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Right so I'm not going into storyline or plots etc... because it's kind of difficult to describe without giving the game away.
So being a PC gamer I inevitably came to this with the same condescension that accompanies any new Call of Duty game. However, unlike my other PC gaming friends, I actually enjoyed the game. MW2 was a bit of a disappointment and Black Ops was abysmal but MW3 seems to have done some things right.
So single player then. It has some of the same over the top Hollywood action, like MW2, and the storyline can be a bit confusing amid the hail of 5.56 and 7.62 rounds. The maps are also a bit too linier for my liking. However it seems as though your fellow soldier actually put some rounds down the enemy's way and kill some of them to give you a helping hand but they still don't seem to have got their master at arms just yet.
The graphics are pretty damned good and make the console version look like it was built using lego bricks, but it doesn't seem that heavy on your computer resources and I have no trouble running it on a gaming laptop with mobile graphics.
...and to the multiplayer. This is where things get 'interesting', I use this word here because the multiplayer seems a bit of a mixed bag, one minute you can be doing well and the next being punished with lag and stupid spawning. Being an IT tech I know a game based on the players hosting the game will never end well but it can be very annoying when you do not have a good host and that 7.62 you were going to plant into a guy's head ends up embedded into a wall on the other side of the map.
Talking of maps, they do seem good and provide a good selection of environments to battle in but some seem as though they were a bit of an afterthought or perhaps an apprentice's input that the lead developer thought should be included to show their inclusivity policy.
Also Activision thought it a good idea to include dedicated server, which is all well and good, but what they neglected to include were ranked servers so it seems silly why they included dedicated servers at all.
GOTY? I think not. It is difficult to know whether or not to recommend this game. I get many hours enjoyment out of it but at times it can be a right nightmare. If you want to play singleplayer then yeah go ahead and get it but if it's multiplayer you're after perhaps BF3 is more up your street.
Quick synopsis without giving the game away:
Basically we follow a bunch of chavs (bad-bois, layabouts, whatever you call them...) as they proceed to mug a woman and then get attacked by aliens. The police are stumped.
That pretty much is the jist of the film.
I got this through LoveFilm and absolutely loved it. Granted the storyline is somewhat non-existent and it was kind of annoying that they put the characters in such a situation but the characters are what make the film great.
I watched it with a mate (he live in London by the way) and both of us were cracking up.
The fact the film was made to be a comedy with some great 'tongue in cheek' action made for a very good film and both of us came away saying this was the best film we'd seen in a long time.
If it didn't have the likes of Nick Frost in and two 5 year olds trying to be 'bad-bois' I don't think it would have been good at all. It reminds me a lot of Kidulthood to a certain extent but without the drama and complex storyline.
Oddly enough the film does have a bit of a parable embedded into it which was a bit odd (basically don't f**k with aliens)
Is it worth watching? Yes. It is worth buying? Absolutely. I'd suggest its best watched with friends though, I think you'll get a better comedic effect with added banter.
The Desire HD has been out for a while now and after a contract upgrade I've been using it for about a month now and can safely say it is pretty damned kick arse.
First off is the massive 4.3" screen which makes this device brilliant for watching YouTube and browsing the web. There's an 8MP camera to boot which also allows for HD (720p) video capture and also features flash which comes in mighty handy when there is little in the way of light. There's an 8GB microSD card also included for all of those photo & video memories as well as your beloved music. The 1GHz processor makes things super speedy to do so you can be listening to music and surfing the web at lightning speed.
So to the actual review... This phone is brilliant! Ok so some expansion needed, apart from all of the above features, the Desire HD runs Android which is a brilliant system to use. Being something of a Google fanboy it fits my criteria very well. What strikes me most is the massive screen which at first seems far too oversized to be any practical use from day to day but after getting used to it I love the huge space I have to text and read emails and surf the web. Playing games on a bigger screen makes a lot of difference too which is great. What really the big screen is ideal for is as an in-car GPS, it includes Google Navigation under Android and you also get HTC Premium Navigation for 1 month which is very good; paired with an in-car kit you will have a perfect system to hook up to your stereo to listen to music and radio plus get directions. The Car Panel app that comes with HTC Android phones is also brilliant for the whole in-car experience; it works similar to Vlingo and allows you to use GPS, make phone calls and view nearby attractions and services like local car parks and petrol stations.
The best feature of the phone though has to be the ability to share your 3G connection by creating a WiFi hotspot; it enables multiple users to connect to the same connection. So if you're on the train and you or your colleagues need access to the internet you can just turn it into a hotspot and share your internet connection to all.
The phone is plastic but does not feel cheap at all; the soft rubber parts of the back of the phone compliment it well and ensure a comfy and firm grip. One gripe though is that when taking it out of your pocket (especially with cold hands) you feel as though you could drop it; the grip isn't quite there. The phone is quite thin given its massive size which holds little confidence if you were to drop it on the floor. Battery life is another issue which affects all smartphones. This phone, compared to my old HTC Hero, has a very poor battery life; don't expect it to last you until you get home especially if you update Facebook or Twitter all day and listen to music to and from work.
Overall though a fantastic device for surfing the web, watching videos and as a normal phone; an ideal companion to the businessman on the road and perfect for the everyday consumer.
Mafia 2 is 2K Czech's attempt at a 3rd Person Shooter following on from "The City of Lost Heaven". It reminds me a lot of GTA4 but set in the 1940s/50s.
Mafia 2 is a very very good game and follows the same sort of idea as GTA4 but with a more defined and linear style. There is far less freedom in the game compared to GTA and some of the missions are completely off map never to be visited again. All this aside it is not GTA so you can forgive it for this. The cars are brilliant, taking you back into the 40s no problem at all (and later the 50s). One thing Mafia 2 has over GTA are the advances in time from the 40s to the 50s advancing years and months which then means a change in environment, seasons and cars. You start off in the winter in the 40s and go through summer and autumn to the 50s doing all sorts of missions on the way. You work up the ranks getting tons of money and getting a very nice house and car(s).
Without giving much away it really is hard to describe why this game is so good. The graphics in this are insane and would make any console gamer put down that controller and buy a PC. The only downsides I can see is the short storyline and the lack of any real freedom. The game makes you feel as though you are free but there are a lot of defined routes and walls that prevent real freedom of the map.
Overall though a worthwhile game to purchase, especially for the PC. With mods you can extend the gameplay for more hours of pure enjoyment.
I've never really played GTA but having a play around with it on the Xbox I bought it for PC only to be let down by my measly graphics card and my single core P4 so I upgraded to a kick arse system even the most hard core gamer would be proud of.
As far as pure and solid game play goes it is great fun and lasts for ages, it goes on and on; it'll easily keep you going for a week or more. It has a brilliant storyline and with it being loosely based on New York you can drive around going past Central Park or across Brooklyn Bridge acting like a New Yorker. Sadness aside, this game really is kick arse, graphics look amazing compared to the console versions (as would be expected) and after sorting out my graphics settings and stuff runs very smoothly indeed.
The downside to this game is that it takes up so much of your computer resources it means that nobody but the most elite PC gamers can play it with any kind of decent graphics. When you do have that computer of your dreams though and play it just looks amazing.
What makes this game a million miles better than any other though are the mods, these extend the game to beyond anything you could possibly achieve in a game developer studio. You can replace all cars, buses, lorries and bikes with real world versions. You can change clothes and pretty much the whole map, you can turn Liberty City into New York and turn into a real American fanboy. As with all mods this can make the game unstable and it does take some time to get things right. When you've spent all weekend getting everything you could possibly want in the game and working you will not be disappointed and this game will easily give you several years of enjoyment.
To round up, just a spectacular game if you have the money and technical expertise to get a kick-arse system. If not you will be effing and blinding that you wish you had a system that could handle it. If you have the gaming PC of your dreams then the gameplay coupled with the modding community will extend your game way beyond the developers original intentions.
Ok so this game had loads of hype and was the biggest selling game of 2009 and still provides millions of players hours of enjoyment in it's online multiplayer.
As a PC gamer I found the lack of dedicated servers and lack of a console the biggest let down to COD:MW2 and as such never really played it, sticking with COD4 and seeing my mates playing it on their PS3s. Recently I decided (after the big let down that was COD: Black Ops) to jump on the bandwagon and play MW2 properly online and I was pleasantly surprised. The guns are good, the maps are excellent and the players can be good fun. With the lack of dedicated servers you are stuck in team death match (TDM) with the annoyances of camping, noob tubing, claymores and RPGs; but you can sort of put up with this for the majority of good games (not to mention the satisfaction of killing that noob who killed you with that claymore). Online then pretty darn good, but still not as good as COD4 which can now only be played if you are a hard core gamer without a life.
Single player wise the campaign is nowhere near as good as the SP in COD4 but it isn't bad. It does go a bit OTT and is very Hollywood with lots of explosions and a typical Hollywood storyline. Also (as with all new SP campaigns) the SP is very short, it took me less than a day to complete and it was a bit of a disappointment especially with the £35 price tag on launch day.
Overall then not the best COD ever but not a bad contender and there are worse games (both MP and SP). MP is what really sells this game but if the lack of dedicated servers put you off don't buy it.
Flickr is one of those social networking tools exclusively for images.
Flickr is quite a simple social networking sites that just does images which is a bit pointless given Facebook but it is easier to add photos than Facebook which is really great. There is also a 100MB limit per month for uploads which is unfair (in my opinion). This combined with having to sign up for Yahoo makes this a real pain to get involved with.
What I find so good about the service is that you can share photos really easily with everyone, members or not. Flickr works very well in my Android phone and the app for the iPod Touch is really rather good, both of which allow you to upload pictures directly from your device. The interface is so much better than Facebook and being a Twitter fan I can just link to this rather than other photo services, I can keep tabs on all of my photos which is a big feature lacking on many Twitter photo services.
Overall for the primary purpose of hosting photos it is very good but with the limited 100MB upload limit it isn't too great but is better than most other photo hosting services and works better than Facebook photos.
Having got involved with blogging and transferring from baywords.com to Weebly as a result of a review on here I just love it.
Weebly is a simple idea, allow users to host website for free and without adverts, ideal. I now pay for a domain through them and am tempted to go pro for some added features. The interface is very easy to use utilising drag and drop elements from paragraphs to HTML code, Google AdSense and YouTube videos. It includes blogging software and has a really great drop-down feature for different pages under different sections. There are some really good themes and having access to embedded HTML makes for some great additions, from visitor counters to language converters. Weebly does include AdSense functionality but it doesn't seem to work and the only way of adding this was to use the HTML code as issued by Google. There are some other gribbles too like when copying text from Word to a paragraph field and trying to increase the size which changes back to default once finished editing, the only way around is to add a line (or two) below the text.
Overall though Weebly is a really great service, which combined with drag and drop, cheap prices this is ideal for those with limited time and skill with website building.
Microsoft may have actually got something right (for once).
The most anticipated Microsoft OS release, dubbed '...what Vista should've been' and introducing some exciting new features this is the best OS to come out of the US Company since XP and Office 2007. With the release of any new OS comes compatibility problems but, for the most part, there seems to be little trouble in Windows 7. Upon installation it grabbed all of my device drivers from the net without asking for input, from Bluetooth dongles to my Android phone, they worked flawlessly.
Microsoft has redesigned many of the standard Windows feature from the task to Calculator and even Paint gets a revamp. Aero Peek allows you to look at open windows and tabs without maximising it and flicking through all of the open windows or tabs. Microsoft has added features like dragging windows side-by-side to dragging windows up to maximise them. The sidebar got a revamp with the gadgets not being tied into the sidebar by default. The desktop image can be a slideshow of images and all windows are slightly see through which looks nice. The taskbar buttons that show open windows have been changed to icons and you can pin icons to the taskbar to allow you access most used programs quickly, right clicking brings yet more options of recently opened documents, tabs or folders. The search function in the start menu is quicker and works better. Libraries allow you to collate files from across your network and external hard drives plus over partitions.
Some criticisms still remain though like Windows Media Player crashing a lot and certain programs not being compatible with the Windows 7 features but for the most part loads of programs work fine in Windows 7 and utilise the features well. Take Google Chrome and iTunes which allow you to right click and access songs, playlist, history and recently opened tabs.
Overall though I'm very impressed with the new features in Windows 7 and like the revamped feel, it does take some getting used to though and I doubt business will take it up because of training their staff. The features combined with an OS that just works make it a worthwhile upgrade from Vista or XP.
I was looking for a torch to replace my limp Maglite and I think I may have just found the best torch ever!
I've always been a Maglite man when it comes to torches, as a Scout leader and Ten Tors leader having a big torch to light up dark corners is very advantageous. I went on a trek (through the snow) to my local Cotswolds and found a great torch about 5½" long and much much brighter than my massive 3D Maglite. It has an amazing throw distance and unlike the Maglite has a really bright wide beam. It benefits from LED lighting, increasing battery life and has a pretty much unlimited bulb life too. Made from aluminium and light as hell (without batteries) it does have a high strength to weight ratio, it's waterproof, shockproof and can be mounted onto a gun if you so wish to. It is a professional flash light and perhaps a bit expensive for the average home user but is ideal for mechanics, outdoor leader/enthusiasts, military personnel, airsoft players and other professionals wanting to illuminate even the darkest corner.
The only thing that the Maglite benefits from over the LED Lenser is the length which can be used as a weapon if needed and is the torch of choice for UK and US police forces. LED Lenser and Surefire are the tactical torches of choice however for most special police units and military units the world over.
Overall a very expensive LED torch but a definite investment if you are a professional wanting to have some serious 'light action'. Used by police and military units worldwide it is a great tool for light your way.
Water bladders are really great inventions and Platypus are a great brand for durability and price.
If you are taking part in Ten Tors/Duke of Edinburgh or are an avid walker/rambler you will already know the advantages of a water bladder over a bottle, they provide easy access to liquid on the move making you drink more and keeping you hydrated. Platypus bladders are built very well and the one I had last me a good five years or more but now is starting to leak so I replace it with a different brand. In all honesty Source, Camelback and Platypus are all very good, it just all depends upon what features you're after and what is on offer/the cheapest at the time. All of these brands include bite valves and the recommended amount to take for a full day exped is 2ltrs and as a leader 3 wouldn't hurt. Many rucksack manufacturers now include water bladder compatibility making it ever easier to integrate the bladder into your rucksack.
Overall I would recommend this water bladder but before the purchase ask for some advice and weigh up price, features etc... before choosing one brand over the other.
So you're thinking of doing Ten Tors or Duke of Edinbourgh or even your son/daughter is doing it and you don't want to spend a fortune, especially if they give up. These are good quality and relatively cheap in the world of waterproofs.
Being a Ten Tors leader, Scout leader and also a student I need to get a pair of decent trouser that aren't going to break the bank. There are Gore-Tex ones that cost anywhere from £100+ but that is just ridiculous especially for students and parents alike. I've taken these out several times on Ten Tors training expeditions and they have not failed me, even with their coating which is never as good as a membrane (such as Gore-Tex) and tends to rub off after a while. They are slightly muddy but still bead rain off no problem. They tend to be around £50 and with Ten Tors participants receiving 20% discount they work out to about £40 which isn't too bad, sure you could go into Millets and spend £10-£20 and get some rubbish (1-2 weekend) trousers but if your child or even you are going out every weekend these just won't cut it.
These trousers benefit from almost full-length zips and poppers help keep rain out, they do lack pockets but I only tend to keep a phone in mine anyway and anything else is kept in the side pockets of my rucksack or my jacket pocket. They are light and roll down very small to take up minimal space in your rucksack or even your coat pocket. They do have the disadvantage of the zips catching the internal mesh but then so do most £100 ones, it's just one of those things manufactures need to overcome.
Overall thought, given their price, durability, small pack-down size these really are ideal for any young participant as well as their parents. If you want to spend more it would be worth it to get Gore-Tex which will last ages and allow the wearer to 'breath' better reducing sweat.
Bluetooth is one of those technologies that you kind of use but not very often but you don't want a huge dongle sticking out of the side taking up space and that can be snapped off and broken rather easily, that's where this little beauty comes in.
The small size of this device means that you barely notice it and it is not at risk of being snapped off and damaging one of your USB ports. Suitably designed for use with laptops it is ideal for connecting your PDA/Smartphone to your computer wirelessly or for using a Bluetooth headset for VOIP calls or even for Bluetooth mice, keyboards and presenters. Using Windows 7 it requires no real setup, just plug in and let Windows 7 do the rest, I have not install experience using the CD provided so it may be a pain under Vista or XP. It does have an annoying and distracting small blue LED on top which you catch out the corner of your eye if your USB ports are on the sides of your laptop.
Overall though given its small size and great performance at close range (10m) this is an ideal device from mobile devices to input devices.
It has to be said Oakley sunglasses are the world leader in their field plus Oakley make some other great products (mainly military),
Well these are the first expensive pair of sunglasses I've bought to date and are incredible. I made my mind up based upon clarity of the lens, durability and built in eye protection. First off the pair I bought are Standard Issue and are issued to US Military Personnel plus I also bought a case and neck round the back holder thing. I do a bit of airsoft and obviously go around in the sun, the main reason for purchasing sunglasses in the depths of winter was the low sun which was a real problem when we had the icy weather and little cloud in the way to block it out. I also use these when mountain biking and have saved my eyes many a time from grit and branches plus a quick rinse under water and they are clean as a whistle, ready to fight another day. In terms of being durable they certainly are. They are bullet-resistant in terms of being shot by a shotgun and I have heard reports that they'll take a 9mm hand-gun round at relatively close proximity but I don't chance it. I do use them for airsoft and they are very good for this, the lenses stay in. I'm not going to be in a military situation when a bullet may strike my eye or something but it's nice to know if I drop them they won't break so readily. They are very clear and seem to remain clear even with fingerprint smudges on them. The lenses are very expensive so I will, for the moment at least, be keeping the standard ones that came with the sunglasses.
Overall (as with all things Oakley) a brilliant pair of sunglasses, perfect for airsoft, perfect for driving, perfect for mountain biking and, of course, perfect for everyday use. They won't break on you and they stay on your face very well.
So you want a portable hard drive and want one that of course is made by the best manufacturer of hard drive in the world, look no further but Western Digital.
Ok so Seagate and WD may be the world leaders but this world leadering comes at a price and you do pay a premium for WD products. The hard drive is very good, quick response time, fast transfer and built like Fort Knox as only Western Digital can. It does suffer the 'shiny case bug' which looks nice but scratches incredibly easily. The cable is really short and the connection between the hard drive and the cable is incredibly loose when makes it troublesome when trying to move the device or if you accidentally bump into it. It is the cable and price that make this product not recommended by me. In all honesty a cheap Hitachi or Samsung drive will do the job just as well but just won't look as nice nor be as reliable but it'll work.
Overall then not recommended for portable storage, buy something cheaper.