Wednesday, February 20, 2019

My Favorite Songs from The Umbrella Academy

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If you have Netflix or the internet, you would probably have heard someone talking about the new show, The Umbrella Academy by now. What you might not have heard is that the show is the brainchild of ex-My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way. Not only did he write the comics, but he was also instrumental (see what I did there?) in putting together the tv show and its soundtrack.

Gerard Way as we know him best.

And what an awesome soundtrack it is. Possibly the best part of the few episodes I have watched. This prompted me to find a Spotify playlist and give the list of tracks a listen while I work. I have picked out my favourites for you to enjoy too.

Istanbul (Not Constantinople) - They Might Be Giants

This is one of those songs that I feel I should apologise in advance for because you will have it stuck in your head for the next few days.

Kill of the Night - Gin Wigmore

I have never heard of Gin Wigmore before, although her music has featured in a few TV series. I like the lounge music vibe and a sound that reminds me a little of Amy Winehouse.

Hazy Shade of Winter - Gerard Way, Ray Toro

This is a fantastic, rocked-up cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic. Essential for those of you missing My Chemical Romance and Gerard Way's distinctive voice.

Phantom of the Opera Medley - Lindsey Sterling

Wondered why the violin medley Vanya plays at the beginning of episode one is so familiar? That's because it's really Lindsey Stirling. I love this so much as she adds her own flair to covers she does.

And, lastly, there is one scene where the cast dances along to I Think We're Alone Now by Tiffany. I can't in good conscience add that song to the list (because it's just not my bag, baby), but I can include an amazing cover that I think fits the darkness of the series. This by Hidden Citizens, who did a series of covers along this vein, giving songs a movie trailer level of epicness. I would love to see their music included in future episodes of The Umbrella Academy.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Review: Apex Legends

Apex Legends is a free-to-play Battle Royale game that, in the short time since its release, has seen its player base grow to over 25 million.

Developed by Respawn Entertainment, it is available to anyone with an Origin account so there is really no reason why you shouldn't at least try it out for few games.

The basic concept is that you, along with 2 friends (or random people on the internet, I don't judge), team up to form a squad to compete in the Apex Games against 19 other teams for the glory of being the last team standing. Think Hunger Games, only you aren't killing teenagers and being a slave to the Capitol.

Each player gets to chose a character from the roster who has a unique set of abilities which will benefit the team either in terms of offence, defence, healing or exploration. You are then launched into the arena with no resources at your disposal. Where your Squad Leader chooses to land has a huge impact on the sort of advantage you gain in the first few minutes of gameplay as you scrounge for guns, armour and ammo.

From, there, it's simple. Stay alive and outlast the other players as the size of the playable area incrementally decreases.

The Good

  • It is damn fun to play and relatively simple to learn, as long as you are familiar with gaming mechanics.
  • There is a built-in communication system so if you don't have a mic, you can still relay important information to the rest of the squad through your character.
  • The players are on a level playing field aside from knowledge of game mechanics and the map. You are not going to face characters who have stronger abilities because they have done the grind.
  • Any additional content you can purchase via microtransactions is purely cosmetic. You don't need to spend money but that doesn't mean you won't want to.
  • There is no commitment or cooldown period if, for some reason, you cannot complete a match.

The Not Good
  • It's still early days, so sometimes the game struggles to connect to servers and there are juddering moments where your character freezes up while this stabilises. 
  • I struggle to see other players as they are presented as kind of faded and grey if they are not in your squad. This makes it hard to be both offensive and defensive and to actually get kills.
  • Playing solo is just not as fun as playing with people you know, especially as you might find yourself with a language barrier with the strangers in your squad. This is not a fault of the game, of course. But Apex Legends is definitely best played with friends. Although, the limit to three people can also pose problems if you have three friends online at that time with you.

The Consensus

Basically, this is something you can install and jump right into. Because it's free to play, it won't be hard to convince friends to join you and squad up for a few games. The game mechanics are clever and intuitive and even those not used to Battle Royale style gameplay should pick this up very quickly and enjoy it, even if you don't get kills right away.

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

System Requirements:
OS:     64-bit Windows 7
CPU:   Intel Core i3-6300 3.8GHz / AMD FX-4350 4.2 GHz Quad-Core Processor
GPU:   NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 / Radeon HD 7730
GPU    RAM: 1 GB
Minimum 22 GB of free space

Friday, February 8, 2019

Giveaway: King of Scars

Due to reasons, I find myself with a spare copy of King of Scars, the new, anticipated novel from YA Superstar, Leigh Bardugo.

This is the first in a new duology set in the Grishaverse and it is highly recommended you read the first two series first.

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army. 
Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

If you are a fan or want to start your collection, I am giving away my spare copy of King of Scars.

The rules are simple:

  • You must be a resident of South Africa.
  • You must follow me @urbanisedgeek on Instagram.
  • Find the corresponding Instagram post and comment tagging 2 friends.
  • Winner announced on Friday the 16th Feb 2019 on Instagram.

May the odds be ever in your favour!