Friday, 16 August 2013

Saints Row 4 Review

Big news, Saints Row 4 will be released soon! We've been checking out trailers and finding info on the game. All so that we can give you an idea of what to expect.

Saints Row 4 Trailer

What can you expect from Saints Row 4? The trailer below gives you some idea. Insanity is the short answer however. The Saints Row series is releasing its 4th game this year. Over the series they have set themselves apart from other video games due to the high levels of crazy they inject their games with. The last Saints Row game, Saints Row 3, was pretty nuts... But it looks like number 4 will go even further. I'm talking about aliens. That's right. Aliens!

My thoughts after watching the trailer? Well, I think my brain melted a little bit. It was funny. But also... What did I just watch??

Saints Row 4 Release Date

Late August 2013. Aren't we already in August? How did this one get past me?

Saints Row 4 Gameplay

What can I say about the Saints Row 4 gameplay? Guns, superpowers and so much more! Watch the below video and you will see why I'm so excited about this game!

Monday, 12 August 2013

'The Last of the Mohicans' - Book Review

What is The Last of the Mohicans about?

The Last of the Mohicans is a historical novel written by J. Fenimore Cooper. The story is set during the Seven Years’ War (1756-63). This war was fought between Britain and France, with the assistance of their native allies. The Last of the Mohicans describes some of the events of this war. It also portrays frontier life in the American colonies.

Where is The Last of the Mohicans set?

The novel is mostly set in North America (around the present day state of New York, USA). But the story does take the reader up towards Canada as the narrative develops. Think the area around Lake George and Fort William Henry. Fort William Henry’s museum looks really awesome by the way! Cooper’s descriptions of the American landscape are among the most memorable features of this book. He really manages to bring the scenery to life in a way which you don’t see much in modern literature.

Who is The Last of the Mohicans about?

The book is about two distinct categories of people. The first group are white colonial soldiers and a couple of their family members. The second are Native Americans. This second group are split between numerous tribes and families. The most notable Native American tribes in the book are the Mohicans or Delawares, the Lenape and the Huron or Wyandot. The last group are also referred to as Iroquois. The colonial group is more simply split between British and French.

Who are the main characters in The Last of the Mohicans?

-Major Duncan Heyward, a young officer in the Royal Americans.
-Colonel Munro, commander of the British garrison of Fort William Henry.
-Hawkeye, a British scout and sharpshooter.
-Chingachgook, a Native American chief and the eldest surviving Mohican.
-Uncas, Chingachgook’s son and the only other survivor of the Mohican tribe.
-Magua, a Huron ex-chief with a grudge against Colonel Munro.
-Cora Munro, Colonel Munro’s eldest daughter.
-Alice Munro, the colonel’s younger daughter and object of Major Heyward’s affections.

What happens in The Last of the Mohicans?

The plot of this novel covers various aspects of frontier life. War is one element. This includes Western warfare, armies lining up opposite each other to do battle, and Native American warfare. The latter involves fighting in small bands in the forest and keeping behind cover. Peaceful exploits are another element. Characters fall in love and suffer losses, but are also forced to survive in an inhospitable landscape. The narrative is full of action from beginning to end and characters are well-developed.

Why is The Last of the Mohicans so good?

The Last of the Mohicans is a great novel because it really encompasses all aspects of life in colonial North America. War, survival, hunting, tracking and raiding are combined with aspects of everyday life. This makes the book both believable and engrossing. It brings the combination of normal life and exciting adventure which was unique to the frontier into the reader’s home.

Should you read The Last of the Mohicans?

You should definitely read this book. It is very high up on my list of top historical novels, and is a must-read for anyone with an interest in American history. There are also relevant social issues contained in the narrative. Gender and race controversy is present throughout the novel within the characters’ opinions of each other.

The Last of the Mohicans film

Here is a video of one of the best scenes from the The Last of the Mohicans film. This movie came nowhere near doing justice to the novel. But it is still a great film to watch.

Joe Malpas

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Glossybox: What is it? My July Review

What is Glossybox?

I signed up to the Glossybox subscription service at the beginning of the month, having heard much about it and admittedly found myself curious. I did my research, scouring YouTube for videos and the internet for blogs, and finally decided to take the plunge! For those who don't know, Glossybox is one of the subscription services whereby, for a fee of £10 and £2.95 for P&P you get 5 beauty products sent to your door. It seemed like a nice and easy way to try new things that I certainly wouldn't have had the guts to go out and buy. Signing up at the beginning of August meant that I received the July box as my first, and I admit that I took the opportunity to do some more video watching to see what  I might expect to get. Before I get to that, let me tell you a little more about Glossybox! Each box is shipped out around halfway through the month and payment is taken through direct debit. It’s a little like getting a present sent to you every month.
Products are chosen for you based off a beauty profile that you fill in when you start, although some products seem to be standard for boxes regardless of what you put in your profile. Products come in a mix of full size and sample size products. Also in the box comes a pamphlet with a list of the products, with a description/blurb from Glossybox and the price and size of the full size product. To figure out how much your box is worth may take a bit of time and a calculator, something I’ll be doing to write these posts. There is, however, a guarantee that the worth of the box will always be greater than the £10 you spend. By how much depends on the products and sizes received.
They have a number of affiliated brands which you can browse through on their website, from which the products are chosen by the elusive ‘Glossybox Team’. It seems that the service caters to more than the UK, but you should have a look at their website to see if they deliver to where you live!

July Review

The month’s theme was ‘Seaside Splash’. “Perfect” I thought, as I’m off to Sicily in a couple of weeks! In the pamphlet I found a note from the glossy box team, explaining the theme, information on a 10k charity run that glossy box is partaking in and how to donate to the charity in question. Also was an advert for an online shoe store, along with a discount code for an extra 5% off (I may very well go and have a peek for my weakness is definitely shoes!), and finally my list of products. All of this was housed in a cute, blue box covered in pictures of coral. Very beach-y. July box has been out for a while, so you may already know what to expect, but anyway, onto the fun stuff, what did I get?

1. Inecto Pure Coconut: Inecto Pure Coconut Refreshing Dry Shampoo

I can't rotate this!!!!!!!

I usually avoid dry shampoo because it makes my hair feel heavy, powdery and they tend to smell quite strongly. But this one I could see myself buying again. I got the full size, which is 150ml and available to buy through Amazon. It’s probably too big to keep in your handbag, but that’s not so much an issue when you need to use it as a hair pick me up before rushing out. Its light, feels as good as a dry shampoo can, and it smells great! I was really worried about using it as I thought it would be a heavy, cloyingly sweet coconut scent, but the mild scent really sealed the deal for me. If I were ever to be converted to the way of using dry shampoo, this would be the product to do it for me.

2. Alterna Haircare: Bamboo Style Boho Waves Tousled Texture Mist

That one is a real mouthful to say! When I opened up this box I was really interested in trying this one out. I like styling my hair, but I avoid hairdryers, curlers and the like if I can get away with it. So products are really my only way of giving it a go. This sample was a 1/5th of the full size which retails at £23. I need to give this one more of a test before I can make my mind up. I’ve used it all of one time so far, and it left my hair a little crispy for my tastes. Next time I’ll use a brush instead of my fingers (like they tell you to in the booklet!) to spread it through and see if that helps. Unless this makes a huge difference, I’m unlikely to go and buy this again. I’ll try to have fun with it while I have it though.

3. Ciaté London: Paint Pot

With flash

Without flash 
You may or may not have heard of Ciaté, but they seem to be quite popular, and expensive. A full size nail polish is 13.5ml and costs £9. The longer I venture into the world of nail polish, I’m coming to realize that this may not be as expensive as I once thought. I received the colour called ‘Island Hopping’, a colour I might have bought for myself. It’s a very shimmery mixture of red, gold, and orange, much like O.P.I 'The Spy Who Loved Me'. Depending on how the light catches it, the colour looks different. I’m really happy with this, as a full size it’ll last me absolutely ages, I probably won’t hesitate to buy this again, depending on how it stays on my nails. (Weak nails means that most nail polish chips very quickly after I put it on, it drives me crazy!)

4. Coola Organic Suncare Collection: Coola Mineral Face SPF 20 Unscented

This was another product that I was quite excited about. Glossybox had three different kinds of the Coola facial sunscreen this time, but you won’t hear me complaining about receiving the unscented, uncoloured one. I’ve used a little to see how it works, but as the sun hasn’t been shining as much the last couple of days I haven’t had a chance to give it a proper go. Regardless, this is a pretty light cream, easy to apply with little to no white cast. My skin didn’t feel sticky or oily after application. So I’m happy. Unfortunately the full size product is £29.99 for 50ml, and the sample size was a mere 7ml. I’ll have to think long and hard before I consider buying this.

5. Ila Spa: Facial Oil for Glowing Radiance

The description of this was enticing, to quote “[Ila Spa Facial Oil for Glowing Radiance] has been named ‘a little miracle’ by celebrity make-up artists”. Nice right? The sample size is teeny weeny, but as they say you only need to use 3-5 drops, so a little goes a long way. Especially when it comes to facial oils. I have been using the Caudalie Divine Oil (a dry oil) as a moisturiser on and off for a while, and I really liked it, it sank into my skin quickly and didn’t leave it looking shiny or oily. This product boasts the increasingly popular Argan oil, rosehip oil, sandalwood oil and some others. When I tried it, I used only 2 and a half drops because it was damn near impossible to get it out of the phial that it came in. The first issue I have with it is the scent, it was pleasant enough but far too strong for something I would want on my face. I could have looked past that but even hours after application it still felt like the oil was sitting on my skin, making it uncomfortable and even impractical as my glasses slid down my nose every few minutes! In truth, while my skin does feel soft and healthy, I’m not sure I could deal with the inconvenience of it. The sample is 1.75ml and the full size is a huge £75 for 30ml. (Although I suppose that 30ml could last a very long time if used well). While I don’t see myself shelling out for a product that I wouldn’t be able to use as a moisture, I’ll give the rest of my sample a go as an overnight treatment, the other alternate use. Perhaps I’ll change my opinion on it as a treatment oil instead?


So there we go, not a bad selection of products there. Even though I did say that I was more of a makeup fan than skincare in my profile, I’m in no way displeased. There were two products I’d be happy to buy again, and one that I certainly would consider, and the final two I’ve decided need a longer testing phase. A much better result than I was hoping for. Before I forget, Next to the info on the facial oil the booklet also came with a 20% discount code for your next purchase from the brands website. This was a decent box, worth around £25, I’ve heard that they can go higher, but let’s wait and see! 

Monday, 5 August 2013

Article on MA Videos!

An article by us has just been published on Martial Arts Videos

Follow this link and be one of the first to check it out!!

Joe Malpas

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Negau Blog's Top 10 Historical Fiction Books

Reading a good novel is a relaxing and fun activity. I would say it's a form of escape but that isn't how I like to think of books. For me, they are more like a quick holiday from reality. In the numerous worlds of historical fiction, you can escape into something completely new, different or maybe somewhere you know quite a bit about and are glad to revisit. For me, that would be Ancient Rome. I've read a lot of historical fiction based around Rome. But the great thing is that each novel you read presents a different interpretation of a place, so you are always experiencing something new. Here is a list of some of the best selling historical novels which I think deserve to be in the top 10.

10. The Great Gatsby

As I've reviewed The Great Gatsby before, follow this link to have a more detailed look at the novel. The Great Gatsby really is that great because it combines a highly engaging plot with a commentary on its historical setting. Life and luxury in early 20th Century America are criticised throughout the novel. This combination of a critical analysis of the historical context and an exciting storyline are what historical fiction is (or at least should be) all about. Here's a video from the recent Great Gatsby film trailer.

9. The Alexander Trilogy

Valerio Massimo Manfreidi's trilogy about the life of Alexander the Great is a good read for people young and old. I first read the Alexander books as a young teenager, and found them thoroughly enjoyable. Manfreidi writes the narrative to Alexander's life from start to finish from a very human perspective. Myth, history and a well-spun story are all combined in this three part historical fiction novel.


8. Pompeii

Attilius and Corelia's point of entry to the aqueduct
Pompeii is a great book for readers with an interest in archaeology, Roman history or the fiction genre as a whole. This work of historical fiction focuses on the time before and during the eruption of Vesuvius which buried the town of Pompeii for hundreds of years. The plot is based around the mystery of a failed aqueduct, drawing the reader in before the dramatic ending. The below picture is the true location of one of the most dramatic events in the book, you can't get closer to history than Pompeii.

7. The D'Artagnan Romances

7.1 The Man in the Iron Mask

This is one of those historical fiction books which has all of the right ingredients. It is also my favourite story from the D'Artagnan Romances. Historical setting, romance, engrossing plot, well-developed characters and the mystery of the historical event upon which the novel is based all make this a true classic of the historical fiction genre.


7.2 The Three Musketeers

Second out of the D'Artagnan Romances only due to the brilliance of the above, The Three Musketeers is a great historical fiction book. 17th Century France is brought to life in D'Artagnan's writing, once you start reading it you won't be able to put it down. Below, some funny scenes and quotes from the 1993 film.

6. Atonement

Young love, loss, betrayal and war are all merged into a single plot in Atonement. Happily, they mix well in this novel which is a very recent addition to the historical fiction classics. The book takes you from one perspective, time and location to another, never being what you think it is and refusing to end how you want it to. But the author is right on this occasion, the story becomes far more poignant in not giving the reader a conventional romantic ending. The final scene of the film here. And below, you can see moving pictures of Keira Knightley!

5. The Other Boleyn Girl

If you came here looking for women in bodices and men in tights, I'm sorry to have disappointed you so far, but this is the post for you. Another of those historical fiction books in which Henry VIII gropes innumerable female courtiers, this novel has characters you will love and others you will hate. The Other Boleyn Girl has become extremely popular and deserves a place at no. 5.

4. The Pillars of the Earth

Life in Medieval England was pretty hard, and The Pillars of the Earth reflects this harsh reality. Politics, romance and religion fuel the action-packed plot. Read this and you will become engrossed in the lives of each character as they attempt to carve out a place for themselves in feudal society. Another extremely successful book in the historical fiction genre, a great TV series has also been based on the novel.

3. The Aubrey/Maturin Novels or Master and Commander Series

The Napoleonic Wars are a constant source of inspiration for historical fiction writers, as you will see further down the list. The plot of this series of novels flows along to the thunder of cannons and crashing waves of the ocean. It encompasses a near-perfect balance of character development and naval action. Nautical terms are used frequently, but do not worry too much about it because you find yourself picking them up surprisingly quickly. A trailer from the Master and Commander film below.

2. I, Claudius

In the introduction I talked about Ancient Rome. I, Claudius is certainly the best book of the Roman historical fiction genre, and no.2 out of all historical fiction novels. The life of Emperor Claudius is related from his perspective, including all of the nasty behaviour of his predecessors. A book which pulls no punches and leaves no gaps unfilled, this is a true literary classic.

1. War and Peace

I've written a blog review of War and Peace before, which can be found here, so I will try to keep this short. In this book Tolstoy takes us to 19th Century Russia during the Napoleonic Wars. Great battles are fought, romances are kindled and lives are cut short. This is the best work of historical fiction that I have read thus far. Watch this clip from the film to get an idea of the book's epic scale and harsh realism.


 What is your favourite historical fiction book  or author? Let us know by leaving a comment :)

 Joe Malpas

Negau Blog's Top 3 Open World Video Games

What is an Open World Video Game?

Open world games are a genre of video game which do not rely as heavily on mission-based gameplay as other games. You are free to explore the game's environment in a variety of ways, completing side-missions, mini-missions or simply interacting with scenery and characters. One of the biggest producers of open world video games is Rockstar Games. To give an idea of the open element of these games, here is a compilation of clips from GTA 4 gameplay.


1. Saints Row 3 - An Open World must-have

You want freedom? Saints Row The Third gives you freedom and then some. You have a range of activities to choose from including driving cars, fast boats and soaring through the sky in a fighter jet. The latest Saints Row game has really improved on almost all aspects of gameplay. One thing we really enjoyed was the heavy injection of insanity which the developers gave to this game. Watch the video below and you'll see what we mean.


2. GTA 4 - Driving Down the Open World Road

I know not everyone will agree with me, but driving is what makes the GTA games great for me. Vehicles let you get around open world environments quickly, and modern driving mechanics make it as much fun as any other part of the game. See below for a high-speed car chase video from the game.


3. Red Dead Redemption - An Eco-friendly Open World Poem

Imagine for a moment an epic poem about nature and frontier life. Now imagine you get to ride around those idyllic landscapes on a wild steed, firing revolvers from the hip as you gunsling your way through an engrossing storyline. That is Red Dead Redemption, a good open world game made great by the environment and stories within it.


Soon to come...

According to the natural progression of the video game, this open world game should be jumping to the top of this list soon. It's GTA 5 and you can find our news and review of it here.

  What are your top open world games? Follow or comment and let us know! Joe Malpas

Shogun 2 Total War - A Negau Review

Shogun 2 Total War is a game about the rise and fall of the Japanese Samurai. We recently published a list of our Top 10 Best Martial Arts Films, so staying on the topic of martial Japan we bring you a Shogun 2 Review. Interesting to note is the fact that Total War will be releasing another sequel game, Rome 2 Total War later this year.

The history behind Shogun 2

Find below a clip from the film 13 Assassins. The film gives a good idea of what Shogun 2 is about... Samurai warriors fighting in feudal Japan. We here at Negau watched it only recently, otherwise it might have made it into the Top 10. Feudal Japan was ruled by an emperor, through the military power of the Shogun. The campaign map is split between numerous historical factions, each led by a daimyo.

What is the Shogun 2 Gameplay Like?

Here's a video that will show you one of the biggest differences between Shogun 2 Total War and its predecessors. The sieges are far more complex, with the AI often encircling your fortress and attacking from multiple directions. Armies can also penetrate defences by climbing walls, burning gatehouses or using artillery.

What is the Best Element of Shogun 2?

Our favourite part of Shogun 2 is in The Fall of the Samurai expansion, which includes the option to fire artillery in first-person. You can adjust the height of the artillery piece, fire a round and watch as it soars towards your foes and finally explodes among them.

Where can you buy Shogun 2?

Joe Malpas