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rAge 2012: Forza Horizon Hands-On

Forza Horizon is the latest title in the Forza series of racing titles, and was playable at this year’s Microsoft Xbox 360 stand at rAge 2012. Roaring into life is how I would describe my initial experience with the Forza Horizon playable demo, the vehicles sprinted down the road with extreme pace and the distinctive growls of their engines echoed through the provided Tritton Headsets. The visuals shown were fantastic, vivid and the landscapes flew past me as the motion blur kicked in, not to mention the car models, which looked absolutely sublime. At my last viewing, there were nine consoles running Forza Horizon, so if you’re an Xbox 360 owner, a fan of the Forza series or both, I would highly recommend giving Forza Horizon a try.

Playing Forza Horizon may have also netted a few players a prize over the weekend of rAge 2012, as there was a competition hosted on the stand. By posting your Forza Horizon experience and entering online at the actual stand, you stand in line to win a ride in a Ferrari F360 driven by South African racer, Jaki Schekter around Zwartkops International raceway. This drive will most likely reach speeds of up to 260 km/h, which will test the Italian sports car’s sophisticated braking system to the fullest extent. The winner will also receive a Wireless Racing Wheel and Forza Horizon, while the two runners up will both receive a copy of the game.

Thankfully, the Forza part of the Xbox stand was open until Sunday, the final day of rAge 2012. Good luck to those who entered!

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Nintendo 3DS Reviews Nintendo Reviews

Super Pokémon Rumble Review

Super Pokémon Rumble has finally ventured onto the Nintendo 3DS. While this title is the first Pokémon game to grace our presence in stereoscopic 3D, we ask ourselves does it live up to the standards of the previous Pokémon titles or is it just a weak attempt to get Pokémon on the Nintendo 3DS? Let’s find out!

Super Pokémon Rumble is the latest spin-off developed by Nintendo-owned studio Ambrella, creators of Hey You, Pikachu! for the N64, Pokémon Dash on DS and Pokémon Rumble, a bite-sized downloadable game released into the wilds of Nintendo’s WiiWare service.

Gameplay: 
The basic premise of this title is simple, take on numerous toy versions of Pokémon in a button mashing mini-adventure. The mini-adventure allows you to travel through different areas filled with multiple Pokémon that you will need to defeat, which will help you gain access to various Battle Royale arena’s. The Battle Royale arena’s put you up against a vast collection of Pokémon in a timed out battle… win the battle and you will be announced the winner of the Battle Royale and hordes of respect will flow automatically from your fellow Pokémon peers.

While this does sound simple enough, Super Pokémon Rumble provides gameplay that is fun and at the same time a great challenge; however, it seems to lack depth and variety. While there is indeed a vast number of different Pokémon to collect within this title, Super Pokémon Rumble still seems fairly linear and repetitive.

While battling it out through the various areas and Battle Royale’s, you will need to keep your Pokémon collection’s health in check. By switching out your injured Pokémon with a fully healed Pokémon frequently, you will prevent yourself from loosing valuable, high-powered Pokémon. Although, not many switches will be needed as the levels tend to be fairly short and the enemies can be bypassed quite easily if you just make a dash for it. One thing I did notice within this title is the fact that elemental damage still reigns supreme, which basically means that water Pokémon will still have a massive advantage over fire Pokémon.

Super Pokémon Rumble has an additional 2-player feature, which is a fun addition that will help you collect items and figurines at a much faster pace. Although, while playing 2-player you both need to complete a chosen level separately before attempting to hook-up via the 2-player mode.

While Super Pokémon Rumble is a decent title to play, I feel that it comes off as incomplete. The linear based gameplay is something that needed to be worked on more, and the addition of a much larger in-depth storyline would have been fantastic.

Super Pokémon Rumble

Graphics:
Super Pokémon Rumble looks fairly decent, I will say that Toy Town does look good when you are introduced to it; however, the Pokémon featured in this title don’t! The Pokemon models tend to come off as blocky, jagged and awkwardly shaped. This is rather disappointing as the Nintendo 3DS has shown some brilliant graphics, especially in titles like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 3D Land.

Sound:
I tend to personally find that most Nintendo 3DS titles feature the most annoying, irritating, aggravating music on the planet; however, Super Pokémon Rumble tends to feature music that is pleasant and easy on the ears.

Conclusion:
Super Pokémon Rumble is great title for those of you who are fans of the series; however, it is rather linear and tends to lack a unique storyline that will captivate or entertain you. The 2-player mode will however keep you and a friend entertained for hours though.

Super Pokémon Rumble is one game that does deserve praise when it comes to the music aspect; however, the graphics featured within this title tend to look outdated especially with the jagged, awkward looking blots on the screen that try to resemble Pokémon.

If you are looking forward to grasping the world of Pokémon on the Nintendo 3DS… Fantastic! Although we would rather suggest looking at other titles, which are far more deserving like Mario Kart 7, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time or Super Mario 3D Land.

The Breakdown: 
Gameplay: 6/10
Graphics: 4/10
Sound: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 6.5/10

Predominantly reviewed on Nintendo 3DS.

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Nintendo Reviews Nintendo Wii Reviews PlayStation 3 Reveiws PlayStation Reveiws Xbox 360 Reveiws Xbox Reviews

WWE: All Stars Review

doned the series and games over time, we still see new games coming out of the woodwork. WWE All Stars is now on the shelves but the question remains, is it worth buying? Time to find out!

Past WWE titles have slowly but surely been morphing into what can only be described as wrestling simulations, it’s all fine and dandy to try and make these games as real as possible, but the problem is that when developers make games realistic most of the fun usually gets kicked out first! This is where WWE All Stars hopes to set things right. No more individual health meters for each limb, just one single old-school arcade style health bar. Characters are also no longer limited to ground based combat only but can also do more exaggerated over-the-top mid-air attacks.

The game offers numerous gameplay modes to treat fans to, such as Path of Champions mode, where you get to pick your favorite wrestler and then battle it out until you are crowned champion. However, there are many unique paths to discover that will make you want to come back for more. If anything, the only real blemish here is the fact that the main menu lags a bit. Veteran players will also probably find fault with the new health bar, since in previous titles it was somewhat possible to make a comeback from even the worst luck at the start of a match and escape defeat repeatedly… presuming you had enough skill though. Players will also be able to once again create their own character; just don’t expect them to look very life-like.

Everything in this game has a cartoon action hero feel to it, this includes the special moves that the characters execute. As mentioned before the special moves are greatly exaggerated, but this just makes it all the more sweeter when you manage to land one on an opponent that is down to his last bit of health. There is after all, nothing quite like rubbing it in and if you’re going to do it then why not over do it?

There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong as far as sound is concerned. By that, I mean that glitches where certain actions on screen are not accompanied by the appropriate sound does not seem apparent. This is a common glitch found in modern games today but it appears to be absent in WWE All Stars, which is a good thing. The bad news is that while the sound is working well the game doesn’t seem to have any wow moments either. Gamers who have a bass speaker attached to their console or a surround sound system may not feel as impressed as they may have hoped to be with the sound. At least it works though… right?

As I mentioned before the graphics are over-the-top and cartoon-like and each wrestler has a chest bigger than their real-life counterpart does. Frankly, this was just borderline freaky.

Some shortcuts have been taken with the character’s hair; you will never see a single hair on their head fall out of place. Honestly, this actually works and looks graphically better in my opinion, or at least as far as this game is concerned. If anything, at least it shows that the developers thought it was a good idea to remove this from the game and build on the strengths of the game engine instead of adding unnecessary elements. Special effects during special moves gives the game a very unique feel to it, but after a while they become slightly stale and offer nothing more than a giant “you are about to get beat up and you can’t do a thing about it” feel to them. Regardless of all this WWE All Stars is the best looking WWE game out there. (For each platform respectively).

Conclusion:
WWE games have always been loved by fans simply because they make great party games. If you and your friends both loved playing the previous titles and/or watching the shows. Then I suggest getting your hands on this title. It’s wacky, crazy and comes with a big fat dose of nostalgia… just be careful that it doesn’t all go straight to your chest. The downside is that all of this tends to get slightly stale after a while.

The Breakdown:
Gameplay – 7/10
Sound – 7/10
Graphics – 8/10

Predominantly reviewed on Xbox 360.

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Xbox 360 Reveiws Xbox Reviews

The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile Review

The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile is a 2D side-scrolling action game that is currently available on Xbox Live. This title is extremely bloody, gruesome and offers frantic gameplay, however, is it any good? Let’s find out!

Welcome to a world of brutality, violence and perfection:
The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile follows two characters: The Prisoner and The Dishwasher and offers two campaigns and one continuing story. The story does not entirely shine in this title, although the upside is that the developers did use a comic book style panel to portray the story. this added a unique feel to the title as well as visual appeal. The only problem was the story itself was slightly forgettable.

Bloody combat that will make you come back for more:
The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile is visually captivating, especially when it comes to the colour red, yes, loads of blood can be expected in this title. The black and white backgrounds in this title have been designed to give it a morbid feel, but also add a great sense of depth to the 2D world around you.

The combat is where this title truly shines, each character has basic finishing moves that can be inflicted on enemies, which leads to either decapitation or removing of limbs from enemies; these finishers are graphic, bloody and spectacular. One moment you will enter a fairly clean room with no one around you, the next moment you will find yourself swamped by enemies and frantically fighting for your life. This can be done by moving at a very fast pace around the room attacking enemies while racking up combos, as well as using the gruesome finishing moves. After clearing the enemies in an extremely violent fashion, the pretty clean walls and floors are covered in gruesome blood spatter, as weird as this sounds, this was very entertaining. This title truly offers flawless combat.

Each character has a variety of weapons, just in case you get bored with what you are currently using, these weapons include: The Machine Arm, The Cloud Sword, The Violence Hammer, Cleavers, The Swift Blade, Shotgun and many more to hack away at enemies with.

Fantastic, that’s all I’m saying:
Overall, this is the most fun I have had with an Xbox Live title in a long time, Frantic combat, stylish graphics and gameplay that just makes me want to grab my control and start hacking and slashing away at enemies over and over again. It would be nice to see this title grow into a much larger game, instead of just an Xbox Live title (just as long as they don’t destroy it).

Conclusion:
For 800 MS Points, this title is definitely a title you should get your hands on.
If you have never heard of The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, I suggest logging onto Xbox Live and downloading it.
Combat is flawless and gameplay is easy to get the hang of with the simple controls.
The art style gives this title a great sense of depth and actually works.

The Breakdown:
Gameplay: 9.5/10
Visuals: 9.5/10
Fun factor: 9.5/10
Story: 7.5/10

Predominantly reviewed on Xbox 360.

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PlayStation 3 Reveiws PlayStation Reveiws Xbox 360 Reveiws Xbox Reviews

Saw II: Flesh & Blood Review

There have been very few horror games that you just simply wouldn’t want to play. On the other side of things. There have been very few games based on movies that you would want to play… unless if you are a hardcore fan. So what would the final result be if a game was made that could be classified as both? Time to find out!

If you enjoyed the previous Saw title then you might as well stop reading now. Saw II merely tweaks what was on display in the first. For fans of the Saw movie franchise the main motive for buying this title will be the story which takes place between the second & third films.

The game helps clarify the movies better but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to share the same kind of horror aspect. Traps can be avoided with quick-time events; although the game fails at helping you feel any form of sympathy for the featured characters. They’re just not that well “fleshed out”. The puzzles in the game are also largely the same as with the previous game. The only noticeable change is that “circuit puzzles” no longer require you to match wires of the same colour. Instead now you have to match wires of the opposite colour.

The game is filled with “quick-time events” all the way through. It helps keep you on your toes but might get a bit stale the more you encounter them. Fortunately if you get sick of the typical combat you can try killing enemies using all kinds of rather gruesome devices placed all through the game at just the right locations. This is the kind of title you may want to play through twice, as the game has multiple endings, although the game will start to judge you from the very first moment you start playing.

Sound is one area of the game where the developers should have probably looked for a second opinion. Some of the atmosphere and effects just don’t seem to pack as much of a punch as they should. You’ll still get a jolt from the first shotgun trap that catches you unaware. The problem comes when you start to anticipate the traps, it’ll just all start to look & sound the same. To expect different reactions from the same traps might be unreasonable, but for the developers to use slightly different sound effects isn’t. At the very least they could have had two different sound recordings for each trap. This will probably only bother you if use something other than your TV’s speakers though.

Most of the gore in the game feels a bit artificial & just doesn’t have quite as much of a horrifying effect as you’d hope for. There are some bits that may leave you feeling like you wish you could look the other way, but this could perhaps rather be because of the way they’re implemented, rather than what you’re seeing on screen.

Locations all have that “horror movie feel” although they may not be the best looking, they’ve managed to stay true to the Saw films.

Bright colours & visual effects are reserved almost exclusively for areas of interest or locations & items the player should investigate. This helps to ensure the game always keeps you on edge & makes you feel like you are in a hostile environment.

Conclusion:
Saw II Flesh and Blood is filled with numerous thrills & puzzles that are sure to make that “lazy Saturday” just blissfully pass by. The game has does need improvement, but since most of it is either quick time or puzzle based you don’t need to be an experienced gamer to enjoy it.  As is the case with most games like this you may need some outside knowledge from the films to fully enjoy this game.

The Breakdown:
Gameplay: 5/10
Sound: 6/10
Graphics: 6/10

Predominantly reviewed on Xbox 360.

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Nintendo 3DS Reviews PC Reviews

Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars Review

I remember when I was a young I spent alot of time playing with Lego blocks as well as watching the Star Wars movies, those days have now passed and technology has  incorporated two of my favourite previous pass times: Star Wars and Lego. Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is yet another adaptation of games/movies/series that has been turned into a hilarious thrill ride using the concept of turning all things normal into all things Lego.

Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is based on the animated TV series and spans across season one and season two of the show. This makes this title fairly large and also gives gamers access to a very large data base of characters to use as they wish.

The control scheme in this title is very simple; one button performs one action and another button performs another action. However, when you combine gameplay as well as the simple control structure together you get a title that fits together perfectly. Combat varies from genuinely easy enemies to enemies that may propose slight difficulty for some of the younger gamers.

Puzzle solving in this title is straight forward and simple but on the odd occasion it can get extremely frustrating especially if you can’t figure out what you were exactly supposed to be doing in the first place. This comment comes from me running around the same area for around half an hour wondering if I had missed something.

Like most Lego games this titles includes a HUB World that can be used to explore, create custom characters, purchase vehicles, unlock additional characters and includes a side quest if you can find it. This means no map for the hub unfortunately so expect to get lost.

Lego Star Wars offers more activities to experience including piloting various vehicles in intense large-scale battles as well as space battles. The initial point to most of the land battles is to capture various control points on the map; to capture these you will have to destroy each building, cannon or satellite in order to capture the control point. This was a fun and interesting twist to the initial campaign.

Lego Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars offers some surprisingly great graphics the character models are nicely detailed including some very amusing facial expressions that can be seen on each character. The level design is fantastic and includes loads of destructible objects throughout the world. This is by far one of the best-looking Lego games I have come across.

This title shines when it comes to sound, which includes authentic Star Wars themes and music. This brings a great feel of nostalgia while playing through the various chapters available. Who can resist listening to that sound of a lightsaber powering up to hack through any opponent (even Bob the Storm Trooper) who has felt the wrath of various Star Wars Characters in the past.

Nintendo 3DS:
The Nintendo 3DS version of this title brings things to a new level especially with the 3D aspect. The sound on offer is especially great for a handheld title and the visuals definitely pack a punch to the handheld genre. Although both platforms vary with gameplay experience, they are both very good. If you own the 3DS as well as an Xbox 360, you won’t be disappointed.

The one thing I did really enjoy with the 3DS version is the way the currency you collect looks likes it is flying towards you, this added a great feel to playing this title on a handheld console.

Conclusion:
Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is honestly a great game and has now hooked me into the Lego genre. The sound is great and the graphics are visually satisfying. Gameplay is fun and battles are intense.

The Nintendo 3DS version is great and offers some unique gameplay throughout its campaign.

The Breakdown:
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 8.5/10
Sound: 8/10

3DS Version:
Gameplay: 8/10
Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 8/10

Official ITF Rating:
Console: 8.5/10
Nintendo 3DS: 7.6/10

Predominantly reviewed on Xbox 360.

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PlayStation 3 Reveiws PlayStation Reveiws Xbox 360 Reveiws Xbox Reviews

Mortal Kombat 2011 Review

Mortal Kombat was one of the only original arcade games that made patrons line up and challenge one another in intense combat. The combat was shocking at first, then addictive to the point where being king of the arcade was the only achievement any arcade patron was interested in becoming.The first four titles were brilliant and captivated gamers across the world. However, the franchise decided to pull away from its original concept of Mortal Kombat and headed in a new direction. This direction turned a much-loved video game into a Fatality itself. Then came the clashing of two worlds in Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe, the blood and gore was dumped in this title, Fatalities were just plain lame and it felt more like Mortal Kombat had turned into Mortal Fairies.

Developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros, the ninth installment of Mortal Kombat has finally received the breath of life it has been craving for over the years. The blood and gore is back, the classic combat style too. Generally, the story mode in fighting games ends up being lame, boring, weak and a sorry excuse to fill up disk space… but the storyline in Mortal Kombat was surprisingly captivating, the voice acting was top notch and the graphics were visually appealing.

The story mode consists of 16 chapters and revolves around the events of the original trilogy. Raiden receives a message from himself about the events that are occurring in the future, Armageddon has just happened and Shao Kahn has become the supreme leader of all the realms. I will admit it does sound somewhat cheesy but to be honest the storyline grabbed me by the skull and pulled me in so deep I could not put the controller down. It also gives the gamer an opportunity to test out various characters and find out which character they are comfortable playing with.

Mortal Kombat brings 3D backgrounds and 2D fighting to a new level, especially with the X-Ray attacks that each character holds within their arsenal of devastating attacks. The X-Ray moves display the force of damage that you or your opponent are inflicting on one another. The visuals of these attacks are done in great detail and is a great addition to the gameplay.

The arcade mode uses the classic tournament ladder (Welcome to nostalgia heaven) that we are all used to from the previous Mortal Kombat titles, this is where a single fighter goes up against various opponents to eventually reach the main boss, after kicking the life out of the final boss each character gets an animated ending. The endings have a very nice feel to them and the art style brings everything to life.
The Fatalities are back and not the kind we experienced in Mortal Fairies, these are bone shattering and graphically violent, yes, Mortal Kombat is back with a vengeance!

Gameplay modes within Mortal Kombat include:
Test Your Might, Test Your Sight, Test Your Strike and Test Your Luck. These are a great addition to this title and offer a slight break from the general combat. The game also includes a 300-mission challenge in a new mode called The Challenge Tower. Another nice addition is the ability to actually practice each individual character’s Fatalities.

Each arena has been designed with great detail, during matches you will witness various things happening around you, like other characters fighting in the background or bodies being dipped into the acid pool, this was great and brings depth into the actual arenas but on occasion it can be distracting.

The visuals in the story mode are superb, although I did notice that on occasion characters seemed either too flat with no depth or too built and bulky. Sonya is a prime example of built and bulky; she seemed extremely out of proportion and just did not look right. The graphically violent blood soaked Fatalities are back and better than ever, even the stage Fatalities made me quiver.The Sound in Mortal Kombat is a key feature that brings this title to life, from hearing the classic “Get over here�? from Scorpion, to hearing the bone crunching moments in the X-Ray attacks and Fatalities. The sound in this title screams MORTAL KOMBAT!!!!!!!Each character has their own set of moves, special attacks, combos, X-Ray Attacks and Fatalities these are performed by pressing a combination of buttons. These moves are easily learnt by looking through each characters moves list in the pause menu. I did not notice any flaws to the control system you just need to know what combination does what… simple as that.

Conclusion:
Mortal Kombat is definitely a title that is worth keeping in my books. This title rights the wrongs that the developers tormented us with in the past; it keeps things simple yet graphically appealing. Let’s just hope they don’t back track once again and create another Mortal Fairies title. The gameplay was fantastic, the story mode was long and entertaining and the sounds will make any one cringe in their seats. Overall, this is one title that could be experienced repeatedly.

Characters that have been included:
Smoke, Cyber Sub-Zero, Sonya Blade, Raiden, Kurtis Stryker, Noob, Saibot, Ermac, Scorpion and plenty of others.

The Break Down:
Gameplay: 8/10
Sound 8.5/10
Graphics: 8/10
Storyline: 8/10
Control Scheme: 10/10

Predominantly reviewed on Xbox 360.

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Nokia N8 Review

The world of smartphones has become a largely populated one with various makes and models being made available to the everyday consumer, tech junkie and business professional, the only problem is finding the right phone that suits the user. So, let’s find out if the Nokia N8 is a phone that truly shines when it comes to the smartphone world or deserves a good old dropkick into the trashcan.

Design:
The Nokia N8 certainly looks better than other devices on the market. The housing is visually appealing and has a great feel to it. Another nice addition to this phone is the array of aluminium colours it comes in: dark grey, silver white, green, blue and orange, so if you are a business professional, tech junkie or a punk rock princess the Nokia N8 has got you covered.

The N8′s 113.5 x 59 x 12mm dimensions and 135g weight make it light and small enough to carry around on a day to day basis, without feeling like you are carrying a cinder block in your pocket.

Although the N8 is a stunner in the visual department, its only downfall on design is the fact that you may need to seek professional help when trying to remove and replace the battery. The upside to this is the fact that if you do drop the phone you wont find yourself having to look for a scattered battery and back cover.

Unlocking and locking the device with the slider was fairly simply and straight forward. The slider is located on the right hand side of the casing, but to be honest, it would of been better to place the slider on the top of the phone, as it tends to activate when removing it from ones pocket or phone cover.

Display and touch screen:
The Nokia N8’s 3.5 inch widescreen (640 x 360 pixels) looks great while browsing through the phones menu’s, pictures as well as websites. I had no issues viewing videos and pictures on this device and it offers a crystal clear experience.

One thing that annoys the living life out of me with most touch screen phones these days is the fact that the touch screen is unresponsive and often frustrates me to the point of wanting to throw the device against a wall. Surprisingly this is not the case with the Nokia N8. The touch screen on the N8 is actually a pleasure to use; sliding your finger across this devices screen is responsive although the menu’s don’t entirely move with your finger but tend to move in a bulky fashion.

The Nokia N8 features a crisp clean visual experience. One thing I would like to note is while browsing websites that are very heavy on data usage the device does tend to slow down a fair bit, although this is not entirely an issue at all.

Sound:
Call quality on the Nokia N8 is superb and no issues were noted with the device. Audio playback on this device is actually not too bad; although it’s not the loudest device on the market it certainly is clear. The headset provided with the device also offers clear sound and is definitely a useful addition.

Camera:
The Nokia N8 features a 12 Megapixel and in my point of view its one of the best cameras I have come in across on a device so far. The photo quality is sharp and detailed and the auto exposure and white balance controls actually work. Images look natural and colours stand out. The device also features a Xenon flash that does a brilliant job of lighting low light shots as well as night shots.

The video capabilities on this device are pretty much on the same standard as other HD-capable devices. This was ok and to be honest nothing truly excited me about the video quality on this device. The only bonus feature is the fact that the device allows for HD output that can be played on any HD compatible display at 720p.

User experience:
The user experience on the Nokia N8 is fantastic and features an easy to use user interface. Getting used to this device took me around about a day. The Nokia N8 runs the Symbian^3 OS which is often a hassle to use and seems rather outdated, although I wish Nokia would move on to Android or something more powerful, this would greatly improve the user experience.

The Battery life on the Nokia N8 is not too bad for day to day use, although you might need to charge it once every second day. I found this decent due to the fact that most other mobile phones on the market only tend to last around 8 hours of the day.

The Verdict:
The Nokia N8 is a great phone to look at it has a slick, stylish look to it and comes in an array on colours that would suit any individual out there. The device is not heavy and its dimensions and weight don’t feel like you are carrying a cinder block in your pocket. The device features an accurate touch screen that is a pleasure to use although menu movement does seem bulky and a visual display that is crisp and clean.

The call quality on the Nokia N8 is superb, although it does seem to lack very high volume while playing music or watching videos, the upside is the sound is at least clear.

The camera is one of the best camera’s I have had the pleasure to use on a mobile device and packs a powerful Xenon flash that lights up even the darkest moments. The video experience on the device is standard and offers nothing too exciting except for the fact that all HD videos can be played via a HD compatible device.

The user experience is fantastic and the device is easy to use. I just really wish Nokia would move on from Symbian.

The battery life on the device is decent and you won’t find yourself drastically needing to find a charger on a day to day basis.

Full specs:
System: WCDMA 850/900/1700/1900/2100 and
GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900

OS: Symbian^3

Form Factor: Touch screen monoblock

Dimensions: 113.5 x 59.12 x 12.9 mm (L x W x H)

Weight: 135g

Display: 3.5 inch widescreen (640 x 360 pixels)
capacitive touch

Battery: 1200mAh BL-4D

Media Storage/Memory: 16GB mass memory + micro SD card
slot, 135MB internal memory, support
up to 32GB memory cards. RAM256

ROM512

Video Playback: Video recording, Performance: encoding
25fps, decoding 30fps, File Formats:
H.264, MPEG-4, VC-1, H.263, Real Video
10, ON2 VP6, Flash video

Music Playback: FM radio, FM transmitter, MP3 player,
Supported codecs: MP3,AAC,eAAC,
eAAC+,WMA,AMR-WB, DRM support, DRM:
OMA DRM 2.0

Main Camera:
• Lens: Carl Zeiss optics
• Image capture: 12 megapixels
• Video capture: HD 720p
• Aperture: F2.8
• Focal length: 5.4
• Flash: Xenon flash

Connectivity:
• Nokia Adapter Cable for HDMI CA-156
• WLAN IEEE802.11 b/g/n
• BT3.0 with support for stereo

headsets
• Positioning with GPS, A-GPS, WLAN
and Cell-ID
• Micro-USB 2.0 high speed for file
transfers and charging
• USB On-the-Go
•Nokia AV connector 3.5 mm for audio
input/output and TV out
• HSDPA Cat9, maximum speed up to 10.2 Mbps, HSUPA Cat5 2.0 Mbps
Available colors:
•Dark Grey •Silver White •Green •Blue •Orange
Nokia N8 Highlights:
HD quality imaging and cinematic sound
•Shoot and edit photos and video with supreme clarity of a 12 MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics
•Dolby Digital Plus Surround Sound and HDMI connection to a home entertainment system

Personalization capabilities for a truly individual experience
•Personal touches come to life on three fully customizable home screens
•Instant access to Ovi Store’s apps, games and other cool content
•Web TV delivers local and global TV favorites right to the home screen
A seamless and fully integrated social network experience
•Get live updates from Facebook, Twitter, and RenRen pushed right to your home screen, with feeds visible at a single glance
•Connect from anywhere on your phone—your home screen, contacts, or map
•Enrich your social network experience with content from your phone including pictures, location and more

Free navigation, forever
•Free worldwide satellite car and walk navigation from Ovi Maps in over 70 countries
•Built in premium guides from Lonely Planet and Via Michelin for tips on travel, restaurants, weather, and hotels

Operating times:
•Talk time (GSM/WCDMA) –12/5 h 50min
•Standby (GSM/WCDMA) –390/400 h
•Video record –3 h 20 min
•Music playback –50 h
•Video playback –7 h
•Video playback with HDMI –6 h
•Web TV –3 h 20 min

Nokia Original Accessories:
•Nokia Stereo Headset WH-701 (in box)
•Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-905
•Nokia Bluetooth Headset BH-608
•Nokia Extra Battery DC-11
•Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-214
•Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-505
•Nokia Mini Speaker MD-9
Planned Market Introduction:
• Q3 2010

Category:
• NSeries, Smartphones

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PlayStation Vita Reviews

Army Corps of Hell Review

Developed by Entersphere and published by Square Enix, Army Corps of Hell brings dark humour, vicious combat and a rather interesting storyline to the PlayStation Vita.

Players assume the role of the King of Hell, and additionally control an army of goblins in order to reclaim the title as the King of the underworld. Facing off against demons and massive bosses, you travel through various levels to take back a throne that is rightfully yours.

When it comes to gameplay, Army Corps of Hell reminds of me of Overlord in a sense, which means that your army of goblins are sent out to a targeted enemy in order to rip it to pieces while the King of Hell idles in the background. Goblins come in three different classes ranging from Soldiers, Spearmen and Magi. Soldiers tend to get up close and personal and generate massive amounts of damage to enemies, while Spearmen attack from distance and Magi eliminate magically protected enemies.

Army Corps of Hell has quite a few items and weapons that are scattered throughout each level. Additionally, it also features a really great Alchemy system, which comes in handy when upgrading your goblins weapons and the creation of new items in order to assist you as you take back the throne of Hell.

The graphics featured in Army Corps of Hell are not entirely the best I have experienced on the Vita; however, some of the levels do look rather vibrant and feature some really phenomenal lighting effects.

Army Corps of Hell features a really intense heavy metal soundtrack, which really sets the mood perfectly. This indeed is a major highlight of this title; however, the actual in-game sound effects tend to lack the same enthusiasm as the heavy metal soundtrack.

Conclusion:
While Army Corps of Hell utilises the power of the Playstation Vita quite well, it tends to be slightly repetitive when it comes to gameplay. This can be seen in the repetitive level design and duplicated enemies that you face off against. Army Corps of Hell is truly an interesting concept; however, it is a title that has missed the mark due to average gameplay and its repetitive nature.

The Breakdown:
Gameplay: 6.5/10
Storyline: 8/10
Graphics: 6.10
Sound: 8/10
Lasting Appeal: 6/10

Predominantly reviewed on PlayStation Vita.

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PlayStation Vita Reviews

Uncharted: Golden Abyss Review

Welcome to the world of Uncharted… on the PlayStation Vita! Now for those of you wondering how you go from a rather large television screen to the smaller, more compact screen of the Vita, it’s actually rather easy. However, is Uncharted: Golden Abyss any good? Let’s find out!!!

Uncharted: Golden Abyss is set before the events that occurred in the original uncharted title. This time around Nathan Drake is tasked to try to uncover the mystery behind the 400-year old massacre of a Spanish expedition. During this venture, Nathan is caught in the middle of a rivalry between Jason Dante, an old friend, and Marisa Chase, whose origins I will not disclose as it would be classified as a spoiler.

When it comes to the storyline of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, fans of the series will soon notice that it is an originally designed, classic and in-depth addition to the world of Uncharted. This will truly surprise those who have ventured into the world of the PlayStation Vita, as some may have been expecting a rather dumbed down version of the original titles.

Nathan Drake’s Journal makes a return, which is filled with the collectibles you find throughout the adventure. These collectables come in the form of photos you will need to take, charcoal rubbings you need to rub and other interesting collectibles. The mere fact that you have to use the rear touchpad and the touch screen display in order to clean off items, piece together maps and complete charcoal rubbings is a major incentive to try out this title. While using the mentioned options is a bonus, there is also the simple to use controls that can be used in order to do all this; however, I would recommend using the Vita’s above-mentioned features in order to get the job done.

Mixing up the gameplay a bit is also the addition of onscreen swiping actions, which will involve swiping your finger across the screen in order to counter attacks, cut hedges to reveal secret areas and complete additional actions. This mixes things up quite a bit; however it does take a little time to get used to this feature.

Uncharted Golden Abyss is a visually stunning title when it comes to graphics. This can be seen in the luscious green grass and the truly stunning lighting effects. I wouldn’t say that it looks as good as Uncharted 2: Among Thieves or Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception but it certainly is on par with the first Uncharted title.

When it comes to sound, Uncharted: Golden Abyss is a clear winner, especially if you use a headset or earphones. The voice acting is superb as always, and the music featured throughout the title is nothing less than top notch.

Conclusion:
Uncharted: Golden Abyss is a perfect example of what the PlayStation Vita can do. Players will thoroughly enjoy the captivating storyline, beautiful graphics and amazing sound; however as much as I did enjoy this title, I did come across a few problem areas. On occasions Nathan Drake tends to get stuck in certain areas, which is generally fixed by a quick reboot of the title.

Additionally, there are certain switches that involve Nathan and Marisa to work together in order to open a door… this tends to be phenomenal task as Marisa tends to do her own thing on occasions, which can be rectified once again via rebooting the title. While these glitches are present within Uncharted: Golden Abyss, they are not entirely game breaking; however, it is slightly annoying having to keep restarting from the same checkpoint due to them.

The Breakdown:
Storyline: 9/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 8.5/10
Sound: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 8.5/10

Predominantly reviewed on PlayStation Vita.