Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

The Dragon Quest series of games launched 35 years ago on the Famicom system (the Japanese name for the original Nintendo Entertainment System). Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age launched in 2018 for Playstation 4 and Nintendo 3DS, but if you have a Gamepass subscription through either Windows or Xbox, the game was released as a free download in December 2020. If you don't have a Gamepass subscription, it is still available for purchase for all systems. The definitive edition adds some options that enhance replay ability.

You play as the Luminary, a reincarnation of a famous hero of Erdrea. On your 16th birthday you are tasked to set out on a quest to free the world from a coming darkness. Along the way, you'll meet various characters who will join your party. Each character has a distinctive look and personality and no two are the same.

You can build up your heroes by assigning skill points you get when leveling up. Each character has a skill tree where you can customize their abilities and spells. At the beginning, you'll want to focus on one particular skill, whether that be weapons or magic, and then build out as the game progresses. There is also a neat "mini-game", called the Fun-Sized Forge, where you can craft your own weapons and armor using various supplies you find in the world and recipe books you come across in your journeys.

The game is a traditional RPG and the storyline is laid out in a linear fashion, with plenty of side quests to keep you immersed in the world. Combat is turn-based and harkens back to the original RPGs that came out for the NES in the 80's. Combat can get repetitive, but there is a way to set it up so that the computer takes over and does the combat for you, otherwise there is a lot of button mashing to get through combat. I found myself letting the computer control for routine fights but then reestablished control for boss fights.

One nice thing about combat in this game is that you can avoid it, as you can see the enemies as you travel throughout Erdrea. This gives you the option to either engage them or avoid them, unlike a traditional RPG where you run into enemies at random.

A nice feature is that when you come back to the game, the game gives you a brief recap of your progress in the current chapter of the story so that you can refresh your memory as to what the heck you were doing the last time you played.

Even after you finish the main story, you can continue playing as there is more story to go. This also gives you an opportunity to go back and complete any side quests you skipped as you were working your way through the main story. The side quests flesh out the world of Erdrea and its many cultures, many of which are styled around actual Earth cultures.

The game's graphics and sound are superb, but the orchestral score can get repetitive. However, it works well enough that you often don't notice it. The voice acting is top-notch. It is easy to get so immersed in the story that you actually feel for the characters. There is even the ability to switch on a 2D mode that harkens back to the original style of 16-bit RPG graphics should you want to relive your childhood.

My take is that this game alone is worth the monthly Gamepass subscription and well worth the download. With options available to increase the difficulty or add new "flavor" to the game, this makes replay ability a high mark for this game.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is available for checkout on Playstation 4.



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Ancestry.com Remote Access Extended

Remote access to Ancestry.com has been extended through the end of March 2021. This is the fifth time remote access has been extended and the library hopes that eventually remote access will be allowed on a permanent basis.

Click here to access or find it on the website by going to Learn & Research > Databases. Find it alphabetically in the list or find all of our online genealogical resources by selecting the category "Genealogy" from the "Browse by Topic" drop down menu.

Read Newspapers Online

The library subscribes to two online content providers that will get you text access to the current issues of several very popular newspapers.

The newest, Global Newsstream, has access to the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Barron's and over 6,000 other publications from around the world.

With Chicago Area Newspapers, you can access content from the Chicago Sun-Times and Daily Herald along with content from many local newspapers.

Find them by clicking the links above or going to Learning & Research > Databases, then select the category "News".

Find Your Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan

Shopping for a Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) plan? The library has a tool available in its Financial Ratings Series subscription to help you select the best plan for you. Once you get into the resource, look for the Medigap link and answer a few demographic questions to generate your comprehensive report. Financial Ratings Series is provided by Weiss Ratings, an independent rater of financial and insurance products.

Use the link above or find it at ippl.info > Learning & Research > Databases > Financial Ratings Series. You will need an Indian Prairie Public Library card to use this tool from home. If you don't have an Indian Prairie card, see if your library also subscribes to this resource or come in and use the library's computers as there is no card required if you use the resource from inside the library.




Census Follow Up Calls Are Underway

Follow-up calls ensure that everyone is counted, counted only once, and counted in the right place.

If you get a call from (844) 809-7717, it is not a scam. It is the US Census with a question about some part of their self-response.

If you don't pick up, you can call them back at the same number. For those concerned about spoofed calls, this is the safe way to handle incoming calls. 

Learn more from the official Census page.


Online Program - What are You Watching Wednesday

Get together with others on Wednesday, April 22 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss what you are watching. Whether it is a great movie you have discovered, TV show you have seriously started binge watching, or how you discovered a way to find great content, it doesn't matter! We would love for you to share what you have discovered using the library's Hoopla service!

Registration is required. Registrants will receive the link to the online discussion approximately 12 hours before the event. A valid e-mail address is required at registration in order to receive the link to the discussion forum.


Brainfuse HelpNow is Mobile

Available for both Android and Apple devices, the Brainfuse app is an easy way to learn anywhere, anytime. To use, you will need to have created a username and password on Brainfuse (click here to do this). With the app, you can get live tutoring, view your message center, take notes, track tasks, use Snap-n-Send, and more!

New Resource - Creativebug

An inspirational resource for DIY, crafters, and makers with art and craft videos taught by recognized experts and artists.



The Miracle Season (2018) PG

miracleseasonBased on true story, The Miracle Season covers the 2011 Iowa City West High School women’s volleyball team and how they battled back from adversity after losing their team captain, vivacious and effervescent Caroline “Line” Found (Danika Yarosh) in an unfortunate accident.

Coach Kathy Bresnahan (Helen Hunt) tags senior Kelly Flieher (Erin Moriarty), who was Line’s best friend since childhood, with leading the team after the loss of Line. Flieher battles her own doubts about her abilities to step into Line’s shoes as a setter, and lead the team to a consecutive state title, which they had won the previous year.

William Hurt turns in a strong performance (one of the best of the movie), as Line’s father, Dr. Ernie Found. Kelly is like a daughter to him, and he and she turn to each other and draw strength from each other, he grieving the loss of his daughter and wife and she looking for support because she is taking Line’s place on the volleyball court.

Overall, this was a good, not great, sports movie. I can’t think of any movies that have been made with volleyball as the featured sport, so this film helps to fill that hole. Like most inspirational sports movies, this one tugs at the heartstrings, so if you get emotional do have a box of tissues ready. You are going to need them.

The Ref (1994) R

refIt’s Christmas Eve and Gus (Dennis Leary) is a burglar whose partner abandons him when their latest heist goes south. He is forced to take hostage Lloyd and Caroline Chasseur (Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis) – who are on their way home from marriage counseling – making them drive him to their home. Slowly, the rest of the family begins to arrive for their annual holiday celebration and Gus pretends to be Lloyd and Caroline’s marriage counselor. Little does he know that he will become the “counselor” for the entire dysfunctional family while he figures out a way to elude capture by the police.

The Ref is a dark comedy that takes the idea of a holiday movie and turns it on its head. The script is biting and sharp. Leary is best known for his sarcastic delivery and shines in the role of Gus. Spacey and Davis also are outstanding as the bickering couple who eventually realize they do love and care about each other. The rest of the cast is top notch and there are a number of well-known actors in cameo or supporting roles: B. D. Wong (Oz; Law & Order) as Dr. Wong, the Chasseur’s original marriage counselor; Christine Baranski (Cybill; The Good Wife) as demanding sister-in-law Connie; and J. K. Simmons (Law & Order; The Closer) as Siskel, the commander of the military school Lloyd and Caroline’s son Jesse is attending (little do they know that Jesse is blackmailing Siskel).

Granted, I know this movie isn’t for everyone. But, if you like dark comedies, a sharply written and delivered script, and something a little different to supplement all the maudlin and saccharin holiday fare that comes on this time of year, give this one a chance. It may just win you over.
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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (2006)

13thtaleDiane Setterfield masterfully weaves together a gothic tale of suspense, mystery, and loss. The novel follows the story of two women, one a reclusive author, Vida Winter, who has weaved together so many stories about her life no one knows the truth and the other a young biographer, Margaret Lea, who has been chosen by Winter to take down her true story before Winter succumbs to old age and various ailments plaguing her.

Winter’s tale unfolds mainly in flashback, recounting her eccentric upbringing and the tragedy that tore her family apart. The reader is left to figure out which character Winter is in her tale. Meanwhile, Lea is forced to look to her own past, the loss of her twin and the resulting withdrawal from day-to-day life of her mother. She tries to examine how it has shaped who she is and how she can move forward with her own life. Themes explored include identity, loss, reconciliation, death, and twins.

The Thirteenth Tale was originally released in Australia as an adult novel, but subsequently was released in the United States as a novel targeted to young adults. In 2007, it won an Alex Award, which is annually given to ten books written for adults that have a special appeal to young adults.