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NEWS (LAST 200)
Building materials fail Britain’s fire...
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42" 1080p HDTV (Midtown East) $12...
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Nintendo Switch Rockstar games news, sto...
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GOPs Obamacare repeal bills threaten hug...
Parrot mini drone mars New Never used (B...
Samsung 22" LCD TV (Danbury) $50...
LG 32" HD LED TV (Cobble Hill) $9...
MEISTERGRAM 2412 ENGRAVING MACHINE (Si ...
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln dorms...
Chelsea to announce Tiemoue Bakayoko sig...
SAMSUNG GEAR VR (Bronx) $50...
Israel halts Western Wall mixed-gender p...
Man Utd Transfer News: Jose Mourinho to ...
Real Madrid Transfer News: Gianluigi Don...
Samsung 32" LVD TV (Danbury) $150...
SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket carrying...
NWT Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad -...
iPad Air Wi-Fi 32GB Space Gray -- SOLD (...
Tourist boat carrying about 150 people s...
Alexis Sanchez to Bayern Munich: Arturo ...
KLH Model Eight Tube FM Radio (Astoria) ...
Brand New - Fitbit Flex 2 Bands (Brookly...
James Rodriguez to Manchester: Real Madr...
Horse Racing Tips June 26: Best bets for...
Soundelux ifet7 Condenser Microphone (Ch...
Sounders Schmetzer keeps photos of rival...
North Carolina NAACP leader says hell st...
La Liga Transfer News: Bale snubs Real M...
SONY TURN TABLE PS LX 433 (WOODBRIDGE CT...
Bose Acoustimass Surround Sound Speakers...
China landslide decimates village
Muslims across Southern California mark ...
British and Irish Lions 2017: Jonathan D...
NY town plagued by violence graduates hi...
San Jose part ways with Dominic Kinnear,...
Five firefighters injured battling West ...
Eric Trump: Johnny Depp Should Deal With...
SpaceX nails two rocket launches in one ...
Confessional: What the yoga teacher REAL...
On the couch with Janet Ellis: At 50 wit...
Now Eric Trump calls DNC chair a nut job...
Three women and baby taken to hospital a...
Grenfell response: Chalcots Estate resid...
New York Pride marchers target Trump as ...
U.K. testing cladding on towers after Gr...
Trump breaks another tradition, doesn’...
London protesters clash with police and ...
Osuna back on mound, finishes off Toront...
President Donald Trump Accuses Hillary C...
Boy, 16, charged with rape of eight-year...
Squeaky Wheels: Monthly checks dont prev...
Jeremy Corbyn downplays claims of scrapp...
Italys center-right ahead in mayoral vot...
Steve Cummings completes National Road C...
Your next adventure: Heavenly island hop...
3 dead as tourist boat with 150 aboard s...
Hoda Kotb enjoys a beach trip with adopt...
Government websites hacked with pro-Isla...
NOAA: U.S. island coral reefs at risk fo...
Australian share market set to open flat...
Americans Spieth and Berger in playoff a...
Crowded boat sinks on Colombia reservoir...
Family of Milwaukee man fatally shot by ...
Christopher Pyne suggests gay marriage c...
Alleged drunk learner driver crashes bab...
London to Edinburgh in eight minutes? Hy...
This is what 60 looks like: Keep and rot...
Why the White House has two press teams...
John McEnroe questions Andre Agassi and ...
New entrants start school with a brand n...
Turkish police break up Istanbul pride r...
Marlins Ichiro Suzuki, 43, becomes oldes...
Colombian tourist boat with 150 aboard s...
Google stops scanning your Gmail to pers...
Yankees Hicks says hell need a DL stint ...
Yankees comeback falls short after Micha...
Kevin Lee takes on Michael Chiesa at UFC...
Arsenal, West Ham and other major stadiu...
Bloomberg to launch $17M contest for US ...
Jenna Dewan Tatum is chic in straw hat a...
Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson ta...
Hammer-wielding robber still on run from...
Nip and tuck with Dr Tracy Mountford: Su...
Who needs body cameras? Police testing c...
Wayne Rooney reveals embarrassing red T-...
Colombian tourist boat sinks with nearly...
Rescue operation under way as boat in Co...
Labour Party backtracks on key manifesto...
Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays overwhe...
Barreto comes up big again as A’s rall...
Senate Republicans face key week as more...
Norwich slap £5m price tag on Howson as...
Ohio sites hacked with IS message
All Blacks prove they are the best at ev...
Blac Chyna hits Maxim red carpet after c...
San Jose cops bust fireworks ring and th...
Lose weight and live longer: Secrets of ...
Protesters confront Met Police over mans...
U.S. judge asked to expand order blockin...
India's Modi heads to Washington for...
N.C. teen missing for over a year found ...
Stray cats, killers and no regrets: Rodr...
‘Nothing we can do’: Border officers...
Gatland wants clampdown on New Zealands ...
8@eight: Flat start to the week for ASX...
A spoodle with a drug problem and a mini...
Follow: UFC Fight Night 112 play-by-play...
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Clue to Gorsuch's ideology seen in p...
I wanted out of royal family: Harry...
Summer on hold for two weeks as chilly t...
Mindful drinking; how to sip less and en...
He crossed the border illegally but wasn...
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Critics Notebook: At K-Pop Festival, Kor...
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Man critically injured after he crashes ...
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Tweed Heads Ace Hall shot drug enforcer ...
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Bianca Elouise almost flashes crowds at ...
Lions coach Warren Gatland wants pride i...
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Kansas tax cuts produced strong results...
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Lara Trump says GOP is the only party of...
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Extremely volatile: Johnny Depps legal b...
Barnaby Joyce honours London Bridge terr...
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MP Meg Hillier: Mourinho should have his...
Europe has been working to expose Russia...
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Chelsea expect to complete Tiemoue Bakay...
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Lions wonder try: Was it the best ever?...
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Two months of hearings on Aucklands East...
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What it’s really like to fast during R...
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MyCiTi bus filled with commuters torched...
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The All Blacks prove they are the best a...
New Zealand vs Lions first Test PLAYER R...
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Jess Shears adds to rumours of tryst wit...
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Ex-con who vowed to punch ‘first white...
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REVIEWS & PREVIEWS (LAST 60)
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Brad Sherman, an L.A.-area congressman, ...
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Aaron Pico vs. Zach Freeman live round-b...
In a day of summer football, L.A. Cathed...
Kings select Jaret Anderson-Dolan with 4...
Yemen to probe alleged torture of detain...
Koch brothers political network says Sen...
James Gallagher vs. Chinzo Machida live ...
5 Ways To Improve Your Coastal Photograp...
Our 12 Favorite Laptops, From MacBooks t...
Canon EOS M6 Review
Review: DJI Phantom 4 Pro+
Huawei P10 Review
Arms Review
Review: Audeze iSine 20
Despite Demetrius Shipps performance, Al...
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10/LX15 Review...
Claustrophobic thriller ‘47 Meters Dow...
Fujifilm GFX 50S Review
Pentax KP Review
Steel Division: Normandy 44 Review...
20 £50 Pixum Vouchers Up For Grabs...
As allegations mount, LAPD chief and cad...
The Best Articles From ePHOTOzine This W...
Landscape Photography With A 50mm Lens? ...
Attacks in three Pakistani cities leave ...
Hot Property: Travel down the road and b...
Fairfax to face Long Beach Poly in champ...
CWS: LSU tops Oregon State, TCU beats Fl...
Assembly Speaker calls single-payer bill...
Improve Your Battle Re-Enactment Photogr...
Pitch Perfect 2 Review
The Avengers: Age of Ultron Review...
Little Boy Review
Tomorrowland Review
Childrens Books
Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke inhabit dr...
Graphic Books
Paperback Advice
Hardcover Fiction
Mad Max: Fury Road Review
The Water Diviner Review
Paperback Nonfiction
Paperback Business Best Sellers
Paperback Trade Fiction
TBR: Inside the List
The Age of Adaline Review
Poltergeist Review
Paperback Mass-Market Fiction
Hardcover Business Best Sellers
Hardcover Nonfiction


Edgar Wright’s “Baby Driver” roars into theaters, while Bong Jong-ho’s “Okja” arrives on Netflix and in selected theaters a month after its debut at Cannes. The animated sequel “Despicable Me 3” and the Will Ferrell-Amy Poehler comedy “The House” are in wide release.

-------------

Jun 28

Baby Driver...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews ( Sun, 25 Jun 2017 06:00:00 PDT )

SOUTH PACIFIC

Presentation

Bernadette Murphy will take you to the French Polynesian islands of Moorea, Rangiroa and Marlon Brando’s private atoll, Tetiaroa.

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Monday at Distant Lands, 20 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena.

Admission, info: Free. RSVP to (626) 449-3220.

CAMPING

Presentation

... Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 25 Jun 2017 06:00:00 PDT )

Frida Laura Virella sings the title role in Long Beach Opera’s staging of Robert Xavier Rodríguez’s opera about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo; in Spanish and English with projected subtitles. Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach. Ends Sun., 8 p.m. $49-$150. (562) 470-7464.

... Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 25 Jun 2017 06:00:00 PDT )

Twice I’ve seen fanaticism at work. Now I see the signs a third time.

I was born in Tehran to a Muslim family. When I was 6, we traveled to London to see my grandmother and returned home as Christians. Then, for three years in Isfahan, I attended school in a head scarf that obscured my neck and...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 25 Jun 2017 04:00:00 PDT )

Earlier this month, a committee of the Los Angeles City Council backed a plan to reframe Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day, following the lead of Berkeley, Denver, Phoenix and the state of Vermont. The proposal now goes to the full council. It should vote yes, and the sooner the better. Giving...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 25 Jun 2017 04:00:00 PDT )

They’ve been begged by star players to stop it, fined repeatedly, and threatened with dramatic sanctions that could hurt their national team’s chances in the World Cup.

But Mexican soccer fans have been loath to give up their favorite game-day chant, a homophobic slur that has been condemned by...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 25 Jun 2017 03:00:00 PDT )

The “i-word” has been on the tongues and in the tweets of several of California’s House Democrats. Rep. Jackie Speier has said impeachment is “really the only way we can go” if the facts show President Trump obstructed justice in the Russia investigation. Rep. Ted Lieu tweeted a photo of his weekend...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 25 Jun 2017 03:00:00 PDT )

Perhaps no part of California has thought more about the future of voting than Orange County. And yet when it comes to a sweeping change to state elections, the county has decided to take a pass.

In fact, recent events serve as a cautionary tale that changing elections is hard, even when the plan...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 25 Jun 2017 00:05:00 PDT )

Ike Opara scored on a bicycle kick in Sporting Kansas City's 2-1 victory over the Galaxy on Saturday night.

Opara made it 2-0 with his stunning score over charging goalkeeper Clement Diop in the 35th minute after taking a lofted pass from Matt Besler.

Roger Espinoza opened the scoring for Kansas...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sat, 24 Jun 2017 21:50:00 PDT )

When the young singer-songwriter Khalid played “Coaster,” the last song of his set Friday night at the BET Experience at Staples Center, he stood in front of a digitally chopped graphic of the American flag.

For a second, it looked like a glitch in the onstage projection. But as he sang over the...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sat, 24 Jun 2017 21:35:00 PDT )

Yemen's internationally recognized government on Saturday ordered the creation of a committee to investigate allegations of human rights violations after reports that U.S. military interrogators worked with forces from the United Arab Emirates who are accused of torturing detainees in Yemen.

A...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sat, 24 Jun 2017 18:45:00 PDT )

Like so many of the youngsters chosen in the annual NHL draft, Jaret Anderson-Dolan watched his parents skate and he took to the ice on a pair of double-runners before he was 2 years old. Like many of those kids, he developed a terrific shot by rifling the puck hundreds of times a day at the rink...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sat, 24 Jun 2017 18:40:00 PDT )
Head out to the beach in time for the sunset and shoot some coastal imagery.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Sun, 25 Jun 2017 00:10:03 GMT )
This super-powered drone comes with a remote with a built-in screen, an upgrade from the smartphone controller. The post Review: DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ appeared first on WIRED. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Fri, 16 Jun 2017 13:00:53 +0000 )
Review: Audeze iSine 20
With the right tunes and the right setting, it becomes clear that what Audeze has done here borders on miraculous. The post Review: Audeze iSine 20 appeared first on WIRED. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Mon, 29 May 2017 11:00:33 +0000 )
Our 12 Favorite Laptops, From MacBooks to Chromebooks
If you're shopping for a new portable PC, here are 12 great options. The post Our 12 Favorite Laptops, From MacBooks to Chromebooks appeared first on WIRED. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Fri, 16 Jun 2017 11:00:51 +0000 )

Rapper Tupac Shakur was a revolutionary; a controversial, brilliant artist cut down in his prime who grew even more iconic after his death. The son of a Black Panther, a high school chum of Jada Pinkett Smith and a vanguard of West Coast gangsta rap, Shakur endured, and produced. far more in his...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Movie Reviews (Fri, 16 Jun 2017 00:05:00 PDT )

After the surprising success of last year's “girl with shark” thriller “The Shallows,” “47 Meters Down” seems to be posing the question, “what if ‘The Shallows’ went deep?” (And you know exactly how deep from the title). This time there are two girls, not just the one, though star Mandy Moore is...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Movie Reviews (Thu, 15 Jun 2017 22:00:00 PDT )

As a quirky Nintendo take on fighting games, Arms doesn't start off on the right foot. Its unique fighting mechanics are hard to get used to, and learning its unusual controls and cadence can initially be frustrating. But once you wrap your head around the basics, you begin to recognize what it takes to win--clumsy punches become complex counters, and reacting to your opponent becomes instinctive as you settle into Arms' peculiar pacing. If you can get past its unavoidable learning curve, you'll find that Arms packs a fighting challenge that's unlike anything you've played before and is fun in ways you wouldn't expect.

Spring-loaded punches are the center of Arms' combat. Your fighter's arms have an incredibly long reach and take time to extend and retract. You are encouraged to play using motion controls with a Joy-Con in each hand, but that introduces a dissonance between the length of your in-game arm and your real life arm--by the time you're physically ready to punch again, your virtual arm is still on its return trip. It's easier to learn simple punches and timing with traditional controls, via the Pro Controller, which allow for more precise movements.

The timing of your punches, grabs, and blocks is critical--punch with your left arm too soon after punching with your right, and you'll be left open and vulnerable until they return. There's a rock-paper-scissors element to all of this, too: blocking stops punches, grabs overpower blocks, and punches deflect grabs. Being able to read the speed of a punch and block before it hits or side-step and throw a punch of your own is tricky, and learning how to do so is an unavoidable but frustrating hurdle. Arms can feel sluggish at first, but once you put in the time to understand its distinct give-and-take, you are freed up to confidently dodge, dash, and jump around the battlefield.

One of the great things about Arms is that you don't have to learn combos or other complex inputs that characterize most fighting games. However, beyond building a strong understanding of when to act and when to hold back, you will need to understand how the game's various equippable arms can impact your strategies and tactics in battle. You can pick out different arm configurations before entering a match, and they come with special properties, like disabling your opponent's arms or freezing their entire body in place. In addition to their individual physicality, each fighter has a unique ability: Twintelle can slow opponents' punches in midair, Ribbon Girl has a handy double jump, and Ninjara teleports while dashing, to name a few. So while Arms isn't a mechanically complex fighting game, it does require that you think on your feet and pay attention to who you're facing off against and the individual strengths each character brings into a match.

Yet, for all the knowledge and skill you acquire while continually playing Arms, you may find that your control scheme of choice has the biggest impact on your effectiveness in battle, even if both options come with notable caveats. Motion controls lack the precision of playing with a Pro Controller, but the person playing with analog sticks will have to manage curving punches and moving around with the same stick--a less than ideal scenario. Nonetheless, it's rare that a person throwing punches in real life manages to beat the player with both hands on a stationary controller.

One of the great things about Arms is that you don't have to learn combos or other complex inputs that characterize most fighting games.

Arms is without a doubt at its best with two players facing off using the same controls. Single-player Arms is a little less exciting, with a sharp difficulty curve and the loss of a living, breathing adversary, the absence of which partially deflates the otherwise fascinating combat. Like with any competitive game, playing online is valuable for understanding the meta and which characters are considered top-tier; as for local multiplayer, it's fun (if not a little silly) to flail about in front of the TV with someone else vying for the crown.

With or without a human opponent, you can hop into extra modes to try out your moves under new circumstances, such as target practice or Arms-style volleyball. These diversions are better as warm-ups or palette cleansers between fights--they're treated like mini-games, and don't necessitate the same adaptability as fights themselves. Once you figure out the best way to win at volleyball, for example, you won't have to change your strategy much to continue winning.

Arms is a strong, substantial fighting game that takes a while to really hit its stride. Its barrier to entry is unlike anything else in the genre, but it's one worth tackling in order to get at the game's fascinating take on fighting. It may not have the same skill requirement as other fighting games, but the flexibility and fast thinking it requires secures it as one that works on its own terms and opens the genre up to a wider audience.

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Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Wed, 07 Jun 2017 07:00:00 -0700)
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Source: Depreview - All Reviews & Previews (Sun, 23 Apr 2017 10:00:00 Z)
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Source: Depreview - All Reviews & Previews (Mon, 27 Mar 2017 14:00:00 Z)

Steel Division: Normandy '44 is a very peculiar sort of real-time strategy game. Instead of trying to encapsulate hundreds of years of history or even the entirety of a single war, Steel Division is all about the specifics. Your pool of units is limited to a few key types. The rest is emergent--these soldiers and their gear were designed to work in tandem, so you'll need to as well. But that leads to beautiful match pacing and aggressive fights that hinge on your intelligence and your mastery of the battlefield.

As you might have guessed, given the name, Steel Division centers on the lead-up to (and resolution of) the 1944 Normandy beach invasion in World War II--better known as "D-Day." What's a bit more surprising, though, is the game's exhaustive approach to detail. The whole of the French countryside has been accurately reproduced here with the help of Royal Air Force reconnaissance photos of the time. For the purposes of play, that means real-world schemes work just as well here.

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That, plus the fact that Steel Division comes from hardcore strategy publisher Paradox Interactive, might lead you to think the game isn't inviting to new players. Thankfully, however, that's not the case. Steel Division may layer on meta-strategy later on, but the basics are rather simple. You'll be working with the standard array of tanks, vehicles, infantry, and artillery. The game includes dozens of variants of each, based on different historical divisions and nations, but as far as the single-player mode goes, that's all you need to know.

Matches focus entirely on how well you leverage each of these units' strengths and use them as an interdependent network. There's no base-building or resource management to pad this out. You aren't getting big unit upgrades or fiddling with new supply lines. You have one "resource" that builds up over time, and you spend it to deploy new units. You order up troops, you pick where you want them, and that's it. It's fortunate, then, that this foundation is more than strong enough to carry the experience.

Steel Division gets a lot of mileage out of some very simple concepts. On any given map, you're only managing about 10 different unit types. With those, you'll be either holding an area or heading off to kill some guys--defense or offense. Units counter one another in a simple, self-explanatory order. Anti-tank infantry is for taking out tanks, of course--put them where you don't want tanks rolling. That may sound flippant, but it's not. Each of these units aligns their real-world equivalent so well that your task might be simple, but the outcome won't be. While you’re setting up your heavy infantry, your foe is no doubt preparing their artillery to pin down your anti-tank rifles.

This works because the game limits ammunition, forcing you to resupply every so often, and those units are, as you might suspect, squishy. This forces you to divert resources to supply critical positions you hold and means that you’re always a little bit vulnerable. It’s impossible to perfectly secure your trucks, but foes won’t always know where you'll come from. There’s a psychological element here that elevates the stakes and complexity of play. The sum of those elements working in tandem is some ferocious blood sport.

The adrenaline of pulling together a coordinated attack is priceless, and Steel Division is all about chaining these moments together, directed as they are by an aggressive tie to historical realism.

You'll have to constantly scan the field, checking up on unit progress and making sure they have enough munitions. It's a lot of micromanagement, but there's enough tactical diversity that it works. Most matches will have you rapidly switching between softening up sturdy targets so that you can secure a new location and running door-to-door to clear out homes with your infantry. Success takes constant vigilance over the field.

For the most part, that's not too hard to manage. The campaign, which is broken up into three sections with four missions in each, doesn't tax the mind too hard too fast. Instead, you'll get a steady introduction to more advanced concepts--like the ludicrously detailed sightlines and how you can and need to use each unit's sphere of awareness to your advantage. You'll play with their use and application a bit before moving onto a new lesson. It teaches you well enough, but it really just serves as a lead into the multiplayer and that mode is raucous fun.

Steel Division lets you group up into teams of up to nine human players, and that dramatically increases the complexity of your tactics. You can apply pressure to enemies by leading them through elaborate ambushes or pulling together an aggressive pincer flank. You'll notice, however, that there's not a lot to be done with defense--that due to the fact that, without bases as a center of power, there's nothing that really needs defending directly. Your necessities are ad hoc: Secure this point so that you can field an assault from that one, for example. This reflects the mobility of the Normandy assault and that neither side was keen on settling in for a drawn-out, bloody fight.

You may scoff at that, though, after your first few multiplayer games. Games with other humans (or even AI) can run on any of several maps that can scale up to positively ridiculous sizes. They exist to encourage dynamic, emergent stories. A hamlet locked down by machine guns and flamethrowers could be a ploy to lure an armored assault, letting you counter with a barrage of heavy artillery. Being at once divorced from the realism of the Second World War and intimately tied to its combatants, location, and gear means that you can arrange high-stakes scenarios that no commander would orchestrate. That leads to some incredible moments when the ploys do actually work out. If they don't, your front may collapse, but a steady stream of resources means you'll probably be able to mount some type of defense in short order.

That synergy leads to its own sort of intra-game pacing. At first, players will all be jockeying for position, but as they settle in, attacks become directed and concentrated--especially with teammates. Then the match shifts to center on how you can best capitalize on openings you've created without overreacting. Overcommitting soldiers can strain your ability to supply them with ammunition--meaning you may earn a temporary foothold in a new spot, but you'll have to be active to make it last. Similarly, swinging too hard against an enemy will turn you into easy pickings. While most strategy games lean on rock-paper-scissors combat pretty heavily, rarely is the difference in effectiveness so pronounced. Artillery shreds vehicles so fast, you'd think the targets might as well have been tissue paper. There’s a solid counter to everything, and the challenge becomes finding that solution and deploying it well in countless different micro-scenarios.

Pinning down enemies with suppressing fire is a blast. So, too, is a well-executed offensive that cracks and divides enemy front lines. The adrenaline of pulling together a coordinated attack is priceless, and Steel Division is all about chaining these moments together, directed as they are by an aggressive tie to historical realism. If there's one failing here, it's that the game doesn't offer many chances to explore that rich field on your own before jumping into multiplayer matches. But when it all comes together in the perfect match, Steel Division's magic is undeniable.

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Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Wed, 07 Jun 2017 10:00:00 -0700)
There are 20 £50 Pixum vouchers up for grabs in June's competition.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Fri, 23 Jun 2017 14:00:01 GMT )

Astrid Saenz has always wanted to be a police officer and is among the most decorated cadets in the Los Angeles Police Department’s signature youth program.

Saenz, 18, has been an LAPD cadet for the last three years, rising to the rank of cadet commander while volunteering her time at the Devonshire...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sat, 24 Jun 2017 11:45:00 PDT )
Here are the best news, features, reviews and technique articles from ePHOTOzine this week.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Sat, 24 Jun 2017 13:00:06 GMT )

A series of attacks in three Pakistani cities Friday left at least 61 people dead and many injured, authorities said.

A suicide bomber in the city of Quetta killed at least 12 people and injured about 20, officials said. Some of the injured were hospitalized in critical condition.

The injured groaned...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sat, 24 Jun 2017 01:05:00 PDT )
When you think of landscape photography, a 50mm lens is probably not what you reach for but Toma Bonciu did exactly that for his foggy 50mm lens challenge.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - Equipment Reviews (Sat, 24 Jun 2017 09:00:02 GMT )

Certain homes are like old friends, coming back around to surprise us every now and again. This week we revisited a classic in the San Fernando Valley and dove deep into the wonderful world of rapper real estate.

Once you’re done perusing these latest transactions, tell us your favorite on the ...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sat, 24 Jun 2017 00:05:00 PDT )

Alex Lange limited top-seeded Oregon State to two hits over 7 1/3 innings, and LSU ended the Beavers' 23-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory on Friday to set up a winner-take-all Bracket 1 final at the College World Series.

The teams will meet again Saturday, with the winner going to the best-of-three...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Fri, 23 Jun 2017 21:05:00 PDT )
We are heading back in time to capture the sights and sounds of a battle.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Sat, 24 Jun 2017 00:10:08 GMT )
Rankings are based on October figures. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Best Sellers ( Sat, 06 Nov 2010 05:27:10 GMT )
Keith Richards’s autobiography, “Life,” hits the hardcover nonfiction list at No. 1, unsurprisingly. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Best Sellers ( Fri, 05 Nov 2010 15:46:40 GMT )
Rankings are based on October figures. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Best Sellers (Sat, 06 Nov 2010 05:22:46 GMT )
Top 5 at a Glance
1. SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE, by J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis
2. Y: THE LAST MAN - DELUXE EDITION, BOOK 4, by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
3. THE WALKING DEAD, BOOK 6, by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard
4. THE EXILE: AN OUTLANDER GRAPHIC NOVEL, by Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Nguyen
5. THE ADVENTURES OF OOK AND GLUK, by George Beard and Harold Hutchins Read More

Source: The New York Times - Best Sellers (Fri, 05 Nov 2010 01:18:07 GMT )
Top 5 at a Glance
1. SCAREDY-CAT, SPLAT!, written and illustrated by Rob Scotton
2. LLAMA LLAMA HOLIDAY DRAMA, written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney
3. FABULOUS FASHION BOUTIQUE, by Jane O’Connor
4. KNUFFLE BUNNY FREE, written and illustrated by Mo Willems
5. HEADS, written and illustrated by Matthew Van Fleet Read More

Source: The New York Times - Best Sellers (Fri, 05 Nov 2010 16:16:30 GMT )
Top 5 at a Glance
1. THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES, by Gary Chapman
2. WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
3. CRAZY LOVE, by Francis Chan with Danae Yankoski
4. THE LOVE DARE, by Stephen and Alex Kendrick with Lawrence Kimbrough
5. RADICAL, by David Platt Read More

Source: The New York Times - Best Sellers (Fri, 05 Nov 2010 01:34:57 GMT )
Top 5 at a Glance
1. BAREFOOT CONTESSA: HOW EASY IS THAT?, by Ina Garten
2. DOUBLE DELICIOUS, by Jessica Seinfeld
3. THE TATTOO CHRONICLES, by Kat Von D with Sandra Bark
4. DELIVERING HAPPINESS, by Tony Hsieh
5. BOBBY FLAY'S THROWDOWN!, by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Miriam Garron Read More

Source: The New York Times - Best Sellers (Fri, 05 Nov 2010 16:14:42 GMT )
Top 5 at a Glance
1. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. INSIDE OF A DOG, by Alexandra Horowitz
3. STONES INTO SCHOOLS, by Greg Mortenson
4. THE GLASS CASTLE, by Jeannette Walls
5. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin Read More

Source: The New York Times - Best Sellers (Fri, 05 Nov 2010 01:27:40 GMT )
Top 5 at a Glance
1. THE LOST SYMBOL, by Dan Brown
2. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, by Stieg Larsson
3. THE RECKLESS BRIDE, by Stephanie Laurens
4. THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, by Stieg Larsson
5. 61 HOURS, by Lee Child Read More

Source: The New York Times - Best Sellers (Fri, 05 Nov 2010 01:26:35 GMT )
Top 5 at a Glance
1. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, by Stieg Larsson
2. THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, by Stieg Larsson
3. THE FINKLER QUESTION, by Howard Jacobson
4. LITTLE BEE, by Chris Cleave
5. CUTTING FOR STONE, by Abraham Verghese Read More

Source: The New York Times - Best Sellers (Fri, 05 Nov 2010 01:25:44 GMT )
Top 5 at a Glance
1. LIFE, by Keith Richards with James Fox
2. BROKE, by Glenn Beck and Kevin Balfe
3. EARTH (THE BOOK), by Jon Stewart and others
4. THE LAST BOY, by Jane Leavy
5. AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARK TWAIN, VOL. 1, by Mark Twain Read More

Source: The New York Times - Best Sellers (Fri, 05 Nov 2010 01:24:49 GMT )
Top 5 at a Glance
1. THE CONFESSION, by John Grisham
2. WORTH DYING FOR, by Lee Child
3. AMERICAN ASSASSIN, by Vince Flynn
4. THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST, by Stieg Larsson
5. SIDE JOBS, by Jim Butcher Read More

Source: The New York Times - Best Sellers (Fri, 05 Nov 2010 01:20:56 GMT )
0.5 stars out of 5: BOO-RING
It's hard out here for a ghost. Always having to think up new ways to scare suburban people in movies. You make the kids' toys come alive and play creepy music, and all the other ghosts hold up signs with straight 1.5s across the board. You're...
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Source: Movies.com - Dave White Reviews (Sat, 23 May 2015 09:29:13 GMT )
2.5 stars out of 5: You can fly. Eventually.
In your initial visit to Tomorrowland, you're not really there at all. That's what scientifically-named Casey Newton (The Longest Ride's Britt Robertson) discovers when she first goes there by touching a tiny, metal, "T"-emblazoned pin. She takes...
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Source: Movies.com - Dave White Reviews (Fri, 22 May 2015 05:11:54 GMT )
2.5 stars out of 5: A little much.
The past few years have seen a marked rise in the number of Christian-themed films getting wide theatrical distribution, but to call it a "new wave" of faith-based cinema is probably inappropriate. That designation is usually reserved for a...
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Source: Movies.com - Dave White Reviews (Fri, 24 Apr 2015 23:27:52 GMT )
2.5 stars out of 5: Proustian mush
It begins with a shot of the Earth from space, and omniscient narration. (The voice of Hugh Ross, narrator of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, whose low-key, somewhat conspiratorial, post-sincere, NPR reporter tone turns...
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Source: Movies.com - Dave White Reviews (Fri, 24 Apr 2015 23:25:37 GMT )
1.5 stars out of 5: History written by the winners.
First-time director Russell Crowe has stepped in it, probably without meaning to. But it's happening all the same. His film, entirely devoted to an exploration of the aftermath of a key, nation-defining battle in Australian war history -- the...
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Source: Movies.com - Dave White Reviews (Fri, 24 Apr 2015 23:26:41 GMT )
3.5 stars out of 5: Much Avenge About More Things
They're building a giant machine now, a machine made of movies. To participate in the machine's agenda of taking your money, it will not help to begin by looking at this perpetual motion installment and working backwards, trying to catch up. You...
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Source: Movies.com - Dave White Reviews (Fri, 01 May 2015 00:39:50 GMT )
2.5 stars out of 5: Songs about butts.
Pitch Perfect 2 begins with a crazy, performance-based, wardrobe malfunction, one that, in the film's words, exposes the "down under" region of one of the a cappella Bellas. For this accidental offense they are mocked, chastised, and stripped of...
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Source: Movies.com - Dave White Reviews (Fri, 15 May 2015 05:04:29 GMT )
5.0 stars out of 5: Death to the patriarchy.
"Who killed the world?" yells a minor character in Mad Max: Fury Road. This outburst comes after an earlier moment where camera pauses on the question painted on a cave wall. And since it's one of only a couple dozen complete and comprehensible...
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Source: Movies.com - Dave White Reviews (Fri, 15 May 2015 05:05:45 GMT )

Sally Hawkins turns a crumpled misfit into an affecting figure of fortitude and optimism in “Maudie,” a portrait of the artist as a hermit wife that overcomes some clunky early brushstrokes to achieve a genuine grace and considerable poignancy.

Though “Maudie” is a decades-spanning biography of...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Movie Reviews (Thu, 15 Jun 2017 13:25:00 PDT )

It’s been 16 years since Naomi Watts first knocked our socks off in David Lynch’s “Mulholland Dr.,” the kind of dream showcase that an actor can count herself lucky to encounter once in a lifetime. It’s no knock on her talent to suggest that she has never had a role as rich, extreme or demanding...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Movie Reviews (Thu, 15 Jun 2017 13:50:00 PDT )

Intellectually involving and strikingly made, "Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe" is a drama based on the last six years in the life of its protagonist, a celebrated writer whose personal essence remained unknowable despite his fame.

Though interest in Zweig's work is said to be rising, the Austrian...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Movie Reviews (Thu, 15 Jun 2017 13:10:00 PDT )

“Cars 3” is a genial, easy-going throwback. Not just to the previous Pixar films in the series but to the early days of parent company Disney, when Walt walked the earth and sweetly earnest lessons about what’s important in life inspired movies that put smiles on faces all over town.

The directing...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Movie Reviews (Thu, 15 Jun 2017 11:40:00 PDT )

If you ever doubted that dying is easy and comedy is hard, then the five-gals-and-a-dead-stripper romp “Rough Night” is here to clear up any confusion. You would be wise not to mistake that statement for a recommendation. The title of this strenuously crude and crotch-obsessed movie may be lazy,...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Movie Reviews (Thu, 15 Jun 2017 11:20:00 PDT )

It's been called the King Tut's Tomb of silent cinema, a celluloid find at one of the world's far corners that dazzled the film universe, but to accomplished, ambitious moviemaker Bill Morrison, it was something more: the chance to tell the story of a lifetime, to spin a wondrous, almost indescribable...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Movie Reviews (Thu, 15 Jun 2017 05:30:00 PDT )

The Tekken series has a long-standing reputation in arcades, but for many players it was the console ports that left a lasting impression. These versions often introduced offbeat, dramatic story campaigns, as well as more extensive additions such as delightfully odd beat-’em-up and sport modes. And in recent years, the goal of unlocking and customizing outfits for the game's large cast rounded out the most rewarding objective of all: getting good. Tekken 7 keeps most of these traditions alive and once again delivers the tight, hard-hitting action for which the series is known. The game has some server-stability issues at launch, but it's otherwise a great sequel that confidently claims its position among the best fighting games today.

Similar to other 3D Fighters like Dead or Alive and Virtua Fighter, Tekken 7 focuses on utilizing space and lateral movement during combat. By and large this is a game of inches; most fighters punch, kick, and grapple up close to one another and there's little margin for error. A moment of indecision or a sloppy move against a more skilled player can lead to a string of pummeling strikes and a hasty defeat, courtesy of the game's long combo strings. Though Tekken 7 can be punishing, its fighting system isn't as difficult to get into as it lets on. With an intuitive control scheme that assigns one button to each limb, you can learn how to attack and retaliate, step by step. The long-term trick is putting in the time to dissect and memorize your favorite character's moveset to hone your reflexes and diversify your tactics.

The biggest complaint you can lob at Tekken 7 is that it doesn't do a good job of explaining the intricacies of its mechanics, let alone how you should approach learning your character of choice. The move lists for each character often hover around 100 entries, serving as a mix of one-off special attacks and combos. Save for a few icons--which represent attack properties that the game also fails to thoroughly explain--lists are disorganized, with no categories or hierarchy to speak of. The best you can do is hop into training mode and shift from one move to the next. Thankfully, you can scroll through attack hints live, during practice, and without repeatedly entering menus.

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None of this is to say that Tekken 7 is too deep, which would be a ridiculous complaint--the depth of its roster and fighting styles is to your benefit. The point is that new players will have very little help learning anything beyond the basics once they jump into battle. This is disappointing, given that other fighting games have demonstrated that the best way to retain new players is by giving them a fighting chance, and the lack of instruction is odd for Tekken, which only one game prior (Tekken Tag Tournament 2) gave players Fight Lab mode--a place to study how mechanics and different types of attacks can dictate the flow of a match.

But if this isn't your first King of Iron Fist tournament and you've kept up with Tekken over its more than 20-year tenure, you’ll find that Tekken 7 delivers the same great combat you know and love with a hefty batch of new characters--and a few new mechanics. The game includes notable new supermoves that can be triggered when a character's health is dangerously low, which is also the right time to unleash a rage drive--a powered-up standard combo attack. The most important new addition is the power crush attack attribute: Relevant attacks can absorb incoming hits mid-animation, allowing you to risk a little health to increase your chances of landing a critical blow, which injects Tekken's otherwise familiar fights with a renewed element of surprise.

With more than 30 playable characters, Tekken 7 offers plenty of fighters and opponents to study. Impressively, nearly a quarter of the roster is brand new. The most conspicuous Tekken freshman must be Akuma, the red-haired bad guy of Street Fighter fame. The introduction of fireballs and hurricane kicks might seem like an odd fit for Tekken, but they don't feel overpowered in light of the fact that every character comes with their own advantages. And when it comes to facing down Akuma's projectiles specifically, they can be easily sidestepped given the game's 3D movement. Street Fighter fans will appreciate how easy it is to fight as Akuma, since many of his traditional moves and inputs are present and accounted for. Even Street Fighter's meter-based mechanics have been carried over for his Tekken debut.

Interestingly, Akuma also plays a pivotal role in the main story mode. Hailed as the final chapter in the series' long-running story of martial-arts papa Heihachi Mishima and his quarrelling family, Tekken 7's narrative will delight Tekken veterans, especially when the oft-referenced-but-never-before-seen Kazumi Mishima breaks onto the stage. The only major downfall here is the robotic and stale narrator, a reporter covering the Mishima family. His delivery is too shallow to take seriously and not witty enough to make his deadpan cadance funny. You may also notice that some fights seem arbitrarily difficult along the way, but thanks to the gift of shortcut commands for powerful attacks--a system referred to as Story Assist--they’re more of a temporary annoyance than a barrier.

Beyond the two to three hours spent on the main story, every character not present therein gets their own brief chapter, limited to a short text intro, a single fight, and a unique ending cutscene. Not all are created equal, but there are gems to find that are purposefully awkward and light-hearted--the perfect complement to Tekken's pervasive melodrama. Fans of the alien samurai Yoshimitsu will, for example, appreciate how he's initially humanized and made vulnerable, only to be subsequently kneed in the groin by the object of his affection.

Tekken 7 lives up to the series' penchant for tongue-in-cheek shenanigans and generously gives you access to the series' entire back catalog of cutscenes, from the very first Tekken's low-res clips all the way to background movies made specifically for Japanese pachinko machines. There’s a lot of Tekken history to unlock, and the collection is a wonderful trip down memory lane.

Using Fight Money earned by playing the game's various modes you can purchase both cutscenes and cosmetic items for characters. Tekken 7 offers a lot of basic variations of hairstyles or glasses to buy, and an equal amount of stranger outfits and accessories--including neon butterfly wings, a floating clownfish companion, and automatic rifles, to name a few. While you certainly don't need to dress fighters up in ridiculous outfits, doing so will give you a new appreciation for how comfortable Tekken 7 is in its own skin. It's a hardcore, demanding fighting game, but it's also happy to be the butt of its own jokes.

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Items--so-called "treasure"--can also be unlocked rather than purchased within the Treasure Battle mode, which puts you in a series of fights with increasing rewards and challenges. There's also training mode and an arcade mode where you can practice your moves, but Treasure Battle is easily the most attractive way to spend your off-time in Tekken 7. If you're going to practice before hopping online to fight, you might as well have something to show for it.

A few days after launch, Tekken 7's online modes are experiencing a few issues across all platforms, and while these are mostly isolated to ranked matches, it's not uncommon to lose connections in casual matches, either. It's an issue that publisher Bandai Namco is aware of and plans to patch, but at the moment, it's not always easy to get into a match unless you're willing to hammer attempts for minutes on end. When you're eventually able to get into a match, pray that it's over a better-than-average connection; Tekken 7 becomes a slide show online under lesser conditions.

Notwithstanding that ranked matches are currently a crapshoot, Tekken 7 remains an easy game to recommend. Its diverse roster is packed with a wide range of personalities and fighting styles, bolstered by a raucous attitude that begs to be taken seriously while simultaneously mocking its more peculiar whims in the process. Tekken fans will find their next favorite game--one that's the product of decade's worth of refinement. And while some of this depth will be lost or out of reach for newcomers, there's enough fun to be had outside of hardcore competition to keep players from all walks of gaming thoroughly entertained.

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Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Mon, 05 Jun 2017 20:00:00 -0700)


2015's Dirt Rally was a game designed for off-road enthusiasts. With its steep learning curve, uncompromising difficulty, and an adherence to nerve-wracking authenticity, it was an altogether different beast than the Dirt series' more histrionic entries. Rather than go back to the mainstream, American flavoured well with Dirt 4, Codemasters' latest feels like a natural continuation of Dirt Rally's grounded, white-knuckle philosophies; but with one key difference: there's been a concerted effort this time around to appeal to both veterans and newcomers alike, bridging the gap between the impenetrable and the accessible.

This begins at the game's outset, as you're presented with two distinct driving models to choose from: Gamer and Simulation. This isn't just a simple rearranging of assists and difficulty options, but two disparate ways of heaving your chosen vehicle from one corner to another. Gamer makes things considerably softer, minimising your car's stopping distance, and making it much harder to spin out of control--even with imprudent use of the handbrake. The effect of certain weather types and surfaces is also less pronounced, and it's generally a more forgiving ride, with a host of variables--including AI difficulty and myriad assists--allowing you to further tailor its challenge to your liking. Combine this with the deluge of playable tutorials in the Dirt Academy--that teach you everything from how to transfer weight, execute pendulum turns, and handle the differences between front, rear, and four-wheel drive cars--and Dirt 4 is a much more intuitive game to get to grips with than its immediate predecessor.

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Even in Gamer's relatively muted state, barrelling through each stage and gliding around hairpin turns under the tutelage of your co-driver is immensely enjoyable. Yet, upon stepping down a level from the robust sim, there's this nagging feeling that you're playing with the stabilisers on. Once you're confident enough to move up to Simulation mode, there's a palpable sense that you're unlocking a car's full potential. It's here--similarly to Dirt Rally--where Dirt 4 really shines.

In Simulation mode Dirt 4 transforms into a game focused on efficiency and adaptability. You have to be patient and precise, knowing when to push the car to its limits and when to take it steady, tussling with an antagonistic wheel just to keep the car on the track; where one slight miscalculation is likely to end in gut-wrenching disaster. There's a sense of dread that creeps in during moments like this, when you're about to eclipse the top of a hill and have no idea what's waiting for you on the other side. But take the risk and you might receive a reward in return, like the unmistakable elation that arises when you emerge through a stage unscathed. It's this heart-quickening thrill--of knowing you're on the precipice of failure at all times--mixed with the proficiency of its mechanics, that makes Dirt 4 such an engaging rally game to play.

There's a plethora of cars available, too, and a singular pleasure to be found in learning each one's intricacies. You'll strap into the majority of these unfettered beasts throughout Dirt 4's globetrotting career mode, which has you driving for sponsors until you have enough money to purchase your own vehicles and design your own racing team. It's a familiar progression loop, gradually increasing in difficulty as you gain access to faster cars and trickier tracks. There's even a touch of team management involved as you hire mechanics to fix your car in between stages, and purchase facility upgrades to, say, hasten that repair time, or expand your garage to fit more vehicles. The bulk of your time, however, will be spent out on the track. Whether that's in rally, Landrush, or Motorcross events is up to you.

Landrush encases you inside heaving trucks, buggies, and Crosskarts, and matches you head-to-head against other drivers on sandy courses crammed full of jumps and tight corners. It's a palate cleanser that removes nippy rally vehicles from the equation, but with overlong races, a lack of variety in course design, and only a handful of tracks, it eventually grows dull and repetitive.

Dirt 4 maintains the robust depth of Dirt Rally's full-blooded simulation, while smartly opening things up to a wider audience with a heaping of difficulty options

Rallycross fares better, pitting up to eight rally cars against one another on officially licensed FIA World Rallycross tracks. With dust clouds to avoid, risks worth weighing up, and the inevitable collision of chassis on chassis, these energetic races offer a modicum of depth and a change of pace from the demanding rally stages. If you don't fancy either of these racing disciplines, however, the career mode is structured in such a way that you can easily ignore them and focus purely on rally, or mix and match the three together. The choice is yours. There's certainly intermittent fun to be had between the two disciplines (leaning heavily in one direction), but, really, they're both side courses to rally's main dish.

This is perhaps most keenly reflected by Your Stage, an ingenious tool that procedurally generates rally stages at the press of a button. All you have to do is adjust two sliders to your liking--one for course length, and another for complexity--and the game will generate a stage using one of its locations as a canvas. From there you can tinker with the time of day and various weather options, and if you like the stage you can share it with friends.

With procedurally generated tracks, there was a concern that the seams between each track's assorted parts would be noticeable, but they're surprisingly nuanced and coherently put together. Familiarity has remained absent after hours and hours of play, and it shouldn't really be surprising with a near-infinite amount of potential stages. Yet, despite the impressive tech that conjures these stages from nothing, what ties them all together are the little details. The drones that whizz overhead, barely clipping the roof of your car; and the helicopters that swoop down too low and whip up a perilous dust storm. There's the ecstatic crowd spread out across the stage, and the marshals that wave you down when a vehicle has crashed up ahead. Even a farmhouse at the side of the road, buried amidst the red and brown leaves of a Michigan forest, help bring these stages to life with an authentic believability.

Your Stage's most noteworthy achievement, however, is the way it recontextualizes the lifespan of this series going forward. In other rally games, once you've played a stage enough times it veers away from rally territory and becomes little more than a time trial exercise. Suddenly you're not reacting to your co-driver's instructions, but to your own memories. You start figuring out how to save time on familiar corners and hazardous jumps, and that just isn't what rally is about. Your Stage ensures that you're never comfortable. The threat of the unknown remains a persistent threat, and you're forced to rely on nothing but your wits and your co-driver's imperative pacenotes. With--in theory--infinite stages, Dirt 4 maintains its commitment to the unadulterated thrill of rally, and that's a tremendous accomplishment.

With daily, weekly, and monthly community challenges also on the agenda, plus competitive online races in each of its three racing disciplines, Dirt 4 is certainly packed full of content. It might not have the same pomp and circumstance of previous numbered entries in the series, but Dirt 4 maintains the robust depth of Dirt Rally's full-blooded simulation, while smartly opening things up to a wider audience with a heaping of difficulty options. If Dirt Rally's punishing difficulty alienated longtime series fans in any way, this commitment to accessibility should help to bring them back, and the near-infinite possibilities of Your Stage should keep them playing. Dirt 4 is a shining example of Codemasters at their brilliant best.


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Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Tue, 06 Jun 2017 00:01:00 -0700)
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Source: Depreview - All Reviews & Previews (Tue, 29 Nov 2016 15:01:00 Z)

The Photographer's Guide To Scotland is the newest edition to Ellen Bowness' successful series, helping people to find the best photos in the UK's most photographed places.

Previous off...
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Source: ePHOTOzine - Book Reviews (Tue, 12 Apr 2016 15:53:53 GMT )

Wipeout Omega Collection is not a history lesson. It most certainly doesn't remind players of Wipeout's significance during PlayStation's early years. It isn't a greatest hits package either--given the absence of Wipeout XL and 3--although this gorgeous remastered trio of games represents a hefty helping of the series' most recent outings. In other words, it's sensory-overloading anti-gravity racing that sublimely blends often-chaotic vehicular combat.

This collection feels like a thoughtful bundle when you consider that Sony could have easily released an untampered standalone PS4 port of Wipeout HD. Instead, the 2008 PS3 classic--which was considered a return to form--got a minor visual makeover while being sandwiched by its excellent Fury expansion and a much-improved version of Wipeout 2048, previously a PS Vita exclusive. While these games are strengthened by their frenzied racing commonalities, their differences are equally compelling, enough that you can find yourself jumping from installment to installment in one play session in pursuit of variety. The Detonator and Eliminator modes exclusive to Fury, for instance, offer an engrossing combat experience, even more so than your typical Wipeout race. 2048 stands out with its courses' unusual natural landscaping, indicative of the game's place as the first in the timeline, before tracks were completely man-made.

No matter the mode or game you choose to play in the Omega Collection, there's consistency in how the myriad ships control, from drift cornering to speed-boosting barrel rolls. You keep one eye on the track for acceleration pads and incoming corners while the other maintains awareness of your nearby competitors. And as you pass over weapon pads, you quickly assess the value of each pick-up based on your current race situation. For series vets, such appraisals take less than a second, and having to constantly make these decisions underscores Wipeout's involving gameplay. Do you fire the high-damage Plasma or would it be best served by converting it into energy (i.e. health)? Do you hold on to the Turbo for the next straightaway even though you'll miss out on the next five weapon pads? If you've played Mario Kart, you can relate to these split-second value judgments, only that in Wipeout, you're piloting ships that are the equivalent of 300cc karts.

One of the draws of the Wipeout series is how AI competition changes and evolves as you unlock tougher (and therefore faster) competitions. In the first couple speed levels, it's easy to focus on the closest racer in front of you, systematically passing competitors one by one until you (hopefully) reach first place. The more feverish, pupil-dilating races later on produce a totally different beast of collective aggression among all the racers. You, along with all the AI, are perpetually in a forward-moving swarm where no one is out of contention until the home stretch, barring a significant crash. It's during these races that certain weapons can change fortunes for everyone in an instant. For example, the Quake--which sends a wave over the track--can slingshot someone from last to first in seconds, making it the bizarro Blue Shell of combat racing games. Such dramatic outcomes in the higher speed classes are the reason why these races captivate time and time again. And that's not even taking into account online play, which is appropriately unpredictable and riveting against an array of veterans.

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Experiencing Wipeout in its prettiest form to date only adds to Omega's already enticing gameplay. It's a tall order given that Wipeout HD and Fury already looked gorgeous to begin with. While many of the improved details can only be appreciated with side-by-side screen comparisons, enhancements like the ships' flaming exhausts and contrails prove that it's not a straight PS3 port, to say nothing of Omega's 4K support. Driving the point home is 2048, which visually bursts out of the small-screen confines of the Vita with an eye-pleasing presentation that stands up to the rest of the compilation. One can imagine how transcendent these races would be if Wipeout Omega Collection had PSVR support.

These games already benefitted from an established universe where racing teams are brands unto themselves and anti-gravity racing is a global sport with a 100-plus year history. It's a near utopian vision of the future, one that has always been fittingly paired with electronic dance music. Tracks by DJ Kentaro and James Talk represent the best of Omega's tunes, though the playlist as a whole can't compete with the greatness of Wipeout XL or even Wipeout 3's soundtrack. Should you feel nostalgic for Underworld's or Fluke's contributions to the series, using the PS4's Spotify app while you play this collection will take you back to 1996 in a pinch.

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By focusing on this specific era of the series, Wipeout Omega Collection maintains a level of cohesion you wouldn't get if this compilation included, say, Wipeout Pure or Fusion. While each of the three games exude style and stimulation in their own distinct ways, they collectively showcase the best elements of franchise's engrossing racing and silky smooth visuals. And even though it doesn't completely scratch the itch that only a completely new PS4 sequel can offer, this collection is easily the next best thing.

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Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Tue, 06 Jun 2017 12:00:00 -0700)
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