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Jarlaxle RSS Feed (Marietta, Ga)

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Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider
Offered by PNP Games
Price: $14.89
232 used & new from $3.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Great reboot, March 15, 2013
This review is from: Tomb Raider (Video Game)
The opening back story and first 30 seconds of play got me hooked and in the game very quickly. Even when the game is letting you get to know the controls it keeps you engaged. You are not just outside the Croft mansion doing Gymnastics.

You will die. You will cringe when you die and it is usually pretty glorious. The game auto saves so normally dieing means a quick reload and a replay of the last task. This removes any frustrating retries of 30 minutes of work and allows you to learn how to best handle a task or puzzle.

Tomb Raider has plenty of environmental puzzles. I have to ask, why are there so many Rube Goldberg devises scattered around the island? This game does in a tropic island environment what Dues Ex Machina did with puzzles in a futuristic urban setting. In that game I asked, in the year 2027 any average Joe with a screwdriver can climb through the AC duct work of any high security building? I digress. There are puzzles that you have to solve in order to make progress but most are fully integrated with the environment and allow multiple solutions. Do I climb a wall with my iceaxe or jump from rooftop to rooftop? Do I have a massive gun fight or be stealthy with my bow? Do I shoot the lantern which falls and ignites the gas which burns the rope holding the hanging supplies that hits the see-saw that catapults the enemy off the ledge? Don't be discouraged with my poor attempt at humor. It is fun. Lara has "Survival Instinct". At any point you can hit LB and important environmental items are highlighted. Now you just have to figure out how everything works together.

I have been playing on the Xbox 360. The new Lara looks great and so does the tropical environment. Now I wish my 300 hours in Skyrim was in the tropics. After a rice management, cartoon style game like Simcity, Tomb Raider might as well be photorealism. It's not but its still pretty damn good for the Xbox 360.

The game is an adventure style game with role playing elements. You will find yourself running around as Lara Croft. This is done in the classic 3rd person view. The Camera is easy to control and Lara is very responsive to your controls. You collect Ammo, arrows and salvage from crates, boxes, friends, and dead enemies. Salvage is basically your money. It is used to upgrade all of your equipment. Every kill and successful resolution to a puzzle results in XP. This is used to "master" hunting and survival skills. Everything from climbing fast and allowing Lara to fall further to better pocket utilization. Lara found the back pocket in her Jeans! You can carry 10 more arrows and 40 more rounds!

The environment is semi open world. Once you find an area you can fast travel back to it. There are many different extra achievement relics and journals that can be found throughout the world. This allows you to travel back and find these extras. They provide some interesting back story of different characters and a little XP but do not seem required. Each area has its own defined boundaries much like a Fable map. Large areas to explore and the map is easy to use.

5\5 On the Amazon scale
9\10 Looks great, plays great and fun. Nice reboot of Tomb Raider.


SimCity - Standard Edition [Download]
SimCity - Standard Edition [Download]

3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They fixed the server issues. Pretty good game, March 11, 2013
I kept checking and finally I saw the Simcity servers were for the most part up and running. So against my better judgement I ran out and bought Simcity over the new Tomb Raider. The good news is, I have not had any server problems. The game itself seems stable and so far I have never been kicked off my game. Around 10:30 last night I did get a "servers will reboot in 5 minutes" popup but it was late for me anyway and they provided fair warning so it was no big deal. Game does not deserve 1 star anymore

As I said before, I always liked Simcity games. My biggest complaint about the old Simcity games was the AI. If you gave an inch, your Sims would take a mile. If you built a school your Sims would immediately demand a University. You built a Police station and they would immediately complain they needed Fire protection. You built a bus station and they would complain they needed a subway, more rail lines, etc. They would practically run you out of town as Mayor while you frantically tried to provide every government service the game offered. Those darn 47%ers. They were not going to vote for me anyway... The new Simcity changes all of this. You have all of the same services and more but other buildings and services are unlocked with city growth and by hitting different goals. The default of your Sims are to be happy, not bitchy and needy. If suddenly you do not have enough water, power, sewage etc to keep up with growth your Sims will let you know and get upset. It is only when they don't have the basics like water and power do they actually get mad at you as Mayor. These have always been the basics of Sims but this has been improved on upon greatly at a Microeconomic level. You can click on any building or person in your town and get a view of profits and happiness. They will tell you what is going well and what they wish to see in their city. This is very helpful as with the old Simcity games you would almost have to guess what you needed to do. With this granular information of areas of your city you can better plan as Mayor.

You now have specializations. You do not need to focus on a specialization but it gives the game more depth and a goal to "win". Last night I selected the "gambling" specialization. In doing this I was given a tourist adviser. This allowed me to plop down my first casino. Each specialized building allows for at least 5 different additions. In the case of the casino, over time I added a Blackjack building, a moderately expensive hotel, and a comedy club. This all adds to your revenue and taxable income and also adds to the amount of tourists coming into your city.

Simcity now adds the idea of "quests" into the system. A thought bubble may appear above a random factory or building with a robber type mask. The Sim will inform you that he is the crime boss in this town and if you two work together (you as Mayor) you can become rich. If you accept you will then see this person as an active adviser with different quest criteria that needs to be met. If you choose to follow the quest line and do what is required you are awarded. This is normally $X dollars but it is my understanding (I have not seen it yet) that this also opens up specialized buildings for your turn. I did dp a quest for the Police chief of my town and a Super Hero (it had a unique name but I forget what it was) Manor was unlocked. This was a special building where a Super Hero lived. This super hero was then available to me to use around town. Suddenly crime in my city plummeted. You flies around automatically.

Multiplayer is nonexistent at this point. Your map is a small zoned city. You can usually fill up the entire map of your zoned city within 4 hours. After that the game changes where your goals are to restructure, upgrade and solve city problems. You can import and export to other zones in your larger Sim world. You can take control of any of these zones. This allows you to build any number of other towns. Maybe one town will focus on Tech and export healthcare services while another generates and exports power. Of course, imports and exports cost and provide you with income. Public multiplayer has been removed temporarily until all the server issues get fixed. Once they enable it again it might provide an interesting system where each city works to provide services to other towns or imports services where needed.

The city budgeting system had been improved. I don't remember ever not cheating with the old Simcity. You would constantly run out of Simoleons $$ and would either need to wait, take out a loan or enter a command line option to give you another $100,000 Simoleons. This is no longer as much of a problem. If you build a 6 lane highway off the bat in your little down you will very quickly run out of money. However, if you grow wisely and find sources of income, money is not as much of an issue. Once I had my Casino, I was bringing in $6-8,000 an hour. On Cheetah time mode an hour is about 1 minute of actual time. I never had tone of excess money though so the game still did provide a challenge.

One of the nicest improvements are the roads and zoning. Zoning and rezoning costs nothing. The low, medium and high density is controlled by the road size next to it. You build a dirt road and zone it residual next to it you will have small houses and trailer parks. Also, no more power lines or water pipes. Everything is connected to the road. This removes a lot of tedious connections or power and frustrating underground connections to water. You can see the available water below ground to best place water towers but the game is entirely played above ground now. I have not placed a subway yet so I can not comment on that system.

Simcity has always been a strange "game". I played for 5 hours yesterday and It seems like 5 minutes. You get so engrossed with building your city you will suddenly you look up from your monitor and realize you need to pee and you skipped dinner.

Should I have bought Tomb Raider over Simcity? Probably. The difference is I will play Simcity on and off over the next two years. I often find myself wanting a time sync game that will offer unique challenges and is different every time you play. I will pick up Tomb Raider at some point. I will probably enjoy it but I will play it once and never touch it again.

3 1/2 Stars on the Amazon scale (this does not include any thought to DRM or server issues).
7.5 /10 Addictive game. Great game to have in your library for when you are bored. The best SimCity so far. The random quests and activities offer something that was missing from the previous Simcity games. Don't expect any white knuckle moments though. If someone pisses you off you can still just bulldoze your way through a troublesome Sim.


Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - Xbox 360
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - Xbox 360
Offered by drum_video_games
Price: $21.49
205 used & new from $5.00

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hardcore RPG with an engaging fighting style, February 14, 2012
Let me tell you a little about myself and what I personally like and don't like in video games. I tell you this so you can make an educated decision on if your interests match up with mine. I love open world\sandbox type games like GTA, Elder Scroll series (Skyrim), Fallout 3. I also love the ability to highly customize my character. I want to see the weapons and armor I have equipped (Diablo, Skyrim). I am 40 hours into KOA. Here is my review.

Graphics 5/5

One of the main concerns in some of the articles and reviews I have read was that Amalur looked like a cartoon or that it doesn't look like Skyrim. This is simply not true and silly. Yes, the game has a different art direction than Skyrim but that's also a good thing. I just spent 130 hours on Skyrim. The last thing I want is a game that looks just like it. The world of Amalur is well crafted and beautiful. Every location has a unique look and feel. I am mean "EVERY" location. Every cave, town, dungeon, forest, etc is different. You could spend hundreds of hours just exploring every nook of Amalur. I can say that about very few other games.

Every weapon, armor, and enemy has a unique look and behaves differently. I am a sucker for unique items (Diablo 2 caused me to miss the first year of my sons life). The look of the character you build is almost infinitely customizable.

I have seen the problem where some human NPCs look cross eyed. It is an minor but unfortunate bug. That said, out of the hundreds of quest giving NPCs you speak with, I have seen it 2-3 times. It is very minor. So maybe a 4.5 out of 5 and I rounded up.

Music and sound 5/5

I have nothing to report here. I am not an audiophile. The music fits and doesn't take me out of the game. That is all I care about.

Gameplay 5/5

It is a hardcore RPG. No question about it. But it is also an action RPG. This is because of the way KOA handles fighting. It is dynamic and engaging but requires very little "twitch" skill. Kind of like a mix of Fable 3 and Gods of War but better. You are almost limitless in the kind of character you can play with 3 different classes (Mage, Warrior, Rogue), each with 35+ skills and abilities. Mix and Match however you want. I am not a Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter player. Do not worry about combos or learning moves. It becomes clear when you unlock a skill or ability.

40 hours in and I still have at least another 40-50 hours left on the first half of the map! I am guessing I am about 30% done. I estimate about 140+ of gameplay for me. This is with doing the main story but also doing some of the side and faction quests.

Insanely big world, awesome quests and story, highly customizable character, and wonderful fighting controls that you rarely see is an RPG. Buy it.

9.5 out of 10
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 15, 2012 6:41 PM PDT


ChessCentral's Superior Chess Set with Triple Weighted Chess Pieces, Black Vinyl Board, Black Tote Bag and Easy Game Timer Digital Clock
ChessCentral's Superior Chess Set with Triple Weighted Chess Pieces, Black Vinyl Board, Black Tote Bag and Easy Game Timer Digital Clock
Offered by ChessCentral
Price: $79.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great quality and portable, September 17, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have brought this set camping, Disney world, skiing, and the beach. It has a wonderful portable case and plastic roll-up board. The pieces are made of hard plastic but this makes the set very durable and can take the punishment of travel. Also a nice compact set to simply be thrown in the closet until your next game night.


Gotrek & Felix: The Second Omnibus (Warhammer Novels)
Gotrek & Felix: The Second Omnibus (Warhammer Novels)
by William King
Edition: Paperback
39 used & new from $11.29

5.0 out of 5 stars From Salvatore to Gotrek & Felix, September 17, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
After reading the first Omnibus I bought this. If you liked the first 3 books, you will love this. It continues on with the Slayer and his human "friend" and there adventures together. This is a must have if you want to continue reading about the two.


The Jerk
The Jerk
DVD ~ Steve Martin
Offered by DINO DOLLAR
Price: $17.42
57 used & new from $0.01

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its all I need, November 17, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Jerk (DVD)
That's all I need is this video. That's all I need, is this video and these phone books, that's all I need.


Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do At Home - But Probably Shouldn't
Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do At Home - But Probably Shouldn't
by Theodore Gray
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.97
103 used & new from $0.01

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good information but not what I expected, October 26, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book is informative and interesting. It is well written and the it is perfect addition for any hobby area. That said, I was disappointed. Not only should you probably not do the experiments listed in this book, you can't. Some of the experiments call for chemicals not even available to the public without special licenses or permits... The experiments that can be done still require some very expensive equipment (Milling machines, Blast shields, and other chemicals available from the Mad Science website).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 7, 2010 10:03 AM PST


Army Cap with Flap-White
Army Cap with Flap-White
Offered by e4Hats
Price: $11.59
2 used & new from $11.59

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For anyone in the sun, August 20, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Army Cap with Flap-White (Apparel)
I build and shoot rockets. This means I spend time in large fields or deserts with very little or no shade. I am also completely bald. If you don't want to mess with sunscreen, this hat is perfect. It is light weight and the white color reflects the sun's rays. The neck shield is button snapped and protects the back of the head and around the neck.

I don't no about style, nor do I care. This hat is functional.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 9, 2012 11:29 AM PDT


Traxxas RTR 1/10 Stampede with Water Proof XL-5 and 7 Cell Battery with Charger (Colors May Vary)
Traxxas RTR 1/10 Stampede with Water Proof XL-5 and 7 Cell Battery with Charger (Colors May Vary)
Offered by Hobby-Sports
Price: $247.99
6 used & new from $239.95

71 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Durable, fun, and fast, June 22, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this truck as an adult hobby for myself. I figured I could have some fun customizing and upgrading it. First, lets talk about the truck itself.

The electric engine means it is very easy to maintain. Just charge and go. I have run my truck through the ringer. Hills, rocks, roads, kid chasing it, wheelies, flipping it over and banging against trees. This thing is extremely durable. After every couple runs I go through the make sure all the screws are tight but I have had no major problems and I run this truck hard. Once, my kid ran it into some concrete steps at full speed. This caused my left front shock cap to come off (not easily done). This truck it easy to work on and after reattaching the shock (a couple screws) we were back running again with no problem.

The Stampede does not offer as many customizable (hop-up) parts as the T-Maxx but it still have a good solution. Also, must hobby stores stock all the replacement parts if needed. It was a lot of fun to spray paint and create a custom body.

This truck goes about 30 MPH+. I had my wife drive down the street with me chasing her. I easily caught up with her (while doing a sweet wheelie).

I highly recommend purchasing a wheelie bar. This thing will stand up on its end very easily but with a wheelie bar you will have much more control and wont damage the rear of your truck. I also high recommend a custom front bumper. The little plastic one that come with the truck is fine but will not protect the truck if you really run into a tree at full speed. Again, this thing is very durable but for over $150+ it is worth it to protect your investment.

I run with 7.2 Venom 3000 batteries and get about 20 minutes of runtime with each one. I always charge at 2 amps.


No Title Available

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great battery for what it is, June 5, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a 3000mAh Battery. It is a great battery. It charges in about an hour at 4amps. About 2 hours at 2amps respectively. I get about 15 minutes of run time out of my Traxxas Stampede monster truck. If you are looking for a longer lasting battery get a 4000 or 5000mAh battery. Personally, I just bought two of these. They work well and Venom makes a good battery.


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