Monday, 30 May 2011

The Sims Medieval - Review

Hi All :)

I present to you a review from my inner computer nerd. 

I have been relying on The Sims 2 for my escapism since its release back in 2004, due to a computer that wasn’t up to anything more. It was only thanks to the boyfriend that it could run it at all with many hand-me-down parts from his old computers. But as a little present for finishing my second year of uni (and the fact he was upgrading) I was gifted the boyfriends old PC. After my little Shuttle this computer is AMAZING! And best of all I could indulge in a more recent release of Sims!

Many people may upgrade simply to Sims 3. I’m sure if you search elsewhere you will find many positive reviews on the upgraded platform – but it was just that. An upgrade. I wanted something more….

The Sims Medieval!

I am a seasoned computer nerd. Hours playing God on my created families suits me down to the ground! But now I have been upgraded to The Watcher. However my many years of experience did not help me when it came to the historical version. I decided to get the Collectors edition of the game, which came with a lot of tat such as a poster and plastic badges, as well as some exclusive content you can download that I haven't yet had chance to look at. 

At first I was amazed at the drama of it all. The simple introduction video (that many players I am sure fail to watch it even once in haste to play the game) enthralled me. But the game play experience is more challenging than I could ever have imagined.

The game is centred on a series of Hero Sims, and rather than controlling them into your own destiny, you are directed through quests to actualize kingdom goals. Don’t confuse it with SimCity (my only purchase being the 4th edition), it is more like the consol versions of the franchise, in the sense you don’t have the same autonomy on game play. But its soooooo much better!!

The way you can change the Sims appearance is intimidating rather than inspiring. I found myself just choosing a pre-created Hero Sims after my first, as the customization takes so long. I wanted to launch into the quests, where you control 1 or more of the Hero Sims through a series of goals to complete the quest. It is a lot more challenging than you may expect. I found myself using Google a lot more than I wanted to, and I would like to think most people who have a normal length of patience will find themselves doing the same.

The system of ‘buffs’ which are achievements feeling or emotions that effect focus are a lot more satisfying than the aspirations for Sims 2, and the quest points achieved that pay for the expansion of the Kingdom are challenging but a real achievement. Hours fly by like never before, with the reading effect of wanting to finishing the chapter before you put the book down.

My favourite Sims so far by a mile, but possibly not for the under 15’s. More challenging then if first looks it provides hours of entertainment for those willing to stick at it. The achievements are worth the wait, and even after 2 days of solid playing I haven’t go past the first level (a kingdom goal).

4.5/5 (the 0.5 lost for the stress of not being able to find items in the Bric-a-Brac scavenger hunt quest!!)

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie xx

Friday, 27 May 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - Review

I was very nervous about watching this forth movie in the series without my two favourite characters, Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightly) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). They were key parts in the first three movies, and as a rule series normally get worse rather than better. However, I was pleasantly surprised on how they kept the plot fresh and there were still plenty of recognisable faces.

The inclusion of Penélope Cruz as Angelica Malon, daughter of the ruthless pirate Black Beard was great. She was sexy and confident and provided some serious chemistry with Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). She also has a striking resemblance to Keria Knightly which keet the male members of my viewing party happy. And for those that like a hunky lad in a movie, I would highly recommend Philip the Missionary (Sam Clafin) with some very nice topless shots and providing a strong moral compass throughout the movie…. Sigh…. Perfect!

The action was familiarly spectacular with ridding carriage roofs and fantastical lands passed through with the quest for eternal life. I loved the inclusion of the mythical mermaid and yet more chemistry between her and the missionary. With a thimble-full of religious symbolism and the exploration of the quest for more years it give something to chew over if you cared too (and I would assume many wouldn't).

Yet I cannot help but be frustrated that there is still room for more movies. No explanation was given for the absence of Swan and Turner (leaving it open for them to return if the actors can be convinced) and no sign of an ending in sight.

I chose not to see the movie in 3D which I somewhat regret. I went with 5 friends and family and we decided that the traditional viewing is better. My boyfriend in particular claims it makes him feel ill, and with a movie stretching for nearly two and half hours you want to be comfortable. However the special effects would really benefit from the 3D technology.

Overall I enjoyed the movie more than I expected! As a Disney buff and lover of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, I will undoubtedly be going to see the following movies and collecting them on DVD.

I would really recommend going to see it if you like fantasy movies… which I always love. Also a good example of an action movie with lots of stunts that leave you questioning on the way home how they did them all!


Thanks for reading,
Love Rie xx

Monday, 16 May 2011

Dead Reckoning - Review

As promised here is my review for Dead Reckoning – the latest’s book in the Sookie Stackhouse series (more formerly known as True Blood) by Charlaine Harris. Those of you that have been reading this blog over the last couple of weeks know that I was greatly anticipating the release of this book after reading the rest of the books in quick succession late last year.

**I have tried to include no spoilers, however I may have given hints to events happening in the book when talking about characters emotions and my predictions of their future.**

Sookie’s life is getting increasingly difficult in this instalment, leaving her to reflect on life before she discovered the supernatural world. Despite danger from all around she has time to indulge in human activities such as baby showers and repetitive cleaning of her house. I jumped into mundane areas of other books (such as my childhood favourite Harry Potter, with chapters such as being in Ron house and creating Dumbledore’s Army being some of my most read), but here they seemed like spacers for the limited new revelations in this book.

Sookie and Eric
(I believe in the televised version of Dead to the World)
Long gone are the assumptions that Sookie is a naive young woman in the bedroom. A blend of romance, attraction and sex is present as always, with suitors jumping into her bed or queuing at the doors when they learn of Sookie and Eric’s problems. The love I built for Eric in Dead to the World seems to be slowly crumbling with revelations in the political aspects of their relationship, as well as a development in their blood bond causing fissures. 

I believe that in the next book we may even see Sookie looking elsewhere from comfort, in the form of another supernatural lover.

I wonder if becoming a vampire has changed the
way he performs?
We also learn a little more about Sookie’s powers; however I was disappointed as they felt mere reinforcements of information we knew already. Other than the dramatic climax of Bubba’s concert to the vamps, there is very little action or new information given to us about how the series is going to be concluded. Don’t get me wrong, I am a great lover of the 10 book series so far, but soon enough Harris will run out of things to say and this needs to come to a conclusion.

After greatly anticipating this book as a development I was disappointed with the presentation of muted revaluations of information we already knew. I feel a lot more could have been done with this book to make it more interesting and exciting (I’m still up for Sookie being sucked into the Fairy world for a book!).


Please let me know if you have read this book, and what you think. Do you watch True Blood of television? Let me know what you think. Comment up people and get involved.
Thank you for reading,
Love Rie xx

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

My Favourite Post Secrets - from this week!

Hi all :)
A little bit earlier than last week I thought I would do a Post Secret blog.

I realised that in my earlier blogs about Post Secret I didn’t say what it was all about, so before I talk about it anymore I will present to you a little bit about the site, who owns it and why it was started.

Post Secret was started by Frank Warren as a Community art project back in 2005. He asked strangers across America to write a secret on a postcard and send it to him. No restrictions were placed on the content of the card, other than it must be your secret, and that it had never been told before. Warren has now been posting between 10 and 20 anonymous secrets on his blog every Sunday for the last 6 years without fail (with only a hand full of missed days over that time).

I discovered this blog in my first year of college, recommended to myself by a class mate called Flo. It soon became a tradition on Monday mornings in college to go into the IT suite and check that week’s secrets with different people over the 2 years I spent there. Comments were made on the quality of their design, on the artistic-ness of the message and we always loved (I still do) an encrypted message to work out. But I like to think we never judged the content. These were people’s secrets, and it was not for me to judge what ever event or thought they needed to share.

I have been visiting the site every Sunday evening and saving secrets for the last 2 years now, and have compiled quite a collection. I only save my favourite secrets, as I am not creating a record of what has been posted but a scrapbook folder of the ones that drew me in.

The content of the blog has inspired many other projects, that I only learned the extent of its reach when researching for this post today. There are 5 directly affiliated blog sites that post secrets, some in English with translations, and some are sent in native languages. Currently there has been 5 books published including secrets never seen before. Enlarged copies of the secrets were used in the Washington Art Gallery for an exhibit, and Warren had done a number of Post Secret Events in American Colleges. The All American Rejects even used the project as the background for their song – Dirty Little Secret. (see the end for links and videos)

So with the introduction over, I will place my favourite secrets from the original Post Secret blog this week. Keep in mind that it was Mother's day in America last Sunday, hence the topics.

Am I the only one who wants to know what?

I found Wally (or Waldo as he is called in America) in this picture quite quickly.
But I can't help but wonder if there is a cartoon of this persons Mum that is more important.

The construction of this secret is unusual and that's why I was so attracted to it.

The links: - UK version of the blog. - French language version. - German language version. [translations available] - Portuguese language version. - English secrets translated into Spanish.

All American Rejects song:

Thank you all for reading, 

Love Rie xx

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Post Secret Again

Hey all,

I'm thinking of making this a regular thing - hopefully a weekly post of my favourite Post Secrets of that week?

Let me know what you think. I don't want to know your secrets - because those are yours to keep. But I would love to know what your favourite secrets are from Post Secret, or anywhere :)

With out further chatter: My favourite postcard secrets of this week are...

This secret really scares me... I really hope that this person can get over his/her image issues.

Why doesn't he say?


I really think that happiness is not determined on IQ.
It takes someone really smart to recognise the flaws around them and be happy with them.
Or just someone too stupid to realise?

Never :P
Thank you as always for reading,

Love Rie xx

Hello Again

I may blame my busy uni work schedule for my absence from blogging for all this time, but in truth I have been finding it hard to find enough hours in the day to do anything consistently at the moment.

However my work is nearly all done and I have a long summer ahead of me to blog to my hearts content - and blog I will.

Tonight I have been working on my website and I think *fingers crossed* I am finished :D I have had a bit of help from my boyfriend who brought me back from the brink of breakdown after some problems with a JavaScript photo viewer but I am really happy with how it looks now - and it leaves me relaxed enough to write a short blog!

I am really excited as I have had a message from my Mum to let me know that the latests True Blood book - Death Reckoning has arrived so I can't wait to get home and jump straight in to it.

Just one more piece of work to do now and feeling super happy. I am just looking for a work experience placement now - so if you know anyone who can help please please email me at

Thank you all for reading,

Rie Reviews xx