Game Review: Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain PS3 CoverThe image and description are courtesy of Wikipedia.

Description:

Heavy Rain is an interactive action-adventure psychological thriller video game created by French developer Quantic Dream exclusively for the PlayStation 3. The game is written and directed by Quantic Dream’s founder and CEO David Cage. Heavy Rain‘s story is a dramatic thriller modelled after film noir, featuring four protagonists involved with the mystery of the Origami Killer, a serial killer who uses extended periods of rainfall to drown his victims.

Ethan Mars is trying to save his son from being the next victim, while investigative journalist Madison Paige, FBI profiler Norman Jayden, and private detective Scott Shelby are each trying to track down clues to the Origami Killer’s identity. The player interacts with the game by performing actions highlighted on screen related to motions on the controller, and in some cases, performing a series of quick time events during fast-paced action sequences. The player’s decisions and actions during the game will affect the narrative. The main characters can be killed, and certain actions may lead to different scenes and endings.

Review:

Now this game was totally not what I expected. It was a Christmas gift from my son, who thought it was a ‘shoot-em-up’ game. He knows I enjoy that type of game and he told me that’s what he got me. So when I started playing that’s what I thought I was going to be doing. You know, shooting everything that moved, as well as the normal things that don’t move. In other words, shooting everything and anything!

But it’s not a ‘shoot-em-up’ game. It’s an interactive movie. That’s the best way I can explain it. At first I was thinking get on with the shooting but then I was drawn into the storyline and settled back and…well, I interacted.

Strangely, I was captivated. It’s like I (the player) was the director and I made the decisions on how the characters would react and what questions they would ask. I could have (and did) make some of the characters do good things and some, well, not so good. The decisions I made had an effect on the outcome of the story. The main characters can die if you can’t get them through certain scenarios and you gather less clues if you’re slow in responding too.

I literally spend hours at a time watching and playing as the storyline unfolded. I found myself eager to return to the ‘game’ whenever I turned it off. I wanted to know what would happen next. I wanted to solve the murders and work out who the murderer was. And, when the story ended, I was pleased to discover that if I play again and make different decisions then the ending will be different.

This is not a fast-paced game with earth shattering explosions every second of play. It’s a well thought out game that will have you totally focused on what’s happening on the scene. It’s a brilliant game that I wouldn’t have purchased for myself if I had read the reviews for it first. But it’s a game I’m certainly glad I’ve had the opportunity to participate with and enjoy.

I recommend this game.

Book Review: Spirit Walker

Spirit Walker (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #2)Spirit Walker by Michelle Paver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finished reading this book on 31 December 2012.

Description:

A cry echoed through the Forest. He froze. It was not the yowl of a vixen, or a lynx seeking a mate. It was a man. Or something that had once been a man. With a creeping sense of dread, Torak watched the light between the trees begin to fail. . . .

Torak is a boy apart. A boy who can talk to wolves. A boy who must vanquish the Soul-Eaters . . . or die trying.

As the Moon of No Dark waxes large, the clans fall prey to a horrifying sickness. Fear stalks the Forest. The very breath of spring seems poisoned. No one knows the cause and only Torak can find the cure. His quest takes him across the sea to the mysterious islands of the Seal Clan. Here Torak battles an unseen menace and uncovers a betrayal that will change his life forever.

Review:

Spirit Walker is the second book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series written by Michelle Paver.

The book didn’t grab me instantly like the first book did. Having said that, however, it did draw me in by the end of the second or third chapter.

We join Torak for another adventure. Naturally, Renn and Wolf joined him (in a fashion), which was great and, in my opinion, expected. We were also introduced to some new characters who played their parts well and convincingly.

It was nice to ‘see’ more of the world too. It is easy to believe, with some book series, that the world is limited and to some degree two dimensional. But the author expands Torak’s world which makes it more believable. And because of this, the contrast to the first book was there; the first book was set in a forest, the second mainly on water and an island.

Another enjoyable instalment. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

eBook Review: White Fang

White FangWhite Fang by Jack London

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I have fallen behind in writing reviews for the books I’ve finished and still have a couple to do from the end of last year. So far, this year I haven’t read anything for pleasure as I’m busy doing something else, but the break isn’t bad, it’s just irritating as I do love to read. I’m hoping to start reading again soon.

Anyway, White Fang is a classic and early in 2012 I decided that I must read or reread some classics. For every two modern books I read I’ve been reading one classic, and here’s what I thought of this one. I finished it on 17 December 2012.

Description:

He was three quarters wolf and all fury. Born in a cave, in famine, in the frozen arctic. Born in a world where the weak died without mercy, where only the swift, the strong, the cunning saw each dawn. It was White Fang’s world–until he and his mother were captured by the man-gods.

But men and their dogs taught White Fang to hate. He was beaten, abused, attacked. He was bought, sold, tortured, trained to kill in blood sports. Knowing no kindness, he became a mad, lethal, creature of pure rage.

Only one man saw White Fang’s intelligence and nobility. Only one had the courage to offer the killer a new life. But can a wolf understand the word “hope”? Can a creature of hatred understand the word “love”?

Review:

I first read this book when I was a young teenager. I remember crying then. I didn’t cry this time round but the actions in this book did strike a chord with me. I really do detest cruelty to animals; the cruelty in this book is paramount.

White Fang is a product of his past. He has been taught to hate. He has been taught to survive at any measure. He is vicious. He is a killer! Yet he’s these things because he has to be. His other choice is to be the weak link and die.

It’s a powerful story. Well told. No holding back; aimed straight for the jugular. The biggest lesson learned by reading White Fang is that you can beat an animal (and I believe this relates to people too) into doing what you want but loving them produces a much better (long-lasting) result. A beaten animal will do as you want, but will rip your throat out if given the opportunity. A loved animal will be faithful, loyal and forever.

There’s little more to be said about this book except that it’s worth reading. I highly recommend it.

Happy New Year Book Sale

Happy new year 01After much speculation, the end of the world didn’t occur on 21 December 2012 and 2013 is finally here! Let’s hope it’s a good year. My personal wish is for everyone to have health and happiness, because with these two things the rest will follow.

To get things moving in the right direction, book lovers can snag second hand books at half price for 7 days only from the Preloved Books section of this website. Just use the coupon code 2013sale in the cart to get the discount. This means that all books will be under $2.50 (Australian dollars), with most children’s books going at $1 each and most adult books selling at $1.50.

Why don’t you go take a quick look to see if there’s anything you’d like to read. The offer expires on 8 January 2013.