Wednesday, March 19, 2014


With my tax return I invested in an X-Box One and Titanfall because I was going to jump into the next generation of consoles eventually and this game looked awesome. I like the One's interface menu. It's simple and very similar to the 360's so I wasn't confused when I jumped in. The party system is a little more complicated to start up than on the 360, but it runs just as well once it's going so the switch of consoles hasn't been a difficult learning experience. The odd thing was when I inserted a DVD and had to download a DVD/Bluray player program. I don't know why that wasn't just on the machine to start with.

But enough about the console let's talk about the game Titanfall. I haven't full explored all the multiplayer options, but I've got over twenty hours in the game and I've beaten the campaign on both sides; IMC and Militia so I've got a pretty solid base for my opinion. And that opinion is that this game is awesome. It's missing some bells and whistles like renaming your classes, but it does have a gender choice for classes so it does have that going for it. Any complaint I have about the game is along the cosmetic side of things. Just the peripheral stuff that CoD and Gotham City Impostors have of getting emblems and titles for doing challenges and letting people see them. The fact that there is no real benefit to prestiging is kind of a bummer. At least extra class slots and with the titan loadouts as well it would be easy to alternate gaining an extra pilot and titan loadout for each prestige.

The gameplay is phenomenal. To start with the basic FPS part of the game is very well done. Everything moves smoothly and it's a polished shooter as you would expect from the guys who brought the world Modern Warfare 1 & 2. The weapon selection is smaller than most modern shooters, but everything is balanced fairly well and serves a different purpose. Although I haven't used the LMG or the Kraber sniper much the rest of the guns all feel good. They all have strengths and weaknesses and it's good that every weapon has some kind of limitation and strong point. I don't really have a favorite for weapons, but when it comes to Ordnance I prefer the satchel charge. The others like frag grenade, arc mine, and arc grenade have their benefits, but for me satchel charge is where it's at. More oomph and all I need to do is double tap x after tossing it. Well worth the shorter range and having to manually detonate it.

The second half of this game is the Titan combat and it's exciting as well. I don't have experience with other mech games, but I like the slower, but heavier feel the titans have compared to the pilots. I'm also not very good with my titan yet, but the difference in how the game plays between being on foot and being in the titan is obvious, but how well combat is balanced between the two is perfect. Titan weapons will do good damage to another titan, but pilots can evade the damage if they are careful and throw out more damage against them with the anti-titan weapons. The way the maps work with these two different forms of combat is amazing. There are awesome wall running sections and elevated paths for the pilots to take and offer lots of different ways to move around, but the titans get more standard FPS map patterns to follow and face each other. As a pilot you can ignore enemy titans and fight other pilots or the minions that spawn for the enemy side.

Which brings me to another wonderful aspect of this game the minions and specters that spawn as NPCs in the game. They provide a good feeling when you are having a bad game or if you aren't an FPS superstar and allow you a way to help your team in a game of attrition or in other game modes to grab a Titan faster. It's a really good choice to keep the maps full when everybody is on foot and doesn't make things feel overly full once a bunch of people get in their titans which changes the size of the match. It's just an amazing job that Respawn did of balancing the changes in combat between pilots and titans and it's so amazing to look at for their first showing as a studio on a big game that is there to sell a new console and they nailed it out of the park. The game lacks single player which is fine with me, because the single player of an FPS is always more of a chore and they make the story play out in multiplayer maps which tell a basic, but solid story which is all I ask for from an FPS in the first place.

They make up for the lack of single player by having fifteen maps which is a crazy big number for a shooter to come with standard now and I haven't had any maps I don't like. Some of them are a little unbalanced in Hardpoint, but nothing that makes me hate a map. It's got five basic game modes which isn't a ton, but they provide enough change of pace amongst each other. I wouldn't be surprised to see more game modes come out with the DLC either. Although balancing a game mode with the titans and pilots might be difficult, but I trust them to come out with a strong way to do it.

I am loving this game so far. It's a great FPS that does a lot to change how the genre works and is all the better for it. Definitely a game that makes jumping into the next gen of consoles worth while and it is the game that sold me on the X-Box One as I was debating which console I was going to go with. I don't regret the decision I've made yet.

Friday, February 7, 2014


A Chuck Wendig Contest Entry Tantrum is the name of the story and the drink so without further ado here is the recipe of the drink.

2 fingers of Vodka
4 oz Mountain Dew Voltage
1 oz Orange Juice


Music pumped out from every room on the floor, it was awful in the hallway it all turned into a jumble of noise that only cleared about in each room a bit. I retreated back to my room and topped off my drink. Two fingers of vodka, half a can of Mountain Dew Voltage and a splash of orange juice, I've yet to find anybody else who liked it. I lay back on my bed and listened to K Pop as my room represented the good Korea. My roommate was gone, but a few people were hanging out in the room, anything worth taking was locked up in our closet so I wandered out to the common area where better music was playing and more people were hanging out. Tiana was at the air hockey table so I wandered over that way and watched her finish off the guy who lived two rooms down from me.

“I don't think you can take me as easily.”

“Sounds like words, but looks like a load of shit, considering I always beat you.”

“Tonight I'm feeling lucky.”

“It's probably just your stomach revolting against that fucked up mixture of liquids you're drinking.”

“Not my fault your palate's not sophisticated enough to drink this.”

“If that's sophisticated I'll stick to whatever keg I can get access to with five dollars.”

“Don't say I didn't try to expand your tastes once you leave.”

“I'll always remember you as the guy who drank that super weird drink that tasted like rancid asshole.”

“So you taste a lot of rancid asshole?”

“Not on my days off, but you only get so many of those,” Tiana said. “Now are we going to play or do you want to stand there and gossip?”

“I don't know, I'm pretty good at talking.”

“Tough it's time to put up or shut up.”

“If you win we go somewhere with good music,” I said. “If I win we go to my room and listen to K-Pop.”

“For both our sakes, I must win.”

Tiana hit the puck off the wall and I blocked it off and sent it back toward her. Not much momentum on the puck, I should have kept it on my side. She fired it back with wild ricochets off the walls and I missed it as it slid into the goal. I was down quickly, not that I was surprised. I dropped the disc on the table and fired off my own wildly ricocheting shot that she stopped and fired straight back at me. I blocked the shot, but it bounced back at her and she fired it in with an angle that I saw, but somehow still couldn't stop from going in. The game continued that way, except for one shining moment, when I countered a rebounding shot and sent it bouncing back and forth before it found Tiana's goal.

“You've already tied your high score of a goal,” Tiana said as she set the puck on the table. “Maybe you can double up on that.”

“Maybe it's just the beginning of my comeback.”

“Sure, all you have to do is score nine before I get another goal.”

“You make it sound all too easy.”

Tiana looked straight at me, I almost missed the flick of her wrist that sent the puck toward my side of the table. I lunged at it and missed as it slid home and scored her the final point of the game.

“Guess you lost,” Tiana said then finished the last of the beer in her cup. “Before we leave this place get me a refill.”

“It's the least I can do,” I said as I grabbed the solo cup.

I pushed through the crowd and refilled the cup with beer before I went to the stairs and handed the cup to Tiana then headed down one floor to her room. It was a messy room, but not too messy. Tiana dropped onto her bed and I sat down beside her.

“Everything's going better than I planned,” I said. “Losing to you guaranteed me time with you, I didn't think I'd end up in your room.”

“Sorry, I have ulterior motives, I need your help with a paper.”


“No,” she said. “You're brave enough to drink whatever it is you have in that cup.”


“But not enough to make a move. It's kind of a bummer. I should have known better than to wait.”

Tiana grabbed the back of my head and pulled me forward into a kiss. Even as drunk as I was I managed to react in time to make it a good kiss, or at least as good as I knew how to make a kiss.

“Damn,” I said.

“Wish I could say the same.”

“Shit, I wasn't even trying,” I said as I leaned forward and started a kiss.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Book Review: Johannes Cabal the Detective

Time for another book review and it's the second in the Cabal series.

The title isn't as good as the first book in the series, but that cover, just look at it. It's beautiful. Anyway let's get to the real book and not just what's on the outside.

The book starts out with Cabal in prison in the fictional country of Mirkarvia after being caught stealing a powerful book filled with necromantic secrets. Luckily for him the Emperor has died recently and one of his underlings needs the Emperor to appear alive to deliver a speech and Cabal has just the skills he needs. Cabal outwits his captor and escapes during the speech and gets on an airship. The cover has the airship looking like a dirigible, but inside the book there is a drawing of the ship and it looks nothing like that so don't let that confuse you. Anyway he's on the airship and there is a murder that looks like a suicide. He also runs into Leonie Barrow, one of the innocent souls he got to sign over their soul in the last book. Luckily Cabal destroyed that contract and Leonie isn't doomed to hell and she's studying to be a forensic investigator and is stuck working with Cabal to figure out the person behind the murder.

Cabal is stuck on the airship trying to stay incognito and interact with actual people in a way that doesn't reveal who he is and it's a good time watching him do that and seeing how Barrow reacts to him seeming more like a real person instead of the monster he was to her in the first book. There's an interesting supporting cast on the airship and there is plenty of intrigue in this book to keep you reading to find out how well Cabal will do in a career as a detective.

I really enjoy this book and I'd recommend picking it up if you enjoyed the first book in the series. It has a serious story at the heart, but Howard tells it with a light hearted spirit that makes it fun to read throughout.