Plants Versus Zombies: Garden Warfare

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I basically just copied and pasted my Amazon review of Plants Versus Zombies: Garden Warfare here for my blog. I thought, why not? I haven’t posted in a while and you all deserve a little something. Plus if you are thinking about getting this game on Xbox 360 or Xbox one you can get an idea of what the game is  like. You basically have to kill plants or zombies (though technically it’s KO’ed not kill).

Amazon review:

I was introduced to Plants Vs. Zombies when I was a WoW player. There was a quest that inspired by it. I downloaded the first PvZ game on Xbox 360 last holiday when it was on sale. I also have the squeal on iPad which is a “free” to play game.

I was a bit disappointed that there was no single player mode in this game. Even though I read the box cover, I was still secretly hoping there would be one! However, I wasn’t shocked that it was online only. I didn’t care about the lack of local play, though I did consider getting an Xbox one for PvZ GW. I feel that the Xbox version is pretty good, though it does seem like it lacks in content for a $30 game.

Here’s what I like:
Graphics are really crisp and clear. I love the colors and the cartoon style fits with the game very well. The music, especially at the results screen, is catchy. The game reminds me of Team Fortress 2. I like the different characters and there is enough variety for now. The game seems well-balanced and I don’t feel that one side is stronger than the other in terms of mechanics. Also, both sides have a certain uniqueness. I think that the chomper is my favorite! There is a co-op online mode which stays with the spirit of the original game that you can play with up to 4 people or by yourself if you want. Personally, I’m not sure that playing by yourself is viable as it is much easier to play with other people. I also like the 3rd person style as the characters are fun to look at.

What I don’t like:
The game really only has two modes for multiplier. A team death-match type and garden vs graveyard. Both modes are fun. The latter is kind of like TF2, because you have to capture several areas as zombies and defend them as plants. Both are fun, but seems a bit lacking without more game modes. Sure there are two more modes, but they are “classic” versions of the first two modes. I am sure there will be DLC coming to this game, but it does mean you will probably have to spend more money!

Bottom Line:
This is a fun game and it’s very different from the original. I think it’s a fun game and should hold my interest for a while, at least until I get all of the achievements. It’s worth a buy if you are a fan of the series and are looking for a great multi-player game. It does have some flaws as far as a lack of content, but it seems to be bug free and I haven’t noticed much lag at all. $30 isn’t too bad a price, but I think it’s really worth $20. Also, no single player mode is kind of a downer. Overall, I feel the game is worth it.

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Reviewing The Kindle Fire HDX

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A few days ago, I got a Kindle in the mail from Amazon, allowing me to try it free for 30 days. I’d like to share a few thoughts on it.

First off, the package was fairly easy to open and setting up the kindle was pretty much done before I got it. I just had to setup the Wifi. There was a nice software update a day or two later that added some info on the lock screen. I chose to try the smaller kindle, because I wanted to see if I like the small screen more than my iPad 3’s 9.7″ screen.

The best features on the kindle is proably the size, weight, and sound quality. It boasts Dolby sound and has good stereo placement. One of the issues of the newer iPads is that the stereo speakers are on hey he bottom and work best holding the iPad in portrait. The kindle speakers are better in landscape, which tends to be better when viewing videos.

The kindle is less than a pound, making it even lighter than the new iPad Air. It’s so much easier to hold than my iPad third gen. This is probably the best selling point of the kindle fire, other than the price tag.

You can really tell how much faster it is than my iPad. The Simpsons Tapped Out and The Sims Freeplay run perfectly on the kindle. Music sounds nice and since it is an amazon product, your amazon cloud downloads are ready to go. Streaming works without a hitch. The screen makes reading e-books a bit easier with a blue backlight but the paper white kindle is still probably better for reading.

Now let’s talk about what I didn’t like about the Kindle Fire. First, there is only a front facing camera, no back facing camera. I suppose if you can only have one, the front camera at least lets you Skype and make selfies without getting the kindle in the shot. Still, having a back camera would be more convineient.

The Silk internet browser is nice, but there is no Chrome app for the kindle, which means I can’t sync my bookmarks and pages. The OS is nice and makes it easy to chose your apps, but closing apps is a pain. It’s no match with iOS7. However, amazon organized media access well, having the ability to chose music, books, videos, etc. at the top of the screen.

Apps work well, but some of them are limited. The TiVo app only streams to iOS devices, though that may change in the future. Apple tends to get the best apps first.

Overall, the Kindle Fire HDX is a good tablet if you are looking for a smaller, lighter tablet, and you prefer an Android based tablet. It’s also a good choice if you have a lot of amazon digital content. As for myself, I’m going to stick with Apple and I may upgrade to the iPad Air.

*Update* I should also add that the buttons are on the back of the Kindle. Not sure I like that. On the one hand, it means that you have just the screen on the front and saves some space. But, I like having the button placement on the iPad as it makes it easier to turn it on and off.

Give Me A Kindle Fire HDX

various e-book readers. From right to left iPa...
various e-book readers. From right to left iPad (Apple、2010) kindle DX (Amazon、2009) kindle 2 (Amazon、2009) kindle 1 (Amazon、2007) PRS-505 (Sony、2007) PRS-500 (Sony、2006). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Apple released the iPad a few years ago, it was the beginning of the reality that I may end up buying a tablet computer one day. The first iPad seemed cool, but I wasn’t really sure I could justify the expense.  The iPad 2 gave me another urge to buy one. I resisted. By the time the iPad 3 (The New iPad) was available, I ran out of excuses. I had just gotten a iPhone 4s a few months ago and it seemed that it was finally the time to get a iPad.

I was happy with the purchase until a few months later when the fourth generation iPad came out. It seemed a bit unfair. Still, I like the iPad as I can use it in lieu of my laptop and take it anywhere I want. It’s easy to carry around and I can do pretty much anything I want on it (I have an Alienware 17″ notebook, great for gaming, but heavy). The only real problem I have had with it was that the USB cable didn’t last as long as they usually do. I like the lighting port my new iPhone 5s has and I was thinking about replacing my current iPad with either the Air or the mini.

Then an interesting opportunity entered my inbox. Amazon, a company that has made quite a bit of money off me through the years, gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse. A 30 day free trial of any Kindle I so choose. No risk to me, as I can return the kindle if I decide I don’t want it before the trial is up and I don’t get charged for it unless I keep it after the 30 days.

Seems like a good deal to me! I chose the Kindle Fire HDX, because it’s the newest model. It’s also the most affordable at $240 without the special offers and sponsor ads on the lock screen. The screen is 7″, so it is smaller than my iPad at about 9″. Since I am considering buying the new iPad Mini with retina display, I can see if I like a smaller screen. I like that Apple is sticking with smaller screens for the iPhone, but I’m not sure how I will like a smaller screen on a tablet computer. Now I can find out!

This is a win-win for me. If I really like the kindle fire, I can keep it and trade in my iPad to Amazon for about $200. That will cover most of the cost of the kindle. If I decide that I like the iPad better, well I can send back the kindle and I’ll have an easier time deciding which new iPad to get. I’m not really a fan of the android OS as I had problems with it when I had my HTC phones. The Kindle Fire uses its own OS that is based on android, so we will see how it works. It’s hard to see how it could beat iOS used by Apple mobile devices. Whatever the case, I am a happy Amazon customer! I look forward to see what this opportunity will bring. I’m planning on writing a review of the Kindle Fire HDX after I have some time to play around with it. Stay tuned!