Writing a story that follows the epic climax of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope but precedes the pulse-pounding intro of Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is undoubtedly a difficult thing to accomplish. Tone-wise, you’d have to balance the hopeful rise presented in A New Hope with the darker, more introspective tone of Empire. Author Kevin Hearne was tasked with doing just that in Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi.
Years of hearing positive things about this book led me to finally give it a go, especially now that I’ve been reading a lot more than I used to. I figured that the praise was mostly nostalgia-driven, given the nature of the current Star Wars fanbase (a rant for another day, mind you). However, like anyone else, I love a bit of nostalgia here and there so I was absolutely fine with reading this book. Did it succeed in driving my thirst for old school Star Wars?
Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia: a rock opera phenomenon of epic proportions, an act that combines theatrical composition and finesse with the energy of rock and metal, all wrapped together by the talent of a plethora of vocalists and musicians. Every time Tobias Sammet releases an album, you know you’re in for something big, but just how big is his newest release, which is self-described as the most “adorned and detailed album we’ve ever produced”? Moreover, does it succeed at creating great music and memorable moments?
Fallout 76 is an interesting beast. The first online entry from a strictly single-player RPG franchise, yet much more of a traditional roleplaying game in the vein of old school tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons. It has elements of modern online first-person shooters such as the Destiny franchise but also elements from survival games like DayZ. It has that attention to detail, the environmental storytelling and subtextual implication present in all of Bethesda’s previous games but it lacks any human NPCs. All of this is tied together with a distinct ambiance that screams “Fallout” in ways that hearken back to the older games, from Fallout 3 all the way to the first game… but it’s not only an interesting beast, it’s a different one. With a game so drastically different from the games fans know and love, Fallout 76 was bound to raise some questions and concerns, even for myself as a long-term fan of Bethesda. They promised us a game that, while different from their normal games, would still feel like their other games at its core. So, did Bethesda succeed in creating another masterpiece as they’ve done so many times in the past?
The Star Wars prequels have received a large amount of hate throughout the years, though most of that hate seems to have been transferred to the sequels now. It’s the unfortunate “Star Wars curse”: the new films are always hated on until about a decade later. That being said, the prequels did have some flaws that made the story feel a little disconnected overall and as a result, the otherwise epic tale presented in the prequels can feel almost as though it was epic for the sake of being epic. Star Wars: Darth Plagueis fixes a lot of these issues by not only adding context, but also by tying the prequel and original trilogies together into one story, one grand scheme by a brilliant Sith Lord.
The Elder Scrolls. With one mention of the name, many will immediately think, “Oh yeah, Skyrim is great.” or “I love The Elder Scrolls Online.” but I’ve found that there are still a lot of people who have not played the earlier games. There are even fewer who have actually played every game in the series (including the 90s spinoffs, Redguard and Battlespire). Some call me a Bethesda fanboy but in this post, I hope to lay out why this series is so special and why it, next to Star Wars, is my favorite entertainment franchise of all time.