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Sid Meier's Civilization V Game of the Year Edition - Mac
Sid Meier's Civilization V Game of the Year Edition - Mac
Offered by Fulfillinc
Price: $29.69
7 used & new from $29.69

2.0 out of 5 stars BRUTALLY UNCIVILIZED, December 13, 2014
The working relationship between a game designer and his publisher is never a simple one. So I would not know where exactly to place the blame, Sid Meyer or 2K GAMES. But in the end, it does not matter. Because it is simply sad to see a great gaming franchise came to this.

THIS IS NOT A CIVILIZATION GAME
A great number of major features of this beloved series have been simply removed. A fellow gamer called this "Civilization For Dummies" and he is absolutely right.
There is no trading maps or technologies. There is no claiming resources outside your borders by building a colony. There is no need for transport ships as units apparently are now all..amphibious (and they need 15-20 turns to cross an ocean!). There are no city-growth milestone requirements (granary, aqueduct, refrigeration). There is no culturally conquering an enemy city (detonating a "culture bomb" by consuming a Great Artist will only get you extra territory tiles but no cities). There are no spies nor health/pollution balance. And there are no armies (please read on).

ARMY CASTRATION
Someone please tell me what was so wrong with armies that had to be yanked out? Napoleon almost conquered Europe with one army. Germany almost conquered the eastern hemisphere with three and the US still holds a two-and-a-half armies doctrine. How can a turn-based game be called Civilization unless one can emulate, well, a real civilization? Building an army, seasoning it on minor conflicts and then going for the enemy's capital was one of the most fun parts of any Civilization game. Why Sid, why?

YOU MAY BE ABLE TO LAUNCH INTO SPACE YET CANNOT CLIMB MOUNTAINS?!
Movement should be hindered by rough terrain. Units that have 3 or 4 moves on the plains should not be expected to do more than 1 or 2 on a mountain, right? Well, no. Mountains seem to be those magical places no unit can climb or pass through (not even ...helicopters of jet fighters!). And I cannot see how this makes for more complicated strategic decisions than timing your movements, claiming the high ground and having a bonus for elevated artillery?

UNIT STAMPEDE
A major issue for me, this was what really ruined the game. For some unfathomable reason units cannot be stacked. A worker can coexist with a military unit but that's it. Artillery and shock-cavalry are very vulnerable to attacks and (with the new hexagon layout) one would need ...six defensive units to protect a single artillery battery.
As a result, units keep getting on each other's way (especially when ordered to move for distances that require more than a turn), they refuse to even pass through friendly units (!) and the "tactical" considerations that result from this are trivial. And whenever besieging an enemy city, one has to endlessly maneuver his units around it (while exposed to its bombardment) whereas wounded units are never easy to withdraw.
You cannot even garrison more than a single unit within a city. Not that it would make a difference, since the garrisoned unit is not automatically awaken to fight back when the city is under attack(!), the city is left to defend itself.

CAN YOU REALLY COMMAND WITHOUT A...CENTRAL COMMAND?
The economy is nose-diving into the red and you want to reduce the percentage going into research for a while to avoid having units of yours deleted one by one? The fickle people of your civilization are unhappy and you want to placate them by increasing their entertainment allocation? You have discovered conscription and you want to upgrade all your musketeers into recruits? Well, TOUGH LUCK! There is not central command screen to do so. Only advisers that you have to thank for annoying you.
You have zero control of both your cities resource distribution and your national economy. And units have to be hunted down and upgraded one by one.
Speaking of the economy, when are going to see a Civilization game where one can run and manage a national debt?

NO FREE EYE-CANDY IN THIS UNIVERSE. NOT EVEN A STALE ONE.
The game does look new and polished and the units are well designed but not cutting edge and not without a steep hardware price. If you expect anything comparable to STARCRAFT II crispiness you will be disappointed - at my 1280x1024 resolution it is not easy to discern roads from railroads.
The system I am running my copy was top of the line about a year ago and still I had to tweak the video settings with a mix of high and medium to get it running. Even then, whenever I scroll to a different location of the map, I can see the image fleshing out, just like zooming in a Google-Earth map.
So one can only wonder: why should one need a...Cray to run a Civilization game at full?

STEAM OF WAR
The game requires OnLine Activation (and rumored perpetual reactivation every few days) and has to be tied to a STEAM account. Effectively this means that the game is a piece of rentware the buyer never really owns and yet it is sold at full price. I realize that to some people this may not be a serious issue so, in case you are wondering, I deducted a single star from my overall rating of the game because of its DRM scheme. To every other gamer however, you can now make an informed decision.

This was a major disappointment. I never though I'd say this but I while playing the latest Civilization game I caught myself wondering if they would ever make...CALL TO POWER III.

New gamers, steer clear of this mess, this is NOT what a Civilization game plays like.
Seasoned gamers, we know better than to call this a Civilization game.

Sorry Sid, EPIC FAIL.


Shadow Warrior  [Online Game Code]
Shadow Warrior [Online Game Code]
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GAMING AS AN ART-FORM. AND THIS IS A MASTERPIECE, November 15, 2014
If there ever was any doubt that gaming is an art-form, this game shreds it to pieces.

The game offers traditional Japanese settings (from the temples and the castles to the mythology and the paintings), rich late 80's environments (from shipyards and inner courtyards to caves and snowy mountains) and a great collection of interesting guns. It may be only 9 in total yet I got more excited when I got the shotgun or the rocket launcher than I ever was finding any one of the bazzilion guns in Borderlands 2.

Each type of enemy has different strengths and different weaknesses so you will have to try to figure out the best and quickest way to put them down. Each gun comes with three purchasable upgrades and augmentations. No sniper rifle because this game wants you to be up close and personal.

The music is sublime, the dialog witty, the atmosphere mesmerizing, the hidden secrets will keep you exploring every nook and cranny (and try again and again to find your way to that impossible to reach bonus statue) and the story unfolds in twists and turns and double-crosses. And the ending will make you misty.

I know it is not fair to this epic game but it does bring to mind the game Daikatana should had been. See, Mr Romero, if you fail to get it right, someone else eventually will. Now, I usually subtract a full star for games that come with an online DRM such as STEAM (required here); however, because the game is so good - and also available in the DRM-free GOG version, I decided to make a rare exception.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 9, 2014 5:22 AM PST


Shadow Warrior
Shadow Warrior
Offered by RAREWAVES-IMPORTS
Price: $32.23
2 used & new from $32.23

5.0 out of 5 stars GAMING AS AN ART-FORM. AND THIS IS A MASTERPIECE!, November 15, 2014
This review is from: Shadow Warrior (DVD-ROM)
If there ever was any doubt that gaming is an art-form, this game shreds it to pieces.

The game offers traditional Japanese settings (from the temples and the castles to the mythology and the paintings), rich late 80's environments (from shipyards and inner courtyards to caves and snowy mountains) and a great collection of interesting guns. It may be only 9 in total yet I got more excited when I got the shotgun or the rocket launcher than I ever was finding any one of the bazzilion guns in Borderlands 2.

Each type of enemy has different strengths and different weaknesses so you will have to try to figure out the best and quickest way to put them down. Each gun comes with three purchasable upgrades and augmentations. No sniper rifle because this game wants you to be up close and personal.

The music is sublime, the dialog witty, the atmosphere mesmerizing, the hidden secrets will keep you exploring every nook and cranny (and try again and again to find your way to that impossible to reach bonus statue) and the story unfolds in twists and turns and double-crosses. And the ending will make you misty.

I know it is not fair to this epic game but it does bring to mind the game Daikatana should had been. See, Mr Romero, if you fail to get it right, someone else eventually will. Now, I usually subtract a full star for games that come with an online DRM such as STEAM (required here); however, because the game is so good - and also available in the DRM-free GOG version, I decided to make a rare exception.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Grim Fandango (Jewel Case) - PC
Grim Fandango (Jewel Case) - PC
18 used & new from $37.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VIVA LA REVOLUTION!, October 15, 2014
This is the EPITOME of graphic adventures. No other game has even come close to GRIM FANTANGO when it comes to humor (of all shades and shapes), inventiveness, delicious irony, creative graphics and plain good-ol' FUN!!

This is a 15-year old game mind you - yet, it retains its freshness as any true work of art. THIS is the road not taken by the gaming industry. THIS is how computer games should have been. Not the pathetic cookie-cutter products of mega-corporations working in-tandem with hardware companies and trying to hook everybody with their latest Always-Online DRM scheme...

Your character (hilarious and lovable Manny Calavera) is already...dead when you start. In fact he has been dead for some time, stuck in limbo, trying to pay his way to a better afterlife by selling tickets to other souls on their way to paradise. Guess what: corruption is not limited just to this world. And where there is corruption, there is oppression; and where there is oppression, there is always a revolution brewing...

Realizing he is being duped, Manny reluctantly joins the afterlife underground and takes us in a tour de force of one of the MOST BEAUTIFUL GAME EVER PRODUCED. Immersing noirish atmosphere, detailed art-deco settings, fast Bogartian dialogs - with a subtle ironic frosting.

WARNING: There are known problems with today's faster processors. So, unless you have a really old system running Win98 you will need the WinXP PATCH (otherwise you will not get past the crane scene).

WITH THE HIGHEST RECOMMENDATIONS!!!


Goliton® Stand 360 Degree Rotation/rotating Protective Leather Case Wallet / Cover / Stand / Flip Case Cover Sleeve for Asus Transformer Pad TF300/ TF300T / TF300TG - Black
Goliton® Stand 360 Degree Rotation/rotating Protective Leather Case Wallet / Cover / Stand / Flip Case Cover Sleeve for Asus Transformer Pad TF300/ TF300T / TF300TG - Black

5.0 out of 5 stars FITS LIKE A GLOVE. ROTATES LIKE A CHARM., August 21, 2014
This was a gift to my sister who had just acquired an Asus Transformer TF300TL - and she loved it.
The tablet fits perfectly, not too tight to damage the coating, not too loose to be in danger of falling off (although I would suggest not to keep taking it on and off as the plastic may loosen). It has an opening for the camera lens and another for the ASUS logo to show - which also serves as a pivot to allow the tablet to be turned on its side.
The case can also be used as a stand in both orientations.

Recommended.


SanDisk Cruzer Fit CZ33 16GB USB 2.0 Low-Profile Flash Drive- SDCZ33-016G-B35
SanDisk Cruzer Fit CZ33 16GB USB 2.0 Low-Profile Flash Drive- SDCZ33-016G-B35
Price: $10.18
175 used & new from $6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars THE Tardis OF FLASH DRIVES, August 21, 2014
I recently bought a Panasonic Mini HiFi for my kitchen and I needed a reliable, ample yet micro USB FlashDrive to keep it attached. This SanDisk 16GB Cruzer was exactly what I imagined it to be. Small (only the black plastic stays out when inserted) yet easy to remove and with enough space to fit hours and hours of digital songs.

I have trusted SanDisk again and again with their Flash Drives and (with the exception of a Ultra Cruzer Titanium that one day simply refused to function) they have rarely let me down.

Recommended.


Distrust That Particular Flavor
Distrust That Particular Flavor
by William Gibson
Edition: Hardcover
56 used & new from $1.13

5.0 out of 5 stars A GENEROUS TREAT TO HIS FANS, August 21, 2014
If anyone expects this to be a novel, well, it is clearly not. It is a far greater treat.

Distrust That Particular Flavor is a collection of essays and articles William Gibson had given over the years. If you have been touched by his mesmerizing prose and kaleidoscopic Futures he keeps weaving one trilogy at a time, you would want to read all of them. Instead of fine combing the net to locate them all, you can easily find them now in one printed source. I am a great fan, ever since I plunged into Neuromancer as a freshman in the nineties, and thought I had a complete collection of all of William Gibson's articles. Well, I was not even halfway done!

What I particularly appreciated was how Gibson took the risk to humbly come back to every essay of his with honest criticism. And I was thrilled to learn that we share a wrist-watch chronograph fetish (and now the Jaegers traded on the Bridge, in Virtual Light, make a whole different kind of sense).

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (especially for fans and aspiring SciFi writers).


Samsung S24C750P 24-Inch Screen LED Monitor
Samsung S24C750P 24-Inch Screen LED Monitor

4.0 out of 5 stars A BRILLIANT MONITOR, July 3, 2014
After more than a decade, my trusted Sony SDM-S73/B was starting to show its age. For too long, I was willing to put up with its slow response time and obsolete geometry because it was a solid, reliable PC monitor and it looked great on my home desk, with its total black and clear-cut design. Yet, all good things come to an end. After a number of warning flickerings, I realized the end was nigh. It was time to find a replacement.

After extensive research I knew I had found what I was looking for when I saw this SAMSUNG S24C750P: a brilliant 23.6" (16:9) monitor with a decent response time and the deepest blacks you can find. The later is due to the fact that this is patented PSA LCD (not a IPS, like most monitors nowadays), and this gives it one of the highest contrast ratios available today (2900:1). Take into account that the screen is matte, not reflective, and you can realize why this is such a great monitor for office work and gaming alike.
Its native resolution is 1920x1080 (2HD) and the thin piano-black frame allows you to experience all of it without any distractions. All buttons are tucked in under the right corner (an easy to navigate menu pops up when pressed) and only a tiny and very discreet blue LED stays on when operating.

The base is of an excellent quality plastic that looks like metal and feels satiny to the touch. It keeps the monitor higher than my previous one (and the height is not adjustable) but I found this height to be perfect. Not too low for your neck to bend, not too high for your eyes to strain. And this is where it gets interesting.

Some years ago I saw for the first time a PC monitor (a FUJITSU, if memory serves) that could pivot. I found it a brilliant idea! Working on any document (and especially a long one) it is very convenient to be able to see the entire page by simply turning the monitor to its side. This SAMSUNG does exactly that.
Hidden behind the monitor is a rotating mechanism that attaches to the arm of the base and allows you to pivot the monitor 90o! However, there are a number of downsides to this. First of all, monitors now are much larger than they were ten years ago. So, in order to pivot a 24 inch monitor one has to first tilt it all the way out and then turn it. Forget to tilt it out first and you will be hitting the desk. The accompanying software promised to swift everything on your screen automatically, unfortunately, this does not seem to work for WinXP, I have to do it manually (using the MagicRotation software downloadable form SAMSUNG) - and it really messes up your icons afterwards. I would advise that 24 inches is the absolute maximum for pivoting monitors, larger than this and the whole concept collapses.

The first monitor I received came with a pixel stuck in blue. True to its zero-pixel warranty (especially true for its high-end monitors), SAMSUNG and the retailer I bought this from had it replaced within days with no hassles. However, a quick reminder to SAMSUNG: this is what you get when you try to cut manufacturing costs too deep: quality control suffers. A stuck pixel can happen to anyone. But there is also the misfitting of the back frame plastics (I cut my thumb reaching for my glass the first day) and the base screw that had to be forced at an angle, and the tilting that does not stop exactly at horizontal. It is all those little things that rob you of the quality you got us used to over the previous years.

All in all, the small number of manufacturing imperfections that are not enough to diminish this brilliant monitor. Recommended.


New Timberland Men's Commuter Brown Natural Grain Leather Matt Finish Passcase Wallet
New Timberland Men's Commuter Brown Natural Grain Leather Matt Finish Passcase Wallet

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD QUALITY AT A FAIR PRICE (BUT THERE IS A CATCH), March 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a very nicely made wallet, with mid-90's quality of both stitching and materials, at a very fair price. Hence the four stars. I am not going to use it but it is my fault for not inquiring what "commuter" was standing for: it stands for an extra clear-plastic flap to slip your commuter pass in. I usually use money-clips but whenever I carry wallets I like to keep them thin enough to slip in my back pocket. Just a few paper bills and a couple of credit/ATM cards. Unfortunately, the extra flap makes the wallet too thick for my taste.

It is a very good wallet that arrived in a very nice cardboard box. It is a perfect gift for a teenager.
I just wish the seller had more photos of it open.


Fate 1 2 3 Jewel Case
Fate 1 2 3 Jewel Case
Price: $8.99
17 used & new from $4.95

4.0 out of 5 stars A GOOD OLD SOUL TRYING TO LEARN NEW TRICKS, March 25, 2014
This review is from: Fate 1 2 3 Jewel Case (CD-ROM)
The original Fate was the PG version of DIABLO: cartoonish graphics, simplified quests, very limited gore and a cute child/hero running, fighting (and fishing!) in armor. The dungeons were endlessly random, the beasts well deserving their fate and the weapons and trinkets imaginative (and surprisingly expensive!). Overall, very fun to play!

Its first sequel, Fate: Undiscovered Realms, offered more of the same in a second set of dungeons. And the second sequel improves little beyond offering yet another set.

Very few things are new in this standalone incarnation. True, you can now choose amongst four races (Human, Shadow Elf, Half-Orc and Cogger). The best one is still Human, a true Jack-of-all-trades: Elves are agile but have a very hard time defending themselves; Orcs are clumsy tanks, strong but with low dexterity; whereas Coggers are strong geeks but with no magical abilities.
There are new armor sets, new weapons and spells and new pets. On the other hand, I could discern no change in the graphics and sounds compared to the previous installments.

Finally, the two previous dungeons each get twenty extra levels to explore and plunder. This is a steal because for the price I remember paying for the first game you now get both the original game and its first expansion. On the other hand, you may find exploring all three dungeons and completing one run-and-fetch quest after another a bit tedious. Nevertheless, it is still good casual fun.

RECOMMENDED.


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