Watch “Resident Evil 7 Playthrough Teaser” on YouTube

I am such a dork and left my mic off! So you can’t hear my cleverness. You can see the great graphics of the demo though in this tiny teaser I recorded. I see a lot of Silent Hill PT influence!

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Whispering Willows (PS Vita game review)

[credit: Personal PS Vita capture]

      [credit: Personal PS Vita capture]

(Edited to correct some information and added photos!)

Quick Summary: Elena Elkhorn has a nightmare about her father, a groundskeeper who has gone missing shortly after accepting the job. With nothing but her wits and family pendant with her she dashes off to the grounds of the historical mansion of the towns founder. There she must solve puzzles to find out what happened to her father and the dark past of the town she never knew. Along the way Elena also discovers a power within herself to aid in her search.

So this is a darker puzzle game, the inrto being hand drawn stills before getting into the beautiful gameplay. Elena’s movements are easy to command, if there is a tunnel she automatically crawls, going up and down stairs is a simple up and down motion. The game kindly reminds you of all the action moves (for the most part) each time you come across them. This way if you put the game sown for a while it won’t take long to recall the mechanics.

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Speaking of the game itself is pretty simplistic in its options. You can read notes or Elena’s journal entries, check you items, or explore in her Spiritual mode. There is no map feature which I rather like, the layout of the game isn’t so big that you can’t find your way around with a little searching. One thing that was a bit of a bother was the fact that you can only run when outside. This normally wasn’t too much of an issue except for when in the mansion or catacombs that had a larger layout. In this way though I suppose it makes it harder to miss things.

Being a puzzle type there is a lot of back and forth within the game. Some areas aren’t accessible till completing someones request or finding a certain item. The puzzles aren’t too hard if you are aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the red highlighted words in conversation. Some talks are just for humor or filler, a few well placed jokes are laid in the dialogue and trophies. One nice feature is that any time you exit in or out of a room it saves automatically for you. I also purposely died to see what would happen and luckily it just starts you at the last autosave without needing to go to a menu.

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The music was nice in the way that it wasn’t distracting. There were a few key changes for important scenes or characters which was nice. One thing I wish was to be able to turn off the dialogue sound when reading through the bubbles, a few times of long talks it was a little distracting. Other than that it was really nice in the fluidity of the music and sounds.

Elena was the most rounded of the characters, her body language changing if she stood still for too long, hearing things that l can’t see unless in Spirit form, and running. You get to delve into her emotions the more she learns about the mansion through journals and her thoughts through short conversations. There are a handful of characters who don’t get much of a background but they add small bits to the plot or what the townspeople were thinking back when the town was first growing. The touches of Elena’s ancestral background was nice too, it is a group rarely explored or touched upon in games and ties in her the reasoning of her Spirit form well.

[Elena's physical form doesn't move while in Spirit mode]

[Elena’s physical form doesn’t move while in Spirit mode]

Overall it was a nice game in looks and story, though I felt it was completed all too fast. My husband purchased it on a sale for under fifteen dollars, which I felt was a fair sales price, mostly because the length of the game felt too short and puzzles a bit too easy. That being said I still really enjoyed the game, it was relaxing and even though it was shorter it didn’t feel rushed. For those who enjoy graphics and plot more than the puzzles themselves, this would be up your alley. I believe it is coming out in the PS4 here shortly as well, but is available for the Vita at the moment. Below I’ll throw in a couple more photos I captured using my personal gaming device.

Overall rating: 7/10


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Why all the Swearing? {A Rant}

I’m one of those people who really enjoys finding a snazzy youtube channel and watching people play games. Sometimes demos, or teasers, other times a full on game. Usually it’s because I don’t have that system or would never play the game myself, but want to see what it’s like. Or, I want to see some of the game play in action and watch only some of the video to see if it’s something worth my time. I’m odd that way. 

Now, I’m not against people using more colorful words in the the English language, but really only if it is in appropriate places. Such as playing a horror game “What the &^#% was that?” or puzzle game “I have no idea what the hell is going on…” That makes sense, it can give some laughs or understanding, cool beans go you. No, what I don’t get, and what will cause to to write off someone channel for good is someone who is dropping swear words left and right. Now, again, if it’s a horror game and it is really intense, and you’re hit with a jump scare, yeah you may roll with a handful of F-bombs. Yet, do we need to hear you swearing every other word, horror game or otherwise? It is very distracting and honestly makes the person seem so juvenile. This is all my opinion mind you. I don’t understand why they are swearing all the time, do they think it sounds cool or badass? I don’t know, really I just can’t get it.

That’s it really. I won’t watch a person’s channel if they swear all the time because it is boring, distracting, and unprofessional (though I get this isn’t a “real professional job”, doesn’t mean you can’t still act like it) as heck. It’s not like I’m anyone important or am going to break their channel, I just felt it important to put that out there.

If you’re someone who does so in their videos, care to share why? Do you realize you’re doing it? Any readers have the same complaints or a different opinion?  

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (a movie review)

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A Del Toro movie always catches my attention! Plus I adore films that mix horror/thriller with folklore and fairy tales. Onward to the summary!

Quick Summary: A quiet and reclusive young girl names Sally flies to Rhode Island to be with her father and his new girlfriend. Instead of living in his home, the three temporarily settle into a 19th century home that Alex (father) and Kim (girlfriend) have been restoring. Upset with the move and her fathers new relationship, Sally spends her time drawing and exploring. She discovers a hidden room beneath the home that had been sealed away since the previous owner disappeared many years before. Sally now hears strange voices telling her they want to be her friend, but there is something sinister about them. With the adults busy on the house, Sally must try and convince them of her new discovery and face her fears in the dark.

I wouldn’t peg this film as scary but more along the lines of creepy, which is still a good place to be. Sally is the main focus for most of the movie, and the young lady Baliee Madison does a god job of portraying and interesting kid. Sally is a tough little cookie, venturing into the dark and unknown because of curiosity. However, you are easily reminded that she is still a child when she becomes frightened and calls out for her father. She is the most believable character in the whole movie. You hold your breath when she looks under the bed, feel sympathy when her father ignores her woes, and it makes one wonder what they would have done as 10 year olds.

The father in this story is a little clichéd in my opinion. He has been estranged from his daughter so he doesn’t quite know how to connect with her nor comfort her at times. When she brings about her concerns he brushes her off, his business ventures more important, choosing curt words and medication instead. I felt little sympathy for him when things begin to go downhill, he was acting as an irresponsible and too distant parent not putting his kids needs first. Really, a hotel room could have solved a lot of problems. In a way he is good for tension and plot pushing.

Kim, the girlfriend, is put in a difficult spot. She loves Alex, and is seen as a stranger to Sally, but she wants to befriend the girl. She seems to have more paternal instincts and reactions then Alex through most of the film. I found her character a little boring, but that may be all me due to the fact that Katie Holmes isn’t a favored actress of mine. The struggle of letting Alex parent vs taking matters into her own hands makes for interesting story line plus helps shed light on the situation. She is one of the few who actually listen to Sally when she speaks.

The CGI in the movie seemed…a little overdone? There was just something about it that I didn’t quite like though I can’t place my finger on it. They were interesting and creepy looking, yet I felt they did a better mood setting and tension when it was a hear and not see thing. There actual concept though I enjoyed. (I am purposely not sharing too many details on it so to not give anything away.)

Overall I had a fun time watching this, getting the creeps, guessing what would happen next, and enjoying the dark folklore portrayed.

7.5\10

The Forest of Hands and Teeth By: Carrie Ryan

[credit to: wikipedia]

[credit to: wikipedia]

While wandering around of of the two used bookstores in town, I happened upon a title I was vaguely familiar with: The Forest of Teeth and Hands.  I couldn’t recall exactly where I saw this title before, but there was a feeling of positive with the memory.  So 8$ later I had it in my hands and within half a day I was finished with the book. My positive feelings were well met with the material!

Quick Summary: “In Mary’s world, there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?”

(Excerpt from Carrie Ryan’s website)

 

I was a little hesitant of this book because I was wondering if it was going to be like Running Out of Time  or the M Night Shyamalan ripoff of the book The Village  but I was willing to give it a chance. What exactly were the Unconsecrated and what kind of place was this forest? So into the book I delved. I enjoyed the main character Mary quite a bit, her independence as well as dreaming about what else could be out there in the world. At the same time I also get irate at her for what I somewhat call selfishness at wanting her desire and dreams so badly that at times it puts those she loves in jeopardy. Throughout the story, I ask myself if her drive for what she dreams is what may save her or is it what will hurt those around her more? It’s not quite so black and white in my book. At times the writing for Mary can be a bit dry and almost too distant as a reader, but overall I enjoyed her.

As for the other characters in the book, I like the vast difference in personalities and roles in the story. There are a couple, such as her friend Cass, who don’t get to be as rounded or interesting as the others because she is mentioned so little in the story. Also, her friendship with Mary seems flat and hard to believe that they are best friends from childhood. This may be due to writing, or again just because we see so little of her. Then you have characters like the Sister who interacts the most with Mary who seems to have more then what meets the eye. This is hinted through the story as Mary sees hints of what could be laugh lines, or heavy sighs of a great burden. Overall, there are actually very few characters in this story you get to meet, but that works well since the story is focused on a handful and what they go through and not the whole world.

Though I must say, I’m still unsure of exactly how many people live in the village, due to the vagueness of the writing (or maybe I just missed some numbers?) it was hard to have a mental image of the village. I like to be able to compare places in books to places I know in real life, so I felt actually very little connection to the setting in the book as a whole due to this reason. It may have to do with the writing style as well. Though I was immersed and enjoyed the book, I never felt my pulse go up at exciting or dangerous scenes, or my thoughts go “aww” for the romantic relationships in the story. More I sort of breezed through the book, enjoying the story but not enraptured by it.

As a few last notes, the religious aspects in the village are interesting as well as the mystery and history of the place. Though I was left with more questions then answers, I am looking forward to reading the other two books in the trilogy. Overall rating: 3.5/5.

For more info on this book and others by the author, you can find her website here.

Black Creek Crossing by: John Saul

Quick Summary:

Angel Sullivan is a thirteen year old girl who is excited when she and her family move into an older home in Roundtree, Massachusetts. However, her excitement is soon quelled as she is soon socially alienated at school, but is saved from depression upon meeting Seth-a teen outcast like herself. Together they bond a friendship, where Angel learns that her house has many dark tales tied to it that the town refuses to speak about. As the two teens try to unravel the mystery-strange and dangerous changes begin to happen to Angel’s happy family, as well some something sinister lurking not only within the walls of her home-but out in the town itself.

I really enjoyed this book and could not put it down. I even made my mother read it, where we shortly adopted an abandoned kitten and named him after the strange cat in the book. That’s how much I liked this-I named my crazy cat after a feline character.

The story starts off a bit slow, but in a good way, laying down the groundwork of the characters and opening up what Roundtree is as a town and a community. I found it slightly unrealistic that Angel was so quickly shunned and bullied at school, but that may be due to my own upbringing and experiences with such things. Beyond that however, I enjoyed this novel a lot. It’s got a wonderful blend of horror and mystery, which twists the stomach a bit (at least for me) because the majority of time is spent with the young teenagers. Young people and horror always make me a bit uneasy because mentally (and socially) the youth are to be protected and not involved with creepy horror things. Which makes this book wonderful, any horror is wonderful if it makes you uncomfortable.

The mysterious of the house and what is tied to it are again, slowly brought to light so as the reader you are kept guessing at exactly what it is and why is it doing what it is doing. A few of the secondary characters were a bit boring and fell sort of flat, but the main characters easily made up for that. The ending felt a little rushed to me, and maybe could have been done differently to make it feel more satisfying.

*SPOILER ALERT*

I also didn’t quite like how they portrayed the witches in this story. It’s a little overdone of witches-or those accused of being so-pulling spells of violence and vengeance out against those who wronged them. I always get slightly irked because I know some Pagans since I was a little girl, and how many people today still see them as such things. Though I always try and separate the story witches and real witches. That whole thing aside-I just feel that this type of ‘enemy’ or ‘catalyst’ is over done. Much like how vampires are all now these distraught attractive beings that really only want to cuddle (and drink your blood). If they had some kind of new twist on the witches, or maybe a different source behind it, I would have felt it would be more creepy or at least interesting. That section though was a little dull since-as I said-it has been so overdone.

*END SPOILER*

Overall I give this book a good thumbs up. It seems to be geared towards maybe a YA audience, but it still has enough in it to hold many adult audiences too, if you don’t mind a story taking its time to unravel-with a few cliches thrown in.