Thursday, 30 June 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan

There’s something utterly exciting about the prospect of bringing the radical Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to new consoles with a developer like Platinum behind them. The developer is best known for fast-paced fluid combat with a flair for the extravagance. It hurts then to say that this isn’t the Platinum Games we know and love from games like Bayonetta 2 and Metal Gear Rising: Reveangence. This is the team that brought you the dull Legend of Korra

Developed by Platinum Games and out now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan is co-op action game with plenty of abilities at your disposal. It’s the game design and repetitive combat though that keeps it from every being truly enjoyable. The story is about as standard as you’d expect from the TMNT gang. Shredder hates them, they hate Shredder and the heroes in a half-shell must take out a bunch of known enemies in order to stop Shredder. 

That would be fine though if the gameplay is just not what you’d expect from the turtles. You spend a lot of time doing the exact same few objectives like defusing bombs, and taking out waves of the same enemies over and over again. Thankfully, the missions themselves only last a couple of minutes each and all of it can be played with up to three other people online. The second part is important because on your own, it can become quite a micro-management mess as each character has four abilities which you can choose from a range of around 30. So, imagine taking on one of the bullet-sponge bosses and trying to remember not only which character has the ability equipped but which button its assigned to also.

Thankfully, the game’s saving grace is its cooperative multiplayer. You can team up with up to three other people to take on the repetitive enemies and bullet-sponge bosses but having just one single character to worry about makes the game so much more enjoyable. Everything seems to fit better like the game was designed to be played online and then give players the option to play solo rather than the other way around. It’s not a terribly long game though. Especially online with others, don’t expect the game to ever break the six hour mark. For a game with very little else to play through, this is disappointing. The lack of variety to the gameplay though means that it never actually feels too short because more of the same would not be a good thing.

Combat itself looks good as do the turtles as they spin around enemies and bosses. Even though the combat system may feel simplistic, it feels spot on. When things start to really flow well together, you can’t help but see the glimpses of Platinum magic breaking through the cracks of mediocrity. Those flashing moments of brilliance is what keeps you hooked, even if it never capitalises on them.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mutants in Manhattan is a disappointing game but it’s also not a bad game. With the developer attached to it and the IP itself, it was hard not to get excited for it. It’s simple and fun with moments of bliss that’s ultimately surrounded in repetitive scenarios.

A bit more than a shell of a game. 3/5.


Jason Redmond

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan at CeX

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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

There have been countless adaptations of various Shakespeare plays created for both TV and film – perhaps because, despite their age, they really are timeless. Several A Midsummer Night’s Dream have been and gone (I remember the one starring Rupert Everett most vividly from school), but this new adaptation, directed by Russell T. Davies, is probably one of the most memorable version I have seen so far.

Hermia (Prisca Bakare) and Demetrius (Paapa Essiedu) are due to be married, but Hermia wants to marry Lysander instead. Theseus (John Hannah), the rather militant Duke of Athens, and Hermia’s uncle refuse anything less that Demetrius for her, and so she decides to run away with Lysander (Matthew Tennyson) in the middle of the night. Hermia’s jealous friend Helena (Kate Kennedy) hears of their plan, and so tells Demetrius in the hope that he will love her instead. Unsurprisingly this doesn’t happen, and the four of them end up lost in the woods at night time, unknowingly surrounded by two very angry sides of the Fairy Kingdom. 

As many of you may know, Russell T. Davies is the director of Doctor Who, and it’s quite easy to see. From the beginning we see his signature style, from actors to set (you may recognise one of the streets as the set of the Doctor Who episode ‘Face The Raven’). He’s certainly put his own twist on the original play by Shakespeare – the characters are darker, the location is gloomier, and there are several parts that you won’t have read in the original. Although it can often fail, Davies has modernisation of the play to great effect. There’s a lot of technology used in Theseus’ castle, and the characters all have modern day clothing. Thankfully he’s kept the archaic script, rather than translating in into 2016 speak. Sometimes it sounded a bit odd (especially when paired with the modern characters), but generally worked quite well.

Matt Lucas played a brilliant Bottom, and both Maxine Peake and Nonso Anozie were great as the feuding Titania and Oberon. Many of the cast were relatively new on the scene, and so it was nice to see what they had to offer. Although they were all good, I felt at times that some of them came across as a bit too theatrical (especially with some of the larger scenes with many background characters) – I felt as though the TV adaptation should have been a bit more subtle with this. One thing I really liked was just how accessible the whole thing was – although some of the Shakespearian language may have gone over your head, you still knew exactly what was going. It can be quite hard to truly get what is happening just from the script as our language has evolved so much since then, and the visuals paired really nice to enable all ages to understand what was going on. It was also very suitable for children and young adults, and so I imagine ticks the English Literature box straight away (I wish I’d got to watch this one in school instead).

As with many BBC adaptations, it was a really good attempt to diversify Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream whilst still retaining that original essence. It wasn’t the best Shakespeare adaptation I’ve ever seen (you just can’t beat Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet), but it‘s definitely in my top three.

It inspired me to go and read the play again, and so I’m giving it 4/5.


Hannah Read

A Midsummer Night’s Dream at CeX

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Tuesday, 28 June 2016


Yu Televentures (a Micromax arm) is back to redefine flagship like they did earlier this year in Jan with their Yutopia ( which disappointed over a period of time owing to multiple hardware and software failures! ) . Tjis time they’re out with their Yunicorn which is a similar spec device but half the price of the Yutopia, let’s see how they achieved this and is it any good? 

Design , Display & Hardware

Out of the box , this is one of the best looking Yu devices with the brushed Aluminium (very slippery! )  look at the back. Only colour available now is the Rush Gold and no updates on any other color availability. The front is still white though and isn’t all gold but it’s a unibody design. It’s not a slim device at 8.5mm and 172 gms but has good weight distribution. The design definitely looks “inspired” from the likes of Apple, Xiaomi & Oppo! The phone has a 5.5” full HD display but does not mention the ppi (looks like it’s becoming irrelevant for most manufacturers now ) .Screen is pretty bright & protected by Nippon Electric Glass and no legibility issues during bright sunlight. At the bottom on the front is the home button cum fingerprint reader which is a change in the design language from the Yutopia that had the fingerprint unlock button at the back. The top of the screen has the 5MP front cam and a notification LED .The right edge has the volume rocker and power button below it while the left edge has the hybrid dual SIM slot that can accept either a 2nd SIM or a Micro SD card upto 128GB.At the top is the 3.5mm headphone jack and the bottom has the Micro USB charging port flanked by grills on both sides though only one of them is a speaker.

The back has the 13MP camera with dual LED flash and the Yu branding at the bottom. The box contains Yu branded  earphones , a power adaptor and cable. Hardware in the phone is overall a downgrade with the octa - core Mediatek Helio P10, 4GB RAM, 32GB ROM . USB OTG is supported while FM & NFC are missing.  The 4000 mAh battery is non removable and definitely an improvement.


The Yunicorn boots up with Android 5.1.1 nicknamed as “Android on Steroids” as it has a custom launcher and an upgraded software on the Around Yu home screen. It now supports new options like recharging your phone, DTH etc and adding money to Yu Wallet. There’s also a unique Doctor assistance on the phone for which they’ve teamed up with Lybrate. Software update is expected in a month but I don’t believe that , best part end of the year maybe. They promised the same with Yutopia which had Cyanogen and they’ve rolled out CM13 for most devices except the Yutopia . There are additional free cloud services for backing up your files and data .

Gaming & Multimedia

With a benchmark AnTuTu score of 37345 it again proves my theory of how useless these scores are in the real world. That kind of score is below what devices with 2GB RAM and 2014 flagships would score. It is clear when playing games like Mortal Kombat X, Dead Trigger there wasn’t an issue and no noticeable lag. Gaana is the default music player but there’s also Google Play Music but  no FM Radio. The speaker is pretty loud and clear while music with the earphones isn’t bad either. The battery does a pretty good job of lasting 15 hrs and 20 mins with 4G, Youtube, Wi-Fi and long hours of gaming. Surprisingly no fast charger or quick charge support and you’ll have to wait almost 2 hrs to get from 0 to 100 on your battery!


The 13MP rear camera has Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) which is similar to OIS. It still doesn’t help if your camera isn’t clicking detailed photos and macros. Low light images are average at best and flash does very little to improve it. Focussing needs to improve and the overall camera app is sluggish just like it was on Yutopia which had a 21MP Sony sensor , still didn’t do justice. You have the usual Burst ,HDR, Panorama modes while video recording supports slow motion at 640fps . Again nothing to write home about. The front camera does a decent job of selfies in daylight and average at night.


No Quick charge, FM, NFC , Average camera and a bulky phone are not features you associate with a Flagship device. Yunicorn is competing with Moto G4 plus, Redmi Note 3 , Lenovo Z1 etc. which are better overall devices in the same price range. Look elsewhere if you want good bang for your bucks !

Rating- 2/5.


Pritesh Khilnani

Yunicorn at CeX

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Monday, 27 June 2016

Bone Tomahawk

From the earliest days of Hollywood up until the late 1960s, Westerns were the most popular genre in film. But in recent years, Westerns have been few-and-far-between – when they have come along, it’s been because they had something new to bring to the table. But as the world has gotten darker, so have our films. The last truly successful Western was Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-winning Unforgiven, an incredibly harsh and dark vision of the old frontier. But that shit ain’t got nothin’ on this one. The days of Bone Tomahawk are here, and it will take a lot for a new Western to top this.

Bone Tomahawk, which is out now on DVD & Blu-ray, is one of the darkest and most harrowing films of recent years – and easily one of the best Westerns ever made. Kurt Russell plays Sheriff Hunt, who must lead a posse into the wilderness to rescue three people from savage cave-dwellers. The journey is long and hard, and when they eventually reach their hell-like destination, they’re certainly not prepared for the sheer brutality they find. And that is much as I’m prepared to say about the plot. Bone Tomahawk is a film best experienced with no more knowledge than that – it’s probably even better experienced with no knowledge at all, but you’re reading this review so you clearly need some convincing first. So, how can I explain Bone Tomahawk’s power? 

Firstly, Kurt Russell’s magnificent Hateful Eight beard returns. That alone should be enough to make you watch it. Need a little more convincing? Suit yourself… Russell puts in one of his bravest and most intense performances here and if you’re a fan – of course you are, who doesn’t like Kurt Russell – then you’ve got no excuse to not see Bone Tomahawk. Outside of Kurt, a strong supporting cast of Patrick Wilson, Richard Jenkins and Matthew Fox all deliver the goods. Wilson is great as the crippled Arthur who joins the posse as one of the kidnapped victims is his wife Samantha (Lili Simmons), Jenkins is adorable as the ageing deputy sheriff Chicory while Matthew Fox basically reprises his role of Jack from Lost by being a pretentious wannabe-hero arsehole named Brooder. I know what you’re thinking – “oh shit, I forgot Matthew Fox existed!”. So did the rest of the world…

Visually, the film is stunning. The bleak colour palette creates a feeling of dread from the off, while accurately connoting the colourless nature of the old West. Gone are the days of bright technicolour and John Wayne riding into town - Bone Tomahawk is a dusty old sight. But in this bleakness lies a haunting beauty, and an ever-building tension and horror.

I will say this – the final act does contain some pretty visceral and harrowing violence, some of the most powerfully hard-hitting I’ve seen in recent film. It’s made all the more powerful by the often uncomfortably slow and dialogue-heavy character driven build. A fuse is lit by the first scene, and it burns slow for two hours. But when it explodes, it’s the most powerful dynamite you’ve ever seen. If you have the patience, and the stomach for violence, Bone Tomahawk is truly deserving of your time.

Bone Tomahawk isn’t just the finest Western of recent years, it’s one of the best films you’ll find on DVD this year. It’s an incredible hybridising of multiple genres, and a marvellous update on the old-fashioned ‘posse’ plot. I said at the beginning of this review that new Westerns typically only come along when they have something new to the table. Well, Bone Tomahawk has smashed up the table and built a better one. It’s going to take a lot to beat this one. Bone Tomahawk might not have an enormous audience now, but this is one destined for cult classic status.

Bone Tomahawk is slow, harrowing and upsetting. But holy shit, it’s good. 5/5.


Sam Love

Bone Tomahawk at CeX

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Sunday, 26 June 2016

I Am Wrath

Remember when Taken came out back in 2009, and we were introduced to a new side of Liam Neeson? With one film he became Hollywood’s go-to badass. Since then, we’ve seen him shoot lots of baddies on land and in the air, and beat the shit out of some wolves just because he can. John Travolta must’ve seen this evolution and thought “I want some of that”.

Out now on DVD and Blu-ray comes I Am Wrath, 61-year-old Travolta’s attempt to be the action hero…and it hasn’t really worked out for him.

Travolta plays unemployed engineer Stanley, who witnesses the murder of his wife Vivian (Rebecca De Mornay) at the hands of car-park thugs. When corrupt police officers fail to bring Vivian’s killers to justice, Stanley turns to his old friend Dennis (Christopher Meloni) for help with a violent revenge plot. But as this story develops, we learn Stanley and Dennis have a mysterious history that they have kept secret for years (yawn) and on top of that Stanley discovers a conspiracy that leads all the way to the top of government (double yawn). I Am Wrath is an embarrassingly predictable affair that seemingly picked up a copy of ‘Action Thrillers for Dummies’ and followed it religiously. There’s poor attempts at humour and some totally unengaging family drama in there aswell, just to fully round it out. Some thrillers are so bad and predictable that it’s kinda funny and endearing…but not here.

John Travolta is trying his best, but it’s just uncomfortable to watch. He isn’t cut out for these action revenge films. Neeson could’ve made this film watchable, or even the ‘great’ Nicolas Cage, but Travolta’s attempts to be young again are just upsetting. I’ve no beef with Travolta - I’m one of the few people who thought he was incredible in The People Vs. OJ Simpson. But other than that performance, he’s let himself down in the last few years with a number of cliché-ridden thrillers like Criminal Activities, The Forger and Killing Season. What are you doing, Travolta?! You were in Pulp Fiction! I guess it all went downhill back in 2000 when he said yes to a little film called Battlefield Earth…Yikes.

We live in a sad cinematic time. We as an audience are like children, growing out of old toys and throwing them aside for new ones. People like Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Anthony Hopkins – and now to a certain extent, John Travolta – seemingly have to do anything they’re offered these days just to try and stay relevant, while the young actors of tomorrow take all the good roles. Remember that song in Toy Story 2, ‘When She Loved Me’? That song is probably how all these actors feel. “When somebody loved me everything was beautiful, every hour we spent together lives within my heart”. That’s De Niro’s jam.

Anyway, what else can you say about a film like I Am Wrath? It succeeds, or in this case fails, on the strength of its lead – or at the very least, it succeeds on their reputation alone. For example, Liam Neeson isn’t particularly good in these films, but he’s gained our trust over the last 7 years making them and we love him for it now. We feel safe with a Liam Neeson thriller. But Travolta, you haven’t earned our love in this genre yet. It doesn’t feel right yet to say “John Travolta action thriller”, does it? You’re making us uncomfortable, Travolta. Stop it.

So what else is there to enjoy here? A tired old conspiracy plot, awful dialogue, a wooden supporting cast, some poor direction from The Scorpion King’s Chuck Russell…There’s nothing to enjoy here. I Am Wrath is just a bad film.

I Am Wrath is a depressingly bland and forgettable experience. It doesn’t do anything even remotely original or fresh, the script is terrible, the plot is one of the most predictable I’ve seen in recent memory, the whole thing is acted stiffly with one of Travolta’s most embarrassing performances yet…I could go on. But I could sum it all up by simply saying DO NOT WATCH IT.

I Am Wrath? I am disappointed. 1/5.

Sam Love

I Am Wrath at CeX

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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter

Developer Frogwares has been producing games based on the tales of the World’s Greatest Detective Sherlock Holmes games for around fifteen years now, so you would imagine that they had a pretty sound grasp on it by now. Indeed, 2014’s Crimes & Punishments was a solid adventure that ably showcased just what it felt like to step into his sleuthing shoes. Now, with their second foray onto next-generation consoles - Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter – have they really cracked the case, or will this go down as one that got away?

Gone is the austere Sherlock inspired by the classic ITV series, and in comes a more modern take on Holmes. He appears younger and more playful, and Watson sports a thoroughly Hipster moustache. No doubt inspired by the successes of the updated character seen in the Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr vehicles, it feels a bit jarring in The Devil’s Daughter. Nothing else in-game has been brought up-to-date, and this just makes our dynamic duo seem out of place, in Victorian era-London.

The title does do a good job of making the player feel like they are an expert sleuth however, making use of certain unique skills. These include; Sherlock vision – which allows you to spot obscure clues that you might have otherwise missed, imagination – whereby you can piece together different pieces of evidence to visualise what really happened in a case, and your deduction board – which is a flowchart of sorts which players use to organise their thoughts in order to reach a final judgement and decide upon the culprits. Throughout the five extensive cases in Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter, your choices are very important. There will be at least two or three possible suspects and conclusions at the end of each, and what evidence you choose to be pertinent allows you to either convict or liberate whomever you wish – be that judgement ultimately right or wrong.

Pure adventurers might find themselves a bit disappointed though as the game holds your hand a lot more than ever before, prompting you whenever you need to examine your notebook, or if you need to link some theories together on your deduction board. Even each individual piece of evidence you collect will have an icon next to it, telling you what you if it needs further analysis or where it should be used. This really over-simplifies things at times, and even though there are two difficulty settings to choose from, all that really does is make the many mini-games harder, and adds a time limit to your interrogations.

Speaking of mini-games, Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter is chock full of them. Some or more relevant like mixing different chemicals in order to analyse a blood sample for instance, whereas others not so much. The main problem is that each time a mini-game starts, you are dropped right into it without being given any instructions of the controls or what you are meant to be doing. Be prepared to fail a lot of these mini-games as you work your way through each mission.

These issues are only made worse by the massive load times that crop up between every scene, slowing down the tempo massively even when cases begin to heat up. There is still some really clever puzzle design on offer, and some interesting mysteries to wrap your head around, but the gameplay issues only serve to make Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter feel like a backwards step compared to previous games in the series.

Not Sherlock’s finest work. 3/5.


Robin Parker

Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter at CeX

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Thursday, 23 June 2016

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

Mirror’s Edge was never a commercial success, but its unique gameplay and bold design choices made it a cult hit, whose popularity has endured over the eight years since it was first released. Being one of the first examples of a first-person shooter without guns, Dice created the surprisingly enjoyable Parkour simulator that no-one knew we needed.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst literally expands that original concept, taking it from a linear, chapter based experience, into being a sprawling open world of free-running opportunities. The new world map is littered with story missions, side quests and time trial challenges – which players can choose to tackle as and when they please – or simply ignore and focus on exploring the different routes through the city at their disposal. The story is a definite second focus behind the city itself, where the need to explore often distracts you. Even the main characters feel under-developed and unsympathetic, so there is little to make you want to progress through the lacklustre plot.

The disappointing issue with the vast open world is that the actual objectives on offer just aren’t that exciting in themselves. Story missions aside, there is precious little else to keep you interested, despite the sprawl of the new open world. All of the side quests consist of nothing more than timed fetch quests and races from one place to another – which all become quickly frustrating. There needs to be a greater variety of activities to populate the city map – without this, everything feels far too repetitive and you don’t feel the need to keep completin

The story missions themselves are a lot more interesting, never more so than when you are tasked with a platforming puzzle. These are called Grid Nodes, and usually consist of a room, or a tower – for example – that you need to ascend carefully. Usually the route is difficult to work out, and some clever foot work and forward planning is needed in order to safely make your way through the obstacle course, and reach your objective. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is at its best and most pure when you are simply left with the gameplay mechanics, trying to figure out how on earth you can get from point A to point B.

The parkour system feels more fluid and rewarding than ever before, with the focus on constantly chaining together different movements and keeping your momentum up at all times. The framerate remains solidly high throughout and there is still a thrill to be found in leaping from rooftop to rooftop, rolling, sliding and climbing your way to your next objective. Sadly many of the manoeuvres you need to use are locked away behind an XP progression system – this usually wouldn’t be an issue, but so many areas of the game are unreachable without these skills, and you’ll never be able to compete in time trials with your souped-up counterparts.

So many elements of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst feel familiar – right down to the ambient soundtrack once again provided by Swedish artist Solar Fields – yet Dice have made big strides to try and show how they have developed the title and moved things forward. And that is the very crux of the Mirror’s Edge franchise - the need to constantly move forward.

It is just a shame that so many of the changes fall flat, rather than soar successfully. 3/5.


Robin Parker

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst at CeX

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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Revenant

It happened. Leo DiCaprio finally managed to get his hands on an Oscar. Did he deserve it? After watching The Revenant, I can only say yes.

Inspired by true events, Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) and a group of men are exploring the wilderness, and trying to get away from a native threat. Whilst making their way to safe ground back on foot, Glass is attacked by a large bear, protecting her two cubs. He sustains horrific injuries, and the group find him just in time. With difficult terrain ahead, Captain Gleeson (played by Domhnall Gleeson, who you may remember as the Star Wars Nazi!) decides to leave Glass in the hands of John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and Bridger (Will Poulter), and then the fun really begins.

One of the impressions I got from The Revenant is that a hell of a lot of thought went into its production. It’s stunning from the start –each scene is carefully thought out and detailed, and the direction is careful and calculated. It’s not just a film, but something that feels handcrafted. The active movement of the camera makes us feel like we’re really there. Although it’s unique in a lot of senses it has some similarities to some other epic films – the chilling sound throughout the film echoes There Will Be Blood, and the introductory scene seemed to have taken inspiration from Saving Private Ryan.

There’s a powerful sense of realism as well – many parts are brutal and seem so real that they can be quite hard to watch (note: don’t watch with dinner, as I regretfully did). We’ve all heard about the infamous bear scene, but it really is the sort of viewing that leaves you feeling speechless. One problem I often have with action-based movies is that the fight scenes come off as coordinated; here they weren’t like that at all, with many scenes so painfully realistic that you could almost feel the struggle. Obviously Leo is the star here – his incredible depiction of a horrifically injured man is more than Oscar-worthy. However, I was also taken aback by just how authentic Tom Hardy felt as John Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is a villainous character whose violent and unpredictable nature leaves you on edge for the whole film. It just goes to show how diverse Hardy really is as an actor – his depictions of good guys and bad guys in films are equally as awesome.

There wasn’t really much wrong with the film in the end, although there were times when I wondered just how invincible Glass was (he goes through a LOT). It wasn’t as if he just jumped back up after every bad situation though – it was equally balanced with suffering and pain, and so wasn’t really much of an issue. The dubbing on the Pawnee lines was not great, to be honest, but it didn’t affect the film that much (just don’t pay too much attention to it). Aside from that though, it really was an excellent watch – cinematically, plot-wise, and culturally. Alejandro González Iñárritu did a really great job.  

The Revenant isn’t the sort of film to leave you feeling happy when you’re done with it. It’s distressing and punishing to say the least, but so harshly real that’s hard not to get fully involved with it. Silent and slow-paced, it’s gripping the whole way through and, although you may not feel ready to watch it for a second time, the first viewing will certainly impact you.

The Revenant gets a 5/5.


Hannah Read

The Revenant at CeX

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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Nextbit Robin

Once in a while you have you have a new phone manufacturer come out with an innovative , out of the box phone. The Robin is one of them by the startup Nextbit which has backing from the likes of Google and HTC.Cloud storage on phone is their USP; Let’s have a look how this will change the way we deal with storage on our phones. 

Design , Display & Hardware:

The phone is one of the most beautiful devices I’ve seen in a while with the blue and white standing out in a sea of all metal and the usual back , silver , and gold phones.This colour is officially known as Mint while the other option is Midnight.

It looks and feels all plastic but still premium and not very far from a Lego phone! Definitely very eye catching ;)  The box contains the phone, a USB Type C cable and a SIM ejector tool. No earphones and no power adaptor as well (strange since it supports Rapid charging / QC 2.0). On the front you have 2 speakers ,one at the top and one at the bottom where you’d expect to find a home button.Then there’s a 5MP front camera and an ambient light sensor. The 5.2” Full HD IPS display has Corning Gorilla Glass 4 but no mention of it’s ppi even on its official site.  

The left edge has the circular volume up/down buttons while the right edge has the Nano SIM slot & power button which is also the fingerprint sensor that you need to press for a sec to start using the phone .One the back you find the 13MP camera & dual tone LED flash with their most unique cloud & 4 LED lights design that pulse when backup is in progress.At the top you’ll find the 3.5mm jack while type C charging port is at the bottom. In terms of power, under the fancy exterior is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 (Hexa Core) , 32GB ROM & 100GB cloud storage , 3GB RAM , Bluetooth 4.0 & NFC. It supports VoLTE as well with an unlocked bootloader ( great custom ROMs expected ;)) . No FM radio or OTG support could be an issue for some though.


The Robin comes with Android Marshmallow layered by their own Nextbit OS which goes with the quirky design of the phone. There’s no app drawer and the interface is pretty smooth and lag free.
Icons are different from what you’ve seen earlier and most of them are custom to the Nextbit OS.
Pinching the homescreen will get you to the widgets section .

The USP is Cloud integration which needs more micro controlling than what is offered at the moment. You’ll have to connect via Google for authentication of the cloud storage service. Currently you can only backup photos or apps and not videos or music . Even photos are restricted to only the Camera folder ones , so your rubbish whatsapp forwards will stay on the phone. The Smart storage app tells you how much data is on the cloud and on the phone.

Every time the light pulsates at the back indicates back up either of Wi-Fi or Cellular Data based on the option you’ve chosen.It looks like an expensive affair esp when you want some pics or apps to be used while travelling or imagine when you’re not in a network zone. Your Gallery then only stores a low resolution image while the High res. image is uploaded to the cloud and downloaded only when you zoom into the image. Apps can be pinned so that they’re not archived to the cloud ,else you can use them again only once you download them back from the cloud, till then they are “greyed”.  This is what I meant by missing  micro controlling that should let the user decide what files need to be uploaded and what need to be on the device. 


The camera app is pretty simple and does a decent job of offering Burst , HDR & manual modes. The 13MP rear camera captures good pictures in bright daylight and also is decent in low light / evenings.The only issue is with images where you can’t focus on object close to the device or macro shots which come out blurry. 4K videos are captured great and playback is amazing.
Front 5MP camera shoots good selfies but isn’t wide angle. 

Gaming & Multimedia:

AnTuTu scores an impressive 70450 and playing games like FIFA16, Mortal Kombat & Asphalt 8 had no issues or lags. There’s a built in Music and video player which doesn’t have a lot of customisation options or equaliser. The speaker and audio via earphones is pretty impressive.With a battery life of only 2680 mAh I wasn’t expecting much and it didn’t last for more than 8 hours which is a bit disappointing since a lot of times your phone will be uploading data to the cloud when locked and will eat up battery. 3000 mAh should’ve been a minimum on this one.It’s only Quick charge 2.0 and thanks to the small capacity battery phone can be at full power in just over an hour.


With an avg battery life and camera , the pricing is on the higher side for the Nextbit Robin. It has decent hardware and the cloud integration is a great option for those who do need a lot of photos with them always. But is that the answer to limited built in storage instead of a Memory card? It’s a good thought to do something different but is it useful in the real world , I have my doubts. But if you need a phone that’s a looker and something that can be tweaked with custom ROMs with a good speaker and music output give this device a try.

It gets a 3/5.


Pritesh Khilnani

Nextbit Robin at CeX

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CeX Crossgates now open!

New York, New York. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, they say. Well, a lovely bunch of people did make it there, and they've opened up a new CeX store!

We’ve just opened a brand new store in Crossgates and it’s packed to the rafters with Films, Games and Gadgets. Feel free to swing by, say "hey!" and see what CeX has brought to the Big Apple.

Check us out for all your buy, sell, exchange and geeky needs. Find us at:

1 Crossgates Mall Rd, Suite L205, Albany, NY 12203

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Monday, 20 June 2016

Victor Frankenstein

In this world of reboots, remakes and sequels, it’s nice to find something original. Something fresh. Do you know what I mean? There’s nothing like the feeling of pure cinematic joy deep inside when you find one of those rare gems that tells a story you’ve never heard before, or even tells a familiar story in such a unique way that you’re still on the edge of your seat throughout. It just so happens that isn’t what’s on offer with Paul McGuigan’s disappointingly bland Victor Frankenstein, which is out now on DVD & Blu-ray. 

Less the re-imagining it marketed itself as and more a re-tread of old ground, Victor Frankenstein tells the familiar story of the iconic mad scientist (James McAvoy) and his assistant Igor (Daniel Radcliffe). Sharing a passion for medical science, the pair begin a project to try and create life from death – obviously leading to the creation of the famous monster. So what do McGuigan and writer Max Landis do to try and make this original? They tell the story from Igor’s perspective. Starting with his dark origins in the circus, we watch as he becomes Frankenstein’s little bitch. Fans of Mary Shelley’s legendary novel Frankenstein will instantly recognise this isn’t a straight-up adaptation of her work – Igor wasn’t in the book. No, this is a prequel/reboot/reimagining/something. I don’t know.   

Whatever it is, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. The story is, of course, predictable – and the big “It’s alive!” moment isn’t met with jaws-on-the-floor like I’m sure it was in the 1931 film. Now, it’s become such a spoofed moment, it has no longer got any dramatic weight. The story is predictable from start to finish, and the thinly-written antagonist Inspector Turpin (Sherlock’s Andrew Scott) doesn’t help stop this film from being devoured alive by its own clichés. Good direction from Paul McGuigan could’ve elevated this film to being something more than just another Frankenstein movie, but with his futile attempts to create an edgy, near-steampunk adaptation similar to Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, he’s lost sight of anything else. Like making a good film…

So do the cast help it at all? Meh. McAvoy hams it up as the mad scientist while occasionally struggling to hide his Scottish accent – weirdly a problem he’s very rarely had in the past. Maybe his heart just wasn’t in this? And Radcliffe, the man we often forget exists, just stumbles around confused. Although these are arguably characteristics of his character, they seem genuine. But anyone would look confused acting alongside a CGI monster-chimpanzee named Gordon. Yes, Frankenstein creates a monster-chimpanzee who obviously escapes and wreaks havoc. This film is like one of Frankstein’s creatures in itself – it is a monster made up of lots of horrible parts.

Victor Frankenstein is not a good film, my friends. McAvoy probably just needed something to do while he waited for the next X-Men and Radcliffe…he probably just needed something to do generally. But fans of the pair might find something to like here. And if you’re a hipster/steampunk, you might like the old clothes and whatnot. But anyone else will struggle to find much to like here. The CGI is pretty mediocre, the acting is sub-par, the script is crammed full of cliché and the direction is aimless. But it tries, and you can’t take that away from it. Like I was always told as a child, it isn’t all about winning – it’s the taking part that matters. With some films, you can tell that nobody involved has made any effort and it’s hard to be kind about them. Something about this just suggests they’ve tried. And although they’ve failed pretty miserably, at least a little bit of effort is in it.

On the whole, Victor Frankenstein is an instantly forgettable and completely unoriginal ‘creature feature’ that doesn’t have very much going for it at all. 1/5.


Sam Love

Victor Frankenstein at CeX

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Sunday, 19 June 2016

The Secret

James Nesbitt is a great actor, and he’s certainly one of my favourite British ones. I’ll often wtch a series solely because he’s in it, as I know it’ll be a good one. ‘The Secret’ was yet another series starring Nesbitt that didn’t fail to deliver.

A dramatization on a shocking true story, ‘The Secret’ portrays Colin Howell (James Nesbitt) and Hazel Buchanan (Genevieve O’Reilly), two inhabitants of the small Irish village of Coleraine, who fall in love and end up having affair. Once the affair is found out and quickly put to a stop by the church, the pair realise that they can’t go on without each other. Due to certain aspects of their religion and their living situation they feel that there is no option but to kill their spouses and make it look like suicide.

It’s a very chilling story (particularly because it’s true), and the way it’s been portrayed is excellent. Each episode, although intrinsically linked, seems to have a slightly different focus, and so it’s refreshing to watch each one. The story spans over 21 years, and so there’s a lot to fit in – at no point does it feel like it’s moving too quickly. Instead, each scene is delicate and plays out in its own time, fully immersing the viewer in every tiny detail.

It’s also very interesting having the protagonist as an actual antagonist – so many different feelings are evoked than in your standard crime drama. I found myself getting very emotionally involved with both Colin and Hazel – their stories are gripping, and their actions are intriguing. It’s easy to make lots of guesses as to why they’re behaving the way they are and, although this is loosely explored in the sense of religion and power, it’s mostly left in the open, which I surprisingly effective. There are no mental health confirmations and the word ‘psychopath’ isn’t used once, which leaves you pondering over the reasons and the explanations for that much longer. Put simply, this story is unlikely to fully leave your head.

 A lot of focus was put on Colin, and I found myself feeling increasingly uneasy when watching him on the screen – despite so much interaction with him it was very hard to predict what he was thinking. I wish a little bit more focus had been put on Hazel – although she’s obviously quite central, it would have been nice to explore her psyche a bit more in-depth. However, the acting from both of them was very powerful, with O’Reilly particularly shining during the fourth and final episode.

The sinister content in this gritty Irish drama is further enhanced by the way it’s delivered – there’s a lot of very intense, close-up shots and drawn out, slow scenes that almost pull you into the story. It’s typical British filming at its best. The music is beautifully thought out and complements each scene in its own way. It all adds to the intensity of the experience, with it driving your emotions in a certain way. Interestingly there seemed to be a lot of division between viewers and their emotions – I too found myself internally conflicted, which was made even more apparent when I remembered that most of the content actually happened.

True crime dramas have to be well thought-out, but ‘The Secret’ really excelled at the way information was pieced together. It was a fascinating watch which just got better with each episode, and showed just how warped our minds can become when external influences take hold.

I'll give The Secret a 5/5.


Hannah Read

The Secret at CeX

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Saturday, 18 June 2016

Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me

Country musician Glen Campbell has had a rather fascinating life. During his 50 years in show business, he’s released more than 70 albums and sold over 50 million. But before that, he was a session musician in a group known as The Wrecking Crew, playing on recordings by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, The Monkees and many more. He’s also acted, with a starring role in 1969’s True Grit alongside John Wayne. Say what you want about his music – country might not be your cup of tea - but the man is a legend. He’s done it all. 

In 2011, sad news broke. Campbell announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, which is out now on DVD, follows Campbell’s “Goodbye Tour” which began in August 2011 and came to a close in November 2012. Filmmaker James Keach covers Campbell’s entire journey - from receiving the diagnosis and making the public announcement, all the way to the end of the tour - with startling honesty. I’ll Be Me is a very difficult film to watch. But it is truly inspirational.

Let’s get the bad out of the way first. Now, I’ll Be Me is not a full rags-to-riches biography of Campbell, but this isn’t the problem. The problem is that sometimes the flow of the film is interrupted by director Keach seemingly forgetting what film he’s making, and throwing in a whole load of biographical-doc cliché. Many faces from the music world – some recognisable, some not -  show up to tell us why they love Campbell and explain the impact he’s made, while educating us in Campbell’s past. This is all well and good, but you can’t help feeling that isn’t the film you’re here for. After a montage showing Campbell’s rise during the opening credits, the majority of the film takes place in the now, delivering linear coverage of Campbell’s final tour with incredibly moving footage of his battle with Alzheimer’s. We’re not here to see young up-and-comer musicians telling us when they first hear Campbell’s music, or how he’s inspired them. We’re not here to see Campbell’s past, we’re here for his present. This is when I’ll Be Me took a rather generic shape.

But thankfully, these sequences are brief. I’ll Be Me is largely a fly-on-the-wall look at the tour process and life on the road, along with being something of a public service announcement about the battle of Alzheimer’s. Like Karen Guthrie’s remarkable The Closer We Get, I’ll Be Me is an incredibly brave and important film about debilitating disease. Glen Campbell doesn’t shy away from showing himself at his most vulnerable, both intellectually and physically, and this is where the film is its most powerful. We open with Campbell watching old home videos of himself as a young man, playing with his kids. “Who are they”, he asks with a confused demeanour. It’s incredibly moving and upsetting, but immensely brave to share this intimate moment with us.

We watch in awe as Glen Campbell takes to the stages across his world tour - occasionally fluffing his lines and getting confused but, on the whole, putting on incredible performances for his adoring fans. While we see him struggling through rehearsals and sound checks, U2’s The Edge theorises “the audience being there somehow triggers his ability to access that other part of his brain” as he performs incredibly inspiring performances. Campbell’s tour manager admits he was worried that people might’ve only been attending Campbell’s final shows because they wanted to see a disaster – you know, the confused Campbell making a fool of himself. But he admits he was wrong, taken aback by the unanimous love and support given at the sold-out concerts all over the world.

The main strength of I’ll Be Me is Campbell’s courage, which fills the screen in every scene. Here’s a man fighting against one of the most horrible diseases out there – but he fights it with a smile. He sings, he performs, he laughs and he loves. Campbell’s wonderfully strong wife Kimberly Woolen states it is Glen’s merry heart and sense of humour that gave him the strength to keep performing, but with this attitude, you can beat anything. And this is something we can all learn from. Sometimes, a smile and a laugh is all it takes. This world of ours throws a lot of punches – at some people more than others. But you’re not alone.

On March 8th 2016, Rolling Stone reported Campbell was living in a care facility in the final stages of his disease. He is now unable to communicate, and no longer understands what people are saying to him. However, his family have said he is still “happy” and “cheerful”. I always knew Glen Campbell was a legend, but now I know he’s an inspiration.

I’ll Be Me is one of the most poignant, moving and inspiring documentaries ever made. 5/5.


Sam Love

Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me at CeX

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Friday, 17 June 2016


Battleborn is a culmination of multiple genres blended into a first-person perspective that doesn’t do a great job of not making you feel a bit overwhelmed when you first dive in but give it your time to understand all the mechanics at play here and what you’ll find is a surprisingly fun but complex MOBA-style game in a First Person Shooter.

Developed by Gearbox and out now on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 hasn’t had a fair perception coming up to its release. It’s been consistently compared to Overwatch and been considered inferior in this comparison. Having played both titles, its clear to understand that these games are very different. The only things they have in common is the perspective and that they focus on quirky characters. Battleborn is brimming with stuff to see and do - too much in fact. There are multiple levelling across the game for characters and the account itself which can feel slightly overwhelming as well as multiple currencies that are available within the game and throughout the menus.

The competitive game itself though is pretty fun actually. Every match begins with every player starting at level one and as they kill the opposing team and enemy AI throughout the map. As you level up your character, you get a choice between two boosts. By the end of any match you feel like a powerhouse and a stark contrast to when you began the match. Incredibly, starting every match at level one again doesn’t feel disappointing or overly-weak. It’s always fun that progression again.

One thing you can’t condemn Battleborn for is having no ideas. In fact, that game has far too many ideas and directions that make it a feel like a scatter shot of those sticky hands you got as a kid. You throw it all at the wall and hoped most of them would stick. This very much feels like this was Gearbox’s approach. There are 25 diverse characters which is impressive, especially when you unlock them and see just how different they all feel. Instead of unlocking perks and equipment that changes the stats of the character, Battleborn just throws a different character your way to try out. These unlock at a decent pace meaning you never run out of someone new to try out.

But that stick idea wall follows through to the modes as well as the humour and back to the progression systems. It seems like every idea that was thought up had to have at least two additives to add longevity but overall it makes it feel overly-complex and lacking a true cohesion across the entire title. There is a campaign also that can be played alone, with friends, or with strangers online and while they have story, they very much just feel like strikes or mini-raids that only have one of just a few objectives that unfortunately grow tiresome by its completion.

Even if there are disappointing aspects, Battleborn has a lot of promise to grow on a lot of people but until its been in hands for a few months its hard to gauge if we’ll hear people talk of this game six months from now.

A rocky road cake of different ideas. 3/5.

Jason Redmond

Battleborn at CeX

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Thursday, 16 June 2016

Sony @ E3 2016

2015 saw a memorable E3 for Sony; The Last Guardian was re-revealed four years after it was due to be released (and six years after it was first announced), and fan dream Shenmue III was featured – if not strictly speaking supported. Then there was delicious No Man's Sky footage. Have they put on an even better show in 2016? They just might have...

Resident Evil 7 is officially a thing

As is usual for Sony, some of the biggest news from their conference concerned multiformat games. We all knew that a new Resident Evil was going to happen, but surely none of us expected it to be quite like this. It's reimagining the experience in the same way that Resident Evil 4 did; and that's easily one of the best games in the series (the best, if you ask me). 7, for the first time ever, gives the player a first-person perspective. The emphasis, it seems, is firmly on psychological horror rather than action. The potential for the effectiveness of this is increased thanks to the very impressive graphics; and isn't there something automatically unnerving about prosaic surroundings utterly devoid of life, and given a heavy blanket of dirt and desolation? All this comes together to tell the tale of a game clearly influenced by the ill-fated (and bloody terrifying) P.T. demo, with a sprinkling of Fatal Frame/Project Zero thrown in for good measure. PlayStation Plus members can download a demo right now, with the full game to be released January 24th.

Sony aren't immune from recycling games from last year's E3

First announced at E3 2015, Horizon Zero Dawn certainly isn't what you'd expect from Guerilla Games, the studio best known for the Killzone series. A third person adventure in a world that looks like what might happen if Enslaved: Odyssey To The West and Xenoblade Chronicles got funky together and had an electronic baby. The basic concept – a lush fantasy world populated by robotic creatures – is intriguing. The gameplay trailer, at over eight minutes, showed us a Mass-Effect-style dialogue tree (is it deeper than it appears?), and the various ways in which your character can handle situations. Her rope gun for example was used to hold an animal in place while she hacked it to mount, and later to trap what appeared to be a miniboss while in its weakened state. With multiple weapons and a fascinating concept, this could be a goodun.

Then we had The Last Guardian. Again. The latest trailer doesn't tell us a lot, but it does tell us there's at least one other giant creature in the game, and at least one instance of a creepy man trying to catch your young male avatar, the less said about which probably the better. The graphics, predictably, seem to suffer for originally being a PS3 game. Will the game finally be released, or are Sony running history's most dedicated troll campaign? With an alleged release date of October 26th, we'll soon find out.

Sony are still determined to keep David Cage in a job

Oh Sony. Perhaps your faith will be rewarded, but I'm not hopeful. Okay, I enjoyed Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy to our readers across the pond). Heavy Rain was good, too, but it was only held together by all the plot holes. Beyond: Two Souls however was completely shit. One of the worst games I have played in my entire life, and I've been playing games for around a quarter of a century. Admittedly Detroit: Become Human looks better, but that's because nobody's actually played it yet. The E3 trailer centres on a hostage situation, where both the negotiator (you) and the hostage taker are androids. An excellent job was done of showing how the situation can end in multiple ways depending on what you say, do, and find; but everything else is off-putting. The graphics aren't as good as a 2016 PS4 exclusive should be, the themes shown are tired and overused, and the dialogue is distinctly “meh”. The release date remains unknown at time of writing, probably to give Quantic Dream time to find a way of shoehorning in one of those shower scenes Cage is so perversely obsessed with.

PlayStation VR is getting all the marketing monies

If any VR platform is going to see any kind of success, it's going to be PlayStation VR. The reasons for this are many, but a far-from-insignificant one is the clearly gargantuan budget it's been afforded. Sony gleefully announced that it will have an impressive/ridiculous 50 games available at launch (that's including compatible rather than exclusive). The aforementioned Resident Evil 7 will be compatible, and some VR-exclusive titles were announced. Most intriguing of all perhaps is the Rocksteady developed, PSVR-exclusive Batman: Arkham VR. An all-new game, the trailer tells us nothing except that the Joker will be in it and it's out some time in October.
Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission is also PSVR exclusive, and looks just as awesome as you'd imagine (from the 30 seconds that were shown). Yet another Sony exclusive is Farpoint, a first person game with lots of sand. There's robot drones and monsters to shoot too, but it's impossible to tell how the game as a whole might hold up; though it does look like it would be a lot of fun in VR.

God of War is getting a reboot

The God of War games are good platform kick-the-crap-out-of-them-ups. God of War III in particular was brilliant. Ostensibly based in the world of Greek mythology, they keep getting the terminology mixed up with Roman mythology. The new game for PS4, if all the snow and the mention of Valhalla is anything to go by, drops Kratos into Norse mythology instead; which is hopefully less easy to confuse with other legends. He now has three things he didn't have before: 1) A long and amusing beard, 2) a magic axe with The Power Of Making Things Really Cold, and 3) a son. A son that, in the E3 demo, he's an absolute bastard to with behaviour that is basically abuse. A son that seems to earn XP, and that you presumably take control of later in the game. The writers seem to be going for an emotional depth that's hilariously at odds with every other game in the series, not helped by Kratos' trademark monoemotional approach to life. Still, it might be good; killing things is usually good fun.

So much was packed into the Sony conference, I've not had time to talk about the new Spider-Man game, or Days Gone. But the latter so far just seems to be yet another gritty tale of post-apocalyptic Earth (i.e. America), so meh.

Luke Kemp

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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

The Conjuring 2 Giveaway

Modern master of horror James Wan is back with a chilling new paranormal case to petrify audiences in THE CONJURING 2. Ahead of experiencing the fascinating, yet terrifying real-life story of the Enfield home terrorised by dark forces in cinemas on June 13, we have some shockingly good film goodies to give away. 

Reprising their roles, Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga (“Up In the Air,” TV’s “Bates Motel”) and Patrick Wilson (the “Insidious” films), star as Lorraine and Ed Warren, who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations, travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.

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