The Elder Thoughts

RPGs, miniatures, books and other rants

Book Review: The Art of the Uncharted Trilogy

The Art of the Uncharted Trilogy book cover

Very recently I finally finished the original Uncharted Trilogy, so combining that with my recent read of The Art of Last of Us, grabbing The Art of the Uncharted Trilogy was a clear choice. And one I do not regret.

The review is pretty much like the aforementioned Last of Us title, but 3x. Tons of beautiful sketches, illustrations and drawings both seen in the game and never seen before (because they were conceptual, discarded, or simply evolved into other final versions). Lots of early designs of the main character Drake, but also of his close friends and many secondary characters from all three titles, and we're not talking just about bosses but NPCs, enemies, even the flora and types of trees.

Illumination tests, evolution of certain set pieces, tricks and non-realistic concessions they had to do to make the games either more visually appealing or gameplay-wise more enjoyable, and I was surprised to also see quite a few discarded scenarios (material that sometimes you don't even get to know about).

Covering three games in around 200 pages means it always feels brief, but I've you've played the games you will love the insane amount of detail, from how they decided which clothes enemies should wear at certain places to how Drake's diary pages should be built to feel natural and realistic.

Book Review: Horus Heresy: The Outcast Dead (book 17)

The Outcast Dead book cover

I skipped a few Horus Heresy books because I wanted to read about the Thunder Warriors and The Outcast Dead was the recommended source. The main story relates to a powerful astropath who, after surviving a warp accident on a spaceship, got almost mad and apparently incapable of performing his duties, and who by chance will party with some renegade Space Marines who were imprisoned on Terra, so not much about Thunder Warriors there... it is true that part of the later plot does involve them (I don't want to spoil anything), but I was hoping to know more details.

Still the main story is quite interesting, at first unfolds slowly but then takes pace and I read the last third of the book way faster, devouring the words and trying to learn what happened next. Another good Horus Heresy novella, and one that goes quite deep into astropaths, cryptopaths, navigators and related psykers.

Book Review: The Art of Last Of Us

The Art of Last Of Us book cover

Usually any art book contains concept art and character & enemy designs, but probably due to Naughty Dog's nature (the company responsible for the videogame), in The Art of Last Of Us there is an incredible amount of beautiful scenery, iterations of not only the main characters but also non-player characters and monsters, examples of different lighting tests on scenes...

I loved the videogame, and the book doesn't disappoints, showing sketches, different steps and iterations (including discarded ones), colouring... Special mention to the faces: You clearly feel how much effort was put on trying to find "the perfect match" for each character face, different expression tests, or details like hair color. And the same applies to enemies: Lots of iterations on the type, clothing and weaponry.

A nice collector's item indeed.

Moving more old miniatures

After moving some old miniatures, I've decided to move most of my remaining painted miniatures to my family's country-house. I mostly only keep painted from now on my Deathwing Terminators (+2 full squads) and some Genestealers including the big patriarch on the throne. I'll decide what to do when I finish painting other minis when I'm able to finish painting anything.

So, I've moved some really old miniatures, like the Rogue Trader Dark Angel Space Marines:

Rogue Trader Dark Angel Space Marines

And an old Land Raider:

Rogue Trader Dark Angel Space Marines Land Raider

But also some newer miniatures, like this plastic Dreadnought:

Dark Angels Space Marines Dreadnought

Or the Ork Stompa I had already photos of:

Ork Stompa

And non-Warhammer miniatures, like this (already pre-painted) Metal Gear Gray Fox ninja:

Metal Gear Gray Fox ninja

This small Aliens APC (also pre-painted):

Aliens APC

Or this old Aliens Queen:

Aliens Queen

As usual, you can see a few more photos and all the archives at the Warhammer 40k gallery and the Assorted gallery.

Status Update: July 2019

I haven't forgotten the blog, but some relevant things have happened in real life that make harder to write content for here:

  • Our role-playing group is mostly dissolved. Part of if no longer lives in Spain, and of those who live, it became so hard to be able to meet that even playing some boardgames became almost impossible.
  • I am spending some days most weeks out of home, so I have way less available time to paint miniatures.
  • I am in general dedicating less time to play videogames, so I try to rotate between genres, but RPGs usually require lots of commitment.
  • I am reading, quite a lot more in fact, but I had a long stack of pending articles to read before being able to spend more time with books, and again, I have to leverage between books that could be reviewed here and from other areas (mainly technical, but not limited only to those).

That said, I have played quite a lot of Diablo III on my Nintendo Switch (I've got 5 level 70 characters, around 400 paragon levels, and one of the characters is already doing the set armour special quests). I also finished Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (awesome game, I'll replay it sometime in the future), and I am onto some Final Fantasy: I am playing FF-X HD on PC (finished it on PS2 on its day, but as I loved it wanted to play it again), I have installed and started playing FF VII on my laptop (but oh boy, the random battles do get annoying at first), and I tried really hard to finish FF XII HD... but despite nice graphics and the awesome gambit AI system (basically you can spend more time fine-tuning the combat behaviour of the characters than actually battling) the story is so dull and the voice acting so rough that I gave up. I have the savegame for the future but it felt so boring I am not sure when I'll continue. Not having the gaming PC with me all the time also doesn't helps, although enables me to divide by platforms. I am for example finally going through my PS3 exclusives.

About miniature painting I would love to spend more time, but in the short term I only foresee moving more old miniatures to my mother's countryside house after taking some photos.

About reading, I have started another Horus Heresy book and the 2nd volume of The Dark Tower so is a matter of time only.

And in general, my life is quite busy right now so no boardgaming or role-playing, we'll see if later this year that changes.

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