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Angry Birds has taken the world by storm and the game itself has recently found a small place in the archives of gaming history thanks to it's predecessors. With merchandise aplenty thanks to these colourful creatures, we now have the Angry Bird iPod Speaker, brought to us by Gear4, to keep us company in our homes.
I received this speaker as a Christmas present back in 2011 and was totally surprised by the amazing sound quality that it has to offer. Most docking speakers are pretty standard, but this little bird is a powerful piece of technology!
= Design & Durability =
The speaker is made from a hard plastic that no doubt protects everything going on on the inside; I haven't dropped it myself so I couldn't tell you how easily these things break, but according to some other reliable sources the speaker has survived through several falls and still works in perfect condition. The bird has a 3D face, making the look unique and quirky, and it has a flat bottom so that it remains sturdy on flat surfaces. Sound is released from the sides and the bottom of the speaker, emitting a clear, loud sound with an incredible bass feature. Although the speaker itself might feel a little heavy, it's easy to move around, but not necessarily travel-friendly. The packaging of the speaker is fun and stays in theme with the game - the box appears to be a crate that holds the (slightly smaller than a football) bird inside, with warnings written all over the box.
= Features =
The rear of the speaker includes bass and volume control, an AUX-in port, and the power button - simply plug it in and you're ready to go! It's compatible with all smart phones, MP3 players, tablets and devices that have a 3.5mm audio-out jack (the jack lead is included). The speaker comes with a docking stand that's compatible with all generations of Apple iPods, iPhones and iPads. This Angry Bird has 30W of powerful sound in a 2.1 system with an integrated subwoofer, giving you a clear, quality sound and a reveberating deep bass that never becomes distorted. However, this particular model does not come with a remote control like some sellers would have you believe, and it doesn't recharge your iPod/iPhone during use.
= Box Contents =
Stand (for device)
Power adaptor for EU, US, and UK plug head
= Specs =
Type - Desktop
Speakers - 1
Subwoofer - Yes
Power - 30W
Radio - No
Bluetooth - No
Remote - No
Dimensions: 17.8 x 17.8 x 17.8 cm
Weight - 1.2 Kg
Boxed-product Weight: 2.7 Kg
This speaker is completely hands-free so that you can simply plug in your device and go on to do other things while listening to your favourite music. The volume and bass is perfect for parties so you don't need to rely on quiet laptop/PC speakers or that CD player that you hate to lug around the house - no more constant CD changing with this Angry Bird!
As with most technology, I, personally, would always prefer and advise a brand new product. Second hand purchases can be faulty and some sellers have a habit of lying about just how bad those faults really are. At the time of purchasing this product it was retailed at £50 from HMV, but it is now available for up to £34.99 - or much less - from places such as Curry's, Amazon, and supermarkets like Asda. Some brand new Angry Bird speakers are still available all over ebay, too, and you can choose from 3 different designs: Angry Birds Red Bird, Angry Birds Black Bird, or the villainous Angry Birds Helmet Pig - all characters as seen on the popular game app!
Long time fans of the record-breaking heroine waited in high anticipation for the release of the Tomb Raider reboot that would define our leading lady in a way that we've never seen before, and on March 5th of 2013 she finally returned to our screens and into our hearts.
The franchise previously saw Lara Croft as an adept, unnaturally gymnastic gun-wielder climbing her way through long-forgotten tombs and cities of mere legend to uncover the truth behind myths and ancient relics lost in time. With levels upon levels of puzzle-solving antics, and equipped with her infamous dual pistols, Lara became the highest grossing female in the video game industry. However, all of that was about to change.
In the brand new reboot of the series, simply titled Tomb Raider, development team Crystal Dynamics (teamed with Square Enix for the project) strip back everything we once knew about our female protagonist and give her the origin story that she so desperately deserved. Storytelling in video games is becoming increasingly popular, and almost integral, with each new release, and Tomb Raider is now no longer an exception as we begin a whole new journey into next generation.
The game takes place on the paranormal island of Yamatai, a lost kingdom that archaeology graduate, Lara Croft, believes to exist outside of mere stories, and convinces a family who are descendants of the people of Yamatai themselves to fund an expedition to the island. You are accompanied by a brand new cast of characters, never seen before in previous games, who become stranded on the island with you after the ship is struck by a storm. However, the island is inhabited by savages and mercenaries who will stop at nothing to find and kill you. The details of the story itself are spread between cutscenes and collectible notebooks that are scattered all over the island, leaving the plot stretched out until the very last section of the game. Although the story may not lead up to the incredible impact you might expect from an origin tale, you can still walk away from this experience feeling satisfied with the direction this reboot will eventually take you.
Gameplay: My relief at the ease of movement and access to weapons was immeasurable once I had played for an hour or two, because only briefly watching the game mechanics online left the prospect of navigating through the game quite daunting. However, that was definitely not the case. Despite the inevitable glitch here and there (nothing that interrupts the experience), movements such as running and jumping may feel quite stiff at first, but after some time you won't even notice it and eventually it feels alot smoother to control.
Weapons come in a variety of long guns, a pistol, ranged weapons such as a bow, and an axe that takes place as your only melee weapon. Don't be put off by the small selection of artillery, though, because everything is fully upgradable and can be customised at the campsites placed throughout every location. The campsites offer the opportunity to access your weapons and skill sets where you can use salvage and skill points collected throughout the game to spend on various aspects of your gear. The upgrade system may appear complicated, but it is incredibly straightforward and easy to navigate. In addition to salvaging, you can also find parts that are specifically designed to upgrade a particular weapon - the axe, however, is an exception to this system due to the fact that it can only be upgraded through story progression.
You may find that the bow is the most useful weapon to you in all circumstances, but that isn't to say that you should use it at all times. Each weapon becomes stronger and more versatile the more it is upgraded; the bow, however, is accompanied by rope arrows (which adds a rope as an alternative firing and travelling method), fire arrows, explosive arrows, napalm arrows, and penetrating arrows that can pierce armour or pass through multiple enemies.
There are alot of varied travelling and fighting methods throughout the course of the game, which makes for an interesting battle system and leaves some room for personal adjustments to the player's ability and personal strategies. There are certain sections of the game that can become quite intense and overwhelming with an onslaught of enemies, which, if you've experienced Uncharted, you'll understand what this means. However, once you've had some time to dabble with the gameplay mechanics, everything can be easily controlled and increasingly good fun to play.
Characters: Character interaction is sparse throughout the story because there are only a few integral cutscenes that define Lara's relationship with each crewmember. The most notable relationship is that of her and Roth, who is a personal mentor and close family friend. The other is Sam's, Lara's best friend and colleague, who is in fact central to the storyline. However, each character is designed with their very own unique personalities, only opening up the opportunity to explore them further in later instalments of the franchise. The voice acting can be a little hard to chew at times; there are brief moments when Lara's tone feels very out of sync with her character and can come off as unrealistic, but, along with the rest of the cast, the majority of the game is made up of fairly believable acting. I don't feel that this takes away from our heroine, but there are some mixed reviews on character and story development.
Graphics: The real-time and in-game cutscene graphics are rather standard by today's generation and possibly don't quite match up to that of Naughty Dog's 'The Last of Us'. Even so, movement and flow feels easy and concise to watch on-screen. Disappointingly, there is only one CGI sequence throughout the entire game, most of which we had already experienced from the trailers, which occurs right at the start. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that the CGI is in fact beautiful. There is plenty of notable detail, making the environments that cover the island's terrain a pure vision to explore, with earth tones and remarkable Japanese landscapes that will leave an impression.
Soundtrack: Scored by Jason Graves, composer of other games such as F.E.A.R. and Dead Space, the once memorable theme of Lara Croft is gone. The soundtrack is fuelled by intense drumbeats and pacing, matching some of the survival action sequences of the story to really give the player a feeling of desperation. After all, the newly rebooted Tomb Raider focuses on the survival instincts that awaken the explorer in Lara's heart. Although the soundtrack is not wholly memorable apart from the main theme, it cannot be denied that it truly adds to the game's experience.
As said before, this is undeniably the reboot that our beloved Lara has long deserved. This Tomb Raider instalment is more brutal and in-depth like we have never seen before, and it makes for a truly dynamic perspective on a character that has held an iconic place in gaming history. The trials and tribulations that Lara has to suffer to become the survivor that she needs to be is truly a magnificent and engrossing theme in her new origin story, and with the sequel already in development, I can't wait to see where they take her next. There are no words to describe just how gritty this reboot is!
From the critically acclaimed game developers of the worldwide popular 'Uncharted' series, Naughty Dog once again hit it right out of the ballpark with the most highly anticipated game of 2013. The Last of Us is an action-adventure, survival horror like we have never seen before, defining the genre with a blend of both elements whilst telling an intense, character-driven story that will leave you breathless at every turn.
The Last of Us is set in a post-apocalyptic America where civilisation has been wiped out by a modern plague known as the Cordyceps virus - a spore-based infection rapidly spreading all over the globe. In an almost zombie-like fashion, it takes control of the brain, turning humans into deadly predators that can kill with a single bite. The survivors and the infected divide whatever is left of humankind.
The story itself takes place over the span of a year, taking us through the annual seasons - Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring - as we delve into a world so dangerous and unpredictable that we never see what's coming next. Naughty Dog successfully executes this theme in exactly that way.
You are Joel, a man whose introduction in-game will leave you shocked even if you predicted what happens before the opening credits. Skip ahead 20 years when nature and mutants known as 'Clickers' have reclaimed the earth, and you are thrown into a civilisation that is both controlled and completely unstable all at once. You are teamed with a variety of characters throughout the story, all controlled by AI, but, as you may have guessed from the cover and the trailers, you are always accompanied by head-strong, 14 year old, Ellie. While she is controlled by the AI for the majority of the game, there is an integral section where you, as the player, can take control of the character, too.
Due to the genre and the themes within The Last of Us, the game mechanics and battle system all inherit these traits for a much more realistic feeling of survival. Fighting off the infected, and even other human survivors, can become increasingly intense during certain sections of the game, and it really does give your emotions a run for their money. During my playthrough, I, myself, went through an array of frustration and calm, heartbreak and clarity - it truly is an emotionally-invoking story that I have never experienced before.
Characters: Every character has been perfectly crafted by the developers; they all have strengths and weaknesses, and although some of them have an unclear back-story, they still feel incredibly real. The voice acting is some of the best I have ever encountered, and the motion-capture brings them to life and completely adds to the realism. One of the most impressive details, graphically, is the textures of the hair, skin, and clothing, as well as the astounding facial expressions, which completely fleshed out the characters to an extent where I was seeing the tiniest details that I had never seen before in any other game. Two outstanding actors, Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, ultimately portrayed Joel and Ellie, and considering this is Ashley Johnson's (who you may recognise from the small part she played as the waitress in 2012's The Avengers) first ever video game, I think it's safe to say that she was perfect for the role. The chemistry between all of the actors is unbelievable and it really paid tribute to the story that Naughty Dog wanted to tell.
Gameplay: Fighting your way through the game comes in three options - melee, weapons, or running away (the latter being extremely useful when you start running out of ammo, which happens often if you're not paying attention). One of the most useful and integral tips that I can give you is that, when given every opportunity to do so, you should thoroughly search every area for items and ammunition. Each component given to you is extremely useful and key to survival. The weapons that you can equip along the way are a variety of long guns, pistols, ranged weapons such as a bow, explosives, throwable objects such as bricks and bottles, and melee weapons that come in an assortment of knives and pipes.
The game offers a crafting system in which you can use recipes to forge health kits, shivs, and explosive devices, which forces you to make tough decisions during every new situation and encounter against enemies. However, you have to time your crafting abilities accordingly because the game does not pause - an aspect that makes crafting occur in real-time. You are also able to upgrade your weapons by collecting spare parts and toolboxes - there are very few workbenches throughout the game in which you can do this. You can also upgrade physical abilities such as health and crafting speed. The main thing that I liked about all of this was that, despite how intense each situation could potentially become, it still gave you plenty of room to work out your own strategy and fine-tune it to your playing ability. All of the options are there, you just have to choose wisely. Another neat trick during combat is the stealth ability - whilst in hiding you can control Joel's hearing distance by tapping the accommodated button so that you can decide how and where to navigate around hostile survivors and the infected. There are plenty of other physical tactics such as brawling and sneaking up behind enemies to choke them, rather than fighting them head-on (this does not work for Clickers).
The controls are very smooth and easy to remember and follow, which put me at ease during my playthrough. There is always that fleeting moment of hesitation at the start of a game where you wonder how difficult it's going to be to control the characters during enemy encounters and switching between weapons. However, I found that The Last of Us created a system that enabled me to get comfortable with every interaction and circumstance very quickly and easily. Each tutorial that you are shown throughout the game remains with you from start to finish, too, so you always have the option to re-read anything that you are unsure of.
Graphics: I fell in love with the graphics in The Last of Us, simply because of the attention to detail. One of the things that I think Naughty Dog paid high attention to was the rendering of each cutscene and the portrayal of every environment. There are some moments, in particular, where you can compare the cutscenes to that of Uncharted (especially the third instalment) and know that you are playing a Naughty Dog game, but at the same time, you can see that the graphics have evolved since then. The environments are beautiful, and the detail in each of them is flawless, and it all comes down to the simple things, such as graffiti on the walls, and the way that the buildings have caved in from the fact that nature has reclaimed the earth. The developers really took the time to research what would happen to a post-apocalyptic world where humans no longer existed, and how plants and trees would destroy the foundations of a building by simply continuing to grow. You get to experience large cities and mountain ranges during all the seasons of the year, and how living in a world like this takes its toll on civilisation. The colours throughout the game remain neutral with alot of earth tones, but the vibrancy and the attention to detail make every section of the game realistic.
Soundtrack: There are very few games that have a soundtrack on par with that of a blockbuster movie, and what I love about this soundtrack is that it sounds professional and epic, and it stays with you long after the credits have rolled. Every track is a variation of the one before and the one after, creating a conglomeration of music suited to every section and every location within the game. Every emotion that the story portrays and makes you feel is also burned into the music, creating an impact on the story and the characters, and ultimately on the player. Every note, every rise and fall in volume, packs a punch that engrosses you in the game. You feel what the characters feel, you feel the hard-hitting reality of survival, sadness, and desperation, and even hope, in a way that makes everything about this soundtrack hauntingly beautiful.
Overall, The Last of Us is one of the best games out there today, and certainly one that you should not miss. It has high ratings all over the board and serves to be an experience like no other. I haven't played any other game like this, no matter how many similarities some fans could point out between this and previous survival horror games, I guarantee you have not played a survival horror like this. The Last of Us, although set in a post-apocalyptic world of survivors versus a pandemic disease, does not focus on that alone. The story is structured around two unlikely partners, Joel and Ellie, who must learn to overcome their past and accept who they are now. Ultimately, the story is pivoted on the survival of one man's humanity rather than his life.
Everything about this story is intense, unpredictable, and utterly heartbreaking - if you know nothing about this game, don't pretend that you have it all figured out. At every turn, you'll never see it coming. I would recommend this game to anyone.
I had never heard of Jojo Moyes, or this book inparticular, before at all until a few weeks ago. I was in Tesco looking at the selection of newly released books and randomly picked a few to buy - without realising what I was about to become mercilessly pulled into. I read this book from cover to cover in one sitting, I could not take my eyes off the pages and really didn't want to, either.
The story tells of a young man, Will Traynor, who is involved in an accident in 2007 right at the start during the prologue. We are introduced not only to him and his very normal life, but also a hint of his current relationship with a woman he is clearly besotted with. We are told of his exciting adventures sky-diving, rock climbing, and travelling to large cities all around the world. But his life has been changed forever.
Jump forward to 2009 and we meet Louisa Clark - a 26 year old woman who has always been very content on living a quiet life, working at a snug cafe called The Buttered Bun and listening to people's stories everyday. We can immediately tell the difference between her's and Will's way of living. But, when the owner of the cafe closes his business and leaves Louisa out of a job, she struggles to find her way into a new job role that fits her as well as the cafe did. She is forced to enrol at the Job Centre, still lives with her parents and her sister (who seems to be the favourite child), and is extremely set in her ways of wearing bright, unusual clothes. However, she is in a long-term relationship with a man, Patrick, who clearly cares more about winning marathons than he does her.
Louisa is a character that instantly draws you in. She is colourful, open-minded, polite, and very real with some laugh-out-loud one-liners to keep you going. The fact that we can follow her journey through the book in such a rollercoaster ride of thought-invoking emotion, and the subtle hints of a haunting memory, especially helped me to believe in her character. I also love that, as a reader, I knew that her boyfriend was wrong for her on so many levels, even if she wouldn't admit it. The little things like that make me appreciate a good book when I find it.
Louisa is given a six month contract to care for Will Traynor in his wealthy parents' household, not really able to turn down the job or the wage for her family's sake. Although Will doesn't seem at all willing to give her a chance, and she does the best that she can to keep her mouth shut and get on with her job, we get to witness Will's life as a paraplegic, forever stuck in the confines of a wheelchair and paralyzed from the chest down. I loved reading about these two characters coming together step by step until they found a mutual ground, because they are so different, but both willing to change each other's lives. There are so many things that they have to say to each other that it even made me think about alot of different things - another reason to love this book; the thought-invoking detail is astounding.
I just want to add that the book really sets off an amazingly emotional tone. We journey through this story learning about Will losing his will to live, and Louisa's desperation to keep him alive as she falls in love with him, witnessing the hard truths and the tender moments as he asks her, "Tell me something good." throughout all his pain. Although the inevitable ending will leave us somewhat saddened, to have it any other way would have taken the story away from it's ultimate realism.
But, as Will keeps telling her, and as the one line that will most likely stay with you long afterwards, this book is bound to leave you satisfied of being told something good.
I have this iPod in blue, and I've had it for two years now, and I haven't come across one fault in this little piece of technology yet. It hasn't failed me, or broken, or messed up my iTunes, and it can hold up to 500 songs depending on the file size of each song. For me, this amount of music is perfect - I never get through every single song in one day so I don't have to worry about how many songs I've transferred on to it. I only really listen to my iPod when walking down the street by myself, on the bus, or to help me sleep.
This is the very first iPod I ever bought, I never owned any other iPod or MP3 player before the Shuffle, and it was at a reasonable price of £32.00 (only £8.00 more when not on offer). It's small and compact which makes it easy to carry around because you can just clip it onto your jean pocket or your top/coat, which can be great for when going running or going to the gym. And although it takes around 4 hours to charge the battery life (which you must do by connecting it up to your PC/laptop), it lasts for 10 hours at a time and volume doesn't effect the battery life. It's also very simple and straight-forward to install it on to your iTunes, and you can register to it fully whenever you want to. There aren't really any features available on the Shuffle, only Lock, play/pause, Skip forward/backwards, and volume - as you would expect on all iPods. But I prefer this because that means it isn't overcomplicated with features that are unnecessary. There is no weight to this iPod, it is very light.
The only problem I have with the iPod Shuffle is that because it's so small and easy to store away, it's easy to forget where you put it down last. I lost my iPod recently for two months straight, and it's a very frustrating experience because you don't want to pay out more money for a new iPod that is possibly alot more expensive. Luckily I found it - so the Shuffle is something to take care of and not lose.
The volume is clear, the Shuffle feature that it's wholly known for is great and keeps your playlist interesting, and although this model isn't available anymore I recommend it for anyone who wants something simple and easy to use with a decent amount of song space to suit them individually. You can probably buy second-hand or unused ones from Ebay now at low prices, and in different colours.
I don't think I'll replace this iPod unless it breaks.
This phone is very simple and easy to use with it's full touch screen display, with optional screen setting layouts and utilities such as a calculator, calender, and stop watch. It has recording options, a decent 3.0 megapixel camera and the familiar Bluetooth. There are four shortcut buttons at the bottom of the homescreen that lead to the menu, calling options, contact list, and messaging. On the menu screen you can tilt the phone sideways for a longer, landscape view of the apps so that you don't have to scroll sideways to find what you want (this can be annoying in case you click an app you didn't want whilst scrolling through).
Communication apps include:
Contacts, Recent history, Messaging, E-mail, Dialling, Contact search, Speed dials, and New message
Entertainment apps include:
Camera, Gallery, My stuff, Music, Games & Apps, FM Radio, Video Camera, and Muvee Studio
Utilities apps include:
O2 Home, Yahoo! Search, Alarms, Organiser, Memo, Voice recorder, Tools, & Drawing panel
Settings apps include:
Profiles, Screen settings, Phone settings, Call settings, Bluetooth, Touch settings, Connections, & Message settings
Each option in this menu comes with another drop down list of options to fully customise the phone the way you want it, and the sound quality is perfectly loud and clear. The LG POP is perfect for simple everyday uses such as texting and calling, taking photos and recording short videos. It comes with an instruction manual, headphones, brand new SIM/number, and a handy battery charger that is also a USB port for transferring photos, music, and videos from phone to PC or vice versa. It has a useful screen lock that displays the time and date and can be locked or unlocked by a small button on the top side of the phone.
This has been the handiest little phone I've ever had, and have had no problems with it for the year I've had it. I was cautious of LG phones after my previous phone had a nasty habit of crashing during texting or flipping it open and closed. But I'm very happy to say that I've had no problems with this phone yet - although the vibration option when on silent is pretty awful when resting on a surface. It's complete in a variation of colours and now at a low price.
The DS Lite is perfect for kids and adults, it's such a great handheld console that you can place in your bag and take with you wherever you go. It's light, efficient, easy to use and play and has an effective touchscreen capability. It is such a popular console for all ages and for good reason, too. There are plenty of different games available for it and for all kinds of people (I personally keep going back to the Pokemon games!). I can easily take this console with me all over the place.
You can buy the DS in different colours and if you lose/break the stylus pen you can buy new ones at a cheap price. You can also buy colour matching accessories to go with this console such as a case and the stylus' themselves, and you can buy a protective cover for it, too.
I've enjoyed having this console because I'm not always at home alot so I'm not able to go on the Playstation or Xbox, and being able to take this handheld console with me anywhere means I can still play the games that I like. And the battery power can last up to a good 4 hours as well!
This laptop is exactly what I wanted/needed. I was torn between a desktop and a laptop, saving upto £500 to make sure that I could afford whichever I chose. And then I found this laptop in Tesco and just went for it - nice price and had more than enough for what I wanted it for. I've had it for over a year now and it hasn't let me down once - although the battery life only lasts 2 hours without charge, I'm more than happy to stay plugged in for hours on end.
It runs smoothly, connects very well to wireless internet, and runs programs efficiently, too. It has plenty of space on the hardrive, although I think I may have pushed it a little and in possible need of an external hardrive to make sure that my laptop continues to run smoothly. I'm an aspiring writer and practising video editor/graphic designer, so this laptop has been perfect for me.
I would recommend this laptop to anyone for the good storage space and efficient internet use. Well worth the price I bought it for and one of my best purchases.
I have a pair of these in yellow that I bought for £20 and I haven't even had them a year yet. The sound quality is amazing, even without playing music through them everything around you is muffled and quieter. Music through these headphones are fantastic, it's so clear and the bass is great - you don't need to turn the music up so loud to hear it and you don't need to worry about other people hearing your music either if you're travelling somewhere. Only if you turn the music up all the way can you hear it outside of the headphones - or you'll go deaf!
Personally I choose not to travel with them, I use them for home purposes. I do things such as video editing which requires music the majority of the time, and these headphones are brilliant for that usage alone because I'm not annoying my family with a repetitive song, and wearing them throughout this process keeps my concentration intact. They're great for making sure you don't get distracted.
The only problem I have with my pair of headphones is the jack lead, I have to twist it a certain way to get the sound through both sides, but that might be down to a faulty pair - however, it's not enough for me to send them back, once I've got the sound through both sides it doesn't falter afterwards. They fold up nicely and can be tucked away safely in my draw, too.
Final Fantasy VII is the strongest, most compelling game in the franchise. Although Square Enix continuously go back and forth in creating parts of the story, I found that I wasn't disappointed in this prequel experience. I didn't get my hopes up for this game because I wasn't completely sure what to expect, but I played it through to the end without a doubt in my mind.
The story of Crisis Core focuses on SOLDIER Zack Fair, who is mentioned in PS1's Final Fantasy VII as part of the back story but never taken into any depth. This PSP game delivers Zack's story, albeit not as long as you'd expect from Square Enix. It features many familiar faces who are still going strong in the sequels, such as Tifa Lockhart and Yuffie Kisaragi, and our tragic hero Cloud Strife. The friendship between Zack and Cloud is fleshed out in Crisis Core, how they met and how their story developed into what we know it as today. I was happy to see Square Enix keep the original back story. Crisis Core even takes us back to Sephiroth before he became a notorious villain, with his two friends Angeal (also Zack's mentor), and Genesis.
This game produces a linear storyline as well as a mission system that you can complete at any points during the game in order to up the completion percentage. Only controlling Zack means that there's no turn-based battling like there is in FFVII, but a more hands-on approach to combat. Materia still plays a role here with the new ability to fuse materia together to create new magic or simply duplicate it. You gain new slots for accessories the further you progress through the game, and Summons are still present, too.
Although there have been many mixed reviews on Crisis Core, I can happily say that I purchased a PSP and this game without feeling let down. The story seemed short in some parts, and I do wish that there had been more time between Zack and Aerith, but with it being a prequel I couldn't expect the story to be amazingly fleshed out as there was only so much to be told.
Once again Final Fantasy VII produced a storyline that was tragic and an ending that wasn't happy but inevitable (but most fans will know how Crisis Core ends without having to play the game). Complete with familiar voice acting (which is always good), and outstanding FMV sequences, it doesn't seem to matter that the soundtrack is new and slightly remixed, giving Crisis Core a feeling that lets you know these were the events before the story of FFVII.
Final Fantasy X has become one of the most memorable, most popular in it's franchise. It is equipped with gorgeous FMV scenes with a variation of colours, a familiar battle system out on the field, and structured, fleshed out characters that almost force you to become emotionally attached. The storyline itself is written in-depth, and possibly one of the strongest in the Final Fantasy series.
Final Fantasy X is the first FF game to include voice actors, which in my experience of playing the game has made the characters and the story very realistic to play through. Each of the seven playable characters has a back story that is revealed step by step the further you delve into the game with unexpected twists and surprising elements. FFX is also the first in the series to contain a Sphere Grid levelling system - instead of your characters levelling up by gaining exp. points, you take control of a grid to learn new attacks, skills and magic, as well as strengthening your attack power, defense, magic attack, and magic defense. This grid comes with two options for beginners and for those who have played the game before. As long as you carefully read the tutorial when playing this game for the first time, the sphere grid will be easy to pick up as you go along.
Each character has an advantage and disadvantage during battle in this game, and once you become comfortable with them all you can easily defeat enemies and boss battles in a matter of minutes. You can switch out characters to replace them with others to suit your battle strategy depending on what monsters you're fighting - but you need to increase your sphere grid for each character to gurantee your progression through the game.
This RPG will not disappoint faithful fans of the Final Fantasy franchise. It includes many familiar systems, summons, attributes, weapon and armor customisation, and world map system. You can easily clock over 100 hours of gameplay with side-quests and completing the sphere grid. With in-depth characters, a tragic storyline and an unforgettable soundtrack, you will want to play this game again and again.