The Black by Paul Cooley: a review

•October 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Hello there, you awesome people. Hope you all have been having fun while I’ve been writing and reading. Contrary to popular belief , writers do read. We kind of have to read, as we need entertainment outside of the plausible (and most times implausible) insanity that hops from our fingers to the keys. Also, it’s just fun.
That brings us to the review for today. You all know I’m a fan of Paul Cooley. He’s sick, twisted, and a fantastic author. I’ve been reading his stuff for the last couple of years, and even though horror is not my usual genre, I enjoy his work. Even though his foray into Muppets was a semi-lighthearted departure from gods and their children walking the earth, there was still the darkness behind the words. At his site, Paul says there are no happy endings. Damned if he isn’t right.
That said, let’s get into The Black. Paul sets the book on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean. There’s oil underneath the sea floor, and PPE, a petroleum company, wants it. Vraebel, the rig chief, is written as no-nonsense and a father figure to his crew. His opposite is Calhoun, who is just as protective of his people. Other characters, such as Shawna Sigler and Catfish, add depth and dimension to the story, thinking and acting just as you would believe real people would. A very refreshing thing in any story is realistic reactions, even in the most unrealistic circumstances.
These circumstances, of course, happen, and rather violently. While digging a test well, the drill cores through some kind of gargantuan Lovecraftian creature at the bottom of the ocean. What they bring up is horrifying. That’s the plot at its core, and it is a complete blast. Cooley puts the reader right into the characters’ heads, getting narrow points of view and showing readers exactly what the characters see and hear and feel as it happens. This adds to the suspense of events and keeps the reader riveted.
The care Cooley put into The Black is evident from the amount of research he did. The reasons for the research are evident at different points, such as the characteristics of oil fresh out of the ground, or the anatomy of a drill string. These things add to the tale, and help the reader understand why things happen as they do.
I can’t say enough good things about The Black, and I’m absolutely recommending it to anyone who enjoys a great thriller. There’s an audio version being done now, along with a paraquel, which I can’t wait to read.
That’s all for this time, good people. I’ll have more news about my own book All Good Things next time. Might even be a preorder announcement, so stay tuned. Have a fantastic day!

Empire of Bones: A Review

•September 7, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I know this is going to come as a shock to you folks, but I read. A lot. It blows your minds, I can tell. A writer who reads. Well, I do enjoy a good yarn, and I’m always on the lookout for good stuff to read that isn’t always in my usual repertoire of genres. You may have read the reviews I did for Paul Cooley’s incredible The Street (and if you haven’t read it yet, you’re doing yourself a disservice), along with Starla Huchton’s amazing Evolution series. I know what I like, and I know what I think I might like. I also know what I will plan on pestering someone for more books and very quickly. Terry Mixon’s Empire of Bones is one of those series.

For those who’ve not heard of Terry Mixon, he’s one of the three hosts of the Dead Robot’s Society podcast with the aforementioned Paul Cooley and the oft-mentioned Justin Macumber. The podcast is available on iTunes for your listening and learning pleasure.

A quick rundown on the world Terry has created: There was an empire from Earth, they’re human, some rebels did some bad stuff and fractured the empire and put back technology about two hundred years or more. Humanity is just regaining the stars, and that’s about where Terry starts us off. We’re introduced to Jared Mertz, a commander in the Empire’s Navy, given the opportunity to boldly go where no one has gone before and look for remnants of the old empire, and even Earth itself. Jared is a pretty decent sort who earned his position and commission without having to depend on his familial links. You see, Jared’s the Emperor’s son from the wrong side of the sheets, which of course starts drama with the legitimate family members of the imperial family. Jared is a bit above the whole thing and just wants to do his job, which is head out among the stars and explore.

Jared gets the chance to head out on an exploration mission, which is great. What isn’t so great is his half-sister, Princess Kelsey,  is coming along as an ambassador to whatever Jared’s ships might find. While the characters go back and forth with their preconceptions of one another, there’s definitely a mutual respect and growth between the two characters. The dialogue and verbal by-play between not only Jared and Kelsey, but with all the various people in the book was excellent and rather easy to follow.

Reading the highly condensed history of the Empire was informative without being rushed. Terry also doesn’t bog down the story with too much science as some authors do. The “flip points”, as an example, are simply wormholes, but calling them flip points makes them seem more accepted in the story. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy learning new stuff when I read a book, but if you bring too much hard science into the sci-fi, you run the risk of either losing the reader in the theorems, which is bad, or boring the hell out of the reader, which is much worse. Terry blends it pretty well, and keeps the story moving.

Quite possibly my only complaint, and it’s not really that, is the ship combat. I guess I’m a victim of the long drawn-out battles of television and movies, but I felt the ship-to-ship battles were over entirely too quickly. Perhaps a little more description for the battles would have been nice, but that’s merely personal preference on my part. I enjoyed it all.

If you’re looking for the beginning of a great space-based military science-fiction tale, pick up Empire of Bones by Terry Mixon. It’s a lot of fun, well-written, and I would definitely recommend it.

Tune in next time when I’ll figure out just how I’m going to appear at the Virginia Beach Book Festival on September 27th. It’s free and open to the public. I’ll be there with new stuff! And swag! And I’ll even sign more than just books! Woohoo! Until then, good people!

The Evolution series by Starla Huchton – a review

•August 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I have one of the greatest jobs/hobbies in the world. Being a writer and avid reader, I get to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life, and new civilizations…
Hang on, that’s Star Trek.
However, it’s also not far from the truth. In the past, I’ve had the chance to meet gods, angels, demons, heroes and villains. I’ve laughed, cried and cheered when the protagonists have triumphed over their challenges.
Also, as a writer, I get to meet some incredibly talented people. I’ve had the privilege of talking with other independent authors who have put their work out for all to see. I’ve reviewed their work and been amazed.
So it’s with pleasure that I introduce you awesome people to the Evolution series, by the incredibly talented Starla Huchton.
Evolution is about superheroes. Yeah, I know, there’s a bunch of those stories out there, but Starla takes a decidedly scientific slant to it, as she does with several of her other books, notably the Endure saga. The tag line of superheroes being made, not born, is the start of a rather interesting take on the genre. Following the life of Candace Bristol, Evolution begins with a bang, starting with Evolution: ANGEL. From a young age, Candace is enamored with superheroes, and even aspires to become one. Luckily for her, this is possible thanks to advanced genetic therapy and a lot of science. She becomes a super with the ability to control water. Anyone who thinks that makes her sound as threatening as Superfriends-era Aquaman or the Wonder Twins would have a rude awakening as Candace shows to be a powerhouse.
What makes the series is the believability. Though that sounds ridiculous, it really works. The interactions between the characters are natural and flow quite well, no pun intended. Candace is an excellent protagonist, and the challenges set before her aren’t always of the “evil super villain” type. There’s a bit of angst, of course, but it’s understandable as not everything in Candace’s world is as it seems.
Books one and two, ANGEL and SAGE, respectively, are excellent primers not only in the idea of creating superpowered beings, but what makes someone a superhero. HEX ends the series exactly as it needs to, with a definite “end of the beginning”, and a possibility of future tales in the universe of Evolution.
I thoroughly enjoyed all three books, and I’m looking forward to the promised ISLE books, set after HEX that continue the adventures and the life of Candace and the rest of the supers. If you’re looking for some fun reading and something that hits the “yes we can, but should we” ethical dilemmas, Evolution is for you. Look for it on Amazon. You won’t regret it.

Amazon v Hachette, or BSAB

•August 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment


In an attempt not to pile on to the “point-and-laugh” pile on Amazon for their email to authors, I’m going to go with something completely different.
Actually, that’s not true. I’m going to point and laugh a bit.
I use Amazon for getting my books out. I’m okay with Amazon allowing me to set my price for my ebooks. I’ve followed the Amazon-Hachette slapfight about as well as I’ve followed the career of Cousin Oliver from the Brady Bunch, which is to say… not at all. What I do know is that Hachette Publishing was price-fixing ebooks (established they were, anyway), and Amazon was being poopy and everyone has an opinion on who’s right, who’s wrong, and who left the oven on.
Here’s the point, my friends: Who the hell cares? If you’re comfortable with Hachette doing what it does to you, awesome. Enjoy. Have fun with it. If you’re okay with publishing through Amazon and getting very little advertising push for the books you write without paying an exorbitant amount of money, then rock on.
I can’t tell which way this is going to go. I’m just a writer. I have about fifty opinions in my head at a time, and they usually belong to the characters I’m writing. Most of them are a-holes, and some want to set things on fire. I don’t think those two sentiments are related, but hey, it is possible. Regardless, Hachette seems to have screwed up, and Amazon is trying to screw up and doing a good job at it. Until it starts affecting me to where I can’t write, I don’t care. Just stop sending me email unless you’re telling me you’re featuring my books for an award.


Watch_Dogs, A review

•July 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Hello again, my wonderful and awesome people. I have returned, this time with a review of a game that isn’t old as dirt. I’ll be doing a book review of the Evolution series by Starla Huchton next week, and sharing a bit of personal awesome too.
However, let’s get this review out of the way.

Ah, Ubisoft… Is there anything you can’t ruin? Watch_Dogs is Ubisoft’s attempt to make a modern-day Assassin’s Creed, where instead of leaping off buildings into bales of hay, you’re hacking into phones, bank accounts, wifi hotspots, and other places of an electronic nature with your superphone.
Reader’s Digest version of the plot: You play Aidan Pearce, a hacker who gets caught in a bad bank job and bails out. He doesn’t cover his tracks well enough and he gets found out. The attack on him doesn’t kill him, but his young niece. Aidan then goes on to become The Vigilante, fighting crime and beating criminals up with the power of both the internet and a spring baton, all in an attempt to find out who was the one who ordered the hit that got his niece killed.
Yeah, it’s not the most original plot, but then, neither was “My father was an assassin and got killed so I have to follow in his footsteps.” It has a hook, it has potential, it has the possibility for fun!
And that, folks, is all it has.
Don’t get me wrong, I want to love this game. Watch_Dogs has pretty decent voice-acting, excellent graphics even for a console version, and a great story. They get Chicago very well, and the atmosphere is rather nice.
What they don’t do, however, is make movement fun.
It’s difficult for one aspect of a game to completely overshadow and utterly destroy the rest of the game. However, when it’s the control scheme, as in “moving your character from one place to another,” that can kill the whole thing. That was what disappointed most, as Ubisoft pretty much invented one of the best free-run, go-anywhere movement schemes ever with the Assassin’s Creed series, and it’s like they tried rebuilding it from the ground up and make it completely different from AC. That, folks, was a mistake. In addition, the driving mechanic, which is nearly integral to Watch_Dogs, was horrendous. I might as well have been drinking heavily when it came to driving any vehicle in Watch_Dogs, as it might have improved things.
Graphically, the game is outstanding. Sound? Wonderful. Hacking? Very easy. The control scheme? Utter crap.
Just to give you an idea: I traded Watch_Dogs in. While I was doing so, someone else came in to trade it in. I asked him why. His response: The control scheme.
Ubisoft, you had a great idea here. Your execution was highly flawed. Good job killing what could have been an outstanding new IP. Better luck with the new Assassin’s Creed game. I can’t recommend getting Watch_Dogs to anyone. Rent it if you must, but buying it? Absolutely not.

See you awesome folks next week!

Book Review: The Street, by Paul Elard Cooley

•June 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Hello, you awesome people who read this blog and honor me with your patronage. Today I’m doing a review of a different kind: a book review. Yes, usually I do video game reviews, but I’m branching out. Besides, considering the amount of books I got from my trip to Balticon this year, plus all the awesomeness to come, books are much more fun.

Let me get started with this missive by letting you all know just who Paul Cooley is. Some of you may remember the Ten Questions I did with him many moons ago, and hopefully have checked out his amazing stories about Garaaga and his children. I’ve been rather a fan of his for awhile (called “fiendlings”) and I had the pleasure of meeting him for the second time at Balticon 2014. His stories of historical dark fiction are detailed, visceral, and some of the most fun I’ve had reading in a very long time. He is consistently a fun read, and his ventures into audiobooks are just as good. He is dark, he is twisted, and he gets you enjoying every syllable that you read and hear.

Which brings us to The Street. From the gritty and run-down scene on the cover, masterfully done by Scott Pond, to the harsh and cynical words of the protagonist private detective, Paul Cooley brings us— no, that’s not quite right. In fact, that’s not even in the same area code as “right”. Cooley drags us, kicking and screaming, into a world where our most beloved memories of television have come to life and been put out of a job by budget cuts. The Street is none other than Sesame Street, and the denizens are those who made us laugh and learn in those by-gone days of yore, when we all ate cereal and learned how to count and share and sing ridiculous songs that helped us remember how to tell when one thing was not like the others. The residents of the Street are also refugees from the Muppet Show, and Cooley brings them all to horrid life, showing how addiction, graft, murder and perversion can strike down even the most loved characters.

The whole book is through the eyes of the cynical private detective Oscar the Grouch, who spends what days he isn’t solving the Street’s problems drunk on Tuaca. Oscar is, if anything, even more a curmudgeon, hating pretty much everyone who is on the different sides of the turf war between Snuffalupugus and Cookie Monster. He may respect some of the other residents on the Street, but friends are very few. Oscar is loyal to the Street itself, and those who just want to survive one more day. What makes the book even more interesting is the Street itself becomes a character, a living, breathing thing with a character all its own. Seeing the Street through Oscar’s eyes, you can tell that, while he hates what it has become, he still loves it, and will give every bit of his stuffing to defend it.

While the action does center around Oscar who has a mean throwing arm and an addiction to Tuaca, the other characters from both Sesame Street and the Muppet Show make appearances in their dark forms. Bert and Ernie, Big Bird, the aforementioned Cookie Monster, Gonzo, Scooter, and even Elmo… They and dozens more show up in the pages, carving out their own bits of literary real estate and sticking in your mind. Even as I read words I would never hear on the real Sesame Street, I could hear them in my mind, even where Elmo is a badass, and is rightfully feared throughout the Street. That was the creepy part: how well Cooley was able to make the scenes on paper seem so not just possible, but inevitable.

I was cheering for a Grouch. What does that tell you?

If you’re looking for a book that will bring back childhood memories with a smile, this is not that book. If you’re looking for an astoundingly well-crafted tale about the downward spiral of the things we thought were pure and incorruptible, this is that book. As Paul Cooley says himself, this is a love letter to Jim Henson. It’s a twisted love letter, but at its heart, it is pure admiration for a genius who touched us all, helped us dream, and let us know that those dreams can be achieved. I cannot recommend The Street enough. Go and get it. I’ll provide the link to Shadow Publications, which is Paul’s site, and as an added bonus, Paul was donating a portion of the profits of The Street to the Sesame Workshop the last I checked. He might still be, which is awesome. Regardless, you need to read The Street. Now.

South Park: The Stick of Truth – A Review and a Promise

•June 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Hey, you awesome party people! Sorry it’s been so long since I showed up. Work, both the dayjob and the writing of amazing stories (including the fourth volume of The Statford Chronicles, available now at Amazon), plus some personal stuff going on kept me from here. Of course, that’s no excuse, and I’ll do better about posting here for you wonderful folks more often and more regularly. If you want to help, feel free to take a look at the Moichendising link to the right and contribute to assisting me in taking over the world!
Maniacal laughter aside, I do have a bit of content for this post. Specifically, a review of the video game South Park: The Stick of Truth. I can’t tell you how this game has screwed me up, and had me enjoying every second of it. However, I will try. I’ll keep this as spoiler-free as possible, so enjoy.
The premise is rather straightforward: You’re a new kid in South Park, and your parents, who suck rather badly at the job and hint at a dark reason for the three of you heading to a quiet mountain town, tell you to go outside and make some friends. You meet Butters, and things rather quickly go downhill from there as you’re introduced to Cartman, who has set up a fantasy kingdom that fights against the elves, actually other kids in town. The titular Stick of Truth is what the two groups of kids battle over, which supposedly controls all time and space, and Cartman has it. Cartman recruits you against the elves and allows you to choose your name and your class. That’s the gist of the first few minutes, and I cut off the summary before it got really bad.
And yes, it does get bad in a very fun way.
First, the gameplay is surprisingly deep for a game about a cartoon that made its money out of foul language and taboo subjects. Those who want to complain that it’s cheesy and cheap-looking need to relax and remember the source material. However, it’s not a case of a Scion looking good next to a Pinto. It plays like the JRPGs of old, and you can see the inspirations from those games. However, it’s like someone crossed the Final Fantasy battle system with, well, an episode of South Park and did their best to make it as true to the source as possible. The attacks are both hilarious and requiring skill to complete successfully, the items are about as classy as you would expect and the summons/special attacks? I’ll let you discover those.
The graphics are rather good as well, even though they’re a straight lift out of the show. There is obvious attention to detail for the settings and the characters, and it goes rather deeply into how much, even though Trey Parker and Matt Stone have made a crapload of money off the series, these guys love what they do. Sure, they like the money, but they also love their creation. Every character is fully voiced, and has some rather awesome lines. It really is like taking part in an extended episode of South Park.
That being said, cameos and guest-stars abound. Al Gore, Mr. Hankie, Cartman’s Mom, and countless others show up to either help or hinder you, and sometimes both at the same time. Really, I don’t want to give too much away other than Al Gore sucks. He absolutely sucks.
There are some flaws in The Stick of Truth, but they are minor. Controls can sometimes be a little wonky, especially during special attacks. Sometimes the attacks don’t go off, sometimes they do absolutely nothing. While this can be somewhat endearing in some battles, in other big fights it can be rather annoying.
All in all, though, I can’t recommend The Stick of Truth enough. Seriously, if you aren’t easily offended and you like South Park (but I repeat myself), this is the game to get. Have fun with it!
Next week I’ll either be reviewing something else or interviewing someone. I’m hoping the latter, but the former will be fun, too. See you then!

Ryse, Son of Rome: A Review

•March 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Okay, so I’m late to the party on this one. Ryse, Son of Rome is a launch title for the Xbox One, and it shows. While that may sound like damning with faint praise, it’s also not a terrible thing. Let’s go over the basics.

You take on the role of Marius, a general in the Roman legions during Emperor Nero’s time. The story is set during the siege of Rome by an army of barbarians, and it’s a huge fight. The tutorial, what little is needed, is quick, easy, and very explicit. While you may not remember every eventual combination of buttons to perform maneuvers, it’s pretty easy to button-mash your way to victory in the first chapter. The whole first chapter is really a prologue, where you get to rescue the emperor and get him to the safety of a Roman-era panic room. Once there, Marius begins to recount to the porcine Nero how everything happened, specifically why there are a freaking bazillion barbarians at the gate, and why they’re baying for Nero’s blood.

This story is told in a flashback, and though that’s kind of a cliché way of going about a game, it works rather well. The cutscenes flesh out the story between chapters, not too long as to bore the player, but not too short as to leave you wondering just why Marius is bringing up Nero’s sons, or who this Damocles guy is.

On a side-note, the usage of the Roman gods was rather inspired in Ryse, and really got me back to writing my own books. My dozens of fans are still after me to finish book four, and I’ll have it done soonish, dammit! Anyway, back to the review.

There are a great many twists and turns, the story showing the beginning of the end for the great Roman empire in rather excruciating detail. Voice-acting is top-notch, with no noticeable issue. The controls are surprisingly good. I only say surprising because this is a launch title, and even though the One controller is little-changed from the 360 controller, you’d expect some deficiency in a launch title’s controls. I found none, which definitely helped me enjoy Ryse all the more.

Another side-note: Why Ryse? Spelling a word differently but sounding the same is something that I thought went out in the 90’s with Mortal Kombat. Apparently, I was wrong. The name would have worked better just being Rise, Son of Rome. Sorry. Pet peeve.

Anyway, I enjoyed Ryse, although it was a bit too short. The ending, while satisfying, came all too quickly, and I wanted more story. The multiplayer aspect is pretty good, from what I heard. I didn’t try it, as I’m not one for swordfighting multiplayer, and the idea really didn’t grab me.

All in all, Ryse, Son of Rome was pretty good. It is, however, a rental, in my opinion. The story mode can be beaten in a day, and it’s unlikely anyone will play the multiplayer longer than it takes to cap out their level. I recommend it if you’re looking for a rental with a good story. Buying it? Nah. Save your money for Titanfall,which drops this coming Tuesday. I’ll be posting my review of that probably that Friday. Should give me a chance to see how this multiplayer campaign thing is going to work. After that, I’ll let you know how Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is. In between that, yes, That You Do So Well will be written and completed. Also, I will be seeing all those lovely people who care to go at Balticon 2014!

Thanks for reading, everyone.

Thief: A Review

•March 1, 2014 • 1 Comment

As is evident by the several reviews on this blog and anyone who knows me, I’m a gamer. Not only am I a gamer, I’m an optimistic gamer. When I see something coming out that I think is going to be pretty nifty, I reserve it and eventually get it when it drops. There are certain companies and franchises that have built up credibility with me, like Assassin’s Creed, Halo, Fallout, and until recently, Bethesda and Zenimax. See my Open Letter to Bethesda for reasons why I’m not as forgiving of Bethesda and Zenimax these days.

I had been a fan of the Thief series for years, and rather enjoyed the first-person stealth action. Though it had faltered over the years, and no one had heard from the franchise in years, I was excited when I heard a new entry into the series was being put out, and by Square-Enix, no less. I remembered how fun Deus Ex: Human Revolution was, even with the heavy philosophy at the end, so I was looking forward to Thief being resurrected into a successful franchise for the next generation of gamers. I thought that surely with the technical knowledge and experience of working on as many Triple-A titles as the team had, and the rich and complex world of Garret the Thief, it would be an amazing game that would, like the original, set the standard for first-person stealth games.

I was wrong. Oh great googley-moogley I was wrong.

Thief misses the mark almost right out of the gate. Let’s start with the basics. While the prologue does somewhat well showing how to move around and use the various tools that you come across in the game, it’s inconsistent. If I can jump one wall but not one that looks exactly the same as the first, that’s bad. When the only places I can use a rope arrow, the equivalent of a grappling hook in the Thief universe, is an obviously marked rope-wrapped beam sticking out of the roof of a building, it’s worse. When the minimap looks like something a meth-addled baboon playing Pictionary would draw and is about as informative, it’s really and truly horrible.

There were promises of an open world to explore, places to steal valuables, and different ways to steal these trinkets, and each of those promises was broken. There was a trail of breadcrumbs the size of houses, going from one place to the next, and it was obvious that there was no open world. You see, when I’m told a game is open-world, I think Skyrim, Fallout 3, Just Cause 2, and Grand Theft Auto. The exploration options were limited and in fact seemingly almost discouraged. Not by the AI, though I’ll get to that in a minute. It was discouraged because there was very little there when you explored. You find a house to rob? Great! You go in and… there’s no one there. At all. No dogs, no birds, no sleeping family. You could walk through the house singing “Hooked on a Feeling” in falsetto, naked, the lights burning, and knocking over every breakable thing that you could find and no one would know or care. It was disappointing, to say the least, especially as there were more than a couple of places like that. There was no real reward to exploration.

Now, on to gameplay. The sneaking around that Garret does is actually well-done, as long as you aren’t trying to, you know, actually move anywhere vertically. As mentioned before, you could hop some fences and not others. This just kicked out my suspension of disbelief. It’s the same kind of wall and I can’t jump over it? Nope, not trying to corral me down a certain path at all. Rope arrows only worked in certain places, and you couldn’t swing on them with any success. These were ropes for going up and down, and that was it. I know that sounds ridiculous, but understand that in the stealth-based genre, with such luminaries as Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell (made by the same company, no less), the one thing missing was a grappling hook. Something that made climbing a bit easier, and finally a stealth game had it! And it was utterly freaking useless. Great, Square-Enix. Thanks, that’s great.

The atmosphere of Thief, while starting off interesting, gets drab and dull rather quickly. Unlike the Arkham series, which realized there is a whole palette of colors, Thief relies on black, almost-black, kind of-black, gray, drab-black, and a shimmering blue highlighting “important” things, but said highlighting sends everything else black. It was like going through a stereotypical Goth’s closet, and it was boring. The streets were empty, with one or two plot devices (read: guards) here and there and were easily bypassed. It was boring, and sapped my desire to explore even after finding the empty-of-people houses. It tried for how Dishonored felt, and while Dishonored actually pulled it off, Thief felt like they took the leftovers from Dishonored and threw black paint over it and tried to call it “atmosphere”. I call it “terrible”.

I’m not even going to get into the mess of the story. Yeah, it was that not-gripping.

All in all, I’m disappointed. I really just wanted something to tide me over until Titanfall drops, and took a chance on Thief. I’ll be very careful from now on with Square-Enix titles, which is unfortunate. I can’t recommend not getting this game enough. It had so much promise, and it didn’t deliver. Don’t get it.


Titanfall Beta: a review

•February 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Well, the folks over at EA and Respawn Entertainment have decided to let the general populace take part in the beta for Titanfall, a multiplayer first-person shooter involving huge robots called Titans that players can ride around in.
Firstly, let’s get it out of the way: yes, it’s fun. Yes, it’s absolutely a blast. I’ve so far spent hours running and gunning and blasting other players and have not grown tired of it. The mechanics are rather simple, as are the controls. The tutorial allows for learning some of the new possible maneuvers, such as wall-running, which is essential to playing effectively. Controls are very responsive, and just work well.
Other maneuvers, such as “rodeoing”, or boarding an enemy’s Titan, ripping open a panel, and blasting into the innards of the Titan, are kind of learn-as-you-go, which can be a bit nerve-wracking at first, but become second nature as time goes on. In fact, it’s actually more fun than driving your own Titan, in a David versus Goliath sort of way, since it’s more of a challenge.
Secondly, the graphics and sound are excellent. The sense of scale as you run alongside the Titans is rather awesome, as are the sounds coming from the Titans stomping only scant feet from you. Incidental sounds such as color commentary, missile launches, autocannons, and other sounds of destruction are excellent, which absolutely adds to the experience.
Now, the not as good: there is no single-player campaign. Yeah, when I heard that, I almost cancelled my pre-order. However, considering the success of the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises, where players rarely even look at the single-player campaign, it might not be so bad. From what I can tell, I don’t even think it needs a single-player campaign, which surprises me. I’ll reserve judgement on that until the game actually drops, but I might be pleasantly surprised.
The beta limited players to level 14, so the playability isn’t so hot after awhile. However, it looks like there’s going to be more added with the full version of the game, which will hopefully make the game even better.
All told, I’m cautiously looking forward to Titanfall. If the release version is as good if not better than the beta, I will definitely recommend it to anyone in earshot. Let’s hope it works out; the Xbox One needs a breakout title to help it stand out from the PS4, and Titanfall looks like it just might do it.


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