Friday, 17 April 2015

Ambitious Dynasty: The Strongest Bonds

[Part of my Dynasty Warriors 8: Ambition Mode story.]

Warning: Heavy Picture Post!

During all these battles I've actually been forming strong bonds with all the female characters (lol selective!) and I thought I'd share their reactions as they grew ever closer to their commander. I should point out that almost ALL of them are actually already married!? :O

Lu Lingqi had no friends and now has a best friend.

Guan Yinping says she is happiest while together with me.

Xingcai can only say she likes me when she's dead drunk.

Bao Sanniang (by jfamily) wants to be with me forever because I'm handsome.

Wang Yuanji says a woman shouldn't need to say what she wants.

Yueying will do anything to be close enough to hear my heart beat.
That's... a little creepy.

Zhenji (by_licornezsu) cannot imagine a life without my heroism.

Sun Shangxiang says she might love me in a shy, round about way.

Daqiao (behind) wants to stay be held by my strength forever. 
Xiaoqiao (foreground) is the only one to say "I love you" straight to my face.
Too young? They are both already married!

Lianshi offers to let me rest on her pillows whenever I need.

Zhurong thinks I'm delicious. O.O

Cai Wenji wants night time visits to make music with her.

Diao Chan showed me her secret special dance, but wants to remain a social butterfly.

Zhang Chunhua likes that I'm hard to manipulate.
Of this lot, she's my favorite.

Wang Yi (by lightningnight) dreams of me, and in those dreams I'm on fire.
Psycho much? >.<

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Ambitious Dynasty: Lost my Palace

[Part of my Dynasty Warriors 8: Ambition Mode story.]

Upon our return from the field I finally finish upgrading ALL my buildings to the max (level 50), and complete my palace! YAY!

Except at that moment, the Emperor who was previously wandering in hiding, decided to take up residence and to make my base the new capital of the land. Sneaky bastard! Of course I have no say in the matter, but at least he gives me a unique sword "the Emperor's Blade", as well as a "harrier" bird as payment.

I'm in your base, giving you the bird.

Slightly upset at this, I wander about the land for a bit - taking out my rage on Lu Bu's lieutenant Zhang Liao and his fiery assistant Zhenji. I also finally apprehend the old bandit leader, Zuo Ci and his strange, sickly adviser Guo Huai. Seriously, this guy always sounds like he's about to keel over at any minute yet people still follow him into battlefields.

Zhang Liao: ARRRRH! This is how we pirates fight!

Zhenji: That's nothing, fear my deadly clarinet!

Zuo Ci: Imbeciles, these paper pages are the most deadly weapon ever!

Guo Huai: *Cough cough* I can't lift any of those, or walk unaided, but I'm still capable in war!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Witcher: Adventure (Board) Game

Where good components don't make a good game.

Which is a pity since the components are awesome.

As my brother said this game lacks something, and I think that something is excitement. This is a shame given that the components such as the board artwork, the figurines, cards and dice are all of top notch quality. The combat system is pretty decent too where injury and curses could prohibit your choice of actions, and having character specific dice and card decks I found to be fantastic. Alas it is in the main game design where the failure lies.

First of all it isn't cooperative which is odd given that the playable characters are actually friends. Instead it is a victory point race - one which is pretty hard to catch up in if you get unlucky early. The winners keep winning sort of thing. The other problem is the gathering of clues, which you need x amount of to trade for "proofs" to complete a quest. Given that you gain a clue by moving and investigation seems to have a 50% chance to screw you over (the true percentage is only 25%) turns were basically spent wandering back and forth between two or three places.

This is the first game in my collection where players got "bored", not really caring what to do because nothing seems to matter. It doesn't help that each player you add also adds around an hour to the game, so while my two player tests went for two hours a four player (max) game went for four. Four boring hours, not the four nail-biting hours of Zombicide 2 or the nightmare inducing hours of Arkham/Eldrich Horror.

In short, this game is a let down (especially to Witcher fans) and I give it only one clue out of five. I wonder if there's a way to fix it... For now though all I can recommend is for everyone to stay away from this title.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Ambitious Dynasty: Master and Commander

[Part of my Dynasty Warriors 8: Ambition Mode story.]

I manage to recruit the knife throwing, "serious business", Wang Yuanji and barbarianess Zhurong while on my next patrol and in the process discover the fastest way to get base building materials is to do short raids and avoid all these named guys. Speaking of "named" allies, I am also capable of commanding some of them now as bodyguards to strengthen their bond with me - thanks to my now improved leadership level. Obviously I decide to bond with the females first. ;p

Wang Yuanji: Guess what nationality I am?

Zhurong: You're definitely Chinese like me!

Alas, my plan of "evading" people is discarded when I learn the "mightiest warrior", Lu Bu, himself has taken residence in a nearby castle. This sends me and my forces into action and I get slightly  disappointed then, when my superior numbers curbstomp him and his allies: his daughter Lu Lingqi, the gorgeous Diao Chan, Chen Gong the sly, and the morbidly obese Dong Zhuo. Naturally they all join me once the battle is over.

 Lu Lingqi, Chen Gong, and Diao Chan in front of the larger than life Lu Bu.
In game he is bigger and taller than almost everyone else, just not by as much as depicted.

Dong Zhuo: I don't like long walks on the beach but I do love huge candle light dinners!

Lastly, my steadily depleting gold is also renewed after selling all the random animals I've been catching abroad: horses, elephants, birds, bears, pandas, wolves and yes... tigers! Seems they are useful after all!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Noah (2014)

Really not like the version you'd probably know.

During the time when the children of Cain were plenty and doing naughty stuff, a man named Noah was chosen by "the creator" to save the innocent while everything else perished with a cleansing flood. While this movie certainly has the tale of Noah's Ark in it, a lot of liberties were added too such as fallen angels (who turned out to be pretty cool) and Noah being a violent and somewhat cold hearted vegetarian who has no problem in -directly- killing people (much like Bale's Moses).

One angry man with an axe.

I didn't really mind that part, since he was going to drown them anyway and was the grandson of a man who once slew an entire army single handedly. Other things I quite liked were the silhouette scenes and how they portrayed the passage of time. Speaking of, apparently Jennifer Connelly's character is the only one immune to aging. That's nothing compared to the other problems though. Like wouldn't the combined animal poop make the ship explode with that many torches? Just kidding.

Ham, the middle son. WTF was going through his head? He remains unsure of everything all the way to the end. I also found it funny that Noah gets an instant-magic forest, but an ark? Oh you'll need to work for that. Lastly the third act was... unpleasant? After the awesome climax of "act 2", making Noah into a villain was... different. I'll give it that, but trying to then redeem him in what seemed to be ten minutes? Nope. Bad script right there. BAD! Have some conviction writers. After what you did to him, it would have been more satisfying had he been executed at that point. Executed slowly.

Much like the animals that boarded his ark in pairs, I give Noah two fiery swords out of five.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Ambitious Dynasty: Pretty Spry

[Part of my Dynasty Warriors 8: Ambition Mode story.]

With construction for a training ground finally completed, I set out to subdue recruit the new neighbors, Sun Shangxiang and her full-bossomed bodyguard Lianshi.

Girl power!

We also "persuaded" the dutiful shield maiden Xingcai to join the ranks while building up a stables and an academy at our home base too. Those buildings sure eat up a lot of resources to rank up, and as you might have guessed - the higher the rank, the more resources they require.

Xingcai - the only one smart enough to bring a shield to war.

I then got word from a messenger on the battlefield alerted me that some handmaidens were being attacked by tigers, because it's always tigers. After saving them / her (there was only one left when I got there) I found out that the culprits responsible were bandits led by some creepy old dude named Zuo Ci. While I manage to defeat him too, for a change he DOESN'T JOIN me. Instead he escapes each time just to fight me again later.

Pretty Spry for an Old Guy.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Exodus: Gods and Kings & Prince of Egypt (1998)

A tale of two Moses?

Continuing from my previous religious movie review, these two stories follow the life of Moses - adapted son of the pharaoh who learns of his past, goes away for a bit and due to an encounter on a mountain returns a changed man with a mission to set all the slaves free. Obviously there are differences between the two, and I'm talking more than just one has Christian Bale and the other is a cartoon with a lot of singing. We'll look at Exodus first.

The movie opens with a bit of reading and that's never a good thing if your movie doesn't include the words "Star Wars" in the title. Bale's Moses is a skilled warrior who has no problem shanking enemies with swords when he feels like, and he feels like it often. He's also starts out as an atheist who only believes in himself. It's a little odd but hey, they wanted something new so that's fine.

Despite this he seems to be the favored "son" of the pharaoh since Ramses in this movie doesn't really understand the managerial part of his position. I should point out too that while Moses here ages it seems Ramses doesn't. Must have good genes? The time skips were also... sudden?

Warrior Moses personally sending people to hell!

Anywho, this movie tries to down play the powers and plagues (apart from the last one) in an attempt to make things more plausible rather than miraculous. The 3D effects of these are awesome, but they do make Moses look like a bit of a crazy chump on the sidelines and not actively doing anything.

In the Prince of Egypt, Moses is a scoundrel and trouble maker but that doesn't stop him from being good friends with his step brother, Ramses. He does kill someone too but it really shatters him entirely (unlike Bale's more ruthless counterpart). He also sticks to the staff wielding version which basically makes him the main conduit for everything to flow through. It's good to see that the Egyptian priests also had powers from their own gods to show off too, but more or less everything goes exactly as you'd expect which is surprising given the amount of death.

Wizard Moses ponders if he should attack the darkness, or summon it.

Art wise, Dreamworks did a good job here and all the character animation is fantastic. The part that involves the hieroglyph dream is pretty awesome too. What isn't so good is the music. Apart from the first song and the last (female duet) the ones in the middle are all various degrees of mediocre - especially when characters just sing in their heads instead of out loud.

Scoring time! While both movies had their own faults I did quite enjoy them equally so they both get two and a half plagues out of five from me. Which one would I want to watch again? Prince of Egypt, purely because I quite like the animation.