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Demon's Souls: Black Phantom Edition
Like the other reviewers I have nothing but praise for this game.
It has a reputation of being incredably difficult but thats not strictly true. There's just more thnking involved than slashing. You have to plan your attacks and take into account the patterns of the enemy and how they are grouped. Just the little things like choosing to use a "thrusting" weapon like a Rapier instead of a "wide arc" one like an axe in enclosed spaces so you don't keep wasting your attacks hitting walls.
The combat is really solid and it's good to have a game where not every foe falls with a couple of slashes. Took on a blue-eyed knight and it was one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had. He fought using cunning and tactics, even backing away to swig a health potion when I'd got him low. Because I was a lighter character I had to use my speed to flank him and stay well out of the way of his attacks as I wouldn't last long against them at all.
I love the fact that you're always on-line and other players appear in ghost form and can leave you messages. Several times I avoided traps thanks to these timely warnings...brilliant traps though they were. Clicking on a bloodstain on the floor allows you to see a ghost replay of a recent players death which you can use to determine the sort of foes you may be encountering ahead.
Oh, and did I mention the fact that it is a stunning looking game? The vistas when you break out of the dungeons are vast and gorgeous. The whole game is veneered in a fantastically epic theme, a mixture of isolation and heroic exploration. Really tense yet never terrifying.
Buy this game, you'll not regret it ... ever.
Stargate Universe (SG-U): Season 1 (5 Discs)
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The previous review raises several valid points. Stargate Universe feels like the production team have watched the new Battlestar Galactica and then proceded to re-shoot it in the Stargate universe.
We have the Doctor character who works for his own ends and tries to subvert everything for his own needs. The young military hotshot with a sensitive side. The "Adama" character is an old school leader of men, under pressure and with a personnel life in crisis. Basically just take the BSG crew and re-name...you won't be far off.
The camera work, direction and interior/art design screams BSG in every frame. Dark, moody interiors. Shakey, fly-on-the-wall camera work. Lots of fast zooming and snap-to shots.
All this would be acceptable if the plots and writing held your attention in classic Stargate style. They don't. In 10 episodes nothing of import happens until the last 3 minutes of the final episode. Seriously ... nothing.
As for that last episode it leaves us with a cliffhanger thats resolution is so transparent as to leave the viewer with no curiousity at all. In fact I really don't care what happens to the characters at all.
All this and only 10 episodes...to be fair I don't think I could've put myself through much more in any case.
In all honesty they ripped off every element of BSG but left the soul behind and done the stargate franchise (of which I am huge fan) no favors at all. Leave this well alone.
Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising
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I'm a little disappointed in several of the reviewers opinions of this game. They appear to have forgotten that this is a SIMULATION, not an arcade game. There's a reason that enemies are difficult to see and that confronting targets requires care and thoughtful planning...it's called realism.
Approach the game with this in mind and it all makes beautiful sense. This is a close to war as I'll ever want to get....it's unforgiving and incredibly tense in places but that just heightens your appreciation of a great game.
The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials
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Definately one of the worst films I have ever seen.
There seemed little continuity and with no scene longer than about 3 minutes the whole film felt rushed. Yes, I know the book is long but it was amnaged with aplomb in the Lord of the Rings films.
The acting was wooden and the lead character throughly un-likeable. The story twisted, mangled and butchered.
But the film does have wonderful art direction, the vistas and look of the film are lovely and true to the books.
I'ts just shame the same respect wasn't shown for the rest of the film.