But my curiosity was really piqued when I found out that 343 Industries had also brought Karen Traviss on board for a novel trilogy.
I’ve liked Karen Traviss’ work since I read the first couple of books in her Star Wars: Republic Commando series (again, based on a video game). She wrote military fiction that was both entertained and explored the deeper ideas of what military conflict does to the soldiers through rounded, recognisable characters (not to mention bringing a fond visual of mine to life: clone troopers doing the haka).
She even managed to make the characters of the Gears of War universe interesting and compelling.
I bought Glasslands a few months ago, and a review is well overdue. Is it any good?
It’s kind of hard to imagine any expectations that Prometheus met. I think the trailers were trying to lead us to believe that we were going to get something more front-loaded with intensity. Fans of the franchise from which Prometheus drew its DNA were expecting to have questions about its longest-standing mysteries answered.
In both regards, what audiences got was something different… and yet, on its own merits, still very good.
I don’t think I can see The Hunger Games movie. Not because I didn’t like the book or because I don’t think it’ll translate well. No, I just don’t think I can see such an uncomfortable story rendered on-screen.
And make no mistake: The Hunger Games is very uncomfortable. It takes its Survivor-On-Steroids plot – twenty-four children pitted against each other in a game that only ends when all but one are dead – seriously.
Be warned, ladies and gents: This post is equal parts, “Hey everybody! Yay me!” and “Yes, potential freelance employer, I review more than just video games.”
The section of my portfolio that has been most neglected is the Book Reviews one. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to read a heap of books that I would otherwise have missed out on, either due to lack of disposable income or the genre / subject matter being outside my usual taste. This is all thanks to the Editorial team at The Cairns Post. They get advance review copies of books in almost constantly, and they offer the staff a great deal: Review the book and keep it.
Now, though, it has a new title – okay, well, sort of new title – next to it: Halo: Combat Evolved – Anniversary, which revisits the original game with a gussied-up graphics engine, remastered sound and a musical score completely re-recorded with a live orchestra at Skywalker Sound.
It seemed like an odd move – why re-release a ten year old game which a lot of gamers will have already played, and whose gameplay has aged by that decade? Well, the reviews are in, and even with ten years’ gameplay evolution between it and titles like Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3 and even Halo: Reach, the consensus of the professional review market is that Halo: Combat Evolved still feels like a modern first person shooter.
I’ll leave the objective breakdowns of Halo: CE-A’s merits to those reviewsites. Instead, I’d like to tell you why I still find Halo: Combat Evolved one of the most unique and entertaining games ever.
I came to the Halo novels at the tail-end of my interest in tie-in fiction. I hadn’t picked up a Star Trek book in years and the last Star Wars book I read was Karen Traviss’ Triple Zero. I started with Eric Nylund’s work from The Fall of Reach to Ghosts of Onyx (with William C. Dietz’s The Flood stuck in there). Based on those, I figured I could happily go without reading another tie-in novel ever again.
Then 343 Industries, the Microsoft subsidiary that took responsibility for all things Halo from the game series’ original developers, Bungie, surprised the heck out of me: Not only did they get the very capable Karen Traviss on board for a Halo series, but they also employed the talents of award-winning writer of cosmic-scale SF, Greg Bear, to tell the secret history of the Halo mythos’ ancient, vanished builders of the very Halos themselves – the Forerunners.
And damned if he hasn’t un-done the damage that Nylund and Dietz did to my interest in reading Halo fiction.
But if that’s not an option… click below! (You’ll need Adobe Reader to view the file.)
In summary: It’s a great way to get your boardgame fix when you can’t get your mates together in one place, and if – like me – the collecting arms race drove you away from Magic: The Gathering in the first place, Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 will bring back the fun.