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At Gamescom, I sat down with Toys for Bob President Paul Reiche to talk about Skylanders Trap Team.

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Skylanders is redefining the Toys-to-Life phenomenon with yet another ground-breaking innovation, Skylanders Trap Team. With Skylanders Trap Team, players can take characters out of the game and place them into physical “Traps” that kids can take with them, effectively bringing Life to Toys.

In the interview, Paul tells us about Skylanders Trap Team, the new Tablet edition of the game, Skylanders Minis and also demos some of the Tablet edition. Over to Paul:

So what do you think of Skylanders Trap Team? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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At Gamescom I sat down with Yager and Deep Silver to talk about Dead Island 2.

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The zombie apocalypse has hit the iconic, sunny realms of California. Building on the strengths of the multi-million best-selling hit Dead Island, Dead Island 2 delivers a shared survival, open-world zombie experience set in a clash of natural beauty and bloody horror and violence: paradise meets hell once again! Developed by award-winning studio Yager, Dead Island 2 is scheduled for release in spring 2015 on Xbox One, PlayStation4 and PC.

Several months after the events on Banoi, the United States  military has put the Golden State under full quarantine. Now a restricted zone, California has become a bloody paradise for those who refuse to leave their homes and an action-packed playground for renegades who seek adventure, glory and a fresh start. Combining the classic Dead Island elements of immersive close combat, action and role-playing, Dead Island 2 features crazy, never-before-seen handcrafted weapons and over-the-top characters in taking players from the iconic Golden Gate to the celebrated beachfront boardwalk of southern California’s Venice Beach.

Developed in Unreal Engine 4, Dead Island 2 brings back its acclaimed, seamless  multiplayer for up to eight players who cooperate, compete or simply coexist in a truly social, new-gen multiplayer experience. Dedicated classes offer a variety of gameplay: From the action-oriented berserker to the stealthy hunter, every character offers a different style of play. An in-depth skill system allows the player to handcraft their own heroes and weapons.

And if you want to just see some new gameplay:

What do you think of Dead Island 2? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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At Gamescom was shown some of the new Mortal Kombat X game from NeatherRealm Studios, and after I got to talk to Ed Boon about it.

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Mortal Kombat X is NetherRealm Studios’ next highly anticipated installment in its legendary, critically acclaimed fighting game franchise that propels the iconic franchise into a new generation. The game combines cinematic presentation with all new gameplay to deliver the most brutal Kombat experience ever, offering a new fully-connected experience that launches players into a persistent online contest where every fight matters in a global battle for supremacy.  For the first time, Mortal Kombat X gives players the ability to choose from multiple variations of each character impacting both strategy and fighting style. Players step into an original story showcasing some of the game’s most prolific characters including Scorpion and Sub-Zero, while introducing new challengers that represent the forces of good and evil and tie the tale together.

New and Klassic Characters: Featuring Klassics such as Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Raiden and Kano, as well as new characters such as Cassie Cage, Kotal Kahn, Ferra-Torr and D’Vorah, the roster will include fan favorites where both good and evil must battle it out.

Character Variations: Mortal Kombat X offers three different versions for each playable character, all of which have their own fighting style, special moves, abilities and strategies. The Variation that players choose affects the style and overall strategy by which the game is played.

Epic, Cinematic Storyline: A deep story mode continues up to 25 years after the events of 2011’s Mortal Kombat and advances the dark tale – introducing new characters such as Cassie Cage, daughter of fan favorites Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage.

Visceral Kombat: Mortal Kombat X introduces the next evolution of fighting with the return of X-ray and Finishing Moves that showcase brutal battles like never before with enhanced graphics and animations.

Over to Ed:

Mortal Kombat X will be released in 2015 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows PC.

Which is your favourite Mortal Kombat character? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

At Gamescom, I sat down with Gaz from Rocksteady to talk all things Batman: Arkham Knight and to try and answer the question – Who is the Arkham Knight?

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In the explosive finale to the Arkham series, Batman faces the ultimate threat against the city he is sworn to protect. The Scarecrow returns to unite an impressive roster of super villains, including Penguin, Two-Face and Harley Quinn, to destroy The Dark Knight forever. Batman: Arkham Knight introduces Rocksteady’s uniquely designed version of the Batmobile, which is drivable for the first time in the franchise. The addition of this legendary vehicle, combined with the acclaimed gameplay of the Batman Arkham series, offers gamers the ultimate and complete Batman experience as they tear through the streets and soar across the skyline of the entirety of Gotham City.

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So Gaz, who is the Arkham Knight?:

Batman: Arkham Knight will be released in 2015 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

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At Gamescom, I sat down with Christopher Brookmyre and Nick Witcher to talk about Bedlam.

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Bedlam is adapted from the novel by Christopher Brookmyre, but diverges from the original in this change of protagonist. The novel’s hero, Ross Baker, does feature prominently in the game, but the switch to a female lead – who is a gamer and sci-fi fan – offered a fresh and bitingly humorous new perspective upon the “gameverse” that the player will explore.

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Over to Chris and Nick (and there’s some new gameplay in there too):

Bedlam will be released on PC later this year.

Alex “The Big Boy” Verrey shows us what’s new from MadCatz at Gamescom 2014.

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In this first video, Alex show’s off a number of new products, including the new C.T.R.L.R, the STRIKE M and others:

In this second video, Alex shows off the brand new MadCatz Xbox One Pro Racing Force Feedback Steering Wheel:

We will be reviewing a number of the new MadCatz products soon, so keep checking out Connected Digital World.

What are you most interested in seeing? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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At Gamescom I sat down with Jonty Barnes (the Production Director) and Jesse Van Dyke (the Lead Concept Artist) from Bungie about all things Destiny.

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In Destiny you are a Guardian of the last city on Earth, able to wield incredible power. Explore the ancient ruins of our solar system, from the red dunes of Mars to the lush jungles of Venus. Defeat Earth’s enemies. Discover all that we have lost. Become legend.

Destiny delivers a new way to experience first-person action games. A sweeping adventure set within a bold, new universe, Destiny features an unprecedented combination of cooperative, competitive, public, and personal activities seamlessly woven into an expansive, persistent online world.

As the interview was audio only, I have added some Destiny Beta gameplay for you to watch.

Over to Jonty and Jesse:

Destiny will be released September 9th for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3.

What do you think of Destiny? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

More people play games on their mobile devices, and MadCatz have released the C.T.R.L.r Mobile Gamepad and here is our review.

 

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Mad Catz’ C.T.R.L.R Mobile Gamepad with Bluetooth technology removes the need for fingers and thumbs to block your touchscreen during mobile gaming. A highly capable game controller at home and also while on the move, C.T.R.L.R provides traditional gamepad controls with physical action and shoulder buttons, D-Pad, and analogue sticks. When paired with Mad Catz’ downloadable configuration app, you can adjust profiles and settings to customize C.T.R.L.R for an expansive list of controller-compatible videogames. And, the included AAA batteries provide energy for up to 40 hours of continuous control over your favourite games, apps, and media.

Who are Mad Catz?

From their website:

Mad Catz Interactive is a global provider of innovative interactive entertainment products marketed under its Mad Catz (gaming), Tritton (audio), and Saitek (simulation) brands. Mad Catz also develops flight simulation software through its internal ThunderHawk Studios; publishes games under its Mad Catz brand; and distributes games and videogame products for third parties.

What’s in the Box?

The box contains the C.T.R.L.R gamepad, travel clip, plus manuals, stickers and a set of AAA batteries.

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A Closer Look

The first thing you will notice about the C.T.R.L.R gamepad is that it looks very similar to an Xbox 360 controller. Gamers should immediately feel at home holding it, as it feels nice and robust in your hands.

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The C.T.R.L.R has three separate modes which are selected via a switch. These include a “mouse mode” which enables the left stick to control the cursor on the screen, as though it were a mouse.

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There are also media playback controls situated on the top of the C.T.R.L.R which include play, pause and mute.

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Fitting the batteries is simple, as you would expect.

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There is also a travel clip included in the box which enables you to connect up your smartphone to the C.T.R.L.R so that you can pretty much play games wherever you want.

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Fitting the travel clip was very easy.

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Then fitting your phone or other device into the clip is also very easy, and the clip really does hold it in there tightly, so you shouldn’t have to worry about it flying out if you are really playing hard!

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Pairing was very simple and quick.

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Final Thoughts

You might recall our review of the MadCatz M.O.J.O. that also included a C.T.R.L.R – the one in this review is a newer version than the one included with the M.O.J.O.

I liked the feel of the C.T.R.L.R - it really did remind me in both look and feel of the Xbox 360 controller, but with more functionality.

And the inclusion of the travel clip means that you a device such as a smartphone and thus create your own little gaming rig. Of course you don’t have to do that, you can always connect the C.T.R.L.R via Bluetooth to whatever you want to use for gaming.

It also uses Bluetooth 4.0 technology to ensure lag free gaming, and believe me the last thing you want if you are playing a game is lag!  And talking of Bluetooth, pairing the C.T.R.L.R was simple and incredibly fast.

You also get around 40 hours of playtime out of a single set of AA batteries, so that’s really good too, although it would have been better to have included a rechargeable battery instead. Talking of batteries, there is no visible way to know when the batteries are running low so that can be a little annoying if you are in the middle of a game.

The MadCatz A.P.P. desktop software enables the creation of game-specific macro profiles which helps with your PC gaming needs.

Because the C.T.R.L.R is shiny it really does pick up every fingerprint and smudge, it’s not really a problem though, but I know some people like their controllers pristine.

MadCatz are currently listing the C.T.R.L.R as £33.33 on their website – so if you play mobile games and want a decent controller, go get this one today.

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You can learn more from the MadCatz website.

If you’re a student swamped with stacks of folders and sheets of copious notes, or if you’re about to go to University for the first time and want get the most out of your lectures – a Livescribe smartpen can help ensure you never miss – or lose – a word. Often in classes or seminars you desperately try to simultaneously listen and make notes.

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The Livescribe smartpen is the solution: every single page, paragraph and scribble backed-up on your computer, safe from loss or damage, searchable for key words at a later date and, even better, the ability to tap on any part of your writing and hear exactly what was being said in your class or lecture at that moment in time.

It also helps you learn smarter. Researchers at Princeton University found that students who handwrite their notes process information more deeply than laptop note takers who primarily transcribe what they hear. As a result, capturing notes with pen and paper leads to better performance on tests, especially those tests that require a conceptual understanding of the material

Livescribe smartpen has a family of smartpens cost little more than a good voice recorder but add far more value to your learning world. You can choose from the Livescribe 3, wifi or Echo smartpen:

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The latest smartpen from Livescribe utilises and exploits the power of Apple iOS and is a perfect partner to an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch (iPad 3 or newer, iPhone 4S or newer, iPod Touch 5th Gen)

Designed by a pen designer this smartpen resembles and feels like a high end writing instrument. The pen syncs to the Livescribe+ App – available free from the Apple Apps store via Bluetooth LE. Once connected your paper notes upload to the App and are stored on your device. If you are connected to your device while taking notes you can capture and link audio to your notes. The audio is recorded on the device and uses the enhanced audio recording that Apple devices offer. Your notes will appear in on screen as you write on paper

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The Livescribe Echo smartpen is great for heavy note-takers. Every single page, paragraph and scribble backed-up on your computer, safe from loss or damage, searchable for key words at a later date and, even better, the ability to tap on any part of your writing and hear exactly what was being said in your lecture at that moment in time.

The Echo has free Livescribe Desktop desktop software for data backup. Users simply plug the pen in to the PC via USB to automatically upload and save data.

Livescribe Desktop even enables users key word search for documents, the creation of custom notebooks to help organise notes, the creation of e-mail attachments of your notes called Pencast PDF’s.

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This smartpen utilises the power of wifi, cloud based technology and the great note taking software of Evernote. Users take notes and audio with paper and when connected to a known wifi network, your notes and audio will automatically leave the pen, pass through the cloud and arrive in your Evernote account. Once in Evernote you can then organise and share your notes. Evernote can be accessed from nearly any devise and is format agnostic. A truly mobile platform.

Livescribe smartpens are priced from £99 for Echo, £159.99 for wifi, £129.99 for Livescribe 3 and £169.99 for the Livescribe 3 Pro Pack.

Livescribe smartpens are available in the UK from Apple, Amazon, Selfridges and www.smartpenspares.co.uk

Further info and videos on www.livescribe.com

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The wait is almost over! Power Rangers Super Megaforce, the newest season of the iconic Power Rangers series, is coming to a TV screen near you on Nickelodeon this September – and we have some toys to give away.

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Check out the all-new episodes to see your favourite Rangers morph into Super Megaforce mode and unlock the legendary power of any team of Rangers from the past 20 years!

And that’s not all; you can be just like the Super Megaforce Rangers with the arrival of an exciting new range of action figures and role-play toys launching this Summer, including the fully articulated Action Hero 12.5cm Figures, each of which comes with a battle accessory. Collect the Legendary Ranger Keys, download the free ‘Key Scanner App’ from the App Store / Google Play and scan your key collection to Morph yourself into your favourite rangers and battle! Use the keys to unlock authentic lights and action sounds in the Deluxe Legendary Morpher as well as the Deluxe Super Mega Sabre just like in the hit TV show. You can even summon your very own Zord Vehicles and combine them into the Deluxe Legendary Megazord to create powerful combinations using the ‘Zord Builder’ system to battle the forces of evil. The Power Rangers Super Megaforce range will be available this August and the new TV series hits UK screens on Nickelodeon this September.

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It’s the “Summer of Power” as Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce team up with the champions of 5-aside youth football, the Power League, to create the Power Rangers Super Megaforce Course over the summer holidays. The footballing course, aimed at 3-10 year olds, will run every week at a different Power League centre nationwide throughout August, making The Power Rangers Super Megaforce Course the SUPER MEGA place for kids to be this summer.

The footballing course will be of a structured nature with children learning skills such as dribbling, passing, control and shooting – whilst having fun at the same time! Like the Power Rangers, the kids will have to work as a team by working together, looking out for one another, overcoming challenges, succeeding in their missions and improving their self-confidence. Who knows, there might even be a few surprise visits from the Power Rangers themselves!

The action-packed course is sure to be a huge hit with kids across the country and coincides with the launch of an exciting new range of action figures and role-play toys alongside the new series of Power Rangers Super Megaforce on Nickelodeon this September.

The Power Rangers Super Megaforce Course kicks off on August 4th & 5th at Power League’s Millhill, London centre. The course will then make its way to Power League’s centres; Leeds (11th, 12th August), Derby (18th, 19th August) and Manchester (25th, 26th August) – the sessions will run from 9am-3pm.

For further details on the course visit www.powerleague.co.uk

How to enter to win

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We have one Legendary Megazord, two Deluxe Super Mega Sabers and two Deluxe Legendary Morphers to give away!

There are three different ways you can enter to win – for a better chance of winning you can enter using all three!

Via the site

So all you have to do to win a some Power Rangers Super Megaforce toys is to leave a comment below telling us who your favourite Power Ranger is.

Via Twitter

Just retweet the message below, and make sure you are following @aedney on Twitter:

Via Facebook

Like Us on Facebook and leave a comment on the Facebook post:

Usual contest rules apply, and the winners will be selected at random and will each win one of the five toys. This contest is open only to those in the UK – sorry!

The contest ends Sunday 31st August, so good luck.

Go Go Power Rangers!

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With Jack Bauer’s latest day having come to an end you can read about what happen to Jack before his troubled day in London in the new novel DEADLINE, and we had two copies of the book for you to win – and here are the winners.

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The time is 5:00 PM. One hour ago, federal agent Jack Bauer was declared a fugitive. If he wants to survive, he must get out of the country, and he doesn’t have much time. With his former colleagues in the Counter Terrorist Unit now dead, under arrest, or shut down, Jack has no resources to call upon, no back-up, and nowhere to go — only his determination can drive him on. One thing remains clear to him: the promise he made to his daughter Kim. Jack vows that he will see Kim one last time to tell her he loves her… before he drops off the radar forever. Meanwhile, a hastily-assembled FBI task force set out to track down and capture Jack, even as a covert operations unit of Russia’s SVR set out to do the same — only the remit of the Russians is to kill on sight. As the clock runs down, Jack must face old friends  and past enemies in a desperate race to stay one step ahead of the hunters, leaving them with a grim warning… ‘Stay out of my way, and I’ll be gone within 24 hours. You’ll never see me again. Come after me… and you’ll regret it.’

The Winners

Jamie Radford

Rebecca Evans

24: Live Another Day – Deadline is available now from Titan Books priced £7.99.

It’s time for another two minute review, and this one is for the Sony PS Vita CitySlicker Case from Waterfield Designs.

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We have reviewed a number of products from Waterfield Designs in the past, including MacBook Air cases and even bags, and so we thought it was time to review something a little smaller, and hope that we could get the same sort of quality and protection for our Vita.

This is how Waterfield Designs describe the case:

“The slim PS Vita CitySlicker is probably the best-looking case out there for your PS Vita or PS Vita Slim. Made of sturdy ballistic nylon and leather, it’s custom-fitted for your device and provides pockets for commonly-played games you may want to take along. The cushy interior hugs the PS Vita so it doesn’t jostle around. The exterior sports a double-layer leather flap that enriches its look. The back of the case has a stretchable, self-locking zippered pocket to hold more games and ear-buds.”

A Closer Look

The back part of the case has a very easy to use zip which opens up the rear compartment.

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You can easily store your earbuds or something else in the back as it is quite stretchy.

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Even with the Vita in the case it still is quite small.

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When you open up the front flap you have access to the main compartment and also cartridge holders.

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Using the Case

It is very easy to slip your Vita into the main compartment.

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And the same goes for the cartridge holders. There are only five but you could always store some in the back.

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Final Thoughts

Having reviewed a number of Waterfield Design products in the past, I was expecting a certain level of quality, and I wasn’t disappointed. The case is very well made, and feels very good in your hands, it is also very lightweight but at the same time is gives your Vita a lot of protection for when you are carrying it around in your bag.

The front flap opens and closes very easily and locks in place with two studs – it won’t open on it’s own so you don’t need to worry about something falling out! The back has a large zip and you can store whatever you want there, as long as its small. I stored my earbuds there and it didn’t detract from the look of the case.

The front also has five cartridge holders and again these are very secure, so you won’t be losing anything from in there! The Vita slides in very easily into the pouch and is held there very securely.

Overall I was once again very impressed with the amount of effort Waterfield Designs has put into their work, this really is the Vita case to own.

The Sony PS Vita CitySlicker Case is available now in Black, Kiwi, Orange, Camel and Grizzly (which is the one we are reviewing here) and costs $49.

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You can learn more from the Waterfield Designs website.

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