After many years, I have FINALLY upgraded my graphics card! Going from a GTX 560 to a GTX 970 is quite the upgrade. I bought this out of my own money as a bundle containing the card, a 256GB SSD and codes for FarCryPrimal and The Division. As expensive as graphics card are, I always think to myself after the upgrade “I should have done this ages ago.”
Yes, graphics aren’t everything in a game, but they really do enhance the whole experience, and I am absolutely loving any game which now features bodies of water!
The card has 4GB of DDR5RAM, consumes up to 225W of power and is almost 30cm long. I had to flash my BIOS to get this to work (my PC is really getting on now!) and juggle around hard drives and cables in order to get this to fit in my case, but the effort was worth it. Quiet, powerful and VR ready for those who wish to invest, this was definitely one of my favourite purchases in recent years.
The not very regular series of posts in which I detail what I’m currently playing, but haven’t played enough to review in full yet!
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D
I am completely blown away by this game so far, both in terms of graphical appearance and gameplay. A great story, interesting characters and a very satisfying combat system. If you have a new 3DS I think this is a must own for the system. The soundtrack is also excellent so far, especially through headphones.
There are some times when I long for more games that don’t involve running around shooting things with guns, as the market can often seem overrun with lots of that. Enter FarCry Primal, set before guns were invented, in the great and lush outdoors, the game is strangely immersive and utterly stunning on PC. (I may have invested in a 970, more on that in a later blog post) It’s a very visceral experience, and one which is holding my attention quite nicely at the moment.
Continuing the bookish theme (I always tend to read more in winter, it feeds my urge to hibernate.) The first book I read this year was Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. It’s a young adult fiction novel about sisters starting college, coming of age, fan fiction and fandoms in general. It’s a lighthearted look at some serious topics and the story is interspersed with fan fiction! A clever novel that’s a quick fun read and well paced. The main character is a little passive at times for my liking, but overall this does not affect my view that this is an enjoyable way to spend a couple of evenings. Highly recommended.
Whilst updating my Goodreads account to indicate that I had read my first book of the year (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell) I decided that I wanted to create some bookish content on the blog as another way of me charting my reading adventures. So here I detail 5 of the books I read last year.
Paper Towns is a character driven “young adult” novel, and I adore John Green’s characters, the pacing of this book is excellent, it’s both moving and funny, and I’ve recommended it to several people already.
Full disclosure, I have attempted to read this book twice and struggled both times to get past the first few chapters. So, I decided to try the Audible audiobook version, read by Jake Gyllenhaal. Jake’s reading is excellent, and the book is one of the most beautifully written pieces of work I have witnessed. So I can recommend both the book, and the virtues of audiobooks here.
About half the books I read in any year are non fiction, this is the first of two I will detail here. I’m a reasonably tidy person, but have always thought that I hold on to too much stuff. This book and the methods detailed in it really helped me to change my mindset on what I surround myself with at home. The ideas are simple yet powerful, and I have just started reading the illustrated second book in the series.
Another day, another audio book, this time it’s the first Oz book read by Anne Hathaway. I adored this reading and got through it in just 2 sittings, Anne really brings the characters to life.
I absolutely adored Felicia Day’s autobiography, and related to a lot of her experiences earlier in life. Anyone with a geeky side will probably appreciate many of the anecdotes here.
I’d love to hear what you have been reading lately, so comment below or tweet me @kezla
Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer is not a pure Animal Crossing game, but more of a spin off game…it’s useful to remember this. It sees you become an employee of “Nook’s Homes” an interior/exterior designer if you will. Animals will appear outside the shop each day and it’s your job to pick one customer and design their dream home. They may specify that you must include certain items (most characters unlock more furniture which is then added to your library for use in any home thereafter) but for the most part, it’s up to you. And you literally choose everything, from how the exterior looks, the floor plan, the flooring, lamps, windows and sofas etc. You unlock more design options as you go through the game, and can also design buildings in the town centre too.
Want to design the home of your favourite New Leaf villager? You can leave it to pot luck and hope they show up outside the shop, or you can try your luck at getting them in Amiibo cards packs. The cards can be scanned on “new” 3DS/XL consoles, or via an Amiibo reader and the villager or character will appear onscreen! The Amiibo cards are the only way to unlock the option to design the houses of the shop keepers and other non villagers in the game. (Saharah for example) These exclusives are denoted by the fact that their cards are glittery. Scanning the villager Amiibo figure also reaps a little reward too!
Overall the controls are excellently done and the game strangely addictive, if a little repetitive. You aren’t rewarded for matching items so it can feel a little empty at times, as the villagers are always happy regardless of the type of interior you design for them. However the online feature that allows players from around the world to rate your work makes up for this a little. Limited in scope, but done well, this is a welcome addition to the Animal Crossing franchise.
|| Immensely fun, but a little repetitive after a while.
|| Great use of 3D and incredibly cute characters!
|| Limited due to game type really.
|| Again limited, but the music stays with me after I save and quit the game.
|| Not much of a story, but there doesn’t need to be with the nature of this game.
|Value for money
|| A little limited in comparison with other Animal Crossing games.
|| I really enjoy the rating system and being able to look at other player’s designs.
|| Mapped really well, picking up and playing for the first time was easy.
|| Relaxed gaming at it’s best.
|| Excellent use of Amiibo. Both the cards and the figure can be scanned in, in an innovative and immersive way.
Total Score = 80%