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The first thing that it is important to note is that I am an MMORPG fan reviewing this product as apose to a Lord of the Rings fan reviewing this product.
The game it's self is set in the world of Tolkien, and while at release featured little of the area's featured in the films, it has since grown to include some of these. It is also important to note that later this year Mirkwood will also be joining Moria, Lone-Lands and the other areas of the game world.
Lord of the rings online (LOTRO) falls into the generic class of fantasy MMO, and while it does have some features that stand it apart from the crowed it is nothing distinctly new. This was a little disapointing for me as the game its self looked brilliant from the box art.
I started playing the game after taking a break from world of warcraft, where the gameplay had for myself began to feel stagant. LOTRO's gameplay does not stand it apart but what does is the quest's. The quest's carry a significant story line to them and attempt to tie in with the books. You also get to meet and assist some characters from the books, which is a brilliant feature.
As another review here on dooyoo mentions all characters do look the same to a certain extent. I tried to see if I could form an argument against this but saddly I couldn't. I can however justify it. The items everyone is wearing is required for the end game content, and this end game content is far superior to that in any MMO I have played.
While endgame raids do feature your generic combination of Boss (difficult) and trash (easy to kill filler type npc) mobs, it is the fact that the raid content continues to be story driven, with scenes that you can stop and watch and dialogue. Addmitadly to get the decent gear you will have to visit these instances several times, you do quickly tire of watching the content.
I have not tried the PvP system so I can not comment on it, I can only say members of my Kinhip (guild) enjoy it.
All in all LOTRO is a generic MMO with a Tolkien skin, if you are already playing an MMO and enjoying it, do not give it up to make the change. If you are looking for a new MMO oor want to give one a shot, LOTRO is a good choice.
The Grand Hotel, right in the center of Hartlepool has recently had alot of money spent refurbishing it, and it certainly does show.
The main reception is a brilliant mix of modern and old and the staff working the desk are pleasent and friendly, a theme that continues into the rest of the hotel.
The rooms are clean and comfortable and come at an affordable price (a tip on this coming later). As far as I am aware all rooms are en-suite with shower/bath toilet and sink. Most come with tea and coffee facilities and a TV also.
The thing that really sets the Grand Hotel apart from every other hotel in hartlepool is however the recently opend resteraunt in the down stairs. The resteraunt is clean and modern and offers some of the best contempary italian cuisine in the town (if not the north east). The resteraunt again is reasonably priced and if dining on a sunday, buying two mains and two starters/deserts of the main menu will get you and a person of your choice a free room upstairs for the same evening. The quality of the food is excellent and portion size is reasonable to large.
With the hotel being situated right in the town center it would be the perfect venue for those attending the tall ships race next year. It is seconds from the shopping centre and only minutes from the marina. It is however this central location that has lead to the hotel having a very small carpark. I would however assume it is safe as it backs on to the police station.
I would advise anyone visiting hartlepool to definatly stay here as they wont regret the choice.
As nearly every reviewer on this site will tell you, when it comes to football video gaming experiences you are either a fifa fan or a PES fan. I fall into the first catogery.
I grew up playing Fifa on the megadrive back before it had full licences and player names where meer jokes of what peoples names where, so every year on the day fifa comes out I buy it, and pray that I can defend it in front of my PES worshipping mates.
This year's installment (Fifa 09 not 10 which is technically this years installment) made my task very simple indeed. The first thing you notice about Fifa is that it is visually very well done, you can tell who players are by looking at them and Wayne Rooney looks sufficiently enough like shrek for you to know its the real deal.
But we all know looks dont make a game, so what about gameplay? The gameplay is more fast paced than a real football match but this is probably to compensate for the fact you only really ever play 5 minute halfs, although the option is there to play 45min halfs if you want.
The control system is fantastic, with both the ability to bring the ball in close and control it with a little skill and precision or sprinting. Both situation are an accurate recreation, with sprinting making it more difficult to control the ball and obviously the close control allowing more control. The only downside is you can still only move in set directions so timing that brilliant break down the middle is akward and requires a little look.
Unfortunatly what hold the game back is the AI, the goal keepers are very static and stiffly animated, they also make some rediculouse choices and let in some rather stupid goals. The off ball AI is not much better, if you call for a one two your team-mate will pick the stupides route he can find, if there is not a sufficiently stupid enough route too run he will just not bother, how nice of him.
The game really shines when playing against your friend over xbox live, and is probably the main reason I still fifa when I get the chance, but along with online modes the game offers a 15 season manager mode, be-a-pro (control one player for one team) and a few other features I must be honest, I didn't use.
It is the best installment of Fifa so far and better than it's PES counterpart, however it could still be better.
Alton Towers is undoubtedly the most fun one can have while having their eyes robbed out. The fact that the theme park is so ridiculously over priced should not deter anyone for the most fun you can have in britain. While the ticket prices to get into the theme park are similar to the rest of britains top attractions its the prices of products when your in their that is disgusting. A meal from Burger King will cost in the region of £8 when you could get the same at your local for half the price.
So my pet peeve about them robbing me every time I go , which is several times a year, put aside. Lets get down to the nitty gritty of it. Why is Alton Towers so much fun?
The answer is simple Alton Towers blends the picturesque grounds of the old houses grounds in which the park is situated, and the brilliant and great fun of some of the UK's top adrenaline fueled attractions. I will not go into detail listing what each ride is as information as to that is available on their website.
I would like to forewarn people that visiting in school holidays can be a nightmare as the queue times can become excessivly long and some rides will not open in the rain. I advise you to check in advance. There is facilities to eat a picnic if you are so inclined as to not surrender your money for over priced goods. Remember to take cash as a lot of places do not accept card and the cash machines in the park will charge you £1.85.
All in all Alton Towers is a fun day out for all the family, and has something for everyone to do, even if it is a little expensive, the smiley smiley faces coming home will be well worth it (and the blisters).
When I moved in with my Girlfriend she came with a small and furry friend, a toy Yorkshire terrier named 'boo' so with out much further ado I shall review him:-
The Yorkshire terrier first and foremost is an ideal companion for those people who are allergic to dog hair. The Yorkshire terriers fur is closer to human hair and less likely to cause irritation to the skin, throat and chest. This also means they molt (sp?) less which is always a benefit if you have any carpeted areas of the home, as they will require regular but not constant hovering.
Yorkshire terriers are a small breed of dog which also makes them ideal for people living in small houses such as bungalows or flats as they don't take up much space. They do however run around a lot, jump on the furniture and bark at everyone who walks past, this however could once again be my luck and is probably just my dog.
They are a loyal breed, something that he never fails to illustrate on walks attempting to savage anyone who has the audacity to come near you or look at you. For that matter actually just anyone who has the audacity to inhale the same air as him is fair game for a little chase in his mind, and rightly so too, because he is after all spoilt rotten.
So if you like me want to be embarrassed in your local park, irritated by constant barking and woken up every morning by a soggy dog smelling tongue to the fact, get yourself a Yorkshire terrier, you wont regret it.
But in all seriousness, they are a lovely breed of dog and make excellent companions, and despite his minor flaws we still love him very much. Please note this review is only my experience and you should always think long and hard before purchasing a pet as they can live for many years and need a lot of care.
I decided two or three months back that my vision was not excatly spot on and began that ever difficult decision of which optician should I go and see. I noticed when I was in my local tesco store that they had apointments available for the same day, and not only that it was free, how can you fall off with such an offer.
I actualy ended up making an apointment for about a week later as there was no apointments at a convinient time, I would advise ringing in advance as they seem to get busy.
When I returned for my eye examination I was first seen by a woman who did a pre-screening procedure which involved using something out of star trek to take pictures of my eyes (it comes with a nice hotair balloon for you to look at while they do it mind you).
This procedure took about five minutes and I returned to the comfortable waiting area to wait to see the optometerist, another five minutes later I was in the consulting room with the earlier mentioned optometerist.
The gentleman himself was friendly and chatty and seemed to know what he was doing (I now have my contact lenses and can see with them in, this leading me to belive he knew what he was doing, he may however of just got lucky, we will never know)
The lenses I recived where reasonably priced and are comfortable, your aftercare is included and they keep in contact to make sure you are not having any problems. Its a nice gesture but I think if I had a sudden onset of blindness they would of known about it long before they had chance to ring me.
All in all its fair to say Tesco opticians provide an excellent and well priced service, which is relaxed, friendly and more importantly accurate. I would advise you all give them consideration before your next trip to your regular optician.
Boss in Motion for me is one of the most unique smelling scents available in stores today. This scent if in my opinion unique for two reasons, the first reason being the shape and stule of the bottle. The bottle is metalic and spherical with a flat glass bottom, this letting you see in a side is a nice little touch in my opinion. It is this bottle that first drew my attention to the fragrance, its eye catching modern and stylish, something im sure all us gents like to relate to.
The second reason this fragrance is unique is its scent, and while a description is never going to beat smelling a fragrance I will try my best to describe it. The scent is a fresh, slightly sweet woodsyish (if thats a word) smelling armoa, it has scents of musk and something that smells a little but not entierly like basil and sweet peppers. While I understand this description may sound a little frightening it really is a beautiful scent.
The fragrance is a subtle fragrance and is fantastic for day to day use. I have found you can still smell the armoa after about 6 hours, of casual during the day wear. I have never tested this fragrance on a night out so have no idea how it would last in a mangle of people.
I've been a big fan of Burberry touch for quite a few years now. I recived it as a gift in amongst some other 5ml testers one christmas. It was this bottle that instantly stood out from the rest of the crowd.
I can't quite remmber the scent of most of the perfumes within the collection but I think its a fair assumption to make that they were either non descript or stero-typical christmas man smelling fragrances, and how we do despise souch things.
Touch for men has a definate flowery smell, and a scent that is often described as 'floral with hints of citrus leaves, musk, ceader and spice' and I belive this would be quite an apt description.
I would describe the scent strenth as being moderate (although some may find it intense at first) with about a six to ten hour life span. It is more of a daytime fragrance than a going out fragrance and is, in my opinion a mature scent.
I bought this bag as a gift for my girlfriend off the John Lewis website, she likes simple designs and dogs, so this bag seemed like it was going to go down an instant success in our household, how wrong I was.
When the bag arrived, the postman sufficiently scared by our dog we opend it. My girlfriend was quickly pleased with the design, commenting on how the colour was a nice deep shade of blue and that the leather felt solid and well build in her hands.
In the next half hour followed the transfering of everything from her current bag into this one, she was please to find the bag even had a pocket inside for her phone (not that she answers when you ring her) and her diary.
She was very pleased with the bag untill after about two weeks the zip broke, and she takes good care of her things so it was not over yanking or anything of the sort. It was only a minor fault as the zip stiching had gome away about 3inchs from the left hand side. We took the bag to local cobbler who restitched the zip in. The bag once again returned to its happy life of looking good, being taken more places than me and probably having more attention spent on it.
After 4 months the bag still looked as good as new but was saddly replaced by some dior monstrosity my girlfriend choose, just goes to show what I know.
I returned to vodafone about a year ago after I had alot of trouble with the orange network. I was swayed to the network by the exclusive blackberry storm although I am now using the htc magic.
After my second faulty storm I rang customer services feeling irrate, I was quickly calmed down by the lady on the other end of the telephones helpfulness. Vodafone where quick to rectify the problem and offered to send me the htc magic instead as they could 'see I was having problems with the storm' while I belive the tecnical term was 'The Storm was nackered' I was happy to accept the magic.
Aside from the brilliant customer support I am yet to have any real problems with the network coverage. I sometimes even get coverage in rail tunnels and a constant 3g connection in my town, something vodafone seem to be the only network to provide.
If you want good customer support and decent relliable network coverage then vodafone are the company for you.
I recived this phone as a replacment for my second Blackberry that broke, I was sceptical at first as email on the move is essential to myself and was not sure if the device would perform aswell as my previous one. Boy was I shocked when I recived it, I decided I would migrate too a googlemail acount to get the most out of the device, features such as the syncronised calanders. I think it is the best move I have made, the emails arrive on the device as quickly as they do on the PC which is fantastic, and I can easily view all my apointments on the handset which Is absaloutley brilliant.
So beside the syncronised email and calander what else does this device do, well alot. It comes with the google branding so you would expect it's web browsing capabilities to be excellent and they are, the browser is fast and stabble, easy to use and reliable.
Multimedia play back is handled well by the device but the lack of a standard issue headphone jack is annoying, the device comes with some htc ones which are acceptable but not brilliant.
What else can the device do? Well the android OS is open source which means alot of the applications out there are free, and this is a beautiful thing, so far I have found if I think of an application I want it exists, to name a few I have the latest news feeds, access to twitter and facebook, access to my wordpress blog and the weather to name a few.
It also comes with standard range of google things such as maps, google talk etc. Google maps is very handy as it can provide walking (or driving and with the latest update transport in some areas) directions, very usefull in a strange city or just in general.
The battery life has been steadily improving and I now get about 3 days out of the device with realtivly heavy usage, and all the features on, afterall you get a phone for the features it has why should you have to turn them off.
This is the best device I have used, period, and I am definatly an 'android' convert. Do not get me wrong it has some flaws but many many more pro's.