Sunday Morning Stuff 27/10

The end of October looms large, November in-waiting like a grim vanguard of the Christmas season, here all too soon…but there is nothing to be done. Nothing. Halloween hardly stems the tide of Xmas nonsense but once it is gone nothing stands in the way of St Nicholas.

BUT October and November are often good months for stuff and that’s what we like here and that’s what we are here to talk about, so with the extra hour we’ve had in bed (or not) thanks to the clocks falling back an hour, lightening the morning but dimming the evening in cruel fashion, let’s look at the stuff that I have been…

Reading…

Just like last week, I don’t want to talk too much about what I’ve been reading as I’ll be putting out a couple of Classically Lackings on horror novels this coming week, what with Halloween coming up and all. However! I did get a couple more SF Masterwork books to add to my collection – Roadside Picnic and Sires of Titan – I love the way these covers look and I’m looking forward to getting into some classic sci-fi once spooky season comes to a close.

Playing

I must be an idiot to have started playing Dragon Quest XI the same week The Outer Worlds came out, especially since both of them seem to be really quite excellent.

My thoughts about Dragon Quest haven’t really changed that much from the demo, it isn’t a game which is looking to change the rule book when it comes to JRPG’s other than it does everything you might imagine a JRPG doing better than pretty much every other game that has come before. The story is simple, the characters clearly defined, and the world a colourful joy to explore. The combat is simple fare, but addictive enough to someone looking to get into that RPG grind, and the progression system is expansive without being overwhelming, taking a similar system to the grid from Final Fantasy X just nowhere near as ludicrous. There are a couple of things which really make special though, for a start there are so many quality of life options involving game speed which take away a lot of the monotony which is intrinsically tied to this type of game. Secondly, this new edition of the game allows you to play the ENTIRE GAME in a top down 2D mode (reminiscent of NES/SNES era JRPGs) which is absolutely bloody gorgeous. I’m mostly sticking to the 3D mode for now, but for those looking to pick up a second edition of this game on Switch it is a pretty spectacular selling point.

The Outer Worlds is a different kind of RPG, but a rich, dense, and wonderfully written one nonetheless – or at least, as far as I can tell so far, as I’ve not much too much progress what with all the Dragon Quest-ing that has been getting in my way. It really is the spiritual successor to developer Obsidians darling Fallout: New Vegas except without all the bugs and in a new and exciting sci-fi universe. I’m really excited to see how things progress, but the level of customisation there is to the character to builder, and the volume of dialogue and progression options even in the early game suggests that my initial excitement isn’t going to dissipate anytime soon.

Listening to

Kanye West is a polarising figure, or so people say. The fact he can generate so much buzz by not releasing an album on time on MULTIPLE occasions suggests there are more than enough fans firmly in his camp to keep him in new Yeezy’s for the rest of his days on Earth. He has actually dropped a new album this week though with Jesus is King, although it was of course later than expected.

As always the production is top notch, and as has been the case with a lot of his most recent projects his lyrics make me think he’s just working on some notes he’s scribbled down a few minutes before he heads on into the studio. You’d think with his new ultra-tight focus on God and religion something more substantial might have come from it, but beyond some nice hooks nothing jumped out at me.

I’m sure that Kanye West doesn’t doubt the quality of whatever words pop into his head as he goes but I…

Look, it’s not bad. It’s not bad.

And there is a song with Kenny G, everyone.

Yes that one. He drops that sax as smooth as you’d expect.

But if you want something that’s a bit better than not bad I heartily recommend the new album from Rex Orange County – Pony, which is a collection of sincere pop singer songwriter tunes which will wriggle their way into your earholes and sit quite happily, and a bit sadly actually, for the foreseeable future.  

Watching

I saw Joker and I don’t think it’s possible for me to have anything interesting to say on it.

Everything’s been said, hasn’t it?

Talk, talk, talk. Joker really set the internet into a fabled frenzy, a real top of the line freak-out on both sides. As is often the case with these things, having come to it after the peak of the madness, my opinion on the film is far cooler in both the negative and positive sense. Joaquin Phoenix is as good as everyone has been saying. He makes Arthur Fleck scary, skeletal, and sad. His journey to becoming the Joker is completely believable.

It is a journey which is never subtle however, as although director Todd Phillips has put together a really good looking, ultimately engrossing film, it is about as subtle as…I don’t know…a lorry crash? Artillery fire? Every point, every twist, is hammered home in such a way that the audience just can’t miss it. It’s like he has something to say about society and Phillips really, really needs you to hear it. Did you miss it? Let him repeat him, again, and again. Let him write it all over the screen for you in really big letters. Still! Watch it, make up your mind on your own, it’s definitely worth seeing and no amount of over-hype or counter-lash can take that away.

We’ll call that the enjoy hen, shall we? Enjoy the pinnacle of the spooky season, watch some scary movies, drink some pumpkin-esque beverages if you so wish just…don’t rush into the Christmas stuff, you’re driving me mad.

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