- 02 May 17
Pavel Barter reviews PS4 fantast Blackwood Crossing and looks ahead to the latest releases from LG, Sony and Nokia.
PS4 (Vision Games)
The destination could be anywhere in this travelogue with a twist. A young girl wakes up on a moving train and sets out on a hunt for her missing and mischievous younger brother. With Finn causing havoc and Scarlet hot in pursuit, a bunny-headed boy beckons the girl down increasingly surreal rabbit-holes.
Carriages bloom with foliage and trees lead you out of the roof and into the past. Find photographs, piece together memories from Scarlet and Finn’s ghostly family members, and solve other puzzles to advance the narrative.
Blackwood Crossing is a delicately balanced tale of childhood wonder, sibling rivalry, abandonment and loss. The game is only three hours long, but that’s all that’s required to tell the story. Yes, this modern day Alice in Wonderland is hampered by a few technical issues, but the unfolding humour, fear and heartbreak amount to a remarkable journey.
“You don’t do heavy metal in Dobly,” a rocker’s missus complained in rockumentary Spinal Tap. Dolby, as it’s properly known, turns a decent smartphone into a great one, though.
Dolby Vision HDR transforms South Korea’s latest pocket pleaser into a visual powerhouse: a similar visual experience to 4K television, supporting more colours and greater light and dark contrast.
The 18:9 aspect ratio is unheard of on phones. It affords this modest 5.7-inch device a larger screen size, which can be split into two perfect squares. So you can use split screen to preview shots or create side-by-side images. There are two 13MP cameras on the rear of the device, allowing you to zoom between the lenses.
Kim Jong-un may wish to annihilate South Korea, but even the baby-faced dictator would go gaga for one of his neighbour’s LG smartphones.
The song remains the same on Apple’s latest iPad iteration. We’re treated to an 8MP camera and 1.2MP selfie camera (although a law should be introduced banning the use of either except for video calls). There’s a 10-hour battery life and, as with the two previous iPads, a Touch ID fingerprint sensor for security and payments. 2017’s model, though, does lack the speaker power of the classier iPad Pro.
It’s not all old news. At around €366, iPad 2017 is a whisker cheaper than its predecessors. The 9.7” screen is 25% brighter and the A9 chip enhances performance beyond the iPad Air 2’s A8 chip. Split screen features, meanwhile, let you run two apps at once.
iPad 2 and 3 can’t run iOS 10, Apple’s latest operating system, so although iPad 2017 isn’t exactly tablet revolution, it should suit anyone looking for an upgrade.
Nokia hit the headlines this year when it announced the revival of its classic 3310, a Snake-playing, internet-disabled, fortnight-lasting, rootin-tootin’ hipster fossil. Perhaps it was only nostalgic smoke and mirrors to pave the way for its new smartphone.
If 3310 is ET, then Nokia 9 is Blade Runner. And if rumours are believed, this phone includes OZO audio, Nokia’s 3D sound recording and playback technology for virtual reality. Accordingly, Nokia 9 will probably have four microphones and support VR footage shot on high-tech 360-degree video cameras.
Idle gossip suggests the phone will come with an iris scanner, like Samsung’s Galaxy S8. Other reported specs push the phone into the stratosphere: a Snapdragon 835 CPU, 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of storage. It’s supposedly water and dust resistant too.