What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for August 2018.

These usually start off with a recap of what audiobooks I finished last month, so here goes:

  • Season of Storms by Andrzej Sapkowski narrated by Peter Kenny – The short stories of the Witcher series always seem to be the better ones in the witcher series and Season of Storms definitely continues that trend. I’d rank it behind the other 2, The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, though. Narration is good, the story was pretty winding and contained many contrivances but was overall pretty good and was fun to listen to.
  • The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers narrated by Stefan Rudnicki, Gabrielle de Cuir – This is a short story compilation with the King in Yellow playing a central element in most of the stories, except for the last 3 stories. The Narration was very good and the main King in Yellow stories were excellent. I am looking forward to a re-listen of this one. I also want to re-watch the first season of True Detective because of how much I enjoyed this audiobook. The last 3 stories this one are mostly historical romances, and although good, did not seem to match up with dread and strange horror of the King in Yellow stories.
  • Pet Semetary by Stephen King narrated by Michael C. Hall – Another good Steven King story with excellent narration, this time by Michael C. Hall. I listened to this one right after The King in Yellow and it was a great 1 2 punch, the sense of dread and horror of what is going to happen are great. I keep taking King for granted here and nearly every audiobook I pick up that he writes reminds me how good he is.

I have also done a re-listen to Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold, and will also be starting The Heroes later this month.

I pre-ordered Richard K. Morgan’s Thin Air (release date 10-25-18) and picked up The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. In just over a month my pre-orders for Port of Shadows by Glenn Cook and Mass Effect Andromeda: Annihilation by Catherynne M. Valente will be available for download. Fire and Blood by George R.R. Martin is also pre-ordered and available for download on 11-20-18.

This month I am planning to listen to Red Sister by Mark Lawrence (which I have already started and about an hour into), The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie, Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

With my next 2 audible Credits I plan to pick up Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence and Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley.

On August 13th, the Battle for Azeroth Expansion hits and I’m looking forward to playing to it. I thought Legion has been the best expansion since Wrath of the Lich King and legions biggest flaw was Artifact weapons being Alt and Spec unfriendly, which the azerite thing address completely. I’m gonna be leveling my Demon Hunter first, since I’ve been main-ing a Death Knight since Wrath of the Lich King and definitely want to switch it up.

I picked up Injustice 2 Legendary Edition on sale today for 27$-ish CAD, I missed a sale the last time and regretted not picking it up then, so I definitely wanted to pick it the next time it went that low. I’ve been wanting a fighting game I could play, mostly for single player stuff, that I could play while listening to music or an audiobook.

Looking forward to picking up Quiet Place, Deadpool 2, and Avenger’s Infinity War on blu ray this month.

 

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What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for July 2018.

I just finished up the Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey, narrated by MacLeod Andrews, so just gonna recap my thoughts of the series so far:

  • It has every thing I like about the Darksiders, Constantine, and Diablo, which is a story that deals with heaven and hell with interesting characters.
  • The stories are in a range from okay to pretty good, for the most part.
  • The Characters are well done and interesting.
  • The dialogue and voice for every character are solid and entertaining, funny in places when they should be and can turn to very serious character moments quickly. Very hard to pull that off and do it well.
  • The over arching story in the series has well paced peaks and valleys, the development of characters during that period are also done well and become more compelling over time.
  • I didn’t like the hand-wavy magic used in the series, I’m not a magical realism type or a magical system one either, but goddamn “hellion hoodoo” is extremely low effort way to cast magic with an insane variety of effects. I just got used to it over the course of the series but it’s still a pretty vague way to use magic.
  • I thought the introduction of PTSD for Stark was actually well done and did a lot for the character.
  • I liked that Stark could be part of a scooby gang or be independent from it. Not something easily done and convey in a series.
  • I didn’t like the way some of the stories ended, not that I didn’t like outcomes because I thought the ending outcomes were done a satisfying way, I mean the actual way how the story ending was written. Most of the stories were well done and paced with interesting developments or character moments, however, the endings seemed rushed compared to how the rest of the story was paced. Despite my feelings that the endings seemed kinda rushed in comparison the pace of the story, the out comes of the endings were pretty good and done in a satisfying way.
  • The Narration for the series is excellent. Each character has a distinctive voice that is done well.

So despite some extremely subjective issues or feelings, the series is pretty good and the narration is excellent. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, Hollywood Dead,  whenever it’s released on audible.

I pre-ordered a couple of audiobooks a few months ago that were released in June, Brief Cases by Jim Butcher narrated mostly James Marsters, Season of Storms by Andrzej Sapkowski narrated by Peter Kenney, and Before the Storm by Christie Golden narrated by Josh Keaton.

Brief Cases was pretty good. I enjoyed the Big Foot stories, The Molly Winter Lady story, Butters First Day Story, and Dresden family Zoo day story. My favorite story was Even Hand, which was narrated rather well by Jim Butcher himself, about Marcone and his confrontation with a Fomor Lord. The narration was on par for the Dresden Files, meaning FUCKING EXCELLENT. I am extremely looking forward to Peace Talks or Cinder Spires 2.

Before the Storms was okay, the narration was good but the story was hit or miss, with more misses than hits. It was my first buy into the warcraft stories but I while I enjoyed it and liked it enough, I doubt I will buy into others in the future. Which pretty much kills my interest in Inferno Squad.

I just started Season of Storms today, but I think it will good. The short story compilations for The Witcher Series were excellent and I am expecting good things from Season of Storms.

I also bought Red Sister on an Audible Daily Deal, which I’m looking forward to check out.

I also picked up a couple of short stories, Neil Gaiman’s A Study in Emerald narrated by Neil Gaiman, In the Tall Grass by Stephen King and Joe Hill narrated by Stephen Lang. A Study in Emerald was great, and Gaiman’s narration is always extremely good. In the Tall Grass was good and Stephen Lang’s narrations is always good.

With my 2 audible credits I picked up The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers narrated by Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir, and Pet Sematary by Stephen King narrated by Michael C. Hall. Looking forward to listening to both after I’m done with Season of Storms and Red Sister.

I am also gonna re-listen to a couple Joe Abercrombie books, Best Served Cold and the The Heroes, most likely after my backlog of current audiobooks. The reason for this is because Abercrombie just posted on his site that he finished the first drafts of his next trilogy in the First Law Series and I wanted to listen to my 2 favorite books in the First Law Series.

I picked up a couple of Blurays as well, I got Black Panther and Annihilation. Black Panther is as good as everyone says it is, great visuals, good acting, good story and very good pacing. It was well worth the pick up. Annihilation was extremely good, it had great acting, the story was a good adaptation of the novel and was also very good. It was also well worth the pick up. I’m looking forward to watching the Black Panther with the directory’s commentary and all the special features. I also wanna check out the pretty good number of special features for Annihilation.

During the Steam Sale, I picked up a package duo deal on Prey and Dishonored 2 for 36.43$ CAD, I also picked up Black Mesa for 8.79$ CAD, and Pool Nation FX for 7.59$ CAD.

I finally got around to finishing up the Dragonborn DLC for Skyrim, I played the Special Edition version. I really don’t know why I waited so long to play it, it was enjoyable and fun to get back in to Elder Scrolls games.

I also re-installed Fallout 4 so I can play through the Automatron DLC, Far Harbour DLC, and Nuka World DLC.

Final Fantasy XV I spend most of my time doing the hunts but I’m slowly working my way though the story chapter by chapter.

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for April 2018.

Waited til after April 1st because of how shitty the internet it is on April fools day.

I finally watched The Last Jedi. It was pretty fucking good. I wasn’t able to predict how it was gonna play out but it delivered on several character moments and had a pretty good story. The special features are pretty fucking good as well, the documentary “The Director and the Jedi” are the reasons why people will still buy Blu Rays, it is excellent and adds so much value to it. I got 4k version because I will be upgrading to 4k soonish, probably within the next couple months. I don’t get the backlash against the movie, I thought it was well done and highly entertaining, it was not predictable and it didn’t have to many homages to earlier star wars movies.

I picked up FFXV near the end of March, as well as Vermintide 2, both pretty good games with fun gameplay. I’m still playing Subnautica as well, it’s visuals are great, the crafting is satisfying and has depth, and I love exploration done well which is something Subnautica is great at. 8/10 game for me, has nearly everything I like in a game.

Vermintide 2 is really fun, it’s like Left for Dead 1/2 style coop with diablo like characters from the Warhammer universe. The characters are great, they have funny personalities and entertaining banter. The classes are hit and miss but every class has at least 1 really good sub class to go. The combat and abilities are extremely satisfying to use and are extremely effective, some abilities are good for big bosses or against armored targets or against hordes for enemies. The story is ok but the characters are pretty good. The Elf huntress, the Witch Hunter and the Fire Mage are great. The gameplay is the real area the game shines, the game does coop extremely well. Well worth picking it up, if you are into coop games with friends. 8/10 game.

FFXV is an indulgence for me, it was basically a late birthday pick up. However, the gameplay is extremely good, I like the combat, the magic crafting, the leveling system, and I enjoy the open world aspect of it. The Character are kinda meh, the story is taking a while to get into and seems like standard fare but still entertaining. I’m enjoying a lot so far and this is my first real serious playthrough of any Final Fantasy game for something like 5 years.

I’ve been watching a lot of the Overwatch League these last couple weeks, it’s really entertaining and fun to watch. I’m playing more overwatch because of it. Although quickplay is too informal for that many good games, some one will always lock Hanzo and Widow probably along with a Torb or Symmetra and just end up garbage tier DPS and basically make every team fight into 3v6 and lead to a loss in a full hold or 2 extremely badly played long loss control points. I wish the Reaper and Mei buffs were in already. The New hero Brigitte is pretty overpowered now, she’s basically a Reinhardt with heals and a stun.

I also got into the World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth Alpha, which I plan to play and test a lot of, as well as giving a lot feed back on various things I think should be changed or tweaked. Since there is no real NDA, I can/will start adding WoW posts of things concerning Death Knights, Demon Hunters, Rogues, Mages, and even possibly Warriors.

As for Legion, I am currently leveling a Light Forged Draenei Warrior, it’s pretty fun. I’m leveling Arms, and will probably going to stay that way in legion as well.

I finished the third book in the Sandman Slim series, it was enjoyable and entertaining. It definitely hits on my liking of Secret Society Magic users, Heaven and Hell, and interesting but morally flexible characters. I picked up the next 2 in the series (Devil said Bang, and Kill City Blues) as well as a short story (Devil in the Dollhouse.) A pretty good series so far, I may or may not get 3 extra credits to finish the series early.

Looking forward to the next stage in the Overwatch League, watching Jessica Jones season 2 and Stranger Things season 2 (finally), finishing FFXV, getting the next sub vehicle in Subnautica, and extremely looking forward to getting my home theatre all 4k’ed up.

what I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for February 2018.

Altered Carbon in a day from now. Fuck yeah.

Movies recap for me, I watched IT and Blade Runner 2049 finally, both are extremely good. IT is easily one of the best adaptations of a movie so far, and it’s mostly because they are doing 2 movies with the Loser’s Club being younger and older. Blade Runner 2049 was extremely compelling and told a story that you thought would be predictable which flips your expectation of where it’s all gonna go on its head. Well worth picking up both on blu ray.

I also have Dawn and War of the planet of the Apes movies to check out, as well as the special features, and it looks to be entertaining at least.

I listened to the audiobooks for Metro 2035, Mass Effect Andromeda: Initiation, and I am Legend. Metro 2035 by Dmitry Glukhovsky was very good with extremely good narration by Rupert Degas. Mass Effect: Initiation by N. K. Jemisin and Mac Walters was decent and had good narration by Fryda Wolff. I am Legend by Richard Matheson was extremely good, it still one of my favorite short story/novellas, and is narrated pretty well by Robertson Dean.

Metro 2035 was really a good story and a good ending to the Metro Trilogy, and it told a compelling story with numerous interesting characters. I thought I had an idea where the story was gonna go but switched it up on me in a good way that ended the trilogy and the story itself in a satisfying way.

Mass Effect: Initiation gave a pretty good back story on Cora, and did a lot to smooth over and explain her hero-worship of the Asari, and also told a decent story that managed to explain my A.I. is so feared in the mass effect universe rather than the all the hamfisted and handwaving attempts/explanations in the original trilogy. It’s pretty shitty we will never get a good explanation of the Benefactor and Jien Garson situation in Andromeda as DLC, however it may be addressed in The Lost Ark novel later this year. I liked both Andromeda novels, and after listening to Initiation, I pre-ordered the Lost Ark, which has a release date of Oct 1, 2018.

I’ve started Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, the narration sounds like it was recorded by an old tape deck and an old cheap microphone but so far I’m interested in it. The narration itself isn’t bad, it’s the recording quality that seems pretty old, like some one telling you a story over a the phone.

After Snow Crash, I have another Neal Stephenson story to check out, Anathem. It’s over 30hours long according to my audible app, and I prefer longer stories like that. I’m looking forward to checking it out.

I’ve read a lot of fantasy last year and it’s refreshing to switch it up to a bunch of good sci-fi stories. In my backlog, that I expect to get at least one more listened to this month, is Alien: Out of the Shadows, The X-Files: Cold Cases, and Sandman Slim.

I finished Metro: The Last Light and thought it was pretty good, I managed to get the redemption ending which was pretty satisfying to get. I had to switch up how I play games usually, which was stealthily killing everyone and every thing that dares to cross or impede my path to trying to get through area’s mostly undetected using mostly non lethal means.

So Blizzard announces Battle for Azeroth pre-orders are available, announce a tentative release date, and unlock a few of the Allied Races for leveling, all on the same day.

That basically sums it up for me.

Now I’m leveling a Void Elf Rogue, despite already having a rogue, and a Light forged Draenei Warrior. That was on the only thing that would have brought me to playing WoW again. I’m leveling for the Heritage armor. I probably won’t play those characters, I will most likely race change my current Rogue to Void Elf though.

It basically means my plans to finish Rise of the Tomb Raider, Uncharted 3 (about 75% through now), Far Cry Primal, Splinter Cell Black list, Dishonored, and numerous other games I had my sights on finishing are on hold until I level those allied races to 110 for that sweet sweet Heritage Armor. It also means I will hold off on picking up Wolfenstein 2, Prey, Dishonored 2 and its DLC, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Uncharted 4, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Bloodborne.

 

Take what is offered and that must sometimes be enough.

— Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon.

The Netflix adaptation of Altered Carbon is out tomorrow, or if you are like me you are probably gonna watch a couple of episodes at midnight, and I cannot wait to fucking watch it. Before I jump into anything, let me elaborate on somethings I go through before watching, reading, listening, or playing anything with the slightest amount of hype or even the tiniest bit of excitement and interest: Manage Expectation, adaptations means it won’t always be page for page to screen, Adaptations means something will be expanded or cut or merged, Leave your Bullshit out of it, and Things don’t have to be DA BES EVAR and anything else is failure or means it sucks. I just wanna see how it’s adapted if it has the feeling of the book and the spirit of the characters. Altered Carbon, and the Takeshi Kovacs Trilogy, is easily in my top 5 favorite books.

I’m hoping it will be received good and it will mean more scifi shows and movies because people didn’t seem to like the excellent Blade Runner 2049.

Things I’m Looking forward too: Red Dead Redemption 2, it’s been delayed but has a definite release date which is October 26 2018. Monster Hunter World, waiting for dat PC release. Black Panther, it looks awesome but I’m gonna wait for it on blu ray because I prefer watching movies at home now.

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for January 2018, Also a recap of 2017 for me.

So, another year gone by. Rather than do a year in a review or the top 10 whatevers of the year, I want to just do a short write-up on what I liked in the year and some of the things I didn’t like.

I’ll start with audiobooks as that has over taken gaming for me in 2017 and is trending to do the same in 2018.

  • My best and favorite series I listened to in 2017: The Black Company Series by Glen Cook. The entire series was very good, with top-notch narration, excellent characters, and a great over arching epic story. Honorable Mentions: The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin, The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer, The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski, The Metro Trilogy by Dmitry Glukhovsky. Technically, I haven’t completed the Metro Trilogy yet, I have just started the final book in the trilogy but I am enjoying it very much so far.
  • My favorite audiobook of the year is easily Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Excellent narration, great story telling, and compelling characters. The BBC adaptation is also extremely good, listen to it here (it should be up for another couple weeks at the time of this post.) Honorable Mentions: It by Stephen King, Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky, The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, Strange Weather by Joe Hill, and the The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher.
  • My favorite audiobook released in 2017 is another Neil Gaiman novel, Norse Mythology. Honorable Mentions: The Lady of the Lake by Andrzej Sapkowski, The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin, The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, and Strange Weather by Joe Hill.
  • My favorite audio drama of the year is easily Anansi Boys from the BBC. Honorable Mention: World of Warcraft – A Thousand Years War.

My to be listened to list is much less than it was at the start of 2017, which was something like close to 10 books, I have only Metro 2035 by Dmitry Glukhovsky, Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey, Mass Effect: Initiation by N. K. Jemisin and Mac Walters, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, I am Legend by Richard Matheson and Alien: Out of the Shadows. All of which I expect to start and finish this month.

I kept my 2 audiobooks per month, some times more but never less, for a couple of years now. I’ve listened to 43 audiobooks this year (30ish or so that are new or new to me, and about 13 “re-listens” of older favorites.) I will keep this going for as long as I can.

In 2018, the audiobooks I’m looking forward to are: Brief Cases by Jim Butcher, and hopefully Peace Talks by Jim Butcher or the second book in the series for the Cinder Spires by Jim Butcher, Mass Effect Andromeda: The Lost Ark by Catherynne M. Valente, World of Warcraft: Before the Storm by Christie Golden

Gaming wise, World of Warcraft still dominates my playtime. However, I did play a lot of Mass Effect Andromeda (120 hours), which leads me to my first thing I didn’t like about 2017. EA killing the Mass Effect Series, and then shutting down Visceral Games. Andromeda was not a bad game, it was actually a good game with some flaws. It sucks that Andromeda could have been a good starting point for a new trilogy or series for Mass Effect but it had to check all the boxes that EA likes to push out in their games, which is tacked on multiplayer, lootboxes, and DLC for fucking multiplayer. I’m certain that if the game was focused on a decent single-player experience it would have been a bit more polished at release. The Mass Effect Andromeda novels are decent as well, it’s too bad that they killed it early with no single-player DLC for some glaring unresolved story plot points like the benefactor and Jien Garson thing as well as Quarian Arc.

I still have quite a few games to get through in my backlog, which I will get around to as the time spent playing WoW dies down because it is near the end of the expansion. I have Rise of the Tomb Raider, Dishonored, Far cry 3 (which I am like 90% done and I should just finish it), Far cry Blood Dragon, Far cry Primal, the Crysis Trilogy, Splinter Cell: Black list, Firewatch, Furi, Icey, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Doom 2016, Wolfenstien: The New Order. I bought a couple of more games during the christmas/new years sales: Mass Effect 1, Mass Effect 2, Dead Cells, Nex Machina. I also plan to pick up Horizon Zero Dawn, Uncharted 4, and Uncharted: Lost Legacy for the ps4 in 2018. For the PC, I plan to pick up Dishonored 2 and its DLC, Prey, Wolfenstien: The New Colossus, Battlechasers. Also in 2018, the game I am most looking forward to, as well as picking up, Red Dead Redemption 2. Other games in that may be released in 2018 that I am looking forward to picking up are: Metro: Exodus, Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition, and Darksiders III.

I am also about halfway through Metro 2033 and looking forward to finishing it and immediately moving onto Metro: The Last Light.

A lot of good TV shows debuted in 2017. My favorites being: American Gods, Westworld, and The Last Kingdom season 2. If I had to pick only one favorite, it would be American Gods because it is an extremely good adaptation so far of the books with some very good things added in or changed to be more compelling.

Things I’m looking forward to watching in 2018: Altered Carbon on Netflix, Jessica Jones season 2 on Netflix, Westworld Season 2. I am not to sure there will be a second season of American Gods because the driving force behind the excellent adaptation to the small screen left the show, although Neil Gaiman is staying on despite the departure of Bryan Fuller.

There are a couple of things on netflix I will probably check out this year: Peaky Blinders, Hap and Leonard, and Stranger Things season 2.

Some excellent movies came out in 2017 and some that came on in 2016 that I was late watching because I prefer to watch movies at home on blu ray now.

  • My favorite movie of 2017 is easily Logan, it was such a good movie and a great finale for Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. Honorable Mentions: Wind River, John Wick 2, Arrival, Atomic Blonde, Rogue One, Kong: Skull Island, Split, Dunkirk. I will be late to the part for IT and Blade Runner 2049 because I will not get to see either until they come out on blu ray later this month. Up until I watched Logan, Arrival was my favorite movie and to me it is a very close second.
  • My favorite original movie in 2017 is Wind River, it is extremely good with a very compelling story with a lot of emotion. If you haven’t seen it, fucking check it out. Honorable Mention: Dunkirk, Bright.
  • Movies I’m looking forward to in 2018: IT,  Blade Runner 2049, Sicario 2: Soldado, Deadpool 2, The Shape of Water, Black Panther, Annihilation, The Big Sick, Get Out.

This month I will be watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, War for the Planet of the Apes, IT, Blade Runner 2049, and Hell or High Water.

I hope you had a good 2017, and that you have an even better 2018.

Happy new years.