Rugby 15 review

This is a golden age of sports games. Electronic Arts and 2K, among others, churn out iterative titles every summer, make a quick buck and can get away with it because these titles are really rather good.

Rugby union doesn’t tend to get the same treatment. Since 2007, many fans have been clinging on to EA’s last title, Rugby 08, which was itself no more than a re-skinned Rugby 06. It wasn’t exceptional by any means, but ‘fans’ grew to love its glitches, disrespect for the rules and overpowered Irish centres.

HB Studios, EA’s contracted studio, brought the sport to the next generation in 2011, cashing in on the World Cup hype with, you guessed it, a shinier Rugby 08. Sidhe had a crack with a pair of Rugby Challenge titles which proved scarce and new players found it difficult to adapt to the perplexing controls, yet I found it far superior once you adapted. Still far from perfect, but closer than beforehand.

When news broke early last year that HB would be bringing a new Bigben-published title, Rugby 15, to market, I was tentatively excited. Yes, it would likely be Rugby 06 for the fourth time, but licensed sides and blanket release on major consoles would surely make up for it.

I became highly suspicious the month of release came and, with nary a gameplay video, the game was delayed in the UK (until its release on these shores today). So, like any rational person, I splashed out €45 to get it imported from France a few months ago. All in the name of journalism, of course, my dear reader. I would do anything for you. Even this.

Sadly for my wallet, it’s atrocious. Playing my first game against a longtime nemesis and worthy competitor at rugby games old and new, we both unleashed fits of laughter when the game kicked off.

Animations are deranged and woefully few. Controls are deranged, with the right trigger responsible for passes in all directions. Even the licenses have been mangled, with Irish lynchpin Jonny Sexton carrying a lower overall rating than unknown Harlequins benchwarmers.

Rugby 15’s defining moment came in a clash between Toulon and Clermont Auvergne. Whilst pitying my opponent and clinging onto what little desire I maintained to survive, I crossed the try line and intentionally flicked the ball wide to winger Julien Malzieu, standing off the pitch, who then leapt back across the line, grounding the ball at my command. Correctly, the game awarded Toulon a 22 metre dropout, but not before awarding Malzieu’s Clermont the 5 most invalid points they’ll ever collect, virtual or not.

If you care for the sport of rugby or its video game realisations one iota, please avoid this game. Just pick up a copy of Rugby Challenge 2 and get to grips with its quirks. For now, I’m stuck trying to figure out how to recoup my Euros.

Rugby 15 is released today in the UK. It is awful.

Apple iPhone 5s review

I’m sure that you all know by now that Apple has announced their latest addition to their smartphone lineup – the iPhone 5s. As ever with Apple, there has been a lot of hype surrounding this launch, and that has resulted in the fact that some of the sites that have reviewed it haven’t really understood what the phone is about, or what it is trying to be. Some put it down for its “bad” specifications. Others fawned over the device just because it was sent down by the Apple gods from above.. Even though I’m pretty late with this review, hopefully I’ll be able to give my thoughts on the device, and while doing that tell you what this device is really about. Continue reading →

Digixav Podcast 016 – August 25th 2013

You may think that it’s been a slow news week, but our triad of podcasters can always spin an hour-long show out of any news, no matter how small. From golden flip phones and iPhones to LG’s latest tablet, coined Samsung Homeboy, Xavier, Henry and Chris take you on an excruciatingly musical journey past Steve Ballmer‘s potential replacements Chandrasekar Rathakrishnany and John Legere, Xavier’s review of Nokia’s Lumia 720 and olinguitos that play video games. It’s a fun ride, so join us for the trip.

Right click and save this link to download, and you can subscribe (and rate and review the show) using iTunes! Don’t fancy iTunes or use a different podcatcher? Here’s our RSS link!

If you have any feedback, questions or comments, tweet us or send us an email to podcast@digixav.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Nokia Lumia 720 audio review

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Earlier this week, I published my extensive review of Nokia’s Lumia 720. If you haven’t read and watched it already, I’d sincerely recommend that you check it out, but today I’m bringing a new option of consuming our written word to the table. Alex, the lovely robot found within iTunes on Mac OS X, has made an audio version of my post which sounds remarkably good for one of these text-to-speech things. The concept of audio reviews is something I’ve been considering for a while now, so if you think it’s worth us continuing (even if we have to replace Alex with a human or alternative robot voice) give us a shout in the comments or on Twitter.

Right click and save this link to download, and you can subscribe (and rate and review the podcast) using iTunes! Don’t fancy iTunes or use a different podcatcher? Here’s our RSS link!

If you have any feedback, questions or comments, tweet us or send us an email to podcast@digixav.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Nokia Lumia 720 review

For years, Nokia has known that the best way to expand market share is to saturate every corner of it with a device. After an initial launch of just two devices in late 2011, Lumia devices are now available at seemingly every price point from £99 to £499, and one of the latest devices to join the range, the Lumia 720, sits firmly in the middle of this vast expanse, priced at around £249 unlocked. It follows on from the Lumia 710, which I reviewed last year and felt was a bargain considering its low price and high quality, but the 720 faces fierce competition from a sea of Android-powered handsets including diminutive versions of the top-selling flagships from HTC and Samsung. As such, is this mid-range combination of Windows Phone 8 and Nokia’s trademark hardware design worth your attention? Read on to find out.

Continue reading →

Microsoft Surface RT review

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Last June, a mysterious event invite came out of Microsoft’s Washington HQ. Unlike pretty much every other tech launch in the last two years, we hadn’t seen any major leaks beforehand, although rumours of the launch being for a tablet with Windows 8 (or, according to Mat Honan, a #MSFTaaaaaablet). What the company ultimately unveiled was the Surface, its first piece of Windows-based hardware, in both RT and Pro flavours, the latter of which still hasn’t made it to the UK. In a brave experiment, I have spent the last couple of months using the RT model as my primary computer, and it’s definitely been turning heads. Has this been for good reasons, though? Read on to find out. Continue reading →

Digixav at The Gadget Show Live 2013

Henry and I went to The Gadget Show Live in Birmingham on Friday, an annual extravaganza for tech companies to show off their latest wares to consumers in partnership with the popular Channel 5 programme, and we decided that we would turn our experiences of the event into a comprehensive report at the end of it. What you will read below this paragraph is the resulting document, which grew progressively more animated as the day drew to a close. What started out as a ‘thoughtful’ and ‘insightful’ piece descended into madness, dictated by bouncing, swiveling and a whole plethora of GIFs. This article is not for those with poor internet connections, but we hope you join us through our journey into the wonderful madness that was The Gadget Show Live 2013.

This was the ticket, which arrived in my hands thanks to a Twitter giveaway from YouTube’s PDTechHD and Otone Audio, whose stand boasted the loudest speakers by far.

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This was the entrance.

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As you can probably tell, the whole event was sponsored by Microsoft, and it became apparent that the company wanted to push its products, mainly Windows, to the showgoers. Dominating the show floor was this stand.

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On this stand, you could find pretty much every Windows Phone and bizarre Windows 8 form factor under the sun, so we made GIFs of them all.

Windows Phone 8 Phones

Windows 8 Form Factors

What impressed us in particular was the Dell XPS 12. We spent a long time just spinning its screen round and round.

Dell XPS 12

In the end, we left it like this.

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Lenovo’s ThinkPad Twist received similar treatment from both myself…

…and Henry.

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist

Henry also took a shine to the dual-screened Asus Taichi.

Asus Taichi

We both just laughed at Toshiba’s 21:9 offering, though.

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As we moved away from Microsoft’s stand, Henry tried to capture the atmosphere on his Surface RT.

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Soon after, we found ourselves in the Game Zone for an on-stage Grid 2 competition. Henry was lucky enough to be one of the 8 competitors hand-picked from the crowd.

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He then faced the embarassment of coming in 4th in front of the gathered crowd. See if you can spot us both by clicking the image for full resolution.

Grid 2 Stage

After this, we found some calmer places to demo the game, which is set for release at the end of May.

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The best one was undoubtedly the LG stand, which let visitors drive round the Red Bull Ring on a £19,999 84″ 4K/Ultra HD TV, shown off in the UK for the first time, coupled with a Vesaro sim racing setup that clocked in at £15,000. Stay tuned to our YouTube channel for videos from this stand later this week.

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Just next door, Samsung had a few HDTVs, a Galaxy Note 10.1 and a Perspex-encased Galaxy S4.

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On the other side of LG, Bowers & Wilkins were showing off some bizarre speakers.

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Sony, perched close to Microsoft, had a bus, which was sadly not open to the public.

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Honda’s tiny stand showcased Miimo, a robotic lawnmower that borrows technology from the company’s line of Asimo humanoid robots.

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Pioneer’s DJ equipment got Henry up and scratching merrily.

DJ Henry

3D printers were all the rage this year.

3D Printing

Parrot’s cage full of AR.Drones being demoed every 5 minutes was prime material for GIFs.

Parrot AR Drone Spin

Parrot AR Drone Fall

The most fun we had all day was at the end with Kangoo Jumps. We bounced a lot.

Xavier Bounce

Henry Bounce

Although Henry gained unnatural amounts of pleasure from making unusual GIFs of me.

Xavier Drinking

Xavier Conveyor

The opposite was also true, however.

Henry Conveyor

Henry Walking

All in all, we had a great day at The Gadget Show Live. It was jam-packed full of cutting-edge technology and definitely worth the 6 hour round trip to Birmingham. From Henry…

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…and from myself…

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…we hope to see you all there next year!