Sunday, October 30, 2011

Things I Don't Like: Mako from Mass Effect

A couple of weeks ago, I praised the game Mass Effect. I’m still loving it, but Bioware, I have a bone to pick with you. What the fuck is up with Mako? Sometimes, when I’m driving this tank, trying to be careful not to drive off a cliff or somehow turned myself over in it, I’m thinking: “I CAN’T!” The tank is so sensitive to controls that you’re either overdriving or you’re doing the stop-go-stop-go motion repeatedly just to keep control.

I’ve gotten to the point where I just say, “Fuck it,” and I start driving out all crazy, running over stuff and just generally going H.A.M. in Mako. And don’t get me started on aiming and jumping in that thing. It’s a joke. People say that I should feel better that it’s less ass to drive Mako on the PC than on the Xbox 360. I shudder to think of anything possibly being any worse. It just doesn’t seem possible.  

Fortunately, I hear that in Mass Effect 2 we are not subjected to the horror that is Mako. Obviously, someone at Bioware either heard the cry of hundreds of gamer women and men and decided not to torture them any longer, or someone sat down and played that shit and realized there is no using Mako without flipping a table over in frustration and rage.

And sadly, this is the only way to quickly cover ground in this game. Honestly, even walking would be better than driving this thing anywhere. Most planets present some type of hazard where I can’t stay outside the tank long enough to actually try to hoof it to my destination. Its only advantage is its awesome cannon that takes out most things with just a couple of fires. Other than that, no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

This tank won’t let me be great. 

And yes, I managed not to drive off a cliff here... but just barely.

Continue Reading…

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wonderfully Wicked Read-A-Thon

WWRAT


People who follow me on G+ should know by now how much I love my challenges, especially when they involve things I love like books. I signed up for this in September, but sign-ups are still open now.There is no requirement for what book you read during the challenge, but I wanted to read a "horror" book while doing the challenge.

I am currently reading A Clash of Kings, but when has reading one book ever gotten in the way of me adding more to the pile? The book that I'll be reading for the read-a-thon will be Anna Dressed in Blood. I think that title is probably one of the best I have encountered on a book recently.

Most of my updates will probably be on Twitter and Goodreads rather than here, but you know I'll post a full review of the book once I'm done reading it. Happy reading!
Continue Reading…

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Swamp Thing, You Make My Heart Sing


I’m still slowly reading more of these comics. In case you’re not keeping count, this is book four for me. I thought I’d try again with my quest to read about a character I knew very little about even after being terribly unimpressed with Mr. Terrific—who was my first choice for new characters. That book sort of turned me off to reading anything more in the DCnU for a bit, but I’m back. Spoiler warning, as usual.

The story starts by showing Clark in Metropolis watching birds fall from the sky at the same time that the bats in Bruce’s caves begin to drop from their perch and the fish, watched by Aquaman, start going belly up. Over the scene, Alec Holland talks about his childhood helping his florist father and how he can hear flowers screaming. As silly as it sounds, it’s a bit ominous to read. Snyder did a great job of taking most of the cheese out of that.

The standard questions are answered about Holland. We learn who he is, his occupation (both former and current), and we learn a little about why he’s in his current position. Some of those answers led to more questions than answers, though. And then, there are bits of information that we learn that he insists are “dreams” or “memories” that aren’t his.

In a way, I feel that I’m not getting a complete story. Okay, maybe that’s not exactly the right thing to say, but let me explain myself.

I feel this comic is in some way referencing the old Swamp Thing comics with these “memories.” It seems like there’s a little homage to the old source there that will play a big part in this reboot, but it’s presented to new readers, who know nothing to very little about Swamp Thing, in a way that doesn’t confuse us, but that may make previous fans of the series smile a little. It works with the story, adding some mystery to it, rather than working against it.

These former “memories” are just as strange to Holland as they are to the reader. It allows us, the readers, to learn more about these things gradually as Holland learns them. It’s a great way to tell his story if you ask me. Instead of putting in too many unnecessary telling scenes to give the readers new information, it’s shown to us here in fragmented “memories” and “dreams” that need piecing together—that I’m assuming will come together over the course of these comics.

For me, this comic succeeded in a way that Mr. Terrific fell short. Too much information was given about Mr. Terrific at one time. The first few pages covered pretty much everything you needed to know, leaving the writer with a lot of space to fill with a weak story. This story allowed information about Holland to trickle in around the things going on in the comic. However, you still don’t have Holland’s complete story.

My only real complaint is how, even in a reboot, everyone’s stories are so intertwined together. Superman knows exactly who to look for (Holland) to maybe get answers about the birds and fish--or at least, that's the excuse he used for his true motives. It would’ve made for a better story if Superman had actually had to do some research and digging to find out who may be able to help them understand what was going on. Sure, he mentions that he had to search for him because the doctor went missing, but from their exchange, there is obviously a prior history there. And really, the thing with the birds and fish isn't Superman's primary concern. 

However, I guess that just makes things easier for the writers rather than going into a history that might end up botched in another few books or by fanfic writers. I've decided that Dr. Holland is who Superman cheated with while pregnant Batman was birthing his baby, and this is how they know one another. And now that I've written that down in words, you can't take that from me. But seriously, other than that, I liked this story. Can’t wait to read #2.
Continue Reading…

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gaming Ramble: Mass Effect


Credit: Mass Effect website

I just started playing Mass Effect on PC a couple of weeks ago. This is a big deal for me. I’m not much of a PC gamer. Aside from a couple of MMOs and simple point and click games like The Sims 3, I haven’t played many “serious” PC games over the years. There have been some exceptions, though. I played American McGee’s Alice on PC when it came out over a decade ago—just to name one.  Loved it, but I really had to force myself to stick with it because I didn’t like the controls.

Over the years, I have tried to play other PC games, but there was something daunting about remembering a bunch of keys. I think some of that had to do with not having much patient to really learn and remember the keys. I’m just a console gamer… forgive me. I am more comfortable with a controller in my hand than navigating with a keyboard and mouse.

Then, Mass Effect 2 came out on Playstation 3. I didn’t know much about the first one. My main games at the time ME1 was released were City of Heroes and The Sims 2, and I had many things going on for me during that time, which meant I didn’t have much time to focus on gaming. (My life went through a complete change in 2007-2008, but that’s another story for another time.)

Many of my PS3 owning friends and friends who’d played the first game on either Xbox or PC kept telling me how much they thought I’d enjoy the game because I love a game with a good story. I love a good story period. I resisted for a little while, and then, after more prodding, I decided I’d play it. But if the story was so great, I wanted to start with the first game rather than jumping into the second.

However, with Mass Effect, I faced a dilemma. I don’t own an Xbox 360. So, if I wanted to play the first part and not get some glossed over story from the PS3 sequel, I was going to either have to a.) borrow an Xbox 360, which a few family members do own or b.) play it on PC. And since a friend had a copy readily available for PC, I decided to try it. What could it hurt to try? Crazy computer controls or not!

Femshep! That's me! I'm awesome.

I’m probably not even halfway through the story, but it’s been amazing. Male Shep, female Shep, and all characters both major and minor are fully voiced. (Side note: The woman who does Femshep’s voice is actually from my area!) The world is easy to get lost in. I spent a few hours doing side missions on the Citadel before actually leaving to find Liara after that whole Spectre deal. I know, even at this early point, that I will definitely be playing Mass Effect 2.

Surprisingly, the controls were easy to get… or maybe I’ve just learned to be patient after all these years. I still have to check the control settings from time to time to see what key does what. But mostly, it’s been a frustration free experience—if you don’t count trying to control Mako.  That wretched tank!

This is pretty much how Mako makes me feel.

The big question is, what will I play it on? I do want to keep my choices from the PC game, but I played the demo for ME2 on Playstation 3 and enjoyed it, too. So, I’ve figured out a solution. I’ll do both! On the PC, I’ll continue to play out my story, and on the PS3, I’ll try something completely different. I also will take that opportunity to play more of the classes. Right now, I’m playing an Adept and a Soldier on Mass Effect. Both are a lot of fun.

This was (basically) the obligatory post to tell my friends they were right and I was wrong, but this in no way means that I’ll trust your “wisdom” more often. 
Continue Reading…

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mister Terrific Really Isn't All that Terrific or Why Won't DC Let Him Be Great?


First, a word, DC. This 10 pages of comics and 20 pages of ads deal? Yeah, that… that’s not working for me. Please, fix it.

This counts at my third foray into a book from the new 52. Spoilers ahead!

I wanted to read about a character that I wasn’t familiar with from DC to begin a foundation on the character(s) based this reboot. After mulling over a couple of books featuring characters I knew nothing about, I decided on this one. And… I wasn’t too terribly impressed with what I read, but I feel it has potential—if DC will let it be great. And honestly, DC hasn’t been allowing too many of these reboots to be great (says the woman who’s only read 3 books of the new stuff so far).

Mister Terrific had a great base for an awesome story, but the storytelling was weak. An example. In that moment where we’re supposed to feel Michael’s greatest pain, it’s hard to connect with the characters because the scene is so shallow and does nothing to dig up true emotion in the reader. I felt sorry for him, but there was nothing anchoring me to the scene emotionally. There was nothing to make it haunting and gripping to me, so I moved on. I’m not saying they needed to spend much time there, but so much more could’ve been done to make that scene brilliant.

Also, total side note. I’m assuming his wife had just found out she was pregnant—if she was pregnant at all (and not randomly referencing his future son?). So… why are there two caskets at the burial? Did he already have a kid even though he says they’d been trying so long and doesn’t mention a kid? I’m confused?

But anyway, back to my point.  This book has the misfortune of that superficial, rambling writing throughout it. The writer never seems to learn how to pick his words to make a captivating read, and the art did nothing to pick up his slack. There are a couple of scenes where there is way too much telling between characters who already know this information. I know the reader needs to know what was told, but there are a million other ways to subtly introduce information that the reader needs.

I did like some things about it, though. I like that he admits to being third string in the smarts department. Don’t we get tired of every superhero being the best at what they do (no Wolverine intended)? It’s such a treat when the find out that they may not be the best, but they are fully capable of finding a solution to their problems. And who can’t love this random “note-to-self” about Doctor Who while he’s trying to evade a baddie, “T-Note: Buy Jamaal season 5 on blu-ray”?

And I know that the race jokes probably made people put on their PC cap, but I thought the line he said about saying “thanks to the black guy” was snarky and well-timed. But the line from the Republican at the party? OVERKILL. And that ridiculous white woman/black woman spat? Even more ridiculous than the lines uttered by the Republican—especially since there was no real build up to that. Second of all, who are these wenches? Why should I care about them? And why was there a ridiculous need to mention that black women can handle things that white women--supposedly--can't even begin to fathom? Cheap. I'm a black woman, and I'm calling it cheap.

Oh wait… I’m supposed to be talking about the things I do like. Unfortunately, that was very little.

Bottom line, this book made it hard to care about the story. What could’ve been a superb comic that combined science and superheroes in an awesome way turned out to be very flat.
Continue Reading…

Monday, October 3, 2011

[Review] Hush, Hush


Hush, Hush
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



NOTE: This review was written almost two years ago! Just pushing it to my blog because I'm about to start book #2 FINALLY! Spoilers, ahoy!

First COMPLETE book read on my new Kindle!

As much as I love my vampire stories, I love stories delve into other areas of the paranormal especially when coupled with quasi-theology. This was definitely an enthralling read. I always pit sorta bad/sorta good guys against my favorite gray area character, and at first, it took me a little while to warm up to Patch. He was cute and dangerous, but his manipulativeness was a bit much in the beginning. However, I understand that was a necessary means to aid the story and to build him as a character.

I liked Nora a lot and really enjoyed reading the story from her POV. She was smart and stronger than she gave herself credit for. I was expecting her to be overly annoying because she is a teen, but she was such a lovable character (Vee was, too, in her own way). The only thing that REALLY annoyed me about her was that she pointed out TOO MANY times that Patch was internally laughing at her during most of the story. How many times do we need to hear that even though he didn't smile he was laughing on the inside at her?

There was one part that didn't make sense to me or maybe I missed something altogether. Patch mentioned he'd thought about killing Nora a few times during the story, but in the same breath he says that her death needed to be sacrificial. How sacrificial would stabbing her to death in the kitchen or throwing her off a roller coaster been? Maybe I'm just missing something.

A good Saturday read. Wonder if the author plans to write more about this duo.



View all my reviews
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

31 Days of Horror: Xombie: Dead on Arrival


Day two pick for the 31 Days of Horror challenge--Xombie: Dead on Arrival. A zombie plague has wiped out most of the human race. Zoe, a human girl, washes up on shore looking for her family unsure of how she got there. She wanders into a graveyard where she is rescued by Dirge, a sentient zombie (called xombie), who makes it his mission to take her to the nearest human colony.

This movie was broken up into many smaller "chapters" (around 3 minutes or so) that make up the whole movie. Even though it was close to an hour long, the way it was split up made it feel much quicker. I'm not sure if this was featured somewhere on a site or something in episodes, but I'm thinking it probably was.

Interesting concept for a series, though. I'm sure there probably are books about zombies who have retained their consciousness, but I haven't read any of them. I read there was a comic based on this now, and I will definitely be on the look out for it.

Also, this one gets points for using E.S. Posthumus' Pompeii in one of the fight scenes! I love that song!
Continue Reading…

31 Days of Horror: Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives


This movie kicked off my 31 Days of Horror challenge. After being viciously attacked by three men (one of whom is an ex-boyfriend), a group of transvestites get revenge on the men who hurt them. From the name, you obviously know that you aren't getting anything that supposed to be taken too seriously. This was like a take on those exploitation films from the 70s (even with the missing reel messages) but over-exaggerated to the max. This was full of one-liners, pop culture ("This shit ain't on Google Maps!") and fabulousness. If you're looking for something fun and schlocky in the comedic horror realm, this might fit the bill.  I give it a 3 out of 5 just because it kept me amused.
Continue Reading…

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This blog is a mishmash of thoughts, pictures, and rantings among other things about games I've played, games I will play, and games I am currently playing. From time to time, I may post book reviews that I've written that are about different games and/or game worlds. Feel free to recommend games or add me on the platforms I've listed. I don't do competitive multiplayer much anymore, but I'm always down for some co-op these days. I'm usually DigitalTempest everywhere unless otherwise specified.

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2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Tiara has read 6 books toward her goal of 52 books.
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Tiara's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Elfstones Of Shannara
tagged: upcoming-reads, currently-reading, 2016-audiobook-challenge, classi...
Gardens of the Moon
tagged: currently-reading, fantasy, z-narrator-ralph-lister, 2016-audiobook...

goodreads.com

Tiara's bookshelf: read

Deceived
really liked it
Review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge and 2016-audiobook-challenge
The Girl from the Well
liked it
More reviews @ The Bibliosanctum TL;DR Review 2.5 to 3 stars. Not badly written… I’m just disappointed by the squandered potential. I’m going to reread Anna Dressed in Blood to make myself feel better about this Longer Review: T...
tagged: 2016-women-of-genre-fiction-reading, horror, and young-adult
Thirteen Reasons Why
I don't think this quite captures the complexity of bullying and suicide, and some of the issues that Hannah started facing toward the end of the novel really seemed to detract even more from the feelings she was going through by having ...
tagged: young-adult, popsugar-2016-reading-challenge, 2016-audiobook-challe...
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
liked it
Spoiler free review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge
The Phantom of the Opera
really liked it
tagged: classic-horror, classics, audiobook, 2016-audiobook-challenge, horr...

goodreads.com

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