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 Reviews for Andromeda have been mixed - ranging from "it's pretty good!" to "it has some technical problems" and "AN AAA GAME UNDER 80 ON METACRITIC IS A FAILURE, EVEN DRAGON AGE 2 GOT 82/100" - so I was pretty wary of spending 90 buckaroos on a game. 

Well Shivani and I went splitsies on it and I'm happy to say it doesn't suck. I like it a lot

- It definitely feels like Dragon Age Inquisition IN SPACE but somewhat less tedious because movement speed is faster.
- Planet scanning is somehow back with even longer animations which is annoying because there are A LOT OF PLANETS
- Combat is great! The jumping is great! The scenery is beautiful! 
- All the jumping and lack of being able to direct squadmate powers at a single target anymore though means that combat is a lot less tactical than before :( 
- Driving the Nomad is. Alright. It's a lot better than running around a forest in Dragon Age Inquisition, for sure. 
- Love the Tempest and the crew. Great ship layout. Squadmates are great too. I don't hate any of them. 
- I miss the more "Renegade"-flavoured options but I'm sure the protagonist will grow into them. 
- I tried to style my PC as ginger Negasonic Teenage Warhead with red hair but I ended up with Tommen Baratheon again. 
- I'd like to play on insanity but the save system (no saving during priority missions...) often means going back to loot a container several times because I died. So, I've been playing on hardcore instead. 
- The "banter bug" from DAI is back :( 
- I'm not done yet but the sequel is gonna be awesome 

As a $45 (with the friendo discount) this is great. Is this game worth $90? Maaaaaybe, if they'd fixed the banter bug and shortened the planet scanning animations. 
duinemerwen: (garrus)
- Making the training set for my thesis work :(
- Finishing the minor revisions on That One Paper (... There is only one paper)
- Finishing Adam's X-Wing (why won't he try it himself?) 
- Visiting Justin and eating Justin's food
- Betaing a Solas/Trevelyan kinkmene fill (It's going to be, like, 10000 words long and it's really good so far!) 
- Climbing into probably some SEWER TUNNELS to get a D5/T5 geocache! 
duinemerwen: (pretty ok)
2017.01.28 02:39 - Music
- 2016 was so awful that Closer made #1 on Todd in the Shadow's top 10 hit songs of 2016.

- I'm making my own list of favourite lines in songs (it's mostly empty) and I've filled in two slots.

One is the "Call me up just to break me like a promise/ So casually cruel in the name of being honest" from All Too Well.

The other one is "Most people take out the trash, they don't bring it home"



The entire 2 and a half minutes of this is great, but I think the artist could stand to sound less pretty. The song is too serene. I derive all of the emotion from it from the beautifully contemptuous lyrics but she only seems to feel it when her voice turns down on the "I don't want to wash the sheets, I want to burn the bed." If she's at the point where she wants to burn the bed she should make her questions sound less hurt and more rhetorical. Still a great song
duinemerwen: (Default)
2017.01.27 01:07 - Riverdale - episode 1
Ever since Archie comics shook off the Hays comic code they've been doing some interesting things, chiefly Afterlife with Archie, but now also Riverdale. I have some small thoughts about episode 1 - river's edge:

- I like the casting! Veronica (Camila Mendes) is an excellent pick, for sure and she has the best material this episode. Archie (K. J. Apa) looks like a slightly younger Andrew Garfield and Betty (Lili Reinhart) looks like Heather Morris from Glee. I guess it's worth mentioning the cast diversity, relatively speaking. On paper everyone (except Chuck and Nancy) look white as mayo, but Josie and the Pussycats are clearly set up as Destiny's Child, Reggie and Dilton are now the Cool (douche) Asian and Asian Nerd respectively, and Veronica is now Latina. So, this is very cool! 
- That being said I still think it's very weird for actors in their 20s (... Cole Sprouse) to play 15 yr olds. Is it normal for 15 yr olds to be ripped? 
- It's also very odd that Miss Grundy looks nearly the same age as the students... and I can't believe she's in that romance subplot. Squick. What the hell? 
- the dialogue is pretty stylized, but after all, Riverdale is more Brick than Mean Girls. This is not a bad thing. 

My personal predictions, which i will update as time goes on: 
- Betty is going to go completely off the chain by the end of the season, out of stress, and... extenuating plot factors that force her to grow a backbone. Also, I can't see her accepting what Archie was up to that summer. 
- Miss Grundy is going to die. 
- It's jarring that Kevin acts so flamboyant in an adult way at the tender age of 15. IDK it felt a lot more subdued when Kurt in Glee was camping it up. I wouldn't be surprised if they reveal that Kevin did the wild thang for the first time when he was 13, is extremely traumatized on the inside, and pulls a Brandon from Easy A. And dies. 
- Cheryl didn't commit the murder. That's too obvious. But they're definitely incest twins. That's a known fact. She is going to survive and be very unhappy. 
- Veronica is going to die, because she's currently my favourite character. And she's not really reformed right now. 
duinemerwen: (hip late night)
2017.01.16 23:42 - The Lyre Thief
 I finished The Lyre Thief. Book 2 in the new trilogy is coming out in March 2017.  This is exciting to me; I don't remember the last time I was this excited for a book. I don't think Helen is excited though. Actually, I don't think she remembers actually reading the Demon Child trilogy at all. That's OK. 

In the meantime I'm going to keep checking out used bookstores to fill in the missing installments in the series I already own, and maybe find something else to read. I haven't decided what yet, though. I was GOING to read The Mists of Avalon, but then I spotted a comment about the author at the bottom of the goodreads page, read too much about that, and now I don't feel like starting :/ 

So I'm thinking about the Crown of Vengeance; I heard it's better than the Phoenix trilogy. Or maybe The Name of the Wind (unlikely), or The Time of the Dark (more likely). 
duinemerwen: (Default)
Title: Scenes from an accidental courtship
Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Pairing: Sam/Daniel
Categories: Friendship, romance
Length: 25k
Warnings: None
Summary: "No, not that way. We were really, really good friends." And maybe just a little bit more. Season 7 behind-the-scenes friendship and romance.

Link

What I thought:

OH MY GOODNESS, I don't think I've had so many FEELS to deal with since, like, Kirk/Spock.

This fic hits soooo many points for me. I didn't even know I shipped Sam/Daniel until I read this fic. But what do I know? When I started out reading HP fanfic I was only into canon pairings. And here, having only touched the tip of Stargate fanfiction, I thought that the SG-1 team members had the sexual chemistry of four pumpkins all spaced a polite distance apart from each other. I've tried a few shippin' fics already but none of them have really SOLD their pairings to me yet, y'know?

Well, the characterization of this fic is believable. Which makes the friendship component believable, and the friendship component of this fic is what makes it goes down smoothly. If the friendship aspects of the fic are believable, it's only a gentle slide down to being open to the romance aspects of the fic. But thank goodness the fic is only rated T because I might have not have been able to suspend my disbelief otherwise. Maybe another time, yes? But small steps first.

I also love way that Sorrel draws out the friendship aspect of the fic to add tension so that every time the romance aspect steps it up, I'm more than ready to accept it. Also, UST is delicious.

The last two paragraphs are a kick in the teeth. There is a sequel (Winter). I need a sequel between this fic and Winter in my life, but there isn't one!!!

Anyways I now find Sam/Daniel utterly obvious and natural and all other pairings are ruined for me temporarily.
duinemerwen: (Default)
Title: Pieces tossed aside
Fandom: Firefly
Rating: R
Words: 9230
Characters: Mal, crew. A touch of Mal/Simon and Kaylee/Jayne, although I would consider this genfic more than anything.
Summary: Paquin goes radio silent. Everything else follows. AU. Set after the TV series.

Link

Why I liked it:

This is the best apocalyptic Firefly fic I've ever read. In this fic, the apocalypse is quiet - where you watch worlds go silent, one at a time, and no news is bad news.

This fic is a perfect blend of despair and hope. By that, I mean it's mostly despair and any hope I picked up on was magnified by own denial about how bad the situation actually was. Also, the end was fantastically ambiguous. I want a sequel but Pieces tossed aside is perfect the way it is. 
duinemerwen: (Ampersand)
2016.12.08 14:11 - Stargate SG-1 - Season 3.

Same deal as before.

1 - Kind of an iredeemably rubbish episode.
2 - A bit rubbish but with at least one sufficiently cool part.
3 - A solid episode.
4 - A memorable episode, in a good way. I have a bad memory.
5 - Personal favourite

expand table )

Conclusions
- About the same as Season 2
- The Tok'ra and the Tollan can't be trusted
- Which must be why the Asgard never go running to them for help.
duinemerwen: (that's not how the force works)
2016.12.01 07:25 - Embracing Satan
Today, I told Adam to embrace Satan into his heart so that he'd burn at the threshold of the church and wouldn't have to suffer through the Christmas service with his girlfriend. He is an atheist, I'm gently agnostic, and his GF is quite Catholic.

Later, I asked him to explain cross-nested choice models to me and he said he'd do it, "but what's in it for me?" I said I wouldn't mention Satan again. And he said, "I'll take it."

ALSO I did catch a Bioware employee in a Platinum PUG in Mass Effect 3 (Hydra/Cerberus) last night. I outscored him (and everyone else) by 30%. I would have been happier if the host hadn't taken advantage of the Hydra map glitch and spent the entire match camping behind a decorative box.
duinemerwen: (that's not how the force works)
Dishonored is depressing as hell but it is one of my favourite games - definitely on my personal top 5 list. So, I was hyped for Dishonored 2. I was so hyped that Justin bought it for me as an early birthday present to put me out of my misery. Also, my birthday comes AFTER Christmas.

There was something special about the first game. It was simple in concept and brilliant in execution. You play an assassin who has been bestowed magical powers by an amoral entity with a beguiling voice. Well the voice was beguiling and intriguingly neutral in the first game, and aggressively petulant in the second. A bad decision on the part of the developers. Compare:




Othertimes, the voice acting feels rushed in cadence during the cutscenes. A bit like certain cutscenes in the Witcher 3. I do appreciate a voiced protagonist, though.
"Having a voiced main does limit some dialogue options, but it's still much better than dozens of heroes who all seem to have lost their voice-boxes in tragic childhood boating accidents."
-- pokeybanana (2012)

I also resent the way that the game spells out the objectives every level and recaps at the end of the level.  And the plot points. In the first game it was only implied that Corvo was Emily's father. In this one the game slaps it right on us in the tutorial and then tells itself that's OK with flavor text later in the first level because it was "the court's worst-kept secret."

Also crafting. Every game has crafting nowadays. If Mass Effect Andromeda has crafting I will be a little bit unhappy (It will definitely have crafting). And it's not even good crafting, it's half-assed crafting designed to check the "crafting" box in Bethesda's publisher checklist. It really breaks realism if I can slap together a trr-effect whalebone charm while perched on top of a streetlight. There are vices all over every single level, couldn't crafting be limited to those vices only?

However there are many aspects of the game that I feel are improvements on the original. Nonlethal drop-takedowns and combat moves now exist! Karnaca is painterly and beautiful. The level design is as good as in the first game but bigger. Emily's powers suit my playstyle better than Corvo's in the first game. I spam F5 and F9 less frequently but according to the stats I've died about 150 times and I haven't even finished my first playthrough yet.


Different game, same principle.


There have also been a lot of reports about performance problems on PC - mainly mouse acceleration weirdness, low frame rate, and stutter. Though I haven't turned on Fraps or anything I haven't personally experienced any of these issues playing on (mostly) Medium settings.

Some of the level design, in addition to being much sunnier and varied than in the original Dishonored, is really creative. The clockwork mansion, for one, is a house whose configuration shifts if certain levers are pulled. In another level, you have to use time travel to solve puzzles and traverse obstacles in an overgrown mansion. My sense of direction is not great so I got lost and confused frequently. It was great. The level design in the original game was also very good but this was better. That said I sure am sick of overgrown mansions and bloodflies. Or for that matter, an overgrown asylum or an overgrown conservatory... Would have liked to see an industrial setting too, like the whale processing plant from Knife of Dunwall. Or a prison.



I also found some unexpected consequences to my actions in unmarked and unlisted objectives. I don't want to spoil this one too much but you can kill nearly anyone (and it only sometimes leads to a game over.)

I feel a little uncomfortable having so much of the plot hinge on the original Dishonored' DLCs - The Knife of Dunwall and the Brigmore Witches.

To summarize:

Improvements:
- Gameplay
- Level design
- Extreme replayability

Steps back:
- Outsider's voice acting
- Objectives really spell things out for you

I think I would be a lot more impressed if I hadn't played Dishonored. To put it another way, Yahtzee says a good sequel should build on the original.
A good sequel--like Half-Life 2, Silent Hill 2, Tranmere Rovers 3--is one that uses the original as a jumping-off point for a whole new story with whole new technology, while a bad sequel merely wallows in the original, like a hippo in a vat of liquidized children.
-- Zero Punctuation: Bioshock 2 Review

Dishonored 2 doesn't do anything particularly innovative but it does make a lot of improvements over the original. The ratio of Dishonored 2 / Dishonored is close to the ratio of Mass Effect 3 / Mass Effect 2 or Portal 2 / Portal. It's lower than the ratio of Mass Effect 2 / Mass Effect 1 but a lot higher than Assassin's Creed Brotherhood / Assassin's Creed 2. I'm not gonna try to compare the Dragon Age games in this context; they're just too different.

This review comes off as kind of negative but at the end of the day I hurt my hand because it's fun to play and I'll happily buy the DLC when it comes out and the university reimburses me for the dang conference. 
duinemerwen: (Ampersand)
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