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All reviews - DVDs (2) - Music (10) - Games (20)

Radiohead - In Rainbows

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 29 March 2008 11:26 (A review of In Rainbows)

Let's ignore all the hype surrounding this record for a minute - sure, it was noble of one of the best British bands of the past decade to offer this album online with the user free to pay the band any price they wanted. But most fans wanted the actual copy anyway, instead of a few MP3's on a computer. Let's take a better look at the music itself.

The music is good, it's clean, it's pop. Radiohead hasn't been this clean cut since the days of The Bends and OK Computer. What followed after those two records were experiment after experiment - computer sounds in the form of Kid A and the second part, Amnesiac, and the mix of all their sounds on Hail to the Thief.

Here, Radiohead returns to the inwards sounds that made them so popular in the first place and it is indeed nice to know they are still able to churn out some mighty fine classics. Sure, there are a few harder songs, but all in all this record is so silent that it's the perfect music for an evening of self-reflection or a romantic diner. High emotional points like 'Nude' and 'All I Need' are combined with more rythmic offerings like 'Bodysnatchers' and 'Jigsaw Falling Into Place'.

Apart from the digital revolution this band seems to be after, In Rainbows will be remembered as the record where Radiohead shows they are still able to make good music, simple as that.


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Wii Sports

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 28 March 2008 01:37 (A review of Wii Sports)

Wii Sports is on the forefront of the new generation of gaming according to Nintendo - simple fun everyone can participate it - even your mother, sister or aunt.

Gamers out for guns and blood can laugh about the simple premise of this game - five little sport games on a single disc that comes free with the Wii system - fact is, it's doing a lot for the game industry as a whole. The exposure for this title has been enourmous and it seems like this game will be the Super Mario Bros. of this generation.

Hyperboles aside, Wii Sports is the perfect game to have bundled with the Wii, as the five sport games - tennis, golf, bowling, baseball and boxing - ease the player in the way the motion sensing works. The precisement in moving yourself or an object in Wii Sports range from fairly precise to incredible accurate, depending on the sport you play - with tennis being the most impressive contender on offer here.

Fancy graphics or trendy curse words - Wii Sports doesn't need them. All Nintendo does is throw some big buckets of fun at its players and as a result millions of people get hooked. That the game is so easy to pick up and play is only a testament to the fact that Nintendo's new philosphy is working: to gain new gamers, we should leave the old way games work behind.


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Los Campesinos! - Hold On Now, Youngster

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 27 March 2008 03:04 (A review of Hold On Now, Youngster...)

This indie band from Wales, now signed to Wichita (known as the British home for super-acts like Bright Eyes) has been compared a lot to the Canadian Broken Social Scene, but it shares more with the one-album-wonder Park Ave, maybe more than they themselves even realise. Sweet pop tunes with both male and female vocales make pain and joy from relationships sound so sweet and bitter at the same time.

A mighty fine debut with classics such as 'Don't tell me to do the math' and You! Me! Dancing!' from the previous EP's present, and new songs like 'We are all accelerated readers' and 'This is how you spell' do the trick as well.


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Lost season 3

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 26 March 2008 09:55 (A review of Lost - Season 3 )

The third season of Lost sees the series return to the high quality of the first one. Let's all admit it right here: the second season was fun, but was way too sparse with letting viewers in on new information.

In this third season, after a few episodes there is no stopping the roller coaster of new information that will give the viewer more knowledge about the island and the people on it.

Where the first season focussed on the island and the second on the hatch, the third is firmly locked on the relationship between the survivors of the Oceanic Flight and 'the Others'. All the while there is still time to offer some background and layers to the characters, so that by the end of this season you will be so fond of them, that you will not want to lose any of them...

... but you will. Lost is, amongst a lot of things, dark and mean and certainly not here to make you feel confortable. Never has this been more clear than in this season. Together with the first season, simply the best that is on offer right now on television and DVD.


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Park Ave - When Jamie Went To London...

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 26 March 2008 11:09 (A review of When Jamie Went To London... We Broke Up)

Park Ave is a previous band of Conor Oberst, the now 27 year old genius behind the soon-to-be-gigantic Bright Eyes and one time project Desaparecidos.

Park Ave, with Oberst on drums and backing vocals at an age that must be close to 20, was something of a one time project as well. Before this only record available came out, singer Jamie went to London and the band broke up, hence the title of this record.

It is a shame, because Park Ave has been given an insane amount of praise by critics and the ever demanding indie-scene. Instead of complicated long songs or emotionally driven acoustic sets, something new fans of Conor Oberst might expect, what we have here is a collection of short pop songs that are so honest and simple that they do the trick perhaps even better than the alcoholic- and drugs-driven material of later Oberst. The child-like way themes like love and the life of an artist are portrayed here are quite something to behold.

So, it is indeed a shame this band broke up. Of course there is still plenty of chance to check out Oberst with his Bright Eyes project and even Jamie is busy again with the popular indie-band Tilly and the Wall, but for fans its nice to delve back in the roots of these artists and check out Park Ave. Team Love, the fairly new record label of Oberst has re-issued this album to make it more available so you could do worse than checking out the website to buy this rare piece of indie history.


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Zack & Wiki (Wii)

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 25 March 2008 12:36 (A review of Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure)

Zack & Wiki is truly one of the most original games on the Nintendo Wii system. Where even Nintendo takes old franchise like Mario and adds little to the new version that has to do with the revolutionairy control system the Wii has, Capcom creates a new franchise that truly recognises the Wiimote controller as something quite different.

Unlike any other game available since the release of this game, Zack & Wiki makes such good use of the Wiimote that it's quite baffling indeed. In the game, you control young pirate Zack, always on the hunt for treasure, and his flying companion Wiki, a flying monkey. It's all a great excuse to place you in twenty-something levels that all consist out of big puzzles to reach the treasure at the end of the level.

The Wiimote works as a mouse, with the game turning into something of a point & click adventure. The difficulty becomes quite high early on in the game, but the Wii could use some hardcore games to satisfy the more experienced gamers out there, and Zack & Wiki does not dissapoint.

Together with the high-end production value (graphics and sound are incredible), this game is the perfect adventure for the gamers out there who have grown sick of the tenth version of a brain training simulation.


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Niko Wii Charge Station

Posted : 9 years, 5 months ago on 2 January 2008 10:22 (A review of Wii Charge Station)

Works great, saves money on batteries. What else is there to tell? A must have for Wii-owners that put a lot of time in their console.


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Super Mario Galaxy

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 30 December 2007 08:26 (A review of Super Mario Galaxy)

Mario Galaxy is truly everything that is fun in videogames, rolled up onto one disc that simply everyone must own.

When Mario 64 invented the proper 3D platforming genre more than 10 years ago, what followed was a river of wannabe clones that didn't quite seem to get the point. Even the sequel to Mario 64, Mario Sunshine, didn't seem to get what made the original platformer so fun in the first place. It took Nintendo over a decade to reïnvent the genre, and with Galaxy it finaly did.

Instead of big, open worlds, in Galaxy the player is confronted with countless of smaller planets. This allows Nintendo to throw small idea after small idea at the player. The result is a game that never bores, it just simply keeps on giving. Where most games would present one good gameplay idea and build from that, it seems that in Galaxy there are tons and tons of ideas that are used for just one or two times, then get thrown away for something else that is at least as fun.

Galaxy is easy to play but hard to truly master, which is what makes any game great. Truly the reason to buy a Nintendo Wii. Platforming has never been this good.


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Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 30 December 2007 10:13 (A review of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune)

Uncharted: Drake's Engine is what would come out of a love affair between Lara Croft from Tomb Raider and that muscled dude (who cares what his name is) from Gears of War. It's perhaps a bit easy to call Uncharted a combination of these two games, and it's certainly more than that, but the game doesn't make a secret of its inspirations. Thankfully, it only steals from the best, and therefor, Uncharted is one hell of a ride, although a short one.

The game receives its own face through the main character, Nate, whom at first seems a little bland, but in the following hours, through impressive voice acting, becomes your everyday guy who you really want to help out with. And he needs all the help he can get: he's on an island looking for a long lost treasure by his great grandfather, only there are others looking for it as well...

In the game, you either jump from place to place or you're hiding behind rocks while shooting down bad guys. The fact that this rarely bores means that the two gameplay styles are perfectly used next to each other. There are some niggles. For example; some platforms and vines you can climb on, others not, but you never really see the difference between them.

It's only a small problem, because most of the game you'll be enjoying yourself too much to care for such things. The game is a bit short, but I'd rather play a short but spectacular game instead of a long boring one. I'm sure you'll agree. For me Uncharted was one of the highlights of 2007 and one of the first reasons to be proud of my PlayStation 3.


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Okami

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 29 December 2007 03:52 (A review of Ōkami)

A modern classic, no doubt.

Okami is everything you'd want in a Zelda-esque adventure, right here on the PlayStation 2. It's big (big? Rather gigantic!), it's beautiful and it's an utter joy to play through.

The 'catch' of the game is that you use a brush to create various weapons and movements that alter the world and it's inhabitants. This works very well. So well, in fact, that you'd almost imagine the Wiimote of the Nintendo Wii to be a perfect match to the game. At the moment of writing, a Wii version has been announced, so if you don't have a PS2, you can pick it up for Nintendo's console.

Okami is just pure fun, plain and simple. The graphics ensure the game is a joy for gamers that look for games with a great art direction, and the gameplay will please anyone that has ever enjoyed an adventure of the Zelda franchise. Essensial.


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