The Elder Thoughts

RPGs, miniatures, books and other rants

Status Update: February 2024


Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty

I was not sure if to buy the only expansion that CP2077 was going to have, but some early comments were hinting at many really main game improvements, plus of course compelling new expansion content, and I decided to give it a try. I can't recommend enough to play the game with the expansion; The 2.0 game patch fixed so many issues and reworked core systems like combat, crafting, the skill trees, vehicle driving, police system... Everything works way better now, way more like you would expect from the original game.

And the expansion blends in perfectly with the main game. Most of its content is in a previously closed area, but a few quests and mechanics "go outside". Fantastic voice acting and music, great 3D modelling and new maps... everything is as high quality as the main game, allowing you now to have 5 different endings (one is secret).

I went on and started from scratch a new game, and unlocked 3 more endings. In fact, I unlocked all achievements with the except of the secret ending, which requires an early expansion decision and I wasn't willing to replay a third time most of the game... for now.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut

I got the Director's Cut version in a sale. It required some tweaks due to being a frankenstein-mixture of the normal PC version and the Wii U port, but after the tweaking, I enjoyed a pleasant and flawless experience, including the DLC episode (not too badly injected in the main story). The game maps feel tiny now in comparison with open worlds (and makes you like even more Cyberpunk 2077), but the variety of choices are still great.


Dragon Age: Origins

Not much news, it's costing me a bit to advance, as I remember fragments of the quests and story from the past. But for now, I haven't given up.

Dwarf Fortress

One of the main reasons why Dragon Age does not advance 😃. I decided it was time to get it this xmas... and oh boy, such an incredible and complex game (at equal parts). Everything feels like an adventure on itself, but the learning curve is also so steep that I spend half of the time searching and reading how to do X or Y.

It is the ultimate micro-management procedural game, but I miss more in-game tutorials or explanations. Still, I think is remarkable the level of detail you find everywhere, from combat to humanoid and animal personalities, and the events that happen. I like a lot the 2D pixel-art graphics, but the main thing stopping me in the past from trying the ASCII version was the keyboard-based UI, and the Steam version is quite good (not perfect, but probably due to how complex the game systems are).

As I gather information and read guides and find tools, I thought would be nice to keep track of them, so I've added a dedicated Dwarf Fortress page to the blog.

Postponed / Discarded


This game is a poor Fallout-in-space. Without other cool space shooters, Mass Effect and No Man's Sky, it would have been good, but comparisons are inevitable, and it fails at every single one of them.

So I'll just wait until either the company improves it a lot, or mods get good enough.

Book review: Siege of Terra: The End and the Death: Volume II

Siege of Terra: The End and the Death: Volume II book cover

Book: Siege of Terra: The End and the Death: Volume II

I gave myself as a Christmas present the newly released volume 2 of The End and the Death, and just finished reading it. This will be a shorter review because, as I was fearing, there will be a third and final volume, so this middle book advances the story but, excepting two specific events, really not that much. I will only mention one of the exceptions because it is already known, the other is left for the book readers to find out.

With more than 500 pages, I feel that in this case we have an artificially elongated storyline. Yes, all the plots, subplots and minor things kind of progress, but for some of them it is so minimal, or so dull and uninteresting, that I stand firm on my opinion about some of them being redundant and better off. Also, in this book there are so many jumps between the groups of characters, that if each had a chapter we would be talking about probably more than a hundred! Some of the micro-chapters are just two or three pages long, which feels almost confusing, and transforms what could be cliffhangers into mere annoyances.

There are excellent chunks of content, like the Horus vs Sanguinius battle, which we all know how it ends, but still feels exciting at first and then sad (this book actually ends just after the moment that Horus kills the primarch). There are some very interesting reveals around the Emperor, some of which would be very cool to use in future campaigns or books. And I also enjoyed Ahriman, as it provides a view of a sorcerer thirsty for knowledge, instead of a classic "bad guy appears and kills all poor non-astartes humans".

Not a bad read, but I expected either to wrap up the story, or to provide enough quality content to make up for a third volume. And the book does not provide the first, and falls short on the second. I recommend to wait for the third title and then read them together.

Book review: Dune Messiah

Dune Messiah book cover

Book: Frank Herbert's Dune Messiah

The first Dune book got me even more interested in Frank Herbert's universe, so I had to keep reading. I recently finished the second physical title (according to the "internal" numeration, it would be the fourth book), so here comes a small review.

Again, the first half of the book was very slow-paced. There are many moving pieces, at times unclear exactly to what purpose, and very detailed conversations and explanations of the state of things (12 years have passed since the first book's events). But then, everything begins to connect; events, plots, and characters advance.

It is a different book, not a mere continuation. The main character, Paul, feels tormented by his foresight; his close friends doubt him, and people question his decisions or directly conspire against him. And some new characters are disturbing, specially the "gholas", clones of deceased humans with metallic eyes and reprogrammed memory (but recalling most of their past).

You won't find here the same positive and encouraging story of the rising of a hero against oppressors. But it gets fascinating, with a thrilling "last act" finishing with an ending that makes you want more.

Dungeons & Dragons Beholder Jigsaw Puzzle

I had in mind posting a book review, but instead prefer to first share a photo of a recent new hobby, doing jigsaw puzzles... but not due to their complexity, instead based on the illustration. The first one was pretty low on pieces count (not even 150!), but I loved the image and couldn't resist. Behold, a Dungeons & Dragons Beholder!

Photo of the assembled Beholder puzzle and the box

Next will be a 1000 pieces puzzle based on the Zelda videogame series, but I also plan to paint a Wizkids DnD Beholder miniature with the same color schema. We'll see which one I finish first.

Book review: Dune

Dune book cover

Book: Frank Herbert's Dune

Dune is a science fiction story set in a distant future where noble houses rule different planets, alongside an Emperor and his elite Sardaukar troops, and a powerful trading guild that controls space travel. The plot follows a young Paul Atreides and his family as they take charge of Arrakis, a desert planet that is the only source of a valuable substance called melange or 'spice'. The spice extends life and enhances mental abilities, and it is crucial for space travel. The Atreides arrive to Arrakis to control it by the Emperor's orders, but things won't be as easy. The story explores complex themes of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotions as different factions in the empire clash over control of the planet and its invaluable spice.

Yet another timeless classic that I had pending and decided to go for. In this case, even more so because Dune 2 is one of my all time favourite videogames, so I felt I had a pending debt to settle. And I like both the old and new movies, so needed to see the source of it all.

I've enjoyed the book so much so as to plan to keep reading at least one more book (potentially until God Emperor of Dune, included). I knew it was good but didn't expected to hook me in so much. At times it felt like The Lord of The Rings, providing long and detailed descriptions of seemingly trivial characters, scenarios and details. Then, the "characters thinking" technique (you read what they think at times, not only what they say) is different and interesting, providing with additional details and more insight on how and why different characters act the way they do.

It is also different from what I expected: The scarce technology (the Ornithopters, meelee shields, spice harvesters, and some "laser weapons", but not much more) was a surprise to me; In the strategy videogame there are tons of vehicles, troops with different long range weapons, but in the book fuel is scarce and vehicles at times deteriorated, combats are mostly melee, and in general everything feels not as futuristic as you'd imagine. Reading at Wikipedia I saw that the author wanted to replicate a feudalism-like setting, much more focused on the human and politics side of things, and it is clearly there.

The only thing that I can complain about is that the pacing begins very slow, but speeds up and actually jumps ahead years by the end (few, but still), giving the sensation that you missed something in the middle. It is a long book, and yet I expected more things to happen in the kind of "final story arc", instead being a bit short. But maybe was just me wanting to read more about the intriguing Fremen, the Shai-hulud, and Arrakis itself.

A sci-fi must read.

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