What’s New — April 2017

Well, March turned out to be a pretty amazing month for me, and now I’m hoping April will top it. =)

YjgxZjk5MDcxMCMvMU5aSXU4Z2lxdzJWRjVReHdmLVBPYlZzVE1NPS8xOTEweDEwMDAvc21hcnQvaHR0cHM6Ly9zMy5hbWF6b25hd3MuY29tL3BvbGljeW1pYy1pbWFnZXMvd2p1a3hycGJtd3JocGMyaWtpeHA2a2dkN2o3dWdmMG52cWVoanZ2Y2Last month I played Horizon Zero Dawn. It was easily one of the best video games I’ve ever played. The story, the lead character Aloy, the graphics, the scenery, the structure to the open-world questing… everything was near perfect. I’ll post something about it soon, because I’d like to discuss how it approaches an open world format and compare it to other open-world games like The Witcher 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Skyrim.

Aside from that, I started re-reading one of my favorite books ever, the science fiction classic Dune by Frank Herbert. I’m actually listening to the audiobook on my commute, downloaded from Audible, so if anyone is interested in what it’s like to listen to I can review that aspect of it. You can read about my history with Dune here — it’s kind of the book that got me into sci-fi in the first place!

C7yMP1wVUAAZ6yqI also started playing Mass Effect: Andromeda last month, and I must say, it is so much better than I expected. While I tried to avoid reviews before starting, I was hearing a lot of complaints — not just about the facial animations (which honestly doesn’t phase me, that’s not why I play Mass Effect), but also about the writing not being great and the story not being very captivating. Fortunately, I disagree with those complaints. I am loving the game so far. I feel really connected to my Ryder, the protagonist of the game, because Andromeda features four tone options that really shape a unique personality for her. It’s much deeper than what I’ve seen in previous BioWare games.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll review the game when I’m done with it. In the meantime, you can read my game diary as I play it here.

In other news, baseball season is back! I went to my first game (pre-season) a couple of days ago, and I can’t wait to start watching games again. If you’re into baseball, you can read this post I wrote about the baseball team roster I would create out of Mass Effect trilogy characters. I totally want to do that again for Andromeda now!

I’ve also been working on fitness goals a lot lately. Originally I was going to train for a 10K this month, but I decided to postpone running goals to focus more on strength training and flexibility. I took my first lyra class last week — it’s an aerial sport where you perform transitions and poses in a hoop suspended from the ceiling — and am so sore and bruised, I have some work to do to get in shape for it! I’m excited to start training more heavily as I continue to take beginner’s classes.

As for writing… I haven’t done anything all month. I want to change that in April. I have been thinking about my novel a lot lately, and I miss writing it. I think I just needed a breather to focus on other things (new job, fitness, and video games!) and gain a little perspective on my story. I feel I have that now, so it’s time to dive back in.

Dragon Age OriginsI also attended a Game of Thrones concert last week which was extremely fun. You can check out my mini-review here.

This month is also my birthday, and as always, I’ll be honoring my tradition of playing Dragon Age: Origins again. I hope to complete a playthrough this year, since I didn’t last year. I think I’ll go with a male character this time, which is something I just never do…

What are you guys up to this month? What games are you playing?

— Ashley

9 Comments Add yours

  1. A. K. Bogert says:

    I go through phases where I don’t play much of anything, and then ones where I’m playing all the time. I recently hit the “I want to play games” phase but didn’t want to get too invested in anything big because I’ve preordered Persona 5 (my first Persona game!) and that comes out next week. I imagine it’ll be occupying me quite a bit in April, but until then I’ve been trying to find smaller games to play, working through the backlog of stuff that I’ve gotten through PlayStation Plus for free but never actually played. So over the last few days I’ve played Journey and Gone Home for the first time — absolutely adored both of them.

    I’ve also been watching Prison Break for the first time, kinda trying to catch up before it comes back to Fox (but slowly realizing I just don’t have the stamina for that much binging). I finished Season 2 yesterday, which means I have two more seasons (and it looks like a movie?) to go before I’m caught up. Jury’s out on whether I actually make that happen.

    I’m thinking I need to start some form of blogging up again, seeing as I pay annually for not one but two domains (adambogert.com and novellygraphic.com) which have been all but dormant for the better part of three years. Perhaps I’ll make that my goal for April…

    1. Ooh I’d definitely be interested to read your posts if you do start blogging soon! Anyway, I love Journey too. Still need to play Gone Home. I’m interested in Persona 5, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts! I haven’t pre ordered and probably won’t play it for awhile though, until I’m done with MEA. :)

      1. A. K. Bogert says:

        You can probably finish Gone Home in a single few-hours sitting; it’s not especially long. I played it right after playing the Rise of the Tomb Raider DLC Blood Ties, which I’d seen described as Lara Croft: Gone Home (you similarly explore an empty house finding diary entries from family members in that). I recommend both, but Gone Home is a masterpiece.

        1. Good to know. I’m glad you reminded me of if and I’ll have to play it. I have heard so many good things, I know I’m missing out!

  2. Khayl Adam says:

    Cool write up, Ashley. I think I’m going to try and finish Persona 4 again (for the true ending) this month, as I think it will be quite hard to go back after playing P5!

    1. Nice! I started playing Persona 4 but never finished it! I should do that.

  3. Heh, I took almost exactly the same screenshot as you have in the header when I got to that scene. It’s a photogenic moment.

    Anyway, obviously I’m knee-deep in Andromeda at the moment. Been posting a few thoughts on it here and there on my blog and Facebook page — nothing spoilery. Generally I like it, though the side quests are definitely excessive. It is pretty much Inquisition in space.

    Suvi is still my favourite character for the time being, with Kallo second. I still like all of the squad members at least a little, but my opinion of them is still changing day to day. Right now I’m favouring Cora and Drack. I very much didn’t expect to like Drack, but he’s a bit more mellow than most Krogan, and I’m really starting to warm to him.

    I am enjoying the main story a lot, too. I like how many mysteries there are. I have no idea what’s going on in the best possible way.

    Not sure what I’ll do gaming-wise after Andromeda. Expect a blog post on the options I’m considering soonish.

    TV-wise, I’m excited because season three of iZombie is starting next week. Delightful show. I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it.

    Also, I had a sudden whim to start submitting some of my fiction for publication again (can’t even remember the last time I did that), so I’m kind of hoping I might hear back about that this month. Will probably be rejected, but nothing to lose.

    1. Oh good luck with your writing submissions! That’s exciting. It’s been ages since I did that too, but I’m not very good with short fiction. Anyway I’ll try to keep up with your posts better to read more of your thoughts on Andromeda! It’s been a busy week so I haven’t been reading blogs quite as much… Time to catch up. :) I have yet to dive into Andromeda past Eos, I’m a little nervous if you say it’s like Inquisition with the side quests, but then what really bugged me about that game was also how you are literally locked out of the next main quest until you amass enough points. Anyway, I’m curious to keep hearing your thoughts! Thanks for the reply.

      1. I’m not great at short fiction either (as is probably apparent if you’ve ever read any of my stories), but it can’t hurt to try.

        I did mean to mention I’ve been enjoying reading your Andromeda diary. For a bit there you seemed to be consistently just a day behind me, but no-lifer that I am, I’ve now pulled ahead. Regarding the side-quests, I do think you may begin to find them tiresome after a while, but for what it’s worth there doesn’t seem to be any gating on the main story this time, from what I can tell. Even if there is, AVP (the power/influence equivalent) is easier to earn since you get the lion’s share of it from activating vaults and establishing outposts, rendering all the other side activities much more optional.

        Also there’s nothing quite as tedious as collecting shards, so that’s something, at least.

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