Release date: March 26th worldwide
Platforms: PC (version reviewed), PS3, Xbox 360
In the infancy of the current generation of home consoles, Irrational Games (then known as 2K Boston) released Bioshock, a ground breaking title that portrayed a hidden underwater city built upon the objectivist ideals first coined by author Ayn Rand. The game enjoyed critical praise from both press and public, and it was highly regarded as one of the best games to be released in this generation.
We are closely reaching the end of this generation of home consoles, and rather fittingly, its spiritual successor, Bioshock Infinite has come along to see it on its way. But can it possibly aspire to, or even exceed the benchmark set by its predecessor?
After finishing Bioshock Infinite, I can safely say that it is possibly the finest game produced for this generation, and undoubtedly one of the greatest games I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
Set in a fictional version of 1912, Bioshock Infinite, you play as Booker DeWitt, an ex-soldier who currently works as a private investigator. Steeped in gambling debts, Booker is given an offer by two strangers to clean his slate; to find a girl named Elizabeth, and bring her back to them. After being taken to a drop off point, Booker is sent to the floating city of Columbia, a newly formed state that seceded from the union a few years back.
Much like the city of Rapture in Bioshock, Columbia has separated itself from America in order to create a new society, and is run by an enigmatic, evangelical leader, named Zachary Comstock, but unlike its counterpart, Columbia seems to be succeeding in its efforts; its streets are clean, there’s economic prosperity, crime is almost unheard of, but as you can expect, not everything is quite as it seems, and a dark undercurrent runs through the city and citizens of Columbia.
For some mysterious reason, Elizabeth is imprisoned within a tower, along with a multitude of books, paints and study materials. It is soon discovered that she has the power to bend time and space, and as such, she is being held as a commodity for Columbia. Make no mistake though, you may be playing the protagonist in Bioshock Infinite, but this is Elizabeth’s story, and thanks to her character being so well realised and developed over the time you spend with her, it’s one you’ll want to see through to its conclusion.
The problem with discussing the story of Bioshock Infinite’s story, is that I really can’t into the details without potentially spoiling it. Every single piece it has to offer is important, and it all weaves a fine, rich tapestry – complex in its construction, yet all coming together to create a magnificently formed structure.
Bioshock Infinite plays similarly to its predecessor, but with far more diversity in its combat; there’s a wide arsenal of weapons to choose from, pistols, machine guns, rocket launchers, most of which are staples in the first person shooter genre, but much like the first game, what makes Infinite stand out, is its use of powers; the Plasmids of the first game are now known as Vigors, a creation of the scientific minds of Columbia that grant your average man strange yet potent abilities. Booker can use all manner of these powers in combat, such as being able to manipulate remote turrets to his will, toss firebombs, lift a crowd of enemies into the air and suspend them there, catch bullets that are fired at him and toss them back, or even summon a murder of crows to attack.
You can also make use of the Sky-Lines which are threaded through Columbia, a network of rails that allow traversal of cargo and people via the use of Sky-Hooks, a wrist-mounted device that Booker, Elizabeth and – of course – their pursuers can use in the heat of battle. At first one could see the Sky-Lines as a neat little gimmick added for the sake of giving the game some flair, but you would be wrong; not only does it add to the diversity of its combat system, its usage is at times a necessity, serving as an escape mechanism should you be cornered, or even allowing you deal with enemies on various levels of terrain at the same time. It’s an extremely fun and exciting mechanic, and executed in a magnificent fashion.
Elizabeth plays her role, too; although Booker is technically escorting her, the game makes sure to note that you don’t have to look after Elizabeth in fights (something which has been the bane of other titles that feature escort missions), quite the opposite, in fact, she is extremely useful. Elizabeth can use her power to materialise objects into the environment, including cover spots, automated turrets, mechanised allies, and even weapons that would be helpful to the situation, such as sniper rifles for long range fire fights. She’s also reactive to your situation, if you’re low on health, ammo for your current weapon or salts (which fuel your vigors), she will actively scout the battlefield for you and throw them to you when you need it the most.
Much like Bioshock, Infinite is immaculately presented, its art style and design is pitch perfect in delivering the era and tone of the game, imagery and symbolism are found at almost every turn, and can effortlessly transition from being beautiful to bleak. Its sound design also stands out as some of the best I’ve ever heard in a game –the voice actors, the environments, the score (consisting of both original and known compositions), and just as Bioshock made you shiver at the groan of a Big Daddy, Infinite will terrify you in all the right ways – just wait until you first hear the call of the Songbird.
What really makes Bioshock Infinite such a triumph (and difficult discuss in a review without spoiling it) is its story. I have never had the pleasure of experiencing a tale so fantastically told within a game, whereas Bioshock had the major theme of objectivism holding it together, Infinite touches on so many different areas; religion, philosophy, patriotism, racism, discrimination, freedom – all approached with brevity yet never laid on so thick as to feel preachy.
Many criticised the original Bioshock for its ending, claiming that it felt rushed and wasn’t adequate for the story that preceded it – this is absolutely not the case with Bioshock Infinite, in fact it’s one of the most satisfying, bewildering and deepest conclusions I’ve ever seen in a game. I defy anyone to not play this game through to its conclusion and not have their brain wrinkled by it; it mentally and emotionally overwhelmed me to the point where I sat there in silence for a good ten minutes, contemplating what I’d just seen.
When I finished Bioshock Infinite, I was astounded by what I’d experienced. It was an unusual feeling, something that I’ve only experienced a few times in my life, and that was the feeling I’d just finished something truly incredible, and special. But with that, came a tinge of sadness, knowing that it’s probably going to be a long time until I experience that feeling again, not just from a game, but from any form of media; it is undoubtedly one of the greatest games I’ve ever played.
Bioshock Infinite is an unequivocal masterpiece, it is art and entertainment married into one package, a triumph for all those who crave for more substance in their games, and testament to Ken Levine’s brilliance as a game designer and, indeed, a writer. It absolutely cannot be missed out on; it’s the most important game you’ll play this year, and one of the finest works of this generation. Bioshock Infinite, is as close to a perfect game as you’ll get.
In the UK at least there was a lot of confusion about when the Nokia Lumia 920 was actually out via its exclusive deal with the new 4G network EE and Phones4U. When Tweeted Reviews editor reached out to EE, he was told that it would be released on the 9th November, then the 2nd, with last minute news that it looks like it has been delay due to testing issues. However it now available at EE using their new 4G service, Orange old style 3G in white and black, while at Phones4U you can also get it in red and yellow.
Now the phone is actually out there are now unsurprisingly many reviews of the phone appearing all over the web and there are some common themes running through these:
Positives: 1) Great screen 2) Wireless charging is the future 3) The extra Nokia apps are very good 4) Windows 8 in the main is a fantastic OS and different enough from iOS and Android to consider as a credible alternative.
Negatives: 1) The app store selection is still lacking in killer apps and while Microsoft have said this will change, are you willing to be a guinea pig at your own great expense? 2) It’s big, really big and at 185g a bit of a fatty, though we have to question whether these are truly deal breakers, some reviews act as if it is similar to holding a bright yellow bag of sugar next to your head and that the average pocket just weren’t made for such a huge phone.
Needless to say after much consideration we are going to investigate the claims (That we’ve invented) that Apple are using their global domination whip to ensure fashion designers make pockets that will only fit iPhones and disintegrate if anything weighs more than 140g. Expect to see a Watchdog (UK Consumer rights show) report soon, interviewing random confused people who have the stark choice of investing a bum bag (or Fanny pack if you’re American) or shopping for clothes at the local clown shop. Similarly expect to see an increase in Nokia Lumia 920 owners who have one arm bigger than the other in 6 months time.
Mixed: 1) Battery life seems to be an issue for some but not for others, 2) The camera, (which was the feature that most excited us) seems to excel at night but does not perform as well as expected during the day, Confused? Yes we are too, as it is normally the other way round for high-end camera phones. 3) Finally Price, when compared to the iPhone it is great value for what you get, but when comparing it to the new LG Google Nexus 4 it is expensive.
Our opinion: We are still undecided on whether to get one and we think it comes down to personal taste. After 10 mins of trying one in an EE shop without an internet connection, all we can report is that it is indeed well made, WP8 is slick and nice to use, it is indeed heavy for a phone but not overly so and fairly rubbish without an internet connection. But apps are a sticking point for us, in particular the lack of Instagram which is odd since Microsoft invested in Facebook in 2007 and owns 1.6%, which you expect to enough clout (or Klout) to get a little app made post-haste, but obviously not.
Still here is a list of the ‘best’ reviews we have found in the twitterverse so far, by people who have actually used the phone. (Have we missed one? let us know)
Techradar 4/5 (13 page review)
If the camera is one of the key things you are interested in, both the reviews below go quite in-depth.
Engadget (no actual score that we can see, but probably same as all the others)
A special mention must be given to T3 as the least insightful (is that it?) review, it is the perfect review if you just want to quickly read something that doesn’t really tell you much, well other than ‘weighing in at a colossal 185g’ as a result of this advice we are going to avoid picking up their magazine for fear of hurting ourselves.
Revolucion De Cuba is a venue, which has had a few names; it was formerly known as Bia Hoi and a few other things besides…
As the name suggests Revolucion de Cuba is a Cuban themed restaurant which I’ve been to a few times for drinks and food and enjoyed the general ambience of the place and the food on the plates!
It has a relaxed atmosphere with colourful posters on the walls and cushions in the booths, and Cuban inspired tunes.
Both times I have had food here I have enjoyed their tapas offers and gorged on a selection of lovely dishes. Last time we went for food was on a Tuesday evening for an after work meal, the place was not packed but there were enough people there to provide a good atmosphere.
When we sat down, we looked at the menu to choose what we wanted but although there were, waiters and waitresses about our no one took our order until I started heading to the bar with my menu.
We decided to order a selection of tapas on an offer, which came with a complimentary trio of salsas, including a pineapple one, which my companion thought, was amazing.
We ordered Quesadillas, Nachos, Patatas Bravas with Chorizo, Chiles Rellenos, and Sweet Potato & Chorizo Croquettes. This ended up filling most of the table, which is always a good thing!
The highlights of the meal were the Quesadillas with pulled pork in them, although I also enjoyed the Nachos and Sweet Potato & Chorizo Croquettes. My companion loved the Chiles Rellenos, which were jalapeño’s stuffed with cheese and covered in breadcrumbs.
We had a difference of opinion about the Sweet Potato & Chorizo Croquettes though, I enjoyed them but my companion thought they were a bit too fragile and not as flavoursome as he had expected. We both also expected more chorizo in the Patatas Bravas with Chorizo as we only noticed about three bits hidden amongst the potatoes.
Despite these few niggles we enjoyed our meal at Revolucion de Cuba and I have even arranged a work get together here later in the month to sample Revolucion de Cuba’s Mojitos and Burritos!
Revolucion de Cuba is part of a growing mini chain, with restaurants in Manchester, Cardiff, Norwich and soon to open one in Derby. For more info visit their website: www.revoluciondecuba.com
Released: 1st October 2012 (worldwide) 2nd October 2012 (US)
Adamant to secure their title as the most grandiose three-piece band on the planet, Muse return for their sixth studio album, ‘The 2nd Law’, and as with their previous efforts, there’s an ample mix of experimentalism borrowed from other genres, acclimatised to their own brand of stadium rock. Whilst exploration of new venues can be a risk, one that can yield rewards or ruination, Muse have always managed to find that middle ground that’s kept them from alienating their audience by remaining familiar. However, whilst that familiarity can be a comfort among their most dedicated fans, for others, it may inspire apathy.
Much has changed in the world of Muse since the release of their last album ‘The Resistance’, lead singer, Matt Bellamy got married to Hollywood glitterati, bassist Chris Wolstenholme has battled alcoholism and drummer Dominic Howard… probably bought a few new cymbals. Whilst life has progressed for the band, the world is in a very similar state: economic turmoil, an energy crisis, war, all of which had become subjects Muse has addressed from their stadium sized soapbox. Although I don’t take issue with bands delving into politics and spreading awareness, I do believe there is a limit; they run the risk of becoming preachers of a message heard all too often, and when for some, music is a haven from the troubles of the world, it’s not necessarily welcome when it invades your space.
That being said, unlike their last three albums, political messages aren’t laid on so thick in ‘The 2nd Law’. Amidst the messages of political and economic discord, there are personal moments laden throughout, and inspiration plucked from more artists than you can count. Opening track ‘Supremacy’ like many Muse albums starts loud and brash, and transmutes before you, opening with staccato strings reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’, leading into a frenzied mix of fuzz guitar and falsetto vocals. Just as the bar has been set, the second track ‘Madness’ pulls you back down with its throbbing synthetic bass and drums, echoing the likes of Prince and Nine Inch Nails. It’s a welcome moment, and one that despite its more subdue approach compared to its other tracks stands out the most.
Later tracks ‘Save Me’ and Liquid State’ both written and sang by Chris Wolstenholme both reference his fight with alcoholism, the former track being a far more restrained number, with clean guitars and synthetic notes glistening over the course of the song, whereas the latter is at odds with this, portraying a man at odds with himself. Both tracks are standout moments of the album, not necessarily for their quality, but from how much they deviate from the grain; Chris performs vocals admirably, and that’s a challenge in itself given that he’s sharing real estate with the vocal powerhouse of Matt Bellamy, but it does feel like something that would be suited to a solo project.
The latter third of the album – like other recent efforts by Muse – feels like a drop, interspersed with attempts of raising the energy levels once again, but just falling short. ‘The 2nd Law: Unsustainable’ lays on the social messages thick, starting off with a news reporter reading out a mock story echoing the energy crisis, as a Hans Zimmer inspired score plays in the background – throbs of brass sections included – it’s all laid on incredibly thick, so much that it’s hard for anyone but disillusioned sixth form students to take seriously. The track then awkwardly segues into what can only be described as instrumental dubstep, leading to the closing track ‘The 2nd Law: Isolated System’, a solemn number with more audio excerpts of global catastrophe scattered in-between, feeling more like it’s been lifted from the soundtrack of a political documentary.
There are moments in ‘The 2nd Law’ which are hard not to admire, moments where Muse pluck up the bravery to step out of their comfort zone and dare to try something new, but for every moment they attempt this, there are two where they rush back into familiar territory, a place where they happen to be at their weakest.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
By Jordan Salari
— Tweeted Review (@tweetedreview) October 1, 2012
Saturday 22nd Septmber is the Bermondsey street festival, which seeks to promote local talent and creativity, that’s local designers, performers and musicians http://www.bermondseystreetfestival.org.uk
And our friends ’A Grape Night In’ are taking wine to the people!
Not only will there by lots of wine, but also a fantastic afternoon of performances, art, music and food. As the organisers say, the Festival is “the perfect blend of village fete folksiness, with Bermondsey street style”
Find A Grape Night in, in ’The Meadow’and we’ll be selling wine by the glass and bottle to enjoy with the delicious food available at the Festival. Come down and say hi and throw your best tasting note in the ring to win tickets to one of their tastings!
It’s Saturday afternoon at 3pm and you’re starting to get ready for a dinner out with 12 of your nearest and dearest to celebrate two friends turning 21 for the 8th time, when the phone rings……… Breathlessly you are informed that the restaurant that was booked has lost gas and that all of a sudden it’s looking like the choice will either be McDonalds or a liquid dinner. Re-booking dinner for 12 people in central London this late in the day is not an easy task, so where do you go?? Well Bethnal Green of course!
On the outside, Bethnal Green is not known for its thriving restaurant scene. Admittedly, once off the tube and wandering along the high street we were a bit concerned about what was going to be on offer for our dinner. After a ten minute stroll we turned down Wadeson Street where we believed the restaurant was, walked all the way to the end then again once around the block. Slightly bemused and concerned, we doubled back on ourselves only to be rescued by a dashing chef (I do love a man in chefs whites) who asked if we were looking for Bistrotheque? He then pointed us through a white courtyard and up a flight of stairs.
Birstrotheque can only be described as a destination restaurant, and by that I meant a restaurant you go to for an experience despite its rather dodgy surroundings. As we clambered up the stairs, an uneasy feeling settled in as I pictured entering a world exclusively for the beautiful, rich and cool, a member of a club to which I definitely do not belong. However, once the door opened we were greeted by both a white expanse of warehouse and a smiley and welcoming member or staff. As we running a little early we sat down at the bar for a quiet beverage.
The drinks choice is good and the boys in the group chose The Kernal, a very tasty Pale Ale brewed locally in South London.
Once the gaggle had arrived we were ushered to the table with a slight air of urgency and asked to order as soon as possible. Understandably, they had taken us as a last minute booking and admittedly we were running a few minutes behind, however it was felt by a number of the table that this pushiness was a little over the top and lowered my opinion of the otherwise good service.
The philosophy behind the Bistrotheque menu is that they offer seasonal, simple food produced in the spirit of a French bistro. If you visit the restaurant before 7.15pm or after 9.45pm they have a pre fixe menu which is 3 courses for 17.50 as well as their à la carte offering. The great thing about being in a group of 12 is that in a restaurant such as Birstotheque is that you can often get to sample a majority of the menu, and we did! The starter choices varied from ham hock terrine to crab salad, all which came in good sized portions. The ham hock had a good taste without the gloopiness that the gelatine can sometimes offer and there were rave reviews from those eating both the crab cake and asparagus. Main courses however, offered up a slightly different perspective. All of those on the table who went with the pre fixe menu opted for the onglet steak, a long, thin cut of meat which is known for its rich flavour. However, upon delivery the steaks took up a variety of forms in terms of shape and size. Aside from this, all of the steaks were cooked as requested and had the rich and full flavour desired. Trouble however, brewed down the other end of the table when one of the dishes arrived a good few minutes after the rest of the group had been served and a burger which had been requested well done was delivered distinctly on the pink side and had to be returned. Credit must go to the front of house team though who handled the situation superbly, including taking the two dishes off the bill without so much as a whisker of a complaint.
One of the more unusual dish choices of the group, steak tartare, was hailed by our resident expert as being season perfectly and delicious. Somehow we managed to squeeze in desserts including salted caramel tart and chocolate cake, which were all judged as ok but nothing special.
Conclusion: The best way to sum up Bistrotheque is a mixed bag…. Would I go again? Yes. Would I recommend it to others? Maybe. Would I say that it is one of the best dining encounters I have had in London? No. Whilst the experience of going to Bistotheque is an adventure in itself, I couldn’t leave without the feeling somehow the wow factor was missing. The food is very nice, the prix fixe is great value for money, however, without the mystery location it is simply another good restaurant, and one of many others which are dotted all around the London landscape, but if you are in the area it would be rude not to go.
A TweetedReview score of 3.75/5
Here at TweetedReview we love a good tweet, so imagine our delight when we heard about the ‘world’s first social media driven light show’ driven by tweets!
At 9pm every evening until the end of The Olympics London will be lit up by another light show, but this time using The London Eye; excitingly it will be lit up using the energy of the nation’s tweets around The Olympics.
SoSo Limited (some clever guys from MIT) and Mike Thelwall (a clever British professor from the University of Wolverhampton) have devised a way of not only tracking the sentiment of the Great British public but to display it all as a light show, hence creating the ‘world’s first social media driven light show’. You can of course go to the London Eye and watch the show but for those who can’t, it is also being streamed live every night from the Daily Mail hub. If you do make it to the London Eye, make sure you visit their mission control which will give you a far better insight to how it all works than this article ever could.
But there is more to it than that, EDF Energy, who are one of the London 2012 sponsors have also launched a portal so you can see the ‘Energy of the Nation’ in real time, showing you everything from trending athletes to the most positive place in the country. While on the energy map you can see virtual tweet worms moving around the area from where they have been sent.
An Iphone app called Energy2012 has also been launched which also shows you the map and lets you pan, zoom and search locations. (you can only see the sentiment of the tweet worms when it’s paused) Update: An Android version has now been released. Their Facebook app goes even further and shows you how positive your Facebook profile is; we got 49% which is only 1% below our glass being half full.
Have a play, watch the show, after all this is truly the first social media Olympics
Niki is a food blogger and currently undertaking the ultimate gourmand (read: greedy) challenge: 365 days of dinner blogging. Follow her journey (and plates) at http://dinneroftheday.tumblr.com/ and http://twitter.com/breakinglon
Juice of the Month #1
Marks and Spencer: Asti Spumante NV :Asti DOCG : Italy
As sporting events are handing out the medals, and announcing its winners, we too thought we would crown this M & S Asti Spumante as Juice of the month in honour of all the medals it has been winning! Furthermore we thought that this off dry, grapey, sherbet sparkler would be a perfect contender to match your strawberries at Wimbledon this summer…
A multi-award winning £7.99 @ M&S
Juice of the Month #2
Ernie Els: Proprietor’s Blend 2009 : Stellenbosch : South Africa
It only felt right to pay honour to a sporting legend in the wine world this month – that is Mr Ernie Els. Ernie already a big name in the golfing world, made his debut in wine over in the cape in 1999 and the rest is history! In respect to the Cape terroir his Proprietors Blend is a bordeaux blend with a touch of Shiraz. This is built to last with rich cassis, savoury spice and blockbuster power. Needless to say this is well worth the extra pounds if you are celebrating any sporting wins this month!
A celebratory £23.95 per bottle @ Lea & Sanderman
A Grape Night In next event is: Grape Games at @Seven at Brixton on the 22nd July.
No athletes here, just wine lovers! Join A Grape Night In where they will pitch long-term grape rivals against each other in the ultimate test of taste, which grape will be crowned ‘King of wine’
To find out more visit: www.agrapenightin.co.uk
Developer: Airtight Games
A couple of years after co-creating the groundbreaking hit Portal, lead designer Kim Swift left Valve to join, Airtight Games. After the colossal success of Portal setting up an equally sizeable precedent for her first project, no longer in the loving embrace of Valve, can Quantum Conundrum live up to its predecessor?
Quantum Conundrum, much like Portal, is at its heart a puzzle game, where you manipulate time and physics of the environment around you in order to progress. You start off with the ability to turn even the heaviest objects as light as a feather, by transforming the world into fluff; so if you need to carry an object like a safe on to a pressure activated switch, you turn it to fluff, place it on the switch and go back to normal, bringing it to its full weight. As you progress, more options are given to you how to change the world around you, including the ability to make everything heavier, slow down time to a crawl, and reverse the flow of gravity completely; the caveat here, is that while this is all happening, as the one who manipulates these physics, you’re immune to the changes that take place.
The plot to Quantum Conundrum is pleasantly simple: you play a 12-year-old boy who’s been sent to stay at his uncle’s mansion for the weekend, who happens to be an eccentric scientist and inventor called Professor Fitz Quadwrangle, who also created the Interdimensional Shift Device (or IDS for short), the very tool you have to use to make your way through his mansion and its many puzzle rooms, in order to reach the generator which will open up the pocket dimension the professor trapped himself in after a botched experiment.
The simplistic plot – while welcome for avoiding being convoluted in a game based around physics manipulation – falls somewhat short. The professor does offer background narration as you make your way through, via a disembodied voice but there’s little to compel players to keep progressing through the game’s many levels, beyond seeing and attempting to solve the next puzzle. Luckily, its puzzles are strong enough that it can hold a player’s interest, and much like Portal, its later levels can leave you flummoxed at first, and make you feel like a genius for solving it.
It’s hard not to compare Quantum Conundrum to Portal, given that their frameworks are almost identical, but this shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing; ever since its release, apart from Portal 2 there haven’t been very many games to even attempt to emulate the formula laid out by it. Quantum Conundrum doesn’t necessarily have that charm that Portal has, but it does have a charm of its own; there are jokes littered throughout, including classic books with scientifically parodied titles (such as ‘Great Exponentiations’, ‘To Kilowatt a Mockingbird’ and ‘Prime and Probability’ among many others), paintings of the professor and his pet Ike (a bipedal feline-type creature with the ability to teleport) and their journeys through time, and bizarre contraptions which aid you along your way.
Quantum Conundrum may not have set a new standard the way that Portal did, but it’s definitely a game that you shouldn’t ignore; it’s extremely clever, fun, engaging, and has a level of ingenuity few game developers even dare to live up to. I got around seven hours of playtime out of my first playthrough, but there are challenges that can keep you returning, like finishing a puzzle with a limited amount of dimension shifts, completing them within a set time limit or finding hidden collectables. As far as downloadable titles go, Quantum Conundrum is a must; give your brain a work-out and play it.
Tweeted Review rating: 4/5