Wednesday 30 November 2016

Today I Smiled: The Finisher

So this is what happens when Neverwinter Online refuses to let me play. I simply go finish other games like Gauntlet, Forced, Deathtrap, Torchlight 2, Off-Peak, Escape the Game, Blameless and Disturbed. Strange that after all the endless grind, having things that reach completion actually feels very rewarding!

Also ended is my Skyrim story for now with the Dark Souls "Tales at the Bonfire" taking center stage for awhile on this blog. Status wise the number of links (to blogs that post at least every three weeks) is pretty low these days. I'll be refilling that sometime during the Christmas and New Years break, so we'll see how many are still "alive" then.

Insert the regular "blogging is dying?" title here!

Other than that I've learned that lemmings aren't suicidal, eagles easily slay drones, and that fart collecting backpacks for cows exist. I'll finish off with two happy videos - one of a dog getting a life size Gumby and one of another dog being reunited with her pups. Have a good day everyone! :)

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Dark Souls II: Weakness: Woman therefore try rear

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

Are you this game's Solaire?

Player messages never fail to amuse.

My forays into the fortress don't go too well, though on a lower floor I meet Lucatiel, a lady wearing a bearded mask. She is impressed that I still want to talk to her even though she's actively trying to get people to stay away. I also find an anti-poison ring near her which is handy, but the local sorceress guards are simply too much for me so I withdraw back to Majula. Interestingly, Chloanne is here too now - and it turns out she is blacksmith Lenigrast's missing daughter.

Taking another path from town leads me to a small jail house where I meet the warrior, Benhart of Jugo. Apparently he can't advance since the lever is stuck. Stuck because a person got turned to stone right in front of it. There have been a few petrified people around, and it requires a special item to release them. Since I had one I freed the woman, who introduced herself as Rosibeth - apprentice mage to the great Carhillion. Can't be that great if he couldn't unpetrify his own student. That and/or he's a dick.

After giving her some better rags I send her off to Majula and pull the lever which opens ALL the jail doors. Zombie swarm! Yeah, that didn't go well for me. Much better on the second attempt. Beyond the jail was a crossroad with two paths leading to locked doors and one into a misty forest of cheaters. Cheaters who have the same color as the fog. My best defense? No defense! Just sprinting!

I can't see them, but they sure can see me!

Monday 28 November 2016

Dark Souls II: Poison Peak

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

Within those woods I find Creighton the axe man who was locked up in a hut by Merciless Roenna, whose name doesn't suit her at all if she takes prisoners. Guess she had some sort of kinky thing going on there - didn't bother asking while killing her. Anyway, Creighton blames Pate for his current predicament and after warning me about the soap giver, heads off to hunt him while I continue on my way.

The forest gives way to cliff side caves with skeletons that self revive. Having seen this at the catacombs before I know better, and take down the annoying necromancers that reanimate those bones. In no time at all I am again at a boss chamber, this one occupied by THREE skeleton lords. Fortunately they're slow, but they are still irritating in that slaying one summons a mob of skelies into the chamber (including a pair of those irritating wheel riding ones). With careful sprints between cover my bastard sword lays them all to waste and it's just my first go. Hah, I'm getting better!

You're gonna need a bigger army.

Past them the path leads up into the mountains, and to poison filled moats of doom. Chloanne the stone trader is here, and she must be pretty stoned herself to be hanging around this death trap. I push forward through some mines, careful to avoid the poison tunnels below, and straight to a large fortress called Earthen Peak, where apparently they store poison in large jars. WTF is wrong with these people?

Sunday 27 November 2016

Steam Free for All: Off-peak Escape the Blameless, Disturbed Game

That's a mouthful of a title isn't it?

After trying out some of the free games on Steam I decided to put up mini-reviews to let you know if they're worth playing!

Escape the Game (Intro)

But you know I will...

In this platformer you are helping a talkative little square with little eyes named Kevin to Escape the Game. The controls and mechanics are pretty good, as are the humorous lines Kevin says, and it's nowhere as hard as Super Meat Boy which is certainly more inclusive to the player base. Kevin does yap a lot though, which for me takes away from his likeability a little - especially at the beginning. Since it's just "an intro" the game is pretty short - and while it's not as good as Thomas was Alone, it's still a nice little time waster. :)


As an architect who gets knocked out in a property under construction, you awake trapped inside and must escape before your assailant returns. This first person puzzle solver plays like a much tamer version of Slender and the majority of your game time will be spent looking for items and spots to use them on. The graphics are really nice though, and I do appreciate that there are multiple ways to get through each area. The game doesn't offer a lot of answers though, probably not helped by it's short run time as you will escape in under 40 minutes I'd suspect. The voice acting is also a bit off level during dialog, and the start intro is almost cringe worthy. It gets much better once you start though. If you like puzzly things, then this is one worth trying.

Leave a guy stuck in a room with lots of construction tools... yeah...


I hope you decided "die" because that's whats going to happen... a lot!

This choose your own adventure story with uses nice pencil drawings as graphics, sees you in the shoes of a farmer during a time of deadly blight. Thanks to the many, many blind "You died" options, this is the longest of the games in this list. That along with blind pattern guessing and maze mapping (with insta deaths) makes it pretty hard going at the start. Only when you find particular items do you start feeling that you are making progress.

It's amusing that each death is an achievement though, which means you might actually want to seek them out. I also quite like the minimalistic sounds used as it works well with the bleakness. I liked this game. It's the sort of thing I think I could make, but it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea.


When you find yourself stuck in a psychedelic train station with no means to leave, your only option is to find pieces of a train ticket! Obviously! That is the main "quest" of this game, but it's more like an experience since the ticket pieces aren't really hiding. They're just scattered across the eclectic collections of art, music and people in the train station. Definitely an odd one, but it has the best intro of this lot for me... none! If you feel like something very off beat, then give Off-Peak a try.

Be prepared for some strange stuff!

Saturday 26 November 2016

Dark Souls II: Gear Shift

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

After getting whooped so much I decided it was time to go through the "learning" part of combat again, intentionally fighting the local forest enemies to get a better handle on controls and timing. Didn't bother relearning parry though. I'm quite upset that they changed the timing for that. This time around I'm opting for blocking and backstabbing! The results seem to pay off since I soon find myself in the chamber of the forest boss: the last giant!

Which is incorrect, given how many other giants I'm going to run into later.

Fortunately he's a very straight forward boss. Just avoid his stamping feet with stamina management. While his soul is not one of the "great four", he does drop a key for me which lets me access other parts of the forest ruin, and during my suicide scouting runs (where I just go to pick stuff up) I find this neat bastard sword. It easily outclasses my broadsword in damage and reach so it becomes my new favorite weapon. I go back to Majula to upgrade it a little and notice that the hag merchant is here now. Licia (the evil cleric) too, who offers to "shift" a path using her miracle powers for the low price of 2000 souls.

I figure she might as well since I'd eventually need to go wherever that leads, and it leads to a dark forest full of poison using assassin hollows! Wonderful! As if that's not bad enough, I also get invaded by Forlorn who soundly thrashes me with his great sword. I did manage to defeat a giant frog at the base of a cave though. At least that's something. :P

Friday 25 November 2016

Rematch: Gauntlet vs Forced

Thanks to Neverwinter Online not letting me play as of late, I've been playing through my old stash of games once "reserved" for coop play, but haven't been played for ages (possibly because my usual comrades are in NWO). Two of these are Gauntlet and Forced - both similar in the top down, four player co-op dungeon crawling sense. Out of the gate, Gauntlet was the clear winner between the two but now that both of them have been upgraded let's see if that is still the case.

Note that both have been played and completed as single player for this match up.

Gauntlet: Slayer Edition

Straight up Gauntlet still wins in dungeon design, graphics, and number of foes in a zone. The Slayer Edition adds a load out screen that you can spend your hard earned gold on to buy cosmetics or upgrade weaponry, as well as a nifty map which doubles as a level selector. Maps are mostly three types: Get from point A to B, Survive Waves of Monsters, or kill a boss - of which there are three.

I wish they explained why this guy is blue though.

Reviving requires use of a Skull Coin which you earn by slaying enough monsters per level - and once you finish the story you can also try "endless" mode as well as the weekly tournaments to gain earn new cosmetic capes.

Forced: Slightly Better Edition

The main thing the upgrade fixes for me is it now saves your progress, which is pretty important! Forced easily wins in the story, puzzle and character customization/development departments. Each of the four classes can choose 3 active and 3 passive skills from a list of 10 in each - which you unlock by completing various trials and challenges. You can earn 3 skill points (once) per trial through completion, completion within a set time, and completion while doing an extra challenge - such as not healing or reaching some bonus objective.

The time and extra challenges are often weighed against each other too, meaning if you want -full- completion you will need to play the challenges more than once, in a different way which adds replayability. Dying forfeits your attempts for said challenges on a run and 3 deaths is game over.

The clever mechanic of the spirit ball is what really gets you thinking though, as your mastery on controlling it while fighting off enemies is vital, especially if you wanted to complete said challenges. Speaking of enemies, I do appreciate that each foe here is unique in their behavior, unlike the glut in Gauntlet where minions per level basically behave the same, they just run faster and have more HP the deeper you get. In Forced, you see an axe guy you dodge him a particular way as opposed to a sword guy.

It's also a test of how much you can keep track of at once!

Forced also has five bosses, and after beating each boss a smaller, minion type of them begins to appear in further trials. Again good design as the player would have learned their move set by then.

My Result: After that review it shouldn't be a surprise that Forced wins this match, due to the game variety mechanics, customization, and game length. Especially if you are going to play as a solo player, Forced will now give you more bang for your buck. What can I say? Against Gauntlet, it's just slightly better.

Thursday 24 November 2016

Dark Souls II: Pity there's No Pity

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

I opt to venture another direction from Majula, this time into a watery tunnel that leads to some gorgeous, sinking ruins. There are many white knights sitting around injured but since I can't help them, I just push forward - doing my best to explore while avoiding the slow giant warriors guarding the place. Eventually I find a boss room of some fat knight who really enjoys insta killing me by knocking me off the platform into the deep water below.

Come back for more? Ho ho ho!

After numerous attempts I think he must have gotten bored since he decided to jump into the water himself! Just above his arena I find the slightly evil cleric, Licia, who offers to sell me miracles. Ain't got the souls for it lady. After a bridge, some spiraling stairs, and more running I find myself in a really dark underground dock where distant archers relentlessly snipe me. Having had enough of that BS I use a bonfire just before that zone to warp back to the forest where my life is made a little easier as an undead soldier explodes open a shortcut for me.

Just when I think the bad guys are taking pity on me, I find a room where I get shot at by five balistas, get ganked by soldiers "playing dead", and after actively ignoring the warning of adventurer named Pate, willingly enter a trap where I still get swarmed and die. Pate laughs at my misfortune and gives me a white soapstone for my trouble. Because I stink.

PSA: Getting hit by multiple siege weapons at the same time can be fatal.

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Ip Man 3

Because Donnie needs to fight Mike Tyson.

After surviving the Japanese occupation (in Ip Man 1) and establishing his school (in Ip Man 2), the humble Ip Man (played by Donnie Yen) is now pretty famous in his town and an as expected, gets involved in protecting it against gangsters and being challenged by another master. The sets are great and the action choreography fantastic as usual. As before, there is some wire fu, possibly a touch too much - more than in the previous two films I think, but it doesn't take too much away. While the group combat scenes are good they still suffer from the "six guys in the back, looking threatening but not doing anything" syndrome for keen eyed viewers. What really shines are the solo fights, especially the one with Mike Tyson!

Very cool.

While Mike's entire plot line of being there is quite flaky, I can overlook it since it is the best fight in the movie for me - which is a problem since the final showdown, while probably more technical and still impressive to watch, is simply not as interesting. Despite all that the story did keep me interested and made me tear up a bit. Maybe I'm just getting soft? I'll have to rewatch the first two someday to see if they managed to get that emotional thing going too.

All up I give it three and a half wooden dummies out of five, and highly recommend it to martial arts buffs or Donnie Yen fans - but only after you've watched the first two Ip Man films. They're just as good or better than this one anyway. :)

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Dark Souls II: Eagle Knight Surprise

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

With my trusty broadsword in hand I set out on my adventure, following a stone corridor which led out into a great forest ruin. A strange albino hiclops (cyclops/hippopotamus hybrid) patrolled the river and didn't really pay attention to me, but all the hollow soldiers certainly did. They have a new trick now "play dead", which catches me by surprise more than once.


Still, I do pretty well and reach another bonfire - this one home to a merchant hag. Probably the same merchant hag from Undead Berg? She happens to have the key for the blacksmith's shop so I buy that before moving on. The area around her is quite tough though, with "heavy" ninja turtle soldiers.  I am also jumped by an eagle riding knight while exploring who slaughters me with ease. Good thing that bonfire is nearby!

Son of a...

In some nearby mines I also find Cale the Cartographer, who seems to be losing his marbles. He does admit to be squatting in one of the larger mansions in Majula though, and gives me a key so I can visit! I decide to do just that, seeing as the Lord Vessel's power of bonfire teleportation is still available to me. I warp back to Majula, slay a stray skeleton in Cale's mansion, and unlock the blacksmith's shop for him. Awesome! Now there's more stuff on sale that I can't afford to buy.

Monday 21 November 2016

Skyrim: The Gray Fox Lives

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Makes me want to revisit TES: IV.

A lone figure awaited at the end of the bridge a throne surrounded by cheese. It was none other than the daedric prince, Sheogorath. He's a bit of a loon as usual, but I am reminded of his dual personality. After the events of the Shivering Isles the Champion of Cyrodiil did become Sheogorath, and when that side of him manages to take control I can finally have a decent and most interesting conversation with him.

No big final fight, just a relaxing talk.

We talk for a long time about his past, our ties with the Elder Scrolls, and pretty much everything. Eventually it was time to get back to the whole cowl business so after bidding me farewell he opened a final portal to some deserted mountain in Akavir. In an unmarked urn at the shrine was the unassuming Cowl of the Gray Fox (aka the Gray cowl of Nocturnal), who is like the Batman (with more kleptomania) of this world.  Basically whoever wears it, becomes the Gray Fox (regardless of race, gender, etc) which is how he manages to live for so long - because many people have been him. The magic of the cowl prevents ones true identity from ever being discovered. That's pretty cool.

There is that little caveat wherein whoever wears the cowl is erased from history for that duration, but I'm pretty sure the Champion of Cyrodiil broke that curse. Besides, I didn't come all this way to NOT put it on... There was only one thing left to do.

Sunday 20 November 2016

Dark Souls II: The New Hub

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

Having escaped the asylum a second time, I ventured in another direction this time in hopes of getting rid of this Darksign (cursed mark of the undead). I traveled for miles... losing all my gear and quite possibly most of my sanity as I willingly jumped into a whirlpool of certain death. Only I didn't die, instead I found myself transported to some odd cave and in a nearby tree met a small group of wrinkly old women laughing at how doomed I was.

What's wrong with my face!?

They were retired fire keepers, and they asked if I could even remember who I was. My name was no problem, my profession? I think I was a knight! They laughed, gave me a human effigy to help me resist hollowing, and sent me on my way like "all the others" that had been drawn here. Past a small "tutorial section" I found the small cliff side village of Majula, home to the meek armorer Maughlin, Shalquoir the talking cat, and the blacksmith Lenigrast who misplaces things (like the key to his smithy, his daughter, etc). Up near a shrine of world deaths is a broken warrior. Ser Sad is that you?

To be fair that IS pretty depressing. :P

At least he gives handy tips for newbies, and also offers that I join the Covenant - Way of the Blue. Basically the newbie guild whose members enjoy the protection of "the Blue Sentinels". Sure, why not. The last person here is "the Emerald Herald", who handles all leveling up tasks and the (re)powering of my Estus flask. She instructs me to seek the four great souls to begin my quest. Someone really likes the number four in this game series.

Saturday 19 November 2016

Skyrim: Cheetahs and Cheese

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Tombs have door puzzles...

Searching the tombs gave me access to the key I needed, and in a nearby sandstorm valley I collected the amulet of cheetah friendship (which ironically I got by killing a whole bunch of cheetahs), there were still a couple of tombs left to explore so I went and recruited my trusty space marine friend Fawadin to come with me. With a heads up about the crusher traps, he was much more careful not to get squished like Rayya. These tombs had mummies and spiders! Not the giant ones, just lots and lots of little ones!

Off with his head!

Swarms of jumping arachnids were pretty scary!

I took care of the first boss: Imhotep.
Fawadin 1HKO'ed the one in the next place.

With everything explored it was time to head to the main mausoleum, behind a locked gate and another valley of big cats. Thanks to the amulet they weren't hostile though. Fawadin stayed outside to play with them while I entered the massive underground cavern that held... a pyramid!? Here at last was the final resting place of the Champion of Cyrodiil. The pristine interiors featured an awesome gallery of characters from Oblivion.

You can tell a lot of work went into this.

If he was still around I'm guessing the Thalmor would have lost.

The final test was one of archery. I just had to shoot the strange arrow (of extrication) I was given at the start of this into a small target across the large hall. It actually took two attempts before I hit it, and when I did fireworks exploded and cheese began raining down into the chamber. Cheese? A large door also opened to one side leading to the most spectacular view...

Friday 18 November 2016

Dark Souls: What Goes Around

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

I found the lady who ruled this painting in the final tower, beyond the dragon's bridge. She was quite enchanting and surprisingly, not hostile. Apparently this world was one of peace - except since I didn't belong, everything was hostile (to me). She begged that I simply leave her and her citizens alone, and since she was so polite about it I accepted - returning to Anor Londo.

Diplomacy success!

Feeling sufficiently powered up I decided it was time to return to the Kiln of the First Flame for a rematch with Gwyn. He still slammed me on the first attempt but it was then I found his weakness: I could parry his giant flaming sword. And so, without much fuss, I counter-stabbed his crotch repeatedly and killed the "Lord of Cinder".

Right in the crotch - just like I practiced.

A bonfire waited behind him for me to "link the flame". And what, become the next Lord of Cinder? No thanks. With a 180 degree turn I marched right out of there where Frampt and his fellow sock puppets all bowed before me. Hah! I am their new Dark Lord, and now I have the power to do ANYTHING!!! BWAHAHAHAHA... ha... wait a minute...

They threw me back into the Undead Asylum.
Welcome to NG+.

Thursday 17 November 2016

Skyrim: Tomb Raider

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Nice place!

After a decent jog through the desert, we reach the city of Ben Erai where Rayya is waiting for us! She explains that this particular community of Redguards have lived here in isolation for generations waiting for me to arrive, to "help" me with the final tests to reach the Champion of Cyrodiil's mausoleum - his real tomb, which was around here somewhere. At least now I can understand now where Rayya was sending all my decorating funds.

That moment when you think you are in A Tale in the Desert.

I did have to ask how she got here though, and in the back of the Fortress I am shown working teleporter to Falkreath, for those who know the Ancient vision spell. You mean I could have just jumped here directly? That... would have been more convenient you know. Anyway, their version of help simply involves telling me I need a key and an amulet of cheetah friendship from somewhere in the valley to proceed. Of course they have a lot of other tasks such as hunting fire charrus and punching desert wolves.

Wolf punching.

The majority of the Eastern part of the valley was filled with tombs though, and I mean the huge sprawling type such as the one pictured above. They were filled with shades, skeletons, mummies and most problematic - STONE CRUSHER traps. Not really a problem for me since my light step doesn't trigger pressure plates anymore.

Unfortunately Rayya doesn't have that perk. Squish.

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Dark Souls: Highest Calling

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

Despite being wounded, Kalameet managed to incinerate me a few times before I worked out what I was doing wrong: having fear! Staying away from the beast only encouraged it to use the full array of its arsenal. Bravery (and a little luck) was all I needed to finally slay the black dragon. Gough was pleased and thought I'd make a fine knight.

Yeah, I had him right where I wanted him! *cough*

Inspired I then returned to Undead Berg for a rematch against the red dragon of the bridge where after a bunch more firey deaths it was again bravery (charging it as soon as it landed) that resulted in victory! For the full trifecta I then went down to the ugly poison dragon in the valley I stole stuff from previously. He wasn't as mobile as Kalameet or the red one, but he sure could take a beating. At this stage, so could I though - and so it too was slain.

That's some good artwork.

With them gone I took the strange doll from the asylum to the large painting in Anor Londo and promptly got sucked into the wintery cliff fortress. After slaying the expected hollows, spartan hollows, cancer hollows that explode, as well as the odd harpy and skelies and crazy invader King Jeremiah who wears a giant mummy head, I found another poison dragon guarding a lengthy bridge. Since it had strong breath I opted to use Gough's method and sniped it from a lower stairwell. Where he needed only 1 shot, I needed a few (hundred) more - but the end result was the same. I am a dragon slaying knight! Or, at least I like to think so.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Skyrim: Far Traveled

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Not sure how this is a stealth test...

Teleporting through testing areas is a bit sudden. After a brief stint at the arena where I find the sword, Umbra, I am soon back to solving odd puzzles with candles and traveling back and forth through long dungeon corridors to find hidden switches. Whoever designed these tests really made it annoying. For a change of pace the next portal tosses me into Molag Bal's slice of Oblivion known as Coldharbour.

Ooh, an Elder Scrolls Online tie in!

While most of the huge area is devoid of life, the few patrolling guards have fantastic eyesight making this a truly challenging sneak experience since I wanted to prove to Molag Bal that I could escape the place without killing anyone. That last guard really required an invisibility potion though, he was just too good. Or I needed to lure him out or something. Hindsight right?

Master Thief thumbs up!

After even more tests of wit, patience and eyesight I finally emerge out of some mountain temple and into a very humid desert. A sole Redguard is camped nearby and is quite excited to meet me, insisting I follow him to his village. He even knows I am the dragonborn? I ask him just where the heck I am. The answer? An isolated valley of the Alik'r Desert... in Hammerfell!

Kinda reminds me of Al-Khazneh.
Where is Doctor Jones?

Monday 14 November 2016

Dark Souls: The Fourth Knight

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

The bird dropped me off where it originally picked me up, and the place looked exactly how I remembered it. Except there were a few more hollows now. And some of those knight guys. And the floor where I originally fought the fat demon to escape broke underneath me, making me fight ANOTHER fat demon. This one had no chance though as I was far too good now. I was a little sad that I had to slay Sir Estus, now a hostile hollow, but had no such feelings for the other knights who now patrolled the halls.

Here's your reward for helping me at the start...

In my old cell I found a strange doll which mentioned something about a magical painting. I knew exactly where that was! While digging through my pack I also find another key I hadn't used yet so I returned to Artorias' Arena and up some stairs to a locked tower I completely neglected before. Within I found the fourth "elite" knight of the king: Hawkeye Gough, a blind giant who has retired from dragon hunting and instead now makes wooden sculptures.

He talks a bit about the past, and that dragon slaying is the highest calling for any knight (given that Gwyn's army caned almost all of them). He asks if I am hunting the black dragon, Kalameet. I say yes, and the big guy decides to help out - using his great bow to nail the wyrm as it flies along in the distance. It's not dead though, just grounded. It would be up to me to give the coup de grace.

What a shot - especially for a blind guy!

Sunday 13 November 2016

Skyrim: An Ancient Quest

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Since the battlefield was sort of close (not really) to my property at Hjallmarch Hall, I went there and asked Rayya to help me collect the gear of the dead. I didn't even care that she still had not made any progress with the internal decor. The stuff felt heavier than it was. Rayya suggested I go visit the Umbranox family in the Reach to get my mind off that last battle so I did, and discovered that the Champion of Cyrodiil had left me a quest: to find the Cowl of the Gray Fox.

This again?

Given a strange arrow and directions to an old fort high in the mountains, I soon found myself teleported into a test area of sorts all leaning towards thiefly talents such as lock picking, jumping, sneaking past robots and pick pocketing ghosts. Yeah I guess you have to be pretty good to do that last one. My favorite was the room of fire though where you needed to walk upon an invisible path to reach the other side.

And that path is very snakey.

The next portal put me in the Imperial Prisons, where I got to enjoy a reenactment of the opening of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and learn a very handy "ancient vision" spell which lets me see (and traverse) the past. The prisons were now run by Thalmor (obviously) so I killed as many of the bananas as I could before moving on from this area.

Pretty cool hit of de ja vu!

Saturday 12 November 2016

Dark Souls: Reading between the Lines

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

While bonfire jumping I found Ser Chubby and his daughter reunited at last. She was weeping over his corpse.

Them feels.

Feeling a little more hollow than usual at the sight of Ser Chubby's fate, I mindlessly began bonfire warping and suddenly noticed that around half of the warpable bonfires were next to covenants. One in a lower tomb of Anor Londo struck me as particularly odd since it was a dead end, so I dug through my inventory and found a ring that seemed linked to the place. Putting it on the nearby wall vanished, revealing stairs down to a fog gate.

Upon my approach a voice calls begs for me to stop. He introduces himself as Gwyndolin, youngest son of Gwyn. He warns that I shouldn't cross the threshold for mortals shouldn't defile Gwyn's tomb. Wait, hang on a minute - I just fought Gwyn. The voice offers me to be a guardian of Anor Londo, to protect the city and the illusion of his sister. WHAT? Gwynevere is not real?! I'm tempted to go in there but since he is so polite and technically not a threat, I opt not to and leave him to guard that mysterious tomb.

He again reiterates I should take his father's place and link the flame though. What the hell does that even mean. I'm starting to question if he's trying to play me - maybe the Kiln is Gwyn's prison? As I ponder this back at Firelink Shrine a helpful player message suggests I can jump from a cliff to the higher ruin where the giant raven has been waiting this whole time. Curious, I curl up into a ball in its nest (because I guess I'm going insane) and after a few minutes it swoops in and brings me...

Back to the Undead Asylum where I started! Makes sense. :P

Don't you have Hobbits to deliver to Mt. Doom or something?

Friday 11 November 2016

Skyrim: The Dragonlord

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Getting artsy with my screencaps! :P

Xuru. I knew that name. The brother of Zuna who I completely forgot to look for after her death. I guess the Thalmor got his hands on him and swayed him to their side. There would be no talking him out of it though, so Twilight, Sofia, Bo, Aurora and I went to face him at his mountainous retreat. He was easy to find with his two dragon allies slaughtering everything in sight. Fireballs began to rain from the sky as I went after the named dragon first. It died pretty quick after I confused it with a Bend Will shout. At the same time  Aurora got blown to smitherines right beside me from a falling fireball.

In the distance I saw a chain of lighting strikes from the sky electrocuting Bo. There was nothing I could do for her but run past to the second dragon and slam it with a one hit kill, before turning to face Xuru. He had just finished running through Twilight with his two handed sword, and then with a small wrist gesture - summoned a brand new dragon instantaneously. Sofia leapt at it to keep it off me while I faced off against the knight landing a number of solid hits. He returned some too, and I needed heal pots after each one I didn't evade.

The showdown!

With perma dragon-aspect active, Xuru managed to fus roh dah me away a good distance. I landed on the corpse of my horse - the one that I thought couldn't die. I got back on my feet to see Xuru facing away from me. At his feet, Sofia's mangled body. She had managed to slay the dragon, but it didn't matter. As he turned to face me simply summoned another one. In a rage I charged twin blades flashing but he parried and disarmed my 900+ damage sword which was subsequently thrown to who knows where with all the explosions and lightning.

He's definitely the toughest non-scripted enemy I've faced!

Against a single blade he was pretty good at parrying, but I knew exactly how to make him drop his guard. I rolled past him and slew the dragon. As expected he did that wrist thing to summon another but by doing so left himself open to the final blow. The next dragon never did arrive. Xuru fell to his knees and collapsed onto the ground, dead. Exhausted, I surveyed the battlefield as the rain stopped.

I was the only one left standing.