Friday, December 07, 2018

Sniper Elite 3 - PC Game Review

I recently finished (a couple of times) Sniper Elite 4, and I loved it.

So when Sniper Elite 3 went on sale, I decided to try it out.

So far it is pretty good, although of course graphics are quite inferior, and look their age. There are also many small changes in 4 that were clever, such as being able to see the stats of guns before you switch in the field.

A few things seem nice, such as the number of unlocks you get along the way, including various weapons and weapons parts, as well as having actual weapons that are much better than the first one.

Overall, very much worth it at sales prices.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Uncompromising Honor - Book Review

Uncompromising Honor is the latest book in the Honorverse series.

It is supposed to be the last Honor Harrington book, which is sad to think about, as I've been reading these for over 20 years (the series is 25 years old!).

This felt like it could easily be a couple of books. Personally I would have preferred it that way - it's been 5 years since the last Honor book and I have forgotten many details about what was last happening.

As it last ended, the Grand Alliance is at war with the Sollies, after a vicious attack by them to Manticore that utterly failed because of the Sollies' inferior tech. Still, because of the Mesan Alignment simultaneous attack, there was massive destruction in the system.

As usual, there are changes in the tech all around. There are many battles, described in what I think are David Webber's pretty weird way (which work very well) and oh so many interludes everywhere breaking up the action, with the maneuvers in the Solly, Mesan and other sectors.

The conclusion is very satisfying (and appropriate for conclusion of the main character of the series), and there is afterword by the author, which says that Honor might still appear as a side character.

Very much recommended, and quite memorable. Of course, if you are new to the series you should start with the first book (Basilisk Station) and get the whole Honor journey.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Consider Phlebas - Book Review

Consider Phlebas, by Ian M. Banks, is an SF novel and the first released book in the Culture series.

I have actually read Player of Games before on recommendations.

One thing to note is that this book actually defines some things that Player of Games don't. Seems silly that Banks didn't do it for the other one, as most explanations are a couple of paragraphs at most (example: drones auras). Yes, you could understand it from context, but this felt better and was more informative.

The story was interesting and views the Culture mostly from an enemy's perspective - a Changer (which was quite interesting) - an human that is capable of changing his appearance and also has minor combat enhancements.

The tech is pretty nice overall, specially when you consider that the book is from 1987! Many older SF novels have extensive silly sequences when read now, this one aged well apart from maybe a few bits.

There are a couple of things I didn't like, in particular the somewhat anti-climatic way that the story of the war ends, and how depressing the ending is. This was also the case in Player of Games. Not sure if this is going to be a thing on every Culture book. Might be just a way to reflect on the pointlessness of war, but still not a fun note to end in.

Overall, recommended, and I will continue to read the Culture series. But it didn't feel great, just pretty good.

New York 2140 - Book Review

New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson, is an SF novel set in a New York that has large parts of it underwater because of global warming.

The premise is good, and the description of how this was handled, including the tech is nice.

Unfortunately, large parts of the story are quite annoying, in particular near the ending.

There is also a "let the people take over everything" semi-communist theme going on - which include super taxes that were actually tried in real life and never worked (i.e.: the people being taxed just move out of your jurisdiction and take either their current money or future earnings with them), or just having the government handle everything (which sounds nice because the government in theory wouldn't be as greedy, except that in most instances it actually is and tends to not know what it is doing, because there is no competition to force it to actually be competent).

I actually only finished the book through stubbornness - the story wasn't going anywhere for the last few chapters.

Not even remotely recommended.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Labyrinth Index - Book Review

The Labyrinth Index, by Charles Stross, is the latest volume in the Laundry horror series.

Following the last volume, a god from another dimension is now in control of the British government. And turns out the in the USA, nobody seems to be talking about the President, or even remember that he exists...

So Mhari (a "vampire") and her crew are going to the US to find, rescue the president, and try to save the US from being taken over by another alien god...

Excellent as usual. Lots of exciting bits, and the evolution across the books of the powers of the groups fighting has been nice, although we did lose the "this could be happening right now under your nose" vibe a few books ago.

Strongly Recommended by fans of the series, and if you don't know it yet and like clever horror, you really should start with the first one.