Friday, 16 October 2015

What's the deal with Stockholm and its metro anyway?

There was a new guy at work today and I was showing him how things worked at one of the ferry terminals. As soon as he realised I was not originally from Stockholm he was full of questions (he seemed so young and I felt so old most of the time). One of his questions was what I liked the most about Stockholm and when I said I wans't sure he offered "The metro?" And I just scoffed "no". Stockholmers are way too proud of their metro. It's the only city in Sweden that has a proper one and still the only adjective I can think of to describe it is - cute.

I used the metro in London


and Tokyo

before I even got to Stockholm, and Stockholm's got nothing on those cities!
Sure, Stockholm is a teeny tiny town compared to all of those cities - but still. I had told him I'd lived in Tokyo before he even asked me about my favourite thing in Stockholm.

In Sweden there's this hate-love relationship between Malmö ("the southern capital") and Stockholm. Malmö stole the record of Sweden's highest building a few years back and since then this stupid comptetition to be the most special city in Sweden has gone to Stockholmers saying "at least we've got metro!" Yes, you do. Three lines. Congratulations. Three lines that are less functional than Tokyo's thirteen lines. Tokyo, with 26 times more inhabitants than Stockholm and more than 4 times more lines have a more functional system than you do.

What is this deal with the metro, anyway? Can someone who's lived here for their entire lives explain it to me?

Sorry if this post seems bitter. I didn't intend to seem bitter. Just confused.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

11 favourite soundtracks on my iPod


Elder Scrolls Online:

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:

Pirates of the Caribbean:

Dragon Age: Inquisition:

Harry Potter:

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Dragon Age: Inquisition - Trespasser DLC (Warning: Spoilers)

Here we are. The last storybased DLC for Inquisition. I knew that before I saw the trailer, so I knew this DLC would feature Solas and some answers. But I was not prepared. Holy shit. It took me days to process. And I played it twice. It did not get easier the second time.
This DLC takes place two years after the events in the base game. Thedas is safe and both Ferelden and Orlais are starting to get worried about the Inquisition's military strength and self-governing. Ferelden wants the Inquisition to dissolve. Orlais wants to rule the Inquisition (honestly, when doesn't Orlais want to rule something?). The Inquisition itself seems happily oblivious to the fact that it's causing any problems. So we arrive at the Winter Palace where the talks are going to be held. Divine Victoria had called for the talks. But before the talks we get a chance to catch up with some friends :) Varric is apparantly the new viscount of Kirkwall (which I find hilarious) and Dorian has been appointed ambassador for Tevinter. He has also taken his father's place as a magister since his father passed away (or rather was murdered). We have a spa day with Vivienne while Sera is causing a ruckus around us. The Chargers celebrate Bull's birthday, and the quizzy elopes with Cullen to get married. Blackwall now goes by Rainier and he's with the Wardens for real and seems happy. Then we start the talks, but halfway through something comes up and the Inquisitor has to leave abruptly. What has come up is a dead qunari warrior. In full armour. Out of nowhere. In the Winter Palace. Dafuq? We look around and find an active eluvian in a storage room. We go through and finds ourselves in the crossroads (which looks differently depending on whether you're quizzy is elven or not). We look around and find more qunari in the crossroads as well as some interesting facts about Fen'Harel. Also the quizzy's hand starts acting up and actively tries to kill him/her. Events happen that take us from one place to another through a dizzying amount of eluvians until we realise that we're probably at war with the qunari. So we chase after the qunari and find them where we are told that Solas is the one behind it all. Quizzy goes through the last eluvian and there he is. Solas. We get some world-shattering answers and then we go back to Orlais, get our arm amputated and decide what to do with the Inquisition.
That's the easy version.

The first time I played the DLC was with my quizzy who romanced Solas, where Bull stayed with the Chargers, but where I kicked out Sera, and where Bull and Dorian never got together. I had a great time with the DLC all the way to Solas in the end. I cheered when Bull told the qunari leader to fuck off. I had an amazing time although the whole thing started to feel ominous when the quizzy's hand started killing her. I was starting to suspect that Bioware had actually killed off the quizzy, like they could the Warden. But then came Solas and I just dissolved into tears. And shock. Mostly shock. The tears came later.

The second time I played with my quizzy who romanced Cullen, where Bull stayed with the qunari, where Sera stayed, where Bull and Dorian are together, and where human!Cole gets together with the bard Maryden. I once again had a great time. My quizzy became a Red Jenny with Sera and eloped with Cullen ♥ And then came the tears again. But this time not because of Solas - but because of Bull. I hadn't brought him with me this time, which proved to be a good thing. Because suddenly the qunari leader calls for Hissrad and there comes Bull, all set to fight me to the death - AND I HAD DORIAN IN MY PARTY! And there afterwards. Dorian starts scoffing all teary about how Bull probably never meant it when he called him kadan and that he probably lied all the time - and I just wanted to hug him!! And I cried for Dorian. And then I was just angry at Bioware. HOW COULD YOU DO THAT, BIOWARE?! I was in total shock for the rest of the DLC.

- Sera accurately sums up the DLC

But here are the juicy bits. Solas was Solas first. Fen'Harel came later. The elven gods were never gods, just mages who became generals and then kings and then gods. Solas became Fen'Harel when he started to oppose the rule of these would-be gods and started removing the vallaslin from their chosen agents and slaves. When the other gods killed Mythal (I'm sensing a love story here) Fen'Harel brought the Veil down upon the world, effectively imprisoning the elven gods in the Fade, and reducing the amount of magic in the world. The loss of magic made the eleven empire fall apart. It wasn't the arrival of the humans that destroyed their world, but Fen'Harel when he brought the Veil down. When Solas awoke centuries later he found Corypheus and gave him his orb, with the intent for him to use it to tear down the Veil. Corypheus was supposed to die from it, but then he didn't. The orb was supposed to take away the Veil, but then it broke. Solas was the only one who could've carried the Mark without any risk for his life. And now he sets out on a quest to bring his world back. His ancient elven world. He'll tear the Veil down, releasing the Fade into the world along with the elven gods. And the Inquisitor has sworn to stop him. To his face.

- Solas simplifies how it all began

The end cutscene gives two promises for the next game - 1) It will probably be in Tevinter. 2) We will get to see some old friends.

Josephine points out that Solas was one of them. He knows their every agent, every asset, everyone inside the Inquisition. So the Inquisitor points out that we'll find some people he doesn't know. Well, I'd love for the Warden to come back! And pretty much every single companion from DAO and DA2.

And I'm hoping for a new Dragon Age in 2017 or 2018. It's not unrealistic tbh. Let's look at this!
• Mass Effect, released 2007
• Dragon Age: Origins, released 2009
• Mass Effect 2, released 2010
• Dragon Age 2, released 2011
• Mass Effect 3, released 2012
• Dragon Age: Inquisition, released 2014
• Mass Effect: Andromeda, release date 2016
So I'd say 2017-2018 is pretty realistic for the next game.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Mass Effect triology completed

When I get into a game or series my blog basically takes a break :P After I had finished The Witcher 3 and then Trespasser DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition (will post about the DLC - just needed time to process it before and then ME happened) I felt that I needed a new series to get lost in. I also felt like I needed more Bioware in my life. I considered dealing with my backlog but then I saw all the Mass Effect posts made by the-ryuchan on Tumblr and decided to play Mass Effect.

I am by no means a fan of sci-fi, which is probably the reason why I haven't played Mass Effect before. I've had a lot of friends who've tried to get me to play it and I did start up the first game (originally) just to please them :P But that didn't catch my interest. I guess I needed to play the game for me. So basically, the-ryuchan gave me the figurative kick in the ass I needed to start up Mass Effect 1. And I'm not gonna bother with spoilers in this post, because I tend to be the last person to join the party when it comes to games that are a few years old.

I created an Earthborn War Hero Soldier female Shepard and got going. My original impression of Joker was grumpy, though he grew on me (A LOT) during the game. I had originally intended to romance Kaidan, but then I recruited Liara and she quickly became my favourite character in the first game. My adorable history nerd ♥ So when I made teams I always had Liara in it and then either Garrus or Tali. I love my aliens :3 I really enjoyed running around the Citadel and I made sure to do every single side quest available in the game. I can vouch for a great hatred towards the Mako by the end of the game because the damned thing never wanted to go the way I was driving it! :P All throughout the first game I was confused. It was a lot of information to process in a very short time. It took me forever to learn what the different races were called and what race did what to whom. So by the end of the first game I still hadn't figured out the origin of the genophage (I figured it sort of just happened evolutionally) or who created the geth (I thought it was Saren). But on the upside I did know everything about Tali's suit, because having a Mass Effect fanboy for a friend who always went "Tali!! \^o^/" everytime she showed up in ME2 (when I watched him play some of it) has its benefits, and he explained Tali's suit for me back then. However, despite being mostly confused for most of the game the final main quests made my eyes go round.
The Citadel is Reaper tech?! The Citadel is a mass relay?! The Citadel is the Reapers' gateway?! The friggin' Keepers are their servants?! Holy shit! O_o 
Basically. The battle against Saren in the Citadel in the end had me on the edge of my seat. He was defeated too quickly - he couldn't be dead already, could he? - and I was right. The second time around was harder and a lot more satisfying. When the credits started to roll I felt really happy that I had finally played Mass Effect and I couldn't wait to start the next one.

But lets talk about mechanics and graphics first. I didn't mind the graphics (I tend not to) and I'm sure the game looked amazeballs back in 2007. What I did mind was that I once again had to make F5 my best friend. I did mind that the game had a tendency to get stuck half of the times I tried using an elevator. And I did mind that I had to keep holding left shift to pause the game/do battle tactics. The hacking/bypass system also drove me nuts and most of the time I just put some omni-gel on it so I didn't have to bother. But that's all. That's everything I have to complain about.

Mass Effect 2 was not cooperative. I started up the game and it couldn't find my ME1 save. Great -.- Then I realised I had ME Genesis installed too and thought that it didn't matter because I could just fill out what I did in the first game. So I started up a new game instead. This time an Earthborn War Hero Vanguard female Shepard. Aaaand the game starts with Shep dying. We're off to a great start, you guys! Then ME Genesis kicks off and the game crashes. Tries again. Still crashes. Once more. Crash again. The annoying part here is that the game didn't save the prologue before going into Genesis, so every time the game crashed in Genesis I had to replay the prologue. I got pretty sick of seeing Shep die after five times. So I googled for answers, but found nothing that wasn't for a system newer than 2011. And Origin's help forum was amazingly unhelpful (not at all like Steam's), but then I found an old forum post by someone saying that after s/he had turned off Raptr the game worked fine. I tried that and voilà the game worked. But every time I wanted to play I had to make sure Raptr was turned off before I started.

So the game starts properly and Shep is rebuilt by Cerberus. And I hated it. Thanks, I'm grateful you put me back together and brought me back to life but I want nothing to do with your idiotic organization so bye. That's what I wanted to do. But I couldn't. So I trudged on with that Cerberus logo jarring my eyes. I recruited my friends, but it didn't have the same feel like the group I had in ME1. Grunt wasn't Wrex. Miranda wasn't Ashley. Jacob wasn't Kaidan. Samara definitely wasn't Liara. Almost every new companion felt flat this time around. Thane and Jack were pretty much the only exceptions (Mordin didn't grow on me until ME3). Because of this my team was almost always Garrus and Tali. And Garrus is so friggin cute that it wasn't even an option to not romance him :3 ♥ I hated the Mako in the previous game, but honestly, the Hammerhead that came with Firewalker DLC was worse. It was horrible, to the point where I found myself missing the Mako. I didn't like that they had made the Citadel smaller, although it made it easier for me to find my way. Scanning planets was waaaay too boring. To the point where I went to probe Uranus several times just to hear EDI say "Really, Commander?". Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC had the best party banter and I got to run around with my cute history nerd again. Though, she had gotten sad. Well, I can understand that. I did die and then come back and then started kissing Garrus instead of her... I made sure to finish every single side quest and then it was time to complete the main quest. Kaidan was an ass to me at Horizon because I was with the organization I didn't want to be with and he was too thick-headed to listen to me. But the main quest. It started out kind of nice and slow - human colonies are disappearing - let's investigate! Then came the bombs -
The Collectors were Protheans?! The Protheans were repurposed by the Reapers?! The Reapers are really coming?! OMG we're going inside a Collector ship! OMG we're going through the Omega 4 relay! Holy shit we're gonna die! Holy shit they're making a new Reaper out of humans?! Holy shit I have to fight the Reaper-human?! 
Getting out of all of that alive felt amazing! And I only lost Kasumi :) By the end of the game Legion had really grown on me and along with Thane and Jack had become one of my few favourites. And I got to tell the Illusive Man to fuck off! Heck, yes! :D

I still don't like that I had to hold left shift to do tactics and most of the time I completely ignored the tactics throughout this game because of that :P The hacking/bypass was easier this time around (thank god, because now omni-gel doesn't exist anymore), but I didn't like that there was no cooldown! Had I failed once I couldn't try again and that bothered me.

Mass Effect 3, then. How does Shepard find herself in the need to be reinstated at the beginning of every game? xD The third game was by far my favourite. It starts with a bang - literally. And then it's off again to pick up my crew, get to know a few new people and get to have a lot of little meetings and outings with old crew members. And there was so much crying on my part for this game. Everything concerning Garrus was awesome. I loved that I managed to cure the genophage and broker peace between the quarian and the geth. I enjoyed meeting up with Jack and see how she had evolved as a person, and I really liked to hear Jacob's family news. Lots of social life despite there being a war on! Exactly what I missed from the first two games! Saying goodbye to Thane, though, was heartbreaking as was his memorial service. Another thing that always made me take a side trip to the hospital whenever I was at the Citadel was the PTSD asari telling her war story. I just had to come back for the next snippet.
I made sure to travel around every star system in the galaxy to find every single war asset I could (and getting chased by Reapers) as well as completing every single side quest. Citadel DLC was the funniest DLC in the entire series. This time around I liked every one of my crew, except for Liara who seems to have become more boring in each game, and less like the adorable history nerd that I once knew. Kaidan grew on me in the end. And congratulations to James for being the only human NPC that I've liked straight off the bat.
But then the main quest. 
Reapers are here! Reapers everywhere! Holy shit! Not Earth! Not Palaven! Not Thessia! Why am I not surprised that Cerberus is mixed up in all this?! The Illusive Man is indoctrinated, well that's just splendid! The Citadel is the Catalyst?! Why is it always the Citadel?! You know what, I get that I have a choice, but I came all the way here to destroy those big-ass fuckers so that's what I'm gonna do! Boom. 

I hate that they left the ending so open to interpretation. Even with the Extended Cut that I got so that I saw Shep take a breath and Garrus not put her name on the wall above Anderson's. I know she survived, but what happened after the blast?! Did they move the Citadel back to the Serpent Nebula or is it stuck above Earth? Did they find Shep and got her through recovery? Did she and Garrus find each other again? Did she get the Normandy back? Is she still in the military? Is she still a Spectre? Is she still doing missions with random strays on her ship? Is EDI alive?! Did EDI survive the blast that would destroy all synthetics? And (assuming the geth didn't survive) are the quarians okay without the geth helping them to speed up the process to get out of their suits?! Did the Council survive? Who becomes the new human representative? Shepard? Hackett? Do the species help each other rebuild or does all cooperation from during the war fall apart when they don't have the common threat of the Reapers anymore? Is Cerberus defeated for good or did a new leader emerge? I need more! Finding out that ME4 isn't even about Shepard made me so disappointed. And that it takes place long, long after the events in the first triology means that the only possible character to make a cameo or a comeback is Liara.

But Mass Effect. Holy shit. What a journey.

Also I found this in ME2 and thought it was funny:
An ogre from Dragon Age as a statue in Mass Effect :D