Author Archives: Zoe_E_W

Netflix Nosedive: Happy!

I went into Happy! not knowing what to expect and having low expectations because I’m not a fan of Christopher Meloni. He’s one of the main reasons I gave up on Law and Order: SVU because the writers forgot that all these cases still have to go to trial, so if you have a detective strangling, punching, or attacking suspects, then those suspects just got a get out of prison free card. So no, the ends do not justify the means no matter how badly the writers want to peddle that fantasy.

After two episodes of Happy! I sort of made my own head canon that Detective Nick Sax and Eliot Stabler are actually the same person, and that this is what happens when a cop with anger issues finally goes too far. Nick isn’t just a slightly bad cop at the start of Happy!, though flashbacks in later episodes show he was long before his fall from law and order. (See what I did there?) No, now he’s a hit-man working freelance for the mob in a town where pretty much everyone is a bad cop. He’s an alcoholic and drug addict, looking like a homeless person that collects change fiending for their next fix.

Nick’s life changes when he suffers a heart attack and during the ambulance ride sees the imaginary friend of a kidnapped girl. Happy is a cheerful blue…there’s probably a words for a horse with a horn and wings, but it’s escaping me. It’s not pegasus, and it’s not unicorn…unisus? Pegacorn? Chaka Khan? Continue reading


This is not a review of Cross Code for PC

I hate turning this into a habit, but I have a choice of not writing about a game I can’t finish and moving on, or writing on my feelings up to the point that I stopped playing, and I’d really rather get new posts out for y’all, even if they’re incomplete opinion pieces on games I don’t want to force myself to continue playing.

This time the game is Cross Code, a somewhat nostalgic RPG/puzzle platformer that looks great, has a fantastic soundtrack, and an intriguing story premise. Unfortunately, it’s the puzzle portion of the game that’s dulled my interest in continuing. Where I stopped was a few hours after completing the second of four dungeons to acquire the game’s four elemental powers, ice, fire, shock, and wave. I can say that I rather enjoyed the combat, and some of the platforming sections. But the puzzles just drag on an on and on and on and on and…and if I haven’t made this abundantly clear, most overstay their welcome, pushing aside all other aspects of the game. Keep in mind, I’m someone who loves puzzle games like Portal and Portal 2. This is just too much puzzle for me.

From what I’ve been able to sort out from the story, Lea is a player in a unique VR RPG. Rather than log into a game server to play a virtual character, players log into a physical avatar who stays on a real island. Lea apparently had played this game before, but something happened to her that wiped her memory and left her in a coma. A scientist got desperate and decided to try logging her back into the game, and while Lea is still comatose in the real world, she’s got enough brain activity to play as her avatar. The other catch is, she can’t speak due to some kind of malfunction in her avatar, creating a charming reason for her “silent” protagonist shtick. Continue reading


Netflix Nosedive: Lucifer

I knew just from watching the trailers that I was going to like Lucifer, but I had no idea how much I would love it. The premise is summed up in the introduction text nicely, that the devil used to rule over Hell, until he decided to take a vacation in Los Angeles. Lucifer Morningstar is a narcissistic, self-centered, permanently horny immortal teenager, forever pissed off at his parents about being kicked out and branded “the great evil” when he’s clearly more sociopath than psycho.

And if I made him sound dreadful, he is. BUT, those are also his good points. Yeah, really.

Bascially, Lucifer is sort of like The Mentalist’s Patrick Jane, if Patrick had never given up the family business. Lucifer gets into detective work due to the murder of a pop singer he helped with a favor, bringing him into contact with Detective Chloe Decker, a woman he cannot use his powers of persuasion on. This intrigues him, and he begins inviting himself along to all her cases until she finally relents and calls him her partner. Continue reading


This is not a review of Dark Souls: Daughters of Ash

Let me say that I really wanted to like this mod. I went and downloaded a fresh copy of the Prepare to Die edition of Dark Souls to play it, and the enthusiasm I’ve seen from some YouTubers certainly had me excited to try the mod out. I found the mod developer’s description particularly intriguing:

Dark Souls: Daughters of Ash is the original Dark Souls (2011), re-imagined and massively expanded. It’s my vision of what Dark Souls might have been if FromSoftware had been given an additional six months to develop content for the game.

But, this and several other quotes on the Nexus Mods page are either hubris or straight up lies. I want really badly to find something nice to say, like “there’s some interesting ideas here,” but even trying to use faint praise is hard because those good ideas are marred by bad execution. Continue reading


A look back at 2018…

This probably should have gone up on January 1st, but Dark Souls III isn’t gonna play itself. (I’m actually playing several games all at once and hope to have something ready for review soonish. I’m also close to finishing a book for review, and I can say that review will be mostly positive.) Truth be told, I’m hard pressed to think of what to say about 2018. It’s wasn’t a bad year compared to some in recent memory, but it wasn’t stellar, either. It’s the homely year, the kind of year that attractive years take along on pub crawls to make themselves look more alluring. It didn’t overstay its welcome or shit the rug on its way out, so…I don’t know, I guess I’ll mostly be remembering this one somewhat fondly.

It was a year I released a book, albeit it almost two years late. (Sorry about that. I blame my self-esteem as much as my health for that one.) But I used to be able to release four and five books a year, and so one book is…well, it’s less than I’d hoped for. By the same token, I’ve been less able to post reviews for books and games. I can’t afford more than a handful of games per year thanks to my less than stellar sales record (again, my fault; I need to do better at promotions) and I’ve had difficulty reading for most of this year. (Or more precisely with reading and retaining what I’ve just read.) So on the surface, I know it’s seemed like I haven’t got much done.

BUT—and, like my expanding rear it’s a big but—that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. I’ve been serving part-time as an editor of an international glass print magazine and web-site, and this year, I also began writing articles for them. The pay is pretty good, but we’ve still had money troubles due to the move from Milan to Pavia. I’m glad we made the move despite the financial strain. I have an office of my own, and with our new kitchen, I’ve become more enthusiastic about cooking again, something that’s pleased our neighbors and my husband to no end. I do miss Milan, but Pavia is full of its own charms, and I’ve enjoyed hunting them down one day-trip at a time. The hubbers is also closer to his mom, and that’s having a positive effect on his mood. So all around, I’d call the move a win-win even if it is keeping our bank account strained for the time being. Continue reading


Netflix Nosedive: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Hi! As you may know if you’ve been with me for a while now, I’ve been working on trying to bring new reviews to you, with…less than frequent results. (But there will be new game reviews in the future. I got games over the holidays, and I need time to play them and get a better idea of how I feel about them.) Well now I have something all new to bring you, the fine, kind, and very intelligent reader who has most graciously seen fit to keep reading my stuff.

Are you ready? It’s NETFLIX NOSEDIVE!

I admit, I’ve never actually used Netflix, though with every ad for a Netflix Original show or film, I’ve said, “Huh, I should look into that.” But there are games to play, books to read, things to write (or edit), and I never got around to it. Then just a few days ago, the TV antenna decided it didn’t want to work. We had nothing, and even trying to scan for channels wouldn’t fix it. So, I’m at the store to buy stuff for Christmas dinner, and I saw a prepaid Netflix card and thought, “I’ve just earned a check for editing and writing. Why not get that card as a Christmas present for myself and my hubby?” Continue reading


This is not a review for Wizard of Legend (on PC)

I’d like to apologize for my absence, but this time it’s not my fault. I’ve been sick, and am in fact still ill. All my plans and workouts fell flat as soon as the weather turned truly cold, and I had to drop a paying editing job in the middle of a week because I had an MS-related relapse. Right as I was recovering from that junk, I got a good old-fashioned cold, the kind that likes to stick around for two weeks and come in waves. It’s like every time I get up and say, “Oh, I might be better,” the cold shows up an hour later to go, “Psyche! Gotcha, bitch!”

While I don’t feel the need to apologize for being sick, I do want to say how sorry I am that I won’t be finishing Wizard of Legend. Every time I think to play it, I also think of a dozen other things I could do that would be better ways to spend my time. Like doing laundry, for instance. When a game is so tedious that I would prefer to do laundry instead, you know there’s a problem.

But, as I can’t finish it, this is not a review. I will cover what I liked about the parts I played, and then I’ll cover what I hated. (Hate is a strong word, but it totally applies in this instance, believe me.) But I will not give a score, so then it’s not a real, really real review.

What I liked can be summed up pretty fast, so first, let’s go over the story. In the modern era of the game’s world, your character is a young wizard visiting the museum of the Chaos Trials, where people admire all the many feats and spells of wizards of legend. It’s basically a tutorial area before an artifact sucks you back in time and into your very own Chaos Trial. You, yes YOU, are now being tested to become A WIZARD OF LEGEND! Wooohooo! Yaaay!

The premise is decent, the graphics are lovely, and the music is nice. Once you have enough funds to buy spells and find a mix that works for you, the visual flair of said spells can look quite spectacular as well. Aaaaand that’s everything I liked. *Deep breath* Continue reading


What’s going on with me…

I must first beg forgiveness for not posting a new review recently. As I mentioned in my last game review, I have plans to write up a little somethin’ somethin’ for Wizard of Legend, but in the time since I said that, I’ve still not been able to force myself to play much of it. Or…any of it, really. (When I can find time to play anything lately, it’s been Magic the Gathering: Arena or Fallout: New Vegas.) Obviously, when I do get around to reviewing it, you can expect it will be light on gushing praise. (Which I feel a little guilty for because it looks pretty and has good music. It’s just, everything else is…no, I’ll save it for the review.)

On the other hand, I have a book I’m reading and enjoying, and yet I can’t say when I’ll be able to review it because I have so much going on here that it’s hard to find downtime to relax and unwind with a book. Maybe I’ll luck out and find some free time tonight, but I’m not entirely sure.

Here’s the thing: we live in a much bigger place, and that means I have to work more often to keep it clean. We also have a yard and a garden that’s supposed to be shared with the neighbors, and I’m the only one free to work on any of this. So any given day here is like “get up, clean stuff, try to fit in a workout, do some office work, do some yard work, and if it’s my turn to make dinner, hustle back to the kitchen to do prep work.” Continue reading


Game review: Magic: The Gathering: Arena (beta for PC)

I actually planned to do a different review this week for Wizard of Legend, but despite feeling like I’ve played it for ages, Steam swears I’ve only been at it 13 hours. So I figure I’ll give it a bit more time before breaking out the gas and matches to burn it to the ground. On the other hand, only being ten hours into the free to play Magic: The Gathering: Arena (A name with way too many colons for my liking), I already know enough to tell you what you need to know about this game. Really, it’s Magic, but in a digital form. If you’ve played Magic anytime in its entire history, you already know what this means, and have already decided if you’re going to go in on this or not. This, then, is the review for the people who somehow missed out on the game for the last 20-some-odd years.

Before I get into it, I should cover some history explaining why I was originally hesitant to play this and explain why I was kind of right to be wary. I got into Magic: The Gathering at the ground floor with the first generation of cards thanks to my roommate Andy. Andy gave me the “first free hit” that pushed me to start buying booster packs, and after a few weeks of trying to make monster decks of ridiculous sizes, I began to instead create smaller 40 card decks comprised of one or two mana colors and with lots of land and low cost spells and creatures. While most of my friends used mega-decks with high cost cards, I could pull up an army while they were still laying out land to pay for their first summons, and I destroyed them most of the time unless I just had a really bad shuffle.

But I reached the point where I was spending all my free money on booster decks. No, I reached the point where food and bills got shuffled to the side to pay for more cards, and recognizing I had an obsession bordering on addiction, I quit the game and gave away all my cards. Five years later, a random co-worker asked if I played Magic, and I said I used to, but couldn’t afford it. So he gave me a deck to play with, and before you can say obsessive compulsive disorder, I was looking at dwindling finances and a binder full of duplicate cards again. So yeah, even in a digital form, I worried that this game might once again bring out the worst in me. To a smaller extent, I can already feel that tug to spend some real cash to get crystals so I can buy booster packs faster. In this way, Magic can be dangerous even if it’s loads of fun. Continue reading


Book excerpt 4 from Wolf in the Headlights

Here we are with the fourth and final excerpt from Wolf in the Headlights (Alice the Wolf 4), this time from chapter 47. I hope you’ve enjoyed these previews of the story, and that you’ll consider picking it up for some fun Halloween reading. In any case, now that this is done, I’ve got some paid editing work coming up soon, and then I’ll be getting to work on my next book release, which should be in December if I don’t get too lazy with the editing. But for now, here’s Alice involved in yet another bad day already in progress…
___

Okay, I need to think and put together a plan. My apartment is off limits with the cops looking for me, and I don’t want to be seen in town looking like I tripped and fell in a swamp. If I’m dealing with a warlock, I’ll need help from friends better equipped to handle magic. So, that’s Peter, who’s probably at work right now. I can’t fathom a run to Matilda’s, and Sophia is out given that she’s in Philadelphia for an art exhibit. I’ll give her a call after I’ve got some clean clothes, though.

I call Mona’s cell phone first. After two rings, she picks up and says, “Alice?”

“Mona, I need you to pack up a clean change of clothes for me, along with my pelt and my geode. If the cops show up before you leave and ask about me, tell them you don’t know where I am.” Continue reading