Monday, January 14, 2013

Reading Challenge Update

So I'm now on book 7 (Burnt Offerings) in the Anita Blake Series. Doing a reading challenge like this really makes you feel accomplished. I'm seriously considering another reading challenge using The Dresden Files. I think the only reason I'm getting through the Anita Blake Series so quickly is because I've read it before so reading The Dresden Files in under a year might be trickier even though it's only 14 books.

Honestly though I like Laurell K Hamilton's character's so much that I might even start on the Meredith Gentry series as soon as I'm finished. I haven't read any reviews about the series (on purpose) because I have a bad feeling that the fans who turned on the Anita Blake series (and with good reason too) didn't have anything positive to say about the Meredith Series either.

I really need to read Lolita too, it's been on my reading list (and in my kindle) for too long now.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Laurell K Hamilton: Anita Blake Vampire Hunter - The Laughing Corpse (Book 2) Review

A Quick Sumary: 

Anita Blake raises zombies for a living but when a client asks her to sacrifice a human in order to raise a 300 year old zombie she refuses, even if he is offering a million dollars. Unfortunately some people will do anything for money, and it soon becomes clear that someone else took the offer when the zombie's victims start piling up.

My Review (don't worry there's no spoilers)

The Laughing Corpse showcases some of the best writing that Laurell K Hamilton has ever produced. She makes Anita seem believable as a character (which doesn't happen as much in her later books) by having Anita, the monster 'expert' admit that someone is better than her at raising the dead. This vulnerability made Anita feel more real as a character as normally her exchanges with other characters are fueled by her very hostile reactions to the problems she faces.

Hamilton creates a very gruesome and convincing world inhabited by vampires and wereanimals but, surprisingly, it's not just the three-dimensional 'monster' characters that make Anita's world feel as though you could just step into it - it's Hamilton's descriptions of the crimes they commit. Her vivid accounts of the crime scenes that Anita investigates with the police bring the reader to imagine the finer details of a world where vampires and wereanimals exist.

The previous book in the series, Guilty Pleasures (you can read my review of Guilty Pleasures here)  hinted at some of the more interesting background details that make up Anita's world and, again, in The Laughing Corpse, we are subtly fed snippets of information about the world's reaction to the monster's through Anita's conversations with other people.

When we were first introduced to Anita Blake in Guilty Pleasures she was a vampire hunter who had a clear line drawn between the 'monsters' and the humans. By the end of the book she was starting to question this line and The Laughing Corpse sees her question it even further as she interacts with monsters that she deems as friends. Anita's inner struggle is only background noise at this point but it is obvious that it will impact her relationship with more than one character in the future.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

3 Things That Will Make You Better At Call of Duty (or any other online FPS)

If you're finding yourself getting frustrated with Black Ops 2's mulitplayer or want to kill even more zombies then this list is for you.

3. Play offline (just for a little while)

Preferably against bots if possible and make sure it;s on the hardest difficulty while your at it. Just take the time to get to know the maps. You probably think you know them now but you really need to get to know every nook and cranny that enemies could use to sneak up on you or bypass you to the spawn.

2. Make a class you would normally never use and just play with it.

Hate the riot shield? Use it right now. You've probably gotten to that point where you have a class or two that you like and you play with them constantly.  This is one of the main things that make Call of Duty boring. Change it up and see if it works, even if it doesn't it should have given you a break from your old play style.
One of the easiest ways to increase your accuracy is to switch to the FAL OSW (a semi-automatic gun) it will force you to be more accurate as you don't have a spray of fire to count on, you have to make every shot count. When you do finally switch back to fully auto it will have made a huge difference.

 1. Buy these FPS thumb stick covers by KontrolFreek.

They give your thumb sticks better grip and torque (rotation) making you more accurate. I seriously can't recommend these things enough, you will be surprised how much they will improve your game.

If you want even more tips I also have this entire article on getting better at Black Ops 2 online.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Top 5 Zombie Games That Are Ridiculously Fun

Dead Rising too is more about having fun than it is about zombies. I'll be honest here when I think of Dead Rising 2 I think about the most hilarious ways I've seen zombies being killed. I have often used an entire bench as a weapon - because I can.

If you want to go around a mall packed with zombies and beat the hell out of them the buy it right now.

Dead Frontier is a free MMORPG (like World of Warcraft but with zombies) and it's fun in the exact same way that WoW is fun -  you grind skills and feel a huge sense of achievement when you go up a level. There's also a nice social aspect tot he game where the survivors have to band together to fend off a hoard of zombies that attack their settlement once everyday. 

Read my full review of Dead Frontier here.

I found myself getting bored with the recent Call of Duty's zombie mode (and I hated that damn lava everywhere) but then I started playing grief mode, which is when two teams of four play against each other while fighting the zombies. I have played it with friends and strangers and I'm really enjoying i so far. It can have more of a rush sometimes because both teams have to us the random box and standing in a queue for that thing in a tiny room with zombies coming from everywhere can get difficult.

I know it's not a standalone game (it's a game mode in Call of Duty World at War) but playing Nazi Zombies back when World at War was the most recent Call of Duty was some of the best bonding moments I've ever had with my friends. We also argued a lot over who wasn't pulling their weight (we're those kind of gamers) it tested friendships and strengthened others and it's damn well one of the most fun zombie games out there.

DayZ is also not a standalone game (yet) it's a mod for Arma II but it is one of the most realistic zombie survival games I have ever played. It teaches you fear in a way you wouldn't expect - you will quickly come to learn that zombies are nothing compared to other players. Playing DayZ with friends

Read my full review of DayZ here.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Zombie Game That Disappointed Me Greatly

Dead Island was the game that for almost the entire year before it came out I could not stop reading about it and watching trailers. I was so excited. It looked exactly like my zombie survival game dream in the form of a video game. It's a zombie RPG with some FPS action. You complete quests for various characters that you happen across  in a bid to keep as many characters alive as possible (or not) you main goal is to be rescued obviously.

What I don't understand is that on paper it has everything I want, but when I played it I just didn't feel any spark.
I played a lot of it too, more than any of my other friends (except one but he's just one of those people that pay every game to death), but I just didn't fall in love with it. I think it might have been the beautiful island scenery that put me off. Yes it was amazing looking and it was a great juxtaposition with zombies and all but I think if they game had been exactly the same (well almost) but with grittier scenery and more of a horror element to it might have been the love affair to end all love affairs with games (for me).

I like zombies because they scare the absolute hell out of me and I, like lot of people, live in a city (it's a city in Ireland so a town almost anywhere else) and nothing scares me more than the thought of a zombie outbreak in a city so even though I embraced the tropical island setting as an idea it didn't quiet do it for me in-game.

I didn't hate it though, like I said earlier I did play a lot of it before I decided it wasn't for me. One of my friends couldn't get enough of it though and spend hours getting all of the achievements. So maybe it was just me.

You can buy Dead Island here if you want to play it and decide for yourself.