CSI New York Season 3 Part 2 (Region 2 DVD) Review

CSI New York 3.2

 

As the newest CSI New York half season set, 3.2 provides some longer storylines to keep things fresh. While CSI is famed for closed in single episode storylines, the second half of the third season provides some interesting story arcs. You have a few nods to previous episodes such as Gary Sinise’s character, Detective Mack “Mac” Taylor, after arresting a dirty cop before. This story continues as he is investigated for being suspected to push a suspect off a rooftop in handcuffs off a roof even though he insists the man jumped. Plus there are a few other long storylines to give more depth to supporting characters.

The best episodes of the set are “Sleight Out of Hand”, about a magician performing tricks over three nights and people dying the same way as the trick. Plus the season finale where a group of men break into the lab for a heist. This gives Gary Sinise a good excuse to do a thinking man’s Bruce Willis in a Die Hard impersonation. Out of the 3 discs in the set, there is only one episode which isn’t really worth watching, which isn’t bad by anyone’s standards. In terms of the DVD set, only one extra is included. It is a visit by one of the cast members to a real training facility where members of law enforcement see faked crime scenes and dead bodies. It lasts for quite a while in running time but is really a one or two watch maximum. Overall, CSI New York 3.2 is a great set. While the extras are not great in number it is is a very entertaining set and easily worth a place in anyone’s DVD collection even if not a normal CSI fan, or trying to recover from CSI overload.

Verdict: +

 

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CSI Miami Season 4 Part 2 (Region 2 DVD) Review

CSI Miami 4.2

 

The arrival of the second half (3 Discs) of season 4 of CSI Miami is very welcome indeed. For those not in the know, Crime Scene Investigation: Miami follows Lieutenant Horatio Caine (David Caruso) and his team of investigators The end of season four provides an ending to a number of story arcs that have been going on for quite a while and present a few new ones. The good thing about these half season sets is that they present questions and then answer them right away.

Season four’s second half has a few must see episodes like Horatio’s vendetta against a drug cartel and the lengths both sides go to get the other. There are a good number of interesting stand alone episodes too, and a story to complete the season where the FBI come in and take over the lab after money goes missing.  DVD extras are non-existent and that’s a real shame. You would hope for at least something on a modern season boxset but not this time. Overall 4.2 is a must own for the episodes, but its makers should be ashamed for the lack of extras. 

Verdict: +

Splinter Cell: Conviction Delayed

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It’s one of those good news, bad news kind of things. The good news is Splinter Cell: Conviction has been delayed yet again. The bad news is that it doesn’t seem that the title suggested by most, well, me to replace Conviction has been taken up by Ubi yet. So much for Splinter Cell: Hobo Edition. (A reference to the way Sam Fisher looks in the game trailer)

In all seriousness though. Considering the lack of press information on the new Splinter Cell game it may be for the best that the title has been delayed with a TBA release date. This is because if the game was any way near alpha we would get some new video after the trailer several months back. If its not near that by now there wouldn’t be any time for QA testing before its up to now release date.

It would be interesting to hear some opinions on if you will be at all interested in the game once it comes out and indeed the Splinter Cell franchise as a whole.

Crysis – Review

Crysis

Click to see our Crysis DVD

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If you haven’t heard of it from all the hype from the last few months, Crysis is a first person shooter published by EA. In Crysis you play a solider in a futuristic (Nano) suit who is sent to a remote island on a mission to find more than he expected.

The storyline in Crysis for the most part cannot be said as it would ruin the game, but it does go into a lot of detail and fleshes out the events surrounding you. Crysis is easy to control in terms of gameplay controls with the mouse and keyboard presenting no issues. For those of you who have seen all of the trailers over the months and played the demo you will find the game is exactly as advertised; a large number of gameplay areas all vast in size and varied in type. While FPS games do well just for being an FPS the biggest draw is the idea of replaying the game using the various different possible ways that the levels can be completed such as doing it once while invisible without killing then going through just like Van-Damme would punching everyone and then finally like Sly would with full-on guns in the jungle just like in Rambo.

While people might have been reporting issues with graphics settings in the demo versions, the full game is extremely easy to use and can scale to any system to give a perfect frame rate. No matter your system’s capabilities, one option that is a must in the graphics settings is Physics quality. The higher quality physics settings control effects such as buildings being able to come crashing down. Lets be fair that’s half of the appeal for the game so having it on high is a must!

There are some issues though that are hard to ignore. After spending up to the last 6 months hearing nothing about how much we are going to love this game, getting a single player campaign that only takes 10 hours to complete on a PC only title is a pretty disappointing. You end up wishing for the game to have been longer since you have been hearing about it for so long, it’s kind of anticlimactic. Some enemies get stuck in walls if you shoot them in close proximity to them which is a serious game play issue. There is also an escort mission, which is rather dull.

With a solid multilayer map set and an ending that leaves it open to a sequel, we can only hope that Crysis 2 fixes the issues with this game. While Crysis is fantastic to play, the excitement of blowing trees drys up pretty quickly and it only actually effects enemy characters directly in the rarest of cases.

Crysis also features a level editor called The Sandbox2. It doesn’t add that much value to the game as it’s way too technical for a novice to use. The program is hidden away in a directory on the install CD with only a single acknowledgment in the readme file and no directions on how to find it on the CD’s autorun let alone use it. The editor also isn’t mentioned at all in the instruction manual in the box.

Verdict: +

Ted Stokes

Proof of full version review before retail release.

We have had some comments on digg that some users doubt that this is a review of the full version. As is usual it is a review of a press unit and above are screenshots taken by myself to prove it is from the full version using the popular fraps screenshot program. Since promo shots are a single one or two from a level it was decided to give a number of non-action shots as to try and not ruin the game or at least the level. At the top of the review are the new exclusive screenshots. Look for the Stuffwelike name on the save screen in screenshot 3.

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The Unit: Season 2 DVD (Region 2)

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Season two continues where the first season left off, showing the heading for more dangerous missions around the world. In the case that you are unfamiliar with the show, The Unit follows the lives of both in the field and at home of a group of elite US special forces soldiers. Starring Dennis Haysbert (24) as Jonas Blane the team leader, you get to see the not so advertised missions he has to lead his team through for the US government. Also starring in The Unit are Regina Taylor, Abby Brammell, Michael Irby, Scott Foley, Max Martini, Demore Barnes, Audrey Marie Anderson and Robert Patrick (Terminator 2). The first season of the show was very hit and miss as the characters needed to be introduced.

In Season 2, now we know about the characters plus the psychological and financial issues they are facing, so it’s all about their finding solutions. It can be said that The Unit has something for everyone. Although not at the same time. While a male audience will love he heavy action sequences provided by seeing the missions take place, they will find the at home soap opera moments dull. These, however, would be of more interest to the female audience than the mindless action, if you assume the usual stereotypes.

The season includes such great episodes as Extreme Rendition, Sub Conscious and Dark of the Moon. In Extreme Rendition, a former member of the unit is in a Bulgarian prison and Jonas with his team must go and help him escape to get information on an arms dealer. Sub Conscious has the team on a mission to take control of a South Korean submarine to help a North Korean Scientist defect. Dark of the Moon is easily the best episode of the show so far with nothing but 40 minutes of action in Pakistan as the team help defend a US base from attackers wanting to break out a number of recently taken suspected terrorist prisoners. The last episode of the season, Paradise Lost is where The Unit is under investigation by the Government for their past actions and gives a great cliff hanger ending to the season.

In addition to the boxsets, 23 episodes on 6 discs, there are 10 commentary tracks by members of the cast and crew, such as the actors Dennis Haysbert, Demore Barnes, Regina Taylor, Abby Brammell, Scott Foley and Michael Irby. Also included in the commentary tracks are the writers and executive producers, with around 3-4 people per commentary track. The tracks are informative but some are much better than others.

The set also includes a number of making-of documentaries which manage to keep your attention. Paradise Lost: The making of the season 2 finale (32mins 48sec) focuses on the production process from start to finish. Mission: The making of Sub Conscious (11min 31sec) shows the technical aspects of shooting the episode and since shooting fake submarine shots is such a technical and interesting topic, you would hope for it to be longer. Finally, there is Dark of the Moon: Working with Weapons (19min 11sec). If you are looking for something each member of the family will enjoy bits of, then The Unit: Season 2 is worth serious consideration.

Ted Stokes

Rating: +