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Mafia II DLC: Jimmy’s Vendetta

About two weeks after Mafia II launched, 2K Games released a DLC pack called Jimmy’s Vendetta for the PC and the XBOX 360 on 7th September, which you can buy off Steam for $10. Jimmy’s Vendetta is a continuation of the DLC pack called The Betrayal of Jimmy that was released free of cost exclusively for the PS3. So, is it worth spending $10 (Rs.470) on this? Let’s find out.

Jimmy’s Vendetta is not related to the main plot of Mafia II in anyway, so you’ll never come across any of the familiar characters from the story. You play Jimmy, a former mob hitman, who gets cheated and is sent to prison. After spending a good amount of time in the slammer, there’s only one thing on your mind and that’s revenge.

The game opens up with a cut scene showing your former days of glory and how you get captured and thrown in the hole. Fast forward to the present, a riot has broken in the prison and this is your only chance to break out. Unlike Mafia II, this DLC has more of an arcade characteristic to it, so after each mission you are graded on how fast you completed it or how many people you killed. Points are also added for speeding and power slides. After finishing a mission you can replay it at any time to better your score.

Since this game is all about taking revenge on the people that ruined your life, there are plenty of shootouts and assassinations in every mission. If you ever think you’re outnumbered and need some help, there’s a little trick you can try that works very well. Let’s say there is a huge gang coming at you with Tommy guns and you find yourself low on ammo. Just be patient and let them keep shooting at you but don’t return fire. Sooner or later the cops will arrive and take them out. All you do is sit at a distance and watch the show.

Unfortunately, the variety of missions is very less and it basically just boils down to three or four different types. One is to go and kill a bunch of people, destroy cars, steal vehicles and deliver them and that’s pretty much it. As you progress the difficulty increases a bit; like there’ll be more number of people to kill or when you steal the car, the cops will be alerted, plus there’ll be some mob guys protecting the car, etc. After playing five or six missions, it gets boring and repetitive. Also, the missions are scattered all over the map, so there’s a lot of painful driving to do.

The graphics are the same although you do get some new cars to drive that aren’t in the main story. Another thing you’ll notice is that there aren’t any cut scenes apart from the intro and the last couple of missions. The rest just have static picture giving you a little brief on what the mission is all about and why you’re doing this before you start. Once you’re done, you just go to a save point, which is now a floating symbol of a house that appears close to your location, so now you at least don’t have to drive all the way to the safe house to save your game. There comes a point where you just don’t care about Jimmy or anything else, as there isn’t much of a story as you just go around killing people, saving your game, rinse and repeat.

This DLC pack should have been included with Mafia II for free as there’s nothing really new here, certainly nothing worth $10. It’s as if 2K Games had anticipated the angry reaction of gamers about the story being too short and quickly released this to hush things. Let’s face it, Mafia II is a good game but we felt a bit short-changed because after the main story there’s really nothing much to do with very little replay value. Jimmy’s Vendetta is fun to play but lacks variety and after a couple of missions you get bored. We say give this a skip, in fact buy the first game if you haven’t played it, it will be money well spent.

Overview: Mafia II DLC: Jimmy’s Vendetta

Good graphics, plenty of gun fights and car chases, new vehicles added

Missions lack variety and get boring after a while

Get’s repetitive after sometime, bland story, should have been free

Expert Rating :


New Apple iPod touch: An Overview

New iPod touch

The iPod touch has been the most popular iPod for Apple. In fact, it has been the most popular product for Apple, a title that was previously held by the nano. People seem to have taken very well to the touch, a device that offered them all the iOS goodness of the iPhone without the phone (and contract). It has been a huge success as a gaming platform too, selling more than the number of handheld consoles that Nintendo and Sony sell combined, with 50 percent of worldwide market share. So how can you make something so great even better?

Well, the first thing that Apple probably has in mind when making newer versions of existing products is how they can make it smaller. The older iPod touch was impossibly thin. They just couldn’t make it any thinner. But that’s what we think. To prove us wrong, Apple has done just that. Not only did they make it thinner they also added in more stuff to it, including two cameras, one of which records in HD!

The older iPod touch was 8.5mm ‘thick’, while the new one is just 7.2mm. When you look at that figure and what all Apple has added in the new touch, you realize that Apple’s engineers are a different breed of people, capable of bending the laws of physics in a way that a common man cannot even comprehend (nor can the engineers of other companies for that matter).

There are five major additions to the new touch. First is the Retina display, which debuted on the iPhone 4. It’s 960 x 640 pixels, which is four times the resolution of the older iPod touch displays and since the size has remained unchanged at 3.5-inches, it has an amazing pixel density of 326 ppi, which is the highest for any mobile device, so high that you cannot see individual pixels with the naked eye.

The second addition is the A4 chip, same as the one found on the iPhone 4. Rumored to be clocked at around 1GHz, the new chip will make the iPod touch much faster and will also significantly improve the gaming experience as now the developers can make more detailed and high quality games knowing that the processor is fast enough to handle them.

Another thing that will make gaming better is the addition of a gyroscope, which is the third important addition. The three-axis gyroscope will make motion based gaming a lot more precise, while adding new ways to control the games.

The next important feature is the addition of a front video camera. It can record videos and images in VGA resolution. With it you can make FaceTime calls with people using the new iPod touch as well the iPhone 4.

The last major addition is the camera on the back of the device. With it the new iPod touch can record videos in 720p resolution at up to 30 frames per second and also take pictures in 960 x 720 resolution. Just like on the iPhone 4 the rear camera can be used during a FaceTime call to show the person on the other side what you are looking at. You can geo-tag the images using Wi-Fi. Whether the camera on the back supports autofocus or not is not mentioned. However, my guess is, it doesn’t. But for such a thin device, it is a miracle they managed to put in a camera capable of recording HD videos.

Visually, you will notice that the back is now completely flat and not curved as on the older model. Also, the tiny spot on the top left, which was the Wi-Fi antenna, has now disappeared and one wonders where Apple could have relocated it. I guess we will have to wait for iFixit’s teardown for that. Apart from that the new touch is identical to the older model.

The battery life on the new model is rated at 40 hours for audio and 7 hours for video, which is longer by 10 for audio and 1 hour for video than the older model. This, despite the thinner size and added battery-consuming features. It’s sorcery, I tell you!

The new iPod touch will be sold in three capacities; 8GB, 32GB and 64GB models, and unlike the previous generation, this time it seems they all will get the same hardware. They will be priced at Rs. 15,400, Rs. 19,900 and Rs. 25,900 respectively.

The Good:

  • It’s impossibly thin
  • Retina display
  • A4 processor
  • 3-axis gyroscope
  • Front VGA camera for FaceTime
  • Rear camera for recording HD videos and stills
  • Improved battery life, despite all the above additions and size reduction!
  • There is still a loudspeaker somewhere in there
  • Did I mention how thin it is?

The Bad:

  • Only 256MB of RAM
  • Display does not use an IPS panel like the iPhone 4
  • 64GB is still the maximum limit
  • An FM radio would have been nice
  • No autofocus for the rear camera, and low resolution still image capture

New Apple iPod nano: An Overview

iPod nano

The iPod nano’s design has more or less been the same ever since it was launched. They may not look identical but it has always looked like a slimmed down iPod classic. This year, however, Apple gave the nano its biggest design change ever.

Enter the touch screen. Yes, the multi-touch, capacitive touch screen has finally made its way into the cheaper iPods and the nano is the first and perhaps the only iPod to get it. Since the click wheel is gone, the nano is much smaller than before, 46 percent smaller and 42 percent lighter to be precise. All you see in the front now is the 1.54-inch display with a resolution of 240 x 240 pixels. The new nano is now closer than ever to matching the definition of its name.

On the top of the nano you will find the sleep/wake and volume buttons, and on the bottom is the dock connector and the earphone jack. On the back is a clip, so you can attach it to your shirt or bag. Visually, the new nano looks almost exactly like the shuffle, except it has a touchscreen instead of buttons and a dock connector.

The interface of the new nano is based on the iOS devices. You will see four icons at a time on the screen and to see more you need to swipe left. To get back you swipe right and to jump to the first screen you press and hold anywhere on the screen. You can rearrange the icons on the screen any time. Just press and hold on the icons until it jiggles and then move it to wherever you want. You can also rotate the orientation of the display by just using your two fingers on the screen and doing a twisting gesture. I wonder why one has to do this manually though; why can’t the accelerometer do it on its own?

When you go into the music playback screen, you will see that the album art takes the entire screen in the background. On the front you will see the track info on the top, the playback buttons in the middle. To get more options such as repeat, shuffle or Genius, just swipe left on the screen to get them.

The new iPod nano comes with a built-in FM radio (with Live Pause) and can also display photos. However, due to the smaller display size video playback is no longer an option. This is a major omission compared to the previous generation model, which cannot playback video but also record it using its built-in camera.

Other features include shake to shuffle and a pedometer for fitness freaks as well as support for the Nike + iPod Sport Kit. The new nano will be available in six colors, plus a (PRODUCT) RED version, available exclusively through the iTunes Store. The battery life is rated at 24 hours for audio playback, which is the same as the previous generation models. The new nano will be sold in two capacities, 8GB and 16GB for Rs. 10,700 and Rs. 12,700.

The Good:

  • Really small
  • Multi-touch display
  • Interface looks well designed
  • Built-in clip
  • Only iPod to have built-in FM radio

The Bad:

  • The screen looks bit too small
  • No more video recording and playback

New Apple iPod shuffle: An Overview

iPod shuffle

The iPod shuffle has always been very small, but with the third generation model, Apple just broke all notions of what a small player should be with what looked like an eraser. It was the smallest music player ever, but unfortunately, this size zero came at a cost, which was the loss of buttons on the player itself. The shuffle was then dependent on its earphones to control the music for it and without them it was as good as a paper clip.

This also meant that users could not use their own headphones with the shuffle as then they would have no way to control it. An alternative would be to buy expensive adaptors that would let you plug in your own headphones and control the player.

Apple realized the problem with this design and so for the fourth generation model they have gone back to their older device. The new shuffle looks a lot like the second generation model, but is now smaller. It uses an anodized aluminum body and comes in five different colors. As with the previous two generations, it comes with a clip on the back, so you can wear the player without the need for any other accessories. The controls are now on the player itself, so you can use any headphones with the device. The new shuffle still retains the VoiceOver feature, which debuted with the previous generation model.

The new shuffle has a battery life of 15 hours, which is pretty impressive for such a small player. Only a 2GB model will be sold, which will be priced at Rs. 3,200.

The Good:

  • Brings back the familiar buttons that we all know and love
  • Really, really small
  • A really really good sound quality

The Bad:

  • No display, but that’s okay 🙂

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