Sunday, 3 November 2013


So last Friday, and not a moment too soon, another half term was upon us. It feels both an age and no time at all since we started back in September, helping all the little darlings on their way to SATS glory. And as usual, a great chance to catch up on some gaming presented itself. Here's what I got up to over the week...

Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (WiiU)

Oh my! It's the already gorgeous Wind Waker, but in HD! And with WiiU controls which, whilst not revolutionary, make equipping, sailing and conducting a joy, utilising the touch screen superbly yet without killing it. Just what you'd expect from Nintendo. This is truly excellent and what your WiiU was made for. That is, until the next original Zelda on WiiU arrives. This has been lovingly crafted and updated, and bar the occasionally lag when things get busy, and a few (and I mean a few) pop up enemies/scenery is perfect. Buy it yesterday. Go!

Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)

I've never ever played a Fire Emblem game before. Ever. *Runs and hides from the hardcore fans* I do apologise to the gaming community unreservedly, and to be truthful i've only played a handful of tactical RPG's before. Which seems like a gross oversight considering my new found love for table games and my established love of all other kidns of RPG's. 

And so, with no real frame of reference, I think Fire Emblem so far has been superb. Before even looking at the gameplay, the presentation is immaculate  The drawn characters all look great, the CG battle animations with 3D on or off look fab, the map is great, even the sound that is played when you press 'A' to progress speech is brilliant.

The story has enticed me to proceed and I already feel an attachment to the characters. I love the varied equipment and class method of progression. And combat is varied and exciting throughout. I hope to see more games of this caliber on the 3DS, and soon please! 

Nintendo Land (WiiU) 

Essentially, WiiU's answer for WiiPlay on the old faithful Wii. Some interesting use of the gamepad, this game, though does include single player options, is best when enjoyed as a group. Myself and 2 others played through games, me on the gamepad, sometimes cooperating, others competing for victory. Short lived, but good party fun and a good way to show of the pad. 

X-Wing (board game) 

Why did no one tell me about this sooner? It's playing with Star Wars toys, but with rules for grown ups(ish)! I've played a couple of full matches with my friend, also called Matt, first using only the basic set and second using some expansions I couldn't resist buying. The game is extremely intricate, and i'm glad it came with a quick play rule set just to get us going to start with, but the rule book is easy to understand and on our second play through things when largely without pausing to check rules.

The miniatures are all hand painted and look fantastic, and typical of the movies the Rebellion have better quality of ships where as the Imperials attack en masse with a hoard of Tie Fighters. This game really attracts me as a gamer and as a collector and has so far been great fun. 

I do hope that they eventually release a Republic and Separatist collection of models to collect and battle with! 

Zelda: Oracle Of Seasons 

Never played this originally, so was happy to see this arrive on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. I haven't completed it yet, but it has been an enjoyable, very challenging handheld adventure in the graphical style of Link's Awakening DX. It's not quite as loveable as Link's Awakening, but it'll definitely tie me over until A Link Between Worlds. 

And that's what I've played this week! I had a couple of other games I wanted to play again, like ZombieU, Lego City Undercover and at some point I will play through the DLC on Skyrim! But they just didn't have a chance with Zelda getting all the play time. I do love me some Link. Anyway, thanks for reading!


Star Wars - The Old Republic #FatalAlliance Book

For me, Sean Williams' 'Fatal Alliance' was a difficult book to get in to. As you can probably see from a few past blog entries, I was really enjoying reading through some of the novels from the expanded Star Wars universe for a while. Even when they were badly written or lifting bits straight out of films starring Liam Neeson *cough*RedHarvest*cough* it was still good fun to discover new characters and places, as well as revisiting familiar ones. 

The book begins with a tantalising prologue; a smuggler called Jet Nebula, and his crew discover a ship called the Cinzia, which, after a short back and forth between the Jet and a strange voice on board the Cinzia, makes the decision to self destruct rather than risk being boarded. What could've been so important it deserved total inhalation over being stolen by a band of smugglers. 

After this the book jumps between new characters from chapter to chapter, including a Jedi, Sith, Ex-Special Forces agent and a Sith informer posing as a Republic intelligence officer. I think this is the reason I found it took some time to make a lasting impression. Just reading a chapter a night I was quickly forgetting who people were and having to backtrack to remind myself who everyone was. 

More recently however, I was able to give the book much more time (thank-you half term!) and it is a very epic tale with interesting characters that you do feel for. Predictably, the Cinzia turns out to have not been as totally destroyed as we thought, and the Hutts end up getting whatever they use as hands on some of the debris from the ship. With the tantalising prospect of a previously unknown resource rich world buried within the navigational computer found amongst the debris, the Hutts intend to auction off their findings to the highest bidder. 

Of course, this doesn't go to plan and eventually all character plot lines converge in a hectic battle in the Hutt palace. When it is learnt what the item discovered actually is and where it originated, in line with the books title, an alliance has to be formed between our now familiar cast for the greater good of everyone involved. With a few surprises and excellently told planetary invasion, the climax piles on the excitement,  making it very difficult to put down. 

Upon reaching our conclusion, I felt the story had a nice 'wind down' period of a couple of chapters, making the book feel nice and resolved, yet leaving a little bit of curiosity as to the fate of the Jedi and Sith characters you have come to know quite well. 

So, a good read then, and definitely not the fault of the book that I was unable to get into it at first. If you have the time to give, then this is a well told and captivating story and an excellent arc of the Old Republic group of novels. It's not literary genius, but manages to be intriguing, exciting and varied throughout. Definitely a 'read'. 

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