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Lorrie (838 KP) rated the PC version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in Video Games

Apr 3, 2019  
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2011 | Role-Playing
I know. How is it that I had never played Skyrim until now? Many of my friends asked this. The only answer I have is that I had a ton of other games I was playing at the time so I just never got around to it. With the remaster, I figured this would be a great time to play it so I got the special edition for PS4 and I was excited to start my adventure.

 Having ten different races to choose from is very cool and I decided on Wood Elf for my first play through, but for my next one I do want to play as a Khajiit (cat race) because they sound quite interesting. I was a little disappointed while creating my Wood Elf that the faces looked rather harsh and every expression looked like she was angry and ready to smash your face. It wasn't a big deal, but I wondered about the idea behind that design. Having played Elder Scrolls Online, the character design for the Elves has improved a lot, so maybe it had something to do with their design engine.
I did manage to create my character the way I liked eventually and once I was satisfied, I decided it was time for Pirotess to start her adventure (yes, I'm a Record of Lodoss War fan so I'm always Pirotess) and start exploring the world of Tamriel.



My Wood Elf Pirotess, ready for adventure!

 There is so much to see and do in Skyrim. The game itself is huge and then you add the DLCs and there's even more to do. I got the initial introduction tutorial out of the way and the set up for the main story and then I ran around picking up quests. Between the radiant quests, side quests, and guild quests you never run out of adventures. I liked the Thieves Guild quests a lot because the story line for it was interesting. The Dark Brotherhood quests were also fun to do because of the great story content. My favorite armor was the Nightingale armor which was a reward for completing the Thieves Guild story line. I also liked my Dark Brotherhood mount which I jokingly called demon horse. His name was Shadowmere however and he was cool. He would go everywhere with me and he would even fight enemies with me which I thought was fantastic.



The Nightingale armor is the best!

If you want to take a break from adventuring, you can do things like crafting or build your own house with the Hearthfire DLC. You can also get married and adopt children with Hearthfire. This was one of the things that I found showed off the beauty of the gameplay in Skyrim. You can do as much or as little of the main story quests as you want. You can just run around crafting things, do side quests, or go hunting dragons. It's entirely up to you and gives you a vast amount of freedom for exploration and discovery. For me, it made the game a lot of fun and I just enjoyed running around discovering new places.

I also loved battling all the dragons and finding all the dragon shouts for my Dragonborn character. The battles are epic and the controls handle very smoothly. I love it when a game has great game controls and good camera angles. It definitely makes fighting a huge dragon easier. I enjoyed playing with all the different dragon shouts seeing what each one did. My favorites were frost breath and dragon aspect. Because of that exploration freedom level grinding was not a chore at all. I was just having fun and enjoying the game.



Taking down a dragon.

The environments are beautiful. I would find myself stopping often just to look around the different areas I was in because they are so well done. Whether it was a forest, snowy peak, or Dwarven ruin it always looked amazing and no two places looked alike. The musical soundtrack is amazing too setting the right atmosphere for each moment in the game.
 You get followers too, but you can only have one at a time with you. Unfortunately if they die, they're dead for good unless you have the mods. I learned that the hard way with a couple of mine as they suffered from death by dragon. Most of the time, I just wandered alone because sometimes the followers would do stupid things like step on a switch and set off a trap. Once in a while I would take a follower with me just to change things up, usually a mage because they were useful for fighting dragons.



A beautiful view in Skyrim.

I enjoyed the main story in Skyrim as well. The lore was intriguing and some of the reveals about certain characters made for a great story. I also liked that a couple of the dragons were allies of a sort. I thought the dragon Paarthurnax was very cool and learning a few dragon shouts from him was fun. I was also thrilled that Pirotess got to fly on a dragon also. It was quite a sight! I finished the main story and it was a great finish to a fantastic story.



Pirotess chatting with Paarthurnax.

While the main story is finished, there's still a ton of things for me to do. I'm currently playing the Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLC as well as more side quests. I'm also enjoying crafting and building my houses with the Hearthfire DLC. For me, Skyrim is a blast to play and I love that there's always something going on and I continue to explore and have fun. There's always interesting things to see and I can't wait to play as a Khajiit for my next play through. Skyrim is a great game and I'm glad I finally got a chance to play it.
  
Angel Has Fallen (2019)
Angel Has Fallen (2019)
2019 | Action, Drama, Thriller
After putting in plenty of years and two prior movies spent protecting the President, Secret Service member Mike Banning is up for promotion. In Angel Has Fallen, the third installment of the Fallen franchise, Banning has been personally hand-picked by President Allan Trumbull to take over as the new Secret Service Director. Trumbull tells him the good news directly during a getaway fishing trip, but then things quickly turn bad when a drone attack attempts to assassinate the President. Banning is able to successfully save himself and the President, but the attack kills all the rest of the Secret Service members on site and the aftermath leaves Trumbull in a coma. Planted DNA evidence linking Banning to an involvement in the attack leads to his arrest, and with the President unconscious, he has no other witness to clear his name. Banning’s obviously been framed and set-up and will have to escape from authorities to find out who is responsible, and to also protect the President from any further attempts on his life.

Directed by Ric Roman Waugh, Angel Has Fallen is a film that starts off pretty well, yet I feel that the whole narrative of Banning being so easily framed is pretty hard to believe, especially given that he’s been the hero of two films already. It’s the driving force of the film’s story and yet it seems highly questionable to me that the intelligence committee would be so quick to blame it all on Banning considering his reputable history. Naturally any attack on the President is taken very seriously, but the FBI is extremely quick to condemn the man that just saved his life. I think it’s the weakest part of the story, although story is not an area this film ever really excels at. I would even say that most of its attempts at being smart usually fall flat. Regardless, this is the kind of movie that would be best enjoyed if you didn’t take it too seriously. It’s in many ways a throwback to the macho action movies of yesteryear, and that’s where it makes up for its shortcomings.

As the first film I’ve seen in this series, I admittedly had low expectations for it. If not for my dad wanting to see it, I probably would have skipped it entirely, but in truth it turned out to be better than I had anticipated. It’s also been the number one movie at the box office for two weeks running, so what do I know? I must confess that ever since seeing Den of Thieves last year, I’ve instantly become a huge fan of Gerard Butler, whose filmography I’ve largely overlooked. I love his energy, his over-the-top acting and his tough guy persona. He’s a great fit here in Angel Has Fallen as Banning and is enjoyable to watch, even if at times it can be a little hard to believe that he’s somehow always the smartest guy in the room.

The rest of the cast in the movie is respectful as well. Morgan Freeman is a comfortable choice as President Trumbull, and he truly makes me long for a time when we had a sane and competent President. It’s a rather reserved role for Freeman, as he spends most of the runtime in a coma. Still, he’s a graceful and welcome presence who has at least a couple moments to shine. Jada Pinkett Smith has the unfortunate role of playing the FBI agent who orders Banning’s arrest, and I wish she had a bit more to work with. Nick Nolte plays Banning’s estranged father Clay, a paranoid war veteran living off the grid, and he’s one of the highlights of the film. I enjoyed his character’s relationship with Banning, and he and Butler play off each other well. Danny Huston also gives a worthwhile performance as Banning’s former military companion Wade Jennings.

Despite having the appearance of a run-of-the-mill, rescue-the-President type of action movie, the action is actually for the most part quite admirable. Right from the get-go, it makes an impressive statement with its tense and exciting introductory scene which feels reminiscent of tactical military-style video games. The movie is heavy on explosions, shootouts, and hand-to-hand combat, and its action is generally fun. There’s also an impressive final stand-off that’s surprisingly well-planned and executed. It’s in moments like this where the movie demonstrates its intelligence and expertise. If not for these strong action sequences, I feel the movie as a whole would have suffered tremendously, but it rightfully delivers on what we came to see. Of course, not all of the action is stellar, and there’s a clunker of a car chase thrown into the mix, but overall I was entertained.

One area where the movie could have used some more improvement was with the special effects. They’re sufficient in the sense that they still clearly convey what the movie is trying to show, but a lot of it looks noticeably fake. It’s unfortunate, but I also don’t believe it was ever a major distraction. Another issue with the film is that its run-time feels a little long and there are some subplots that I really couldn’t care less about. It’s your standard government scheming and political conspiracy stuff, complete with all of the twists you would expect, but it isn’t particularly interesting, even if it does explain the purpose of the initial attack on the President.
Overall, I had a better time with Angel Has Fallen than I would have imagined. It’s far from great, but it’s good enough that I’ll probably now check out the two previous Fallen films at some point. The story might leave a lot to be desired, but the action sequences help fill the void. I would recommend it for fans of action movies, or anyone who likes Gerard Butler. It’s not something anyone needs to rush to the theater to see, but if you’re looking for a little action to end your summer with, it should do the trick.
  
Warcross
Warcross
Marie Lu | 2017 | Fiction & Poetry
7
8.3 (17 Ratings)
Book Rating
Decent characters (2 more)
Plot
Pacing
YA formula (2 more)
Predictable
Not enough of the game
YA VR fun
I really enjoyed this book, as VR stories are some of my favorite types and rarely done well. This one was done well enough but suffered the large YA pitfall of there would be no story had people actually communicated with each other.
       The story follows Emika, a scrappy teen living in the slums of (I think New York). As YA books tend to do, she is a normal, poor, orphan girl, who happens to be able to afford to dye her hair rainbow, and oh, I forgot to mention, very good at hacking. The world is fully submerged into the Nuerolink, which are AR/VR glasses almost everyone has, that handle the internet, gaming worlds, infrastructure etc etc. The most popular aspect is a game on the Nuerolink called Warcross, a rather simple Team vs Team capture the flag with power-ups and battling. Football move over, Warcross is where it's at. Because the nuerolink is so ingrained into society, a seedy underbelly of gambling and dark web has cropped up, and Emika makes her pennies as a bounty hunter for people who gamble in Warcross games. On the eve of the Opening of the biggest Warcross Tournament of the year (which takes up like... 6 months of the year...) Emika is being threatened with eviction, failed to get a bounty that would have fixed her situation. So as far as YA tropes go we can check off "ordinary, but special girl of poor circumstances".
     Emika and her roommate, even though they are facing a looming eviction, log into the neurolink to experience the opening day ceremony. This is where Lu really introduces the ability of the nuerolink and where we can underline the "special" aspect of our tropey lead, as she somehow hacks herself into the opening game ceremony, revealing herself to the world. This is probably a good place to point out that hacking in this book is pretty much just Emika saying "I hacked into this thing" and little more than that. She runs a program here and there, that always does what she wants. Honestly as the story progresses I forget that she hacks, but the book doesn't let you forget that she's "super good at it".
   Now fearing more than just eviction, but fearing for her freedom as she just did something very illegal, Emika is surprised when her world is turned upside down and she's spirited away by the Nuerolink creator to Tokyo. The creator being hot boy Hideo, whom she has been just ever so obsessed with since she was a kid, and much to her fantasies, he thinks she is special and needs her hacker expertise to track down someone that's been messing with the code in the game. BUT she needs to do it from within the game. So now she's going to be in the big game of the year as a player, a spy, and a hacker. Somehow juggling the investigation and playing a game professionally that she's the only kind of dabbled in (as far as we know, YA spoiler alert, she's super good at it).
    I know I sound snarky, and like I didn't like the book, but I did. once you just accept the YA formula and that this book will be full of it, you can just lean back an enjoy the ride. Emika finds herself in a deep plot that involves other players, the dark web, and the ghosts of Hideo's past. Of course because YA Hideo is just smitten with Emika from the get go. She's great at the game, everyone acknowledges how special she is, but the big YA factor I struggled with over looking was the utter lack of communication. This whole book could've ended in a few chapters had the characters just communicated with each other. But there was always some kind of personal justification for why they couldn't just talk to each other.
   I found the game world to be well thought out and interesting, just unfortunately it didn't get nearly as much page time as I'd like. I get that the story is about the scheme around the game, and not the game, but Lu introduced her as a player so I wanted more. I wanted more intereaction with her teammates, more development. She never felt like she was part of the group to me, which made it harder to believe in the second book when they all go out of their way to help her. The romance with Hideo was heavy-handed but cute, so I didn't mind it. But I kept finding myself wanting more gameplay. It's called Warcross for goodness sake.
   One thing I have to commend Lu on is that it has a decent number of legitimate twists. Twists that made me actually gasp once or twice. That kept me intrigued and made me read it in a day. But unfortunately, while a fun little romp, the story's reliance on bad communication and YA tropes to advance the plot made the book lack a soul that really could take the story to the next level. I didn't care too much about anyone. I just wanted answers more than anything. But instead, we get a mysterious bad guy being cryptic, even though if he wasn't cryptic we could have avoided a lot and Emika always winning cause she's special. Though most of the information she gets is freely given to her and had nothing to do with her skills as a hacker.
  When my boyfriend asked me if I liked it, I shrugged and said "yea it was fun, can we go get the second book". But I didn't have the overwhelming desire to tell him the plot or anything else as I do with books that truly resonate with me. To be fair when I did attempt to describe it the soap opera YA aspect seemed glaring and he just rolled his eyes.
  Absolutely worth a read, especially if you enjoy this genre. But just don't go in expecting it to be special, it follows the YA formula to a T.
  
Journey of the Emperor
Journey of the Emperor
2019 | Card Game
Do you think you know how to party? I thought I did, too. Then I played Journey of the Emperor, where you are planning an exciting party of journeys for the Emperor and their friends. They are all relying on YOU to provide them with the best journeys seeing exciting animals, beautiful flowers, and colorful lanterns along the way. But will you be able to plan wisely in the limited time you have been given? Let’s find out.

We were very excited to receive this game from Laboratory H for preview before they began their Kickstarter campaign. We love games with an Asian influence, and it seemed to have touches and inspirations from Tokaido, another favorite of ours. What we received is its own beast with great art and components.

So like I alluded to in my intro, you play a party planner drafting the best path cards to build the most killer journeys for your Emperor. You are dealt a hand of path cards – big, beautiful cards – that can feature different combinations of Journey Start, Journey End, animals, and lanterns icons. To assist you in focusing your strategy, you are also dealt four Emperor’s Favorites cards, from which you will keep two and discard the others. From the large stack of remaining path cards you reveal six as an offer and the game can begin.

On your turn you will be drafting cards from the offer, playing cards from your hand, and trying to complete objectives for points on your Emperor’s Favorites and Journey Start and End cards. These cards have scoring conditions printed on them to help tailor your play. So a Journey End card could have a picture of a flower on it (as all Start and End cards do) with a scoring condition of 3 points for every tiger icon on this completed Journey (I want to call this a “scoring panel” for this review to make it easier). So then you want to concentrate on getting as many tiger icons into this Journey to score tons of points. Or perhaps a Journey Start card will have a different flower, and state that you get 21 points for every set of tiger, dragon, and turtle icons. Either way, you now have a goal to achieve and you spend the game trying to amass the most points from these scoring opportunities and those found on your Emperor’s Favorites cards, which have similar scoring iconography. Most points at game end wins!

While this seems easy and that there is no inherent strategy, let me introduce the wrinkle. You can only score points from completed journeys. Each completed journey has at least a Journey Start and Journey End card. These cards will be adjacent to each other to form a pathway through the cards. You may never add a path card to your journey between two existing cards, but they can be added to the edges of a journey – either at the beginning or the end. If you add to the beginning, you will completely cover up the Journey Start card’s scoring panel so that you can create an uninterrupted path. Herein lies the strategy. At what point do you take the plunge and cover up a scoring panel to add to your journey? Yes, you can get way more points by doing this, but in a 4-player game you only have EIGHT turns. So do you feel like you will be able to draft just the right cards to maximize your scoring or will you falter and not be able to complete a journey in time, thus forfeiting any points you could have scored? Oh, you clever game…

Components. This is a smaller card game. The Emperor’s Favorites cards are about the mini size you would find in OG Ticket to Ride. The path cards are much larger and similar to the tarot sized cards, if not even taller. Both are of great quality with the wonderful linen finish (that I’m learning is more polarizing than I originally thought, but I love it!). Our review copy came with a few scoring sheets to tally the final scores – which we didn’t use correctly but still arrived at the correct final scores. The art in this game is truly breathtaking. The details in the murals in just the backgrounds of the path cards are amazing, and the flowers and animals are really really incredible. If we had one small gripe about the art, it was mentioned that someone could not tell much of a difference between the tiger and the dragon icons on the path cards. I didn’t have much of a problem deciphering the difference, but they are very similar in color and style, so I can see how others may view this as an issue for them.

DISCLAIMER: These are preview copy components, and I do not know if the final components will be similar or different, or if the Kickstarter campaign will alter or add anything through stretch goals. That said, I am very satisfied with the components provided in this game.

This is a really good game. A lot more thinky than Tokaido (using a similar theme), and ultimately more enjoyable because you really feel you have control over your turns and aren’t just going for the best available at the time. You actually have to employ strategy here in order to be competitive. And although this is not a spiteful take-that game, you most certainly can foil your opponents’ plans indirectly by drafting their much-needed path cards. The art is amazing, the game is a great length, and you really want to keep playing. To me, that is the mark of a really good game. All that said, I would recommend this one if you are looking for a quick game that gives you all the good feelings of Tokaido but also scratches more of a gamer’s itch for actual strategy. Oh, and it’s absolutely beautiful.
  
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The Marinated Meeple (1818 KP) Jun 13, 2019

This is an amazing review, and I look forward to checking it out....

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Purple Phoenix Games (1045 KP) Jun 13, 2019

Thanks! It's a very solid game and I'm itching to get it backed as well! -T

A Clockwork Orange (1971)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
1971 | Crime, Sci-Fi
Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) is your average eighteen year old boy...if by average, you mean he fully embraces the old ultraviolence and wanders the streets with his three droogs causing havoc and doing whatever he likes; skipping school, breaking and entering, rape, and assault is just another average day in Alex's life. However, when a planned rape turns into an "accidental" murder, things start to turn fowl for Alex. His droogs turn on him and he winds up being caught by the police. He is then taken to a correctional facility where he spends the next few years, puts on the front that he's fully embraced the bible and that he's now a changed man. But when word makes round of the experimental Ludovico treatment, Alex realizes his chance at freedom and jumps through the proper hoops to get out of the penitentiary he finds himself in and get into the experimental facility where he can be "cured."

Alex is promised that he'll be a free man within a fortnight. The treatment consists of a drug known as Serum 114 being injected into the patient before making them sit through short films such as a man being beaten to a pulp, a woman being the sexual victim of several men, and a Nazi concentration camp film set to the soundtrack of Beethoven's ninth symphony. Alex begins to feel sick during the films and the doctors insist that it's part of the cure. Alex's love for music and Beethoven in general become one of the adverse effects of the treatment as the ninth symphony has the same effect on Alex as the urge to beat or rape someone would. Alex soon comes to realize that you can never go home again and that being a free man isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially after a treatment such as this.

It took 37 years after its initial theatrical release and 24 years of being alive on this planet (the original viewing of this film was in 2008) to finally get around to seeing A Clockwork Orange. The film starts and it makes the viewer feel like they've missed something entirely that everyone else already knows about, but as the film unravels it snowballs into a unique vision of cinema. There are shades of Altered States in A Clockwork Orange, but A Clockwork Orange feels much more polarizing in its presentation in comparison. Stanley Kubrick tries to shine this spotlight of beauty onto the most heinous of actions as the film’s classical score becomes the soundtrack to ferocious and almost inhuman desires. This is Kubrick’s adaptation of the 1962 novel of the same name written by Anthony Burgess and it’s incredible how the film is able to remain captivating over a two hour period.

The film has a stunning restoration on the two-disc Blu-ray anniversary edition. Kubrick always had a brilliant eye when it came to perspective and camera placement; the majority of that could be contributed to Kubrick’s frequent collaborations with cinematographer John Alcott. The long hallway shots and close-ups on memorably haunting facial expressions are some of the most significant scenes in the film. A Clockwork Orange is loaded with vibrant colors that make every frame jump off the screen despite the film nearing half a century in age. This was the first film to take advantage of Dolby Digital surround sound, which contributes to the film sounding as good as it does.

Even with Stanley Kubrick as director, A Clockwork Orange wouldn’t be the same without Malcolm McDowell. McDowell fits the Alex DeLarge role as perfectly as Robert Downey Jr fits Tony Stark; these actors are these characters. The speeches McDowell gives in the film along with how traumatized he is after the treatment process are two of the biggest takeaways after viewing the film. This was one of McDowell’s first on-screen roles, which is surprising given how enthralling he is. You will never think of, “Singin’ in the Rain,” the same way again after viewing A Clockwork Orange.

A Clockwork Orange is a unique expedition into insanity no matter how you look at it. The dialogue is unusual and the characters are this fantastic blend of bizarre and diabolical, but the film is consistently engrossing and never seems to lag. Prior to 1986, the A Clockwork Orange novel was published in the US without its final chapter and that’s the version of the film Kubrick adapted. Anthony Burgess praised Kubrick’s version of the film despite this, which is more than what Stephen King did with Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining. Every shot in A Clockwork Orange grabs your attention largely in part to how it’s presented or the colors that leap off the screen. The novel is written in a way that’s difficult to read and that often translates on-screen. Like most of Kubrick’s work, A Clockwork Orange is for a specific audience. It is perhaps what Malcolm McDowell is known best for and probably shouldn’t be recommended to just anyone since it would likely soar over a modern day moviegoer. This isn’t the type of film to have on in the background while you text or play games on your phone. Ultraviolence is something you have to embrace and give your undivided attention to.

This is viewed by some as one of the greatest sci-fi films ever by some, but it isn’t any less pretentious than the rest of Stanley Kubrick’s work. A Clockwork Orange is mesmerizing with a performance from Malcolm McDowell that leaves a long lasting impact, but its affinity to utilize difficult to decipher jargon, nonstop innuendo being slammed into your face, and overuse of animalistic violence shackles the film from being more appealing to a wider audience. From a personal standpoint, A Clockwork Orange is one of Kubrick's best but it's easy to understand why it wouldn't be for everyone.
  
Call of Duty: Ghosts - Devastation
Call of Duty: Ghosts - Devastation
Shooter
The second of four planned content packs for Call of Duty: Ghosts has arrived and offers more than a way to tide fans over until the release the next pack and highly anticipated release of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare in November. Following the established formula of previous releases, the new collection offers four new maps, a new weapon, and a new episode for the alien themed Extinction gameplay mode.

 

The following maps are included in the collection.

 

Behemoth

This is set in a large excavation tool in Columbia where stairs, narrow corridors, and fast action are the order of business. Think of a cross between an oil rig and excavation machine and you have an idea what’s in store.

The upper levels of the map provide plenty of fast action and the interior locales get plenty of opportunity for close quarter combat. Running on the main deck may make you a favorite of snipers, but there are plenty of opportunities for players to duck out of harms way if they’re willing to jump over a ledge.

I have to say that this is my favorite of the new maps because I just really enjoyed the run and gun style of playing and this one suits me perfectly.

COD Ghosts Devastation_Behemoth Environment

Ruins

Set in Mexico, this map combines a jungle locale with plenty of temples. At first it was very frustrating as due to the excessive amounts of foliage and varying terrain levels, it was a campers paradise. I lost count of how many times I was spawn camped at the beginning of my play sessions but I soon developed instincts as to where opponents preferred to set up and hide. There is plenty of opportunity for fast and intense combat here as long as you’re willing to put up with the numerous snipers and campers that will letter the map.

When a player reaches a certain level of kill streak, they will become The Predator from the film series and this allows them to hunt opposing players using the heat vision of character as well as his wrist blades and plasma cannon. Should a player be lucky enough to take down this creature, he often gets the final laugh courtesy of his self-destruct mechanism which complete with sound effects from the film has devastating results.

COD Ghosts Devastation_Predator vs the Volcano

 

 

Unearthed

Set in a classified location this is often the most frustrating of the new maps for me. It is like a combination of Dome and a couple of other maps from previous games which forces combat to flow along and excavation site. There are some impressive things such as automatic doors and underground areas to fight within. However the central hub and elevated catwalk also lead to lots of sniping and camping. I had been spawn camped on this map more than any of the other maps combined but if you’re willing to lob a few grenades into the central hub, you can often be rewarded with some very impressive kill streaks.

COD Ghosts Devastation_Unearthed Environment

 

Collision

This New York based map is cluttered and dangerous as it is set aboard a crashed freighter that is mingled with the bridge and has all manner of vehicles and cargo containers aboard. Sniping is common here but the multilevel map and numerous interiors allow for a nice mix of gameplay styles. I remember recent session where I completed the final kills for our team by jumping down upon three passing enemies firing as I jumped. I have also racked up some very enjoyable kill streaks on this map that resulted in rocket strikes being called in. The detail level is good from the standing water in the lower sections of the ship to the cargo netting and containers that letter the upper levels. Seeing the wrecked New York City taxis was a nice touch as well as some of the more personal details in the crew quarter areas of the ship.

COD Ghosts Devastation_Collision Environment

 

The new weapon is called the Ripper and I found it to be a very interesting mix of submachine gun an assault rifle as it escaped will changing between the two on-the-fly. It is very high rates of fire which will rip opponent to shreds in short order hence how the weapon got its name. The high rate of fire though does go through your ammunition quickly so short bursts or plenty of time to reload is always recommend.

 

The final part of the collection is the Mayday episode of the alien themed Extinction. For players work with one another to infiltrate and clear a locale that is been overrun by the alien menace. Players purchase weapons upgrades based on the amount of enemies they dispatch and will also earn skill points based on their performance. Said skill points will let them do things such is offer ammunition upgrades to teammates and bring in electronics ranging from Sentry guns and other advanced weaponry. My first time through we made excellent progress as we seem to be well synced to take out the aliens and guard our drill that was required for advancement into the game.

This was short-lived as after several successful encounters we came across a group that had our number and dispatch us in quick succession which left no one to revive the fallen members. While it is a bit frustrating batch when this happens you must replay the entire session over the graphics and gameplay are definitely a very nice touch and I’m very happy to see that they have moved this to an episodic format because the narrative and back story bring a whole new level of enjoyment.

 

While not perfect, the collection is to me more enjoyable than many that maps the game shipped with at launch and therefore one that I can easily recommend. Those looking for the best value will want to purchase a season pass is that will get you all for the map packs at the discounted price which is certainly a is better than paying the going rate to get them à la carte.

http://sknr.net/2014/05/20/call-duty-ghosts-devastation-dlc/
  
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Gareth von Kallenbach (526 KP) rated the PC version of Shadow Warrior in Video Games

Jun 19, 2019  
Shadow Warrior
Shadow Warrior
Shooter
Back in 1997 the success of 3-D shooters such as Doom, Quake, and Duke Nukem 3D gave rise to a flood of 3-D shooter games and helped usher in the early days of online gaming. I fondly remember playing Shadow Warrior as I loved the mix of humor, action, and new technological advances that made it such an enjoyable gameplay experience.

Sadly the game never quite reached the status it deserves in part due to the rising political correctness movement and early days the Internet that allowed people to voice their displeasure with what they perceived as negative and inaccurate Asian stereotypes in the game.
Despite never being the breakout hit it deserved, the game spawned two expansions as well as a couple of novels and remained a fond memory for many of those who played it.

Devolver Digital has picked up the Katana and has brought back Lo Wang for an all-new adventure and a highly effective reboot of the franchise.

Playing as Lo Wang, a courier and muscle for a wealthy Japanese industrialist named Zilla, the game opens with the player being tasked to purchase a valuable sword. Things do not go as planned as Wang soon finds himself battling henchmen and surprisingly demons and effort to escape with his skin intact.

Thanks to the assistance of a demon named Hoji, Wang learns that his bosses attempting to obtain and combine reports to an extremely powerful and ancient sword that will give him dominion over the land. The only problem is that Zilla is in league with several demonic forces and does not care about the fact that said demons are in our world and laying waste to all those they encounter.
Armed with his trusty Katana, and in time, a pistol, shotgun, flame thrower, rocket launcher, machine gun, and other weapons, Wang is up for the task of recovering the sword and endhing the rein of the demons.

The game is spread out over 17 levels and contains a very nice mix of enemies. Some of the battles are extremely difficult and without being able to change difficulty setting mid-level, expect to find yourself cursing sometimes at the never-ending waves of enemies that come at you. Do not forget that the folks behind this reboot brought us Serious Sam so enemies coming at you in increasingly difficult and not ending waves are par for the course.

Fortunately Wang can obtain not only upgrades to his weapons but to himself as well as he is able to learn various powers of an offensive and defensive nature. Being able to heal yourself mid battle is a huge plus when health packs are not available, as is the ability to steal health from a defeated enemy or to simply turn the world on and by unleashing a snare trap and picking them off at your leisure.
There were times when thanks to the extremely long levels that some of the enemies felt a bit repetitive and more annoying than challenging. I should’ve known better as there were soon battles with some bosses and other precarious situations ahead.

The game allows you a decent amount of exploration as the detail level of the maps is quite amazing. Ranging from office complexes, a castle, the Shadow Realm, shipping docks, and so much more the true beauty of the game is always enjoyable to behold.

The game shines graphically as there is a great mix of lighting and particle effects as well as plenty of flames and explosions throughout. I have to admit that I took great delight in slicing an unfortunate opponent into several pieces and watching said pieces littered ground around me.

The variety of enemies is good and I especially enjoyed one of the later game powers of being able to take a demons had that I had severed and using it to unleash a death ray upon any of those who challenge me.

There is some great sound effects in the game and although not offensive, Wang has not lost his traditional sense of humor as he has several witty lines throughout the game and still asks those he encounters “who wants some Wang” before heading into battle.
The developer is also clearly paid attention to the original game as there are several Easter eggs throughout which are nods to the original game include in hidden areas with the graphical look of the old game. There were also some enjoyable returns such as Wang’s sticky bombs which now are available as an upgrade to the crossbow weapon rather than being a grenade that clung to enemies and could be remotely detonated.

While the game does not offer a multiplayer mode, it does offer plenty of gameplay due to the 17 long levels in the game and some real challenge from some of the bigger battles. The developers of told me that if there is a demand for it and if the game is popular enough, they would not rule out adding a multi-play component at sometime in the future.
I also want to pass along huge kudos to the developers for not relying solely on a checkpoint save system. The game does allow players to save at various points in game which is huge due to the difficulty of some of the battles as I can only imagine the level of frustration if certain segments of the game have to be played checkpoint checkpoint.

For now, Shadow Warrior is a shining example of how a 3-D shooter should be made rather than a nostalgic re-polish of an era since passed. The gameplay is sharp and fresh as our the story and characters making the game one of my most pleasant surprises of the year and one that I hope we will be seeing more of in the near future.

http://sknr.net/2013/10/08/shadow-warrior/
  
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Chris Sawin (189 KP) rated Friday the 13th (2009) in Movies

Jun 20, 2019 (Updated Jun 20, 2019)  
Friday the 13th (2009)
Friday the 13th (2009)
2009 | Horror
8
6.7 (16 Ratings)
Movie Rating
**I wrote this review a decade ago. I was going to change some stuff (mostly the last couple lines of the last paragraph), but thought it was too crude and hilarious to remove. Hopefully you feel the same way. Thanks for reading.**


In 1980, Pamela Voorhees set out to kill all the counselors at Camp Crystal Lake. Several years ago, the counselors did nothing as Mrs. Voorhees' son, Jason, drowned in the lake. Now, as the camp is about to re-open, Mrs. Voorhees has returned to seek revenge for her son and she only has one more victim before she accomplishes that goal. Unfortunately for Mrs. Voorhees, she didn't count on this particular camp counselor decapitating her and ending her reign of terror once and for all. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, Jason was still alive and witnessed his mother's gruesome death. Now, in the present day, Jason is the one who seeks revenge and anyone who even comes near Camp Crystal Lake is at risk of feeling his onslaught.
It's been something like five and a half years since we last saw Jason Voorhees in the theater. So was it worth the wait? Does the remake measure up to the rest of the franchise? Is it a remake worth seeing at all? Does it continue the trend with 2009 being a strong year for the horror genre? The short answer to all of these questions is yes.


I've always been partial to the Friday the 13th franchise. Jason Voorhees has always been my favorite when it comes slasher films. So I was beyond excited by the time today finally rolled around. The film opens with a flashback that chronicles what would be the ending to the original film. Jump to the present day. Some kids decide to hike out into the woods to have some fun and wind up about a half mile from Camp Blood. Everything is fun and games until one of them turns up missing. The survivors wind up exploring and get picked off one by one while Jason wears a bag over his head. After the scene in the trailer where Jason runs towards the girl on the ground and swings his machete, we get a black screen with "Friday the 13th" in red plastered across it.

Six weeks later, Clay is looking for his sister, Whitney. She was one of the victims of the attack we just witnessed. It seems as though everyone has given up hope looking for her except him. Meanwhile, Trent and his friends are going up to his dad's cabin for the weekend which just so happens to reside on Camp Crystal Lake. It's basically just more pigs being sent out to slaughter from there. Jason's bag gets pulled off right before he disposes of one of his victims in a barn. It's there that he stumbles across a hockey mask and things begin to pick up from there.
The film definitely delivers in all of the elements that make up the formula to a Friday the 13th film. There's plenty of T&A and sex for any sexhound. I haven't seen any R-rated film with this much nudity and sexual content in quite a while. The kills are also pretty satisfactory for a Friday fan. I think Trent's death is probably the most memorable, but I'm partial to Amanda's death because it was an interesting twist on the sleeping bag kill. Officer Bracke's kill was also a favorite of mine. Then, of course, there's Jason's death. It's interesting since it seems obvious how things are going to turn out for Jason, but it winds up happening in a round-a-bout way. Something is thrown in there to throw the audience off and that not many would see coming. Kind of like a, "Oh, maybe he'll die this way instead," kind of thing. Thinking back on it, it also felt like a throwback to one of the earlier sequels, which is pretty cool.

We can't finish this review without talking about Derek Mears as the man behind the hockey mask. I feel like he did a great job. I prefer him over Ken Kirzinger in Freddy Vs Jason. He kind of reminded me as a cross between C.J. Graham(part VI) and Kane Hodder(parts VII-IX). He also ran at times, which may put some people off. I actually enjoyed the running quite a bit. It reminded me of Jason in The Final Chapter, which is my favorite F13 film. He had the body movements down to perfection and is a worthy addition to the list of actors who have donned the hockey mask.

My one complaint is that it seemed like it was hard to see what was going on in certain scenes. The camera would be too shaky or scenes wouldn't have enough lighting and be too dark. It's really a minor complaint though as it usually only lasted a few seconds when it did occur.

So, all in all, I feel like it was well worth the wait for this film. I am really hoping it does well because I would welcome sequels with open arms. The remake follows the Friday the 13th formula extremely well. Right down to the ending. I guess the only thing that's not like some of the previous sequels is the acting, which seems to be top notch for a slasher film. As a Friday the 13th fan, I'm more than satisfied with the remake. To tell the truth, it was just nice to see a film with Jason Voorhees in theaters again. And as I've told quite a few friends, the feeling I had after walking out of the theater was equivalent to the way I feel after I blow my load. Not many films can plaster that on their movie poster, but this one could. And really, that's the biggest compliment of all.
  
Forest Fighters
Forest Fighters
2020 | Card Game
My back yard at my house is half lawn and the back half is woods. The woods are expansive and house many species of wildlife, some of which I care not to ever see. I have squirrels running through my yard and up my trees all the time. I have deer running freely through the neighborhood, and those dang raccoons to tear up my yard when it’s grub season. So when I heard about Forest Fighters being a game about squirrels and possibly fighting against raccoons I knew it had to be reviewed.

Forest Fighters pits players against each other, being rival squirrel clans preparing to gather acorns for the winter. Only one clan can succeed because there is but one oak tree in the entire forest from which acorns may be gathered. Players will be recruiting other animal species onto their side by way of deck building game mechanics and using gained cards to send to battle against their opponents.

DISCLAIMER: We were provided a copy of this game for the purposes of this review. This is a retail copy of the game, so what you see in these photos is exactly what would be received in your box. I do not intend to cover every single rule included in the rulebook, but will describe the overall game flow and major rule set so that our readers may get a sense of how the game plays. For more in depth rules, you may purchase a copy online or from your FLGS. -T


To setup, separate the cards into their respective decks. Deal each player five Forager Squirrels, two Acorns, and three Blackberries. This creates the 10 card deck players will shuffle and begin the game playing. Players will also choose 12 other animal deck types to use for the game and display all the decks within reach of all players. Each player will then draw the top five cards from their shuffled deck to create their starting hand. The game may now begin!
On a turn a player will use all the cards from their hand to purchase new cards from the main display to be added to their discard pile, like every other deck building game out there. The cards have multiple uses, however, and up to two currency values. Most animals will be recruited using Food (like Blackberries and Honey), and Food cards can mostly be obtained by using Forage values. Example: the starter Forager Squirrel can be used as one Food, one Forage, or even one Attack.

Speaking of Attack, on a player’s turn, should they be done shopping for other cards, they may attempt to attack an opponent using animal cards in their hand. Players will add up the Attack value on the cards they wish to use and declare an opponent who will reveal cards whose Defense value meets or exceeds the Attack value. Should the attacker win they will be able to take possession of Blackberries and Honey cards in the loser’s hand, send an animal back to its stack, or take all the Acorn cards. Acorns are both VP and the determining factor in ending the game; once all Acorn cards have been purchased the game is over.


Each animal card recruited will also have a special ability that can be used during a turn, and some of them are quite powerful. Turns continue in this fashion until either all Acorns have been purchased or all players except one have been eliminated. A player is eliminated once they can no longer purchase cards and have no more animals in their deck.
Components. Let me tell you about the good and the okay. The rulebook is a small pamphlet style that has only five pages of rules. And honestly, if you have played deck builders before, could have only taken one page. I like that. There is just enough information to get the game going, but doesn’t explain every card’s abilities, or throw in three pages of game art. Similarly, if any questions arise with card abilities, the card dividers provide more text to help clear up the questions. The cards are all good quality, and there are a ton of them.

The okay part of the game is the art on the cards. It is not at all bad, but it could use a different art style to be a bit more attractive. The last little concern I have is the design of the box. The size, shape, color, and all that is fine. What I wish was different was having the title of the game on all sides. My shelves are organized in a way that I try to pack as much as I can into the space by orienting the boxes to be as small and deep as possible so that the smallest side of the box is showing. I cannot do that with Forest Fighters because the smallest sides have a few art slides and credits. Honestly, this isn’t quite as egregious as some games (I’m looking at you, Oceans), so it’s not a huge deal, but worth mentioning for me.

All in all the game is a solid deck-builder with that extra bit of attacking and stealing from opponents. I have never been a fan of Dominion as I find its themelessness boring and its mechanics antiquated. Now, I think I might be able to use Forest Fighters as a gateway deck builder that is more interesting, but still considered light for new gamers.

I am kind of sad that I missed the Kickstarter for this one because I would have liked to have splurged for the higher tier (those yummy extras), but I am happy to have added Forest Fighters to my collection. I believe it is a great entry into deck-building and if you are looking to find a similar game with a cute theme, an interesting new take on the genre, and can play up to five comfortably, then I recommend you give this one a try. I think you’ll like it. Just don’t ever use the raccoons against me or I will be attacking you every turn.
  
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Kyera (8 KP) rated The 100 in Books

Feb 1, 2018  
The 100
The 100
Kass Morgan | 2018 | Science Fiction/Fantasy, Young Adult (YA)
6
7.5 (16 Ratings)
Book Rating
"The door slid open and Clarke knew it was time to die." What a way to start the book. Kass Morgan dives right into her storyline with an in-your-face opener. It took a bit of time before I, as the reader realized what this book was about. She began by setting up a number of characters, switching between perspectives, to quickly introduce you to the players. Those people who will have the biggest impact upon the storyline.

Each character is thrown into the mix, destined to be sent to Earth. The first in a long, long time. While not all make it, we are still treated with back stories and past relationships. Had the author not included those scenes, her characters would have been much more difficult to relate to. You come to briefly understand what the person goes through, exactly why he/she is so angry and hurt, and what they each did to become subjected to the fate of the 100. Personally, I would have preferred that greater attention had been given to character development rather than relationship development.

The Earth was unlivable for so long, and yet they send these 100 "children" as guinea pigs, rather than trained professionals. People who could colonize, build shelters, feed the colony, study the land and environment, or even tend to the ill. Instead, these youths are forced to come together with a common goal - survival.

One gets to a certain point in the novel and then realizes they don't entirely know what these different living situations/names mean. Of course, the Walden and Arcadian people seem to be of a lower class, economic, and social standing than the Phoenix. Walden also had an outbreak at one point that had to be quarantined. But beyond that? I'm not entirely sure what the distinctions are. Clearly the Phoenix people are "posh", with foreign accents, prone to extravagances and taking what they have for granted. But how did they come to be in that, dare I say, caste to begins with? Were people settled based upon their original locations on Earth? Or perhaps based upon the money/knowledge they could provide? Unfortunately, that aspect of the story is not very clearly explained. It seems that the author took more time to focus on the intricacies of the relationships than the world building.

Sometimes the author was redundant, choosing to repeat the same fears/desire over and over again. Yes, we understand that the medicine is missing. Was it flung from the ship before the crash or during? Can they survive without it? We don't know yet, but if we didn't realize the medicine was important the first time it was mentioned... We certainly realized it after the tenth.

This book has a very unique concept in that it combines the post-apocalyptic Hunger Games or Divergent-type Earth with space. While it may exist in other novels, I've not yet read something similar. Where it does seem to follow typical YA novels is the fact that it has a love triangle. Those seem like they are a requirement, as they are in most popular young adult novels. (HG, Divergent, TMI, Vampire Diaries, etc.)

There is a bit of mystery in the book as well. It seems that the reason one of the characters is arrested must be kept a secret, even from the reader. The author continuously has the girl think to herself, 'Why isn't he asking me about my confinement?', 'He's happy, this is for the best [that he doesn't know.]', and even has her love interest say "I heard a rumor about a girl on Phoenix who was arrested for..." Yes, there was a dramatic pause. And no, he does not finish his sentence. After the third or fourth time, the author finally reveals the girl's situation during a flashback.

Throughout the novel, the author develops the relationship between two main characters. Unfortunately, it's a bit jarring and sporadic. It quickly jumps from bitter hatred from the moment they step foot on Earth to reconciliation after one act, then back to hatred. Again, after one act. While relationships can be a roller coaster, this is a bit too authentic to the carnival ride.

The relationship is not perfect, especially when she has a second possible love interest. A guy who after only a short while, thinks of only her before he falls asleep. That girl must be something. The first time they really spend any time together, he decides that making out is the best course of action. Much to the dismay of her other love interest, though it does not dissuade him. Sound familiar?

It doesn't take long before he snaps at her and their brief... Whatever it was is over. Or is it?

They must be masochists, because it seems they're just gluttons for punishment and emotional, gut wrenching hurt... Or just those that don't learn from history. (Doomed to repeat it and all that.) Who would continuously subject themselves to that kind of torment? Move on and let yourself heal. It's not a post-apocalyptic world that only the two of you can repopulate... There are other individuals in camp with you. (Like the second guy you may or may not like, but that you certainly make out with in the woods.) But that's just my perspective.

While I found myself bemused and skeptical at times about certain aspects of the book, none of those times corresponded to the purposefully exaggerated environment that they must adapt to on Earth. Rather it is the progression of relationships, situations characters find themselves in, and utterly disastrous karmic intervention. Seriously, they must have really messed with the world for it to so perfectly separate two lovers as it does.

I suspected there would be a particular plot twist and unsurprisingly it came to fruition approximately 98% of the way through the book. I'm intrigued to see where the author takes it and how it will develop in the sequel - The 100: Day
21 (which is next on my review list!)

I find myself enjoying the read, dispute the obvious flaws one notices whilst reading it. If you take it as an easy, enjoyable read - then that is what you will come away with. If you expect it to be a fantastic piece that delves into the human psyche to truly draw you into a character's life and relationships - then you will be quite disappointed. Overall, I would recommend this novel to those who enjoy dystopian, teen romance series.