Opinion Piece

Weekend Whammy: Games Bring People Together, The Witcher Books & Marvel Phase 4

Happy belated weekend, friends! It’s time to chat about what I’ve reviewed this week, what I’ve played, what I’ve read and why I really do need to start going to be at a sensible time. Okay, maybe I’ll skip that last one.

If you haven’t already read it (shame on you) then you should absolutely go check out How World of Warcraft Brings People Together, written by an amazing friend of mine. As the name of the article suggests it’s written by her and based on her own experiences of a long-running World of Warcraft guild where some members have been with them for over a decade. It’s lovely look at how gaming can bring people of all ages, creeds, nationalities and beliefs together.

I handed out a pretty big score this week, giving Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled a 4.5. I was actually close to giving it a 5 out of 5, but there were some flaws that held me back. The multiplayer, for example, needs to some work.

But really, Crash Team Racing is what good gaming should be. Or it least iw would be if I didn’t want to punch everyone I play it with in the face. Itr’s not their fault, but man the fact that there’s no window of invincibility after getting hit is driving me up the wall. So many of my online races are getting ruined by being pummelled by not one, not two, but sometimes three or four power-ups in quick succession. It’s just not fun to have your effort callously stripped away especially when you can’t do very much about it. You can hold back a shield or a TNT box to deflect missiles, but that only saves you from a single attack. On top of all that, being hit by a power-up can also send you bouncing off of the track, so that’s another few seconds of valuable time flushed down the murky drain.

This week I also took a brief break from games to chat about the newest Spider-Man movie. I am a complete Spider-Man geek and have been since I was running around in diapers, so it has been at least a year. While I don’t avidly read all the Spider-Man comics available these days my love of the character is still very much a part of me. So I was damn happy that Far From Home was a great Spider-Man flick and just a solid move overall.

Far From Home also signals the end of Marvel’s Phase 4, even though I think we all felt Phase 4 finished with Endgame. Moving into this new eras of Marvel films I admit that I’m currently not feeling very excited about the upcoming movies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m probably still watch them but Endgame truly did feel like the end of something special. Cap has passed on the shield, Iron Man died for the cause and Black Widow sacrificed herself. The original Avengers team is long-gone and in its place new heroes will stand, but so far they aren’t heroes that have captured my imagination in quite the same way. I suppose it’s unfair to say that: I’ve been hanging out with the original Avengers crew for over a decade now. Plus, so far characters like Falcon haven’t exactly had a lot of screentime and development, so with a few movies under their belts I’ll probably feel different.

This week I’ve also been playing They Are Billions which finally shambled its way out of Early Access. Basically it’s an RTS, but instead of going up against an opponent deploying their own bases and units you’re constantly fending off zombies who really want to hug your face. Now that it’s properly out there’s a campaign mode and everything, so I’ve been diving back and swearing a lot because They Are Billions is haaaard. And not in a good way. A single zombie can sneak in, hit one of your houses and suddenly cause an unstoppable zombie tide. Which would be fine, except sometimes the bloody environment hides said zombie because there’s no way to rotate the camera.

Anyway, a full review will happen at some point, I reckon. Er, maybe.

Other stuff that will be getting reviewed is the Oculus Rift S along with two interesting accessories: Mamut grips that strap the Touch Controllers to your hands so that you can physically let go of them; and a gun stock designed to make playing shooters more immersive.

Then there’s also a 32″ gaming monitor from a company called Cello. As a budget unit it should be interesting to see how it holds up.

I’ve been diving into the books written by Andrzej Sapkowski. Its his books that inspired the Witcher video games, though you might know his name from the fairly recent arguments he had with CD Projekt Red over his belief that they owed him more money. In essence, when CD Projekt Red initially approached him about adapting his books Andrzej chose to take a small lump sum over a promise of all future profit. Of course, while the first two Witcher games sold well but never truly blew up everything was fine, but the Witcher 3 has become a huge success and brought in huge amounts of cash for CD Projekt Red.

But anyway, back to the topic. There’s currently seven Witcher books, and I’ve only just finished the first (in chronological order) but so far I’m quite enjoying the writing. It can feel a little awkward in places, something I think comes down to the translation from Polish to English, but it’s fascinating to see how Andrzej’s Geralt, lore and worlds differs from the games. There’s an almost fairy tale quality mixed with some intriguing moral discussion. The monsters Geralt meets aren’t always monsters, just like the humans he encounters are often worse.

I’m looking forward to continuing with the series. The next book introduces Ciri, the girl Geralt is chasing throughout the Witcher 3. It’s going to be awesome to find out how much like the video game version she is.

Speaking of The Witcher, Netflix just put out an image showing of Geralt and Roach the horse from their upcoming show. It actually looks kind of…good? I was dubious about Henry Cavill being cast as Geralt but he looks the part in the image. Unfortunately I’m less sure of Roach because the picture clearly does not show him on top of a house having somehow gotten up there after I left him alone for FIVE GODAMN SECONDS YOU STUPID FUCKING HORSE! I SWEAR TO GOD!

I also finished up Stranger Things season 3 and really enjoyed the hell out of it. The ending left me a little teary but excited to see what they do with season 4, even if stretching out the Mind Flayer stuff to another season feels weak. Anyway, the humor was great throughout, the visuals were superb and there were great character beats.

Aaaaaaaaaand that’s all she wrote, folks. As always thank you so much for stopping by and please do think about dropping a comment below to tell me what you’ve been playing this week.

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