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Transformers: Fall of Cybertron - Xbox 360
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron - Xbox 360
Offered by NYC Electronics
Price: $21.99
158 used & new from $5.75

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great but not Amazing (sadly), September 27, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
For the record I played War for Cybertron as well, and this is a better game than that by at least 1 star.

The problem with this game, is that it's great, but it just fails to go over the top for me. Transformers is and has always been my favorite cartoon and series ever since the G1 days in the 1980s. So for me this game had the potential to be awesome, and it falls short of that... but it's still worth playing.

The story is really good. It's basically something like a mishmash of all the dramatic elements of Iacon parts 1,2,3 from G1 rolled together. There are a few really fun levels. There are a couple of levels where I was like, "Why am I doing this?" but for the most part, they all offer something interesting or unique. The best part is, the story is replayable. You unlock guns and perks as you go along, and it would be almost impossible to find everything/unlock everything in one go, so you can play it again on a harder difficulty. There are some cheesy parts though, be warned, but not anywhere on the level of War for Cybertron. That game made me cringe quite a few times (cybertronian slugs? come on with your biological lifeforms, this is Cybertron bro). Hopefully the intern that programmed/storyboarded that part was fired. But there are a few easter eggs to be found (glass gas? that is so random-awesome).

The gameplay is righteous. There is very little left to want. (Playing as Bruticus is EXTREMEly fun and awesome). The saddest part possibly, is that there is very little motivation to transform, unless you're on a flying level (which War for Cybertron also suffered badly from). But this game is definitely at the peak of Xbox development, and has levels of detail rivaled only by newer games like Skyrim, etc.

The multiplayer, for me, is possibly the most disappointing part of the game, and ends up for me, being the part I spend the most time on usually. This is one area I have to say War for Cybertron really took the cake. In Fall, there are very very few customization options. I know it may seem like you can make your own custom transformer. But you quickly realize that more or less, they all look the same anyway. The worst part is, apart from the visual customizations, there are very few skill/weapon/tactics variations. There is basically one or two builds that are really good, and everyone uses them. This happened in War as well, but to a lesser degree. In fact what made me quit playing multiplayer, is that I noticed the Scout class is the best global tradeoff, and about 50% of people play it because of this (boring). I'm sorry but the really tough "Titan" class should be able to take far more hits than it can. Get caught with your back turned by anything? DEAD. God forbid it hit anything at more than 20m off with it's garbage X12 "Scrapmaker" gun (until you get the accuracy perk at 21 that is). War had far far far more variations and customization that I personally thought made it way better in this arena. Here's the worst part about hte multiplayer, within 2? weeks, Highmoon already found a way to gauge more money out of you, by releasing this super disappointing "expansion" pack, with 1 (count it 1) new robot body, and a few new maps (cool, but not what the game needed, imo). That's weak in my opinion, and I refuse to pay for it. Too little, too soon.

For the record, I can be a harsh critic, but I do feel like a lot of my concerns are pretty objective. That being said please remember this is only my opinion and I'm just trying to help prospective buyers. All in all I'd say buy it, but don't expect to still be playing it in a month.

Denon AVR-1312 5.1 Channel AV Home Theater Receiver (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Denon AVR-1312 5.1 Channel AV Home Theater Receiver (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
2 used & new from $350.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really is a top notch product!!, July 27, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is probably one of the most high quality purchases I have ever made. Previously I was attempting to use a very cheap, crappy 3in to 1out HDMI switch for video switching, with a completely separate system for routing audio. This receiver alleviates that and makes the experience of switching input devices much easier!

The biggest motivation for writing this review though, is the QUALITY of audio I am now hearing through my speakers. I am using a set of speakers from the Logitech Z530 bundle (minus subwoofer), and these sound better on the Denon AVR-1312, than they did in their native setup!!!! That really says something, to me. There are a load of customization options within the receiver to control how it will process the output, and these really seem to make a difference in sound quality. Truthfully, I am not even sure I need a subwoofer at this point, because either the crossover, or all the receiver options just make the satellites sound so good.

I am pretty skilled music and audio wise, but all the crap about home stereos, cross overs, amplifiers, receivers, decks, speakers, has always bored me to death. I have very little interest in setting all of that up, or learning about it. But I will say, buying this receiver, plus the maybe 1 hour I spent setting it up, is one of the greatest investments to keeping my personal rage and frustration down, I have ever made.

Totally worth the $179.99!!!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 3, 2012 12:09 PM PDT

Dax N15786ST - Desk/Wall Plastic Document Frame, Insert size 11x14 and 8.5x11 with mat, Rosewood/Black
Dax N15786ST - Desk/Wall Plastic Document Frame, Insert size 11x14 and 8.5x11 with mat, Rosewood/Black
Offered by MyOfficeInnovations
Price: $13.85
70 used & new from $11.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful frame for the price, December 29, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Not much else to say, than the title. This is a very pretty frame for the price. Only slight hang up I had was putting a 8.5x11" piece of paper in there required some scotch tape and some creative manuevering.. but any reasonably intelligent adult can figure it, or another solution out with ease, I am sure.

Gears of War 3
Gears of War 3
Offered by Galactics
Price: $14.89
537 used & new from $0.01

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is what's wrong with the movie and video game industries these days., November 6, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Gears of War 3 (Video Game)
I'll preface this review by admitting that I'm a bit of a sci-fi cynic, and a pretty tough customer. That being said, I think my critiques are generally within reason, accurate and fair - I simply have high expectations for things. I really felt like I had to speak up about this game, as I was a bit sorry that I bought it in the end.

Story Mode -
If you read no other sentence in this review, remember the following one: the biggest problem with the STORY mode of this game, is that it has no sense of PACING. Essentially, it boils down to the following:
1) watch a cut scene
2) shoot (mostly) the same 5 or 6 enemies, while walking thru very predictable, linear environments (a never ending series of hallways/rock mazes for some reason) to get to your objective,
3) reach your objective, begin to craft/mold/tell the story of some potentially interesting, deep characters
4) badguys show up!! time to shoot again!!
5) fight a boss that jumps up and growls at you
6) go back to step 1) about 5 or 6 times

The problem I had with this game was that it comes off as very much, the same type of crap we've been seeing in movies/video games for like the last 10 years. Aliens/monsters/undead/trolls jump up out of the ocean or cave or something and growl at you for some reason (seriously count it, I think this exact same, rehashed scene occurs about 6-7 times in this game alone), and you shoot it to death. But what REALLY BUGGED ME, was that just as the game starts to get good/on a role with something, (there are actually one or two REALLY GOOD scenes), some monsters show up for some reason and you have to "hold them off" while someone gets gas or opens a door or does something dumb. It's frustrating. In the end the only character that ends up getting any real development goes away, and all that's left are these very bland, cliche marine type husks of personalities. Another note is that some of the boss battles just go on endlessly and are very tedious. I had to play the end boss about 10 times through (and trust me it is a LONG encounter), because some random dude would flank me because I was bored repeating the same sequence. Of course this is brought on by the fact that you can't die, because apparently all it takes to heal gunshot wounds, huge spider claws in your face, or laser cannon blasts from huge bugs, is for your marine friend to come over and pick you up and give some encouraging "dig deep solider" sort of words!

Multiplayer Mode -
I'll sum it up for you in just one word: SHOTGUNS!!!!! Boy did the power of shotguns (coupled with the duck and cover system) essentially reduce a potentially enjoyable multiplayer experience to a cheap, and simple bore, that will pretty much make you sick of it after a match or two. Basically your character has the extreme endurance to duck and roll endlessly right up to you (within shotgun range) and pull the trigger once or twice, while you blast them to within an inch of their life with your puny lancer. The duck and cover system is actually really fun and good in this game (it's pretty enjoyable in 1P), but you'll never get to use it to do anything intelligent, because in the end it's a lot easier for someone to run up and shotgun you than use any other weapon. Shotguns seriously account for like 70% of kills in the game. There are of course tactics you can use to increase your odds (see below), but the fact that you have to do this JUST TO PLAY THE GAME, to me, renders it silly and not worth the effort.

In the end I sold this game after about a month.. I wish I had rented it instead.

Tips for killing guys who only use shotguns (without using one yourself):
* Use the lancer, always. Don't ever use the retro lancer (unless you prefer it to shoot with)
* Use sound to your advantage. When you hear someone behind a corner or a piece of cover you are on, get ready for them to jump out from behind it. Just as they do, rev up your chainsaw bayonette and move INTO them. Sometimes this gets you shotgunned by one of their teammates, but it will get you a 1 to 1 k/d ratio, and hopefully it crushes the shotgunner's spirits, if nothing else ;)
* In open terrain, when you spot a guy running towards you, attempt to gun them down with the lancer before they reach you. If they make it to your cover piece, use tip 1).
* if you see one of your teammates in a "duck and roll shotgun fun time, lets see who happens to get lucky first," type of battle, sit back and shoot your lancer at the enemy.

Some of the most fun I've had in this game is getting 7x kill streaks off of tools who will only use the shotgun. That's all I got. RENT DONT BUY.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 29, 2011 7:11 PM PST

Sony MDR-NC40 Noise Cancelling Headphone (Black)
Sony MDR-NC40 Noise Cancelling Headphone (Black)
12 used & new from $19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Truly get what you pay for, October 26, 2011
These headphones are alright. For the record I also own a $300 pair of Bose NC headphones, and these are nothing like those.

The passive noise cancellation (just having the phones on your ears, without the battery on) works *marginally*. This is most likely due to the phones not having an overear, closed cup design. So I could see these being very good for someone that wants some isolation, but to not be completely out of the world, or if you need to take them on and off a lot.

With the battery engaged, the noise cancellation is a little better (maybe 6db). The main difference between active and passive mode however, is a very noticeable bass boost. Not sure if this is Sony's approach to "noise cancellation", but, it's a little annoying. I mostly use the phones in passive mode because of this. Just sounds like my ear drums are being pounded on with it on.

One other minor gripe for me is that the battery holder/volume adjuster box on the cord is a bit heavy (relatively). So it's always dangling down midway between your device and your head. If you take them off to go do something, you will have to pick up the battery box with the phones, or they will usually slide off the table with the box. I could clip it onto my shirt, but what if I don't want to? Just a minor gripe that doesn't affect the quality of the product, but something to consider.

In summation, I believe this product should be renamed "noise suppressing" headphones. They really don't cancel much, just make it less. They work better with music on, i.e. you will notice and hear much less, but usually still notice it (at least I do).
I can't say enough how very mediocre these are, but then again they're $60, instead of $300 :)

The Physics Of Laser Plasma Interactions (Frontiers in Physics)
The Physics Of Laser Plasma Interactions (Frontiers in Physics)
by William L. Kruer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $55.80
51 used & new from $43.84

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I honestly do wish this book were more helpful, August 2, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The title pretty much says it all. I feel like this book was originally 2 or 3 times it's current length, i.e. the editors made Kruer cut it down to a lowly ~200 pages. The derivation provided is asymptotic to the Classical Electrodynamics, Jackson, level (i.e. terse, much outside work needed), and additionally suffers from a real lack of useful explanation/physical understanding (the first is ok, considering this is a graduate level subject, the second is most definitely not - read: why am I reading this book then?).

I would guess this book were written by a math major actually, if it weren't for the fact that it uses naught much more than Maxwell's equations (in Gaussian units, fyi) and the 2-fluid model (i.e. relatively simple). Also, the notation in this book is absolutely atrocious, probably one of the worst examples I have ever seen in any physical science document, ever. Seemingly random subscripts and variable letters appear/change on virtually every line. Variables from two chapters ago are randomly thrown in without explanation, it can really get tedious.

All that being said, the book WILL provide some insight, if you naturally have good insight into such topics, and you are willing to spend more time than should be necessary with it.

It sucks, I honestly really wanted this book to be my bible, but sadly I feel it falls far short of even a *decent* reference.

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