Friday 29 November 2013

Way to go Ireland, CeX store 8 open!

Oh what a glorious day CeX fans, CeX Galway is now open, ever increasing our Irish family! Come on down to sell/trade your unwanted phones, games, films, computers and gadgets. Pick up something new and shiny or just to chat.

Check us out for all your buy, sell, exchange and geeky needs. Find us in at 1 Williamsgate Street, Galway.

*Much love to all who made store 8 a reality!*

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PS4 Hands On Impressions

One of our lucky lot here at CeX Towers managed to get his hands on a PS4 last week, needless to say we're all super jealous. So far he's had this to say:

The Controller: 
I really can't explain how huge of an upgrade this is. Comfortable, light, pretty. The headphone jack is amazing, I can play all night and not worry about waking anyone up. Its battery life isn't spectacular, which is the only downside. The touchpad is much cooler/more useful than expected.

I know it's getting some hate, but I don't mind it. It's certainly a HUGE upgrade from the PS3. A bit clunky, but that should improve quickly. The share feature is neat and the Playstation Store is actually usable!

It all looks much nicer in person and it runs pretty silent, compared to other consoles I've played it's so tiny. The download speeds are way, way better than PS3 and install time is super quick. Tablet integration is pretty good. Hibernate mode is cool.

I bought Killzone, it's pretty generic - but it looks so nice I don't mind, I expected more from the flagship launch title though. The free games that come with PS+ are good, Resogun is way better than it should be!

I am happy. 

"I love the triggers - I'm basically totally in love with the controller and I'm very surprised about it."

"Knack is FAR AND AWAY the best game. Feel free to judge me."

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Despite the release of The Wind Waker HD fresh in our minds, many of us gamers have been eagerly awaiting the release of a new title in the Legend of Zelda series, as opposed to a HD re-release. Well, your prayers have been answered in the form of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for the Nintendo 3DS. 

The most notable aspect of the build up to this game was its placement in the chronology of the series. Though you play as a different Link, A Link Between Worlds is a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the classic SNES title that many consider being the best of the series. With that in mind, this was always going to be an uphill struggle for Nintendo, as creating a sequel to a masterpiece ain't so easy. Does it live up to the brilliance of A Link to the Past? No, but that's OK as it's a terrific experience in its own right.

Whereas most Zelda games focus on Ganon as the bad guy, A Link Between Worlds' big bad is Yuga, a wizard that has the ability to turn people into paintings. Yeah, I know, not the most terrifying power imaginable, but it's effective, and while Yuga is kind of forgettable, he makes a nice change from Ganon. That said, Ganon does appear in this game, and his appearance is more in line with some of the retro Zelda titles. And, like any other respectable Zelda game, it begins with Link waking up from a dream in bed. Perfect.

One thing that needs to be said about A Link Between Worlds is its eagerness to get right to the action. Since the days of The Ocarina of Time, Zelda titles seem to take forever to get going, and insist of lengthy cut-scenes to set everything up. This was frustratingly rampant in Skyward Sword, but thankfully A Link Between Worlds is different, and more like the early games in the series.

It kicks off quickly, and once into the action the player will find it to be a typical Zelda fare, but with a few tweaks. Firstly, the stereoscopic 3D is extremely well done, and while it could have been used simply as a gimmick, it's use is impressive throughout. This is apparent during some inventive puzzles and during one particular dungeon, an area that utilizes the almost untapped creative potential of the 3DS.

While key items and gear are still unlocked during your dungeon quests, you now have the ability to “rent” items, including the Bow and Bomb Bag, assuming you have the Rupee's that is. Additionally, another big change is that most weapons are linked to your energy bar. So, while in previous Zelda games you would often find yourself breaking a pot, running off-screen, then breaking it again to find, say, more bombs, all you need to do is wait for your energy bar to recharge. It keeps the action fast, frantic and fun. Combat is as slick as ever too, while boss battles are some of the best in the series yet.

However, A Link Between Worlds does tend to focus more on exploration rather than action, and this change in pace- being more like A Link to the Past- is extremely welcomed. It also helps that graphically it's perfect and a joy to see. From Links comfy house to the darkest dungeons, A Link Between Worlds can't be faulted in the visual department. The 3D here in no gimmick, and achieves at improving the game on many levels, rather than make it an annoyance like so many 3DS titles.

Overall The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds may not achieve the astounding heights of A Link to the Past, but it may be the best Zelda hand-held title yet, hugely enjoyable and a fun adventure for the entire family.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds spin attacks a near perfect 9/10

Denis Murphy

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds at CeX

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This is The End

This is the end of the world as we know it, do do do. Or whatever.  Just released in time for some laughs is This is The End, a film starring people I like when playing douchebag cokeheads and dislike when playing likeable characters… I’m looking at you James Franco.  I am super fond of this film, so much so I’m gonna watch it again while writing this.  Fourth wall breaking, overtly Jewish comedy by the people who make the good comedy films in America, mainly about stoners.  Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, the fabulously perpetually beautiful Emma Watson and others as themselves in a post apocalyptic comedy that is perfect for Pineapple Express fans.

The film opens with Seth Rogen waiting at an airport for his friend Jay, seemingly jamming away to some atonal jazz through invisible magical headphones. After a small interlude with Jay and an uncontrollable amount of marra-the-wanna they go to James Franco’s new place where he is having one hell of a house warming party with the likes of Jason Segel and Michael Cera, who plays a coked up, Rihanna ass-slapping version of himself. This provides lovely little references to How I Met Your Mother, an on screen reunion of Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Cera and Jonah Hill and a conversation about doing a Pineapple Express sequel between Rogen and Franco, which is apparently a real idea that he has for one.

For fans of fourth wall breaking and ensemble casts, it is fucking incredible. After a quick stop off at a shop to get some cigarettes the apocalypse kicks in out of nowhere and kills off most of the celebrities.  As cool as this is it does destroy a certain amount of the dynamic right at the start of the film, but on the bright side it does set the premise early enough so as not to become tedious.

I’m not sure how many of you film watchers and video game players have gone to a party and smoked tremendous amounts of ‘herbal’ cigarettes, but I’m sure at some point you have had to deal with the sudden arrival of a parent, or perhaps just a pizza delivery guy appearing at the door that you had absolutely no memory of calling.  It inspires enough anxiety to really set you on edge for the rest of the night, now imagine you looked outside after this and the hills were on fire and a massive hole had opened in your garden killing celebrities, non celebrities and punctured the loveable Michael Cera through the chest.

It’s fair to say you’d probably have a panic attack and possibly spend the rest of your night crying while hugging your copy of ‘Youth in Revolt’, telling Michael that it was all gonna be ok because he was in heaven now even though you knew he was in some dark fiery hell, being made to sort paint brushes for Hitler or run baths of Lady Bathory. 

After a lot of pissing about and calming down the crew, which had been reduced to James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, and Craig Robinson, all relax and film Pineapple Express 2.  In a well paced decision this is livened up by the sudden arrival of a typically over the top Danny McBride, who can’t possibly behave the way he does in his work in real life.  I think if he wasn’t thrown into the mix the whole film would’ve been a fellatio of each of the character’s egos as they talked about the best films they ever did until the apocalypse finished doing it’s business.

So in some respects accidentally making Emma Watson think she was gonna get raped, eating all the food they had left and ultimately running and off and becoming a cannibal, while keeping Channing Tatum as a sex slave, was the best thing he could’ve done to save the souls of the rest of the crew.  Apparently there’s a micro cameo from someone in it too that no one has confirmed, possibly Nicholas Cage so keep a look out for it.

Anyway the film was great, possibly ok, but I thought Pineapple Express was ok and it grew on me over the years. Apparently it was very cathartic for the actors involved; being able to take out some of their frustrations in a real life way by satirizing their annoying real life habits, except for Cera, he’s a much lovlier person than the coked out Rhianna abuser you see here.  This made it very fun, now go and smoke lots of weed so that you forget all the spoilers and then watch it.

Dave Roberts

This is The End at CeX

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Wednesday 27 November 2013

Sonic: Lost World

Hands up if you were a gamer in the days of the Megadrive/Genesis. 

Back then the sheer idea of a new Sonic game literally set the gaming world on fire. Much like the on-going console war between Xbox and Playstation, back in the 90's it was Nintendo and Sega that were the top dogs, with Mario and Sonic being their trusty mascots. Granted, without the Internet the console wars of the mid-90's weren't as... colourful in terms of language used by fans/haters, but it was pretty much the same deal. Back then Sonic brought in the customers and the promise of a new Sonic game could sell a console, but over the years something changed. Sonic changed. Since he moved into the realm of 3D there were problems, massive problems. These problems are still prevalent in Sonic: Lost World. You’d think Sonic Team would have learned what NOT to do by now, right? They haven't.

Sonic: Lost World continues the classic rivalry between Sonic and Dr. Eggman, the rotund moustached nemesis of everyone’s favourite blue hedgehog. After Dr. Eggman kidnaps some of Sonic's friends, Sonic and Tails go on their usual mission to defeat him, but all doesn't go to plan. After crash landing on the mysterious world known as Lost Hex, Sonic quickly foils Dr. Eggman’s master plan of having the Deadly Six, a dangerous bunch of bad guys from the Zeti race, under his command. However, with the dangerous Deadly Six no longer under the rule of Dr. Eggman, Sonic and his ultimate foe need to work together to not only protect the fate of Lost Hex, but also of Earth.

There are two types of levels; fully 3D ones that try to crack the elusive 3D Sonic problem, and levels that, while 3D, are played on a 2D plane and feel quite similar to the classic Sonic titles of old. The game-play in the 3D levels is unlike anything in the series so far, and is quite reminiscent of Mario Galaxy in its level design, which has a very spherical and wrap around layout. Granted this type of level design was first proposed when developing the ill-fated Sonic X-treme back in the 90s, but Mario Galaxy was undoubtedly a massive influence here. 

The problems arrive when the action gets too fast, which seems to be the case whenever Sonic is presented in 3D. Once the action picks up it just starts to fall apart, and the player will see the Game Over screen far more times then they can handle. With that said, there is fun to be had here, but you better have patience when trying to find that fun. It's different, sure, and while I can applaud that, it just doesn't work. The 2D levels are a bit of a tease too, but even still they just smack of Sega trying to play it safe. I don't blame them though, as these sections of the game are its saving grace from being a complete stinker.

Sonic: Lost World is yet another attempt at making nice with disgruntled long time Sonic fans. Since Sonic’s departure from 2D, Sega have done their best at cracking a 3D Sonic game. Whereas Nintendo could easily transition the simple plaforming game-play of Mario into 3D, doing the same for the speedy blue hedgehog was not so simple. With every 3D Sonic game so far, game-play has almost entirely been shattered by the one thing that defines the series - speed, and that's a huge problem. Sonic: Lost World is no exception. It's a failed attempt at something that will probably never work. 

Sonic: Lost World lags behind with a 4/10

Denis Murphy

Sonic: Lost World at CeX

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Tuesday 26 November 2013

Man of Steel

For any adaptation of Superman to work, the viewer must successfully related to Superman’s experiences growing up on Earth; his interactions when assimilating into our way of life, the tremendously devastating loss of his father and the fact that ultimately- whether humanity deserves it or not- Superman sees something in us worth fighting for, worth protecting. It's all tall order, sure, but it has been done before. Does Man of Steel achieve this? Does this star-studded 225 million dollar CGI powerhouse manage to deliver this emotional journey to the viewer? No. Not one bit.

Note- There are small spoilers ahead.

Helmed by Watchmen director Zack Synder, Man of Steel begins on Superman’s home planet of Krypton, a planet that due to an increasingly unstable core is facing imminent destruction. Despite this looming planetary death, General Zod- basically the commander of the Kryptonian army- kicks off his plans to overthrow the Krytonian government and declare martial law. There is method to Zod's madness though, and this instantly sets him up as a good villain, as his reasons for his actions could be seen as justified.

However, this is soured by his murder of Superman's daddy, Jor-El, who manages to stop Zod's plan. He and his followers are then banished to The Phantom Zone, the naughty corner in Superman lore, before the planet explodes. The baby Superman, known as Kal-El is then evacuated from the dying planet without his mother for some reason, and to his new home; Earth. Though the Kryptonian race is wiped out, Zod and his followers emerge from The Phantom Zone with one thing on their minds- to find the son of Jor-El, and create a new, strong and prosperous Krypton. Meanwhile Jonathan and Martha Kent find Kal-El, they adopt him as Clark Kent, and thus begins the story of Superman.

If I were to sum up Man of Steel with a simple phrase it would be “style over substance”. Don't get me wrong; there are things that hit the mark here. Most notably, Henry Cavill is an absolutely perfect Clark Kent/Superman. Through his performance he manages to deliver a convincing Clark Kent, and one that literally doesn't understand his place on planet Earth. He wanders from town to town, from job to job, without any real goal in life. This change in his origin story is very much welcomed, instead of the usual, “Well, I'm just out of school with no qualifications, time to get a job at the Daily Planet as a reporter!”

However, while it is welcomed, his time in his hometown of Smallville is criminally rushed and underutilized. But as far as his origins, the biggest fuck up in Man of Steel is how the filmmakers handle the death of Jonathan Kent. In the classic film Superman (1978) starring Christopher Reeves, Jonathan Kent dies of something that Clark couldn’t have stopped or prevented- a heart attack. This scene is gut wrenching and powerful, and for Clark is a clear reminder than he isn't all-powerful, and effectively tears away any sense of cockiness he would have otherwise had.

In Man of Steel, Jonathan Kent dies in a big CGI tornado. In fact, he even gestures to Clark to stay back, out of fear of him revealing himself to the people of Smallville. So, in essence, in Man of Steel Clark could have saved his father from death, and it almost comes across like Jonathan Kent is simply trying to force a lesson on Clark, as opposed to this lesson happening through other, simpler yet more upsetting events like in the original Superman film. The cynic in me assumes they only did it because it meant they could create a CGI tornado, and hurl debris at the camera for a snazzy 3D effect. If that's true it's just sad. Very sad indeed.

Of course, General Zod tracks down Earth and this is where shit hits the fan. Now, while the film’s pacing up to this point wasn’t great, this is where everything gets really mess and any sense of character development within Clark just stops. Simply put, the action in Man of Steel goes from great to just unbearable. The first confrontation kicks off in Smallville between Superman and Zod's minions. It's fantastic, frantic, fast and the depiction of multiple Kryptonians going head to head is really quite epic. In fact, this is where the gem of the film shines, in the form of Zod's second in command, Faora, played wonderfully by Antje Traue. She's the best part of the film, and blends dangerous and sexy in a character that I only hope turns up in a sequel. Then comes the final confrontation between Zod and Superman, a fight that literally levels a city. It's ugly, messy, complicated, confusing, and so infused with muddy visuals that I literally wanted the film to end at that point.

Here's something to ponder. In Man of Steel Superman and Zod almost level a city. They hurl each other through buildings seemingly without a care for whoever gets hurt. In Superman 2 (1980), Superman, knowing that a fight with Zod would cause utter destruction flees the city, and ventures to the Fortress of Solitude. Doesn't this speak volumes? Henry Cavill tries to play that Superman, a Superman that cares for humanity, a race that will never fully embrace him. He tries to play that Superman but the film won't let him. It's not his fault, but the fault of the writer and director.

With Man of Steel they have replaced Supermans emotional journey with an action packed blockbuster that simply doesn't take the time to treat the source material with the patience and respect it deserves. Sure, there's plenty of action and explosions, and if that's your bag, go for it! There's nothing wrong with that. But I felt that this should have been different. Henry Cavill's fantastic portrayal of Superman can't save this film. Neither can Faora, the battle of Smallville or Hans Zimmer breathtaking score. It's a missed opportunity plain and simple, and one that just gets worse as the runtime ticks by. Superman Returns was better.

I did have hopes for a sequel to Man of Steel though, a sequel that purely focused on Superman. But no, next up is Superman Vs. Batman, a film that cast Ben Affleck as the caped crusader. Kill me now.

Man of Steel doesn't quite soar with 4/10

Denis Murphy

Man of Steel at CeX

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Friday 22 November 2013

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

When The Wind Waker HD first loaded up the main screen and the theme started I said, “The original came out 10 years ago. Shit, I'm getting old”. Then, once that momentary feeling of sadness passed, I was thrown back into a world I haven't experienced in a decade, a world that just reminded me that, in many ways, games used to be better back in the day.

Set a number of centuries after The Ocarina of Time (aka the best Zelda ever), The Wind Waker takes place on the Great Sea, a vast and endless ocean. There are a number of islands dotted around the map, but for the most part this world is just one giant ocean. The player navigates the world on a talking boat using the titular Wind Waker, an instrument that lets the player control the direction of the wind. Despite some reviewers noting that this form of navigation is one of the games' failing points, it's actually quite enjoyable, and gives the world a wonderful sense of scale, akin to the feeling when you first left the Kokiri Forest and saw Hyrule Field in The Ocarina of Time.

Every inch of the game is beautifully crafted. Combat is pretty much what you'd expect from any Zelda game; it’s slick, fun and easy to get into. It's one of those games that, despite having an incredibly basic combat mechanic, doesn't get boring or tiresome. There's an almost ballet flow to the addictive battles, and you'll find yourself seeking out foes just to hear Links “Hiyahh!” battle cry one more time. Again, much like what came before it, the player visits numerous dungeons that usually put a new weapon to the test, climatically ending with a boss battle. Like I said, it's the usual Zelda formula, but with a level of polish that is next to none.

Visually The Wind Waker HD is stunning. While it was a stunning game upon release, the HD treatment truly brings out a level of detail that has almost gone unappreciated for a decade. While some gamers may be a bit let down by the cel-shaded graphics, it gives the game a unique look that is crisp, striking and deliciously cartoony. Adding to this, the music that you'll hear along this adventure is just lovely, with each tune being something that you'll find yourself humming during gameplay.

I'm always a little dubious about HD remakes, I must admit. While I could be rather cynical about them, there's nothing quite like seeing an old title in full 1080p glory. However, whereas other companies would release a HD remake/collection for a discounted price, Nintendo on the other hand price it like any other retail game. That's a little outrageous, but well worth the money if A) you've never played it before, or B) you're a die-hard fan. It may not reach the perfection that The Ocarina of Time does, but The Wind Waker is well up there with the best.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD kicks up a stormy sea with an 8/10

Denis Murphy

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker at CeX

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5 fun FPSs that aren't Call of Duty or Battlefield

It's that time of year again. That time when us gamers are being told to either buy Call of Duty: Ghosts or Battlefield 4 at every turn. The gaming press constantly tells us that they're the pinnacles of the FPS genre. This is not true. Not one bit. So, in the attempt broaden some minds, here are five first-person-shooters that aren't Call of Duty or Battlefield, games that never quite got the appreciation they deserved, and are still top drawer entertainment.

Here's an unusual one. From Monolith Studios (Aliens Vs. Predator 2, Tron 2.0, F.E.A.R), comes a western FPS inspired by Japanese anime. It's a bizarre concoction, but damn does it work well. However, as opposed to being just a straight shooter, Shogo approaches the genre a little differently. There are two types of missions; on foot like any typical FPS, and inside a giant robot armed with massive, kickass weaponry. It gives the game a great sense of variety as on one hand you'll be entering buildings, talking to people and flipping switches, while on the other hand you'll be towering over buildings, blasting cars into pieces and taking on similar robots with an array of canons, rockets and blasters. It's different; looks awesome with its Japanese anime feel and delivers game-play that is unlike anything you've played before. Check it out!

Singularity - PC, Xbox 360, PS3 (2010)

Here's a title that is criminally underrated. Singularity is one of those games that tackles the classic idea of time travel- a plot device that many games have failed to utilise properly- and nails it perfectly. The player is armed with a weapon called a Time Manipulation Device. It can be used to slow down time, move objects in the air and even restore destroyed buildings, structures and bridges to their former perfect state. However, as if that wasn't good enough, all these abilities can be used in conjunction with the typical array of weaponry expected from a FPS. Throw in a dash of pseudo survival horror and you have yourself one of the most unique games of the last generation. A shame we probably won't see a sequel though!

Here's one for the Trekkies out there! There's been plenty of Star Trek games over the years, and while a good deal of them have been pretty enjoyable, Elite Force is, in this humble writers opinion, the best by far. The game takes place aboard the USS Voyager during its 7 years stranded within the Delta Quadrant, an area of space that, basically, is pretty fucking far from home. As expected, you'll go up against some of Star Trek's most memorable enemies (most notably the Borg), and get to use all the nerdy typical gadgets, including Phasers and Tricorders. However, the icing on the cake is that between the excellent away missions you'll find yourself on, the player gets the explore a large chunk of the USS Voyager at their own leisure, all the while interacting with the cast of the TV show. Voyager may have been a hit-and-miss series at times, but Elite Force is quite an accomplishment. Authentic to its source material and a whole lot of fun!

Far Cry 2 - PC, Xbox 360, PS3 (2008)

Since it was released there has been a lot of love for Far Cry 3. And yeah, sure, it's justified as it's a pretty neat game, but have you played Far Cry 2? It seems to be the black sheep of the family, but I can't imagine why as it's the best in the series so far. Far Cry 2 brings the action to Africa, and has the player trying to track down The Jackal, a deadly arms dealer that almost makes for a kind of Colonel Kurtz type of character. But compared to its sequel, the world of Far Cry 2 is much more dangerous and unforgiving. Beyond the ever threatening presence of various militia groups that inhabit the world, the player must also keep their Malaria at bay, constantly look for new hideouts, seek companions and friends throughout the world, and make sure their guns are in top order as faulty guns can jam during a shoot out. The player is literally thrown into this world without a clear idea of what to do, and it's up to them to survive. Great stuff, and well worth checking out if it passed you by.

You know, prior to playing it I would have thought that Escape from Butcher Bay- a prequel to the film Pitch Black- would have been a heap of steaming shit. I mean, film tie-ins never work, right? But imagine my face when I found it to be one of the best games of that generation. Escape from Butcher Bay places you in the boots of Richard B. Riddick, played by Vin Diesel, as he, well, escapes from Butcher Bay, of course! Butcher Bay is basically the Alcatraz of this franchise, and houses the worst criminals the universe has to offer. Blending fantastic gun-play with a visceral and bloody fighting mechanic, Escape from Butcher Bay is not only an absolute thrill to play, but also the best film videogame tie-in to date. It's not for the weak at heart either, but if you're looking for gritty action game that isn't Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 34, you could do much worse.

Denis Murphy

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Monday 18 November 2013

Call of Duty: Ghosts

“Call of Duty returns once again bringing with it an awesome campaign, hectic multiplayer and tonnes of replay value. We all know what to expect and if you want more then fear not, this is everything you’ve grown to love about the franchise. “

The Gameplay:
If you’re one of the minority that actually happens to play Call of Duty campaigns, then you’ll be happy to know that Ghosts’ story is intriguing, shows signs of depth and takes you down some interesting paths both emotionally and through gameplay. Despite sharing its name with one of Call of Duty’s better known characters, Ghosts is actually set in a completely different universe and shares very little with previous stories in the series. The action is centred around two brothers and their awesome canine companion as you do battle across unique environments (including space?!), pilot a variety of different vehicles and delve deep into watery chasms. There’s plenty of fun to be had here and it’s pleasant to see a game that could clearly put all of its resources into multiplayer, still put out a decent campaign mode.

The real action of course is in Ghosts’ multiplayer. A largely untouched system bar a few streamlining additions and the introduction of character creation – this is the same fast-paced and exciting game mode you’ve come to know, love and expect from the franchise. Unfortunately when a series has been using a similar multiple times over, it becomes incredibly easy to pick out holes – for example Ghosts takes a step back in capping current generation console gamers with game modes that allow a maximum 12 players, not the possible 18 in Ground War. The maps aren’t the best in the series with a few feeling simply too big and a dodgy spawn system offers both cheap kills and deaths. Despite these issues the introduction of some new game modes, balancing of weapons, incredible diversity in class structure and dedicated server configuration make this a thoroughly enjoyable online experience. 

The Presentation:
Call of Duty has never been known for top of the line graphics and presentation so don’t come in here expecting mind-blowing visuals. It’s worth noting that during the campaign there’s actually some pretty good voice-acting and Ghosts takes pride in really investing you in its surroundings. This is done not primarily through the graphics, but the atmosphere developed through destruction that occurs around you. Ghosts really made me feel like I was in warfare on ground zero fighting for my life and that’s what you’d hope for and expect from a war game.

The Verdict: 
More of the same is ultimately the only fair way to conclude a discussion about Call of Duty: Ghosts. It’s fortunate that what we’ve come to know as ‘the same’ is pretty damn fun. Some view the series as a cash-cow, others see it as genuine arcade fun. Whatever side of the fence you sit on – there’s enough content here for a variety of gamers. To answer one final question “Is Ghosts better than Battlefield 4?” – the former is an arcade drop in and out shooter, the latter is a comprehensive war simulator, one cannot compare!

Gameplay – 8/10
Presentation – 6/10
Replay Value – 10/10
Verdict – 8/10

Call of Duty: Ghosts at CeX

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The East

Infiltrating its way to your Blu-Ray/DVD collection this month is 'The East' staring Ellen Page and a group of other people with whom I am not so in love with.

I have been led to believe that for some people having Ellen Page feature in a film isn’t a justifiable reason in spending money on it, so for those deluded souls I shall elucidate and elaborate. The East is basically a film about someone infiltrating an underground activist group with the intention of shutting them down. The whole premise of the film is questioning where the line is drawn between good or evil. In the world of comics, children's cartoons and in the news there are good people and bad people. In the real world there are just very opinionated people. Sometimes it crosses over and only polemics can save you from going one fifth mad. The best dramas in my humble opinion are the ones where you are constantly being forced to change your loyalties to the characters. When this is done properly you can be dragged around by the heartstrings until you don’t what’s ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ anymore.

An example would be: A man steals food (bad) but gives it to homeless children (good) without saving any for himself (saintly). It later turns out he was only doing this to give them enough strength to pickpocket money from people (bad), which he keeps for himself (devilish) so he can build a homeless shelter (good).

Sometimes when I’m watching these things I get a strange Stockholm syndrome for the characters; where once I’m convinced that someone is doing everything ultimately for the greater good they could make a snuff film suffocating kittens in bags and I’d still over look it. For a deeper look into this I severely suggest you watch Michael Sandel, who will definitely convince you that sometimes it might be ok to do a wee murder, but also to severely make you analyse yourself.

Anyway The East is about a woman called Jane who goes undercover to investigate the underground activist group the titular ‘East’. Using the cover name Sarah she befriends some of these people until they end up hitching a ide on a train. Everyone is playing the banjo, putting dreads in someone’s hair, discussing the hidden meanings in Bob Dylan songs and eating food found in bins, referencing the very real life style choice of ‘Freegans’. Freegan’s dislike the ways supermarkets etcetera throw food away after it’s hit it’s sell by date when it could still be eaten by humans. Of course this is a matter of opinion, some people eat kangaroo anuses on live television for some scrambling attempt to reclaim an inch of their fame and respect, which to me is like cutting off your arms to become a better guitar player.

So Sarah starts following these people so she can relay information about them to ‘Hillier Brood’ the company she works for. She eventually manages to infiltrate her way into ‘The East’ by cutting herself with a coke can and being taken to see their ‘off-the-grid” Doctor chappy. Eventually it is revealed that the Doc and his sister were horribly damaged by a perfectly legal drug given to them from a pharmaceutical company, Doc’s sister died and Doc ended up having some sort of DIY Parkinsons response to the drug and because it stated on the side of the bottle that this may occur, no one could get sued. See, this same company announced during a party that they are giving every member of the army this drug for free and that made the members of The East sick and angry like a wife finding another woman’s painted toenail in her cereal in the morning. Of course the seemingly normal human response to this would be to shake your fist angrily, forget about it and move on, but instead The East quite cleverly poison all the members of the company with their own drug. This leaves Jane/Sarah completely torn between who is the bad guy here.

Anyway this film is great, watch this film if you either have a lifelong crush on Ellen Page, and are starting to reach the age that watching Juno as often as you are borders on ‘probable cause’, or you just like having your morals tweaked and twanged and masturbated until you don’t know what’s what. Toby Kebbell is the actor who plays Doc and I’m not sure if you’ve seen Black Mirror but he a fucking outstanding actor, he has a way of grabbing the essence of frustration and emotion and acting so wonderfully that he somehow, with complete subtlety, wipes his feelings all over your stupid emotionless face. I wanted to dive into the television and shake his hand, though as part of the plot he had an aforementioned Parkinsons-esque condition so his hands were already shaking themselves. Also I’m not a magical wizard.

The only bad thing I’d say about the film is that it was very slow paced and maybe sometimes had a little lack of direction… also some people were very mean to Ellen Page. Nevertheless totally watchable and would sit beautifully amongst your Blu-Ray/DVD collection.

Dave Roberts

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Hurray for Ireland, CeX store 7 open!

Great news CeX fans, CeX Waterford is now open, expanding out Irish family! We're ready to buy/trade your unwanted phones, games, films, computers and gadgets. 

Come check us out for all your buy, sell, and exchange needs. You can find the best cash and trade prices for you unwanted stuff with us. Find us in at 15 Broad Street, Waterford, Co. Waterford.

*Much love to all who made store 7 possible!*

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Friday 15 November 2013

Donate to DEC Philippines Typhoon Appeal with CeX

CeX are adding DEC Philippines Typhoon Appeal to our list of supported charities as of Friday 15th November. This means customers will now have the chance to donate part or all of the trade in value of their items to DEC Philippines Typhoon Appeal to help alleviate the suffering and save the lives of those affected by the recent calamitous events in the Philippines. As with our other supported charities CeX will add 10% of the total amount if you donate the entire value of your trade in.

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Thursday 14 November 2013

Battlefield 4

DICE must be sick of making Battlefield games. Since EA bought them out in 2004, they have literally become a Battlefield farm, with the odd unique title like Mirror's Edge thrown in there to keep them (and us) sane. Two years after bringing us Battlefield 3, they're now giving us Battlefield 4. It's not a terrible game by any means, and is certainly a series that is more forward thinking than, say, Call of Duty, but it's not the pinnacle of modern warfare video gaming. For that need for realism go check out ARMA 3.

The biggest step-up from Battlefield 3 is the single-player campaign. The campaign in Battlefield 3 was pretty awful and really came across like an afterthought, but this is different. One nice feature is that the single-player campaign kind of adopts some characteristics of the multiplayer experience. Being careful with your shots, not wasting bullets, and focusing on getting head-shots gives you experience points which then in turn open up new weapons. This elevates gameplay to more than just a mindless run-and-gun approach, as the game requires you to be tactful, rather than just be a bystander to your potential incompetence.

The plot to the single-player campaign is, well, the typical fare for a modern shooter. What's more interesting though, are the characters that drive that story along. It seems DICE have taken a page out of the book of Battlefield: Bad Company, in that the characters don't just fade into the background, but rather stand out as being unique individuals. There's excellent banter between the members of Tombstone squad, and while it doesn't really build much character development, it does give each character some worthwhile personality. It makes for a nice change in tone; especially when most of the game is too busy screaming, “WAR! SHOOT! KILL!” in your face.

But the single-player campaign, though hugely fun and wall-to-wall with standout moments, is pretty damn short. So if you're strictly looking for a single-player experience, stay well away. It's too short lived, and contains little or no re-playability. However, if, like the vast majority of Battlefield fans, you're looking for a predominantly multiplayer experience, then this just might be the game for you. Much like Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4 was created with online multiplayer in mind, and this shines through, as here it's a pretty damn well crafted experience. Excellent and satisfying gunplay, a huge array of ground and air vehicles to control and large, open destructible environments make for a fantastic sandbox for hours of enjoyment online.

However, the problem is that whereas a game like Grand Theft Auto 5 has an equally pleasing online experience as it does an offline one, Battlefield 4 is three quarters a multiplayer game, and one quarter a single player game. And yes, while the single player is not an afterthought like in Battlefield 3, it's still a short-lived experience that should have been more a focal point of the title. But hey, as far as a Battlefield game goes it's pretty damn solid, and its sandbox style online gameplay will open up endless possibilities for gamers.

Battlefield 4 lands a war weary 7.5/10

Denis Murphy

Battlefield 4 at CeX

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Curse of Chucky

In the same way that you sometimes start a conversation, speech, or an opinionated review of a film and then get suddenly side tracked only to realise and return to it later, Don Mancini has made Curse of Chucky. Child’s Play 1, 2 and 3 are true classic horror films and Bride and Seed were just silly slapstick. After a few years Don Mancini has replaced the comedy element with the original horror/dark comedy tone that we all used to love. I personally enjoyed the films; I just never wanted to go back into a Toys R' Us until I was too old for toys. I still don’t think I could sit with a life size Chucky Doll in my bedroom without melting its fingers off.

Curse of Chucky is very clever and great fun for fans of the original (if you are spoiler sensitive run away now) because the whole film is set up like it is a rebooted, rehashed and reimagined remake of the original. It turns out somewhere near the end of the film however, that this Chucky is exactly the same Chucky from all the other ones and that the family he is currently terrorising are the same family that Charles Lee Ray died terrorising that ultimately led him to possessing a plastic doll. Even Jennifer Tilly makes a buxom reappearance briefly near the end, and post credits the fully-grown Andy Barclay receives Chucky in the post. It’s pure nerdgasm inducing fan-service and nothing particularly difficult to do but a lovely attempt at appeasing long term fans and very welcome, especially considering it was the first direct-to-DVD release in the series.

Now the set up is that a crazy woman and her lovely, pretty, sheltered, and wheelchair bound daughter are living alone in a massive house that, to be fair needs to be done up a bit. It’s the classic horror setup and looks like the kind of place normally associated with being brutally murdered and left under the floorboards, or being flushed down the toilet à la Dennis Nielsen. One day, for no reason, a box is delivered by a presumably sexually attractive man who flirts with the daughter Nica, she signs for the box and places the major plot device in her house after her mother berates her for ever thinking a boy could be interested in her. She’s a bit like the mother from Stephen King’s Carrie but less religious and about 13% less mental. 

So of course Chucky gets unleashed from the box, and yadda yadda yadda he ends up killing the mother in a way that looks like suicide. Some of Chucky’s murders are delightfully old school and some are even direct references to the original Child’s Play, i.e. he uses the exact same knife for example and he caves someone’s jaw in with an axe in a very bloody, over the top, 80s slasher kind of way. It’s literally bloody lovely.

So obviously a film which was entirely Chucky and Nica would be short and boring, probably be entitled ‘Chucky vs The Disabled Girl (Chucky vs The Differently-abled US Title) so orchestrated in is a creepy priest, a bitchy sister, a hot nanny who is primed for some extra marital affairs, a brother-in-law and a young niece. The niece, who is a wee girl who likes creepy-as-fuck dolls, takes to Chucky immediately. So after a good few murders and some lovely vicious little one-liners from Chucky everything is revealed that he, as Charles, was responsible for the death of her father, the madness of her mother and directly responsible for Nica’s spinal injuries.

It fills in the gaps from the previous films, and has some fun after the credits with some true eighties style ‘He’s Dead! Or is he really?!’ kind of sequel baiting at the end. The kind of thing that led to a million Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th films back in the Golden Age of Slasher horror. If you are a fan of horror films in the eighties vein and specifically the Child’s Play films I think you’ll at least like it enough to talk about it later, though you might resent the CGI Chucky Doll. Grab it, talk about it, tweet, tumblr, Facebook and Instagram the shit out of it, ‘cos I would love a sequel.

Dave Roberts

Curse of Chucky at CeX

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Wednesday 13 November 2013

Hurray for the USA, new CeX store open!

Great news CeX fans, CeX The Commons is now open, expanding out American family! We're ready to buy/trade your unwanted phones, games, films, computers and gadgets. 

Come check us out for all your buy, sell, and exchange needs. You can find the best cash and trade prices for you unwanted stuff with us. Visit us at 1928 S Commons, Federal Way, WA, 98003.

*Much love to all who made the new store possible!*

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Hurray for India, CeX store 13 open!

Great news CeX fans, CeX Bhopal is now open, expanding out Indian family! We're ready to buy/trade your unwanted phones, games, films, computers and gadgets. 

Come check us out for all your buy, sell, and exchange needs. You can find the best cash and trade prices for you unwanted stuff with us. Find us in at Unit S-35A, 2nd floor, Arera Hills, Opp. M.P. Nagar Zone-1, DB CITY, Bhopal-462011.

*Much love to all who made store 13 possible!*

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CeX on Hotel of Mum and Dad BBC 3

Did you spot CeX on BBC 3's Hotel of Mum and Dad

The series follows young couples living with their parents or in-laws and lets them test drive a place of their own that fits their budget. 

Mitch landed the work experience of his dreams in our very own CeX BrentwoodHe wanted to do some work experience in his favourite store where you can recycle your unwanted gadget goodies into a fist full of cash.

Thanks again to Mitch for being part of the team!
Thanks to all our superstars at CeX Brentwood.

Were you there? Did you get filmed by the crew?

Check out the full episode here.

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Tuesday 12 November 2013

Now You See Me

Woosh! Flash! Bang! Alkazam! What was all that commotion there now?  It was Now You See Me being released on Blu-Ray and DVD!  This is a film that everyone is taking about, though from my own research seemingly no one has actually seen. Well, it’s great so go buy it immediately. In short it’s a film about magicians robbing a bank with one of the avengers, two of the guys from Zombieland and two of the guys from the Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy in it. In long however, it is the following.

The film introduces four individuals, known as the Four Horsemen with their own specific kind of magical ability. They are as follows:

J. Daniel Atlas - Played by Jesse Eisenberg, he is a genius close up magician specialising in card tricks and sleight of hand, also considered the leader of the group in public settings. I get the feeling he’s supposed to be really cool and ‘George Clooney in Oceans 11-like’ but he’s so intrinsically not that I can’t tell.

Henley Reeves - The sexy eye-candy/token female character whose magical ability is escapism, though the thing she seems to escape from most often is the predatory clutches of Woody Harrelson’s penis-aura.

Jack Wilder - A sleight of hand illusionist, but primarily a pickpocket, a cheeky Oliver Twist type that has such a lovely innocent puppy-dog face that it makes you more likely to call him a young scallywag than a thieving cunt.

Merritt McKinney - Woody Harrelson playing the character he plays nowadays in films, except this one is also a mentalist, in the more traditional sense of Derren Brown mind molesting. He’s the kind of guy that could tell you what colour your bedroom is, what you’re thinking about, the name of the first girl you kissed. He can even tell you the colour of dress it was that you tried on when your girlfriend was at work that one time. All of this he could tell solely from the way you cleared your throat when he said ‘Aerosmith’.

In essence the plot boils down to this. These 4 are summoned together by some magical and mysterious fifth magician who leaves Tarot cards in their bits and pieces for them to find. They then rob this bank on stage in front of loads of people and everyone shits themselves. They keep stealing money and giving it away, just like Robin Hood and his 3 mates who were also at the same time Robin Hood. They were like 4 Robin Hoods is what I’m saying. But then the plot develops in the same vein as The Usual Suspects mixed with Oceans 11 so there’s not a lot I can go on to say about it that wouldn’t utterly destroy it.

Personally I thought this film was fandabulously brilliant. There was a lovely balance between plot and intrigue, some lovely red herrings, white elephants, blue zebras, mauve rattlesnakes and a whole spectrum of chinchillas leading you down the wrong path of who was doing what naughty business and what was really going on. It was so intriguing that having it on and falling asleep while watching it should be a medical test for Narcolepsy that my girlfriend promptly failed. Or passed, I’m not sure which qualifies as her having it.

The grumpy Incredible Hulk/Blonde French Lady sub plot was more functional than interesting and did leave me wishing he would rage out and punch her across the room, but really that’s just me picking at nits. When it cut to a part about the pair of them it was like cutting from a film you were enjoying to a Stella Artois advert that was directed by Michael Bay, all in all though certainly worth a watch and you’ll immediately understand why I couldn’t go into any more detail on the plot. Watch with glee, as the story unfolds beautifully before you like an onion that was actually made from increasing denominations of monetary pieces of paper. I’m imagining fives, tens, twenties then fifties then right in the middle just a big knob of gold. Hahaha I said big knob.

Dave Roberts

Now You See Me at CeX

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Assasin's Creed IV - Double Review

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag by Denis Murphy

Another year, another Assassin's Creed. Since the release of the first title in the series in 2007, we have seen numerous incarnations, on both console and handheld systems. Some of have been great, while others have been basically filler. So, where does Black Flag stand?

This latest addition to the franchise brings the action to the Caribbean Sea, and has the player assume the role of pirate Edward Kenway, grandfather of the protagonist of Assassin's Creed 3. However, while most of the game is set in the early 18th century, much like the rest of the series, a good deal of it is set in 2013, and deals with the aftermath of Assassin's Creed 3.

First things first; from the beginning, the worst aspect of this franchise was the creative decision to set it in the present, with the player using the Animus to relive past memories of Desmond Myle's ancestors. This effectively neuters the feeling of reality for the franchise's various unique historical settings, and this terrible trend continues in Black Flag. Put simply, the modern day sections fucking suck. While I'm sure the developers always aim to present an interesting contrast in artistic design between the vastly different settings, the modern day sections slow down the gameplay, continue to tell the utterly vapid and boring story of the Templars, and simply make the player think, “When can I be a pirate again?” They couldn't just set this one in the early 18th century, no, that had to crowbar in the modern day stuff too. Shit. A shame really, but despite this, and that Black Flag continues the muddled Assassin's Creed storyline; it's probably the best game in the franchise to date.

Location, location, location. The historical setting in Black Flag is fantastic, and is unlike anything in the series so far. From various booze flowing taverns in the three main cities, to the luscious and thick jungles at the heart of the island, Black Flag presents one of the best, most interesting and utterly intriguing open worlds to date. Using your ship, the Jackdaw, you are also free to explore the treacherous seas surrounding the island, which include many smaller islands. This addition of the Jackdaw makes getting around a real joy, and while you'll mostly find yourself running around, climbing and free running, the Jackdaw simply adds an extra dimension of freedom to the series. Excellent.

Combat and general gameplay remains quite similar to previous instalments, but Black Flag perfects what Assassin's Creed 3 aimed to achieve. However, the naval combat is the real standout addition here. It can get pretty hectic during these battles, and there's a fantastic sense of ferocity in the combat that hasn't been seen in the series thus far. Wood splinters, smoke pours out of the cannons and foes unfortunate to get in the way of a direct cannonball hit go flying. Much like exploring the world of Black Flag, the combat is far better than anything in the series experienced so far thanks to the Jackdaw. 

Yes, it is more of the same in some ways. However, while everyone expected another cheap cash-in like Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood for a game released so soon after Assassin's Creed 3, Black Flag is anything but that. While it does have the usual Assassin's Creed woes in the form of story, this may be the best game in the series so far. It's thrilling, adventurous and presents one of the best open worlds to date.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag gets a sea worthy 9/10

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag by Igor Kharin

“Ubisoft certainly aren’t resting on their laurels with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. An expansive world explored by one of the series’ most entertaining lead protagonists sets up one of the most entertaining video game adventures to date. “

The Gameplay:
Black Flag is an excellent example of a game in a series, learning from mistakes made by predecessors and expanding upon them. Assassin’s Creed has for a considerable period of time now tried to establish itself as a serious, blood thirsty adventure and while roots have not been forgotten, Black Flag is a much more relaxed adventure (perhaps resembling the nature of pirates in general) and as a result, is considerably more fun.

This is particularly clear when Black Flag lets you sail the seas looking for your own adventures instead of following the story. The game truly comes to life when you’re allowed to explore and gorge on the beautiful environments and wonderful secrets this world has to offer. Black Flag has also taken a clear step back from the gruesome killing that came hand-in-hand with previous adventures. With much less blood and emphasis on gore, Black Flag feels less tense and serious, creating a much more enjoyable atmosphere. 

All that being said, Black Flag also possesses an enjoyable story to follow with a much more entertaining lead character. Again less emphasis is placed on the convoluted ideas of Assassin’s Creed’s futuristic segments, your interest lies more in making money and being a pain in the ass Pirate – just how we want it. 

The Presentation:
It doesn’t matter what platform you play Black Flag on, the game looks stunning regardless.

Titles like these tend to set the standard for high end  graphics and while we’re now so close to the end of this generation, it’s still a testament to see what current generation machines can do. It helps that Black Flag’s setting makes it really easy to have beautiful visuals – gorgeous water, rippling sands and stunning forestry all jump out from the TV making this a visual delight.

The Verdict: 
It’s certainly admirable that despite using a similar formula Ubisoft chose not to rest on their laurels and expand Assassin’s Creed. A massive world and simplified ideals and notions make Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag thoroughly entertaining and a whole load of fun.

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

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag at CeX

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Thursday 7 November 2013

Pokemon X & Y

“While this may not be the dramatic mass-multiplayer open world adventure every single Pokemon fan is dreaming of, Pokemon X & Y are certainly a huge step in the right direction. Incredible animation, detailed gameplay and a whole host of streamlined player functionality features makes these instalments in the Pokemon franchise the most comprehensive yet.“

The Gameplay:
The beauty of Pokemon is its layered gameplay features. Scraping the top is a very basic turn-based rock-paper-scissors style of gameplay that has fictional creatures battle for supremacy. Scrape away a little bit more and you find that these Pokemon have stats, natures that affect their stat progress and move types that can be effective or non-effective depending on what type of Pokemon they use them against. Dig a little deeper and you find offensive and defensive move combinations – sometimes the most powerful Pokemon aren’t those that can hit the hardest but rather set up traps and nullify your opponent’s strongest monsters with paralysis, sleep or stat drops. Smash away even further at the complex puzzle that is a Pokemon game and you find intricate super-training that allows you to enhance your Pokemon’s ability to gain further stats to make them the most powerful version of that particular Pokemon.

Experiencing a Pokemon game has never been this enjoyable and comprehensive – Pokemon X & Y offer entertainment for the basic gamer all the way through to the most hardcore Pokemon collector. There’s fun to be had here no matter where you are on the gamer spectrum.

The Presentation:
The world of Pokemon X & Y has moved the franchise to a whole new level of visual presentation. A beautiful 3D world is set before you, full to the brim with Pokemon that all have their own individual 3D sprites made especially for this game. There simply hasn’t been a Pokemon game that looks this incredible ever – and games will be hard pressed to look better on the 3DS. Those of you fortunate enough to own a Nintendo 3DS XL will really get the most bang for your buck here. 

The Verdict: 

I’ve never hidden my undying loyalty and love for Pokemon games so naturally for me it’s an absolute winner. Speaking from a neutral point of view however, it is fair to say that while the game has been overhauled visually, fine-tuned on a technical level and designed for player-interactivity; looking past these additions it is still a very similar if not almost identical formula that has been used since Pokemon Red & Blue. If you’re willing to go on another Pokemon adventure and feel it in your stomach that you belong on the virtual road with these wonderful creatures, then don’t hesitate because there’s enough new content and change to make it worth experiencing. Those of you who have outgrown Pokemon I still urge you to give it a go because you never know, this could be the series that sucks you straight back in. 

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

Igor Kharin.

Pokemon X & Y at CeX

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