It’s All CDProjekt Red’s Fault!

Here we are again, another post going up with me blaming something or someone else for me not getting an actual post done that I wanted.  But you know what, this really isn’t my fault, honest!  CDPR have managed to craft one of the greatest multimedia experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying.  I feel like referring to it as a game oversimplifies what has been achieved here, it’s almost a put down.  This isn’t me being over-the-top or anything, there’s so much content here, sometimes it feels like an epic, sweeping movie with twists and turns in the plot and some fantastic character moments.  Every now and then you’ll just get totally swept up by the extraordinary landscapes and scenery, it’s a marvel to behold at times.  I’d love to be able to run this to it’s full potential on a high end PC but, sadly, I don’t have one of those at the moment.  Instead, I’m having to deal with this on PS4 which within the first ten minutes treats you to this lovely view.

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I’ve had The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for around a week and a half and I’ve managed to sink a little over 52 hours into it so far, with a sizeable amount of that time going into finding people that will play Gwent, places and people I can either win or buy new Gwent cards and going through my Gwent deck and refining my roster for each of the factions.  A lot of the time is also exploring, wandering here and there to see what I can find.  I’ve got through some of the story, out of the alleged 60 hours the story takes I’d say I’ve done around 15 so I’ve barely scratched the surface here.  And why would I when exploration looks as pretty as this?

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What really strikes me with this game so far is how loved it feels.  I mean, the incredible depth and history to the world is amazing don’t get me wrong, but due credit goes to Andrzej Sapkowski, the author of the series of short stories and novels these books are based off.  No, with CDPR this is a development team that weren’t simply tasked with making a game out of these books, this is a group of people that love the original Witcher stories, a group of people that love making games, a group of people that understand what makes gamers tick and take great pride in their craft.  It shows, CDPR are a company I’ve held in high esteem for a considerable amount of time, and The Witcher 3 solidifies my feelings.  They’ve not only set a whole new standard for RPGs but they’ve even further raised the bar for the treatment of games, releases and us, the fans.

And that’s why I’ve fallen so far behind with my posts.

Still, I’m starting a new short form regular tomorrow that will be coming every Tuesday, which will be my pull list comics for the week and any other off list purchases I’ll be making (new trades, hardcovers or OGNs).  After that, I have a bit of a busy week but will hopefully be able to get this favourite Image series thing finished.

I’m going to go and watch Game of Thrones now, but before I go here’s one last Witcher screenshot: me parking a boat like an absolute boss (read: idiot).

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Peace out!

The Best Laid Plans…

My original intention was to have at least one more “Best of Image” posts done by today, maybe if I’d found the time I could have gotten two done, but it was not to be.  Today’s post is just a quick explanation as to why I probably won’t get one done for the next few days now.  Thursday I’d planned to get a post written out and up, but I made the mistake of going to a supermarket that sells video games for lunch and happened upon a copy of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.  Now, I’ve got a lovely two weeks off coming up in just over a week so I thought that would be a good time to grab it, didn’t need to worry about getting up for work so I could sink as much time into is as I wanted, but like the song of a siren it was too much to resist and oh boy, this game is absolutely phenomenal.  I’m playing on PS4 so while I appreciate that a decent PC will easily outperform this visually, it still looks stunning.  The first place you’re in, a castle in the mountains, wow.  Just stepping out onto the balcony and looking out over the surrounding environment is a real treat, and gameplay wise this one holds up to it’s predecessors standards really well, it’s more fluid and polished sure but still pretty difficult.  My only criticism is that it holds your hand more than the first two, I’d rather not have a mini map with dotted lines telling me where to go, that was part of the charm before this – getting lost while trying to figure out where the hell you needed to go which would inevitably lead into you running into something else awesome.  Minor gripe though, to be fair.

Anyway, I really want to get back onto it so I’ll leave you with one more thing.  Many of you will be aware that a certain “leak” happened yesterday, yes I have it.  Yes I’ve watched it.  Yes I loved every damn second of it and will be watching it religiously.  I’m not going to link to it here but needless to say with one very quick internet search you can find a 1080p copy and see for yourself.  If you can resist then well done, I wanted to (and when this happened last year with The Flash I did resist) but in the end caved.  No doubt I’ll see this multiple times before the show starts.

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Peace out.

2015 Just Got A Whole Lot Better

There were a couple of deciding factors for the above statement, neither of which are comic related surprisingly enough.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to be excited for this year with comics, top of my list being the hopeful release of Sunstone Volume 3 in September of this year.  No, this newest bout of excitement comes from the world of video games and music.  Let’s start with the video games, shall we?

In case you missed this announcement which, as far as I can tell, kind of came out of nowhere, here is the announcement trailer for a title called Ark Survival Evolved.  Just take a moment to drink in this particular serving of awesome.

Now there may well have been chatter about this that I missed, I’ll be perfectly honest in that my finger hasn’t really been on the pulse of gaming too much recently.  I’ve got my eye on a few things in the works, namely Star Citizen, Halo 5: Guardians, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and awaiting the inevitable Fallout 4 announcement so for me this was a complete surprise.  So after seeing this trailer this evening I went on an information hunt to see what this was all about, I mean there’s god damn dinosaurs in it!  I’m hugely biased towards it already because I bloody love dinosaurs and then to top it off they throw a bloody great big dragon in at the end.  My inner child is screaming right now.  But back on track, I’ll briefly go through what I’ve found out so far to save you going on the information delve I went on if, like me, you know nothing of this game.

You play a survivor of, well, something.  Ok, I’m a bit hazy on what has been survived but frankly, I don’t think this is shaping up to be a story driven story.  The game will allow you to play as either a male or female character, and you must forge a life on an island filled with predators of all shapes and sizes, be they crocs, dinosaurs, dragons or even giant scorpions.  And of course, there’s the ever present threat of annihilation by one of those pesky fellow human survivors, you see the meat and bones of this game is a persistent online world.  Servers will support up to a whopping one hundred players at once, all scrapping over land, food and various other resources.  Land will be a big one, since while vying to stay alive you’ll also need to build yourself a home, a fort which will need to be sturdy and well protected.  You’ll start off with a wooden frame, reinforcing where you can until you start mining rocks and metals to provide extra strength and security.  There’ll be an emphasis on strength too, you see if you get attacked and enough of the support structure is damaged on your virtual property the place will fall down.  This is something that you’ll want to sort out as soon as possible because all of your items will be stored on either your playable character or in various crates that’ll be stored in your virtual base of operations.  It’s also worth bearing in mind that the way this game is being built, you’re character will still be vulnerable to attacks while you’re offline.

“What?!”  I hear you cry, “how the hell can we hope to stop that?”

Pets.  Big, angry pets with teeth as long as your fingers.  Those dinosaurs aren’t just there are a challenge.  Noooo, you can stop short of killing dinosaurs and other creatures while fighting them, bring them home with you then nurse them back to health at which point you’ll be able to train said creatures to follow your command allowing you to ride them and, yes, using them as a sentry while you’re off doing things in the real world.  To top this off, you won’t be limited to one.  This is where things get really interesting.  “Ark” will be running a day/night cycle with a full weather system, but this weather system and day cycle isn’t just to add a sense of submersion, nope, different weather will affect how quickly you tire, get hungry and thirsty and how far you can travel.  Stay awake too long and that will have a knock on effect too.  So you’ll need to make sure wherever you are you’ve got plenty of nourishment for you and your dinosaur pets, they will need food and water too.  And of course, to make things interesting, the most out of the way and hardest to reach areas of the island will have the most valuable resources, making the dangerous journey out there well worth it if you can make it back with all that cool stuff.  So you seriously need to plan ahead, making sure you’ve crafted enough packs to sling over your dino, making sure you’ve got enough food and water for the both of you and enough equipment to defend yourself if necessary.

Now, you remember that whole thing about being vulnerable while you’re away from the game?  Well, obviously by default that means every other player will be in the same boat as you, but not only can you rob them blind and kill them while they’re gone, things can get a bit more sinister as the game will allow you to kidnap players characters too.  So, the game hasn’t even announced a launch date yet and I already have a plan of action in place.  Build a fort, tame a Triceratops, farm for lots of metal, fortify said fort and do all this as quickly as possible.  Once this is done, tame a T-Rex, leave that guy to guard all my stuff while I set traps around my compound.  Within the fort I will set up a small farm for food for my character and while out setting traps go hunting for food for the Rex.  The traps will be set for other players since one of the things you can do is leave signs out for others to see, and once caught I will take them back to the fort and keep them in a prison.  Essentially, I’m going to set up a penal colony and capture a shit load of people that have done absolutely nothing wrong.  The best one would be to find a group of friends playing together, wait until they’re offline and capture them all, allowing one out at a time to go and do things that I need doing and if they refuse, start killing off their friends characters.  Needless to say, I’m looking forward to this.  The game will be dropping sometime in the (hopefully) near future on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

So the other thing that has me super excited is the long awaited reunion of Sikth to put some new material together.  I’ve been a fan of Sikth for so long now, their music is just so special and unique that no matter how many acts they’ve since influenced and regardless of how good those bands are, no one has managed to capture the magic that Sikth brought to my ears.  They way the band are doing this is through pledgemusic, essentially a crowdfunding website similar in theory to Kickstarter.  I think.  They’ve got an EP set to launch later this year and are kicking off a tour in support of this new material.  If you’ve not heard anything from Sikth before, here’s a taster.

If you had no idea what kind of music I lean most towards, that probably gives you a good idea.  If this interests you, or you already liked the band but were unaware of this new EP and how you can support it, head over here right now.

The pledge page covers everything from digital downloads to signed vinyl to tees and even advanced orders for tickets to the next slew of shows they’ll be doing once work on the new EP is wrapped.  I am so bloody excited!  Again, it would seem this has been on the cards as a possibility at the very least for a while but I’ve been a little out of touch with some of the older bands I’ve listened to for years, shifting towards checking out a lot of the newer talent that’s been emerging throughout the last few years.  I thought, genuinely believed, musically this year would belong to Nuclear Blast with some absolutely huge albums out already and more giants on the way through the rest of this year but it looks like a crowdfunded band from Surrey is going to destroy that theory completely!  Be sure to pledge if you’re interested, there’s still a long way to go until the option to pledge is cut off!

And that’ll do me for tonight, been a long day and so I’m not even going to give this a skim over for any mistakes, I’m just too tired.

Peace out!

Just a quickie…

Nope, not one of those, and shame on your dirty mind for going straight there!  Go sit in the corner and think about, no wait, that’ll only make it worse…  Just stop it!  Right, so I was aiming to have a second post up the same day as my last post, well, turned out I was a little too exhausted to get it done then and once that opportunity a series of events unfolded through the course of this week which totally scuttled both my chances and will to write another post out.  First of all, the post I had gotten about half way through writing out, yeah, turns out WordPress decided it didn’t want to save my draft afterall so I lost a good hour’s worth of work right there.  On top of that, I managed to carve out a small chunk of my index finger while at work, by accident obviously, and then today quite literally smashed the front of my phone.  Now, while the final event doesn’t have any bearing on my ability to get anything done, it was the tipping point in no longer giving two solitary shits about this week on the whole.  The finger thing, right index finger on a right hander I should point out, that kind of screwed me over a bit.

So, just thought I’d pop out that completely useless bit of information.  Finger is feeling a little better today so I’ll see about getting a proper post typed up later after Arrow.  I may just go down the “couldn’t care less” route instead and just play some games.  I’m thinking Neverwinter…  Yeah, I’ll probably be back tomorrow…

In the meantime, if you’re looking for good reads:

Go here

and here

I promise you will not regret either!

Peace out!

What Happened To The Time?

I think it might come down to either of these things, you know, maybe both.  I am terrible at both time management and self discipline, I think this has been well established by now.  I’m also easily distracted by really cool stuff and, let’s face it, there’s been plenty of that to go around recently!  Well, I’m mostly just checking in now to run down on a couple of points, and then I’ll be on my way.  First of all, I really hope the writers, producers and directors of “Arrow” have a Netflix account, because they all need to go on and watch Daredevil, they need to take notes and understand that this is how you do street level heroes in a TV show.  I’m not knocking Arrow per se, but Daredevil has achieved more, in my opinion, in it’s 13 episode long first season than Arrow has in almost three full length seasons.  This coming from the long time DC fan.  Needless to say, I loved it.  I’d finished the season by Sunday evening and have already started watching it through again.  I’ve also recently picked up my first Daredevil book, the first volume written by Mark Waid and that’s fantastic too.

Point two, Mortal Kombat dropped this week and it’s just shy of perfect.  The story was short, with my final time running at around five hours, the final boss was ridiculously easy (two flawless victories after all that build up?  Really?) and boy does the voice acting let it down, fumbling their way through clunky exposition through QTE filled cutscenes.  But story mode isn’t why we buy Mortal Kombat, what’s important is the fighting mechanics which are spot on.  Everything that was great about 2009’s MK is back, but refined.  Everything that crapped out in Injustice has been booted out the door and what’s left is so immensely satisfying.  This week will see the start of me breaking new ground too, as I will be doing a live stream on Twitch with some online games for Mortal Kombat which should be fun.  I’ve never done anything like this before so I’m already a little on edge, but if you’ve got any interest in watching it’ll be viewable over here on my channel.  I’ll make sure I’m all set up on mic so all my rage can be heard nice and clear!

Finally, just wanted to quickly touch on the freshly updated site.  The yellow seemed like a great idea at the time (why?!) but that’s all gone now in favour of a simpler white page with a nice new shiny header.  Those are all my comics, nothing taken from the internet and were all very carefully selected based on their importance to me, whether that importance stems from writer/artist debut, character first appearance, first issue of a series or just pretty covers.  Let me know what you think of this updated look, I wanted to take a stripped down approach to it this time.

Anyway guys, I’m going to make tracks and get a bit more Mortal Kombat in before bed to try and suck a little bit less before I put myself out there on friday.  Oh, I forgot to mention I’ll be kicking the live stream off around 21:00 GMT.  That might be useful information… Ok, if anything comes up and gets in the way I’ll post updates over on my Twitter feed but I think we should be all good.

Peace out.

Changes Abound

Well, my last attempt at regular posts fell pretty hard.  In my defence, Christmas happened and my day job is working for an electronics retailer, so that particular “c-word” is code for two to three months of chaos, lunacy and dickheads.  So there’s that, and while I’ve felt back on my game again for a little while now I’ve just not managed to get myself back around to dealing with my blog.  Now, it’s time for change, and that change won’t just be coming in the form of getting back into regular posting.  In fact, the next post after this one probably won’t be for another week or so, while I go through and overhaul the whole blog from appearance to structure.  I’ll be changing a lot of things round, and while I’ll be talking about the same sort of things as before, comics, movies, TV and video games with the occasional bit on music, I’ll be doing it all in a different… style than I did before.  The self-imposed censor will be lifted, this will be a more raw, uncut version of me.  The kind that people will most likely see when face to face.  I don’t know why I did things the way I did before, I guess I thought that it would make the most sense to make the blog more accessible to more people by being less angry and, for lack of a better way of describing it, bad mouthed (I guess?).  You know what, I’m at the point where I don’t really care what anyone thinks any more, I’ve been like that in life for a long time and this blog was set up more for myself than anything else.

Long story short, if something pisses me off, I’ll tell it like I fucking think it.

Anyway, I’ve got a new title image coming soon, I have a couple of ideas for colour themes I want to test out before I get started properly and a couple of other minor details to iron out but I am back.  Less structure, less pressure and more fun.

In theory.

Good to be back

Well I ended up taking a bit of a hiatus on the old blog front, although in all honesty I’ve been gone longer than I originally intended, maybe should have mentioned I would be taking a little time off too so sorry about that.  I’ve had a bit of catching up to get on with, I’ve been falling behind on my pull lists each week thanks largely to continually buying too many trades on top off regular comics.  It’s a lesson I just can’t seem to learn, no matter how many times I make this mistake.  Well I’m all up to date now thankfully, so that’s one thing off my mind.

I’ve been retraining myself in some very basic art techniques too, I’ve got a couple of really fun stories I want to tell and rather than trying to find someone to do my art while I’m in the position of being unable to offer any compensation for said work I figured I’d just go ahead and do it all myself.  Thankfully, the stories I’m looking to tell don’t require anything extraordinary in the art department so I should be able to get by.  I’m debating whether or not to force myself into fully getting my head around photoshop (or similar software) for colouring purposes or if I could get away with putting the comics out in black and white.  I’m fairly confident that at least one of those books would work quite well in black and white, but one of them is frankly so comical and goofy I think it really needs the colour.  I should probably stop referring to them as books too, since I’ll be putting them all out online.

It’s not really just productivity that’s held me back from getting posts done though.  Being totally upfront, I got started on Smallville a little while a go and, well, I’ve finished it now.  It took me around three and a half months to burn through all 218 episodes, considering that there were several days in there where I didn’t watch an episode it puts into context how ridiculous that is.  It’s funny what drove me with it too, the first four or so season I just wanted all the whiney teenage crap over and done with.  I really can’t stand it, everything was over romanticised and angsty but I had a feeling that it would be a case of “short term pain long term gain”.  Turned out I was right.

From season five, things started to move in the right direction, although not quite as quickly as I’d like.  By season six things were picking up considerably, we had a great supporting cast of regular civilians and some really great shoutouts to the wider DC universe.  The final four season brought this show into a whole new genre almost, with appearances from some of my all time favourite characcters, Clark working at the Daily Planet, learning to shake off his conifdent persona and become a bumbling, clumsy nerd again and finally fully comitting to the one woman Clark should be with: Lois Lane.  I’m sorry New 52, Wonder Woman is not where he should be heading, it’s Lois and Clark.  Clark and Lois.  Whatever, they are the ultimate pairing.

Anyway, one thing that really impressed me from the series was the JSA, mostly Hawkman if I’m being honest.  Don’t get me wrong, it was great seeing Stargirl (and well played on getting an actress that looks almost identical to Courtney in the comics!) and Dr Fate was absolutely amazing but Hawkman stole it from that team.  The fact they didn’t bullshit their way around anything, he was proper died-and-reborn-again Carter that could bloody well fly and had a big ass mace.  And he was played by Michael Shanks!  He was seriously tanked out for that show and put on a completely different voice to what I’m used to.  I should point I’m a huge Stargate fan, which is why I was so excited by this.

More importantly, it was a series that ran for a whopping 10 seasons, as I said totalling up to 218 episodes and while it faltered on occassion, taking some creative liberties with characters that I didn’t really agree on (Darkseid, mostly) it was a thoroughly entertaining show.  It could have done with less back sliding to Lana Lang, she got pretty annoying eventually but on the whole I really anjoyed watching.  And, also very important, as a Superman fan it had a very satisfying ending, it wrapped nicely with no loose threads and had the 1978 Superman theme to go along with Clark blasting off in his famous red and blue.  But now I’m done with it, and this seasons TV has pretty much wrapped now I can get back on to things like this again.

I’d be remiss to come back to this so soon after the announcement and not mention the revealed Batsuit and Batmobile…

Personally, I think the new suit looks absolutely badass, Ben Affleck looks like a freaking tank of a man and the batmobile looks like a nice, modern take on the classic Tim Burton era Batmobile.  Or Burtonmobile.  Burtmobile?  Anyway, I do have one slight concern with the movie though, while the suit looks awesome and quite a bit more rooted in comics that previous outings, the suit looks to be taking a lot of inspiration from The Dark Knight Returns, a book that has been mentioned on numerous occassions by film makers and onlookers.  This worries me because I consider myself more of a Super Family fan than a Bat Family fan, and from the stand point of a Superman fan the fight between Supes and Bats in TDKR was, frankly, bullshit.  I get that how powerful a character is in comics lies very much in the hands of the writer, but Miller totally cocked up with Superman in that book (bitch all you like, I’m not criticising Miller, just his wrong take on Superman).  For those that have seen Man of Steel, you’ll remember how stupidly powerful he was, yeah?  How in the good god damn hell is Batman, young or old, going to take on Superman?  Especially when you consider that Snyder and co have already said they really don’t want to fall into the old Kryptonite trap with this series.

On a totally different note, I got a very cool package through from the folks over at Star Action Figures the other day, my new Kotobukiya ArtFX+ Supergirl statue.  Based on the New 52 costume design, the mini statue stands just a little taller than the DC Collectibles New 52 action figures, but oh man is this thing pretty.  The sculpting and paint job is absolutely phenomenal, with a really nice metallic blue paint used on the Kryptonian “armour”.  How about a look, and less talk eh?

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I’m really impressed with this statue, although at £35 (at least) a pop I can’t see myself taking the dive on too many of these at all, especially with the generally very high quality figures DC Collectibles are coming out with at around £18 a figure.  I couldn’t resist this one though, I’d seen the previews a little while a go both on DC’s website and on the pre-order section of Star Action Figures, so I at least had the chance to plan ahead for this one.  It’s sitting very proudly on my bookshelf at the moment but I am going to need to sort out a dedicated space for this kind of thing soon.

One last quick thing to make note of before I head off, almost forgot this one, but after six years of growing my hair to the point where I can now sit on it (seriously) I’ve decided to take the rather drastic measure of shaving it all off and going bald.  When, as near to bald as electric clippers will take it.  It’s not all just for the sake of getting a haior cut though, I’m making it a sponsored charity job, with all the money raised going to Macmillan Cancer Support, and the hair being donated to a really nice little charity called Little Princesses, where they will make wigs for children going through hair loss from cancer treatment.  Both of these things are a really good cause, and while I don’t really like asking people for things I can’t begin to explain how much it would mean to me if anyone could donate and if people could spread the word.  Head on over here to check out the Just Giving page I’ve set up to collect donations.

Right then, I think that will do for today, I’ll be back on tomorrow to continue the regular Sunday post of Top 5 something, I haven’t decided what I’m doing yet.  Hope everyone is having a good weekend and you’re getting the same glorious weather we got here in Birmingham, I’m loving it!

Later!