Tekken 7 @ Gamescom 2016: EXCELLENT Character Reveal!

Posted in fan-service, fighting games on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

The silver-haired demon, Lee Chaolan, returns!

At this year’s Gamescom event (which is pretty much Germany’s E3), Katsuhiro Harada attended and revealed another addition to the Tekken 7 roster… none other than Lee Chaolan! The silver-haired adopted son of Heihachi Mishima and now head of his own robotics corporation returns with his lightning fast kicks and high-pitched yells… and an even more stylish set of suits. Really, this guy is all style, isn’t he? It’s interesting to note that Lee is as yet an addition to the console release of Tekken 7. It appears that from here on in, any new characters announced will be for the home versions on PC, PS4 and XBox One. Good news for the most of us who haven’t been lucky enough to live near an very well-stocked arcade.

It seems that with the road to the home release now stretching out but quite reachable, further reveals may be in the works- there may certainly be more in store at next month’s Tokyo Game Show (mid-September), so we’ll just have to wait and see. I’ve been quite happy with the recent reveals and the new customizations that will, we assume, all make their way to the console versions. With pretty much no other big fighters due out next year, Tekken 7 just may be the BIG ONE to watch out for fighting gamers in the near future. More as we get it then!

Kingsglaive: The Lone Gamer’s Movie Review

Posted in action-adventure, gaming, my stuff on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

Well, at least it’s much better than Spirits Within.

As the gaming world counts the weeks to the late November release of the long-in-development Final Fantasy XV, gamers all over have a wide selection of material to occupy their attention before the actual game hits. Of course there’s the anime OVA series, FFXV Brotherhood (nowhere near as good as FMA Brotherhood, I assure you), which is of course made to introduce us to the heroes of the game- Prince Noct of Lucis and his roadies. Kingsglaive, a fully-CG animated film, is another such prologue, though much more immediate to the events within the game.

As the opening seconds of the movie roll in with the familiar voice of Lena Heady (our most beloved mad queen of Westeros) giving narration, we are introduced to the big players- Lucis is the ‘peaceful kingdom of magic’ while opposite them is The Empire of Nifleheim, a militaristic nation powered by Magitek (ah, Magitek, we know you so well). The Empire of course is on the verge of total victory, with the capital city of Insomnia (really? A city is named after a sleeping disorder?) the only remaining bastion of Lucis’ control. After a flashback showing some tragic events that befall Lucis’ former ally, the country of Tenebrae, we get into the thick of action with the Kingsglaive.

The titular Kingsglaive are apparently Lucis’ main (or perhaps only) military force- not sure about how many, but there seem to be not many- certainly nowhere near a hundred strong. The Glaive are ‘mighty warriors’, all of whom are recruited from Lucis’ provinces (all of which are probably now under Empire control or attack) due to their ability to use magic. The magic they wield though comes from one source- the King of Lucis himself, King Regis (voiced by another GoT stalwart, Sean Bean). So who are the Glaive? They look kinda cool- very similar to Assassins from Assassins Creed, but in black and wielding one main weapon- a dagger or short blade which they use primarily to ‘Warp Strike’; as in, they throw the dagger and then can teleport to wherever the weapon goes. While it certainly LOOKS awesome, I find it highly impractical and sorta haphazard. I guess the Glaive are trained to be really good and accurate throwers, but come on- you’re limited by throwing range, the speed of the person’s arm, his accuracy, the fact that they can go wildly out of control (and many do in the course of the action) with a bad throw.

Anyway, in these couple of dozen or so fighters is Lucis’ main defense. What has the enemy got? Oh, aside from armies of certainly a lot more soldiers, both human and mechanical (armed with GUNS), they have Magitek war machines AND apparently controlled monsters (just like in the games!) which range from flying creeps and cannon fodder to larger beasts like a Cerberus (three-headed fire dog) and a smoky demon which also seems to be half mechanical. How a few guys with daggers is able to hold off such a force is beyond me. But well, somehow they do.

Or do they? At the moment of apparent defeat, the Empire withdraws, allowing the Kingsglaive to get a breather. Later on, the court of King Regis is visited by a strange visitor- the shabby but kinda cool-looking Ardyn Izunia, perhaps the first Final Fantasy villain ever to sport a fedora and what seems to be a beak on his right arm (really, WHAT THE HELL IS HE WEARING?). Ardyn brings an offer of peace- well, pretty much an armistice, which offers a stop to the war at the cost of Lucis surrendering all its territories save Insomnia itself. Oh, and the Prince must also marry the Princess Lunafreya, who has been an Imperial captive/ward all this time.

Of course, you just know that the Empire is up to no good, and from there it’s a nice build-up to the day of the treaty signing. In the meantime, we see ugly sides of Lucis, which utterly puzzle me. So the Kingsglaive are all recruited from non-residents of Insomnia… WHY are they regarded by Insomnians with an obvious racist disgust? They are DEFENDING YOU, IDIOTS. The Glaive themselves are not your picture of loyalty or unity either- of course, you have the gung-ho, fearless hero Nyx, his clumsy oaf of a best friend Libertus and the one hot girl, Crow. The rest are either faceless and unimportant or belligerent or smarmy. With their ranks thinned and dissent growing cracks in their resolve, in the Kingsglaive may lie the fate of Lucis as the Imperial plot soon unfolds.

First off, the movie is GORGEOUS. That much can be said readily. There’s a lot of detail in the characters, and its much improved from previous Final Fantasy films. Faces of many characters look great, and at least by this time we don’t really think uncanny valley that much any more. However, there seems to be a slight disjoint between lip syncing- or perhaps the mouths of characters don’t quite seem to jive with the words.

While the first half of the movie up to when the shit hits the fan, the movie is quite engaging. However, after a certain point and we head into an unwieldy final act, it all crumples into a mess of a pursuit/chase, and large scale “Giant Monster’ action and action that’s so zippy and flashy, it can only be described as anime. Things happen to characters that normal humans would not walk away from easily, betraying the CG nature of the actors and the world. And the action in the final battle, while pretty amazing, seems hollow, without weight and ultimately, unsatisfying.

But then, I guess Kingsglaive is not meant to satisfy. It’s here to set the stage- with the bad guys winning or on the upswing, while the heroes are- well, they’re not here. The real heroes are in the upcoming GAME, which you will need to play to get closure. I wonder though how closely they’ll keep this movie to the final game? In that way, I guess that while Kingsglaive has its faults, it was worth seeing and certainly has me stoked into kicking Imperial butt this November on my PS4.

The Lone Gamer’s Review: Resident Evil 7 Biohazard

Posted in gaming on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

You don’t need VR to get immersed into this instant horror favorite.

A sprawling,derelict estate full of labyrinthine corridors and darkened rooms. Perplexing puzzles and twisted riddles. Ghastly creatures and a limited arsenal of weapons. Yep, it’s Resident Evil all right.

Resident Evil 7 Biohazard is a return-to-form for this long-running, much-beloved series, despite several large changes to some fundamental gameplay mechanics.

You play as Ethan Winters, a seemingly ordinary guy who has come to the swamplands of Dulvey, Louisiana looking for his wife Mia, who has been missing for the past three years. The email Mia sent him has led him to the rather large Baker Farm- a multi-building estate that seems at first abandoned and falling into slow decay. But soon after he arrives, it becomes apparent that not all is well. There is a measure of disbelief that has to be given about the stark absurdity of the situation and how Ethan still manages to soldier on regardless.

Dismembered legs of farm animals and buzzsaw blades forming a grotesque wreath before you? No problem! Seemingly abandoned house full of mysterious noises and unexplained movement? No sweat! VHS footage of some other people apparently getting murdered in this very house? NOTHING gets to this guy- he will find his missing wife come hell or high water even if any other sane person would have long run off to find the nearest SWAT Team.

But instead of hordes of zombies, the foes Ethan will face are more individualized and personal, mostly being the members of the Baker Family. There’s Jack Baker- the patriarch and father- a bespectacled, balding elder gentleman with a penchant for swinging large axes or shovels and shrugging away bullets like the Nemesis- just in overalls. There’s Marguerite, Jack’s wife and mother of the household who seems to have a very disturbing affinity for creepy crawlies. And then there’s Lucas- an intelligent young man destined to become another Jigsaw Killer in the near future. Each of the Bakers is clearly not entirely normal or human, but the exact nature of this Hills-Have-Eyes/Texas Chainsaw Massacre-reeking clan is a mystery Ethan will unravel as the night bores on- if he survives. Each family member is effectively unkillable, making each one a sort of boss. Aside from them though, there will be other enemies to be found in the course of the game where Ethan’s meager arsenal of weapons may be used more effectively on.

But just like the classic, original Resident Evil, firearms and armaments are not in huge supply. Enemies won’t drop pisetas or bullets after death. You WILL, for the most part, need to make every shot count, unless you want to possibly confront a hulking enemy armed with just a folding knife. It’s this return to a more desperate, more calculated pace of combat, resource management and survival that makes this game so much more in tune with the earlier, and more scary RE’s rather than the later, more action-oriented games of RE4 and beyond.

But aside from hearkening to the original RE, this latest sequel also borrows or takes cues from other sources of horror, from Japanese Horror films to other survival horror games like Silent Hill, P.T., Outlast and more. But you do know there’s still probably some evil pharmaceutical corporation or scientific nightmare behind it all, despite the supernatural trimmings.

Truly helping the scare factor along is the simple change in perspective- RE7 is played entirely from First Person, making everything so much more immersive and personal (note that this probably becomes doubly so on PS4 with PSVR). Enemies can suddenly shuffle into your way, or, in one unique case, even smash through walls at you (perhaps a nice nod to the classic Dogs scene?), and you can just FEEL them nipping at your heels as you turn tail to run. More often than not, it will be a case of evading enemies rather than outright fighting to succeed, at least until you have an ample supply of ammo and a good, strong weapon (and maybe a couple of those nifty healing solutions).

The graphics are pretty spot-on, with the various confines of the Baker Farm having an eerie, almost photo-realistic look to everything. Character models are well done, although still having a bit of uncanny valley with some characters, in particular Ethan’s estranged wife, Mia. On the other hand, the sound design, SFX and voice work is almost uniformly superb- I guess funny and cheesy voice acting was one thing they didn’t feel needed to be brought back.

Resident Evil 7 surpassed pretty much all my expectations to deliver a truly engrossing, entertaining and mature survival-HORROR experience from beginning to end. The production values and quality is impressive, the story perhaps the most easy to understand and well-told both through files, environmental storytelling and just a wee bit of actual expositional dialogue. The boss fights are amazing, the combat satisfying as heck. If this is the new door to what Resident Evil is opening up to, let me the hell in.

Resident Evil 7 Biohazard
Game Rating: 9 of 10

Streetfighter V: Kolin Reveal Trailer

Posted in fan-service, fighting games on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

Gill’s Lady Friday is the next new character in SFV Season 2.

It’s been a while since the start of Streetfighter V‘s Season 2, which start off with the addition of Akuma (or ‘Daisy’ as some have taken to calling him…) to the roster. Well, Season 2 is well along with the upcoming addition of the latest new combatant. Kolinhas just been revealed in the above trailer as the next new fighter. Formerly known as Helen in the game’s Story Mode, she is the secretary(?) or lead henchwoman of Gill, the leader of the Illuminati and Streetfighter III’s Final Boss.

SPOILER ALERT for those who haven’t played SFV’s Story Mode (WHY HAVEN’T YOU?). At the very end of the game, after the credits roll (or is it before?), Gill is seen to be the ‘mysterious man’ Helen has been saying will lead the world to a new future. The now-bearded Gill then apparently reveals Helen’s true(?) appearance an identiy, that of Kolin. Now why she had to bother being disguised as another blonde woman is beyond me but well- reasons.

During the events of the SFV Story, Helen already possessed obvious abilities, such as supernatural agility (she pickpocketed Rashid of the pivotal chess pieces without him knowing) and some for of energy control to heal or empower Nash, but now as Kolin, she is revealed to have ice-based fighting ability as well (no doubt given to her by her master). She supposedly has rekka-type attacks, and unusual projectiles. We’ll surely be given more views of this character in the next few weeks, as we slowly make to her release on February 28.

To be fair, I didn’t think I was going to be very interested in Kolin- Helen wasn’t that appealing a character, but now seeing the trailer I do want to see what Capcom’s version of Kula can do. We’ll see, won’t we?

UPDATE: The official SFV Blog has updated with a post on Kolin. Apparently she practices the art of Systema, a Russian Martial Art (also seen used by Marie Rose in DOA5) and is described as ‘A Phantasm of Snow and Ice’. Check out Capcom’s post here.

New Ghost in the Shell Trailer hits!

Posted in action-adventure, anime, fan-service, movies on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

Scarlett Johansson is The Major coming this March.

Ever since its announcement and subsequent casting of actress Scarlett Johansson, the live-action version of the anime Ghost in the Shell has been controversial. Of course there’d be hubbub over having an American in the role of a Japanese anime character named Motoko Kusanagi (I think they just call her The Major in the film). One would wonder though if a film starring a Japanese actress (Rinko Kikuchi perhaps? Maggie Q?) would be more successful with decidedly less star power. Hell, we don’t even know even with Miss Johansson that GITS will be a hit.

The second trailer shows off more previously-unseen footage along with the now-familiar scenes of The Major in her ‘naked’ bodysuit and the nightmare-fuel mecha geishas. But now there’s a bit more talking and some bits of the plot. While the film does share some scenes with the original film and manga (some, like the confrontation with the gunman at the waterway seem painstakingly-reproduced), the overall storyline seems to have been simplified a bit, or at least made with The Major more central to the story. It seems more of Kusanagi seeking her actual identity, rather than the more existential jargon in the anime. I guess it may take a bit of fixing to make the original’s concepts and musings about what corporates being human more easy to digest (the anime tended to be very long-winded in exposition). There’s Blade Runner-esque imagery, some cool action and a hot lady in a form-fitting bodystocking… what’s not to love?

Well, we’ll see if this is a hit or a hack this March. Ghost in the Shell also features Takeshi Kitano as Daisuke Aramaki and Pilou Asbæk as Batou.

Logan (2017) Movie Review by The Lone Gamer

Posted in action-adventure, my stuff on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

Wolverine’s last(?) film is gloriously depressing, exhilaratingly violent.

Has it really been 15 years? Yep, fifteen years since we first saw Aussie actor Hugh Jackman take the role of Canadian X-man and arguably the most famous and beloved mutant of all, Wolverine AKA Logan. From the original X-men film by Bryan Singer, to X2: X-men United, X3 The Last Stand, X-men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine and X-men: Days of Future Past, we’ve seen the triple-clawed warrior slash his way through evil mutants, commandos, cyborgs, ninja and giant robots- who’d have thought it would be his own secret weapon- his adamantium skeleton- that would be his downfall? Reuniting with fellow X-men mainstay Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier, Logan takes us into the waning days of a beloved comic book-turned-film hero. The result is depressingly glorious but strangely satisfying.

Sometime in the future, we are reintroduced to Logan= The Wolverine- a once infamous superhero and mutant, but now noticeably older, more scarred and looking more vulnerable than we’ve ever seen him. No longer a scion of Xavier’s School, or even a care-free drifter- ‘Old’ Logan is now apparently working as a Limo driver for some kind of Uber service. A scuffle with some car thieves near the border with Mexico reveals that Logan isn’t as formidable as he was before, but he’s still go the claws, and when he connects it does DAMAGE.
Unfortunately, it is soon learned that Logan is dying. His adamantium skeleton- since time immemorial his claim to fame and invulnerability- is now poisoning him, causing his incredible healing factor to slow and even fail. And he’s not the only one on his last legs. We learn that Professor Xavier is also still alive, cared for by Logan and the living mutant-detector Caliban (Stephen Merchant) in an abandoned factory, the Professor being housed in a huge metal silo in an effort to contain his often-out-of-control telepathy. Stricken by Alzheimer’s and dementia, Xavier’s mind can potentially release a lethal, paralyzing psychic attack in a wide radius unless he takes regular medication. In fact, we learn (in no ready detail) that one such psychic episode was responsible for the deaths of many of the X-men (and presumably the decline of the School). Now all Logan and Charles have to look forward to is a hopeful solitary, final vacation out to sea- if Logan can gather the funds to buy them a boat.

But of course, that isn’t to be as Logan is soon sought out by a woman named Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez), who pleads with Logan to take her and a girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) to North Dakota. Laura is soon revealed to be a mutant- the first seen by Logan and Charles in years (mutants having seemingly gone extinct in the last several years for some reason), and she’s naturally being pursued by the ones who created her. So now it’s up to Logan, a dying warrior who just wants to slink into a dark hole to die quietly in peace, to find what remains of himself within to protect the next generation of mutants from some truly despicable villains.

Taking inspiration from films like Unforgiven, Logan is in some ways a breaking down of the superhero movie- the film itself takes potshots at itself, with Logan remarking at how X-men comics don’t actually show the real deal. Nope, not at all. In Logan, heroes aren’t clean and flawless and always save the day… they can die, and along the way, other people, even good people, can get caught in the crossfire with them. Somehow though, there is still redemption to be found even if everything is at its bleakest and there’s no happy ending in sight. Just lots of blood and more blood.

Logan is a gloriously depressing road trip movie- certainly a radical departure from all the previous X-men films, and it prospers because of it. The down-and-dirty, R-rated action is never truly gory or gratuitous, and at times is quite satisfying thanks to how truly needing of some much-deserved killing the baddies are. Jackman and Stewart, as the franchise mainstays, decisively give their onscreen characters their most memorable performances. In no other film is the bond between Logan and Prof. X this more profound and touching. As X-23 AKA Laura Kinney, Dafne Keen is eye-catching and amazing in the fight scenes- one hopes that perhaps there will be future romps with her, but only time will tell.

I’ll admit, I would have wished for a slightly less depressing conclusion to Logan, but then again, the guy’s had over 200 years to walk the earth, and he’s made his three-clawed mark on it many, many times. You’ve earned your retirement, Wolverine. What a way to go.

Logan (2017)
The Lone Gamer’s Movie Rating: 4 of 5

Tekken 7 TVC Shows Off Rage Arts, Story Scenes!

Posted in fighting games on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

“The Best Fights are Personal.”

With March almost done, only about two months remain before Tekken 7 for the home releases. MAN! Two months. That’s just four paydays (unless you’re unemployed, like I am currently…). That’s really not too far off, but its still a wait… and fortunately, a lot of nice things can happen in that time. Stuff like character reveals, more costumes or customization parts being added, the Story mode being fleshed out more… that sort of thing. I can very well guarantee in the last month or so, the media blitz for this game will be all over the place. Fight fans have been waiting nigh on six or seven years for Tekken to come home (not since Tekken Tag 2), so this is a BIG THING. At least for fans and fighting gamers.

For now though, here’s the latest bit- a TV commercial posted online at the official Tekken Youtube channel (TekkenChannel) showing off some fighters doing Rage Arts and even some intriguing scenes which can be assumed taken from the cinematic Story mode. Now I am expecting that not only will the main players Kazuya, Heihachi and Jin be focused on, but hopefully every fighter will get their own story and scenes to be told. The game’s had all this time to be developed, and has been delayed at least once- we can expect or deserve no less.

Anyway, check out the vid above, and I’ll keep my eyes peeled on the next milestone till we reach June 2. Stay tuned!

Game of Thrones Season 7: Episode 1 and 2 Reviews, Thoughts!

Posted in game of thrones, my stuff, tv on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

Winter is here.

I’m a bit late to this one, but with the awesome, awesome Game of Thrones HBO series now down to its final two seasons, I think I’ll be starting this weekly series giving my review and thoughts to these closing episodes of one of the finest, if not the BEST epic fantasy series ever seen so far. I just wish I had started this from day one and season 1 but, hey. Better late than never!

Season 7 has come, with last week’s episode ‘Dragonstone’ and today’s ‘Stormborn’. Here are my thoughts for each of the first two episodes. Of course…

SPOILER WARNING!!!

Episode 1: Dragonstone

• Easily the Best. Opening. EVER. Arya Stark’s single-handed annihilation of the Hated House Frey will go down in the series as one of the most satisfying comeuppance ever. Man, Arya has come far from being her Daddy’s little princess in Winterfell. That wasn’t her, indeed.

• Giant Wights. Or is it Wight Giants? SHIIIIIT! It would be heartbreaking to someday see Hodor’s corpse among the wights, but realistically there is no reason he wouldn’t be… unless his body was destroyed utterly…

• Cersei prepares as Jaime worries. So far Jaime has been faithful to his lover/sister/queen. But cracks are being placed thanks to his love apparently being open to an Ironborn suitor…

• Euron Greyjoy is a freakin’ ROCK STAR in pretty much every way. He’s going to be dangerous.

• Does Euron’s fleet really have 1000 ships? HOW did they manage that? Did they empty the damn Iron Islands of men to man these ships? At about conservatively 20 men a ship, that’s still 20,000 men- a large force in any book.

• The series seems to be dead-set on pitting Jon against Sansa. I don’t think it will come to that, openly. Sansa has a good heart, she just needs to reconcile that with the ruthlessness she’s been taught. I don’t think any Stark will end up dying because of their own kin (at least, I hope).

• Don’t know Ed Sheeran, so the cameo is lost on me. I did like the scene between Arya and the decent Lannister soldiers. It goes to show that Arya isn’t totally ruthless or heartless; while she may have had her guard up, she definitely warmed up to them after seeing and hearing what kind of men ALL of them were. That little jibe at the end may have been a bit daring of her, but obviously the men saw it entirely as a joke, and Arya’s sincere and uncharacteristically girlish laugh at the end revealed that her realizing how silly it indeed must have sounded. NO, I don’t think she kills or ‘silences’ them after.

• That entire ‘Shit and Soup’ segment went waaaay too long. GOT directors and writers have put in gory blood and guts, and now gross stuff.

• Little Bear Mormont is still Jon Snow’s MVP in the North.

• Tormund and the Wildlings are sent to man Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, the Wall’s castle that is closest to the threat of the incoming Army of the Dead. I really can’t see Tormund dying- he’s the ONLY Wildling character left. If he dies, so do the Wildlings as a faction we care about.

• Have to admit, a bunch of old, bearded guys isn’t the most entertaining bunch to watch despite the Hound being one of my favorite characters. The return to the old farmer’s house from many seasons back is an awesome touch and something you’d never have expected to see. How much the damn Hound has changed!

• Dany’s arrival in Dragonstone was a bit long and was a bit trying as it had no dialogue whatsoever, but I guess the sights and architecture of the awesome castle made up for it.

• “Shall we begin?” YES, DAMMIT!!!

Episode 2: Stormborn

• Dany was a bit harsh, but I guess her grilling Varys was probably a bit of a test as well as her getting back at the Spider for his past actions. But kudos to Varys for an awesome speech and proving himself to be one of the best characters in the show.

• The seeds for the Jon-Dany meeting are sown… YES!

• Dany’s first small council/meeting of heads is pretty much all women- Olenna Tyrell, Ellara Sand, Yara Greyjoy… Westeros is more advanced than a lot of places on present-day Earth.

• Grey Worm and Missandei have a long-deserved love scene. How does that work? I guess she gets most of the physical pleasure while he gets… fulfillment? DAMN I hope he doesn’t die. I like Grey Worm.

• Jon decides to accept Dany’s invitation to come to Dragonstone for the possibility of gaining her help against the Night’s King. Of course, the Lords of the North are not happy with their King leaving the North, but at least they get a Queen in his stead.

• Littlefinger is just standing around in Winterfell, just all this time looking shifty and whispering evil nothings into people’s ears. Jon makes his stand on the man who betrayed Ned Stark clear. I think Littlefinger’s days are numbered.

• DAMMN all of Sam’s scenes so far lead to VERY GROSS things happening. GRRRROOOOOOSSSS!!!

• Sam: “You’re not dying today, Ser Jorah.” But you may wish you did…

• That said, I still felt hungry when Arya gorged herself on Hot Pie’s, well, Pies. Nice scene and Arya finding out about the state of affairs in Winterfell had me giddy again. GO HOME, GIRL!

• Nymeria: I can’t go with you, Arya. We don’t have the budget for it.

• Euron takes down the Sandsnakes and captures Yara and Ellara. I don’t fault Theon for jumping ship- his side had lost, he had no chance of beating Euron with his blade at Yara’s throat. It was either live to fight another day or just die a heroic but stupid death. I do hope he tries (and succeeds) in saving Yara- she’s cool.

Next week, Jon Snow and Dany FINALLY meet. PLEASE don’t let it be at the very end of the episode with Dany saying, ‘Shall we talk?’ before cut to credits.

Game of Thrones Season 7 Ep.3 Review, Thoughts!

Posted in game of thrones, my stuff, tv on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

The third episode of Game of Thrones’ Season 7 is entitled ‘The Queen’s Justice’, and its pretty apt. There are queens aplenty in this latest chapter of GoT, all exercising their power, wit and guile in yet another hard-hitting bout of war, magic and politics in Westeros.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

• Without wasting any time, the show opens with The King in the North, Jon Snow, arriving at Dragonstone. He’s totally under Dany’s power at this point- he’s got Davos and a few guards with him, but really- Stark guardsmen have had a pretty bad record of protecting their lieges. Still, it’s not dread but giddiness that watchers should feel as these iconic characters meet after literal years apart. Jon and Tyrion, traveling companions to the Wall so long ago, meet and converse, and their exchanges are gold- heck, I would probably watch them just talking for an hour. But of course, they have to get on with the show and have The King meet The Queen. Jon and Dany’s first meeting is between rival rulers, and its tense and uncomfortable, but we know they’re both heroes and good people so there’s no real danger- all we want to see is them eventually seeing eye to eye… but of course it won’t- can’t- happen in their first meeting.

• “This is Jon Snow. He’s King of the North.”

• We see Euron Greyjoy, who has swiftly become Cersei’s champion on the seas, arriving to a hero’s welcome at King’s Landing. He presents his ‘gift’ to Cersei- none other than a captured Ellaria Sand and her one remaining daughter, the Sand Snake Tyene. Euron continues to be a dick to Jamie, which surely is only cementing a strong friendship between the two men vying for Cersei’s bed (well, Jamie already has it, Euron wants to grab it).

• The fate of Ellaria is textbook Cersei, and quite horrible. Of course, she won’t simply have The Mountain violate her like she did an unfortunate septa, Cersei has had quite some time to think up revenge. After a monologue, Cersei kisses Tyene on the lips, using the same poison Ellaria used on Myrcella on the lone remaining Sand Snake. Ellaria’s fate is now to remain alive in her cell to watch Tyene die a slow death from The Long Farewell poison, and then to spend the rest of her days with Tyene’s rotting corpse. UGH. Not sure how many will feel sorry for Ellaria, given how hated the character became after murdering Myrcella, but I guess its still a horrid end. Is this the last we see of Ellaria? Depending on how the war goes, she may pop up again if Dany manages to win and free her Dornish ally, but for now it seems she’s down for the count.

• We then head back to Oldtown and see that Sam has proven himself a healing genius, with a fully-recovered Jorah Mormont being presented to the Archmeister. Sam’s reward (or punishment) for this is a load of new chores, but at least he isn’t expelled for his transgressions. Meanwhile, Jorah says he’s headed back to his Dragon Queen. She needs all the allies she can get.

• Theon is fished out of the water by what we assume to be one of the few Ironborn ships not allied with Euron. Apparently they DID expect him to die with Yara, or at least die trying to save her. Not sure how this leaves him, as the Ironborn seem to shun him (but at least they didn’t throw him back into the water).

• We head back to Winterfell and see that while she’s still acting kinda emo, Sansa is proving to be a pretty good leader. Littlefinger gives her his ‘Every Battle in your Mind’ advice, which is sound but still you can’t trust him can you?

• Sansa is then called to the gates and for a bit I think its Arya, but instead its Bran and Meera. She hugs him but Bran seems to act a bit like an emotionless robot. They talk at the Godswood where Bran tells her about him being the Three-Eyed Raven, which he fails to properly explain adequately. However, he does reveal that he saw her on her wedding night to Ramsay, which utterly spooks her.

• Cersei meets with an official from the Iron Bank, and from all appearances she seems to have everything under control. She promises to pay back all her debts very soon.

• The Unsullied attack Casterly Rock, with a majority attacking the walls while Grey Worm and a small detachment head through the sewers (with information from Tyrion) and open the gates. They defeat the garrison but the victory turns to ashes when Grey Worm sees their ships being burned by Euron’s seemingly omniscient fleet. So now, the Unsullied have lost their ride back home and are facing a long march back home after taking what turns out to be a pretty useless castle.

• The main Lannister army wasn’t at The Rock since its off to Highgarden, led by Jamie who’s also with Randyll Tarly, who has chosen to forsake his allegiance to the Tyrells. We don’t see the battle aside from the imposing sight of the huge Lannister force approaching Lady Olenna’s stronghold. Jamie walks through the halls to the Queen of Thorns’ chamber, to have a talk before her execution.

• Thankfully, we won’t see an old woman beheaded or violated, as Jamie has seen fit to give Lady Olenna a painless, dignified end through poison. They talk as Olenna seems unsuccessful in trying to convince Jamie that Cersei is a monster who will ‘be the end of him’. However, Jamie (at this point) is still completely devoted and in love with his queen…

• Jamie’s gesture of mercy however flies back into his face as Olenna reveals at the very end that it was she who poisoned Joffrey, having the last word that she wants Cersei to know it was her.

• The Queen of Thorns leaves the show like a BOSS. Lady Olenna, you will be missed.

At episode three, the war between Cersei and Dany is taking quite an unpredicted turn. Where we thought that Dany would take Westeros back easily has been upturned quite a bit. Her Dornish and Tyrell allies are both gone, while her elite Unsullies are now far away and in danger of being trapped in Casterly Rock (unless they leave and make a dangerous march back to Dragonstone). Another large portion of her fleet has been lost to Euron’s magic fleet, which seems to know where and when to strike perfectly every single time- it’s getting a bit annoying.

• What’s Theon’s relevance now? Pretty sure he has only a few ships and men left, and their loyalty is suspect. His only path left is to try and save Yara, who is still Euron’s prisoner.

• No Arya yet, but the preview shows she may arrive next episode.

• The Lannisters so far have been batting well, reducing Dany to just her core forces. But yes, Dany still has her dragons AND the Dothraki horde- the game is far from over.

MAN, I can’t wait till next week. AS USUAL.

Kicking Butt and Taking Names in Thedas

Posted in fan-service on July 19th, 2019 by Bessie Peters

Vivienne and Cassandra show off their stuff in the latest Characters Trailer for DAI.

When I last posted about Dragon Age: Inquisition, I told of my epic, uphill battle (well, more like WAR) against the first dragon in the game- the Hinterlands’ Ferelden Frostback- supposedly the ‘easiest’ dragon in the game. Well, humorously enough, since then I’ve killed THREE more dragons, and although the battles were certainly epic, I actually killed them all pretty much as a matter of course, thanks mainly to my character- the Inquisitor in particular- suddenly becoming this all-powerful badass.
As I’ve said before, my first Inquisitor is a female Elf Mage. At the start, mages are very weak, with low damage output and low armor. It was offset by the variety of flashy spells at their diposal (with Barrier, glorious BARRIER). However, it is always a bit of a scare when you see big, armored bruisers gleefully running at you, aching to bury their huge swords hilt-deep into your gut. Well, that changes once you become a frekkin’ Knight Enchanter.

Once you reach a certain level in DAI, you can specialize your character- which opens up a new skill tree and new spells and powers to employ. For Mages, you can choose from three- Necromancer, Rift Mage or Knight Enchanter. I went for KE, which the trainer touted as the class for those who want ‘To Lead’. Basically what it does is turn your scrawny mage into a Magical Tank, wading into the thickest battle and laying waste to the opposition with her magic powers and a blade of solid light. Yes, basically you’re a goddamn JEDI in Thedas.

Your initiation is pretty straightforward- you gotta build your own Lightsa- well, spirit sword hilt (which entails you opening up an area to collect the needed metals). Once you do, congrats! You’re on your way to becoming a veritable scourge of the battlefield even Iron Bull will respect.

The key to your power is both your offense and defense- the Knight Enchanter uses Barrier to keep themselves from being damaged. With the right passive skills in place, you can keep your barrier up indefinitely by simply hitting with your spirit blade- so basically the more you attack and cause damage, the more you keep invulnerable. It sounds awesome, and it IS. However, it’s doesn’t make you TOTALLY unkillable or indestructible- I was overmatched in one instance by a pretty exceptional enemy group, but other than that I have been kicking ass every time- it kinda helps that I am a bit over-leveled now- at Level 20.

You’d think some games would become boring or un-fun once you become too poweful, but not really in this case- nor was it when I reached a certain level in Skyrim. It just opens up the world for you which is quite liberating and empoweringly fun. Also, being so powerful fits with you character being this unstoppable leader of what amounts to Thedas’ most feared and powerful army of justice, and at this point I am having so much freakin’ fun with the game. FINALLY I got back to those stupid overpowered Rifts in the Hinterlands and wiped the floor with those damn demons. Heh.
I’ve actually still got quite a bit of the game to go, but thanks to my power, I do think I’ll more or less coast through to the ending, which is fine. I wonder though what class I’ll take in my second playthrough… and I hope it’s as powerful or just as kickass… but hell- my Knight Enchanter Elf Inquisitor is one almighty fury on the field. Love it.