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Customer Reviews: 348
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R. Garrelts RSS Feed (St. Louis, MO)

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Hunted: The Demon's Forge - Playstation 3
Hunted: The Demon's Forge - Playstation 3
Offered by NYC Electronics
Price: $21.98
68 used & new from $6.62

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Less than Mediocre and Slightly Better than Terrible, July 24, 2012
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I recently finished my cooperative play-through Hunted: Demon's Forge and can safely categorize this game as completely mediocre and in many regards just outright terrible. There are a lot of things to dislike and a relatively small number of pluses. It's safe to say that Bethesda has delivered yet another below average game which seems to be their M.O. outside of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout titles.

Hunted stars two cookie cutter characters named Caddoc and Elara lifted directly from the pages of "Video game Clichés 101" (if such a book existed). Caddoc is your typical grunt; he's crude, rude, and one tough mudder . Elara is his barely covered, flirtatious, tough-as-nails, Elven counterpart. Guess which character specializes in melee attacks and which one is the ranged specialist?

The story is typical far for an action/fantasy title. Humanity is on the verge of disaster because some unknown entity is driving the Wargar (orc-like creatures) to kill villagers and take the rest prisoner. Caddoc has a nightmare involving the Wargar on the search for a magical item and the duo become involved in the plight of humanity. The story unfolds over a prologue and six chapters. This isn't award winning writing or anything that most gamers haven't seen a dozen times before. Additional tidbits of story (if you're so inclined) are told through encounters with dead humans along your path. Since your duo will be in possession of a `death stone' that allows communication with the dead.

Gameplay is from a 3rd person perspective and typical hack-n'-slash mixed with some ranged abilities for both characters. Caddoc is the tank of the duo, able to carry and equip heavy weapons; Elara specializes in her bow and ranged attacks. Problems are evident almost immediately. First, hit detection in this game is miserable. With Elara, you can send arrows fling directly through enemies at point-blank range. One of Elara's most handy abilities is an explosive arrow. Problem is a good 50% of said arrows will fly directly through your target, exploding on some innocent foliage in the background. The wily gamer will soon adjust to shooting the ground at the enemies feet but it's a telling tactical adjustment.

The graphics are merely passable. This title uses the Unreal Engine 3 so you're likely to be familiar with its distinctive look. The environments rely heavily on dark colors and a color washed gray & brown scale.

There are moments that the developer probably intended to be the "epic" or "cool" moments that fall absolutely flat. Story-boarded the ideas were probably great - a boss battle versus a giant, marauding spider enemy whilst your characters run for their lives? Or how about a battle against a snarling, projectile hurtling dragon? Sounds awesome! Except it's not in Hunted. Both battles turn into pedestrian and utterly boring affairs using mounted weapons to decimate barely there enemies.

The game features the most basic upgrade system I've seen in a game this side of the SNES era. In fact many SNES games had better character upgrade systems. Your character in Hunted has six abilities. Three relate to physical damage and the other three to magic abilities. Each ability can be upgraded here and there and caps out at three tiers. By the end of my first run I had all physical abilities and two magic abilities maxed out. Weapons are found randomly at weapon racks you can loot and rarer magically infused weapons. This isn't a Diablo-style loot fest either. Most items look identical and most weapon racks feature the most basic of weapons.

So the few positives I mentioned at the beginning? Well the game does feature online co-op and it's mostly stable. So it can be fun to poke fun at this game while playing along with the right friend. There are some Easter Eggs hidden in the game linking certain item names to The Elder Scrolls series. That's about it.

I should mention too that the typical Bethesda-quality beta testing is fully evident in Hunted: Demon's Forge. Meaning that there was none and the game is riddled with bugs, glitches and the like. Besides the typical game freezing and online drops the game features a pretty prominent trophy glitch that will likely prevent most trophy hunters from achieving that shiny Platinum trophy that is so desired. Given the age and fact that the title is published by Bethesda do not expect any type of future patching or bug fixes.

Pass on this unless you absolutely have no other online multiplayer options at your disposal.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 13, 2013 10:38 AM PST

Lexol 3-in-1 Leather Care Spray - 16 oz.
Lexol 3-in-1 Leather Care Spray - 16 oz.

4.0 out of 5 stars Leather Care Made Simple, July 10, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I started using Lexol 3-in-1 Leather Care Spray about 5 months ago on my two cars. Both cars have black leather interiors. One of my cars, a Subaru, sees plenty of service as our grocery-getter, pet shuttle and so forth. In more succinct terms the vehicle is the daily driver and gets plenty of wear and tear, particularly on the leather seats.

For everyday grime and dried pet drool (two French Bulldogs tend to leave plenty behind) I use plain old warm water and a soft sponge to lift or rub the stains off the leather. Once the leather dries I use the Lexol 3-in-1 on a microfiber cloth to work the conditioner in. Following the instructions I let the conditioner sit for several minutes before working back over the treated sections with a damp cloth.

Many reviewers aren't a fan of the smell and honestly neither am I. The Lexol has a smell reminiscent of Orange Off. In other words the smell is chemically with a hint of orange added. Luckily the smell does not linger even a few hours after treatment.

I've noted no residue on any surfaces in my cars including my leather wrapped steering wheels that I also treat with the Lexol.
Altogether this is a good product that I would recommend as long as you don't have an aversion to the orange smell.

Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 with Built-In Multi-Touch Touchpad
Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 with Built-In Multi-Touch Touchpad
Price: Click here to see our price
181 used & new from $16.83

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Logitech Delivers Another Excellent Product, July 7, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Like many other folks reviewing the Logitech K400 wireless keyboard I'm using mine in my home theater setup. Specifically I have a PC I use as a media hub in my home theater stack to stream movies, music and other content to my home theater and other zones in my home. The K400 is a welcome addition.

The keyboard itself is powered by two 'AA' batteries and mercifully Logitech saw fit to include an on/off toggle button on the forward edge of the keyboard. I'm over 6 months into using the K400 on my original set of batteries. The keyboard is not full sized as noted in the pictures and is about 66% the size of a full sized keyboard. The touchpad takes the place of where the number keys are usually grouped and there are the standard two button setup at the bottom. The keys themselves feel just about right. If anything the keys are a bit stiffer than most keyboard but this is a very quiet keyboard to type on.

The K400 also works with Logitech's "Unifying" system for for folks with compatible Logitech products this keyboard will function perfectly. For example I paired this with my Logitech Wireless Anywhere Mouse and it functions perfectly with no setup at all required.

There is one major feature that I wish the K400 came with standard and that is backlit keys. Having to struggle to find a key in a dark home theater isn't any fun. I think that basic media functionality would've been ideal too - 'play', 'stop', 'pause', etc.

All in all a great product. Recommended.

Philips Sonicare HX5610/01 Essence 5600 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, White
Philips Sonicare HX5610/01 Essence 5600 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, White
Price: $49.95
46 used & new from $39.99

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Basic Entry-Level Toothbrush, July 7, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I jumped at the opportunity to try out the Sonicare HX5610/01 electric toothbrush and after using it for about a month I have mixed feelings on the product.

First, this toothbrush is really designed for a single person or for an individual who travels. This isn't really a practical toothbrush for more than an individual simply because there's no place to store an extra toothbrush head. I'm coming from using an Oral B electric toothbrush that had slots for storing more than one brush-head and was immediately disappointed that there isn't a similar feature here.

Second this is a very basic electric toothbrush. For $70 you're getting a single function electric toothbrush, simply meaning that there's only an on/off button and no variable speed brushing or vibrating. There's a built in 2-minute timer that's the norm for electric toothbrushes; a charger; and a small storage bag. That's absolutely it. The toothbrush itself seems to be either poorly designed or just an early design that's never been improved upon. The major problem that I see with this brush is that water and toothpaste trickle down the handle and get inside the housing. After using this brush for a few days it left a mess of old toothpaste on the charger and my bathroom counter. Not only is this gross but I can't imagine toothpaste and water trickling down the inner components of this brush being very good for longevity.

Lastly I was floored that this new Sonicare is not only heavier and bulkier than my 6 year old Oral B electric toothbrush but also considerably louder. Brushing with this thing is like standing on a subway platform as a train flies by; in other words a jarring experience.

I would definitely not recommend this product. Even as an entry level electric toothbrush this is a hard sell given the price. Spend a bit more and upgrade to a better Sonicare or Oral B.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 27, 2012 1:43 PM PDT

Spices 1000 Piece Puzzle
Spices 1000 Piece Puzzle
Offered by Toy Supercenter
Price: $12.99
18 used & new from $12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars For Puzzle Lovers, July 7, 2012
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Spices 1000 Piece Puzzle (Toy)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is my first Ravensburger brand puzzle and I'm very pleased with the quality of the product. Everything from the picture clarity and color down to the construction of the individual pieces is top-notch. Having worked on many, many puzzles over the years most of the puzzles I've worked on use a greyish-brown backing; the Ravensburger uses a deep blue backing that not only is more aesthetically pleasing but also quite a bit more durable. These pieces don't fray or separate like other puzzles do after trying to piece things together. Even the box the puzzle comes in is heavier duty than most.

I picked this puzzle up for my wife and I to work on casually after dinner as an alternative to watching television or other sedentary activities and it's been fantastic to just talk whilst working on the puzzle. After we finished we broke the puzzle apart and passed it on to some friends and the puzzle looks exactly like new! We'll definitely try out more of the Ravensburger puzzles.

The Darkness II - Playstation 3
The Darkness II - Playstation 3
Offered by Insane Web Deals...Simply the Best Deals on the Web!
Price: $13.48
93 used & new from $2.02

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average All the Way, June 25, 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
The Darkness, released for the PS3 back in 2007 was a surprise hit at the infancy of the "next-gen" console era. In fact The Darkness is the second game I played on my PS3 in beautiful HD glory on a (then) brand-spanking new 46" Sharp Aquos. It's no wonder I enjoyed the game so much. So when the Darkness 2 was announced for the PS3 I didn't hesitate in picking up the title.

What's changed in the last five years? Well plenty in the gaming community but The Darkness 2 holds staunchly to tried and true gaming practices that might leave you feeling like you've done this one too many times before. In fact besides the shift to a cell-shaded graphics style there's not much that's changed at all.

The Darkness 2 once again puts you in control of Jackie Estacado who has been living the dream life of a Mafioso gangster in NYC. It becomes apparent that Jackie has been trying to control "the darkness" by limiting his usage of the creature. Events quickly transpire that force Jackie to once again release the twin-headed beast and take on an army of magically-infused baddies intent on stripping Jackie of his powers. The Darkness 2 transpires pretty much entirely on NYC streets and buildings with a brief exception near the end of the title. There's not a whole lot of variety to the locations you'll visit in the game but really you won't have much time to tire of the setting because this game is very, very short.

Even for a shooter this game can be finished easily in a few short sittings. This in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing. But The Darkness 2 does absolutely nothing new. You start of the beginning of a level and mow down wave after wave of mostly idiotic AI bots that run right at your overpowered character. Once you've purchased enough upgrades (there's a very basic upgrade skill tree) the game becomes ludicrously easy even on the hardest difficulty setting.

Once you've finished the 6-8hr. campaign there is an additional mode called "vendetta" where you assume the role of one of four generic characters and tackle a series of side-jobs for Jackie. These side missions add a bit to the story but not much. Many of the side missions take place in the exact same levels you've already cleared with Jackie. You can, at least, invite a friend to play vendetta mode with you in online cooperative gameplay which is really the saving grace. But once again expect a very brief campaign.

As a shooter The Darkness 2 is a relatively solid title, however, it's clear that there wasn't any particular motivation to innovate or bring anything new to the table. The price of this title plummeted shortly after release and for the right price is definitely worth picking up and playing. However, the lack of any meaningful replay value, the short campaign length, and the predictable story all deter this title from the accolades reserved for the likes of Bioshock.

Acase (TM) Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101 Leather Case Folio with multi view Stand for Asus Eee Pad Transformer 10.1-Inch TF101 Android Tablet Wi-Fi 16GB, 32GB (BLACK)
Acase (TM) Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101 Leather Case Folio with multi view Stand for Asus Eee Pad Transformer 10.1-Inch TF101 Android Tablet Wi-Fi 16GB, 32GB (BLACK)

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Quality Case with Minor Design Flaws, April 13, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My Transformer TF-101 pad may no longer be the cool underdog on the block but that hasn't prevented me from using it daily for the last year or so. After putting up with a generic BodyGlove case that I purchased along with the tablet without knowing better I decided it was high time to upgrade to something with better construction quality and a little more visually appealing.

Enter the Acase Leather Folio for the TF101 Eee pad. This case has some major things going for it - first, the outside of the case is leather granting it a sleek and professional look; something at home in both in the office or lounging poolside. The inner material is a matte gray microfiber that's soft and smooth enough not to scuff up or mark the screen on the Transformer.

The pad is held securely in place by 4 angled corner posts/grips and 2 more located centrally at the top & bottom center of the Transformer. The grips are tight and lock the pad securely in place. After fumbling with how best to get the pad in place, the best method (and one that I overlooked in the included instruction sheet) is to slide the pad into place and then on one corner & the center grips first then gently fasten the other corners in place. It works perfectly and easily once you get the hang of it. In fact it's key to learn this method because loosening the bottom grips to free the bottom of the tablet is exactly how the case doubles as a stand.

The only issues I've encountered with this stand that prevent me from rating higher:
1. There's no cutout in the case for accessing the charging port at the bottom! Seems like a silly oversight when it would've so easy to incorporate.
2. When using the case as a stand for the tablet my tablet tends to slide out of the slots and falls flat.
3. I own the TF-101's keyboard and really wish there was a way to incorporate the keyboard into the case. It's a pain to have to remove the case every time I need to use the keyboard.

Finish Powerball Tabs Dishwasher Detergent, Fresh Scent, 85-Count
Finish Powerball Tabs Dishwasher Detergent, Fresh Scent, 85-Count
Offered by Firefly Buys
Price: $15.99
17 used & new from $7.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never Using Powder Detergents Again!, April 12, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My wife and I recently switched to Finish Powerball Tablets from using traditional powdered dishwasher detergent, mostly Cascade. The results have been positive and we're planning on sticking with Powerball.

There's a lot to like with this product. First, it leaves dishes clean and free of residue. That includes glassware that previously had a buildup of opaque water marks likely due to our powdered detergent. We've placed everything from everyday run of the mill plates to greasy pans and these little tablets get the job done!

The other major bonus here is how easy the tablets are to use. With the powdered detergent we were seemingly always making a mess. The powder would over pour, or spill out of the tray or it was always difficult to get the last of the powder out of the box. The Powerball tablets are individually wrapped and as simple as unwrapping and popping them in the detergent tray. No mess or fussing with powder at all.

Definitely recommended!

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars España Fan Gear!, April 11, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this España Euro 2012 Football Scarf to compliment my other Spanish National Team gear and love this scarf! The materials and stitching is quality and soft enough to actually wear, hang on a wall or twirl at a game like a madman. The colors are spot-on accurate and not the "nearly there color" of a lot of the unlicensed gear.

The pattern though hard to see in the picture is somewhat blocky - think of an almost pixelated look to everything from the text to the Spanish crest. It's different but I think it looks cool in a not everyday type of way.

Recommended for the Spanish soccer fan.

CorelDRAW Suite X5: Home and Student [Old Version]
CorelDRAW Suite X5: Home and Student [Old Version]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Pick Up and Use and Loads of Depth/Features, April 11, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It's been years since I last used a CorelDraw software suite and jumped at the opportunity to use CorelDraw Suite X5. I consider myself a novice user in that I don't use the software everyday or professionally. I am, however, well versed in Photoshop and a few other offerings from smaller companies like ACDSee.

So first things first, installation; I installed X5 on my beefy HP laptop running Windows 7 and 8gb of RAM. I encountered absolutely no issues on install other than the installer taking quite a bit of time to finish loading the entire suite. All-in-all the process took about 30-40 minutes including registering the product, launching and turning off the tips that launch with the program.

This suite includes Photo Paint X5; Corel Draw X5; Corel Connect and a few other applications. For my purposes I'm a bigger user of Photo Paint. The layout is pretty intuitive to anyone that's used an advanced photo editing suite before. You can load an image and the only real limitation is your imagination. It's super easy to make quick adjustment to photos including adding effects like motion blur or lens flare (a little cheesy sure) or take a large file size and parse it down into a smaller (lossy) format. Since getting the software I've used it to sharpen images, remove red-eye from photos and blur certain aspects of images. For example I sold my wife's Mini Cooper and needed to skew her license plate before posting. A simple tool later and the plates were pixilated and unreadable and ready for exporting and posting.

Corel Draw is an interesting application and one that is really uniquely suited to artists. My sister for example is an art major and experimenting with various digital drawing tools and hardware. She used her Bamboo Pen Tablet in conjunction with Draw X5 to make some really quick and amazing artwork right on my laptop. I'll admit that's she's better suited to reviewing this aspect of the Corel Draw Suite than I am but I can address her impression here. In comparing Draw X5 to Autodesk (another application she uses on her own computer) she admitted that Autodesk seemed to be deeper and have more tools, brushes, and effects but was impressed with the layout and ease of using the Corel software.

In my own use I've used Corel Draw to make quick notes and modifications to images - specifically QC'ing maps in .tiff, .jpeg (and other formats) It's a great tool, handles a huge assortment of file types and can export to a large variety of formats.

For novices like me Corel offers a TON of help to get you started. The software links directly to Corel for loads of how-to videos and tutorials. There is also a huge and active community of Corel users out there and various forums to support everyone from pro's to novices. The production level on the Corel tutorials is professional and the people teaching clearly have a thorough understanding of the applications.

Very cool application that I plan on continually using and learning more!

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