The Elder Thoughts

RPGs, miniatures, books and other rants

Comic Book Review: Alien vs Predator Omnibus

Alien vs Predator Omnibus Vol. I comic book cover Alien vs Predator Omnibus Vol. II comic book cover

Alien vs Predator Omnibus consists of two compilations: I & II, each with around 450 pages.

The first volume includes seven compilations, exploring from a classic human-colony-gets-attacked-from-both-alien-species or a futuristic human predator hunter, to quite a few stories showing us more details about the predator race (don't want to enter into spoilers territory). They feel fresh, different and some continue ideas and characters presented on previous ones. I really liked this volume.

My problem came when I started reading the second volume. At least half of it consists of the series "Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species", a futuristic tale involving Aliens and Predators, yes, but way too bizarre for my taste. I tried to follow it but goes too much into dreams and other storytelling techniques that, combined with an uninteresting story (to me, at least), made me skip all of it. The remaining contents are a few more series, some of them really brief (4 issues with few pages per issue), so you'll get mostly short stories. Some of them are interesting but overall don't justify purchasing the whole book to ignore half of the contents...

Comic Book Review: Alien vs Predator vs The Terminator

Alien vs Predator vs The Terminator comic book cover

Alien vs Predator vs The Terminator is, apart from a long title, a curious three-way crossover, which on itself could be curious (hybrid terminator-alien), but the presence of an Ellen Ripley that continues the infamous 4h Alien movie trend of Ripley & family clones with alien DNA makes everything feel too much.

The main story not bad (how a Terminator laid low until could create a next generation hybrid soldier to try to recreate Skynet and so on), but apart from the aforementioned Ripley things, it looks like 4 issues were too few so story had to be packed so much that in time spans of hours (or as much as a few days) too much happens (don't want to spoil anything, but no matter how hard working a machine is, some stuff makes no sense).

While no match for a classic AvP comic story, a different reading, but I wouldn't say it is amazing.

Comic Book Review: Predator Omnibus I to IV

Predator Omnibus Vol. I comic book cover Predator Omnibus Vol. II comic book cover

Predator Omnibus Vol. III comic book cover Predator Omnibus Vol. IV comic book cover

Predator Omnibus spawns 4 volumes: I, II, III & IV, each one around 400 pages big. I got the four of them, but this review covers the first three volumes.

The reason of the incomplete review is simple: I got tired of reading so many similar Predator stories: Predator hunts humans, Predator hunts predator, Predator hunts animal... Although I sincerely don't think a Bear would be a match for our favourite alien, it's at least a different take, because when you read once and again and again and again the very same story just changing the setting, it becomes not only repetitive but actually boring.

Some ideas feel fresh, like crazy predators, or the small series of detective Schaefer, but other many just present the exact same plot and developments just with different visuals.

I might finish the fourth book in the future, but I've had enough Predators "alone" for a while. I'd rather read the great Alien vs Predator series, where there's much more imagination and creativity (and a few surprises).

Status Update: October 2019

Diablo 3 screenshot

I'm going to try to keep doing a status update post each X months, as might be of interest to read some personal opinions of some videogames I play (my main hobby nowadays).

Switch videogames finished

  • Zelda Link's Awakening: I must confess I didn't played the GameBoy original, but this remake is a wonderful trip into imagination and cuteness. The game is not hard (although later dungeons and map portions are best played on one go to more easily memorize the layouts) but feels like real-life toys (in movement, of course), plus great music.
  • Oninaki: An action RPG published by Square Enix, more akin to an action Diablo 3 (combat has more depth) than a classic Final Fantasy, the game starts telling us the story of a Watcher, a kind of knight who can see and interact with the souls of the dead and travel between the normal world and the world of the dead. You also collect and "train" daemons who not only provide powerful magic attacks but also set your attack style (from swords, axes, or lances, to crossbows or a huge scythe). The gameplay might not be too varied but the story is quite interesting and you're encouraged to train all your daemons in order to unlock their hidden memories (tales of how they became a daemon).
  • Diablo 3: I keep playing this game from time to time. I already have 6 out of 7 characters at 70th level (only missing the Monk class) and my account has paragon level 403. I now play trying to get all the minions/pets (random loots) and doing the "secret" set dungeons, because seasons are too tiring for just a few aesthetics (or a set).

Zelda's Link Awakening screenshot

PC videogames finished

  • Dawn of War III: I finally finished the campaign. I had uninstalled the game out of fury due to a friggin' bug on the final boss, so I reinstalled it, restarted the level (hoping that after a few months the bug would be patched) and indeed it worked, I saw the souless, dull ending and whenever I have some spare time I'll reinstall the game for skirmishes and/or multiplayer games (the real core of the game). Campaign was terrible, clearly a patch to sell an otherwise clearly multiplayer-oriented title.
  • Dark Seed: Not an RPG or strategy game, but a really old AMIGA graphic adventure based on H. R. Giger's artwork and ideas. Quite hard without a walkthrough but I wanted to finish it no matter how as was a childhood memory.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus: A great turn-based strategy game with unit progression, about an Adeptus Mechanicus ship entering a remote system and awakening Necrons. I loved both the setting and the gameplay, I just don't totally enjoy that once you finish the game, everything starts over from scratch (including your unlocks, upgrades, etcetera).
  • Final Fantasy VII (currently playing): One of my long time desires, to play again my favourite FF game. Sadly I am older and less patient now, and both the endless random encounters and some really slow progression fragments make me wonder how did I managed to have so much free time when I was younger to spend so many hours in the fights. But I'm determined to finish it again. And then maybe give a try to FF X (2nd favourite) or FF VIII (3rd one).
  • Final Fantasy XII (on hold): I tried to play it. I really tried and have my savegame with more than 20 hours poured in. I love the gambits system, the pseudo-realtime attacks and strategy component of being able to see your enemies while walking, the progression system is so great and gives you a great degree of freedom... but the story is so dull and sometimes plain boring, and the English voices are bordering the a "bad" rank, that I've decided to stop it for a while.

Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus screenshot

Painting and Miniatures

I've done small bits of painting some necrons, but nothing relevant to show.

I've mainly spent time deciding which miniatures to get rid of and which ones to keep permanently, and then selling them. I still keep quite a few ones and have enough to paint for years, but at least I did this pending task and now can focus on painting.

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.

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