Civilisation 4: Complete, PC - £6.98

Civilisation 4: Complete, PC - £6.98

Spend £15 for free p&p

Includes both Warlords and Beyond the Sword expansions.

Alone in the Dark - Review

Alone in the Dark, PC - £19.99 delivered
Alone in the Dark, Xbox 360 - £29.99 delivered
Alone in the Dark, PS3 - £34.99 delivered

Review by Rook

Waking up with no memory to see the man beside you murdered by occultist thugs is a strange start to Atari's last hurrah for big budget single player games. A gritty story, told in the style of a TV series complete with cliff hanger endings to chapters along with DVD styled menus to skip to your favourite parts and the cutscene's could almost make you buy into it. But Alone in the Dark as a game finds itself in something of a conundrum, and the usual review community has had a difficult time pinning the game down. When a game's reviews manage to evenly cover 60% of the scale then there's always something up, something that some people could see, and drag out of the game and other bits that some people couldn’t get over. Alone in the Dark manages to be a game with ideas and vision, and it has them in spades. It just never quite knows how to play its hand.

It doesn't waste much time throwing you into the action, a quick glance at a mirror let's you take a good look at yourself and really shows off the engine, the detail in the facial textures is amazing. Carnby, aged and ever so flawed, least to mention is the scar splitting his face apart still manages to look rugged and handsome. Around you the building is blazing, and it's not long before a second of Eden's many tricks are shown off, fire creeps towards you, a slowly spreading mass of flames consuming much that's in its path. A couple you've just saved argue at you, but you want to play around, in the sluggish first person view the fire extinguisher slowly beats back the flames but the audio strangely mutes out making it difficult to hear what they said... something about needing to double back, but that's all you hear. Looking back the couple that had once been so animated stand there mutely, no button press seems to engage them to replay their dialogue.

In fact the opening acts seem to lay almost all of the games cards on the table at once, rooms that you're walking around in are suddenly ripped out, twisted and hung over the Manhattan streets before being torn apart. Catching a ledge means you're suddenly scaling down a building that's half ablaze while bits of it collapse around you. On the streets a car chase against the very city itself as buildings crumble, cars are thrown into the air and the road is shredded by an unknown force is unlike anything you’ve played before. Yet all of this is dampened by the dogged persistence of a number of issues that never go away. The car has trouble mounting pavement sized gaps and often gets stuck to other cars forcing you to repeat the same sequence over and over. On foot the problems multiply. Trying to play in first person and the camera will arbitrarily rip you out into third person and push you back in with no warning. The controls jump between character relative and camera relative similarly with no warning. And many actions can only be done in one view or the other, leading to a lot of fumbling trying to remember how to do a specific task and melee attacks are downright painful to perform.

Yet this is a game where getting through a door can mean shooting out the lock, bashing the door down or setting it on fire. Where making your own explosives, weapons and traps are all necessary for survival (although curiously, monsters will mostly leave you alone as you fumble in your jacket), where you'll end up weighting down a bus with corpses to stop it from tipping or removing another's hand (did I really do that?) just to get through a scanner. A game where easing through the backseats of a car dangling over the edge of an abyss offers up a far more unsettling experience than any monster closet has ever managed. But annoyingly it's never really enjoyable, where a success just meant you managed to trick the game into doing what you wanted it to do and usually after a less than cooperative first couple of attempts.

Towards the second half of the game it changes pace and opens up, leaving you alone in Central Park with a number of tasks to complete. With plentiful supplies (every car contains one useful item, and trashcans are overflowing with objects) you almost feel more Charles Bronson up against defenceless thugs, than a man who's worst nightmares are coming to face him. Outside of a few impressive bosses, the monster designs never quite work, and nor does the AI with them happily leaving you alone after all but the briefest of chases. The set pieces that had been a highlight previously are now few and far between, replaced mainly by a seemingly endless task to kill tree roots. The story and interaction with other characters also tapers off, replaced with text messages that rarely offer any insight or relevance to the situation. It's at this point you'll wish to skip ahead, but the last chapter remains stubbornly locked, and jumping forward means you lose all your items and is often more hassle than just looking up the answer online.

As it winds down, a final tomb raider style puzzle sequence comes and goes all too quickly, and the gameplay stops with probably one of the most visceral gunshot wounds depicted in a game. Sadly this leaves just the slightly unsatisfying ending to the story. With just that little bit more work this could have been a great game, paring down the control scheme so it wasn't 4 pages long, simplifying the inventory, getting rid of the ridiculously unnecessary object control scheme, a few more checkpoints, a more reliable save system, a decent camera, reworked script and perhaps a more complete story. There's an endless list of little details that may have seemed too much for Eden and Atari, yet this could have been a masterpiece instead of flawed swansong.

Rating – Pomegranate (

Alone in the Dark, PC - £19.99 delivered
Alone in the Dark, Xbox 360 - £29.99 delivered
Alone in the Dark, PS3 - £34.99 delivered

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 (Steelbook), Xbox 360 - £23

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 (Steelbook), Xbox 360 - £23 delivered

New Search Bar!

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Let me know if you have any problems with it.

Race Driver: Grid - Special Edition, PS3 - £29.99

Race Driver: Grid - Special Edition, PS3 - £29.99 delivered

Comes with a 'Making of' DVD and a Hardback artbook.

Race Driver: Grid - Special Edition, Xbox 360 - £29.99

Race Driver: Grid - Special Edition, Xbox 360 - £29.99 delivered

Comes with a 'Making of' DVD and a Hardback artbook.

Shadow of the Colossus, PS2 - £10.28

Shadow of the Colossus, PS2 - £10.28 delivered

Apply code "B4U" for 2% off

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Sega Rally, PC - £6.28

Spend £15 for free p&p

Mass Effect:: Special Edition, Xbox 360 - £19.99

Mass Effect:: Special Edition, Xbox 360 - £19.99 delivered

From what I can tell, it comes with a Bonus DVD, a Soundtrack, a book, and a bunch of other stuff.

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Skate, Xbox 360 - £18.01 delivered

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Freshly Picked: Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, DS - £7.99 delivered

For any USA folks after this PAL/Japan exclusive game, this will be by far the cheapest place to get it from.

Shopto charge £4.11 for international shipping, which by my maths is around $24 delivered.

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Megaman Starforce: Pegasus, DS - £6.99 delivered

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Elite Beat Agents, DS - £9.99 delivered