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Media in April

Only 7 days late this time!

Video Games
Assassin’s Creed Unity – So in my ever onwards quest to actually get up to date with at least one gaming series (AC is the series I have completed the most games for), I have tag-teamed AC games. This one and Chronicles: China. Unity is based in France at the beginning of the French Revolution and they seriously overhauled a lot of the game play. The game is beautiful – absolutely no doubt about that – and free-running around Paris is great fun. After the reduced land-size in ACIV, it is fun to just run across rooftops and come across situations to solve and bad guys to kill. There are some great side quests including protagonist Arno Dorian solving crimes and finding out the truth behind the myths and legends of the streets of Paris. The fighting is hard, especially after the fluid combat of the previous games, and I was killed so many times in sword fights that I would have easily won in previous games. There is a slight overhaul to the approach of assassinations, a lot more guidance is given rather than letting the player decide entirely for themselves (although there’s nothing forcing you to take the guidance to heart of course). I am enjoying playing the game – not least for the storyline involving a childhood friendship tested by one friend siding with the Assassin’s and the other siding with the Templars – but I am aware that it took a lot of criticism so I wonder how much will remain for the next in the series.

Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China – So this took a little getting used to. It’s a side-scrolling platform version of Assassin’s Creed, the first in a series of three where other storylines are explored in a scaled down manner. After an adjustment period it was fun, although there is a much bigger emphasis on sneaking past guards rather than stealth killing them. Having to remember exactly which guards were where and doing what tested my memory a little. Still, I suppose assassinating isn’t meant to be easy.

Ryse: Son of Rome – This game was originally designed with a view to be played on Kinect so I was pleasantly surprised to find out how fun it was to play on controller. Rampaging through Rome and slashing apart whichever enemies I come across can only be described as dumb, violent entertainment but it’s so very good all the same.

Cook, Serve, Delicious – I get a bit too into this game every few months or so. Basically you build up a restaurant whilst also cooking using the keypad. So if you are making a salad that wants Ranch, Cheese, Bacon and Croutons you press the order number to bring the order up then “R”, “C”, “B”, “Enter”. Except there are loads of orders and everyone is very hungry and oh god there’s too much food to cook…. I can quite easily lose hours of my life to this game.

The Witcher – I started this game series back when I first got my PC – which at the time was barely good enough to run this game. Now my PC has had a new GPU, CPU, Motherboard, RAM, and PSU so it’s all shiney and powered up and this game…well it’s not as pretty as I remember it all those years ago. Also, some of the combat stances are outright hilarious and it looks like Geralt is running around drunk waving a sword over his head. I haven’t gotten far enough back into this game yet to really think much about it.

Tumblestone – This is a weird little puzzle game about mini-Cleopatra going for lunch only to have her day disrupted by Tumblestones in her way. Clearly the solution is to solve all these puzzles rather than go “Sod it” and go a different way around to get lunch. There’s an attempt at a bizarre story but mostly it’s colour matching block fun.

Life is Strange – Turns out I had this game from a Humble Bundle! The amount of times I have uttered that phrase after showing some interest in a game is shocking – I really need to get on top of my games. Anyway – the time mechanism in this game is really cool, I did not expect it at all so that was an interesting twist right off the bat. I have to admit that I wanted to stick duct tape over the mouth of the character who decorated half her sentences with “hella” that is not a thing where I am from in the UK – I hope it is never a thing in my life. God…it sounds awful. Anyway, I’ve just gotten through the first bit which is basically a tutorial and gone outside so no doubt I’ll actually see the main story soon.


A Grave Talent (Kate Martinelli, #1) by Laurie R. King – I rarely read books with gay/lesbian characters (although fan fiction is another matter), not because I have any real reason, just that they don’t often feature in crime/detective novels. And when they do…they’re usually dead. So after being reminded of Milo in Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series, I decided to see if I could locate any other detective novels with main characters who are gay. I popped them on my Goodreads list and wandered off to locate copies of the first in the series to see what I thought. This one was…okay. The actually plot, characters, storyline is very good – well planned out and executed and engaging. The problem is it’s clumsy and poorly edited. You will be reading from the main character, Kate’s, third-person perspective for a chapter and then randomly in the middle with be a paragraph from the perspective of her boss, Hawkins. There’s also long sections of monologue from characters which could have been chopped down, and some pointless dialogue that goes nowhere which any decent editor would have demanded be cut. Good ideas, poorly executed.

To Play the Fool (Kate Martinelli, #2) by Laurie R. King – The editing in this book is somewhat improved but the intrusion of long monologues or infodump sections (literally pages of what Blessed Fools are) caused me to skip massive sections and it didn’t actually affect my understanding of the story-line. Admittedly I have already read about Blessed Fools because there’s some writing about how they might have been people with intellectual disabilities and I studied it for an essay BUT I maintain that people could quite easily enjoy this book without the need for multiple pages of information on religious fools. Anyway – better than the first book, and the central character (the one who plays the Fool) is quite intriguing and I found him considerably less annoying than the central character in the first book.

Fireproof (Maggie O'Dell, #10) by Alex Kava – Okay, Kava really needs to learn how to write an ending – this is getting ridiculous. This book was really engaging, with lots of twists and turns and a really interesting crime which all falls apart and is resolved really clumsily in about twenty five pages. Someone needs to sit Kava down and instruct her on how to appropriately finish a book.

Triptych (Will Trent, #1) by Karin Slaughter – This book is really interesting because the character you initially think is one of the protagonists turns out not to be in a spectacular way (which was funny to read when one Goodreads poster had an absolute hissy fit, slating the author only to realise that she had stopped reading too soon and had thrown a tantrum over a main character than wasn’t a main character). Main protagonist Will Trent is one of the few characters I have ever read who has dyslexia – and quite severe dyslexia at that. There is actual story detail around the fact that Trent struggles with reading and writing, without overtaking both his personality and the rest of the book. The book is also brutal – lots of graphic violence that is not cut away from or softened by the author.

One Grave Too Many (Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation, #1) – This started out really well, with protagonist Fallon recovering from a personal tragedy that drove her out of the Forensic business and into the museum business. The core crime remained intriguing and detailed, but I soon got overwhelmed and confused by the sheer number of named secondary characters that put in appearances. Even now I’m convinced there’s a secondary (or tertiary) story line that wasn’t wrapped up – or maybe it was but there were just so many damn characters that I didn’t realise it.

Fractured (Will Trent, #2) – Will Trent is a very unpopular man in this book, having just finished an investigation that put multiple police officers behind bars. The tension between Trent and the other characters is very well done – especially with his new partner who absolutely does not want to be his new partner. The crime in question is as interesting and well concocted as the first book and Trent’s dyslexia remains a topic in this book – rather than being unceremoniously shoved to one side after a single book.

None – I read no non-fiction books. Instead I read academic journals for my dissertation and no poor sod wants those recapped.

Date: 2017-05-08 06:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was not expecting to hear there's a side-scrolling platform version of AC. I am glad the Paris game was pretty though! (I've watched my brother play the one set in Italy and it looked very handsome.)

Cook, Serve, Delicious sounds like you're basically working in a Chinese restaurant or something ^^

*hangs head in shame* I... I have started saying "hella" because I caught it from LiS. I'm... I'm so sorry. Please don't hate me :)

Huh, I didn't know Laurie R King had written another series! I think she does kind of love her infodumps and POV switches...

Date: 2017-05-09 09:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There are 3 sidescrolling AC games - one in China, one in Russia and one in India. Part of me is disappointed as it feels like a cop out on what could have been some awesome settings in full 3D, but on the other hand at least they exist.

The only other time I have heard the word hella is when JJ watched an episode of South Park and Cartman kept saying it. So the word is forever fused with his whiny voice. It's not as bad as bare, as in "it's bare cold" or "that's bare rude". The kids in the school used to say that. I used to have constant mental images of grizzly bears...

I am finding Laurie R King's books okay, i just feel like I should not have to skip pages at a time and still keep up with the storyline.

Date: 2017-05-09 04:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I can imagine they would've looked AMAZING given the full AC treatment. But I can imagine it is like "we want to make a game set here and are never going to have the time and money to do, so here's this".

I can understand your reaction then! :D I thought I hadn't heard "bare" but then I murmured it a few times and realised I totally had. And it is annoying :D

No, that's not a sign of good editing!


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June 2017


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