Five Great TV Dramas To Watch This Summer

Here Emma D picks five of her favourite TV Dramas that she recommends you check out

Bittersweet Mondays: Weekly Webcomic

Confab presents the brand new Bittersweet Comics debut with the first of a weekly web-comic series.

Game Review: Serious Sam: The Second Encounter HD

Sam returns in a remake of the 2002 classic sequel, how does it stand up?

The Sexism of Horror Video Games

The history of sexism in video games is almost as old as games themselves, Emma D discusses the underlying sexism of the horror genre

Film Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

Spidey's latest outing hits the cinemas, does this reboot make a name for itself or is it just another cheap Hollywood cash-in?

Volunteer: A Career for the Unemployed

With high rates of unemployment across the globe, Charlotte explains why now is a great time for the jobless to volunteer!

Overrated: The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword

Claimed by many critics as 'The Best Zelda Ever!'. Long time Zelda fan Emma D argues why it didn't live up to the hype.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Game Preview: Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer

Game Preview: Mass Effect 3 Demo Hands-On
Saving the Galaxy: Try before you buy!

The highly anticipated Mass Effect 3 demo was released on the 14th of February and included the fantastically fun Multiplayer beta, so let's take a look at it shall we? The Mass Effect series up till now has been entirely a single player experience, for obvious reasons. The game is set in a hugely immersive galaxy teeming with life, and it's really something you can only experience fully on your own rather than dragging teammates around with you. This originally made the idea of multiplayer in ME a rather strange prospect and a little worrying for those who are diligent fans of the series. But now that it's 
been put out for us to see I can wholeheartedly say that it's brilliant.

As I'm not going to touch upon the single player aspect of the demo, I'll just quickly mention some of the newest aspects in Mass Effect 3. The graphics are excellent, and have definitely been polished up since the previous games. The visuals have always looked delicious, but I look at them now and wonder how they could possibly get any better. The controls also feel as though they have been tightened up to compliment the combat and action. I never realised until recently playing back on the first Mass Effect game just what a huge improvement there has been. One thing that was a really pleasant surprise was the hit marker that comes up when you successfully get a shot on someone, like in Call of Duty. The tiny X pops up on your reticule and you get a little vibration in the pad... It might sound a little weird, but if you've played the COD games, you'll probably understand what I mean.

Multiplayer Trailer

The basic premise of the multiplayer is styled around a horde mode, like Gears of War; but in my opinion a more refined and fun experience (not to mention with a lot less drab colours...) You and up to three other players can pick from six uniquely different classes to team up and try to complete the mission. All the classes are in the single player game already, so there's no unfamiliar powers or abilities that you'll have to get used to. Customisation is available as you choose from the different species: Humans, Asaris, Krogans, Turians, all the wonderfully absurd alien types that populate the galaxy. Along with choosing the armour colours and arranging the perfect loadout of powers and weapons for your mission; there's a nice amount of things to get done for your character/s. You'll have individual characters for each class you pick, so you can have two Infiltrators with different abilities, or two soldiers with different weapon kits. Once you get everything organised and start upgrading and levelling up all the different characters; you'll have a small squad of troops ready for almost any situation.

So, now we move onto the actual gameplay: You'll be given the task of defending against ten waves of increasingly difficult enemies, whilst completing small objectives along the way. Objectives such as: hacking a data bank, or taking out specific targets amidst the hordes. It certainly spices up the action and when the objective is thrown at you at the start of a wave, you'll have a specific time limit to get it done, or the mission will be aborted. You'll have to cut a path through the many groups of assault troopers: the powerful rifle wielding Nemesis; the shield-toting Guardians; the agile ninja-like Phantoms; and the huge mechanical Atlas if you want to reach the end of the mission and get all the sweet experience points and credits. There is a nice level of variation between all of the enemies that really do require some strategy in taking them all out efficiently, all depending on how your four man squad is built. To best take out the Phantoms, you'll need a class that can cut through biotic barriers or you'll end up grating away slowly at them with bullets, which I can tell you is no easy task. A sniper rifle would be best suited to the typical Assault troopers for taking them out easily, as well as the Guardians who only offer a small area to breach in their shields. It all requires good teamwork and some variation between each player rather than simply hoping to clean it all up with bullets, which was my original plan of action. Suffice to say, upon chopping and changing, you begin to find some really good tactics that work best in every different situation.

The two levels offered in the beta are a good idea of what's to come: one having tight areas for you to try and not become trapped in and the other with larger gaps to navigate and move around in. There are also three varying levels of difficulty: Bronze, Silver and Gold. If you want to move further up and get a bigger challenge, you'll need to upgrade your characters and unlock better weapons using your earned credits or you won't last two minutes on Silver, let alone Gold. Regarding the actual multiplayer experience overall; it's certainly a lot of fun and the beta hasn't become boring yet, with so many different character abilities and styles to level up and try. With a lot of online games recently, I found my matched partners quiet and longing for a lone wolf gig instead of truly following the idea of the game mode. Playing with friends has been the most enjoyable course of action, but you could say that about most games. A few things need to be fixed of course, but it is only a beta after all. You can't expect perfection from it, but it actually does work very well in most areas. The only major complaint is that in the pre-game menus, everything feels a little clunky. And in regards to matchmaking, there should be some better options for getting you and your friends into a room to make a full game.

I look forward to playing the full Mass Effect 3 multiplayer experience when it comes this March. The multiplayer modes actually help your single player campaign, by helping your 'Galactic Readiness' that will appear as you begin the fight for the galaxy. All the credits you earn in multiplayer supposedly will be sent over to single player too, which is a great bonus. If you haven't played the beta yet, download it and give it a shot. If you haven't played any of the Mass Effect games yet, then go out and buy them too! It's never too late to start the galactic RPG series.

- Andy Robison 

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Music Feature: Queen Way Back When

If only I had a time machine...
When asked the question: "What is one band you would love to have seen in their heyday?" I can honestly say that I'd have a hard time choosing. It's difficult to put yourself in a position to choose between dozens to hundreds of great bands from years ago. 

My first thoughts led me to Elton John, but I'd argue he is still in his heyday, don't you agree? There's also the very typical "Beatles" response, but I'm never really that typical. I kept thinking about it and finally come to the conclusion that if Freddie Mercury were still alive; what I wouldn't give to be front row screaming the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody.

Growing up I would say that my parents taught me what music was: training me with bands like Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, George Michael and Duran Duran. Although these are just a mere few you can begin to see that my musical vocabulary started at a very young age. I've never paid much attention to rap and R&B music (so forgive me if you're a fan). Since then I've grown to love other bands though. In my socially awkward years as a teen I grew to love bands like Death Cab for Cutie, and the Silversun Pickups. Not saying those were wise choices, but they have certainly broadened my horizons somewhat.

Given these great bands (and I've not even began to mention) you might be wondering, "Why Queen?" After maturing, somewhat, in high school I was introduced to other bands that were "vintage." Queen was introduced to me for the first time. I'll never forget the day I went to my Mom asking her to purchase the CD for my iPod. I can say without doubt that it was the best $13 I have ever spent. To me, Queen is the kind of music that gets your blood pumping and touches your soul all at the same time.

I don't know about you, but this song makes me want to put myself right in front of Freddie Mercury and just squeal like a young school girl

Clinging to the radio, hopelessly wishing that I were in the audience of a Queen concert is only the beginning. I really do love Queen, and they will live on through my soul, and the souls of my future children. Words cannot describe how or even why the British rock band moves me in the ways that they do. It's not just the great beats, or even mind boggling guitar riffs that win me over. No, its Freddie Mercury and his words. Lyrics that could shatter anybody's soul if given the right situation. For instance, no one can deny the truth of the lyrics to Fat Bottomed Girls. Not only had this song given hope to me, and every other round bottomed girl, but also helped highlights Queen's more "playful" side.

What really sets Queen apart in my mind is the amazing Under Pressure they sang with none other than David Bowie (another personal favourite). To be able to sit at a concert with those two in front of me would be the perfect way to spend the night. (I would definitely contribute my left arm and leg to seeing this man perform one last time)

Seeing one last Queen concert would soothe my soul enough for the rest of my life. I've grown up with Queen on my Walkman then on my iPod, and someday soon into my children's lives. With their powerful lyrics and stage presence I feel they could win anyone over. If only the original Queen was still on tour and filling stadiums today. You'd definitely see me there.

What band or artist would you go see if you had the chance to see one of your choice, still active or not? Tell us in the comments section below!

- Teresa Curtis

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Saturday, 25 February 2012

Tech Review: Plantronics BackBeat 903+ Stereo Bluetooth Headphones

Tech Review - Wireless Stereo Headphones

Product: Plantronics BackBeat 903+
Stereo Bluetooth Headphones
RRP: £69.99/$99.99
Current Price: £45.99/$59.99
Release Date: 12 Oct 2010

I realise that this review is about two years late, but if your reading this I'm sure that you realise that that amount of time does not affect the abilities of this product. This product happens to have aged quite well. Bluetooth is still used widely in a plethora of devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptop computers.

Going by what I've experienced over the last few days, these Bluetooth headphones have been quite convenient for me so far; they seem like they will last me a while (seeing as all my other headsets break at the base of the wiring.) But on to what you came for, the review.

Music Sound Quality:
They provide very high quality audio, the treble is very crisp. There are other brands with crisper and sharper treble but normally at a higher price. However the highlight for me was the bass on these headphones: it is at the perfect level. That is to say that it is there, but it is not overpowered (Which I find with most headphones now) and allows me to fully appreciate the music as a whole.

As for noise cancelling, for a pair of non-noise cancelling dedicated headphones, which by the way are not in ear either, they provide quite a good level of noise cancellation. I mean obviously it's not exactly going to isolate you from everything around you, but it will cut out most of background noise, and the everyday shuffling and ruffling of everyday activities, provided you're listening with the volume above medium.

Call quality:
Although not as good quality as when used for music they are still quite good for calls, they do cancel out most background noise, however when calling I did seem to get lots of background noise through my mic, however I think this may just be an error with my headset, as many others say that the sending quality is excellent. Or it could be an environmental problem such as wind or loud surroundings.

Comfort, Controls and Functionality:
I have to say first, that if this is your fist pair of around ear headphones, they may be uncomfortable at first but after a while you will find a comfortable position to have them. Some people find in-ear headphones uncomfortable and may prefer to get these kind of headphones, the major advantage to around-ear headphones is that they don't tend to fall out easily like in-ear ear buds. 

The controls are very conveniently placed and are very easy to use. They can potentially end up being a hassle when adjusting the height and angle of the headphones, since when adjusting you may tend to accidentally hit a couple of them. However the overall functionality was excellent. They were extremely easy to set up (charge, turn on, scan for them, connect) and have not failed me since. The battery life is excellent lasting 7 hours straight (so far) on a single charge and still running strongly.

The overall feel of these headphones proves to be quite comfortable, the headsets stay quite firmly on my ears, and the wire round the back rarely bothers me, however the ear buds themselves are quite a bother, as I have never used this type of ear buds before I think it may be due to my lack of adjustment to them. However they feel very large, and out of place, and trying to find a comfortable spot for them to rest at first seems nigh on impossible to me. Even with this factor, after more adjustment they seem to get comfier every day so it might just be a matter of getting used to them.

The main feature of this device is of course: the Bluetooth connection. This by far is the most convenient part of the device, being able to walk around with no worry of being held down by your cable or accidentally tugging the cable too hard and breaking it or knocking your device out of your pocket. This feature removes all that hassle, which I thoroughly appreciate as all of my previous headphones have broken at the cable end of things not to mention the constant tangling of headphones in your pocket. Particularly useful for people who like to listen to music while participating in heavy exercise as they are more likely to stay put than traditional in-ear headphones.

However even if this is the highlight of the device, it too experiences some problems. Some of the potential problems include: the connection can be lost; sometimes the song doesn't stream quick enough and is jumpy; and there can be a significant delay in changing song and the next song actually playing. But honestly a little lag is to be expected from a wireless device. After all data can always move faster on a wired connection. Considering the problems I've had in the past with wired connections, I will definitely stick with these though.

Another thing about these headphones is that the style is a bit unusual. I mean nobody really wants to look like they are using a 1960’s hearing aid, but once you get past that initial feeling it's fine, anyone who mocks you is probably just jealous their headphones aren't wireless.

By The Numbers -

Music: 8/10
Calls: 7/10
Features/Design: 7/10
Comfort: 6/10
Ease of Use: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7/10

Although they are not the best of the best headphones, I still say these are worth a shot, if you are a fan of over-ear headphones already, or are able to get used to the style of non in-ear-buds. They are by no means poor quality or bad value for money. These headphones are very good quality for their price bracket, especially for: the Bluetooth, the sound quality and the ease of use. I believe that these are one of the highest quality Bluetooth headphones you will probably find for under £50 (At their current sale price), and for that reason I would recommend them to anyone looking to ditch the tether to their portable device or home computer.

- Alasdair Kerr

Music/Tech Review: Spotify

Spotify - Music in the clouds

Spotify is an online music streaming service in Europe and North America that allows users to stream music from thousands of artists to their computers or phones/tablets instead of having to download all the songs to their memory. 

It is very handy for music lovers who are running low on space on their hard-drives and/or phone memory. Spotify's development began in 2006 and it was released to public access in Europe, in October 2008. Free accounts were originally invite only to manage new user growth. Since then Spotify has also launched in the US and has over 10 million users. 2.5 million of those users are paid subscribers.


Once you've downloaded the client for your device, you can either use a free account which is ad supported and has certain limitations, or you can sign up for an unlimited or premium account which have extra features and benefits for a monthly fee. Then you can get to listening to your music right away.

To use Spotify on a mobile device you'll need a premium account

A free account would suffice for non-heavy music listeners but for those who listen to music for several hours a day the unlimited and premium account may be worth the fee. For the price of buying one album per month, you get the option to listen at a higher bit-rate, to use Spotify offline by downloading the tracks to your hard drive and the ability to use it on mobile devices. 

I have the been a subscriber to the premium service since May 2010 and find it an absolute joy to use, whether I'm blasting some Daft Punk through my speakers at home or listening to various montage-like songs at the gym with my smartphone. 
Being able to 'queue' songs is a fantastic feature every music player should have. 

Mobile phone users should watch that using Spotify doesn't cut into their monthly Internet allowances, making playlists available for offline use while connected to a WiFi network can help negate using too much data while using Spotify on the go.

Music Catalogue & Playlists

Spotify adds thousands of new tracks daily to their millions and millions of existing tracks by thousands of different artists across the globe. Adding songs to your overall library is as simple as starring any song with a single click.

Sometimes people critique Spotify for not having certain high profile artists such as The Beatles, Metallica or Pink Floyd. While it can be a shame you may occasionally find one of your favourite artists absent, it's not something you should let discourage you from using Spotify, and here's why: All Spotify accounts allow users to listen to their own local music files on their computer as well as the various songs you're steaming in your playlists. So if you really want to listen to a song that Spotify doesn't have (rare, but it happens) then just download it elsewhere and tell Spotify which folder to look in and it does the rest. Simple.

Finding the right tracks couldn't be easier, the search bar in the corner lets users search by: song title, artist, album or playlists.

The ability to create playlists on the fly and add songs to one or more playlists and star your favourite tracks results in a incredibly useful music organising and sharing tool. Any playlist can be shared with others via Facebook or even just a link. You can also make collaborative playlists that allow multiple users to create and edit funky playlists. For premium users you can also check 'Make Available Offline' and Spotify will download all the tracks in that playlist to your device for use should you ever find yourself without an Internet connection. It's all incredibly easy to do, with most of these features being only a couple clicks away.


One of Spotify's biggest advantages is the social integration. As of September 2011 new accounts are required to link to a facebook account. Some might see this as an unnecessary push for those just looking for a music app that don't want to bother with facebook, but how many people out there that would be tech savvy enough get Spotify wouldn't have a facebook account? Most people have one even if they don't use it anymore, and you could quickly make a new account should you not have one when you sign up for Spotify.

Sorry Twitter looks like you've been friendzoned.

The social integration is fantastic though, you can share playlists directly with your facebook friends and see what they've been listening to and what playlists they've subscribed to. If you don't want people to know you've been listening to the likes of Abba or Justin Beiber you can set Spotify to 'private session'. You can also set which playlists you want set public too should you have any embarrassing cheesy 80's playlists kicking about you don't want your buddies to see. 

Another social feature is that you can share any track, album or artist on facebook or twitter or send it to one of your friend's Spotify inbox. So if you've just heard a great new song and want to recommend it, Spotify allows you to do so, seamlessly.


In 2011 Spotify launched it's own Apps centre which allows users to install apps for all sorts of music related apps. There are all sorts of interesting and wonderful apps waiting for you on Spotify. Many apps just aim to help you explore and experience new songs and bands. Others expand on playlist building and sharing such as the 'Top10' app that lets you make different Top 10 lists of songs and share them with your friends. Other apps have totally different functions and can be really useful like 'TuneWiki' which has synced lyrics for your karaoke enthusiasts out there. 

At the moment there's only around 15 Apps available, though Spotify have said  more are set to release throughout 2012. The apps that are available do contain some interesting ideas. 'MoodAgent' finds playlists containing tracks to match the users mood. Built into Spotify is the Top Tracks and Lists which let users see the current Single and Album charts on Spotify, handy should you be interested in what's popular at the moment. Spotify also handily tracks your music habits and compiles a list of your top listened to artists and songs. You can also see your friends top artists/songs too which can be neat.

The apps are an entirely optional feature on Spotify to enhance your music and listening experience. Best of all they're all free. 


Unlimited and Premium subscribers can also listen to Spotify in radio mode, which is 'A gold mine for discovering new artists.' This is a dedicated radio stream to find and play tracks similar to songs by any of Spotify's artists.

Just click on your favourite artist and it'll automatically pull up and play songs deemed to be similar to that artist as well as tracks by said artist. I've already discovered some great new artists thanks to Spotify Radio.

Sadly it doesn't include actual radio stations, hopefully Spotify will integrate radio support in the future. Although it would be a country by country basis and as such would be both very time consuming and potentially costly.

Spotify's Radio Mode on the Desktop client

Alternative Services

There are alternatives out there such as Grooveshark, Rdio and Rhapsody.
Grooveshark is the only one I've tried thoroughly myself, you get more for free than you do with Spotify and it runs in your browser instead of as a programme. It's music library is the main difference though, it's powered by user uploads so while it does allow them to get many different artists, including ones not on Spotify, it does leave the library prone to duplicates and poor quality uploads and user-errors like spelling/name mistakes. Unlike Spotify, Grooveshark is not completely licensed which means artists may not benefit at all from appearing on Grooveshark. Also please note this does not make Grooveshark an illegal music service.

'There is a distinction between legal and licensed. Laws come from Congress. Licenses come from businesses. Grooveshark is completely legal because we comply with the laws passed by Congress, but we are not licensed by every label (yet). '
Paul Geller, Grooveshark’s Sr. VP of External Affairs, in an open letter to the music industry regarding Grooveshark’s legality.

Each music service has it's own advantages and disadvantages but from the ones I've seen, experienced and read about; Spotify offers the best features, look and seamless functionality to me.


Spotify isn't for everyone. It's not particularly worth it for people who rarely listen to music and it's definitely not for those who are very rarely or never with an Internet connection. Spotify is an online service and can not be properly utilised if you don't have regular access to the Internet. 

But for those with frequent access to the Internet, Spotify can be a wonderful music player and tool; especially for those willing to cough up £5/£10 for the unlimited or premium subscriptions. It's a well designed, fast and functional client that can enhance the user's music experience. It covers it's bases for audiophiles by allowing higher bit-rates (paid subscription only) and use of local music files on your computer or device. It feels like they've thought of everything and the music catalogue which contains over 15 million tracks is just incredible. Spotify have done away with needing gigabytes upon gigabytes of storage to store huge music libraries and the social integration has the potential to open up anyone's music tastes and enjoyment of sharing different songs with friends without having to keep a hundred different youtube or tabs open in your internet browser. 

You don't have to take my word for it, why not download and try out Spotify for Windows/Mac for free: here

- Ben Carron

Friday, 24 February 2012

Game Preview: Kingdom Hearts 3D

Preview: Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance 

Square Enix has revealed that Kingdom Hearts 3D, for the Nintendo 3DS, will feature a set of flashbacks of past Kingdom Hearts games for newbies of the series. There’s a feature in the game called ‘Recollections’ which allows players to catch up or study with what happened in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, Kingdom Hearts, 358/2 Days and the rest of the past Kingdom Hearts games before it. 

Kingdom Hearts is the first game in the Kingdom Hearts series directed by Tetsuya Nomura. Revolving around a fourteen-year old boy named Sora, it details his adventures after his home world is destroyed by sinister creatures known as the Heartless, and his attempts to restore his world and reunite with his friends. In the process, he meets many characters from classic Disney films and a handful from the Final Fantasy video game series.

Kingdom Hearts 3D is set to release next month in Japan, and is due sometime later this year in the rest of the world. Kingdom Hearts 3D will be a canon story, not a side story, and it's said that the story will have an impact on Kingdom Hearts 3's story. North American Fans will be pleased to hear that KH3D is already under localisation but no date has been confirmed. 

The game will feature heroes from both Kingdom Hearts and the World Ends With You. Gamers will play as Sora and Riku, so far seven worlds have been confirmed, some worlds are from classics like Prankster's ParadiseCountry of the MusketeersSymphony of Sorcery and brand new to the Disney collection is The Grid from Tron Legacy. 

Instead of having the likes of Donald and Goofy at your side you have these creatures called Dream Eaters, these cute little demons will be your aid in the game. They are Wonder Meow, Bat Bat. Riku's is Bat Bat, Kuma Panda. The game will have limits on both Sora and riku not much info is been said about this. A gauge called the drop gauge will deplete after a certain amount of time time causing you to switch from Sora to Riku. For example: when Sora is in one world and the gauge gives out, the player will be forced to then play as Riku in a another world. Sounds confusing right? It should be simple enough in practise, it's certainly an interesting gameplay partner system to use.

- Jake Huston

Weekly Gaming News - 24/02/2012

Welcome to the weekly gaming news. There's been quiet a lot of news this week, a fair number of small news (Release dates announced, Sale Stats etc etc) One of the biggest things this week is the official launch of Sony's brand spanking new handheld gaming system the Playstation Vita. I personally haven't bought one yet but I have gotten to play one and it looks like a great piece of hardware.
Check out our PS Vita Launch article

I hope you enjoy reading the rest of this weeks news. Also if you have any ideas on things you'd like to see added to the weekly gaming news please feel free to: email me

Bite Size News
Jet Set Radio coming to XBLA and PSN/SEN
TMNT game will be developed after all but by Activision
Fallout 3 and Oblivion double pack coming to Xbox 360 and PC April 3rd 
Double Fine Adventure reaches $2 million 
Rumour: EA making Crysis 3?
Witcher 2 sells 1.1 million copies in 2011
Hideo Kojima reveals New Metal Gear Solid game over twitter.
Borderlands 2 releasing September 21st
Game UK not stocking Ubisoft launch titles
Game UK cancels all The Last Story pre-orders hours before release
PS Vita outsold by PSP again
 Guild Wars 2 Beta Sign up begins
Fill out a survey to have a chance to get into the Counter Strike: GO beta
South African retailer allowing pre-orders for God of War 4

Feature Story

 Nintendo America have released a video announcing some upcoming games and there release dates. The first announcement was that a downloadable game called Dillon's Rolling Western, a tower defence game developed by Vanpool. It has just been released and is now available at the Nintendo 3DS eShop right now.

We also got some Kid Icarus Uprising news and some mention about the multiplayer modes. They also went into weapon fusing which looks very interesting which can be found here.

Mario Tennis Open got a release date of May 20th for the 3DS. We also have gotten some video footage of some gameplay. This is being developed by the guys who made Mario Tennis on the Nintendo 64, which is a fan favourite, so it's shaping up to be a solid arcade tennis game.

Nintendo's Xenoblade Chronicles Cover art poll has finished and Nintendo have announced which cover art they will be using for the Wii release. (Pictured below) Also the North American release date is set for April 6th. Xenoblade Chronicles is already out in Europe/Australia. Originally Nintendo had no plans to release the title in North America but they changed there minds after heavy opposition from Wii owners.

The  biggest news coming out of the video was that The Last Story, for the Nintendo Wii, will be released in America some time this year. The Last Story is a JRPG which is being developed by Mistwalker, the had of Mistwalker was, until recently, the executive producer for the Final Fantasy series. This game was just recently released for Europe and Australia as well.

Sony's handheld packs a punch and has the potential to run any game of the PS2 library on the go. However it looks like Sony haven't gotten any plans to start porting over the PS2 and PS3 library to the vita.

Sony answered the question over at the Playstation Blog:

Q: Is the PS Vita compatible with other PlayStation platform games such as PS3, PS2, or PSP? Do you have any plan to support other PlayStation platforms in the future?

A: PlayStation does not have plans to make PS Vita compatible with PS3 or PS2 titles at this point.

Hopefully we see Sony changing there mind in the near future to support these older titles, backwards compatibility/libraries are a huge selling point to many gamers. 

According to Nintendo the Nintendo 3DS is now the fastest selling video game console ever in Japan. (Also in Australia as well) The 3DS sold a whooping five million units in the first year of launching. The initial launch of the 3DS did not go as Nintendo were expecting, especially after the highly successful Nintendo DS, with poor sale numbers due to a lackluster launch lineup and high retail price (£229.99/$249.99) Nintendo panicked and quickly set to try and save the 3DS with a price drop and released some solid first party titles. Helped by the big releases such as Super Mario 3D Land in November and Mario Kart 7 in early December the 3DS sales skyrocketed during the holiday period.

For such a flaky start it's impressive Nintendo managed to reach the five million units sold milestone quicker than any other console did.


UK Weekly releases
Game Title:       
February 22nd 2012Playstation VitaVita
February 22nd 2012Alan Wake's American NightmareXBLA
February 24th 2012Binary DomainPS3/360
February 24th 2012Jak and Daxter CollectionPS3/360/PC
February 24th 2012The Last StoryWii
February 24th 2012SyndicatePS3/360/PC

AUS Weekly Releases
Game Title:       
February 22nd 2012Alan Wake's American NightmareXBLA
February 22nd 2012Asura's Wrath PS3/360
February 23rd 2012Playstation VitaVita
February 23rd 2012Asura's WrathPS3/360
February 23rd 2012Binary DomainPS3/360
February 23rd 2012CatherinePS3/360
February 23rd 2012The Last StoryWii
February 23rd 2012TEKKEN3DS

Game Review: Killing Floor

Killing Floor Review
Publisher: Tripwire Interactive
Developer: Tripwire Interactive
Platform: PC
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release Date: 14th May 2009
Price: £14.99/$19.99

Killing Floor is a PC game you may or may not have heard of developed by the small developer Tripwire Interactive; winner of the 2004 "Make Something Unreal" competition with "Red Orchestra". Killing Floor, like Red Orchestra, is a total conversion mod using the Unreal Engine 2.5 with a focus on teamwork and cooperation. The game can be purchased on steam for £15 normally but is very often on sale for less than £5. In the 3 years since its release, and even in the 1 year since I bought the game, many updates map/weapon/perk additions have been released completely for free usually around the time of a holiday or celebration such as Christmas or summer very much akin to the frequent Team Fortress 2 updates. 


The game has only one game mode which involves teaming up with up to five other people and shooting, stabbing, and burning various zombie like creatures called "Specimens". These specimens appear in increasingly difficult waves with small and weak specimens like the "Clot" appearing in the first few waves and bigger and nastier specimens like the "Flesh Pound" (shown to the left) appearing in later waves. The final wave of the game involves facing off against a very difficult boss enemy called the "Patriarch"; a monstrous creature with a chain gun, rocket launcher, and claw that bursts out of his chest, not nice. Dying during a wave means you are dead until the end of the wave, you cannot be revived once down. This difficulty curve through the match scales with the improving guns and weapons you are able to buy in between waves from the constantly moving trader. Money can be gained from killing zombies or healing teammates and can also be shared between teammates meaning newer players won't lag behind and people joining the game mid way through won't end up having the worst equipment against tough specimens.

Every player also picks a perk of which there are seven: Support Specialist (effective with shotguns and welding doors), Sharpshooter (does extra head-shot damage and uses long range weaponry), Commando (uses automatic weapons and is useful for killing large swarms of smaller specimens), Berserker (uses melee weapons and has extra speed and damage resistance), Firebug (uses guns that set specimens on fire), Field Medic (gets more effective healing) and Demolition (uses explosives to blow large groups of specimens apart). Each of the seven perks involves quite a different play-style and teams will normally need a good mix of each with people even possibly swapping perks mid game to survive. The perks do not force you to use certain equipment but instead give you bonuses to damage on them and discounts on buying them from the trader. The perks also level up as you play going from 0 to 6 leading to bigger damage bonuses and bigger discounts per level. This means that the higher difficulty settings require you not only to be skillful but also have higher levels in the perks with "Hard" and "Suicidal" difficulties being basically impossible on levels 3 or below (and "Hell on Earth" being just impossible). This means new players need to be careful when searching for severs or playing alone as they may be put off by punishing difficulty. In fact this is one aspect of the game I have an issue with; it is not particularly easy to get into with a pretty steep learning curve that players may not enjoy. For this reason I recommend new players either play on solo for a bit (a perfectly viable option since the number of specimens spawning depends on the number of players in the game) or play the game with some friends to learn with.

Other than the initial difficulty the gameplay is an absolute blast, the various perks are all fun to play as and require a long time to master both in terms of skill and perk level (I have played the game for nearly 100 hours and I still haven't got any perks above level 4) meaning you'll be coming back to play for hours and hours. As I mentioned before they are also very varied so you can have a different experience just by switching perks.  All of the guns and melee weapons feel very satisfying; they have a real weight to them and feel very powerful especially after you level up your perks. Every so often during a wave the "Zed-time" will be activated; a short period of slow motion that everyone in the game receives allowing people to line up a shot or get a good view of the field. Sometimes however this can be annoying if you are reloading or healing so you just watch yourself reload really slowly but mostly it feels cool and is very useful. Killing floor is a very challenging game and requires you to really work as a team to succeed, particularly when facing the patriarch, and the game demands not only your skill at aiming and dodging attacks but also strategy in welding certain doors to funnel the specimens to certain areas, placing pipe bombs in tactical locations to deal severe damage etc. The variety of specimens with their various advantages and disadvantages against the various perks and weapons will mean you are constantly learning more effective ways of killing enemies and avoiding death.

Note: trailer does not incorporate the new updated content.

Presentation, Graphics and Sound

The premise of the game is pretty simple: a biotech cooperation was experimenting on "Specimens" and these specimens have escaped and are running rampant around the streets of London. You and your teammates play as special forces sent to wipe out these specimens.This is really it, there is no real story or campaign in Killing Floor, it's is purely about the gameplay. Visually, the game is hardly a piece of eye candy compared to some of 2009's more visually appealing games such as Assassins' Creed 2 or Uncharted 2 and this can be attributed to its older game engine. The game uses a modified version of the Unreal Engine 2.5, an upgraded version of the engine that Unreal Tournament 2004 uses. This is because it was originally a mod, made in 2005, for Unreal Tournament 2004 and people who have played this game will see this right away with the way the menus and server browser are set out. Back when Killing Floor was a mod I would be fine with the fact it uses the same interface, however, four years after its initial release and now that it's a full game in it's own right I can't say I'm too impressed. The interface was obviously designed with 4:3 and lower resolution screens in mind, meaning the server list is extremely small and so it is difficult to pick a server on the larger, wider screens of today's standard. Even without the resolution trouble the menus still feel a little clunky and outdated. 

Killing Floor may not have the most appealing graphics but they can hardly be called "bad" and many of the newer released maps look more like Unreal Engine 3 than 2. And of course the advantage of using an older engine is that most people won't have to worry about the game running well. Any PC made in the past 3 or 4 years should be fine and to any that are worried the system specifications are shown at the foot of the store page on Steam. 

Animation and physics are overall pretty good, in first person the game feels very immersive with your gun's iron sights moving back and forth while moving and being thrown up from recoil while firing. Bodies of specimens are often eviscerated and will fly realistically backwards when killed, again adding to the feeling of power from your weapons. The third person animations are not quite as impressive with the running animation being a little strange and glitches where your allies aren't holding any weapons in spectator mode can be quite ridiculous. Some of the particle effects such as the fire are a little dodgy with flame trails appearing directly behind creatures on fire instead of around them. However other effects such as the smoky laser rave room in the "Bedlam" map (shown above) are pretty cool and the build up of smoke from explosions can be quite scary if you don't know where the enemies are coming from.

The dark and gritty metal soundtrack fits in well with the graphics and presentation and the sound effects are absolutely excellent especially from firing guns. The specimen sound effects can be pretty terrifying: with the strange hissing noises of the "Crawlers" to the Skrake's menacing chainsaw revving and laughter. The Patriarch himself even speaks to you, with both taunts and insults that will be sure to infuriate you both before and after he inevitably kills you. People often complain about the voice acting in this game but I personally like it a lot. The voice commands and various "reloading" and "medic" shouts are voiced by only two people: the Vice President of Tripwire and a retired British policeman. Both of the voices share the trait of being having a strong London accent and will often quote famous British films and TV shows such as "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!" and "loadsamoney!" to much amusement. 

Mods, community and updates

When the game was first released you'd be forgiven for thinking there weren't enough maps because, well, there just weren't. Only five maps came with the original package and at £15 this may seem a little unfair. However since then new maps have been constantly added in updates and events along with new skins for your character that you can buy as cheap downloadable content and some that can be achieved by completing difficult achievements during the various events such as the Santa Clause skin and the chicken suit skin from the Christmas event and Halloween event respectively. As of writing this review there are 21 official maps out all of which are very varied especially the event ones like the Santa Clause lair, the carnival and even an Aperture Science map released during the Potato Sack deal. None of these maps cost even a single penny to acquire (a practice I wish more developers and publishers would use) which means Killing Floor is great bang for your buck especially if you bought when it was on sale (which it frequently is).

A plethora of community-made maps have been created, some being rather excellent (such as the DOOMed map) and many others being pretty abysmal. Many servers often have custom weapons and textures and again these can be pretty hit or miss but it is always nice to get new content for free.

The actual community it self is probably one of my favourite online communities around, almost everyone I have met in games or in Killing Floor Steam groups has been very helpful and considerate and wouldn't call you a "noob" for asking for advice or help. If you are struggling to survive waves instead of players vote-kicking or insulting you they will most likely give you advice on how to improve which is very welcoming for new players especially when the game itself has quite a steep difficulty curve. The brilliant community is probably one of the main reasons I just keep coming back to Killing Floor compared to other online games because I just always have a more enjoyable experience with the other players.


I would 100% recommend this game to fans of shooters, horror, and team-based multiplayer, really anyone who plays video games a lot. It is a little difficult to get in to at first and it's a little rough around the edges but once you've sunk around 10-15 hours you'll be hooked. If you're still unsure then wait for a sale or a free weekend and try and play it with some friends. Unlike most smaller/indie projects it's not trying to be overly creative or artsy it's just good at what it wants to be; pure simple fun!

- Connor Roddie

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