When the Red Dead 2 Online Beta started in November of 2018, I happily came home from work, powered on my PlayStation and created a character. I was so excited to play in the world of Arthur Morgan with my own created character. At that point, I beat the main story and was starting a second play through, so I was excited at the aspect of something new.
I started playing with a couple of my friends, but they slowly stopped grinding and left for other games. I kept playing… I was hooked.
In the early days the griefing was frustrating. The players could see your icon across map and chase you down and kill you. I finally had enough and joined a group that would hop in your session and grief the griefer – in the name of justice and maybe revenge.
When my brother finally started his Red Dead Redemption Online character, I was 10 levels ahead of him. I showed him the ropes and we had a wonderful time hunting and exploring.
Cut to today…
Red Dead Online is officially out of Beta mode, and I am still loving and adoring it.
My brother and I both created new characters (I wasn’t stoked about how my first one looked) and are now almost the same level as our previous ones.
We frequently hunt, fish and explore the wild west… hopping off our horses to walk a trail – going off road and laughing when we have random shenanigans and defending each other when griefed.
Griefing has been reduced (for me at least) by the option of going “defensive” as well as the fact that your icon isn’t shown on the map unless you are in a certain distance from another player.
They’ve also added stranger missions, random encounters and enough free roam missions to keep the game fun if you want to do more than hunt.
Free Roam events are a blast as well. I love the fishing one, and though I have yet to try the Wild Animal Kill challenges, I’m looking forward to it.
There are also lots more PVP based game modes available for play – and I’m excited about that. I sat down one night and played a couple of matches of the showdown series and made enough money to buy a new revolver!
I’m excited to see what the future brings for this game (here’s hoping we can buy a house with our posse!)
“There’s nothing wrong with me, Merry. Only my bones want to grow through my skin like the growing things and pierce the world.”
14 year old Marjorie is possessed… or so her father and his bishop think. The story is told from the point of view of Merry; Marjorie’s 8 year old sister. However – it’s not happening real time; the story is being told by an adult Merry to an author writing about the experience. We switch between reading the conversation between the author (Rachel) and Merry, Merry as a child reliving the experiences and a blogger picking apart what really happened. All parts are equally important and give a good insight to what is actually happening in the book.
Marjorie and Merry start of as regular 8 and 14 year old girls. Marjorie is the light of Merry’s life, and she adores her older sister.
“Because I was convinced that I was going to grow up to be exactly like Marjorie, entering her room was like discovering a living, breathing map of my future.”
The book continues with Merry realizing something is wrong. Her father sinks deeper into a religious frame of mind, and her mother takes up more smoking and drinking. Marjorie changes, getting darker and meaner. After a particularly dark incident, the priest that Merry’s father has been talking to decides to contact the media, and a TV show about Marjorie and her family starts.
As things get more dramatic and dark, we start to see that maybe it isn’t Marjorie that is possessed.
The culmination of the book leaves with a twist that no one saw coming; and when I finished my jaw basically hit the floor.
I loved this book. I think it takes a good hard look at mental health, media influence and how much we can put on a show for those we love.
My friend who recommended it said:
“I think it was a good narrative of where we are at as a society. Sweeping mental health issues under the table and playing on our spectator nature.”
There were points in reading where I had to set the book down and take a break from it (definitely the sign of a good book.) It’s emotionally moving, and you can’t help but feel for each of the characters.
Speaking of characters, all are well written, three dimensional and feel like real people.
I loved this book, and highly recommend reading it to anyone.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is a great book. It takes us back to how magical childhood can seem, and how our brains work in childhood versus adulthood.
This book is the story of a man.. but when he was a boy. He returns to this place and starts remembering all these things that happened to him as a child when he looks at the pond on his friend Lettie’s Farm.
This story is one of growing up, magic, friendship, love and the secrets of the universe. It’s amazing how easily the little boy (not named) forgets what happened to him every time he leaves the Hempstock farm growing up.
Each page I read was an adventure. Whether the narrator (whom I adore… reading is the best past time and his thoughts about books are so similar to mine that is crazy) was reading, describing his cats, or on an adventure with Lettie – the words worked. I could picture everything that was happening perfectly in my minds eye. The descriptions were hauntingly beautiful – and I know it sounds crazy but I sort of see a blue tint over the world Mr Gaiman described.
The characters are all well written, seeming like real people. Lettie, Ginnie, Old Mrs Hempstock. They are all characters that I would happily spend time around, no matter what form they decided to take.
Mr Gaiman also wrote the protagonists well. Ursula was a complete.. well. beast… and the dad was definitely not my favorite character.
This is a good book that had a great storyline, enthralled throughout and made me wish there was a sequel. I definitely recommend this for lovers of fantasy and magic
This weekend I hunted an Anjanath… (a dinosaur that is similar to a T-Rex) that was threatening my base… with the help of some hunting friends of course! I started Monster Hunter World last weekend on the PS4. Monster Hunter World was developed and published by Capcom – and it’s definitely a blast for old timers and us Monster Hunter Newbies (like myself) alike!
In this game, you are a monster hunter. You have a set home base, can upgrade and forge your own gear and gear for your Palico (a talking cat friend who helps you when there is no one else online) and explore the “new world”. The storyline follows your adventures setting up camps, tracking certain monsters and figuring out what is going on.
Monster Hunter World can be played as a single player – but it can also be played with your friends online. The latter was a little complicated to figure out at first – but eventually, we got it. You can create a private online session (if you don’t want random people in your group) and invite your friends. Anyone who is in your session will be able to see when you post a quest (or if someone posts a quest you can see). Quests are usually not joinable until after the cutscenes, but generally, once the fighting starts you can head back from the quest or friends can join you. We usually start each mission at the same time, and whoever is watching the cutscene last is usually the person we join (by heading back from the mission and then joining them at the base) It’s a little complicated, but not bad once you get the hang of it. You can also go on expeditions (which is Monster Hunter’s version of free roam) and fire an SOS flare. Once you have fired your SOS, your friends can find it, join you and hang with you on Expeditions as well.
Side note: there is something called a “Guild Card” which basically shows your information, what gear you use and you can edit your pose, background, and welcome message. When you send your guild card to other players, they can send your Palico out (no, it doesn’t take the Palico from you if you are in the game) and gather gear while they are doing missions. It’s a really cool feature. And for you Platinum Chasers out there (a couple of my friends will know exactly who I’m talking about amongst them) it is a trophy to send your guild card to 50 people.
Monster Hunter isn’t super difficult – I soloed a couple of the harder monsters to catch up with my friends while they were offline. The difficulty does go up when your friends join you – but it’s also easier because you aren’t taking all the monster aggro. You cannot adjust the game difficulty from the menu – but that’s okay because it’s really not that hard.
There is a lot more to the story then I expected there to be. I thought it would be “kill this monster” rinse, repeat. But it’s not. You are working towards a goal, there are consequences, there are reasons you are hunting certain monsters. The story isn’t as in-depth as say, the Dark Souls Series, but it’s still really good.
You can spend hours in the character customization screen. A lot of people have complained that the character they created looks nothing like the one that shows in the cutscenes, but mine does! I didn’t spend quite as long editing my character as I did editing my Palico.
There are a plethora of NPC’s that sell you things, help you build things, give you assignments and feed you. One of the main characters is the Handler.
+I’m just going to go on a tangent here – I DISLIKE THIS CHARACTER IMMENSELY. From the time MY Palico hugs her because it thought we were lost, I knew I wasn’t a fan. She takes credit for all my work, and when she’s actually out in the field she always ends up in trouble. Like dude – quit telling me what to do, I carry a big mean sword and you can’t even defend yourself against herbivore dinosaurs. Okay. Rant over.+
She makes your meals at camp, hands out quests and basically acts like the in-charge person.
Plus her voice is annoying.
I LOVE the Palico! Once you find some friendly Grimyalkes, they teach your Palico to speak certain species languages. They also give you more gadgets for him to use… he’s definitely a favorite. I’ve found the Coral Orchestra to be the handiest Palico Gadget, just because you Palico can grant buffs and prevent enemy buffs (raise defense and attack, plug your ears, negate environmental damage etc)
Music and Sound
The sound is perfect! When you are exploring the first jungle area – you can hear the sounds of a jungle… it makes the game feel fully immersive. The monsters you fight each make their own set of noises (one sounds like a pigeon and makes me giggle every time). I don’t ever have the music on, but one of my friends said the fight scene music is really cool.
Cinematics and Graphics
The graphics are amazing. When I first started playing I took a moment to look up at the sky and it was gorgeous… it was sunset, so a cascade of pinks, oranges, and blues filled the sky up. The monsters are detailed and realistic. You could almost imagine what they would be in real life. The areas are beautiful, and when you take time to explore each one you can see the artistry that went into each detail.
Gameplay and Replayability
I’ve beaten the main story. It took me about a week to beat the entire game, but it was a fun week. And – my story is far from over! I have a lot of optional quests to do – not to mention grinding! It’s still fun to hunt monsters, build gear and do investigations! I still am enjoying the game immensely though I beat it last week.
Monster Hunter: World
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC (release date to be announced)
Players: 1 (up to 4 online players)
Genre: Action RPG
Rating T for Teen: Blood, Mild Language, Use of Alcohol and Violence
It is easy to save – and anytime you quit the game from the options menu it gives the option to save before quitting.
I really enjoy Monster Hunter: World – and loved learning the secrets of it! My main weapon is the Odagaron Insect Glaive (called Vice) and I dig it!
I also know some tips or tricks if you need help or are stuck, shoot me a comment below! (I have friends who played all the older versions of the games too, so if I can’t answer I bet they can!)
December 1st, already? The holidays seemed so far away but now they are right here. I can’t believe it’s the time of year to be thinking about gift giving, holiday cookies, decorations, and family time.
Wait.. yes I can!
I had my Christmas tree up 2 days after Thanksgiving! I will admit I am definitely a holiday enthusiast!
Not only that, but I pride myself on being a great gift giver!
Do you need some gift ideas for the people you love? I’m here to help you out!
1. The Kitchen Enthusiast
Ahhh. Le Kitchen. Dishes, Cooking, Creating. Sometimes though, you just want to stick something in a crock pot and call it good! You mix the ingredients together, set a timer and go about your business. 4 to 5 hours later a delicious dinner is ready.
So why not get a crockpot that is going to take care of everything?
The Black and Decker 7-Quart Digital Slow Cooker has a locking system, built in lid holder and digital controls! It also has a chalkboard surface so you can draw after you fill it! (i.e. if you are making a spinach artichoke dip, you would write “definitely not spinach artichoke dip” and no one would be the wiser so you wouldn’t have to share, right?)
For only $32.99 – you can’t go wrong! This would be the perfect gift for your foodie friend!
Gone are the days your friend had to use those pesky scissors, measure each angle and try and perfect their card cutting skills! The Cricut will do that for them! It even makes vinyl stickers and personalized home decor! They can choose from their pre-made library, or connect it to their computer and upload their own design!
If you have a friend who loves creating – you can’t go wrong with this bad boy!
3. The Outdoorsy Type
You know that one friend that is always like “Maaaaan. I love being outside. Camp the other day was awesome” and all you can think about is that big cozy bed waiting for you at home?
Well – there’s even a gift for them.
The Easy Take Down Parachute Nylon Camping Hammock is the perfect gift for someone who loves to be in the trees. It’s made of a super strong material, but is lightweight so it’s easily packable! Your friend will always think of you when they get to take a nap on their easy hang – packing room friendly hammock!
4. The One Who Loves Fishing
My dad and brother are both avid fishermen. I swear sometimes they speak the fish language. They can go out fishing and come home with giant bass or trout.
So I decided to get my dad something that could up his game.
This handy little fellow detects and displays water depth, fish location, weeds and plants, and rocks! It has various settings and can be applied to almost any body of water! This is a must-have for the fisherman who is serious about locations and boat fishing.
5. The Punk Rock Loving Teenager
Is there a teenager in your life who you have no idea what to get? They wear all black, they listen to weird music (“IT’S ART MOM!”) and they seem rebellious?
Well, guess what? You could be their new best friend!
A gift card from Ticketmaster would be the perfect gift! You choose the price from $25 all the way to $250! It will be delivered to you or them – and they can pick and choose concerts they want to go to! What a deal! You could even buy two so that you could tag along to the concert with your youngun (maybe discover some groovy new music while you are at it!)
6. The Video Game Nerd
Do you have that special someone who plays a lot of video games, but you aren’t sure what system? Xbox? PS4? What are those, codes?
Don’t worry loving *insert older family relation*, there’s something that just about everyone would love to have!
As a fellow book reader – I can tell you that you can never go wrong with 1. your favorite book, 2. a book that reminds you of them or 3. a Barnes and Noble gift card
However, if none of those seem good enough, I can tell you that a Reading Journal would be a good one!
If they are anything like me, a list to keep track of all of the books they have read is not only a cool achievement, but it helps them decide what to read next! Sure, there are websites that do this (goodreads.com, I definitely recommend joining) but there is something special about writing thoughts down with a pen and paper!
8. The Techie
Sure, it’s hard to shop for someone who always has the newest and coolest thing. People who love tech items usually order them (or stand in line for them) right away.
But there is one thing that would be cool and useful to receive, even if they already have one!
The Amazon Echo is a smart home speaker, phone call assist and personal assistant. If you have more than one that means you have more capabilities in each room of your house! Alexa the personal assistant can also check your calendar, weather, traffic and manage lists. She has a number of other useful features (will order a pizza.. I’m sold!) and would be a great holiday gift!
9. Horror Fans
For this group, it’s easier for me to just share a list of items that would be cool for any horror lover. As a lover of horror and Gore myself – I couldn’t decide on just one 🙂
Has your loved one done almost everything? Hiked tall mountains? Been on a cruise? I bet there is one thing they haven’t tried! An 8 -day river trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon! Yes, the canyon is spectacular and beautiful from above – but a trip down the river is a completely different experience! When you travel with Grand Canyon Expeditions they take care of everything!
An excerpt from the website:
“Since a Grand Canyon river rafting trip is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, it should be an unhurried experience. Our eight-day excursions traverse the entire 277 miles of the canyon, beginning at Lee’s Ferry, Arizona (in Grand Canyon National Park), and ending at Pearce Ferry on Lake Mead.
To many, the most thrilling even on a Grand Canyon white water rafting trip is riding the rapids. The exhilaration you feel as your raft plunges through the waves is a hard-to-describe experience. Only after passing through such rapids as Soap Creek, Hance, Sockdolager, Hermit, Crystal and Lava Falls can you appreciate the achievements of Major Powell and other early river explorers.
Life on one of our Grand Canyon rafting tours is pleasant. Eight days of exciting rapids, exploration, and sleeping under the stars will pass much too quickly!”
This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and one this blogger HIGHLY recommends! It’s such an amazing experience to camp along the river, go exploring, hiking, and get to know your fellow rafters without the distraction of a cell phone in everyone’s face! For those who want to get out and get back to nature, I say go for it!
For more information visit: www.gcex.com You can request a brochure, send an email or call the office with questions.
19. The Boss Type
So if you know me, you know I adore my boss. She’s funny, sweet, easy to get along with and one of my favorite people.
So there you have it! My list of gift ideas for almost every person in your life! If you have any other questions, need ideas or want a more personalized gift idea, leave me a comment below! If you have someone you just can’t think of a gift for, send me some of their likes and I’ll try and help you!
I have a lot of hours into the original Destiny. In fact, I have 559 hours of gameplay in the Destiny 1 universe. That’s almost 24 days of playing. So believe me when I say I was really excited for Destiny 2. I marked the release date on my calendar, planned nothing for that week and told everyone I was going to be unavailable. When it finally released … We had problems downloading. We pre-ordered from Best Buy – they didn’t deliver the code until a day later. I ended up having to download a code off of Amazon because you can’t game share between two consoles (I have one and my husband has the other – mine is the primary console but the licensing is different for Destiny 2). When I finally was able to sit down and play the game, I was way excited.
Destiny 2 started with a tribute to the original game players… showing activities you did, when you completed them and who you completed them with. By the end, I was in tears because I am a crybaby and love emotional things like that.
Destiny 2 – like its predecessor – is an online world where you can do missions, patrol planets and find adventures. We played as a fire team of 3.
I played through the first couple of missions by myself (required by the game) but together in a group chat. From the get-go, it’s full of emotion and sadness. Without giving too much away, the story is heart-wrenching, beautiful and is definitely a compliment to the first game. A lot of the missions in the first game were quick and the first playthrough I didn’t quite get why they were important. In Destiny 2, everything made sense and they explained objectives really well.
You still start off as picking a Hunter, Titan or Warlock to start. If you played the original game your character will reflect the facial features, race, gender and other discernible features that you chose in the first game.
Music and Sound
The music and sounds complemented the game really well. I usually turn the music all the way down on games but left it on for my first playthrough. It definitely made it better. When it came to character speech I was blown away. Without giving too much away, Ghost sounds different after the first mission. The humor behind certain characters makes me laugh every time. I love listening to the talk while doing a mission.
Cinematics and Graphics
I love cinematics in a game. Mini-movies that add to the mission you just did, with their beautiful graphics and drama – are my favorite. Destiny 2 had some exceptional ones. Cinematics that showed a “behind the scenes” if you will with the enemy. Cayde-6 (he’s my favorite, I’m sorry!) and humorous moments in the life of a guardian. The Graphics are A+ and the details everywhere you go were well thought out and planned. Secret caves, Vex constructs, and the social spaces are gorgeous. Each new planet is well thought out, unique and memorable.
Gameplay and Replayability
The gameplay is simple Destiny style, with a couple of changes from Destiny 1. There are some new types of missions with different activities (that almost felt a little Halo-y, but I’m okay with that). When you finish the main story there is always something to do. The Raid, Patrol Challenges, Strikes, Strike Challenges, the Nightfall (now timed) and of course Crucible. I already have gone through the main story again with a different character and enjoyed it just as much the second time.
Destiny 2 can be single player but the campaign can be easier if you have a Fireteam of 3 (or 6 if you are doing the raid – keep in mind though that matchmaking is available through guided games)
You are unable to change the game’s difficulty in regular play (although you can do a harder “prestige” version of the raid and nightfall), but it’s really not that hard. When I’m alone I can manage it with only a couple of deaths (if I’m thinking smartly)
Destiny 2 is rated T for Teen because of blood, language, and violence.
The main story itself is about 16 missions long (which is longer than the 1st one) and the game also has strikes, the raid, the nightfall, adventures, challenges and you can replay missions after you beat the story.
There are no self-save points in the game – but autosave. I’ve never had a problem with Destiny not saving my game though.
In conclusion, I loved Destiny 2. I think it was worth all the hype that it got pre-release. It was a good game to keep me intrigued in Bungie’s universe – and to get me back into Destiny. I love that they even made small fixes in the game – like you stay in your menu if your fireteam leader is taking you to a different activity. You can also travel to different places without having to go back to orbit.
I do wish that Crucible had a “Choose your Own” game mode like the first one (I really don’t like supremacy and hate when it comes up) and I miss the 6 man teams. However, I do really love the “Survival” game type! I played with some members of my clan recently and we worked really well as a team.
I also miss Grimoire score and hidden revivable ghosts. In Destiny 1 my Grimoire was over 5000. However, I do like being on a random planet and finding something to scan and get the backstory of.
A lot of people don’t like that you have to pay glimmer (in-game money) to apply a shader to each piece of armor. I would agree with that. But I like that you can apply separate shaders to separate pieces of armor and do a mix and match type deal.
I like that the Trials of the Nine gives you access to the spire for wins and that you can advance up the spire as you gain more wins.
I love new characters, places, and changes to social spaces (as well as emotes!)
I’ve beaten the raid a couple of times; it’s complicated but only took me about one round to understand what I was supposed to do. My clan works well as a team so we beat it fairly easily, but it was still challenging. Each part is a puzzle in its own – and don’t even get me started on the underbelly!
If you haven’t picked this game up I recommend doing so if you are a Destiny fan! It’s a fun great addition to the Bungie family!
Within the first 5 minutes of the first video of Horizon Zero Dawn, I was crying. Besides having stunning graphics and almost lifelike characters in the beginning of the game movie, it has a story that kept me intrigued and I didn’t want to skip it like I would in other games.
When I finally got to play as Aloy, I was taken aback again by how good the graphics are, and how fairly simple the layout of the controls is as well. I started out as a child Aloy, learned some controls and then watched another movie sequence. I got to about level 10 and am on the main story mission 8 out of 22 . I won’t drop any spoilers here, I promise.
I’ll publish a full review once I have completed the game, but so far I am in love. It’s beautiful, got a great story mode and has lots of cool perks that make it exciting and not repetitive.
When I play games like this I like to explore and sometimes will go out of my way to avoid combat. That’s something I like about this game, if you don’t want combat you can duck and hide or run away. There are some story missions that require it (obviously) but even then it’s not that bad. I do play on normal though – but for me that seems to be perfect.
Another thing I like about this game (that I mentioned before) is the story. It’s quick to pick up and not hard to follow, but so far has been cute, interesting and heart wrenching. I love to read – so I enjoy playing games that are like reading a book. I also love the dialogue options you get for Aloy. You can make different decisions, ask different questions and talk to characters with your choice of dialogue.
I’ve got a ways to go before I finish, but I think all my readers with a PS4 should consider picking up this game and hang out in the Horizon Zero Dawn world!