Thursday 31 October 2013

Star Trek: Into Darkness

The newest entry in the Star Trek series has made it to Blu-Ray and DVD, but is J.J Abrams' latest addition to the franchise worthy of what came before it?

In 2009 Abrams resurrected the ailing Star Trek franchise, a franchise that was brought to its knees by the largely awful film Star Trek: Nemesis and Star Trek: Enterprise, that last Trek TV show which was populated by terribly wooden actors (as well as Sam from Quantum Leap!). It was dead as a doornail and Abrams gave it a new, fresh leash of life. Star Trek: Into Darkness focuses on James T. Kirks first mission as a Starfleet Captain, a mission that makes for a sub-par Trek movie, yet a pretty fun action flick.

The crew of the Enterprise are sent out on a mission to eliminate terrorist and former Starfleet Officer John Harrison. Harrison, who has attacked a number of targets on Earth, has a beef with Starfleet that runs deep, and the reveal on who exactly he is and why he's doing what he's doing is the crux of the story. You won't find any spoilers here, but what I will say is that in many ways Into Darkness is a muddled re-thread of the 1982 Trek film, The Wrath of Khan. In fact, Into Darkness makes so many references to The Wrath of Khan, that you'll find yourself literally wanting to turn off Into Darkness in order to watch it.

That's the problem, Into Darkness is afraid to be its own movie, and to create a truly original story. Instead it uses Treks best film as an outline and basically ends up making a hugely inferior version than it. Non-Trek fans won't care about this, but for those hardcore Trek fans out there, it'll infuriate you on just how much they reference The Wrath of Khan. This comes to ahead with a very iconic Trek scream, which again was in The Wrath of Khan to a fantastic effect, but here it's just incredibly cringe worthy. Sorry Zachary, but you're no Shatner!

That said, Into Darkness isn't a bad film by any stretch of the imagination. It does contain some pretty kickass sequences, the best of which faces the Enterprise off against a gigantic Starfleet military grade ship, the USS Vengeance. It's fucking huge, absolutely dwarfs the Enterprise, and whereas most movies would make sure that the heroes come out of a fight unscathed, the Enterprise has its ass absolutely handed to it. Take that, red shirts!

The cast, much like the 2009 film, are all top-notch. Chris Pine absolutely nails Kirk in this one, and while everyone else is great, Simon Pegg's Scotty just doesn't do it for me. Once again he's played for laughs, and while it does inject a bit of goofy fun in between scenes of global terrorism, does kind of belittle the great character that Scotty should have been. The main addition to the cast is our favourite Englishman Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch plays John Harrison to great effect, in his usual welcoming yet menacing approach, and is the movies overall highlight. I could watch the guy for hours, particularly when atop a moving flying car while kicking seven shades of shit out of Spock!

It doesn't stack up against other, better Star Trek movies (In fact, I even enjoyed The Final Frontier more), but that's OK, It doesn't really need to. Like I said, it's not a fantastic Trek movie at all, just an OK one. Abrams just may be the perfect director for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII, but he makes a pretty average Trek movie. However, it's a pretty good popcorn flick, and it's just about the only movie that there will ever be that features a scene in which Sherlock Holmes kills Robocop. And that, ladies and gentleman, is well worth the price of admission.

Star Trek: Into Darkness gets a modest 6.5/10

Denis Murphy

Star Trek: Into Darkness at CeX

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Halloween Gaming Fright Fest

Today is Halloween dear friends and we thought we'd share with you some of the spookiest, scariest and most pants-browning games we've come across here at CeX towers, updated for 2013!

If you aren't out trick-or-treating tonight, or lobbing sweets at ravenous wide-eyed children, consider picking one of them up and scaring yourself silly.

5) Dead Space
When Dead Space first dropped people were skeptical of "zombies in space" but boy were they wrong. Dead Space proved to be a masterful marrying of Sci-Fi and horror the likes of which haven't been seen in gaming and film for a long time. Though the series still continues strong the lack of co-op and the first-time introduction of the Necromorphs solidifies Dead Space 1 as a true fright-fest. In space no one can hear you scream and, thankfully, crap yourself.

4) Condemned: Criminal Origins
What's scarier than investigating the crime scenes of a series deranged murders? How about having waves of insane hobos thrown at you in dark and claustrophobic dilapidated tenements, who call out to you from the dark and can be heard breathing heavily around the corner.

3) Resident Evil 4
In our opinion the pinnacle of the Resident Evil series. It marries the horror survival feel of the previous games with over the camera action, strangely making it more scarily as enemies lunge not just at the character but at you.

2) Outlast
One of the break-out indie hits this year Outlast sees your character, a reported who apparently never heard what killed the cat, visit an insane asylum that has lost contact with the outside world. Yes spooky insane asylums are a dime a dozen in video games but Outlast's masterful execution of oppressive atmosphere makes it a game that may end up sending you to an asylum yourself. Play it at your own risk.

1) Amnesia: The Dark Descent
A masterpiece and only for the hardiest of gamers. Amnesia: The Dark Descent still stands out as a beacon in a genre whose popularity has fluctuated in recent years and with good reason. A sinister story, engaging puzzles, terrifying enemies and a beautifully crafted look Amnesia: The Dark Descent even scares us more than its somewhat tamer sequel Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. If you want to be scared into a coma so you can wake up when the next generation of arrives, this is for you.

So enjoy dear friends… if you dare >:)

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Wednesday 30 October 2013

Skylanders Swap Force

“One of gaming’s most beloved modern franchises returns to make its mark again with new figurines, an assortment of new ways to enjoy Skylanders and the continuation of a thoroughly entertaining story. Swapforce has everything fans of the series could want and more. “

The Gameplay:
There is something inherently addictive to collecting and Activision has hit the nail on the head with Skylanders. Players are required to use figurines and a portal to digitize plastic characters into the gaming world. While Swap Force like all other iterations of Skylanders comes with starting characters, if you want to unlock everything Swapforce has to offer, be prepared to purchase the assortment of characters that will eventually come out.

When the characters are digitized Swapforce plays much like a third-person hack-n-slash adventure. Although it is possible for the older gamer to enjoy what Swap Force has to offer, one can’t help but see the simplicity aimed at a younger generation of gamers. Swapforce does an excellent job offering other content in the form of questing and exploration, which certainly adds to the replay value here. 

Swap Force’s standout mechanic is the ability to swap pieces of characters with other parts – the special Swapforce figurines have detachable lower and upper bodies that can be combined with other parts in lots of different ways. This interesting physical mechanic brings stat and move changes to the in-game content; creating a strategic element that Swapforce desperately needed to keep the attention of more advanced gamers. However, the ability to implement this mechanic comes once again at the price of purchasing new figurines. 

The Presentation:

As a series Skylanders excels with its beautiful presentation. The creativity implemented in the making of Skylanders figures should be applauded – much like Pokemon it’s difficult to create a fictional monster that holds an affinity with gamers but it’s done to an incredibly high standard here. The variable cast blends well with the continuing story that holds your attention right to the end and leaves you wanting more.

The Verdict: 
Skylanders Swapforce ticks all the boxes of a successful sequel. Clever new figurines with an interesting swappable mechanic, intuitive puzzles, charming gameplay and a wonderful story all make this addition to the series a success. Unfortunately it’s up to you to work out the cost to fun ratio here because as much as this is a thoroughly entertaining experience, you’ll have to pay twice the game’s price and even over if you’re looking to get absolutely everything out of this experience. 

Gameplay – 7/10
Presentation – 9/10
Replay Value – 9/10
Verdict – 8/10

Igor Kharin.

Skylanders Swap Force at CeX

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Friday 25 October 2013

CeX @ MCM London Comic Con

 CeX popped up at MCM Comic Con London, now we have gone. 
Until next time....

Did we take your photo? Check out the full albums of photos 
Day 3   Day 2   Day 1 

Did we take your photo? Check out the full albums of photos 
Day 3   Day 2   Day 1 

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Wednesday 23 October 2013

Pacific Rim

The giant robot and massive monster movie spectacle Pacific Rim has just landed on Blu-Ray and DVD this month. With its inspirations steeped heavily in movies such as Godzilla and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Pacific Rim aims to bring back the giant monster movie genre, a genre that which Japan has always been fascinated with. While it sounds pretty awesome on paper, how does the finished product stack up?

In 2013 an inter-dimensional portal opened in the Pacific Ocean floor. Massive alien creatures known as Kaiju came through and decimated numerous cities. Jump forward to the year 2025, and humanity has built up a defence against the Kaiju menace by creating enormous robots controlled by two neurologically linked pilots. These robots- known as Jaegers- are the last line of defence standing between the Kaiju and the annihilation of the human race. However, due to the increasing power of the Kaiju, the Jeager program is losing support and instead humanity has turned to simply creating huge walls to keep the Kaiju out of coastal cities. Needless to say, crappy large walls don't keep the Kaiju off Earth's lawn! In a last ditch attempt to save Hong Kong, two pilots with very different backgrounds are brought together to protect humanity from the Kaiju threat.

Director Guillermo del Toro had one thing in mind when making Pacific Rim. In an interview he said, “It is my duty to commit to film the finest fucking monsters ever committed to screen, and it is my duty to create the greatest fucking robots ever committed to screen.” After watching Pacific Rim, a film that absolutely goes balls-to-the-wall in both the monster and robot department, it's hard to say he didn't achieve that. Basically, the Jaeger vs Kaiju fights in Pacific Rim are pretty damn fucking awesome. While there is usually a terrible overuse of CGI in movies nowadays, the effects used here are simply epic. The keyword here is weight, as without a true sense of weight for these hulking, building sized creations, the illusion would be broken. It doesn't just feel like two CGI creations mindlessly knocking each other over the head like in Transformers 3, but rather feels real, physical and utterly threatening to anyone or anything in their path. Buildings are pushed over, towering waves are kicked up, and each impact upon the Jaegers and Kaiju are incredibly visceral. A true treat for the senses, and more ass kickery than you can shake a stick at.

Featuring a fantastic cast with the likes of Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), Idris Elba (Prometheus) and Charlie Day (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Pacific Rim isn't just a CGI-fest, but instead tells a simple yet competent tale of human survival. But hey, though most of us want to see it because of the badass monster battles, at its heart Pacific Rim has a solid story and script that elevate it to more than just a pretty sight. While it may not be as spellbinding as Guillermo del Toro's previous masterpiece Pan's Labyrinth, it's another worthy addition to his growing list of summer blockbusters alongside Hellboy and Blade 2.

Some have called Pacific Rim "dumb fun", but that's a little unfair. I'd personally class it as great nuts-and-bolts entertainment. From it's utterly epic visuals to its often touching human story, Pacific Rim has something for everyone- action, romance, aliens, robots, Idris Elba kicking ass and a scene in which a Jaeger uses a huge ship- yes, an actual fucking ship- as a makeshift baseball bat. Epic entertainment.

Pacific Rim gets a city destroying 8/10.

Denis Murphy

Pacific Rim CeX

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Beyond: Two Souls

Quantic Dream's first title, Omikron: The Nomad Soul, was an incredibly inventive experience. While their games have lost a great deal of interactivity since then, their stories and scripts have gotten closer to what might be considered "film material", which in itself is rather interesting. Their latest title, Beyond: Two Souls, continues this trend and helps create what is less a videogame and more a movie. This is both good and bad.

First things first- lets stop pretending that Heavy Rain was some kind of high art. Back in 2010 critics were bowled over by Heavy Rain, Quantic Dreams' supposedly deeply emotional, moving and nuanced drama thriller. In retrospect it had less interactivity than a game of Monopoly, a script that would be laughed at if it appeared in a sub-par movie, and a twist that M. Night Shyamalan would be proud of. It wasn't awful, but it didn't deserve the respect it got. However, while Beyond: Two Souls is very much like Heavy Rain in terms of gameplay, it corrects the missteps it took to deliver a pretty solid experience.

Beyond: Two Souls tells the story of Jodie Holmes, a girl that is linked to a mysterious, ghostly entity known as Aiden. The game takes place over 15 years of Jodie's life in an episodic and jumbled order, and focuses on her connection to Aiden, and her struggle to achieve a normal life. The cast is headlined by Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, but not only in voice, but also in motion and facial capture. This inclusion of real Hollywood talent is what sets Beyond: Two Souls apart from Heavy Rain. Instead of the drama on-screen being played out by C-grade TV advert actors, the cast in Beyond: Two Souls is impeccable, and their performances are nicely conveyed through each actors digital self.

Much like Heavy Rain, the gameplay in Beyond: Two Souls could be described as more of an interactive movie than a videogame. That said, gone are the tedious combat Quick Time Events of Heavy Rain, which are replaced by something similar, but vastly more fluid and natural. Despite being more of an interactive drama, gameplay is varied at times, which blends simple exploration, detailed dialogue trees and excellent action scenes. However, the best moments are when the player is able to control Aiden, the spectre that protects Jodie. As Aiden, the player can interact with the environment through moving objects, throwing chairs, burning out light-bulbs to even forcing enemies into shooting themselves. Playing as Aiden steals the show and undoubtedly makes for the better moments when playing Beyond: Two Souls.

The crux of Beyond: Two Souls is freedom of choice, and for the player to freely make choices throughout Jodie's life. While most of these choices are meaningless to the story (the choice whether to kiss or not kiss a boy at your birthday comes to mind!), the game does have a few endings that deliver drastically different outcomes for the games characters. Beyond: Two Souls deals with heavy issues, but isn't as much of a slog to get through as Heavy Rain. In fact, from the heavy issues Beyond: Two Souls deals with, it deals with them pretty well, which ultimately leads to a rather pleasing conclusion, despite whatever ending you find yourself with.

Have Quantic Dream achieved their dream to create a truly emotional gaming experience? No really, but that's OK. Beyond: Two Souls may not rock the world like Grand Theft Auto 5 did, but it will probably stay with you. Not as good as it should have been, but very much worth experiencing.

Beyond: Two Souls gets a respectable 7/10

Denis Murphy

Beyond: Two Souls CeX

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Tuesday 22 October 2013

Apple Event (22/10)

So here it is, yet another Apple event. What a wonderful way to spend my evening; watching corporate types trying to convince me to buy their stuff by appearing trendy and hip – a technique that appears to work all too well as I have in my possession an iPad, iPhone and MacBook (strictly for work, I swear!). Every time I watch one of these I get all nostalgic and think back to a time when Apple was not only confined to the PC market but were losing ground to Windows PCs year after year. Of course back then no one had heard of Miley Cyrus nor twerking and having olive skin didn't send people running for the hills in fits of paranoia.

Sometimes I miss that world. I miss tech products being about functionality and what value they could offer a user, instead of the mind-numbing barrage of targeted marketing that tells us that somehow, the brand of your Phone determines which social group you belong to. Ahhh to live in a world where having thick-rimmed glasses meant nothing more than you liked thick-rimmed glasses. But I digress; you probably don’t care about my nostalgic ramblings and want this old man to shut up. So instead here is the break down of the announcements Apple made today – sure to get your Pavlovian responses going with buzzwords like “thinner” and “lighter”.

OS X Mavericks
Apple’s new operating system for Laptops and Desktops. It boasts a host of new features including longer battery life, better performance with integrated graphics and enhanced versions of software such as iBooks and Safari. Most importantly OSX Mavericks is FREE and you can update whether you are currently using Mountain Lion, Lion or Snow Leopard.

*Some info we already knew about OS X Mavericks*

MacBook Pro
Touting major updates to the MacBook Pro line, Apple will be releasing new versions of their MBP laptops. The new 13-inch MBP will come with a Haswell Chip and Intel Iris Graphics, an estimated 9-hour battery life, improved Flash and Wi-Fi speeds and Thunderbolt 2 connectivity. The 15-inch MBP will ship with the same but with the option for dedicated graphics cards up to GeForce GT 750M and supporting an estimated 8-hour battery life. Both models are available as of right now.

Mac Pro
Shedding more light on the new Mac Pro briefly covered at WWDC. It has a drastic physical redesign, sporting a cylindrical chassis that is apparently 1/8th the size of a typical last gen Mac Pro but approximately 2.5 times more powerful. As standard it’ll come equipped with a Xeon E5 12-core processor, dual AMD FirePro graphics cards, Thunderbolt 2 and top of the range Solid State Hard Drives. Apple boasts that this kind of setup can support multiple 4K displays (4K being twice the size of 1080p with 4 times the pixels). It will be available as of December.

A bevvy of updates are heading to Apple’s selection of proprietary apps. Photobooks will be coming to iPhoto on the iPad (you can also order your images printed to your address), new tools for iMovie on iOS 7, a new look and features for Garage Band (i.e. 8 tracks upped to 16/32) and updates to iWorks to make it easier to use across platform with multiple collaborators, and surprisingly FREE.

Two new iPad models were announced!

Firstly the “iPad Air” will be the updated version of the typical iPad model (full sized) but with quite a few differences.  It’s 9.7-inches with a thinner bezel (43% thinner) similar to that of an iPad mini, 7.5mm thick and weights 1 lb.  It sports the new 64bit A7 chip, an M7 Motion coprocessor, both of which can also be found in the iPhone 5s, 5MP iSight camera, HD FaceTime camera, and dual microphones. It will apparently have a 10-hour battery life and comes in two colour combinations; Silver and White or Space Grey and Black. It will be available as of the 1st of November.

Secondly a new iPad Mini model is coming out (no name change though). It will sport a retina display (2048x1536, the same resolution as the iPad Air), an A7 chip, and a 10-hour battery life. It will also be available in Silver and White or Space Grey and Black, sometime later in November.

With these two new additions Apple state that their online store will now only stock the iPad 2, iPad Air, original iPad Mini and new iPad mini.

No changes. They did just release the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.

So there we have it, this year’s new offerings from Apple. The updates to laptops are quite standard fare and other manufacturers often do the same without such a big song and dance. The Mac Pro certainly is interesting though, if only for the cylindrical design. Admittedly providing OSX Mavericks and software like iWorks for free is extremely cool of them… but that’s how they get you. Is your iPad really too heavy and too thick? Does it warrant an update? If so you must have really small hands… or just really like the way it’ll look with your thick-rimmed glasses, summer dresses and colourful cardigans worn with no hint of irony…

Isaac Sung

Apple Products at CeX

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Monday 21 October 2013

The Conspiracy

The Conspiracy has just come out on Blu-ray and DVD, right when you weren’t looking, and I’m not sure whom it’s for. It’s like fiction based in truth, the truth being the delusional ramblings of street preachers talking endlessly about the Illuminati, lizard people, 9/11 being an invitation for war from Americans and fiction being that it isn’t really a documentary like it pretends.

The reason I don’t know who it’s for is because as a fiction, watching the characters getting drawn into this is boring, if it was a real life documentary then some of the Tarsus club bits would make you spray excrement from dawn till fucking dusk, but only if you truly believed what was going on. Maybe it’s meta-paranoia, telling you not to believe everything you hear just because its spoon-fed to you in a style normally associated with truth. To people who already believe the government is controlling us and doing wars for a laugh (as opposed to pure greed of liquid black gold) it is a slap in the face. How much of a face-slap? To understand, gain a small knowledge of computer programming and watch the nineties film Hackers and notice your face being patronised off by their Wikipedia levels of research.

The film starts off with two guys making a documentary on a lunatic with a megaphone called Travis who stands on corners of streets in New York yelling at passers by. The main content of his ‘warnings’ are that the government has convinced the passers by that they are free when really they are slaves. Personally a hypothetical slave with a coffee, an iPhone and an intelligent, interesting, sexually liberated nymphomaniac girlfriend, for example, seems to me to be a much more satisfying and appealing kind of slavery than his ‘freedom’.

It’s the freedom of wearing the same clothes for years on end and being surrounded by constant reminders of your own disintegrating soul every time you see a smiling couple or look at last nights dinner slowly becoming infested with spiders and larvae as it collapses out of its fucking pot onto your carpet. A carpet that in turn is 40% cigarette butts, 15% self pumped semen and the rest just random effluent of bile and evidence of your hatred for humanity that you voluntarily abandoned. Remember sometimes the only difference between freedom and abandonment is perspective.

Anyway, eventually Travis goes fucking missing somehow, and this ends up convincing one of the guys (Aaron) to look into what he’s been researching for the past few years, which he obviously figures out in less than a few minutes. Aaron gets burgled at one point and immediately thinks this is the government after him to stop him from interfering. He has a really expensive mac pro set-up and loads of other shit, despite this the thieves only took forty dollars and some trainers. Whether this was the government or some thieves, they DEFINITELY would have taken the computer, I mean its worth loads of money and would have all the evidence on it.

This is one of the very few plot issues I had, there aren’t that many considering it is essentially a paranoia horror of sorts. Later they stumble across this club that world leaders attend every few years (I had heard about this ten years ago so it’s a real theory, possibly a real thing) which is depicted as an eyes wide shut mixed with a Freemason’s style retreat for George Bush and I dunno… fucking mother Theresa’s handmaidens. Money laundering con artist that she was she probably would’ve been here somewhere, if she weren’t safely buried that is.

I’m being a bit of a cock as usual because I did enjoy the film up until I realised it was a fictional Blair Witch style film, and as a directorial debut its pretty clever and very interesting. I watched it in two parts and between part one and two I didn’t trust anything I saw for the next few days, I questioned myself every time I ever felt good about something, say playing with a puppy. Was Google watching just so it could sell me hour-long videos of Pomskies trying to chase each other through long grass? Would a Google executive literally spoon-feeding me tubs of ambrosia-creamed rice while I was watching the mini-wolves in exchange for my bank account details and my last Rolo?

*John Lennon thought something fucked was going on, nothing to do with drugs of course*

I think the only real bad thing about this film is it’s timing, if this had come out before everyone had the internet closer to hand than their own genitals then it could’ve caused quite a stir and freak a lot of people out. It’s actually loads of fun letting yourself believe it, but in a fun ‘not really’ kind of way, not like those delusional underdeveloped simpletons who watched the film Zeitgeist and started a paranoia religion after most of the false claims made in that film. 

If there aren’t lots of pages of evidence to back up claims like this then ignore them. That includes everything you’ve just read that I’ve just written semi drunkenly at 2am. This is just an opinion piece, just like when I say James Franco is a wanker for no reason, or when I say Diablo III was shit, I truly believe this but don’t believe me for the sake of it. Otherwise the government will control your mind, the Illuminati will get you, and the lizard people will rule supreme. Probably Diana Ross.

David Roberts, CeX Lisburn

The Conspiracy at CeX

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Tuesday 15 October 2013


“The best football simulator makes a graceful return once again. While not reinventing the wheel, FIFA 14 consolidates what we already know and love about the series, streamlining and improving the game’s fundamental areas and ultimately making it an even better experience.“

As a series FIFA has seen key changes over the past few years to player movement and physics. FIFA 14 doesn’t boast a key new feature, rather it smooths over an already brilliant package to make it even more action packed and rewarding.

In particular FIFA 14 boasts an unprecedented level of AI intelligence – players move appropriately, find pockets of space and attack in droves. Player models have a life-like feel about them as weight stands out as a key improvement with players shifting their body positions as they pick up speed or decide to change directions. These small touches help FIFA 14 feel even more fluid and offensively minded than its predecessor.

What would a FIFA game be without all the wonderful gameplay options available. Another key change comes in Ultimate Team with not only the menus streamlined but new RPG like elements introduced to your players to create chemistry in your team. On top of that awesome online game modes and season-style simulators make FIFA 14 every bit as action packed as you would expect.

As an overall package FIFA 14 is wholly impressive. Pre-match build up is even more exciting and clever while the commentary continues to improve and use information from constant updates giving you the latest player news.

Unfortunately the graphics have for the most part stayed the same on the pitch. In fact the improvement in player movement makes all non-gameplay elements of FIFA 14 look quite stale and robotic like the pre-match rituals for example. However, stadiums have now truly come to life with the crowds looking incredible and the arenas themselves dazzling your screen.

Just the fact that almost every single section of the FIFA series has been tweaked with for the better in this instalment shows the emphasis on presentation this time round and as a result, is a resounding success.

Once FIFA, always FIFA I hear some of you say. While it is still the best football simulator on the market and it does deserve your attention, it’s up to you to decide whether you’re tired of this formula or if there’s more here for you. I personally love this instalment, it looks great and feels wonderful and I will find it hard to believe if you don’t feel the same way.

Gameplay: 9
Presentation: 8
Replay Value: 10
Verdict: 9

Igor Kharin.

FIFA 14 at CeX

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Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix

"One of the most wonderful crossovers in video game history, Kingdom Hearts set its mark in 2002 and is now back more than 10 years later to allow another generation of gamers experience this magical adventure. Prepare for an experience that defines role-play adventure."

Kingdom Hearts is a third-person role-play adventure where you play as Sora alongside AI controlled teammates that include Donald, Goofy and a host of special guests like Aladdin, Beast and Squall Lionheart. You level up, manage your equipment, find new keyblades (the series’ iconic weapon that is used as a blade but also to unlock hearts during the story) and uncover amazing summons like Simba and Dumbo while progressing through the games’ intriguing and mysterious story.

The enemies you encounter are shadow-like creatures called Heartless: they come in many shapes and sizes but the real treat here is battling famous Disney characters in boss battles. Jafar and Ursula amongst others help Kingdom Hearts deliver an unbelievable nostalgia trip that simply cannot be found in any other game.

For a game released in 2002, gameplay still feels fluid and holds up well to modern day gaming. Unfortunately the frustrating camera that plagued the original still remains, but it’s nothing that truly ruins the experience, merely frustrating occasionally. 

This HD remake takes a game that is certainly outdated visually and makes it absolutely stunning to look at. Kingdom Hearts always had a unique look and the vivid restoration of colours and character models makes this look like a truly slick experience.

Aside from the thoroughly enjoyable gameplay, Kingdom Hearts’ strongest point is the absolutely incredible story created by combining Square-Enix with Disney. The centre plot revolves around you travelling to different Disney worlds and recovering/unlocking the hearts of key characters. This removes their anger and rage, what the Heartless feed on, and using your keyblade you discover a whole host of entertaining personalities throughout your adventure. 

I must confess that growing up Kingdom Hearts was my favourite game on the PlayStation 2, so I might be a little bit biased in this review. However, the unbelievable popularity of the franchise and countless spin-offs and sequels proves that I’m not the only one who fell in love with Sora and the wonderful cast of characters around him.

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix is a special package that lets you relive the stunning original Kingdom Hearts 1 Final Mix (a complete version previously only released in Japan) alongside a HD remake of Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories and non-playable story-content from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days – what a ridiculous bargain. If you’re looking for a magical role-play adventure and happen to be a fan of Disney and/or Final Fantasy, then this is a game you should have already played: get involved because Kingdom Hearts III is just round the corner!

Gameplay: 8
Presentation: 9
Replay Value: 8
Verdict: 8

Igor Kharin.

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix at CeX

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Monday 14 October 2013

Awww yeah, CeX Tallaght is now open!

Great news, CeX Tallaght is now open! Yes, we're ready to buy/trade your unwanted phones, games, films, computers and gadgets. Buy, sell and exchange at CeX where you can find the best cash and trade prices for you unwanted stuff! Find us in at Unit 307A, The Square Town Centre, Tallaght, Dublin - we're on level 3 near the KFC ;).

Much love to the team who made this possible!

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Monday 7 October 2013

Grand Theft Auto V

“Grand Theft Auto V has a sense of grandeur that many modern games can only dream of. A vast and wonderful city filled with life as you play out the story of three chaotic characters all living out their dream of making it big. This is the best GTA game that has ever been conceived and arguably the best open-world adventure ever made.“

Grand Theft Auto V takes the principles of GTA IV and enhances pretty much every area of the game. Playing as three distinctly unique characters (Franklin, Michael and Trevor) Rockstar has put together an excellent third-person adventure that intertwines excellent gunplay, driving and exploration.

Los Santos is full of things to do, more than enough in fact to keep you lost in its streets for a very long time. It’s up to you whether you want to follow the story missions that cleverly intertwine the three characters together or go find your own mischief. With so much to do and so much to see, you’ll still be discovering new areas well into your time with GTA V.

Significant improvements have been made to GTA V’s gunplay and driving, which were the main issues in GTA IV. Getting stuck into the action feels a lot more fluid and the game’s auto-aim function is a lot easier to use too. Cars drive in a more realistic fashion, providing a more arcade-like feel as opposed to the dreadful handling of its predecessor. 

GTA V takes current consoles and pushes them to their absolute limit. An 8GB mandatory install disc comes with the Xbox 360 version and an identical install is required on the PlayStation 3 before you even get near the game. The result however are staggering – beautiful character models fill Los Santos’s streets and to call the city absolutely stunning is an understatement.

Rockstar’s incredible ability to make their games feel real is clearly demonstrated here thanks to the amazing soundtrack available on the game’s radio. Alongside this characters use their mobile phones just like we do, all the time. Emails, text messages, selfie-photos, outrageous adverts for TV shows and even a play on FaceBook all make Grand Theft Auto V a genius game that plays on our modern society’s fads and issues.

Last but not least, an incredible narrative has been created that brings out one of the most entertaining and outrageous stories I have seen from a modern game. 

Grand Theft Auto V is pretty much a perfect game. There’s really nothing you can pick out to complain about. It’s absolutely awesome and so entertaining. I can’t say anything else apart from go get yourself a copy right now. 

Gameplay: 9
Presentation: 10
Replay Value: 10
Verdict: 10

Igor Kharin.

Grand Theft Auto V at CeX

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The Iceman

Just released on Blu-Ray and DVD is the new biopic The Iceman, based on the true story of a mafia hitman Richard Kuklinski.  I am gonna be throwing in spoilers from both this film, obviously, and possibly Breaking Bad so beware if you are behind the times a little.

Based on the true story, this film is the life of family man Richard Kuklinski and his work as a contract killer.  As an ex-bookseller, I can tell you that this is one of the most frequently sold books in the true crime section, if not the most popular.  Kuklinski was originally working in the porn industry, pirating and shipping porn films back in times before it became so easy that people could accidentally tweet their breasts to their entire world à la Scarlett Johansson (no disrespect of course to a philosophical polygamist and Tom Waits fan, she is intelligent and impenetrably lovely).  Eventually the Gambino family, for whom he worked, decided to shut down this operation and then tested his ability to obey orders by demanding he quickly and painlessly murder a homeless man.  Which he did.

Now he answered to a first level soldier in the Gambino family called Roy Demeo alongside someone called Josh Rosenthal.  I defy you to watch this film pointing to Rosenthal and saying ‘That’s Ross! Ross from Friends! Why is he there?! He thinks he’s in the mafia! Silly Ross!”  I feel bad for David Schwimmer in this case because he is he basically playing Ross from Friends except with a terrible moustache and he seems so out of place, some how being given a more serious role while also being type cast at exactly the same time.  Give this man a job in a Paul Rudd film or something and give him back his career because in this he is about as believable as Spongebob Square Pants with a moustache in the middle of the Godfather.

Speaking of moustaches, this film could easily have been called ‘Facial Fair Through the Ages’ as the plot takes place over a couple of decades and Kuklinski must have been an amazingly ‘hip cat’ as he has based his moustache or beard on popular T.V shows at the time.  He even thought he was in Starsky and Hutch at one point chasing a man down an alley way knocking over boxes, messing up hair, working wah-wah pedals within an inch of their flippy-floppy life and the like, all very exciting.  The author of his biography cites these kinds of moments as evidence that he was bi-polar. He had moments where he would make cakes, buy kittens, bring food out to the homeless in awful weather and sometimes personally draw you a picture of a holographic unicorn and stick it to your locker with a packet of Parma violets taped to it with ‘Just Because…’ written beneath. Then he would suddenly fill your puppy with ball bearings and chuck magnets at it, replace all your food with soup and your entire cutlery with forks and do a big fresh poo in your bed when you were at work.  

This all came from the constant physical and emotional abuse he got from his parents, who were under the impression that beating you within an inch of your life with furniture and religion were the best way to raise a child. He would be told to imagine a giant angry man in the sky that would know when he was thinking about girls, touching himself down there and enjoying the ‘wrong’ kind of friendships. Said angry man would respond to this by burning his flesh from his skin, making him vomit battery acid and killing his friends, and the reason behind him doing this?  Because he LOVES him.  So after this mental mind rape worthy of a very unpleasant magic mushroom/DMT breakdown he became a paranoid and antisocial empathy-less mental case.  And did about a century of murders.

Eventually after murdering about 100 people including James Franco and Captain America he gets caught and his family hate him and are happy to see him go. So similar was his journey to that of Walter White in Breaking Bad, the whole film could’ve been a fan made video on YouTube explaining all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad in two hours. If you liked Breaking Bad (if you have emotions and eyeballs and a sense of quality and brilliance) you would enjoy this film, thought not as much obviously. 

I would suggest seeing it but I would watch a documentary or read the book first because as there is so much time trying to be squeezed into the two hours you would lose some of the nuance.

P.S. Allow me to swallow some bile, James Franco was good in this.

David Roberts, CeX Lisburn

The Iceman at CeX

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Thursday 3 October 2013

Video Review - Samsung Galaxy Tab 3

Check out our CeX Vlog - Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 review on our YouTube Channel.

Our reviewer says "In the end it's small, cheap, and ideal for children who use tablets for games. If you're worried about it receiving a few bashes - it's sturdy despite feeling cheap, it will last." Check out the video below to find out why!

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 at CeX

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Video Review - Blackberry Z10 Review

Check out our CeX Vlog - Blackberry Z10 review on our YouTube Channel.

Our reviewer says "It's a good phone that fills out all the boxes on what to work and how to work but doesn't necessarily excel in anything, it's just good, not amazing." Check out the video below to find out why!

Blackberry Z10 at CeX

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Wednesday 2 October 2013

Killzone: Mercenary

“A technically impressive handheld needs technically impressive games and the wait for PlayStation Vita owners is over with the release of Killzone: Mercenary. A thoroughly impressive feat that mirrors home console counterparts, this is absolutely a first-person shooter you must play. “

Finally the PlayStation Vita’s hardware and controller layout had been implemented to a very high standard. Killzone: Mercenary’s first-person action is thrilling, fast-paced and makes full use of the PlayStation Vita’s capabilities. The Vita’s dual joystick layout once again paves the way for effective FPS on the handheld machine with the controls being smooth and easy to handle.

Killzone: Mercenary’s campaign is spread across nine different missions with each stage optionally having different criteria set for completion under the context of Precision, Covert and Demolition contracts. Those of you who played Golden Eye or Perfect Dark will recall this campaign lay out and boy does it greatly increase Killzone’s replay value.

Killzone: Mercenary also boasts a very comprehensive and engaging load-out and perk system (VAN-guards). The former is thoroughly entertaining but the latter while fun, can unbalance the game, especially in online multiplayer. Speaking of multiplayer, it’s another impressive feat at how much fun the online content is. Spread across a variety of different maps and game modes it’s still not quite comparable to home console online gameplay but still fantastic considering it’s on a portable device. 

Obviously in comparison to Killzone 3 there are certain differences but that’s not to say Killzone: Mercenary isn’t thoroughly impressive for a handheld title. In fact it resembles the home console titles in almost every department, just a few technical cuts had to be made to support the full package. So expect the graphics and sound quality to be just shy of PlayStation 3 standards and the multiplayer lacks certain content you’d expect from a fully-fledged online experience, mainly in the amount of players limited to each game.

Killzone: Mercenary also cleverly plays off the shoot and reward system that’s so effective in games like Call of Duty. Instead of rewarding exp. Points, you earn financial reward for pretty much everything you do here. As a result it becomes addictive quickly and it’s hard to put the game down. 

With the PlayStation Vita clearly in Sony’s future plans it seems worthwhile investing in the machine (or the newer slim model that was announced last week) and top titles like Killzone: Mercenary. It’s fair to say that the Vita still hasn’t quite found its feet with AAA titles but Killzone: Mercenary is absolutely a step in the right direction. 

Gameplay: 8
Presentation: 7
Replay Value: 7
Verdict: 7.5

Igor Kharin.

Killzone: Mercenary at CeX

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