Friday, 28 February 2020

February 2020 Review

That back log list looks a bit better now, with How to Survive 2 taking over the Friday night co-op sessions while Metal Gear V and NWO: Infernal Descent fill out the rest of my gaming time. It's going to be a busy March for me work wise though, so here's hoping I can still get stuff done, especially since I'm re-adding a few "skipped" titles to the list for a "second chance" look.

Also, just for journal sakes - last month the WHO said "Don't worry about that Coronavirus in China, it's not as bad as the common flu." Yesterday they were more along the lines of "If people don't act now, everyone will be infected!". Sounds like they are incompetent morons.

    End 2020 with less weight (-1 kg from last month, running total: 0 kg)
    Make 1 web comic page (nope)
    hire landscapers for back yard (nope)
    +repair roof leaks

BACKLOG
How to Survive 2 (gift)
Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain (now at 68%) [gift]
NWO: Infernal Descent (0/2) [free to play]
+Carcassonne (PC) [free from Epic Games] (had enough)
+Ticket to Ride (PC) [free from Epic Games] (had enough)
+Aztez [free from Epic Games] (done)
+Faeria [free from Epic Games]
+Horace [free from Epic Games] (second chance)
+Observer [free from Epic Games] (second chance)
+Farming Simulator 19 [free from Epic Games] (second chance)
+Inner Space [free from Epic Games]

Board games:
Zombicide: Black Plague Campaign (10/11)
London Dread Campaign (1/4)
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (3/13)
Mice and Mystics: Heart of Glorm (0/11)

BLOG STATS

One Year Ago

I started playing Fallout Tactics.

Five Years Ago

I was playing Project Zomboid.

Most Viewed Posts last Month
The Cursed: Big Bluff
The Cursed: Almost the Last Lieutenant
The Cursed: Goddess of Snakes

Wow, nice to have my story posts top the views for a change!

Top Search Terms last Month
more and better prime day coupos online
online movie streaming triple threat
video games 3 year old    
   
Not sure what people are looking for with that set, though hmm - Triple Threat sounds like a movie I would enjoy. I should go watch that.

LISA: Pretty Boys

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Not far from the Roulette Gang base, the gang finds themselves in a swamp and in the presence of Yazan the samurai and his cat, Kat. He says the girl is rumored to be in the area agrees to guide the team to a nearby outpost that features a bar - where Birdie the drunk joins, a brothel - where Queen Roger joins after Brad "helps them out" and a dojo where a Tigerman is killing everyone.

Exactly like this.

It is a long fight, but Brad's gang takes him down and enslaves him. Since Tigerman sounds stupid, Brad renames him to Guin. The party then proceeds across the snake filled swamp to a construction site, easily running over the construction crew with a stolen bulldozer. When faced with an enemy bulldozer, Queen Roger - high on Joy - destroys it with a club!

Too bad shortly afterwards the Queen is kidnapped by "the pretty boys" group, and while Brad goes there to negotiate - he finds he cannot pay the steep ransom so abandons the Queen to them. Brad and company then fight on through a village full of zombie creeps - subjects of joy experiments - who are easily distracted by Kat's cuteness, and fight their way down a dark cave to face a monstrous neck titan... and win. Brad feels that he might not be so terrible or awful after all.

Then he remembers he is currently under the effects of Joy.

Insight: Yazan's three wishes is great when he is taking Joy. Otherwise, Kat has a lot of debuffs.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

LISA: What Luck!

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

After the terrible events last time, Brad finds a motorcycle that all six of them can fit on and races across the desert in a bid to catch up with his daughter. This speed ends abruptly when he crashes into RANDO the skull faced leader of the RANDOs and wrecks the vehicle.

RANDO apologizes profusely and gives Brad's gang some super RANDO rations before getting into his limo and driving off with his gang. Before the team can make use of them another gang takes them hostage and drags them to their base! The Roulette gang have only one game on their mind - Russian roulette, and if Brad's gang can win three times they will be set free. Brad, not allowed to participate himself, must choose which of his guys to play.

It's not a fun game.

Fardy goes first, sucking down on that pistol in hopes it would favor him. It doesn't. He splatters his brains all over the wall. Percy is sent next - literally shitting as his turn comes up. Click! His opponent eats a bullet. Feeling more confident, Percy goes again but this time both pull 4 clicks and it's his turn once again. He drops a massive log as the bullet busts through his cranium.

Beastborn is sent next and casually wins against the next two enemies, winning the team's freedom! The Roulette gang honors their arrangement and sends them on their way. Beastborn asks if this means his slavery to Brad's gang is at an end too but Brad says no. Brad is a terrible and awful person.

Insight: I like that you can't die in the motorcycle part, it just resets if you fall off a cliff or something. On the other hand, there is no saving in the roulette part. Enjoy losing your team members! It's game over if all of them die.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

LISA: An Acquired Smell

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Using the bike to jump small chasms, the squad makes it to where Lisa is supposedly being held - a run down factory. Inside they fight the Manes Club, guys with ridiculous hair who take issue to Brad's baldness, and rescue the girl. Only it isn't Lisa - it's a dolled up truck driver named Fardy who joins the gang.

Fardy knows how to fix a nearby bridge that the RANDOs destroyed so while he gets to work, Brad and company explore a little more - accidentally killing a bunch of orphans by setting them on fire and then beating up wild man "Beastborn"  into slavery (he joins the gang too). They also save another man, Percy, who while taking a dump is attacked by a spider. Percy is so thankful he joins the team without cleaning himself up. Percy smells. Beastborn likes it.

Once the bridge is done, Brad, Nern, Olan, Rage, Fardy, Beastborn and Percy cross it - finding one of Brad's old friends who admits he's one of the ones that sold Lisa out. Brad brutally beats him with a spiked club while everyone else watches.

Definitely channeling his inner Negan.

They should have watched the hills instead, as they are all soon jumped by the masked Joy gang. Pinning down Brad, their leader gives him a choice: let him cut off Brad's arm, or kill Nern. Brad chooses to let Nern die, because Brad is a worthless and terrible person. The Joy gang slits Nern's throat and leaves, while the rest of Brad's gang starts to smell like Percy.

Insight: Nern's finger laser is useful, but not as useful as Beastborn's paralyzing whip.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

LISA: Hot Wheels

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Following the trail of bodies, Brad finds a man cowering in a tree. Cowering from a squirrel. Using his karate he obliterates the squirrel and saves the man, Terry Hintz - a tutor before things went to shit. The journey together briefly before being jumped by Brad's old bullies - the Bully gang.

They force him to choose: either give up all the gear they have, or give up Terry. Brad gives them Terry, because Terry is annoying. Also because Brad is a worthless and terrible friend. While the bullies have fun with Terry, Brad continues on his journey but faces a Joy withdrawal, weakening him severely and making him easy prey to dark cave dwellers who stroke him and make him feel weird (I'm not making that up).

I feel... weird...

Fortunately he is saved by two more guys: Nern the pistoleer and Olan the archer. At a nearby pub they Brad also hires Rage Metalhead the luchador to round out the team - handy against the roaming Barrel boys crew. They then help the Schoolboys gang get rid of encroaching RANDO thugs and are rewarded with access to their generator. Brad pours the generator oil into emptied beer bottles to make fire bombs and uses the explosives on a nearby titan monster at the playground to kill it and steal its bicycle.

Insight: Empty bottles are handy. Always pick them up!

Monday, 24 February 2020

LISA: She's been taken!

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

The world has gone to shit; most certainly in this land where there are no more women. Yet somehow Brad manages to find a baby girl, in the middle of nowhere whom he raises as his own for years with a few of his friends. To keep her safe, he locks her in the basement and forces her to wear a mask outside.

These decisions make her cry. These decisions force Brad to ponder his own shitty childhood using with his own abusive father. Unable to cope with his feelings since he's a weak and worthless fool, he self-medicates with the pills known as Joy.

Upon waking up from his drug-induced coma, he finds his house a mess - people dead everywhere, and the girl - missing. This cannot be! He can't fail her as a father like his father failed him! Filled with rage which suits his Armstrong style karate he begins his quest to find his missing daughter and journeys into the wasteland.

It is a dangerous place.

Insight: Wow. This is certainly NOT a feel good RPG. And I already cut out the more depressing stuff!

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Aladdin (2019)

Disney continues making live action versions of their cartoon hits.

When a power hungry Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) employs the street thief Aladdin (Mena Massoud) to steal a magic lamp, the boy becomes the accidental master of a powerful genie (Will Smith), and naturally uses his powerful wishes to try get with the Princess (Naomi Scott).

Somehow, this works!

That's a lot of names I listed up there, and it's because they are all great. I didn't have high expectations for this one what with Robin Williams genie being the one from my childhood, but you know what? This one is good too, and not in a "it's a competition" type way. They're both good. Will Smith's take on the genies behavior and songs makes it original to him, and I quite like it. Different enough to be entertaining, yet on the rails enough to keep the studio happy.

That's probably why it's so much better than Beauty and the Beast, and why I strongly recommend watching it. I give it 3 thieving monkeys out of 5 and would watch it again.

Friday, 21 February 2020

Ape Out

Exiting is your priority.

The plot is simple: You are an ape that needs to escape a heavily armed facility. The controls are simple: Move, grab, or push which is fatal to all enemies. The graphics are simple: Colored shapes denote you, the baddies, the walls and the blood. The goal is simple: Reach the end of the procedurally generated level. The game?

You can't cage the beast!

The game: is f-ing hard. This is one of those, fun for 15 minutes games before it starts feeling repetitive. Having the jazz music tied to your actions is pretty cool though, and it's not a bad program for what it is - but it's definitely not for me. :P

Insight: Grab guards and shove them into other guards.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Stockholm syndrome to the max.

When an asshole prince his court are cursed to look other than human, they have no option but to capture locals that wander into their ruined palace and try to rape them. I mean, make them fall in love with them, but you can tell they tried option one first.

I don't recall how the animated version got away with this, but this live action one starring Emma Watson heavily falls into the Stockholm syndrome area - and the only reason people end up siding with the Beastly Prince (Dan Stevens) is that her other suitor, Gaston (Luke Evans), is an even bigger douche bag.

Oh, maybe it didn't...

Problem number two: surprisingly, the CGI doesn't do it for me here - especially the teapot and tea cup. Those looked particularly amateurish. Problem three: It is BORING. We were literally falling asleep while watching this, either because we knew what would happen next or bad pacing. At least there were some new songs, but for the most part if you've seen the cartoon movie you've seen this. Worse, the cartoon movie is superior. I give this one 1 candlestick out of 5. Skip it.

Superhot

It's not, really.

This minimalistic VR shooter is more a puzzle than an FPS as its gimmick is time doesn't move unless you do, and since a single hit can kill you - you are required to memorize patterns of movement to evade bullets, grab guns and kill all the bad dudes in each scene for a perfect "SUPERHOT" run.

Can't really plan since looking around advances time.

The lack of a HUD is slightly annoying for ammo count purposes, but more annoying is the plot which more than subtly suggests to stop playing the game. So I did. I give this 1 thrown gun out of 5.

Insight: In the "chat" parts, hold down the right arrow to type.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Let's hope it ends here this time.

Turns out Anakin can't do anything right after all, as the Emperor Palpatine is quite alive and is busy orchestrating "evil machinations" through use of... his cult of engineers and secret planet of infinite resources? As usual, they have a ridiculous weak link in their grand plan which is exploited to an obvious outcome. You'd think they would have learned after the Death Star.

So much anger!

The story isn't about him though, it's still about Kylo (who is more likable on this film) and Rey (who is less likable). It helps that Kylo's arc is basically cooler while Rey is a moron. Not as bad as Finn though, who literally shouldn't have been in this movie (or the last movie). Would have been better had he died at the end of Force Awakens, but no - studio wanted a black dude because ... multiculturalisms!?

As usual the special effects are top notch and while this movie had a few problems, it was nowhere as bad as the Last Jedi - I give it 3.5 reanimated dead actors out of 5. This re-usage of dead people is really becoming a thing huh?

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Neverwinter Online: Infernal Descent

Hell introduces the Hangry Meter.

With the Vallenhas Stronghold pulled down to Avernus, the first layer of Hell, it has become the staging site of great battles between man-lings and demon kind as well as the best place to hunt a giant gorilla with a mace for a hand. Most importantly it now holds one of the best vendors in the game, Juma, who you will find conveniently locked away in the courtyard, instead of on the jumping puzzle rooftop where he was initially.

For new comers this place is tough! Special attention has to be given to the little pips/dots on enemies too which is their new difficulty rating - what I like to call their Hangry Meter. The more dots, the tougher the fight. As an example well fed Hell Hounds have 1 while ravenous hell hounds have 4. Juma's surprise bags will eventually drop the gear you need to thrive.

Even the blue dragon wants a piece of the ape!

I also quite like that there are a lot of evadable patrolling groups which adds some life to the place and the teleport glyphs save lots of travel time to the heavily modified stronghold map. For squishy characters, remember to use cover as there are a lot of ranged enemies - they won't shoot if they can't see you and they like turning corners blindly. In addition, try keep all fights in a small area to avoid extras from joining in.

Infernal Descent is a tough mod but one that gets my tick of approval.

Insight: If you are under geared, chase the +ape for a bit for the currency to buy Juma's bags. With luck, you'll get the stuff you need in short order. Also, don't be afraid to use zone chat to let people know an ape is on your channel to get reinforcements.

Monday, 17 February 2020

TowerFall: Dark World

Channel your inner archer!

In this co-op pixel platformer, players must defend their one screen tower from waves of enemies. Moving off screen warps you to the other side, this includes vertically - and everyone is armed with a bow and arrows. Very limited arrows (around 4 max) which means a lot of aiming and picking up of used ammo.

Not my cup of tea.

I only played solo but still managed to kill myself with my own arrow, so I can only imagine the chaos four players would endure! The Dark World expansion naturally features harder levels, as if the original set wasn't bad enough. A fun distraction, probably more fun with friends but not one I will linger on. I give it 1.5 arrows out of 5.

Insight: You can injure/kill some enemies by hopping on their head like Mario!

Sunday, 16 February 2020

SOMA

Questions what is means to be you.

A simple procedure leads Simon into a horrific facility filled with alien constructs and you must help him with his two goals: to find out what is going on and to get the hell out of there! This game does horror right. Not so many jump scares but the oppressive story and environment will have you crouch walking quite a lot! :P

The enemies too are nicely varied from area to area though some are real pains in the ass to get past. Also, the protagonist is a bit of a douche (required for story tension I guess), but the most annoying bit for me was the looking for stuff. Sometimes, something as simple as a button. Other times, like at the start, some medicine.

Will you be my friend?

I really wish there were better hints or indications of where to look for those, but to be fair some of the items are where you think they'd be. A battery will be in the power room for example. Right next to that weeping enemy. Great. LOL. Anyway, I found it to be really cool and definitely recommend it if you are into this horror genre. Just be advised it can be a little depressing (and very depressing if you don't play the after credits section). I give SOMA 4 omnitools out of 5.

Insight: The monsters have different "weaknesses". Near the start there are those that don't like being looked at, near the end there's a bastard who stops moving if you keep your eyes on him.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Jotun

It's all about impressing the gods.

Having drowned at sea, Thora the viking finds herself in the otherworldly realms of Norse Mythology and must prove herself to gain entry to Valhalla by striking down the titular Jotun that reside within. The hand drawn artwork here is great, as are the Icelandic voice overs and each area has its own form of puzzles and rewards exploration through new powers or increasing your life bar - however this short game does suffer from the "empty space syndrome".

Not so empty in this fight though.

There are very few minion type enemies leaving most of the battles focused squarely on the handful of giant Jotun present in the game and while those fights are pretty cool, the sections in between are a little bit stagnant which is a bad feeling to take from an already short game. It's entertaining enough, but unless you are a die-hard art fan or Norse fan you would be better served playing other games - namely Bad North or Hellblade for a viking fix or Ruiner which uses this style of game play. I give Jotun 2.5 giant birds on an even giant-er(?) bird out of 5.

Insight: When fighting the last boss not only can you can dodge those seeking spears, you can also destroy them with a regular attack.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

The Terror: Infamy (aka Season 2)

With World War II looming, this series follows the lives of Japanese-Americans who are treated rather badly by their own country - in particular a family "cursed" by a malevolent, (and hot) spirit (played by Kiki Sukezane).

I quite like this shot in the intro.

You'll probably also be cheering for the spirit most of the time since the protagonist (played by Derek Mio) is written as a huge douchebag, especially at the start. I get that characters need growth but geez, I still didn't like his character at the end.

While the sets and gruesome deaths are still great, there is a noticable lack of "doom" which pervaded the previous season - mainly due to the setting and the "monster". That is why I only give it 2.5 babies out of 5 this time around. Not bad, but not something I'd actively recommend either.

The Messenger

Intentionally annoying.

In this old-school pixel platformer, you are given some vague directions to deliver a scroll "to the East" and must use your ninja skills to get past all the demons in the way. The game actually has a low difficulty at the start, but as you gain more skills (literally given to you slowly by someone you meet near the start because it doesn't occur to them to give them ALL to the "CHOSEN ONE" ASAP), it eventually stops becoming an option to use them and more of a required mastery to progress.

You "could have" powered up from the start of the game.
Just one of many annoyances.

Checkpoints also get farther and farther apart and the gimmick that revives you from death loves to belittle and mock your skill as a player. After a fair bit of this, the game suddenly becomes a platform explorer - where you need do back track (a lot) to recover key items. At that exact flip-the-script moment did my patience run out for this game as yes, you'll need to go back through all those hard parts. In reverse. That must have saved some design budget huh?

It's a shame this game breaks the number one rule of game making - IT HAS TO BE FUN. Getting players angry and annoyed at your game results in the opposite of that. Thus, I give the Messenger 1 turtle demon out of 5. If you are looking for a platform game, I recommend getting the more encouraging Celeste instead, as it has a better plot, better player encouragement, and all the really hard stuff is optional.

Insight: Against bosses with large hit box targets turn left and right when you attack as a single swing counts as double, ending a fight much faster than usual.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Bad North - Jotunn Edition

The vikings are coming!

In this small scale and almost "cute" Unity made strategy game, you are in control of up to four units in the defense of various islands against a hoard of viking invaders. There is no structure building, only structure defense as each house still standing at the end of each quick round nets you gold to upgrade your forces.

What is really impressive is how easy it is to get into the game, and how difficult it gets later on. You only really have three unit types in this rock, paper, scissors type available while the vikings have twice the variation. In between the island skirmishes you also must tactically decide which islands you want to go to - more houses might mean more gold but harder to defend. Or that island might have an item, or a recruitable commander.

They just invade from everywhere!

All the while you must outrun the viking fleet itself as getting caught is an instant game over. A perfect example of a game that's easy to learn and hard to master, I really enjoyed Bad North and highly recommend it to everyone, even those who dislike strategy games (like me)! That's how good it is. I give it 5 giant archers out of 5.

Insight: Archers are quite versatile once leveled up. Before parking them up on high ground (probably near your pike men) let them fire from the beach to knock vikings into the ocean (instakill). You can also position them behind shield guys to provide fire support.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Tefal Cook 4 Me = Fire Hazzard

This nice device really helps in getting meals ready, automatic a bit of the cooking process for you. Unfortunately, it comes with a design flaw. Basically, this little pot is a type of pressure cooker and releasing the steam/pressure is one of those automated processes to help out the user.

It's actually really handy; when not starting fires...

It does this through a vent in the back... which happens to be almost above where the power cord plugs in. Not a problem if it was only steam coming out, but so does some liquid (we make a lot of soups/stews). Liquid that drips into said power cord which causes a short! Lucky our breakers are working.

Anyway, due to this I strongly recommend NOT BUYING this product and if you already have one be sure never leave it unattended. Kinda defeats the automation at that point doesn't it?

Monday, 10 February 2020

QUBE 2

It's like Portal, but with boxes.

Waking up with amnesia in an alien structure is always worrisome, and that's exactly what happens to the protagonist of this game. Fortunately, she's wearing a special suit that lets her manipulate some of the cubes the make up the building and must solve her way out of there.

Yep, with a lack of baddies - or indeed, any way to die/game over - this is definitely a physics and logic puzzle game where you must beat each challenge room before being able to proceed. It's pretty easy for the most part, but there are a few head scratchers once you reach chapter 7 and up.

Aliens love cubes for some reason.

There's a weak story draped over the top with the whole alien thing, but if you just want a puzzle game that plays well, looks nice and doesn't take too long then this one is definitely worth looking into. I give it 2.5 cubes out of 5.

Insight: A few pieces for this one - you can "ride" green cubes and oil makes things slippery and flamable but flame burns oil away. If you need to burn something far away, think of setting up a few "oiled" cubes to chain react the fire - or to keep an oil spout active once it is lit.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Technical Difficulties: the Burning Flood

Meanwhile in Australia... 

Plan = Not Drown?

Unfortunately neither of those are conducive to having a stable power supply so my regular posting might fluctuate for a bit. Just giving you a heads up!

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Tesla Model 3

I managed to ride one of these quiet beauties recently and boy, does it scream "THIS IS THE FUTURE" for me. Gone are your standard car displays behind the wheel. This time you just have a laptop sized screen that shows all the information plus navigation, music, and anything else you want to set down to seat, wheel, and mirror adjustments based on the user. I also quite liked the 3D rendering display of the car's immediate surroundings thanks to all the cameras lining the vehicles exterior.

Not only can you set these to record and save to both an internal USB and to your remote server on "Sentry Mode" to look out for bad dudes, it also uses it to literally drive itself. You can let go of the wheel and the car will handle speeding up to the limit you set or slowing down if something is detected ahead. Just indicate to switch lane and it will do it for you, again using the detectors to determine a safe gap to do so.

Not as clunky looking as the earlier models.

Yes, by the same means it can also park itself and using a "summon car" app on your phone (which is one of your main IDs to access the vehicle) it can drive itself to you as long as you are in range. I assume that means "parking lot" size and not "home to airport" distance, though the latter would be funny especially if you put a dog in the driver seat and set the car to "dog mode" (keeps the car cool even if "off"). Imagine some cops trying to pull that over!

Not sure you'd actually want a dog in there though as the interior is really slick and comfy, and the glass roof really makes it spacious. It takes around a full evening to recharge the car back to full (as your battery is now your gas) or much faster if you use a super-recharge station which will do the same in a matter of minutes.

There are limits though: The self drive ability only works on roads with lines, so freeways and such are the best use of the feature. Off road or joining/leaving a freeway is best a manual task. Also the car can "panic" if it gets confused which will cause it to wail loudly while returning manual control so no snoozing for you drivers! Obviously any service must be conducted by a Tesla shop too as your local mechanics might scratch their head at what's under the hood.

Lastly, the thing is basically a 2 ton app now and apps can be hacked, tracked, and the like. I mean, it already intentionally tracks itself (again, anti-theft device linked to your phone) but it really looks to be the future of the automotive industry. A second intelligence that helps prevent accidents? Hell yes! Would I get one? Definitely! Why don't I? Because it's super expensive. :P

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Alan Wake: American Nightmare

Bringing light to the darkness. Literally.

Alan who is a writer by day, finds himself in the darkness of Arizona to try find his manuscript and alter reality to destroy his evil doppelganger! You can tell the tone of the entire game from that premise. The dated graphics also slightly conflict with the real life cut scenes being used but for the most part it's ok.

As a shooter, it's also ok. Controls are good, you have a handy "dodge" key, weapon options are varied and the whole thing of requiring to focus your flashlight at enemies to break their shadow shield before being able to hit them works well.

"Just keep the lights on to live ok?"

What doesn't work so well is the corny narrator and the fixed camera angle which ensures at some point one of the enemies will get the drop on you since they literally spawn out of nowhere at your objectives. Worth mentioning too that apart from one enemy type, all of them need to melee you which means running away and gunning is your best bet in all situations. It's also a short game, made shorter by reusing 3 maps over and over.

Entertaining enough for what it is, I give it 1.5 dead mechanics out of 5.

Insight: Flares are best reserved when enemies are getting too close, or to destroy the dark fountains on maps 6 and 9. Specifically 9 as they will be swarming by then.

Shazam!

It's an acronym.

Due to a bumbling wizard, the seven deadly sins manage to manifest in the world once more. Fortunately the wizard lucks out when he decides to give powers to foster child Billy Batson (Asher Angel) to counter them as the titular Shazam (Zachary Levi). Of course, not only does he have to fight the bad guy - he also has to learn about his powers and find the true place he belongs.

Which somehow involves poses in muscle suits?

While the plot really is a simple one that has no massive surprises, it is quite entertaining and very funny mostly thanks to Zachary Levi's acting. Action sequences are helped by nice special effects and really only the muscle suit ends up looking a bit off in a few shots. Decent movie, and one worth a watch - I give it 3 centipedes out of 5. Probably won't watch it again though.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Sekiro: You're gonna die more than Twice - Boss Fight Tips (Part VI)!

After slaying all those baddies you know what's best? To become the baddie yourself! Muahahahaah! Yes, I sided with "father ninja" though not for that actual reason. More like a) immortality is a gift regardless of the price and b) I miss my dad.

This leads to a two in a row boss fight which you should prepare for. From the upper dojo shrine, use the ceremonial dagger you got from the Shichimen Warrior to get more "ammo", then backstab the lone ninja on your way up to the fight.

Emma - first round is the doctor, who has decent range (around half the room). If you stand in range and use an item, she will punish you. She has a weakness to the 6 swing Floating Passage skill you can buy with fish scales from the pot guy (in the river beside flaming village in the past) though.

Start the attack far, aiming to miss the first one and put her on the defensive. Once your combo is done, parry her counter (watch your posture) or jump away. Run in a small circle and repeat.

If your last strike hits her, you can actually just do the whole chain immediately again. She likes to pose a bit after her own attacks, so if she looks like she's up to something, run away until she does a pose then get back in there.

Once she's down you have a tiny amount of time to buff up, heal and switch from Floating Passage to Shadow Rush before the next boss arrives...

Isshin - this old guy can cover more ground than Emma (2/3rds of the arena) so mind your space, especially when healing or if he sheathes his sword. For his first phase, abuse shadow rush complete with aerial attack, then jump away and run in a circle to do it again.

His second phase introduces fire attacks, often preluded by a slow foot stomp. This is your time to run to his back, hit him twice and parry his counters. He's going to ichimongi or stomp soon after so be prepared to repeat.

If you can't reach his back in time and he's stomping, use your MMORPG skills and don't stand in the fire. Instead prepare to block a shitload of attacks and a slash finisher. Note, if you need to heal or rebuff, make sure he's at the other end of the arena (long ends of the rectangle).

That's it! Obviously I missed a few things (oooh, an entire area according to the wiki) but I never set out to find / fight them all anyway. Might see how well I do with a NG+, but that's just for my enjoyment. :)

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Sekiro: You're gonna die more than Twice - Boss Fight Tips (Part V)!

Defeating those monkeys has changed a few areas, mainly Ashina castle which is now occupied by invading bosses. Smells like the end game is near...

Chained Ogre #2 - easier than the first. From the castle antechamber shrine make your way to the main room and grapple down the hole. The ogre is beneath you waiting for an aerial death blow. Afterwards, it's easiest to just flame him using the central pillar to gain space while letting him burn.

Vilehand - in the dojo you fought the L33T Ashina Samurai, don't backstab him! Instead turn left as soon as you enter and backstab his buddy, using puppet ninjutsu on him to make him an ally. Vilehand has almost the same moveset as the Pit Longsword dude, just with two minor additions - both easily dodged.

Vilehand will aggro whoever hits him last so while your ally fights him, sneak in a few hits here and there. You can "rebackstab/puppet" your ally if you think he's running out of time. Just remember your allies attacks will hit you too, so your positioning is key.

Masanaga - found at the serpent shrine past the castle and comes with three wolves you should shuriken first. Then sneak around the building for a backstab, afterwhich RUN AWAY back the way you came. Masanaga is basically Vilehand again, so bring him to the edge of his "leash" (when he starts walking backwards) and attack.

Expect to parry/evade his combo which is often huge and will put him way past his leash - this interferes with his combat AI so punish as you see fit but expect an attack combo once he nears his "zone" again.

Underwater Headless - this monster is beneath the Ashina Castle pond so use a pacification agent before jumping in. Fortunately he is much weaker than the land versions and you are very fast in the water. Dodge his terror slashes and if he does anything else, stab towards him - attack a little and dodge through. The key is to always have your anti-terror buff active so drink from your purple gourd (buy it from Mibu Village) early rather than late.

Shichimen Warrior - previously bypassed at the end of the abandoned dungeon or next to the bottomless pit shrine, the main thing you need here is buffs. Divine confetti and pacifying agent/purple gourd. Just run up to him and whack away (3 or 4 times) while avoiding his purple orbs. There is a pillar somewhere in that room for you to take cover and rebuff/heal as needed (channel your inner First Person shooter).

Note that in his phase two, he's going to be firing his lazer which can be blocked by the purple umbrella if you have it. If you get lucky you can also aerial instakill him too, though that's never worked for me. Expect a long fight. The ceremonial dagger he drops is well worth it!

Once that's all done, a decision awaits at the castle lookout where you defeated Genichiro.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Sekiro: You're gonna die more than Twice - Boss Fight Tips (Part IV)!

Let the boss slaying continue! Now we're getting to some major ones!

Lady Butterfly - I like ignoring major fights till the last minute which is why this old crone is so far down the list, when in actuality she could be the first major boss you run into. She's agile but has lots of openings after her combos, but ultimately you want to do slash slash dodge (towards the side with more space, don't get pinned against a pillar or wall) and repeat as your "go to".

Shuriken her if she jumps up, and jump on her head or away if she does her perilous sweep. The second phase is more of the same, you can probably tank the minor butterflies but when the illusions show up stop fighting and run like a madman in a big circle. After awhile they turn into a butterfly swarm, so take cover behind a pillar. Once the coast is clear continue as before.

L33T Ashina Samurai - Found in the upper dojo of the castle, this guy is a lesson in parry timing. As soon as his sword hilt shines tap parry twice. Spamming won't work, you have to be precise. Like the long arm centipedes he breaks his own posture with this for an easy kill.

Shirafuji, the Gunfort guardian - unlike the last gun boss, you have no poison pit to help you this time. Hopefully you do have Ichimonji Double though, which is pretty useful. Even if you don't this is a block fight (hold the button down, not tap), until she fires - then attack and repeat till she dies. Just be sure to fight on the LEFT side of the area so you don't get sniped by the Gunfort.

Genichiro the Arm Slicer - this guy has a major weakness to Ichimonji double. Use it with the intention of missing the first strike and he will run into it! Run away in a circle and repeat. The only changes are if he jumps in the air to fire arrows (in which case you just run in a circle, not in a line like Rickon Stark), and if you use a consumable (heal) he will try arrow you so keep moving.

His second phase adds lightning, which means "jump" and if you jump into it you can do the lightning reversal thing (jump/parry/strike) to stun him if you are in range. Otherwise, continue the Ichi-double to victory.

Folding Screen Monkeys - is not a boss as they run away! Lol! Kill the invisible one behind you at the start, then the remaining three you can work out for sneak kills. Just know they summon ghost monkeys that apply terror damage so have pacifying agent or the purple gourd (purchased at Mibu Village) ready.

Giant Snake Again - also not a boss, again. After it breaks the bridge just dive underwater to dodge it. When you find it in the cave (run past everything btw, stick to the LEFT if you can) use puppet ninjutsu on the provided monkey to distract it. To actually kill it, you need to puppet a dwarf near the Temple (where you first find the monks) to man a kite for you, then go all the way up to grapple from the giant tree to the kite and across the chasm. From there its just an instakill. 

Guardian Ape - now this is a monkey boss, a very angry one! Make use of the space to run a bit from his odd attacks to study them, making sure to jump away from perilous grabs or his poop throwing. He's open after most, and is easily stunned by firecrackers so abuse that and whirlwind attacks. Just don't let him fall on you.

Phase two he has a sword and is more about patience. Use the space to run away, and everytime he does a four stab "snake" maneuver get in there (whirlwind slash useful again) then run again. He'll show off a lot of moves, but none can reach you if you flee. Just wait for the end of the "snake" to strike.

Note: killing him changes the spawn in a few areas! For instance, it spawns the boss below:

Headless Ape past the poison pool - actually same as phase two of the Guardian ape (lots of running, this time in a smaller area), with one exception that he does a standing "pillar fall" attack which leaves him open too. When the brown ape arrives switch target to it as it has much less HP and moves faster than the headless one, making it easy to split them up.

Just make sure to finish off the Headless one properly with the mortal blade afterwards.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Sekiro: You're gonna die more than Twice - Boss Fight Tips (Part III)!

Nice! If you've been following my tips, you are becoming an awesome cheating murderer who keeps going LEFT! So let's keep it up with this next set:

Mist Noble - this flute playing squid is my favorite! Just attack attack attack to win, and killing him makes the mist and all the mist enemies vanish! Getting to him is the hardest part. For that, one you reach the mist area sneak forward backstabbing single enemies (center path) till you reach the house then turn LEFT and follow the mountain wall LEFT and up. The Glutton mini boss and his monkeys mark the correct spot - run past them and follow the obvious route from there.

Fat Glutton Guy - The one you bypassed to reach the Mist Noble... didn't we already kill him while he was drunk? Whatever, first up kill his monkeys. Usually the one closest to you first then grapple up and kill gun monkey. Remaining sword monkeys will jump up to fight you outside the bosses reach. He might still spew at you so be careful!

Once the simians are dead grapple away to reset his awareness then go back and open with a backstab. I found it easiest to burn this fatso alive with a spring loaded flame vent (upgraded flame thrower). Just remember to hold down the button to activate the stronger flame and to not put him on fire if he's already on fire (it's just wasted).

In a pinch, you can also sword him once if he's drinking or twice if he finishes a combo. Run around him a little and you'll see he usually has 2 hit combos.

O'Rin of the Water - found beyond Mibu Village, this horny, shamisen playing, floaty ghost is a pain to fight properly. Fortunately you can just run past, or better yet - lure her back the way you came - baiting her until she reaches the edge of her "leash". Attack her there (whirlwind attack is great) and ideally pin her against a rock, a cliff and your hard, hard sword. Beat her down and give her the stabbing she so desperately wants.

Purple Monk - this tall spear wielder is almost right after O'Rin, has a ton of HP but is actually slow (comparative to other bosses) and gives you plenty of room to run around. By this stage you should have a load of items and this is a great place to use them to stun lock her. You'll want your firecrackers, fistfulls of ash and snap seeds at the ready as well as activating a divine confetti and ako's sugar (drugs!)

The procedure is simple, buff up at the entrance then rush the monk directly. Throw a stun item (firecraker, ash, snap seed) hit twice and repeat until you win. If you run out of stuff, you can actually make use of the large area to bait an opening. Either the jump smash where the spear hits the ground (and doesn't swipe), or the 5 whirl attacks. After either you have time to dash in and hit once (only).

Killing her somehow lets you learn how to dive and breathe water, so make sure you do that in all the water areas you've passed as some have prayer beads just laying there!

Longarm Centipede - There are actually two of these and both have the same strategy. For the one in the temple kill all the little dudes first both on the rafters and on the floor. They throw fire so an aggressive charge is best. Afterwards grapple up and go away till the boss loses interest so you can have a clean duel.

Regardless if you are fighting the temple one or the one at the back of the gun fort, use a Gokan's sugar before engaging. For the temple one you can open with a deathblow if you like. The fight is easy though. He will attack relentlessly, and you will button mash parry until he breaks his own posture for a kill. The only switch is when a perilous attack comes in which case you must jump, ideally forward and jump again on his head. Easy!

Next up, Lady Butterfly and Genichiro...!

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Sekiro: You're gonna die more than Twice - Boss Fight Tips (Part II)!

After beating that first set of bosses, here's the next batch waiting to be defeated!

General Speechman on the Stairs (optional) - this guy is actually very readable. Hook up the right side of the street (Gasp - NOT LEFT?), then across and up above him to start with a death blow. After that you need to be fast, killing some of his gunners.

Run off to the dead end behind them and let him chase you, then run past him to kill the remaining riflemen so that you can duel properly. Now the easy part. Back off down the stairs. If he walks forward throw a fire cracker and whack him. If he walks backward, stab or whirlwind attack at range (like your aiming to -just- miss) to tag him then parry/back off and repeat. Careful of his jump smash though. Side step or hit him when he does that.

Longsword in the Pit - drop attack from the hole to complete 50% of the fight. If you have the flamethrower tool (from the flaming village), use it to light him up when he's open (don't get greedy). Otherwise, this one is another lesson in NOT locking on to the boss and running instead of dodging. He has many kick attacks which leave him open so sprint in a circle like a chicken and just peck him when he's open.

If you can't find him, from the Reservoir Shrine, grapple across the branches - sneak over the wall then grapple LEFT over the gap.

Seven Spears Guy - this optional dude holds the title of "having killed me the second to the most times"! So much it broke my grammar! Anyway since he cheats so much, my solution is equally garbage but effective.

To find him advance as though you're hunting the Longsword guy (above) but instead of going over the gap, follow the long grass on the LEFT to murder/sneak along the lower cliff face and into the tower, just like you did in the intro.

Exit the tower but before going down the stairs examine the left side of the landing. See how you can "hang on ledge" here? Good. Now go backstab the cunt. When he gets angry go up the stairs and hang on the ledge. This breaks his mind and he just stands idle while you attack his knee from the hanging position. He'll never be an adventurer again!

Poison Pit Rifleboss - When you first reach the poison pit, your first task is to ignore everyone and just get to the LEFT side of the chamber where there's a shrine. From that shrine, not only can you grind two of the gunners for EXP - you can back stab this guy.

Afterwards, run away. Ideally leading him into the poisoned lake. You can then Tarzan across some trees to the landing above the shrine to retain his aggro. All you need next is patience, as the poison will do your work for you. Once he's ready to drop (he won't die to it) rush him aggressively for the win.

Armored Warrior - Axe and Parry (tap tap tap). The only way to beat him is to break his posture with the specific goal of breaking it precisely when his back is to the open sky. Don't worry, he'll make holes in the bridge for you. Also, feel free to run away to heal and recover your own posture (hold block down) before repositioning to kick him off the bridge.

PS. Don't bother fighting anything each time you running to fight him. Just grapple up the path and jump over the one dwarf in the way.

Ok, that's the last one for this set. More to come tomorrow!