Saturday, 19 August 2017

Castle Ravenloft (Boardgame)

Where the big figurine isn't the boss.

After completing the Legend of Drizzt, my group have finally reached the game that started this D&D board game system with modular, interlocking dungeon tiles to begin with: Castle Ravenloft. The components are good, but given this is the first in the series the dungeon tiles have less mechanism to them than the future games. Not that I mind, since it is a vampire's castle after all.

Well, that *almost* happened.

What this game does well is in the theme. Strahd personally showing up regularly to mess with the players via non combat cameo encounter cards throughout the campaign is awesome because by the time you get to actually fighting him you really, really hate the guy.

By then he's probably randomly bitten one of you, tossed a fireball or two from the shadows, teleported you into a room of monsters, or forced one of you to attack another. Comparatively, the future games main bosses are quite "absent".

Because of that investment in making Strahd present the whole time, and because it's an awesome game - I give it five wooden stakes out of five!

Monday, 14 August 2017

Berserk: Band of the Hawk

A decent catch up mechanism for the non-manga readers.

The easiest way to sum this game up is: Dynasty Warriors Berserk, which is probably why it's also known as Berserk Musou. You control one character of your choice (primarily Guts) and rampage across numerous battle fields slaying literally tens of thousands of foes.

The graphics aren't fantastic and the camera is not great but they serve their purpose, and the keyboard controls (PC) are a bit clunky but serviceable. What caught me by surprise is the length of the game, which goes well past the Golden Age arc which is the extent I thought it would cover as the cut scenes directly come from the remade anime.

Afterwards, it just uses regular CGI but the jist of the story is still there (despite the hundreds of filler monsters) and that is the highlight for me as a Berserk anime fan who doesn't read the mangas!

Once you complete the story line that's available (because the manga itself isn't finished) you then have the option to go into the "Endless Eclipse" mode to unlock bonus outfits, gear, or just fight some more with the small caveat that to win it - you must reach 100 levels of Endless Eclipse without stopping.

Rest is for the weak!

One might say that is the "true" game too, since you can only complete it once story mode is done. If you like Dynasty Warriors type games and/or like Berserk, then this game is worth a look. I give it three behelits out of five.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Today I Smiled: Power Up!

The grind through the River District and Chult continues in Neverwinter Online, so much so that I've not been typing blog posts! Oops! It's great to see my characters improving again though, using Baphomet as a measuring stick.

Once I put some thought into what enchantments I actually used in my gear, my mounts and my npcs companions (who I previously didn't equip at all), I'm now easily beating the demon prince.

Speaking of training, here is the real-life weapons training of Keanu Reeves for John Wick 2, which is pretty awesome. Thank you to the poster who told me about it. Also cool is this site about military strength by country which is an eye opener. Some are higher than I thought!

If that is too violent for you, I've also just learned that Japan has a cat island and a rabbit island which is cute-overload at first, but when carefully thinking about it are islands full of a) rabbit poop or b) critters that actively seek to overthrow the human race. :P

As usual I'm going to end with some musical links - the first one being the Coconut song on an airplane and the last one is Peter Hollen's version of Hands of Gold from Game of Thrones! Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Monday, 7 August 2017

Logan

Proves that old dogs are saltier...

It is the future, and mutants are dying out. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is tired, old, and not regenerating as he once did. His limo driving job is mainly just to cover the expenses of looking after an even older and now demented Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who occasionally has seizures which he shares to everyone around thanks to the strength of his "gift".

It's a pretty dark and depressing state, simply waiting for the end. Fortunately having a little girl who is wanted by the "bad guys" (of course) suddenly thrust into their care, forces them to go on another adventure. It helps that the little girl plays her part well - always risky with child actors (she's better than Mowgli for sure)!

Thumbs up!

Visceral, on-screen dismemberment and gore is featured right from the get go, which is a big step up from just suggesting "he stabbed a guy / bloodlessly" from the rest of the X-men franchise and the action sequences are great, which makes up for the ok plot.

While people say this is a "dark" movie, I disagree as it still features some up beat parts. Perhaps I've just gotten used to the likes of Hotel Inferno and Adam Chaplin though. If you just want a more mature X-men film, this does a great job. I enjoyed it a lot and would definitely watch it again. But would I buy the DVD? Hmm, not sure. Three and a half comic books out of five.

Friday, 4 August 2017

John Wick 2

He just has one bad day after another.

After an action filled start where John Wick (Keanu Reeves) finishes off that nasty business from the first movie, he almost makes it back into retirement just before another incident ropes him back into work, and what beautifully choreographed violence that work is.

It's amazing to watch.

I quite liked that Mr. Wick only has an 80% accuracy rating and gets hit repeatedly, and while he is wearing a layer of plot armor (especially against head shots), its significantly less since they explain a bit with the load out portion of the film - one of my favorite parts as it not only shows their love of weapons but also expands on the "assassin's world".

Despite a predictable plot, the trail of blood and guts and violence galore makes for a fantastic spectacle. Is it better than the first movie? Not particularly, but it's just as good so three and a half shotgun shells out of five. I highly recommend it if you are an action fan, or if you enjoyed the original. Would I watch it again? Definitely yes! I might even go get the DVD. :)

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Jungle Book (2016)

Where wolves are American, cats are English and giant monkeys are Christopher Walken.

I've always been interested in seeing this Disney adaptation of the Jungle Book, which has the orphaned boy Mowgli being raised by the generally very compassionate creatures of the forest as one of their own, which is a problem to only the villainous tiger Shere Khan who harbors a hatred for humans.

Bad kitty!

It would be ok if this was just a regular tiger, but Shere Khan is feared by pretty much everyone else and rightly so. Only when Mowgli starts adventuring does he run into other not-so-friendlies. Guess the wolf pack did a good job keeping him safe!

All the CGI creatures are amazing, and damn the mommy wolf actually made me tear up with some of her lines and emotion. In contrast, Scarlett Johansonn as Kaa didn't really work too well for me. Ironically the weakest actor is Mowgli himself, though he does make up for it with all the action pieces he gets.

Being a Disney movie there are some musical numbers but they are very toned down and cut short during the film, with full versions in the entertaining credits. It's definitely an entertaining movie, one I wouldn't mind watching again. I give it three and a half, giant red flowers out of five.