by Abdul Hussain (H/T Fahim Ferdous Promi for the material)
In my First Impressions write-up of the Volume 1 of the novelization of theFade to Oblivion story,I felt that the story as a whole has started off tremendously in spite of the low fantasy misconceptions that I have had when I was reading the Volume 1 novelization for the very first time, as I have initially thought that the story was based on a universe that is more akin to a work of fiction like The Lord of the Rings, which has completely fictional settings that are unlike what humans are familiar with, than 24 (the latter series), or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), both of which is based in real-world locations, but has some fictional countries while still being set, or inspired by real-world geographical places. If you have not read my First Impressions write-up for Volume 1 of this story, then I suggest you do so first, before you continue reading this First Impressions piece.
Now, as the novel was split into separate issues in the same way as the comic adaptation of this story, the story almost immediately starts off without any hesitation whatsoever with regards to story build-up, which can catch the readers off-guard if they have not read Volume 1 for some time, though simultaneously and understandably, having a slow, or tardy build-up will annoy the potential readers more than immediately getting into the action, so in a multi-issue release, an immediate start is much more sensible than a “slow-burn” approach.
As for the action-packed scenes, especially the fight scenes within the novelization, the scenes in question have been meticulously described, with the author, Fahim Ferdous Promi, showing that he has massive amounts of knowledge in the realms of martial arts, at least from a spectatorial perspective, which is largely helped by his background, and it shows in the story, and the way the characters develop and express their emotions in the story are grounded, and believable, without any awkward story-writing flaws that would make the prospective readers question the author’s story-writing abilities, and all of these aspects have been written in such a way that the readers will be able to immerse themselves into the settings and locations within the story, and its characters in a near-trance-like manner.
However, for a first-time story effort, apart from the low fantasy that has initially made me question the settings and the existence of some of the pop culture references, in which I have eventually understood when I found out what the story is based on, which is that the story is set around 2010, with some fictionalized elements, I cannot think of any downsides when reading Volumes 2 and 3 of the story, especially when considering that this story is a first-time effort.
All in all, the story continues from where it left off on a very strong note, even though my views on Volumes 2 and 3 are chiefly the same as Volume 1 of the novelized story, and it maintains its momentum effortlessly, in which I dearly hope that this trend continues in the future.
by Abdul Hussain (H/T Fahim Ferdous Promi for the material)
I was recently given a novelised copy of a comic book project titled Fade to Oblivion by an aspiring fiction writer named Fahim Ferdous Promi (mononymously known as “Promi”) whose events are loosely framed upon real life experiences of the author himself. As I have been told, the origins of the story trace their roots to a Bleach fan-fiction dating back to an afternoon of November 2009 when most of its concepts materialised during his correspondences with friends throughout the course of a routinely ordinary chemistry class which then continued to evolve into a stand-alone endeavour spanning over ten years, becoming Fade to Oblivion.
The story starts off in a slightly light-hearted tone which effectively and immediately grabs the attention of the reader from the moment they start reading, and with the immediacy of the fighting scenes in the story, it helps further the entertainment factor, especially when there are certain fictional works, such as Hideo Kojima’s games, that can drag out scenes for too long to the point that attention spans are tested to the limits.
The story is set in a fictionalised version of Earth circa 2010, given away by a plethora of pop culture references hailing from then which adds to its mildly light-hearted nature, and is littered with name-swaps for countries, such as “Gangehrid” for Bangladesh, “Liberty Haven” for the United States of America, “Maple Falls” for Canada and so on, as well as products, such as “PlaySystem” for PlayStation” and “CapuMon” for Pokemon among many others, which is a choice that seems to certainly help with circumventing rights issues akin to Konami and their Pro Evolution Soccer franchise regarding their inability to acquire the rights to every single soccer team, stadium and league.
As for the narrative progression in the first issue, which is currently available for free here, as stated above, the story starts off with an action/fighting scene almost immediately upon one beginning to read it, but then slowly progresses positively with daily life actions and dialogue that aid the reader with getting to understand the characters better, only to drop another fight scene soon afterwards, which are always described with great technical proficiency while the non-fighting scene elements are described with a fantasy-themed flair, both serving to communicate the passion that the author has for this project to the audience remarkably well, especially for a debut effort that was a decade in the making.
However, due to the fanciful elements featured within the story, like the implementation of mystical practices and encounters with certain entities, some readers may be put off by the false impression/misconception that the story is based on a completely mythical universe that is separate from the real world, a type of fiction called “high fantasy”,when in fact the story, while having understandable fictional elements, is based on the real world, and mirrors what is happening within the real world, similar to how popular media franchises like South Park operate/work in terms of storylines, a type of fiction called “low fantasy”,which is what I admittedly was guilty of when reading it initially to the point that I had to ask the author for a little clarification. Besides the early bit of confusion, though, I have thoroughly enjoyed the first issue, and cannot wait to see how the story unfolds in the future instalments to come.
For those who want to check out the story and the updates on the project, you can go to Script’s Facebook page or their Twitter page, and if you want to monetarily support Script, you can do so via its Patreon page here.
About bloody time: I have finished Jet Set Radio Future, via CXBX-Reloaded, a Microsoft Xbox emulator that is still infantile by development standards, though to be fair to LukeUsher et al, the brains behind the successor to the original CXBX emulator project, the whole Microsoft Xbox emulation scene was in a state of disarray and confusion, and stagnation, due to chiefly misunderstanding the methods of emulating the first x86-based games console, alongside minimal manpower. Now, as for CXBX-Reloaded and its future plans:
So Luke, you and your team better get your backsides moving if you want CXBX-Reloaded to be more than “just a JSRF launcher” hahaha (just messing with ya, but yeah, I wish the same too).
Now, as for the complete playthrough, here you go. Enjoy.
I think most people watching Bernie wheezing and blurting his way through his ‘victory’ speech last night were thinking the same thing as I was: “WHYYY Bernie…just whhyyyyyyy”. Can’t he just give it up? Hillary Clinton says nobody likes him. She’s probably well placed to actually know this. But noooo, oh no, Bernie is gonna WIN…No, Bernie is probably going to DIE before he wins.
Donald Trump, of course, is also way too old to be president – he’s definitely showing signs of senility. We all know that Donald would never accept that he’s too old, but it’s not too late for you, Bernie!! You don’t look like a winner, you never looked like a winner, you never will look like a winner. Just go home and put your slippers on and have a nice cup of tea, pull that special reclining chair back and watch the results come…
One may ask why I have not got around to writing much, or producing a lot of commentary videos as of late: well, the chief reason for that is, beside getting sunk into gaming once again, I’ve decided to pay attention to limey politics, or rather, the soap opera-like build-up to the UK General Election 2019, and what a monumentally laughable farce it really was, but I have to admit that I was keeping up to pace with that for comedic reasons, and to an extent, it did not disappoint in that regard.
So then, where shall I start? Let’s start with the first set of televised debates that took place in November 2019 then, especially with the ITV (UK) debate that took place on November 19, 2019, whereby besides Jeremy Corbyn verbally promising “a fairer UK for all” and verbally promising that the NHS will not be sold off alongside more financial support for public services, and Boris Johnson promising to “Get Brexit Done®”, and talking about his reported past “achievements” (political promises are like promises of repentance from an habitual adulterer if you ask me: don’t trust what they say, but see what they do after what they have said), the questions that were greenlit for approval were frankly so laughably basic that you would expect these questions to be asked by a kindergarten student, and not a bunch of fully-grown human beings, such as, but not limited to (paraphrased):
However, here is where the build-up reaches “ultimate cringe tier”: the insufferable repetition of a certain catchphrase, and a repetition of a certain term. Can you guess what those two things are?
I’ll gladly wait…
Are you going to spit the answers out then?
Sod it – “Get Brexit Done®”, and “Antisemitism®” are the two key terms that became the highlight of the UK General Election 2019 build-up, amongst topics like the National Health Service and the fears of further privatisation efforts, and the UK’s exit from the European Union.
Now, with regards to the “Get Brexit Done®” slogan that Boris Johnson kept parroting, while there are valid points with regards to respecting the vote results of the EU Referendum in 2016, how that vote outcome is executed is sadly, an entirely different matter, especially when not a lot of writers are fanatics of Boris Johnson (here, here, and here, though there’s most likely going to be more), and Alexandra Hall Hall, former UK diplomat, resigning from her position as she “does not want to peddle half-truths” on Brexit. As for that slogan though, it has gotten so cringeworthy that the Daily Telegraph staffer, Michael Deacon, amongst others, have started poking fun at said slogan
In short: a run-of-the-mill leader election build-up, with the UK taking pages out of the US playbook, ranging from the televised debates, to the arbitrary Russiagate that popped out of thin air, with a side-serving of laughably entertaining, Internet meme-tier cringe that would make one laugh and “facepalm” at this build-up.
Thus, at this point, who needs actual entertainment when one can get creative by just poking fun at it all?
Oh well: vote, or don’t vote – it was an interesting rollercoaster ride. I’m personally not expecting much from this to be frank, so whatever happens, will happen, so… whatever.
by Abdul Hussain– H/T “Marney Imy” (@marneymo (Twitter)) and Mohammed Hafeez
Platforms tested: Android OS (Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 – Havoc-OS (10), LG G4 – AOSPExtended (9), Samsung Galaxy S4 – GT-i9505 – Samsung OEM firmware (5.0.1), and BlueStacks – PC (7.1.1))
Who would have thought that a somewhat decent game on a smartphone would exist? Not me, and I was initially, immediately sceptical when I first heard of this game being out on mobile devices (Apple’s iOS and Google/Alphabet’s Android OS), especially when mobile gaming has a bad reputation for being littered with copy-and-paste vertical endless-running games (made popular by Temple Run), tap-laden match-X-amount-of-objects games (made popular by King’s Candy Crush Saga), and egregious microtransactions that would put console/PC gaming-synonymous repeat monetization practices to shame.
Microtransactions – the basic rundown
However, in the case of Call of Duty: Mobile, the microtransactions are sadly what one would expect in a free-to-play mobile/smartphone title, ranging from a ridiculously unfairly implemented tiered free-versus-paywall rewards system (one or two items for free players versus almost 20 items for those who are willing to spend money on a Premium Pass), and a two-tier credit system (credits earned via gameplay versus credits earned while paying up monetarily beforehand), to the heavy-handed, frequent promotion of paywall-tiered incentives to encourage players of the game to cough up the money for these incentives, which range from gun skins to soldiers and credits, and at this point, it can be a genuine deciding, and perhaps make-or-break factor that decides whether one wishes to play such a game or not, for whatever reason and cause. As of the time of writing though, the game is not as bad as some of the games in terms of microtransaction “design” choices, like Miniclip’s 8 Ball Pool, whereby level progression is more stunted due to said choices when compared to this game, though these impressions may be subject to change once I play the game more, and/or once any updates that either handicap or improve this arrive later down the line.
The Game Itself – the basic rundown of the game modes included
Now, with the microtransactions being talked about here and out of the way, this game is merely an online multiplayer title published by Activision, and developed by Tencent Games’ studio, Timi Studios, and as of the time of writing (December 3, 2019), has Zombies Mode, in which you’re facing a bunch of zombies and you blow their brains out to survive, which has its roots in Call of Duty: Black Ops, a conventional bunch multiplayer modes, ranging from Free-for-All and Team Deathmatch to Domination, Search and Destroy, and Frontline, and Battle Royale, which is a “last man standing” game mode somewhat akin to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, which in itself should provide some lasting value to the game itself with the minimal risk of the game becoming too stale in terms of the diversity of content and game modes, though the game has introduced some time-limited modes such as the melee-only “Stick and Stones” mode, and a sniper rifle-only mode, unimaginatively named “Snipers Only”.
In addition to this, the game maps on offer are based on the seventh gaming generation (Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii) versions of the Call of Duty games, ranging from the numbered Modern Warfare games (EXCLUDING Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)), to the early Black Ops games, and so is the gameplay and the graphics, with map designs and game controls being tailored for smartphones, without any noticeable negative compromises, as the touchscreen controls work surprisingly well, but compared to a keyboard-and-mouse setup, touchscreen controls is a far cry from the keyboard-and-mouse setup, although for those who have good enough PCs but weak smartphones, Tencent’s officially sanctioned Gameloop Android emulator and BlueStacks are two ways to play the game on PC, and with playing the game on PC, cross-play is reportedly segregated to ensure that emulator-toting players are matched with other emulator-toting players to reduce gameplay imbalances.
The Gameplay and Game Controls
For those who are not familiar with how the game plays, especially when I have described the gameplay in the game as akin to the earlier console/PC Call of Duty titles, the gameplay is fast-paced, snappy, and arcade-tier, which is easy to get into with weapon authenticity being of a slightly lower priority in terms of game design, and the ability to “run around like a headless chicken” is pretty easy as a result, while shooting opponents in the process – that is: if you’re familiar with how Call of Duty games largely play as a whole, and the maps in this entry range from Nuketown and Summit to Hijacked, a map consisting of a superyacht deserted in the bloody middle of nowhere, because videogames, most of which, as stated earlier in this article, are based on the maps in earlier Call of Duty games, which provides a sense of familiarity for those who have played the earlier games before, and as for the multiplayer player-base sizes, 8 players can play in one solo multiplayer matchup, or two 5-player teams in team-based sessions, which is too small by 2019 console/PC gaming standards, but is satisfactory for mobile gaming, considering the nature of it, and the limitations that come with mobile gaming from a technical and free-time perspective.
As for the game controls, the game itself offers two main types of game controls for the game: Simple Mode, which auto-fires whenever the crosshair is hovered over a rival player, and Advanced Mode, which allows for more freedom in terms of aiming to shoot, with the ability to toggle automatic Aim Down the Sights support, which works fairly well for touchscreen gameplay, especially on devices with big screens as bigger screens reduce the risk of accidentally touching gameplay action icons that act as “button commands”, though the layout of the gameplay action icons can be tweaked to alleviate accidental touches. In addition to this, there has been the re-introduction to game controller support for the game, though I cannot test this personally as I do not have the necessary gamepads (a Sony DualShock 4 or a Microsoft Xbox One controller) to test out the game on. As for keyboard and mouse support, that is exclusive to PC users who use an Android emulator like Tencent’s officially supported/sanctioned emulator, Gameloop, which supports both PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) and Call of Duty: Mobile out-of-the-box, and BlueStacks, which only works on the Microsoft Windows version of the emulator, and not on the Apple macOS version of the emulator, complete with segregated matchmaking as mentioned earlier in the article, and out of the game controls that are available, keyboard-and-mouse, once mastered, is the most accurate in terms of aiming and firing, thus the matchmaking segregation protocols that are reportedly put in place, and as someone who has played on PC against two mobile phone users in a private match, it is laughably easy to why the segregation is implemented: so much so that they have laughably described my movement as akin to that of “a Dragon Ball Z character” and the shooting capabilities akin to the ageing actor, Clint Eastwood.
The More Technical Aspects of the Game – Graphics, Framerate, Storage Use, and Tested Setups
Onto the more technical aspects of the game, the game itself can easily be installed via the Google Play Store on eligible phones and emulators, though in the case of the Samsung Galaxy S4, I had to resort to more technical measures to get the game installed (read: download the APK from APKMirror, and find an OBB file from some random site and place it into the desired directory), as Google Play Store does not show the game in-store due to it reportedly being incompatible with the device. The game itself takes up around 1.8GB of storage as of December 3, 2019 (version 184.108.40.206) immediately after installing from my personal experience, which can be a massive storage hog for devices with 16/32GB internal storage only, especially without expandable storage, so having 3-4GB of free storage space is recommended before installing the game, and if needed, please get yourself a microSD card and transfer any data that is not immediately needed onto it, like camera photos.
Apple iOS:OS: iOS 9.0 – Handset: Apple iPhone 6/7 or better (HutMobile)
As for playing the game on PC via BlueStacks, I have played the game on PC with the following hardware specifications, which can reach maximum settings without compromise at a user level (BlueStacks will not allow “maximum graphical fidelity” as the game will just reset itself to “Very High” even after selecting that option in the BlueStacks Android emulator):
CPU: Intel Core i7-6700k
GPU: nVidia Geforce GTX Titan X
RAM: 4 x 8GB Corsair Vengeance RAM (32GB total)
OS: Microsoft Windows 10
After playing the game on three different smartphones, with varying setups and hardware configurations, the Samsung Galaxy S4 provided the worst gaming experience for the game due to the very dated hardware, with framerate averages reaching around 20 to 40 frames per second (FPS) on most maps and modes on the lowest graphical fidelity settings with Samsung’s version of Android 5.0.1 installed (below the minimum advertised OS requirements), with the LG G4 sitting in between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, with around an average framerate count of 30-50FPS, with some maps and camera angles making that hit 60 frames per second on low graphical fidelity settings and on a custom (hobbyist/homebrew-made) firmware called AOSPExtended v6.6, which is based on Android 9 (Pie), and lastly, but the best in terms of the available devices, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 can hit around 30-60FPS on average with medium graphical fidelity on a custom firmware called Havoc-OS 3.0, which is based on Android 10, which is a surprise for the ageing devices, as my initial expectations were that they would severely struggle even on the lowest settings. Fortunately, the game itself will not allow you to select higher settings than what your device are capable of, by simply not showing such options, in the eventuality that selecting such options will grind a dated phone down to unusable extremes. However, if your PC can handle Android emulation with consummate ease, as is the case with my aforementioned setup, then maximum settings can be selected without framerates dipping before the coveted sixty frames per second, and that needs no further explanation as to how great that can be in gaming terms, other than silky-smooth gameplay with quick responses that are only hindered by Internet speeds/online server speeds. As for graphics and how they stack up, they’re comparable to the early-entry seventh gaming generation (Sony PlayStation 3/Microsoft Xbox 360) games in the franchise, with the exception of shadows, whereby the shadows look like a jarringly bad jagged farce, and some of the non-interactive vehicles and walls looking like vehicles from Sony’s The Getaway, but where the game graphically shines is in the player models, with the overall clothing and glove stitches looking crisp and clear, and so does the guns and weapons in the game.
All in all, as a mobile game offering, it is perhaps one of mobile gaming’s surprises of 2019, and if you’re interested in playing a quick first-person shooter while you sit on the toilet, trying to relieve your bowels, or on public transport, while you are willing to overlook the microtransactions that are presented to you in-game (I seriously cannot blame you if you can’t), then you cannot go wrong with Call of Duty: Mobile. Hell, if you’re in the mood for a free-to-play session of Call of Duty, and you are hesitant to fork out money for a mainline entry, like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), while you don’t mind taking a trip down Gaming Memory Lane, then I would also suggest this game as well, but obviously, with modern military shooters, come political undertones that not a lot of folks will be fond of, for whatever reason, and that is understandable, though in this entry, there’s no solo campaign with a storyline to follow, so that issue is minimized somewhat, but with all that said, one could do a lot worse than play this game… on mobile, like playing this game on PC (cue the incoming anti-PC gaming outrage), and getting so incoherently drunk that walking in a straight line is no longer a possibility.
Now, here’s a shameless plug: please watch my gameplay sessions of Call of Duty: Mobile, played with BlueStacks on PC, so enjoy!
Two oldies and a brown weirdo talk about worldly events yet again, but this time, the focus is on Brexit, Bolivia, the Middle East, and the goings-on in Hong Kong.
Nota bene: my own version has an issue whereby th video portion freezes at the 5th minutes and unfreezes at the 40th minute mark. Audio remains unaffected, so sorry for that. That said, Aunt BB’s upload is unaffected
So, it ha been a great week for Nintendo, with its sales of the Nintendo Switch software and hardware still being on the rise, which can only be a good thing, and then there’s Shigeru Miyamoto being give the Person of Cultural Merit award by the Japanese government for his efforts in the video game industry.