Another Update!

So, this past week I’ve been racking my brain on what to blog about. I’ve been re-obsessed with “Gravity Falls” thanks to the most recent episode and my excitement for the upcoming August episodes, and I beat “Fire Emblem: Awakening” (which was good, though the story was pretty meh overall). However, I couldn’t gather up the inspiration to blog about either of those things, so instead I’m here with a update.

This upcoming week, I’m planning to go back to the Dresden series with “Turn Coat”. I might also start blogging about the rest afterwards throughout August and possibly September. Why? I still have 5 main series books total as well as “Side Jobs” to cover, and I’ll be travelling back to Florida in mid-September through to the beginning of November. Given the number of distractions and how generally slow I am reading anything while I’m there, I’m gonna try my best to catch up with the series before that time or at least head there with preferably one book left to cover.

Basically, don’t be surprised if this blog turns into a Dresden-fest for a while. This doesn’t mean I won’t blog about other stuff if I have the urge to, since I’ve occasionally blogged more than once through the week before. But my main focus now is to at least try to catch up and go from there. Sorry to anyone who might not be interested, but for those who are, please stay tuned!

My First Action-Strategy Game

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For the next two days, I’ll be on a mother/daughter, internet-free trip. Since I won’t have much of the week left by the time I get back, I’ve decided to talk about my first dive into the action-strategy genre and most recent game I’ve been playing: “Fire Emblem: Awakening.” I’d been meaning to play it since I picked it up a year or two ago, but it wasn’t until I saw footage from “Fire Emblem Fates” during this year’s E3 that I decided to tackle it. This is not a formal review since I’m only about halfway through it, but just my general thoughts on the game and its genre.

Now, aside from some research here and there, I decided to go into the game with the mindset of not micro-managing every character and thing available to me. While I’ve reclassed a couple characters, I’m playing on both the Normal and Casual modes to get myself accustomed to the genre. Action-strategy never interested me in the past, but the colorful characters and snappy gameplay I experienced when I first tried demo convinced me to buy the game and give it a try. While I can’t say it’s convinced me to keep up with the series (the main story has been a bit dull), I do feel like I’m more open to playing games from the genre. I’ve even been watching a Let’s Play of “Pokemon Conquest” and getting sucked into watching the gameplay and various strategies involved in that.

My biggest issue is that I have the tendency to forget the “strategy” part and end up just running into the heat of battle. If I were playing this game on Classic mode (aka permanent death), I’d have a few members killed off for really dumb reasons. Sometimes it was due to me underestimating their durability, but more often than not it was me forgetting their weaknesses to certain enemies (Virion the archer is a good example of that, since he normally can’t attack anyone at close range). However, there’s a simple joy to pulling off a planned strategy, and it’s more rewarding than not to level up each character. Too often I’ve found that grinding in games can be really tedious, but the modes I’m in are pretty forgiving in all respects. It’s made testing the waters of this genre more bearable and enjoyable for me.

I think coming into “FE: Awakening” as a newbie has been beneficial because I don’t have to be obsessed with grabbing every skill or going through every job class. I easily COULD do this, but it takes up time and effort when I can instead focus on just playing the game and enjoying it at face value. Since I’m hard-pressed to sell off any games I beat, keeping this one around will ensure that I can easily replay it on a harder difficulty or more in-depth if I want to in the future. As it stands, I’m glad I chose it as an introduction to the genre. While I know many games have different takes on the genre, I like the core concepts behind them in much of the same way that I like simple-to-understand but fun RPGs (like “Paper Mario” for example). And even though I’m not sure if I’ll pick up either version of “Fire Emblem Fates,” I’ll at least be keeping my eye out on games that fall into the action-strategy niche from here on out.

Brief Rant on “Terminator: Genisys” (Spoiler Free)

terminator-genisys-script-matth-smith-character-620x350I just saw “Terminator: Genisys” yesterday, and while I liked it more than “Terminator 3” (though that’s not much of a stretch) and what little I bothered to see of “Salvation”, I have HUGE issues with it as an entry to the series.

Most people by now know that the basic plot is essentially a re-imagining of the events of the first and second Terminator films. I was never overly invested in the series beyond the first two movies, so the little nods to them were appreciated. The problem is that this franchise has become more confusing than “Back to the Future” and “Doctor Who” combined (for me at least). I think a lot of the issue stems from this series trying to keep a stable time loop. “Genisys” is the worst offender by far, as not only does it mess with the original continuity but also creates more questions than answers. And when you’re trying to do a time loop, you’re bound to run into plot holes. This one has both in terms of the original continuity and the “new” continuity it sets up.

Considering my lack of investment with the series, I went in with low expectations. But even that couldn’t save me from questioning things throughout the movie. Don’t get me wrong – there were SOME things I liked (Emilia Clarke was good as Sarah, nice to see Arnold again, good action, Matt Smith pulled off a pretty good American accent). I also tried really hard to not let too much of the previous movies seep in and attempted to enjoy it as a sci-fi/action flick. But that’s the problem – if you HAVE seen any of the previous movies, you can’t help pointing out the plot holes and references. Time and time again, I found myself focusing less on the plot and more on the problems it was creating, as well as the blatant Terminator 1 & 2 references. It took me out of the movie more times than I can count and ultimately made me feel like I didn’t have to see it again.

I knew from the trailers that “Genisys” was gonna be a doozy in terms of what it was trying to do and how it would affect the continuity, but the series just feels like it’s gone off the deep end by this point. I feel like it needs to be wrapped up for good (though that should’ve happened ages ago) because it’s just a complete mess of continuity issues now. I’ll gladly still watch the first two Terminator movies and enjoy them, but as far as I’m concerned, this series needs to stop coming back.

My Love for Batman

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I’ve said in the past that I never got into comics as a kid. Despite that, I knew about the Marvel and DC superheroes thanks to friends and other forms of media. One of my first interactions into these universes was through “Batman: The Animated Series.” And it was between this and my eventual viewing of the movie “Batman” that started my love for the Dark Knight and his baddies.

As a kid, Batman as a concept fascinated me. The idea of a rich socialite masking as a vigilante isn’t anything new now, but back then I thought it was awesome. I loved that he solved his problems through a mix of wits, gadgetry and detective skills. It’s one reason why I still prefer him over Superman, who always came across boring to me. It probably has to do with his wide variety of powers and attitude, but I digress. Batman, on the other hand, was my first foray into the idea of a vigilante, a guy who could easily go to the dark side but who had morals to prevent it.

But as time wore on (and the shows and movies as well), I found myself loving Batman’s world even more thanks to the villains. The Joker, Two-Face, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Catwoman and many, many others still continue to intrigue me. I always loved how much personality each one had and their various methods of dealing with Batman and Robin as well (who I typically don’t mind depending on the portrayal). While I find it annoying at times with how much of a craphole Gotham is portrayed as, it makes sense that this is where someone like Batman comes into play. The dark atmosphere of everything, from the city, the villains and Batman himself felt like such a stark contrast to other superheroes and especially so with the cartoon when compared to others at the time.

Of course, while the cartoon was my first bout with the Bat, I’ve enjoyed most of the live-action movies as well as watching my fiance and others play through the Arkham video games. Although, with the latter, I put some of that on the fact that they got the cartoon’s voice actors, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, to play Batman and the Joker respectively. Even some of the stuff I haven’t liked (such as “Gotham”) has had their merits. I’ve always liked how Batman’s world was so rich in character and history. There’s a lot of potential to be had with Batman, his allies, his main villains and the lesser ones as well.

Batman, be it in movies, on TV or in video games, is still my favorite superhero from DC’s side. I may have gotten more than my fill of vigilante justice from the likes of “Arrow” and “Daredevil”, but Batman will forever be my first.