Mental Dominance – Alpha Brain nootropics (review)

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Alpha Brain by Onnit Labs touts itself as being the ultimate, fully balanced brain-boosting pill, promising enhanced focus, increased mental agility, improved memory and, strangely, a lucid sleep state, allowing you to think, even while you sleep.

Bold statements, but seeing that they’re backed by professional poker players, Superbowl champions, mixed martial artists and, most importantly, pro-gamers, I had to give them a try.

The pills themselves are a little pricey, averaging at a dollar a pill in the US and almost double that here in the UK, with a recommended dosage of 1 or 2 a day.

The idea behind nootropics is to take on nutrients that can get through the blood-brain barrier and feed your brain with additional supplies. In theory, this should allow your brain to handle greater loads, or handle the same loads better. There are a lot of supplements available on the market, but they often require a tonne of research, trial and improvement with customized mixing, and a labyrinth of Latin words to get your head around.

What Onnit are offering is essentially a pre-mixed supplement, no balancing and studying required. You just take it, and go about your business. The fact that it’s one-size-fits-all means that it’s not going to be as effective as others on the market, but it is a lot easier, and what you’re really paying for, is the convenience.

Looking at the ingredients, the first thing I notice is the absence of Piracetam, or any racetam. The racetam family are some of the most popular and proven nootropics on the market, and one that I personally trust, so to see it replaced with a lot of brandilized, unknown, untested chemicals made me skeptical.

The main two selling points of Alpha Brain are Alpha GPC and AC-11, which are typically associated with the likes of Alzheimers treatment, and DNA repair, and for that reason, are often tied in with memory-improving supplements. AC-11 is sold in virtually anything as a miracle-cure, and isn’t something I believe in. The only reason I mention it, is because they write it boldly on the bottle, as though it’s something important.

Most studies found on AC-11, and on Alpha Brain in general are private studies, often seemingly sponsored, and with little to no backing (not to mention; no FDA approval of their claims). If you find a medical survey anywhere on them, typically, it takes one google of the labs name, and you’ll find they benefit from promoting its ingredients.

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After trialing an entire bottle, I can’t be sure of exactly how effective they were but I did notice a few things.

  • Improved focus in the mornings
  • Reduced lethargy and drowsiness
  • Reduced mental fogginess – more driven
  • Faster wake-up times

I took one a day for a month, each morning with a cup of coffee and a decent breakfast. I mixed it up a little, later in the month, experimenting with dosages and how they were taken.

  • Taking them on an empty stomach had a side effect of nausea within the hour.
  • Taking them before bed (as recommended for the “lucid dream state” effect) had no impact at all. At no point in the month did I feel any difference in dream quality.
  • Taking 2 in the morning provided noticeable improvements.
  • Taking 2 spread across the day seemed to make no difference.

At the end of the month, I also found that I noticed not taking them, which is the main thing telling me that they aren’t just snake oil. However, they also felt weaker by the end of the month, making me think that by the second month, if I continued, I’d need to double my dosage, taking me up to around £60 a month in the UK, unless I bulk-bought. For the price that they are, I’d say they aren’t worth it; or there are, at least, better options. For the sake of mere convenience, you might as well mix it, save yourself money and get better results.

A standard multivitamin, a good night’s sleep and a coffee won’t be quite as good, but good enough for most.

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my Marvel movie predictions for the next 5 years

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***SPOILERS AHEAD!***

I’ll be talking about the comics and the past movies here, so if you’re interested in reading the comics, or watching past Marvel movies, steer clear. There will be no spoilers about future movies though…I’m not a mind reader.

Captain America (Chris Evans) dies at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Bucky Barnes was briefly shown in the first Captain America movie, and they’ve all-out titled the sequel with “The Winter Soldier”. The Winter Soldier in the sequel is seemingly an enemy, meaning it’ll be the mind-wiped, soviet Bucky, not an heroic one, but I can see that changing.

Goodies defeat baddies. With this in mind, they’ll have to find a way of defeating the Winter Soldier, who, for all intents and purposes is not a superhero or supervillain. He, like Black Widow and Hawkeye is a non-metahuman, meaning that when confronted by Captain America in a big budget movie, he’ll be totally annihilated. By destroying The Winter Soldier, they’ll be destroying Bucky Barnes; something that they simply couldn’t do.

This means they can either turn him into a good guy somehow in the movie, or irritatingly arrest or banish him like they do time and again with Loki in the Thor movies; a trick that’s already getting on every Marvel fans mood. Many will also feel irritated or blue-balled if Captain America and The Winter Soldier don’t clash significantly, meaning The Winter Soldier has to win. How can this be done whilst maintaining an air of Good vs Evil?

My prediction, The Winter Soldier summons something big and scary, either an army, an other-worldly bad guy or some kind of trap. Captain America falls into the trap towards the end of the movie and dies graciously. Seeing Cap’s final moments, The Winter Soldier snaps out of his amnesia, becomes Bucky Barnes, but can’t stop the tragedy before it’s already too late. Bucky is then inspired to live on as Captain America to carry on his patriotic message, unbeknownst to the public.

Reason’s it might not happen: In the comics, Bucky does carry on Captain America’s legacy, resulting in some of the first footage of Cap wielding a gun. I don’t know if or how Marvel would handle this in a movie. He’ll undoubtedly be armed as a bag-guy, but as a rule in marvel movie, the good guys generally don’t carry lethal weapons. Even Nick Fury has managed to come across as a diplomatic house-pet so far.

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Guardians of the Galaxy initiates the Infinity Gauntlet story arc

Guardians of the Galaxy, as a comic, or a movie, offers nothing. The comics were relatively unsuccessful, being scrapped on a couple of occasions and movie-goers already have their doubts about its big screen debut. Some big names have gotten behind it though, indicating that it’s going to do well, or has a solid future.

My suspicion is that this means it’s going to lead into a pivotal Marvel story arc, and the most obvious one on the shelf right now would have to be Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet.

The gauntlet itself has been “screen tested” in the original Thor movie, not to mention Thanos’ surprise appearance at the end of the first Avengers movie. It would make sense to bring him back into it, and the best way to do it without creating a huge audible “clunk” is to introduce him via a throwaway title like Guardians of the Galaxy.

A war breaks out between Marvel and the other IP owners

Around a decade ago, Marvel, believe it or not, was in trouble. In a last-ditch effort, they sold on the rights of a bunch of their franchises to other companies; Spider-Man was bought by Sony, X-Men, Fantastic Four and DareDevil were bought by 20th Century Fox. Their movies arguably saved Marvel, and made it what it is today by sparking a new wave of comic book fans and making comics a more socially acceptable medium again.

Now that Marvel is doing well again, it has its own movies sprouting in all directions and the IP owners are causing problems. We’ve already seen War Machine and Iron Patriot morph into one person, due to Norman Osborne being owned by Sony, under the Spider-Man umbrella, likewise, we’re seeing a very limited Avengers roster and many crossover opportunities being overlooked.

In Avengers 2 Age of Ultron, we’re expecting to see Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver appear. They are undoubtedly from the X-Men franchise; Magneto is even their father. This can only be a show of force from Marvel, to Fox that they’re going to start picking away at the X-men franchise, taking any characters that Fox haven’t latched onto, until there’s no unexplorable content for them to make movie out of, and then, Marvel can win back the rights to the X-Men, due to an inactivity clause. Expect to see characters appear on both sides of the war, almost pointlessly as each side lays claim to comic book heroes, until there’s none left. Days of Future Past is also gunning for Quicksilver, along with Bishop, Kitty Pryde, Raven, Colossus, Havok, Warpath, Sunspot…the list goes on! With Quicksilver also firmly on Marvels side, you can expect to see the likes of Omega Red and Domino appearing in the X-Men, and Galactus in Fantastic Four (we’ll not get into whether or not he appeared in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

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No Iron Man 4 Movie

Iron Man was never taken as seriously as he is now. The movies have brought the old coffee-pot back to life, but in the comics, they’ve kind of exhausted his few, big stories, and will have to start looking at some original material. They can’t keep going with the whole “somebody makes/steals their own kind of Iron Man, and Iron Man has to stop it” plots as, again, the crowds are growing tired of it. The only thing I can see bringing in an Iron Man 4 movie, is if Tony Stark…I…I mean…Robert Downey Junior stipulates that he’ll only don ol’ shell-head in the Avengers series if he gets another feature-movie. The inclusion of AIM in the most recent movie was interesting though, and I’d like to see if a MODOK story emanates from it.

Thor confronts Ragnarok

Another movie franchise that’s coming out, along with Guardians of the Galaxy is Ant Man, meaning the inclusion of inventor and all-round plot-factory Hank Pym. Pym was also the creator of Ultron, who’s featuring in the upcoming Avengers sequel. With Pym and Stark on the scene, Marvel have 2 parts of the dastardly team of Richards, Pym and Stark, creators of Ragnarok. In avengers, we see Bruce Banner and Tony Stark getting along like a house on fire, so presumably, Banner will take Richards place in the trifecta, This would make way for one of Thor’s biggest rivals, Ragnarok, who was created by the 3, using Thor’s DNA. Thor has a lot of directions he can still go in his own franchise, but if there’s to be an Avengers 3, all of the pieces are in place for it to be Avengers: Ragnarok.

Something to do with Titans

Sorry, that’s as far as I’ve got on this one. Everyone’s expecting the Titan, Thanos to make an appearance, but one Titan has been screaming us in the face all this time, Hulk: The Last Titan. There’s a scene in the Avengers that torment me every time I see it. As things begin to heat up on the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, when Tony and Captain America are fighting and everyone’s saying nasty things and hurting each other’s feelings, Bruce Banner grabs Loki’s staff (aka the Loki Pokey Stick). The staff is believed to hold the Mind Gem from the Infinity Gauntlet and when Banner grabs it, it pops up strange readings on the computers and invokes a look of surprise and bewilderment on Thor’s face. This seemed to be a very pointless piece of drama in the Avengers movie, and wasn’t needed…but it was there. It seemed to have been put there to indicate the Hulk is a Titan, but why? Other than a glimpse of Thanos, there’s been no real angle towards the Titans, and with Ultron coming into the second movie, it all seems to have been pointless. Nevertheless, the weird, awkward, ill-fitting scene and Thanos are there, so “something with Titans” is in our future.

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Carcassonne Mobile Edition – Power to the Meeple

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Carcassonne represents as one of the pillars of modern European board games. Unlike Catan, Ticket to Ride and the other Euro tabletops, Carcassonne is quick to set up, quick to play, simple to learn and relatively straightforward and unpolitical.

Straightforward doesn’t mean it’s easy to play though. From 1v1 to 5-player, expect to get your game stunted, your plans cut short and, in multiplayer, to get ganged up on and betrayed.

The game plays out like a four-sided dominoes game. You play tiles and pieces, called “meeples”, scoring points when your meeples “investment” is completed. You can play meeples on roads, fields, towns and monasteries, which will grow procedurally as players place more tiles. This means, as you place tiles, you can grow your own areas, or hinder the plots of others until all the tiles have been played, and a final round of scoring decides the winner.

It can be pretty cut-throat, and as such, I’ve decided to download the mobile game, in the hope of upping my game.

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The mobile edition is available on Windows, iOS and Android devices for roughly $4.99, depending on device.

For $4.99, you get a lot for your money. Not only do you get the game, playable with up to 5 others (this requires and expansion in the physical game), you also get The River II, an expansion that’s great for setting the dynamic of each game, and makes for a nice change of pace from the original.

You get a choice of AI, across three stars of difficulty, which can often prove challengine in multiplayer, although head-to-head it’s a little tame. You also get a set of acheivments, which alone are tough to earn, yet equally rewarding when achieved.

There’s also an online mode, however on my Windows phone, I’m yet to find anyone on it, but I feel that’s more down to the lack of Windows players, than the game’s matchmaking capability.

The River II, in my opinion, is unbalanced and flawed, as it can easily be sabotaged and the first and last tiles are incredibly fruitful for “Farmers”. It’s nice to have the option to turn it on and off though, even if it’s just to add some variety to each game.

Besides that, it’s a great tool to practice with, and it definitely helps practice new battle-plans and opening gambits, although you really need other people, in order to test your wits. There’s a “Coming Soon” banner next to The River II expansion too, so hopefully there’ll be some more expansions on the way!

Tested to Death – Origami Mighty Wallets! (Review)

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Mighty Wallets by the awesomely named Dynomighty Design are a smart, elegant solution to keeping all of your stuff in one place, in a cool, unique and low-profile bundle in your pocket.

The wallets are made from Tyvek; a material known well in building and industrial trades, due to its versatility and durability. Used in camping equipment and haz-mat suits, Tyvek is tough, waterproof, fireproof and tear resistant, not to mention as thin as paper. The people of Dynomighty saw this revolutionary material, and instead of changing the world with low-cost housing, lightweight space solutions or earning a place on the next NASA program, they did the right thing; and made a pretty fly wallet out of it.

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Due to it’s paper-like properties, they can be printed on, and Mighty Wallets are therefore available in a tonne of cool colors, patterns and graphics. Furthermore, you can send them your own pictures and they proudly origami you up a custom one. Further-furthermore, they are currently hosting an “Artist Collective” campaign, where artists can submit their own designs, which the public then vote on. Successful artists will even get a 15% cut on any of their wallets sold, plus the benefit of knowing that people everywhere are walking around with a piece of their art in their pocket.

I’m now onto my second Mighty Wallet, after finally deciding my previous one had reached its end. Admittedly, it’s still alive. Functionally, it works as well as it ever has, but the pictures have all but bleached away and the corners have gotten threadbare. It’s taken 4 years to get there, but I’ve finally managed to almost beat the damn thing.

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My first one looked like it had been folded out of an airplane’s safety card, and my new one, thanks to LootCrate, rocks a bat-symbol on the outside and a kick-ass Batman with Benday-dot effects on the inside.

The wallets are cleverly folded together, with two note pockets on the top, two multiple-card slots on the inside, and, due to the origami, a long sleeve down the middle with two incidental secret pockets on the inside. (Shhh! I don’t think they’re deliberate!)

Style-wise; I think they’re great, and will spark conversation when seen. I must admit, however, that on a couple of occasions, with my older, lighter one, cashiers asked if I’d made it myself.

Due to it’s lightweight design, the two separate note pockets and the ability to fit a boarding card down the center sleeve (tried and tested), they make an ideal travel wallet and due to their paper-like design, they’re also quite concealable once they’ve aged a bit; at a glance, to the unknowing, it’s merely a folded leaflet or map.

The biggest downside is that there’s no coin/stuff pocket for change, trinkets or Nintendo DS games. Also, its slippy surface means that the cards can sometimes slide out and go everywhere.

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With a suit, it’s a bit of a trade-off. On one hand, the slim design means that it fits in a suit undetected, something most wallets struggle with. However, when it comes to taking it out of your pocket, unless it’s brand-new and still has crisp edges, it can look a little informal.

Designs range from comics and maps, to airmail and wallpaper, there’s a huge amount to choose from. If you think you’ve got what it takes, you can submit your designs at https://www.dynomighty.com/create/

How the BioShock community killed Irrational Games…

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I’m a huge fan of the BioShock franchise, and have been glued to the saga from the moment I first played the original, back in 2010. BioShock actually came with my Xbox 360, in 2009, and admittedly (also, ashamedly) I knew nothing about it…so I sold it on the spot, without ever playing it. It wasn’t until the following summer that I gave the demo a go, and the moment I’d finished it, I was downloading the full title.

Since then, I’ve become somewhat obsessive. I’ve played all of the games to death, read the novel, scheduled a Big Daddy tattoo for my left calf (Rosie, if you’re interested), invested hours of my life into reading the work of Ayn Rand, in particular Atlas Shrugged, a senior inspiration in the founding fabric of BioShock and the concept of Rapture. I’ve even traveled thousands of miles to stay at the Biltmore Hotel and drink in the Engine Room of the Edison in Downtown LA; simply to immerse myself in the closest, real to life, art-deco/diesel-punk experience that could in some way hold semblance to life in a pre-crisis Rapture on Earth. The entire franchise had me wrapt, like it had many, and will forever hold itself in my rogues gallery of games that have struck me, and disturbed me to my core.

That said, I think we, the fans, have some significant responsibility in the recent demise of Irrational Games and BioShock as we know it.

I remember playing through BioShock, and the excitement that followed. I remember when the official Xbox webizine, SentUaMessage featured preliminary footage of BioShock Infinite, complete with Vigor descriptions and even props. I promptly cracked my knuckles and prepared for the most avid PR hunt I’ve ever embarked on.

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Not a scrap of footage, not a screen-shot, not a single interview slipped, unseen, through my grasp. I remember Ken Levine proudly showing off Columbia, describing Tears for the first time, explaining the relationship between Booker and Elizabeth and how their roles would affect the very way in which the new, uncharted territories of Infinite would play out. Then, I remember seeing the follow-up interviews, and the looks of sheer confusion, disappointment and alarm on Levine’s face as the questions poured in; he had lovingly crafted an entire new lovechild in Columbia, and, time after time, the journalists and fans kept asking the same questions:

Where’s Rapture?

What’s happened to Rapture?

How does Rapture fit into the new game?

Will we be seeing more of Rapture in BioShock Infinite?

Have you given up on Rapture, Ken?

Granted, Rapture was very much a feature character in the first two BioShock Games, as much as the Little Sisters and Andrew Ryan himself, but Ken had created a brand-new character, inspired by the fan reactions towards Rapture, and was keen to show the world what it had to offer.

With the original BioShock, Ken Levine and Irrational Games created an intelligent videogame. It provoked questions and learning, philosophy and debate; springing forth gamers, who not only enjoyed the game, but lived it, and continued to live it long after the game had finished; in discussions of morality, art, creative freedom and the concept of a true, limitless, industrial revolution. Levine created the game, probably feeling alone with his thoughts, and in needing of a canvas to express them. What he found with BioShock, was that he infact was in the center of a harmony of like-minded people, and he’d inadvertently created a collective of keen, equally inspiring fans. Cosplays and fan-fictions roared across the internet. Artwork, concepts and speculation ran amok within every cobwebbed corner of the gaming community and a true, cult game was born.

Irrational Games surely had big plans for BioShock, but nothing quite like the movement that followed. Out of nowhere, adolescent gamers, were enjoying the sounds of The Ink Spots, discussing the objectivist movement and libertarianism, and learning the grotesque truth about early, wartime, experimental plastic surgery; minds had opened.

Overwhelmed by all of this, Levine would have been inspired to the core and ignited with ideas to create his next big endeavor, and a new BioShock was imminent. In the same way that Dagny Taggart named her John Galt Line; as a way of promising the unobtainable, Levine named his new fable, Infinite. In naming it Infinite, he was promising his fans the world, and he had every intention of delivering it. It was to be a statement, to the fans, of, “Okay, you got BioShock, now, try this.”

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His previous success and the community behind it both inspired him and alleviated any inhibitions that tied down the original. Infinite was to be bigger, more complex and more personally demanding; pushing the player’s decision making and morality in a way that a videogame had never managed. The sky was literally the limit, and Columbia was a testament to that, towering leagues above it’s predecessor, in ambition and in altitude.

After months and months of work, Ken and the team presented their master work, complete with gameplay footage and a battery of concepts, and, you know the rest. Instead of being embraced with enthusiasm, the communities faces twisted…where was Rapture?

Levine, at no point, considered that fans of BioShock would doubt, or even resind him for trying something new. In the minds of Irrational Games; visiting the same territory over and over again would be the most damning thing, not pushing the game forward!

Ken Levine learned a harsh truth that day; that his perception of the BioShock nation had overshot. As much as players willfully bathed in the new with BioShock, they were still slaves to the familiar, and weren’t ready to let Rapture go. Even though Rapture presented an aggressive, unnerving and inhospitable environment, gamers were afraid to take the leap, and fly from its thorned and twisted nest.

Stunned, unsure of what to do, and with the floor crumbling away beneath their feet, Irrational Games faltered, and returned to the drawing board. Ken Levine, BioShock Infinite and the entire Irrational Games family retreated into the shadows. Milestones were pushed back, previews were delayed and, for months, nothing else was said. Just as fans began losing hope, a new Infinite, and a very tired looking, seemingly disappointed Levine emerged.

In many ways, it was the same game, but somehow, even in early footage, it felt more nostalgic, more linear and more like the Rapture-bound original. Homages and references were already appearing, and, incidentally, due to the huge leave of absence, interests were at an all-time high.

Spurred on by their new lease of life and final acceptance from the fans, Irrational Games powered through with their adjusted, compromised Infinite, and on March 26th 2013 it was released into the wild.

BioShock Infinite was, and still is, incredible. Accruing widespread popularity and critical acclaim, the game has achieved almost a year, so far, in the upper echelons of modern gaming; awards galore. It is, however, unmistakably different from the originally proposed Infinite. After playing the game through entirely and comparing it with the original gameplay trailers, you can feel a sea change in tone.

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BioShock Infinite is, without a doubt, a magnificent game, and a game to be proud of, but I think that Levine may have been disappointed; both for compromising on his ambition and in his discovery of the resonating needs and demands of his fans. Like the inhabitants of Rapture, Levine doctored and spliced his creation, with the best intentions (and in the image he perceived in the expectations of his fans), but in reality, he was creating, what would always be to him, a monster.

I feel that despite the beauty of the game, Levine saw the deranged splicer that shouldn’t have been toyed with underneath its shell. Even though we didn’t see it, and fearing a second Rapture uprising, he stepped into his Bathysphere, leaving BioShock deep beneath the ocean, to fend for itself.

Afraid to fall into the pattern of so many other developers; of succumbing to a crowd-pleasing formula, whilst never pleasing yourself, or trying anything new, Levine and Irrational had to step away, for the sake of their own reputation as leading developers. Their own “Rapture” was lost, and they could only hope to leave unscathed and try again elsewhere.

I can only wonder if things would have been the same, had fans been more trusting, more faithful and more positive when Infinite first emerged. Would we still be looking at only two, roughly circular, Levine titles?

Sadly, that answer is beyond another Tear.

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Gamer Tech: Grip-iT

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Fans of First Person Shooters, such as the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises, needn’t look far before stumbling across third party peripherals touted as “pro-gaming” tech, that’ll take you to the next level. From custom controllers, to gaming glasses, to focus enhancing drinks and drugs, the possibilities, as far as eSports goes, are endless.

One particular peripheral that sprouts up, time and again, is the Kontrol Freek; special adapters for your thumbsticks that elevate your grip, increasing the stick’s overall throw and allowing for pin-point accuracy.

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They’re widely considered a middle-ground when wanting to improve your controllers performance. Some third party controllers, such as the MadCatz PrecisionAIM and the Razer Onza come readily equipped with customizable stick sensitivity and throw, but at the cost of going third party, negating some headsets and, of course, at the financial cost of $60-$120 out of your own pocket for the pleasure. At $10.99, the Kontroll Freek seemed like a solid answer, but many manufacturers disagreed, and overnight, it seems, several other companies came out with thumbstick adapters of their own.

One downfall of the Kontrol Freek is their difference in height; they tower above your controller, almost doubling the height of your stick and for some games and play-styles, it’s just too much.

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Waiting to take over on the stick-peripherals throne are Grip-iT, an American-based company who have designed a cheaper, grippyer, lower-profile option.

The Grip-iT is a sticky, rubber sleeve that covers the top of your thumbsticks, elevating your grip by a few millimeters and providing a little extra friction.

At $4.99 for 4, the Grip-iT costs considerably less than a pair of Kontrol Freeks, but their design is much less complex too, as is their quality. Of the four I received, one had a small hole in it; presumably an air bubble from the injection molding process, but they all held together well and could be stretched over a wide variety of different stick sizes; something the Kontroll Freeks can’t always do. Mine have been tested on Microsoft, AfterGlow and MadCatz controllers, fitting all of them snugly. Additionally, the underside of the sleeve didn’t catch on the molding, which, admittedly, I expected them to. Well played, Grip-iT.

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Grip-iT are one-size-fits-all in design and work with official PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers.

If you’re unsure of whether stick augmentation is for you, at $4.99 for 4, these are a good, low-risk starting point. They grip well and can survive a pretty serious beating. The extra few millimeters allow for more accurate movement in sports and FPS games and take no time at all to get used to.

Just remember that they won’t make you any better at noscope 360 headshots…you’ve got to do that bit yourself.

Review – Final Fantasy on your phone

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The Warriors of Light return! My first Final Fantasy experience was, infact, Final Fantasy VIII. Most people my age herald Final Fantasy VII as their first, and unequivocal best, but my first experience was with the eighth; Squall, Quistis, Triple Triad, it swept me into a world of JRPG, followed by the likes of Grandia, Skies of Arcadia, Phantasy Star and so many more.

To see the Final Fantasy catalog slowly porting onto Windows phones was a pleasant surprise for me, and with the first FF at half price, costing £5.99, how could I say no?

The mobile version appears to be similar to the GameBoy Advance remake, with tidier graphics and slightly tougher bosses than the NES original; to balance the game out slightly. As one of the pioneering RPG games, even with the balance tweak, it is a tad easy gameplay-wise, but it’s far more about exploring the world and testing out your detective skills, as you hunt down the four crystals and, of course, save the world from darkness.

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It’s a little bit glitchy from time to time. Certain combinations of buffs confuse the hell out of it and occasionally a sprite will phase though a pause screen, but besides that it feels as close to the original as any.

Controls are clean and straightforward, and as far as a touchscreen goes; pretty robust, allowing you to zip through the dungeons with minimal fuss.

Price-wise, Final Fantasy appears to get a lot of negative press, with many giving it a poor review for costing £6/£12, stating that it’s way too much for a mobile game. What they’re forgetting is that this is not a mobile game. It’s a full console game, as true to the original as possible and, as a JRPG, will be responsible for hours and hours and hours of your life, should you invest in it. I’ve played it through before, and have still managed to get 10+ hours out of it. If it wasn’t on sale, I’d have still happily paid the retail price of £11.99. I have since bought Final Fantasy III for Windows Phone for full price, as a result of being so impressed with Final Fantasy.

The soundtrack remains unchanged, and the Xbox Achievements that have been added break up the longer slogs, rewarding you for things like steps taken and places visited.

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Should you get it? I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t. Final Fantasy is available on so many platforms, but is always worth going back to after a few years. The phone version is available on Windows Phones, iOS and Android platforms and despite costing more than a typical mobile game, it delivers enough to justify itself. Due to the basic mechanics in the original RPG, it can be chipped away at casually, or played start to finish over a couple of days.

If you’re the kind of person who only downloads free and dollar-or-less games on your phone, hear me out. It’s worth so much more. It’s a full game; no ads, no pay-to-play, pay-to-win or “share your achievements on Facebook for a bonus coin!” in sight. It’s a retro classic that every gamer needs to experience at some pint.

One of my favorite things: It’s not addictive; you’ll play it and get over it, because unlike the standard happy/flappy/angry/clumsy/crushy bird saga-style games, you’ll actually get a sense of achievement from it (something that “addicting games” thrive off never providing, hence their so-called success). Furthermore, yes, there are some poor games out there that you’ll pay for, and if this is your first time spending a proper amount of money on an app of cellphone game, it’s one that’s guaranteed not to leave you with your fingers burnt.