Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March 2016 New PC Games To Watch For

Unlike February, March has been a dull month for PC games, in my opinion. I can only find 5 games worthy of attention, 2 of which are re-release or expansion of old games. On the bright side that does give me more time to spend on Dota 2 and Street Fighter V.

Far Cry Primal
Far Cry Primal is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Ubisoft. The game is set in the Stone Age, and revolves around the story of Takkar, who starts off as an unarmed hunter and rises to become the leader of a tribe. It was released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on February 23, 2016, and it was also released for Microsoft Windows on March 1, 2016.

BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend
BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend was announced on September 22, 2014 for arcade release and later announced on December 16, 2014 for consoles (as Chrono Phantasma Extend). Chrono Phantasma Extend adds two additional characters: Lambda-11 (who was introduced in Continuum Shift and originally a normal mode palette swap for Nu-13's Unlimited Mode only) and Celica A. Mercury. BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma Extend was released for PC through Steam on March 2, 2016.

Tom Clancy's The Division
Tom Clancy's The Division is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Ubisoft, with assistance from Red Storm Entertainment, for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The Division is set in a dystopian New York City in the aftermath of a smallpox pandemic; the player, who is an agent of the titular Strategic Homeland Division, commonly referred to as simply "The Division", is tasked with helping to rebuild the Division's operations in Manhattan, investigating the nature of the outbreak and combating criminal activity in its wake. The Division is structured with elements of role-playing games, as well as collaborative and player versus player online multiplayer. It was announced during Ubisoft's E3 2013 press conference, and was released worldwide on 8 March 2016.

Samorost 3
Samorost 3 is a puzzle point-and-click adventure game developed by Amanita Design. It is the third video game title in the Samorost series and the sequel to Samorost 2. It is the first game in series that is full-length and with full HD graphics. The story will take place across five planets and 4 moons. The game was originally scheduled for 2015, but was later released on 24th March 2016.

Killer Instinct: Season 3
Killer Instinct is a fighting video game, the third in the Killer Instinct series, developed by Double Helix Games, Iron Galaxy Studios, Rare and Microsoft Studios under supervision of Ken Lobb, and released as a free-to-play launch game for the Xbox One in 2013. The game is a reboot of the series, though some plot elements from Killer Instinct and Killer Instinct 2 have been retained. Development of the game involves individuals with histories in fighting games on both the developmental and competitive sides. It received positive reviews for its mechanics and engine, but was criticized for its initial lack of content. A second season of characters was released between 2014 and 2015. A third season, along with a port of the game for Windows 10, was released on March 29, 2016.

[ Yes, March has been a dull month. 'Deponia Doomsday' and 'Hitman' could be added to this list but they don't really make the cut into it for me.]

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Guest Post - David Annandale

On Monsters and Wolves

One of the things I love about the Warhammer 40,000 universe is the question of monstrosity. There are many monsters in 40K, which is – for me – cool in and of itself. I’ve always loved monsters, so getting to write about them regularly, and get paid for doing so, is beyond delightful. But the question arises: what exactly is a monster? This is one of the issues that runs through Curse of the Wulfen. It is also one that I have wrestled with in the academic side of my life, and that recurs in a lot of my writing, whether for Black Library or elsewhere.

The most useful definition of monster, for me, comes from Noël Carroll’s The Philosophy of Horror: Or, Paradoxes of the Heart. Carroll defines the monsters as an interstitial being, or a category violation. It is neither one thing nor another, but falls somewhere between the two. Consider the term “undead” for example: the very word is a category violation, suggesting something that is somehow the opposite of dead without being alive. It seems the me that the monster as category violation strikes at the heart of the Imperium’s obsession with purity, and yet, paradoxically, even Space Marines fit this definition to some degree. They derive from the human, but are also beyond it, and that’s before we get into Chapters that have the unfortunate habit of drinking blood…

Along these lines, then, the Space Wolves are already on the edge of things, but in the case of the Wulfen, here is something that forces even them to confront the question of monstrosity. The Wulfen would obviously be perceived as monstrous by others, and the Space Wolves themselves are torn. Are the Wulfen a curse or a blessing? Does their return mean Russ too will come back, or has the Wolftime come? Is the answer itself monstrous in a way, falling between these extremes or incorporating both? The question finds physical expression in the wars that engulf the Space Wolves with the return of the Wulfen.

And the answer?

Well, we’ll just have to see. And here we touch on another reason why I find writing 40K so rewarding: the ability to explore questions in the form of gigantic space opera spectacle. Currently, I’m getting the chance to do more of that as I write Warden of the Blade, the first of three novels about Castellan Crowe of the Grey Knights. A bit of a contrast with the Space Wolves, to be sure, but Crowe is someone who must wrestle with the unequivocally monstrous every moment of his existence.

Which is great fun for me, and I hope for the reader as well.

About David Annandale -
David Annandale is the author of the Yarrick series, consisting of the novella Chains of Golgotha and the novel Imperial Creed, as well as the Horus Heresy novel The Damnation of Pythos. For the Space Marine Battles series he has written The Death of Antagonis and Overfiend. He is a prolific writer of short fiction, including the novella Mephiston: Lord of Death and numerous short stories set in the Horus Heresy and Warhammer 40,000 universes. David lectures at a Canadian university, on subjects ranging from English literature to horror films and video games.

Links - Website, Twitter 

About 'Curse of The Wulfen' - 

The Space Wolves' greatest secret is revealed! The mysterious 13th Company emerge from the warp, and the future of the Chapter is imperilled. Can the sons of Fenris survive the revelation of the Wulfen?

The Wulfen of the 13th Company have not been seen since the days Leman Russ sailed the Sea of Stars at the head of his Legion. Now, amid daemon incursions of alarming size, they return to the Space Wolves to fight by their side. As Logan Grimnar’s Great Companies scour the stars to rally their returning ancestors, ever more battle-brothers begin to fall prey to mysterious changes. Is the Wulfen’s reappearance really a blessing of Russ, or will the dark omens that plague Harald Deathwolf spell doom for the warriors of Fenris?

This is the biggest, most galaxy-changing event the Warhammer 40,000 universe has seen for years. The truth about the Wulfen is out, and things for the Space Wolves will never be the same again. Will they be hunted as heretics or hailed as heroes? You're gonna have to read it to find out, and the twists and turns will leave you truly gobsmacked.

[PS: You can also check out my 'first interview of him' and '2nd interview'; as well as reviews of his works - 'Yarrick: Chains of Golgotha', 'Yarrick: A Plague of Saints', 'Yarrick: The Gallows Saint', 'Yarrick: Imperial Creed' on this blog.]  

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Author Interview - James A. Moore

Haven't done an interview in a long time, but finally I am back on business. James A. Moore was previously on my blog doing a guest post promoting the second book in his 'Seven Forges' series, and he is back with an interview regarding the fourth and possible the final book in the series named 'The Silent Army'.
Here it goes -

1) First of all welcome back to the blog and start by telling us a bit about yourself.

Thanks for having me back! I thought after that last time with the coffee pot and the four kittens, well, I'd have understood if I were never invited back in this lifetime. There's not much to tell, really. I'm a writer of fantasy and horror, and my latest series SEVEN FORGES is about to wrap up for the present time.

2) Will you please tell us some information about your new novel 'The Silent Army' that is not on the book blurb?

Well, it's book four in the SEVEN FORGES series, and though there is already talk about more books in the series later, THE SILENT ARMY is the end of the first story arc. That is, if I do more books, it will be an entirely different tale that takes place after the dust has settled. It is my hope that I've wrapped things up in end. The world map has certainly changed a great deal.

3) Where did you come up with the idea of writing the series? Can you tell us a bit more about your inspirations?

For me every story comes down to what if. I got an idea in my head about how it would play out if the biggest empire on the planet went soft, and what would happen if they ran across soldiers who absolutely refused to stop or negotiate. What would happen if an empire came across an army of religious fanatics who could back up their belief that they were doing the work of their gods? You have Spartans who were considered nearly unstoppable. You have Vikings who raided and took on nations that were bigger and badder and kept taking them on. Those are really the thoughts that were going through my head. Now, think on this: How different would your world be if you gods spoke directly to you? It was a notion that would not leave me alone. So I decided I should write it down.

4) So what makes the characters of these books and their world unique and interesting in your opinion?

I aimed to make them as real as possible, with human flaws and constantly changing perspectives. We are, in my opinion, all changing as we live our lives. In this case, however, one of the biggest differences as I'm concerned is that the gods actually get involved in the daily lives of some of the characters and shape them regularly.

5) Tell us a bit about the research you did for writing this book?

WellI guess you can call it research. I did a lot of reading of fantasy novels because I hadn't read ANY in fifteen years. I wanted to make sure I wasn't doing anything that was already being done.

6) Read any good book lately? Do share with us some of your favorite books from this year?

A pleasant discovery for me is that there really are some fresh voices in the genre. I am addicted to Joe Abercrombie's writing and can't recommend his SHATTERED SEA series enough. I'm a huge fan of Stephen King and one of those who absolutely loved his DARK TOWER series.

7) Can you divulge a bit more information about your upcoming projects? And may we ask what is the future for the 'Seven Forges' series?

My Next series is called TIDES OF WAR and the first book is called THE LAST SACRIFICE. In that story a mercenary named Brogan McTyre is forced to go after his family when they are taken by a religious sect that is allowed to take whomever they want by the five kingdoms. His actions are a violation of every law in the land and he goes after his family with every intention of getting them back at any cost.  His actions trigger Armageddon, and that in turn leads him on a quest to stop the world from ending.

When I'm done with that series there's a very real chance that I'm going to revisit Fellein and the Seven Forges and catch up on how different the world is when the seven different tribes of the Sa'ba Taalor are broken apart. I can't say too much but I meant it when I said there are massive changes in story for the people of those novels.

About the Author -

James A. Moore is the award winning author of over twenty novels, thrillers, dark fantasy and horror alike, including the critically acclaimed Fireworks, Under The Overtree, Blood Red, the Serenity Falls trilogy (featuring his recurring anti-hero, Jonathan Crowley) and his most recent novels, Blind Shadows, Homestead and the soon to be released Seven Forges. He has also recently ventured into the realm of Young Adult novels, with his new series Subject Seven. In addition to writing multiple short stories, he has also edited, with Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, the British Invasion anthology for Cemetery Dance Publications.
His Site - 
His Twitt 

About 'The Silent Army' -

The City of Wonders has been saved by nearly miraculous forces and the Silent Army is risen, ready to defend the Fellein Empire and Empress Nachia at any cost.
The power that was hidden in the Mounds is on the move, seeking a final confrontation with the very entities that kept it locked away since the Cataclysm. Andover Lashk has finally come to accept his destiny and prepares to journey back to Fellein. The Sa’ba Taalor continue their domination over each country and people they encounter, but the final conflict is coming: The Great Wave of the Sa’ba Taalor stands to destroy an empire and the Silent Army prepares to stop them in their tracks.
Caught in the middle is the Fellein Empire and the people who have gathered together on the final battlefield. The faithful and the godless, the soldiers and killers alike all stand or fall as old gods and new bring their war to a world-changing end. Some struggles are eternal. Some conflicts never cease. The Gods of War are here and they are determined to win.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Book Review - The Liar's Key (Best of '15)

Book - The Liar's Key 
Writer - Mark Lawrence    
Series - The Red Queens War #2    
Published By - Ace/Voyager

[ This hopefully, is a part of a series of reviews I am going to do over the upcoming months reviewing some of the best fiction, music and animes of 2015]

Writing is a medium of art that is so much unique in my opinion specially for one reason, it provides such a big room for growth and improvement. Writing gives the authors a chance to stretch their imagination and we all know that there is no limit to it if tapped in through the right channel. In this second book of his second series Mark Lawrence shows us not only how good his imagination is but also shows us that he can take us into it through very enjoyable means too. While we get to enjoy his awesome characters with excellent dialogue play from the first book within a richly imagined and exciting world, he also introduces some more new ones and takes world building to a  whole new level with the unorthodox style of slowly letting the surroundings and factions unfold, which just lets the readers savor the taste better.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

March 2016 New Comics To Watch For

March has been a busy month for me so far, so had less tie for finding out the good stuff. But here is the list of new ongoing comics to look forward to this month.

Based on the long-running Power Rangers franchise, five teens from Angel Grove High are granted superpowers and giant robot dinosaur Zords to defend Earth against the alien villain Rita Repulsa. When Repulsa creates an evil Green Power Ranger by brainwashing recent transfer student Tommy, the team is able to free him from her grasp and get him on their side. But with remnants of Repulsa’s control still stirring in the back of Tommy’s mind, he must confront the fact he may be more of a danger to his new team than a help. This is “Green Ranger: Year One.”

Written by KATE LETH
Vampirella takes Hollywood in this new adventure of the classic demon-hunting, monster-slaying, thrill-seeking vampire queen. When her stately manor is attacked, she begins to unravel a plot as old as the silver screen, discovering what monsters really lurk in the shadows of the City of Angels. Writer Kate Leth (Adventure Time, Edward Scissorhands) says, "Can Vampirella be both a cult icon on the rise and take down an empire of ghouls and ghosts? Signs point to: Hell, yes!"

Art and cover by KYLE BAKER

When the heroic robots that saved Japan during World War IV are outlawed, they turn against mankind, waging a campaign of terror across the last city on Earth. Their creator builds one more soldier—disguised as his teenaged granddaughter—and tasks her with dismantling the marauding mechanical militia. But as she begins to question her programming, will she be the last hope for humanity, or the final nail in our coffin?

Art and cover by LEANDRO FERNANDEZ

Between fighting her sister and hating her husband, Melissa still finds time to fall in lust with a stranger who's an awful lot more than he seems. What appears to be a simple seduction is revealed as something much darker and more dangerous. This controversial and erotically-charged tale of sex, death, and metamorphosis begins with an explosion of carnality and weirdness.  

Written by Keith Giffen, Len Wein, Gerry Conway, Aaron Lopresti
Art by Bilquis Evely, Matt Banning, Trevor Scott, Yildiray Cinar, Rob Hunter, Eduardo Pansica, Aaron Lopresti
It’s four powerhouse tales in one colossal comic, as some of comics’ most legendary talents launch new tales of Firestorm, Metamorpho, Metal Men and Sugar and Spike—that’s right, Sugar and Spike!

Art and cover by ALEX MALEEV
Who is Tony Stark, really? Since learning that he was adopted as a baby, this question has cast a shadow over Stark's life. Now, it is time to uncover what his legacy truly is, a journey that will carry Tony into new directions as a man and as a super hero. Alongside his strange new quasi-ally Doctor Doom, Iron Man will discover new things about the Marvel Universe he didn't know existed before! A character deconstruction from Bendis and Maleev along the lines of their award-winning DAREDEVIL run!

Or is he? The high-powered hero is hiding in plain sight, driving a truck across the U.S. to learn about the country he has adopted. Along the way, he picks up a lone runaway named Doll, who has more baggage than he anticipated. Doll is in danger, chased by a pack of freaks and lunatics known as THE CARNIES. Will Hyperion reveal himself to save her? Maybe! Will he use a tractor trailer as a baseball bat? Probably!

Art and cover by CHRIS SAMNEE
The Eisner Award-winning team of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee are taking Black Widow on the lam! Natasha has spent years gathering secrets, and when some of the darkest ones begin mysteriously going public, no one is safe. With her betrayed former confederates at S.H.I.E.L.D. on her heels and a lifetime of training and ingenuity at her disposal, Natasha's out for answers in a knock-down-drag-out tale of action and espionage! Hidden enemies, old friends and unusual allies collide, and all eyes are on Black Widow. The chase is on!

Bobbi Morse is Mockingbird, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s most versatile, most in-demand agent!
But a string of missions gone wrong indicate that something strange is lurking within S.H.I.E.L.D.'s own medical and recovery network. How far will Mockingbird have to go in order to solve this puzzle box and get to the truth? Bestselling author Chelsea Cain teams with newcomer Kate Niemczyk.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Mini-Comic-Review - Spider-Man #1

Name - Spider-Man #1
Published by - Marvel
Writer - Brian Michael Bendis
Artist - Sara Pichelli, Gaetano Carlucci

There is not much to say about Miles Morales' official relaunch as a part of the marvel universe after Secret wars. Except the fact that he is as cool and fresh as ever, having the same interesting cast of characters and the same teenage superhero issues of trying to juggle life and heroics and making quite a mess of it.

So, in the Marvel universe Secret Wars has come to pass, the universe is reborn and Miles gets the title of the adjective less Spider-man. But in a manner of speaking nothing has actually changed much as Miles is his same old-self and have mostly the same supporting cast, while we do get to see some  appearances from the marvel universe characters. 

The storytelling is as smooth as ever with crisp and fine looking drawing which gives main characters both unique personalities and charisma. And it also seems we will get to explore the relationship between the two spider-man personas.

The downside of the issue is that the story seems a bit to slow for my tastes; to me the issue could have been a bit more new reader friendly with a bit more background info; and the inclusion of Mile into the same universe instead of having his own universe still feels like a idea that could backfire at any moment.

This promising start gets 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Promising Sci-fi, horror & Fantasy - February 2016

Due to my current state of being so busy with my job and playing Dota 2 I tried to keep this list as short as possible cause too many books is just impossible for me to even contemplate reading. But as a matter of fat this month has been very good with so many promising releases.

'Graft' by Matt Hill
It’s Under the Skin meets The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Fifth Element… with extra limbs.
Manchester, 2025. Local mechanic Sol steals old vehicles to meet the demand for spares. But when Sol’s partner impulsively jacks a luxury model, Sol finds himself caught up in a nightmarish trans-dimensional human trafficking conspiracy.
Hidden in the stolen car is a voiceless, three-armed woman called Y. She’s had her memory removed and undertaken a harrowing journey into a world she only vaguely recognises. And someone waiting in the UK expects her delivery at all costs.
Now Sol and Y are on the run from both Y’s traffickers and the organisation’s faithful products. With the help of a dangerous triggerman and Sol’s ex, they must uncover the true, terrifying extent of the trafficking operation, or it’s all over.
Not that there was much hope to start with.
A novel about the horror of exploitation and the weight of love, Graft imagines a country in which too many people are only worth what’s on their price tag.

[The setting and plot seems quite interesting, and from Angry Robots to boot, hopefully this would be as unto read as I think it should be.] 

'Curse of The Wulfen' by David Annandale
The Space Wolves' greatest secret is revealed! The mysterious 13th Company emerge from the warp, and the future of the Chapter is imperilled. Can the sons of Fenris survive the revelation of the Wulfen?
The Wulfen of the 13th Company have not been seen since the days Leman Russ sailed the Sea of Stars at the head of his Legion. Now, amid daemon incursions of alarming size, they return to the Space Wolves to fight by their side. As Logan Grimnar’s Great Companies scour the stars to rally their returning ancestors, ever more battle-brothers begin to fall prey to mysterious changes. Is the Wulfen’s reappearance really a blessing of Russ, or will the dark omens that plague Harald Deathwolf spell doom for the warriors of Fenris?
This is the biggest, most galaxy-changing event the Warhammer 40,000 universe has seen for years. The truth about the Wulfen is out, and things for the Space Wolves will never be the same again. Will they be hunted as heretics or hailed as heroes? You're gonna have to read it to find out, and the twists and turns will leave you truly gobsmacked.

[New black library book by one of my favorite authors, need I say more. Btw, you can also check out my 'first interview of him'  , 2nd interview as well as reviews of his works - 'Yarrick: Chains of Golgotha', 'Yarrick: A Plague of Saints', 'Yarrick: The Gallows Saint', 'Yarrick: Imperial Creed' on this blog.]

'Chains of The Heretic' by Jeff Salyards
Men are more easily broken than myths.
Emperor Cynead has usurped command of the Memoridons—Tower-controlled memory witches—and consolidated his reign over the Syldoonian Empire. After escaping the capital city of Sunwrack, Captain Braylar Killcoin and his Jackal company evade pursuit across Urglovia, tasked with reaching deposed emperor Thumarr and helping him recapture the throne. Braylar’s sister, Soffjian, rejoins the Jackals and reveals that Commander Darzaak promised her freedom if she agreed to aid them in breaking Cynead’s grip on the other Memoridons and ousting him.
Imperial forces attempt to intercept Braylar’s company before they can reach Thumarr. The Jackals fight through Cynead’s battalions but find themselves trapped along the Godveil. Outmaneuvered and outnumbered, Braylar gambles on some obscure passages that Arki has translated and uses his cursed flail, Bloodsounder, to part the Godveil, leading the Jackals to the other side. There, they encounter the ruins of human civilization, but they also learn that the Deserters who abandoned humanity a millennium ago and created the Veil in their wake are still very much alive. But are they gods? Demons? Monsters?
What Braylar, Soffjian, Arki, and the Jackals discover beyond the Godveil will shake an empire, reshape a map, and irrevocably alter the course of history.

[A highly rated series, I am meaning to read this for so long, and this is the last book in the series so the timing is perfect too.]

'A Song For No Man's Land' by Andy Remic
He signed up to fight with visions of honour and glory, of fighting for king and country, of making his family proud at long last.
But on a battlefield during the Great War, Robert Jones is shot, and wonders how it all went so very wrong, and how things could possibly get any worse.
He'll soon find out. When the attacking enemy starts to shapeshift into a nightmarish demonic force, Jones finds himself fighting an impossible war against an enemy that shouldn't exist.
Andy Remic's A Song for No Man's Land is the first in an ongoing series.

[Another one of the tor releases, and the premise seems quite promising]

'The Emperor Expects' by Gav Thorpe
The Imperial Navy cuts through the chaos on Terra and strikes back against the ork invaders, in a daring plan that could turn the tide of war against the greenskins.
As ork ships lay waste to world after world, heading inexorably towards Terra, Imperial citizens despair. The High Lords become desperate to prove that victory is possible, no matter the cost. A massive Navy fleet is assembled – their mission to make a definitive strike against the orks at Port Sanctus, an area of enemy-held space. But when the Imperial armada arrives, they find themselves outclassed and outmanoeuvred – can human courage and faith possibly prevail against such terrible odds?
It's the first attempt by the Imperium to make a definitive strike against the orks, and it creates a novel full of naval action, coupled with Inquisitorial action as a cadre of agents arrive on Terra to bring the High Lords into line…

[The first book was quite good (review here), I am currently reading the second one, the third might be good to.]

'The Ballad of Black Tom' by Victor Lavalle
People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn't there.
Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father's head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.
A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?

[Writing on Lovecraftian  influences, always something to beintriguedby, then it is a short read to boot, count me in.]

'A Gathering of Shadows' by V. E. Schwab  
Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.
In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

[I still haven't read the first book of the series or any books by V. E, Schwab for that matter, but this series have very high praise on the internet. Hope to join on he fun soon.}