Saturday 8 June 2024

Dragonheir: Better than Before

[Part of the Cursed story line.

With the holy river restored its time to destroy the source of the corruption down here in the Underdark which leads through many team based fights that need much swapping of line ups and many attempts before I manage to get through to the corrupted boss, an big ugly drider mama (level 165) who enjoys summoning adds. Fortunately the trick with her is rather easy, just turn off auto combat and make sure to use the ultimates on the adds before they get too overwhelming! The winning team was Fire Main / Garius / Voresh / Heksandra / Sigrid. Yes, I finally got the blonde archer on my roster and she is a freaking powerhouse if paired with a debuffer like Voresh who debuffs everything as her ultimate hits ALL debuffed enemies, and prevents them from healing!

It turns out destroying this creature is the last step in restoring my memories - I am also a child of Tiamat! Aka The child of chaos who tried to kill her so long ago but failed so she ripped my soul into two pieces (and the reason why this belongs in my "Cursed" journal). Obviously the next step is to reclaim my other half from the death lands but he isn't very happy to see me. To my great surprise this level 170 boss is the FINAL one (you mean there's an end!? yep!) and his phase two is not easy at all since he has a move that captures one of your team mates and if you don't destroy the hand before time runs out its insta-kill time for that person!

It takes me a few goes before eventually finding the winning team (but that's ok because he has some pretty nice boss music) of Fire MC / Horrus / Heksandra / Sigrid / Journ, all fire based heroes to get the "inspirational" damage bonus which is required for this boss. In addition, Journ - the legendary gnome inflicted with crystal disease, also debuffs with his AoE flamethrower and ultimate mine field abilities. Upon completing myself (and the game really), I run into Tiamat who this time - lets me go to continue adventures since "I've changed". The end! I know there's a season two coming / available but I just felt this was such a decent and unexpected end to this story so I'm stopping here. Thumbs up Dragonheir! You turned out to be a much better game than I originally thought you'd be.


One last arena flex because I doubt I'll reach this rank again. Big step from 15+k!

Thursday 6 June 2024

Atlas, Industria and Ninja Kamui (Season 1)

Where future tech makes plot holes!

Atlas

In a world where AI had advanced so much they look a lot like people, then warred against their human creators and fled the planet, a random lead falls into the hands of the world government who call in a specialist scientist who hates robots (played by Jennifer Lopez) to team up with a force of humans riding robots to go fight the bad robots on bad robot planet. The opening narration kinda sounds as tacky as my sentence there, but this turned out to be an enjoyable but predictable film.

While the CGI is ok and the main plot points are decent, I feel the creators added things that they thought would be "cool" which puts many devils in the details. How exactly does an oxygen -mask- necklace provide air? THROUGH SCIENCE! How does this character achieve with almost zero training what the legion of trained extras failed to do? SCIENCE!? Control two extra arms made from 10 minutes of scrap metal bending? SCIENCE!!!! Seriously though, you need to like or at least not hate Jennifer Lopez if you watch this as she carries 3/4ths of the movie. I don't mind her acting so it's fine with me, but if for any reason you don't like her then definitely give this a skip.

Industria


This is a decent, albeit short first person shooter about messing with technology and getting transported to another world full or hostile machine men and machine dogs. Easy controls and simple enemies won't really challenge an experienced gamer but it is still good nonetheless thanks to the voice acting, the atmospheric maps, and the plot - which has some very strange bits that make no sense at all and leaving many questions unanswered - possibly to hook you in for the sequel. Thumbs up for this one.

Ninja Kamui (Season 1)


It is the future and the way of the ninja has gone global but due to a rift based on their code the loyalists brutally hunt down their rebel bretheren which leads to a John Wick scenario if John Wick was a futuristic ninja. Yes, the protagonist is pretty flat here as is the plot but the smooth and violent action scenes coupled with a decent sound track almost make up for it. I say almost because apparently since this is the future, ninjas eventually get mecha type armor suits then it becomes a bunch of robots fighting each other with martial arts. While that's ok-ish it really breaks the excellent combat streak that this show started with making season one finish with a "meh". If there's going to be a season two then this will really need to up its game.

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Surviving the Cat of Salem Islets too?

Catching up on some epic freebies.

Surviving the Aftermath

A post apocalyptic game that focuses on two different maps - the first is your home map where you construct your base which includes things like tents and outhouses for your dirty survivors and remember to actively tell them where to harvest things because by god, they morons. Your lumber camp might be sitting idle once they've deforested the nearby area and if you don't tell them to go find more trees "here" it simply will go unused. Once you build a gate you can send your specialists (hero characters who you occasionally can recruit - you start with two) to the world map to do quests, fight bandits, and salvage... science? Yes. That's a thing. With enough science you can pay for crowbars or something. Note that your home map can and will still be attacked by bandits, plagues and stink clouds regardless of what's happening beyond. Very management heavy and lost my interest after one session.

Cat Quest II

Is exactly like the first game, except now you can two player it (or play two characters) as a cat and dog adventurer. It's just as cute and just as grindy as the first so for the same reasons I've given up on it.

Islets

An action platforming game with some pretty decent art that tasks you with reconnecting a bunch of floating islands. Alas it features the same problem most of these types of games have for me which is if you leave a screen and come back, all the enemies respawn. When you add that backtracking is almost mandatory, that just gets an immediate thumbs down from me.

Town of Salem II

The worst of this lot for me. Basically a digital version of the Mafia or One Night Werewolf party games where a group of players are trying to reach their randomly given, secret winning conditions by eliminating other players through voting (or murder!). They could be townsfolk trying to execute the secret witch coven and vice versa or perhaps you're of the jester faction and you win if you can get yourself executed? Some odd design decisions here killed this one for me - the first is "go to youtube to see a tutorial". Really? But the second one really sucks and that is the "waiting to have fun". Not enough players? Guess you'll have to wait. Got killed early? Guess you have to wait. Or quit, join another game and wait for enough players. I hate idling. Still, I guess there's a market for these sort of games as this one even has the audacity to have a cash shop!

Friday 31 May 2024

Pathfinder: Missing in Magnimar

[Part of the Party Time journal

Following the clues, the team heads off to Magnimar to track down Aldern's boss and learn that this city too has been going through a spate of recent murders. Investigating Aldern's house here they are surprised to find both he and his wife alive and well, only for the pair to shapeshift into annoying faceless humanoids with a penchant for grabbing and a damage reduction quality that kind of draws out the fight. Once victorious, Merisiel locates a deed in a hidden place that details a shared purchase and to a local sawmill which the team checks out next.

The worker who answers the door is a bit iffy, but lets the party take a look around until they go upstairs at which point he and his colleagues don evil looking masks and outing themselves as bad guys! They and their boss have negative energy auras which Kyra basically balances out with heals, and while the regular scum are just fodder the boss himself is a bit problematic when he makes the party insane - except Valeros, who by all rights had the worst odds on that save. With Ezren and Merisiel just randomly attacking the closest target and Kyra idling while talking to a wall Valeros and Kyra's summoned eagle keeps everything busy enough until they are about to regain their senses. It's at this point he's hit by a drow poison bolt and falls asleep! At least his companions can take down the boss guy though... but he's not the BIG boss as messenger crows fly out to a distant clock tower.

After resting and picking up a pair of city guards as well as some new magic gear (mainly higher level magic missile wands) they head there next and, after getting hit by a falling bell, beat up a flesh golem on the ground floor, a trio more faceless things near the top and a lamia matriarch on the roof who is a SUPER annoying fight. Not only is she hard to hit, at one point she casts sanctuary which forces a will roll before even a "to-hit" roll while she heals herself. Kyra's eagles can do nothing and really, almost everyone needs a natural 20 to land a hit on her. Lucky Ezren's magic missiles always hit and after a really long and frustrating fight, she is defeated with no casualties for the good guys. The heroes then locate a letter from the lamia's brother nearby saying his method of sacrificial murdering is much better and invites her to see at some distant location.

Before going anywhere else, the heroes first report to the fat governor of the city who was actually mentioned as a target in the letter and after he faints and comes to again he gives the team a sizeable reward. A good portion of this Valeros gives to Morgamer Pug, the local halfling tinker, to create for him a flamethrower. Because screw rolling to hit!

Thursday 30 May 2024

May 2024: War... War never changes.

It's day 827 of Russia's two day special operation to take Ukraine and while they are gaining ground slowly through sheer numbers, a few countries have finally given the green light for Ukraine to use their weapons into Russian territory. That's a strange handicap to have originally been placed on the clear under dog, but lets see if this shifts the momentum into Ukraine's favor.  

Meanwhile in the Middle East, Egypt had warned it might withdraw from its mediator position in the (so far failed) Gaza ceasefire negotiations because of recent doubts that "offend" them. These doubts are mainly center around getting caught red handed mediating in bad faith, secretly changing terms before handing them to Hamas after Israel had already agreed and signed to it. Not sure how the parties involved feel but I for one would say "good riddance" as it's clearly pointless to put your trust in these lying snakes in the first place.

Now Israel is taking out some serious revenge to the tune of around 35K dead Palestinians so far for the instigating October 7 Hamas raid which killed around 1.2K people (for comparisons sake 9/11 killed around 3K with a 3.6M retaliation). It's clear where the loyalties of some folks in Mexico are, burning down the Israeli embassy in Mexico City right as they are being hit by a water shortage.

Worth noting Hamas are now singing their old song (on replay apparently) of "we're willing to negotiate as long as Israel completely stops fighting". Israel would be stupid to accept that and let them regroup, given the Hamas charter  (#4) explicitly states:

Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement…. There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad

Next it's over to China where they've developed some pretty cool gun toting automatons, but somehow they're still not as scary as the drones that can simply drop grenades on you. Then we have North Korea, trying to stay relevant by sending in explosive balloons of literal shit to South Korea. Are they trying to say all their septic tanks are full and are in dire need of help? Or simply that they're just full of shit?

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Firestone: Online Idle RPG

You don't have to do anything.

Since there was a promo on on Epic a few weeks back I thought I'd give this a quick try, and quick is an understatement. Upon loading in you immediately get thrown into the endless grind, so this plays less like Dragonheir and a lot more / almost exactly like Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms (I call it "Idle champs"), which means there's a direct competitor to compare against. Alas this comparison does not go well for Firestone as it has worse character art, worse options, worse hub, and much less refinement all around. If anything this game might be the "kiddie" version Idle Champs, but I'm not sure why you'd want your kids getting into this anyway. And if you aren't a kid but like Idle games, give this one a miss and go straight for Idle champs from the get go.

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Dragonheir: You need an Army

[Part of the Cursed story line.

When I'm not training up heroes, I'm pushing further into the Underdark past the territories of the deep gnomes and their mining issues as well as the thieving rat folk whose leader needs help bringing his son into line, which happens to be a level 130 fight! We finally reach the drow city of Unyielding Silk, where nobles and paupers squabble over the broken "holy river" that no longer cures people of the rot disease.  After arresting many criminals we find that the river is actually plagued from some ruins it passes through inhabited by monsters that look like Zhar'loth - it turns out this is the result of full blown rot transformation on a deep elf.

Fights here now require 3 full teams so I'm adding a bunch of under trained people to the line up that I'm not too familiar with. However there is a stand out: Iola the lightning mage. Now Iola's not a legendary ranked hero, but her AoE stuns are freaking useful! After defeating a death knight boss who we helped be un-transformed from a turtle (damn my goody two shoes nature) the river is restored, the sick can be healed again, and the bridge leading to Terminus is reopened.

Alas this comes too late for the drow queen (150) who succumbs to the rot just in time to give us a boss fight. Note, all the heroes can only go up to level 100. Your choice of gear and strategy has to make up the difference against the ever increasing level of the enemies. It's a challenge sometimes, especially when fights demand multiple teams. 

I've also unlocked deeper levels of the Fey Meander and two similar "endless fight" modes, but all these feature the same thing: less and less choice of characters to field. Sometimes, you can't put legendaries. Sometimes you can't field the full five. Sometimes it asks for specific element types. Ugh. You know what that means? I need at least SIX full teams (one per element - necrosis, radiance, lightning, poison, fire and ice) of max level, fully geared heroes - each with a decent team structure (healer/tank/dps etc). LOL!


There's also this boss plant lady shows up every few levels
to check your gear score...