Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Upcoming Games

The new year has me looking forward to a few games. While everyone might have their eyes on more popular titles, I picked out a few that might have flow under the radar.

Lost Ark


A Korean MMO that gives Diablo 3 a run for its money. Really nice graphics, awesome classes to choose from, and a skill system that looks quite fun to experiment with. Already a good line-up of classes and stuff to do, but made even better knowing that there's more coming. Not to mention the minigames and all the other things you can do(like fish). The only downside to this whole thing is Korean MMOs are notorious for their grinding, but that comes hand-in-hand with MMOs, I guess.

Black Desert


The thing I find the most fascinating about Black Desert is its character customization. It puts every other character customization I've seen to shame(Sims, Mass Effect, etc). That plus the graphics and gameplay make this Korean MMO one to watch.

Act of Aggression


Made by Eugen Systems and Focus Home Interactive, this upcoming RTS looks like the best RTS to come around for traditional RTS games in a long time. Both Eugen and Focus have tried-and-true experience with games like Act of War and recently released Wargame: Red Dragon. If anything, it seems to blend the two games into a hybrid form of awesome.

Etherium


While not much is seen of this one, I have high hopes for it. It is also made by Focus Home Interactive, which seems to be doing really well lately.

Grey Goo


Petroglyph comes around for another try at the RTS genre. With the staff who made Dune and Command and Conquer, I have high expectations for what looks to be a promisingly fun game.

Special Mentions:
Ghost in the Shell Online


Nexon trying at my nerves by creating a FPS for Ghost in the Shell. While it might look decent, its clearly just a shooter with the characters of GitS thrown in. While I don't expect much, I will probably still check it out.

Closers


Closers just fulfills my need of anime-esque side-scrolling. It doesn't really stand out in any aspect. In fact, it is probably subpar compared to the other Korean MMOs out there. But I just decided to throw it in anyway.

Everyone else out there can look forward to other games like Starcraft 2's expansion to come out later in 2015. Personally, I want to watch CoD's Exo Zombies just for fun. There's also Tom Clancy's The Division, which will no doubt be awesome.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Star Wars Expanded Universe and Canon

I love Star Wars, I grew up with Star Wars and Star Trek. I love science fiction and yes Star Wars is science fantasy, but that is a sub-genre of science fiction, and honestly Warhammer 40K or Final Fantasy XIII is a better representation of science fantasy that Star Wars. I had all the Young Jedi Knights books, I've all the Republic Commando books, I've a thousand technical manuals detailing starships, droids, aliens and characters, I have KOTOR I and II, Battlefront I and II, Empire at War and Forces of Corruption, Rogue Squadron, Battle for Naboo, the Tales of the Sith graphic novel, Republic Commando and a whole slew of other Star Wars related stuff. Also I own the original unedited VHS of the original, I watched the Return of the Jedi video so many times, it messes up on the part where Chewie grabs the Ewok trap and they all get caught in the net. I watched the Clone Wars the animated one and I enjoyed it, it was good, but I think I need to re-watch it with an adult mind rather than the mind of a seventeen year old. Hard to believe that that was a decade ago... I watched the CG Clone Wars and I've got to say, I like it. A lot of my friends are iffy about it, but I think it tells a good story, it can be draggy at times, but the Mandalorian and Cad Bane segments are the best. Though oddly the last episode of season one is out of place, as it should, chronologically occur right before episode nine of season three.
I digress, this is about the EU and Disney. I'm not a big fan of Disney, they don't normally take risks nor do they really create anything innovative. They do make some wonderful films, I enjoy a lot of their animated films which are classics, but their reputation with science fiction is atrocious. During my undergrad, I wrote a paper on Disney and Science Fiction. That itself is probably worthy of a post on its own. Also check out Brian Attebery's essay Beyond Captain Nemo: Disney's Science Fiction. I'll admit that I did enjoy many parts of The Black Hole, it was an interesting, yet had some unnecessarily goofy parts (you can decide on that pun). Anyway, enough distractions! As of recently, the EU or Expanded Universe of Star Wars is no longer canon or official. This means that a lot of amazing stories and events no longer happened. No more TIE Defenders, no more Victory Class Star Destroyers, no more Hapes, no more E-Wings, no more Revan the Lord and Master of the Sith. However, there is also good that comes of this, like no more bovine merda about IG-88B or was it D uploading his consciousness to the Second Death Star and only firing the superlaser because he wished to make the Emperor think he still had control of the Death Star. No more stupid Crying or Weeping Mountain (seriously that's a thing that existed on Endor), no more stupid nine Mon Calimari on eels pushing a massive underwater gun-cannon down a volcanic pit... There were numerous turds in the EU, and a lot of it was from the early stuff (Jaxxon in particular), when there was less checking and referencing. Later EU works are rather solid and don't have as many stupid moments.The EU is what made Star Wars great, no other science fiction series up to that time (mid 90s) had such an expanded set of secondary sources. Now does this mean that the EU is dead? Heck No! Look at Star Trek's EU, which is all non-canon, aside from two comic books, anything that is not a movie or television episode (sans Threshold, which honestly only the ending of that episode is non-canon, and there are worse episodes that are canon that are out there). However, there are plenty of Star Trek books that are written each year, there are plenty of Star Trek games, some are good like Elite Forces or Armada, but the thing is, even though the Star Trek EU is non-canon, that doesn't mean it does not exist. This is probably what will happen with Star Wars's canon.
As most fans have said, the EU will always live on in our hearts, which it will. Darth Revan will always be my favourite Star Wars character. Now I'm a big player in terms of the Star Wars D&D, so I'm used to having non-Canon events and adventures, characters and vehicles. The last game I ran, the forces of Chaos from Warhammer 40,000 invaded the Star Wars galaxy and it was up to the Ctarl-Ctarl from Outlaw Star and a band of assorted Star Wars characters to stop the Sith and Chaos forces from uniting. In KOTOR I and II, I took the dark side path, which in both games is non-canon. I'm used to the non-canon aspect, so maybe that's why this isn't effecting me as much, yet is has affected my outlook on the New Disney Star Wars stuff. You will probably all hate me for this, and brand me as a heretic (call the Ordo Hereticus!) but I'm partially glad that the EU is no longer canon. For those of you who are still with me and not summoning the Ancient Spirits of Evil and Mumra the Ever Pimpin' to kill me, there was just too much contradiction and absurdities in the lore. This has been going on since the release of Episode II, when we learned the origins of Boba Fett. That threw a whole bunch of early lore on Boba's origins into turmoil and writers scrambled to make it all fix, and honestly, I don't think they did all that good of a job. It's not just that, there are many other examples, such as characters working for one side and then immediately working for the enemy and then going back to work for the side they were originally working for. Sometimes big series get overcrowded and congested, look at Star Trek, they created the alternate universe to be able to revamp and start fresh. That is what I think Star Wars needs. Honestly, most fans of Star Wars only have a slight understanding of the EU, and to set a film in the EU Star Wars universe would be a disaster for movie fans. And it is not like this has happened before, as it has. Episode III--General Grievous. If you were a big Star Wars fan like me and were up to date with the games and had watched the Clone Wars animated series, than you knew who he was. But then there were fans like my parents, and a number of my friends who only have a limited knowledge of the EU. When they saw Grievous, the were like, 'Who's this bloke?' I spent the next several hours explaining to my friends and family who Grievous was and why he was important. See the thing is, Episode II established Sarumon, err, Count Dooku as the big bad. Grievous is cool, but he doesn't have the awesomeness that Count Dooku had and also to kill Dooku off as they did was kind of stupid. So making people have to learn who Thrawn or Zsinj or Empress Ta'a, Mara Jade, or why the Emperor is alive and young or who the Yuuzhan Vong are or why the Empire and the New Republic are now allies is a lot honestly. Star Wars itself changed over the years. It started off a lot darker, with the Thrawn Stories and the sexual tension in The Splinter in the Mind's Eye. Over time, Star Wars grew much more family friendly, and example is the Super Battle Droids. In Republic Commando these robots are cold, calculating and emotionless, saying only short, phrases like, 'Die Fleshbag,' and 'Terminate Enemy' in a very metallic and nonhuman tone. They were tough, you kept firing at them and they just would not go down. In Episode Three they have those stupid nasally, comedic voices of the regular Battle Droids. They were no longer scary, they did not blast their way through their own allies to kill their target. Now they were incompetent and weak to fire. However, I've heard rumours, that I prey are not true, that Episode 7 will be even more family friendly. It was my love of science fiction and also growing family friendly trend of Star Wars which caused me to seek out other science fiction works like Halo, Mass Effect, Warhammer 40k, and Vampire Hunter D. I'm looking forward with anticipation, hope and dread at what the future lies for Star Wars. Rebels looks interesting, I like all the Imperial Propaganda and the fact that they have an Inquisitor (I see some 40k influences there), but the main cast looks lacking and comedic. Apparently the upcoming Tarkin novel is written by the guy who wrote the Darth Plagueis novel, which is supposed to be good, also Tarkin is one of my favourite characters. Also the new Battlefront game looks good, just hope it doesn't turn out to be a Battlefield or Call of Duty clone.
In conclusion, I love the EU, I grew up on those stories and games, they inspired my writing and how I waste, err, spend my money. I'm going to miss parts of the EU, like Revan, Hapes, many of the Imperial characters, the old Sith species, the Pre-Boba Fett Mandalorians, but the thing is, TIE Defenders aren't suddenly vanishing, there will always be LPs of TIE Fighter with BattleBunny blowing up Rebels in his TIE Defender, there will always be used book stores selling a worn copy of the second Thrawn book, Steam is still going to sell KOTOR, friends are still going to gather together with their d20s and roll characters and head off on some crazy adventure to stop the Hutt Cartels from getting their hands on Infinite Empire technology. Folks are still going to argue on forums if the Imperium of Man or the Galactic Empire would win in a fight with the stipulation that the Empire is limited to its Legends EU tech and numbers. It was Star Wars that caused the tie-in science fiction novel to become something special and to be taken as a serious work of art. Timothy Zahn's Thrawn novels are up there with Dune, Starship Troopers and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in terms of great science fiction novels. Zahn's novels about Thrawn paved the way for and allowed Graham McNeill's A Thousand Sons to be number 22 on the New York Times Best Seller's list in May 2010.    http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2010-03-14/mass-market-paperback/list.html
That is the legacy of the EU, legitimising these series serial-novels; yet also it resorted our faith in Star Wars at times, with games like KOTOR, and I think that now with it being declared non-canon, the good will be able to shine through and the bad can be buried out in Arizona with the ET cartridges where it belongs. So frak you Crying Mountain, screw you IG-88 uploaded consciousness. But yes, being labelled non-canon does diminish the shiny hue of legitimacy that these stories once held, but that legitimacy is towards Star Wars. Heir to the Empire does not have to prove itself as being an amazing novel, it already did that. Just because it is non-canon to Star Wars does not make it now a pathetic piece of literature. Zahn wrote an amazing series of books and no one can take that away from him.

All in all, it is sad to see that the canonical nature of the EU be taken away, but that does not mean it will cease to exist. We can still enjoy the EU and now with this new canon, we have something to compare it to and have a pillar that we can hold the new Star Wars EU towards. And if Episode 7 sucks eggs, then we can take refuge with the old EU. To be honest many science fiction series never even get as many expansions that Halo has, if any at all. Star Wars is one of those few that has a myriad of expanded works, and fans need to remember just how luck we were that we got these works.

That's my thoughts on the matter. Hey, if Rebels and Episode 7 fail, I'll probably be changing my opinion on the state of the EU. I'm giving the new EU a chance, and if it fails, then I will give it the mercy of the Emperor (sfx of fresh magazine being loaded into a storm bolter and the charging of a multi-melta gun).

Qalort signing off for now, devotes of Darth Revan.

PS, check out this video I found: http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/teamt/nash/specials/43319-here-there-be-dragons-star-wars-the-expanded-trashcan
      

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Egotism

Okay, so Kai did one of these a while back and I figured what the heck, I'll do one, might help you all to get to know me better. 

Questions about anime
1. Who is your favorite male anime character?
Hakuoro from Utawarerumono or Ghost from Halo Legends
2. Who is your favorite female character?
Empress Cornelia of Britannia! 
3. What is your favorite anime soundtrack?
Outlaw Star
4. What is your favorite anime opening + animation?
Outlaw Star
5. What is your favorite anime ending song + animation?
 Outlaw Star, I'm starting to see a pattern here...
6. What is your favorite anime scene?
Chi's ultimate quest to find underpants.
7. If you could meet an anime character who would it be?
Major Mokoto Kusanagi
8. What anime character is most similar to you in terms of personality?
Probably Haruhi Suzumiya
9. What is your favorite thing about anime?
The stories and the dynamics, the same things that attract me to a good video game or book. If the story can be told in a good manner and I like the subject manner that's what makes it for me.
10. What is your least favorite thing about anime?
Otakus, the current fascination with lolis and the rampant ecchi and current trend to have male leads that are blander than bland. I never thought that negative eight dimensional characters were possible.
11. Who are your favorite anime couple?
Holo and Lawrence Craft
12. Who is your favorite anime animal?
Does Mokona count?
13. What anime would make a good game?
XxxHolic, that would be an amazing RPG. 
14. What game would make a good anime?
Risk, Ace Combat or Warhammer 40,000
15. What was the first anime you ever watched?
I think it was Flint the Time Detective or Pokemon, but the first one I saw from start to finish was Outlaw Star on Tonami.
16. Do you think you’ll ever stop watching anime?
If I stop watching anime, I'll die. It's like food and water and sleep, I need it to survive.
17. What is your favorite genre of anime?
Action, but I love a good, comedic slice of life. 
18. What is your least favorite genre of anime?
Ecchi, I've some guilty pleasures that are ecchi, but for the most part they tend to bore me. I can only see so much T&A before it starts to get boring. 
19. Are you open about watching anime with people you know?
Yeah, when people are asking me about good shows to watch, I'll suggest anime along side normal, live action shows. 
20. Have you ever been to Japan?
Nope, never been to the Asian continent. Farthest I've been is Denver. 
21. What anime was the biggest let down for you?
Second season of Haruhi, and second season of Code Geass.
22. What anime was better than expected?
Clannad.  
23. What is the best anime fight scene?
That space battle scene in the Melancholy of Haruhi. I'm a sucker for massive space battles. Also Big Zam's Last Stand. Zeon Will Never Die!
24. Who is your anime waifu?
The strong, action gals, usually the ones with purple hair, and to be more specific, Cornelia from Code Geass
25. What was your favorite video game as a child?
Pokemon.
Questions about me
26. Most Embarrassing moment?
I don't have embarrassing moments.
27a. Can you drive?
Yes
27b. Do you own a car?
Technically it's my father's.
28. Are you mature?
I'm rated A for Adults Only!
29. What year were you born?
1987M02
30. Do you prefer cats or dogs?
Cats are awesome, and Cat-Gals/Nekos are even better, especially busty ones.
31. Describe yourself physically.
Scottish-Saxon, lithe, handsome, tall and agile.
32. What would you name your first child?
Lilith or Lagatha
33. What is the worst injury you have ever had?
A kayak rammed into my head, dead centre between my eye brows. No stitches but a butterfly bandage.
34. What is your worse habit?
Nail biting. 
35. Do you drink or smoke?
I drink mead from time to time. I cannot abide smoking.
36. Do you have a tattoo?
No 
37. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Night person, I live in the night. 
38. Have you ever slept past midday
Once or twice 
39. Do you regret anything?
Yes, but I will not say it to strangers 
40. Can you count the number of friends you have on one hand?
No, I would need sixteen fingers.
41. Do you wear glasses?
No
42. Are you a picky eater?
Yes, if it has bones in it I won't eat it. Choked on a bone when younger.
43. Would you die for someone?
Am I going to be Necromanced back afterwards?
44. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Necromancy.
45. Do you believe in the supernatural?
Yes, most definitely, I've experienced some crazy stuff and so have my friends.
46. Would you rather be rich or famous?
Rich, gotta feed the Warhammer 40k, LEGO, Anime and Video Game addiction.
47. Have you ever committed a crime.
No
48. Time Traveler or ghost?
Ghost Time Traveller
49. Does someone have a crush on you?
I wish
50. Are you in a relationship?
I wish

Resurrection!

After a long time of inactivity, I have returned to try and revive this site again. I have enlisted the aid of several friends who have offered to put forth materials in their respective hobbies/areas of interest. I am working on redoing to the site and am eventually going to post a few things myself. Until then, here! Eat a video!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Blood on Fire Review Part Zero

So I'm planning on doing a book review of this book called Blood on Fire by a one M. P. DePaul. (Here is a link to the author's blog site http://mpdepaul.com ). Now here is a general outline of what to expect:
Vampires
High School
Blood Magic
Dismemberment
Death
Destruction
Heavy Metal Concert
Humour
Supernatural
Adventure
Campy Vampy

But seriously, the book is really good and rather addicting. It is the first in a series of four books (the other three have yet to be published). I'll talk more about the book when I get to my review of it.

Qalort signing off!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Plan

Qalort here again! Hey here's a heads up for my current plan. I'm going to try and make a post each week, it might be about something random or it may be a long and drawn out analysis of something. I've got a lot I want to talk about, but I'm also open to suggestions and requests. I'll try to fulfill requests, but be warned I'm not all that knowledgeable about anime and such. I've hardly any knowledge about comics so those are out of the question.

I think the next thing I'll talk about will either be myself or the Severan Dominate from Warhammer 40,000.

Qalort signing out!


Who's the New Bloke?

Hello world, I'm Qalort, or Qal for short. The Q is pronounced like the Q in quiet. I've been Kai's friend in crime for over a decade, though he'll deny it. Anyway, I've a degree in history and am currently working on getting a masters in English, so I like to analyse and talk about crap that no one cares about. I'll be spamming the site with my thoughts and opinions on science fiction, mythology, fantasy and stuff that I find interesting and hope that you will too find interesting.
My hobbies include, but are not limited to reading, watching TV, video games, table top gaming, listening to rock/metal music, delving into the paranormal and the other worldly, and researching random topics and things.

I should weigh in on something, so I'll give a mini-write up on the pre-order bonus that came with the LEGO Hobbit Video Game. Okay, it's a minifigure of Bilbo Baggins dressed in his night clothes. The shirt is really cool, since it has the green and umber checkered pattern (on the front and back), and the arms have similar printing, something you don't see from LEGO much. The legs are the short type that LEGO uses for children and Hobbits. They are coloured dark red, nothing too special here, though I don't think I've a set of short legs in that hue...Anyway, the face and hair is standard for a Bilbo minifigure. The head has the two faces, one being happy and the other is a slightly worried look to it. The hair is the normal typed used for Hobbits--wavy and slightly puffy. Overall it is a cool figure and I like it. I can't wait to set it up in my LEGO Bag End set.

Qalort Signing off!