Category Archives: What’s New

What’s New — May 2017

It’s a new month, which means it’s time for another update and a fresh start on nerdy adventures! Here’s what I’ve been up to…

jaal_mass_effect_andromeda.jpgLast month I started my adventures in Mass Effect: Andromeda. This month I’ll be wrapping them up. I’m about halfway through the game now, and I’m sure I’ll have some video posts incoming as I keep playing, along with a full review! I seriously ❤ this game. And Jaal! I finally found my new BioWare romance. You can follow along with my adventures here if you are so inclined to read a ridiculously long, detailed, spoiler-filled diary of the game!

I’ve also been playing the indie game Cosmic Star Heroine which I recommend to anyone who is into a.) 16-bit graphics, b.) turn-based combat, c.) wacky, kickass sci-fi, and/or d.) visual novel-style dialogue all over the place. It’s so much fun, guys.

Prey and Farpoint are out this month, and I must say, I would dig a solid shooter sometime soon. Mass Effect is technically a shooter, but I use my powers rather than shooting half the time and am currently playing on an easier difficulty — which means I spend way more time just hanging out and talking in the game. Prey seems like it will scratch my shooter itch, but I don’t know if I’ll get around to it immediately. I kinda want to finish Mass Effect first.

Same thing with Farpoint, which is intriguing mainly for being a VR shooter with the new Aim controller. I don’t know how I feel about holding a gun-like object in my hand, but I’m curious to try it. It might feel too real to me, too violent, if that makes sense. Whether or not I get into it, it looks amazing and I’m sure it will elevate the whole VR experience to new realistic heights.

HandmaidsTaleTA.jpgHulu’s new series The Handmaid’s Tale has also just started. An adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel, I’ve been waiting for it since I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Claire Danes, earlier this year. Few books have resonated with me quite like The Handmaid’s Tale, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’m enjoying the Hulu series a lot so far. It keeps the protagonist Offred’s narration at the forefront, which might make it slow-paced to some, but as a reader I believe it’s the most fulfilling way to understand the story.

As for my writing, I’m gradually getting back into my book. After a couple of months of inspiration and sweat after National Novel Writing Month, things sort of tapered off. Part of that was from family stuff I was dealing with, and a new job I was getting used to, and… yeah, priorities. But I’m setting myself up with a new schedule to continue writing my novel. I want to finish this thing and pop open the bottle of wine I’ve been storing for when I finally type the last period. Or question mark? I might end my book with a question mark.

What are you guys up to this month? What’s everybody watching and playing? I also need new TV show recommendations… =)

Ashley

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

What’s New — March 2017

Happy springtime, everybody!

So I have no idea why I made such a fuss about Horizon Zero Dawn last month, because it came out on the last day of last month… which means really, it’s March that’s going to be totally full of this game. I am so excited about finally playing it. I ordered the Collector’s Edition and will have a quick review of all the goodies in it up later this week. =)

forhonor-guard-breakLast month I got very into the video game For Honor. You can read my full review here. I also tried Elder Scrolls Online at long last, but I haven’t played much of it as I am, as usual, overloaded with new games to play! I’ll probably have some more posts and some gameplay up later this month as I master my Nobushi class. It’s just so addicting, guys. I can’t recommend the game enough!

I also read (or listened to, since it was an audiobook) Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, which was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever read. It depicts a near-future dystopia in which women are treated as property. I highly recommend it, and if you enjoy audiobooks, Claire Danes’ narration was perfect. I wish she narrated more books.

I’m also reading the next book in Becky Chambers’ series, after picking up The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet last year. So far, I’m enjoying A Closed and Common Orbit, although it’s not quite as much fun or as rich as the first book. I’m intrigued by the strength of the story so far, though! (You can read more of my thoughts about these books here.)

Mass-Effect-Andromeda-1.pngThis month, in addition to Horizon finally being on my PlayStation 4 and all over my TV screen, I am drooling to think about Mass Effect Andromeda. It comes out toward the end of the month, and… well, you guys know by now that I am totally in love with everything Mass Effect! My main concern right now is figuring out who I’m going to romance. I want to know everything about every character.

That’s pretty much all that’s on my radar right now. Some personal family emergency stuff went down for me last month, which has been occupying a lot of my time and brain space. It is going okay though, and I am relieved for my family about that. But I am also happy to get back to my regular life, my writing, my working out, and my video games.

What’s on your agenda for March? And also if anyone else is playing either Horizon or Mass Effect, let’s compare notes on Twitter or in the comments here! I love to hear how other people play RPGs and where our choices and paths may differ. =)

— Ashley

What’s New — February 2017

Hello, everybody! Now that we’ve made it through the first month of the year — which for me was all about getting back on track with my health, and starting a new job — it’s time to start getting excited about the springtime of video game releases.

Last month I played a little Skyrim, a little Iron Banner in Destiny, a little of the For Honor beta, and a lot of Titanfall 2.

3079852-nioh_screenshot07.jpg
Nioh

This month, I’m jumping into three games: Nioh, For Honor, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Nioh is new to my radar — it’s a Team Ninja title featuring a samurai battling it out against demons in 17th century Japan. It’s also a PlayStation exclusive. While it’s said to be inspired by Dark Souls, it’s reminding me more of The Witcher — though maybe that’s just because of the white-haired hero. Meanwhile, For Honor is a game featuring knights, Vikings, and samurai battling in an epic war. Like Nioh, the combat is all about your stance, and timing your blocking and attacks just right. (I’m gonna be soooo good at blocking after this month. Currently I sort of hate it.) Finally, Horizon: Zero Dawn (another PlayStation exclusive) features a young woman who wields a bow and arrows against robotic enemies, in a post-apocalyptic tribal setting. It just looks amazing. I’ve already pre-ordered the Collector’s Edition for the amazing bust of Aloy, the hero of the game.

As for other entertainment, there’s not a lot on my radar right now. Last month I watched my very first Resident Evil movie, which also happens to be the very last in the (long) series. All I can say is… it is action-packed. This month my plan is to catch up on some of the Oscar nominated films that I missed. Since I tend to see mostly action movies in theaters, it never fails that when Oscar season rolls around, I’m totally behind on all the good dramas and comedies that came out!

51GpIPXGToL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgLast month I also read the book Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. Well, I listened to the audiobook, I should say. It’s how I keep myself entertained on my commutes, and while the past few months I’ve been listening to the In Death series of sci-fi romance mysteries by J.D. Robb (that’s Nora Roberts), I decided to change it up now. Hidden Figures is a really interesting study of some of the African-American women who worked at NASA during the Mercury and Apollo missions, as well as the women before them who did the math calculations for airplanes during the 1940’s and 1950’s. I love that they are not only so accomplished in their field, but that field also happens to be mathematics. Now I’d like to see the movie this month if it’s still in theaters!

The other book I’m currently reading is a fantasy novel by Robert Jackson Bennett called City of Stairs. I’m only about a third of the way through, but it’s fascinating so far — all about a world where the gods have been killed, which has also destroyed the magic they imbued in the world. Studying the gods or any type of magic is outlawed. The story itself is a murder mystery, but what’s really interesting (so far) is learning about this place and its history.

As for exercise, I’ve been getting back into it… slowly. I started a new job this month at Sony Playstation (which I should warn you will prevent me from writing about a lot of games, but I’ll still review other titles!), so I sort of let exercise go since I can only focus on one big thing at a time! Now that I’m settling in, though, I have a new schedule to keep up with exercise, writing, learning Spanish, and all the other things I like to make time for. I’ve also been running again, which feels really good. It’s the hardest workout for me, but that’s what makes it the most rewarding at the end of the day. =)

What are you guys up to this month, and what games are you playing?

— Ashley