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Venom Xbox 360 VX COMM's Gaming Headset
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I have used this a bit and it's not been so terrible in my experience as other interviews have suggested.
The materials, size and feel of the product feels well beyond the low price.
The audio quality is also pretty decent and people on the other side couldn't tell the difference in voice quality between this and my other headset (the excellent Halo 2 official Headset from the original Xbox that also works on 360) so the mic is also up to scratch.
I had one main bugbear with it though. The fit was very tight and there was no way to stop it from pressing against my ear and despite the decent padding, became uncomfortable after a while. A real pity, because it felt pretty nice otherwise.
Can't say much about durability as I haven't used it long enough.
One for the smaller heads!
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow Of Chernobyl
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I am very much into my games of every type (except sport sim perhaps) and STALKER is utterly superb!
First thing I will say is that it 'feels' a little rough around the edges, but you will realise that it's actually beautifully balanced. Some of the weapon models look a little funny. There is no satisfying squelchy sound when you make a knife kill... a few tiny things like that are present.
But around this, you have a massive, excellent game. Time passes realistically. The game is very open-ended, you're very free to roam. Graphics are decent. The way the environments' have been modelled is very believable in look and in scale. You are restricted from certain areas by either fences or impenetrable radiation presence. (keep walking along and you'll soon die of radiation exposure) No invisible walls here!
'Anomolies' exist which are mostly nuclear-related, gravity-based 'traps' to steer clear of.
This game is dripping with atmosphere and the combat is brilliant. Guns are not accurate like they are in almost every other game I've played and they fire very realistically. Firearm combat can be tough, especially against multiple opponents, but if you like your combat 'real feel and convincing, it's brilliant. It's not a case of line your crosshairs over someone's head, pull the trigger and watch them flop; over range, the chances of your bullets going where your crosshairs are, slim; you'll be going for middle of the body a lot and may get headshots by accident because that's just how the accuracy is...
You will have to eat at certain times of the day.
When you get shot, you will have a colour coded 'bleeding' icon appear. What happens if you lose blood (and health) based on the severity of your wound (red icon = heavy, fast loss, green = low loss, yellow/amber = moderate loss). You will continue to lose health until you use bandages or medkit etc.
Everything has a weight. From an individual bullet to grenades, medkits and food. You can carry up to 60Kg (after that you can't move or jump.)
You have a meter for fatigue, which depletes slowly, but if you carry 50-60Kg it will deplete very quickly and jumping takes a big chunk. The stamina meter replenishes when standing still.
You also have a 'noise' meter, splinter cell style, helping you to be stealthy and quiet when you need to and there's a third party 'awareness' meter so f you've been spotted, you'll know about it. You can use these to great advantage in close combat situations.
Weapons are wide ranging and very authentic with many different bullet/round options for the same gun. Sometimes you will need the armour piercing rounds and sometimes the high damage ones. Sometimes the shotgun shells that have extra range or the powerful spread type etc. etc. All in all, the way weapons are dealt with in this game is superb.
AI is excellent and enemies can be very sly. They don't rush in and mostly work well in teams. You'll have your work cut out. Stalker often feels hard... but never unfairly so. You never feel like the computer's cheating, or making it unfair through health handicaps. You know you just made a bad call or got outnumbered or jumped when you didn't expect it.
Missions are fairly varied and the gameworld is large with various factions who have different ideals, agendas and inter-faction relationships.
There's SO much to this game, so many brilliant details and so much thought as gone into it. I am really so impressed and very embarrassed that I left it sitting on my shelf for months before I decided to install and play!
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This is one of those games. Where you play the demo and it's very promising, then go and buy the game and might be a little disappointed. I can understand that. I am one of those people. But I think it's because you expect a lot more.
The game isn't perfect. It has flaws, graphically, it's a little... sterile. A bit like Portal's look. But still looks solid and plays very well. It can be a bit finicky in places. And as you may have heard it is short...
Why is good then? Because it's so different, you won't find a 1st person perspective game quite like this. It's basically a 1st person PLATFORMER with melee combat in there too. Not much shooty shooty for you dear friends. No other game is so convincing in making a player feel they're in control of a body rather than a head with some floating arms. It's a very satisfying game to play when you string together great moves on the fly and has good replayability value in that there's many different routes you can take when free running.
Very good. I'd give it 4 and a half.
The Fray - CD
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This is a strong album, but in all honesty, doesn't have as much immediacy as 'How to Save a Life'.
For me, "Say When" is a standout track. The Fray have a really great sound, a good 'feel' and reasonably unique sense of melody. Vocals are warm and intimate. Their sound is unchanged from their previous album which I like! This is a great album, but I take off a star as I still believe their previous album is even better with more strong tracks.
(you know what I mean, the test is, when you're driving, you'll be skipping tracks more than you did on the old album!) - at least that's how I found it)
Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3850 / 512MB DDR3 / AGP 8X / Graphics Card
Paddyv - i had a look at your pc. I believe that your motherboard supports a pci-e (pci express) video card and not agp (accelerated graphics port)
Agp is the older type of interface and pci is basically the later one, so this is a good thing! You have a much wider range of cards to choose from because of this and they'll be priced more competitively. Good luck.
I think £100 is a lot even for an agp card even one as good as this, having said that, if it will keep you gaming and delay a new pc for a year, it could be worthwhile.
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This film is one of my favourite ever. I could not have imagined anyone more perfect for the role than Christian Bale.
For a film of it's type has been made on a very low budget, but they disguise this extremely well with some great concepts and lighting on the sets. Acting is quite simply top notch. I would love to see Sean Bean and Bale in another film too. Characters are strong, but clearly flawed which helps them carry the film, yet remain believable. Many standout scenes, rock solid acting, awesome choreography plus an emotive and rousing score make up for any shortfall in special FX and the like.
A collection of commentaries on society, with a very, very human element. At it's core - a lesson in what happens when you can't control your emotions. Chaos.
One of those films I reccomend to people, who will borrow it because I a) never shut up about it or Bale in it and B) repeatedly thrust it at them. Once they watch it they have all said "Actually, it was really good!" Damn straight it was, idiot!
Take a risk, you won't be disappointed.
Smallville: Season 7 (6 Discs)
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I don't know how they're keeping the season's going as strong as they are, but the one way writers are doing a good job is in pulling in all sorts of characters from DC in their 'origins', being able to explore them through Smallville.
Seasons 3 and 6 are the best I think. And now Season 7 can easliy be up there too. Season 4 had some brilliant episodes, but some really bad concepts for others as well... a mish mash of brilliant and weak episodes where the strong ones (The Flash) made the bad ones seem even worse (and let's forget about Santa in Lexmas in Season 5!)
(Spoiler coming up, don't read on if you're a season or so behind 7!)
Season 7 explores and expands Lex's dark side even more and Lionel's true intentions with his knowledge of Clark is also explored. Clark's relationships are tested, with Lana, with Jor-El, with Lionel and with Kara (usual Smallville stuff then) Oliver Green is about again which is nice - he's a great character who is always hassling Clark to do more good with his amazing abilities...
All in all, plenty of drama and the twists that you will have come to expect from Smallville.
For anyone who has seen Smallville in the early days and wasn't impressed, be assured; it moved away from the episodic nature of Season 1... during Season 2, various sub-threads of stories are played out masterfully and everything connects very well when you watch these fully and in sequence.
Michael Rosenbaum plays an excellent Lex Luthor, not bungling and silly, but truly dangerous, ruthless and deadly... the relationship and differences between them had always been my favourite part of Smallville
Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller For Windows (PC / Xbox 360)
Ok, for anyone who doesn't know, this is actully a wired 360 controller - it connects to 360 via USB and it's compatible with windows and actually, very, very good for using with the PC. Microsoft knew this when they made it, that's why they made it connect via standard USB rather than it's own controller connection. Nice!
All those games for your PC like GTA IV or driving games and the like, where you think you would have preferred a console controller... this is it.
If, for some reason your windows doesn't recognise it properly, you can download a specific driver from Microsoft's website. Only compatible with Vista and XP (not 2000 as I once found)
Remember, it's a 360 controller... will work with PC and 360. If you have a 360 already, you can use the wired controller with the PC. If you need another controller for your 360, again, you can use this :)
Batman Begins (1 Disc Edition)
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Other reviews have said most to be honest, the cast on this really is strong. The visual quality is consistent and the pacing of the film is spot on - this is much more than a return to form for Batman - it's a lesson in film-making! The score itself is brilliant as well, leaving behind the old Batman theme, Hans Zimmer and James Newton-Howard have crafted an incredibly effective and rousing score which fits the image PERFECTLY (Zimmer is responsible for simply the most high profile and mostly best Hollywood scores like Last Samurai, Kingdom of Heaven, MI:2 and Gladiator... whereas James Newton-Howard is responsible for the haunting scores of the M. Night Shyamalan films...
Bale is excellent as Batman and Caine brings a great new quality to Alfred who is much more of an important character (he seemed kinda pointless in previous films!)
Actually Caine is PERFECT in this film. Liam Neeson is consistent as ever and Oldman was also a very strong choice. Katie Holmes almost holds her own in this film - don't believe the harsh criticism till you see it.
The way Nolan is able to craft this film so well is astonishing to me. Batman Begins is so good that I don't know if The Dark Knight will stand up to it - I'm sure it will be excellent anyway... but not quite as good as this. Buy it. At £5 you seriously should not pass this up!
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Ok, firstly - there are a lot of people who dislike Bay's approach to films. Critical of his bad balance of themes and narrative material and horrendous product placement. Product placement is a minor distraction and a not exactly tastefully done with Bay BUT IT'S NO ENOUGH TO TAKE DOWN A FILM! I'm tired of people leveling that as a 'film ruiner' it's just not true and these guys need to let the moment pass or they're just ruining the rest of the film for themselves. Transformers is, in this respect, no worse than iRobot!
Action scenes are very well done, although one other reviewer mentioned about zooming out a bit more in places, I agree, that would have improved it... but they carry through fine.
Fans of original Transformers (even worse if they are also Bay haters) will take this down due to the lack of focus on the Transformers themselves and having the human characters as the focus... It's fair point actually. The film is not authentic in that sense, but like Constantine, the film works fine for it.
There's a lot more humour in this film than I expected as well... Too much in places. The 'house searching' scene was really dragged out and mostly, trying to make the Transformers humourous themselves was a bad idea, thank god he didn't do it too often...
I don't remember much about the original cartoons so if you have a strong idea of what to expect based on that, you might be sorely disappointed. On the other hand, if you don't know much about Transformers, this is a solid, action movie with the kind of action scenes that you will wish you had seen on the big screen, like Superman Returns, it benefits a lot from scale :)