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I have always enjoyed playing the role playing games produced by Bethesda Softworks, especially the titles from the Elder Scrolls series. Right from stepping off the boat in Morrowind or emerging from the sewer under the prison in Oblivion, I have been totally hooked by these rich, vibrant and versatile role playing games. Now comes Skyrim a world that stretches as far as the eye can see filled with all manner of ancient dragons, giants with woolly mammoths, feuding factions on the brink of war, leaping salmon and a whole lot more. All these adventures are topped off nicely with a completely overhauled gaming engine, with rich and vibrant colors complimented by improved graphics. The game starts as usual with you in the position of being tied up, this time on the back of a prisoner transportation cart, being taken to have your head chopped off. This opening sequence is where you can customize the look and the name of your character and all the usual races are here to be chosen from, each with their own particular strengths and weaknesses. This opening sequence is also where you first get to see the main dragon of the Skyrim game, that totally destroys the city whilst you make your escape. Anyone who has played previous versions of the Elder Scrolls titles will notice a few familiar faces and places, such as the Dark Brotherhood with their murdering for profit or the Thieves Guild who has set up home in the sewers under a city called Riften. There is also the usual picking of flowers, plants and other ingredients that you mix into potions, the only difference is you must first taste the ingredients to learn their basic effects and then find an Alchemist's table to mix and produce potions. The creation of weapons and armor has been totally changed, where you yourself can use the various equipment in a Blacksmith to produce a whole multitude of weapons and the various armor parts. You now also need to get your hands on raw materials and this can be done by either looting dead animals for skins, so you can produce leather or by mining ore in certain caves and using a smelter to melt the ore down into ingots. You can also use an enchanting table to enchant your weapons and armor for more powerful effects during combat with more dangerous opponents, you can either buy or find enchanted armor or weapons then use the disenchantment option to learn that enchantment skills to add to your own particular favourite weapon or armor part. The combat setup has also got a few changes where you can use several different weapon combinations, these include the usual one handed sword and shield or two handed weapons, various bow and arrows, duel wielding of two one handed swords, a one handed sword with magic in the other, or a duel wielding of magic in both hands for a more powerful effect. With the whole game based on your character discovering they are Dragonborn, in your adventures through various ruined temples and caves you will come across writing in the dragon tongue, which you absorb and can be used as powerful shouts against your opponents. To unlock these shouts you will have to defeat and absorb the souls of the various dragons that randomly appear to attack you or that appear during the various gaming quests. The usual upgrading of gaming levels and the various skill attributes is present in the Skyrim game along with the new addition of perks, where players who level up have one perk point to spend on a valuable effect in each of the skill attributes. These perks are entirely dependent on the level you have achieved in each skill attribute, but can add useful effects like increase the damage you do with weapons or increase damage taken by wearing a combination of armor and a whole lot more in other skill attributes. The PC version of Skyrim does actually have some advantages over the console versions. First there is a developing mod community, where owners of the PC version of Skyrim can download and install various mods that can improve certain elements of the game such as improved character graphics, a more intelligent inventory system and some other often comical elements. Secondly there is an in game console that can be opened where various cheat codes can be entered, to give you more gold or special items you are having trouble finding in the game. But this advantage is only recommended to people who are really rubbish at playing these sorts of games, and any real fan of Elder Scrolls games will avoid this option like the plague. Skyrim as with other Elder Scrolls titles does suffer from the usual gaming bugs, that either completely crash the game to desktop or render certain elements of the game useless due to quests leading to dead ends or various graphic and game play glitches. Patches are regularly released that do actually improve many of the in game bugs, but do not cater for every possible outcome. The PC version is also a graphic intensive game so owners of lower end PC's will not quite get the same level of detail as owners of high end machines will enjoy. But thankfully Bethesda have included a Skyrim launcher where you can tinker with each element of the graphic detail in the game, so you can produce the maximum your machine can cope with and still keep those frame rates playable. If you have a few thousand hours spare in your busy lifestyle and need to immerse yourself in a colorful and vibrant alternative world to get away from it all, then opting for the world of Skyrim will be an adventure that is hard to forget.
I opted for this mobile phone after owning several touch screen and flip phones, that were either far too user unfriendly or just simply had bad reception or a short battery life thanks to the many often unnecessary features. This time I was really looking for an nice simply phone with very basic functions, with a battery that would stay charged all day and a mobile that was unlocked to any pay as you go network. The first great feature of this mobile phone is the actual battery life, I've had phones in the past that would stay charged for maybe two or three days max with heavy use. But this phone keeps its charge for over 3 or 4 days, no matter how much time you spend on phone calls or texting your friends. The reception during phone calls is also very good and the single strength is always near the maximum, no matter where I am during my travels. Though this may entirely be dependant on which mobile phone network you choose. The phone has a black stylish finish and is a folding phone so you don't have to worry about locking the keypad in case of accidental unwanted phone dialling that wastes your pay as you go credit. The overall design of the phone is robust and can take some wear and tear when being clattered around in your pocket or when accidentally dropped on the floor. There is also a nice display when you close the phone, that lights up and displays the time and any incoming calls. The largeness of the buttons make this phone ideal for men with chunky fingers or people who have difficulty seeing the often tiny numbers on other phones. The phone though basic also has internet functionality, a 1.3 mega-pixel camera, FM radio and some other useful features. If you are looking for a very basic but functional phone, that is durable and has a good battery life that you can make phone calls and send a few texts with ease, then I would highly recommend you purchase this mobile phone.
I have worked in various boring jobs over the last few years and have always been saved by the fact i could listen to my portable mp3 player while i worked all day long. I used to own the iPod Shuffle and unfortunately this wouldn't charge properly anymore, and so i needed to purchase an alternative to help me get through those long working hours. At first I mulled over whether to purchase an iPod Nano or iPod Touch and finally opted for the iPod Touch, simply because i thought i was getting more for my money in terms of the size of gadget. And Argos was also doing a free £10 voucher for spends of over £100, so this also had a something to do with my purchase decision. After getting the iPod Touch home and taking it out from its usual stylish Apple box, i was first struck by the slim line and futuristic look of the gadget and the lightness in the hand feel. The metallic back with apple motif and black smooth front was really eye catching. When i finally got round to turning the iPod Touch on I noticed I needed to charge the battery which is done by connecting to a laptop or desktop PC, and so i found the provided USB cable and plugged the long flat end into the iPod slot which was a bit fiddly and needed a confident push and the other end into my PC's USB slot. As with all Apple products the Windows operating system immediately recognized the device and successfully installed the relevant drivers, the iPod Touch then kicked into life with a battery symbol indicating it was charging and how much charge was currently left in the battery. I gave it half an hour charge before tinkering with the iPod device again and after a short setup sequence for first time use, i was finally met with the iPod Touch's main desktop. I was amazed at the simplicity of just touching the icons to open the various apps, and how it recognized when you swiped your finger across the screen that you wanted to go to the next page of icons, just like turning a page. After uploading a small collection of MP3's onto my iPod Touch using the iTunes software, i decided to test out the provided generic white iPod headphones and was really impressed with the quality of sound coming from them, though real connoisseurs of music will want better headphones. There is a whole range of other things you can do with the device, like connecting to the internet wirelessly and browsing the internet, downloading music from iTunes, watching YouTube videos, purchasing and playing game apps, taking photos and videos of your family or friends and a whole host of other useful tasks that could make your daily life easier. The only real negative comments I have about the iPod Touch is first the actual drain on the battery all these various applications do, playing music was fine and the battery lasted over 12 hours easy. But if you played any of the games or browsed the internet, the battery would be near empty in less than two hours. So unless you are close to a USB power source while out and about you will need to be careful what you are doing or you will have a flat battery in no time. And secondly many times i have used the photo or video app and the application has crashed and stopped working properly, which has required me to reset the iPod Touch to factory defaults and enter my personal preference settings again, which has been a real pain and hopefully be rectified in a future software update. Overall if you just want a portable MP3 device then i would opt for the iPod Shuffle or iPod Nano, but if you want a device that offers full entertainment in the palm of your hand then i recommend the iPod Touch.