Headlines from arround the world


CATEGORIES
Big News Network Big News Network
Big News Network - Business Big News Network - Business
Big News Network - Cities Big News Network - Cities
Big News Network - Countries Big News Network - Countries
Big News Network - Regions Big News Network - Regions
Big News Network - US States Big News Network - US States
BBC News BBC News
CNN CNN
Economy Economy
Europe Europe
Food & Nutrition Food & Nutrition
Health & Health Care Health & Health Care
Lifestyle Lifestyle
Mail Online Mail Online
Motoring Motoring
Other News Sources Other News Sources
Photography Photography
Science & Technology Science & Technology
Sports Sports
Sport - American Football Sport - American Football
Sport - Athletics Sport - Athletics
Sport - Baseball Sport - Baseball
Sport - Basketball Sport - Basketball
Sport - Car Racing Sport - Car Racing
Sport - Cricket Sport - Cricket
Sport - Football Sport - Football
Sport - Golf Sport - Golf
Sport - Hockey Sport - Hockey
Sport - Ice Hockey Sport - Ice Hockey
Sport - Sailing Sport - Sailing
Sport - Soccer Sport - Soccer
Sport - Rugby Sport - Rugby
Sport - Tennis Sport - Tennis
Reuters Reuters
The Adelaide Now The Adelaide Now
The Australian The Australian
The Daily Express The Daily Express
The Daily Telegraph The Daily Telegraph
The Guardian The Guardian
The Gazette The Gazette
The Herald Sun The Herald Sun
The Herald Sun Melbourne The Herald Sun Melbourne
The Independent The Independent
The Jerusalem Post The Jerusalem Post
The Jordan Times The Jordan Times
The Korea Herald The Korea Herald
The New York Times The New York Times
The New Zealand Herald The New Zealand Herald
The Perthnow The Perthnow
The Pravda The Pravda
The Sydney Morning Herald The Sydney Morning Herald
The Telegraph The Telegraph
The Times of India The Times of India
The Toronto Star The Toronto Star
The Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal
The Washington Post The Washington Post
Travel Travel
Typically Spanish Typically Spanish
USA TODAY USA TODAY
Yahoo World News Yahoo World News
CONTENT
FEATURED NEWS FEEDS


NEWS (LAST 200)
Powerball reveals $447.8M winner in Cali...
Shedding light on the other breast cance...
Club-hopping where blues music got dirty...
Hear Simpsons daughters emotional remark...
He could be NFLs first openly gay player...
Woman retakes photos in same spots 30 ye...
French singer dies on stage of suspected...
Ingenious victim inflicts karma on IRS p...
All-girl robotics team symbolizes a new ...
These Obama staffers knew just how compl...
Man 'killed friend by stabbing him ...
Diane Abbot makes another number blunder...
The 11 Best Off-Roaders That Aren't ...
Florida man shoots tyres on trucks parke...
Unilever first half profits soar 22.4 pe...
This is not a Facebook Live of a rotatin...
Robbery victim to testify in favor of Si...
Tieless LibDem peer leads quiet revoluti...
World War I Fast Facts
Chester Bennington dead: Linkin Park sin...
Duke takes mans job at beer celebration ...
Police: 2 Burundian teens reported missi...
OJ Simpson makes case for freedom before...
Linkin Parks Chester Bennington dead, co...
Album John Lennon signed for Mark Chapma...
Mice caught on tape at a Dallas Chipotle...
OJ Simpsons prison parole plea in Nevada...
Elon Musk says he has verbal approval to...
Wimbledon concerned about match-fixing...
Asif Ali Zardari Fast Facts
Black judge removes flag with Confederat...
Republicans move to kill rule that made ...
Norway Terror Attacks Fast Facts
Watch live: Parole board deliberates abo...
Jerusalem -- an urgent issue for Trump a...
Princess of Hearts German media goes cra...
Chinas navy expands reach: Ships in Balt...
Elon Musk to build underground 760mph hy...
LIVE UPDATES: Parole board to decide on ...
I did my time - OJ Simpson parole plea...
Huge London fire sees area sealed off as...
Vince Cable says hard Brexit 'can b...
Senator McCain vows to fight cancer, ret...
The crime that landed O.J. Simpson in pr...
Family of woman killed by Minn. police h...
Alex Rodriguez Fast Facts
Beware: 20 Medications That Cause Memory...
Ryan Seacrest returning to American Idol...
10 Exercises That Burn More Fat Than Run...
Brexit: EU won't sign trade deal if...
Romano Prodi Fast Facts
Dali is exhumed to test if fortune telle...
Coincidence? Naga Munchetty & Charlie St...
Turkey-backed rebel reinforcements arriv...
Opinion: The debt ceiling is dumb -- and...
Corbyn says Grenfell fire sent 'ter...
Winning numbers drawn in Lucky Links Day...
British Open Leaderboard: Spieth, Koepka...
Antalyaspor want Jack Wilshere: Turkish ...
See O.J. Simpson laugh with parole commi...
iPHONE 5 (unlocked) (Astoria) $10...
The Latest: Venezuelas Maduro says gener...
Ultra HI-END speakers~~A steal! (Worcest...
VINTAGE RADIO AS/IS (((ZENITH)))) (KEW G...
Dish Network DP34 Switch (Hicksville) &#...
Palestinian killed by Israeli forces fol...
Real street food: Urban foraging in Los ...
Montgomery County police identify man ki...
History’s ‘Unknown Woman.’ Few car...
University of Central Florida rescinds s...
Russia introduces football discriminatio...
Lena Dunham will join election-themed se...
Kingston 32GB DataTraveler Micro Memory ...
Gold Beats Headphones in box (Ditmas Par...
Recoton Power Wave 600 Amplified TV Ante...
NEW Apple Ipad Pro 12.9" Smart Cover Cha...
VINTAGE FISCHER 500C TUBE RECEIVER W/CAB...
ELECTRONIC LIQUIDATION TAPE DECKS TUNE...
Sony Trinitron Remote Control Model: RM-...
How to watch Gold Cup, International Cha...
Springfield man convicted of fatal shoot...
They escaped Islamic States bastion, but...
For The Navajo Nation, Fry Bread Is A So...
ECB Puts Off Verdict on Stimulus, Leavin...
For The Navajo Nation, Fry Bread Is A So...
O.J. Simpson parole hearing updates: ‘...
New controversy about UC Berkeley and Be...
Its time to shut R. Kelly down. For good...
GM Eases Summer Production of Chevrolet ...
Milan bourse closes 0.19% down (2)...
Infinity Primus PC250 Center speaker (si...
Dish Network Dish Pro LNB 500 Plus (Hick...
GOT speaks to todays anxiety Harington t...
Secession exhibit shows works from Vienn...
BMW favouring Oxford to build new electr...
Forum owners sue Inglewood over efforts ...
Pasolini killer Pelosi dies (3)
Trump Interview, McCain Cancer Diagnosis...
Despite novel perspective, the found-foo...
Kodi magazine directs readers to pirate ...
Isabelle Huppert enlivens otherwise flat...
Is that a drone at the door?
New PSN Flash Sale Launches For PS4, PS3...
New Screenshots Of Vampire RPG Code Vein...
BP Said to Be Shopping Its North Sea Oil...
One in four KiwiSaver investors say fees...
What a president with nothing to hide wo...
U.S. Fines Exxon $2 Million Over Russia ...
Zillow and VHT appeal $4 million copyrig...
Real Madrid shifting US tour into compet...
2 Smart New Novels Find Humor In Fantasi...
Whats Next In Syria After U.S. Stops Arm...
Amid Oil Boom In Texas, An Increase In O...
Jenny Slate stars in tired 90s-set famil...
Apple Music to Feature Exclusive Arcade ...
Sen. Kamala Harris wants to study whethe...
Barbet Schroeder sets moving sociopoliti...
Trump says he sat with Putin at dinner b...
Valeri Qazaishvilis promising debut a br...
YouTube TV expands to 10 new markets...
ExtraTime Radio: Talking All-Star snubs,...
Californias newly revised rules on recal...
California politics updates: Lawsuit see...
Diagnosing Heavy Drug Use In The Legal P...
U.S. ends airline laptop ban: New securi...
D.C. fire department searches home for p...
Ekuru accuses NASA of plot to rig polls ...
Brian Fallow: Debt falls, but were not h...
Chris Froome Keeps Tour de France Lead; ...
Samsung 32" Smart TV (Upper East Side) &...
Guitar speaker amplifier (queens Astoria...
48" INSIGNIA LED TV, LIKE NEW!! $...
Garmin dezl 5-Inch Truck GPS, red camera...
Court: Parents need not be neglectful to...
Jigsaw movie trailer: Saw 8 is the most ...
Golf - British Open: Ryan Fox, Michael H...
Stormers have been coached to play prope...
John Drinnan: Sticking with the Breakfas...
Theater: He Spent His Life in Theater. H...
Whats your most embarrassing pet story?...
Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Phil Nevill...
Stock Takes: Playing both sides of the T...
Manchester United turn to PSG's Ser...
Fans decide crickets best sledge
Ella Fitzgerald is easy to love — but ...
Republicans introduce bills to scrap new...
Hear O.J. Simpson speak
Sale Of NBAs Houston Rockets Could Set R...
Hayao Miyazaki adventure Kikis Delivery ...
A Cheap Fix for Climate Change? Pay Peop...
Elon Musk says hes received verbal appro...
Music therapy program for children estab...
Watch Latest Saw Movies Terrifying First...
Women in sports and women in food: this ...
AlphaBay, the largest marketplace on the...
Watch live: Nobodys ever accused me of p...
Winning numbers drawn in Play4 Day game...
Actor Red West, longtime Elvis confidant...
Theres Actually A Game Called PWND Out T...
3 charged with helping South Carolina in...
US indictment accuses accountant of frau...
Nearly half of liberals can’t even sta...
Alvaro Morata to Chelsea: Spain striker ...
‘Maintain public confidence’: Obama...
‘Help us!’: St. Louis inmates strugg...
Winning numbers drawn in Play3 Day game...
New Jersey fisherman tries to save 2nd m...
It’s time to shut R. Kelly down. For g...
The Latest: Assembly Republicans accept ...
How to watch Gold Cup, International Cha...
O.J. Simpson parole hearing updates: Ive...
VWs settlement in emissions scandal reac...
Nearly half of liberals cant even stand ...
Two veteran center backs to face off in ...
Thousands of extra IDF troops put on cal...
Two of six African teens missing after r...
Chris Froome concedes time but remains o...
US survive, but Bruce Arena not pleased ...
SECURITY VIDEO DVR surveillance CAMERA C...
‘I want to undress you in kisses’: M...
Bolt, Van Niekerk set to shine in Monaco...
Witnessing the indescribable: Why I’ve...
Your A-to-Z guide to the media mayhem du...
IMF Falls Short of Transparency Rules as...
Beth Ditto, Oo La La (Live)
Russia in talks with US to create cybers...
Son of Cecil the lion killed by trophy h...
Catch Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbar...
You can never have too many zucchini rec...
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plan...
Afternoon links: Oregon takes children a...
Why I Prefer Shooting with Nikon 1...
PC/Xbox One Overwatch-Esque Shooter Giga...
Elephant seals use 'musical minds&a...
Bringing the Indian culture of chai to A...
Woman dead, son critically wounded in Ok...
Recovery proceeding but slow reforms a d...
Tour: Aru crumbles on Izoard, falls to 5...
Italy shd stop moving migrants from isla...
Fresh Air Remembers Oscar Award-Winning ...

REVIEWS & PREVIEWS (LAST 60)
Exxon Mobil fined $2 million for sanctio...
Update on Grandparents are exempt from T...
Why & How To Choose A Manual Focus Lens ...
7 Items for Grilling on Your Tiny Apartm...
Specialized Turbo Vado 6.0 Review: Leave...
The Wearables Giving Computer Vision to ...
It’s Time for Amazon to Make a Phone A...
The Professional American Flag Football ...
Loupedeck Photo Editing Console Review...
What O.J. Simpson can teach us about par...
Fiction: An Oliver Twist of the Congo, W...
Nonfiction: How Inequality Erodes the Fo...
By the Book: Calvin Trillin: By the Book...
Nonfiction: A New Biography Looks at Sar...
2017 Magnum And LensCulture Photography ...
7artisans Show New 50mm f/1.0 Lens...
Photographing The Montagus Harrier...
Canon EOS 77D Review
Trump regrets hiring Sessions, and vents...
Comic-Con 2017 Exclusive T-Shirt Giveawa...
CBS signs three performers to main "Hawa...
Pack your lightsaber! Immersive Star War...
Sony Alpha a9 Review
2017 Roundup: $1200-2000 ILCs: crop-sens...
Review: Grimes, Grouplove and more at Ma...
Shaggy, Alison Hinds, Tarrus Riley shine...
Live: Santigolds retro party
Photographing North Wales
Live: The Beach Boys at the Hollywood Bo...
Cinetics Lynx motion control system revi...
Fujifilm X100F Review
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus camera first impress...
Sandal Castle, Wakefield
Hasselblad X1D-50c First Impressions Rev...
Godox Ving V860 II flash review
Abandoned on the Plains: Fragments of th...
Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Review
2016 Camera Roundups
Burrow Mump, Somerset
Melton country park
Live: LMFAO has fun with debauchery...
Nonfiction: The Austen Legacy: Why and H...
Live: The Clean stays youthful at the Ec...
Review: Power 106 FMs Powerhouse at Hond...
Final Fantasy 14: Stormblood Review...
River Yeo, Somerset
Ardsley Reservoir, Near Wakefield
Capture Patterns On Your Travels
Live: Lil Kim good, not quite great at K...
2017 Roundup: $1200-2000 ILCs: full-fram...
How to Take Great Photographs
Very Rare NES Game Sells For Huge Price...
Review: Nickelback at Staples Center...
WATER
Van Halen at Staples Center: Arena rock ...
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED Review...
All the Gear You Need to Stay Secure Whi...
Meal Kits Reviewed: Amazon Fresh, Blue A...
Leica TL2 Touchscreen Camera: Specs, Pri...
Google’s New Feeds Show You the Intern...


Professional photographer Anna Kelaidi believes we should be paying more attention to old, manual focus lenses and here's why.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:54:37 GMT )
This bike's Turbo mode turns a steep hill into a Mary Poppins joyride. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Tue, 11 Jul 2017 14:00:00 +0000)
This isn't the flag football of your childhood. It's football with high-tech equipment and a social media presence, designed for the short attention span of the modern viewer. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Tue, 11 Jul 2017 11:00:00 +0000)
For those of us confined to tiny balconies, or even a roof, grilling is a challenge. But it's not impossible. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Sun, 02 Jul 2017 11:00:00 +0000)
From a hacked Google Glass to a VR-like headset, these are the devices empowering the blind. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:00:00 +0000)
Who cares about the Fire Phone flop? If Amazon doesn't make another phone, it'll squander its hard-won Alexa lead. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Thu, 20 Jul 2017 11:00:00 +0000)
The Loupedeck Console can be used to edit images in Lightroom with buttons and dials and we've got our hands on it.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:44:16 GMT )

The marathon murder trial of O.J. Simpson in 1995 educated a generation of Americans about the criminal justice system. Now it’s time for O.J. The Sequel, as the former football star faces a Nevada parole hearing in a bid to win release after serving nine years of a 33-year sentence for robbery...

Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (jeu., 20 juil. 2017 04:00:00 PDT )
The humorist, memoirist and journalist likes the way H.L. Mencken expressed himself, for instance in his definition of Puritanism: “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” Read More

Source: The New York Times - Sunday Review (Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:00:02 GMT )
In Elaine M. Hayes’s “Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan,” a classic jazz singer turns husbands into managers and listeners into fans. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Sunday Review (Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:00:22 GMT )
The orphan narrator of Alain Mabanckou’s “Black Moses” is among the novelist’s most heartbreaking and darkly humorous creations. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Sunday Review (Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:00:22 GMT )
Two new books argue that inequality destroys openness to new ideas and opportunities as well as the conviction that all citizens are morally equal. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Sunday Review (Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:00:22 GMT )
7artisans has shown a new range of manual focus lenses, available for a number of lens mounts, including Micro Four Thirds, E-Mount, X-Mount and Leica M.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:38:39 GMT )
The winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards have been announced.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:35:00 GMT )
Here are some top tips and information from Eschenbach on photographing the Montagu's harrier.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:04:59 GMT )
We review the Canon EOS 77D, Canon's mid-range APS-C Digital SLR, with improved shooting speeds, and updated AF.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - Equipment Reviews (Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:00:06 GMT )

We're giving away fifty (50) San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive T-Shirts from our GameSpot Universe channel! Whether you'll be at the convention or watching from home, we want to give you a chance to win free swag. Giveaway ends on Sunday, July 23rd at 5:00pm PT, open worldwide, void where sweepstakes are prohibited. Winners will be notified via email. Enter below.

GameSpot Universe is our official entertainment channel focused on comics, movies, TV, anime, giveaways, and more! We find you movie easter eggs, recap shows like American Gods, Game Of Thrones, and Twin Peaks, and tell you who the hell are certain comic book characters like Cable from Deadpool.

Read More

Source: GameSpot Gaming Reviews (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 19:18:00 -0700)

At its D23 Expo fan fest in Anaheim last weekend, Disney revealed plans for an immersive “Star Wars” hotel designed to take you into a galaxy far, far away at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Get ready to put on a uniform, board a starship and embark on an adventure with characters such as BB-8...

Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:40:00 PDT )
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, ...
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - Photo locations (2017-07-20 01:10:00)
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...
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - Photo locations (2017-07-20 01:10:00)
From the role-playing of modern Janeites to the theatrical performances that inspired Austen’s own work, three books explore her roots and her legacy. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Sunday Review (Tue, 11 Jul 2017 09:01:21 GMT )

While Final Fantasy 14's expansion Heavensward brought a tide of questions about the MMORPG’s longevity, there was far less community concern with Stormblood. In fact, Early Access was so popular that the servers couldn’t handle everyone who had shelled out to catch a glimpse of Ala Mhigo, and some fans were locked out of touching any of the new content until a few days into the release. However, any discontent there hasn’t damaged the expansion’s reputation all that much--servers have never been this full, and the reason is pretty simple: Final Fantasy XIV has never been this good.

There was a long slog between A Realm Reborn and Heavensward that was the bane of every player who joined late in the game. Notably, there was a lot of grumbling about the fact that Heavensward's new classes were locked behind a wall of Main Story Quests. Thankfully, this restriction does not exist in Stormblood. New players have the option of purchasing a single-use leveling boost with expedited access to new content, as well as scenario boosts which allow players to skip both A Realm Reborn’s and Heavensward’s storyline, enabling you to jump into current content without a care in the world. While those boosts capitalise on convenience in terms of leveling, you miss out on entire swathes of narrative and early-game combat experience. Mastering your class is central to playing effectively at higher levels, and you won’t get that experience without doing the hard yards.

Stormblood is captivating and dramatic from the get-go, with a somber narrative that retains the dramatism that has been a hallmark of the franchise. There are some incredibly harrowing moments in the story, and it is adept at positioning players to ask uncomfortable questions about war. A conflict with the Garleans has been brewing for decades, and it plays out in dramatic fashion in Ala Mhigo; a symbol of resistance and a brutally colonised city-state. A Realm Reborn introduced you to the plight of the Ala Mighans, and their abuse at the hands of the Garleans reaches an exciting boiling point at the very start of Stormblood. The threats in Stormblood are readily apparent and eager for blood, and the series finally introduces villains that don’t exist solely to be hated. The narrative very quickly notes the realities of life under colonialism, and blurs the lines between righteousness and cruelty.

Hot goddess? Check. Murderous snakewomen? Check. Bad idea? Check.
Hot goddess? Check. Murderous snakewomen? Check. Bad idea? Check.

But don’t fret, it’s not all doom and gloom. One of the main attractions of Stormblood is the ability for you to swim and dive in the beautiful blue seas dotting Eorzea, Final Fantasy XIV's setting. There’s a whole new world under the sea that players have never been able to experience until now, along with a variety of fishing quests and swimsuit glamours for the occasion. Flying mounts will be able to swim underwater, and you have the option of using Striped Rays to travel between certain hubs thanks to some creative side quests. Swimming has been worked seamlessly into the existing landscapes, allowing you to enjoy everything from floating in well-loved haunts like Costa del Sol to discovering a cursed palace at the bottom of the ocean.

The new zones have a distinctly Asian flavour, and are well-integrated with their accompanying main story quests and side quests. As was the case with Heavensward, unlocking the ability to fly in each region is dependent on finding the right aether currents. However, you do get mount speed increases much earlier on, so seeing everything at ground-level isn’t as tedious as it used to be. There have been a host of other improvements to the game, notably in the form of incentivising players to take part in optional content such as Fates, which offer rewards ranging from adorable minions to limited edition furniture and glamours--perfect for when the new housing district opens. Not to be outdone, there’s been a proliferation of bigger, badder beasts to hunt as well as chains of Fates with their own isolated narratives to enjoy.

Singing the song of the sea.
Singing the song of the sea.

Out of all the changes, though, the most jarring is the way that classes were altered in the lead-up to Stormblood. There has been a huge overhaul of jobs, which sees cross-class skills being done away with in favour of skills specific to roles. This, in turn, means you don't need to invest in a number of off-classes to acquire these skills. It has taken some time for people to become familiar with the changes, and this can lead to a number of unfortunate early encounters because as a returning player, it can be difficult to get abreast of everything new. Trials are already known for being mechanically demanding at the recommended level, and the fact that they make up a decent chunk of Main Story Quest content leads to some overly frustrating queues and wipes if the party isn't completely acclimatised. However, bosses and their respective lore colour their encounters even more strongly in Stormblood than previous expansions, and the introduction of an unconventional duty that requires puzzle-solving instead of combat injects great variety into the proceedings.

In terms of how the classes fare now, the new Samurai and Red Mage feel like they have yet to be balanced. Red Mages are the cream of the crop when it comes to damage, and their high-mobility style of combat allows for an exhilarating mix of melee and ranged skills. Samurai is an incredibly strong class, and their abilities involve balancing and converting between multiple resources to sustain consistent DPS and to stick doggedly to a target. Notable skill additions to glam up the other roles include Rescue for healers, a Leap of Faith-type skill that lets you save a stubborn party member when they’re in over their head; Shirk for tanks, allowing you to divert your aggro to someone else; Peloton for ranged DPS, letting you breeze through low-level duties that much faster, and Mana Shift for casters, allowing you to give 20% of your precious MP to a struggling party member.

The face that launched a thousand party wipes on Ex.
The face that launched a thousand party wipes on Ex.

Stormblood is a hefty expansion, and while getting from Level 60 to 70 isn’t a complete slog, the entire campaign from start to finish will likely take about 50 hours if you’re filling in the storyline with side quests and exploring the beautiful landscapes. You’ll probably want to get more than one class to Level 70 as you wait for the first raids to drop, and there’ll be ample time to do so. If the final fight of Stormblood’s story was anything to go by, expectations for the new Savage difficulties on the horizon are also high. There are some annoying post-launch issues regarding instanced areas, as well as a new policy of kicking players in high-population worlds at peak times. However, Stormblood has already gone above and beyond the experience delivered in Heavensward, and there’s no doubt that Final Fantasy XIV now has the content and longevity it needs to keep players engaged.

Read More

Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Mon, 10 Jul 2017 17:00:00 -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 )
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 )
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 )
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 )
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 )
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 )
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 )
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 )
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 )

One of the rarest games out there, Stadium Events for Nintendo Entertainment System, has sold at auction for a huge price. According to to Kotaku, the rare game went for $41,977, but it wasn't a traditional auction.

The seller of the sealed Stadium Events copy intended to sell the game on eBay, but the person who won the auction reportedly didn't pay. The seller then connected with a "serious buyer," who paid the enormous sum to acquire the ultra-rare game.

Stadium Events, which saw a very limited release in 1987 and was paired with the short-lived Family Fun Fitness pad, is considered one of the first exercise games. It's incredibly rare on its own, and the fact that this one is factory-sealed certainly added to the appeal.

The identities of the seller and buyer have not been disclosed.

In 2015, a sealed copy of Stadium Events sold for $35,100, while an auction in 2010 saw a sealed copy sold for $41,300 according to Kotaku.

Who has copies of Stadium Events? The seller involved in the aforementioned 2015 auction told GameSpot that they worked for Nintendo and acquired it that way. After hearing about how much the game was worthy, they decided to sell.

Read More

Source: GameSpot Gaming Reviews (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 16:18:00 -0700)
Tips on searching for patterns to photograph while on his travels.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - Photography Techniques (Thu, 20 Jul 2017 00:10:03 GMT )
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...
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - Photo locations (2017-07-20 01:10:00)

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...
Read More

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...
Read More

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...
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - Photo locations (2017-07-20 01:10:00)
Yorkshire Water Reservoir (North East of Wakefield). Free car park just off Haigh Moor Road and easy access round the reservoir....
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - Photo locations (2017-07-20 01:10:00)

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...
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - Book Reviews (Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:22:27 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...
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - Book Reviews (Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:32:22 GMT )
John Riley reviews the bright aperture Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED wide-angle lens for full-frame cameras.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - Equipment Reviews (Tue, 18 Jul 2017 08:00:57 GMT )
The new TL2 has touchscreen controls, Wi-Fi, and bonkers image quality. It's simple enough to use that it works like a (very expensive) point-and-shoot. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Mon, 10 Jul 2017 13:00:00 +0000)
For the perfect road trip with kids, you need to pack a lot of stuff. The right stuff. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Sun, 02 Jul 2017 01:41:00 +0000)
With these accessories in your luggage, you can take your Opsec program everywhere you go. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 15:00:00 +0000)
We review ready-to-cook meal kits like the Amazon Meal Kit from Amazon Fresh. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 11:00:00 +0000)
Think of Google's new feeds as something like a recommendations list for the entire web. Read More

Source: WIRED - Product Reviews (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 07:06:00 +0000)

Two of the current wildfire season’s biggest blazes, the Alamo and Whittier fires, have ravaged tens of thousands of acres in California’s Central Coast region, in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, respectively. And the Alamo fire, after a day burning out of control, turned abruptly south...

Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 15:05:00 PDT )

SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk on Wednesday downplayed expectations for the upcoming demonstration flight of the company’s giant Falcon Heavy rocket, saying there was a “good chance” the vehicle would not make it to orbit in its first launch.

Musk gave insight into the Falcon Heavy development...

Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:05:00 PDT )
As Trump's voter fraud commission holds its first meeting this month, here's a look at what's been happening. Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:05:00 PDT )

Rumors are swirling that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Republican-appointed judge whose swing vote has preserved détente between the court’s left and right for nearly a generation, may announce his retirement in the next year.

The mere idea that Kennedy’s seat could get filled...

Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:16:00 PDT )

Disneyland’s Fastpass system, the ride reservation system that the park invented in 1999, has moved into the digital age.

The Anaheim resort launched a digital version of the ride reservation system on Wednesday. It operates from the park’s smartphone app, and unlike the free reservation system...

Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 12:10:00 PDT )

Reihane Taravati, an outspoken social media activist, was riding in a taxi the other day when she received a stern reprimand from the driver.

Unbeknownst to Taravati, 26, her headscarf — which Iranian women are required to wear as a show of modesty — had slipped down the back of her scalp, leaving...

Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 07:05:00 PDT )

Stocks are rising further in morning trading as healthcare companies, banks and consumer companies all gain ground.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals surged 25% Wednesday after it reported positive results from studies of a cystic fibrosis drug.

The technology component of the Standard & Poor's 500 index...

Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 07:10:00 PDT )
We take a look at the Fujifilm Instax SQ10, which enables you to preview images before printing them.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:47:05 GMT )
Alia Malek’s “The Home That Was Our Country” and Wendy Pearlman’s “We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled” channel voices from Syria’s war zone. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Sunday Review (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:00:28 GMT )
Gabe Habash’s debut, “Stephen Florida,” tracks the title character’s drive to succeed as a college wrestler. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Sunday Review (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:00:25 GMT )
Whatever the prose in “Slight Exaggeration” settles on — art, family, war, ideology — Adam Zagajewski is always writing about displacement. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Sunday Review (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:00:26 GMT )
In “The Islamic Enlightenment,” Christopher de Ballaigue reveals the Middle Eastern political and intellectual figures who grappled with modernity after Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Sunday Review (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:00:26 GMT )
We review the waterproof Olympus Tough TG-5 - a compact camera with 4K video and high speed shooting.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:00:01 GMT )
John Riley reviews the new wide-angle Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR zoom lens for APS-C Nikon Digital SLRs.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:00:01 GMT )
Adobe has announced more updates for Lightroom iOS and Android.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:04:57 GMT )
5 additional cameras and several lens profiles are now supported in Adobe Lightroom CC and Camera RAW.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:22:44 GMT )
Here are 15 quick tips to help you take better photos of stone circles.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - All Photography Articles (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:10:23 GMT )
1.0 stars out of 5: Stay home.
Although there is at least one earlier, less sexual, usage of the slang term "the d-train," referring to having a generalized bad experience, lately the expression has become more synonymous with the penis. That's because pop culture always needs...
Read More

Read More

Source: Movies.com - Dave White Reviews (Sat, 09 May 2015 01:33:01 GMT )
Read More

Source: Depreview - All Reviews & Previews (Sun, 04 Jun 2017 10:00:00 Z)

A Show Of Hands is a book full of images of people's hands.

You might immediately think that this an odd port of the body to take images with. Usually we go for someone's face, or use th...
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - Book Reviews (Wed, 23 Sep 2015 11:13:42 GMT )

Hospitals are emotionally complicated places, especially if you have to stay longer than a trip to the emergency room. It might be nosy, but when you're surrounded by other patients, bored in curtained-off rooms, it's natural to wonder about your neighbors--and worry about them, too. It's not always easy to tell who's on the mend or the decline, but you feel connected to them through the shared environment, often filling in the gaps of their story with your imagination to pass the time.

It's this feeling, this sense of a web of individual stories connected by pristine white hallways and the persistent smell of hand sanitizer, that Rakuen chooses as its stage. You take on the role of an ill boy confined to a hospital and kept company by his mother. Unlike nearly every other character introduced, their names and backgrounds are withheld. In their minds, their story isn’t the most interesting one in the building. Not compared to the man down the hall who can't remember where he is, or the little girl with the sullen face and a big jar of marbles at her bedside.

The tales of every other patient, not to mention the hospital itself, are woven into a fabled, storybook world, the titular Rakuen. Forged in the minds of the mother and her son during bedtime stories, the bright, pastel-hued setting is populated with a variety of creatures. The most important one, a slumbering forest spirit who can grant the boy a wish, compels you to search for the missing verses of a rousing melody. The boy and his mother explore Rakuen in search of this song and solve problems for a cast of characters that are based on other patients in the hospital. There's no combat to speak of--just a map opened up, bit by bit, through straightforward puzzle-solving and story progression.

No Caption Provided
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10

The real world and magical realm interact with each other in a way that makes it difficult to discern how much of it is really intended as metaphor, and Rakuen doesn't exactly strain to define that boundary. The question of whether or not this magic is real, whether or not the boy and his mother are stepping into another world, whether or not the problems resolved for the catlike creatures on the other side actually bear out in real life is left more or less unanswered.

Video games have a lot of good examples of dads taking the spotlight, but moms are still a little harder to come by in the medium. Even if that weren’t the case, the mother in Rakuen would still undoubtedly stand out. She’s so much more than an accessory to her son's story--and so much more than a passive companion to the player. Some of the game's most exceptional moments are her moments, and they take what might have been a trite, predictable set of story twists and render them impactful and important again. Without her presence, Rakuen wouldn't be half the story it is.

Rakuen--the place--is sweet and idyllic, full of clever details and locations that are cozy and comforting, and it matches the hopeful tone of the story well. But unavoidable shades of sadness and fear are present, too, and a stripe of a haunting, uneasy, not-quite-horror-but-damn-close aesthetic runs through the game to drive that aspect home. It strikes a good balance, offering well-timed reminders that no one can hide from reality between the pages of a book forever.

As appealing as meandering through a fantastical pastel landscape can be, an inordinate amount of backtracking and the lack of a sprint button combine to make it a bit tiresome.

The beauty of the artwork only makes the limited resolution options in the game all the more disappointing. Your can either play Rakuen fullscreen with the artwork stretched and looking rough, or you can opt for a very small window at the game's native resolution. Given that Rakuen was made in RPG Maker, this is an issue that isn't surprising given the outdated nature of the engine, but that doesn't make it any less unsatisfying.

As appealing as meandering through a fantastical pastel landscape can be, an inordinate amount of backtracking and the lack of a sprint button combine to make it a bit tiresome. Much of the world is gated behind the gradual acquisition of new tools and abilities, so the tedious movement will likely stifle your curiosity and dissuade you from poring over every part of the environment.

No Caption Provided

Unfortunately, there are also occasions when the rules for interacting with the world become lax without warning, creating undue confusion in the process. You might get stuck early on if you fail to realize that you can walk through a barrier made of caution tape. It doesn't break, and you don't need to duck or otherwise interact with it--you just walk through it somehow. Moments like this aren't uncommon, and while far from game-breaking, they blur conceptions of rules and logic that normally go hand in hand with puzzle solving.

For the first hour, nuisances like the one described above rise to the top, even so far as to overpower Rakuen's striking aesthetic. But shortly thereafter, when music becomes central to the story, your grievances begin to fade and you settle back into the world's charms. Rakuen's soundtrack (particularly the vocal tracks, many of which developer Laura Shigihara performs herself) will catch you off guard. Individual tracks act as stirring, truly endearing rewards for completing sections of the story. And when the game's theme music swells, and you finally to piece together the song you've been working towards all along, waking up the forest spirit feels like a genuine resolution.

There's no denying that Rakuen has some incredibly strong components. At the same time, it's hard to shake its more basic shortcomings, be it the technical limits of its engine or the plodding exploration. Its most brilliant and glowing scenes stand out and stick with you, but Rakuen remains just a dose or two short of healthy.

Read More

Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Mon, 10 Jul 2017 07:00:00 -0700)
1.0 stars out of 5: Pursue a ticket to a different movie.
Allow me to mangle Tolstoy for a minute, and say that each good comedy is good in its own way, but that all bad comedies are alike. There's variation, of course, but they all limp along on sad, weak legs and confused direction. They're airless...
Read More

Read More

Source: Movies.com - Dave White Reviews (Fri, 08 May 2015 21:06:08 GMT )

Congressional Republicans, their campaign to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in shambles, face mounting pressure to work with Democrats to make fixes to the 2010 healthcare law rather than roll it back.

But it remains unclear whether the White House and GOP leaders are prepared to reach...

Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Tue, 18 Jul 2017 16:15:00 PDT )

Ever Oasis is a cute hybrid RPG that attempts to mix Animal Crossing-like town building with an adventure along the lines of The Legend of Zelda. Its compound formula is appealing on paper, but for a while, Ever Oasis falls short of its potential. Its simplistic narrative, cutesy visuals, and basic town-building mechanics test your patience in the beginning. But when its principal ideas are given a chance to take root, it sprouts into a surprisingly absorbing adventure that consistently rewards your time and efforts.

Set in a hostile desert world, you play as a young creature called a Seedling, who with the help of a water spirit, is capable of creating a magical safe haven known as an Oasis. Your adventure begins in ruin as your brother's Oasis is attacked by Chaos, an evil force that seeks to devastate and corrupt all living things. It lays waste to the area and its inhabitants, but before Chaos can harm you, your brother teleports you to safety in the hopes that you may survive to create a new Oasis and gather up the strength to defeat Chaos.

Ever Oasis' main story never stretches too far outside its basic premise, rarely expanding upon its rudimentary good-versus-evil dynamic. Despite the stakes set by its grim introduction, it predominantly maintains a happy-go-lucky attitude in the face of conflict, and you seldom get a sense of how Chaos has gripped the land or its people. There are a couple moments where it's expanded upon, like the plight of the Lagora, a race of squirrel-cats who once cultivated a lush forest to produce water, only for it to be consumed by Chaos. Details like this offer valuable insight into the game's world, but they're too few and far between.

As a result, it isn't the narrative that pulls you into Ever Oasis. Rather, it's the slow process of building up your personal desert refuge that proves to be the game's most rewarding element. You expand your Oasis by convincing travelers to live there. This can be done by fulfilling their requests, which typically range from fetch quests to escort missions. Successfully convincing travelers to become residents of your Oasis feeds into Bloom Booths, which are shops they can run that sell specific wares, such as juice, books, or fabric. Once a booth is built, you supply it with items the owner needs to stock their goods. This in turn attracts visitors who come to your Oasis to shop, racking up money for you to purchase seeds to grow crops, materials for equipment synthesis, or additional Bloom Booths. It takes time to learn these tenets, mostly due to the game's slow and incessant tutorials, but once you're given the reins, the loop is quickly rewarding.

It's satisfying to build up your Oasis and see it steadily grow more vibrant and lush.
It's satisfying to build up your Oasis and see it steadily grow more vibrant and lush.

The wider variety of Bloom Booths your Oasis contains, the more people that come to visit; and the more people that live in your Oasis, the higher its level, thus increasing its size and real-estate space. Your thoughts are always locked on what you can do to maximize your profits and upgrade your Oasis, or how you can entice a specific traveler into visiting. There's great joy in sorting through and accomplishing the various odd jobs you're given, but what's most fulfilling is seeing your Oasis take on new life as it levels up, sprouting lush greenery, paving wider roads, and erecting stone monuments.

While you spend much of your time developing your Oasis, there are occasions when you must venture into the game's overworld--often to seek out residents or explore nearby caves for materials. Most of the game's locales are wide-open desert landscapes, which sounds dull aesthetically but is actually pleasing to the eye thanks to the way the game's day/night cycle changes the world's color palette. The environments are not as dense as they could be, sometimes coming across as small sandboxes more so than lived-in spaces, but they sport a sense of interconnectedness that remains satisfying to explore.

The ability to customize a party offers a welcome dose of strategy to combat.
The ability to customize a party offers a welcome dose of strategy to combat.

In your trek across the game's arid deserts, you often fight creatures tainted by Chaos' presence. Like much of Ever Oasis, combat is rudimentary and tedious at first, boiling down to dodging an attack at the right moment and counterattacking accordingly. But as you obtain more advanced maneuvers and abilities, fights start to become more exciting affairs, especially when you form a party of three of your Oasis' most formidable residents to accompany you. The ability to customize a party offers a welcome dose of strategy to combat, as utilizing the unique strengths of various characters becomes paramount to your success in the late game's more difficult fights. While combat can be fulfilling, inconsistent party AI frequently leads to moments of frustration. It's common to see your companions running headfirst into a brutal attack, and other times skillfully dodging out of harm's way. The issue is minor, but you're liable to adopt the habit of bringing extra healing items to accommodate your allies' sporadic incompetence.

A major highlight of the overworld is its dungeons. Each contains a varied mix of puzzles to solve and enemies to fight. The myriad puzzles you encounter are elaborate, requiring you to utilize the unique abilities of your party. Some characters can, for example, shapeshift. This particular ability comes in handy when you need one ally to become a ball and another to form a wall for the first character to ricochet off of. While none of the ordeals you face are particularly difficult, they're diverse enough to keep you consistently engaged. However, an issue that detracts from the pacing of dungeons is the constant need to return to your Oasis to change your party members to overcome specific puzzles. Fast-travel alleviates this annoyance to some degree, but the number of times you're forced to go back and forth breaks up the flow of dungeons, reducing the enjoyment of exploring and overcoming these trials.

No Caption Provided
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10

While Ever Oasis is rough in spots, it helps that the game maintains a consistent level of wonder, introducing new types of challenges in step with your acquisition of new tools and abilities. Small quality-of-life adjustments, such as the ability to send out resource-gathering parties and bulk Bloom Booth restocking, are introduced to alleviate the demands of your routine as the game's scope increases and you're forced to spend more time exploring. It understands your struggles the moment you experience them, smartly streamlining your ability to accomplish tasks before they can become problematic. But building up your Oasis demands patience, and that can be the most challenging aspect of all. While it's easy to initially write off the game based on its rudimentary narrative and overtly vibrant visuals, what becomes compelling as you play more is the sense of ownership you start to feel for your Oasis and the bonds you create with your allies.

Ever Oasis' tight blend of mechanics and activities are bound to keep you coming back for more well after completing it, if only to see what else you can do to develop your desert sanctuary. While the game's story isn't particularly moving, the consistent gratification of its incisive design makes it a satisfying adventure. Ever Oasis takes time to grow, but the return is well worth the wait.

Read More

Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Fri, 30 Jun 2017 17:07:00 -0700)

For better and worse, Star Trek: Bridge Crew is exactly what's advertised--it's a virtual-reality simulation of operating a Federation starship. For the first few moments, the sheer thrill of taking the Captain's chair in VR, looking around you to see crew members all working away at their stations, and issuing your first commands is all wonderful and novel. But the second you start yearning for new life, new civilizations, and to boldly go where no one has gone before, you find a game nowhere near that ambitious.

Set in the J.J. Abrams Trek universe, Bridge Crew's single-player campaign centers around the U.S.S. Aegis--which, after a brief training mission, sets forth on its task to help the Vulcans find a new home. This mission takes the Aegis into a Klingon-controlled territory, the Trench, and into the heart of a potentially ugly interstellar incident. You can fill one of four roles aboard the ship: the Captain issues orders to every other department from the holographic menu built into the player’s chair, the Helm puts you in the driver's seat, Tactical handles shields and weaponry, and Engineering determines how much power gets shifted to the ship's vital systems.

The single-player campaign is brief, but it acts as an extended tutorial on the ins and outs of running a starship. From the Captain's chair, you receive orders from Starfleet and issue the commands that lead the Aegis ever forward. However, particularly in single-player, those commands aren't as simple as just telling your crew to move forward at quarter impulse or fire phasers. Instead, they’re a piece-by-piece process that must be followed and timed just right, with every crew member involved performing their duties with precision. In single-player, even something as simple as warping involves opening a menu, setting the correct course, telling engineering to power up the warp drive, having the helm align the ship towards the target location, and finally issuing the order to perform the warp. The process becomes second nature over time, especially with a proper VR controller like the Playstation Move to navigate the menu-heavy UI.

No Caption Provided
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10

You also have the ability to temporarily switch to another position to take manual control over the ship's various functions and levers in single-player, but it's a lot to manage and not nearly the simple power trip you might expect. A.I.-controlled crew members have a nasty habit of being complete knuckleheads who don't know how to properly and strategically fly around obstacles when pursuing a target.

Bridge Crew is somewhat more immersive in multiplayer, where you can speak directly to your crew and coordinate actions by voice, but you need to meet certain requirements for it to go smoothly: four trustworthy crew members, all of whom know their roles inside and out, and who can pull it together long enough to take the game even marginally seriously enough to get through the trickier missions. The situation is helped by the fact that, thankfully, the game supports Cross-Play between PSVR, Rift, and Vive users, meaning there’s typically no shortage of players to fill all four roles. However, since voice chat goes through all sorts of different protocols via the uPlay service, consistent communication remains a problem. Even then, that's assuming you're not stuck with someone who won't stop quoting Galaxy Quest instead of remembering to keep your ship in low-detection mode in Klingon territory.

It didn’t happen often in my time with Bridge Crew, but sometimes the stars did, in fact, align with the right kind of crew: cheerful without being overly silly, strong in their roles, intuitive enough to question an order without the bridge descending into chaos, and being just plain fun, amiable companions. And once that miracle is accomplished, you're left to contend with Bridge Crew as a game. And that game is, ultimately, a fairly milquetoast space shooter.

No Caption Provided

The big issue really comes down to the fact that experiencing the minutiae of running a Starfleet ship is such a thin, pedantic aspect of what makes Star Trek a fascinating universe to play around in. It's always been strong character work and far-reaching sci-fi ideas and allegory that have elevated the dry space-navy material. There isn't nearly enough of the former here. The single-player campaign has a story, one that's even a decent jumping-off point from the Abrams films (albeit one that's deeply reminiscent of Mass Effect: Andromeda), but you aren’t making the truly hard decisions that define the best Starfleet captains, nor are you able to interact with your crew or even the ship outside of the bridge room in any meaningful way.

Even Trek’s infamous no-win Kobayashi Maru scenario--playable here as part of the game's introductory chapter--ends up as little more than a mindless shootout while attempting to transport the doomed vessel’s crew. The remainder of the campaign never really rises above that, content to be a game of traveling between systems, scanning areas and artifacts, transporting life forms, and fending off Klingon Birds of Prey from time to time. It's a game that crucially needs more interesting challenges that can't be solved with phasers.

It's still somewhat thrilling to inhabit the captain's chair on the bridge of a starship--at the bare minimum, Star Trek: Bridge Crew accomplishes that mission. When the game is at its best, the spirit of cooperation between various asymmetrical elements is encouraging--even special. In every other regard, however, Bridge Crew is forgettable the second you pull out of VR.


Read More

Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Thu, 22 Jun 2017 08:00:00 -0700)

Public transportation has never been my favorite part of city-building simulations. I’ve always treated it as something of a necessary evil--a hassle best dealt with by quickly laying down extra roads, bus lines, or whatever other available gimmick so that I could keep constructing the new subdivisions and industries necessary to keep my citizens healthy and happy.

Mass Transit--the latest addition to the growing Cities: Skylines family from developer Colossal Order--doesn't quite change my mind on all of this, as I'm also a real-world mayor who focuses on the big picture. However, it comes awfully close thanks to an effective collection of people-moving options, ranging from ferries to monorails to blimps. What's included here smooths out some kinks in the original game's transit systems, allowing you to build more efficiently running cities--albeit at the cost of some added micromanagement that moves the game well out of the virtual mayor's office.

Mass Transit is centered on two areas, largely addressed in the three new scenarios and three new maps that present fresh challenges when it comes to efficiently moving your citizens from Point A to Point B. The most obvious facet of the expansion is what it adds to city character. You're free to embrace the quirks of each city's particular geography. You can practice something of a "sea and sky" philosophy for coastal and mountainous locales, for instance, using monorails and ferries to link neighborhoods and give your cities something of a Vancouver or Seattle vibe.

No Caption Provided
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10

Since Skylines is pretty familiar to its fanbase at this point, being able to mix things up like this and put a fresh face on everything adds more to gameplay than you might imagine. The new Ferry Empire scenario offers a fairly light challenge when it comes to moving folks around your watery city, but it's set it on a unique, beautiful landscape. Authentically, you have to work within the constraints of this terrain and embrace a municipal vision that's far from the relative cookie-cutter metropolises seen elsewhere in Skylines.

The other focus is city efficiency. Mass Transit provides tools that make for better-running cities. Perhaps the best example of this comes in the form of the new hub buildings. These structures form central locations for public transportation. They allow you to concentrate your efforts and properly plan out transit systems--a big improvement from the more seat-of-the-pants concept of the original game, where you're pressured to jury-rig and make it up on the fly. Here, hubs afford more opportunities to sketch out transit and approach development from a top-down perspective. You have more control as a result and become able to address transit as part of core city infrastructure, just like with electrical lines, water pipes, and sewers in the past.

One problem is the size of new additions, though. Retrofitting cities with hubs and other transit buildings can be a major chore, since they're generally pretty big. The "Fix the Traffic" scenario sums up how challenging this can be, as you can't seem to help leveling about half the city to get the snarled traffic situation smoothed out. Even laying down facilities that are a little easier to work with--train tracks, for instance--is both tough to design and to fit in without doing even more demolishing.

Structuring transit routes can be finicky, too. Simply establishing ferry pathways and routes can be frustrating and requires more trial-and-error than should be necessary for something seemingly so straightforward. So, it's best to start with a clean slate with this expansion, something also advisable to best enjoy the suite of new game options (new road guidelines, for example) released as a free Skylines update alongside this expansion.

All of this combines to make Mass Transit more about micromanagement. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially if you're a control freak who wants to take a hands-on approach to everything in your city. But it does move Skylines further away from a simulation of what it's like to be the real mayor of a real city. With all of the extras added in the various expansion packs, the game now feels a little more like a municipal engineer or municipal planner simulation than anything that properly depicts what it's like to be the mayor overseeing everything.

Even with that caveat, Mass Transit adds more character and depth to what’s already the premier city-building simulation. It may be a bit disappointing that some of the original game's big-picture philosophy and mayoral authenticity has been sacrificed in the process, but it can be argued that these changes have also done an impressive job of filling out the public-transportation element of city design.

Read More

Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:00:00 -0700)

The Final Fantasy series has always been about reinvention, and the twelfth incarnation embodies this to such an extreme, that you might catch yourself wondering if this is a really a game from the long-running RPG franchise at all. Not only is it deserving of the name, but it's an RPG through and through, where monster hunting and exploration of spacious locales effectively feed into its stat-based progression within an ensemble cast of colorful personalities. Like its predecessors, Final Fantasy 12 puts its own spin on how chocobos, summons, and characters named Cid play into its epic journey. With its long awaited remaster ready for release, Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age puts its best foot forward with a wealth of improvements and changes, delivering a fresh experience even if you've memorized the path from The Phon Coast to The Tomb of Raithwall.

For those who thoroughly enjoyed the PS2 version of Final Fantasy 12, The Zodiac Age is not only a remaster, but also a remix. Keen eyes will notice subtle tweaks to enemy locations and even changes to the selection of merchant goods. Some of these modifications are in service to the character-enhancing License Board, which itself has been overhauled from the original game in order to give each party member more distinctive jobs and abilities. Along with the inclusion of a Japanese voice track and improved loading times, the option to toggle between the original and reorchestrated versions of Hitoshi Sakimoto’s exquisite soundtrack is a welcome feature. Lastly, the improved high definition visuals brings out a fetching painterly look to the characters' faces. As a PlayStation 4 exclusive, The Zodiac Age stands out as a feature-rich rerelease on a platform with a bountiful selection of lesser remasters.

Even if it were an untouched port, Final Fantasy 12 would stand out for its distinct handling of familiar elements. For instance, there's a thriving society centered around hunting, a gig economy where skilled fighters of many races vanquish the game world's most hostile creatures. Being recognized and awarded for taking down bounties effectively weaves a part of FF12's story with any player motivation to complete the bestiary. Equally notable is the emphasis on thievery, which is also narratively tied to the resourceful nature of Vaan, one of the playable characters. You won't go far if you relied solely on money from defeated monsters and treasure chests. Riches instead come from the sales of loot you acquire from the creatures you take down. Much like Final Fantasy 9's Zidane, Vaan's stealing skills helps players develop an appreciation for the series' long line of talented but sometimes overlooked thieves.

No Caption Provided
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10

Further driving the distinctiveness of Final Fantasy 12 is its setting of Ivalice, an established universe with its origins outside of the core series. And like other games based in Ivalice, specifically Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy Tactics, 12's plot often feels like a middle chapter of a grander tale yet to be told. It's so rich in backstory that keeping track of names and places during the initial hours can feel overwhelming, though the further you play, the easier it is to get a handle of the intricacies of the lore. What you really need to know at the start is two small kingdoms, Dalmasca and Nabradia, are caught in the crossfire of two larger warring empires, Rozarria and Archadia. Of the countless individuals affected by this period of upheaval, six characters--all of whom come from vastly different backgrounds-- form your party, uniting for a common cause to de-escalate this continent-wide conflict.

Perpetuating this middle episode vibe are the playable characters themselves, who have been appropriately compared to the cast of Star Wars: A New Hope. As examples, Ashe is the captured princess and Basch is the former general in hiding. Balthier is the self-serving pirate with a price on his head and his partner, Fran, has been described as Sexy Chewbacca. Their intertwined backstories and resulting encounters allow for chemistry and conflict as the often engaging narrative unfolds.

Reinforcing Final Fantasy 12's timelessness, The Zodiac Age brings in an enhanced Gambit battle system, which itself felt ahead of its time upon its first release. By stringing together a prioritized series of if/then commands for each character, battles unfold with a semi-automated flow where you can vanquish beasts without pressing a button for minutes on end. The immensely user friendly interface fittingly looks and feels like a Fisher-Price styled introduction to programming, where each player-chosen behavior is simply assigned a specific target, whether it be an ally, themselves, or a single enemy.

No Caption Provided
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10

One would think that the hands-free aspects of The Gambit System would deprive you of agency and engagement but it in fact creates the opposite result. Since you're still responsible for every character's actions, the thrill of seeing your handiwork unfold and emerging victorious never gets old. It allows for experimentation and risk-taking but The Gambit System truly shines when you stick to sensible and tried-and-true RPG battle tactics. Remember all those times you died in battle because you ignored a status ailment and thought you could get one last attack in instead? This system removes all manner of impulsiveness and for many, offers a glimpse of the RPG combatant one aspires to be, free of impetuous behaviors.

You don't get your hands on this system in earnest until three hours in, which is one hour too many. Yet this onboarding period is notably improved over the original game thanks to the option to double or even quadruple the speed of play. This is just one of the many new features that makes The Zodiac Age ever more engrossing. In a game that features respawning enemies, every hostile area becomes more inviting. You're motivated by growing your party's stats at an accelerated pace even after you've explored every corner and opened every treasure chest in a given region.

While its enhancements do not translate into a brand new game for existing fans, The Zodiac Age is nonetheless invigorating. For an experience that can last over a hundred hours, the subtle tweaks therein go a long way in showcasing Final Fantasy 12's grand trek in a new light. Its epic, lore-abundant story and its time-tested Gambit System should also appeal to those who missed out on the mainline series' trip to Ivalice the first time around. And thanks in part to the new audio and speed options, The Zodiac Age is an ideal definitive edition: one that improves the game over its original version across the board.

Read More

Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Mon, 10 Jul 2017 05:00:00 -0700)
Holly Constantine shares her tips on capturing macro images in your garden during the summer.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - Photography Techniques (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:00:07 GMT )
Find out more about Tamron's 90mm macro lens.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - Equipment Reviews (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:00:07 GMT )
Here, we take a look at the work of Jon Stroud, equestrian photographer.
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - Equipment Reviews (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:00:07 GMT )

Learning To See Creatively is all about learning to see design, colour and composition in photography.

Author Bryan Peterson wants you to learn how to 'see' properly, paying more attentio...
Read More

Source: ePHOTOzine - Book Reviews (Mon, 9 Nov 2015 15:48:38 GMT )


Search in globalheadlines.uk