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Xlixen

Xlixen
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Member since: 12.04.2007

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      28.06.2009 12:06
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      A brilliant album.

      Background --------------- Avenged Sevenfold are an American rock band which was formed in 1999 in California. The self titled album is the bands fourth album, and has won awards such as the 'Kerrang! Album of the Year award' 2008. The Band Members: - M. Shadows (Lead Vocals) - Synyster Gates (Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals) - Zacky Vengeance (Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals) - Johnny Christ (Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals) - The Rev (Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Piano) "Avenged Sevenfold" (The Album) was released on October 30th 2007, although two singles were released prior to the full album release. [Genre] The band took a different direction to their other albums in terms of genre, including experimentation with a country style, a broadway show style, along with the bands metalcore roots. This album really shows how far the band has come, and how diverse they can be. [Album Cover] The album cover traditionally sports the bands logo - the 'Deathbat' and is a very simple design, contrasting to that of the bands previous albums, which were very artistic and featured full colour complex designs. I do feel that the artwork compliments the album, and it is my favourite Avenged Sevenfold artwork thus far. Tracks -------- [Tracklist] 1. Critical Acclaim (5.14 Minutes) 2. Almost Easy (3.54 Minutes) 3. Scream (4.48 Minutes) 4. Afterlife (5.53 Minutes) 5. Gunslinger (4.11 Minutes) 6. Unbound (The Wild Ride) (5.11 Minutes) 7. Brompton Cocktail (4.13 Minutes) 8. Lost (5.02 Minutes) 9. A Little Piece of Heaven (8.00 Minutes) 10. Dear God (6.33 Minutes) [Track Reviews] Critical Acclaim - Rating: 7.5/10 ====================== I feel this song kicks the album off well. It begins with a church organ powering through a gothic melody, with the guitars slowly kicking in with a hair prickling riff. This song then features several of the band members singing backing vocals, the most notable in this song being The Rev taking the forefront with quite a lot of vocals in this particular song. At five minutes long, Critical Acclaim is quite long, and the lyrics are quite political in nature. M. Shadows' unmistakable voice comes through clearly, and really sets the tone for the rest of the album. The reason that this song only received a 7.5/10 from me is that I feel there are stronger songs on the album, although I do feel that this is a suitable song to kick the album off. Almost Easy - Rating: 6/10 =================== Almost easy is another high paced metalcore style song. It begins with a short riff which, if I'm being honest sounds like it's in the middle of the riff when it's only just started. I just think that the song seems like it doesn't really have a start. This may be the direction the band wanted to achieve though, perhaps to give the album a fast flow, although I don't feel it works that well, hence only 6/10. The rest of the song is pretty standard Avenged Sevenfold, good backing vocals, but nothing out of the ordinary or special. Scream - Rating: 7/10 ================ This track has a much slower pace to it than the previous two tracks. It begins with the sound of screaming, and then moves into an introductory riff. This song has quite a bassy feel to it, and is pretty easy listening as far as the genre goes. Once again, I don't feel this is one of the better songs on the album, but is very listenable - M. Shadows is very central to this song, with less focus on the guitars. Afterlife - Rating: 8/10 ================ This song replicates the alternative introduction that was used in Critical Acclaim, by using a violin instead of the traditional rock band instruments to introduce the song. I feel this is a very effective way of opening the song, and when the guitars kick in after around 17 seconds, the feeling is electric. The chorus of this song is brilliant, it is very melodic, and the instruments are all used to add to the effect. Overall, I rate this song at a strong 8/10. Gunslinger - Rating: 8.5/10 =================== Gunslinger also has an alternative start to the traditional guitar riffs that are regularly employed by metalcore bands. It starts out as a slow, emotional song with acoustic guitar and lead vocals taking the forefront. However after around a minute and a half, the band explodes into life. It is still a very melodic song, but now the entire band is involved. This is a great listen, and not just for people who like rock music. The vocals after around 2.5 minutes in the song are very inspiring, and M. Shadows voice is very pleasing. Unbound (The Wild Ride) - Rating: 9/10 ============================ Unbound takes us back to the traditional Avenged Sevenfold style with a strong guitar riff. M. Shadows is much is much more restrained in this song however, using very melodic singing instead of the usual screaming and hoarse singing that is usually employed in this kind of song. I find that this works very well. The Piano that features in the background music works very well in conjunction with the melodic singing too. In the latter parts of the song, a syncopated guitar solo takes over and really spoils the listener. A choir is also used for backing vocals which is a real treat, and something completely different. I really like this song, and it is one that I have skipped back just to listen to several more times, over and over. For this reason, I give the track a stellar 9/10. Brompton Cocktail - Rating: 8/10 ======================= This song has quite a quiet opening and builds up into a bassy guitar riff. Once again, melodic singing is employed, with strong backing vocals singing in the interludes between verse and chorus. The chorus is quite good, and is in line with the quality of the rest of the songs. I often find myself wanting to listen to this song several times over too. It's difficult to soak in, but I often lose myself in this song, singing along with the lyrics. Although, once again this is a great track, I only gave it 8/10, as I believe there are a couple of others on the album that are slightly better. Lost - Rating: 9/10 ============== This I have to say is my favourite song on the album. It begins with a slower paced guitar riff, with a call and answer between the guitars, until they begin to play together with one playing a harmony to the other. The drums then kick in at a fast pace and power this song forward. It's a good minute before the lyrics kick in, and being honest they are pretty standard Avenged Sevenfold. The chorus is excellent though, the vocals are altered with synth to give a more robotic effect, which sounds great. The backing vocals employed work really well too. Once again, I find myself repeatedly going back to listen to this track over and over again. I therefore give this track a very strong 9/10. A Little Piece of Heaven - Rating: 6.5/10 ============================= This song is completely different from anything else on this album, and sounds a lot more like what "Pinkly Smooth" (An Avenged Sevenfold side project) would produce. This song was written by The Rev, and he takes a major role in the main vocals of the song. It gives the feeling of a song that would be used in a show, sounding a little "cheesey". It features more classical instruments in the place of the guitars, and to be honest feels a little odd to listen to. None the less, it is listenable and therefore I give this track 6.5/10. Dear God - Rating: 9/10 ================= This is once again a complete contrast to the other songs on the album, and is the perfect end to the album. It is based on a country style, and acoustic guitars and melodic singing are part and parcel of the song. The chorus is beautiful. It makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I honestly believe if anyone heard this track, they would love it. It's so simple, and yet so brilliant. Definitely one of the best tracks on the album and really proves the diversity and talent that the band has. It leaves me flooded with emotions, and to understand you'll just have to listen to the track yourself. Conclusion -------------- Every time I listen to this album the full way through, I feel disappointed that it's ended. I feel that's the mark of a truly great album. It really leaves you desperate for more. It's full of great tracks, and even the "link" tracks are very listenable. Being honest, when listening to the album the entire way through, there isn't a single track that I skip - This is a rarity for me, so really goes to show how great this album is. There are tracks that everyone should love on this album, but others may only be suitable for people who like rock music. Nevertheless, I recommend it as highly as any album I've listened to. Thanks for reading, ~Xlixen.

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      • Empire: Total War (PC) / PC Game / 54 Readings / 52 Ratings
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        27.06.2009 17:07
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        A Brilliant addition to the series.

        Introduction ---------------- Empire: Total War is a turn based strategy game that was released by the developers Creative Assembly and Sega. It is available to buy on DVD or through the online distributor, Steam. Empire is the fifth game in the series, following titles such as Medieval: Total War and Rome: Total War. This particular instalment of the series focuses on the 18th century. It is similar in many ways to the other games in terms of interface but many improvements have also been made. The aim of the game is to have the strongest empire - this could be contributed to by having the strongest army, navy, economics and politics. Gameplay ------------ [General Gameplay] The gameplay for the Total War series has always been excellent, but Empire shows several advances and new features in this game make it flow very well and give the player a lot of things to think about in order to best combat the challenges the game presents. Instead of just Europe and parts of Africa, which is usually the extent of the map in the Total War games, America and the Indies are now available to expand into. This presents the user with many different ways to play the game, and no campaign will be the same as the last. The user can take control of one of 11 different factions: Great Britain, France, United Provinces, Spain, Sweden, Prussia, Austria, Russia, Poland-Lithuania, Ottoman Empire, Maratha Confederacy and Mughal Empire. There are however many more factions within the game that the user cannot control. The user controllable factions are the stronger ones represented in the game. The game has two main areas of gameplay - The turn-based map and a real-time battle mode. The turn-based map allows the user to manage cities, build and move armies around the globe, interact with other nations to conduct diplomatic matters and command the navy. There are two types of real-time battle mode included in Empire, with the inclusion of real-time naval battles now being included in the game. The naval battles are quite a good addition to the game, however I found that they tend to be quite long winded. I do really enjoy playing the real-time battles between armies though, tactics definitely have to be used in order to win battles and the game does make the player think in order to succeed. The user can choose to take part in a campaign of varying lengths, or take part in single historical battles from the 18th and early 19th centuries. These include both land and sea based real-time battles. [Campaign Gameplay] The campaigns in Empire are similar to the other games in the series, with tweaks to improve the gameplay and better reflect the period of time that the game is based. The campaign is where the turn-based map comes into play, with each turn reflecting 6 months within the game. The longest campaign available to play in Empire lasts 100 years - which is 200 turns. On first playing, I thought the campaign objectives would be fairly straightforward to accomplish in that amount of time - however, I was wrong. My faction didn't really start to advance enough till too late, and I just missed out on the objectives. I am restarting my second campaign soon in order to accomplish the goals though! Buildings such as schools need to be built in order to better your faction - These recruit "Gentlemen" who are scholars and can make researching upgrades slightly faster. These scientific advances can give your faction the upper hand against their enemies in battles and also give a bargaining chip in diplomatic negotiations. It is also possible to distribute the factions religion to other nations through building "Church Schools" and sending Emissaries to other cities. Religion isn't as central to the game as it has been in other versions, but it can be used to settle down cities that your faction has just taken control of. Building armies is also much better in this game than in previous versions. It is now possible to produce several units simultaneously in a single turn from one city. This enables armies to built much faster than in previous games in the series, a huge point of frustration that has finally been resolved by the producers. There is another campaign that is available to unlock aswell, where you can take control of the United States in a slightly shorter campaign. This can be done by completing several short structured missions called the "Road to Independence". My Experience ------------------ I only bought this game last week and I have been absolutely blown away, and been completely addicted to it ever since it was installed. I've played most of the other games in the series, but Empire absolutely blows the others out of the water. I have however found that playing Britain in the campaign, you don't get attacked. I was told this was a glitch that was being fixed in an upcoming patch. This for me is a small bad point which is overwhelmed by everything that is good about this game. Any fan of RTS (Real Time Strategy) or turn based games, or history or anyone who just likes a good 'play' on the computer, buy this game! I honestly believe that the Total War series deserves the success that it has had, because all the games have been an improvement on the last and despite being quite similar, they are all brilliant, and always get the player hooked. I believe the educational element of the game coming from the historical battles is invaluable too. Overall, this game is excellent and this is reflected with the ratings it received on release (3rd March 2009), getting around 9/10 and sometimes higher ratings from respected reviewers. Personally I would give the game 9.5/10. It's almost there, but there are still a few issues that need to be resolved by patches that edge the game from perfection. Thanks for reading, ~Xlixen.

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        • Football Manager 2009 (PC) / PC Game / 83 Readings / 82 Ratings
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          21.06.2009 17:44
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          Great game overall.

          Introduction ---------------- Football Manager 2009 is the latest instalment of the very popular Football Manager series, which allows you to take the reigns of your favourite club and lift them to never seen before heights. There are several new features that Sports Interactive and Sega have incorporated into the game that differentiates this particular version from the rest. Features ----------- As with every new release of the Football Manager series, there are several new and exciting features in the game. The main new feature that FM2009 offers is the 3D Match Engine. This allows the user to see the match kick by kick if they wish. I can't help but feel that the match engine is a little rigid, but it's also something that will no doubt be improved upon in every new release of the game. There are all the usual menus available to access from this 'tv match view' which allow the manager to alter tactics, view all the match details, other scores from the league and many other functions that you could possibly need on match day. The 3D match can be viewed in full screen, or in part of the screen. A few of the other new features include: - Can play as a Male or Female manager! - Player Ratings are now decimalised (eg. 6.3 rather than just 6) - Training players to have preferred moves. - Transfer Rumours. - Press Conferences (These allow you to develop relationships with certain journalists and possibly get positive or negative reports influenced by those relationships) - Finances and Transfers have been revamped. Gameplay ------------- The gameplay itself is very similar to previous versions of the game. There are a huge amount of clubs you can choose to manage from a huge amount of leagues from all of the globe. A great part of the game is the experimentation available with altering training schedules and tactics to find what combination is most effective with the team you are managing. I believe the best part of the game is identifying potential transfer targets for your team and then negotiating the price. Then the challenge of climbing your team to the top of the ladder begins. All of the European cups are in the game, and this is another challenge that your team may have to combat. You could also choose to manage a certain country (Except Japan and Germany due to copyright) and take them on to challenge for the world cup. The game runs on a day to day turn based design, where you complete your daily jobs and then continue to forward the time to a point where there is news, or a matchday on the horizon. The game really just lets you operate how you like - blow your entire transfer budget and lodge your club into huge amounts of debts, or make conservative, sensible transfers which allows your club to steadily grow. Purchase past legends for huge sums of money or sign hot prospects at 16 for virtually nothing, with FM09, the choice really is yours...That is unless you are sacked! My Experiences ------------------- This game is ridiculously addictive. Be warned. After playing it for a very long time, I can say that this is the best football management simulator I have ever played. I've tried several of the leagues, and my favourite kind of game is taking a non-league club to the dizzy heights of the premiership. It's quite difficult, and time consuming but feels very fulfilling every time the club is promoted! In all my time playing, I still haven't managed a national team, so I can't really comment on how good this part of the game is. However, if it's anything like the club management side of the game, it will be a lot of fun, and I'd end up spending far too long engaging myself with the computer! Conclusion -------------- Football Manager 2009 is a fantastic game. It's not a game that you can "complete" within 5 days like a lot of game released these days and you can literally spend weeks and weeks playing on a single game. I think this a huge advantage. The game will be quite cheap now, as it is getting a little on the old side, and the new FM10 will no doubt be released in a few weeks for the new football season. None the less, I would fully recommend the game to any football fan that likes a bit of a play on a football game. And in my opinion, it is worth a good 9/10 for being a great indepth game. Thanks for reading, ~Xlixen.

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          • Samsung SGH-U900 Soul / Mobile Phone / 49 Readings / 48 Ratings
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            20.06.2009 12:55
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            Overall a very good phone.

            Introduction ---------------- The Samsung U900 'Soul' is yet another slide phone produced by the huge electronics specialist Samsung. Its main standout feature is a small touch screen panel used to operate the main functions on the phone. I finally decided to upgrade to this phone after losing patience with the LG 'Viewty' touch screen phone I owned previously. Aesthetics ------------- For me, how a phone looks is very important - they are seen as an accessory these days, and having a sleek looking phone is important to a lot of people. The U900 delivers on this front, much like most of the products Samsung produces. The 'Midnight' version is in a sleek shiny black colour throughout. The colours of the icons on the touch screen are customisable, and you can choose a colour from throughout the colour spectrum. The keypad looks good too, simply laid out and is easily hidden. The U900 is a good size, roughly 3 inches in length, and around a centimetre deep. The sliding function is virtually perfected these days, especially after producing so many of these kinds of phones! Overall, I can't fault how the mobile looks at all, which was one of the main reasons that I chose this phone in the first place. Features ----------- The main features of the Samsung U900 include: - Slide out Keypad. - Touch Screen Navigation. - Hidden 5MP Camera. - Front Camera for Video Calling. [Keypad] The keypad is, in general very good. The buttons are very flat and the buttons all flow into each other. However, it is easy to select the button that you want to press. I did however have a faulty U900 first time round, and after around 5 days, most of the buttons stopped functioning properly. However, since Orange replaced my phone, the keypad has been fine. [Touch Screen] The touch screen is the most outstanding feature of this phone. There are 5 different places you can touch the screen to select the function that you need. Shortcuts are also available to be programmed into the touch screen, which is very useful. I really like this feature although it is difficult to get used to at first. [Camera] Of course, all mobile phones have cameras these days. The 5MP camera on the U900 is located behind the screen, and is hidden when the phone is closed. The camera can therefore only be used when the keypad is slid out. The camera itself is okay, although I don't think the quality of the shots is amazing - I have certainly seen better 5MP cameras on phones. [Front Camera] Once again, this camera isn't particularly fantastic - It is pretty well hidden at the top of the phone next to the Samsung branding. It's okay for video calling, but as I never use video calling, I'm not really qualified to comment on how good the camera is. Functionality ---------------- The U900 is pretty standard in terms of software and features on the phone and comes with all the regular functions such as Bluetooth, 3G, MP3 Player, FM Radio, Image and Video Editors, World Clock, Calculator and Converter and a timer. [The Software] I've always liked the software that Samsung have on their phones - It's fast and simple to use, and rarely has problems. The Main menu is split down into 12 different options - Applications, Address Book, Media Album, Downloads, Messaging, Internet, Settings, Call History, Music, Organiser, Camera and Profiles. I use a few of the applications quite regularly, especially the calculator, which is fast and easy to type in the numbers (as it should be really). The Music Player is pretty good, and the headphones supplied with the phone are pretty good quality. The speakers can also kick out songs at a decent volume (although be careful not to annoy others in the street!). The Bluetooth works as required, and it is very easy to share files with other phones in the local area. [Calling] As its main function, the phone is pretty good at ringing others! The loudspeaker is well configured and the talking volume of the phone is good, and is not crackly at all as I have experienced with other phones. The clarity is top notch. [Messaging] The T9 Dictionary on the Samsung phones is okay, I prefer to use predictive text to normal texting as I can text much faster with it, especially when the dictionary is fully configured. The only annoying thing about it is when a word is entered, it is always the first one that comes up - This is annoying if there is another regular word that you use far more often. The inbox isn't the largest ever, and usually only stores around 200 messages before they need to be deleted. If there is a way to allocate more memory to messaging, I haven't found it yet - This is another small problem that I have with the phone that I wish could be resolved. Conclusion -------------- [Advantages] There are many reasons that this is a great phone - Looks great. - Good features. - Good software. - Does its job as it should. - Good Price. [Disadvantages] - Touch screen difficult to get used to. - Can't hold many messages. - Camera isn't that great. - My keypad broke on the last one I had. - Very easily scratched. Overall I would recommend this phone although there are certain things that you have to look out for. The sleek black looks don't stay forever as it is very easily scratched - although every phone scratches, this one is particularly bad for it. The message deleting is annoying, but you get used to it after a while, so isn't a big problem. Overall, I would give the U900 8/10. Thanks for reading, ~Xlixen.

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            • Ebuyer.com / Online Shop / 59 Readings / 57 Ratings
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              19.06.2009 11:50
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              A good website for computing and electronic devices.

              --------------- Introduction --------------- Ebuyer is an online retailer of computers, components and electronics that was founded in November 2000 currently based in Howden. It is owned by Vida Capital Partners. ---------------- The Website ---------------- [Visuals] As you would expect for such a large online business, the ebuyer website is very good. The layout is visually appealing, and the shopper is not overrun by the latest ads and offers. The homepage features navigation options, the latest 'great offers', and useful information such as contact details, links to account logins, and direct links to the most popular brands. The site is very easy on the eyes, and is definitely one of the better looking retailer sites that I have had the experience of using. [Navigation] There are a total of twelve navigation buttons that run along the top of the screen, which are very clear and allow the user to easily roam around the site. These buttons each supply drop-down menus giving other relevant links to pages where the products are located. Personally, I prefer eBuyers navigation system to that of scan.co.uk, as it is easier to find the link that you are looking for. ----------- Products ----------- eBuyer offers a vast array of different products falling under the computers and electronics categories. [Computers] Not only does eBuyer distribute fully built computers and laptops, but they also supply a wide range of components for computer systems, allowing shoppers to upgrade their current PC, or to simply build their own. There are a huge amount of accessories available too including: - Carry Cases and sleeves for laptops. - Docking Stations for Laptops. - Computer Speakers - Case Mods - Webcams - Keyboards and Mice - Printers - Many More. Almost anything you could ever need for a Computer is on the site. [Electronics] A wide selection of electronics are also available on eBuyer. These range from TV's to digital photo frames to USB Memory Sticks to Fax Machines. In each section there are huge amounts to choose from, ranging from very cheap to very expensive. It's up to you to decide which is the most appropriate for your needs, and don't forget to read the reviews! These are sometimes very helpful when selecting the product that you want. [Prices] I believe the prices offered by eBuyer are generally very competitive. Sometimes components are cheaper elsewhere, but I believe that you may be sacrificing good service for cheap prices if you buy from a lesser known store. eBuyer has regular offers on many products, which are featured on the homepage. I do sometimes think the offers are meant to fool the users, as often products are reduced by 2p! However, that 2p is a saving! ----------- Shipping ----------- There are several shipping options that are available: - Next Working Day (~£9.99) - 2 Working Days (~£7.99) - 3 Working Days (~£5.98) - 4 Working Days (~£5.98) - Super Saver (~£2.58) - Saturday Delivery (~£7.50) Of course these prices are variable depending on what products you are purchasing and their weight and size. However the super saver delivery is FREE if you spend more than £50 in one order, so this is probably the way to go unless you need to product in a rush. Shipping is usually sent by courier, in my experience they tend to use City Link, which are quite reputable, and I have never received a product that had been damaged in transport. I believe for some smaller products royal mail may be used, but they usually tend to deliver the goods in a decent amount of time and undamaged aswell. ---------- Returns ---------- Luckily I have only had to deal with the RMA department once, when the motherboard I purchased for a build died after only 4 months of use. The RMA request was easy to input, although I didn't think it was very clear that I had to ring ebuyer to move on to the next step. However, once I had worked this out the RMA went very smoothly - The motherboard was picked up and I received the new one in a matter of days. Overall it was about a three week turnaround which I wasn't too happy about, although this could have been avoided had the returns procedure been more clear and I had read it properly. ------------------ My Experience ------------------ Overall my experience with eBuyer has been very good. I have made many purchases from them, including enough parts for several computer builds. All the transactions have gone very smoothly, and I have received all the products ordered on time, and intact. Overall I would recommend them to anybody. -------------- Conclusion -------------- Ebuyer have had problems with their customer support in the past, however, I think they have improved in recent years and offer good service. The product range is superb and the website is easy to use. With their competitive pricing aswell, Ebuyer is a good online solution to your electronics and computing needs. Thanks for reading, ~Xlixen

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              • Wii Play (Wii) / Nintendo Wii Game / 52 Readings / 52 Ratings
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                15.06.2009 19:55
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                May aswell get it if you need a new wiimote.

                --------------- Background --------------- "Wii Play" is a series of minigames for the ever-popular console that Nintendo released in 2006. The game comes bundled with a Wiimote, which in truth is what attracted me to the game in the first place. Wii Play was released on December 2nd 2006, and a staggering 23 million copies have been sold to date worldwide. It makes use of the "Mii channel" in that user's custom made avatars - "Miis" can be used in the mini games. There are 9 games in total: - Shooting Range - Find Mii - Table Tennis - Pose Mii - Laser Hockey - Fishing - Billiards - Charge! - Tanks! -------------- The Games -------------- Shooting Range This game involves the user aiming a crosshair to try and shoot relevant balloons. It is a level based game, and each level naturally gets progressively more difficult, with targets that give bonus points, and targets that give a penalty that must be avoided. Other levels include shooting at Frisbees, and a space invaders style shooting round where you have to shoot the flying saucers trying to abduct your mii's. This game in principle is very simple, entertaining for a few rounds, but gets tiring very quickly. Overall, 6/10. Find Mii Find Mii is quite a self explanatory game - you have to match the mii's in the crowds. For example, you have to match two mii's that look the same. Very straightforward, and in my opinion, quite boring! 4/10. Table Tennis This is a great little mini-game, and involves just seeing and controlling the hand that is holding the table tennis bat. You literally just have to move the wiimote in order to return the ball to the other player. It's quite a lot of fun, but like the others, quickly becomes tiresome. 7/10 Pose Mii In this game, your mii has several set "poses" changed by pressing the A and B buttons, and you have to rotate your mii and put them in the correct pose to fit into a bubble with a silhouette of the pose required to gather the points. For some reason, I found this game particularly entertaining, especially when played with a friend on 2 player mode. The levels get increasingly more difficult once again. This is one of my favourites on the game. 9/10 Laser Hockey This mini game is based on the popular air hockey game. It's actually quite difficult to get the hang of as the handle is a bit mental! It's just as fun as the real thing, and beating your friend is a real feeling of achievement, as it's sometimes a little difficult to control. I think this game could be a little better, and with a few improvements could have been one of the better games on Wii Play. 6/10 Fishing As it says on the tin, really. You control a fishing rod and have to catch fish from a pond. Each fish is worth a different amount of points, and you need to get the maximum amount of points you can in a set time. Simples! It's quite difficult to get used to dipping the rod in and waiting for a catch, but once you get the hang of it, Fishing is one of the more entertaining games on Wii Play. I would give it 8/10. Billiards This is my favourite game in all truth. You have to pot the balls in order, while aiming, selecting where your cue hits the cueball, and pulling back with the cue, all with the wiimote. It's a lot of fun, especially with friends, and is also quite challenging to begin with. I did find pulling the cue back a source of frustration to begin with, but eventually figured out how to operate it correctly. I'd give this 9/10. Charge! Charge involves racing Cows(!) down a farmyard path, with the aim being to hit the scarecrows. There are static scarecrows that you have to hit and also ones that move which are worth additional points. This game uses the wiimote in a special way, on the side and you tilt it forward to go faster. It's quite clever really. Another game which is good to play with friends. 7/10. Tanks This game involves you operating a tank, and firing upon all the enemy tanks on the field. You have 3 lives, and have to complete as many levels as possible without being destroyed. It's a great game which is quite addictive. 9/10 -------------- Conclusion -------------- Overall, I think Wii Play is a decent game. It will keep you entertained for a few hours, which is more than I can say for a lot of the games that have been released for the Nintendo Wii. The added bonus of this game is that it comes with a Wiimote, which usually cost £30. As this game usually retails at £35 with the Wiimote, it's a no brainer that you should get it really. However, if the game didn't come with a Wiimote, I'm not sure that it'd be worth over £15. However, I don't think that for an additional £5 anybody can moan. Overall I would give Wii Play 9/10 with everything considered. Thanks for reading, ~Xlixen

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                • Logitech Z 4 / PC Speaker / 81 Readings / 79 Ratings
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                  28.05.2009 19:26
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                  Very Attractive, good value for money Speaker Set.

                  Introduction The Z4's are yet another great release by Logitech following in a long line of high-quality speaker sets by the company. The set is wired and includes: * Two large 8.5W Satellite Speakers * One 23W Subwoofer * One Wired Remote with Volume and Bass control. This smaller sized set is not to be taken lightly, as they pack a punch. Coupled with a decent sound card, and this set will be more than enough for any smaller sized room. The price compliments the product too - at only £50 from stores such as ebuyer, the set poses great value for money, something that needs to be taken into consideration with the economy in the state it's in. Specification Technical Specifications - Total RMS power: 40 watts RMS Satellites: 17 watts RMS (8.5 watts x 2) Subwoofer: 23 watts RMS - Total peak power: 80 watts - Frequency response: 35 Hz-20 kHz - Drivers: Satellites: 5.1 cm dome driver, 5.1 cm pressure driver Subwoofer: 20.3 cm pressure driver - Speaker dimensions (H x W x D, cm): Satellites: 22.9 x 7.6 x 9.5 Subwoofer: 22.9 x 22.9 x 23.8 - Signal-to-noise ratio: >92 dB Looks The speaker set is very attractive, and comes in the very common colour scheme of silver and black. This may be deemed "boring" by some, however it does compliment the rest of my desktop, so I have no argument on the colour front. The speakers aren't in any way garish, and aren't limited to the "gamer" market. They look as though they would suit any desktop, however modern the hardware is that occupies it. The materials that the speakers are made from are very high quality - such that you would expect from a Logitech product. The glossy black finish on the satellites is a similar finish as is found on Samsung products - of which I am a personal fan. The cast metal stands are also great, despite several occasions of dropping the satellites, mine have stayed in perfect condition. Performance The audio streaming through these speakers is astounding. My previous speaker set was an old 5.1 Logitech set, and when changing to these 2.1 Z4's, I didn't expect as much as I would have got with a 5.1 Surround set. However, I was indeed surprised when plugging the Z4's in for the first time. The noise that is emitted from them is brilliant, and the set is capable of playing at very loud volumes, even making the floor shake, despite only having two satellites. Films, TV shows and Music all fair very well through the Z4's, especially when coupled with a decent sound card. The sounds are very crisp at low volume or high volume and I was also astounded by the sound quality when playing games. Reliability Being a Logitech product, these speakers are very reliable. However, if something did go wrong with them, the Logitech support system is very good, and an RMA would most certainly be handled very well. After 6 months of continuous use of my Z4's I can honestly say that I've never experienced any problems at all with them, and would fully recommend them to anybody. Conclusion The Logitech Z4's are a very good solution for most home computers although they may be a little on the small size for enthusiast users. However, I could not recommend these more to the average home user for the following reasons: - They are of excellent quality. - Great value for money. - Louder than most people will need. - Good wired remote. - Attractive speaker set. Thanks for reading, ~Xlixen

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                  • Acer Aspire 5920G / Laptop / 79 Readings / 76 Ratings
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                    25.05.2009 18:43
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                    A good solution for an average home user on a budget.

                    Introduction ---------------- Acer has built up a decent reputation in the home consumer PC market in recent years. They are based in Taiwan, and are now the third largest computer manufacturer in the world, behind only HP and Dell. Their products include Laptops, Desktops, PDA's, Servers and other minor computer based products. The Acer Aspire 5920G is a 15.4" notebook PC that was released back in 2007. At that time, the specifications of the machine were very high, and as such it was very expensive. However, since then the price has dropped, making the machine very much more affordable while still having competitive specifications to other machines being released this year. This review will cover the ins and outs of the 5920G and whether this computer would be a good choice for you. Specifications ----------------- The laptop comes well equipped wielding a Dual-Core Intel processor, 4GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive. The full details of the equipment are listed below: Processor - Intel Core 2 Duo T5750 Screen - 15.4" WXGA Crystalbrite LCD (8ms) @ 1280x800 Resolution Graphics Card - ATI Radeon HD3470 256Mb RAM - 4GB DDR2 Hard Drive - 250Gb SATA-150 Blu-Ray Disc Drive 802.1a/b/g WLAN Inbuilt Subwoofer and Speakers 5 in 1 Card Reader. Windows Vista Home Premium This is comparable to many middle of the range laptops today. The one major downside to this machine is it's weight - At 3kg, this machine is a beast and hurts your shoulder when you carry it around for a while - Compared to other 15.4" laptops, 3kg is very heavy, many are around 2kg or less. It also comes with a 1 year warranty. Looks -------- On first inspection, the laptop appears to be quite attractive. When closed, it has a curved glossy black finish on the lid, with 'Acer' printed in a silver font in the centre. The 5920G has an unusual latch to make the laptop open - It is designed like a car door (allegedly designed by BMW). This is an unusual feature and I believe it makes the laptop quite unique. However, I believe the good looks end here. Upon opening the laptop, you suddenly begin to question the designer's intentions. The inside is a ghastly 'off-white' grey sort of colour, which does not in any way compliment the sleek glossy black finish of the outside. From experience with the laptop, the horrid grey plastic inside is easily marked and becomes grubby very quickly. It looks tacky and cheap and detracts from the good job that the company made on the outside of the machine. Other than that, the laptop pretty much resembles other Acer laptops - hotkeys down both left and right hand sides, a speaker strip above the keyboard and the trackpad centred below the keyboard. Features ----------- The Acer 5920G comes with the usual array of features bundled with laptops - Annoying software that you don't want, will never use and just uses up disc space and a standard installation of Windows Vista on a Hard drive that has been partitioned in a way you don't want! However, there is an inbuilt webcam on the underside of the "Door handle" which is very good. The "Crystal Eye" instantly works with MSN and appears to be a decent enough webcam. The Blu-Ray drive in the laptop is a major positive point. The ability to play high definition content is a feature that many competitors do not offer - especially at the price that this laptop sells for. To add to this, the laptop also has a HDMi output, meaning that it can be plugged into a large HDTV in order to stream high definition content, leading to you not having to purchase a Blu-Ray player or PS3 to play Blu-Ray movies! This is, however where the features of the machine end, and I still cannot get over the way that Acer partition their hard drives - it's unneeded and very annoying! Build Quality ---------------- First viewing gives the impression that the 5920G is a very well built machine. The outside appears very well made and does feel very good quality to the touch. The same cannot be said when it is opened however, with the grey plastic feeling very cheap. It is very solid however, and any attempts to bend the screen do not work. The screen itself is quite shiny, and has a decent viewing angle. So far in 4 months of continual use, very little damage has been evident, and I have not had any problems with the machine. Keyboard, Trackpad and Hotkeys ------------------------------------------ Keyboard: The keyboard is in the same horrific shade of grey as the rest of the inside of the machine. It is a full size keyboard (minus number pad of course) and the majority of the buttons are of regular size and shape. It is, indeed comfortable to type with (as I experienced writing reams and reams for my ICT coursework) and the keyboard does not encourage typo's like some laptop keyboards do. It does feel very natural and continual typing flow is maintained. The trackpad also does not interfere with typing like on some laptops - This is especially good as I had some bad experiences with my old laptop with the trackpad interfering when I was typing. Trackpad: The trackpad is satisfactory also - it has both horizontal and vertical scrolling features and three buttons underneath (Although I still haven't figured out what the middle button is for!) The trackpad sensitivity is about right and I don't get annoyed when using it - So it is satisfactory (I'd never rate a trackpad as good, much rather use a mouse!) Hotkeys: There are several hotkeys built into the 5920G down both the left and right hand sides of the keyboard. These offer pretty normal functionality - Internet, Wireless connectivity, e-mail, media functions and CD-burning software. The buttons respond well to touch, however I have found that I accidently press the CD-burning software button by accident when using the cursor keys which is very annoying - especially when sound is turned on as it beeps. Other than that one minor gripe, the buttons are good overall. Battery ---------- The 5920G is packed with an 8-cell lithium Ion battery. On the "balanced" power plan in Vista, a full battery is expected to last just over 2 hours. In my opinion this isn't particularly brilliant. Coupled with the huge weight of the thing (3kg), the Aspire 5920G isn't a particularly portable solution. However, there are worse battery lives out there, and more time could be squeezed out of the machine by setting it on a lower power mode. Of course, performance would be compromised - but frankly if high performance was needed, this machine wouldn't have been the best choice. Performance ----------------- Generally, the laptop will perform well in any application that you wish. Internet exploring is quick and painless and many desktop applications will run without any fuss at all. The laptop also scores well in many desktop benchmarks, although not brilliantly. Games tend to run okay, at decent frame rates on medium graphics. However, as this is not primarily a gaming machine for me, it is difficult to back this up with evidence - The only real game I play on it is FM2009...which runs with a fairly large database with no problems or lag. Therefore I'll give the performance a 4/5 with price having a bearing on the score - Performs admirably for work based tasks, can play music well and some games also tend to work quite well. Price -------- This laptop usually comes in at around £500. I purchased mine from Amazon for £480 but there are other places where it is available with varying specifications which impact the price. These stores include: - Acer Direct - Play.com - Amazon.co.uk - Dabs.com Conclusion -------------- Overall, I believe that this laptop poses good value for money. It has decent specs which relate to good performance, decent looking exterior, good webcam, HD capabilities with it's Blu-Ray and HDMi out and several more good features. However it is let down on several fronts - It's portability is poor due to being heavy and having low battery life and it does tend to get quite hot after continual usage. However, if you are on a budget looking for a mid-range new laptop - I will recommend this machine, especially with today's poor economic climate. If however, you have slightly more cash you could afford to spend, I would recommend you looked elsewhere, as more portable and newer solutions are now available at competitive prices. -------------------------- Thanks for reading, ~Xlixen

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                    • More +
                      18.05.2009 16:55
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                      Every single track is brilliant.

                      Background: First and foremost, Blackbird is a brilliant follow up album to a phenomenal debut album by Alter Bridge, One Day Remains. The quartet originate from Orlando, Florida and Alter Bridge first came to be in 2004, when three ex-Creed members; Mark Tremonti, Scott Phillips and Brian Marshall came together with Myles Kennedy (Formerly of the Mayfield Four). The four members have very good chemistry, and produce a unique rock sound with touching lyrics, hard bass lines and memorable guitar riffs. Their first album, One Day Remains was released on August 10th 2004 by Wind up Records. The album was a huge hit in the US, getting 5th position in the US Album chart. Come 2007, Alter Bridge were ready to release their second album, named Blackbird. The album was released on October 9th under the label Universal Republic. Several tracks from the album were released by the band, namely 'Rise today', 'Watch over you' and 'Ties that bind' was released in the UK. Several of the songs were also featured on television, as the theme song for WWE Unforgiven 2007, first trailer for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and for the promo advertisement for Season 6 of CSI: Miami. Blackbird itself hit 13th in the US album charts, and managed to hit fourth in the US Rock charts. In the UK it fared much better than the first album, managing 37th in the album charts and 2nd in the Rock Charts. The Album: Blackbird is made up of 13 tracks in total, lasting a total of 59 minutes. The average song length on the album is 4 minutes. Although this is lengthy, the heartfelt vocals and addictive riffs is very engaging, and time flies when listening to the tracks. The album costs approximately £10 from most good online retailers. The CD artwork is appropriate to the sounds of the album - very bold black and white with red text emanating from the centre. The image of the blackbird is obviously significant, as it ties in with the song and album name. This gives a slightly gothic feel, but it isn't overwhelming such as many bands seem to have opted for in recent years. Overall, the artwork compliments the content of the album very well and doesn't detract from the music on the album at all. Tracklisting: - Ties That Bind - Come To Life - Brand New Start - Buried Alive - Coming Home - Before Tomorrow Comes - Rise Today - Blackbird - One By One - Watch Over You - Break Me Down - White Knuckles - Wayward One Track Reviews: 1. (3.19 minutes) "Ties That Bind" One of my personal favourites, Ties that Bind kicks the album of in a fast paced, rocky style. Brilliant guitar riffs, heavy drum beats and a unique quality to the vocals which is difficult to describe. I personally cannot think of a better way to open an album like this, and I firmly believe that this is one of the best tracks on the album. It is quite heavy though, and may put some listeners off. 2. (3.52 minutes) "Come To Life" Another great track, this time a slower tempo is employed with the use of voice changing equipment, but again a heavy drum beat is present and dark overtones are evident. The vocals are once again a major highlight in this track, with the backing singing complimenting the main vocals well. 3. (4.55 minutes) "Brand New Start" This song is much slower, and really shows the diverse qualities of the band. The skilled guitar playing works well with the carefully written lyrics, resulting in a very moving piece of music. The song is quite clearly influenced by love and the lyrics are really soothing, especially before the first chorus. 4. (4.35 minutes) "Buried Alive" "Buried Alive" returns to the heavier style previously explored on the album. There are sections of the lyrics in this song that feel very chilling - specifically just before the chorus when "I'm cold and I'm so afraid That I'm too weak and I can't change" is sung. The rest of this song is pretty mainstream in terms of the album, and doesn't really pose anything much different to any of the other songs worthy of any mention. 5. (4.20 minutes) "Coming Home" This song possesses a strong instrumental introduction which sets the song up for something special. The chorus is very catchy, and is very memorable. After hearing it for the first time, the tune stuck in my head for days! The lyrics are very meaningful, and Myles' voice really does have a quality that gives this band a unique quality. I cannot think of another vocalist who has the same earthy quality to their voice like Myles. 6. (4.07 minutes) "Before Tomorrow Comes" Once again, "Before Tomorrow Comes" is something different offered by the band, showing their diversity in styles. The song starts of more slowly, and lighter riffs are used before blasting into a beautiful melodic chorus, complimented by some well placed backing vocals which really add to the sound. 7. (4.21 minutes) "Rise Today" Rise Today seems to be the "odd track out" on this album. The style doesn't really correspond to the rest of the album, and would probably be more suited to their previous album, One Day Remains, as it is a similar sound to what they had in 2004. However, the song itself does not detract from the album, as it is a very listenable track. 8. (7.58 minutes) "Blackbird" Blackbird, as the title track of the album always had to be something special, especially on this album. It is, and more. Blackbird has it all, slow paced introduction reeling you in, dark overtones with the bassy riff and then sheer power from the vocals which are simply outstanding. This is a fantastic track, and the 8 minutes it runs for are bliss to any true fan of rock music. This is what the album is all about. 9. (4.20 minutes) "One by One" One by one returns to the hard-rock style straight away. There is a certain sadness to the song - The lyrics explore war and how the "Brave will fall". Once again, the music is just perfect - The lyrics, vocals, instruments all work together perfectly - I find it difficult to find any faults in the song at all. 10. (4.19 minutes) "Watch over You" Watch Over You is one of the most toned down songs on the album, featuring soft vocals and very sweet harmonics. This one gets me singing along every time and it always makes me feel sad. You'll just have to listen to it yourself to understand. 11. (3.56 minutes) "Break Me Down" Returning back to the rock style once more, Break me Down also has a softer quality to it. The melody is the saving grace of the song in terms of it being too similar to some of the other songs on the album. 12. (4.25 minutes) "White Knuckles" White Knuckles is a much higher paced, questioning song. This song gives more of the dark overtones realised earlier in the album. The heaviness of the backing instrumentals really does seem to reiterate the meaning behind the lyrics in the song. 13. (4.47 minutes) "Wayward One" This song appears to give a bit of an overview for the album. Cleverly, the artist seems to leave you expecting more after this song, which is good in some ways, and not in others. I expected something else when this song was finished, and this just made me want to listen to the album again - However I can also see why this may be disappointing for some listeners. Summary As far as I'm concerned, this album is faultless. It has it all - and it can bring on floods of emotions of all kinds. I fully recommend to anybody who likes Rock Music as I can't think of many other albums which I'd listen to over this if I had a choice. Overall, I give this album 10/10 - Give it a go! Thanks for reading, ~Xlixen

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                      • Volkswagen Fox 1.2 3dr / Car / 67 Readings / 64 Ratings
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                        17.05.2009 18:58
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                        Overall, a great car. Especially for first time drivers!

                        Background I was lucky enough to have my 1.2 Urban Fox bought for me straight from the dealership. My family and I had spent some time searching round each of the manufacturers to find the perfect small car before I passed my driving test. We chose Volkswagen as our previous experience with their cars is very good. They have a reputation for being very good value for money and being very reliable. The salesperson at the dealership was very good, and gave us a very good price for the car that we were trading in. I chose my fox in bright red, just like my very first bicycle. When I received the car, I was overjoyed. It's nippy, efficient, fun and I'll regret leaving it behind when I leave home to go to university. The Fox has been brilliant since I had it over a year ago, only a couple of minor faults which were put right in a service. It's perfect for driving short distances, but also copes well on longer distance journeys - many of which I experienced when visiting universities all across the country. It's deceptively large inside - from the outside it looks tiny, but as one of my friends exclaimed - "It's like a tardis in here!". The boot space also isn't too bad for a car of its size - as a family of musicians we manage to fit 2 trumpets, and a trombone into the boot, and it would fit a good amount of shopping in too. One problem that I did have however was the lack of a third back seat. On several occasions I needed to carry more passengers, but this wasn't possible as the middle seat is occupied by a plastic cup holder - which in itself isn't fantastic. Specifications There are two main models of the Fox - The Fox and the Urban Fox. The Urban fox has several Optional extra's equipped that the normal Fox doesn't have - Central Locking, Electric Windows, Tip-and slide seats, colour coded bumpers are the main ones. When picking my car these were features which I desired, and that is why I picked an Urban Fox. There is then a choice between 2 engines: - 1.2 Litre, 55PS, 5 Speed Manual Petrol - 1.4 Litre, 75PS, 5 Speed Manual Petrol There is then a choice between having standard trim wheels, or Volkswagen 'Piranha' Alloy wheels coming at a premium of £570. The Fox comes in 8 different shades of paint to choose from: - Uranium Grey - Tornado Red - Indian Blue - Sunshine Yellow - Black - Reflex Silver - Indigo Blue - Diamond Black Many of these colours look very good on the Fox. Price The Volkswagen Fox comes in baseline at price of £6845 with no additional extras for a new car. The Volkswagen Urban Fox comes in baseline at a price of £7505 with no additional extras. Advantages - With the economy the way it is, the Volkswagen Fox is a very cheap new car, even compared with other small car manufacturers. With the government introducing the scrappage scheme, the price on a new fox will be achievable by many more people. - Volkswagens tend to hold their value quite well due to being very good quality, long lasting and reliable cars. - The fox is a very fun car to drive. - The fox is a very good looking small car. - As the Fox hasn't been around for very long, there are not many on the roads and you will have something different to a lot of people. Disadvantages - It is a small car, so if you need your car to carry people it may be wise to purchase a larger one. - Can't think of any more! ==================== Thanks for reading, ~Xlixen

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                          14.05.2009 18:18
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                          Buy if you can find it cheap.

                          The Nintendo Wii is a brilliant piece of equipment, there's no doubt about it. The ingenuity behind the console cannot be doubted. However, like many of the games I've played on the Nintendo Wii, Mario Strikers Charged Football has a very limited "life". That is, after a day of playing, you'll never feel like picking up the handset to it again. The game was a lot of fun to begin with. Running around with characters such as Mario, Luigi, their evil counterparts - Wario and Waluigi and other characters such as Donkey Kong, Bowser, Yoshi and more. The game requires a Nunchuk to be attached to the Wiimote as controls are found on both the Nunchuk and the main Wiimote. The "training" mode was entertaining, and gave all the information needed to play the game well enough to easily beat a computer player. It was the right length, as I didn't get bored of playing the tutorials before they had finished. In the main game, a "Team" is made up of One Special Character (Mario, Luigi etc) and 3 other players that you can pick from. There is also a goalkeeper that cannot be picked or controlled. The main characters all have special moves which allow them to score several goals at once. This is difficult to achieve at first, but once you get used to the game it gets very easy to win by 10-0 or other silly score lines. The "Tournament" mode is tedious. It starts out very fun and the first few wins are very fulfilling. But after the first 7 games you're willing for the tournament to be over, just to lose in the final and have to start again. Before long the realisation comes that this game is very repetitive, and doesn't really offer much beyond a standard 5v5 match. There is very little "build-up play" like as with only 5 in a side, there is little defence to break down. This saw me getting bored of the game within a day. Mario Strikers Charged Football is fun to play for a few games with friends, but I wouldn't recommend the "Single Player Tournament" mode, as it simply gets boring. However, this seems to be the case for most of the games for the Wii console, so it cannot be looked to deeply into. Overall, I give this game 5/10. It is very fun and quirky to begin with, but does not offer enough features to have any sustainable game play - This is one to get out with friends around. If you do want to purchase the game, I wouldn't recommend purchasing an expensive new copy. Try to get it second hand from eBay, or from your local game retailer in the preowned section. It's likely to be much cheaper from there, and you won't be as disappointed. ================= Thanks for reading, ~Xlixen

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                          • Logitech X 530 / PC Speaker / 14 Readings / 24 Ratings
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                            28.04.2007 10:52
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                            Great Speakers

                            Logitech speakers, 5.1 surround. The name tells it all. They are the cream of speakers. Never experienced surround sound? Should be shot (Bit drastic actually). Never fear, Logitech to the rescue with this relatively cheap 5.1 system. Not the best on the market arguably, but it still serves its purpose. Coupled with a high quality sound card, you'll not know the difference. Priced at £30-50 these are at the bottom end of surround sound prices. Perfect for anybody who enjoys music or watching films but doesn't want to burst the bank on a sound system. Wall mountable the system is perfect for a small bedroom, the speakers are nicely sized so they don't take up oceans of room. The sub woofer again is a nice size. Made of sturdy material and would probably withstand the occasional knock and fall you expect of it. All round these speakers are generally good. Not brilliant but for a price as low as that, you can't complain. So... On to the bad points: Adjusting the sound levels and volumes can be both time consuming and confusing. However most of this being the fault of the sound card, some is to blame from the speakers. From default the speakers are set up poorly, the rear speakers are set very low and can be hardly heard. The cables are very short, meaning that to get the full 5.1 surround experience, the speakers must all be mounted very close to the computer, which spoils the effect, I found the wires get tangled very easily and sometimes they get knotted. The sockets / inputs into the rear of the sub woofer protrude out a long way, this means that it can not be put up flush against a wall of other such thing. This annoyed me greatly as instead of being neat in the corner it now takes up most of my upper desk. Volume control is very sensitive at low levels yet nothing happens at the top end. From 0 to 1/4 of the dial most of the volume is gained. This means that if you are trying to increase volume it is hard to find a happy medium, I often find that I struggle to hear or its really loud and end up upsetting my friend in the room next door. This causes further problems when you try to really crank up the volume, after half way round the dial the increase in volume seems negligible compared to the first half. The contrast should be more widely spaced. Although it does get louder, not as much as you expect. **Warning** It does get very loud towards the top, this may annoy neighbors and pets One final problem, is that when you reach the max out volume, a certain sense of crackling and back ground static can be notably head this for most won't be noticed but listening to a War film, when a bomb drops... there is a fair bit of distortion at the max volumes. Concluding good points: Very powerful bass makes watching any type of horror or war epic immense. The effect is purely mind blowing. Cheap and cheerful these are excellent for any mid market music and film enthusiast.

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                            • More +
                              26.04.2007 17:39
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                              Great Mouse, Fully Recommended

                              Introduction The Razer Diamondback is the perfect mouse for anybody who intends to play computer games, or does computer designing that requires a sensitive mouse. Overall the mouse is of fantastic design, not the most expensive out there, although not cheap, and looks good on your desktop! A Little About The Company Razer was formed in the late 1990's, it's products being high-end computer peripherals (Originally Only Mice). The products hit the market and were instantly a huge success with the "Pro" gaming crowd. The first product being the Razer "Boomslang." Capable of 2000dpi while the competition lay in the dust with their measly 400dpi mice. Many pro gamers such as Jonathon "Fatal1ty" Wendel (Made Millions by being a high profile “Professional Gamer”) swore by their Boomslang, and it is from here that the company progressed bringing out many more gaming mice, and recently other products, including keyboards, speakers, a headset and a soundcard. The company also recently worked alongside Microsoft to create the Habu. This really encapsulates their success - working alongside the mighty MS. Razer is based in San Diego, CA, and its products now distributed worldwide. Design As with all Razer products, the Diamondback was designed with the gamer’s requirements in mind. Afterall, Razer’s slogan is “For Gamers, By Gamers.” The mouse fits snugly into the hand, whether you are right or left handed. This is an important factor that gives the Diamondback an advantage over the immediate competition, as most gaming mice favour the right handed. The mouse is light and elegant, with the name of the mouse on the back. The back plate is made from transparent hardened plastic, that allows you to see some of the chipboard and the bright blue L.E.D inside the mouse. The L.E.D also illuminates the scroll-wheel on the front of the mouse, giving it a very distinctive look. The front buttons are much larger than a regular mouse, once again, an advantage to the “Gamer” as it enables much faster clicking and “fragging”. They are made from a rubbery material, and are very comfortable to use. There are 4 additional buttons to the mouse, located at the left side and right side of the mouse. The left buttons are very useful, but the buttons located on the right hand side are not very accessible, and I haven’t puut them to use, with not being able to reach them fast enough. The Mouse is very sensitive. At 1600 dpi, it is not the most sensitive on the market, but is still at a very competitive sensitivity, and would be very difficult for someone who is not used to high sensitivity to use. Although, the amount of dpi can be configured in the software bundled with the mouse. To add to the sensitivity, the mouse glides wonderfully due to having “Super-slidy” mouse feet underneath. The motion is very smooth, and in my experience has never caught on anything. The Mouse is Wired, not wireless. Although this may be seen as a disadvantage, in my experience wired mice are better for gamers. This is due to batteries not running out in the middle of the game! Features The Mouse comes bundled with drivers and software. In the software, you can assign macros to the side buttons on the mouse, and set the dpi. Overall, the interface of the software is nice. There isn’t much to it, but It’s useful for setting the mouse up on purchasing. Packaging The mouse comes packed very well in a vacuum sealed plastic pack with very artistic cardboard with it. It attracts the eyes immediately, giving the impression of a quality product. Conclusion The Razer Diamondback is a very elegant mouse that is perfect for anyone needing a sensitive mouse for either gaming or any other reason. It is USB, and very hard wearing – I have had mine for well over a year, and it shows no sign of giving up! When I purchased the mouse, it was priced at £35.99, which I believe was a bargain. I would quite happily spend that amount of money on one again. I fully recommend this product in every way. Peace Out :-)

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                              • More +
                                15.04.2007 16:16
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                                get it if you see it

                                Although you might think that this is now an old card (I dont think retailers stock it anymore) I would still advise you to get one if you see one on the cheap, or on ebay. I have been running this card now for around 1 year and a half. Frankly, It's been great to me. It was very expensive at the time, being new architecture, but boy, does this thing perform! I have been running this with a 22" monitor @ 1600x1200 resolution, and frame rates in even the most modern games are still exceptional! I had this thing running dual screen at one point, too. And frame rates were still good. If you are looking to get a card that will play tomorrow's games today, then this isnt the card for you. I would suggest getting an 8800, as they are DX10 ready. However, if you are looking to pick up a cheap high-end DX9.0c card - Hey Presto! This is great. It has better specs than the 7600's, and is a lot cheaper than the 7900's, as the 7800 was discontinued on release of the 7900. So, my advice is that if you do see one of these cheap, and your looking for a high end DX9 card, get it. It's great. It isn't overly large, and doesn't get extremely hot, its stability is astounding. It is also easy to install, slot it in your 16x PCI-E slot, install the drivers, plug your monitor in and go! The problems I have had with mine are: One of the capacitors on the card fell off. I'm not sure if this was my fault or not, but sometimes on startup, desktop doesn't show properly. Other than that, I have had no problems. It can even run modern games on high graphics, a year or so on from release! Enjoy!

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                              • Games Workshop / Highstreet Shopping / 24 Readings / 35 Ratings
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                                15.04.2007 08:59
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                                Spend money wisely...

                                As you first step through the doors of any Games Workshop Shop, you feel welcomed into the loving arms of the staff and other hobbies ts. But I warn you, don't be deceived. Although it looks so innocent now, believe me, before you know it.... you can have squandered your money away within a few purchases. Any figurers that you buy will be hideously expensive often £8-10 for a single metal model. And any sort of vehicles, can be anywhere from £30-45. Before you know it, you'll soon need a mortgage to pay your debts off. Being aimed at small children who want to start a hobby and be creative...It is incredibly harsh on the parents. A single 'army' of 1000 /1500 points (A standard army size for most games) could cost upwards of £200, then on top of this, you must buy the 'primer' paint which they sell at £8 a spray can, which last only a few sprays, then after this you must then paint the models... this can be a long and bothersome job. Thus most army's are never actually painted, because it can take several hours to do it, and most small children don't have the patients. Don't get me wrong, GW (Games Workshop) is a brilliant place if you have the money. It gets small children involved in group activities and helps get children active and away from the dreaded PC screen. The models do look rather impressive once they are all painted up and laid out nicely on a gaming table. When I started out in the hobby, in the LOTR section before moving onto 40k... prices were not exactly cheap, but a darn sight better than they are now. The other day I added up my models and the price at which I brought them. For both my 40k army's by buying them what must have been only a year earlier I had saved nearly £60 then if I had brought them today. As for my copious amount of LOTR I brought, I never got round to pricing it up, I was too scared to remember what money I had invested into it. The hobby was very fun and entertaining for a few years. GW held various events and other special days to make it fun and exciting every time I went. However as I grew older it got less and less fun. I found the number of good opponents was dwindling... and it then turned into just long sessions of waiting. In conclusion, I would say that. Yes. GW is a good hobby, but only if your prepared to pay for it. There is no market for selling your stuffs on. So don't expect to come from this lightly. A keen hobbies t in GW could in his gaming life spend near £1000 in the store on various items. This may not seem alot, but for something that is only played probably once a week, for a couple of years... a tad on the expensive side. GW aims at the 11 ish to the 14's ... after 14 many people drop out of the hobby, therefore If you are around this age, and have no quarrels with spending alot. Hell, go for it. It is mighty fun while your addicted. Just make sure you like it alot before you commit to spending. GW does offer introduction games and other such activities for people wishing to look into becoming a hobbies t.

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