Wednesday 30 September 2020

September 2020 Review: Shh... Sleepers!

Wow, another month down and I've only had one, maybe two days where I slept in. No matter, the gaming continues! Especially in GTFO. We've been stuck on R3B1 for awhile now, but I'm sure we'll crack it soon. That's going to be a hard game to push out of co-op session night so I'm "shelving" the other games I intend to co-op for the time being in the list below.

I've also progressed with world building for my web comic story which is miraculous. What I haven't been doing is music practice, exercise and pulling weeds from the garden. Those things really get aggressive in warm weather. How do people find time to do all this stuff? Oh. They probably don't waste time in games. :P  

To finish off, here's a down to Earth world leader visiting a very humble dude, and some guys getting interrupted by a little friend while trying to get some work done.

   End 2020 with less weight (0 kg from last month, running total: +4 kg)
   Make 1 web comic page (more world building done)
   Make a board game (dropping for now)

Just Cause 4 [free from Epic Games]
Zombie Army Trilogy [gift] (shelving for co-op)
Alien Swarm: Reactive Drop [free from Steam] (shelving for co-op)
Dishonored 2 [gift] (done)
Resident Evil 2 [gift] (done)
Metro Exodus [gift]
Killing Floor 2 [free from Epic] (shelving for co-op)
Remnant: From the Ashes [free from Epic Games] (shelving for co-op)
Troy: A Total War Saga [free from Epic Games]
Hitman [free from Epic Games]
Shadowrun Collection [free from Epic Games] (done)
+Where water tastes like wine [free from Epic Games]
+Railway Empire [free from Epic Games]
+Football Manager 2020  [free from Epic Games]
+Watch Dogs 2 [free from Epic Games]
+Stick it to the Man! [free from Epic Games]
+Rollercoaster Tycoon: 3 [free from Epic Games]

Board games:
+Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion


One Year Ago

My Creative Writing Experiment was still going and Neverwinter Online went to space. Kind of.

Five Years Ago

I was dabbling in A Tale in the Desert when Neverwinter Online released Strongholds.

Most Viewed Posts last Month

The Magicians (TV)
London Dread
How to Survive: Base Expansion

Top Search Term last Month

best face shields

Well, that's covid for ya. :P

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Eschalon: Trials of Shadowmirk

[Part of the Cursed story line]

After his previous misadventure, Rollo finds a map to Shadowmirk Tower and meets the acolyte Walter on the ground floor who says the headmaster designed this place to test want to be wizards. The pair team up to try reach the top, fighting off a horrible magic eye, crushing giant spiders underneath a portcullis and navigating the necromantic studies chamber where skeletons suddenly come to life. Rollo manages to escape and seal them in, but Walter isn't that lucky - destined to join the undead in their crypt.

Solving more puzzles on his own, Rollo eventually faces and defeats a raptor in "the proving chamber" before finally meeting headmaster Erubor who claims his tower is the last bastion against Gramuk's goblin hordes. Furthermore, he explains that Gramuk is mind controlling the chancellor into sending the continents armies elsewhere - making it easy for the goblins to expand their territory. The only thing that can shield against that is the grand gem Rollo found in the Blackwater bank which must be returned to its place at Bastion tower where it was previously stolen by two thieves.

I suppose the raptors are imported from Chult?

Alas, the only way to access said tower is through the goblin stronghold itself as Gramuk has sealed every other path magically and Erubor is too piss weak to do anything himself. On the plus side, Erubor mentions the stronghold is near a village of giants which rings a bell with Rollo, and so the swordsman arms up to the teeth with as many potions and bombs as he can afford then returns to the magic basement where he teleports back into the warmer climate of goblin territory.

Insight: Haste potions are very useful as they let you do two actions while the enemies only get one.

Monday 28 September 2020

World War Z (Game)

No one gets to be Brad Pitt.

A strange virus has quickly spread around the world causing the infected to become feral, hungry monsters with a penchant for building human/zombie triangles in large scales. You get to play as one of four survivors who must find a way past the horde and the occasional special type of zombie with special abilities. If one of those pin you down, only a team mate can save you. If this is starting to sound familiar, then you are right on the money. It is indeed similar to Left 4 Dead, but with better graphics and more zombies.

This disease reads a lot like covid...

There is an element of grinding added though as players gain XP and gold to level up their chosen class and weaponry. It's quite fun, especially played co-op, but it does suffer from a lack of maps. It is up to the players to make things more difficult during the match setup to keep things entertaining. Definitely one I can recommend but don't expect it to have a long shelf life. I give it 3 bulls out of 5.

Insight: Just because you upgrade weapons in higher tiers doesn't mean you start with them! With that in mind, you should probably focus on your starting weapons first.

Sunday 27 September 2020

Eschalon: The Bridges

[Part of the Cursed story line]

The massive castle of Grimhold once served as the bridge across a deep and dark chasm. Unfortunately, the goblins had taken over this too and sealed the gateway. Now really annoyed at these green skinned creatures, Rollo took it upon himself to murder every last one of them within the castle, including their warlord after managing to access the opposite end through the underground maintenance section and reopen the bridge.

Not the safest of bridges ever built...

Finding a good supply of flammable demon oil, Rollo returned to Vela and burned all the goblin archers with it then lured their leader and his pet minotaur into a supply of explosive barrels for one hell of a detonation. With the town cleared, he finally found his brother Ragner - dying from the wounds suffered during his torture. Before expiring, Ragner blames him for the loss of their ship and all their bad luck then tells him to find Erubor of Shadowmirk Tower but fails to actually give directions so Rollo wanders around a bit and finds a strange magic-looking basement.

After fiddling with the alembic he accidentally activates a teleporter and finds himself in a warm, desert region full of acid slugs! He has a small ocean of them chasing him when he encounters a village of giants. Luckily, they are friendly and try to assist him. While very strong in combat, the giants cannot escape the exploding acid each time they kill a slug and ultimately both sides are totally wiped out. Rollo honors the giants by taking whatever valuables they have and teleporting the hell out of there once more.

Insight: Always lure and kill. Blind corners are your friends against archers.

Saturday 26 September 2020

Close to the Sun

What happens when scientists science too far?

In a world where Nikola Tesla is conquering the globe with scientific breakthroughs, you are summoned to his massive research/cruise vessel the Helios and quickly find that things are not going so well on the ship. The piles of eviscerated, dead bodies lying in pools of blood sort of give it away. First things first, the environments here are absolutely gorgeous and set the horror scene very nicely.

Might be a tiny bit of blood...

While there are simple puzzles to solve and interact with, there is no fighting and no hiding either. Instead the horror mainly comes from the atmosphere, a few jump scares and a number of scripted chase sequences which for the most part are easy enough to pull off. Combined with a mostly single path through the game you have a semi-railroaded tale which offers little explanation but still a fun time. I give it 2.5 Tesla coils out of 5.

Insight: There is a tough chase sequence in Chapter 8 that verges on annoying. I recommend madly clicking your mouse to hit the interactive thing while you run as you won't have time to stop.

Friday 25 September 2020

Eschalon: Double Edged

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Having emptied the first lock box, Rollo opens Lilith's next which holds a divine great sword! He takes the magnificent weapon then returns to the city proper, collecting an extra 500 gold coins from Mael for "killing Lilith and recovering her amulet". Rollo then pays the resident Amazon Sonya to master the blade until she can teach him no more. Feeling skilled, he sets off to leave Blackwater only to be confronted again by Mael. Now furious at Rollo's trickery, he lets loose his squads of Barrea mercenaries to finish him off.

The heavily armored swordsmen are certainly more than Rollo can handle so he falls back into the city where the guards and residents come to his aid. It is a blood bath, with only Sonya and two elderly shopkeepers being the survivors of Blackwater. Rollo defeats Mael in combat and the merchant barters information on Rollo's brother, Ragner, in exchange for him letting him go. Rollo agrees, and Mael reveals the goblins at the sinking town of Vela have him before taking his leave. While Rollo keeps his word, Sonya makes sure Mael doesn't get far and executes him after cutting off his legs.

Apparently she has a book? LOL.

With Blackwater now deserted, Sonya escorts the two shopkeeps back to Aridell while Rollo goes to Vela - fighting off many goblins in the town and the surrounds. Unfortunately his swordsmanship is nullified by goblins wearing suicide kegs, as well as goblin archers floating out on rafts. Unable to push deeper into the town he opts to train a bit more first in the wilderness, defeating a boat load of pirates on a beach and a horde of slimes at a marsh before finding a beautiful castle in the middle of the woods...

Insight: The exploding goblins hurt all those around them so if they are going to explode anyway, try get them to hit their friends too - especially other exploding goblins as they chain react.

Thursday 24 September 2020


Proves you shouldn't go easy on kids.

When the son of an Indian drug lord is kidnapped by his rival, freelance specialist Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) and his team are sent to retrieve the kid. Betrayals and lock downs make his job all the more difficult though, but they certainly make it more exciting for the viewer! With good action sequences and some particularly great chase and fight scene cinematography this is definitely a movie for action buffs.

If only I brought my hammer...

Acting wise the main players do their parts well and while the CGI is obvious in some places it gets a pass, but don't expect the plot to go deeper past the bullets and death. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and definitely want to watch it again. Highly recommended, at least for action fans or Chris Hemsworth fans. I give it 4 kids thrown off rooftops out of 5.

Wednesday 23 September 2020

Eschalon: A Letter to Yourself

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Yup, there are dinosaurs in the woods!

Lucky the raptors are very territorial and don't pursue out of their part of the woods. Soon Rollo arrives at the city of Blackwater, which he pays a 100 gold fee to enter. He looks around for work again and finds a sly looking merchant named Mael who is offering a tidy sum for anyone that kills the druid Lilith and brings him her amulet. Rollo hides the fact that she's already dead, and that he already has her amulet while offering Mael a drink in hopes to get more clues as to what the amulets mean.

Unfortunately Mael only reveals his unfortunate past of being an important merchant leader before having something valuable stolen from him. He pursued the thief by ship but was caught in a storm that crashed him upon this continent with no means to pursue and is now working to rebuilt his wealth. Clearly not getting anything useful, Rollo says he'll consider the offer then leaves to explore the rest of the large city - finding the corpse of a murder victim in one house, lying in a pool of blood that was staining the ransacked mess around him.

By chance, Rollo discovers a torn paper in the garbage that holds a pass phrase for the tavern. Upon using it, the tavern owner takes him through some magic protections and into a large vault below where he asks to see his ID Keys. It turns out, these are the amulets - they aren't magic at all! The crypt amulet opens a lockbox that contains a huge gem and a note from himself saying that this gem is the only thing that can stop the goblin invasion. It goes on to explain that he used a forgetfulness potion on himself so that the goblin leader, Gramuk, won't be able to track him with his uber-mindreading powers. Unfortunately the gem was found by him and his brother Ragner, and if only one of them was reading the note then the other was likely already captured by the goblin forces. Uh oh.

Insight: The well in Blackwater is one of the best healing sources around.

Tuesday 22 September 2020

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

Amazing puppetry and an amazing story!

The world of Thra used to always be in balance, but this prequel to the movie of the same name, shows just how the alien Skeksis slowly corrupt it and how the native Gelflings begin to unify to fight against them. This is hands down the best puppet series I've seen so far (sorry Thunderbolt Fantasy), and proves The Jim Henson company really knows their stuff. The world they create is fantastic, as are the various creatures inhabiting it.

The puppets are amazing!
The puppets are amazing!

Add to that a good score, a great voice cast and a really good script and you have a winner of a series. Be warned it's not too kid friendly though as not only can the Skeksis be scary at times, but there is a fair amount of death to be found here. This is one I highly, highly recommend and one I definitely want to watch again. I give it five fizzgigs out of five!

Monday 21 September 2020

Eschalon: The Runner

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Asking around in Aridell about the necklace gave Rollo a lead. Apparently the druid Lilith who lives in the vast, Tangletree forest, was known to be wise in all matters in regards to mystical amulets so that's where he plots his next course. Before departing, he is also warned about the expanding goblin empire, but that's not enough to stop an adventurer like him. It isn't goblins he runs into though, it is a bunch of brigands demanding a toll fee of 75 gold.

Such a fee is well within his means so Rollo accepts and they let him pass. Or at least, gives him a head start... for soon after a small brigade of bandits is hot on Rollo's tail, hooting and hollering for his blood. He has no choice but to run and happens to reach the bordertown of Darkford whose guards and citizens bravely rush into battle against the oncoming threat. While the brigands are wiped out it is a pyrrhic victory as only two guardsmen (barely) survive the encounter. They pair manage to give directions to Lilith though, and after a few days Rollo finds her hut in the middle of the forest.

Making a bee line for the house.

Alas, she is unwilling to help Rollo without first getting a task out of him: to slay the hive queen wasp who is taking over the woods. The hive queen is very clever though, as before Rollo gets far from Lilith's cottage a swarm of giant wasps attack the pair. The druid kills enough of them before getting stung to death for Rollo to survive. Upon searching her corpse he finds another almost identical triangle amulet which he takes before fleeing the wasp forest into a thicket filled with... raptors!? Cursing his luck, Rollo runs for his life once more.

Insight: Just like in D&D, door ways are good choke points to defend against superior enemy numbers.

Sunday 20 September 2020

Altered Carbon: Resleeved

Happens in between Seasons 1 and 2.

This cell-shaded anime movie is decent enough to not break too many of the established rules of the main series, with fight scenes that are particularly exemplary, but the plot is on the thin side. Tasked with the protection of a tattoo artist, Takeshi Kovacs has to face off against the yakuza in this very bloody outing.

There's definitely a high body count!

While it is certainly a story set in the Altered Carbon universe it's simply not as refined as the live action counterparts. Still worth a watch though, I give this 2.5 sleeves out of 5. Would I watch it again? Probably just the fight scenes.

Saturday 19 September 2020

Altered Carbon

Only your digital self is true.

In a future where people exist as tiny hard drives the human body has become disposable. These "sleeves" can be upgraded, cloned, enhanced and worn by anyone. Anyone who has the money to afford it that is - making the rich near immortals. This also makes it super easy for the show to keep characters while switching their actors around at will, such as the main protagonist Takeshi Kovacs (played by Joel Kinnaman, Anthony Mackie, Will Yun Lee, and more).

This is all the same character.

Season 1 sees him solving a murder mystery with a twist while Season 2 has him chasing his own past. Both of these are very well produced, are well written and are quite effective as stand alone stories by themselves. As a bonus (for me) there is tons of violence and gratuitous nudity, especially in season one. Highly recommend this series. I give it 4 stacks out of 5 and would rewatch both.

Friday 18 September 2020

Eschalon: Sleepy Ruins

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Rollo awoke in some unfamiliar ruins from what he imagined was a heavy drinking spree, but was even more confused with the lack of empty bottles around as well as a mysterious note left by his sandals mentioning some stranger's tomb. Staggering to his feet, he opted to explore his surroundings which were infested with fanged salamanders that he had to punch out of the way. They, along with the overgrowth of vines on the walls indicated this place was destroyed long ago.

Lizard punching!

Stairs leading down into a dark tunnel complex forced him to make use of the nearby torches which were also handy in warding off the giant bats and fungal slimes that lurked within. A pair of powerful poisonous salamanders served as the "final" enemies here, and were much deadlier than their red skinned counterparts. Luckily a nearby portcullis proved handy in crushing them instantly, netting Rollo some decent, if rusted, plate armor.

Satisfied at having cleared the area, he found a dirt road heading north to the small town of Aridell where he could sell the junk he was carrying and pick up a few odd jobs such as clearing another salamander pit and more giant bats from the local crypt. Remembering the note, he managed to locate the tomb in question and took the odd, triangular amulet within before being chased out by a pair of tough but slow zombies. As far as he was concerned, they were never part of the contract.

Insight: The portcullis "trap" is a fantastic way to instakill many enemies throughout the game.

Thursday 17 September 2020


So... much... ANGER!

Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) is a special soldier with a vendetta, but thanks to some outside help he realizes this is a lie propagated by his handlers and adjusts his target accordingly. While there's nothing too unpredictable here, especially if you've watched the trailers, it is still highly entertaining to watch as the action scenes and effects are superb.

Based on a comic book.

The acting is pretty decent all around too and people that watch Outlander might enjoy seeeing Sam Heughan in an antagonist role (his accent still slips through sometimes). One has to question why the police hadn't been called on the main villain though... anyway this is definitely one for people that like superhero flicks, because that's exactly what this is! Leave your disbelief at the door. I give it 3 wheat bags out of 5 and would definitely like to watch it again.

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Wheels of Aurelia

A driving game where the driving isn't very important.

Set in old Italy and with groovy graphics and music to boot, you play as a goth lesbian who is just trying to get away from it all... or perhaps to catch up to someone? The short and replayable story can go many directions mostly based on your choices made while talking to the people in your car (hitch hikers ahoy), and some choices made by taking different roads available.

You can pick up some real creeps.

If you think trying to pick the correct timed response while driving a vehicle is annoying, you are correct! Especially if you happen to be taking part in a race or for some reason are being chased by the police! Fortunately the driving part doesn't really matter as you can freely smash into almost anything without penalty. It's a cute little game that gets repetitive not long after your first play through. Worth a try if you can get it for free or are super curious but not one I really recommend. I give it 2 discos out of 5.

Insight: You need to constantly tap space to boost.

Tuesday 15 September 2020


Everything in Gotham is dark, even its comedy.

Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) just wants to bring laughter into the world. Unfortunately being poor in Gotham and afflicted by mental illness leads him to be victimized by so many scum bags, until one day... he breaks and becomes more than a little murderous. Joaquin does a great rendition of this soon-to-be Batman villain, and old, dirty Gotham is done well cinematography wise.

Being retarded doesn't make you cool or exclude you from the LAW!

There's also enough difference from the usual Joker origin story to be interesting without being different enough to become alien. Obviously the tone of the whole thing is very dark, especially as so many Gothamites are such scum. Definitely one Batman fans or Joaquin Phoenix fans will enjoy, but for everyone else your mileage may vary. I give it 3.5 knock knock jokes out of 5, but would probably not watch it again.

Monday 14 September 2020

The Magicians (TV)

Five seasons of tripping balls and a roller coaster of emotions.

Magic nerd Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) has his world turned upside down when he discovers that magic is real and is enrolled into a university that teaches the art. He and the other students quickly learn all the wonders and horrors that it actually holds and soon find themselves on a quest to save the world. Many times. While this series is all about taking the piss out of Hogwarts and Narnia, it actually has quite good stories backing it along with fantastic character development across the board.

A life in the day, one of the best episodes ever.

While it is nowhere near child friendly with adult themes flying out its wazoo, most episodes made me laugh while others made me cry (a lot in some cases) with some really spectacular acting from all the actors and actresses involved. It's the type of show that has musical episodes, followed by episodes of rape and/or facing god level creatures. It is amazing. I do have to warn you that almost all the cast begin as douche bags, but that just leaves room for growth. The effects budget also isn't that great but if you can get past that I do believe it is a series most people will enjoy. Highly recommended. I give it 4 minor mendings out of 5.

Sunday 13 September 2020

Sherlock Holmes Crimes & Punishments

Where you too can be an insufferable know it all.

Playing as the great detective (no, not Batman), you must use your wits to solve a number of who dunnits by critically examining evidence, being able to tell when witnesses are lying, and casually conducting experiments to find facts. Other than the experiment part the other two are a bit of a 3D pixel finding mission and the game itself is one big backtracking machine. Expect to walk into invisible walls and see the loading screen of Holmes in a carriage many, many times.

Can't solve why my save file got corrupted though, can he?

The good parts? The graphics are fantastic and the voice acting is decent. I especially like the deduction screen which is the most alien thing when you first reach it but its what ultimately makes you eliminate suspects, confront the guilty parties, and solve mysteries. Unfortunately I didn't get to finish this one as my save seems to have gotten corrupted. Not sure if that's from the game itself or something to do with the Epic Launcher but I wanted to put that here just so that people are aware.

More importantly, the game isn't good enough for me to actually go fix that problem so read into that how you will. If you like mysteries and/or Sherlock Holmes it's probably still worth a look though - I give what I saw of it 2.5 missing trains out of 5.

Insight: If you don't examine the blood on the corner of that notebook, you're going to be stuck on case #1 for a long time.

Friday 11 September 2020

How to Survive 2: What a Crap Game

[Part of the Diary of Zombies]

To try progress a bit I decided to solo the herding of a few zombies for Kovac (which lags out in coop), as well as collecting some copper pulleys for bow upgrades all around. With Jim and DL we then try help Leslie destroy one of Kovac's zombie holding facilities but the game simply cannot handle the number of zeds being thrown our way now as we suffer disconnect upon disconnect. Thinking we can advance in a different manner, we attempt the Pylon-40 attack (#6), and not far in both Jim and I get disconnected, again due to having too many zombies, leaving DL the lone camp defender!

He somehow manages to win the battle at the cost of three traps on the East entrance and pretty much everything on the Western main entry. Once we reconnect we help him clean up the stragglers and rebuild the defenses but it's become clear this is as far as the game will let us play in multiplayer which reeks of bad design.

Going solo, I still manage to complete Leslie's task of destroying Kovac's zombie supply then getting vaccines for her, gaining a pet coyote for Madison, and learning Kovac has some sort of dead alien in the bunker basement - all because there are only a third of the zombies now. Unfortunately this now leaves me in another "leveling grind gap" which when played solo is really boring. With that, we bid this place farewell. It's a shame really, and I suppose it's now up to Kenji, Leslie, Madison and her coyote to fight against Kovac and his goons.

Stomping on a sewer croc while Madison kills zombies.

As it stands though, I can't recommend How to Survive 2 to anyone. Reports from DL and Jim indicate that How to Survive 1 (the first game) also suffered terrible connectivity/coop issues, so I say simply find a better zombie game that doesn't waste your time.

Insight: Egg launcher acid can kill gators even when they are submerged.

London Dread

Interesting design is not necessarily good design.

A great evil with the touch of the occult is afoot in London, and it is up to a team of up to four players to cooperatively solve the mysteries and vanquish the evil doers before the city falls fully into the hands of despair. This is done in stages and the first, which is timed (12 mins on normal - you need your own timer), is the most fascinating. Firstly, dread cards are flipped face up in hopes of finding the randomly seeded "plot" locations. Then every player has a "clock" and a set of numbers and arrow directions to program what their movements are for the day.

Only complicated to start with.

Being in the same place at the same time lets people party up to take on harder challenges but at the same time you want to remove as many dread cards from the map as possible too. Missing an event card during the right period also results in an instant game over so it is a crazy and hectic section of the game. Once the timer expires, the next stage begins of seeing how everyones pre-programed movements transpire and what they manage to do in the city.

The last part is where this all really falls down - the end game. Not only does player elimination begin here, so does your realization that it's near impossible to beat this game. In it, you must gather enough dice to challenge the "dread counter" up the top of the board. Every 5 dreads requires one success (33% per dice). Should dread max out, it's automatically game over. For us it was common to require 10 or so successes and only have 7 or so dice to roll. Ultimately, even if you have a perfect game and say only require 1 or 2 successes out of 10 dice you can still fail. Without enough mitigation here this game unfortunately falls to one of the worst in my collection and I along with the rest of my game group don't want it to grace our table any longer.

Not recommended, I give London Dread 1 time clock out of 5.

Insight: Remember no dice are rolled for regular dread cards.

Thursday 10 September 2020

How to Survive 2: Difficulty Up

[Part of the Diary of Zombies]

It seems like Kovac's goons are up to more than just thievery, as we investigate the "death" of Kenji's ally Leslie. While we do find proof that the goons were after her, the woman herself is alright having lost her tail by providing a headless corpse as her double. Of course we had to first gain her trust by running trial missions at the nearby army base which is full of armored zeds! Their bullet proofing means the fastest way to clean them out is via head shot archery, but their numbers and resilience really make the lag and disconnects unbearable, especially in one where we need to find and drag four supply crates around the map too.

Fortunately Jim volunteers to solo it while DL and I go on resource runs. This lets us continue, and are soon escorting Leslie to one of Kovac's towers where she plans to hijack the signal. After fighting the waves of zombies, she seems to forget why she was there so to salvage the mission we literally kick her into the spot she needs to go to. Her hack fails, but she still rewards us with a decent supply run location afterwards.

Kick it until it works!

This also reunites us with the child, Super Madison, who has made her base in the sewers. We help her with some expansion projects via killing the zombies and zombie gators down there while also upgrading our own base which is now level 40. The volatiles come in groups of 12 now, and on the last attack (#5) we actually lost 9 or so of the main side traps due to the sea of fatties that attacked. It looks like we're going to need to upgrade our equipment a bit to handle what comes next!

Insight: Some missions just have shit design (worse than others) when it comes to connectivity. Instead of getting frustrated, just let one of your team solo the damn thing and be done with it.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

Gone Home

Another walking simulator.

Arriving home early from overseas, you are greeted by an empty house and with nothing better to do you decide to trash and ransack the place in hopes of finding the whereabouts of your parents and your younger sister. You'll be digging through cupboards and cabinets to find hints, notes, lock combinations and the occasional porno mag. Oh my. But yes, the house is completely devoid of life.

At least the graphics are ok.

Luckily there are some voice overs in the form of your sister reading her journal to you (in your head) but unlike the Stanley Parable, this game is more serious and suffers due to it, especially in the replayability department. Not really one I recommend, as the Stanley Parable is superior in all aspects. It gets 2 loud and obnoxious cassette tapes out of 5.

Tuesday 8 September 2020

How to Survive 2: It's Boring Now

[Part of the Diary of Zombies]

It seems the trappers have lost some of their thief allies on their last run, and one of them even brought back a bite on the leg as a souvenir. We agree to help as damage control against the massive swarm of zombies they attracted to the nearby city. This proves to be good practice for when we activate the pylon back at base for attacks number 3 and 4. With Jim and DL competing for who can create the better murder corridor (its a tie) the zombie swarms have no chance in even getting close as the traps, covered by egg-launcher fire, proves too much for them - resulting in easy wins and few repairs.

The front defenses.

Unfortunately things have gotten a bit boring now as a result, especially with quests so spaced apart level wise. We've resorted to hunting fatsos for the fans ("Survivors Report") for fast and easy XP. It also drops a good amount of medicinal herbs and a few random zombie pelicans who we like now since it is their bile that makes egg-launcher ammo. Speaking of zombie fauna, the latest creature is the deadliest: zombie rabbits! While the brown variety is easily soloable, the white vorpal bunnies are absolute monsters. Small, fast, individually tougher than those zombie waves and extremely hard hitting none of us have successfully managed to solo one of these yet. We can only hope they don't decide to all band together one day and attack our camp...

The back defenses.

Insight: We have finally worked out how to fight the lag monster in this game: stay together and always kill zombies you come across. The more zombies that are awake the more chance you have of a session disconnecting.

Monday 7 September 2020

Tomb Raider (2013)

Restarting the franchise.

Shipwrecked on a forgotten island teeming with cultists and boxes of TNT, young archaeologist Lara Croft must find a way to survive the place, save her friends and most importantly... raid some tombs. To do this, she must become someone else... something else... the Green Arrow Tomb Raider! While the story here is not too surprising the graphics are certainly a step up from the predecessors however, the controls are not.

She sure visits the best places... not.

For some reason Lara feels very rigid when moving about the place (especially when fighting your first wolves), and that's already with all her crazy athletics thrown in. You'll need to get used to it though as you are sent backtracking a fair deal, especially if you are an explorer or a collector type of player. Despite the open areas this is very much an on the rails game, complete with QTEs you'll need to complete to advance.

It's quite funny how fast Lara changes from innocent and helpless to mass murderer too, though that's more from the design perspective of letting respawning, harmless animals grant XP. Bunnies and Deer beware! Don't worry, you get to slaughter lots of people further down the track too, with no option of avoiding them. Speaking of options, the optional tombs are a nice touch with their puzzles and are always worth going for. All up a fun game but not one you'll be replaying once you've gone through it once. I give it 3.5 doors tied with rope that you can't possibly cut out of 5.

Insight: I ended up using the rifle the most so you might want to focus on upgrading that.

Sunday 6 September 2020

NWO: The Redeemed Citadel

Competitive grinding.

Hot on the heels of Path of the Fallen, players are now tasked with helping celestial forces in reclaiming their stronghold which surprisingly simply entails killing a boat load of devils and demons, and occasionally retrieving lost angel gear.

It's not much to look at.

The type and number of rats to kill vary per immediately repeating quest though you will gain more currency by doing the one off weekly challenges (or relentlessly hunting the BHE apparently).

There is a leader board that will show how far from the top 100 you are - all those players at the end will be getting a shiny vorpal enchantment in addition to whatever tier of support/favor reached. Theses are spaced out in denominations of 7000. Having played around six hours, I got 1600 for two characters so... yeah. Guess I'm missing out this time!

Insight: If you are serious about the ranking stuff, you'll need to chase that Avernus BHE down regularly.

Saturday 5 September 2020

How to Survive 2: Base Expansion

[Part of the Diary of Zombies]

DL was not pleased with our prior watch tower loss and has since been working solo to expand the camp and occupy the entire plateau (with storage chests) so that the zombies stop spawning nearby and being more heavy handed with wall side traps for those that do. For the most part, this seems to have worked. I also ran a solo mission - to help farmer Raymond shepherd some zombie pigs into a barn.

Trying to do this as a team was impossible due to the lag, but I managed the task solo to unlock the rest of his other voodoo related, lag-filled quests which we manage to plow through, the culmination of which is the killing of the same zombie pigs. Really Raymond? That guy is an ever bigger loser than Kovac, whom we learn is using his fans and the trappers to steal from the other nearby survivors (like Raymond).

He also setup some evil Easter Egg hunt which lured a little girl "Super" Madison into trouble. Needless to say we save the kid, and collect many chocolates along the way. Most interesting is the Egg-Launcher reward she gives us for doing so... as Jim quickly finds out it really is an acid grenade launcher! Combined with bait that lures all nearby zeds into a tight congregation, this makes for a great weapon.

These zombies seem to be expanding in size too!

Insight: Egg-splosions go through some fences and gates.

Friday 4 September 2020


So artsy they forgot to make it fun.

This artistic world sees you play as a strange creature, following another strange creature to occasionally fight some other strange creatures. There is no language written or spoken here, which adds to the "cool" factor when done right. Unfortunately, it is not done right at all here.

Pretty place to end it all.

Expect to never know why you are doing these things or more importantly, where to go or what to do next. It's not like you have massive areas to explore too - no, you will be repeating the same few screens until you find a breakthrough which might lead you back to the screens you already have been visiting. This insane amount of backtracking is just the final nail in the coffin for this game for me. I'll give it 1 sword piece out of 5. Not recommended.

Insight: Finding the map key might give you more milage.

Thursday 3 September 2020

How to Survive 2: Festivals of the Dead

[Part of the Diary of Zombies]

In an appeal to get us working for him once more, Kovac sends us on strangely festive missions - clearing out a mardi gras festival, slaughtering through "Christmas Ville", saving a group of his fans hunted by a giant volatile in Chinatown, and fighting through the graveyard full of a zombified Jack O'Lantern cosplayers which somehow nets each of us pet bats!

It's always party time!

With a surplus of low grade ammo I've decided to switch to assault rifles too which has a great side effect of slowing sprinting zeds. This greatly helps when we assist the trappers in securing the wreckage and salvage of a nearby military plane crash. It does seem like the volatiles are getting far more numerous per night now though, and large zombie bears that make the ground shake when they walk have begun appearing in the forest.

None of this stops us from upgrading the camp to level 20 though and passing the Pylon-20 raid. The increased traps and wall strength helped us hold against the swarm, even though a small force led by one fatty in the final wave managed to break through our Northern watch tower. A minor loss that was easily replaced. Meanwhile the fans camp is progressing too as they've begun to construct a statue of their lord and saviour: Kovac.

Insight: The hook-blades from Chinatown are great melee weapons, but the Halloween event rewards steel tipped ammo which is worth farming at lower levels.

Wednesday 2 September 2020


Adventure in a mindscape.

Being called out of retirement, you are called to defeat a number of nightmares and restore a broken mind - all in the form of a light and airy kids game! This fantasy setting is really well done with bright colors, simple puzzles and quirky enemies. The main "bad guys" even sing at you while you fight them with easy to use controls. It is really great!

It's all in your head!

A collection component is present too for those who enjoy treasure hunting, but be warned it does come with a lot of backtracking. The tone I suppose is the oddest thing here, where out of the blue you are hit with some dark stuff if you know what to look for. The zone with clocks that have the numbers all on one side struck me in particular (common place in stroke victims and brain damage). Still worth trying, and still worth recommending I give this 2.5 memories out of 5.

Insight: You can't bring "puzzle solving stuff" from one area to another so don't bother trying to be clever. :P

Tuesday 1 September 2020

August 2020 Review: Lack of Sleep

Some drunk women decided to drive their car into my office building this week, at 8:45 AM - I guess they stayed up all night? No one was hurt as they managed to get their handbags to walk away, abandon their ride and harass other people nearby. Thankfully those morons were taken away by the cops. I too am suffering a lack of sleep but for a different vice: gaming.

With another low-key Blaugust participation done, my work stress continues as does our progression through GTFO which regular readers would have noticed my writeups of. We're in the R3B level now... and I thought the top floor was hard! Haha! Getting lots of gaming done besides that, including Neverwinter with its Avernus related modules. Probably should switch out some of that gaming this month for sleep. Lastly, for those interested in the results of "the music war", here's where its at.

   End 2020 with less weight (-1 kg from last month, running total: +4 kg)
   Make 1 web comic page (nope)
   Make a board game (nope)

Just Cause 4 [free from Epic Games]
Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms [free on Steam] (had enough)
Zombie Army Trilogy [gift]
GTFO [gift] (Awesome! Still playing!)
Alien Swarm: Reactive Drop [free from Steam]
Dishonored 2 [gift]
Resident Evil 2 [gift]
Metro Exodus [gift]
Metal Gear Survive [gift] (done)
Killing Floor 2 [free from Epic]
NWO: Path of the Damned [2/2]
Warhammer 40k: Rites of War [free from GOG] (had enough)
Tacoma [free from Epic Games] (done)
+20XX [free from Epic Games] (had enough)
+Barony  [free from Epic Games] (had enough)
+Sword & Sworcery [free from Epic Games] (done)
+3 out of 10: Chapter 1 [free from Epic Games] (done)
+Wilmot's Warehouse [free from Epic Games] (had enough)
+Remnant: From the Ashes [free from Epic Games]
+The Alto Collection [free from Epic Games] (had enough)
+Troy: A Total War Saga [free from Epic Games]
+3 out of 10: Chapter 2 [free from Epic Games] (doesn't start)
+God's Trigger [free from Epic Games] (done)
+Enter the Gungeon [free from Epic Games] (had enough)
+Hitman [free from Epic Games]
+Shadowrun Collection [free from Epic Games]

Board games:
Zombicide: Black Plague (11/11)
Mice and Mystics: Heart of Glorm (6/6)


One Year Ago

I was admiring impromptu player made content while also bashing Cryptic and Neverwinter a little bit while playing Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate 2.

Five Years Ago

I was doing my creative writing experiment. Actually I've been doing a lot of story type stuff lately: while I have a few more ready to deploy I'm going to try cut down on that so that I can use more creative power on other stuff, like that comic I never started! :P

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This old school Runescape cape seems to be netting a lot of views again, must be in demand! As for the most viewed posts my guides again are taking high ranks, only being outdone by Pokemon! :P