You may have noticed that I’ve not been putting up much videos again; it’s because I’ve been very busy lately working some overtime and on top of that my girlfriend’s moved in again until we can get her a residence permit. but for now she should be here until mid-february. The result of this is that there’s a bunch of legal things we need to take care of and prepare for her immigration as well as buy some household things etc.
I also managed to squeeze out a raise for the coming year of about 12%, as well as part of it being tax-free, so it’s actually a bit higher than that. So everything’s looking sunny side up for me currently, although it’s keeping me busy. So how I’m supposed to pay attention to the steam sales or play those games, I’m not sure!
I’m really stoked about the upcoming weeks though, it’s going to be quite awesome and full of action:
- The weekend of 7 december I’ll be meeting some Belgian friends with my girlfriend as I’ll be in Brussels, while there we’ll be attending a show of Gogol Bordello.
- The weekend of 14 december it’ll be my birthday, so then I’ll have some friends over and have some drinks together.
- The weekend of 21 december I’ll be Cologne and I’ll be at a Jaya The Cat and Mr. Irish Bastard concert with my girlfriend.
- Then there’s christmas dinner and some presents being exchanged.
- Then it’ll be my girlfriend’s birthday which we’ll moderately celebrate. We’ll then be drinking the wine we got on our holiday in France.
- Then it’s New Year’s which we’ll spend in my town and see the city’s fireworks from our bridge.
Pictures like this are part of why I want to visit Iceland so much.
I got around to reading another best-seller, this time on a little bit of psychology. This is one of those books that basically anybody should’ve read who deals with people in their jobs. Or hell, even outside of that! Just don’t expect it to blow your mind, because it won’t. Instead it will likely show you some seemingly obvious things that you don’t do, that most people won’t do. A fun thing to do whilst reading this book is to actually try out the tactics on how to deal with people, and I can say that it definitely works, and it’s easy to see why as well.
It’s rather silly in a way that a lot of these points are so simple, but yet quite difficult to pull off. You will actually have to work on it yourself and you’ll have to keep reminding yourself about all the points which frankly is very exhausting. But it will pay off dearly in the end. So I will try and remind myself of them often. I will probably end up re-reading or at least skimming through this book a number of times.
I picked up this gem a while ago as it’s one of those games that seemed really excellent. I’d heard great things and it is a gorgeous game to boot. So I had to play it at some point and I got around to that last weekend.
The first impression I had of the game was that it really was awfully beautiful and the game really just threw you in the first region, letting you do your thing. It throws some enemies at you and quickly I found myself just killing enemies for fun, because the feel of the combat is just excellent. There’s not too many moves to do, several quick melee attacks, with some “heavy” attacks which give you combo’s and the magic attacks. But when you add in that you can knock enemies up in the air, jump after them, slash them and then throw them down on the ground or do a special spinning strike whilst in the air and meanwhile be blasting magic, covering your entire screen in magic/chaos – you know the combat system is good.
The combat system is actually more than good; it’s among the best I’ve seen. This is partly because of the controls which are really precise, you feel like you’re in perfect control all the time. This game could’ve been a platforming game with such controls. Instead, it’s a side-scrolling action rpg with funny characters and a story to tell. The story itself uses the common Amnesia mechanic for your character and slowly you learn more, until the reveal, which is not something I totally expected. Or rather; the reveal is half-obvious. But ultimately the story is simple, but keeps you moving forward.
Where the game really shines is the freedom, the great controls, the great combat and the exploration in it’s metroidvania style where you gain access to more areas where you previously couldn’t reach because you lacked an ability. A fun bonus of exploration is that you’ll find cages with characters locked in spread around the world, these characters will be from other indie titles such as Super Meat Boy, Spelunky etc. It’s fun to see them and you’ll get permanent stat-bonuses too. All-in-all, it really is an incredible game that you need to have played.
Following Blood of Elves is Time of Contempt in the witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski. It in fact follows the happenings directly, carrying on with Yennefer and Ciri leaving Nenneke’s temple. Ciri is being taken to Aretuzo to study magic and become an enchantress. While arriving at the town she’s being shown around town and ends up in a situation where she’s forced to use her witcher training, the entire thing is rather funny and it makes me love Ciri’s character and spirit.
Ciri is especially wonderful as she has a strong will of her own and doesn’t want to become a full enchantress and instead wants to see Geralt who she thinks is at a nearby town. She goes through the woods to reach that town after escaping Yennefer and some other sorceresses (among them Tissaia De Vries, which is a funny name to me as it’s Dutch). On the way she encounters The Wild Hunt which I didn’t expect at all, that part was really curious in the way that I didn’t know what was real at all.
The escape did lead to her finding Geralt and caused Yennefer and Geralt to see each other again. Afterwards they’re going to a gathering of all Sorcerers, which is full of diplomacy and gossip. Not a very interesting part of the story, although what happens shortly afterwards is. That is because there’s a coup among the mages that involves the Scoia’tael and Geralt got asked by Vilgefortz to join them. Geralt remained neutral as is his way. It ends in a mess with it being unknown what’s happened to Ciri or Yennefer and this really makes me want to know what happens next.
The next book Baptism of Fire is expected to be done translating into English on 24th of Feb 2014, so that’s still a little while.
This book continues the Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski and starts to focus on the grand narrative about race wars and unrest. It feels like the larger story starts getting set into motion here and it involves a girl named Ciri who is a princess who is mixed up in Geralt’s life in an interesting way. There is a whole introduction which is a very interesting scenario, in which I immediately got grabbed even though it largely was political chatter in the queen of Cintra’s hall during a diner. The dialogue between characters is always absolutely excellent and entertaining.
The whole deal with the Scoia’tael comes into play along with Nilfgaard attacking and taking back their lands under their strict regime. Geralt is largely trying to take care of Ciri (albeit in his own way) and she’s getting taught Witcher moves and some magic by Triss Merigold who is a very enjoyable character and seems to be more straight-forward than the mysterious Yennefer. Ciri’s visit at Kaer Morhen is a lot of talk between the witchers and Triss, but it’s very intriguing as they talk about what to do with Ciri as she’s special and everybody knows it.
Ciri is also hunted and looked for by several factions at the same time with different goals in mind and they’re all trying to get information, one way or another. This leads to some battles and a lot of diplomacy being used, seeing how Geralt deals with this compared to for example Yennefer or Nenneke is truly marvelous.
I absolutely blazed through this book and at this point it is pretty much my favorite series by far.
The second book of the Witcher Series which is currently not available in a legal form in English, unfortunately. I had to read this book in PDF-form in a fan translation, this made it less fun and less comfortable to read. I personally just don’t like having to read a book digitally. However, this detracted nothing from the sheer excellence of this book.
This book introduces some great characters and carries on the story of Geralt of Rivia where again there’s several stories intertwined, it shows more of the side-stories where you learn why Geralt doesn’t like towns and much prefers out in the open as he deals with monsters in cities. Meanwhile he also gets into a conflict over Yennefer which I was really interested by, probably because it was very relatable to me.
The main story of this book was the one where he meets some old friends, mainly Yarpen Zigrin an awesome dwarf who kicks a lot of ass and is very… dwarfish. It was an incredible pleasure whenever Yarpen was involved. This story is also very interesting because it deals with a dragon, and if you played the games you may know that Geralt does not hunt them. I was really very happy with the outcome of said story because I really didn’t see it coming, though I had my suspicions.
Dragons, interesting characters and interesting short stories make this a great albeit quick read.
Going in to these books I knew some of the characters from The Witcher and The Witcher 2 games, which are some of my favorite games and overall universe. As such it was obvious that I was going to start reading the books at some point, it also helps that now they’ve translated some of them into English, as they do exist in Dutch already(among many other languages), which I find really weird. Either way; I played the first 2 games and then started reading the mostly recommended order of the books:
- The Last Wish
- Sword of Destiny
- Blood of Elves
- Times of Contempt
- Baptism of Fire
- The Tower of the Shwallow
- Lady of the Lake
As such, I started with the last wish and I immediately loved following Geralt around. It’s also nice/funny that it pretty much starts with the introduction cinematic to the game: Dealing with the Striga that is Princess Adda. It tells wonderful stories that differ from a monster in a forest living in a mansion, a dragon, magicians/sorceresses causing trouble, bandits and other nefarious things.
The thing I really appreciate about every single story is that they’re not predictable. They all will go differently than you’d initially think. This usually involves a lot of diplomacy, but also brute strength and tact. Geralt also sure isn’t infallible, he can and will get wounded which dramatically changes the outcome of the stories. As much as the White Wolf is a legend, he’s still vulnerable.
If you like any sort of dark fantasy, or have played and enjoyed the game(s); you need to start reading what happened previously. I have noticed that I remember a whole bunch of things that’ve been referenced to in the games, which is fun to see.