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DS Stylus & Protector Pack
Overall this is a very good case for storing your DS Lite when not in use (I can't comment on how well the original DS fits as I don't have one). The outside of the case is sturdy, good enough to protect the contents against knocks it receives. Inside it's almost like a mini suitcase - there are two elasticated straps to keep your console snug and secure in the one half, and the other half has a large webbed pocket, in which you can store your games and spare styli. However this pocket is not seperated into segments, so I'd recommend getting some cases for your game cartridges before you store them in here.It also comes with a carry-strap, but to be honest that's not much use unless you intend to walk around with your DS hanging from your wrist.
There are a couple of down-points though, hence 4 stars instead of 5. First of all the screen protectors. The larger one which fits over the top screen is absolutely fine, although a little hard to apply without trapping unsightly air bubbles underneath it. The touch-screen protector, on the other hand, is a little too big. Only by the slightest amount, but enough to render parts of the screen unusable, as your stylus will just be tapping the protector and not making contact with the screen itself.Also the thumb-stylus is uncomfortable and ungainly, feeling more like a gimmick.Finally the price - £20 is far too expensive. I picked mine up for £6 off a PlayTrader, which I'd recommend far more.
So for £6 this is a must-have bargain, but for £20 it's a total rip-off.
Hellsing Box Set: Classic Collection
I'm fairly new to anime, but I picked up Hellsing based on its reputation and for £17.99 I wasn't in the least bit disappointed. The animation is good - not up there with the best, but certainly better than many - the story is compelling, and the characters are very cool. Arucard is very reminiscent of Final Fantasy VII's Vincent, but with a cocky edge which makes you like him all the more, and watching Victoria's slow acceptance of her new state as a vampire makes for good viewing.However, there's no such thing as flawless tv, and this is no exception. First of all I would have to say it must be watched in Japanese with subtitles. The English audio track is available but the voice acting is so poor and the accents so laughable that it detracts from the story. The series is set in the UK, but unfortunately it seems the only accents known to the actors are either Hugh Grant's, or Victorian cockney a la Oliver Twist.The other issue I have is, as mentioned in an earlier review, the swearing. While I don't mind it when appropriate, this series seems to contain a lot of swearing for swearing's sake. Often the bad guys will use the F-word every other word, almost as if to say "Look! You can tell I'm the bad guy! See how much I'm swearing?" It just feels completely unneccesary.
Aside from those down-points it's altogether a very good series, and for this price you can't go far wrong. A comfortable 4 stars from me.
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With all of the JRPG companies firmly backing their home-grown consoles, the 360's been lacking somewhat in a lure for the Final Fantasy crowd. But after the lacklustre Enchanted Arms, and the enjoyable but slightly childish Blue Dragon (a game I indeed like, but frequently refer to as Final Fantasy Junior), we've finally got something to fly the JRPG flag for our lovely Microsoft machines.
Firstly a quick note about several bad reviews I've read slating this as a rubbish action game. Well that's because it's not an action game. If you want action there are 1001 titles out there to pick up, but expecting this to be an action game is like sitting down to watch The Godfather and expecting to see Robocop. This is an epic. This is true storytelling. Frankly, this is gaming in an artform. In fact I may even be pursuaded to go as far as to say it's the best 360 title to date.
The plot is as twisted, convoluted and compelling as any of its Final Fantasy rivals, and indeed it should be, coming from the man who created the series. I won't delve into it as it will take hours to explain and ruin the fun, so I'll mention the gameplay.If you've played Final Fantasy X for the PS2 then you may find yourself experiencing a little deja vu. Not only the style of the characters and environments are very similar, but the controls, camera angles and even the mini-map in the corner of the screen will feel comfortably familiar. The turn-based battle system also has the FFX feel to it, being slightly more in-depth than the previous titles in the series. As well as your basic Attack/Magic/Item etc. commands, you can switch your equipment to make the most of your armoury. Come across a fire boss with a flame weapon equipped? Not a problem. Switch it for a water one and watch his HP drop off like there's no tomorrow.Unlike Blue Dragon or the controversial FFXII, you can no longer see your enemies on the field, and instead random encounter battles are back in full. Whilst they can be annoying when you just want to get from point A to point B to advance the story, they are something that all JRPG fans should be used to dealing with, and you'll be grateful for the resultant higher character levels when facing the bosses.
The characters themselves are interesting and deeply involving. Whilst at times you can tell this game is for and American console - mainly with the one-liner-spinning character Jansen - they all have the same depth and tragic pasts which have made our favourite characters in the past so compelling.
To sum up? If you're a fan of JRPG such as Final Fantasy, then this is a game for you. You most certainly won't be disappointed. If you've never tried a JRPG before, then forget Blue Dragon and Enchanted Arms, THIS is the one to go for.I read one review which ended by saying this game shouldn't have been called Lost Odyssey, it should have been called Final Fantasy XII. Frankly, I don't think there's a better way of putting it.
5 stars, without a shadow of a doubt. And may we only hope this is the start of an epic new series.
Guitar Hero III: Legends Of Rock (3) (with Wireless Guitar Controller)
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When I first saw Guitar Hero I sort of sneered at the box and turned away, dismissing it as another dull gimmick to try and clutter up teenagers' bedrooms. When Guitar Hero II came out, I rolled my eyes at the prospect of a sequel. With Guitar Hero III I gave in to peer pressure, and picked up my copy for the 360.And my first thought was "What have I been missing out on?!?!"First of all, getting into it. Obviously this was my first forray into GH, and the controller felt alien in my hands. The tutorials though are easy and forgiving, and soon have you ready to tackle some actual songs. And once you do you realise just how addictive this is.The songs start of slow, with few notes, but as you progress through your venues the number of notes per song increases, and they're thrown at you more rapidly. But the learning curve on this game is little short of perfect, and the difficulty of the songs truly rises to match your developing skill, making for a challenging - but not frustrating - journey through career mode. On more than one occasion you'll find yourself about to power down before stopping yourself and muttering "Go on then, just one more song" and then find yourself repeating the statement 4 minutes later.The replay value on this game is potentially infinite, with a store full of bonuses to buy (from videos, to extra songs, to more guitars and characters), and multiple-completions of the game required to buy them all. But you'll want to go back and replay, as once you've finished on your chosen difficulty level you'll realise you now have the skill to tackle the next difficulty level from scratch, another example of the great learning curve. The Achievements are challenging to get hold of, and will again have you going back time and time again also, sometimes repeating one song until you know every note by heart, but still encouraging you to go back to it.The co-op mode is good, but it's a pity you're unable to play co-op over Xbox Live, which unfortunately means you have to squeeze a friend and their guitar into the same room as yourself. Whilst this is a slight downside, it's not enough of one to warrant losing a star.The competetive two-player on the other hand is again superb. While the host always gets to choose the song, each player gets to choose their own difficulty setting, so you can still play to match your skill level.
And of course the track list. What would a GH review be without mentioning the songs? In a nutshell - great. There's an even mix in there to ensure there's something for everyone. There's soft rock, punk rock, classic rock, metal... it means that no-one will love every track in the game, but it means there'll be very few people who won't have a favourite song on there which they'll want to go back to again, and again, and again...
Overall, a fantastic game. Easy to get into for a quick 10-minute play while the kids are in bed, or just as much fun to embark upon an epic 5-hour weekend marathon. It's wonderfully addictive, so just try to remember - even rock legends need to take a minute to eat and drink between gigs.
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Okay first up, a lot of people slate this film. A lot knock it as shallow and say no more. These are unfairly harsh criticisms. Now I'll admit this film won't be clearing up at the Oscars, but when you're paying to see a film about giant transforming alien robots, you're not expecting the Shawshank Redemption.What you get is 2 1/2 hours of jaw-dropping cinema making one of the best action movies of the decade. The special effects are as good as you could ever hope for, and the human cast play their own parts superbly. But of course the stars are the Transformers themselves.If you're a fan of the original series then there's enough in there to keep you happy. Most of the characters are classics with a 21st century facelift, and there are enough Generation-1 references to keep you smiling throughout the film. For those with no experience of Transformers, the basics are covered quickly and neatly enough that you won't be left scratching your head and trying to figure out what's going on.The plot itself is a nice comfortable balance. One the one hand they haven't made it so simple that it would have felt at home in an 80's Van-Damme movie, but on the other hand they haven't over-complicated it with unnecessary twists and turns. What they've left is a plot which is enough to keep you hooked throughout the length of the film, but which you can still enjoy on a certain casual level.
So to sum up? Not a film to get your grey cells working overtime, but that's not what you'll be watching for. A high-octane, compelling, visual feast, with a good supporting cast of humans. That's what you want from Transformers, and that's precisely what you're getting. 5 stars.