Friday 30 June 2023

Pathfinder: Black Fang's Lair II

[Part of the Party Time journal]

The reefclaw decides to be greedy, leaving Juris bleeding out on the far bank as it appears right beside the others on the opposite shore. The dice roll luck makes this a pretty tough foe but it is eventually laid low by the team. Luckily Juris manages to stabilize himself during this, and that the reefclaw doesn't have friends. Mom tries swim across next and gets half way before failing her swim roll, sinking down into the deep.

I follow after but have a rope tied to me with Rose tying the opposite end to the pillar. Warriors are good swimmers apparently, but instead of going across I dive down and get our thief back to the surface before we both get to the other side and anchor the rope to make for easier crossing. Juris is revived and among the reefclaw's treasures is a +1 long sword of dragon slaying. Beaten up by the reefclaw, we return to the goblin king and return his toy. Luckily he is a goblin of his word and even lets us rest there to recover before advancing to the crypt section guarded by skeletons.

Even the magic sword is almost useless against these (they get  a flat -5 resistance to non-blunt damage) but good thing Rose's cleric ability and Juris' cone of fire type spell is enough to take down the skelesquad, leaving the way open to a bigger chamber where Black Fang, a baby black dragon, awaits. Juris is hesitant to kill a baby but the dragon has no such qualms about killing us, striking me down with its first breath attack and flying right up to the party! Juris then remembers the goblin king mentioning something about the belly being the weak point and he and mom slam the dragon while Rose gets me back up. With a mighty (critical) swing the dragon slaying sword pierces Black Fang deeply and then... the dragon flees (aka DL decides not to kill us level 1 noobs LOL), leaving its small treasure horde and earning us the respect and monetary reward from the town. Introductory adventure complete!

Thursday 29 June 2023

Pathfinder: Black Fang's Lair

[Part of the Party Time journal]

Something's been munching on the local livestock, and after the locals found a black fang left in one of their sheep carcasses hire a (pre-made) party to track down and get rid of this creature before it moves up to killing people. Thus the team formed of a warrior (me), cleric (Rose), thief (mom), and wizard (Juris) heads to a nearby cave under the watchful eye of the dungeon master (DL).  

Two drunk goblins attack the team and die while Juris examines the corroded stone statue outside, and as the team moves in mom collects a healing potion from their refuse pile. Nearby Rose gains a blessing from a magical fountain before arriving at the goblin leader's chamber, where four of his minions squabble over something. Rose convinces the team to try talk to them first (hard for me to play neutral good, I wanted to get the drop on them!), and the leader is pleased that this shut up his minions.

He says he'll grant the team passage deeper in if they first find the toy stolen by his sister-brother (I guess these are very woke goblins) who ran off to the East. The team agree and head off in that direction, finding a room with a tempting altar upon which sits a magic gem. Before Juris can walk in to examine the pillars I step forward and throw a dead lizard looted from the drunk goblins at the altar, setting off a massive inferno trap which harms no one.

Rose manages to read the runes on the wall which is a version of "only the penitent man may pass" and mom crawls low beneath the fire to nab the gem. The team then continue into a heavily webbed corridor where they slay a giant spider feasting on the king's sister-brother and retrieve the toy but instead of backtracking opt to explore further, where Juris touches a pillar that gives him temporary waterbreathing and inspires him to swim across an underground river to reach something shiny on the other side. Instead, upon making it to the opposite bank he encounters a reefclaw (lobster man thing) which rolls a critical and downs him there, away from the others!

Wednesday 28 June 2023

Skyrim: Adventure Game (Board Game) - The Cult

[Part of the Party Time journal]

Twenty five years have passed with DL becoming a blacksmith in Markarth, Sky becoming a fixer in Rifter, Rose becoming an apothecary in Falkreath and mom taking up a courier job in Hjaalmarch. Now weaker than ever (pretty cool mechanic), they must be extra cautious to avoid the Thalmor patrols on the roads (lousy mechanic) as once again their cover lives are examined by the authorities. Sky gets info from the thieves guild that this round of inquisition is stemming from the unhappy Dunmer refugees from Morrowind who have even concocted a plot to assassinate High King Torygg! Alas, they are too late to warn the king who is slain by Ulfric Stormcloak at Solitude's Blue Palace and instead are drafted into opposing sides of the quickly brewing civil war: DL and Sky for the Stormcloaks, mom and Rose for the Imperials.

When Ulfric's execution is prevented by the arrival of a dragon, each side is tasked with trying to slay the great wyrms but while DL and Sky do that to collect lots of powerful dragon bone artifacts, Rose and mom assist the Imperials in gaining dominance over the province and gaining a windfall in wealth. Despite the head to head, they collectively discover it is actually a cult to Boethiah that is behind the latest events and access their hidden temple through a series of skill checks (super cool) and learn of the cults Dunmer master, Oviron.

While mom is tricked by the daedric prince Sanguine to ransack Windhelm, DL recruits deranged crusader Giara to the cause while Rose and Sky battle the entire graveyard of Morthal where Rose becomes a Thane and makes friends with "Edward" the vampire (we just call him that, but he makes an amazing summon in battle). Their new allies tell them of Oviron's location at Hrothgar, and so the entire team heads there beating down cultists on the way (need to keep their numbers down) and face Oviron and his cronies. Giara dies in battle but Oviron escapes through an oblivion gate. Not willing to let their prey escape, the team jump in to pursue him just as the gate closes in on itself... which is the end of the campaign.

An excellent finale with some great fights. I'm not convinced by the cultists you have to kill / Thalmor you have to evade mechanic though because they always move towards the active player, which means most of the time they're just walking in circles. The random monsters that just show up and go for cities are more fun, and don't hang around like a bad smell like those guys do.

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Skyrim: Adventure Game (Board Game) - The Traitor

[Part of the Party Time journal]

Now officially on the run, the team decide to split up and go to their various contacts for assistance: DL helps a suicidal bard get through some Hagravens, mom helps the Black Briars torch their opposition in Riften, Rose helps some cannibals defeat some vampires (huh?) and Sky helps some Talos worshippers, now illegal due to the White-Gold Concordat, obtain his helm from a crypt. Each of them indicate that there's a traitor in the Blades, but before they can work out who it is they are invited to a meeting by the local Blade grandmaster. Luckily they arrive late, as they find everyone else dead. By process of elimination, the only one whose body they don't find among the dead is the traitor.

As Thalmor agents begin becoming more and more prevalent, the team split up to go undercover again while still trying to glean information about Moivva's whereabouts. Rose does this by peacefully rebuilding Rorikstead and acting as a healer, mom becomes a performing artist (and pickpocket) in Solitude, and Sky listens to the daedric prince Mephala in trying to assassinate a local Jarl in exchange for information - but he fails in this task. DL goes the completely opposite way and tries to face Mephala on her own plane of Oblivion where she takes his likeness. That does not go well at all and DL ends up trapped in Oblivion for a long, long time (which is a seriously terrible design decision because its basically, on your turn roll 3 "6"s on a 3D6 to continue playing, and that's not fun at all).

Somehow, he manages it eventually while the other three simply keep the random events at bay (its a long session) but at least by that time they have the location of Moivva. The trio fight her, her goons and the traitorous Blade in a pretty easy battle and end up executing her. With sweet vengeance dished out, the four decide to split up again to continue hiding from the Thalmor in semi-retirement.

For some reason all the combats in these particular chapters was really boring / easy. Possibly because we leveled up so much while DL was stuck in Oblivion (can't complete mission without all players being at X location).

Monday 26 June 2023

Skyrim: Adventure Game (Board Game) - The Blades

[Part of the Party Time journal]

The "Blades", undercover special forces of the Emperor are present everywhere - even during the great war. In the Northern lands of Skyrim, mom (a sneaky Khajiit) eludes a mercenary squad sent after her while Rose (a magus Altmer) barely escapes arrest as DL (sword wielding Imperial) defeats the guardsmen that held her custody (in a really tough fight to solo). Yazish the orc helps them escape to Whiterun where Sky (Me, a sneaky Nord: because I play how I played in the PC game) is helping to defend against some wandering Dremora.  

While Yazish is slain in this battle, he asks Rose to help his clan mates near Riften so she and DL go there and free their camp form a Nordic siege but when they decline to assist in helping the Orsimer to attack Riften the pair are thrown into a pit leading to an underground Dwemer City! At the same time Mom and Sky are in a different Dwemer city, laying a trap for those mercenaries still on her tail. Using an unstable dwemer device, Sky explodes them all and they find clues on who is hunting them: a khajiit named Moivva Karnai.


M'aiq thinks you need some skooma.

When all four return top side they meet at their rally point and using the information gained raid Moivva's hideout at Dawnstar for hard evidence of a massive conspiracy which they take to Solitude to present to the High King. Alas, instead of listening to their case he instead delivers the bad news: the war is over. The White-Gold concordat is signed. He tosses them each a bag of gold and tells them to go into hiding.

Pretty cool start with varying degrees of difficulty, though it did take people awhile to get that magic armor only protects against magic, heavy armor only protects against heavy attacks, and light armor only protects against light attacks. Yes, so the little dagger that only does light attacks will cut right through your +5 magical heavy plate of bullshitery. While the higher level enemies stack armor of each type to make them "tough", the players will almost always have at least one weakness.

Party Time: RPG Adventures

Just a place for me to collate RPG adventures with my team. :)

Skyrim: Adventure Game
Chapter 1 - The Blades
Chapter 2 - The Traitor
Chapter 3 - The Cult

Pathfinder
Chapter 1 - Black Fang's Lair (29 June 2023)
Chapter 2 - Black Fang's Lair II (30 June 2023)
Chapter 3 - The Ruins of Raven's Watch (5 July 2023)
Chapter 4 - The Ruins of Raven's Watch II (6 July 2023)
Chapter 5 - The Swallowtail Festival (3 September 2023)
Chapter 6 - The Glassworks (24 October 2023)
Chapter 7 - Goblin Interrupted (7 November 2023)
Chapter 8 - Thistletop (18 November 2023)
Chapter 9 - Thistlemiddle (19 November 2023)
Chapter 10 - Thistlebottom (1 December 2023)

Gloomhaven (Digital)
Chapter 1 - Black Barrow Lair (1 July 2023)
Chapter 2 - Inox Warehouse of the Damned (3 July 2023)
Chapter 3 - The Ruinous Toxic Well (4 July 2023)
Chapter 4 - Hail to the Void (1 August 2023)
Chapter 5 - Jekserah's Corruption (9 September 2023)
Chapter 6 - The Deep Sh*t Ruins (6 November 2023)
Chapter 7 - Treasure and the Trials of the Terrible Turd Tunnels (30 Nov 2023)
Chapter 8 - Unlocking the Sun (15 December 2023)

Sunday 25 June 2023

Saints Row: Gat out of Hell

Where ideas go to die?

Hell seems like the only logical place to go after the last Saints Row, and that's exactly where you get to visit as either Gat or Kinzie who are on a mission to save their abducted boss from Satan. Gat has some nice unique melee finishers and the system of super powers from IV makes a return here - only this time they are (un)holy abilities instead of glitching the system. The game is super short though and has cut down on many things.

There's a fewer variety of vehicles (which is ok since your super powers make them moot), almost all the citizens just look like naked ashen husks, there is no customization clothing wise and there are no radio stations. Before you even control a fourth of the map via the ever crazy distraction events you will already be invited to do the finale. Still fun, but it feels like an afternote to the series, which is probably why the option of "resetting the universe" as one of the endings is on offer and why there's a reboot of the franchise out there now.

Friday 23 June 2023

KAO, Saints Row IV and Breathedge

Single player silliness.

Kao the Kangaroo


In this very Australian children's action platformer you play as the titular kangaroo (who for some reason is good at boxing but not so great at jumping) who goes on a quest to find his sister. Very bright colors and silly enemies are everywhere you look, and while there's nothing wrong with the game per se, it doesn't really have anything that made me want to keep playing. Not recommended.

Saints Row IV

In a bid to continue to up the craziness ante, this time the Saints are early on captured by aliens and put into a virtual world as "torture" - and to rip off the Matrix. Clearly the alien overlord is an idiot since you basically get super powers in that environment, which negates the need for the many vehicles and to a lesser extent, weapons, that previously featured in  the previous outings.

While there are familiar faces aplenty it does feel like the stakes are lower for most of the game as it's "not real". Did those seventeen people you just exploded actually die? More than likely they were just strings of code. Anyway, this makes the parts of the game where you aren't in the simulation much more interesting but alas those are very few and far between. Still a fun distraction if you like the series though!

Breathedge

Dubbed an "ironic outer space survival game", there was no survival to be had at all as the install just never worked. Might be an unfair judgement but as other games had no problems with installing for me, this one must just be a lousy, worthless game if it can't even do that. The consumer should never need to "work" to make your product run.

Thursday 22 June 2023

RE:Verse / Midnight Ghost Hunt / Against all Odds

When players as content fails, because you don't have players.

RE:Verse

A multiplayer death match game using characters and creatures from the Resident Evil series might sound good, but in practice the slow, cumbersome movement that helps provide fear because your character isn't super agile makes it rather silly when put against other players. Then again I wouldn't know as there were no games I could match make with, as no one is playing it. Not recommended.

Midnight Ghost Hunt

In this team vs team action game, four ghosts attempt to hide by possessing regular items while four ghost busters hunters try to track them down and destroy them... in 5 minutes (because they are dumb and always arrive 5 minutes before midnight). When the clock strikes 12 the ghosts gain a lot of power to fight back and usually will slaughter the hunters. Basically a hide and seek game with weapons - but again no one was playing this. At least there's a bot mode if you want to try it out though.

Against all Odds

This party platforming race game has players traversing a deadly obstacle course (which is handy when you want to murder the competition) to see who can make it first to the finish line! Included is a map editor to make your own courses and there's silly commentary as you play... though most likely this will still be by yourself as again, there are no players. Not recommended.

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Resident Evil: Village

Welcome to Barovia?

Having some bad experiences in the USA (what with all those horrors set lose), Ethan Winters moves his family to Europe where they find a short period of peace before being abducted and taken to a run down village beneath the shadow of a looming castle in a valley full of monsters! No, there's no Strahd here but it's pretty close!


Expect to do a lot of running.

It's a strange setting for the Resident Evil series, but its done very well. There are shocks, scares and awesome terror especially at the start of the game. Later on when you can fight back effectively, the horror level drops a fair bit but its still quite enjoyable. Honestly, the only thing I didn't like is that the protagonist monologues a little too much at the worst times but otherwise, I highly recommend it!

Tuesday 20 June 2023

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

It's chaos.

This space Sci-Fi flick is deep in future territory where after a super long intro we find protagonists Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) on an undercover mission which lets the film show off its clearly heavily funded CGI that backs the many interesting ideas all rolled into it.


At least there's decent eye candy.

Unfortunately, despite the nice ideas and heavy budget the plot is a bit of a mess. It also doesn't help that Valerian is quite unlikable and remains so throughout the film. In fact the duo are quite happy to use and abandon people as collateral damage as long as it advances their own goals. It's frustrating because it feels this could have been a really good movie but... nope.

Monday 19 June 2023

The Night Agent and Citadel

Spying some season 1 reviews. It's Netflix vs Prime Video!

The Night Agent (Season 1)

In this Netflix series an FBI agent (Gabriel Basso) with a seemingly mundane task of answering a phone gets thrown into the thick of it when one such phone call leads him to a vast conspiracy that it seems everyone is a part of. There's the usual mix of not sure who to trust, love interest and just a pinch of action to make it interesting. Decent enough to recommend, but it doesn't really make itself stand out in any way. I'd still watch season 2 if it comes out.

Citadel (Season 1)

At the beginning of this Prime series, the mighty spy agency known as Citadel is destroyed by their enemies and it falls to a few surviving members (played by Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas) to piece together what happened and how to continue to stop the bad guys from completing their plans. Unlike the Night Agent this one stands out in incredibly silly (and possibly un-needed) but cool looking action sequences which is hilarious but detracts from the plot. On the other hand, the non-action stuff that deals with all the spy-related backstabbing is excellent, despite making heavy use of amnesia and flash backs. Definitely want a season 2 of this one, but apparently there'll be a few off shoot Citadel series first. This one wins today's "spy off"! Recommended!

Sunday 18 June 2023

The Flash (2014 TV Series) and Titans (2018 Series)

DC Superhero series.

The Flash

This nine season Arrowverse show follows Barry Allen (played by Grant Gustin), an individual gifted with super speed on his mission to protect his city and the ones he loves from all manner of bad guys. While it does start out strong each season becomes less polished with later episodes totally ignoring the Flash altogether and just focusing on the other members of his team. Why does the fastest man alive have a team? Well, because he (or the writers) continuously forget about his powers which is one of the most irritating aspects about the show (and the comics I'm guessing). Also, as his opponents are also usually speedsters the "speed battles" get really ridiculous later on... to the point of having light speed saber fights. Try it out and just drop it when it starts getting too silly for you is my recommendation.

Titans

Another show that lost polish as it progressed in its four season run. This one follows Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) in a "much darker style" show as he gathers a group of super powered individuals and forges them into a team. It's actually ok when it remembers to be dark and violent as there is some cool fight choreo, but especially later on they seem to have lost that memo and the plot does feel like the writers now didn't know what to do with any of the characters other than "lets put so and so in, because it would be cool!?" Another one you can try out but just drop once it gets too stupid.

Saturday 17 June 2023

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Kingdom

Going for another wild adventure!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Following the previous movie (and their Christmas high jinks), Starlord (Chris Pratt) and his crew have to shake off the rust and spring into action to save one of their own. This is top notch Marvel again, showing off a big budget with CGI, a good and funny script (though somewhat dark in places) with character growth and many cool fights. I really liked it - highly recommended!

Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Kingdom

When a Chinese princess arrives at the indomitable village in Gaul to ask for help against traitorous governor, it's up to the usual duo of Asterix and Obelix to go to her aid. While the comically styled effects are fine, the script is a strange one to say the least. It's nice that there is tension and resolution between the two protagonists and that there is decent wire-work combat involved (because China) but there are lots of stupid level jokes and most of the build up either goes nowhere. Much like Quantumania not a lot changes between the beginning and the end so... not recommended.

Friday 16 June 2023

Chernobylite: Heist

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Thanks to Mikhail the team gets their hands on an anti-air missile system which Igor uses to shoot down a chopper carrying the NAR top brass. This includes a general whom they interrogate and execute and Igor's pal Dr. Semonov who is the head researcher at the plant. Igor leaves him to die in the burning chopper as the team leave to finally hit the power plant heist/rescue mission!

Disguises and the general's pass phrase get the team past most of the checkpoints as does Tarakan's hacking but upon reaching the side door into the power plant Sashko is sniped by Olga who is now a fully indoctrinated NAR whore! Luckily Igor can still get Sashko's explosives to get through a locked door later on, and Mikhail manages to clear out some civilians with a prank evacuation drill.

Eventually the NAR do catch up to the team though, with Tarakan being gunned down for going to slow and Ollie shot in the face for going to fast. The Black Stalker confronts Igor in the finale, and their gunfight draws out into a fist fight with the Black Stalker losing only to reveal that he is actually Igor, which kills both of them in a mindsplosion. Luckily Mikhail survives to disconnect the portal that is letting the sentient Chernobylite into this world which immediately makes most of the alien crystal vanish. Now only the monsters remain.

Thursday 15 June 2023

Chernobylite: Enemy

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

With their success against the NAR a local village girl named Olga joins the squad and teaches Igor how to master the humble AK47, which he then upgrades to be a drum fed, long barrel sniper rifle for close to mid range - which is EPIC as now only duster squads pose a threat in combat. Despite this, the team still refuses to attempt the "heist" mission (a strange thing to call the rescue op) until they have more intel and tools.

So Igor follows their leads - collecting explosive charges for Sashko, stealing NAR lab data for Tarakan, saving a contact of Mikhail, stealing NAR uniforms, and exploring a secret prison in the Red Forest for Olga. At every important decision Igor doesn't side with Olga which upsets her so much that she leaves to join the NAR instead. LOL.

Most importantly, the Black Stalker has now taken a personal interest in Igor and pursues him into each zone with his cheating teleportation tactics and BFG. This means stealth is almost out the window altogether as Igor opts to rush objectives using his newly trained parkour skills from Sashko to avoid the stalker.

Wednesday 14 June 2023

Chernobylite: Acquaintance

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Igor's previous explosive adventure caught the attention of elderly crazed hacker Tarakan and his more nimble parkour buddy Sashko who organize a series of mental and physical tests for Igor to see if he is worthy of their help against the NAR, which includes exploding more things, dodging deadly traps if you recite a children's poem's incorrectly and racing across a zone to get to the top floor of a hospital within 10 minutes and then jumping off the roof.

While that last test gains Sashko's trust, Tarakan only joins when Igor rescues him from NAR troopers making him dig his own grave. As thanks, the old hacker upgrades Igor's detector to have very little downtime and also highlight enemies (as opposed to only resources). The upgraded revolver is also doing really well against the ever increasing NAR presence with the addition of Chernohosts - humanoid monsters who happily walk out into the sunlight, unlike their shadow variants.

These soon give way to the most horrid critter type: dusters - teleporting spiders that spit radioactive goo! Igor does his best to avoid them while intercepting  NAR scientist Dr. Semonov, an old acquaintance of Igor's, who says he is being pressured to continue research for the NAR. Unfortunately he has no useful intel to add at the moment so Igor lets him leave, hoping he will be an "inside man" when the time is right.

Tuesday 13 June 2023

Chernobylite: Rent

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Igor and Ollie begin separately scouring areas for food, weapons and intel - mostly stolen straight from the NAR - but thanks to Ollie's stealth training tutorial Igor manages to sneak around the NAR soldiers without too much hassle and makes it a point to take them out quietly. Good on the game for punishing your mental health if you just knife everyone, and that Ollie can train you in choke holds so that you can actually KO the soldiers instead of killing them which doesn't wreck your sanity.

On the fifth day, Mikhail, the owner of the warehouse they are based in calls in the favor Igor owes him (nothing is a "free" rental after all) - he wants an NAR database wiped. Igor does the task but only thanks to Mikhail causing an explosion in a building nearby to distract the guards, and the fool catches himself in it - getting stuck in a dark building so it is up to Igor to rescue him.

It's a good thing Igor brought Ollie's revolver for this one because there are also Chernobylite shadow monsters lurking in the buildings, and they quite happily make portals on any flat surface to enter / appear from. Doubly unsettling when the entire structure is filled with poisonous hallucinogen! After a stressful few minutes, the two men manage to escape and return to the warehouse.

Monday 12 June 2023

Chernobylite: Sarcophagus

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Igor stopped for a moment to admire the "sarcophagus" that now shielded the Chernobyl nuclear reactor number 4, but despite this a strange green mineral known as Chernobylite was still spreading throughout the zone which has attracted the attention of NAR troops who now controlled the site and for some reason have taken Igor's wife, Tatyana, hostage.


I'm still amazed how they got that on there (this is not an in game picture)

Under the cover of night Igor and his two allies Anton and Olivier barely mange to infiltrate the exterior portion of the plant when they are discovered by "the Black Stalker" who is ultra bullet resistant. This enemy breaks Ollie's arm and kills Anton with ease. With no choice but to abort the mission, Igor uses his portal gun (I assume kindly provided by one Dr. Rick Sanchez) to get himself and Ollie out of there.

Not about to give up just yet, the pair setup shop at a rundown warehouse that overlooks the entire zone around Chernobyl and Igor begins cleaning up and doing some minor base building (a major part of this game) to ensure all the base "stats" are at least in the neutral level.

Sunday 11 June 2023

Bioshock Infinity: Burial at Sea

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Booker wakes up in the underwater city of Rapture with little memory of what happened before and Elizabeth doesn't give him many hints, pushing him to help her on a case to find a missing girl - the latest in a string of disappearances, which has really upset Liz. Their investigation leads them to take a bathysphere down to an even deeper part of the city below, separated due to political rivalry. They catch sight of the missing girl early on but she quickly scampers into a vent to hide from them and the crazed, DNA altering addicts known as splicers that dwell down here. Fortunately a revolver bullet is still just as effective on them as on anyone else, but their attempt to secure the girl now transformed into a "little sister", angers a "Big Daddy" (scary diving suite brute) who drills through Booker's chest and smashes Liz through a wall.

She survives thanks to expending the last of her gift but wakes up a powerless captive of the gang leader Atlas who has also captured the little girl, and in exchange for their freedom Liz offers to refloat this section of the city. Atlas lets her try at least, and unlike Booker she has to be stealthy around foes - especially the patrolling Big Daddy in the main plaza. The silent crossbow that fires tranq and sleeping gas bolts is very handy as she ninjas around to find a lab and scavenge gear to repair the devices she needs. Good thing she was a studious prisoner!

Her contraption works and brings the deeper section back in line with the rest of Rapture which erupts into civil war. Obviously Atlas does not keep his word about setting her or the kidnapped girl free so he and his goons keep Liz around as a captive for a few weeks for their own amusement before growing too violent one night and leaving her to die forgotten and alone in the deep.

Safe to say that if you don't like downer endings, Bioshock Infinity (and its DLCs) aren't for you. It did do a good job of making me want to play the original Bioshock again though. :P

Saturday 10 June 2023

Bioshock Infinity: The Drownings

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Despite the gunsmith being deceased from a police interrogation, Booker and Liz manage to find the hidden weapon stash for the Vox - with Booker gaining a nice sniper rifle and RPG out of it which he uses to take down the pursuing Handyman. With the weapons quickly distributed the Vox start a very violent revolution across the city and predictably, they are just as traitorous, violent and evil as their oppressors - reneging on their airship deal to start hunting them too as Liz is the prophet's "chosen one". After exploding a lot of them, they take the airship anyway but are then stopped by the monstrous metal bird who crashes their ride into a building - and somehow they survive again? [Note: there's a stupid part where you already get an airship but decide to sabotage it because the protagonists are idiots]

Figuring that the only way to get past the bird is to control it, the pair head to the prophet's house but find the door locked by a scanner which will only accept the hand of the prophet's dead wife. She isn't as dead as they would like though, and must spend a decent chunk of time chasing the evil spirit around the market place as she raises the plentiful supply of dead bodies in her wake. They eventually get the gate open but Liz is captured by the metal bird as they are crossing the bridge to the estate. Fortunately, it only takes her somewhere inside so Booker goes in guns blazing against the prophet's elite until he can rescue the girl again and kill the prophet himself via drowning.


Curious that the bad guy didn't just do this prior to the rescue attempt.

Hijacking the prophet's airship, Elizabeth works out how to control the metal bird using the power of music and gets it to destroy the numerous Vox dirigibles that give chase. Ultimately, she also uses it to destroy the remainder of the statue she was housed in after the prophet revealed it to be a siphon of some sort. Sure enough, with it gone her full powers manifest and the steel bird becomes hostile once again. It is too late however as with a snap of her fingers she transports herself and Booker into some deep underwater city with the great beast outside in the water. There is nothing it can do but die. She then turns to Booker and tells him a truth he doesn't want to hear before drowning his mind in darkness.

Friday 9 June 2023

Bioshock Infinity: Columbian Baptism

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

 
These guys are the best part of the early game.

Being launched from a lighthouse into the city of Columbia floating on the clouds caught Booker by surprise, but if that's what it took to do the job of getting the girl to clear his debt so be it. Mingling with the crowds during some sort of festival, his status as an outsider is discovered which puts him at violent odds against the local police force and "firemen", who actually start fires in this place. Luckily their guns aren't too different from those on the ground and he uses a machine gun to cut down all opposition while making his way toward a giant statue of an angel which ironically is also the prison of his target - a young lady named Elizabeth.

While she is hesitant to trust him, she has no qualms about getting out of there via a nearby airship. Alas, on board is also a most zealous nun (most of the populace are zealots believing in their local "prophet") who self detonates and sends Booker and Liz into the man made floating sea below. They somehow survive this and the armed forces that pursue them soon after with Booker needing to get creative with a shotgun since he lost his previous weapon in the crash, but the girl is unhappy to be with a murderer so she blindsides Booker and knocks him out to make her escape alone.

Booker awakes as a hostage of the Vox, the rebellious faction group of non-white Americans who are used and treated like slaves. Due to his appearance he is given a chance to "buy" a stolen airship from them, in exchange he just needs to get them a whole bunch of weapons from their Chinese gunsmith contact in Finktown. En route, Booker encounters a monstrous cyborg "Handyman" but escapes thanks to Elizabeth's intervention. She might not like him, but she admits that she will need his help to escape as there's a giant metal bird that keeps preventing her in doing so.

Thursday 8 June 2023

Rabbit Hole (Season 1) and Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

What is real?

Rabbit Hole (Season 1)

A freelance corporate manipulator (played by Keifer Sutherland) is put in a tight spot when framed for murder. With powerful enemies and an already heavy dose of paranoia coupled with a vivid imagination, working out what is real becomes his only means to survive. Definitely a thriller with just enough combat to spice things up, and a decent enough plot to let the viewer question who and who isn't "a bad guy". Recommended, and looking forward to a season two if it continues on!

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

This one season horror parody has almost no budget coupled with an intentionally terrible plot and bad acting which leads to either something super cringey or super utterly hilarious depending on your temperament with this type of comedy. All six episodes are centered around the Darkplace hospital which experiences everything between plagues and demons, and as a "bonus" there are commentary sections made by the characters to explain the deep significance (*chortle*) of what you are seeing. This might be a hit or a miss for you, but at least you can try it out for free on youtube.

Wednesday 7 June 2023

First Kill (2017) and Six (TV Series)

Get some gun action!?

First Kill (2017)

To toughen up his nerdy son, Will (Hayden Christensen) takes him hunting and the pair encounter some criminals in the woods which naturally leads to some kidnapping and a fair amount of gun violence, though not enough to my liking. With budget constraints that you can feel through the screen, I suppose the writers opted to make their script get all the unbelievable parts - and no, that's not a good thing. It's stuff like: there's a foot chase where both parties find thoughtfully parked and shiney new quad bikes IN THE MIDDLE OF A FOREST with keys already in the ignition... Yeah. Right. The end result is an average tale told by a below average story teller. Not recommended.

Six (2 Seasons)

This two season show focuses on a squad of American seals, constantly on the very violent hunt for terrorists. Decent acting, action and plot make this interesting and I have to say that even the "stories at home" (because they can't be fighting all the time) are ok. I quite enjoyed this one and am sad they didn't make a season three. Recommended.

Tuesday 6 June 2023

Borderlands 3: Siren Song

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

After some quick study, Tannis is fully sirened up and destroys the defenses to the Calypso's Cathedral and main base, letting the united Crimson Raiders attack the compound where Ava slays Troy, avenging Maya and absorbing his energy which activates her latent siren gene. Tannis takes her as her apprentice.

Unfortunately Troy had already begun unlocking "the Great Vault" having discovered that the moon was actually the key. Within was meant to be a universe destroying creature that his sister Tyreen wanted to absorb to cement her godhood - she was just running an errand on an Eridian homeworld to kill her father while waiting.

With that out of the way Tyreen warps back to Pandora only to find Lilith and Moze already waiting for her and is wiped out easily by the Mechwarrior. Alas the moon is now too close to Pandora and there's no stopping it anymore except through self sacrifice. Taking her siren powers back from Tyreen's corpse, Lilith becomes the Firehawk once more and uses her gift to fly up and then self detonate on the moon, pushing it away - resealing the Great Vault and saving Pandora.

Will we ever see her again? Probably because there's that Borderlands movie coming out.

Monday 5 June 2023

Borderlands 3: Tannis Power

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Clay is very capable for the task at hand: starting a revolt against the COV, slaying their witch who makes midgets regular size, and finding a hidden key piece aboard a crashed spaceship out in the dinosaur infested wilds which thanks to some crazy and now deceased scientists, is also home to smart, gun toting giant monkeys and lazertech fused dinos. After he manages to ice the local Calypso leadership, he finds the remaining key components and hands them all over to the Crimson Raiders as to give Eden-6 a chance at no longer being involved with this conflict.

Dr. Tannis and Moze open up the vault and after the mech warrior defeats the giant within (those holes in the floor are super handy for when it tilts the platform), Tannis does some sciencey stuff to make it that Tyreen can no longer absorb its power, like she did with the previous vault monster. Annoyed at this, the twins kidnap Tannis instead and back on Pandora, Vaughn sees an ad over the echoNET that Dr. Tannis is going to be sacrificed at Carnivora, so he hijacks an appropriate golden ride to gain entry to the carnival which apparently is on a giant motorized vehicle itself!


That's one way to make a mobile circus!

After disabling and boarding it, he fights through swarms of COV before freeing Tannis who reveals that she too is a siren now and probably didn't need rescuing. What she does need is her research materials at her secret lab in a shuttered mine so Vaughn heads on over, makes his way past the varkid colony that's taken up residence, defeats a demon, and collects the material the good doctor requires: mainly stuff involving Handsome Jack's daughter Angel.

Sunday 4 June 2023

Borderlands 3: The Sword and the Gunslinger

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

The next key pieces are on the planet Promethea, home of the Atlas corporation, but it too is under attack by both Maliwan and COV who are in clear alliance. Fortunately, Lilith knows of allies here as well, the first being Mad Moxxi who distracts most of the COV by participating and winning the galaxy wide broadcast of "Who wants to bang a bazillionaire" in nearby Lectra City, basically an all female city wide death match with the winner being able to bang the host in front of a large audience, both broadcast and live (with much audience participation to boot).

Lilith's second ally in the area is the space ninja (warframe?) Zer0 who makes use of the Sanctuary III to assault the Maliwan orbiting death star to end the war and earn the remaining key parts that Dr. Tannis needs to finish the key.  Maya volunteers herself to open said vault where she defeats the impressive guardian monster within only to then encounter the Calypso twins. While Tyreen absorbs the power of the defeated monster, Troy absorbs and disintegrates Maya herself.

While they replay her snuff film on a loop, Dr. Tannis discovers that this vault seems to be linked to another on Eden-6, the swampy home world of the Jakobs family who are also in conflict with the COV. They hire a trusty gunslinger squire named Clay - the lone merc who didn't simply take Calypso money and leave like a whore.

Saturday 3 June 2023

Borderlands 3: The Bluehairs

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

While the overweight mechanic Ellie repairs the Sanctuary III, mostly damaged by the idiot droid Claptrap, ship doctor and artifact specialist Dr. Tannis determines where the map is pointing to: a planet called Athenas. Luckily Lilith knows of an ally on that planet: her siren friend Maya who openly admits that they are guarding a piece of a vault key... and that they are under attack from Maliwan forces who are after the same thing!


Maya's also a cosplay favourite it seems.

Maya fights through the hi-tech Maliwan soldiers (the backpacks always seem to be their weak spot) to get to her idiot brat apprentice Ava who was busy not guarding a library as ordered and instead clearing a ratch infestation from the local brewery.

After a long and arduous climb (this is such a grindy and poorly designed level and is in an awkward place in the actual game) the blue haired pair then manage to reach the high temple, make heavy use cover to defeat the Maliwan raid leader and collect the key fragment before beaming up to Sanctuary.

Friday 2 June 2023

Borderlands 3: Number Vaughn

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Vaughn officially joins the Crimson Raiders when their leader, Lilith the Firehawk, comes to unintentionally rescue him. She had been looking for the leader of the Sunsmasher gang, which he was until they turned on him to join the rapidly expanding Children of the Vault (shortened to COV) Cult with a vault map piece (what Lilith was actually after) as their joining fee. 


Pants get in the way of fighting!

For his first mission, he quickly heads to the local COV broadcast center where they retrieve the map fragment from the COV Mouthpiece, who broadcasts messages from their "gods" the Calypso twins in a pretty cool boss fight that involves dodging soundwaves from giant speakers. Oh yeah, the new Crimson recruit Moze the Mechwarrior helps out, but Vaughn and his perfectly sculpted abs do most of the heavy lifting.

Upon returning to Lilith they find her stripped of her powers and dignity by the Calypso twins themselves (who happen to be sirens like Lilith) and a large group of their COV followers. Once the god twins have enough demeaning footage to publicly share over the ECHOnet and depart, Vaughn distracts the COV and lures them away while Moze saves their plaything and returns to their hidden base nearby: the Sanctuary III the space ship!

Thursday 1 June 2023

Horrified: Custom Monsters IV - Michael Myers and Dorian Gray

It's been awhile since Horrified's made it to our gaming table, and this pair of custom monsters turned out to be very surprising! For reference Frankenstien and his Bride (included in the base game) filled out the third opponent slot during this session. Also while I got both Myers and Gray from the BGG Horrified Variants forum, I can't seem to find them any more... but I'm not sure you'd want to!

Michael Myers

This Halloween villain is currently the only "regular" human that we've fought against, and it certainly felt like it. To defeat him you just need to put down 3+ strength item/combo on the "inner circle" of the map which symbolizes placing a trap. Once you have one of these in each of the three colors, you can use your action points to force Mike to walk into them (or he might just walk into them himself) and upon stepping on the third one he basically defeats himself. This turned out to be really easy, so not recommended.

Dorian Gray

The only weakness of this immortal is his painting hidden in his mansion (which is also his starting space). To find it, players need to go to the mansion and spend red or blue items to push forward the search (much like pushing forward the boat for the Creature from the Black Lagoon) until you get the painting at the attic. With the painting in hand, you then need to finish him off with a few more red and yellow items which isn't so bad. Searching that mansion is a nightmare though as it eats SO many items and worse - its on the inner city track and one that is high traffic for monster pathing. A surprisingly difficult monster and one we only beat by the skin of our teeth as our cards were running out.