Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Weekly update - March week 3

Prison Break, Smallville, FF12, HYD, Bleach and more!

Well PS3 fever is upon us, I really don't look after my money that well but parting with £450 (potentially £550 if you include a 2nd controller, a game and a HDMI cable) is still difficult. But with all the hoo haa I feel I might grab a Wii to help me stay off the PS2 and FF12 - but there is no stock to be found in any online retail store - Here is a website that searches for stock daily http://www.wii-consoles.co.uk.

Prison Break last week was a massive step towards the end of the series - Scofield and Burrows are in Panama! Sarah sacrifices her freedom to make sure Michael and Lincoln get away safely! T-Bag gets caught in Mexico and is being used as bait to lure out Scofield, and he has taken the bait. In a mysterious turn of fate C-Note gets released from prison and is given a new identity in order to secure his testimony against Agent Mahone. In this week's preview Agent Kellermen is involved and Scofield and Mahone team up against T-bag - and there is only 2 episodes to go!!!

Smallville was interesting, featuring -from my guess- some WWE wrestlers. Clark is unable to control his emotions after seeing Lana finally marry Lex Luthor, and goes around physically apprehending hoards of criminals in Metropolis and leaving them unconscious outside police stations. Oliver Queen tips Clark on a online brawl where people pay top dollar to watch people fight it out and die in the ring. What gets Clark involved is that the recent undefeated Champion is Kyrptonian and is from the Phantom Zone! Well of course Lois gets involved and shows off her fighting abilities and Clark has a pretty bloody fight with the Kyrptonian - I am surprised as this is the first time he has bled without the aid of Krypton or being stripped of his power, can he actually bleed if he gets hit hard enough? Lana looses her baby - conveniently it times well with the fact Lana uses the baby as an excuse not to be all lovey with Lex and avoid the honeymoon. Although there are doubts now as to wether there was a baby in the first place as Lex burns all her files from the Smallville hospital. Lana is left in a mentally broken state by the end of the show and is now right in Lex's ever controlling hands.

Hana yori Dango's finale was aired a few weeks ago, it has just been translated by Sars Fansubs and I will watch it on my break later this week - same goes for Prison Break this week.

Bleach was back with a part filler explaining how Ikkaku (if that's how you say it) managed to have a Bankai (as shown in the last episode). I assume he is hiding it because his squad captain (Kenpachi) doesn't have a Bankai (Second Release) let alone a Shikai (First Release), but you learn about his past and the fact Renji looks up to him ever since he moved to his vice captain position due to his obsession to overtake Captain Byakyua. At the end of the episode you see that his fully charged Bankai was enough to take down his enemy.

Final Fantasy 12 is getting pretty exciting. It is easy to go around fighting for fun and leveling up but the side quests are fun too.
Currently I have spent 40 hours, seems chasing "Marks" is quite time consuming. People who have problems getting rid of a certain monsters often offer a reward for its death and they advertise them as "marks" to be hunted down. Often it is good experience and you can get good items.

The licensing board is pretty good too, meaning that certain characters will become specialized in one or many areas - totally your choosing.
Currently Ashe is like a Paladin - very good with Swords but has the best Healing power and has pretty healthy MP and a Summon to boot.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

J-Dorama Alert: Spring 2007

Upcoming Drama series:

Jodan Janai - which simply means Don't Joke or Not Joking stars Oda Yuji, who is back in J-Dorama for the first time since Last Christmas 3 years ago. This series starts airing on the 15th of April so still awhile to go. One thing to point out is the theme song will be sung by Oda himself(again??), he usually records some tracks for his shows (Last Christmas, Odoru Daisousasen, etc). Hopefully the show - which is a comedy of course - is as good as his previous outings, fingers crossed.

Hotelier is a show starring Ueto Aya (Ace wo narae, Attack No 1, Shimokita Sundays) has a Manager at a Hotel that is being taken over by a rival businessman. Plot details are sparse but Ueto usually lights up her shows so this is worth a watch - at least for episode 1.

Jikou Keisatsu is back for a second season! Starring Odajiri Joe who is a Civil worker at a Police station who has a hobby of solving crimes that have passed their legal time frame (statute of limitations - strangely enough in the USA their is no time limit on murder cases...) and his assistant Asou Kumiko. What excuse will Kumiko have for sticking with Odajiri this time? There is no wedding certificate now, surely.
First series was an interesting if not slow watch - but 2nd series should be improved, I hope.

Proposal Daisukusen (Proposal Strategy) stars Yamashita Tomohisa (Dragon Zakura, Kurosagi, IGWP, Lunch no Joou etc) alongside Nagasawa Masami (Dragon Zakura) and this seems to be a bizarre go back in time and make the right decision type of story but if its got Yamashita in it then its gotta be worth watching!

Ichi Rittoru no Namida - 1 Litre of Tears: seems Sawaijiri Erika is going to be back in a one of special for this series (not confirmed yet), but the series was a classic (according to about 99% of viewers) so this is a must.

I have missed out much of the Winter schedule but I will start catching up as the hard subs start to emerge.

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OCZ 2GB PC2-6400 Platinum Preview

I took the plunge and put hard earned money down for the OCZ 2GB Kit (1GBx2) PC2-6400 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 XTC Series DDR2 (model OCZ2P800R22GK) over at Overclockers UK who have it at a special price of £117.49 (inc VAT).

I also plumped for Corsair HX 520W ATX2.2 Modular PSU priced at £70.49 at Overclockers UK as well.

I did fit the memory and not the PSU (will wait to get a new motherboard before I gut my system again) and all worked OK out the box. I noticed on their support site that the specified timings of 4-4-4-15 at 800MHz are not in the memory's SPD timing table and need to be entered manually into the BIOS (so much for not going Corsair).

I have been running them for 3 days and have stress tested them and they see OK, not really a speed boost I had hoped for with 2GB but suppose I wont know till they are really running at 800MHz (currently at 677MHz due to motherboard limitations).

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Hana Yori Dango Season 2

Just watched episodes 9 and 10 and episode 10 was a really interesting one. Domyoji goes to find Tsukushi at the fishing docks where her family is staying at, but during a moment of chaos Domyoji falls off the edge of a pier and hits his head on a rock on the beach below.

All seems well when he regains his consciousness in hospital but in a bizarre twist of screen writer's horror he forgets who Tsukushi is!

During the episode they all rally to try and get him to remember, but another patient befriends him and seems to be stealing Tsukushi's place when he finally remembers who is missing from his memories but thinks it's this other girl! This sets the scene for our hour long final episode where it's likely Tsukushi and Umi-Chan will fight it out for Domyoji. Bring it on!

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Weekly/Monthly Reviews

Gears of War, FF 12, Prison Break and more!

I know I have been behind on the reviews, but I am back!

I played all of Gears of War on the Xbox 360, and in co-op mode that game rocks! I played FPS on the PC all my life and games like Halo on the game pad don't cut it for me. But this GOW (Gears of War) really is easy to pick up and play and is a challenge to master.

It is real fun to be covering your team mates back (AI or otherwise) and the graphics feature high resolution textures and HDR otherwise known as High Dynamic Range which is a colour/lighting programmable effect which drastically changes the playing environment and makes games feel like movies (HDR is used in SFX for films) and even more life like. But it takes a hit on the CPU (well it does on mine when I play CS:Source with HDR on) but you would barely notice on the Xbox 360. Sometimes when you enter a new map it takes 3-4 seconds to buffer the high quality textures so you can spot a crappy texture here and there until the action begins.

This game is worth buying an Xbox 360 - I can't wait for the next installment!


Meanwhile I bought FF12, Yes I BOUGHT Final Fantasy 12 PAL not NTSC not downloaded, I paid £30 from www.play.com.

I got the game yesterday and since I have experience with FF11 (the online only game) I quickly noticed how the battle system is upgraded from FF11.

I mean the party leader automatically attacks after an attack is initiated (so he will go on attacking till you tell him otherwise) and other party members fight on their own.

What I do like is you can set "macros" or Gambits to help automate your team members more efficiently.

This all equates to fast quick paced battles while you are on the map (so now warping to a new screen to fight). This removes random battles but allows you to stay clear of enemies or allows them to come after you.

The voices are quite good and there are some stupid cockney accents in there, but the lip syncing is horrible and doesn't even come close to FF10's quality. Animation and level design is allot better, but the level graphics in towns is hampered by the low quality of the textures which are then heavily filtered. It is hard to tell unless you play the game on a LCD, trust me.

Prison Break was on last week, the game is up for Sucre but how did C-Note survive? Looks like he might stitch up Mahone to the FBI snitch in his team! The President lets Schofield get away but caves into pressure from The Company and doesn't grant pardon to the brothers and instead steps down from her position as President! Michael and Lincoln have no choice but to make a run for it - but what's that! Sarah is being tailed by the FBI Women - she will lead them straight to the brothers! What do you know it isn't on this week! Boo!

Smallville was back on yesterday! Yeah!
Lana finally finds out Clark's secret, but can she get out of the Luthor's grip to finally be with CK? Allot of surprises but in the end the inevitable happens, and you are left to wonder - just what is growing inside Lana's womb?

Hana Yori Dango Season 2 is into the last few episodes (finishes episode 11), I am going to watch 9 and 10 tonight and 11 is out Saturday(wont be subbed till next week).


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Manchester Utd vs Lille

We got seats in the new North Eastern Quadrants that were completed over the summer - £50 a pop they were (I know expensive), but with the leather upholstery on the seats and the increased leg room it looked worth it.
There was a great view and a good atmosphere - the Lille players were getting some real stick from the fans! But there were no hostilities so all is good. Actual play on the pitch was poor and rates at about 5 out of 10 but the stadium was alive and good to see the crowd are getting allot more vocal then last season. Hit the picture to go to my gallery of photos from the night (new photos were taken with my new Samsung NV10 camera).

Man Utd vs Lille 011

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Samsung NV10

Wow, been a while since I last posted, allot to talk about but lets start from the day before I went to Manchester.

I got the Samsung NV10 camera and went to unbox the thing, here are some shots of the packaging:


And the cables etc inside:


Notice the charger seems to be just a plug, more on that later. Now the camera itself:


It has a light metallic body and fits naturally into your grip. The rear of the camera has a large LCD and touch sensitive buttons along the sides of the screen, these also act like scroll bars meaning you can move you thumb along the buttons to scroll through pictures/options etc:06032007072

Notice the Dial to select the shooting mode, the silver button is the shutter and the smaller button is the power. The flash pops up from to top too:


Note here is the interface socket on the left and on the right is the Battery and SD card slots:


Here is the charger which connects to the USB cable supplied with the camera! So basically this camera will charge from any USB socket:


First impressions:

It takes a while to get around the menus (getting used to the touch buttons is tricky), but there are allot of options to explore here for the pro-sumer. The camera is small and light and is easy to take with you to a football match(!). Expect future pictures to be taken from the NV10.


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Friday, March 02, 2007

New month - new expectations

The month of March is upon us - that means two things: I just got paid and secondly the weather is improving!

I ordered Smallville Series 4 & 5 (same prices as season 3 £25 ish) since I finished series 3 (there were so many episodes I have missed on TV!).

I am getting a new camera, I hopefully will be getting a Samsung NV10. a 10 Megapixel camera. It has a thin body and has great picture quality at long distance. I will include a review and unpacking pictures on arrival - hopefully I can get it before I leave to go to Old Trafford in Manchester!

I am downloading the rest of Season 2 of Tsubasa Chronicle so expect a final review of the series when I watch the rest of it.

Another J-Dorama I might start watching soon is Wonderful life starring the famous Sorimachi Takashi, this series is currently being subbed by Sars Fansubs and they are up to episode 5.

I use Microsoft's Live Writer for writing these posts, it's currently in beta but I find it has a nice feel and can easily be customized with plugins etc.

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