Posted in Gaming, Opinion, Review, Stories, The Laughing Box, The Real Life, video games, Xbox One

Oblivion Is Better Than Skyrim — Falcon Game Reviews

Read this. 

The husband takes a step to explore the differences between the two, well-known ( sorry, Morrowind), Elder Scrolls games.

Yeah, I’m going there.

via Oblivion Is Better Than Skyrim — Falcon Game Reviews

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Posted in Books, Gaming, Introvert, movies, Review, The Laughing Box, The Real Life, video games, Xbox One

Falling Off The Face Of The Earth

Have you ever gone into a room, looked around and wondered why you were in there? I mean, you had to have been looking for something, right? And yet, you have no idea what you were looking for.

This same concept can be added to why I haven’t made a post since November when I wrote about the Skyrim: Special Edition. I have meant to write a post here and there, maybe something goofy or silly or serious, but I never made it to the laptop to start writing. On the other hand, the husband, Falcon Reviews, has been doing a fabulous job of writing and keeping his blog up-to-date, and I’m the writer.

Unfortunately, the last time I made a post was about a week or two before finals began. I had two term papers to write, two normal-ish tests, and two ginormous tests that sucked out my brains and possibly my soul. I became nothing. So it should come to no surprise that I did not have it in me to write during Christmas break, or even last week when I had to spread my wings and crawl out of my introverted shell, again. Le sigh.

I have some posts that I am eagerly working on, and by working on I mean they’re in my head. I want to have a post a week at least if not more than that from here on out. I can’t really call myself a writer or a communications degree major if I’m not communicating with the world around me.

So please, take this an my apology for allowing my recluse side to take over and vanquish any sort of normalism I may have from time to time.

What I am planning to write

  • I got the husband ReCore for Christmas but somehow he ended up dragging me into it and now I have to write a review. Well, I don’t have to, but I’m gonna!
  • I plan to write a post about how women think they should look after they give birth vs. how society makes them feel how they should look
  • My 2017 in the making!
  • A review on Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring vs. the movie adaptation
  • Probably something about books or a book
  • IDK I’ll think of something though

This is tentative and will not be in order.

Stay tuned!

Posted in Gaming, Review, video games, Xbox One

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Special Edition Review

We waited five years for Skyrim to release after Oblivion, then we waited five more years to see an updated version that would touch on what Skyrim could be. Unfortunately, we only got a remastered version instead of a whole new game (Elder Scrolls VI: whatever *cough cough*). I guess we will settle for what we can get our grimy, greasy, gross nerd fingers on.

Skyrim released the year I met my husband. We stood in line together to purchase it and then we each went home, put our headsets on, and started the game in unison. It was magical. It was brilliant. And it has been my go-to game since that day.

Skyrim wasn’t as beautiful or engaging as Oblivion was. The music didn’t captivate me like it did in Oblivion and the main quest was sub-par, but it was still magical.

My first playthrough consisted of me going to Whiterun and then I trudged to Solitude because that direction looked prettier.

I spent far too much time wandering and wondering what the heck I was supposed to be doing and where I could find someone to purchase all my horded stash loot.

I didn’t role-play my character (meaning I did everything in that first playthrough so I got distracted a lot. I was saddened by the lack of awesomeness with the Thieves Guild missions and the lack of absolute I-am-a-horrible-person feeling in the Dark Brotherhood, and yet I still loved it.

That’s why, when they announced the Special Edition, I was all too eager to get my hands on it. Luckily, for me, my husband had purchased Skyrim on our laptop (homework during the day, gaming at night) which meant that we would get the version for free.

Just before its arrival my husband showed me a newly released trailer for Skyrim: Special Edition. It showed how the original version looked on the PS3 and Xbox 360 compared to what it would like on the PS4, Xbox One and PC. I noticed that it was focusing on the scenery differences rather than graphic changes in the NPCs or animals. At that point I was a little worried that the Special Edition wasn’t going to be that big of a difference. Regardless, I was eager to play.

October 28 took far too long but finally it arrived.

I came home that Friday from a ridiculously difficult work week to play my new game. I didn’t know what to expect but for some reason I thought that it was going to be noticeably different. Because I had my mind up that it was going to be a significant change, I was let down more.

Alas, let the official review begin.

What’s Different

Little Details – More plants, ants on logs, more details in the fauna and flora.

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I’m not even kidding… And yes, I am a Stormcloak

Rain Occlusion- First of all there is actual rain in the SE instead of the sort of misty stuff we had in the OG. With this addition the rain falls around the player unless they are standing underneath something that obstructs the rain, thus making it more realistic.

Improved Stability- improved drastically with Unofficial Patch mod, higher framerate, 64-bit engine, higher access to RAM. The clip below shows how stable the game has become in the SE version. This stability allows the player to experience a more fluid type of gameplay and it allows for more to happen on screen without the framerate falling.

Water is more realistic- the water has been improved by making it look more realistic and believable. The rivers and lakes flow in a certain direction and if there is something obstructing the flow, the water will go around it.

Lighting- makes the game look better with “natural” lighting. The lighting has been improved to look more natural, creating softer light tones. It is most noticeable during dawn and dusk. There is also the addition of God-rays, light that streams between trees causing rays of light.

Clouds over the mountains- instead of being able to see an entire mountain from any direction, the SE edition as added clouds that flow around the mountains, obscuring the view. This is more natural and realistic.

Shelby (the husband) here!

First, I’d like to begin by talking about mods. Modding, which was previously impossible on consoles, without breaking warranties and ToS, has made it into Skyrim. To further make the sale, modding on PC has become even easier since Bethesda rolled mods into the game as a menu option. The only other game I’ve played that has mods as easy to install and manage is BeamNG.Drive (which is an awesome game by the way).

Modding is simple and easy to carry out. Sure, achievements are disabled, but who cares in a five year old game?

The only downside here is that mods are nowhere near as developed as modding through Nexus, as mods have essentially been completely reset. In time that may change, but there’s a great deal of uncertainty there. Also, PS4 mods are limited to mods that only use in game assets, so expect far less variety.

Put simply, if modding is a major concern for you when deciding what platform to pick, the formula is: PC > Xbox One > PS4

Other than mods, there are a couple other little touches that made it in. Skyrim benefits from minor improvements including better spell effects, like prettier effects from having spells prepared in your hands and spells lighting up their trajectories over terrain.

More vibrant colors- if compared next to each other you can see the difference in colors between the two game versions. They brought out a lot more reds and oranges in the SE making the game look less gloomy than the first version. This also makes the game look more like a painting than a video game that released in 2011.

Disappointments

The reason I was disappointed upon launch is that I couldn’t see a significant difference between the original game (henceforth referred to as OG) and the SE (it means Special Edition). I recently started a new character in the OG, so it hadn’t been too long ago since I saw the beginning sequence. I thought that the people would have smoother textures and their mouths would move more fluidly with what they were saying. Honestly, I was expecting something like Halo: The Master Chief Collection (though without multiplayer and the ridiculous bugs).

I was expecting a difference similar to this:

Textures- added to game, not totally noticeable until two screenshots are next to each other. I jumped into the game expecting a huge difference but didn’t notice much. Until I saw a video comparing the OG and SE side by side, the game looked no different to me. I saw the ants on the log, the lighting differences, and a few added textures but nothing that made me say, “WHOA!”

People- not a lot of change with people, creatures, or way people/creatures behave. This is probably the biggest one for me. I was hoping to see a vast difference in the way people and creatures behave and look. They look choppy and not smooth in the OG and the SE. There are few details that they changed like making the people look a little smoother or adding color but I think that is mostly the lighting difference. I know it can be difficult to make huge changes to characters in a game this big but they could’ve done more.

Shelby again…

Something that should be stated is that if you’re going to be playing Skyrim Special Edition, you should download the Unofficial Patch mod ASAP. Skyrim still has many known bugs that have still not been officially fixed for some reason. Miscellaneous quests that can bug out, followers disappearing, etc. Granted, these can be fixed, but in a game that has been out for five years and now been remastered, you’d figure that quality assurance might’ve been somewhere on the list of priorities.

But it’s Bethesda, so yeah… Free pass.

Why should you play it? 

First, because it is Skyrim and now you can play it on the PS4 and Xbox One. Second, because the light changes and water differences actually make the game more beautiful, somehow. Third, because, although there aren’t gigantic differences, it is still a spectacularly beautifully sculpted game. It will stand as one of the best RPGs until they release Elder Scrolls VI: Best Game Ever…

Overall 

There are some disappoints that fall in line with purchasing the SE but I got it for free. BONUS. I am unsure if I would spend sixty dollars to buy it for the console considering the minimal changes to the game. What I was looking for in a remaster did not happen, however what they did do is amazing, it just isn’t enough for me to purchase the game for my Xbox One. Some people may feel differently considering you currently cannot play the game on a console unless you resort to the 360 or PS3 (which is a joke). If you’re going to spend the money to get the SE then I would encourage you to buy it on PC so that you can have the maximum mods available to you.

Thank you for taking the time to read my review, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it..

*The additions in block quotes were written by my husband. Check out his blog at Falcon Reviews.*

 

 

Posted in Review, Straight from the WordPress, The Laughing Box

3 Frustrating Things About No Man’s Sky-Shared

Through countless hours of research, large amounts of 2am caffeine pill dosages, and unfathomable sacrifice, MONG scientist Tyler Fischer has come up with the definitive, scientific, inarguable list of the three most frustrating things about No Man’s Sky.

via The 3 most frustrating things about No Man’s Sky — Middle Of Nowhere Gaming

Posted in Books, Opinion, Review, The Laughing Box

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child-Book Review

This play released on July 31st. The announcement of the book sent a wave of excitement through the world and, obviously, through the Harry Potter fan club.

The wave was felt for a long time before the play’s release. The community gathered for midnight release games and fun to enjoy the release of the book/play.

And then the community read the play. And fans were sad. Fans became disappointed. Fans got on the internet and to show their exasperation through reviews and disappointed posts on social media.

My first realization let down of the play was when I realized though her name is printed on the book that J.K. Rowling didn’t actually write The Cursed Child. Dun dun dunnn. Ouch.

The second let down I had was when I realized that the play wasn’t actually going to give me a story I hadn’t yet read. Second ouch.

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So I have gathered not only my thoughts and a list of pros and cons but also the same from someone not me that has read the play. This way you don’t just get my sour thoughts but also someone else’s as well.

First off

Since it seems like a big deal to everyone that people didn’t realize it has been written in script/play form. So as you continue on please keep in mind that yes I realized this before I purchased it. And no it makes no difference to me. And yes I realize that it doesn’t allow for more storytelling. However, have you ever read Midsummer Night’s Dream? It was written in script form and yet you get a full story. Even Metamorphosis is a play and you get a full story. There are ways around this and you can still put a whole story together. Maybe have it be a little longer or release and extended version.

August 1st

I received my copy in the late afternoon on August 1st.

August 4th 

I started reading my copy once I had finished the third installment of the Pendragon series. And writing an extra 2,000 words in my novel (wee!).

August 5th noonish

I finished my copy full of disappointment and wondering what I just read.

And I am, fortunately, not alone. If you care to click here to read the numerous reviews on Amazon.com of fans who are just as let down as I am.

I was stoked to have received my copy and to say that I wanted to not go back to work in order to start my book would be absolutely 100% true. I mean, I would skip work every day if that meant I could stay home to read a book, but that’s just me.

Alas, I digress (or is it earwax?).

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Here is where the spoilers begin. If you haven’t read the book/play then go do that before continuing on. I am not one to make a review minus spoilers. Ain’t happenin. Go read it. Or don’t and continue on. 

My list

  1. Not written by Rowling (didn’t realize this until after I got the book/play)
  2. Unfortunately for the actual authors, you can tell… Bad
  3. Fanfiction… DING DING DING. Not good fanfiction either
  4. Characters are not believable (you can’t tell me that they would say what is written in this book. Really?)
  5. Not convincing enough to make me believe it would actually be what happened after the seventh book. Not even a little bit.
  6. No new material (unless you count the “plot twist” which is full of loopholes, so no)
  7. Not an original idea. Because it just takes off from the excerpt the real author gave us at the end of Deathly Hallows 
  8. The characters feel awkward and not true to themselves (also where is Tonks and Lupin’s kid?)
  9. Delphi… The whole character shouldn’t exist
  10. WTF????!!!! <—— my thought throughout the entire book/playsnape-is-disappointed

Now you may think that some of my points are a little harsh since Rowling didn’t write it but wait and I will explain myself.

My friend’s pro/con list

Pros

  1. A different perspective to the magical world than Rowling’s
  2. Getting to read about our favorite characters
  3. Seeing how the romantic relationships are 20 years later
  4. The children-seeing their personalities and getting to know them as characters
  5. Bellatrix being the person Voldemort would choose to, uh, create an evil child with
  6. The connections of friendship-Harry with Hermione and Ron/Albus with Scorpius

Cons

  1. Characters are not true to themselves and are not believable
  2. The various future outcomes of “what if” are not necessary
  3. Ron/Hermione and Ginny/Harry attitudes- I am not convinced that Harry would ever speak to Ginny like that
  4. Rose’s personality-how could Ron and Hermione raise a kid to be that big of a prat?
  5. Title did not reflect the books content
  6. You can tell that Rowling didn’t write it

I have to agree with her list. Number 5 of the pros list is a big one for me too. If any of the Death Eaters were going to be the baby momma to the Dark Lord then it would be Bellatrix. BUT if she had been pregnant at any point during the books (and that is how Rowling saw it) then wouldn’t we have read about it? And just to add a sour note, you’re gonna tell me that she birthed a baby and then died mere days afterward? Cuz, you know, that isn’t depressing or anything.

I think that her pro and con list is self explanatory but if you have questions regarding them then hit me up in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.

As for my list, well keep reading.

Number 1– J.K. Rowling didn’t write it… And then she allowed her name to be attached to it as though she did. FALSE! Why would you let something that doesn’t even read like your stuff be published? Anyone who loves Harry Potter will forever be fans regardless of whether you continue writing or not. We have closure. For those who don’t have closure then you can write your own fanfiction, just make sure it is better than this.

Number 2– You can tell she didn’t write it… This is bad, bad, bad because not only does it keep in the forefront of my mind that it isn’t her work, but I also can’t believe what I am reading. The characters presented in this book/play may have the names of the characters from Harry Potter but they do not behave like those characters did. Even forty years later, these people are not who we are meant to believe they are. #sorrynotsorry

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Number 3– It is fanfiction… It really is. Two guys published what they believe happened after the seventh book. If it isn’t written by the OA, and uses the characters/theme/setting/plot of the original book(s). Make you think of anything?

Number 4– Characters are not believable… Uhh, I cannot believe that 20 years would cause Harry to ever tell his son, NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, that sometimes he wishes he weren’t his son…. That is just one of the examples but the biggest one that sticks in my head.

Number 5– Not convincing enough… I don’t believe the story. Harry and his middle son have trouble because the son is full of poor me? Not happening. Voldemort impregnating Bellatrix and the books never  mentioned it? I realize that there are times when we don’t see her but not almost ten months worth, definitely not long enough for her to be pregnant and have a child (remember when she tortured Hermione?).

Number 6– Nothing new was added to the story. Sure we got to see the kids older and more grown up but it was a pity party the entire time. There wasn’t much in character growth and I didn’t feel like I really got to know the new characters very well. I understand it is a play but I have read plays with character growth.

Number 7– Not an original idea. Like I mentioned before the play only takes off with the excerpt from the seventh book and took off with the idea in their own way.

Number 8– The characters are not true to themselves. Like I said up above, the characters act in a way that is not believable or true to who they were in the original books. I know it has been 19-20 years but people don’t become assholes after working with each other to save the world.

Number 9– Delphi.. This character should never have been born. Not only did she immediately stand out to me as a potential antagonist but her title as cousin to Cedric and the daughter of Voldemort… Just, why?

Number 10– This isn’t really a problem but more of an overall disappointment number. I didn’t enjoy the book. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there who won’t enjoy it because there will be plenty who do. I didn’t. These are my top nine reasons why I didn’t like it. I should also point out that I felt like there were far too many loopholes with the characters, going back in time, and Delphi. I don’t think it was a well thought out story. It felt more like a quick short story that they wanted to get out there so that they could start cashing in. I understand that it was written as a play but I don’t think that knowledge makes it any better. Regardless of what form you take the story in it still falls flat.

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End Scene

So there you have it, my rant review on the new Harry Potter book/play. I hope it gives you the information you have been looking for. If you have any questions or whatever go ahead and leave a comment. I make a point of getting back to all those who comment on my posts.

Thanks so much for reading this! Have a great day.