Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Rise of the Tomb Raider:
I first gave this game a B- back in January 2017. I recently picked it up again because I wasn't sure if I'd given it enough of a chance. I can now say that its predecessor, the Tomb Raider reboot is superior in every way. The parts of this game where you're actually playing are fun, with tight controls and neat mini-puzzles. However, the game beats you over the head with continuous cutscenes telling a boring story with awful voice acting and much of your time is spent on loading screens, backtracking through old levels to open up impassable barriers with new tools you gained in later levels (this is an awful idea in Zelda games too). The whole package ends up being tedious and momentumless and I was sick of playing by the time I reached the final boss.

Final Re-Grade: C-

Moss VR:
This is a charming, well-constructed VR game in which you help a mouse defeat an evil serpent in a storybook-style land (heavy shades of Redwall abound). You control the mouse with your Oculus Touch controllers but can also interact with the environment as a god-like character, moving blocks out of the way or distracting enemies so the mouse can get in a good sword strike. The game is very polished and cute, but it is also over very quickly without much evolution in play style or replayability. It's nice that content like this with high production values is being made for VR, but definitely wait for a sale.

Final Grade: B-

The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale, Season One Part Two:
Six more episodes of this show have dropped on Netflix, but they're hit or miss in quality. The show needs to devote more time to mocking reality TV shows and less time on original skits -- all of the skits play out at the mercy of whichever guest star is plugging a new show that week, and many of them are out of their comedic element. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

The Gallant by Janny Wurts:
This extended novella is available in a new, massive Kindle bundle (99 cents for 6 fantasy stories spanning 1600 pages) called Secrets and Spells. I'll review the whole collection if I ever get through it, but this particular story is definitely worth the 99 cents on its own. The story takes place in the world of the epic Wars of Light and Shadow series (for which I run the Paravia Wiki), and delves into the backstory of a minor character several hundred years before the main story begins. There's an immediacy to the story that kept me reading (I finished it in an evening) and this is a good taster for Janny Wurts' writing style. (See also, my full Amazon review).

Final Grade: A

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