Showing posts from November, 2015

Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell

Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors these days and I just found out that he released this novella Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell a while ago and I somehow missed it. I remedied that situation. My favorite thing about novella length fiction is being able to sit down and read the entire thing in one session.  This one was no exception.  I read through the novella in one night and really liked it. Sanderson creates a new world with a new system of magic and superstition, as he usually does.  It's always interesting to see which direction he takes it.  In this world it seems to be built up around puritanical belief systems.  I'm not a person that likes too much religion in my fiction, but  Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell does a great job of using it as source material but not lingering on it. The story follows Silence, a character who owns a waystop along a dangerous road through the forests and the White Fox, a bounty hunter who trac

Travel Entertainment

Last week while I was traveling I got some time to dabble in various distractions.  I was away from my main gaming PC and consoles, so I got away from the newest game releases and dug into other things. I listened to a lot of podcasts on the trip.  I even picked up a new one, Rebel Force Radio, which is an awesome Star Wars fan podcast. I got caught up on all the Star Wars comics I've purchased on Comixology.  Then I started picking through the 80+ unread comics that I got for free through Comixology last year on free comic book day.  They were a lot of either one-off or issue #1 and I didn't get through them all yet, but there were a couple that were intriguing and I might actually go purchase some more in those series to see if they hold my interest. I'm basically up to date on playing all the 3DS games I wanted to so I browsed the Nintendo e-shop and realized I had never picked up Pokemon Ruby or Sapphire... they were after my prime time with Pokemon Red/Blue and G

Overloading my Brain in a Good Way?

I'm an introvert.  I know this about myself. When I need to recharge I need time by myself.  Preferably some time without any noise or needs from other people.  This is the core of being an introvert.  It's not how you act or if you're a people person.  It's how you recharge yourself. I noticed something interesting last week on my trip.  I had a lot of travel for three days in a row and no real time alone to recharge.  Instead I did the opposite... I kinda overloaded my brain.  On the plane I put on a podcast and played games and paid attention to my traveling companion all at the same time.  Apparently this can help me deal with stress when I can't actually recharge the way I need to. As soon as I got back home I just wanted to retreat to a quiet corner of the house and relax... but it's good to know I have another coping mechanism for when that isn't possible.

Star Wars Battlefront Impressions

So good. It's so good. Well... if you're a Star Wars fan it is.  If you aren't a Star Wars fan I don't know if the gameplay is anything groundbreaking enough to recommend it to you. But if you are a fan this is an amazing game.  Everything comes together to make it feel like you're in a real Star Wars battle.  The graphics and sound design are simply amazing.  It's spot on. Now that the full version is released I finally got to play around with all the gameplay modes.  My favorite two are Squadron and Heroes vs Villains. In Squadron mode you are never a trooper on the ground, you spawn in an aircraft and you're always in the air.  It's so much fun.  It makes me crave another Rogue Squadron game.  I'm already thinking that Squadron mode will be my preferred mode of play before too long.  I already love it that much. Heroes vs Villains is a really cool set-up too.  It's a 6v6 match where three people on each team spawn as heroes.  T

Star Wars Hype Rising

I am so excited for The Force Awakens!  My hype level has been slowly rising over the past few months and at this point I just can't wait for the movie. Star Wars is my favorite universe and to see it move into new hands that are finally going to expand the universe officially with new movies makes me happy.  I'm mostly over the fact that they had to wipe out the old expanded universe because they've started creating a new one, and this time it's all canon.  Disney is going to keep all Star Wars media canon going forward and so far I love what they've done. I'm still reading all the Star Wars Marvel comics that they're releasing in the run up to the movie.  And I've read all the books.  And now I've played Battlefront too. At this point I'm re-watching the original trilogy and digging into the special features in the latest Blu Ray collection.  The behind the scenes stuff is super interesting, especially the footage and interviews from the

Fallout 4 Main Story

This post obviously contains spoilers.  You have been warned. I have to say that I like Fallout 4's main story so much better than Fallout 3's.  I completed Fallout 3's main quest because I felt like I should.  I finished Fallout 4's because I was really excited to see what would happen.  The story actually drove me to complete it, which is super rare for a Bethesda game.  I still don't think I've actually seen an ending to any of their Elder Scrolls games that I've played. Fallout 4 is my favorite Bethesda mainline story so far. The intro to the game was super cool.  I loved seeing the world of Fallout before  it was destroyed.  That futuristic yet 50's style is so well done.  It's the first true glimpse of that world that they've ever let us see and I thought it was a big insight into the rest of the world of Fallout. Shortly after entering the Vault and narrowly avoiding death by nuclear war you are frozen for 200 years in a cryoge

Sorcery! 2 and Sorcery! 3

Sorcery! (the exclamation mark is actually part of it's official name) is an interactive fiction game that I played awhile ago on iOS.  Scorcery! 2 picks up where it left off. These games are basically a choose your own adventure book brought to life with combat, gear, and pieces moving around on a map.  It's a pretty cool format. In Sorcery! 2 you're immediately thrown into a city of thieves and untrustworthy types and are tasked with getting through this massive city to the other side.  Your true objective lies beyond the city and this is an interesting detour that you have no choice but to take. Quickly you realize that the different sections of the city and different factions within all have a variety of motives and goals.  You can choose who to help and who to hinder.  And occasionally you'll stumble on a really cool diversion. I loved my time with Sorcery! 2 and was considering replaying it until I saw that Sorcery! 3 had also been released. I im

Battlefront: Twilight Company

My regular readers all know by now that I love all things Star Wars. That being said... this is the first Star Wars book in the new canon that is extremely mediocre.  It's not horrible but there's no way I would recommend this one to anybody. Seriously, if you want a recommendation go read Lost Stars .  It's probably my favorite Star Wars book ever and it's in the new canon extended universe. Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company is supposed to be a tie-in book to the Battlefront game that releases today.  Actually, it's a very generic sci-fi military novel.  I've never been a big fan of military books.  These are novels that spend the whole time focusing on what it's like fighting on the ground and being one of the troops.  Twilight Company is no exception. There are a bunch of undeveloped flat characters that you spend the whole book with.  They're ground troops in the war against the Empire but they rarely tie into the overall St

Do You Use the Default Character?

Let me pose a question.  Do you use the default character? Because a lot of the time I do. When I started up Fallout 4 last week I was so excited to get into the game but within the first minutes you are thrown into the character creator.  I know a lot of people who will spend hours creating their character... but I don't. All I did was change a couple of the scars and tweak the hair color slightly.  It took me less than a minute.  Basically, I'm just using the default character the game provided me.  And I'm completely fine with it. The best part was getting to the gameplay right away.  I didn't have to put my excitement on hold while I tweaked and modified and changed and tweaked some more.  I got to dive into Fallout 4 right away. As long as the default character isn't horribly ugly I do this in a lot of games.  I played through all of the Mass Effect series with the default male Commander Shepard. I'm extra glad I didn't spend a ton of

Avoiding Game Media After Purchase Decision

As soon as I realize I'm going to purchase a game that's not out yet I stop consuming media about it.  The lead up to Fallout 4 made me realize that I've started doing this over the past few years. I love finding out about games while playing them, so as soon as that purchase decision has been made the only thing I can do is spoil it for myself.  I don't actively hide my eyes from all things about the game I'm interested in but I do stop seeking it out and reading every in depth article. These days I'm much more likely to consume media around a game I'm on the fence about. It's actually really fun this way.  I get to go into huge games with giant media blitzes basically blind and truly experience it all for the first time. That's how it's been this year since Fallout 4 was announced.  Immediately after the E3 press conference I knew I would buy it.  I pre-ordered it on Steam as soon as it was an option and then promptly forgot about the g

Fallout 4's Post Apocalypse... and Mood

The setting in Fallout 4 is starting to get to me.  This is something that has happened with every Fallout game I've played. I love the open world and the exploration.  I love stumbling onto something unexpected and investigating it.  I love the stories in the world and all the activities to do. But the post-apocalypse wears on me.  It's mostly brown and grey and everything is destroyed.  They do such a good job of setting the scene that after playing a Fallout game for a couple days it starts to affect my mood. It's not going to cause me to feel truly depressed but I have noticed that it bums me out even after I step away from the game for a bit. So I've decided to just critical path the game to see the ending.  Then I'll see how I'm feeling, but chances are I'll look online to see if there's anything really cool that's a "must see."  After that I expect to take an extended break from Fallout. The setting is the only reason F

Fallout 4 Initial Impressions

No Spoilers in this post!  Promise!  Just gameplay thoughts. I'm not a Fallout diehard fan but I really liked Fallout 3 and I've been looking forward to Fallout 4 ever since it was announced. Since it came out earlier this week I've been able to starting digging into it.  I picked it up on PC and have been playing it both on my computer with keyboard/mouse and on my TV via my Steamlink with a Xbox 360 controller.  Well, I would be but the Steamlink set-up is a little buggy at the moment for this game.  I can get it to stream to the Steamlink but I can't get sound.  It's launch week though, and it's such a low priority bug.  I'm sure it'll get patched up quickly. As a quick side note so far I haven't had any gamebreaking bugs on PC.  Just a couple super tiny graphical oddities, but they're rare and far between. I really like Fallout 4.  It's a brand new open world to explore.  The very first night I touched the game I played a 6 ho

It's That Time Again, Gaming To-Do List Check-In

It's time to check in once again on my gaming to-do list.  I've loved this idea ever since a fellow blogger brought it up in the middle of Blaugust this year.  It's a good way to make a plan and keep tabs on the games I intend to play. So, let's check in for the first time since September.  Here's my current list: Fallout 4 - At the time I'm writing this post Fallout 4 isn't out yet, but by the time it's published we should be a couple days into the craziness of Fallout 4 launch.  I hope I like it.  I'm looking forward to exploring the world! [adding to list] StarCraft II Legacy of the Void  - StarCraft II is still my favorite RTS ever and the latest expansion should come out two days before this post goes live.  I'm interested to see how the campaign plays out and I'll probably end up giving online multiplayer another shot too. [adding to list] Star Wars Battlefront  - I played the beta every day this game was available.  I'm so ex

Hand of Fate Impressions

Hand of Fate is a card based choose your own adventure... action game?  It's honestly a weird blend of genres.  It's out now on multiple systems, including PC where I picked it up. I'm realizing more and more that I like these modern incarnations of the choose your own adventure novel.  This game is all about a journey through a deck of cards.  There are encounters, items, locations, shops, enemies, and all sorts of interesting things in the deck. It seems like both the player deck and encounter deck can be customized if you so choose.  So far I've only used the "recommended" deck setup for each situation but it's nice to know that there is a lot of variety in replayability if I want it. The strangest part of the game is that combat actually takes place in a fully rendered 3D hack and slash setting while the rest of the game takes place on a tabletop with cards. The hack and slash portion is serviceable but the game shines with the cards on the

Rebel Galaxy Impressions

Rebel Galaxy is a 4x game refined down and made more arcadey.  It's by the developers of Torchlight who have already proved that they can take a game (Diablo) make it their own (Torchlight) and refine it until it's really solid (Torchlight II). I have a strange relationship with 4x games.  I've always wanted to love them and I end up trying a lot of them out.  But not a single one of them has ever stuck with me.  I quickly get either bored or overwhelmed... or both somehow. I love the idea of a giant open world with multiple strategic ways to approach it, especially since the 4x genre is often set in space.  I love sci-fi. Trying Rebel Galaxy has just made me realize that this genre might never be a good fit for me.  I liked what they had done with the gameplay and story.  It was super approachable and the moment to moment gameplay felt so much more fun than any 4x game I've played before... but it still didn't do it for me. If you're a 4x fan or if

Tales from the Borderlands

I finally made some time to finish up the last episode of Tales from the Borderlands by Telltale games. It was great! I can't say anything about this particular episode without giving out huge spoilers for the other four episodes leading up to this one.  But I can say that they tied it all together and they answered all the questions they had asked earlier in the series. I love that so many decisions from the four earlier episodes ended up having an impact in episode five.  It was really well done. Now that Tales from the Borderlands is complete I can honestly say it's my favorite Telltale adventure game.  It consistently made me laugh and held my interest throughout all the individual episodes.  I still like a lot of their other games, but this is my favorite. If you're the type of person who waits for all the episodes to come out in an episodic series, now's your chance to jump on this game.

Triforce Heroes Impressions

Triforce Heroes is the newest Legend of Zelda game on 3DS.  It came out two weeks ago but I still haven't see much coverage of it.  Maybe it's because Triforce heroes isn't structured like a typical Legend of Zelda game, it's basically a follow-up to The Legend of Zelda Four Swords. If you don't know what that means... it's essentially multiplayer Zelda. The main conceit in making Zelda multiplayer is that the open world exploration is completely gone.  Instead, the game is structured into zones which contain levels which contain stages. You connect online and choose the zone you want to play in.  This will match you with other people who also want to play levels in that zone.  Once you have a party of three you enter the zone and cast your vote for the level you want to play.  It does a little roulette spin and choose the one of your three votes randomly.  Then you actually enter the level and play through the four stages within it as a team. It'

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

This was an awesome book.  I don't often read or listen to non-fiction novels but I make exceptions for people or authors that I really like. I like a lot of Felicia Day's work and I'm always interested in seeing the next thing that she creates.  This was a good chance to find out more about her and the creative process she goes through.  It was very fascinating. I'm always interested in hearing about how people work and how creative work is accomplished.  This book gives a good feel for both in Felicia Day's work. I listened to this one as an Audiobook and it's definitely the way to go, because the author is also the narrator.  I love when that happens.  When the author is the narrator you can be sure that the correct tone is carried through in the reading of the piece of work. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in how creative work gets done, the beginnings of video web series in the infancy of Youtube, or if you're just a

Weapons as Character

Playing Assassin's Creed last week really brought something to light for me.  Often, in games, we define characters by the weapons they use.  It's an interesting phenomenon. In Assassin's Creed Syndicate the Frye Twins have different default weapons that give them a different feel from one another.  Evie has a cane sword and Jacob has a brass knuckle.  It immediately distinguishes them even though they're twins and mostly have the same skills.  They are quickly shown to have unique styles via their weapons. When I was watching DareDevil the other week there were a few episodes that focused on how he started using his batons as weapons.  They end up becoming a defining part of his character. Not to mention iconic characters like Cloud and Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII are also often defined by their weapons.  No one ever really thinks about Sephiroth without thinking about his super long Masamune sword.  And the image of Cloud with his Buster Sword is rec

DareDevil Season 1 Review

DareDevil is another show I got to catch up on while I was sick the other week. Oh boy, does this show have some pacing problems. I don't exactly know how to review DareDevil for you because it has some great episodes and it has some absolutely amazing scenes in certain episodes.  But it also has episodes where almost nothing happens and the show seems to drag on for way too long. That's especially bad as a Netflix Original since the show can be any length it feels is appropriate.  It doesn't have to fit into the normal 42 minute block for an "hour long" TV show airing on network TV. But then we have scenes like the hallway encounter at the end of episode 2.  It's one of the most interesting fight scenes I've ever seen. And then there are amazing moments with Wilson Fisk, the bad guy.  He's portrayed so incredibly by the actor. I'm honestly torn.  I'm glad I watched season 1 of DareDevil but I don't see myself ever wanting t

Blade Runner Novel

I was surprised to see that Blade Runner was actually a novel  from the 60s.  I've tried to watch the movie a bunch of times and it never grabbed my attention but I'd never given the novel a shot. Once I started reading it I very quickly ran into that 60s Sci-Fi feel.  I didn't know if I had enough drive to read a book like that at the moment so I got the Audible version instead. It's actually a pretty interesting book.  It's all about a bounty hunter in search of renegade androids on the loose in his territory.  It's post apocalyptic and the world is a radioactive wasteland where most life is dead.  There's an entire religion built up around the remaining living animals and it also influences how people feel about the artificial life of androids. It's not a book I would necessarily recommend to anyone, but I am glad that I've read it.  I know it's either based off of or another name for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep which i

Assassin's Creed Syndicate Impressions

Assassin's Creed Syndicate is this year's entry in the series.  It's set in London during England's industrial revolution.  It's a classic Assassin's vs Templars set up but the setting seems especially fun this year. The Frye twins are both main characters which is a first for the series.  They're Assassin twins with very different, but interesting, personalities.  Jacob likes to just wing it or charge into a situation, he specializes in fighting.  Evie plans and thinks before approaching a target.  She is great at stealth and infiltration. They have separate skill trees so you can build each one the way you want to.  But, Jacob has a few end-game powers that make him especially good at combat and Evie has the same for stealth. I honestly love the way these two characters play off each other and interact.  It's believable friendly banter that I didn't know I wanted in the Assassin's Creed series, but now that it's here I love it.  T