Review

Can We Just Hit Reset On The World?

A Review Of The Spire From Author Peter Smith

By Mitch Punpayuk

    Maria Patterson lives with her parents in a fully automated multi-storied Spire in the middle of Central Park, she has a robot companion, two loving parents, and the whole North American continent to herself. After the plague that wiped out most of the world’s population, her family and their army of robots have charged themselves with raising the next generation of Americans but they aren’t the only ones left in the world.There are several prominent families that rule over other countries and continents, and not everyone has the best intentions. The new world has still has a few surprises for its new inheritors.

Following Maria as she navigates the world she grew up in, with all its trials and tribulations, you feel like both nurturer to her naivete and in awe of her intellect and abilities.
    Author Peter Smith crafts a complex and heavily detailed world that allows the reader to get lost in the very scenes of the novel. This level of detail is afforded to the characters of this story as well, immersing the reader in the thoughts of the characters as they try to thrive in their new reality.  The amount of “science fact” blended into the “science fiction” grounds the story for a more believable read of a world rocked by a viral apocalypse. While the merging of “old world” politics and the neo-politics of a not so-far off possible future, make for a compelling story that mirrors stories from our own history.

    I particularly like the characters of David Miller and Tobor. Miller is a former special forces military man, now head of private security for Jacob Patterson and his family. While Tobor is a semi-artificial intelligent android that is the protector/care-giver/teacher/sole companion of Maria Patterson, the story’s main protagonist. 

    Issues I had with the book is the erratic switching of pronouns for characters which made me have to reread many parts over as the author jumps from character to character. The character of Maria Patterson has a great deal of her formative years off page, so though the author puts great thought into why Maria is so well learned and versatile, to me it did not feel like her skills and abilities were earned more often than not. The author also, quite often, goes into too much detail about items, devices, places, and all around minutiae that does not come back into play at any point in the story, throwing “Chekhov’s Gun’ straight out the window.    In all, for a new reality based sci-fi, give ‘The Spire’ by Peter Smith a read and get sucked into a world filled with robots, genetic alteration, political intrigue, strong characters, and incredible world building, you won’t be disappointed.

Find this book and Peter Smith’s follow up novel ‘Apocalypse Dawn’ on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Peter-F-Smith/e/B07YQ8GV8D/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Late Gamer Plays Assassin’s Creed Unity

A Review From Hidai Moya

I was wary of what to expect of ‘Assassin’s Creed Unity’ since it’s a game that was perpetually haunted by its botched release. However after spending about 110 hours in it I can attest it’s nowhere near as bad as its perceived to be, but there are still some odious sins it commits.
First off the city of Paris is a wonder. Even in 2019 its still without a doubt one of the best cities the franchise has ever depicted. The enduring romance of Paris is that of a global cosmopolitan beacon of culture, history, & art with a dazzling array of Parisian architecture dotting the map. Notre Dame Cathedral, the games architectural north star, serves as the cities primary landmark and it’s equally one of the most beautiful & lovingly rendered landmarks of the entire franchise. Exploring it’s sky high bell towers, it’s gorgeous facade, and it’s beautiful interior are some of the best memories I have of this game.
Everywhere you turn in Paris there’s some new and fascinating history to be discovered, a castle here, a fortress there, and historical neighborhood full of secrets. Enter the fact that Unity also has the best parkour animations of the series never made me care that there were literally no mounts in the game. The city also has a unique feature not present in other AC games which are crowds. Really large crowds of people that serve to make the city feel more vibrant and alive during the French Revolution, however it’s annoying how hard it is not to lose your enemies in them. You think with so many people there, anyone looking for you would lose you quickly but very often they can spot you easily which undermines the purpose of these crowds, as beautiful as they are to see.
This brings me to point out the game’s truly appalling sins, the NPC voices & dialogue. Though this game takes place in France inexplicably all of the NPC’s have English or Irish accents which kills your historical immersion & can make for bizarre experiences. What’s unforgivable is that the studio that made Unity is in based was Ubisoft Montreal. A city where French is the official language (I hope someone got fired for this).
Beyond that, the overall game and the intro have this cool swashbuckler feeling to it with its combat. The fighting choreography is neat, though simplistic & repetitive with not many variations in moves.
Overall this story had a lot going for it, but tragically never fully used its French Revolution setting to delivery a memorable ending, opting instead for a somewhat cliched unimaginative ending. There is a lot this game gets right but also things it botches, but overall I don’t think I would’ve played it for as long as I did if I didn’t enjoy myself throughout most of my experience.
Grade B

The Geeks’ Watch – Episode 147 Carnival Row S01xE07 ‘The World To Come’

“The future comes, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall miss no game, withhold no news, report all rumors. I shall wear no jerseys and plead allegiance to no side. I shall live and die on my webpage. I am the word in the darkness. I am the watcher of the tv. I am the megaphone that informs the realms of geek. I pledge my hands and name to the Geek’s Watch, for geeks and all the geeks to come.” John, Jessica, and Mitch go over the entertainment news from the past week and continue with the Amazon Prime Video series Carnival Row Episode 7 ‘The World To Come’.

Late Gamer Plays Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

A Review From Hidai Moya

“The Old Blood” is yet another violently fun entry into the classic Wolfenstien franchise. This game is soft remake of 2001’s “Return to Castle Wolfenstein” where you first must escape the titular locale & then put an end to Nazi occultists digging up undead secrets of a supernatural past. One thing this series does so well, better than many FPS franchises, is that it really puts in the effort to create outstanding shooting gallerys. Wether on a bridge, a cable car, or a charming bavarian town, it’s adrenaline pumping run & gun play is very satisfying. It’s weak point is that its story is nowhere near as emotionally impact as its other entries but its serviceable. For dedicated fans there’s even multiple levels of 1992’s “Wolfenstein 3D” hidden around the game world to find. Not as good as the 2001 version, but still very fun. Grade B

The Geeks’ Watch – Episode 146 Carnival Row S01xE06 ‘Unaccompanied Fae’

“The future comes, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall miss no game, withhold no news, report all rumors. I shall wear no jerseys and plead allegiance to no side. I shall live and die on my webpage. I am the word in the darkness. I am the watcher of the tv. I am the megaphone that informs the realms of geek. I pledge my hands and name to the Geek’s Watch, for geeks and all the geeks to come.” John, Jessica, Mitch, and special guest Elizabeth go over the entertainment news from the past week and continue with the Amazon Prime Video series Carnival Row Episode 6 ‘Unaccompanied Fae’.