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The PC version of this is the one to have, and if the demo is anything to go by, we're in for a treat. The world is dripping with authentic details, from cars and attire to collectible Playboy centerfolds and era-specific radio stations and music. Combat is slick, the cover system is smooth and non-fiddly, but you will be tested - it's realistic in that a few well-placed shots will drop you.
It runs like a dream just now, so further polish and optimisation up until release will really make this shine. Try the demo if unsure, but this will be one of the games of the year.
Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising
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Be advised, this is not Counter-Strike or Call of Duty. You are not a hero, you are a grunt. You are a little cog in a very large war machine. If you're used to running in like Rambo and wiping out piles of bad guys, you're in for a shock. This game requires a much more measured approach.
It's well up to Codemasters' presentation standards, and the EGO engine (also used in Race Driver GRID and DiRT 1 & 2) means it looks beautiful, but it's not without its niggles. The order-issuing system is awkward and clunky and takes too long to navigate in the heat of battle. The AI is sketchy. I haven't ventured into multiplayer yet, but I hear it needs work. This will apparently be addressed. No PC game is perfect on release. It's well worth your time and patience. Be aware that you're buying a sim and not an arcade shooter.
Rock Band: The Beatles - Limited Edition Premium Bundle
Friday night, 4 people, chinese takeaway, a few drinks: 7 hours of fun.
Played this at a mate's house recently, two couples taking turns on the instruments playing our way through the Beatles' rise to stardom. I'm no Beatles fan by any means, but had an absolute whale of a time. Everyone knows the songs, and if you're a fan of the boys, then you're in for a real treat. The care and attention that's been given to this is nothing short of spectacular. The inbetween segments and intros are stunning. There's lots of sweet little (exclusive) soundbites of band banter before songs.
The kit you get it top notch. The special edition McCartney guitar (pictured above) is indeed special. Song selection includes many classics and some obscure tracks. Downloadable content will round this out, with many album releases planned. If you can afford it and have the space and have 3 friends/siblings/family members, it's a must buy.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
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Have also just played the PC demo, and after oohing and aahing my way through it, i've just come straight on here to pre-order it. Demos are frequently indicitive of the final version, and sometimes they're rough and - let's face it - pretty pants and do the full product no favours. If the demo of Arkham Asylum is anything to go by, we're all in for an absolute treat. I'm super excited about getting my filthy little hands on this.
Regardless of the Batman licence, it's an awesome game and has some great stealthy fighty explorey mystery elements that combine into a dribble-inducing package.
Not that i'm shallow, but it's a very good looking game; the environments are superb and Arkham is very atmospheric. The character voice acting is some of the best i've seen (heard) in a game and Mark Hamill's (yes, Luke Skywalker) Joker is a particular delight.
The Ultimate Alien And Predator Collectors Edition
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An awesome collection of some of the best movies ever made, all wrapped up in one lovely starter pack!
You get one-disc-wonders(TM) of all 7 movies (incidentally, 3 of which are Disc 1 of the special/definitive editions), so not too many frills. All this for under £30 though. If you don't own any of these, you should have very little reason not to get this.
Would probably make a great gift for the uninitiated too :)
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So it hasn't had millions splurged over it by a big publisher. It shows, yes, but this just adds to the charm. It looks great (if it looks poo, your PC might not be up to it, or you need to fiddle with the settings), there's plenty to do, and the levelling system is very addictive. There are no standard classes - popular in other games - instead you just pump skill points into the kinds of skills that take your fancy, be that magic, swordplay, setting traps, stealth, etc etc. The collector's edition can be had for 20 squid, well worth a look.
Dave Gahan - CD
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A collection of stirring tracks from the Depeche Mode frontman. Dark, moody, epic. It has a comfortable, well-worn feel to it, while still being new and exciting. Consists of everything that I love about the band - a bit funky with a mean streak, and just the right amount of 80s cheese.
Radio 1 Live Lounge 2 (2CD)
Various - CD
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Great mix of songs on here, including some bizarre renditions from unlikely artists that'll bring a smile to your face. Standout track for me is 30 Seconds to Mars' Stronger cover - utterly awesome.