Archive for the Blog Category

MVCI: It’s Happening!

Posted in Blog, Games, Street Fighter on December 3, 2016 by slateman

tmp_24069-mvc-infinite-1486351120The rumors swirled and finally its announced. MvC4 is actually Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite! Sure, no X-Men were shown in the teaser, contributing to the rumors of that dreadful decision, still I’m psyched. AND to have UMvC3 coming to the PS4, tonight no less, is utterly exciting! I sadly missed out on that entire game due to babies being born and financial duress. I do wonder how complete it will be (all the DLC?) but still – I’ll finally get to play it! This coupled with Gouki’s reveal and frustrating silhouettes of the entire season-two cast rounds out an exciting day indeed! Now to wait!!!

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Astonishing X-Men: Excellent!

Posted in Artwork, Blog, Books with tags on December 3, 2016 by slateman

tmp_13683-51gm7_awvzl-_sy344_bo1_204_203_200_-1486351120I stopped reading comics probably about 15 years ago. To be honest, after Joe Madureira, almost every other artist was just a let-down. I wouldn’t say I outgrew comics but I did just simply stop reading. And, I sold almost my entire collection this past spring while cleaning house to prep for my move. Sure, I saved all my Battle Chasers and Street Fighter comics, but all my beloved X-Men comics went.

And now, without home broadband (how primitive!) I’ve been frequenting the local library often. It’s the most spectacular library I’ve ever been to! I’ve been able to rent games like Diablo III and obviously the book collection is vast. However, there is an entire room dedicated to games, comics and the like. There are three TVs with consoles hooked up and, unsurprisingly, people gather to play football games every day. But I saw a huge hardcover collection of Astonishing X-Men and decided to take a peek. The art was pretty cool. It’s written by Josh Whedon. The team is a cool one (Beast, Emma Frost, Wolverine, Shadowcat and Cyclops (and later Colossus)). And as I started going through it, it felt a bit more mature. Not that comics are reserved for the young, but it was emotionally more mature. The story felt real and practical despite the supernatural. The urgency didn’t feel forced. The strained relationships between Logan and Scott, Emma and Kitty were as if I’d stepped right back into an old, yet oh-so-familiar pair of shoes. It was darker but still honored the 50-year tradition of my favorite heroes. And…really…I never read much outside of the X-Men. Never liked any DC comics…not Batman or Superman or anyone. Never liked Spider-Man, The Hulk or The Avengers, despite the recent successes of the movies. Nope, it was always just the X-Men and halfway through this monster of a book, I’m totally sold. My love for Stan Lee’s creation never waned. While I certainly won’t be returning to buying books weekly, this has been a fun and compelling read and one that, forgive me, astonished me. I truly have enjoyed reading this as much as I have looking at it. And one major reason is its minimalism. Every page is not riddled with bubbles of conversation. Just as often things are left unsaid which genuinely makes them feel more powerful. The comic medium is art in itself and John Cassaday has done a remarkable job. I’d buy this book…if it weren’t like $120.

Diablo III: Beat Diablo

Posted in Artwork, Blog, Games on November 27, 2016 by slateman

wallpaper031-1920x1080I started playing Diablo III back in 2014 but never really got motivated once Act 1 ended. I was hooked and then just lost interest. However, the local library here in Gothenburg has a decent collection of games and so with Reaper Of Souls on the PS4, I figured I’d try again. This game is great!

A friend of mine hates it, citing other, superior titles. However, I’ve no real experience outside of Torchlight and Torchlight II and I’m having fun! After battling through the first four acts and defeating Diablo, I was treated to the intro to the DLC expansion. BRUTAL! I’m totally digging this! I’ve upped the difficulty again and I fear I may have to drop it back, but for now, this is a spectacular game! With no broadband at home, I’m still waiting to get the patches that have come since. I’d love to get the art books for both the base game and for RoS. This is right up my alley.

Einherjer: Dragons Of The North XX

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Music on November 25, 2016 by slateman

dotn-xxHow is it at all possible the Viking-metal genre is as old as it is? Back in ’96, American metal had all but turned belly up. And throughout Europe, a new wave of awesomeness had already arisen. The first song I heard by 2014’s Album Of The Year winners was the infamous Firestarter Compilation. This brought to American shores a plethora of Euro-awesomeness including Satyricon, Emperor, Opeth, Borknagar, Old Man’s Child, Katatonia, Arcturus, Ophthalamia (*takes breath*) and more. I loved Einherjer but my first purchase after that would be Odin Owns Ye All and I was utterly disappointed. Almost as soon as I got into the band, I lost interest. I was left with an incredible three-song EP and Dragons Of The North. It’s one of those things though…as the sheer quantity of music coming from Norway and Sweden was so outrageous, it was easy not to appreciate just how incredible it was.

And so here we are, somehow 20 years down the line and while this re-recorded version is by no means necessary (the original is perfect), it’s fun. And it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Furthering the band’s philosophy taken from Av Oss, For Oss, they likely did this for themselves first and foremost. The record is as spectacular as it was then, perhaps I can appreciate it more now at 40 than I did at 20. (Well, I got it at 22, to be honest).

This won’t win AotY (that’s clearly going to Moonsorrow), but I’m psyched to be listening to it more than I have in well over a decade. This album fucking rocks.

TV Schedule: Autumn

Posted in Blog on November 14, 2016 by slateman

Living abroad has a plethora of positives. I’m loving it on so many levels. But it is challenging on others and keeping up with TV has been one of them. Things don’t air the same times here, obviously, as spoilers would ruin America and you know they can’t have that. So, here’s just a quick schedule of the shows I watch, for my own purposes!

Mon: Kevin Can Wait (Season 1)
Tue: This Is Us (Season 1)
Wed: Vikings (Season 4)
Thu: How To Get Away With Murder (Season 3)
Sat: Star Wars Rebels (Season 3)
Sun: The Walking Dead (Season 7)
Sun: Westworld (Season 1)

Stranger Things: So 80s. So Awesome!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Movies, Reviews on November 14, 2016 by slateman

stranger-thingsAfter hearing positive things, I asked around. My wife isn’t into sci-fi very much and I feared it would be too sci-fi-ey for her. Well, after six episodes in two nights, we are on the verge of finishing up season one, just three days after starting it.

The show is rooted in the 80s and everything feels like home. The setting, the decor of the houses, the camaraderie of the boys, it’s all 80s. It’s all like it was when I was a kid. And when the creepypasta happens, it’s classic! The silly tropes we allow past our radar are all there. Nowadays we have to explain everything in such detail. Back then…not so much. “Didn’t his mother notice he didn’t come home last night?” Sure, we could worry about it or we could just let it happen and enjoy it. It’s refreshing!

I’m so psyched to watch the final two episodes but it all happened so fast. It’s odd consuming entertainment in this fashion. While many broadcast shows still have the weekly schedule, watching an entire season in four days has its drawbacks. Do these shows impact us as much, considering we don’t have to wait seven days to reveal what happened to our favorite characters? It’s a double-edged sword but I’ll tell you, very little can stop me from finishing this ode to my youth this very evening. Then the dreaded wait until the next season comes! See how long it takes us to devour those episodes!!!

Tolkien: The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun – Not Bad!

Posted in Blog, Reviews, Tolkien on November 6, 2016 by slateman

tolkien_aotrou_itrounI’ve read all of the recent publications of the now-deceased-for-43-years author. And while I buy each and every one, that isn’t to say I enjoy them all. I actually found Beowulf nigh unreadable and The Fall Of Arthur a chore to read. The latter was only made easier by my experience with the tales. So, another entry into what formed Tolkien’s brilliant legendarium will be consumed, whether I like it or not. However, while the $25 purchase was read entirely on a Sunday morning, I found this one a likable and highly-readable lay. Much like his poems in The Lays Of Beleriand (of which, clearly, The Lay Of Leithian is the greatest, more on this below), this is a fun read which took me back to my first time reading Tolkien’s work. In fact, it’s possibly superior to the rather generic, “Such power, strength like a tower” portions which plagued some of his other lays. The Lay Of Aotrou And Itroun, steeped in British and Celtic folklore was a colorful read, albeit brief, and one which I would return to (unlike The Fall Of Arthur). I should also add that his take on Kullervo last year was likely my favorite of the recent releases.

Next year will mark 44 years since my beloved author’s death, but fear not, yet another entry into my library will inevitably be purchased. The Tale of Beren and Lúthien shall sit upon my shelf, next to this lovely copy of Aotrou And Itroun. While this tale has been told, both in my most-revered novel, The Silmarillion but also in the aforementioned The Lay Of Leithian. I suspect nothing new will be presented here, nor will it feature an overhauled made-for-novelization form like The Children Of Húrin did a decade before it. But return I must, to perhaps the most epic tale of Tolkien’s canon: The story of Beren the One-Handed and his nightingale Tinúviel. Just tell me where to place my money. And then tell me what Tolkien releases for the 45th anniversary of his death.

Release List: 2016’s Final Quarter

Posted in Blog, Books, DoDon Pachi, Games, Music, Resident Evil, Tolkien on October 21, 2016 by slateman

I had this as part of my first post in Sweden, but it keeps growing and I thought a separate post would do. This is a quick list of what’s coming out throughout the remainder of 2016 (and a little beyond). What was initially a rather lackluster year has turned out to be quite exciting, for music at least. Insomnium and Alcest just released stellar records and some promising ones are on the horizon. Gaming, however, seems a bit stagnant. Anyways, here’s the list:

Oct 11 – Rise Of The Tomb Raider
Oct 13 – Rez Infinite
Oct 14 – DoDonPachi: Daifukkatsu
Oct 23 – The Walking Dead (Season 7)
Oct 28 – Testament: Brotherhood Of The Snake
Oct 31 – Council Estate Electronics: Arktika
Nov 03 – J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Nov 04 – Dark Tranquillity: Atoma
Nov 11 – In Flames: Battles
Nov 18 – Metallica: Hardwired…To Self-Destruct
Nov 18 – Lamb Of God: The Duke
Nov 23 – Alcest @ Pustervikbaren
Nov 25 – Einherjer: Dragons Of The North XX
Nov 25 – Witchery: In His Infernal Majesty’s Service
Nov 29 – Anne Rice: Prince Lestat & The Realms Of Atlantis
Nov 29 – Final Fantasy XV
Nov 30 – Vikings (Season 4 – pt 2)
Dec 16 – Amon Amarth @ Lisebergshallen
Jan 01 – Sherlock (Season 4)
Jan 15 – Homeland (Season 6)
Jan 24 – Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Feb ?? – Overkill: The Grinding Wheel
Mar ?? – Nintendo Switch
May 04 – J.R.R. Tolkien: Beren and Lúthien
Autumn – Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 – YES!

Posted in Blog, Games with tags on October 18, 2016 by slateman

tmp_7224-actual_1476708723-552440093It was my Game of the Year in 2010. It was exactly what I didn’t know I wanted in life (kinda like Einherjer’s Album of the Year in 2014!) While the open-world sandbox of the late 19th-century west was interesting and compelling, it was Rockstar’s writing and the impeccable voice acting that made it such a remarkable landmark in gaming’s last generation. I’ve already lobbied for a remaster but here we are… A year before a long-gestating and sure-to-be massive launch. Red Dead Redemption 2!

I expect this to be almost GTAV in its scope. It’ll contain both a deep and entertaining single-player campaign with a robust and never-ending online component. And while my interest in the latter is essentially null, if RDR is anything to go by, I look forward to getting lost, getting sidetracked, losing hours gazing over the horizon of the barren western countryside. It’s beautiful in its simplicity and joyous in its diversity. I’m crossing my fingers it lives up to the standard of the second game of the series. A year to wait sure does suck, but with the developer’s reputation, we have a lot to look forward to.

Platinums #18 & 19 – Same Day!

Posted in Blog, Games on October 7, 2016 by slateman

double-platinumThe magic should be waning. 19 platinum trophies is a lot but I can still recite the situations in which I secured each. Being that I forgot to pack any games for my Euro move, I’m stuck with the one disc I have for the PS4 (Far Cry Primal). While the Vita is mostly digital, I have one physical game (Zero Time Dilemma). I chugged through each and found myself in a curious situation! One trophy remained on each! So, naturally I tried to platinum two games in one day! ZTD was by no means a difficult game, but like platinuming (is that a verb?) its predecessor, the final hours were fun as the twisted story unfolded. Platinum it was!

Next up was FCP, also not a difficult title in itself. There were few Get 100% of Everything trophies. So, after hunting down some final missions, the platinum popped for that one too!

Edit: Edited
The pic to the left would normally be edited. However, sans a computer am I, and doing everything via café WiFi, such as I am doing this instant, is cumbersome and quite restricting! Best not complain, as I truly do not go without. Nor does anyone with the capability to double platinum on a cool Monday in Europe!