Thursday, 16 November 2017

Battle Brothers: Good Times

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Despite the mounting injuries, the Spears take on a contract to eliminate a small orc encampment. On the way Majorn finds a necromatic site he declares they must cleanse, so the Spears take on the usual zombies and necromancer, but this time with two fallen heroes flanking the mage.

They are quite sturdy which is bad given the lesser zombies keep standing up, but Raven manages to axe the shield off one which enables the Spears to pincushion it to death. The other is peppered with arrows until Bes singlehandedly defeats it  - much to Sunbro's amazement.

Useful when you actually have people that can shoot.

At the orc camp the team encounters berserkers leading the regular orcs. These scary creatures don't wear armor though, making them prime archery practice. Fanatic was foolish enough to let one get close and knock him on the head, leaving him with permanent brain damage (ironically one of the best permanent injuries to have in this game).

Apprehending some thieves afterwards, Big Mike is happy to report to the company they now have over 50,000 coins in funding. Gander further cheers everyone up with a cow tipping session (lol) and as icing on the cake, Sunbro reports the nobles are discussing terms. The war is over!

When he asks with true concern if the Fabled Spears of the Church are now going to disband, he is met with laughter and cheer. "Not bloody likely!"

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Battle Brothers: The Toll of War

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

As the war rages on, the Spears hear that House Folsach managed to retake Wiesendorf village House Grimmund had claimed from them earlier - only to lose the town of Hagenmoors to House Ruhmolt in the East. At the Western border the Spears keep busy by repelling green skin invaders and assisting a House Folsach village against Grimmund soldiers.

The local militia assisting the Spears are killed to the last man, while Pioyer gains a broken knee and Tolik a partially collapsed lung. All these battles are getting to Faltran though who has taken heavily to drinking to ease his pain (and is now a drunkard).

That's some hefty impairment.

On the road the Spears try hand out food to some refugees as well, when more Grimmund soldiers show up and try to claim it. A quick scuffle sees the soldiers dead, but leaves Majorn with an injured shoulder and Kruglov with a maimed foot.

While he isn't losing people Big Mike knows that with all these permanent injuries piling up the Spears are becoming less effective at fighting. He can't bring himself to fire anyone though, not after what they've all been through.

Battle Brothers: Supply Line

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Having made enemies of all the mountain towns of House Grimmund, the Spears spend some time back in the low lands - defending the Western border against goblin raiders who now come mounted on wolves. Pioyer loses an eye in one such skirmish.

Damn their pointy pikes!

After some days they are asked to help a large and important supply caravan reach Gerwold - the town they helped take earlier. As such Faltran and Big Mike feel indebted to do the task. It's smooth sailing at first until they reach the foot hills where a large and well equipped bandit force ambushes them.

Kamots is clubbed to death from behind and Sir Julien is beheaded before the bandits are fought off. The survivors then have to deal with a Grimmund militia force also sent to stop the caravan. While the militia captain is fantastic in keeping his forces from fleeing, they simply don't have the equipment to win the battle.

Finally the caravan reaches Gerwold, and the Spears are paid. Thanks to their now glorious name, the veteran knight and survivor of horrors, Sunbro Forever joins the company. Big Mike, also now recovered fully from Hoggart's torture, decides to take up arms on the field beside the men he commands.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Battle Brothers: For Glory!

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

With the Spears of the Church eager to spill more House Grimmund blood, Big Mike could only distract them momentarily with a contract to fetch the Elderstone (again) from a skeleton infested manor. The company made good use of the rotation skill to destroy their tireless and fearless enemy, with Bes being the stand out combatant.

Finally they are offered a contract from House Ruhmolt to assist in a besieging Gerwold - a House Grimmund city, which Faltran practically jumps at to get revenge for Bloodfire. The Spears meet up with Sir Albrecht Kettilmund's forces just as a Grimmund relief force attacks in attempt to lift the siege. They do not break the lines and are killed to the last man.

Look at all the free loot!

Seeing this, the remaining defenders of the city led by Sir Magnus "the Black" attack and are surprised when all of the spears use ranged weapons while Sir Albrecht and his remaining troops take the brunt of the attack. Most of the Ruhmolt soldiers are killed, but with the spears still all fresh and his troops dropping in equal measure Sir Magnus eventually surrenders.

Victorious, Gaius raises the Ruhmolt banner over the town, before departing back down the mountain and out of enemy territory. Sir Albrecht remains and publicly executes Sir Magnus a few days after the Spears depart.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Battle Brothers: Picking a Side

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

As the Noble war rages on elsewhere, the Spears next find themselves attacking a bandit forest base - making use of the tall grass to advance out of sight from the enemy archers. Mostly. Russ breaks from cover early and dies for it, as the rest of the company pincer the bandit position and wipe them out.

My battle strategy for the forest fight.

They then hit a goblin camp where a slow, advancing shield wall proves to be a good tactic when lacking war dogs to distract and run down the nimble archers. Alas Fox, poisoned by an arrow to the knee, is run through with a pike in the melee.

On the way back to civilization another acquaintance of Sid, Colonel Vodka, is met at a small village working as a grave digger. He joins the Spears. While Big Mike plays dice with Pioyer (who has a lot more coin than he's letting on), Faltran and a few others patrol around the town and find soldiers of House Grimmund about to hang one of their own.

The soon to be executed soldier, Gaius Caligula Augustus "the Honorable", pleads for help since he is about to be killed for disobeying orders to kill women and children. Faltran doesn't think twice, slaying the Grimmund bastards and freeing Gaius to join the Spears - much to Big Mike's chagrin.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Battle Brothers: Davkul is Coming

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Finding another necromantic ruin in the swamp, Majorn is pleased when he and the Spears wipe out the zombies and their necromaster while suffering only minor wounds against a force twice their number. While camped, Fanatic converts Kamots to the cult of Davkul which leads to blows against Sahkarov who still had hope for the poor fisherman. Not anymore.

I'll beat the heresy out of you!

By happenstance the company also runs into a blood sacrifice to Davkul on the way back to town. The man, another cultist named Mole, is bleeding and speared to the ground but not yet gone. Gander removes the spears while Fanatic urges him to join the Spears so he does.

To combat the growing number of cultists in the ranks, Big Mike recruits Raven Fatbastard - a merchant business acquaintance of Sid as well as Emile the thief and Bes, a retired soldier. Together they defeat more bandits and wolf packs. On their journeys Faltran notices House Grimmund forces taking Wiesendorf village from House Folsach. Mike reminds all of them to march on and to not get involved.

Luckily they run into a troupe of traveling performers whom Sir Julien convinces to perform for free. This greatly raises in the morale of the troops.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Battle Brothers: Almost Werewolves

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Having success against goblins last time, the Spears were tasked to protect a town from orcs and subsequently to destroy their nearby camp. William Beardguy does not survive the latter, and on the Spears return they find that the noble houses have declared war on each other!

The brothers argued which side they should fight for, either the religious House Folsach or the old kings House Ruhmolt - House of the ocean. Not one wanted to fight for the bastards of House Grimmund. Big Mike calmed them down though, saying it would be more profitable to remain neutral.

As he expected, with the soldiers fighting each other, brigandry became rife among the towns leading to many "House neutral" contracts. One dire wolf hunt even turned out to be bandits in wolf coats! Russ was pleased when he managed to keep one of those for himself. Pioyer less so as he lost his nose in that battle.

Even the in game footprints change from beast to man.

Sid reminded him that at least he survived, unlike Donk79 who was cut down by the brigands in that fetid swamp.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Battle Brothers: Dogs of War

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

After Big Mike berates Donk79 for trying to beg for coin from the new recruits, he purchases six war dogs who are summarily lost over the course of the next few missions - most while defending a town against goblin raiders.

As expected they are fast but physically weak, relying on poisoned arrows and flanking tactics which are negated by the hounds in this case. Big Mike can tell it would be problematic if they didn't have the dogs to run down these vermin but at the same time didn't want to get more since they all ended up dying on the field.

Instead he hires an odd cultist named Fanatic, and when the team comes across a merchant of wild, caged maltreated beasts - including a ragged jungle man, they set them free. Russ the wild man joins the Spears and Tolik gains a falcon fried which is useful for battle field scouting (somehow).

The most dangerous animal.

At the next town Faltran is pleased to learn that the Spears are now famous, while Majorn stops a witch burning when his senses detect the torch bearer to be some sort of demonic puppet! Majorn slays it in single combat.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Battle Brothers: Filling the Ranks

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Fox, a caravan hand, joins the Spears and earns his place early as he manages to slay the bandit leader "Roderick the Slaughterer". In the same battle Sid loses a finger to a crossbow bolt, and has an elbow broken by Roderick, leaving him less effective in combat. The peddler is just happy to be alive.

That would sting.

Gander is named Sergeant shortly after, for his high resolve, and Kamots shares a story of his past revealing he is not that bright. Sahkarov takes it upon himself to try teach him, but fails and is left dissatisfied.

A few bandits (35+ since they are getting paid by head), courier deliveries and direwolf hunts later the Spears recruit a dangerous looking man named Stargazer and the disowned noble Sir Julien, who apparently was disgraced by losing his forces overseas.

They also help a deserter, William Beardguy, escape from the soldiers looking for him - in return he joins the Spears, claiming he had left due to money issues. Big Mike assures him he won't have that problem working for the Spears.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Battle Brothers: Professional Killers

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

After word spread of their vampire run in, the Spears are now considered "Professionals" and even purchased their own supply cart to help carry loot. While being couriers and hunting dire wolves were still the staple jobs, the nobles of House Folsach - the House of the Valley, requested they clear out some greenskins nearby.

These young orcs are fearsome but are no match for the Spears, even with their "stun" charge moves mainly because it still makes them hit the spear wall. On the way back Majorn spots a necromantic ritual though, and urges the Spears to investigate. They do so and find zombies, and of course, a necromancer!

Physically the necromancer is just a guy in robes, but he can continuously raise the fallen and buff one zombie per round to go "crazy". This is particularly bad if said zombie is armored and is holding a meat cleaver as Tartarus finds out, when he is relentlessly hacked into.

The usually slow zombies get an action buff from necromancers.

Dead, he stands up almost immediately to fight against his living brothers, and it is up to Gander to put him down. By that point Craizee had reached the Necromancer and made him a corpse too. At least the ancient coins they find on him are worth a bit of currency.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Battle Brothers: A Surprise in the Darkness

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Another caravan contract is drawn up for the Spears, this one much shorter and much safer on paper. Before setting out Tolik the Tiny joins the company, and as expected is made the butt of some jokes courtesy of his nickname and Coppertopper's sense of humor.

Meanwhile Sid is beginning to question how some of these men came here as he recognizes them from another land but such tales are forgotten when in the middle of the night, three of the caravan hands reveal themselves to be... vampires!

Literally a cat out of the bag moment when they show up.

These bastards can vanish and appear at will in a swarm of bats, and as expected hit like a truck. Big Mike gets the Spears to bunch up quickly into a turtle formation which negates their divide and conquer (and feed on the loners) tactics and ultimately leads to the Spears victory, but it isn't without cost.

Gander is traumatized, Sid has a weakened heart, Tartarus has a broken knee and a missing nose, and Coppertopper is dead - being victim #1 when his morale broke and tried to flee from the group.

In light of this Big Mike hires Majorn the Vampire Hunter at the very next town. It's strange since Majorn looks a little bit like a vampire himself.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Battle Brothers: The Last Spear

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Finally, Big Mike manages to secure a contract to defend a caravan to the Southern lands which the Spears are all eager to get back to. They are almost to the foot of the mountains when soldiers of House Grimmund stop them and demand they hand all the cargo over.

Gotta say the art for this game is pretty good too.

Unfamiliar with the politics in this land, Big Mike wasn't sure what to do so Bloodfire steps forward instead, declaring that they were paid to take the caravan and its goods back South, and that's what they were going to do.

The soldiers are unimpressed, and with sudden speed kill Bloodfire where he stands. The rest of the company and the other caravan hands go on the offensive, but it is a very tough battle despite the enemy being outnumbered 3 to 1 (their superior gear makes up for it).

Most of the caravan hands perish, and numerous Spears are injured but they survive the skirmish - killing the soldiers to the last man. After earning their coin, Big Mike treats all of them to a round at the tavern, but even this doesn't cheer up Faltran who is now the last original Spear of the Church.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Battle Brothers: The Hungry Mountains (Part II)

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

While resting at town, most of the men are amused to watch Lapp help a boy get his cat out of a tree with his pet rat. He-Alve is not one of them, and Big Mike notices him getting the shakes thanks to his spartan diet (he eats very little). Mike forces He-Alve to eat a full meal which makes him physically better, but less happy with Mike's leadership.

Big Mike needn't have worried though, as during the next direwolf hunt in the mountains, Sid's cowardice left He-Alve, fattened as he was, to be wolf food. He is replaced by Tartarus the flagellant pilgrim, just in time to attack Red Eagles Den of bandits.

Aguila Roja (Red Eagle) is actually a Spanish show.
Has anyone watched it?

These ones are definitely better armed than the previous rabble the Spears have faced and put up a difficult fight as they hold the superior high ground. Lapp catches a throwing axe to the carotid artery (a fatal wound) while DogHow is gutted in battle. King, the dog, is also slain as he tries to run down the enemy archers.

Despite the losses, the battle is a victory, which inspired Pioyer the vagabond and R4W3C the farmer to join the Spears. For all his years of command, Big Mike isn't sure he'll ever get used to losing people.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Battle Brothers: The Hungry Mountains (Part I)

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

After the celebrations where Kamots manages to get lucky with a local girl, the Spears head back on the road for caravan defense. So far these have paid well for little risk as the soldiers of the towns keep the roads pretty clear. One particular contract is quite the marathon though, heading all the way up into the cold Northern lands of House Grimmund.

It is on that journey that the Spears first encounter the ghoulish creatures called Nachzehrers. These beasts rush headlong into the spear wall too, but they have a penchant for eating dead bodies, even that of their own kin. This results in them growing - bigger, slower, but far more powerful.

All hail the chubby!

One grows so big, it swallows Donk79 whole and beheads Paleshade with a casual backhand. Fortunately they aren't invincible, and with enough damage the monsters are slain with Donk79 saved before turning into Nachzehrer shit.

With these dark events, Big Mike recruits Sahkarov - a man of science turned into a man of faith, to join the company. He also buys King the war dog (an actual dog) to lift the spirits of the men.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Battle Brothers: Spear Wall

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

With the string of recent victories, morale is high as a banner for the Spears is created. The Nord Craizee is recruited as the company goes to hunt the rampant dire wolf packs roaming the forests.

The large white flags means their morale is breaking.

These critters are fast, but are easy prey as they keep lunging against the front line spearwall. The same tactic works well on zombies encountered at some random ruins, the only difference is - they get back up, making for a marathon battle but one still won by caution.

The company eventually arrives at Wiesendorf who not only have hauntings at the graveyard, but also a fort of bandits raiding their supply lines. With a quick scouting run it turns out the "hauntings" are also bandits, so the Spears set out to rout both locations.

These bandits are wise to the spear wall method, and counter with delays or ranged attacks forcing the Spears to charge. Ultimately this leads to the death of S***A who is piked while spear walling (pikes out range spears), and Moaning Knight (one of the original three) who takes an arrow to the knee... and another to the face.

Coppertopper the messenger and He-Alve the strange, scaled one are recruited as replacements, but Faltran and Bloodfire know they'll never be able to replace their fallen comrade.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Battle Brothers: Matters of Morale

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

With the company finding their footing once more, refilling the ranks became the first ambition the companions agreed on. To this end they sailed to the busy port of Holnisland to recruit: S***A, DogHow and Lapp the rat catchers, Paleshade of Londor and Arpalan the student and "Sid" Sidorivich the manic peddler - who quickly attempts to sell Lapp a rat!

Big Mike is careful to choose the easy pay contracts of courier work and on the one occasion they run into bandits, he times it that another merc group called the Cold Hands are there to assist.

He knew they couldn't evade the danger for too long though, and sure enough the next contract - to retrieve the Elderstone from a burial site in the mountains leads to problems when the skeletons there awake and chant "the false king must die".

Followed by "Trick or Treat"?

It is a scary battle, and Arpalan not yet finding his feet in combat is stabbed fatally by a spear wielding skellie. The rest of the company is injured but victorious. Big Mike decides to get their mind off their fallen comrade by immediately attacking a small bandit hideout and decimating it easily.

This trick works, which results in the original three Spears having a greater respect for the man.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Battle Brothers: Hunting Hoggart

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

There aren't many promising recruits at Kielseng but nevertheless Big Mike recruits Donk79 the beggar, Gander the grave digger and Kamots the fisherman, outfitting them with some basic shields and spears to fit in with the Spears of the Church motif.

The original trio weren't particularly impressed, until they see Big Mike's tactics in action. It turns out Hoggart hadn't gone far, having returned with reinforcements at a local graveyard in preparation to raid Kielseng. The Spears raided them first, not losing a man this time. Kamots net throwing was of particular value as he disabled Hoggart for most of the combat.

Kamots doing his best Spiderman impression!

As dusk fell, four geists also manifested - screaming terrible wails that rattled the Spears morale. Fortunately they were rather weak, dissipating with one hit each for an easy victory.

Upon returning Hoggart's head to the town hall at Kielseng, the money earned lit a bright smile among the company, and a burning desire to do more. From there, it didn't take much more to convince Big Mike to hang around as the resident strategist.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Battle Brothers: Broken Spear

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Big Mike had long lost track of the number of days he had been held captive, suffering untold tortures to the hands of the pirates that had kidnapped him. Their leader, Hoggart the Weasel, had sold off his companions one by one on the long sail away from the radiated lands and now only he was left.

He was sure that death would find him soon. Indeed, it would be a mercy - but it would not be this day, for suddenly battle erupted at the pirates beach camp as a mercenary band came hunting for his head. Unfortunately they attacked with no strategy, and were cut down at the same measure as they did the pirates.

It's like they were just running into those arrows.

While Hoggart managed to escape to his vessel and flee, the three remaining mercenaries freed Big Mike, and returned to the nearby fishing village of Kielseng with an air of failure as their target had escaped, meaning they were not going to get paid for their losses.

"That's it then - we're the last of the Spears of the Church," moaned the Moaning Knight. "I say we call it quits." His companions Faltran and Bloodfire nodded in agreement. 

Big Mike, hobbling behind shook his head as ideas of revenge crept into his head. "No, not yet. You saved me from that bastard. Let me help you take him down."

Bloodfire laughed at him. "You? Just look at you - you can barely walk, and the three of us will be hard pressed to get anywhere against the rest of Hoggart's gang."

"I've commanded armies before," Big Mike said with a commanding tone. "I might not be able to join you on the field, but with my battlefield experience I can guide you to victory. As for our lack of numbers..."

Big Mike tossed a heavy purse at their feet. "I managed to swipe some of their cache during their battle. We can recruit more men with that. What say you? Will we help each other get revenge on that weasel?"

After a brief discussion, Faltran shook Big Mike's hand. "You have a deal."

Friday, 27 October 2017

Doctor Strange

Magicians sure are weird, but that doesn't necessarily make them interesting.

Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is an arrogant surgeon who gets his craft taken away from him due to an accident. Intent on regaining his lost skill he goes looking for a cure which leads him to a place of martial art magicians who, predictably, are suffering a crisis of their own.

This movie has crazy fantastic visuals, almost to the point of "whoa that's too much" since the mirror realms are a bit like Inception x 10 (careful all of you that suffer from motion sickness). That's perhaps the biggest strength this film has going for it, as all other areas for me seem weaker than the usual Marvel fare. The main actors are ok but some supporting roles are a bit off, with comedy bits seeming more forced.

Unintentionally using movie magic to create vertigo.

The plot suffers from some pacing issues as well with some slow bits that could have been removed, and some holes that are just not explained or simply ignored. Suspension of disbelief is quite challenging in more than a few segments (common when trying to explain mass oddities in the real world) and even the music seems weaker than the other superhero stuff I've seen... cartoon stuff included.

Still, I do quite like how he deals with the big bad - so bonus points for that. All up, I found Doctor Strange to be an entertaining action flick, but not one I'd want to watch again. I give it three library books out of five.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Thought of the Day: All things are Poison

"All things are poison, and nothing is without poison, the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison."  -Paracelsus 

I know that's a quote on toxicology, but I wonder if it is true for all consumable vices, video games included. My addiction is in full swing at the moment, evidenced by 7 days of no blog posts. Gotta get my schedule back on. Blergh!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Wonder Woman

Finally, DC puts out another good superhero movie!

Growing up on the isle of Themyscira, home of warrior women Amazons, Dianna (Gal Gadot) had always wanted to join their ranks - eventually undergoing training despite her mother, the Queen's, protests.

Out of love, vital information is with held from her and when an opportunity to leave the sheltered isle comes calling, in the form of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), she goes to fulfill her mission of protecting the world from the God of War, in the middle of World War I. Those poor, poor Nazis.

I have to admit, this movie does have all the things I'm looking for in a superhero flick with good effects, nice camera work, explosions, nice eye candy (so much eye candy lol), a body count, good acting all around, a decent bad guy and most importantly a decent story!

There are nice funny bits, "war is hell" bits, and a good dose of "girl (em)power(ment)" all done without any viscera. I particularly like the artsy part near the beginning of the film. I can't really flaw this movie and while it doesn't beat my favorite (The Dark Knight, I'm a Batman fan), I also have no reason to not give it five god killers out of five. Highly recommend it and yes, I would definitely watch it again. :)

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Boyka: Undisputed

Boyka's "gift" from God is beating the hell out of other people!

The Undisputed series is an interesting one as it gets better with each subsequent movie. While the first one is very ho hum, it picks up quickly in the 2nd which introduces Scott Adkins character of Yuri Boyka as an antagonist.

He's clearly the favored character since in movies 3 and 4 (this one), he has advanced to protagonist stature, and given his fighting ability it's easy to see why. As a fighting movie, a shallow plot is to be expected, but the fight scenes and tight camera work make everything a joy to watch.

It helps that all the fighters have great athleticism too!

I'm surprised I haven't done reviews for any of this series yet, but for fans of martial arts you will definitely enjoy this. If you haven't seen any of the Undisputed series, I'll score them below:

Undisputed I - Two fists out of five. (Note: No Boyka in this movie)
Undisputed II: Last Man Standing - Three knees out of five.
Undisputed III: Redemption - Four shins our of five.
Boyka: Undisputed (IV) - Four spines out of five.

The first movie can be skipped and the second is not bad, but the last two I highly recommend and would definitely watch again in a heart beat as they are among my favorite martial arts movies. :)

Monday, 9 October 2017

Today I Sighed: Where to Find Time?

Seems that I'm back in a "so much to do and not enough time too lazy to do it" phase at the moment, with my gaming addiction strangling out most other things once more. Thanks Neverwinter Online. Lol. At least I've got Chult done now, along with the long outstanding Tyranny of Dragons (thanks to the Linu improvement).

This leaves the Storm King's Thunder, the Day of the Dungeon Master event (too many dice required), and the PvP campaigns (no interest in that, so no biggie) unfinished. All that is also eating into my blogging time, which is annoying since I want to continue the Fate of Heroes story at some point.

I did do something different last weekend by attending Comic Con where I was surprised at how many people purchase boxes of random gear. That is, you get a box but don't know what's inside it. Haven't these guys played MMOs? Lol.

I also learned that the world of war gaming is very varied if this list is anything to go by, and that for each kick ass "good guy", there are psychos to balance it out.

In honor of one of our guild mates who has left I'm putting her favorite bands up here as my closing musical numbers: If these Trees could Talk and Explosions in the Sky. If that's too heavy for you, perhaps you'd enjoy this piece from the Eurovision Choir contest instead.

And as a bonus for bird lovers: here's a live feed for some roosting Peregrine Falcons.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Neverwinter Online: Tomb of Annihilation

Where dinosaurs are worse than dragons!

Now that I've finished the campaign, apart from the titular dungeon itself, I am fairly confident when saying that this is one of the better campaigns to date. Cryptic expanded on the good idea of letting people do "what" they want from the River District and included a "when" they want too. That is, players can pick a (small) variety of things to do during the span of a week to advance the campaign, instead of the stressful and rigid dailies from campaigns before.

That's perhaps the best feature for me, as it makes it easy to alt through it - and still have time to catch up on other campaigns! The new zones are also quite pretty and the monsters suitably dangerous. Though the dinosaurs do have a large detection range I've worked out paths that can get you into almost all the areas without drawing any aggro. It does involve jumping off cliffs and almost never following the road but it works.

It's a pretty place.

The new hunt mechanic is pretty fun too, especially when accompanied by some guildies. The only downside is the limitation of only being able to carry one lure type at a time, which makes "grinding" hunts a bit of a chore though I suppose that may have been intentional. Definitely a good module, and while not one new players can access right away due to a high iLevel suggestion (for good reason), it's certainly one worth working towards and looking forward to. :)

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Shadows Over Camelot

Join the Knights of the Round Table and save Camelot from doom!

With invaders all around and magic items slowly slipping from reach, Camelot is in need of 3 to 7 (8 with the Merlin's Company Expansion) brave knights of the round table to save it. The mechanics of this coop/semi-coop game are simple. On your turn you do something bad, then do something good - and complete quests by playing poker. Sounds odd but it's a pretty decent system.

The other fun thing is that the game encourages the lack of sharing information by hiding cards from your allies and speaking in character. So no "I am running out of cards to help here", instead its "My friends, I will soon need to travel elsewhere" or some other nonsense. It's silly, but one of the best things of the game is this silliness. The very first win my group had happened when on the brink of winning (or losing) a war, Guinevere tried to call all of us off the field so my brother controlling King Arthur killed her with Excalibur. "Silence thou unfaithful strumpet!"

Other than everything trying to kill us, it's a pretty place!

The artwork is pretty cool and the game can feel oppressive at times but it seems to me that if the knights are really working as a team, the game is comparatively easy when compared to Arkham/Eldrich Horror or Xenoshyft. I guess that's why it has the traitor "feature" where one knight actually works for the bad guys (in secret) which I've not yet tried since my regular players prefer full co-op.

Currently I give this game three siege engines out of five (full co-op only). It's a fun two hour(ish) romp once people know how to play with quick setup and quick cleanup after. However if you are really looking for a full cooperative game, I'd recommend going for any of the D&D board games instead.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Justice League Dark

Aka "Batman meets Constantine".

When people start having waking nightmares and killing each other, the Justice League springs into action to try stop the madness. And by that I mean, Batman alone decides to investigate. I suppose the rest *could* be trying to keep the peace but we don't really see that. It is totally understandable though to make room for the more mystical powered heroes he teams up with, the most notable being Zatanna and Constantine.

Facial expressions: Determined, Determined, Determined, and Batman.

There's a bit of slowness during the introduction of these newbies, but the fun gradually picks up pace as the team faces more absurd characters and challenges such as: demons, ghosts, wizards, shit monsters... etc. Even Batman isn't impressed (which is hilarious). While the story is definitely out there, it works towards a very satisfactory ending.

Not a bad outing for this Justice League movie. Not fantastic, but not bad. I'd definitely watch it again and hope they make more of this "Dark" series. All up I give it three magic spells out of five. If you like Justice League and/or the Constantine TV show, you'll probably like this.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Shin Gojira

Toxic dumping creates a rampaging monstrosity - again!

After his stint in the US, this Godzilla reboot returns him to Japanese waters where he not so promptly begins to rampage across miniature cities - much like most of the gigantic foes in say... Power Rangers. Of course, the CGI makes this much better than it sounds, but the feel of a "guy in a suit" rampaging in a mini-city is still there. Not that the movie ever explains why it is doing this.

Maybe he's just looking for a sweet roll.

Instead it focuses on the many aspects of the government debating and organizing on how to handle this threat. Indeed, at least 50% of this movie is "let's have a meeting" followed by "let's have another meeting in a different room, with slightly different people". There are so many people that I can't honestly name a single of their names, not even the protagonist. The female lead(?) stands out for having the worst engrish in the film, which isn't really a positive. Why is she even speaking English to a cast of Japanese speakers anyway?

As cool as Godzilla's sections are (despite how quirky he looks), it keeps getting tempered with what I find as boring bureaucracy which is a shame. I give it 2 lazers out of five, and have no intention of watching it again.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Sheltered: Black Vengeance

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Of the attack force, Carol Black is really the only one to return to the bunker with Timothy Redshoes and Mary dying from their injuries on the way back, and William Beardguy abandoning her during to try escape the region on his own. She learns from Michael Gray and Margaret Cleaner that Skrmischa and Carol Hattier had since returned with the last car part, repaired it and left with some supplies - leaving the bunker to them as agreed.

Enraged at the loss of her sister, Carol tries to convince her two remaining allies to go back to Glenchester and extract vengeance but they decline, quite rightly pointing out that they can just shut the hatch and survive indefinitely in this fully self sustaining bunker. Carol hears none of it though, and loads up with armor and as many bullets as she can carry. That turns out to be a big number, as the bunker is quite stocked with ammo, just not firearms. She then departs, leaving Michael and Margaret to their "Crypt".

With no intention of surviving this suicide mission, Carol attacks the Marauders head on with guns blazing. The crazed bastards seem to be popping out of the woodwork with their axes and blades and crowbars, but because none of them had guns of their own the playing field was quite even. Ultimately Carol's aim and grit and ammo out lasted the Marauders until at last, the walls and roads ran red with their blood. She had killed them all.

And became legend.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Sheltered: The Battle of Glenchester

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

The battle at Glenchester City against Janet's crew is furious, with Carolyn, Cynthia and Helen Harvey being beaten to death by Janet's lackeys and Janet personally gunning down Christine and Elizabeth Armygal before Martha Black can put a shotgun shell into Janet's head.

No one takes cover in this game.

The rest of the forces do well in their own battles, but as the remnants of Janet's lackeys try to scatter away a new and more dangerous faction calling themselves "the Marauders" arrvie on their bikes, having been attracted to the fighting... and the fresh meat. Apparently Janet's group -was- protecting the city after all.

Still exhausted from combat, the group is no match for these axe-wielding Marauders and are routed. Karen Road, Edward Montgomery, Cannibal Joyce and Daniel Darksin all fall to their axes. Martha Black is also separated from her sister, captured and later forced to watch her former allies be cooked over a bonfire and endure horrific torture before she too becomes the main course for the ravenous Marauders.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Sheltered: Meat Unraided

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

With the addition of Mary, Cannibal Joyce, Edward Montgomery, Timothy Redshoes and Daniel Darksin - the army, led by the Black sisters move out in force and in high spirits despite only having 3 firearms between them.

At the same time Skrmischa and Carol Hattier go to search for that last missing car part, leaving only new comers Mark and Michael Gray to guard the base when the two surviving raiders from before return and bust down the door, timing their attack when the base is at its weakest, looking to steal more loot!

The auto rifle hits hard, but doesn't hit often.

Mark dies via pick axe to the face, but with both intruders weakened via the autorifle turret, Michael beats them to death with a metal pipe. He then recruits passerby Margaret Cleaner to assist in harvesting the bodies and fitting them into the fridge. The dead would not go to waste, not on his watch!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Sheltered: Declaration of War

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

With Big Mike holding down the fort and trading with ex-bunker buddy Frances, Skrmischa leads a retaliatory strike force to attack Janet's crew. This does not go well at all, as Janet has superior numbers and firepower. Paul is carved up by a knife and Amy is shot by Janet herself - once in each eye.

Skrmischa and Christine are captured, stripped and after a few days of humiliation are sent back to their bunker in shame. Janet's emissary arrives sometime later to request for tribute again, only to be vehemently denied once more.

Instead, Skrmischa gets on the radio and starts recruiting people for the upcoming war, starting with William Beardguy, Elizabeth Armygal, Karen Road and the sisters, Martha and Carol Black (another Carol!). What's in it for them? Skrmischa offers them the bunker and the lion's share of the supplies, as she plans to leave on the RV once the last missing part is found.

Dianne, Big Mike and Brenda are not thrilled at this turn of events and all of them decide to pack up and leave with Frances in hopes of reaching greener pastures before the war begins.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Today I Smiled: Night Time View

It's great that we have a(nother?) bard in the guild in Neverwinter Online, not that there's an actual bard class mind you. She just roleplays as a bard who happens to have a youtube music channel called Night Time View. Give her a listen! :)

For the non-music inclined, I've come across interesting knowledge such as "How to make a Golden Cloak of Nope Spider Silk", what exactly a "Fatberg" is (eww), and that forget Drop Bears - even the plants in Australia want to kill you. For those mathematically inclined, here's an interesting channel for you: vsauce.

I'm going to wrap this up with one more link on a game I can no longer play due to it being enhanced so much, my graphics card can no longer handle it. It's gone from randomly generated "cell" spaceships, to larger randomly generated planet sections, to being able to fly and fight in space, Warframe is progressing to having an open world. Behold the Plains of Eidolon!

Have a good day everyone! :)

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Sheltered: Warning Signs

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Another month has passed and the bunker is going strong while the world outside is just getting worse as evidenced by a duo of scum who attempted to pick axe their way through the vault doors. Fortunately they gave up upon finding a second door behind the first.

There is no such protection for people out on expeditions though, as Michael Mustache is killed by an unarmed, kung fu warrior. Catherine manages to escape but her injuries are too severe and dies back at the base where Amanda Bandana is assigned to harvest her. She does the job but promptly goes catatonic from the stress of what she just did. Fortunately Cannibal Amy is there to care for her, feeding her Catharine's meat to make her feel better...

Gary is also laid low by a bandit in a factory, and his ally Cynthia (who proves to be a terrible fighter) barely makes it out alive. Lucky for her, she meets Carolyn and Martha Stanley on the road, who help her get back to the bunker. As a reward for their assistance, both women are welcomed into the family.

Carolyn then tells of a new group who have established themselves at the nearby Glenchester city, led by some fierce matriarch. Christine quickly gets on the radio and warns the expeditions in that area to be extra careful. Almost as soon as she finished transmitting the bunker came under attack again by the same scum from before, now with one extra man.

This time they break through and kill Amanda Bandana and Martha Stanley (she didn't last long). Despite managing to kill one of the raiders, the remaining bunkerites cower in fear as the last two raid the pantry, taking a good amount of supplies but sparing their miserable lives. As they leave they make it clear that it is their old acquaintance Janet, aka the matriarch, who owns them now.

That did not go well.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Sheltered: That Time of the Month

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

It's been over a month since the incident, and the bunker is in good shape with new recruits Dianne Davidson, Carol Hattier (another Carol!?) and Sarah the nympho (courtesy of seducing Gary the bald) adding more hands to maintain it. Outside, there seem to be encounters with a lot of violent and crazed women, who often flee after a few rounds of fisticuffs.

An encounter with a knife wielding man at a church is the last for Carol (the original) and Dennis, and Sarah's encounter with a bear proves fatal despite making it back to base. Her meat is harvested, and turns out to be a good currency to barter with when traders visit. This breaks the once battle hardened Big Mike - becoming a recluse who refuses to leave the bunker.

Knife trumps a pair of metal bars in this game.

Fortunately Gary steps up as leader when he and Christine slay a bear, and he quickly decides to recruit Brenda, Cynthia, Helen Harvey the soldier and Amy who is quite probably a cannibal - not that it matters these days. Gary's not so subtle attempt at building a harem does not go unnoticed, but his building a recycling plant in the lower floors undeniably helps to improve their bunker upgrading capabilities.

At around this time a pair of scumbags visit the bunker, demanding supplies in exchange for "protection". Their request is denied.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Sheltered: Things are Looking Up

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

A combination of a lack of rain, a failing air filter, and Ann harvesting Stephen (quite decomposed) and Shaliquor's "meat" for uncooked consumption leads to a wave of illness in the bunker, the floor literally covered in vomit. To this end, despite the lack of gas masks, everyone except Christine (for base communications) is sent out to get some fresh(?) air, and much needed supplies.

This does not go well for William and Ann who end up as bear food, while Carol "Red" Rein is killed in a skirmish with brigands on the road. Despite the losses, the survivor count actually increases as Dennis, Gary the bald, Catherine, Amanda Bandana, and Michael Mustache are recruited by the various teams on expedition.

Could have been Ann and William in this movie.
Also, this is a terrible movie.

Most have radiation poisoning upon their return, but fortunately there is a good stash of anti-rad tablets available, thanks to Janet returning briefly to trade goods with Christine. Interestingly, Skrmischa comes back with a car part - one of eleven required to repair the broken vehicle just outside. If it can be fully repaired, they might be able to escape this place.

The sound of thunder overhead also signals the end of the drought, and despite the black rain, things are looking up.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Sheltered: Over the Edge

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

With madness closing in, Big Mike and Skrmischa were saved by William the merchant - who had returned to ask to join the group. The pair were in no position to reject him, so he quickly tasked them on a supply run while he buried the bodies of Dr. Vahlen and Pip top side.

While doing so a trio of girls - Janet, Carol "the original" and Ann come by and ask for asylum from some "bad people". William welcomes them in, and they set about fixing the facilities in dire need of repair. Ann also finally makes a mop and bucket to clean up all the filth scattered within the bunker.

A particularly foul smelling vent revealed the desiccated corpse of Shaliquor, who had been torn apart by a swarm of mutated rats. Upon their return, Big Mike and Skrmischa are surprised to find all the new comers in their base. They brought three of their own - Carol "Red" Rein (another Carol, this one with with red hair), Christine the librarian and Christopher.

Mutated rodents of unusual size!

This Christopher turns out to be the person the trio of girls was running from, and at the first opportune moment - Janet shanks him with a knife. This automatically makes her untrustworthy in the eyes of Big Mike though, and she is expelled to the wastes. Her friends Carol (the original) and Ann, don't stand up for her - opting instead to remain in the relative safety of the shelter.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Sheltered: The Dangers of Generosity

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

The outings were surprisingly fruitful in terms of construction supplies, and with new recruits as Dr. Vahlen's good will invited the wanderers Frances, Paul and the gun-nut Stephen into the Shelter - much to Big Mike's disdain. The food supplies were almost all spent now, but at least the new comers could help expand and furnish the shelter a tiny bit.

Desperate to combat starvation, the expeditions began heading even further - which is when they started running into the local wild life. Dr. Vahlen and Skrmischa barely escaped from a ravenous bear, while Big Mike and Pip managed to slay a wolf for its meat. The boy was so excited by the kill though that he neglected to mention the bleeding bite he suffered during the combat.

Bears don't need gas masks. Clearly.

Back in the shelter, Pip passed away quietly in his sleep. Dr. Vahlen, distraught that she missed such an obvious wound was overcome by the shock suffered a heart attack right then and there - dying right beside Pip while everyone was "giving her space".

Unwilling to endure these bad vibes, Frances left to resume her wanderings. Stephen put his one bullet into his gun and after thrusting it in his mouth - pulled the trigger.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Sheltered: The Fifth Day

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Skrmischa and Pip watched with great interest as Big Mike and Dr. Vahlen took turns explaining the machinery that powered the lights and filtration system of the shelter, knowing that they would some day need the knowledge themselves. Meanwhile Shaliquor kept to herself, hunting the gigantic rats that had moved into the air vents.

While the shelter was stocked with enough gas to keep the vital systems running, food and water was quickly becoming scarce as the days wore on. Having no facilities also meant the filth of human excrement was beginning to pile up.

It's a poop bunker.

On the fifth day, a buzz at the intercom surprised them all. It was a trader named William, and while the group had nothing to offer him he did suggest they start foraging for themselves since the air was actually breathable topside before looking for other customers.

There was little other option if they didn't want to starve, so Dr. Vahlen handed out the supply of gas masks to everyone as they began to venture out into the wasteland. Shaliquor was happy to remain behind and stand guard.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Sheltered: Zero Hour

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

After leaving the accursed hamlet, Big Mike and Dr. Vahlen found themselves in the odd company of Skrmischa and Shaliquor the magical, talking cat on their quest to find their way home. On the road they encountered a ragged boy named Pip, who had taken to wandering after losing his own home and family to some catastrophe in the past.

Dr. Vahlen took pity on the child and was in the midst of convincing her companions to let him come along when suddenly a brilliant flash of light exploded from the distant mountain range. Both the good doctor and Mike knew immediately what it was. "Get to cover!" barked Big Mike as he rounded up his allies and ushered them away from the blast.

"Down here!" meowed Shaliquoir, scratching at a well obscured metallic vault door in the middle of nowhere. Not wasting anytime, Big Mike wheeled the hatch open and got everyone into the darkness below - sealing it behind them just minutes before the radioactive blast reached passed overhead.

It took a magical cat to find it.

"What is this place?" asked Skrmischa, readying to fight whatever lay in the darkness within. It wasn't the sprawling dungeon she expected though, instead it was just a chamber with a few pieces of dusty furniture and foreign looking contraptions.

"It's a bomb shelter," explained Big Mike as he examined the surroundings with his small lighter. "And for now, it's home."

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

Because the New Order wasn't crazy enough!

A prequel to The New Order, this uses most of the same mechanics from that game and just builds on it - adding a few "new" weapons and more Nazi enemies. I'd actually say the story here is slightly better since it is less piecemeal than the other one, combined with the game starting at Castle Wolfenstein itself which is a big plus!

Huge explosions are another big plus!

I also quite like that there are more Wolfenstein 3D levels included in secret areas, and that stealth is still rewarding in the areas that allow it. There is an early "mandatory" stealth part that might annoy some people but it isn't very long and I still recommend playing at the highest difficulty again for any who have ever played a shooter. You will be very in for a slightly punishing ride if you aren't decent with head shots towards the end game though.

Also the added climbing "ability" never fit quite right for me. Still, I give it 4.5 "plugged in enemies" out of 5 and is easily recommended for FPS players.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

NWO: The Demon Lord of Gnolls

Hi all! For those who play Neverwinter Online, my brother has spent a long time working on this foudnry quest and is looking to get more plays and feedback.

It's called "The Demon Lord of Gnolls" [NW-DGC43C4KM] by @DragonlordDrm.

Just as a heads up, it is a pretty long adventure so either have an hour or so free to tackle it or plan on hitting each area over the course of a few days. There's an exit door next to the mini-map that lets you do that - which is also handy for resetting an area if needed (might be needed in zone 3 in particular).

Lots of hard work went into these custom maps!

There is also a fair bit of reading and a few jumping bits involved so fair warning! Hopefully you all like it! :)

Projects and Journals

Welcome to my "new" projects and journals page! I decided it needed a reboot after the photobucket burn, but all my previous ones are still available here.

My little library of "books" regarding my in-game experiences and adventures.
The date beside each is when it was last updated. :)

Fate of Heroes [26 September 2017]

Here is a repository for some of and my (and my guild mates) creative works online. Really should work on putting more of my stuff out there.

Night Time View (Lyv's Youtube Music Channel)
Neverwinter Online Foundry: The Demon Lord of Gnolls (by Dragonlord)

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Wolfenstein: The New Order

Where the allies lost the war!

Blazkowicz is back in this sharp and fun first person shooter which seems him fighting the (quite literal) Nazi war machine(s).

Nazis have an interesting take on armored infantry.

The graphics and game play are great, as are the wide array of arsenal and I quite liked the optional stealth approaches in some missions. The cut scenes also jump straight to the action without wasting any time which is cool, though conveniently avoids answering some plot hole questions in the very wacky, and quite adult story.

As a shooter, the levels are expectedly linear and you could probably finish it in a weekend if you put your mind to it and the AI relies more on HP than smarts (Nazi's aren't as smart as the foes in FEAR for example), but my biggest complaint is not being able to skip the opening credits - which is small fry in the scope of things.

I give it 4.5 robodogs out of 5 and highly recommend this to FPS fans, and also recommend you play on the hardest difficulty straight up, as it really isn't that bad if you know to aim for the head / weakspots.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Castle Ravenloft (Boardgame)

Where the big figurine isn't the boss.

After completing the Legend of Drizzt, my group have finally reached the game that started this D&D board game system with modular, interlocking dungeon tiles to begin with: Castle Ravenloft. The components are good, but given this is the first in the series the dungeon tiles have less mechanism to them than the future games. Not that I mind, since it is a vampire's castle after all.

Well, that *almost* happened.

What this game does well is in the theme. Strahd personally showing up regularly to mess with the players via non combat cameo encounter cards throughout the campaign is awesome because by the time you get to actually fighting him you really, really hate the guy.

By then he's probably randomly bitten one of you, tossed a fireball or two from the shadows, teleported you into a room of monsters, or forced one of you to attack another. Comparatively, the future games main bosses are quite "absent".

Because of that investment in making Strahd present the whole time, and because it's an awesome game - I give it five wooden stakes out of five!

Monday, 14 August 2017

Berserk: Band of the Hawk

A decent catch up mechanism for the non-manga readers.

The easiest way to sum this game up is: Dynasty Warriors Berserk, which is probably why it's also known as Berserk Musou. You control one character of your choice (primarily Guts) and rampage across numerous battle fields slaying literally tens of thousands of foes.

The graphics aren't fantastic and the camera is not great but they serve their purpose, and the keyboard controls (PC) are a bit clunky but serviceable. What caught me by surprise is the length of the game, which goes well past the Golden Age arc which is the extent I thought it would cover as the cut scenes directly come from the remade anime.

Afterwards, it just uses regular CGI but the jist of the story is still there (despite the hundreds of filler monsters) and that is the highlight for me as a Berserk anime fan who doesn't read the mangas!

Once you complete the story line that's available (because the manga itself isn't finished) you then have the option to go into the "Endless Eclipse" mode to unlock bonus outfits, gear, or just fight some more with the small caveat that to win it - you must reach 100 levels of Endless Eclipse without stopping.

Rest is for the weak!

One might say that is the "true" game too, since you can only complete it once story mode is done. If you like Dynasty Warriors type games and/or like Berserk, then this game is worth a look. I give it three behelits out of five.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Today I Smiled: Power Up!

The grind through the River District and Chult continues in Neverwinter Online, so much so that I've not been typing blog posts! Oops! It's great to see my characters improving again though, using Baphomet as a measuring stick.

Once I put some thought into what enchantments I actually used in my gear, my mounts and my npcs companions (who I previously didn't equip at all), I'm now easily beating the demon prince.

Speaking of training, here is the real-life weapons training of Keanu Reeves for John Wick 2, which is pretty awesome. Thank you to the poster who told me about it. Also cool is this site about military strength by country which is an eye opener. Some are higher than I thought!

If that is too violent for you, I've also just learned that Japan has a cat island and a rabbit island which is cute-overload at first, but when carefully thinking about it are islands full of a) rabbit poop or b) critters that actively seek to overthrow the human race. :P

As usual I'm going to end with some musical links - the first one being the Coconut song on an airplane and the last one is Peter Hollen's version of Hands of Gold from Game of Thrones! Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Monday, 7 August 2017


Proves that old dogs are saltier...

It is the future, and mutants are dying out. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is tired, old, and not regenerating as he once did. His limo driving job is mainly just to cover the expenses of looking after an even older and now demented Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who occasionally has seizures which he shares to everyone around thanks to the strength of his "gift".

It's a pretty dark and depressing state, simply waiting for the end. Fortunately having a little girl who is wanted by the "bad guys" (of course) suddenly thrust into their care, forces them to go on another adventure. It helps that the little girl plays her part well - always risky with child actors (she's better than Mowgli for sure)!

Thumbs up!

Visceral, on-screen dismemberment and gore is featured right from the get go, which is a big step up from just suggesting "he stabbed a guy / bloodlessly" from the rest of the X-men franchise and the action sequences are great, which makes up for the ok plot.

While people say this is a "dark" movie, I disagree as it still features some up beat parts. Perhaps I've just gotten used to the likes of Hotel Inferno and Adam Chaplin though. If you just want a more mature X-men film, this does a great job. I enjoyed it a lot and would definitely watch it again. But would I buy the DVD? Hmm, not sure. Three and a half comic books out of five.

Friday, 4 August 2017

John Wick 2

He just has one bad day after another.

After an action filled start where John Wick (Keanu Reeves) finishes off that nasty business from the first movie, he almost makes it back into retirement just before another incident ropes him back into work, and what beautifully choreographed violence that work is.

It's amazing to watch.

I quite liked that Mr. Wick only has an 80% accuracy rating and gets hit repeatedly, and while he is wearing a layer of plot armor (especially against head shots), its significantly less since they explain a bit with the load out portion of the film - one of my favorite parts as it not only shows their love of weapons but also expands on the "assassin's world".

Despite a predictable plot, the trail of blood and guts and violence galore makes for a fantastic spectacle. Is it better than the first movie? Not particularly, but it's just as good so three and a half shotgun shells out of five. I highly recommend it if you are an action fan, or if you enjoyed the original. Would I watch it again? Definitely yes! I might even go get the DVD. :)

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Jungle Book (2016)

Where wolves are American, cats are English and giant monkeys are Christopher Walken.

I've always been interested in seeing this Disney adaptation of the Jungle Book, which has the orphaned boy Mowgli being raised by the generally very compassionate creatures of the forest as one of their own, which is a problem to only the villainous tiger Shere Khan who harbors a hatred for humans.

Bad kitty!

It would be ok if this was just a regular tiger, but Shere Khan is feared by pretty much everyone else and rightly so. Only when Mowgli starts adventuring does he run into other not-so-friendlies. Guess the wolf pack did a good job keeping him safe!

All the CGI creatures are amazing, and damn the mommy wolf actually made me tear up with some of her lines and emotion. In contrast, Scarlett Johansonn as Kaa didn't really work too well for me. Ironically the weakest actor is Mowgli himself, though he does make up for it with all the action pieces he gets.

Being a Disney movie there are some musical numbers but they are very toned down and cut short during the film, with full versions in the entertaining credits. It's definitely an entertaining movie, one I wouldn't mind watching again. I give it three and a half, giant red flowers out of five.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Neverwinter Online: Chult Totem Grind

The new campaign for NWO is out and with it comes some really nice looking areas which will be introduced to you in the somewhat lengthy intro quest. You'll also quickly learn that dinos have a big aggro range, Batiri that glow red are very dangerous, to watch your ranged attacks as to not draw unintentional aggro from the densely packed mobs, and to turn away from the giant eye icons above the yuan-ti dancers who can push or pull you into said mobs.

Also, don't piss off the King of Spines. :P

More importantly, you'll also be introduced to the new grind which is that for totems, the currency that unlocks this new campaign. You can only collect 100 per week to begin with but can boost that as you advance. How does one get to the 100 per week though? The Prince in the new hub gives you 6 patrol quest bonus rewards per week, which each give 5 totems, so that's 30 out of the way. His patrol quests (the ones that start from the city) are quite fun too. You might need to wait a few minutes if you finish them too quickly for his quest cycle to restart though.

There's another 20 from a weekly that comes from defeating a rare critter, which randomly spawns in the place of a regular mob. Hopping to a channel with less people gives you a better chance of finding one I feel since I encountered 2 at a very off-peak time. I'll keep an eye on that  and update here if it continues to be the case.

The remainder of the totems will need to come from repeatable quests at Camp Vengeance, giving 5 totems each. There aren't that many variants, but if you are just gunning for totems, the path of least resistance (with or without a party) seems to be "Rescue Templars" and then "Rescue Scouts from Batiri". They're fast, and don't involve fighting your way into (and then out of) one of the many ruins or sanctify spots required from the other quests.

Does that sound boring and repetitive? Yes, but it's also efficient. There might be better options as more quests get unlocked, but for now that is my plan of attack.

Saturday, 29 July 2017


A supernatural ninja who is as brittle as glass.

Aragami is the tale about a vengeful spirit ninja (that's you) who has been summoned to "thwart the bad guys" by spending most of your time on fetch quests. Everything about you is shadow. You can make shadows, teleport to shadows, and hide in shadows which is great for a stealth game - which make no mistake - this is.

Having glowing white lines on your outfit seems a tad counter intuitive.

Conversely your enemies use light. And I don't mean torches. I mean glowing swords, burning arrows, explosive wisps - everything one hit kills you (at least on the hardest mode). Oh, you you also one hit kill everything, or can go the master thief route of not touching anyone which is what I did.

Supposedly you can get other shadow skills too, as I kept finding scrolls of hidden knowledge and shrines to "power up" but the game never gave instruction on how to use them so a bit of a negative there.

The game play itself is fun and the stylistic art is pretty. I didn't mind that all the voice over is in Japanese since there are English subtitles, but the flashback piece meal story while good, was a bit tough to follow.

All up, the game is a good balance of challenge and fun which I can recommend to anyone that likes stealth games. I give it 3.5 bells out of 5.