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Halo 4: Game of the Year Edition
Halo 4: Game of the Year Edition
Price: $12.53
73 used & new from $7.23

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A different brand of Halo., October 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
How not to make a sequel to an iconic franchise. vol. 1

Presentation: 7/10 How do you continue the story to a highly successful franchise that over a ten year span, has revolutionized it's genre by creating iconic characters and innovative gameplay? You just write up a sequel. Halo 4 answers that age old question "What happens next?" and does it while leaving us with more questions than answers. Questioning not just the reason for Halo 4 but the very future of the Halo franchise.

Gameplay: 8/10 Halo 4 is using the Reach engine and it's apparent the minute the Master Chief awakes from his 5 year nap. There is no duel wielding, fall damage is back, and now sprinting is a natural ability. The game justifies these changes by telling us right away that Cortana, the main characters blue A.I. friend, has updated his suit. This explains the new HUD but why our main characters iconic armor looks radically different is never explained. Purists will say that everything is explained in the expanded universe of books, and other content but it is no explanation is present in the game. Needles to say this alienates a good chunk of the audience that has been fallowing the games and only the games from Combat Evolved to Reach. It just doesn't make sense to the casual player.

In short, the way the game is played feels like a step sideways. There are tough new enemies that feel a bit too tough at times, and never enough ammo. While advances borrowed from today's popular shooters like better hit detection and grenade awareness meters are a nice touch, they still feel completely out of place in this franchise.

Graphics: 8/10 The next Halo game is going to need a new engine. I have no faith that the Reach engine can be polished any further as it's presented as mixed bag of beautiful lighting and texture effects bogged down by pixilated details and graphical anomaly's. You will be presented with a picturesque landscape one moment that almost looks next-gen just to kill an Elite the next moment and realize that up close, these enemies look about as good as they did in Halo 3. That, and the bland barren surfaces of everything forerunner has worn out it's welcome. These are the finer points that bring this other wise beautiful, if not aged, engine down. Oh, I have to mention the pre-rendered cut-scenes. They hold the best graphics I have ever seen in anything, ever. Why they didn't just shoot live action is beyond me because it looks just as good. While they are fun to watch, they are so cryptic in story that you end up not really knowing what you have seen by the end, other than great graphics.

Sound: 9/10 This is where Halo 4 got it right. I'm talking about the sound effects in particular. Every weapon sounds as a weapon should. Powerful and dangerous. Your armor sounds heavy, vehicles have engines now, I mean they sound the way they would sound in reality and in general the sound effects are top notch and better than they have been in any Halo title to date.

I can't say the same for the music. While it is fully orchestrated, original, and good quality, I found it to be forgettable. I have played Halo 4 for just over 40 hours, through the campaign on Legendary three times and I can't hum a single tune from the game. The music at times feels just plain out of place. My best example is the main menu where if I close my eyes I'm sure I'm about to press start on a Final Fantasy title screen.

Value: 8/10 After the 6-8 hour Campaign, you have multiplayer and Spartan Ops which is a feature that essentially replaces Firefight and tells a story that takes place 6 months after the events of Halo 4. That was a mistake on 343's part. It is not customizable, very repetitive, and tells a story that much like the campaign, leaves with more questions than answers. The multiplayer borrows alot form COD. Their is no rhyme or reason to randomly spawned weapons on the battlefield and rather depends on a scorestreak/loadout system. This is not your daddies Halo. I personally feel that while this style is functional, it detracts from the Halo experience. Frankly, it makes me want to go play COD because COD does it better. I am not happy to be saying this. Trust me.

I guess I have to mention Theatre and Forge as they are both in the game but the file share system is all but broken (and never got fixed) so map making is pointless and the theatre only records your most recent multiplayer match. No campaign or Spartan Ops missions are recorded which is a shame when I've grown so used to doing something awesome in campaign and watching/recording it to put in my file share in past games. There are no skulls to collect, terminals you can only view by going to a separate application, Halo Waypoint and multiplayer modes that seem to lack focus in all the places that count.

Overall: 8/10 I'm stuck wondering what went wrong. I mean I guess Halo 3 never needed a sequel but 343i promised so much. They said they had former Bungie employees working for them and that they were planning a new trilogy with new enemies. Coming off of Halo: Reach and Modern Warfare 3 I'm presented with an amalgamation of the two. I'm confused and bewildered that for once "Halo" on the game case doesn't translate to "Buy this game!". I'm faced with the conclusion that for me, Halo was over at Reach.

I was still very into Goldeneye 007 when the first Halo came out but I gradually grew to really enjoy Team Snipers on Zanzibar on a saturday night with friends as I did with Pistols Only on Facility just a few short years prior. In Bungie's Halo games we felt powerful but challenged, small but important. Halo 4 makes us just another Spartan in a sea of Spartans and where Halo: Reach proved that idea could work, Halo 4 just feels like another modern FPS in a sea of modern shooters. It's by no means, a broken game, at it's best it's a solid Halo experience. Perhaps the last one. Halo 4s biggest sin is in that it takes risks where it should play it safe, and plays it safe where innovation and expansion are expected.

Fintie Fire HD 7 Tablet (2014 Oct Release) Case Slim Fit Leather Standing Protective Cover with Auto Sleep/Wake Feature (will only fit Fire HD 7 4th Generation 2014 model), Purple
Fintie Fire HD 7 Tablet (2014 Oct Release) Case Slim Fit Leather Standing Protective Cover with Auto Sleep/Wake Feature (will only fit Fire HD 7 4th Generation 2014 model), Purple
Offered by Fintie
Price: $13.99
3 used & new from $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I am very satisfied with my purchase, April 26, 2015
The Fintie Fire HD 7 Tablet Cover is as high quality as it looks in the picture and the on/off magnate is very convenient as well. I am very satisfied with my purchase.

Conversations with God : An Uncommon Dialogue, Books 1-3 (Complete Set)
Conversations with God : An Uncommon Dialogue, Books 1-3 (Complete Set)
by Neale Donald Walsch
Edition: Hardcover
9 used & new from $12.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily one of the best book series I've ever read., December 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Love it. Has become one of my favorite series.

Fender Modern Pickguard, Stratocaster, 11-Hole - Black
Fender Modern Pickguard, Stratocaster, 11-Hole - Black
Price: $24.99
13 used & new from $17.70

4.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't fit a 2003 Indonesian made Squier., February 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Holding it in hand with my original while pick guard, this looks the same. After screwing the thing down, I realized a couple concerns...

All but one of the 11 holes didn't line up. I decided to force the screw in (making a new hole next to original) just for vanity sake. It didn't screw in straight but isn't noticeable as it is under the lower Tone knob anyway. I do NOT recommend doing this but on this 10 year-old starter guitar, I wasn't too concerned.

The stock screws that came with the original don't fit too well into the holes either. The heads don't sink into the holes for a flat surface but rather jut out a bit. I only noticed this on the pickups and the pickup selector and while it looks "off" to me as the builder, to most people it would just look like an edgy (intentional) custom job. It doesn't get in the way at all.

This pick guard is for a Standard American Fender Stratocaster and pretty much anything else is a toss up as to weather or not if will fit perfectly. The price drew me in more than anything. I was tired of looking at my stock Black/White Rosewood Squier and wanted to do something a bit more Black Strat, Gilmourish. The guitar looks great and sounds as well as it ever did. I give it 4-stars for lack of information in the product description but for a newer Fender Strat I wholly recommend it..

Choices of the Heart
Choices of the Heart
by Rhonda Kooyman
Edition: Perfect Paperback
Price: $22.13
25 used & new from $0.98

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Impressed, February 12, 2012
I was first drawn to this book because of the beautiful cover. Once i started reading, i could not put it down. I found myself caring for the main character (Tracy), and feeling as if i really know her. She is a very likeable and relatable character. The storyline itself is also very intriguing, and flows nicely (not too fast, nor too slow).
What i particularly loved about "Choices of the Heart" by Rhonda Kooyman, is the writing style. I would compare Rhonda Kooyman's writing style to Stephanie Meyer, the author of the "Twilight" series. And i don't mean that in the way that they both revolve around a young girl. The writing style is greatly personable, giving the feel that the reader can really see what the charcter sees, and feel what she feels; truely forcing the reader into the character's world.
I wasn't sure what to expect when i started the story in the begining, but i ended up extremely impressed. This is the first book Rhonda Kooyman has written so far, and i certanly hope it isn't the last. I look forward to reading another book by her.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
Offered by NYC Electronics
Price: $17.40
235 used & new from $6.35

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The way a remake should be., December 1, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Presentation: 10/10 How do you honor a game that single handedly put the Xbox on the map, spawned countless clones and revolutionized the FPS genre? Remake it to look, sound, and feel like a brand new game while keeping all of the things that make the original great, intact. Weather your a casual Halo fan or just a fan of the genre you owe it to yourself to see where modern First-person shooters as we know them today got there start.

Gameplay: 9/10 It's not a bad thing that Bungie has taken the "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" approach to developing every Halo game since the original. Halo:CEA feels exactly how it did ten years ago. For better or worse, nothing has changed. What does that mean? That means that you will wish you could sprint on many occasion and will want to memorize where health packs are located before tackling the higher difficulties. This also means all of the powerful Halo:CE weapons return as well. All of the weapons feel as they should and enemies aren't the bullet sponges they seem to have evolved into in the sequels. Movement is what you would expect from a Halo title especially if you've played the latest title, Halo: Reach. The game-play as a whole is very solid, if not stretched a little thin at times.

Graphics: 9/10 Artistically, Halo:CE always felt like the odd man out. Every other game was in sync as far as art style was concerned. It was as if Bungie didn't know what they wanted the environments of a Halo ring to look like in 2001. 343 Industry fixes this in Halo:CEA. Taking art assets from Halo 3 and Reach, 343 has done a fine job at helping this game to look in sync with the rest of the Halo Universe.
Running on top of the pre-existing graphics engine does bring the quality down, only in one spot though. The character models. These high detail models need to match the old models geometry that exists underneath them. That means you get characters that look great when standing still but mouth movement and facial expressions just look funny in an almost buggy sort of way. Nothing that isn't forgettable but it's a shame they couldn't have at least re-made the cut-scenes from scratch considering you can't do an on the fly graphics change in the middle of them. Oh did I mention you could change the graphics back to how they looked in 2001 at the push of a button? It's awesome!

Sound: 10/10 I was nervous when I heard they were re-recording all of the music and sound effects for Halo:CEA and for good reason. After 10 years, I know what Halo sounds like. The buzz of a plasma pistol, the pounding discharge of the sniper rifle, and the epic music that starts up as you make the long trek through a snowy battlefield. No matter how little they changed, it would not be for the better. Then I played the game, and was pleasantly surprised. Skywalker Orchestra did a great job at recreating what you heard in the original without trying to improve on it in any way other than improved sound quality. What this provides is an audio experience to match the visual splendor with the option to toggle all the audio back to the way it was in 2001 in the options menu. Like you would ever want to. 343 took great strides to make Halo:CEA feel like a 2011 FPS and it shows in the sound more than anything else. The character voices are just as you remember and fit in very well with the new audio.

Value: 10/10 You get arguably the best campaign in the Halo series, new collectables in the form of skulls, terminals, and achievements. Multiplayer offers six new multiplayer maps and a new firefight map to play. If you have already been playing Reach for a year than the multiplayer offering may feel more like a map pack rather than a full fledged multiplayer option but with 343 releasing playlists that very closely emulate the Halo:CE experience in the Reach Engine there is plenty of reason to assemble old school Halo Party's for some late night fun. For the true Halo fan it's a must buy and the price is a great deal.
But you know, James... Goldeneye was always better.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Price: $14.99
509 used & new from $1.75

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the best game ever., November 19, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm writing this review pretty late and you have probably made up your mind about the game so I will just share a spoiler free experience with you that convinced me that this game was well worth the money and definitly with my time.

I'm a level 3 Nord and about 3 quests into the game when this happens.

I walk into a village and a strange shadow passes over me. I look around and up into the sky to see nothing. Then the village police draw there bows for no apparent reason. They run behind one of the houses and then you hear it. The dragon roars, and then it gets epic.
I switch from my sword to my bow and sprint around the house to get my first glimpse of a dragon just toasting these villagers with his breath and I put two arrows in him. He then shoots up into the sky and circles around me.
The villagers are in a panic and I find myself a soldier among soldiers protecting a town I'm only just discovering from a truly awe inspiring danger. Two minutes and 10 well placed arrows later the dragon plunges to the ground with a crash of dirt and rock and deteriorates in front of my eyes. And I feel like I could conquer the world.
This wasn't scripted either. These things happen randomly and the number of dragons in the world is infinite.
It will suck your life away as any Elder Scrolls game worth it's name will but the difference between Oblivion and this is huge. This is one of the best games I have ever played on the Xbox 360 and maybe ever. Check it out if you have the time.

Batman: Arkham City for Xbox 360
Batman: Arkham City for Xbox 360
Offered by Games 4 Life
Price: $24.97
319 used & new from $1.47

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arkham City... is my number one... game., October 20, 2011
Presentation: 10/10 How do you make a sequel to the game that did everything right, setting the bar for what a comic book game could be? Add more. More challenges, more villains, more gadgets, more options, more places to go, more things to do. This is Arkham Asylum x10! A true Batman sim and the greatest game I've played in a long time.

Gameplay: 9/10 Once you get used to the controls, gliding through the city, performing silent takedowns and taking on a dozen thugs at once is second nature and tons of fun. As for the environment, it's Gotham City. A piece of it anyway. As you have seen is in the comics, movies, and animation. It's Batman's play ground and every alleyway, overpass, and roof top feels the way it's supposed to. You are Batman.

Graphics: 9/10 Beautiful and dark in a dirty way. The city looks and feels like it's seen better days and that's a good thing. It rains and snows in places as spotlights scan the night sky and it all looks so saturated in the Unreal Engine sheen. Texture pop-in is rare but present but when everything looks as it should it's easy to forget.

Sound: 10/10 Countering a thug with his own baseball bat makes an expected crack, that's just one example that comes to mind. Sounds are never recycled and there a hundreds of them. Voice acting is some of the best in any video game and the music is moody and appropriate for Batman with obvious nods to Tim Burtons 1989 score and Hans Zimmer's latest from the Nolan films.

Value: 10/10 The side missions alone feel like there own game. If the developer was greedy they could have cut this game into 3rds. They could have sold the main story for $60 and the others as DLC and you would still be getting your moneys worth just the base game with it's collectables and challenge maps. The new game plus, upgrades, and achievements make sure that the game isn't over just because you finished the main story line. You could sink a good 15 hours in your first play through without collecting a single Riddler trophy or trying your skills in a challenge map.

Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream Facial Treatment, 4 Ounce
Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream Facial Treatment, 4 Ounce
Offered by Direct Retails
Price: $30.50
24 used & new from $30.50

86 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works like magic!, November 13, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I do not use this product. I have watched my wife use it over nearly 2 months and I want to share the results with you now.

My wife of 22 has struggled with acne since she was 13. It hasn't been what I would call severe as she has never had to go to a doctor for it but noticeable none the less. (Enough to say she has acne.) While she still has to deal with it, this cream has made a huge difference. She puts it on after washing her face before bed. She sleeps with is on her face all night.

Since using this her face has cleared up very noticeably. While she still has pimples, she only has about 1/4 of the amount she had before she started using this. A BIG change is the red blotches, scars, and constant problem areas have seemed to disappear entirely. WOW!!!

I wouldn't call this a miracle cream but it works for my wife. I hope someday (the sooner the better) her face will clear up entirely, but until then this stuff helps keep it under control.
She is a beautiful woman. I love her with everything I am. Thanks for reading.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 9, 2012 11:00 PM PDT

Wii Hardware Bundle - Red
Wii Hardware Bundle - Red
84 used & new from $60.00

42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best deal on a Wii to date!, November 13, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My wife and I have wanted a Wii for awhile now and with rumors of price drops and an all powerful "Wii HD" we were holding on to our cash for the latest and greatest. With Nintendo confirming no price drop in the near future and no announcement of a new Wii in sight, this is a great deal.

For $200 you get the latest version of the Wii Remote with true 1-1 motion detection due to the previous Wii motion plus add on being built in for a more ergonomic and hassle free design and the standard nunchuk attachment.
You also get New Super Mario bros. Wii. If you are a old-school Mario Bros. fan then this game is a must own. It is a dream pack-in for a Nintendo console and is great for someone who isn't very interested in the gimmicky motion controls Wii sports demonstrates. Not to say Wii sports isn't tons of fun but the real gold nugget is Mario Bros. Truly a $50 value, "yours free!"

You get the console itself which is unchanged from the previous models. THIS is where my nitpicks come in. I have a 32 inch HDTV and the composite cable that comes with the wii makes anything displayed with any detail a fuzzy, blurry eye-soar. IF you own an HDTV do yourself a favor and buy a cheap component cable. It isn't mandatory but you will notice the blur if you are with-in 10 feet of a HDTV of that size. (Nintendo could have packed that in.) The console and controller has a finish that collects finger prints like crazy it's frustrating when you get it all set up to stand back and see smuges all over the surface of a brand new $200 game console. Those are really my only nitpicks and they are just minor problems that won't effect game play or fun.

I only touched on some basic things in this review but I think you get my point. If you don't have a Wii yet, don't mind the color red, are a fan of mario, and saving money, than this is as good as it gets... for now.

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