Sunday 31 October 2021


It's all about stress and sacrifice.

One of the best artsy menu screens I've come across.

This turn based strategy game embraces the dark and horror aspects of the very strange, mostly grey scale and red setting. In it, you must birth daughters and assign them a class (sword/shield/gun at the start) and do missions (or not) as each day passes and at the end of the week, the boss is going to show up if you are ready or not. Losing all your daughters or losing to the boss makes you restart, with all your people in the graveyard.

You can revive some of them with some hard earned tokens, but which ones? As they complete missions each daughter acquires traits - good and bad, which can't be removed. Also, you always have the option to sacrifice a daughter to heal another, because units DON'T HEAL (on normal mode). Furthermore, the best skills eat up a percentage of health every time they are used. This leads to some tough choices, so much so that I can only take maybe two missions per session.

The main problem though? It's just not fun for me, only stressful. Even on the easier mode where the daughters do heal per day. Two and a half plague doctors out of five.

Insight: Enemies don't attack in their first round if they have to move. Also, get all the interrupt skills from the first choice per class, they are quite handy.

Saturday 30 October 2021

October 2021 Review: The Next Freedom

Happy Halloween! Lockdown lifted this month which is pretty good morale wise as it means our board game nights can resume! I was hoping to also resume adventures in Black Desert but I keep getting "bin\blackdesert32.dat" is broken even from a fresh install. What the heck? As such I've instead been helping Elminster out in Neverwinter Online with the Echoes of Prophecy campaign and it's just as easy as Shintar said - even starting late I completed the first progression bar whose rewards include a catch-up artifact set.

I also thought to myself - hey, Epic games gives free games every week - surely Steam has some free ones too? The answer to that is... Yep. A LOT. You can expect me to be posting about those soon.

Most Viewed Posts in the last 30 days:
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Friday 29 October 2021


Out of air. Out of time.

The movie doesn't do this epic poster any justice.

In the future, Earth has lost all of its trees and the remaining humans rely on artificial oxygen which has some adverse effects on a number of folks. Ethan Whyte is given the chance to fix this when an important organization asks him to travel to the (even more) future - which asked for him by name! In hopes they found a solution to oxygen problem he reluctantly goes for a very tripy adventure.

There are lots of good ideas in this Australian made film, and while the budget holds it back a little the main problem is the script which features segments of sheer stupidity and redundancy. Again more than a few bits could have been cut off to make this a tighter and better production, but as it stands I don't really recommend it nor would I watch it again. Needs to be remade with better execution. I give it two oxygen-ATMs out of five.

Thursday 28 October 2021

Strange Brigade

Making dead things more dead. Again.

When an Egyptian ancient evil arises who better to send than those chaps who saved the world against Zombie Hitler? Oh wait, they're still busy in Germany - instead we get "The Strange Brigade"! A group of unlikely individuals flying about in a dirigible who parachute right into danger, complete with a hilarious narrator as they advance through each level.

Expect to encounter some strange stuff!

Made by Rebellion, the same crew that made Sniper Elite/Zombie Army, each level is beautifully crafted and has interesting puzzles (most of which are optional for bonus loot) and quite engaging in that almost each "big fight" introduces a new type of enemy - something this game has no shortage of! Very fun especially for co-op (which can be up to four people). Highly recommended. I give it four mummies out of five. DL even uploaded an action demo if you wanted to watch us fumble through mission one.

Insight: The lure grenade is worth the money. Also, roll AT charging minotaurs (the non-weapon kind).

Wednesday 27 October 2021

The Outpost (TV Series)

Can you survive episode one?

Talon (Jessica Green) hunts down the people responsible for killing her tribe at Gallwood Outpost, which happens to be the central location for saving the world many times over in this four season fantasy series on a budget. While the first season has some very painful acting (especially at the start), the action bits and the story are actually pretty decent, and it just keeps getting better with each season.

Helps that the main character is easy on the eyes.

As a plus, this actually has definite end with no cliffhangers which wraps up the story nicely. I quite liked this one, and recommend it for fantasy fans who can look past/survive season one. Kinda wish there was more! Two and a half colipsums out of five.

Tuesday 26 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: The Inquisitor

[Part of my Dragon Age: Inquisition play through. Spoilers ahead!]

Two years after the defeat of Corypheus, the Inquistor finds himself and his remaining comrades summoned by the Divine Victoria to an Exalted Council to determine the future of the Inquisition. While the Court of Orlais maneuvers to control them, the Nobles of Ferelden - nervous at having a free standing army at their doorstep, would prefer to see them disband entirely. Talks are disrupted when Qunari saboteurs are detected within the palace, and while Leliana deactivates all their hidden gaatlok explosives, the Inquisitor's team chases them through an elven magic mirror through the fade where they face both Qunari and ancient elf spirits.

Feeling he can help ease their suffering, Cole decides to remain with the spirits while the rest of the party reach the Qunari base of operations. Here, Iron Bull sides with his people and is killed by Cassandra while Sera deals with the Qunari pet dragon. This buys time for Inquisitor Trevelyan to pursue the Qunari leader through more mirrors, the anchor in his hand becoming more painful and powerful through each one - until he finally catches her - but she has already been turned to stone by Fen'Harel, the Dread Wolf of elven legend - better known to Trevelyan as Solas.

Solas reveals it was his orb Corypheus had been using, as he intended the magister to simply power it up and get killed in the following explosion. He didn't realize Corypheus had a way to cheat death at the time. With the orb destroyed he had to resort to killing Flemeth to take her power of Mythal instead, with the goal of freeing his people from the fade by removing the barrier to it altogether... and destroying the current world. With the power of the anchor now killing him, Trevelyan still vows to prove to Solas that this world is worth saving. The elf cuts off Trevelyan's arm (to save him) and departs - telling him to enjoy what time he has left.

Critical hit in the feels!

Back at the Exalted Council, the Qunari disavow all actions of the terrorist splinter group that caused the disturbance, promising their continued alliance to Divine Victoria. As for the Inquisition, it is disbanded effective immediately. This is both to retain balance in the realm and to hide their next move against Solas, who is all too familiar with their inner workings. In secret, Trevelyan, Cassandra and Leliana decide to find people Solas doesn't know about to help stop his world ending plot.

And Sera goes back to doing whatever.

Insight: I was getting wrecked when starting the Trespasser DLC, mainly because I didn't realize I wasn't wearing my armor. Duh! Check your gear before going into battle!

Monday 25 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: Morrigan

[Part of my Dragon Age: Inquisition play through. Spoilers ahead!]

'Tis strange how small the world is sometimes. Having convinced the Inquisitor that it would take the power of a god to match that of Corypheus, we have come to this ancient shrine to seek the aid of the elven god Mythal: the Great Protector. Who appears instead? She whom I have tried to hide from all these years. Mother. She is Mythal? She has deceived me even more than I thought.

Didn't you get killed, Mother?
Yes, but I got better.

With her guidance I learn her ability to shapeshift into a dragon and am more than a match for the winged beast serving the Elder One, just as the last of his Red Templars are no match against the combined army of the Inquisition and Orlais. It is said the Inquisitor grabbed his magic ball again and this time crushed it in his hand, killing the poor creature. Let that be a lesson to all would-be evil doers I suppose: don't let them grab your balls.

In the end a great victory against chaos was won, but left the world forever changed.

While Empress Celene remains on her golden throne, blood drips from her hands. All her court know it however none are in a position to move against her.

Meanwhile the Chantry shocks the world by naming First Enchanter Vivienne as successor to the Sunburst Throne. Given the name Divine Victoria, she is the first mage to hold the position and the surprise of many, she reinstates the Circle of Magi and creates a Templar Order firmly leashed to her hand.

She is not the only one to reach high office. The dwarf Varric becomes the new Viscount of Kirkwall and Dorian Pavus is instated as magister upon his return to the Tevinter Imperium. Meanwhile the Grey Warden known as Blackwall is discovered to be a fraud and a war criminal, executed by the Inquisitor himself for his crimes, while the elven apostate Solas simply vanished after the final battle. And what of the Inquisition itself? Its military might has grown, now rivaling that of kingdoms. Fear of the Inquisition's army has become the true source of its power.

I leave Skyhold now, knowing that power will continue to grow.

Insight: If you do all the content prior to this fight, Corypheus won't really be much of a challenge.

Sunday 24 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: Leliana

[Part of my Dragon Age: Inquisition play through. Spoilers ahead!]

With the demon army neutralized, the only other plot we know Corypheus has up his sleeve is the assassination of Empress Celene. Thankfully the Inquisition has been regarded important enough to be invited to the peace talks at the Winter Palace in Halamshiral, and who better to send than the Inquisition spymaster herself?  

So, not just a pretty face...

I suspect it would need to be someone close to the Empress who wields a modicum of power. This immediately narrows the suspect list to three people. Her cousin, Gaspard de Chalons, who claims she stole the crown from him and began the civil war. Gaspard's sister, Florianne de Chalons, who acts as the host of these talks but is clearly hiding something. And the elven Ambassador Briala, who was once Celene's lover and is now the leader of an underground network of elves - eager to exploit the nobles to gain any foothold for their oppressed people.

Thank the Maker the answer to all this is simple. They are all guilty in one form or another, and with abundant evidence that can readily be found by those with a discerning eye, the Empress is convinced to execute all of them as traitors while becoming a firm supporter of the Inquisition for saving her life. Not only do we gain the backing of the Orlesian army, but also the talents of her court magician - someone I haven't seen for a very long time.

Insight: I quite liked this part of the game. You need to keep your court approval high but when you go missing to look for clues and evidence in restricted areas it continually drops making for some really fast decision making.

Saturday 23 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: Hawke

[Part of my Dragon Age: Inquisition play through. Spoilers ahead!]

It has been years since the CHAMPION AND LEADER OF KIRKWALL went into hiding (Hawke gets a lot of time skips huh?) in an attempt to protect the city from any repercussions from his actions, but even he could not ignore the threat Corypheus posed, nor the letter requesting his aid from his good friend Varric.

He went to meet Inquisitor Trevelyan and his colorful troupe with useful information in hand, and was surprised to learn that Seeker Cassandra had thought of naming Hawke the Inquisitor from the outset but continued to be protected by Varric with whom the Seeker was now furious with. Hawke laughed as he had enough titles already anyway.

Is he talking about the quality drop in Dragon Age 2?

More importantly, he had located the missing Grey Wardens. Somehow all of them began experiencing "the Calling", thanks to Corypheus, and while most headed to the Deep Roads for their final journeys the more cowardly ones had turned to the Venatori to become unwillingly enslaved to the enemy, either through mind control or being turned into demons. An army of them, all gathering at Adamant Fortress.

With a clear target in their sights, Hawke went with the Inquisition army to face these worthless Grey Wardens who had the support of Corypheus' dragon. With high casualties on both sides, the remaining Grey Wardens eventually found their courage and joined the Inquisition as the dragon fled. Alas, Hawke would not survive to see the end of this battle.

Insight: For a rogue I recommend learning stealth quickly and if you graduate to tempest like Sera, those lightning jars make you OP.

Friday 22 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: Sera

[Part of my Dragon Age: Inquisition play through. Spoilers ahead!]

Didn't think I'd like her, but she ended up being my favorite companion.

I told them I'm not an elfy elf but I get sent to the stupid forest anyway! Should have been Dorian who'd be all Tevinter about this ancient bullshit. Or Cassandra, but she's got a thing for the Inquisitor, busy with her thing and his thing... doing things.

Trees are stupid. Just like people fighting their other people about some other rubbish god as if Corypenis isn't bad enough. And what's with all the bloody spiders!? Ugh, water everywhere. Everything is dank and chafy. I need to find a place to pee. Well, this is rubbish. Let's do whatever and get out.

Shrines are bad. Who doesn't know that? Another nutter trying to become a god. Right, I can see why everyone fights over this. No I can't. You're smart, but you're sort of stupid. Stupid magic ruins everything. You're not even very good at it. Don't care. Stupid gets arrows. Hey! Look at this! I've got something for you! It's my butt! That's a surprise, innit arseholes? Arrows. Arrows come next.

Good riddance to bad rubbish. I even made a bear friend! Maybe I can teach it knitting. Knitting is brilliant! It's stabby sewing!

Insight: Frostback Basin is another DLC area, which means it will match your level when it loads up (minimum level 20). The dragon here is the hardest available in the game and has all the tricks too. Use cover when it flies, and frost resist potions are especially handy for his adds, who you need to clear out as soon as they show up.

Thursday 21 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: Dorian

[Part of my Dragon Age: Inquisition play through. Spoilers ahead!]

It's freezing! Why is a desert freezing? Cold desert wasteland. "Let's send Dorian!"

I read somewhere you can sink into sand. Just... whoop! Down you go. Do they have sand worms here? Giant sand worms? No? Ah, the Venatori. It will be wonderful to rid the world of these cretins. Just what are my fellow countrymen up to all the way out here? I know I'm supposed to just be "observing" but I was never good at doing what other people wanted, and I need to prove that Tevinter isn't the source of everything bad and evil in the world.

Tevinter's sparkliest mage.

Dwarven ruins on the surface. That must be a year's worth of argument for the scholars. An enchantment designed to keep people out. A warning, or possibly a test. Someone should do something about that. Are they really searching for more artifacts for Corypheus after he pulled an archdemon out of his arse? Oh, look—a dragon. What a perfect way to ruin our day. I can't decide if it's impressive or disconcerting.

So much for that. Our dear commander might crack a smile for once. Well, I’m rather sick of this place and I shouldn't keep them waiting, it's so impolite.

Insight: The deserts are finally an area where you should use a mount for travel. Otherwise, mounts are best used to jump off cliffs because they negate all fall damage somehow.

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: Cassandra

[Part of my Dragon Age: Inquisition play through. Spoilers ahead!]

My ancestors hunted dragons here ages ago. Hard to picture what it was like then. Some call them majestic beasts. Majestic? Say that after you see a pile of dragon shit bigger than your house. Now these Exalted Plains are a contested battlefield of the civil war, but upcoming peace talks have left the battlements barren, save for the dead. And the dead do not rest here.

Ugh, that smell. This... this is blood magic. A last resort of the desperate deserters, blindly following a Venatori master to sow chaos against Empress Celene's army. They will not succeed. I will not let them. "Into darkness, unafraid."

When it is done, I would like to be with the Inquisitor again. He has grown quickly into someone I truly care for. It has been too long since we have traveled together. I have missed it.

Smutty literature is the way to her heart!

Insight: The lightning dragon here is fought in a swamp. For obvious reasons, try not to stand in the water when in breathes at you!

Tuesday 19 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: Solas

[Part of my Dragon Age: Inquisition play through. Spoilers ahead!]

As wise as he is bald.

These forests have changed much since I was last here.

The Emerald Knights. They once patrolled the borders of the Dales, protecting the Elven people. The Dalish saw them as romantic heroes. The Chantry called them ruthless butchers. I suspect both sides have some element of truth. My people built a life here... it must have been something to see.

Now these woods and ruins hide deserters from civil war in Orlais, ones aligned with the Red Templars. Some are thoughtful soldiers doing what they believe is right. The rest? Younger sons, petty criminals, thugs, bullies, orphans. Either they are accustomed to a life without choices, to following even the worst orders... or they have learned to enjoy causing pain, to leap at any chance to swing a sword harder.

We have all seen terrible things. We have watched death and destruction render that which we love unrecognizable. I wonder if there is a single place in the Dales that does not know a human footstep. They must be driven away.

Insight: Since my graphics card hates displaying high quality fire, I made all my mages study a combination of ice and lightning.

Monday 18 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: Vivienne

[Part of my Dragon Age: Inquisition play through. Spoilers ahead!]

This weather is not ideal for travel in the mountains, my dear. I should have brought my fur coat.

Dresses with chest windows don't keep you warm? I wonder why...

Leliana's reports were correct. The Red Templars at Emprise du Lion did have a charming red lyrium mining operation here, the poor dears. These renegades who sully the name of the templars were easily ousted through the responsibly supervised use of our more magically inclined conscripts. I just wish we had more proper chevaliers in the Inquisition and fewer... lowlife thugs to pursue them to the forests.

I do hope you've given some thought about Cole, my dear. Whether he is a spirit or a demon is irrelevant. Neither can be trusted. The harmless-looking ones are always the most dangerous. All it can do is harm. Remember that.

You know, darling, this place gives me an idea for redoing the small winter breakfast room in Chateau Ghislain. I shall be happy to return to civilization again.

Insight: There are three dragons at the end of Emprise du Lion who you fight individually in coliseums. The one in the middle uses the most tricks, having adds, bombing runs, and armor. If you take stairs up, prepare for ice dragons. If you take stairs down you'll find a sleeping fire dragon.

Sunday 17 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: Cole

[Part of my Dragon Age: Inquisition play through. Spoilers ahead!]

The people in Crestwood need help. They're frightened inside. Trapped by the walls that protect them.

Dead things come from the lake. They want to go home. That's why they take the bodies. They watched the dead and dying, pressing close, clustered to hear, and forgot how to go back.

So many old songs under the water. It sounds different. The water changes the song. The mayor dreams about this place. Shock and shame and hurt. His shame had this shape. The shape of the dam controls. I could help him. Make him forget. But the others won't. He's hurt so many.

It's not just Cole's hat that takes some getting used to.

So much water. Where does it go? It's very wet.

It's quiet. The dead at peace. Soldiers have taken the mayor away. It's time to go back but the mud wants my feet to stay.

Insight: Somehow, the lightning dragon of Crestwood (on paper, second lowest level of all the dragons) is one of the hardest ones I've fought in the game. It doesn't use any tricks or unreachable spots but the wide open ground and its sniping ability made it a very long fight. Maybe I was just under geared?

Tales of the Blight II: Blackwall

[Part of my Dragon Age: Inquisition play through. Spoilers ahead!]

Sounds like legitimate banditry.
As the only Grey Warden in the Inquisition, it was no surprise that I'd be the one sent to secure an alliance with the dwarves of Orzammar especially now they've asked for aid with all the recent earthquakes disrupting their trade routes and reopening passages for the darkspawn to pour out from.

Soon enough I made contact with a unit of their "Legion of the Dead" in the Deep Roads. They're a good bunch. Tough in a fight. Fearless. Two of them, Renn and Valta, decided to come along to try determine the unnatural nature of the quakes. Down and down we went, killing darkspawn by the dozens, until we reached a place of darkness that even the darkspawn knew better than to enter.

Renn died there in that darkness, against "pure" dwarves infused to lyrium armor. Valta and I pushed on, found what they were guarding: a lyrium heart which Valta thought to be part of a sleeping titan. Somehow she managed to calm it down, stopping the quakes it was causing. She chose to stay with it, with them, to let me return to the surface. She fulfilled her duty. Orzammar was happy with this result, accepting the Inquisition alliance.

Upon my return, Bull asked how I was still alive. I told him the Maker has a soft spot for fools.

Insight: I didn't realize the Deep Roads is a DLC which means it is WAY harder than other content. From it I learned early on you can actually revive downed companions which makes a rogue's invisibility very useful. Doubly so in that you can abuse enemy leashing, and the fact they don't heal. Fights might take awhile but as long as you can get far enough away to get everyone up, you can make progress.

Friday 15 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: The Herald

[Part of my Dragon Age: Inquisition play through. Spoilers ahead!]

The Herald of Andraste's second attempt at closing the breach is a success, now that he is backed by the Redcliffe mages conscripted to the Inquisition - but the victory party is short lived as a massive enemy force descends upon the hamlet that night: An army of templars, dubbed "Red Templars" by Varric, as they are all clearly under the effect of red lyrium like the templar leader in Kirkwall slain years ago.

A young boy named Cole manages to alert the town in time to get their trebuchets and other defenses ready which eliminates much of the enemy force, but not enough to stop a red lyrium dragon and the Elder One. The Herald confronts him alone to buy time for the others to escape, and this Elder One who calls himself Corypheus accuses the Herald of stealing the "anchor" from him - using his big magic ball to try reclaim the rift power in the Herald's hand... but fails.

I love fondling my magic ball.

Accepting he'll have to find another way to achieve his goal of god hood, Corypheus tries next to simply kill the Herald, but an avalanche that destroys Haven forces him to flee and buries the Herald in a cave. Somehow touching Corypheus' ball has made the anchor grow more powerful - and the Herald uses it to blast his way out of the mountain and regroup with the survivors.

With the village lost, it falls to Solas to lead the Inquisition to Skyhold, a forgotten fortress high in the mountains to begin anew - and it is here where Cassandra proclaims the official leader of this Inquisition to be the Herald, now officially "the Inquisitor", to the cheers of many.

Insight: If you are a kleptomaniac like I am, you'll want to get the perks which increase inventory space. You'll also want the fine tools perk to open the "harder" locked doors.

Thursday 14 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: Iron Bull

[Part of my Dragon Age: Inquisition play through. Spoilers ahead!]

So much rain. The Storm Coast reminds me of Seheron, only colder. The Inquisition has sent me and my chargers to the region for a two prong mission, like a pincer attack! First, to find the missing Grey Wardens because somehow that entire group has just vanished, and second to provide cover for a dreadnaught laying down fire from the shore on a Vint operation here to secure an alliance with the Qunari.

If the reports are true, the inquisition is going to need all the alliances it can muster as all the templars just suddenly decided to defect from their sacred Chantry to join the bad guys. Maybe that's why the boss hired us despite telling him up front that I was a Qunari spy.

After searching all the spider infested caves and questioning many bandits we finally found one Grey Warden called Blackwall who maybe we can use. As for covering the ship against the Vint mages and their magic crap, we did our duty. The alliance is secured at the cost of all my guys.

His real name is "Liar".

Shit. Damp just gets in everywhere, doesn't it. I need a drink!

Insight: You can only get to the lightning dragon in this region once you are level 16 or higher. I recommend being level 20+.

Wednesday 13 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: Varric

[Part of my Dragon Age: Inquisition play through. Spoilers ahead!]

The Herald of Andraste, that's what they're calling him now - and because of that some muscle brained Avvar barbarian down in the mire decided to challenge him to a duel to the death. The chosen of their gods against the chosen of ours, with only the lives of some hostages at stake. I could not make this shit up if I tried, and believe me - I've made up a lot of shit in my time.

So while the Herald deals with that, I now find myself in the ass-end of nowhere recruiting people and horses and mercenaries for this new Inquisition. At least I'm no longer a prisoner said the Seeker, yet here I am doing what she asked. Did I just get downgraded to a slave? That's a funny thought.

He still has some of the best lines.

Not many are willing or able to join though, not with Blondies' war still going on. Mages and templars, and innocent people caught in the middle. At least the rebel mages in Redcliffe are willing to meet, but it turns out they've basically sold themselves to some Tevinter magister who wants to personally negotiate with the Herald.

If your money's on this being a trap, you were right. Dorian, an apprentice of this magister with the most sparkly Tevinter mustache you'll ever see, confirmed his master is part of the "Venatori" - some radical group serving "the Elder One". With a few well placed bolts and some magical protection from Sparkles, the magister was convinced to hand over both the mages and the Elder One's plans which involve the assassination of the Empress or Orlais and a demon army. Like I said, I could not make this shit up if I tried.

Insight: In the mire map, walking into the water spawns undead. Contrary to what is suggested, do not avoid it. Spawn as many undead as you can to level up. There's also a fire dragon in the Hinterlands whose fight is almost exactly like the high dragon in Dragon Age 2, where is summons adds and flies to unreachable places to snipe. Have potions ready for it!

Tuesday 12 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: Trevelyan

[Part of my Dragon Age: Inquisition play through. Spoilers ahead!]

Trevelyan awoke as a prisoner of Seeker Cassandra (who has changed much from the last time we saw her). With some missing memories, he had no answers to the charge of killing the Divine (the "pope" of the Chantry) by exploding her entire temple and leaving a huge breach to the fade in its place, nor to how he walked out of it alive with a strange green glow his left hand now possessed.

At least we know where to go!

As evil spirits and demons were now entering the world, Cassandra had no choice but to trust the elven apostate Solas, self proclaimed scholar of the fade, who suggested this power might be able to close the breach if Trevelyan got close enough. With a few chantry soldiers and her personally led expendable forward team of Solas, Trevelyan and dwarven prisoner Varric, they pushed through the numerous demons, closing the smaller door-sized rifts on the way before reaching the main breach. With much strain, Trevelyan uses his new power on it and... passes out.

He awakes in the small, snowy village of Haven - where survivors salute and kneel before him, coining him "the Herald of Andraste" since he was able to make the breach dormant (but not closed entirely). With this momentum, Cassandra declares the Inquisition reborn - to uncover who created the breach and killed the Divine to bring them to justice.

Insight: Interrupting rifts can stun and debuff the demons around it, but this was only most useful against the armored pride ones or the annoying despair ones that hop around. For all other types it was often fastest to just fight and kill them directly (unless they got too far).

Monday 11 October 2021

Wonder Woman 1984

Wishes are bad. Guess someone wished for a sequel.

When a wish granting magical stone falls into the wrong hands it is up to super heroine Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) to save the world. While it has funny moments, cool effects, and the beautiful Gal Gadot, there's something very tame about the whole thing. For starters, remember how she massacred Germans in the first film which was awesome? Yeah. Not so much this time around.

Bad guys lucky day.

There's also a problem in making Wonder Woman use new skills, which she uses exactly once. Indeed the highlight for me surprisingly turned out to be Chris Pine's sections. Not really recommended, I give it two geologists out of five. 

Sunday 10 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: Blood Politics

[Part of my Dragon Age 2 play through. Spoilers ahead!]

With the viscount dead, there is continued squabbling among the leadership of the anti-magic templars and safe-magic Circle of who to take charge. Only the leader of the religious chantry provides the balance to prevent a war between these two, and while Hawke is away slaying a high dragon who destroyed the mines and helping Merrill rebuild a demonic mirror which EVERYONE says is bad a idea, paranoid Anders goes the terrorist route and blows up the entire chantry proving once and for all that ALL MAGES ARE BAD AND MUST DIE.

It was me! I was the bad guy the whole time!

This notion is built upon even more when Merrill kills her entire ex-clan when they confront her about her own illegal magic. As usual it is up to THE CHAMPION OF KIRKWALL to sort this mess out, by killing Merrill and executing Anders. Luckily, the templars share Hawke's views and assist him and his remaining allies Aveline and Varric (whom they first have to rescue from said mages) in storming their local headquarters to massacre them all. As they say, the only good mage is a dead mage!

Once the dust settles it is revealed the leader of the templars is also a bit crazy thanks to her sword being infused with the cursed idol she had bought from Varric's brother years ago. Knowing Hawke would be the next one to challenge her authority someday, she orders him executed immediately but is easily slain by her quarry.

Fearing for their lives, the remaining soldiers and citizens kneel down to worship their new, rightful leader: Hawke, who orders Aveline and her guards to do horrible things to anyone breaks any of his laws and sends Varric to start hunting down and executing mages in the surrounding areas. Not bad for someone who arrived as a penniless refugee.

Insight: The two hardest fights of the game for me were the initial assault on the circle mages HQ as they had barricaded themselves well and the high dragon, who cheats a lot / is a very smart dragon. As a rogue, stealth and lots of stam and HP pots were the key to winning.

Saturday 9 October 2021

Free Guy and Escape Room (1 & 2)

All about trapped protagonists.

Free Guy

Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is mostly content at his bank job in Free City, until he learns that its not all as it seems. For a predictable plot this is actually very good, with excellent special effects and many funny moments that will appeal to everyone, especially online gamers. Good script + good acting = highly recommended, I give it four out of five and would easily watch this one again.

Escape Room

Six strangers all take the bait to participate in an escape room scenario to change their lives. What they don't know is this particular one is tailored for them, using a seemingly implausible unlimited budget, and features many death traps. While the rooms themselves border on unbelievable, this makes for great entertainment to see which of the six - if any - will survive the ordeal, which is definitely a genre in my wheelhouse! It's not perfect by any means but definitely worth a watch once (be warned, one room has flashing lights the entire time), I give it three lighters out of five.

There's no getting out.

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions

A direct sequel to Escape Room sees more hapless fools drawn into even crazier puzzles, but this time we get to see more of the people behind the dastardly design. Highly recommended if you enjoyed the first movie as it is very much more of the same just with even more nonsensical solutions (or explained away too quickly for me) in some cases. Another three sea shells out of five.

Tales of the Blight II: Champion of Kirkwall

[Part of my Dragon Age 2 play through. Spoilers ahead!]

Despite their best efforts, Arishok launches a full scale attack on Kirkwall - somehow overpowering the locals with inferior numbers and executing the viscount. With the city full of death, Hawke's team confronts Arishok at the keep and learns the only reason the Qunari are even still here is because a thief had stolen their precious book relic years ago.  

By taking action, you proved them all to be correct in their hate for you.

Isabella fesses up that she is that thief and hands over the book she had not yet found a buyer for, so the Arishok agrees to take his people and go - as long as they can also take Isabella with them to punish her in many undisclosed ways. To her shock, Hawke agrees. Too many people suffered and died due to that stupid bitches greed. With that "sacrifice", he ends the war and saves the entire city to be rightfully proclaimed THE CHAMPION OF KIRKWALL.

The city spends the next three years rebuilding (ANOTHER TIME SKIP?) while Hawke's fame soars to new heights, and he uses it to setup a meeting between Fenris and his sister. This trap works wonderfully as Fenris' hated abusive ex-master arrives and offers to purchase the idiot back. Hawke readily agrees as the master is quite influential in his country of Tevinter and offers the first step to an alliance with Kirkwall - a no-brainer win compared to keeping the back stabbing, word-breaking, cowardly Fenris who, for all his bluster about living to kill his master, meekly submits like a bitch when he has no backup. Everyone cheers as Fenris is led away in chains for another amazing victory for THE CHAMPION OF KIRKWALL! HUZZAH!

Insight: Act III has a lot more bugs than the earlier segments. Spread out your save games to counter this.

Thursday 7 October 2021

Kate, Yasuke and Kenshin: The Beginning

Two tragedies (and one animated WTF) set in Japan.


When the titular assassin (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is poisoned, she is on borrowed time to enact revenge and perhaps become a better person for it. While the plot is pretty straight forward, it is in the telling that kept us captivated - especially when set against the backdrop of modern day Japan. I'm pretty sure there was a cameo of the Tokyo Ghoul anime in there too.

She's having a bad day.

Of course it helps that there is a decent body count and some exciting action scenes to help things along, though some of Kate's kicks really don't look like they have much power behind them. Still something I'd watch again, I give it two and a half Boom Boom Lemons out of five.

Yasuke (Season 1)

Set in Japan during the honorable times of the samurai, spell casters and giant mecha, a black man (the titular Yasuke) gets roped into saving the country. This animated series definitely goes off the rails early and the art is well animated with action sequences aplenty. Most importantly Yasuke himself is a good character, making us eager to watch him every episode. The plot is actually mostly ok too, despite being a really odd blend. Recommended if you want something different, I give this two and a half Nobunagas out of five. I don't really care if there's a Season 2 for this one though.

Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning

While it's funny that "The Final" comes out before this, I can safetly say that its because this is a better movie story wise. All throughout the other films people keep mentioning how Kenshin was once a cold blooded killer - well, this film focuses on that part of his life and it actually helps that most of the fights, while still epic and cool, are not too over the top like some of the previous ones have been (no mid air dodging a chain gun here lol).

That said, the antagonists certainly make a lot of mistakes and if you've seen the anime counterpart of this movie it plays almost exactly the same (but this one is superior). Also towards the end there are a lot of "let the camera stay on this character who isn't doing anything" shots which is a bit odd, but this is still a good movie and a must for Kenshin fans. I give it three and a half scars out of five.

Wednesday 6 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: The Peacekeepers

[Part of my Dragon Age 2 play through. Spoilers ahead!]

The Qunari are a strange, horned race and their leader Arishok insists that despite having been in Kirkwall for years now, they are unable to go home. Almost daily, anti-Qunari sentiment grows as Hawke tries to keep everyone calm. Aveline is too busy trying to get into the pants of one of her subordinates to help so he relies instead on the magical talents of Merrill and Anders, and the "other" talents of Isabella who he has a fling with.

Since Isabella is also seeing Fenris, Hawke gets roped into defending him against cronies of his old masters who tell Fenris about his long lost sister. Despite promising to spare them for the information, Fenris kills them, solidifying to Hawke that the white haired elf shouldn't be trusted.

That's a lot of bad guys! Glad I have stealth... :)

When assisting a dreamer from magical nightmares (by going into his dream), Hawke also learns he can't really trust Merrill who puts her clan above her loyalty to him (despite them exiling her), and Isabella who "likes big boats" and all things materialistic. Indeed, only paranoid Anders seems to be the only reliable companion. Him and Varric that is.

While Hawke's team is running around, beating up people to convince them violence isn't the answer, Varric finally finds and kills his brother who left them in the Deep Roads. Surprisingly, there is proof he had sold the cursed idol to some unfortunate buyer. Varric hopes whoever that was is long gone from Kirkwall.

There's no time to look though as Hawke's mom is abducted by the resident Kirkwall serial killer, a mage who is using pieces of his victims to Frankenstein his own mother back to life. They are too late to save anyone, but the experience certainly instills in Hawke a huge distrust in all mages. Sorry Anders. It seems only Varric can be trusted!

Varric has the best lines.

Insight: For the casters, learn the spell Rock Armor. It's super effective! Also after each time skip expect to be exploring the same areas you've already explored to fight things you've fought before in other areas. Nice game design... not!

Tuesday 5 October 2021

Blood in Space: Templar Battleforce Tharsis

Two turn based games with death among the stars.

Templar Battleforce

With deadly xenos threatening to invade the colonies, it is up to you and your battleforce to save the day in this turn based strategy game. Don't let the simple cover art fool you, despite the many similarities this is no Warhammer 40K as you need to manage more than just the endless swarm of xenos (and other enemies)... each of your templars are in battle suits which have a huge problem in that they overheat & explode!

Not so bad if you just have to hold position (overwatch is awesome) but in the majority of the levels, speed is the key to victory (and engineer turrets help). Do you risk losing your men to win the mission? Especially when said soldiers level up through the campaign with you? Highly recommended for tactics buffs, and there's a decent story to boot. Three Spear Cutters out of five.


Going to Mars was never going to be easy, but no one expected it to be this hard either! Left in command of a damaged space ship, you must organize your crew to survive the many hazards en route. In an interesting twist, most of this is by dice rolling, and those dice can do various other things depending on the character and the location they are in meaning you might be tempted to not fix every problem.

Eat the weak. Muahahahaha!

With such a strong board game feel you'd think I'd like this more, but I guess it just feels too random. Got a few bad rolls? Welp, that's probably the beginning of the end as things just pile on without any hope of getting better. Two mini meteorites out of five. Not really recommended. 

Monday 4 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: Band of the Hawke

[Part of my Dragon Age 2 play through. Spoilers ahead!]

One of the tasks Hawke's team undertakes is to be the unsuspecting assassination target in place of elven ex-slave and mage hater Fenris. This results in Hawke and company killing their smuggler employer and moving onto the more lucrative task of clearing out some baby dragons nesting in the local mine. Soon after, Hawke finds Fenris' counterpart, ex-Grey Warden mage Anders who hates all the things that oppress mages and is willing to donate some maps for the Deep Roads expedition.

Finally ready with a heavy coin purse, Hawke and Beth join the dwarves on their expedition - spelunking with Varric, Bianca (his crossbow) and Isabella, an ex-pirate captain and tavern regular with low morals who is on the lookout for some special relic. During this time Varric's brother finds a cursed idol and abandons the team in a bad spot, resulting in Beth's demise but the rest of the party return richer than before... so much so that Hawke buys a mansion in the posh high town over the next three years (another time skip!?) for his mother.

Isabella is a klepto.

During this time, Aveline is promoted to guard-captain, Merrill now fully exiled from her clan moves into Kirkwall's elven alienage in the low town slums, Anders continues being paranoid in the dark town sewers, and Isabella and Varric waste all their earnings at the tavern. Before he can get too out of shape, Hawke is summoned by the viscount of Kirkwall for a most important task: to keep the peace between the populace and the Qunari who have been given an encampment down at the docks district.

Insight: If you play a thief, get stealth ASAP. Without it you get smashed easily. With it you are OP as you can just wait for your potion cool downs or even run off to abuse enemy leash mechanics, meaning you can come back to pick off piece meal what was once a big group.

Squid Game (Korean TV Series)

Might make you want to try Squid Game. :P

Drowning in debts and desperate for money, Gi-hun decides to join a mysterious game that involves hundreds of others who are in the same financial situation. To win a massive cash prize, all they have to do is pass six games. The only catch is being eliminated means you die.

There is a lot of elimination.

Backed by a high budget, good acting and a really great script this has easily become one of my favourite series. Obviously this also means there's a fair bit of violence, gore and a high body count but it makes for some excellent viewing. Highly, highly recommended and I would definitely watch all this (currently) one season show again. Four squid games out of five.

Sunday 3 October 2021

Tales of the Blight II: Kirkwall Refugees

[Part of my Dragon Age 2 play through. Spoilers ahead!]

With darkspawn coming from all sides, Hawke flees with a handful of other refugees into the wilds and is saved in the nick of time by a huge red dragon, who turns out to be the witch Flemeth. In exchange for delivering an amulet of hers, she helps them reach the harbour where Hawke and the remaining survivors sail to Kirkwall (and not to Dunwall, too many Dishonoreds there) to meet his uncle at the gates. Alas said uncle has squandered the family fortune, so he sells Hawke, his sister Beth, and traveling companion Aveline into a year of indentured service to some smugglers while taking Hawke's mother through the city gates.

One handy time skip later and a year has passed, during which time the Hero of Ferelden stopped the blight. Knowing this is the prime time to enter the Deep Roads (home of the darkspawn) in search of treasure, a dwarf named Varric and his brother begin setting up an expedition to delve below. Hawke is welcome to join if he can front the gold as a partner, and knows this is the opportunity to change his family's fortunes now that he's no longer a slave. With zero coin to his name it's time to look for work, starting with his old friend Aveline - now part of the Kirkwall guard who is so good at her job, she finds proof the current guard-captain a corrupt scum and gets him fired.

Guess who is back to eat more of her daughters?

With Beth, the trio can finally also deliver Flemeth's amulet to the Dalish gypsy camp up the mountain where apprentice in exile Merrill performs some blood magic at a mountain top altar, revealing the necklace was a phylactery. Her spell revives a thankful Flemeth, who transforms again into a dragon and flies off. Since none of this really helps his financial situation, the trio soon head back to the smugglers to look for work - at least this time they'll get paid!

Insight: Inventory space is limited so always sell the junk treasure and buy the bag that increases the holding capacity. Also, geez - what a decrease in quality from Dragon Age: Origins!

Tales of the Blight II: More Dragon Age

Because there's more than Dragon Age Origins, and I've only gotten around to playing it now. Once again edited for my amusement but there are still spoilers for those who haven't played it! Be warned!

Dragon Age 2
Chapter 1 - Kirkwall Refugees
Chapter 2 - Band of the Hawke
Chapter 3 - The Peacekeepers
Chapter 4 - Champion of Kirkwall
Chapter 5 - Blood Politics

Dragon Age Inquisition
Chapter 6 - Trevelyan
Chapter 7 - Varric
Chapter 8 - Iron Bull
Chapter 9 - The Herald
Chapter 10 - Blackwall
Chapter 11 - Cole
Chapter 12 - Vivienne
Chapter 13 - Solas
Chapter 14 - Cassandra
Chapter 15 - Dorian
Chapter 16 - Sera
Chapter 17 - Hawke
Chapter 18 - Leliana
Chapter 19 - Morrigan
Chapter 20 - The Inquisitor

This story has ended! Thank you for reading!

Saturday 2 October 2021

Saints Row the Third

Introduces Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax!

When the Saints, now local celebrities, are captured by a rival crime syndicate it is up to you and the gang to claw take their island city away from these scumbags piece by piece. Much like the previous game, this open world has a lot of activities to do on top of the actual plot and is quite funny. The wide variety will ensure that while there are some you will hate, others will be very fun and nothing ever really feels grindy especially as most of them are optional. There is a good deal of customization too and thankfully the vehicle controls are pretty good, because you'll be spending a lot of time in them.

Even more crazy than last time!

While there are no huge story branches I did like that there were choices to be made during the main story which had some minor effect. Alas I wasn't too keen on the radio stations this time around - less catchy tunes I suppose and there was one mission where the NPCs kept failing the mission for me (colliding helicopters lol) which required a fresh restart of the game. Also Steelport, where this game takes place, feels inferior to the Stilwater map from the last game. Still very fun and quite addictive, I give this three penetrators out of five.

Friday 1 October 2021

State of Decay 2: The Forsaken

[Part of the Diary of Zombies]

With more and more enemy enclaves appearing Kraken takes the lead and begins sending out execution squads to eliminate all of them, especially when informant Guy arrives seeking asylum with a warning that all these groups are banding together under a new coalition. Daniel manages to locate some of these and Kraken takes Guy to confront and kill them, leaving the last one alive: it's Chavez!?

He spills the beans on the coalition HQ at a nearby factory then somehow dodges Kraken's execution shot and escapes (bugged out as she fired the completely wrong way). Kraken and Guy race to the factory and kill what they think is the coalition leadership, returning to Fort Marshall in victory. Elsewhere the true leader, Ray Santos, meets with Chavez and IzzBee - saying Kraken's group have killed more humans in the past few days than the zombies. Chavez indicates Beebo Bee has already modified the Haven protocol at the base, all that is needed is for IzzBee to send the kill order against these Forsaken.

Unwilling to be part of another mass murder/accident IzzBee refuses, but Dr. Hoffman has no qualms about testing CLEO's capabilities and sends the order herself. Everyone at Fort Marshall is suddenly wracked with excrutiating pain as their brains begin to boil and one by one their heads all explode. They aren't so much different from the zombies after all, and CLEO is happy to continue to meet her mandate of "protect the most humans". Community killed from legacy screen - only Beebo Bee survives!

Heads go pop!

Insight: It was fun to revisit Trumbull again after Heartland, I just wish IzzBee's Red Talon drop quest wasn't so repetitive. Also at a guess, there's a good chance Quincy, Helena, Keesha and Isaac are dead too from the Jurassic Junction incident as those are all optional characters to play/encounter. On the flip side Captain Logan has a better chance of showing up again than those four as he is a mandatory character from Heartland.