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I had extremely high expectations for this game, so much so I pre-ordered a copy on both PC and Xbox. After seeing a wide variety of advertisements surrounding the game, stating that it would be one of a kind, combining the free running aspects of mirrors edge with the characteristics of a team based first person shooter. This seemed like a fantastic idea in concept, bringing together two very different genres in an attempt to create a game that would redefine the entire concept.
When I first obtained my copy, I was extremely excited and ran the installation process. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The 'Games for Windows Live' tag did slightly worry me though as they are not specifically known to be very capable in the books of every PC gamer I have spoken to. After computing the installing, I was ready to jump in to the game and begin the atmospheric journey in to a possible gripping story like and experience the thrilling mechanics. Annoyingly, the game didn't seem to want to launch. Every time I attempted to launch it I was greeted by a one second window before it automatically closed itself off to prying eyes. After a few more attempts I began thinking that the installing process must have corrupt the game files so I completely re-installed it. Sadly, this did not change anything and the game remained in a un-launch able state. After browsing the internet, I saw that the majority of players were getting this problem, meaning that it was a problem with the game itself, not anything that I could have done to damage the integrity of the game files.
After a lot of hardship and an extended period of time waiting, the game was finally brought to a playable state. When tailoring the graphics specifically to my computer to ensure I got the best performance ratio I wasn't too disappointed. I had to download the 'Brink Config Program 1.2' to do this though as the options were quite limited in comparison to other games, it also seemed to have a nasty habit of disregarding your chosen settings every time you restart the game, making this program a must.
I quite enjoyed the variety of weapons and character customisation included within the game as well as the colourful, slightly cartoony art styles that accompanied them. When getting in to the game itself, you are greeted by quite a nice cut scene that explains either side of the story, allowing you to choose between either saving the ark (The Order) or escaping it (The Resistance). I have never watched a cut scene this unique before though. It takes the form of a concept model of the 'Ark', animated in stop motion on a large sheet of blue grid paper. The narrative is done by an elderly woman, explaining how it started as an experiment, a self-sufficient city of the future before the rise of the sea, where it then became a refuse, forcing each side to fight over the few remaining supplies.
The gameplay itself has all the characteristics of a defining first person shooter but the mixture between broken gameplay mechanics, poorly coded bots and slightly worrying balancing issues caused the game to burry itself in to the sea. The vast majority of bots either ran directly in to a line of fire or stood completely still, frozen, unable to complete any action. This made it generally a game of chance if your team would be of any use or if they would simply stand completely still, emotionless. With a fairly major update to fix the bugs and balancing issues in what is an essentially a broken game, it could have been a very fun experience.
I personally still enjoyed playing it as a casual gamer as the overall style seemed quite warm and inviting which is a very rare feature for any first person shooting. This coupled with the lack of eye strain that I usually get with most newly released games made it quite an enjoyable experience gameplay wide.
I would never pay more than maybe £10 for this game but that would be really pushing it. Brink feels like it is still in Beta and has been pushed past that phase, ignoring it entirely. For these many reasons, I could not recommend this game to a friend at any retail price. If it was obtained as a freebie I would definitely recommend it for a bit of fun but in the state it has been abandoned, it is not particularly worth of the retail market.
When I first saw this game on the shelves, I was very sceptical. I was told by many people before purchasing it that it would be nothing but a simple Minecraft clone but in a two dimensional platforming format. This worried me at first, making me feel as if I was buying in to a half-baked copy but I bought it on a whim due to the very affordable price, thinking to myself that even if it was a disappointment, I wouldn't be completely out of pocket.
I purchased my copy before the release of the new and exciting box art so I didn't have a clue what to expect, thankfully this opened the way for the feeling of opening a Christmas present. You never know what to expect but the build-up of excitement ensues as you slowly reveal the packaging. I was personally pleasantly surprised by the installation process; the box contained a hard backup of the game as well as a Steam key to activate it. Steam is one of the largest digital distribution platforms developed by the Valve Corporation. I already owned a steam account as I have had one for years so the process was simply just to click the 'Redeem Key' option on the main overlay. I can see this posing a problem for users who are not familiar with Steam.
If you do not already have Steam on your computer, you will be required to download it, create a free account and then launch it before being able to register and play the game. The installer will take you through all these steps to ensure that it is a fast, fluid process. Once you have steam set up, the game will automatically update if required and then allow you to launch it. One major drawback of it being a digital copy is that it is definitely not DRM-free. This means that you will have very little control over when and where you can play the game. Currently, Steam requires an active internet connection to log in to your Steam account but one you have logged in, you can play any game while offline.
To counter this system to allow you to play Terraria and other steam games without an internet connection on start-up, you can plan ahead and set your steam to 'Offline Mode' in your steam preferences. This means that the next time it logs in, it will access locally stored information to start up, allowing you to play Terraria and other games in an area without an internet connection.
Menu's & Options
Now we get in to the game itself. When you first start, you will be greeted by a very colourful art style at the main menu screen with a selection of options. Terraria has a variety of different graphics options, ensuring that it can be tailored to your computer specifications. After choosing, you can select either Single player or Multiplayer. The multiplayer option requires you to know the IP of the server you want to connect to as there is no in-game server browser. You can find a variety of server information on the internet or you can host your own using software such as Hamachi to create a server for you and your friends.
The game itself
When you enter the game, you will be dropped in to a huge randomly generated world, filled with mysterious being and caverns filled to the brim with treasure. Alongside this, you will also see a random 'Guide' walking around; mine was called 'Geoffrey'. The guide gives you basic information and shows you what you can make with your current items as there is no in-game tutorial. By default, you will be placed in 'Easy Mode', bunnies hopping around the landscape and calming music playing around you. Until nightfall that is... There is no question that Terraria has quite the steep learning curve to new players as a hoard of shambling un-dead skip through the meadow, decapitating small pixel bunnies and poor little Geoffrey on their way.
Once you have built a little house to store your supplies, you will be able to explore caves, mine small blocks, butcher dozens of different monsters and create your own adventure. The amount of equipment you will find will astonish you, there is such a wide variety of loot that you'll never know what to do with it. You could even tackle the dreaded 'Corruption' if you feel up for a challenge and wish to face against the Eater of worlds or even sit down and talk to a nice old man, stood next to his purple dungeon before having your face ripped off by the even presence dwelling inside him. If you feel really positive in your abilities, you could also dig a hole all the way to the depth of hell to challenge the 'Wall of Flesh'. Upon defeating this innocent little creature, a variety of changes will occur but I'm not going to spoil them for you. But on that note, have you ever been stabbed by the horn of an angry unicorn?
The crafting System
Terraria has a fantastic crafting system, making sure that if you want any specific item such as armour or a wide variety of weapons, you will have to collect the materials piece by piece before smelting them and finally creating something you will be proud to be torn apart while wearing/ equipping. To help new players discover each recipe, the guide will offer a unique service, allowing the player to drag and drop things from their inventory in to a small box when talking to him. All the items that use the specific item you selected will then be listen alongside exactly what you need to make them.
Is it worth purchasing?
With all these astonishing features all rolled in to one pretty package, I would definitely recommend this game to anyone with a computer. It will immerse you in a huge adventure, merging the lines between reality and a world of magical loot and general torment. I have put in a total of 94 hours in to this game and I have barely scratched its potential. I challenge you to beat me.
I would rate this game as a near perfect 5/5, as it is one of a kind game, defining retro platforming with a modern twist. The only thing that drags this game down is the DRM system in place for users without a reliable internet connection.
I spent quite some time looking for a game that kept the classic, unforgiving system, ensuring that the player's hand was not held for the entire game when I stumbled upon this. It left me very sceptical of what to expect as a game this unique was extremely rare and not without its impending flaws. I took a gamble and purchased it within 10 minutes of viewing it, thinking that it may provide me with at least a few hours of reasonable entertainment for long trips on the train and for bus journeys.
When I returned to my desktop computer and began to install it, I was overcome with nervousness, hoping that it would be everything it stated on the box but in the majority of cases this was not true. The installation process was quick and easy as the game is only 238 Megabytes. I ran in to a few problems where the game did not launch after a few play sessions unless I repeatedly spammed my left mouse button on the launcher but this problem ironed itself out over a short period time.
When launching the game, it was apparent that the development team (Team Meat) had quite the sense of humour, presenting me with a variety of slogans, stating that the gameplay experience would greatly benefit from the use of a controller. To my relief, the keyboard controls were equally excellent to control Meatboy and no corners had been cut in the PC release. You wouldn't expect much of a story from a Retro 2D plat former but on launch; it shows you a little monotone backstory without a variety of humorous elements. In the style of old black and white cinema, it explains how Meatboy loves his girlfriend Bandage girl, why Dr Foetus is depressed and how Bandage girl is then kidnapped. With some very interesting but quite beautiful background music, this little story comes together perfectly.
Once you arrive on the main menu, you will have your first taste of the legendary soundtrack produced by Danny Baronowsky. The soundtrack alone is worth the £15 price tag, not even getting in to the gameplay. Once you start a new game, you will see your happy little Meatboy standing on a slightly ticked off forest (you'll understand when you see it) with a few innocent looking saw blades in the background. Upon starting the level, you will be eased in to the world of Super Meatboy but things do soon escalate. Before long you will be dodging saw blades while racing against the clock, bandage girl always in arms reach before being grabbed away by the despicable Dr Foetus. You will travel in pursuit over five separate chapters in very unique settings, including; a psychotic hospital, a factory, the depths of hell and the rapture. Each one getting tougher and tougher, forcing you to push your little Meatboy to the limits.
You will die many times during your stay on Meatworld and a very handy replay feature will combine every effort in to one when you finally complete a level. This will force you to watch every mistake you made over the course of the level, ending with either a disappointing sign or a triumphant cheer, depending on your performance.
Overall, Super Meatboy is definitely in my top 5 games of the century due to the perfect engine in place for platforming, ensuring that every death is entirely your fault and can be avoided with fast enough reactions and additional practise, the fantastic soundtrack specifically designed for the different paces of each level, the wonderful unique art style and finally the length. Depending on your skill level, it could be anywhere between a very short game to an endless pit of frustration, testing you at every turn. Due to the nature of the game and the shear mass of collectables, it has more replay value than any game I could possibly think of.
I only have one problem which is not related to the quality of gameplay, music or anything for that matter. It is just the fact that the system requirements are extremely high for a game created and developed in Flash. On a mid-tier laptop, you may encounter extreme key lag and the possibility of Meatboy clipping through walls but apart from that, I cannot think of any possible flaws apart from the keyboard I broke in the process of playing at four in the morning. Remember to Stock up on extra keyboards!
I would recommend this game to anyone even slightly interested in computer gaming, even if just to see their faces light up red after the impending frustration. At the very least, the soundtrack will draw in quite a few music lovers and maybe even convert a few in to gamers.
Super Meatboy is a unique and exciting platformer, leaving you on the edge of your seat due to the tension built up over the first few minutes of gameplay.
I would rate this game a perfect 5/5. If only ratings could go higher...
After using my ancient Notebook Optical mouse as my go-to laptop mouse for many years, it began to give me quite serious hand cramp after short periods of use such as 15 minutes. This combined with the unresponsive laser that always required the use of a mouse mat made it extremely hard to use when travelling on either a car or bus. This meant that for the majority of tasks I was forced to return to the track pad. Being a member of a low-income family, searching for a suitable but cheap alternative seemed impossible. This was until a friend recommended me to try this Mini Mouse. I was very sceptical at first due to the size of the mouse and it being able to fit in to the palm of my over averagely sized hand but to my relief, it could be easily operated using only my fingertips with the dimensions of 7cm x 4cm for the main body and 2 cm in height where you lay your fingers.
It contains every feature you would expect from a mouse but in a much smaller, neater package. These include a small scroll wheel and the basic left and right click buttons. Each button and the scroll wheel is very stable, ensuring that they will not get caught on ridges of the mouse and will only react when specifically pressed. From my experience with other mouse's on the market, the scroll wheel eventually began to wobble and eventually even began to slip, making it quite awkward to scroll and the left and right clicks eventually began to move slightly to the left or right when pressed, catching on the scroll wheel. This mouse does not have these problems as you can clearly see that it has been manufactured with a very high level of precision. The scroll wheel is a single solid piece so no problems will occur with the scroll wheel un-attaching or becoming loose.
This optical mouse uses a retractable cable that completely eliminates the need to wrap up the cable after use, stops knots from developing in the cable and also allows you to tailor the exact length you require, ensuring it will never get in the way. To alter the length, all you need to do is gently pull it to the desired length and let go. To reduce to length after use, you can simply gently pull the cable slightly and then allow it to retract. The only problem I have noticed with this feature is that if one end of the cable gets caught, it can alter the size of the cable on either end, stopping it from retracting fully. To rectify this problem, simply feed the cable through the longest side by hand until they return to the same length. It is extremely easy to fix this problem and a very user friendly method to clear away unwanted cable length.
The final feature this mouse contains is a wide selection of colour-changing LED's. These are located under the transparent plastic of the mouse's main body and slowly switch between each vibrant colour of the rainbow. This feature may only just be for show but it definitely makes it more visually appealing in comparison to other computer mice on the market.
I would definitely recommend this mouse to anyone looking for a cheap, affordable laptop mouse. It has the quality and features of a mouse valued at five times the price. I currently use mine to draw props and movie clips while animating in Flash CS4 and modelling in various Auto-Cad programs due to its excellent level of precision.
I would rate this 5/5 as the best value for money currently on the market.
I am currently using this phone as my main mobile. I have never really liked using more expensive phones as they can be quite a nightmare if lost and are usually extremely fragile. I have found with this phone that it can take a lot of punishment that a more expensive phone (upwards to £50) cannot. It has fell out of my pocket on many occasions and apart from the back of the case coming off and the battery falling out, it has remained in perfect condition, always working perfectly when put back togather. It is a perfect phone if you want it to serve its purpose of calling and texting people. It can be a little slow when texting at times though with anywhere between a 10th of a second to 2 seconds delay between character but for the price, it is fantastic value for money. Any flaws are outweighed by the extremely cheap price tag, making it one of the best of the market for its price range.
I have used this card in my Hp Pavillion desktop computer for the past two years. It has allowed me ot play every game at rather high specs without and major drop in frame rate. Currently i use this to support my two monitors running at both 1440x900 and 1920x1080 resolution. This graphics card can run my copy of Battlefield 3 at maximum graphics settings on my smaller monitor at a steady 30fps in ourdoor areas and roughly 45fps in large open areas. On my larger monitor, these both drop by roughly 10 and i have to reduce the model and texture qualities to medium but it is still perfectly playable. I have never had any trouble with this card, it has always stayed below 40 degrees even when under intensive use. For the price, i would reccomend this graphics card over any competitors on the market for its performance to value ratio.
This product is a must if you are attempting to get in to computer gaming.