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.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Anita Blake Reading Challenge

I know that I've mentioned Anita Blake here before - it's a series that I've been reading for a long time. So much so that I am now reading it for a second time despite the fact that it's a twenty book series.

But I also decided that I didn't want to spend my precious reading time slowly crawling through the series again because I have a pretty big (mental) reading list and I really want to start it. That's why I set myself the challenge to read the series in less than a year, although I'm pretty sure it'll take me a lot less time than that.

I set myself this challenge in mid September and I'm now on book 6 The Killing Dance. I'm pretty happy with six books in three months or so considering I'm also in college full time.

Anyway the whole point of this post is the reading challenge part - I'm not the only one doing it (I'm pretty sure I saw someone write about using the Anita Blake series for a reading challenge before) so if you like vampires, werewolves mystery solving and lots of sex (Anita seems to find her way into the bed of almost every male characte rafter the first ten books and, no, that's not why I'm reading it) then you should considering undertaking the challenge too, and hey, maybe even tell me about it.

If you want to join my reading challenge and read the Anita Blake Series for the first time (or continue on from where you left off) you should probably check out this list of Anita Blake books in reading order.

Possibly The Best Online Zombie Mmorpg

A great zombie MMORPG should have you afraid for your life at every turn, it should make you worry about finding food, assume that other players won't help you and all the other 'mundane' stuff that most games just gloss over. When I think about playing a zombie RPG I think about a game based on surviving against zombies and other players.

Fortunately this game exists, as DayZ a mod for Arma 2's Combined Operations add-on. It's not entirely free as you have to use it with the full game of Arma 2 and the Combined Operations ad-on but the mod files can be downloaded for free from

Things that make DayZ an awesome zombie MMORPG:

  • If you are injured badly you have to do something about it or bleed out.
  • Other players are really protective (and sometimes outright selfish) like we all would be in a real zombie outbreak. They will kill you on sight almost 100 percent of the time.
  • Other players will set up traps. And you will fall for them. 
  • Eventually you will realize that other people are far scarier than zombies.
  • You could make allies though and band together to find supplies and watch each others backs. Awesome.
  • Even if you are playing with friends you still spawn separately and have to find each other.
  • You will die, a lot. And learn from your mistakes.

Playing DayZ and actually staying alive requires you to actually think tactically in terms of equipment and movement. You will learn to treat everyone as an enemy. I think that's what makes the game so enjoyable as it's so realistic.

You will die a lot at first though. Other players will most likely have weapons and until you do you'll have to sneak around and avoid them.

Another thing that I find very interesting about DayZ is that it's such an individual experience each time, you really can't replicate anything. For this reason I find it really entertaining watching others play too. Especially FRANKIEonPCin1080p (I am not affiliated with him in anyway I just really like his youtube channel in general, it's really awesome  andyou should check it out if you like videogames)

For those of you that like the sound of the game but don't want to buy an entire game and an add-on just to play it then you'll be glad to here that DayZ is apparently going to be released as a standalone game of its own, possibly in 2013.

Friday, January 4, 2013

5 Really Unsexy Things You'll Have To Do During The Zombie Apocalypse

When the zombie apocalypse happens, and it is going to happen, you're probably not going to band together with your friends, who always thought you were an idiot for even thinking this could happen, because they're probably dead. Unless you already own a firearm of some description you're probably not going to have one and it's most definitely not going to result in your saving a sexy damsel in distress at some point because no one is going to be attractive anymore if they're trying to survive.

1. Cut Your Hair

It's probably the last thing you'll think of but realistically it should be the first, because you really, really don't want a zombie to grab you by the hair. Imagine dying like that knowing that you could have prevented it.
So how short do I cut it you ask? You should basically be just a step above bald - this goes for both men and women, and there's very few women who are going to look good like that.

2. Wear Tight Clothes

A lot of you are probably reading this and thinking, 'nice'. Well, you're wrong, it won't be sexy because most people aren't movie-star sexy in real life. Think about your overweight basement dwelling nerd of a neighbor (who's actually a genius because he's been preparing for this for years) wearing a skin tight morph suit of some description to avoid being grabbed by zombies. See, not sexy, not sexy at all.
But we'll all get pretty skinny and fit trying to survive so it might get a little sexier.

3. Pee In Front Of People

You can't just wander off into the bushes to save your modesty when you need to go. Male or female, your companions need to be able to see you at all times for everyone's safety. I mean this isn't The Walking Dead you're friends aren't going to brave a forest and search a zombie's insides to see if he ate you, if you go missing you're dead, if you get bitten you're dead. So pee where you can be seen ok?

4. Wear Dirty Clothes

Especially at the beginning of the apocalypse. It's not like you're going to be breaking into to houses to wash your clothes. Staying 'presentable' will be the last thing on your mind. You'll probably wear the same BO ridden shirt for weeks, maybe months before you've secured a location enough to even consider washing them.
If you're lucky you might come across unworn clothes that fit you in your travels but I wouldn't count on it.

5. Not Brush Your Teeth

Probably the least sexy thing a human being can do and, believe me, you won't be doing it for a while. Food and survival are going to be your top priorities and when things start getting serious I'm sure you'll agree to forgo your dental hygiene rather than venture into that ominous looking supermarket just for a toothbrush.

Black Ops 2 Online Multiplayer Guide

Seeing as (by looking at my stats for the blog) a lot of people are actually searching for and clicking on the Call of Duty multiplayer guides I was linking to before I guess I should put up one for Black Ops 2.

So here's a Black Ops 2 Multiplayer Guide

I update the guide pretty frequently - it's kind of becoming a blog of its own at this stage so keep checking back to it for more advice each week.

I haven't had the chance to play as much Black Ops 2 zombies as I would like but I did really enjoy the eight player 'Grief' mode a lot. That whole mode is based a lot on chance (i.e. what random perks zombies happen to drop) rather than strategy. Although I did get a nice little strategy going on The Farm so if I am going to write a zombie guide it'll probably be for that map.
The only thing that really pissed me off was the whole lava thing, I know I'm kind of impatient anyway, but I really think that the lava would have been better if it didn't cover such a large area. I like the zombies catching fire and exploding though it's just damn cool.