Friday, December 8, 2017

New Book review - The Last Sacrifice

Book - The Last Sacrifice   
Writer - James A. Moore   
Series - Tides of War #1    
Published By - Angry Robots
 
Grim dark as a genre has become quite predictable now a days. There is some quality writing by quality authors yet it is becoming more and more difficult to find original works. We all love some gore and name calling and graphic sex yet it does get tiring at times as the storyline keeps getting similar. But ‘James A Moore’ did dive into the new series with his unique sense of characters & built up the story to achieve new concepts while taking elements from some other subgenres to enrich the experience for his readers.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Book Review - Tome of the Undergates

Book - Tome of the Undergates
Writer - Sam Sykes  
Series - Aeons' Gate #1 
Published By - Gollancz / Pyr

 
Let me begin this review with a fair warning, this one is not something everyone will enjoy. If you are a fan of epic fantasy with a sprawling world and lots of interesting races and characters this book is not for you. If you are fan of grimdark fantasy with tragic heroes and super serious, gritty fight scenes please look elsewhere. If you like the author to hold your hand while he introduces the world and its inhabitants and has a delicate prose style that will relax you, no chance, turn away please.

September 2017 New PC Games To Watch For

September really is quite a strong month for PC games with some high quality releases a few among which might be in most end-of-the-year lists for sure.

Tooth and Tail

Tooth and Tail is a real-time strategy game released in 2017 by Pocketwatch Games for Windows, MacOS, Linux and PlayStation 4. Production on Tooth and Tail began in 2014. Tooth and Tail (originally named Armada and later Lead to Fire) was envisioned by Pocketwatch Games as "popcorn" or "RTS distilled" that would be accessible to genre newcomers. In an interview with Polygon, the game's design was described as "one button" RTS that would make playing with a controller manageable. Tom Marks of PC Gamer described the single player campaign as being "like a bite-sized StarCraft campaign." The game was released on 12 September 2017.

Divinity: Original Sin II

Divinity: Original Sin II is a role-playing video game developed and published by Larian Studios for Microsoft Windows. The sequel to 2014's Divinity: Original Sin.As with Divinity: Original Sin, players can play fully solo with only one character in their party, or with up to three others. Several pre-made characters with backstories are available to the player. Players are also able to create a custom character, and choose their stats, race, gender, and origin story at the start of the game. They can recruit up to three companions to assist them although mods in the Steam Workshop exist which increase the maximum number of party companions. A skill crafting system allows players to mix and change their skills. The game also features a competitive multiplayer mode, where players are divided into two different teams and fight against each other in an arena map. It was released worldwide on 14 September 2017.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is an action-adventure stealth video game developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It is the third game in the Dishonored series, following Dishonored 2, and was released 15 September 2017 on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It follows former-assassin Billie Lurk as she finds her mentor Daud and aids in his quest to kill the Outsider, a supernatural being who bestows magical powers on a select few.

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is a fighting video game developed and published by Capcom. It is the sixth main entry in the Marvel vs. Capcom series of crossover games. Like previous installments, players control characters from both the Marvel Comics and Capcom universes to compete in tag team battles. Infinite features two-on-two fights, as opposed to the three-on-three format used in its preceding titles. The series' traditional character assists have been removed; instead, the game incorporates a tag-based combo system, which allows players to instantly switch between their two characters to form continuous combos. It also introduces a new gameplay mechanic in the form of the Infinity Stones, which temporarily bestow players with unique abilities and stat boosts depending on the type of stone selected. Infinite was released in September 19, 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.

SteamWorld Dig 2

SteamWorld Dig 2 is a 2D platform action-adventure video game developed and published by Image & Form. It is the fourth installment in the SteamWorld series of games and the direct sequel to 2013's SteamWorld Dig. Just like its predecessor, SteamWorld Dig 2 revolves around mining. The main character of the game is Dorothy, a steam-driven robot who also appeared in SteamWorld Dig as an ally. Like Rusty, the protagonist of SteamWorld Dig, Dorothy uses a pickaxe to create paths through an underground world by mining cubes of ground away. Besides mining resources and orbs, players will also fight enemy creatures that come on their path. Compared to its predecessor, SteamWorld Dig 2 features an increased focus on platform elements and a Metroidvania-style underground world. It was released on Steam for Microsoft Windows on September 22, 2017.

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is a visual novel adventure game developed by Spike Chunsoft for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Microsoft Windows. It is the third main title in the Danganronpa series and the first in the franchise to be developed for home consoles. Danganronpa V3 continues the same style of gameplay as the first two Danganronpa games, which is split into School Life and Class Trial segments. During School Life, players interact with other characters and progress through the story until coming across a murder, after which they must gather evidence for use in the Class Trial. The game was released on September 26, 2017 on Steam.

Total War: Warhammer II

Total War: Warhammer II is a turn-based strategy and real-time tactics video game developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega. It is part of the Total War series and the sequel to 2016's Total War: Warhammer. The game is set in Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy fictional universe. The game was released for Microsoft Windows-based PCs on 28 September 2017.

[ While not overly packed with games this just might be the best of this year in terms of quality. Except the first one (which is a cute little piece)  the rest of this list is all packed with big names or sequels of popular franchises. ]

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

New Book Review - The Vagrant

Book - The Vagrant
Writer - Peter Newman  
Series - The Vagrant #1 
Published By - HarperVoyager


Never did I think a book with such sparse dialogue could have the ability to establish such a detailed world and portray such fascinating characters. 'The Vagrant' does the unthinkable with its mute protagonist wandering through a vivid and weird post apocalyptic landscape while trying to reach the Shining City with his unlikely companions and the reader is literally enthralled throughout his unorthodox yet engrossing journey.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Android Game Review - Postknight

Game Name - Postknight
Publisher & Developer - Kurechii
Platform - Android, iOS
Genre - RPG, Adventure

 
Postknight is a RPG for mobile devices, and that is what he tries to be wholeheartedly. The gameplay is designed specifically to cater to the taste of mobile gamers while tried to infuse various elements of RPG's to add depth and keep it engrossing for a longer period of time to its players. In a platform severely lacking in original RPG's (most good ones on mobile are ports) Postknight is almost a breath of fresh air.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

August 2017 New PC Games To Watch For

August is completely opposite compared to July in terms of games. As July was very poor as per content August is very very rich. And some of this I just can't wait to try out.

Tacoma

Tacoma is an exploration game set aboard a seemingly-empty space station in 2088. The player-character, Amy, has an augmented reality (AR) device that allows her to review actions and conversations of the non-player characters that were part of crew that had been aboard the station; these can be manipulated like a recording, fast-forwarding or rewinding as necessary. This allows the player to either watch as characters move in and out of rooms, or to even follow a character through the station. This is used to help identify clues to proceed further in the game, such as to identify the key code for a locked door. The AR device also has a fictional email system where additional information is relayed to the player. It was released on Steam on August 2, 2017.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, or simply Hellblade, is a cinematic dark fantasy/psychological horror action-adventure video game developed and published by Ninja Theory, Described by Ninja Theory as an "independent AAA game", it was developed by a team of approximately twenty developers led by the game's writer and director Tameem Antoniades, who had previously directed Kung Fu Chaos and DmC: Devil May Cry, with additional writing by Dr. Elizabeth Ashman Rowe, a university lecturer specialized in Scandinavian culture. Inspired by Norse mythology and Celtic culture, Hellblade follows Senua (played by actress Melina Juergens), a Pict warrior who must make her way to Helheim by defeating otherworldly entities and facing their challenges, in order to rescue the soul of her dead lover from the goddess Hela. It was released worldwide independently on Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4 on August 8, 2017.


StarCraft: Remastered

StarCraft: Remastered is a remastered edition of the 1998 real-time strategy video game StarCraft and its expansion Brood War, which was released on August 14, 2017. It retains the gameplay of the original game, but features ultra-high-definition graphics, re-recorded audio, and Blizzard's modern online feature suite. The remaster was developed over a year and included playtesting from professional StarCraft players.

Observer

Observer is a survival horror video game played from a first-person perspective. It is set in 2084 Poland following a "digital plague" that cost the lives of thousands, resulting in war and rampant drug use. The player controls Daniel Lazarski, a Cracovian detective of the Observers police unit tasked with hacking their targets' memories and fears with a device known as the Dream Eater. It was developed by the Polish company Bloober Team and published by Aspyr for release on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 15 August 2017.

Sonic Mania

Sonic Mania is a side-scrolling platform game published by Sega. An installment in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, the story follows Sonic the Hedgehog and his companions Tails and Knuckles as they venture to defeat their nemesis Doctor Eggman and his robotic henchmen, the Hard-Boiled Heavies. The game commemorates the original Sonic games released for the Sega Genesis, and features redesigned versions of stages from previous games alongside original ones. Sonic Mania was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows in August 29, 2017.

Absolver

Absolver is a martial arts-focused action role-playing video game developed by Sloclap and published by Devolver Digital for PlayStation 4 and Windows. In the game, players control warrior characters who fight other players and computer-controlled characters across the fictional land of Adal to prove their worthiness of joining the Absolver peacekeepers. The game's story is focused on the human development of the characters as they fight to find their place in the collapsed empire. The character's fighting moves are customized in a "combat deck" of cards, with each card assigned to a move. Players earn cards, equipment, and weapons by progressing through the game. Sloclap, a Parisian indie game developer composed of former Ubisoft Paris employees, began work on Absolver in May 2015. Their core game concept was to have fluid, dynamic movement, similar to dance. The game debuted a year later at the 2016 Electronic Entertainment Expo and was released in August 29, 2017.

Ys Seven

Ys Seven is an action role-playing video game developed by Nihon Falcom and the seventh installment in the Ys video game series. It was released in Japan during 2009 for the Sony PlayStation Portable and was released by XSEED Games in North America on August 17, 2010, in Europe on November 3, 2010 and in Australia on February 20, 2013. The game was released for Microsoft Windows in China on June 20, 2012, and worldwide on Steam in August 30, 2017.

Warriors All-Stars

Warriors All-Stars, is a hack and slash game by Koei Tecmo. It is a crossover based on the long-running Warriors series, featuring an array of cast taken from various titles owned by the company, similar to the Warriors Orochi series. It was released on March 30, 2017 in Japan. The PC version was released on August 29, 2017 in the US and on September 1, 2017 in Europe.






Life Is Strange: Before the Storm

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm is an episodic graphic adventure video game developed by Deck Nine and published by Square Enix. The first of three episodes was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on 31 August 2017. It is the second entry in the Life Is Strange series, set as a prequel to the first game, focusing on sixteen-year-old Chloe Price and her relationship with schoolmate Rachel Amber. Gameplay concerns itself mostly with the use of branching dialogues.

[ Some of these promise lengthy fun to be had for sure. To me, specially intriguing among these are 'Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice', 'Ys Seven' & 'Life is Strange: Before the Storm'. ]

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Promising Sci-fi, Horror & Fantasy - August 2017

Well, I have quite a lot of free time now, no reason for not getting to work on the monthly lists. August seems like a specially interesting month for fantasy while there is a distinct lack of anything catching my attention in terms of sci-fi. But nevertheless let's get on with it.

"Age of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom #1)" by R.J. Barker from Orbit

To catch an assassin, use an assassin...
Girton Club-foot, apprentice to the land's best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives. But his latest mission tasks him and his master with a far more difficult challenge: to save a life. Someone, or many someones, is trying to kill the heir to the throne, and it is up to Girton and his master to uncover the traitor and prevent the prince's murder.
In a kingdom on the brink of civil war and a castle thick with lies Girton finds friends he never expected, responsibilities he never wanted, and a conspiracy that could destroy an entire kingdom.


[ I read a lot of god things about this debut fantasy all over the internet. And it seems to have a promising synopsis as well. ]


"The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth #3)" by N.K. Jemisin from Orbit

THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS... FOR THE LAST TIME.
The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.
Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.
For Nassun, her mother's mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.
The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season.


[ The end of N.K. Jemisin's newest trilogy. Man, I need to start reading stuff from her. ]

"The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion (Danielle Cain #1)" by Margaret Killjoy from Tor.com Publishing

Danielle Cain is a queer punk rock traveller, jaded from a decade on the road. Searching for clues about her best friend’s mysterious and sudden suicide, she ventures to the squatter, utopian town of Freedom, Iowa. All is not well in Freedom, however: things went awry after the town’s residents summoned a protector spirit to serve as their judge and executioner.
Danielle shows up in time to witness the spirit—a blood-red, three-antlered deer—begin to turn on its summoners. Danielle and her new friends have to act fast if they’re going to save the town—or get out alive.


[ Yet another promising novella from Tor.com. Hopefully this one will live up to the expectation. ]

"The Dinosaur Princess (Dinosaur Lords #3)" by Victor Milan from Tor Books

With The Dinosaur Princess, we return to Paradise, Victor Milan’s fabulous alternate fantasy universe where humans from Earth were transported to a world where dinosaurs never became extinct.
It is a marvelous but dangerous place, a realm where knights ride these beasts in order to fight epic medieval battles, a place where magic is real.
The ancient gods who brought mankind to Paradise have returned to judge their human experiment. The Grey Angels, fabled ancient weapons of the gods, have come to rid the world of sin.
And if humans are deemed unworthy, they will be scourged from the face of Paradise.
 


[ Third book in the 'Dinosaur Lords' series, should be a fun read as the book has dinosaurs, enough said. ]

"Swarm and Steel" by Michael R. Fletcher from Talos

To escape the hell she created, a woman must team up with a novice warrior and return to her homeland in this gritty epic fantasy where delusions are literally made real.
Zerfall awakens in an alley, wounded and unable to remember her past. Chased by an assassin out into the endless wastes of the desert, she is caught, disfigured, and left for dead. Her scabbard is empty, but the need for answers—and the pull of her sword—will draw her back to the city-states.
When Jateko, a naïve youth, accidentally kills a member of his own tribe, he finds himself outcast and pursued across the desert for his crimes. Crazed from dehydration, dying of thirst and hunger, he stumbles across Zerfall.
Hunted by assassins and bound by mutual need, both Zerfall and Jateko will confront the Täuschung, an ancient and deranged religion ruled by a broken fragment of Zerfall’s mind. Swarm, the Täuschung hell, seethes with imprisoned souls, but where gods—real or imagined—meddle in the affairs of man, the cost is high.
In Swarm and Steel, the power of belief can manifest and shape reality, and for political and religious leaders, faith becomes a powerful tool. But the insane are capable of twisting reality with their delusions as well, turning increasingly dangerous as their sanity crumbles. It is here that a long prophesied evil will be born, an endless hunger. The All Consuming will rise.
 


[ The setting seems interesting, and I think I am going to like the character chemistry also. ] 

"An Echo of Things to Come (Licanus #2)" by James Islington from Orbit

The second book in a glorious new fantasy trilogy by the next major force in commercial epic fantasy.
In the wake of the devastating attack on Ilin Illan, an amnesty has been declared for all Augurs - finally allowing them to emerge from hiding and openly oppose the dark forces massing against Andarra. However as Davian and his new allies hurry north toward the ever-weakening Boundary, fresh horrors along their path suggest that their reprieve may have come far too late.
In the capital, Wirr is forced to contend with assassins and an increasingly hostile Administration as he controversially assumes the mantle of Northwarden, uncovering a mystery that draws into question everything commonly believed about the rebellion his father led twenty years ago. Meanwhile, Asha begins a secret investigation into the disappearance of the Shadows, determined to discover not only where they went but the origin of the Vessels that created them - and, ultimately, a cure.
And with time against him as he races to fulfill the treacherous bargain with the Lyth, Caeden continues to wrestle with the impossibly heavy burdens of his past. Yet as more and more of his memories return, he begins to realise that the motivations of the two sides in this ancient war may not be as clear-cut as they first seemed...
 


[ I don't know how but I somehow missed the first book of this series. This one seems to have the quality of being a very good epic fantasy with an interesting setting, I can't wait to enter this world. ]

"An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors (The Risen Kingdoms #1)" by Curtis Craddock from Tor Books

A delightful and engrossing fantasy debut featuring a brilliant heroine and her singular guardian, a royal musketeer.
In a world of soaring continents and bottomless skies, where a burgeoning new science lifts skyships into the cloud-strewn heights and ancient blood-borne sorceries cling to a fading glory, Princess Isabelle des Zephyrs is about to be married to a man she has barely heard of, the second son of a dying king in an empire collapsing into civil war.
Born without the sorcery that is her birthright but with a perspicacious intellect, Isabelle believes her marriage will stave off disastrous conflict and bring her opportunity and influence. But the last two women betrothed to this prince were murdered, and a sorcerer-assassin is bent on making Isabelle the third. Aided and defended by her loyal musketeer, Jean-Claude, Isabelle plunges into a great maze of prophecy, intrigue, and betrayal, where everyone wears masks of glamour and lies. Step by dangerous step, she unravels the lies of her enemies and discovers a truth more perilous than any deception.
 


[ Though I am not quite sure what this book is going to turn out to be like, I am quite certainly intrigued a lot by the synopsis. ]

"A Song for Quiet (Persons non Grata #2)" by Cassandra Khaw from Tor.com Publishing

Cassandra Khaw returns with A Song for Quiet, a new standalone Persons Non Grata novella from the world of Hammers on Bone, finalist for the British Fantasy Award and the Locus Award, and which Kameron Hurley called "a long leap into the gory, the weird, and the fantastic."
Deacon James is a rambling bluesman straight from Georgia, a black man with troubles that he can't escape, and music that won't let him go. On a train to Arkham, he meets trouble -- visions of nightmares, gaping mouths and grasping tendrils, and a madman who calls himself John Persons. According to the stranger, Deacon is carrying a seed in his head, a thing that will destroy the world if he lets it hatch.
The mad ravings chase Deacon to his next gig. His saxophone doesn't call up his audience from their seats, it calls up monstrosities from across dimensions. As Deacon flees, chased by horrors and cultists, he stumbles upon a runaway girl, who is trying to escape the destiny awaiting her. Like Deacon, she carries something deep inside her, something twisted and dangerous. Together, they seek to leave Arkham, only to find the Thousand Young lurking in the woods.
The song in Deacon's head is growing stronger, and soon he won't be able to ignore it any more.
 


[ Ah, a Lovecraftian horror from Tor.com. Though I have not checked out even the first book of this series, I have no doubt this would be a treat indeed. ]