 15 age certificate if you want get the uncut version.If you already own Casino Royale, it is questionable whether it would be worth getting it again for what is essentially a couple of extra seconds of footage. In truth, it probably isn't, as you would never notice the edits were there in the first place. But for movie purists such as myself, who despise the BBFC's meddling, especially when it comes down to audience figures, then this is the version to get.As I have said earlier in the review, the 50th Anniversary Blu-Ray box set also contains the uncut Casino Royale, so don't buy this if you have bought or intend to buy that. Hope this information is useful.
Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures Box Set (5 Discs)
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I think everybody already needs to know everything there is is about these fantastic films, so I won't bother reviewing the movies themselves.Firstly, yes, for the first time ever in the UK, Temple of Doom has been reclassified with a 12 certificate and is released fully uncut. The movie now features the complete uncensored sacrificial and Shortround getting tortured scenes as well as several other bits that were previously edited. The uncut version has been available worldwide since the film's initial release except for, you guessed it, in the UK where bits were edited in order for it to secure a PG rating, but thankfully no longer.Picture and sound are amazing. I have worn these films out on VHS and DVD with the amount of times I have seen them, but the Bluray experience was like watching them for the first time. The colours are vivid, and the picture so clear that there is detail I have never seen before. The only downside is that some of the matt painting and effects shots now look very obvious, but this is how the films were originally made, and thankfully they have not added any out of place CG to hide the fact like Lucas has with the original Star Wars Trilogy. Crystal Skull was obviously going to look the best, but in all honesty the original trilogy looks like it was made yesterday, and can compete with any modern day digital CGI fest.The set comes on five discs all housed in a nice compact and rigid cardboard slip case, that opens out to display what looks like some new beautifully commissioned artwork and photo stills for each movie. It's a pity the same design choice wasn't applied to the discs, which are oddly just plain white with the film's title on them, but this is a minor detail. As well as the four movies, there is a fifth disc which contains over 7 hours of bonus documentaries and such, so there is plenty to keep you entertained here.There is a more expensive set also available which contains various collectable prop replicas, but I cannot comment on whether it is worth the extra money as this is the only one I have seen. At the end of the day, if you just want a definitive, no frills collection of the Indy films, then this is it, and definitely worth the upgrade from DVD. Recommended.
Just Cause 2: Limited Edition
First things first, this game is truly epic. Completely open from the beginning of the game, there are 400, yes 400 square miles to explore. From snowy mountains and towering sky scrapers, to secret bases and tranquil beaches, the game has it all. There are tons of different vehicles for land, sea and air and literally hundreds of activities to perform from mountain climbing to sabotaging gas pipes on military bases. Rico's grappling hook and parachute have to be the games best features though, as you never get bored of finding things to do with them. Tethering a high speed enemy jeep to a nearby building during a chase and watching it beome a fireball has to be a favorite.It all sounds fantastic, and believe me if I had written this review a week ago it would have gotten five stars.Why the sudden change of heart? Let me explain. The game opens fantastically, throwing you straight into a Goldeneye style mission on a mountain base. It is something worthy of a Bond film, and leaves you wanting for the next mission. However, these epic story missions are not readily available until you have caused enough chaos on the island. To cause chaos you must run amok destroying enemy bases while working undercover for three rebel factions under the name Scorpio.The idea is that you work undercover for these factions doing missions for them until you have earned enough chaos points to progress the story. Once you have, your contact tells you that they have discovered some new info and a new story mission becomes available on the map. This system keeps you playing toward an objective, while at the same time leaving you free to explore and cause mayhem at will.Now for the vital flaw. The developers have made the game so big that they have only had time to create a pitiful 7 story missions. With only 25% of the game world complete I finished the game. I couldn't believe it as the credits rolled as barely anything had happened in the story at all. After the credits the game informs you that you have unlocked Mercenary Mode which sees you back in the game completing it to 100%, only this time with no objective. You can still do the faction missions, but they now seem a bit pointless. Where is the logic in a government agent working undercover for criminal gangs when there is nothing to be gained from doing so?Frankly the game has now lost its shine. And while still undoubtedly an epic sandbox title with spectacular graphics, I can quite honestly say I have not touched it again since finishing the story.Another let down is the complete absence of any online play which probably could have saved it from the dust gathering pile. The annoying save system also has to be at the top of my hate list. Unless on a mission, when you save or die in the game you always restart at the nearest taken over base. The problem with this is that until you have unlocked new bases, it can see you respawning miles away making it a pain to get back to where you were (usually seconds from victory). This is only made worse by the hundreds of place names all looking very similar.Overall the game is fun while it lasts but there seems little need to return to it now. Like FarCry 2 and indeed the first Just Cause, it favours a massive game world over important aspects like story that keep you coming back for more. More isn't always better in my opinion, especially when it comes at the expense of other things. Movies with a bad or lack of story don't work so why should games be any different. People moaned at how GTA4 was scaled down compared to San Andreas. Just Cause 2 is an example of why. Loads to do but no purpose for doing it. A real shame because I was really enjoying it.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
After the disappointing Silent Hill: Homecoming last year I feared the worse with Shattered Memories. A game developed by the same team for the Wii and ported to the PS2. Sounded like a recipe for disaster, but gladly I was wrong.Shattered Memories takes the series in a very different direction. But this is no bad thing. Fans complained about the combat system in Homecoming, so in this game it is gone completely. Replaced instead with the named 'Nightmare Sequences'. This involves running around a transformed ice version of the area you just explored frantically looking for the exit door. Removing the combat engine completely may sound like a crazy thing to do, but lets face it; the combat was never a Silent Hill strong point. The idea just about works with button bashing to remove enemies and the odd puzzle to solve, but it can become a bit repetitive and annoying after every area you explore, especially when there is no quick solution. Finding the exit usually involves blind luck rather than strategy.The rest of the game is pure exploration based. With a new over the shoulder control system similar to the way Resident Evil 5 plays. You are lost in the dark, with only a torch and a phone to aid you. You must search for clues, solve puzzles and interact with characters to develop the plot and progress through the game. It sounds like business as usual, but this is Silent Hill with a twist.As, I have mentioned in the title, this is the first Silent Hill game to demand multiple replays. Previous games have always offered rewards for playing the game again, such as more powerful weapons, new costumes and of course multiple endings to the story. While this game retains the multiple ending structure, it also has a few more tricks up its sleeve.You see the game changes around the player on each and every single play through it. This happens mainly through the psychology sessions with your doctor, who at times can ask you some very personal questions. Depending on your answers, a character's physical appearance and personality can alter dramatically. Hence altering the way in which the story unfolds. But this is not the only thing that can alter the game. Merely looking at certain objects for too long while exploring, can alter your fate. For example, focusing on bottles of alcohol, or graphic images can suggest to the game the sort of person you may be and alter it accordingly. This is no joke, I am now on my second play through, and have noticed that even some of the rooms have altered in appearance due to me making different choices. As some areas are quite open, you can even explore things in a different order. While the game is perhaps a little on the short side, this more than makes up for it, as you constantly feel there is going to be something new around every corner.My worries about the control system were also short lived, as while I'm sure the Wii remote makes for smoother interaction, the analogue sticks are more than capable.Graphically, it is not going to win any prizes, certainly not on the PS2. The graphics are certainly passable, and the lighting effects with the torch are very impressive. But overall it just seems a bit ropey and unfinished.The story is also very different to that of the original PSone game and not quite as gripping. However, it doesn't in any way spoil the original, think of it as an alternate universe Silent Hill.Overall, another unique Silent Hill experience. Definitely not for everyone, but I'll give it full marks for trying something new. Perhaps if the new production team hadn't wasted their time on the very average Homecoming, this could have been a simply amazing game for the next-gen consoles. Still a decent effort.
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Let me start by saying that if you enjoyed the first Bioshock game, then you'll definitely enjoy the sequel. But having played through this game in a couple of days, I wouldn't necessarily say that it is better than the first. Let me explain.The best improvement is the new ability to dual wield both your weapons and plasmid powers at the same time. It was such a pain having to constantly swap during battle in the first game. It made gameplay unbalanced and made for a lot of tedious replaying when you selected the wrong plasmid or weapon to combat an enemy. This addition makes the combat engine more fluid. But don't expect the enemies to be a push over, as the amount of damage the Splicers can take has been raised to compensate.I also like the new ability to set traps for the Splicers using special ammo in some of your various weapons. This can require some planning, and doesn't just involve bursting in and hoping for the best, especially when short on ammo or health. This is also a welcome extra.I was probably most disappointed with the new Little Sister adoption ability. This sounded very promising on paper, but to me felt like it amounted to nothing more than a series of tedious mini-games. I assumed that the little sister would aid you in finding secrets etc, but instead is mainly the key to acquiring extra 'Adam', which is the currency for buying new abilities and powers. For every one you adopt, you must search the level looking for two corpses that contain 'Adam' and then defend the Little Sister against hoards of respawning enemies while she collects it. Sounds simple enough, but by about half way through the game I was bored with this method. It's always the same routine, and it can use up vast amounts of precious ammo and first aid kits. The thing is that you don't have to bother with this at all, and can harvest or heal the Little Sister straight away, but doing so will make it very difficult to progress without leveling up your abilities.Believe it or not, I also felt that playing as a Big Daddy also spoiled the game a little. Everybody agrees that the new drill weapon is cool, but all the other weapons are merely just Big Daddy versions of the ones from the first game. Also, despite the amount of effort it takes you to kill a Big Daddy, in comparison you are a bit of a push-over and are just as feeble as Jack in the first game. Playing as just an ordinary guy in the first game also made the game a lot scarier, as you constantly felt vulnerable and out-numbered, a stranger out of his depth in a hellish nightmare. Playing as a Big Daddy takes this away, as you now feel more a part of Rapture, rather than an unwilling observer. Imagine playing Silent Hill as a space marine! Just wouldn't work.My biggest gripe though is that yet again there is zero replay value. You spend hours leveling up, gaining new powers and upgrading weapons, only to have it all taken away at the end of the game. Yes you can up the difficulty, but apart from this the game offers nothing new the second time you play it. I hated this with the first game. I still had weapons to upgrade and plasmids to buy and master, but instead I had to start again from scratch. I really thought this would have been addressed for the sequel as although some may argue it makes the game too easy, it does give you a chance to master your gameplay skills.Multiplayer is certainly a welcome addition, but can be mastered quickly. A lot of time has clearly been spent on this, which is why little has been added to the single player game. I suppose if it ain't broke don't fix it, but I couldn't help feeling I'd seen it all before. Still an excellent title while it lasts, but not quite the leap foward I was expecting.
Star Wars: Shock Trooper Cookie Jar
Gifts & Gadgets
If you want a fantastic high quality, almost to scale clone trooper bust for display in your house then this is a bargain for 9 quid.Sure, as the previous reviewers have said, the shoulder pads are missing, and it's a shame that the jar does not have the battle damaged distressed look that the picture has, but for £9 i'm not complaining.As a cookie jar, it would do the job, but there is no freshness seal on the lid to prevent your biscuits from going stale. But for sweets, stationary and other bits and pieces this would be ideal.If I had paided £35 for this then I probably would have been a bit miffed. But to be honest I would never have paid £35 for a cookie jar in the first place. The quality of this item is far higher then I was expecting, and it makes an amazing dispaly piece even if you never use it for anything else. For £9 grab it while you can. Most companies would charge more than this to deliver it.
Indiana Jones And The Staff Of Kings
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The fact that this was originally meant to be a next gen title should have set the alarm bells ringing straight away. But being a loyal fan who grew up with Indy in the 80's, I thought I would give this a go anyway.Let's face it. The PS2 has had it's day. I bought one at launch, watched the games blossom into spectacular wonders like God of War, Metal Gear Solid 3 and Final Fantasy X and now sadly we have to see it fall prey to poor PSP conversions like Indiana Jones and the Staff Of Kings.There used to be a day when PSP games were converted from higher quality PS2 titles, but no more. And while dumbed down graphics and simplified gameplay may wash on the PSP, they most certainly do not on a large lounge TV screen. The detailing is simply pitiful. At times it looks as if you are playing a smoothed out PS1 title. The textures are blocky, lighting bland and the less said about the character models the better. Now I know graphics aren't everything, but honest to god PS2 launch titles looked better than this over seven years ago.As for the gameplay. You will probably notice that all the marketing for this game is for the superior Wii version. It seems that Nintendo can chuck out any old rubbish on a disc and some how make it fun and inspired with the motion sensing Wii remote. This game is no different. As you will notice, the reviews for the Wii version sing praises to the high heavens, with 'inspired controls and decent graphics'. It doesn't even sound like they are describing the same game. PS2 owners have to put up with tedious button bashing in overly long battle sequences.The last Indy game (The Emperor's Tomb) played like a slightly inferior Tomb Raider, but I loved it anyway and still play it today. It had everything, adventure,humour, suspense, and gun and fist fights a plenty. And never have I spent so much time in a game looking for Indy's hat which he had lost in an earlier fist fight. It didn't matter to the game, but it did to me. THE HAT IS INDY! This plays like a collection of mini games all cobbled together. One minute you are exploring Tomb Raider style, the next the camera zooms out for a coin-op style fist fight, and the next you are frantically button bashing to control events in a cut scene. The worst gameplay though, has to be the gun battles. Instead of just being able to whip out your gun and plug the baddies at will, the game controls this automatically and suddenly it feels like you are playing some early 90's side scrolling arcade shoot'em up. Even the ammo is infinate. This varied approach to the gameplay is obviously for the benefit of the Wii remote. And while this may be fun on the Wii, it only adds to making the game feel more disjointed and uneven than it already is.The major concern I have with this game though, is with the sheer amount of bugs in it (and not the creepy crawly kind).The game managed to crash four times during the opening training level, in a fight against one bad guy. The game is teaching you to fight, and keeps pausing the action mid punch to teach you different combos. If however you happen to press the wrong button instead of the one displayed, the game will not respond to further button presses or indeed anything else. This occured 3 more times after reseting the system. This occurs no more than 3 minutes into the game, and it is shocking to think that a flaw like this could not be picked up during play testing, if any was ever carried out.Overall then, avoid. Maybe give it a go on the Wii if you own one. But maybe it's time Indy laid down his whip and remain in the past as a much loved memory. This sudden Indy revival seems to have come a little too late, and could result in taking a classic hero down with it.
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The answer is in the hope that one day Sega may once again produce a Sonic title that even if not as good as the old 2d games, is at least as good as Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast.But surprise, surprise Sega has missed the mark yet again. While this is certainly better than the horror that was the last 360 game, it still misses the point of what a Sonic game should be, chiefly seriously fast and reasonably challenging. The sonic levels are great. So fast they will make your eyes bleed, and get this, at times the camera shifts so that it feels like you are playing one of the old megadrive games. The levels are also pretty long, and well worth replaying to find hidden goodies.So why only two stars? The problem is the rest of the game. Unfortunately you cannot just select levels you want to play from a menu like in the old days. Instead, they are held together by what is essentially a very feeble RPG style game world, with more levels becoming available as you progress through the story. But Oblivion this is not! This usually means clunking around talking to every single annoying character until you find the right one to tell you something so that you can progress. This became tedious after about five minutes, especially with annoying controls and camera angles in these areas. The voice acting and cut scenes are also pretty naff and child like, and they begin to grate immediately, especially Sonic's new sidekick, who resembles a flying pink squirrel and acts and sounds like a hyperactive four year old. And i used to think Tails was annoying.The biggest let down though, are the Werehog levels. They just seem so out of place in a Sonic game. For every lightning fast Sonic level you play and enjoy, you know it is to be followed by a lumbering and slow Werehog level, which become so repetative and boring it is untrue. One level took me over 45 mins to finish. Hardly the lightning quick pace you expect from a Sonic game! For some reason when Sonic becomes the Werehog, his ability to run goes out of the window, and is instead replaced with to ability to beat things up. While this sounds fun at first it soon becomes very repetative beating up hoards of uninspired generic enemies that take ages to die, when regular Sonic can down the same enemies with one hit in his levels. Compared to the Sonic levels, the Werehog levels feel like you have bought a Ferrari that keeps stalling every 10 miles. The thing is, that if Sega had done all the levels as the blisteringly fast Sonic levels then the lame RPG bits could have been forgiven. So why on earth didn't they!!! Fans of Sonic want fast and furious action packed stages. For those who want to explore and complete quests there is always Mario. And let's face it, Nintendo do this sort of game so much better.Next time Sega, lose the Werehog and the rubbish RPG, and just stick 30 or so Sonic levels together. Story doesn't matter. The old games never had much of one and look how well they turned out.Overall, kid's will probably enjoy it, but for me I think it's time Sonic and I parted ways as Sega has had far too many chances to get the franchise back on track. Another missed chance. Shame.
Halo 3: Master Chief Mini Bust (Red)
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Just bought this for £12.99 in Play's Easter Sale. For this price I wasn't expecting much, a cheap plastic gimmick perhaps, but boy was I surprised when it arrived. For a start the bust was far bigger than I was expecting. With a height of about 16cms, and a width of well over 20cms this is quite a hefty little piece. And been made of hard resin, the bust weighs quite a bit as well.The paint job is excellent, with not a line out of place, and the detailing on the weapons is simply exceptional. The best part though has to be the inter-changable weapons and arms for the bust. I spent ages deciding over which bust to buy regarding it's in hand weapon only to find you get all three included to swap and change as you please! These include the plasma sword, the assault rifle and dual spike pistols.I was immediatly worried that having to fit the parts would result in something breaking off, as I have had bad experiences in the past with fiddly assembly jobs. But to my surprise the parts are actually magnetic and fit together like magic, without even the slightest struggle. It took me only about 10 seconds to put the bust together. Best of all you can't even tell that the pieces are removable, as the joins are cleverly camoflaged in with the joins in the armour.I understand that most other retailers are selling these for £40+. And with build quality like this, it is not hard to see why. Coming with a huge display box and a numbered certificate, these are more than worth the £18 Play are charging for them now. These are numbered limited edition pieces so snap one up while you can. Shop around, I assure you that you will not find one this cheap anywhere else. My only grievance, is that the green Master Chief bust is still £40, as I would much rather have had this bust over the red one any day. But you can't have everything.
Silent Hill: Homecoming
5 New from
......and in the world of gaming technology progression, this is not so good. Let's get straight to the point. Silent Hill Homecoming is NOT a bad game, it's just not what you would expect from a next gen console title. Bioshock it is not. The story is pretty decent and probably won't disappoint fans, and the 5.1 sound is used brilliantly to creep you out even when nothing is happening.Since the release of the first Silent Hill game on the original Playstation, the franchise has had me hooked. In my opinion the second game was the best in terms of disturbing imagery, hidden meanings and intense plot, but every game in the series has had something unique to offer the player, from the growing dread of what James will discover at the Lakeside Hotel in SH2 to the horror of confinement that Henry suffers in SH4.I don't know what it is. but Silent Hill Homecoming just doesn't feel quite right. Believe it or not, the graphics do not seem to be as rich and gory as previous instalments, which were all on inferior consoles. Even the Playstation 2 could create textures that looked slimy, moist and down right disgusting. Knowing what the 360 can do (Bioshock), the graphics seem very underdone and washed out. Lighting effects are a vast improvement, but textures, character models and even the dreaded fog all seem to be lacking that next gen sheen. This game could easily have been another PS2 release, no problem.Basically then, the graphics are disappointing for a next gen console, but as we all know graphics aren't everything. Sadly though, this is not the only game element to suffer. The game is now far too combat heavy, and as a result the creepy and obscure puzzles that are compulsary to Silent Hill games seem to have fallen by the wayside and the suspense that builds in waiting to be attacked and then not been has also sadly gone. Your character Alex Sheperd feels more like Buffy the Vampire Slayer taking on the legions of hell, as you hack and slash your way through countless generic enemies, sometimes taking on four or five at once. The problem here is that the combat system is built for one on one combat which usually means heavy damage is taken in battle. Players who found combat difficult in previous games, are in for a challenge, as the difficulty has gone through the roof with a new strategic battle system with all enemies having there own week spot. To make matters worse there's hardly any ammo and health pickups to be found. So to sum up gameplay is also disappointing.I think the main thing wrong with Silent Hill Homecoming is, believe it or not, the Silent Hill movie. The game borrows very heavily from it, rather than coming up with fresh ideas. This means that you feel like you have seen it all before. From the design of the nurse enemies to the decaying peeling effect when the world alters to the hell state, and even locations like the Grand Hotel are all taken from the film. While the film certainly wasn't bad, this makes SHH feel like the game based on the movie based on the game, if you get my meaning. Almost as if the movie was the new bench mark for Silent Hill, and not the last game.Overall then, Silent Hill Homecoming is pretty average. It lacks originality, strong characters, next gen graphics and a decent balance of gameplay and puzzles. But if you can, don't let this put you off, as it still offers scares and thrills a plenty. Perhaps wait till it drops in price though as perhaps it's not quite worth the £40 price tag. Some games play better if you pay less for them I find.
+Decent story+Impressive lighting+Lot's of jump out of your skin moments
-Bland graphics-Lack of puzzles-Flawed combat