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FEATURED NEWS FEEDS


NEWS (LAST 200)
Review: Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC US...
Aberystwyth University ranked top for te...
Newtownbutler wedding murder accused ple...
Professor praised for bringing his mothe...
PM urges two-year Brexit transition deal...
Theresa May wants two-year implementatio...
Theresa May restates no Irish border pos...
Rory McIlroy: PGA Tour and European Tour...
Wester Ross man jailed for sexual abuse ...
Corrie Mckeague: Six people identified f...
Glasgow named University of the Year...
McIlroy predicts merger of PGA & Europea...
Glamorgan v Gloucestershire: Selman and ...
United Nations decries Indian journalist...
Antonio Conte thanks Diego Costa for wha...
Hampshire v Essex: Champions bowl out ho...
Zimbabwes Robert Mugabe describes Donald...
Russian oligarch’s £360million Super ...
No Brexit until 2021 - May confirms tran...
Boy badly burned after spilling cup of t...
Dementia sufferer, 94, remembers wifes f...
Here's Why You Can't Call Puer...
Harry Potter first edition sells for £6...
White tiger mauled to death by Bengal ca...
Wonder horse Winx eyes world domination...
Theresa May Florence speech live updates...
NTSB: Pilot error to blame for Mike Penc...
Aaron Hernandez Fast Facts
Gruesome video shows a worm in a Mexican...
Autumn Equinox 2017: Why is today import...
WAG adds MILLIONS to the value of Knight...
Womens Super League 2017-18: New calenda...
Parsons Green: Teenager Ahmed Hassan ac...
Exclusive: T-Mobile, Sprint close to agr...
Delivery man leaves students parcel in h...
Girl with a Pearl Earring actor faces tr...
Can YOU tell whos a sex worker?
Razor ad banned from Facebook for breach...
Harry mania as prince arrives in Canada ...
Groucho Club manager Bernie Katzs funera...
Melania Trump's Anti-Bullying Speec...
What Donald Trump is doing on Russia is ...
Freshers' week: First-year students...
Hurricane floods are God's way of t...
US forces in South Korea receive fake, u...
Wu-Tang Clan diss Martin Shkreli in new ...
The 'Swamp' is trying to hijac...
'The Sound of a Dog Barking.' No...
Jimmy Carter Fast Facts
Deep impact
Mexico earthquake: Navy official apologi...
Theresa May seeks to break Brexit deadlo...
Bad karma for the Buddhists who released...
North Korea: Can Kim Jong-un reach Hawai...
WATCH: Jeremy Corbyn snaps at BBC London...
Uber London BAN: Khan says users should ...
Theresa May reveals tighter EU immigrati...
Blackburn father issues warning over car...
Kim delivers rare statement calling Trum...
Teenager charged with London Tube attack...
Bangladeshi PM condemns Myanmar
Britains May calls for post-Brexit trans...
Barnier doesnt want a deal! Farage deman...
The new home of elite clubbing
The Nigerian man saving Boko Haram orpha...
S Korea: N Korea launched missile over J...
Twitter and Trump: Marriage of man, mess...
May seeks to break Brexit deadlock with ...
This is no way to dismantle a nuclear bo...
The power Suu Kyi cant control
Kenyas Supreme Court involved in coup, s...
London patients body found three days af...
Theresa May fires back at BBCs Kuenssber...
Chinese actor to live in Helsinki Airpor...
North Korea: This is no way to dismantle...
Man in carbon monoxide leak hotel poison...
Uber London ban: Risk of job losses for ...
German election 2017: How all-powerful A...
Theresa May Florence speech in full: Rea...
PM makes concessions on cash, EU citizen...
Father stuns doctors by waking up from h...
Children hurt when roof of Taiwanese coa...
How do you pay for tax cuts? Republicans...
French philosopher says Tintin is female...
Chile's electricity should be 100% ...
Theresa May Florence speech live updates...
Teacher, 28, faces being banned from the...
Autumn Equinox 2017: How is today import...
Pound sterling dropped half a cent after...
UK food and drink industry lost £400m b...
Elderly Blackpool woman manipulated into...
Halseys Bell Centre show cancelled...
Boy lies dying after a pack of 17 stray ...
Students outsmarts teacher with 3x5 FEET...
Spain in crisis: All Catalan officials a...
Hurricane Maria lashes Turks and Caicos...
A registration system May confirms tight...
What is a Dotard?
No Brexit until 2021 - Theresa May confi...
Schoolgirl sent home for wearing too muc...
War of words ratchets up between Kim and...
Woman And Service Dog Kicked Off Ryanair...
Africas biggest modern art gallery opens...
The long wait
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The monk hunk: Photographs of buff Buddh...
Mystery over Star Wars appearance in Sau...
Black witch claims she can cure people o...
Theresa May Florence speech LIVE: PM say...
Gruesome video shows WORM wriggling in t...
Rory McIlroy believes World Tour will ha...
What does the London Uber decision mean?...
Improved Rangers can test Celtic - Wes F...
Vauxhall: Luton distribution centre mark...
Stuart Broad and Heather Knight play cri...
Africas biggest modern art gallery opens...
Woman dies after being rescued from sea ...
Women have quarter of brain says Saudi c...
Stormont crisis causing despondency, say...
Gym app Pact pays $1m over broken promis...
Archive: Rangers 1-5 Celtic, 29th April ...
PPS considering appeal over Londonderry ...
Storm Maria pitches Puerto Rico barrio i...
Florence speech: Theresa May calls for p...
Trump dismisses Facebook ads controversy...
Ryanair cabin crew told to move to Europ...
Climbing World Cup: Will Bosi can climb ...
Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi & Neymar...
Bumbling police tweet 80-year ban for da...
Worlds busiest crossing to shut for days...
Theresa May speech: PM says there will b...
What next for LOreal after billionaire h...
You can now binge-watch Will & Grace...
Health care state of play: Sweetheart de...
Quiz: How much can you remember from the...
US and Iran meet as Trump threat looms o...
What does London’s Uber ban mean?...
Killer speeding biker Barbar Gull gets s...
What is antifa – and does its rise mea...
First day of fall: 5 things you probably...
Trump's approval rating reaches ove...
Germany expels second Vietnamese diploma...
Slough guard accused of stealing £7m sa...
Labour MP ripped into by Tory who mocks ...
Mexico quakes homeless gather in tent vi...
Uber ban: App loses licence to operate i...
Puerto Rico tennis stars tearful message...
Plate tectonics started moving after Ear...
Was Russian bomber intercepted by RAF fl...
Romanian deputy PM Shhaideh investigated...
Total Recall: The CNN news quiz
Kim fires off insults at Trump and hints...
NFL Concussions Fast Facts
CVS will limit opioid prescriptions to 7...
Insight: Distrustful U.S. allies force s...
Hurricane Irma relief efforts continue...
What does the Uber decision mean?
Kenya president slams annulled poll as j...
Trump says this is all a hoax. Mueller, ...
Maria: Puerto Rico Remains Largely Witho...
DC Area Sniper Fast Facts
First woman to graduate Marines Infantry...
Donald Trump Fast Facts
Mexico earthquake: Navy official apologi...
Theresa May Florence speech live updates...
Colour images of volunteers who fought F...
Petition to save Uber goes viral as it h...
Decapitated man reports outside Tennesse...
Will Uber now be banned around the world...
Spice zombies collapsed in the street in...
Itchy Nose smart glasses let you control...
Pensioner reunited with the half-sister ...
Film mocking Nazis with The Lambeth Walk...
Prince Harry arrives in Toronto for the ...
Guard accused of stealing £7million say...
Hurricane Maria lashes Turks and Caicos ...
Iran shows off its weapons in military p...
Asda sparks petrol price war by lowering...
Twitter reacts to living in London witho...
Church schools serving non-stunned halal...
Uber stripped of London license, plans t...
Victoria & Abdul goes skin-deep on great...
Don’t you feel responsible? Khan grill...
Theresa May Florence speech: Europe reac...
Exclusive: VW moves to secure cobalt sup...
Theresa May Florence speech LIVE: PM cla...
Piquet Jr hails crazy support for Formul...
The 7 U.S. Wine Regions Giving Napa a Se...
Brexit: Theresa May sets out UK offer to...
Hassan Rouhani Fast Facts
Trump Is Misrepresenting What's In ...
The CNN news quiz: What do you remember ...
Syrians vote in Kurdish-led regions of n...
Woman, 31, smiles after admitting killin...
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REVIEWS & PREVIEWS (LAST 60)
Trump promises help as Puerto Rico brace...
Sony Alpha a99 II Review
Trump sits down with Ukrainian president...
NHL 18 Review
Google Paid HTC $1.1 Billion To Turn Its...
9 Amazon Kindle Tips and Tricks
Lomography LomoInstant Automat Glass Mag...
The Age of Adaline Review
Olympus OM-D E-M10 III Review
The Photographers Guide To Scotland...
2017 Roundup: Semi-Pro Interchangeable L...
Fujifilm X-A3 Review
Childrens Books
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Review
TBR: Inside the List
Little Boy Review
Paperback Nonfiction
Pitch Perfect 2 Review
Mad Max: Fury Road Review
Hardcover Business Best Sellers
Hardcover Nonfiction
Poltergeist Review
The Avengers: Age of Ultron Review...
The Water Diviner Review
Hardcover Advice
Hardcover Fiction
Paperback Mass-Market Fiction
Paperback Trade Fiction
Tomorrowland Review
FIFA 18 Review
Graphic Books
Paperback Advice
Become Part Of The Photography For Littl...
ARK: Survival Evolved Review
Paperback Business Best Sellers
22 Top Third Party Nikon Fit Lenses...
BenQ SW271 4K UDH 27" Monitor Announced...
Photographing Water In The Landscape...
Fujifilm X-E3 Sample Photos
A Beginners Guide To Long Exposure Photo...
Fujifilm Fujinon GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR Samp...
Atmospheric Portraits Are Given Narrativ...
How To Shoot Portraits With A Smartphone...
Fujifilm Fujinon XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS ...
Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master OSS...
Save £100 On The Canon EOS 200D To...
Top Tips On Photographing The White-Back...
Photographing North Wales
How to Take Great Photographs
Abandoned on the Plains: Fragments of th...
Fujifilm X100F Review
WATER
How To Take Great Waterfowl Photos With ...
Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Review
Cinetics Lynx motion control system revi...
Godox Ving V860 II flash review
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus camera first impress...
Hasselblad X1D-50c First Impressions Rev...
Sony Alpha a9 Review
2017 Roundup: $1200-2000 ILCs: crop-sens...


Lomo's funky instant camera kicks some serious glass. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:00:00 +0000)
Your e-reader has some secret superpowers. Here's how to unlock its full potential. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 11:00:00 +0000)
It's not quite an acquisition, but Google's agreement with HTC fast-tracks its efforts to take over the gadget world. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 03:07:17 +0000)
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. 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. 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 )
Rankings are based on October figures. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Best Sellers (Sat, 06 Nov 2010 05:22:46 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 )
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 )
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 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. 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. 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. 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 )
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 )
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 )
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 )
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 )
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 )
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 )
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 )
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 )

After a couple of dozen hours exploring the dinosaur survival simulation from developer Studio Wildcard, I’ve barely scratched the surface of what is both an impressive achievement and a deeply frustrating experience. One moment I was beaming over how I was able to slap together a hut on the beach and start a fire to keep warm during a long and spooky prehistoric night. The next I was swearing until I was out of breath after being killed yet again by a Dilophosaurus or a pack of Compys or a Titanoboa or whatever else decided to roar out of the jungle for a snack.

This is a pure, hardcore survival game where you’re dropped in your tighty whities on a beach by beings unknown (UFO-like monoliths float in the sky) with the sole goal of figuring out how to stay alive. Land and sea are populated with all sorts of dinosaurs and other assorted prehistoric creatures, ranging from the milquetoast Dodos and Moschops to aggressive predators like the Spinosaurus, the Megapiranha, the Troodon, the Raptor, and much, much more. So not only are you stuck essentially naked with nothing other than your wits to keep you breathing, just about everything stuck here with you has big pointy teeth and zero qualms about using them to rip you to pieces.

That said, there isn’t much of a learning curve. Everything is based on a hunter-gatherer system where you collect resources by killing animals for their hides and meat and other goodies, and by chopping down trees, smashing up rocks, and scavenging in the jungle for wood, stone, flint, berries, fiber, and more. Leveling up--which happens fast and frequently throughout the game to keep things interesting--provides points used to purchase engrams that serve as plans for all of the survival gear that you can make. You start with caveman stuff like stone axes, thatch huts, ragged clothing, and campfires, but soon progress to compasses, spyglasses, bows and arrows, wood structures, gunpowder, and more. Stick with things long enough and you move into the modern era with rifles and radios.

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Another major component of Ark is the ability to train dinos. Carefully combining knocking out your prey with feeding them results in tame creatures that can be ridden around the landscape and even bred. It’s something of a tedious affair involving a fair bit of gathering different types of food and waiting around, but it's well worth it in the end as you can wind up with mounts far better at fighting other dinosaurs than you can with your puny fists and weapons. Toss in a wide range of crafting and that steadily increasing engram tech, and you’ve got an impressive sandbox in which to play.

All of this can be experienced either solo or together with other players on multiplayer servers that can be designated either PVE, where players cannot kill one another, and PVP, where they can, and there are basically no rules at all. Ark has been built around a tribal model, though, where playing cooperatively feels generally like the prescribed way to go.

Single-player does have its benefits, namely in that you avoid messy interactions with fellow human players. But going solo comes at the cost of cranking difficulty through the roof and forcing you to do everything for yourself. You have to become a one-man tribe to get anything done, and I found the process of chopping trees, hacking stone, and gathering assorted things in the brush to be a repetitive process. While you level up fairly quickly and add new engrams on a regular basis, it’s not exactly thrilling to spend all of your time mindlessly pushing buttons to accumulate one stockpile after another.

Of course, playing alone also means that you have to fight dinosaurs mano-a-mano. This means that you die. A lot. The game thankfully stocks the default areas where you spawn (generally coastal beach regions) with wussier, almost cattle-like creatures that can be farmed to get you started collecting meat and skins. But aggressive carnivores are never far away. The landscape is dotted with creatures that you have almost zero chance at killing or escaping, especially in the early hours.

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This outstanding sense of place and mood is offset by the sheer difficulty of everything that you have to do, the spectacular amounts of time necessary to experience even a tenth of what the game has to offer, and the randomness of death constantly destroying everything that you have built.

As a result, Ark does not make a great first impression. I was routinely slaughtered by Dilophosauruses on the beaches, gangs of Compys in the jungle, random Trodoons nearly everywhere, and even a positively brutal Spinosaurus that somehow managed to spawn in not far from where I began my game. Whenever I thought I was making progress, wham, along came a Raptor or something equally frightening to remind me of my place in the food chain. Even the water offered me no respite, as every little stream seemed to be well stocked with Megapiranhas and Sabertooth Salmon. These killer fish actually gave me my first wake-up call as to how brutal Ark was going to be. I finished my first thatch house and decided to start really exploring territory, starting with a quick swim across the bay. I didn’t get halfway across before I was eaten alive.

The only good thing being killed is that your stuff gets packed into a bag and left at the point of your demise, ready to be picked up by your respawned self. This is easier said than done, however, as the early-game's random respawns generally place you a long way from where you died. And you have a limited amount of time to grab everything before it vanishes forever. Even worse, whatever killed you often hangs around the pack, as if it’s guarding the treasure trove in the knowledge that somebody is coming back for it. Other times, your gear is simply inaccessible. I don’t think I ever reclaimed my gear after being killed in the water, as those packs always wound up in the midst of schools of fish with steak-knife teeth.

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In a perfect world, playing the multiplayer version of Ark would solve the above problems. It doesn’t. All of these issues remain present when playing on servers with other people, and other, potentially even more serious annoyances, are introduced. Playing on an established public server means that you’re the new guy, so it doesn’t seem entirely easy to join a tribe. On the PVP servers, you can be an easy target for the more experienced players who enjoy playing serial killer. PVE servers let you relax and work cooperatively, but I saw a lot of people there doing their own thing exactly as they would have in the solo game. So aside from the social aspect of trying to stay alive in dino-land with the help of fellow human beings, I didn’t really see the point.

There is something majestic about Ark's addictive and incredibly atmospheric design. I’ve never been so invested in the protagonist’s predicament, especially when huddling around a fire in the middle of the night or when facing off with a dinosaur that was stalking me, and the sense of being so utterly alone really sank in.

Still, this outstanding sense of place and mood is offset by the sheer difficulty of everything that you have to do, the spectacular amounts of time necessary to experience even a tenth of what the game has to offer, and the randomness of death constantly destroying everything that you have built. None of these things can exactly be considered flaws, as the designers surely intended the game to play like this, at least for the most part. But all of these factors also make Ark an acquired taste that requires a strong level of commitment that is not for everyone, probably myself included.

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Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Wed, 13 Sep 2017 15:05:00 -0700)

After stumbling on current gen consoles starting with NHL 15, the NHL series is starting to hit its stride, with a wide variety of improvements and additions to the core game in recent iterations. In NHL 18, most of these improvements are aimed at new or casual players, but hardcore hockey heads haven't been forgotten. From its generous list of modes ranging from full-season to the exciting NHL Threes, to how the action on the ice feels smooth and deliberate, NHL 18 is a fun yet accessible sports game.

When you're out on the ice, NHL 18 feels fantastic. There's a feeling of weight to the players crashing into each other, making each check feel satisfying. Passing and controlling the puck is smooth and fast, and when you outsmart the defense and score a goal, it's a genuine fist-pumping moment. The new dekes open up fresh possibilities of outsmarting your defenders. Passing the puck around the ice, screening the goalie, and then putting a wrister into the goal always feels purposeful and satisfying. There's no button mashing here unless you want it, in which case you can set the game to NHL '94's ultra-simplified 2-button controls.

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The new modes like NHL Training Camp, NHL Threes, and Expansion Draft feature in Franchise mode bring new ways to play, but returning gamers will find the core NHL experience familiar. Gameplay is largely the same as it always has been. The commentary is basic, repetitive, and the delivery and excitement don't always match the on-screen action.The soundtrack, too, is limited. There are very few songs, so they repeat on the menu screens frequently. Songs like Kaleo's Hot Blood and The North Panic's Haven't You Heard? become annoying from repetition.

Of the new mode additions, NHL Threes feels the freshest, and controls exactly the same as the rest of the game while keeping an arcade feel, slacking on penalties and rules found in the simulation modes. I enjoyed slamming other players in situations where I'd normally be penalized, particularly the opposing team's goalie for stopping play.

Despite the familiarity returning players will feel with NHL 18, the number of possibilities are impressive and each serves as a hook to get into into another mode. If you just want to smash around the ice, foregoing things like off-sides and icing, NHL Threes is perfect. You can even earn team mascots as playable characters. If you're heavy into the simulation of a season, there's a full-season mode. Hockey Ultimate Team lets you build your own fantasy team using current and past players, and is complex and feature-rich enough to practically stand on its own.

But the beauty of all this variety, besides having something for everyone, is how one mode complements another. Playing NHL Threes is a great way to get a feel for the basics of the game--skating, shooting, and hitting--without worrying too much about the rules. It makes the on-ice time in something like season play that much more dynamically, because it allows you to get a better feel for the way NHL 18 moves and plays. The MyCareer mode lets you start off with your own custom player, and play your way from amateur to professional, building exactly the type of player you want to build. It gets your foot in the door for a full season mode, controlling each team, switching between players on the fly--which hones your hockey skills, helping you dominate NHL Threes. It's cyclical. Playing any single mode makes you better at any of the other modes. It's awesome.

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While Madden and NBA 2K have both taken the single-player experience and turned them into compelling story modes, NHL 18 makes no such effort. You set up your player, play in the junior leagues, and move up from there. It's generic. Building on the MyCareer mode would have made a great addition for returning players, but instead it's just more of the same we've seen in every previous sports game for years.

But NHL 18 is welcoming in every possible way to new users. One of the most difficult things about sports games is learning the vocabulary of each title. In the past, jumping back into a series, or starting for the first time, seemed overwhelming. The NHL Training Camp is great for returning users to learn some of the new moves, and invaluable for helping rookies get a feel for the game.

Visually, NHL 18 doesn't reach the same heights as other sports sims on the market right now. The crowds especially fare poorly, looking more like Sims characters than actual humans. When the camera pans the crowd, the animation looks canned and often suffers from framerate stutters. Actual gameplay is fluid, but transitional animations are non-existent. It doesn't look natural in up-close replays when a character goes from skating, to scoring, to celebrating.

New players won't feel lost, as NHL goes out of its way to make sure you get up to speed with training, tutorials, and on-screen hints.

There's still a lot to love about NHL 18, even if the core on-ice experience has only seen minor tweaks. The new modes bring variety to the gameplay, with NHL Threes standing out as a fast-paced, fun way to play hockey. No matter what the mode, gameplay is fast, responsive, and rewarding. And those fresh to the franchise won't feel lost, as NHL goes out of its way to make sure you get up to speed with training, tutorials, and on-screen hints. New players are sure to feel welcome, but for any series veterans, NHL 18 still has some room to improve.

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Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:06:00 -0700)

In the Age of the Internet, where we demand everything faster and our attention spans shrink to that of a goldfish, it's interesting that both PES and FIFA are slowing down. It's a trend aimed at making soccer games more realistic, but upto and including FIFA 17, it had caused EA's series to suffer, with every title since FIFA 15 feeling less responsive than its predecessor. Finally, with FIFA 18, the franchise has managed to arrest its decline, and while the series' latest entry still feels slow, it at least feels a little more responsive, and less frustrating as a result. Combined with outstanding presentation and more ways to play than ever, FIFA 18's on-pitch improvements represent the beginnings of a recovery for the series.

FIFA 17's problem, I realized after far too many sleepless nights, was that it slowed players' turning speeds to Titanic levels but left much of the rest of the game at a higher velocity. That meant you could sprint pretty quickly, but would take an age to accelerate or change direction. This is still a problem in FIFA 18, where players' continued slow turning circles and lengthy animations can feel like there's a split-second of input lag--but their slower sprinting does mean the game's speed as a whole feels more consistent.

This results in a more thoughtful game that's less concerned with beating defenders using trickery or pace and more about--as your youth coach probably told you every week--letting the ball do the work. AI teammates now make more frequent and intelligent runs to give you greater options when you're on the ball, and players' first touches keep the ball closer to their body, finally making driven passes a viable option in the attacking third. Unfortunately, however, non-driven passes remain as limp as before: long passes and chipped through balls still slowly float towards their target before inevitably getting cut out, and ground passes are similarly weak, rarely possessing enough zip to carve a defense open.

Many attacks end in your wingers or full backs crossing the ball into the area or an attacking midfielder having a pop from the edge of the box. It's a good job, then, that these are the areas that have seen most improvement. Shots carry a little more weight than before and are responsible for the game's most satisfying moments--seeing a volley fly into the top corner is a great feeling, and it happens far more frequently in FIFA 18 than last year. Crosses, meanwhile, have been reworked, dropping the old low cross in favor of a new three height system: holding R1 / RB while crossing produces a driven, ground cross; L1 / LB creates a floaty ball similar to FIFA 17's efforts; and just the standard X / Square input whips the ball behind the defenders with pace. Crucially, unlike last year, it is now actually possible to score by crossing it into a target man or poacher, and doing so feels better than it has in any FIFA to date.

Players' continued slow turning circles and lengthy animations can feel like there's a split-second of input lag

That doesn't translate to set pieces, however, which are still useless--even if penalties are slightly less complicated than FIFA 17's approach, which felt like trying to solve a Rubik's cube with your hands tied. They're still unnecessarily obtuse, requiring you to be mindful of shot power, direction, and height, as well as your run-up, all at the same time, but at least you now have time to think about your approach, rather than the run-up being mapped to the same stick as shot direction.

Elsewhere, EA has finally got the balance of individuals' pace just right--slow players feel slow and fast players feel fast, and utilizing the latter no longer feels over- or under-powered. However, despite the numerous small-but-important enhancements, there a number of lingering flaws holding FIFA back. Different players still don't feel unique enough: other than Ronaldo and a handful more of the world's elite, every footballer in the game feels roughly the same, the vast majority of them displaying the same animations and only feeling different in their heights and speed stats. This year's gimmick, quick subs--which allow you to press R2 / RT during stoppages in play to substitute a player without having to pause the game--are a nice touch that is limited by the fact you can only apply it to three pre-planned changes organized before the match or go with the game's suggestion. That suggestion is rarely a good fit for the situation at hand, and mapping it to the same button as sprint meant I was constantly activating it by mistake.

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If FIFA 18's on-the-pitch showing is inconsistent, its presentation--the area in which the series has progressed most over the past few seasons--continues to set the standard for sports games as a whole. While it may sound like a boring, granular change, the prettier and more versatile lighting really helps make each match feel unique. It's aided by more realistic and enthusiastic crowd reactions, and different kinds of atmosphere depending on where in the world you're playing. Spanish matches are scored with the distant beat of drums and constant, partisan noise, whereas English crowds are more likely to taunt the away team over their lack of support. Club-specific chants are common for the bigger sides, though Liverpool fans may tire after Anfield's 200th rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone.

In addition there's official league-specific branding and graphics, lineups being read out by stadium announcers (even in the lower leagues with less well-known players), and largely excellent commentators discussing real-life transfers and results. Together they make a game that replicates the experience of watching football and interprets the culture around the sport--the media, the fan adoration and anguish, and the obsession with following your team--more immaculately than ever.

FIFA 18 replicates the experience of watching football and interprets the culture around the sport more immaculately than ever

As FIFA continues to almost become a sports channel in itself, it also expands its repertoire of game modes every year. This year sees the narrative-driven Journey mode return for a second season, with Alex Hunter now a world-famous prodigy. The Journey sees few improvements over Season 1 beyond some greater customisation options (you can now change Hunter’s apparel and hairstyle, among other minor tweaks), and its cast produces the same mixed performances as last year. It remains a unique mode, but think of FIFA 18's Journey more similar to the second run of a middling TV show than anything else: it's the same, just more of it.

Elsewhere, Pro Clubs remains largely untouched--save for a Journey-style skill tree in which you need to acquire certain traits before others are unlocked--and Ultimate Team's winning formula has also been left mostly alone. The few new additions include Squad Battles, where you play a number of matches against other Ultimate Team clubs controlled by AI, before being ranked against other real-world players for the amount of wins you manage. They're a perfect alternative to the online FUT Champions for those who don't want to brave the wastelands of online multiplayer, or for those who don't have the time to commit to the latter's grueling schedule of qualification rounds and weekend tournaments. Meanwhile Daily Objectives, in which you're rewarded with coins or packs for, say, winning by over two goals or for scoring with a Serie A player (among other challenges) offer welcome new bonuses, particularly for Seasons players who have traditionally been subject to meagre rewards.

Finally, The Journey's influence has spread beyond Pro Clubs and into Career Mode, whose transfer negotiations have been overhauled--aesthetically at least. Instead of submitting your offer as an email, transfer talks are now conducted in real-time through interactive cutscenes. It's a largely superficial change since the only actual new feature is the ability to add release clauses and sell-on percentages to signings' contracts--the rest of the process is exactly the same, except with a human face rather than an inbox in front of you--but it's at least more exciting than seeing the same offer letter template written down for the hundredth time. Otherwise Career Mode is the same as ever, with the player conversation system feeling most stale--the emails players send to you are identical to the ones they've been sending for years now, and there's still no way to reply. It would've been nice to be able to speak with your team in a similar vein to the transfer negotiation cutscenes, though maybe that's a feature for next year.

Career Mode, Pro Clubs, and Ultimate Team's new features are undoubtedly incremental, but that's largely because what was already there was excellent. They each offer an entirely different way to play, with Career Mode offering the chance to control your favorite team, Pro Clubs being a great way to play with friends, and FUT being by far the most addictive and fun--especially for those who collected football cards as a kid.

It's off the pitch that EA excels. From the variety of game modes on offer and how everything's presented, to the constant updates in FUT's Team of the Week, Daily Objectives, and discussion of real-world happenings in commentary, FIFA 18 captures the world of football and confidently translates it into a video game. On the pitch, however, EA's soccer series is still lagging far behind PES 2018's more fluid, satisfying football. This year's improvements are welcome, but more needs to be done in the coming years if FIFA is to be a world-beater once again.

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Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 08:38:00 -0700)
Photography For Little People is looking for photographers to join their growing business.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - Photography News (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 09:02:23 GMT )
Here, we round up the best third party lenses available in Nikon fit which can be used for capturing landscapes, portraits, macro shots and more.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - Equipment Reviews (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 08:00:02 GMT )

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 )
Amazon UK has knocked £100 off the price of the Canon EOS 200D.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 09:46:25 GMT )
John Riley reviews the new Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master OSS telephoto zoom lens for E Mount Sony cameras.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - Equipment Reviews (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 09:00:07 GMT )
Eschenbach share some top tips for photographing the white-backed woodpecker.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 09:35:12 GMT )
Learn how to take top images of watery themed landscapes with our essential tips.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:10:03 GMT )
We've been shooting with the new Fujifilm Fujinon GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR lens for the Fujifilm GFX-50s.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 18:14:01 GMT )
The HDR-enabled 27" SW271 monitor from BenQ is designed for photographers.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:29:00 GMT )
Use these 8 tips to capture better portraits with your smartphone.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 11:04:15 GMT )
Take a look at some of the beautiful shots from Gillian Hyland's latest photo series.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:01:49 GMT )
Andrew Leggett shares his tips on using long exposures to create smooth waters and dreamy skies.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:34:38 GMT )
Full-size sample photos from the new Fujifilm X-E3, 24mp APS-C mirrorless camera from Fujifilm.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:53:17 GMT )
We've been shooting with the new Fujifilm Fujinon XF 80mm f/2.8 1:1 R LM OIS Macro Lens.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:42:31 GMT )
Brush-up on your wildlife photography skills with these top tips.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - Photography Techniques (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 00:10:03 GMT )

A new book, edited by Clive Woodyear, aims to provide inspiration for photographers. Within the book experienced and successful photographers talk about how and why they created their images...
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Source: ePHOTOzine - Book Reviews (Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:32:22 GMT )

Abandoned on the Plains: Fragments of the American Dream is a very interesting book that leaves you asking lots of questions.

Basically, the book documents one couple's tour of central A...
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Source: ePHOTOzine - Book Reviews (Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:22:27 GMT )

Photographing North Wales is a photo location guidebook by Simon Kitchin.

Simon is a seasoned landscape photographer and here he shares with us his passion for North Wales and all his fav...
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Source: ePHOTOzine - Book Reviews (Wed, 2 Dec 2015 11:32:56 GMT )

Bernhard Edmaier is a photographer who also happens to have training as a geologist and he uses his knowledge to create stunning images of earth, from the sky as well as on land, that educat...
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Source: ePHOTOzine - Book Reviews (Wed, 2 Sep 2015 14:24:09 GMT )
Sandal Castle stands in a commanding position overlooking the River Calder, to the south of Wakefield city centre. The castle is best known for the role it played in the Battle of Wakefield in 1460 du...
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Source: ePHOTOzine - Photo locations (2017-09-21 01:10:02)
Two New Yorkers — an aging lawyer and a young writer — make their way, separately, to Tel Aviv. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Sunday Review (Tue, 12 Sep 2017 09:00:20 GMT )
“Unbelievable,” by the NBC News correspondent Katy Tur, describes what it was like to be on the front lines during the Trump presidential campaign. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Sunday Review (Tue, 12 Sep 2017 09:00:16 GMT )
Jon Meacham on how Clinton’s chronicle of loss in 2016 compares with those of defeated candidates past. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Sunday Review (Wed, 13 Sep 2017 01:07:11 GMT )

The Rams will not go undefeated this season following their 27-20 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time for another episode of the Fearsome Twosome podcast with Lindsey Thiry and Gary Klein.

This week’s topics include:

Breaking down the Rams' loss... Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:30:00 PDT )
Van Halen returned to Los Angeles to perform to a hometown crowd at the Staples Center, where band members David Lee Roth, and Eddie, Alex, and Wolfgang Van Halen performed during their "Different Kind of Truth" reunion tour. Times pop music critic Randall Roberts says the performance was often lackluster. Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Pop Concert Reviews ( Sat, 02 Jun 2012 12:49:42 -0700 )
The New Zealand band the Clean has been around a long time but still packs energy, especially when it performs ‘Tally Ho.’ Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Pop Concert Reviews ( Thu, 31 May 2012 14:57:42 -0700 )
On day two of UCLA's annual JazzReggae Festival, Shaggy, Tarrus Riley, Collie Buddz, Alison Hinds and others showcased the many sounds of the Caribbean, from soca and reggae to reggaeton and lovers rock. Times pop music critic Randall Roberts offers an overview of the day. Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Pop Concert Reviews ( Tue, 29 May 2012 12:25:57 -0700 )
Nickelback has no official connection to the big-screen version of “Rock of Ages,” but on Friday night at Staples Center, it was hard not to think of the just-opened movie musical -- a flashy-trashy dramatization of the 1980s hard-rock scene... Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Pop Concert Reviews ( Sun, 17 Jun 2012 19:36:33 -0700 )
Now in its fifth year, Make Music Pasadena celebrates music at its most casual and community-focused, and has grown from a festival that once largely featured intimate, acoustic appearances in storefronts to one that can draw artists with national appeal. Boasting 149 performances and pop-up stages on Old Town's Colorado Boulevard and the Playhouse District's Madison Avenue, Make Music Pasadena is a large-scale event done on a budget. Ninety-nine percent of the artists appearing do not get paid, say organizers, and headliners such as electronic artist Grimes and peppy local rockers Grouplove were expected to bring at least 20,000 people to downtown Pasadena. Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Pop Concert Reviews ( Sun, 17 Jun 2012 17:39:47 -0700 )
Live: Lil Kim driven to give till it hurts: The hip-hop diva's ambitious if erratic show was almost too much for the compact confines of Key Club. Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Pop Concert Reviews ( Thu, 14 Jun 2012 17:51:14 -0700 )
LMFAO's Redfoo and Sky Blu stay in character and play debauchery for laughs and fun at Staples Center as part of Sorry for Party Rocking Tour. Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Pop Concert Reviews ( Wed, 06 Jun 2012 18:34:01 -0700 )
The Beach Boys reunited June 2, 2012, at the Hollywood Bowl for the band's first tour together in more than two decades. A review for the Los Angeles Times. Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Pop Concert Reviews ( Sun, 03 Jun 2012 13:21:26 -0700 )
If you closed your eyes during the sold-out Santigold concert at Club Nokia Friday night -- especially at any point in the first half -- it’d have been easy to feel like you were at one of the Hollywood Bowl’s annual flashback concerts featuring ‘80s British bands. Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Pop Concert Reviews ( Sat, 02 Jun 2012 13:49:57 -0700 )
Power 106 FM kept its annual summer hip-hop show, Powerhouse, old school and relatively orthodox, with rappers Snoop Dogg, T.I. and Young Jeezy leading a show that was light on the dance-oriented pop hits that dominate the airwaves. The Times' August Brown reviews. Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Pop Concert Reviews (Sun, 24 Jun 2012 17:40:41 -0700 )

Metroid is a Nintendo institution, one that dates almost as far back as the company's console business. The series includes phenomenal games like Super Metroid and Metroid Prime, two games that frequently appear on "best of" lists. But Metroid has been in a funk for the past decade and losing favor along the way. Fans don't want experimental spin-offs like Metroid Prime: Federation Force; they want to explore alien worlds as Samus Aran, hunt for high-tech equipment, and use it to dig even deeper into the unknown. Finally, with Metroid: Samus Returns, that call has been answered.

Why it took Nintendo so long to get to this point is anyone's guess, but Samus Returns is so good that it almost doesn't matter. A reimagining of the oft-maligned GameBoy game, Metroid II: The Return of Samus, Samus Returns is classic Metroid at heart.

As in the 1991 monochromatic classic, you hunt down dozens of powerful Metroids on planet SR 388 in an effort to eradicate the bioweapon species and keep them out of evil's hands. However, two key changes have occurred: the map has been greatly expanded and reshaped to more closely resemble what you might find in Super Metroid, and combat is more of a priority than ever. The latter is an effect of Nintendo bringing on Mercury Steam--the most recent developer to work on Castlevania--to develop the game. Thankfully (and most importantly), Samus Returns feels like a Nintendo-made Metroid, but it's still easy to spot Mercury Steam's influence--for the better.

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The most immediate contribution that you see is Samus' new parry action, a first for the series that allows you to counterattack and stun a rushing opponent. In turn, common enemies are more aggressive than usual, more liable to seek you out then wait for you to make the first move. Though parrying feels a bit strange at first as it brings your momentum to a temporary halt, you quickly learn the proper timing and understand how it fits into your repertoire, and when to rely on it.

You can also fire in any direction now thanks to the 3DS' analog stick. The same input is used for movement, which means you can really only fire at a few angles while running forward, but all you need to do when surrounded by enemies is hold another button to stand your ground and aim freely. Samus' newfound flexibility and physicality makes her feel like an even more capable hero, and makes the moment-to-moment exploration more lively than usual.

Considering that Metroid is more or less the foundation of so-called "Metroidvanias," games where you wander massive environments, poking and prodding walls and ceilings to reveal secret chambers and items, it's both curious and exciting when you unlock Samus' Scan Pulse ability. Triggering a pulse both reveals map layouts and information (including hidden passages) and temporarily highlights breakable objects in your environment. On one hand, this capability robs you of the unique joy that comes from isolating the one false brick in a wall, but it also means that you no longer need to waste time looking for secrets that may not exist.

To account for the bit of old-school joy that's now taken away (unless you opt not to scan your environment), Samus Returns makes the process of acquiring items you've located more difficult than usual. You're now often challenged to quickly juggle weapons, abilities, and maneuvers, without faltering, to reach items picked up during scans. This may involve slowing down time and activating Samus' Lightning Armor to negate damage while moving along a wall with electrified plants (two abilities that share a resource meter), morphing into a ball and laying bombs to destroy a brick, and finally sliding through the gap before it regenerates. There's a healthy balance between easy pickups and these puzzling scenarios, and compared to other 2D Metroids, it's far more fulfilling to work smarter, rather than harder, to reach 100% item completion--the real Metroid endgame.

For much of Samus Returns, that goal feels attainable thanks to your scanner. Sometimes you need to obtain a new piece of equipment or two before you can solve an item-related puzzle, but that's to be expected, and a handy multicolor marking system allows you to note where a specific weapon may be useful down the road. And by and large the game does a great job of providing insight into Samus' ever-growing capabilities, giving you the information you need to overcome specific obstacles. There is, however, one isolated blemish in this regard: a traversal maneuver with inconsistent behavior, depending on a very specific circumstance that's never mentioned or hinted at. Whether by design or by accident, this exception flies in the face of the game's otherwise clear and informative nature, and proves frustrating in a few specific and punishing locations.

Upgrades aside, the all-important Metroid battles are the other star of the show, and you will encounter over 40 of them during your mission at varying stages of the species' evolution. You initially battle with Alpha Metroids, the first step beyond the familiar jellyfish form. Without advanced weapons and defenses at the start, you will struggle a little while they dive bomb you from overhead, but their always-exposed weak points make them easy targets. The next few evolutions are notably more powerful, but ultimately pale in comparison to Omega Metroids, towering quadrupedal beasts that can quickly climb walls and spew damaging fireballs. More than simply for the sake of personal gratification, hunting for hidden items in your environment feels necessary to survive some of your first encounters with the more advanced Metroid evolutions.

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Granted, while these boss battles are more involved and enjoyable than fighting common enemies, there comes a time when facing even Omegas stops being exciting. But Samus Returns has some tricks up its sleeve, introducing a few surprise battles that help break up the action overall, and subtly reinforce Metroid II's critical link to the rest of the series.

However subtle it may be, told only through an expository intro, an unlockable gallery, and to a small degree through SR 388's environments, Samus Returns' story and lore will resonate with anyone who's familiar with Chozo, the origin of Metroids, and Samus' role in their future. For anyone else, the implications therein will likely fly over their heads. Smartly, Mercury Steam and Nintendo have elegantly incorporated these details so as to not distract an uninterested player. Samus Returns is at its best when you are engaged in exploration and combat, and thus sink deeper into the planet and into isolation. These are things anyone can enjoy, and the game never lets teasing and pleasing fans get in the way.

As the first 2D Metroid game in over a decade, Samus Returns faces unfairly high expectations. Mercury Steam's involvement, a team known to play fast and loose with classic game traditions, was also a potential red flag for some. In hindsight, there was never anything to worry about, and a lot to look forward to. Samus Returns is both a return to form and a look to the potential future for 2D Metroid games, where combat plays a bigger role and exploration involves clever thinking rather than persistent guessing. Fans get more than they bargained (and hoped) for, and everyone else gets an excellent 2D action game with one of the most captivating and capable video game heroes around.

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Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Tue, 12 Sep 2017 05:00:00 -0700)
The Somerset Levels are a unique landscape of marshlands, rivers, rhines and farmland re-claimed from flooded salt marsh. The Yeo flows right through it and has a footpath for almost all its length, ...
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Source: ePHOTOzine - Photo locations (2017-09-21 01:10:02)
Burrow Mump is a striking, yet diminutive, hill standing proud above the Somerset Levels. Sometimes confused with the much larger Glastonbury Tor this 80ft high hillock is topped with the dramatic rui...
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Source: ePHOTOzine - Photo locations (2017-09-21 01:10:02)
Melton country park has woodland walks, a weir where there are always ducks and swans gathering, a large lake with many different species of birds. There are also some Muntjac deer around however I ha...
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Source: ePHOTOzine - Photo locations (2017-09-21 01:10:02)
Yorkshire Water Reservoir (North East of Wakefield). Free car park just off Haigh Moor Road and easy access round the reservoir....
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Source: ePHOTOzine - Photo locations (2017-09-21 01:10:02)

Television writer-producer Bruce McCoy has listed his longtime home in the desirable Oaks section of Los Feliz for sale at $1.378 million.

Set up from the street and reached by a private driveway, the 1949 cottage weds vintage modernist details with updated interiors. Features include Douglas fir...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:00:00 PDT )
From conquistadores to modern cultural enclaves, these books trace the centuries-long Latino experience in the United States. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Sunday Review (Wed, 20 Sep 2017 20:45:50 GMT )

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could have fined Wells Fargo & Co. more than $10 billion for its illegal sales practices but instead settled for $100 million, according to the agency's internal documents released by congressional Republicans this week.

The CFPB also had evidence that the...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:00:00 PDT )

SyFy's Channel Zero has a fantastic premise: It adapts creepypastas--viral scary stories from all corners of the internet--into 6-episode seasons of prestige horror TV. That leaves the show's creator, Nick Antosca, with the fascinating task of hunting down those creepypastas' authors so he can get permission to use the source material.

Channel Zero's first season, which aired last year, adapted the 2009 creepypasta "Candle Cove" by author and webcartoonist Kris Straub. Season 2, which premieres tonight, tackles writer Brian Russell's "NoEnd House." In both cases, the authors weren't hard to find, but Antosca told GameSpot that that isn't always the case--especially where Channel Zero Season 3 and Season 4 are concerned.

"Part of what's important to me on this whole process of adapting creepypastas is giving the authors of the original creepypasta their due," he said. "In the case of Candle Cove and No-End House, those authors are actually pretty well known. Kris Straub is a successful cartoonist. Brian Russell's name is right on the story, and Brian Russell, interestly enough, works on the Exorcist TV show on Fox. So he's around LA."

"Without giving away the stories that we're using for installments three and four, those authors were a little bit harder to track down," he continued. "In one case, I just did a bunch of internet research myself. In another case, we had a researcher on the show do some tracking, and we found them and reached out to them. And as you might imagine, they're pretty excited to be contacted about this. So we option the story and try to keep them in the loop."

Creepypastas have traditionally appeared on message boards and forums ("NoEnd House" was first published on 4chan), often from anonymous users or users with cryptic pen names, and throughout the internet's history they've gained traction with dedicated creepypasta readers and casual web browsers alike. Adapting them for television presents unique challenges that Antosca, a horror author and TV writer himself, is uniquely qualified to tackle.

"I've been reading these stories for many years. I have been, at various points in my life, an insomniac, and you stay up late at night going down Wikipedia rabbit holes," he said. "I don't purport to say these are canonical versions of the Creepypastas. Obviously we take the original, we adapt elements of it, we use the original premise, and then we invent and put our own stamp on it. The way I look at it is each season of Channel Zero is like a nightmare that you have after reading the story it's based on. It's our fan fiction of the original creepypasta."

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The original "NoEnd House" story is about a haunted house whose every room is scarier than the last. Its popularity comes largely from the twist: Even when you think you've escaped the house, you're actually still inside. Tonight's Channel Zero: No-End House premiere, "This Isn't Real," follows main characters Margot (Amy Forsyth), Jules (Aisha Dee), Seth (Jeff Ward), and J.D. (Seamus Patterson) on their journey through the house. The rest of the season will cover what happens after they leave it.

"What was exciting to me about 'NoEnd House' was it has this great baked-in horror premise of the haunted house and each room is scarier than the last. But the key thing that made me want to adapt it was this idea of you think you're out of the house, and then you start to question whether what you perceive to be reality is, in fact, the last room of the house," Antosca said. "The feeling of powerlessness and confusion and uncertainty that would come from questioning your own reality seemed like an interesting analog for the experience of a young person trying to find themselves and facing a lot of uncertainty and pain in their life."

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So what does the future hold for SyFy's elegant horror anthology show? What about Channel Zero Seasons 3 and 4? The show is already renewed for those third and fourth seasons, but Antosca has yet to reveal which creepypastas they'll be about. He did provide some hints, though.

"We haven't tried too hard to adapt stories where we can't identify the author," he said. "If we have a bunch more seasons--which like, who knows?--I feel like at some point we might try. We might call up the legal department and be like 'How do we adapt 'Russian Sleep Experiment' if we can't find the author? And I don't know if there's a way to do that."

Luckily, "the community of creepypasta fans has been pretty supportive and excited about the show," he added. "I hope that they dig No-End House."

Channel Zero Season 2: No-End House airs Wednesdays on SyFy starting tonight, Sept. 20.

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Source: GameSpot Gaming Reviews (Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:15:00 -0700)

Somewhere, in the infinite void of space, is a planet with a race of transhumans that believes they can bring the dead back to life. A being named En has come here looking for a way to resurrect a loved one currently trapped in a red cube strapped to her back. What she will find is a seemingly endless labyrinth that puts her head to head with the most dangerous enemy: herself.

More accurately, the endless labyrinth of Ultra Ultra's Echo puts you head to head with yourself.

The labyrinth, as it turns out, is a decadent but sterile mansion, reminiscent of the alien hospice where Dave Bowman lives out the rest of his days in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The place is clean, but devoid of life. En eventually gets the lights back on, but activates something else in the process. What first manifests as ugly, malignant blobs on the floor eventually takes shape. Specifically, the shape of En. A labyrinth-wide blackout triggers every few minutes, knocking everyone out for a brief moment. When power and consciousness returns, the clones--called Echoes--reboot on their own. With each reboot, the Echoes become closer to a perfect copy of En, and even more determined to murder her.

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Therein lies Echo's biggest, most captivating twist: the labyrinth itself monitors En--her every movement, her every action--recording the data, and feeding it back to the Echoes. When the power reboots, the Echoes will have learned new skills directly from your actions. Use your gun to kill the Echoes, and the next reboot, all of them are suddenly trigger-happy crack shots. Sneak up behind an Echo to take them out with stealth, the next reboot, they will skulk around silently, looking for the perfect opportunity to sneak up and choke En to death. By default, the clones are afraid of water, but if they see you get in, the next reboot, that fear is gone. Echo is an intricate game of cat and mouse where the mouse keeps sharpening the cat's claws.

Fortunately for you, Echo intelligence has limits. Every system blackout wipes the progress of the previous reboot, so it's possible, with patience, for the Echoes to unlearn skills if they weren't used during the previous period of full power. Prior to a full blackout, there's a short period where the lights go out, and the labyrinth is processing the new data, i.e. not recording. These are the moments where En can act with impunity, using all the tools at her disposal to permanently put down an Echo, and traverse the environment freely without any of her movements coming back to sabotage her later.

Even then, En has her own limits. Every action, even the ammo for her gun, is tied to an energy cell system that can be refilled using "Suns" scattered around the labyrinth. But Suns aren't so ubiquitous that one can just spray-n-pray bullets, then vault over a table to hide before a full blackout. A big part of the game's challenge is tied to resource management, plotting a course which will leave En to safety, but with the means to defend herself if necessary, while also taking into account what the Echoes can currently do (and will be able to do) once you've executed your plan. Echo is the child of a little over a half dozen ex-patriates from Io Interactive of Hitman fame, and that pedigree shows itself in the amount of foresight needed to be successful in every stage.

As a whole, the game falters, but only slightly. The core story of En trying to resurrect her loved one is handled with admirable restraint. En herself is voiced by Game of Thrones' Rose Leslie, a subtle performance that has her balancing excitement and determination with just enough doubt to make Happy Ever After for this fool's errand uncertain. That doubt is further instilled by her ship’s coldly cynical A.I., London (voiced by Nick Boulton, already having a great year coming off of playing Druth in Hellblade), whose constant questioning and dialogue with En drives the story, and fills in the backstory, albeit to questionable results. The biggest problem is En and London dropping reference after reference to the history, religion, and lore of En's homeworld, but never really stopping to catch you up. It's still mostly comprehensible, but it's surprisingly dense, and much of it is spent filling in backstory, but not really pushing things forward until the end of the game is in sight.

The biggest problem is the labyrinth itself. It's a fantastic, evocative environment unlike anything one might expect to see, but the aesthetic starts to wear thin in the later hours; the only break comes from the occasional transitional maintenance area that separates major milestones. Add in the fact that, with the exception of a late level opponent, both En and her enemies are all the same model, and there's a numbness that starts to sink in after playing the game for extended periods. One type of section, where En must collect dozens of purple orbs to open an elevator to the next area, stretch out far longer than necessary. These are often the sections compounded by the game's sporadic save points, which sometimes drop En a minute or two from the next door, but sometimes don't trigger until you've been running, jumping, shooting for twenty minutes in an area, and all it takes is one Echo's lucky shot to end her, and erase all that progress.

Figuring out how to and how not to teach the game's enemies what to do is a stupendously gratifying process.

Fortunately, though often tricky and uncompromising, Echo never feels impossible, or cruel. However, it does require constant thought and consideration. Figuring out how to and how not to teach the game's enemies what to do is a stupendously gratifying process, in that same magical way a game like Portal rewires the player's brain to think in a whole other dimension than just where to insert bullets. It could benefit from variety, but it's a stellar use of A.I. programming, regardless, one that we will likely--and ironically--see imitated but never duplicated in the future.

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Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:42:00 -0700)

To the editor: President Trump’s speech to the United Nations again illustrates his arrogance, ignorance and disregard for what is really at stake on the world stage. (“In first U.N. speech, Trump derides Kim Jong Un as ‘Rocket Man’ and threatens to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea,” Sept. 19)

His...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:00:00 PDT )

In some ways, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and 2017 were made for each other.

On the one hand, the Canadian agit-rock instrumental collective has decried rampant capitalism, the military industrial complex and what it considers a crumbling world since its 1998 debut, “F#A# (Infinity),” opened with...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:00:00 PDT )

Travelers who check at least one bag when flying domestically are paying more overall to fly than they did before airlines began unbundling fares in 2008 and charging separately for checked baggage, a government watchdog has found.

A report by the Government Accountability Office said airline officials...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:05:00 PDT )

Travelers who check at least one bag when flying domestically are paying more overall to fly than they did before airlines began unbundling fares in 2008 and charging separately for checked baggage, a government watchdog has found.

A report by the Government Accountability Office said airline officials...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 20 Sep 2017 12:00:00 PDT )
No, you can't turn your living room into a battlefield. But you can see what that sofa would look like if you bought it. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Wed, 20 Sep 2017 16:18:55 +0000)

True or false: In Alaska, it is illegal for an intoxicated person to be in an establishment that serves alcohol.

It sounds paradoxical, but it’s actually true. In “I Fought the Law: Photographs by Olivia Locher of the Strangest Laws from Each of the 50 States” (Chronicle Books; $16.95), Locher...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews ( Wed, 20 Sep 2017 08:00:00 PDT )

A week after state legislators sent Gov. Jerry Brown bills to address California's lack of affordable housing, the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects will host two tours highlighting low-cost housing in South L.A. and Hollywood.

The first tour, Single-Family Solutions in...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 20 Sep 2017 06:30:00 PDT )
We review the Nikon KeyMission 170 - Nikon's ultra-wide angle action camera with 4K video recording.
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Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:48:43 GMT )

Bellator MMA will return to the Forum on Jan. 20 by flexing the strength of its deep welterweight division, matching champion Douglas Lima against former UFC title challenger Rory MacDonald.

“When I signed with Bellator, I made it clear I wanted to take over — multiple weight classes and multiple...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:00:00 PDT )


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