Pavel Barter runs the rule over the thrilling new South Park game.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Three years after South Park:
The Stick of Truth bum-rushed its way into our hearts, The Fractured
But Whole is a sequel that gets to the bottom of South Park’s comedy genius. The game opens with you as the neighbourhood’s new kid, engaged in a sword and sorcery battle that segues into a different genre entirely: superhero franchises.
Cartman is The Coon, a crap Wolverine who leads a motley band of superheroes. Choose a costume and special powers, then wander around a graphically perfect South Park, completing quests and getting into turn-based battles. Action takes place on a square grid: it’s like chess with profanities and fart bombs. Take selfies with characters to increase your rank on Cartman’s social media platform; add artefacts to your Fidget Spinner to boost stats.
The game’s hilarious, for sure, but poop jokes overwhelm South
Park’s satirical comedy.
8/10 Canon EOS 200D
DSLR camera Small, lightweight, robust, with an image quality that holds its own against more expensive cameras, the 200D is a pictorial delight. Costing €684.99 for the body, without a lens, Canon’s latest powerhouse is far more affordable than the competition, making it an ideal entry level DSLR. Despite its petite frame, the camera is perfectly designed. Your hand fits neatly around the grip. ISO and Display buttons, and a dedicated WiFi button allowing for instant uploads, are on top. The rich design and layout extends into the flip screen, which is fully rotational so you can go selfie-crazy. The optical viewfinder has limited scope, but the touch screen is expansive. Tap the screen to auto focus in a heartbeat. The menu is easy to use, giving you visual representations when you change aperture, so you can judge whether your background is more or less in focus. A 24 megapixel sensor, the same found in Canon's 80D, creates sublime photography (even in the hands of a clueless amateur). 200D's lightweight body is perfect for portable vlogging. The video quality is 10130p rather than 4K - good not great - but the rotational screen means you can see yourself and focus on items while filming. There's a mic jack for external audio, but no headphone jack. Produced in three colours -Canon Black, White, and vintage Silver & Tan - 200D is the ultimate beginner's DSLR, teaching you the A-Z of photography while you snap pro shots. 9/10 Sky Soundbox
All-in-one sound system Television tech has progressed rapidly in recent times. But as flat screen TV has expanded, and resolution improved, so audio quality diminished. There's simply no room to fit a meaty speaker system into today's flat screens. Sky has conjured up the solution with Soundbox, a surround sound system that dishes up a magnificent 360 degree experience. It's a collaboration between Sky and Devialet, a French brand known for products such as 2015's Phantom, which wowed audiophiles with its 750W power. At first glance, this compact speaker unit is unassuming - a plain black box - but six woofers and three full range speakers are tucked beneath the trunk. Unlike home cinema systems - speakers scattered across the living room - you simply place the box beneath the TV and it bounces audio off the walls to create a fully immersive soundscape. We tested the device with a movie - Mad Max: Fury Road - and a football match. In both cases, the separation of audio tracks was closer to the cinema than a home experience. According to the boffins at Devialet, Soundbox analyses audio in real time, adjusting volume levels so you don't have to turn the volume up to hear quiet dialogue, or down during explosive action scenes. The device also works as a standalone speaker, streaming music wirelessly via Bluetooth and pumping out thunderous bass. Soundbox is compatible with Sky Q, so you can refine audio for a range of Sky-specific entertainment and sports. It works without Sky subscription too. As a standalone product, the Soundbox ain't cheap: €949. If you're already a Sky customer, you won't find a cheaper audio system on the market: €349 (or €299 for Sky Q Multiscreen customers). 9/10