Monday, 23 January 2017

John Wick

He makes an 86.52% accuracy rating look good.

Truthfully, I didn't know what to expect when watching this as my sole reason for doing so is that John Wick happens to be the character I use in the game: Payday 2. The movie begins slowly and quietly with the stoic John Wick (portrayed by the immortal, Keanu Reeves) having a really, really bad time. Due to the actions of a well-connected but naive scum bag, Wick is given the opportunity to channel all that rage into what he does best: Killing people. And it is spectacular to watch as the body count keeps getting higher.

He can never have enough guns!

There isn't much plot to talk of here other than revenge but the action scenes and setup of the "assassin's world" lore is pretty good. I also quite like that they don't make Wick invincible and that he gets his fair share of beatings during the progression of the film. In contrast, Arnie's 1985 "Commando" comes to mind, where he walks across a lawn during a fire fight and doesn't get hit by a single bullet.

There's also little in the way of computer graphics which makes the film grittier, and more "meat and bones" if you will, which blends well with the overall tone. All up I give John Wick three and a half bullets out of five, and recommend it for those of you who are looking for a "light on thinking" violent action movie.

Would I watch it again? To answer your question, I went out and bought the DVD - and I'm definitely going to watch John Wick 2! :)

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Wolverine

"I feel violated," says Logan at one point in the film. That accurately describes it.

Wolverine (portrayed nicely again by Hugh Jackman) is a mutant who has superhuman regenerative powers and bone blades that like to come out of his knuckles. Living a solitary life for something he did in his past he is tracked down and invited by a now elderly and dying Japanese man he saved from a nuke during WWII. As a reward for saving his skin back then the man offers to kill Wolverine. Obviously he doesn't enjoy that notion but the dying old dude won't take no for an answer.

Since when does Wolverine need a Katana?

So... Wolverine vs dying old man. Whaaa? To make it interesting, Wolverine has his powers almost nullified early on so that normal folk can now hurt him. I have to ask why he wasn't just immediately subdued at that point but the plot meanders along through what seem to be unneccesary hoops just to lengthen the movie and add a love interest. At least she speaks clear english. The other female japanese lead, not so much. I suppose I should mention that being set in Japan, there is a lot of japanese spoken. Not all of it is subtitled. I hate it when they do that.

After a lot of fighting yakuza and ninjas (because Japan!) whose quality ranges from "pretty damn good" thanks to Hiroyuki Sanada's sword mastery, to a "ridiculous bullet train sequence", it finally returns to Wolverine getting "violated" and eventually earning a body guard. Because apparently he needs one. The film ends with one character asking "Where to?" and the other character has no reply. Probably a good mirror of the higher ups asking how to continue the Wolverine franchise after this movie. 

The obvious answer was to do a "go back in time and change these f*ing mistakes" which happens in X-Men: Days of Future Past that released the following year.

I give The Wolverine two claws out of five and don't really have a desire to see it again. After all, even the actual franchise tried to erase all the events that happened in it! :P

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Dark Souls III: Road Blocks

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Since Yhorm trounced me I am inspired to infuse my new axe with a "heavy" gem, which weakens the axe a little but takes a larger percentage of my character's strength for bonus damage. For those that play Mabinogi, its a similar methology to the 222 Broadsword which is fantastic in the hands of high level dex monkeys but terrible for everyone else. My new weapon doesn't phase Yhorm at all though, and he sends me packing just as fast as last time.

Damnit! Distracted by chest! :P

Instead I decide to explore the sewer underneath Irithyll City, which turns out to be just one big room full of white spider bug things. They are easily slain and nowhere as scary as the hairy one at the Cathedral. I then find myself in a nice gallery of screenshots artwork from the previous games, guarded by a trio of Anor Londo knights! Fortunately my upgraded axe makes up for my lack of parrying!

A couple of opened short cuts later and I an back at an earlier bonfire but now with a clear path to the Church dwelling boss, slender man Pontiff Sulyvahn - a tall dual sword wielder with fantastic reach and speed. Since this is the first place I see summon signs I try bring help in the form of Marcoh78, Eurion and Boro of Irithyll (players) but none can enter the boss fog for some reason. Thanks anyway guys!

Everything keeps stabbing me!

Best I could do was get him to half HP, which triggered his second skill of creating a phantom of himself who could do all the same moves and unlike the Crystal Sage's illusions, the phantom didn't die in one hit. Frustrated, I headed back to Firelink Shrine to consider my options.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Dark Souls III: Urban Espionage

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

While Irithyll wasn't as cold as Frozen Elysium Loyce, the tall and slender guardsmen liked to dish out frost bite damage and work in squads. There were also fire stick carriers who led processions of ghoul like hollows across the streets. It was simpler to avoid them when I could - ducking into dead ends and only killing the few that spotted me. This sneaking around worked very well here, letting me reach a number of bonfires with relative ease.

Just need to avoid these!

After a dark warehouse of "invisible" hollows (not really since you can see their eyes, and the rest of them when they are in striking distance), I found myself in the moat surrounding the city - avoiding the white, bug like monsters resting in the water.  The path eventually led to a separate tower - Irithyll dungeon home to masked lantern branders who had the annoying ability of "death stare". Yup, as long as they looked at you your maximum health would drop.

This was especially bad in the areas where they clustered in groups of eight or more. Obviously I opted to sprint past them when I could, as well as a sleepy giant and a surprise handful of cute froggies. Thankfully there were shortcut elevators to the bonfire up the top that I could unlock. There was also a strange cliff that suggested I "try gesture" but none of the ones I knew did anything.

Dungeon delving at its finest!

The prison eventually gave way to an old temple like place guarded by stone gargoyles (who can still fly) and fire cultists. The place is also littered with visual treasure, making progreses incredibly slow despite it being a smallish zone due to my graphics card crashing the game out constantly. Despite that I find the boss of the place, a giant King named Yhorm who has no issues in squishing me with his great sword. Finally a giant who isn't a push over! Given the minuscule damage I was doing to him in return he was certainly going to be a problem.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Dark Souls III: Hurrah for Vengeance

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Looks like the peaceful drider died anyway.

Surprisingly the caverns continue for quite a ways down past the old demon king - home to more evil monkeys, demon flamethrowers and the cute frogs. During my exploration I manage to collect a number of pyromancy tomes for Corynx too - one from the corpse of a very familiar looking pale drider. I am very surprised to run into Knightslayer Tsorig again down here - I guess the old demon managed to posses his corpse and due to his two hander hitting like a truck, I opted to run - right into the sword wielding Anor Londo knight (possibly the same one from the swamp)!

Lucky for me the two decided to attack each other, with the Anor Londo knight defeating Tsorig. Since he was badly hurt in his duel he was easy to put down. I also found out why Tsorig had such good DPS - he was wielding the Fume Knight's greatsword. I don't even have the stats to wield that thing. A number of ladders and skeleton wheel guys later, I finally reach the bloody ballista and turn it off. Hurrah for vengeance!

That is a huge ballista.

Satisfied that this area was now clear, I warped back to the bridge leading to Irithyll city only to be attacked by a dragon dog who can turn invisible!? Oh, this again huh. The AI on this one is pretty easy to abuse though, as luring it back the way I came makes is freeze and vanish (but not recover HP). A few repeats of this leads to its demise, granting me free passage into the snowy city.

Another pretty place!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Dark Souls III: Target Acquired

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Past a rope bridge in the Catacombs (which I accidentally break and kill myself on *sigh*), I find a strange and ominous chalice. Because the door past it doesn't open I decide to poke it, which teleports me into a really dark landscape occupied by a massive giant skeleton who breathes poison and summons his regular sized minions to battle too. Alas for him, his bling stands out so much that it is clearly evident what his weak spots are. A few broken bracelets later and he explodes (from shame I guess), which opens the path to the picturesque city of Irithyll.

Gee, I wonder what I should attack?

I opt to go back to that rope bridge though, since breaking it seems to open the path down to a huge and almost empty lake. The giant crabs on one side are easy to avoid, and so is the giant electric purple worm. The giant ballista that keeps shooting at me, not so much! At least I can get it to kill the worm for me. While looking for a way up to it to shut it down I find a small cave with Horace waiting inside - he's gone evil so I am forced to kill him.

Where's Anri, you bastard...

I also find the Old Demon King, who for a change, has a belly weakspot. This actually makes it tough to get at him, and I fail a few of times. Fortunately there's a bonfire nearby and when I ember up I also find assistance in the form of Knightslayer Tsorig (I guess getting rolled over by the skeletons muddled him up) as well as Cuculus of the Great Swamp, a pyromancer student of Corynx. While both are slain in battle, they weaken the Old Demon enough for me to finish it off. I could have probably left the lake at this point, but I really wanted to shut down that ballista.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Dark Souls III: Whack and Roll

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Not willing to run into that spider monster again, on my next foray into the Cathedral I simply jumped down to face the giants who were actually easy victims once you get under them. Not far away I finally find stairs down leading to a whole congregation of evil deacons for a game of whack a mole! These moles were too tough on my first round (I had them down to 25%), but on my second try I had both Sirris and Horace with me which made it a really easy battle. After taking a doll that they worship for some reason I warp back to Firelink and find Anri and Horace there.

Bring it on!

Apparently Anri took advantage of our ruckus and checked out Aldrich's coffin. Alas, it was empty so the search for him will have to continue. I also give Irina another braille dark tome that I found at the Cathedral. I guess there are a lot of evil blind folk? Not that it matters since I don't have the stats to cast any of the spells she sells, light or dark. Since the Cathedral is a dead end I warp back to the Abyss Watchers chamber and proceed deeper into some old looking catacombs.

The standard fare of rats and skeletons are here, including some that get up at extra time but are nowhere near as annoying since there are no necros reviving them. There are also some undead warriors who aren't that difficult to axe down, as well as pressure plate traps that are easily avoided. What catches me off guard are the giant rolling balls of skeletons. These humorous things just go back and forth between two points, and after slaying me once by knocking me off into a bottomless pit, I learned to use them to my advantage - luring foes including the invader Knightslayer Tsorig into the danger zones for cheap kills. I definitely find this place more pleasant than the Cathedral.

Behold my new weapon! Lol!