Microsoft Game Studios Mass Effect
- The game features an absorbing story that is expertly told; there is a tremendous amount of depth to the game, from the character customisation options to the world at large; the overall presentation is also fantastic with pleasing visuals, a vibrant galaxy and an intuitive interface. Variety is also key: the game offers you a ton of things to do; we could go on and on here but we're running out of room so let us just say that Mass Effect is one of the best games we've played this year...or any other year for that matter
- The enemy and ally A.I. is surprisingly dim; having to use the Back button to throw grenades sucks; the elevator rides are also ridiculously long
If you are an RPG fan, you should definitely give this game a look; it is good enough that you'll find yourself disappearing deeper into Mass Effect each time you play and demanding the inevitable sequel long before it's due.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
As complex as the big picture is, your personal journey is almost as complicated. Before you move a muscle, you are responsible for the very creation of the protagonist. You can run with the stock character John Shepard, soldier but you can roll your own through a cleverly designed character creation process.
The beauty of this system is that Mass Effect embeds whatever details you choose for your character's past inside the larger story that follows. Even if all roads lead more or less to the same place, the attitudes you encounter and project along the way are drastically different based on your background and actions. In a game with so many thousands of lines of dialogue, and branching choices for how you present yourself in every single conversation, the sense that your character is a living and breathing individual in an unpredictable world is utterly convincing, whether you choose to be a paragon of virtue with an honourable past or a renegade scumbag who rose up from the societal muck.
Of course, not everyone will be enamoured with the frequent conversation trees that unfold any time you chat up an NPC, but BioWare wisely chose to communicate the bare essentials quickly, so those who don't have the patience to dig deep under the surface can quickly and efficiently move on without missing anything critical to the mission at hand.
Likewise, there's an enormous and beautiful galaxy to explore, filled not just with shrewdly designed mission-centric worlds, but also uncharted planets to land on and explore with the absurdly agile Mako vehicle. Zipping up mountains and down ravines to recover debris, examine anomalies, or explore underground bunkers is endlessly addictive, but it's also entirely optional. If you're the sort that wanted to explore every last cave in Oblivion, you'll love the sheer volume of things to do and side missions to wrap up. If you're not, you're free to just move on to the next stop on the main story-driven mission path which involves a deep and satisfying narrative that I won't ruin for you.
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PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
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