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Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
7,293
146
2,950
BOOK 199

BioWare: Stories and Secrets from 25 Years of Game Development by Ben Gelinas.

One of the most famous video game companies of recent years was BioWare. Famous for various RPGs, I have certainly enjoyed the Mass Effect games. But how would this history of the company fare?

From humble beginnings, originally meant as a creator of medical software, BioWare became known for creating noteworthy games. From licensed Dungeons and Dragons games to the seminal Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, from Mass Effect to Dragon Age, BioWare went through many ups and downs. This book, then, tells the saga of BioWare…

I’ll be honest, I was expecting somewhat more, particularly from some of the more famous games BioWare has done. Unfortunately, there wasn’t, with much of the space that could have been used for expanding on the making of certain games taken up by photos and the like. Plus, it doesn’t quite feel intimate enough for something that’s meant to be a history of BioWare.

Still, the book is pretty well-presented. And there are more than a few interesting and even amusing anecdotes about some of the trials and travails BioWare has gone through over the years. Plus, there’s plenty of rather sad tales about games that were worked on, and which could have been great, only to be cancelled for some reason or other.

This book flirts with being great, but never manages to reach it. Which is a shame, considering that it was quite promising anyway…

***½
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
7,293
146
2,950
BOOK 200

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Manga volume 4 by Taiki Kawakami, from the light novels by Fuze.

So, here I am with the next instalment of the That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime manga. But how would this one do? Let’s find out…

Treyni the Dryad has come to Rimuru Tempest with important information: there is indeed an Ord Lord behind the massive Orc army, and behind them is a mysterious Majin. Rimuru finds himself the de facto leader of a makeshift alliance. But can the Orc Lord be stopped? And will Gabiru’s ambitions, inflamed by the mysterious Laplace, prove to be a hindrance?

Once more, the abbreviated nature of the adaptation works against this manga, given that it’s one book adapted across three volumes. Some of the charm has been lost from it, with Gabiru’s character in particular lacking much of his admittedly few virtues from the book. And there’s more battles than plot here, with the former spun out somewhat.

Still, enough of the charm of the original series shines through. Rimuru, as always, is a fun and funny protagonist, and we’re starting to, through the appearance of Laplace and Clayman, get some idea of the stakes involved now. Plus, the battles are quite good.

Overall, this was a decent, though not stellar, adaptation of the books. Still, the next volume might be a step up…


***½
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
7,293
146
2,950
BOOK 201

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom volume 1 by Dojyomaru.

As mentioned before, the isekai genre is overly populated by works of varying quality. I decided to give How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom a go simply because of the novelty of the premise. But would it deliver?

Nineteen-year-old Kazuya Souma was expecting to go to university, not to be summoned to another world. And the country he is in, the Elfrieden Kingdom, was forced to summon a hero from another world to hand over to the Gran Chaos Empire to fight against the Demon Lord, due to lack of funds to contribute to the Empire’s war chest. But when Kazuya proves he is able to raise the funds needed, the king of Elfrieden abdicates the throne, and nominates Kazuya in his stead. Kazuya has many challenges ahead: dealing with the princess he is affianced to, reforming the economy and policies of the kingdom, and then there’s rumblings of rebellion…

Okay, let’s face it, part of the problem with the initial volumes of serials like this is the lack of plot. Admittedly, that’s due to the worldbuilding, as well as the nature of the story, which has less conflict in it so far, but it does mar things a little. Plus, there’s already a few of the more standard cringey isekai clichés, like the harem.

Still, this is such a novel twist on the genre that I have to give it due respect. Seriously, instead of fighting with overpowered abilities, Kazuya uses various reforms and some degree of modernisation to help the country he has been summoned to. What’s more, many of the characters are interesting, aside from Kazuya, with Princess Liscia, Aisha and Poncho being surprisingly good.

Overall, this was a good introduction to the series. It could have been a bit more exciting, but it’s certainly novel.


****
 

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Good Omens

"Pratchett’s wackiness collaborates with Gaiman’s morbid humour; the result is a humanist delight to be savoured and read again and again."

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