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Customer Reviews: 9
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K&H Manufacturing Thermo-Kitty Bed Small Sage 16-Inch  4 Watts
K&H Manufacturing Thermo-Kitty Bed Small Sage 16-Inch 4 Watts
Price: $32.48
54 used & new from $32.47

3.0 out of 5 stars Gets hot on the bottom, June 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My cats love this bed, and in the winter they liked it even better when it was plugged it. I noticed after a few weeks that the bottom of the bed was getting alarmingly hot. It didn't come through the cushion so it was still comfortable for my cat, but I worried about it overheating on my sofa. I ended up unplugging it altogether so the cats aren't enjoying it as much.

Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag, Tan, One Size
Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag, Tan, One Size
Price: $133.23
9 used & new from $73.82

4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as big as I expected, June 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It's a great bag with beautiful leather. It's held up well for what I've used it for, but I've had to switch back to my bookbag for now because this messenger bag is surprisingly small. It won't hold anything but my small lunchbox and a rolled up scrub-top, and there's no way my 15" laptop is getting in this. I think it will work in the future, but I have to haul around too much stuff at the moment for this to be my main bag.

That Certain Something
That Certain Something
Price: $5.50

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sour ending, June 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The writing style was what I expected in purchasing this genre, and the book was also about what I expected. Some parts were pretty funny. On the whole, though, I was really off-put by the protagonist's about-face about an issue that shouldn't have been an issue at all. It was superficial and made me really dislike her character. After whining about the love of her life not being hers the entire book, she does that?

Mass Effect 3 Collector's Edition -Xbox 360
Mass Effect 3 Collector's Edition -Xbox 360
Offered by Delaware
Price: $87.85
81 used & new from $2.52

42 of 66 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not up to par, March 15, 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
I accidentally submitted a review for the PC version a while ago and figured I probably should just review the item I purchased.

There were some good aspects: the game was, overall, quite pretty. The background scenery was often riveting, especially mid-battle. There were some incredibly good moments story-wise, though they noticeably digressed in frequency and quality as the game went on. Jennifer Hale was excellent as female Shepard, as always. The combat was much better than the previous two games. The OST was good, in my opinion, though the combat music took a little time to warm up to.

That's it for the pros. On to the negative:

It seems most people focus on the ending (since there's really only one) as justification for their negative review, and it certainly factors in mine. However, the ending is only a culmination of all the negative aspects of this game.

Instead of playing an RPG with some combat in between story-progression, what I played was a shooter game with non-interactive cut scenes (which cannot be skipped). For example, I counted the number of dialogue options in the first council scene. There were two. Two dialogue moments, with either renegade or paragon choices. In a parallel scene from ME1, there are at least 10 dialogue moments, with mostly 3 choices each and an Investigate option offering 4 more dialogue trees. I had to check and make sure I didn't have the RPG aspect turned off. (I didn't.)

This lack of dialogue lasted the entire game. Last month when I played the demo, I assumed Bioware had either cut out the majority of the dialogue options because it was a demo or simply chose not to have them in the beginning mission for the sake of shortness. Was I wrong. It was so bad that when I attempted to play through a second time, I ended up reading a book during the cut-scenes. That's how little player involvement and variation there is available in different playthroughs.

I'm not saying shooters with cut-scenes aren't fun. Halo: Reach was a fabulous game, and I appreciated the time and effort Bungie put into the campaign. But the Halo games are built and marketed as online multi-player first person shooters. Mass Effect is (or this one pretends to be) an RPG.

The complete dearth of dialogue options was a huge problem in the execution of the game. It comes to a head at the end of the game when my full paragon Shepard could both charm AND intimidate during the last interactable conversation. The lack of dialogue also limited what/how you picked up quests (by "overhearing" them, meaning I didn't hear them at all and wondered why it was in my questlog--which didn't indicate how I found them, what to do, or even if I had the item required), how much you were able to interact with squadmates (not much, considering it was a rare treat to actually see a dialogue wheel when you clicked on squadmates), and how much you were really able to actually make decisions in the game.

On the subject of decisions, this is one big example of player choice "making a difference":


Remember when you made a choice of who you wanted to be the human counselor? That choice doesn't matter; Udina's it. Remember the big decision about sacrificing the alien counsel? It doesn't matter, since Bioware put placeholders in if you did. Those are two huge examples, aside from the ending, as to why player decisions don't matter all that much in this game.


While I hated the Mako in ME1, I sure missed being able to land on-planet and explore. ME2 reduced planet-landing to running a little obstacle course, but it was still exploration with separate maps and interesting scenery. In ME3, you tediously troll solar systems and click on pinpoints to pick up items for your "sidequests". The only time you leave the ship is for main quests. Given that and the fact I wasn't even aware the sidequests existed, I felt that the only reason the side-quests existed was to raise your 'resources' bar and tack on some play-time. Instead of rescuing a lost family member, unknowingly killing an asari's shameful sister, or finding out the mystery of a group of MIA soldiers, you click on a map. That speaks to the lack of creativity and immersion in this game.

All in all, doing all the sidequests, skipping no dialogue, and taking my time with combat, the entire game was 30 hours of gameplay. I went into the last battle thinking it would be a series of quests battling on Earth--which would have been wonderful to see--but the game ended almost immediately. The ending 'cut-scene' (spoiler: all "3" endings have the same cut-scene) lasted 2 minutes. That's after 15 minutes that involved walking down a hallway and having a short, completely predictable conversation with a villain...without a boss fight. (How is it that this game, which tries so hard to be a shooter, doesn't even have a boss fight at the climax? ME1's Saren fight was epic, despite the game's bad combat design.) 30 hours for an RPG is short. It's very short, and it felt short overall, despite the "exploration" system and all unvarying cut-scenes being so tedious they destroy any replay value of the game.

The character animation in the FIRST game was on par, if not better, than what we got in ME3--what, 5 years later? It was common for heads to be turned in the wrong direction during conversation or bodies to randomly phase to the other side of the screen. Joker's scenes were cringe-worthy because of his animations. The editing felt choppy, and there wasn't good transition between cut-scenes, which was especially jarring because a musical score would stop abruptly with the scene. Character blocking and voice-editing were off: there were long, clunky silences between two characters speaking. And you cannot import your Shepard's face, which includes Shepard's renegade scars.

So, the word I have to use to sum up this game's quality is: cheap.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 30, 2012 9:20 AM PDT

Mass Effect 3 - PC
Mass Effect 3 - PC
Offered by Digitalville
Price: $12.98
41 used & new from $7.18

250 of 296 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment: Zero Replay Value, March 10, 2012
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect 3 - PC (Video Game)
I was prepared for this game not to live up to my expectations. I wasn't prepared for this game to trample on them. So...lists of pros and cons:

The combat is much improved from previous games. And, yes, there were some pretty nice epic moments during the play-through. The Liara romance had a satisfying conclusion too. The soundtrack was pretty darn good. The voice acting was pretty good (though there were jarring moments of silence, they weren't the VAs faults); Jennifer Hale is spot on as always. These aspects weren't worth the 80 bucks I spent.

1. The animation: heads were twisted around, eyes were looking in the wrong direction, bodies randomly warped a few feet across the screen, gestures were unnatural, and any time that characters had to touch, they sort of made a box with their arms and jerked sideways against each other. It wasn't in the least bit polished.
2. Combat. The system itself was fine. But sometimes enemies were supposed to spawn, and they didn't, which means the story doesn't progress, which means you have to reload the last save.
3. The "exploration" was, in my option, more tedious than ME2's mineral mining. That's pretty bad. When the best way to find resources turns out to be finding one--two if you're lucky, getting eaten by a Reaper, then reloading the save to be able to find them faster and not be eaten by a Reaper before finding a 3rd area of interest, then rushing out of a solar system, it's a problem.
4. Dialogue options were often non-existent. Instead of being able to open up dialogue options with characters and choosing your answer, many times you either overheard random NPCs complaining about something (which opened a quest) or you clicked on squad-mates and carried out scripted dialogue without face-to-face interaction.
5. The game was short. Granted, 30 hours isn't bad, but ME1 took me 60 hours on my first play-through, and with ME2, I finally shaved down to 30 after I played though it a few times, skipped dialogue options, and cut corners with combat/quests at every opportunity. ME3 shouldn't have been 30 hours with full dialogue and taking time to search every nook and cranny in every room for upgrades.
6. There were hardly any mini-quests. What used to be a "mini-quest" now is scanning a solar system, dodging trumpeting Reapers (see above), and throwing a probe onto a planet.
7. The quest tracking system was non-existent. Might as well not have had it. It didn't note anything but that a quest existed and that a quest was finished. Nothing on if you'd picked up an item already or where, exactly, that person you needed to speak to was.
8. None the upgrading you do has visible value. You never really see alien races battling the Reapers using resources you've allocated--and, coincidentally, the resources you allocate don't impact their fates at all. And, unlike ME2, you only see a few seconds worth of material on squad-mates in the final battle. Oh, and you don't make any decisions impacts where they go or what they do. For being the "savior of humanity", Shepard doesn't get any say on what happens during the entire climax of the game.
9. Previous decisions have no significant impact on the ending.
10. The ending. It was a 10 minute cut scene (with 2 minutes of that walking down a hallway) with maybe 2 dialogue options and no action. Then, once the decision is made, it's a 2 minute cut scene that is the same for whatever you choose. Let me clarify: this cut-scene doesn't change dependent upon your previous decisions. So not only was there no reason to fly around and gather up materials and make people behave and get along; there was no reason to even put effort into making the last decision. And, worst of all, there is no closure--not for Shepard, the squad-mates, or the status of the universe.
11. The writing: of the overriding plot (not the ending, as there was no writing for the ending). It was atrocious.

With both ME1 and ME2, I played through at least twice: once full Paragon, once full Renegade. I started ME3 expecting to play through more than that: I wanted to do both "morality" options and potentially try out different romance options. I will not be playing through the game again. In my opinion, that says all you need to know about an RPG's quality--or lack thereof.

It feels like Bioware tried too hard to make the clunky combat system better (possibly for the multi-player aspect), which they successfully did. (It's not Halo and it never will be, but it's much better than the previous games.) But they sacrificed the RPG single-player, which is what fans actually wanted to play.

The entire game feels like they ran out of time, and as a result, they scrapped everything that made the Mass Effect series so good. And that's not even discussing the horrible plot-holes of the ending.

All in all, it felt like a cheap-quality game. By itself, it would probably considered a solid game. As a conclusion to a trilogy that has so epic, it was a cheap way to just finish the series and be done with it, and a great way to make a lot of fans angry. I would much prefer that Bioware took another year--or two--to put more time, effort, and quality into the game. Or, quite frankly, not make the game at all.
Comment Comments (15) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 18, 2013 9:57 AM PDT

The Descent
The Descent
by Jeff Long
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $8.99
150 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasic horror/sci-fi with a bit more than you expect, September 12, 2008
Things that make this novel fantastic:

1.) Long does a great job of pushing the reader in an uncomfortable place. This novel is the only one I've ever read that actually made me feel like I was right there in the book. You feel claustrophobic, surrounded by rock and darkness when you read the book. You feel horrified by what happens in the novel, yet you can't help but sympathize with the supposed enemy.
2.) The characters are all believable and interesting. I found myself liking all of them, even the antagonists.
3.) A great many questions are raised and very few are answered. It's what's right, what feels best in the context. We don't get very many answers because there aren't any.

This is a space opera located underground. The originality of the concept is followed through with great writing. If you have a stomach for gore and enjoy a good hair-raiser and like to *think* about what you read, pick up this novel.

Deeper: A Novel
Deeper: A Novel
by Jeff Long
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
40 used & new from $0.01

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Descent would have been better standing alone, September 12, 2008
I was blown away by The Descent. I was surprised to see a sequel out; I thought The Descent had ended at an excellent place, but I was happy to reenter The Descent's creepy, dark, gory world. Talk about disappointing. It felt like an entirely different person wrote the second novel. My problems with the novel:

1.) The claustrophobic blackness that Long so successfully cultivates in The Descent is gone. I don't feel the scenery because he doesn't describe it. I don't feel creeped out just by the description of a narrowing passageway or complete and utter blackness.
2.) Satan. Satan alone is a huge issue; his little passages are cutsey and are there to take up space. There is absolutely no logic behind the character either; it doesn't mesh with the Satan we left at the end of The Descent. He's also very over-stressed and given too much significance. His "revelations" don't feel like an 'ah ha!' but far more like a 'get on with it'.
3.) Long tries way too hard to humanize the hadals. I thought he did a good balancing act in the first novel to present savagery mixed with spirituality, but he went overboard in this round.
4.) The characters are all unlikeable. I loved all the characters (protagonists or antagonists) in the first novel. All the characters I loved before are inexplicably different (i.e. no development to speak of), and all the new characters are irritating.
5.) The entire novel felt rushed, as if the details weren't just skimmed out but skipped entirely. I had a lot of issues of the sociology of the hadals in the first novel compared to the second novel. As a group, they behave far differently than they were set up to behave. There were a lot of similar problems.
6.) The government news clips. Boring. Absolutely boring. Instead of the first novel's interesting one-shots thrown in, we get to read a government report every few pages.
7.) Long did a great job *not* explaining things in The Descent. It was real; we don't know much about strange phenomenon, ancient history, etc. Why should we get full, logical explanations in a novel about things that are shrouded in mystery? Well, you get all the explanations you want in Deeper--to the point that it gets tedious.

I have to admit, many of my problems with Deeper spring from my expectations from The Descent. That means that Long did an excellent job on the first in the very least. Deeper was entertaining and would probably have been a fun read had I not compared it to The Descent. For that, I give it 2 stars.

All in all, Deeper has the feel of being here only to serve as a stepping stone for a third novel. If a third Descent book comes out, do hope it's on par with The Descent. If not, Long would have done so much better just to leave The Descent as a great stand-alone.

Hunters of Dune
Hunters of Dune
by Kevin J. Anderson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $8.15
115 used & new from $0.01

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Frank Herbert's Dune would have been honored far more with no continuation, September 12, 2008
*SPOILERS are included in this review*

By recommendation from a friend, I sat down at read this book though I had zero expectations (after tromping through all of the Bulterian Jihad trilogy). Unfortunately, this novel is by far the worst BH/JKA material out there--except for the next in the series. My problems:

1.) All old characters from Frank Herbert and BH/JKA novels are resurrected because they couldn't think of anything else to do. They're also all flat, undeveloped, and thrown out as if necessary to get the plot rolling. I guess they thought old friend Atreides were quick fixes.
2.) There is absolutely no deep philosophical reading in this. Okay, Frank Herbert's novels after God Emperor were a little tedious with philosophy, but you can't have a Dune book without some universal truths being discussed in religion, politics, life, etc. There would at least be some meat in the book.
3.) The writing style was horrible. It was stilted, stiff, and flat. If this book went through the reading systems, it would probably crank out at 4th-5th grade level language-wise.
4.) No plot. No plot. No plot. People talk, some things happen, but there's no plot. Okay, so we get to meet our great adversaries finally, but when I realized who they were, I was floored by how horribly predictable it turned out to be and BH/KJA's audacity to incorporate those characters as antagonists.
5.) Everything else that was wrong. Which was a lot. Really.

There is only one highlight in this novel, and it's a Leto II/worm reference. I actually smiled when I read it.

If you loved Frank Herbert's Dune series, don't pick this up. It'll put a bad taste in your mouth. If you aren't a big Dune fanatic, you probably won't want to read this anyway because Frank Herbert's implied attachment to the novel is its only selling point.

The Cobra Event
The Cobra Event
by Blair Underwood
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19
285 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise but the plot falls flat, February 26, 2008
The Cobra Event is worth the read (if you don't mind gore or horror) just for the science tidbits behind it, but the characters, plot, and writing style are absolutely nothing to write home about. Preston is a decent non-fiction writer; his writing style works well with non-fiction--the plot is already developed, the characters already exist, and the science is well expressed in the bare facts. (This isn't to suggest that non-fiction writing is easier.) Unfortunately, his efforts for fiction just fall flat. I felt like this book was a stripped down version of what someone else could have written given the premise. Preston should just stick to non-fiction.

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