Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

This unique game draws the player into the frightening world of Senua, a young Celtic warrior, as she’s pushed over the edge of sanity upon discovering that her lover has been tortured and killed by the Vikings. She launches on a dream quest to wrest his soul from the clutches of death, a journey that takes her — and the player with her — through the depths of her personal hell. It’s an experience both disturbing and deeply touching, deeply human. A story of love and courage in the face of torment and despair, presented through incredible acting, stunning visual and audio effects, and last but not least, engaging and fun gameplay. Hellblade is one of those very rare games whose value reaches far beyond good entertainment.

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Hyperion

By D. Simmons

After reading the first of four books, I wrote a one-line comment on Goodreads saying, “Liked it despite numerous annoyances.” After reading the second, I change my statement to “Didn’t like it despite numerous qualities”. These are mainly related to the authors indisputable ability to create and maintain suspense, and to surprise. Book one ends with a cliffhanger so epic that I had to pick up book two immediately. But I won’t be reading the rest of the series.

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Mrs. Dalloway

by V. Woolf

What an odd book! With no plot whatsoever, the narrative flows from one point of view to another, sometimes smoothly and sometimes making nearly unintelligible jumps. Almost every character that’s mentioned, no matter how thin their connection to the titular Mrs. Dalloway, her friends and family, gets to to ‘speak their mind’. I struggled to find connections. At times I struggled to tell what the hell was going on. But despite the oddity, I mostly enjoyed reading it. The writing is unorthodox, occasionally poetic, and I was struck by its beauty more than a few times. So here I’ll save some highlights:

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The City & The City

by C. T. Miéville

I devoured this book in three late-night readings and I couldn’t stop thinking of it during the days in between. It defies generic placement; calling it sci-fi would attach to it a load of unwarranted expectations, yet saying it’s just a noirish crime novel staged in a fictitious setting would hardly do it justice. It’s a captivating, unsettling and above all, incredibly original work of art and imagination.

Before you continue reading, be warned that it will be very hard to avoid spoilers in this review, and that your enjoyment in and appreciation of the book might be entirely ruined if you do get spoiled.

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Modding Skyrim to Perfection

I’m a great fan of The Elder Scrolls games. Morrowind was the first role playing game I ever played, the first game I ever modded, and for a long time, my undisputed favorite across all genres and flavors. Then came Oblivion, which was the first game to keep me obsessed for a thousand hours and the first game (or any form of entertainment) that had me write fanfiction. It’s no exaggeration to say that these games changed my life, and I don’t mean just my “gaming life”.

So it shouldn’t be difficult to imagine that I had great expectations from Skyrim. It was to be larger, prettier and better than its predecessors in just about every way imaginable – and mostly it didn’t fail to deliver. Yet, even though I got it immediately upon release and tried playing it twice, I couldn’t get into it, and I never finished it.

It is only now, with more than a hundred mods installed, that I’m finally able to enjoy Skyrim the way I always hoped to.

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