Thursday, 13 September 2018

Game completed: Fire Emblem Fates (all three paths)

I discovered Fire Emblem Awakening on Tumblr and fell in love with it when I played it. So much so that since then I have collected all games available to me on 3DS, Switch and Android :P

Fates was the next game on my list and it has been an amazing ride. The cassette I got was for the path called Conquest where you play as an ally to the kingdom of Nohr, bent on ending the war by conquering the nearby kingdom of Hoshido. But when the time came to choose paths I decided to side with Hoshido against Nohr and thus began the path called Birthright.

This is the only path where I played the beginning of the story, otherwise I'd just skip ahead to where the paths branched. The darkness and general coldness and strictness of Nohr didn't appeal to me at all, except for Elise who was an almost literal ray of sunshine. I was sad when Gunter was killed by Hans, but so excited when I got to visit Hoshido with my siblings only to be shocked when Mikoto was killed. What followed was a long winding road of Hoshido fighting to suppress the Nohrian forces and finally reaching the Nohrian fortress for the final showdown. Azura was a mystery figure and I soon figured out that she was meant to die. As Birthright was the first path I followed it was also the path where I figured stuff out and Azura was way underlevelled by the time I figured out I could make her useful with a Heart Seal.

Kaze quickly became my favourite character and I was devastated when he died, to the point where I stopped playing for a while just to calm my mind. I kept hoping til the end of the path that he would have miraculously survived, but nothing.

My Avatar married Silas and Kana became my second favourite and I let him come along for everything.

When I finally reached the fortress and was reunited with Elise I was so happy, but that quickly became a tough heartache when Elise stepped in front of my Avatar when Xander took a swing at her and promptly died in his arms. For a second I hoped that Elise's death would be the turning point that would unite the Nohrian and Hoshidan sides in their final assault against King Garon, but no such luck.

The end of Birthright only created more questions. Who's Anankos? What really happened to Takumi? What's up with Azura's song? Who really is Azura? What really happened to King Garon? Is the Bottomless Canyon really bottomless? Where is the Fire Emblem in this story?

After Birthright I decided to play through Conquest too and see if this side offered any answers. But no. This side offered no answers to the previous questions and actually created more, like what was King Garon's motive for kidnapping the Avatar in the first place? What really happened with Azura's mother? I was also really annoyed that neither Birthright nor Conquest offered any sort of explanation to who/what the purple-glowing enemies were, and nobody even mentioned or seemed bothered by the fact that they were glowing purple.

However, the royal siblings of Nohr really grew on me. Where I had previosuly only liked Elise somewhat I now found that Camilla, Leo and Xander all grew on me. Especially Xander.

This was probably the least eventful path as it was pretty much same-same as Birthright just from a different perspective. Only thing different was how happy I was when I was finally able to kill Hans and Iago, especially Iago. That bitch can burn in a fire.

I married Jakob this time and he grew to become one of my favourites. He's such a sweetie ♥

I read a lot about the different characters after I finished the game and I'm a little sad I didn't get to know Laslow, Odin and Selena better - because they are second gen characters from Awakening under false names! Laslow = Inigo, Olivia's son, Odin = Owain, Lissa's son, Selena = Severa, Cordelia's daughter.

Then it was finally time to get answers for all my questions. This last path was frickin epic and apart from having the same characters, it was very different from the first two paths.

First off I get to find out who Azura really is and what happened to her mother and to top it off I get to find out where the purple-glowing people are coming from and why they are glowing. I get to find out who/what Anankos is and what he did and what happened to Garon. And also what's at the bottom of the Bottomless Canyon. That's all basically straight off the bat. Then comes the struggle to convince everyone else that it's true, but amazingly the Avatar manages to bring both the royal families together and they fight to defeat Anankos and restore peace to all three kingdoms without anyone having to die.

This path made me really want to pair off Ryoma with Scarlet because all their interactions together made me think they liked each other, but I had already planned pairings for the royal siblings (Ryoma+Elise, Hinoka+Leo, Takumi+Camilla, Sakura and Xander got pairings outside the family).

My Avatar married Kaze for the last path, because he was still my favourite and I can't have a path without Kana.

The last four or five chapters of Revelation were just epicness upon epicness. First I got to fight Queen Arete (Azura's mother), then Queen Mikoto (the Avatar's mother and at the same time find out about the Avatar's background!), then King Sumeragi (the Hoshidan siblings' father), and then finally Anankos. The fight against Anankos was split into three parts. First the part where you fight his presence in Gunter. Then when you fight his presence in the statue-esque worm-thing. After that the game for a second makes you think you've won, before Anankos is truly awakened and you get an amazingly epic fight against a real dragon (much more epic than the fight on the back of Grima in Awakening).

The end game was extremely satisfying and I was so happy with how everything turned out. Everyone lived! Amazeballs! :D:D:D:D:D And somehow Azura became a favourite this time around ♥

There was just one little thing that bothered me and it's that you never find out what happened to Takumi in the first two paths. I guess Anankos influenced him somehow, or Iago, but how did they get him and why him?

I spent 122 hours on this game and I enjoyed every second (except for the dying). All in all I think I enjoyed Fates far more than Awakening.

Favourite characters:
1). Azura. 2). Kana.
3). Kaze. 4). Xander.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

My last 5 books: Sci-fi and classics

1. The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter. This was a book selected for our bookclub in my gaming guild. I thoroughly enjoyed the book up until the point where the "threat" was introduced. Probably what they will be fighting against for the next few books, which completely killed my interest in reading further books. This threat or monster is a being, completely unique in itself and it accidentally keeps devouring anything that comes too close, but it never means any harm. So basically this is a thing that just wants a hug but kills anything it touches. This monster seems very Douglas Adams-esque imho. But yes, apart from the monster that showed up towards the end I thoroughly enjoyed the whole concept of The Long Earth, multiple earths from different accidental evolutionary viewpoints. It made me giggle how the British weren't all that interested because everywhere they stepped from Britain they ended up in thick woods on other earths. That was hilarious. But yes, apart from the monster that completely killed the vibe for me I really liked this book!

2. The Walking Dead, vol. 2: Miles Behind Us, by Robert Kirkman. Much, much better than volume one! I don't even remember the things in this volume - were these events even in the TV show? Regardless this volume was really good and now I'm actually looking forward to reading the other volumes!

3. The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells. The original alien invasion story. Throughout reading this I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that this story is about 150 years old. This story was written when the revolver and the train were new inventions. It was written before both world wars. And the aliens have ray guns!!! It just completely blew my mind. Other than that the story was good, albeit a little slow-paced at times and at one point it seemed as if Wells had lost the story before it picked back up again. I remember being annoyed at the ending when seeing the movie because it was so anti-climactic, and it still was in book form. Although a little bit less so, because the pace of the written story was more slow-paced than the movie. It still annoyed me however that the enemy just fell down dead without any kind of victory and then life went back to normal way too quickly.

4. The Once and Future King, by T.H. White. This book killed my pace. After just 20 pages it annoyed me how much the author broke the fourth wall and thus my immersion. I decided to at least read the first part (211 pages) before giving up. Maybe the story would feature less idiotically stupid adult stereotypes and less fourth-wall-breaking when Arthur wasn't a child anymore. 211 pages is usually something I can do in an evening, but for this book just 5 pages took me forever because the immersion breaking the author insisted on doing completely screwed up my pace. I got to 160 pages before I decided to give up. I just couldn't do it anymore. At 160 pages I had been reading this book for over a month and making barely any progress. I love the legends of King Arthur, which is why this book was originally given to me, but this book was just bad.

5. The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. One of my favourites! I've read it before when I was much younger but I liked it even then. This was a new edition that I bought purely because I loved the cover. I'm not sure why this books speaks to me the way it does. Maybe it's people's desire to always be young and live forever, rather than do what you can with the time you're given. Maybe it's that people are never content with what they have and always have to yearn for more. Why can't we appreciate what we already have? I am not going to go into a lengthy monologue about this book. Just know that I love it.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Dealing with backlog: Cognition - An Erica Reed Thriller

It's been over a month since I finished this game. July was a crazy mess and my work life completely took over my hobby life, and the first week of August wasn't much better. But now things have started to calm down, so here's a post for a game I played a month ago.

Cognition is a point and click detective game in a comic book style. The premise is basically Criminal Minds meets Medium. The story is complicated and through all the twists and turns I didn't figure out who the killer was until the last episode. (Before the actual reveal but it still took me a while).

Erica Reed is a young FBI agent with supernatural cognitive abilities. The first episode brings you immediately into action as she tries to save her brother from the grasp of the Cain Killer. Without spoiling how that goes, the game then fastforwards three years. The investigation into the Cain Killer is closed because nothing has been heard from him for three years. Erica isn't happy with it but still does her job and goes out on a newly assigned case. While this case at first seems to send her in a new direction it soon becomes obvious that it all comes back to the Cain Killer.

This game was hard to get into as it offered no tutorial at all. I didn't even realise that I had an inventory until I looked at a guide to show me how to do things. The game started off exciting and continued to be so but also getting progressively more gory as the story went on. Towards the end the game gave me hope before tearing out my heart, stomping on it and crushing it to pieces.

I really enjoyed this game.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Dealing with backlog: Far Cry 4

I've caught up with the Far Cry series! Only the latest game left now :D

After having played all the previous games I still maintain that Primal is my favourite. I really liked 4 though, in a way I liked it more than 3. 3 had a better villain than 4, but 4 had a way better protagonist than 3 and the story in 4 had a better flow and felt more connected to the protagonist than in 3. Also, big plus to 4 - NPCs have finally learned some traffic sense! Not once in 4 was I mowed down by NPCs I had literally just saved!

Thoughts from the top of my head:
• Throughout the whole game I kept waiting for Darpan's rescue to happen. Why didn't they even try?
• I saved Paul De Pleur, what happened to him after?
• Why isn't there more mention of Ajay's sister than a journal entry by Mohan Ghale and the shrine to her at the end? Could I at least have had some rumours?
• Please no more wingsuits or buzzers or gliders in the the next Far Cry. Pretty please?
• Please no more missions to the Himalayas T_T
• I kept waiting for Ajay and Amita to get together! C'moooooon!

Ubisoft is infamours for their collectables and Far Cry 4 was no exception. 150 propaganda posters? One hundred and fifty?! I went for 100% completion but I ended up at 99% in the end. There were two races I couldn't complete because of flying things (see above) and one weapon I didn't unlock because I couldn't be bothered to get to arena rank 10 (interestingly enough arena rank was listed as something not necessary for 100% completion - Ubisoft, you lie).

Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed Far Cry 4. It was very pretty and the story was engaging, though I was disappointed that the side quests didn't amount to more than a few radio messages from Amita. I wanted more! Especially after finding out that the guy I had run supply runs for wasn't part of the Golden Path (and obv not the Royal Army either). I wanted to find out where he came from (the notes weren't specific enough) and why they were looking around Kyrat and why he was killed and why he was sent there in the first place and what he was doing with the supplies and what was really in the supplies... And you give me nothing?!

The devs have definitely realised, though, that everyone's favourite part of Far Cry 3 was the quest to burn the weed. So this time they're doing it hardcore. Not only is there a mission to burn drugs (this time poppy fields for opium rather than marijuana fields), but we also have Yogi & Reggie who keep injecting Ajay with experimental drugs and send him on crazy high-as-a-kite missions. Actually, everyone in this game seem to be fond of giving Ajay injections.

Oh and the Shangri-La parts were really cool! I definitely see where they got the inspiration for Primal... or was it the other way around? Primal and 4 were released pretty close together ;P

I have become such a fan of Far Cry.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Tom Tits Experiment with work (yay! dinos!)

Yesterday I went with a bunch of colleagues for a tour to Tom Tits Experiment. I've never been there before and what I knew about Tom Tits before could be summed up into two points:

  1. Families go there a lot especially during summer.
  2. The American guys in last year's season of Allt för Sverige couldn't stop giggling at all the signs with Tom Tits on them during their roadtrip.

But since the hotel offers a package deal with Tom Tits we were offered a guided tour of their new exhibition for this summer. They call it "Dinosaur summer" and this is when I realised and my colleagues found out exactly how nerdy I am. (it's not like I already knew most of the dinosaur facts that the guide talked about or so... not at all.. *cough cough*).

Anyway all the dinosaur models both moved and made sounds so it was really impressive. What was really cool, though, was that back when I was much younger and had my dinosaur phase (can't believe all those facts I soaked up 15-20 years ago are still in there) nobody had figured out that dinosaurs had feathers yet. So seeing these models with feathers on them and learning that they now know that baby T-rexes had feathers before losing them (maybe, we're not sure) while growing up, was really cool.

Towards the end we found a dinosaur head meant for selfies and asked the guide to take a picture of all of us together. Ofc they placed me and the other Supervisor in the dino's mouth ;P

Only downside of this day was that the tour was all outdoors in blinding sunlight lasting almost one hour, so I have a pretty rad sunburn right now :P

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Dealing with backlog: Alan Wake's American Nightmare

As you might remember I wasn't overly fond of the original Alan Wake after I had finished it. But I had bought this semi-sequel along with the original game and might as well play it.

This game defines linear. It could've ended after two hours. Could've, and maybe should've.

What we know from the original game is that Alan Wake became trapped with the Darkness in another dimension. What we know from this game is that two years have passed and Alan Wake somehow manages to write himself into a semi-reality based on one of his first every works - a script for Night Springs. Alan Wake is trying to defeat the Darkness which has now taken the shape of him, but a maniacal, psychopathic version of him (I much preferred the psycho old lady).

The player then spends the next 8-10 hours going round in a loop doing the exact same things over and over with only slight variations because the characters in the game are semi-remembering that this has happened before and help Wake along. Handy.

Step 1: Talk to the girl and crash the satellite.
Step 2: Talk to the girl and find the keys to the observatory in a motel room.
Step 3: Go to the observatory, talk to the scientist, fix the broken camera.
Step 4: Go to the drive-in and restore power.
Step 5: Rinse and repeat.

I don't remember if it was three or four circles in the loop, but by the time I was halfway through the second circle and realised that "This is going to happen again, isn't it?" I felt like I was thoroughly done with the game. I still completed it, but it was more compulsion to have it completed than entertainment. If the game wasn't so short I would've ditched it.

And what did I get at the end? Nothing. Sure I defeat the Darkness (again) but Wake also tells the player that it isn't permanently defeated and the player is led to believe that Wake is still trapped in the other dimension with the Darkness... So basically all this for nothing. Yay.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Dealing with backlog: Wolfenstein The New Order

I got this for Christmas back when it was first released and I originally tried to play it back in early 2015. However I was too much of a noob back then and managed lots of nooby mistakes before I even got to Berlin, which got me stuck and made me quit playing.

I knew what I had done wrong and this time I had a bunch more experience with shooters than three years ago. So it was time to try again.

I went into this game expecting a shoot-em-up without much story, but instead I found myself getting invested in the characters and I found so much more story than I bargained for, which was a nice surprise. Ofc the whole ambiguous point of the ending has been spoiled for me as I have seen the trailer and a little bit of gameplay from The New Colossus, but I guess that's how it goes when one plays a game years after release ;)

While the game had lots of epic moments, my absolute favourite was going to the moon. That was incredibly unexpected and so awesome and I had a lot of fun playing that part of the game.
I also enjoyed the prison camp part where I got several side quests that temporarily made the game feel less linear.

But my favourite part of any game is usually the base, the home, and getting to know the characters. I don't think there's any member of the resistance that I didn't like. I even got strangely attached to Tekla. And I loved getting to play around in the old Wolfenstein game in the base.

The final fight against Deathshead was strangely anti-climactic. After my long and badass and heart-wrenching fight against Deathshead's supersoldier/B.J.'s old friend, that final confrontation didn't amount to much and it seemed like it was over too quickly.

This was a much greater game than I expected and I'll enjoy killing Frau Engel in the next game.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Sweden Rock Festival 2018

TL;DR - Saw six bands, bought two shirts, ate lots of food, got badly burned and there was an unusual amount of puke in the camp.

Early on Tuesday 5th we packed ourselves into two cars and drove south. We arrived around 1pm and started setting up the tents and the camp and then it was time for music and alcohol before we went off to find food and exchange our tickets for wrist bands. I also decided to buy this year's shirt early because I knew I was getting it - might as well get it the first day. Nothing more incredibly exciting happened the first day there. We arrived, we had alcohol, we met and greeted a lot of people we never saw again and there was the annual hugging party when regular camp members from around the country showed up one after the other. The first night was cold but not as cold as they have been other years.

Scrambled out of the tent before 8am the next day because I was burning up. For once I wasn't the first one up and we walked off to buy ourselves some breakfast (that coffee saves lives). And then we were back to what we were doing the first day - music and alcohol and occasionally walking away to find food. The camp next door came over with an inflatable sofa which we had a lot of fun with. We didn't go inside the festival area until dark. The only band we wanted to see this day was Hardcore Superstar. They were as good as always. Nothing new on the horizon. Though I haven't listened much to their two latest albums so there were a bunch of songs I didn't recognise.

Same deal next day. Got up crazy early and went for breakfast. After some music and alcohol we went to the festival area pretty early to see In This Moment. They were this year's highlight for me and that concert was amazing. Easily the best of the year.
Afterwards I bought one of their t-shirts and then we went to find food and the went back to the camp. In the evening we returned to the festival area to see Helloween and Iron Maiden. I have seen Helloween before and they were just as boring as the last time I saw them. For Maiden the area was packed with people. We stayed for about an hour, maybe less. Maiden played for two hours, but we were pretty far back and the wind was in the wrong direction so the sound came off all garbled which kind of ruined the experience. None of us were major Maiden fans either. So we went back to the camp.

Friday was a slow day. We spent most of the day in camp and people were getting tired. The most fun thing that happened this day was when J told us of his side quest mission to find a hat. He found a pretty pink one which he exchanged for a sock. Don't ask.
In the evening we went to the festival area to see Stone Sour. They were really good, and made for a lot of nice sing-along, especially to Through Glass. Later in the evening Ozzy was playing but most of us decided to skip him since we had already seen him as part of Black Sabbath when they played a couple years back. Apparently the concert wasn't very good, and it seemed to be the general opinion that Zak Wylde took over too much.

We decided to go home on Saturday evening. The only thing I had planned for this day was to see Tarja. But I also went to the area with Toni early in the day to see 69 Eyes, which is what caused my shoulders to get really badly burned (skin falling off bad). I'm not a big 69 Eyes fan, and listening to them on CD always makes me feel like they're a bit too much. But they were much better live.
Back at camp it was slow. More than one of the members were sleeping most of the day and the rest of us were pretty tired. An hour before Tarja started we packed up what we were bringing back home with us (Toni and I decided to retire our tent and air mattress). Tarja was great and the sound was good. With her voice and the high notes she takes the sound could easily have been coming off bad but it was really good.
After Tarja we went to the car and started the journey home. Once again we skipped Judas Priest (could they just for once not end the festival please?) We arrived home around five in the morning and immediately went to bed. Like always, the shower after waking up was the best thing ever.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset Collector's Edition!

It's been about three weeks since it was released and I got to bring home my box, but I wanted to wait to make a post until after I had finished exploring the new zones. But let's start with the unboxing!

(Base game CE unboxing and Morrowind CE unboxing)

The box in itself was really pretty imo :3 And when I opened it the first thing I saw was the Mephala statue on the top and the discs tucked into the bottom.

The discs were in a metallic case and I love the whole leaf design. The Mephala statue looks badass standing in my window next to my statue of Molag Bal from the base game CE.

Underneath the statue was a map of Summerset and this CE's book - The Alinor Codex. This book doesn't seem as impressive as the other two. Sure it's leatherbound and pretty, but there's more text and less concept art, and while a lack of pictures isn't really a problem for me when it comes to books I really appreciate the concept art in the other CEs' books.

And let's dive into the game. (Spoilers ahead if you haven't played it yet)

I was really excited for Summerset (maybe not as much as for Morrowind, but that was Morrowind - hello?!), mainly because I was excited for how pretty it was going to be. Auridon is my favourite starting zone in the base game because it's so darn pretty. And I wasn't disappointed.

However I wasn't surprised that the Maormer seemed the main enemy of the chapter, seeing as Maormer were prevalent everywhere in Auridon. But I loved the sidequest where a female Maormer and a male Altmer had fallen in love, but their love would start a war and so they had to leave. Spoke to the romantic in me I guess. On the other hand, the Sload were a nice surprise that I wasn't expecting. I've stayed away from every single piece of information regarding this chapter, except for the release date, and I had no idea about the Sloads. Ofc the devs bent the lore a little bit as these were Sea Sloads which haven't been part of ES lore before, but still impressive and imo added so smoothly to exisiting lore that I was actually surprised when I realised that this version of Sloads didn't exist before in the lore.

It was great to see Razum-dar again. I love his guts and he was the main reason why I stayed AD in the beginning years of my ESO tenure. But meeting Darien again after what happens to him in Coldharbour in the base game, made me way happier than I probably should be for a character ^^;

The Psijic part of the story was cool and I actually enjoyed running around Artaeum. My favourite part there being the delve where you found out about Mannimarco's and Vanus's common backstory. I also really liked the Psijic companion, Valsirenn, and by the end of the main story I felt like I knew her.

The main quest was really cool, especially towards the end when the Triad falls apart and then the final showdown against Nocturnal. So cool ♥

I also have to mention the Abyssal Geysers, which basically are this zone's anchors. So when I came running towards a map icon that I thought was an anchor I was really confused when I found a geyser. They weren't as much fun as anchors either, though the concept is the same. Cultists appear, kill cultists and a beam goes up into the sky. Kill all the rounds of mobs spawning and then finally kill the boss to finish the geyser and get some shiny loot and a chest. Same thing, but yet so very different and not as much fun.

Finally I have to mention the new trial, Cloudrest. It's a new mini-trial, sort of like Asylum Sanctorium. Cloudrest has a ton of mechanics that were really confusing the first time we went in there. Our first guild run was blind so we figured things out as we went, still the trial took less than an hour to complete. I went in there with visions of Halls of Fabrication from Morrowind expecting several wipes and several hours of trying and failing and still not completing it on the first blind run, and then we just finished Cloudrest like that. I was a little bit disappointed. The trial was cool and all, but it did leave a feeling of "is that it?" when we finished it. However, the first run being so quick opened up for us to do it several times that evening. So I went the first time with my main healer and the two other times with my baby healer. That place has to be farmed because all the end-game BiS gear drops from there now.... *sigh*

All in all, I really liked how amazingly pretty Summerset was and the main quest was really cool. But thinking back it never gave me the same wow feeling that Morrowind did (or the base game for that matter when that was brand new). Summerset was cool and had a lot of fun side quests, but it lacked wow factor and compared to Morrowind it seems pretty bland.