Tuesday, 3 October 2023

Elden Ring: Didn't expect pathetic sort

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

You know you are late in playing a game when the very first room is full of player made graffiti. It isn't very long until I run into the first monstrosity which... my brain still fails to comprehend what it was... easily defeats me after only taking a few hits in return.

I awaken in some sort of training cave with only a lucky medallion in my possession and a hefty stick I can use as a club (decided to start as a level 1 wretch). The "training" zombies here are easy enough as is their zombie soldier boss who just needs some basic dodging. Beyond them is an elevator to the surface where I get to see just how expansive these lands are!

While some holy light directs me to go in a particular direction I find it too risky as its patrolled by either a massive giant or a heavily mounted knight, both of whom I don't really want to tangle with while I'm just in my underwear. I opt to follow the border South instead, skirting around a swamp and bashing in a few giant bats to reach the lands of monkey men. One of them drops a falchion but I can't use it because apparently I'm weaker than a monkey. LOL.

But I'm sneakier than a monkey!

Elden Ring

I know I'm very late to this party but as a fan of their earlier works I'm glad I finally get to play this game, gifted to me by Juris! It's also the reason I've stopped playing chess for a bit... but like chess expect me to not understand what's going on half the time, and I'll be trying the "online but solo" version for starters which means I still got to see all the handy signs others would leave behind but have no chance of being invaded (or asking for help apparently). Lastly if you're wondering what's up with the post titles I'm trying to copy the "restrictive" message style available in the game. :P

1 - Didn't expect pathetic sort

Wednesday, 27 September 2023

Spell Drifter and Huntdown

Killing the enemies with "cool".

Spell Drifter

A crashed meteor that is said to give people magical powers attracts an entire city worth of pilgrims who seem to all be scum. At least that's what it feels like when your protagonists arrive. The story, art and jarringly out of place rock riffs are ok as is the meat of the game which is turn based grid combat where you have to rely on card draws to pull special weapons or make use of powers. Other than you thinking of the moves this part goes really fast and you aren't really punished for losing since your active party all gains XP regardless of the result and replaying is free. It does get more interesting once you get past the solo prologue bits where you can start deploying a team but ultimately the game is just ok. It's not bad, but not great. Recommended? Eh, get it when its free to try it out.


It is the future, the world is crap and full of bad guys, and you and one friend who are bounty hunters can cooperatively HUNT all of them DOWN. This plays like an old sidescrolling arcade shooter with ridiculous characters (but decent art) and intentionally cheesy voice acting, but even the easiest mode was giving us a challenge. While the controls were quite responsive my wife and I tried the two people on one keyboard approach and found we were getting in each others way a lot of the time so expect to alter the keybindings if you want to enjoy this for longer periods of time (our arms started hurting). Again not bad, but not great.

Tuesday, 26 September 2023

Pacific Rim / Uprising / The Black

Kaiju versus giant robot action!

Pacific Rim

Aliens are conducting a slow invasion of Earth, sending in a giant monster every few months to wreck the place up. To combat this the humans have developed massive robots called Jaegers that require two pilots to be mentally in-sync to battle these giants and while the robots have the occasional weapon it usually comes down to fisticuffs without a care about collateral damage! A decent plot backed by great CGI makes this a pretty good movie. I quite appreciate that the robots are also not super-agile "Transformers" type and are more janky as robots are meant to be. Thumbs up!

Pacific Rim: Uprising

Years after the first movie where humanity won the war, a new threat appears (or there wouldn't be a movie right?) with new pilots to face them. While I appreciate that there's more humor injected here the plot makes a farce established elements in the first movie, like - now there are agile Transformer type robots that don't need two pilots because... they (incorrectly) thought it was cooler? Still an entertaining spectacle but not as good as the first one. Surprisingly while the fully CGI bits are nice, the blue screen segments are particularly bad.

Pacific Rim: The Black

In this two season animated series, Kaijus have taken over Australia and some survivors who have been living in hiding come across a functional training Jaeger that gives them a shot at escaping to the shore. I'm quite happy that the janky robotness is back and that the 3D animation is very good. The monsters look especially great! The mind melding drifting (two pilot thing) is also used to greater effect here, as the plot continues threads established from the previous two films. It's a decent offering and one Pacific Rim fans will enjoy.

Monday, 25 September 2023

Horrified: American Monsters

Save another town from cryptids!

This stand alone 1-5 player cooperative board game plays almost exactly like the original, wherein players basically need to collect items and use them in particular spots to make the monsters vulnerable, and them finish them off by dumping more specific items on said monsters, sometimes at specific locations.

While the player characters are much the same with just a slight reskin, it's clear the six cryptids in this game are designed to be a greater challenge. Well maybe not Bigfoot, because he basically moves like a stalker. The Chupacabra hops around the board to eat animals, the Banshee of the Badlands has an auto-kill mechanic, the Mothman can move really fast (and hit everything in the way) if given the chance, the Ozark Howler just cheats and loves spreading doom around, and the Jersey Devil has an interesting mechanic that needs to be solved quick or you'll run out of monster cards and lose the game.

Pretty fun, but like the first one the tension drops as you begin taking down the monsters. Still recommended, especially if you liked the original and don't mind having a few more fidgety mechanics. Better than the first? Mmm, maybe not.

Saturday, 23 September 2023

Warframe: Art Show

This will be the last of these galleries for now as I've been playing less Warframe as of late. I'll need to start visiting more dojos to collect more works if there is interest for these to continue. :)

Wednesday, 20 September 2023

Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku (S1) and Mashle: Magic and Muscles (S1)

Two first season anime reviews that both deal with "magic and muscles".

Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku (Season 1)

During the Edo period in Japan, a bunch of captured dangerous death-row convicts AND their equally lethal minders are sent to a mysterious island believed to be the location of the elixir of life. Whichever convict returns with it will be pardoned. This immediately sets up a battle royale type scene but its just made all the worse when the island is full of horrible monsters too (why else are they sending expendable criminals right)?

Decent art with well animated and gory fight scenes make this worth watching despite the "down time" episodes that are mostly talking. Also given the large cast it takes sometime to care about some of the characters but that fixes itself nicely once people start dying off. Fair warning though, until the announced second season comes out this won't have a satisfying ending. Still a thumbs up from me!

Mashle: Magic and Muscles (Season 1)

In a world ruled by magic users, those born without the talent for it are simply executed to keep the blood line strong. Enter Mash, who is one such "abomination" with zero magical ability (and possibly a lower IQ). What he does have however, is super athleticism and when he is forced to attend "magic school" he must come up with ways to physically achieve what the others just wave wands for.

This lighthearted comedy clearly makes fun of Harry Potteresque ideas, and it's pretty cool to see arrogant wizards put in their place through pure brute force. The jokes are a bit hit and miss though, and you'll need to power through episode one to get any traction. The art is also a step down from what I usually watch but again, its fine for what it is. Another one I'll definitely be watching the second season of. :)