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  • PS3 Slim debut and PlayStation 3 price cut
    By on August 18th, 2009 | No Comments Comments


    So as of first week of September, those of you looking for a PS3 will be able to yourselves the long-awaited PS3 Slim. The PS3 slim is packed with a 120 gb hard-drive disk, runs much more efficiently and consumes less power. That’s not all, Sony has also announced and confirmed yet another long-awaited “rumor” of $100 price cut effective now (or as of tomorrow depending on where you live). The price cut also applies to current models as well, with the 80GB being $299 and 160GB for $399.

    While the slim version obviously give you a better bang for the buck but I personally prefer the original version because of its piano black finish, so no regret for me there! Besides I couldn’t have waited for 2 years anyway. But this is perfect time for those wanting one. For the price of $299, you get yourself a Blu-ray player, a next-gen gaming console with built-in wireless connection. The PlayStation 3 is ready to go unlike Xbox 360 where you have to add this and buy that, but let’s not go there. This should hopefully boost the overall PS3 sales and close up the gap among the other two consoles.

  • Machinarium – when grunge art meets point and c...
    By on August 5th, 2009 | No Comments Comments

    Ahhhh….the classic point and click game, Machinarium is not just another piont and click game. I’m very impressed with its grunge-ish artistic styling as well as the sadness-like music. This once again proves to show crazy graphics, not that I have a problem with, do not necessary guarantee you a killer game. I seriously have not seen this type of games for the longest time, I think the last point and click adventure game was Syberia, another great game with machines as the theme. Another great adventage of not having crazy Crysis-like graphics is many people can run this game without crazy high-end computers. Definitely a plus!

    Unfortunately this is only available for the PC, which baffles my mind. I know its probably not going to be a $59.99 game (I hope not) but at least release it as a downloadable game on PSN and Xbox LIVE.

    I have my eyes on this one either way.

  • Sony Ericsson c902i hands-on review (Day 4)
    By on February 9th, 2009 | No Comments Comments

    I’ve actually been playing the three games that are included with the cellphone since I got it a few days ago. The said games are Need for Speed ProStreet, Solitaire and a photo hunting game (forgot the name, the game’s name I have is in Chinese). After playing all three, there is one disappointment and one positive surprise. The photo hunting game is actually not new, its one of the games for my now dead Sony Ericsson K790i.

    Need for Speed ProStreet is the disappointment here. I knew it wouldn’t be too enjoyable since its on the cellphone but I didn’t expect to be this bad. I will skip the how good or bad the controls are because its hard to play this type of games using cellphone keys anyway. The major issue I have with this game is graphics. I know graphics is only one of many factors that determine if the game is worthy or not. But I expected something better than the graphics for this mobile version of Need for Speed ProStreet. I closed the game within two minutes. Oh yes the music also sounds horrible.

    I honestly did not expect Solitaire to be THIS addictive. This game is not just A game, but rather a series of card games such as Klondike, Freecell, Pyramid, Poker, Spiderette, Flower garden, Scorpion, Yukon, Golf, Calculation, Seven Sisters and Beleaguered Castle. That is an impressive total of 12 card games in one! Klondike is pretty much the classic Solitaire you play in Windows, Pyramid is the one where you take away cards that have a sum of 13 and your goal is to clear all the cards. Finally Poker is not the one which you play with your poker friends, but a grid of 25 cards so you can chain pairs, flushes, 3 or 4 of a kind vertically or horizontally. It forces you to do more thinking because there are now more ways to get good hands. Unfortunately I have never heard of the other 9 games until now.

    You think that’s it for this game? Think again! This game also has an RPG element to it. You will start off with a character and you get to choose your gender. You are in a cafe and your goal is to keep playing cards, gain more experience points and ranks. As you gain more experience you will unlock more clothing to customize your character. You will also get trophies and see the cafe gets bigger as your ranks go up.

    The photo hunting game will have you take pictures under the sea, there are different types of sea creatures such as fish, obviously, sea horses, turtles etc. As you complete missions you will unlock more missions. The objective is straight forward, you will have to complete missions like taking pictures of given species or capture a group of the same species within your air tank’s limit. Your air tank will be refilled for every 1000 points, for the first time, by 30 seconds, then it will gradually refill less until you reach 10,000 points where it will stop refilling.

    Well I think that’s it for this review!

    This 4 series review should cover most, if not all of the features for the Sony Ericsson c902i. I hope this will help those that are looking for a new cellphone as well as those that are thinking of getting this cellphone but are unsure if it will suit you or not. In my opinion, the c902i is perfect for those that want to have everything in one but does not need a data plan, much like one you will need when signing up for an iPhone. Although it has a built-in 5 megapixel Cyber-shot camera, it CANNOT take quality pictures at a distance like a digital camera can due to lack of optical zoom.

    Related articles:
    Sony Ericsson c902i hands-on review (Day 1)
    Sony Ericsson c902i hands-on review (Day 2)
    Sony Ericsson c902i hands-on review (Day 3)

  • Sony Ericsson c902i hands-on review (Day 3)
    By on February 4th, 2009 | 2 Comments2 Comments Comments

    As promised, I had a chance to play with the built-in 5 megapixel Cyber-shot camera for the Sony Ericsson c902i. After going through the menus of the camera, its pretty safe to say it has most, if not all the commonly used features as you see in a real digital camera. Functions such as Normal, BestPic, Panorama, Frames (wrapping the actual picture inside 1 of 18 preset frames), timer, movie mode, flash on/off and face recognition etc. After all it IS branded as a Cyber-shot camera so having those functions should not be a surprise.

    Although it does pretty much what a real digital camera can do, it does not offer optical zoom but only digital zoom. You will quickly notice “noise” as soon as you start zooming in. Then again that is the case for all cellphones’ built-in cameras. Even though it has 5 megapixel, picture quality is only good if you don’t zoom in. I don’t think these built-in cameras are meant for taking pictures at a distance anyway.

    I recently downloaded WipEout HD (yes capital E) and I thought it was perfect opportunity for testing the camera’s strength, at least close range. By default, the picture is 2592×1944 averaging about 1.3mb in size. I’m no photographer but the picture quality is as good as pictures taken from my 4 megapixel Canon SD400 (I know its old!) if not better. See for yourself!

      

    Finally, what one feature that makes this camera phone stand out from the rest of the camera phones out there is the 8 blue backlit touch sensitive buttons surrounding the screen (4 on each side) and when you press any of them the phone will vibrate a little so you know you pressed something. The keypad will also be backlit by blue light as well and when you are not in camera mode, the keypad is backlit by white light instead. These buttons are basically the functions I mentioned from above but I still find it very cool and I have yet to get bored of pressing them. I know you iPhone users are probably laughing at me right now about this touch sensitive feature. Oh well, I would love to get one but I just can’t justify paying for data plan as I don’t really need to use any.

    Stay tuned on Friday for the games review. See what kind of games this phone has to offer! I probably cannot write the review since I will be out for Winterlicious.

    Related articles:
    Sony Ericsson c902i hands-on review (Day 1)
    Sony Ericsson c902i hands-on review (Day 2)

  • Sony Ericsson c902i hands-on review (Day 2)
    By on February 4th, 2009 | 4 Comments4 Comments Comments

    First I want to apologize for not taking the protective sticker off the screen because I haven’t had a chance to buy a real screen protector yet.

    Today I had a chance to play around the c902′s interface. One thing I want to point out is that instead of having two rows of buttons surrounding the center Navigation key like the T616 and k790i, the c902 actually has 3 rows of keys or buttons (the manual calls them keys). The top row has “Selection” keys and they function based on what are displayed on the screen. As for the middle row, you have the “Call” Key which also displaying the call history and “End” key on the opposite side which also acts as a on/off key as well as closing all the menus. Finally the last row has the “Toolbar” key as well as the “Clear” or cancel key. There are more on the right side of the phone but I will cover that tomorrow when I review the camera.

    Honestly I am still trying to get used to these three rows of keys and I still press the wrong key once in a while. I don’t recommend this phone for those with big fingers because the keys are rather narrow. I’m not a big person myself but I’ve hit the wrong key before because of the narrowness as well as the little space in between them.

    First thing I noticed when navigating through the Grid layout (default style) menu is how fast the screen saver gets activated for inactivity, roughly 20 seconds. I have no luck finding the option to extend the screen’s active time. There are four styles for the menu layout – Grid, Rotating, Single icon and From theme. I am unable to test the last one because I don’t have a theme that supports menu layout yet. After testing the other three styles I still prefer the classic Grid style that displays all 16 icons.

    The menu is pretty standard with the only a few additions comparing to my T616 and K790i. The PlayNow, Radio and the Alarm function is now on its own separate icon as oppose to having it as part of the Organizer. The PlayNow allows you to buy and then download music to your phone. For more information, visit the Sony Ericsson page I found.

    Basically the menu offers functions that are pretty common among other cellphones out there, nothing special in particular which is fine because I think the real strength of this phone is the 5 megapixel Cyber-shot digital camera as well as the games. Stay tuned for my camera review tomorrow and games the day after!

    Related articles:
    Sony Ericsson c902i hands-on review (Day 1)

  • Sony Ericsson c902i hands-on review
    By on February 2nd, 2009 | 8 Comments8 Comments Comments

    After one and a half weeks of frustration with the UPS (I might turn my frustration into another blog post when I have a chance), my Sony Ericsson c902i has arrived to my work place. You have no idea how happy I was and still am, when I unwrapped my new phone. As far as I know, the c902i is not available from any service provides such as Rogers, Fido or Telus. I am not sure about the US but this 3G phone has been available in Europe and Asia for quite some time. We, in America, are always the last group of people to get our hands on the newest gadgets.

    The reason why I purchased the c902i is the fact that it has the looks of the K850i which I was extremely close to getting towards the end of last year. I changed my mind because it was just too bulky, specifically how “thick” it is. The c902i fits me perfectly because it has relatively the same design with its blueish lights but packaged in a much slimmer, thinner and glossy black body surrounded by matte black/silver. And it also has a 5 megapixel Cyber-shot camera as well.

    Sony Ericsson has also released a James Bond edition which features an attractive titanium silver color housing and are offering free titanium rings with the purchase of the phone , obviously you have to pay more. With the sexiness of the c902i along with the free ring, this looks to be a great value for your money. :)

    Click here for full specifications.

    I will divide up the review into parts and I will write about my impression of the c902i as I go.

    Day 1:

    First thing first I don’t like is the box. Yes I know why should I even care, its just a box its not like I will be calling people and carrying around with it. But I’m a presentation person, the previous two Sony Ericsson phone boxes (T616 and K790i) were much nicer compare to this one. I’m not sure if its because its boxed by Vodafone or not. As you can see from the picture, you can clearly see the k790i box is nicest among the three.

    In terms of size, it is a clear win for the relatively new c902i. It is as tall as the K790i and taller than the T616 by a little. The T616 is the slimest of all but not by much. And finally the c902i beats both phones hands down with its ultra thin design. Although it is the heaviest among all three but that is because the T616 and K790i are very light weight to begin with therefore the extra weight on the c902i isn’t too noticeable.

    Tomorrow, I will play around with the phone’s interface. Stay tuned!

    Related articles:
    Sony Ericsson c902i hands-on review (Day 2)
    Sony Ericsson c902i hands-on review (Day 3)
    Sony Ericsson c902i hands-on review (Day 4)

  • Final Fantasy 13 demo will be bundled with Final Fant...
    By on January 20th, 2009 | Comments Off Comments


    Just got news from Wired that the Blu-ray version of Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete will be released in Japan on April 16th. There will be two versions, the regular edition will come with the movie only and one that will be bundled with the long awaited Final Fantasy 13 demo. The regular version is approximately $54 where as the bundle will be an $11 extra ($65).

    Here’s the problem, I don’t really care if people in Japan are paying much higher than us for DVDs and Blu-rays. Not that I can do anything about that anyway. But at the $54 price point I can get 2 Blu-ray movies. Square Enix might as well release only the version with the demo bundled with the movie because for a mere $11 extra, we get a first taste of FF13, which by the way is delayed until 2010. Hopefully the prices will be adjusted when they hit American.

    If I do decide to, which I probably will for the sake of the demo (assuming there are no price adjustments), pay so much for the decent-but-not-great movie, I might as well fork an extra 20% to get the demo. For your information, the Blu-ray version of Resident Evil: Degeneration which I recommend checking it out, is only 32.99 +tax on Futureshop and 34.99 +tax on BestBuy.ca, which is still expensive but acceptable.

    Sigh, looks like I need to start saving up.

  • Silent Hill: Homecoming review for PlayStation 3
    By on October 1st, 2008 | 2 Comments2 Comments Comments

    Silent Hill 2 was the first SH series I played for the Sony PlayStation 2. And to be honest, I didn’t like it, back then I was childish and I stopped playing after an hour or so just because of the crappy graphics. Childish huh? I thought so too. :)

    When Silent Hill 3 came out, again for the PS2, my impression of the series went a complete 360. Partly because I grew up a bit more and partly because both the game play as well as the graphics were improved. I actually beat the game three times just to unlock costumes and the mighty light saber! Then came Silent Hill 4: The Room in 2004 and it was another hit. I can’t really say the graphics were improved much over SH3 but the game play was certainly different because you were basically stuck in your own “room” and the alternate world.

    Silent Hill: Homecoming 1 Silent Hill: Homecoming 2

    Finally, Silent Hill: Homecoming or somtimes I call it Silent Hill 5, is the first Silent Hill game to be released for the next-gen consoles. Is Silent Hill:Homecoming really a homecoming? Or is it a shortcoming?

    Silent Hill: Homecoming 3 Silent Hill: Homecoming 4

    Story and controls
    You will be fighting through this hellish Silent Hill with by controlling a solider who is searching for his brother. At least this time your character has been trained to fight! One great feature added is the option to dodge and then perform a counter attack as well as “trading” your health for stronger attacks. Combo and charged attacks stay as is as from Silent Hill: Origin for the Sony PlayStation Portable. Again the radio and your ever-lasting flash light will help you fight your way through. Your radio will emit static noises when threats are close by and your flash light, well light your way obviously! And just like the previous series, you are always fighting between the real world and the alternate, more horrified world. The controls are somewhat different from the previous series which takes sometime to get used to, one obvious difference is the way to access your weapons/items menus. I accidentally wasted a healing item when I was meant to go into attack mode. The combat controls are aslo slightly different if I remember correctly, sorry its been a while since I played SH4. Overall nothing anyone cannot handle.

    Silent Hill: Homecoming 5 Silent Hill: Homecoming 6

    You start out in one of the common places in the SH series – the Hospital. I was really excited because I got to “reunite” with the sexy but deadly nurses! You get to fight your very first one as soon as you pick up your combat knife. There are now two buttons for two modes of attacks which you can chain/combo. One mode is the normal attack and the other is the heavy attack which can be charged to perform even heavier blows. I also think the character’s movement could have been a bit more agile, it feels a bit slow when navigating around.

    Silent Hill: Homecoming 7 Silent Hill: Homecoming 8

    Game play and graphics
    You will continue to fight creatures that look horrible and terririfying most of the times just like previous series. But the good old nurses are sexier than ever! To be honest, the graphics is worse than what I was expecting, I was trying to compare with Metal Gear Solid 4. Maybe that’s not comparing apple to apple but the graphics don’t convince me of next-gen graphics. But the water actually looks pretty good though, and I’m only talking about when standing still because there are no splashes or ripples when walking/running through. There are many scenes that are just too bloody and gory for me to show them on my blog because I know not everyone can tolerate this kind of horror. I apologize for not being able to take pictures of when fighting enemies because they are just so quick and often fighting in tight spaces. And I did get a few scare here and there from my 2 hour play. The best one was when I was back home, one of the doors suddenly closed on its own which was totally unexpected when the environment was so peaceful. Ok no more spoilers!

    Silent Hill: Homecoming 9 Silent Hill: Homecoming 10

    There is little to no loading time unless you move from a completely different area or building which is great. I think this game is too dark, maybe its my TV, but I had to adjust the brightness to the max before I could see better. I know this game is meant to be in the dark but it was just too dark I could barely enjoy it before the adjustment. For those who wonder, this game runs only at 720p max.

    So far I’ve also found something new which is health boosting item which permanently boosts your health. And once in a while you need to perform some button mashing be it cutting your way through or being attacked by bugs. The bugs are actually annoying I almost got half my health drained because it was so dark (before the brightness adjustment) and I couldn’t see the bug but my health was slowly going down non stop. Aside from the not too impressed graphics, two other thing I dislike, first is the fact that doors that you open will close themselves after a while, why is that? Second, bodies of dead enemeies disappear after a while as well. I like to use them as indicators that I’ve visited the rooms. (yes I’m really bad with directions even with maps)

    Silent Hill: Homecoming 11 Silent Hill: Homecoming 12

    Sound
    Sound and music have always been one of the key elements to Silent Hill’s scariness. SH:Homecoming is no different. Within 15 minutes of playing the game, you will hear baby crying somewhere near you, but you will never know where. Though the background sound can be quite a headache in the alternate (nasty) world for some people its not a show stopper, eventually you will get used to it. There are also many music that are actually pleasant to the ears sort of give you a break from all the horror and a peace of mind, at least for a short period of time. :)

    Final Verdict
    I highly recommend this game for those that have been following the series. And for MAXIMUM satisfaction, play this game in COMPLETE darkness and ALONE! If you can crank up the volumn, that makes the game even scarier to experience! I think that’s the way survival horror games should be played. This game will most likely not for you if you are not into horror movies/games and get scared very easily (might get heart attacks at times). Although graphics don’t determine if the game is worth playing or not, I still expected them to be next-gen quality which they are not, I mean if Metal Gear Solid 4 could do it, why not Silent Hill? So don’t expect any stunning graphics. And last but not least, I do wish KONAMI can implement online co-op mode to the next series as it would be a great addition/feature to have, assuming there is a next series. Finally, I hope this review helps some of you in deciding if Silent Hill: Homecoming is worth buying or not.

    8.0/10