Red Dead Redemption II – Why I Love the Detail

Rockstar’s latest and greatest open world masterpiece came out just a few weeks ago, and like many people who picked it up straight away, I haven’t been able to stop playing it since. So seeing as I haven’t managed to play or do anything else lately, I guess it makes sense to write something about it!

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The game is pretty much everything I hoped it would be. It’s a huge, yet deep open world that contains an excellent main plot, great characters, tons to do without being grindy, and it looks, feels and practically smells fantastic. There’s so much going on that I don’t think I’ll be able to properly review it, even the professional games media’s coverage of the game ended up being more rambling chats about various aspects rather than structured reviews. So instead for now I’m going to focus on my favourite thing about the game; its details. Continue reading “Red Dead Redemption II – Why I Love the Detail”

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What Was the Fuss with Venom and What Happened with Daredevil?

I literally just went to see Venom this weekend gone. And, I tell ya, I came out of the movie thinking: ” Why were people so bloody annoying and judgy?!”. I will be honest, I didn’t have the greatest expectations because I am never 100% on board with the adaptations of Marvel stuff to movies (just my personal opinion!). The Spiderman universe, however, has always been one of my favourites, and I have religiously followed it – therefore Venom wasn’t gonna be left out. I have always had a dear love for symbiotes (in fact, writing a paper related about this! Keep your eyes peeled if you’re interested), and thought that the CGI looked good from the trailers. Plus Tom Hardy…when has be not been excellent? So off I go to see Venom…

…And the thing is I really liked it. For starters, it felt the movie was well paced. The casting was great too, and the action scenes was cool. I wished it would have been R-rated like Deadpool, but I can understand how the got away with it, and to be honest, it didn’t detriment my enjoyment of the movie so, all good. I think Tom Hardy is incredible. I thought maybe he was a bit too hard-core for Eddie when the casting was announced, but I actually really enjoyed seeing him struggle, with his little funny voice being pitiful at stages rather than, you know, Bane. I loved the way he was constantly negotiating with Venom and apologising for the things he did without his control. And I actually laughed a fair bit. I thought the other symbiotes looked cool and I am really looking forward seeing more of them. They didn’t look weird or cheesy; they looked like evil space parasites of doom. So, that is my verdict for Venom.

Meantime, over in Netflix, here I go, super excited to see ma boi Matthew back on the screen – DD and I have a long history because of my massive crush on Elektra and my disgust at the fact I am not a ninja…I thoroughly enjoyed the first two seasons; although for different reasons. The first one was just flawless – in my opinion – through and through. The cast, the fight scenes, the pacing; everything. Season 2 slowed down a little bit for me, and I thought there was no need for so much Punisher in it, but I loved all the character development from everyone, not just DD, and of course Miss Natchios herself was a good add-on. So, here I am, in a super nest of cosy to devour the show for the following how many hours…And I was disappointed, frankly. The first few episodes are very good, and there are a few episodes in the season which are simply excellent. BUT, and here comes my main problem, there is so much extended filler for some thing I particularly didn’t think were necessary at this point in the story. Far too many unwanted flashbacks that do not really contribute to our understanding of many of these characters 0 particularly Karen. Look! I like the girl, but a lot of this stuff the talk about her, was sort of hinted already and didn’t really add much more with an entire episode dedicated to this. I felt the Kingpin/Vanessa relationship was very much forced on-screen and not always that important for the narrative: we already know and have known for AGES, literally 2 SEASONS, he would burn and kill for her, or if you’re not willing to believe that, to use her as a pretext for such. We know his back story, why did we linger over it so much again – no idea. Was it to draw parallels between him and our suddenly transformed new villain? Again, not really seeing the point there. I also felt there wasn’t enough Foggy in this season, and to my surprise, not enough cross-reference to Defenders either. So, over all, there were fantastic moments in the 3rd season…but the season as a whole, left me a bit cold. 

So, here we go Marvel…you will never cease to surprise me, I guess…

RPG Campaigns and How They Come to an End

Sorry guys, Alex has been without internet for a fair few days so we have been a bit all over the place. That means you just have me again. Well, in any case, this post is partially inspired by the fact that, due to circumstances, I’ve had to start wrapping up my current RPG campaigns. Sadly, as you all may know because of experience or the memes that circulate the internet, there is nothing worse for a game group than adult life and timetables…it is just a nightmare. And it seems that it has come to that annoying point once again where enough of my players weren’t able to make the sessions, so I had a few options: reset, recycle, or stop. I was simply unwilling to go through with the latter: I like RPGs. I’ve been playing since I have memory. This is how I hang out with my friends, it’s a key element of my social life…I ain’t letting go that easy. I didn’t want to recycle the stories because we were simply too far into them, and I am not fond of reset button-nothingeverhappened/thosepeoplewerentthere/letsgo. So I decided to condense plot and wrap up. In this way the characters that were already out could get proper closure, and if we could keep on playing even with reduced numbers, the story-arch would be somewhat resolved and in a situation to carry through on different terms.

The only issue with this is that – sadly for my players – I had to be brutal. There was enough material for both campaigns to take easily another month or two of consistent game play. And they are not the sanest of people so they had created enough mud around them that this was never gonna be easy…So far in our game of Mythic Iceland there are only two player-characters that are not dead and could happily continue other plots. The rest…well, let’s see:

Continue reading “RPG Campaigns and How They Come to an End”

4 Minijuegos de Rol Desternillantes – Estilo “One Shot”

Hoy os traigo una traducción de una entrada que escribió Alex hace un tiempo y que ha resultado muy popular. Se trata de un post sobre juegos de rol del tipo “one shot”: aquellos que se utilizan para solo una partida, y que suelen ser de carácter absurdo y humorístico. Y por supuesto, ya se ha encargado el de escoger 4 ejemplos que son, la verdad, ¡bastante estrambóticos!  Así que, aquí os dejo con ellos.

Alex nos empieza contando que lo mejor de estos juegos es que no se tarda lo mas mínimo en hacer personajes, y apenas tienen reglas, por tanto, se propician para partidas rápidas y de impromptu. Al ser tan compactos y fáciles de manejar, se hacen bastante llevaderos y su carácter super informal y descarado suele atraer a jugadores novatos: en vez de dar la impresión de que los juegos de rol con sistemas complicados que requieren matemáticas, matar cosas y subir de nivel. Simplemente nos presentan este pasatiempo de forma amena, teniendo muy en cuenta puntos clave de los juegos de rol como el trabajo en equipo, la resolución de problemas de forma innovativa, y por supuesto el pasárselo bien con tus colegas. Y ahora que ya tenéis claro de que va el tema, aquí os dejamos la selección de Alex:

Continue reading “4 Minijuegos de Rol Desternillantes – Estilo “One Shot””

My Thoughts on the Stand Alone Naomi Novik Novels – Uprooted & Spinning Silver

Alright people, I had been on holiday most of September, so apologies for the lack of posts from me since, but I am back. And whilst away I have been doing a lot of reading which is what I am sharing with you today. So, fantasy novels lovers, today is your day, because here I bring you my 2p on two novels from Naomi Novik: Uprooted and Spinning Silver. Most of you, I suspect, would know this author for the series Temeraire, so let me tell you this: my first experience of reading anything from Novik was Uprooted, therefore I didn’t come to it with any baggage or expectations. In fact, I had never heard of her series and work before. It was only that because of secret Santa at work, one of my colleagues gifted me the book and I decided to give it a shot. So if you are expecting me to do comparisons between the 9 volume series and these two…Well, not gonna happen. Sorry. In fact, I can tell you already, that, as much as I am a historian and a fantasy nerd, and by proxy Temeraire should totally be my thing; I am not interested. The Napoleonic Wars have never appealed all that much to me…and I am not sure if I am willing to invest into 9 books of this stuff to figure out what is going on. 

Continue reading “My Thoughts on the Stand Alone Naomi Novik Novels – Uprooted & Spinning Silver”

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition – A Quick Look

Recently the latest edition of the Warhammer Fantasy RPG was released, and with this being one of the two RPGs I’ve been looking forward to in recent years, I had to pick it up and have a look! I fully intend to play and perhaps run a game of this at some point in the future, but for now instead of a solid review I will share some of my initial thoughts and impressions.

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Now I’m not the most hardcore of Warhammer fans, I’ve never actually played Warhammer or any of the previous editions of the RPG, but since getting into a few of the videogames I’ve become more interested in the lore of Warhammer Fantasy. I say this because clearly this is an RPG based on previous versions. This 4th edition seems to have been based more heavily on the 1st and 2nd editions of the game, while clearly making many improvements. This is something of a revival for the system, as the 3rd edition made by Fantasy Flight Games was a complete departure from the mechanics of the previous two.

Having been published by Cubicle 7, a company I have grown very fond of, especially due to The One Ring RPG, I fully expected this book to have a great presentation and artwork. I wasn’t wrong, the layout is very clear, all the tables and little info boxes are easy to interpret. The book is crammed full of brilliant art, with something every few pages at least, but it doesn’t make things look messy or take over from the text too much. The art direction and some of the art is done by C7’s own Jon Hodgson whose style im very familiar with from the excellent art in The One Ring, and he does a similarly great job here even with such a different tone of fantasy aesthetic. In particular I love the character art done for each of the 64 careers you can choose from, all done in a suitably gritty and grimy style for Warhammer. I also like how the cover art for the book is clearly a callback to the cover of the first edition of the game from 1986. Overall the presentation really makes this a pleasure to read through. Continue reading “Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition – A Quick Look”

Zombillenium – A French BD for Millenials, Geeks, Monsters, and those Who are Exploited

With the news (LONG AWAITED NEWS!!! YEARS!!!) that volume 4 is finally coming our way, the fans of the work of Arthur du Pins can finally put their minds at ease: the cliffhanger will end! We will know what happens with the park, and what´s up with our favourite, sassiest witch, Gretchen and the poor man who is Aurelien. And the others of course. However, it has recently come to my attention – mostly due to my super hype and the lack of response back –  that, apparently, this is not so well-known and received in the comic sphere as I thought it would. Which is bizarre (IMO) considering that the author has just projected the animated adaptation of the entire thing at Cannes just last year, and the new comic coming back, you´d think we´d be on it…But apparently not. Apparently, for some strange reason I do not fully comprehend, the BD market in the UK is rather non-existent, even for something that came as a direct commission from the director of Spirou. That is, btw, how this all started. Arthur du Pins was given this job for a Halloween special edition for the magazine. But the thing became so popular, by 2010 the first volume was already out under the publisher Dib>buks. 

So, why do I care so much about this? This BD came right as the recession of the late 2000s hit us, and the themes resonated with me at a very personal level. For starters, who doesn´t want to read a comic about a Halloween-like theme park, where the monsters are for realsies?! Well, that is what you get in Zombillenium. Understand that to a teen Goth, obsessed with roleplaying games, this was the dream: monster and magic. Awesome. It wasn´t just the imagery, though, but the obvious message that attracted me as I started reading: the outsiders, the left overs of society, the people who live in the fringe that are freaks for your entertainment in a circus. That was, and still is, a very real issue in our modern societies – and this is something you have heard me talking about a different comic for similar and different reasons: Rat Queens, and you can find my update here:

Continue reading “Zombillenium – A French BD for Millenials, Geeks, Monsters, and those Who are Exploited”