Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

And of course it’s the wit and wisdom of Jeremy Clarkson, the host of the ever funny Top Gear. This time around, Clarkson reviews the Honda Insight Hybrid car, and if you’ve ever watched Top Gear before, you’d know that Clarkson isn’t a fan of Hondas, and believes that they’re cars for “old people”. So, of course, this isn’t going to be one of Jeremy’s favorites. How bad is this car?

It’s terrible. Biblically terrible. Possibly the worst new car money can buy. It’s the first car I’ve ever considered crashing into a tree, on purpose, so I didn’t have to drive it any more.

That’s….pretty darned bad. The review descends into a rant about green cars as a whole, but that’s been a sticky point for Jeremy for a long time, so I guess it was to be expected. Still, the entire article is pretty funny, and worth a read.

[Link: Times Online – Jeremy Clarkson Honda Insight 1.3 IMA SE Hybrid review]


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Verdict: Final Fantasy meets Sim City meets the Sims, but without the Final Fantasy, Sim City, or Sims.

So I managed to get my hands on the WiiWare game, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King (whew…what a long title!) and despite what I’d thought would be a borefest, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that I was both right and wrong, but for all the wrong reasons on both counts. Allegedly,  FFCC:MLaaK (jeez, even an acronym it’s long!) is a sequel to a prior Crystal Chronicles game, but having never played Crystal Chronicles before, I found myself unfamiliar with the setting. “No matter,” I thought. “I’ll learn as I go along.”

In a nutshell, the game is a building and city management sim which puts you in the role of the young king of a new city. Well, when I say city, I mean a boundary wall and a castle. At the center of this empty space is a giant crystal that helps the new king build new structures using a magic call “architek”. Together with new advisor Chime and ex-guard Hugh Yurg, you start rebuilding the kingdom, building by building. What’s nice about the whole experience is that once you’ve decided that you want to build something, and where, and that you actually have the right amount of raw material (and there’s only one kind of raw material here), the building happens almost instantaneously, so no waiting however long for the building to be ready.

Once you have a few houses ready, career adventurers start knocking at the castle door, demanding to be employed, and here’s where the game becomes a lot more fun–despite the fact that you’re pretty much confined to the city walls (“a king can’t go out and do the fighting himself, you know!”), you can send bands of adventurers out on errands for you in return for pay. In fact, it’s imperative that you send them out, because they’ll hunt down the magical raw materials for you. There’s a fairly decent number of locations on the map, so you’ll be sending out parties of adventurers out for a long time. Some new locations also provide you with different buildings that you can create, enabling your adventurers to learns skills, change jobs, etc. Fun. In a weird, vicarious way. At the beginning of each day, Chime gives you a breakdown of what each adventurer did the previous day, and then the daily budget sheet, after which you can create behests—missions for the rest of you—for your adventurers to complete for their liege’s pleasure.

While your adventurers are off having all the fun (and pretty much the best part of any RPG, really), you’re pretty much confined to either building the city or chatting to the random inhabitants that show up with each house that you build. Chatting to the city residents builds “morale”, and you can eventually use the morale to develop the place—don’t ask me, I’m not sure how you use morale to develop. In my experience, it’s always taken money. Wadges of it, too.

In any event, this is where the whole thing becomes a bit boring; until you have enough in the way of money, building blueprints, or raw materials, you end up chatting to a few of the locals and then advancing the day just so you can get to the interesting bit again.

I know that the Wii’s internal memory is a huge limitation to what can sensibly be done with Wiiware games, so I don’t blame the game too much.

And yet…despite all this, the game is strangely addictive. Although each day takes ten minutes to get over with (give or take), those ten minute segments pass with surprising quickness, and you end up playing for long stretches at a time without realizing it.

And I suppose this is where the game is a winner, because despite everything, it’s very charming in its look and feel, and I’ll still recommend it rather highly.

Score: 8/10

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Taken Movie Review (non-spoiler)

A quick overview of story – A former spy played by Liam Neeson, relies on his old skills to save his estranged daughter, who has been forced into the sex slave trade.

There wasn’t much hype around this movie, but me missus and I went to check it out last night and were very pleased. It’s quite a gritty action that doesn’t over do the typical hollywood explosions, in fact there was only one.

Neesons characters action skills are more finely tuned moves that count rather than an unrealistic superman strength and he does get hurt. The film approach reminds me of the Bourne Identity range (but without the shakey camera).

I actually found myself quite tense throughout (signs of being very captured) as this story of a very real and horrible women trafficing world that Neesons character gets himself into.

So in short, I recommend a watch 🙂

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So I managed to get my hands on Guitar Hero On Tour for DS, and after some scrapping around with it, I’m ready to review it. When I opened the packaging, I found two sheets of stickers as well, so I set about happily uglifying my DS first. It’s rewarding in some strange way. Anyhow, after the uglification, I inserted the guitar grip into Slot 2, inserted the game pack into Slot 1, and fired up the DS.

Guitar Hero On Tour is the DS offering of the popular Activision game. The game is played using a combination of the guitar grip attachment and the touch screen. The guitar grip even has a place to house the specially made guitar plectrum, so that was cool. Playing the game is similar to other Guitar Hero games: you hold down the appropriately colored button on the grip, and strum the touchscreen with the pick. Nothing much to it. The game boasts an impressive number of songs for a DS cartridge, and most people should be familiar with the majority of the songs. There’s also a battle mode, where you play against against another player, either computer or human if you have a friend with the same game. The battle mode bestows several attacks, such as burning guitar or scissors to cut the guitar strings, that you may ravage your foe with. Some attacks, such as the speed up or the blown amp, can’t be recovered from, but some have an interactive component. For example, if your opponent sets your guitar on fire, you have to blow into the mic to put the fire out.

Personally, I didn’t like battle mode–I don’t know anyone else with the game so I couldn’t play against a human opponent, but I don’t think it’d make the session any more fun. I think the problem is that I enjoy playing real guitars, and the whole battle bit detracts from the art of actually playing music, which is what the game is really about.

The tour mode (thankfully, without any battling!) has you trying to make enough money to rocket you to stardom. You gain more cash for playing songs accurately, naturally, and this provides enough of a challenge to make you replay songs over and over again, to attain the “100%” that is so elusive on expert level.

My biggest gripe about the game, however, is the guitar grip itself. I don’t like it. It’s uncomfortable no matter HOW I hold it, and the only comfortable way of holding it means that I can’t see the screen. The grip also fits pretty loosely into the slot, so at times you find that the attachment comes loose, and then the game grinds to a halt and tells you that “You’ve been rocking a little too hard. Re-insert the Guitar Grip and reset the DS”. Ok, maybe not in those EXACT words, but I’m close.

All in all, the game is great, but it’s marred by an attachment that could have used some ergonomics lessons. Sound is brilliant, graphics are pretty good for a DS game, and the part about playing the strings on the touchscreen with the pick is brilliant. If you like your Guitar Hero on the go, by all means, go for it. But it’s a damn sight easier to play the home console versions.

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Some hilarity as Spiderman reviews all 96 Crayola crayons. It’s actually funnier than you think.

[Link: Spiderman Reviews Crayons]

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