This Week’s Game: Agents of Mayhem

So, when I was deciding in what order to review my games, I had originally planned to do Agents of Mayhem right after AC: Syndicate. But I realized at the time that I was getting a bit burnt out on open-world action games, and I decided to break it up a bit. This was absolutely the correct decision; otherwise, I might have panned this game entirely. You have to be in the right mindset to enjoy this game, for certain; and fortunately, I had recovered that mindset by the time this review rolled around.

But enough chat, let’s dig into this. Agents of Mayhem is, very obviously, descended from the GTA-clone era, with the open world, the cars (future cars in this case, of course), the random violence, and the somewhat juvenile attitude… Well. Not that I’m an expert on the GTA games; full disclosure: I have never played Grand Theft Auto or any of its sequels. In fact, the closest I’ve come is Jak II for the PS2 (which was a hilariously different from the original Jak and Daxter, incidentally, being all cartoony-grim-dark. Actually, that’s kind of a good description for AOM, too? Nah, much less faux-angst than Jak II. Jak 3 was better… actually, I should review Jak 3 sometime! Love that game 😛 ) Anyway, neither have I played any of the Saints Row games, but I understand that it started as an almost exact GTA clone, but each installment took itself less and less seriously, until it completely went off the rails with an alien invasion in Saints Row 4. (Incidentally, knowing that the plot is somewhat ludicrous almost makes me want to play it… 😀 )

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Oh, and yes, this game is a spin-off. Says so right there. 😉

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Sunday Update: Today’s post is brought to you by the Orbiculate Batfish

Na na na na na na Batfish! 😀

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They fight crime! 😉

…Cough. Sorry. Went to the Minnesota Zoo today, which is always a lot of fun.

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And it has a mysterious protector in the shadows… 😛

I don’t have anything else this week, but here, how about some pictures:

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Coyote. This one was at the zoo, but my dad got some excellent pictures of one in his backyard… I should have him send me those…
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Puma. Adorable little (?) kitties. 😀
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American Bald Eagle. I’m pretty sure he isn’t named Sam.
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Black bear. …I just realized, I’m probably actually a black bear. Zzzz… ^^;

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…Ok, yeah, that last one isn’t even the real animal. I just had to take the picture, since it’s a “Bat star.” Yeah, I have kind of a “aquatic bat” thing going…

I guess I’ve just gone batfish-insane. XD XD XD

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“…Glub. (That was awful.)”

I’m really sorry. I’ll see myself out. :\

(Agents of Mayhem review tomorrow… I had started it, but threw away everything I had written, so, it’ll be relatively short.)

This Week’s Game: Persona 5

Ah, Persona… Can I really do justice to how wonderful this series is?

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“I don’t know, can you?”

No. But I’ll give it a shot. 😉

First of all, the Persona games are technically a spin-off series from the Shin Megami Tensei series. SMT is, and was, a very popular series in Japan… as in, on the level of Final Fantasy games. It wasn’t especially popular in the west, however, until the release of Persona 3 — but I’ll get to that in a bit. Continue reading

Sunday Digest: Gonna break one of my rules today.

Hullo, everyone. How are you today?

It’s been a quiet week on my little site, here, hasn’t it? Full confession: I haven’t so much as touched the keyboard since Monday, except to start playing Stardew Valley on my PC again. Lovely game, by the way; I don’t like how it feels like I never handle things efficiently, though. Oh well. ^^;

So yeah, no chapter, no extras, no nothing. Bleh. I have started composing my review of Persona 5 for tomorrow, so that’s something, I guess. Just got to put the words on the page, now… 😛

Well, I’ve kept myself distracted in various ways this week, watching Outside Xbox/Xtra videos, watching Eurogamer “Late to the Party” videos, keeping an eye on the news; but I also began rereading a certain Korean web novel translation. It’s called Breakers, by Chwiryong (취룡), and translated by Rainbow Turtle. It is currently hosted on Wuxiaworld.com, which is a site I don’t really like recommending for various reasons (read on an ad-free browser, is my best advice :\ ), but I love the story so much that I just can’t not recommend it. So I’ll break my rule about not posting links to that site, just this once. 😛

Joo In-Gong has just acquired the VR remake of his favorite game, Knight’s Saga. But on his first time logging in, he finds himself transported into the body of the weakest child of the Demon King, Shutra, and in order to survive he must become strong enough to resist his older brother, the original main character of the game named Zephyr, who will kill Shutra (along with all his other siblings) in about three years.

Fortunately, In-Gong’s class is “Protagonist.”

Just looking at my summary, you might judge it to be a standard “trapped in a VR world” or “transported to a fantasy world” plot line, but the only trope the author plays completely straight is the “absurd growth” of his protagonist; everything else is either a twist, or not what it seems, or both. Breakers is a wonderful novel, and I heartily recommend it for fans of the LitRPG genre. Incidentally, Munpia is the original publisher, so if you can read Korean… Unfortunatly, I can’t; but Rainbow Turtle has done an excellent job translating the work. 😉

Kk, that’s enough of that. Go read Breakers, if you can stand it, and I’ll see you tomorrow for Persona 5 and rebelliousness! 😀

This Week’s Game: Anima: Gate of Memories

Anima: Gate of Memories is a game that is somewhat fun, somewhat interesting, somewhat pretty; and one that I can’t really recommend, sadly. It’s not, by any means, a bad game; but there are many factors holding it back from being a truly excellent game.

So, let’s talk about TRPGs for a moment. Yes, that’s Tabletop Role Playing Games, the old school pencil and paper games, i.e. the only true RPGs. Come at me, video games!

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-Every sourcebook ever 😛

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Sunday Update: The Pallid Lands Campaign Setting

The Pallid Lands…

Upon the face of the world, there lies a great continent known as The Wheel. In the north lies the mighty Peranum Empire, ancestral homeland of the human tribes. The Peranum Emperor, Kharles VIII, rules the Council of Kings in the imperial capital of Nershua, and while the six subordinate kingdoms are always fractious and seethe with petty rebellions (as befits a human country), the rule of the Empire is largely stable. The Perani watch their borders closely, but do not fear their neighbors overmuch.

East of the Empire lies the Holyland of Sun’s Blessed Light. In the distant past a group of pilgrims, worshipers of the sun goddess Sarenrae, left the warring human kingdoms of their time in order to find a place where they could live in peace. They found a high mountain, surrounded by a deep ravine, and they took it for their own. Today, a sprawling city has been carved in the side of Solar’s Glance, as the mountain came to be known. The priest-princes rule the theocracy of the Holyland, and the paladins of Sarenrae enforce their will — all in the name of good and light, of course.

Southeast of the Holyland lies the Federation of Hidden Vales. This is something of a joke, that only the halflings who dwell in the Federation seem to understand. After all, the lands they claim for their own are some of the flattest on the continent, none of their villages are even slightly hidden, and even the name “Federation” implies an organization that seems quite lacking in actual fact. The halflings wander their lands, working wherever it strikes their fancy, be it for a month or so in some farm’s field, a week or so wiping tables in a local inn, or maybe just a couple of hours telling stories to children.

South of the Federation, the land breaks into a series of interconnected canyons and ravines, cut through by many rivers. These deep crevices are the home of the tiefling civilization known as the Children of Lakmantiyu. Though Lakmantiyu herself is long dead, her descendants live on, practicing their unique form of ancestor worship and jealously guarding the borders of their lands. They trade a little with the Federation, but for the most part they are completely self-sufficient, and extremely insular.

Further south from Lakmantiyu lay the vast grasslands of the orcish nomads. The orcs, as a whole, worship the god of history and knowledge, Irori, and great cities have sprung up around the large temples where orcish monks gather to record history, debate universal truths, and provide a place for grievances between the various tribes to be adjudicated, without having to descend into open war.

Southwest of those open lands lies a series of mountain ranges, extending on around the south of The Wheel into the west. In the foothills furthest east, a small civilization of gnomes flourishes. A strange bunch, they seem racially attracted to tinkering with both magic and devices, and have taken to calling themselves the League of Interesting Knowledge and Grand Experiment Refiners, or “Lingers” as they proudly term themselves. Most everyone else simply calls them “the League,” or more commonly, “those irritating pests.”

In the deep south of The Wheel lies a giant mountain known to its inhabitants as “The Great Stone God.” This mountain is home to the capital of the dwarvish empire of Kudrzistaka, which lays claim to mines and tunnels throughout the south of the wheel. The dwarves of Kudrizstaka hate dealing with other races, and especially hate the elves on the west edge of The Wheel; but surprisingly, they get along well with the duergar kingdom that lies deep to their west.

The duergar kingdom, called Gorbach Kingdom, is surprisingly open for a duergar community. Although they are just as suspicious of outsiders as their dwarven kin to the east, they maintain fairly friendly trading relationships with both their cousins, and the dark elf forest cities to the north. They provide a much needed buffer between the elves and the dwarves, a very strange place for duergar to occupy, but one that seems to suit their needs.

As the long mountain range tapers to an abrupt end in The Wheel’s southwest, massive forests take over the landscape. These are the ancestral lands of the elves: the dark elf cities of the southwest, the high elf citadels of the west, and the so-called swamp elves of the northwest fens. Although the races seem distinct at first glance, much intermarriage between the three types has blurred the lines between them. It is quite possible for a girl who has the grey skin of a stereotypical dark elf to be the daughter of two high elves; or for the offspring of a dark elf and a swamp elf could have the platinum blonde hair of a high elf. The organization of the elves is loose, without distinct lines between one civilization and the next.

Finally, northeast of the swamp elf lands, and west of the Peranum Empire, lies the large human kingdom of Cinderfall. A series of natural disasters cut a portion of the ancient Empire off from direct contact with Nershua, and the surviving citizens banded together to form a new kingdom, with a new royal line unconnected with the Peranum Emperor. The new regime promoted the worship of Nethys, God of Magic, and began studies into immortality. The success of this enterprise was… limited, but Cinderfall has remained independent of the Empire for centuries, so they must be doing something right.

These, then, are the civilizations of The Wheel — but for those who chafe at the rule of law, who seek wonder, fortune, and adventure, need only move inward. Away from empires and kingdoms, into the wastelands, the hidden places, the deepest secrets… These are the lands that were never conquered by any invader, never tamed by any settler… Where monsters roam, goblins rampage, and every sort of fey creature might be hiding behind any given rock…

These are the Pallid Lands. The dark, primal heart, pulsing at the hub of The Wheel; around which, the civilizations of The Wheel turn. In the Pallid Lands, the races of Man join hand against the unknown, and ancient grudges are set aside in front of a greater foe. No one knows all the secrets of the Pallid Lands, but everyone desires the knowledge, the resources, the power they represent.

Including you, adventurer. Welcome to the Pallid Lands.


Sooo… that’s what I’ve been working on, instead of finishing a chapter of Anubai. Or for writing tomorrow’s game review, for that matter. I’m going to try to keep the review shorter, though, I don’t want to spend so much time on it as I did last week. But we’ll see. Tomorrow. 😛

Anyway, this is my personal setting for a Pathfinder campaign. The various races are very segregated on the edge of the wheel — somewhat unnaturally so, in fact. 😉 Basically, my conceit is that the civilizations represent the forces of Law, which attempts to encroach upon the Chaos that is the Pallid Lands in the center. Well, there’s much more to it behind the scenes, of course, but this is the general knowledge of an adventurer in the Pallid Lands.

Now I just needs some players… just kidding, there is a lot of detail I want to fill in. (What exactly is a swamp elf? Even I’m not sure… 😛 ) But yeah, my players will start as adventurers in the Pallid Lands, either searching ancient ruins for treasure and secrets, or helping local communities to survive against monster depredations and other environmental hazards. Either way, they will eventually fall afoul of one of the strongest beings in the Lands, and be forcibly enlisted in a secret war they want nothing to do with… probably. Unless they do. Players are weird. ^^;

So, yeah. Review tomorrow, chapter someday, and I’ll keep y’all posted on how (and if) my Pallid Lands develop. Just because. 😉

Have a good week, everyone. 😀

Oh, hey.

Didn’t post anything yesterday, did I… Sorry, I haven’t been feeling well this week, so I haven’t really been writing, or really doing much of anything. Um, I don’t really have anything to recommend, either… Well, I have been watching Eurogamer’s “Late to the Party” videos, those are pretty fun. Suppose I should mention that they swear a lot, though. Especially Aoife, for some reason… I love her name, though. 😛

Anyway, I’m feeling a bit better today, so I’ll try and sit down and write. Unfortunately, I’m probably going to create a Pathfinder adventure setting, so I won’t be working on the next chapter of Anubai.

Unless I do. Who knows? It’s been sitting open on my laptop for weeks now. Makes me sad. 😦

Cough, anyway… New review on Monday, and probably a post tomorrow for no reason. Ya know, the usual. Hope everyone is having a good week. 😉

This Week’s Game: The Surge

Here is my review of The Surge: it is science fiction Dark Souls. Ok, review done, moving on. See you next week.

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Yep, nothing more to see here.

Huh? You want more than that? Well, that’s fair. For all that The Surge is almost literally a reskin of the Dark Souls games, there are some things that it does differently, as you would expect when the settings are so disparate. I believe that The Surge is actually more accessible to beginners than Dark Souls, but it also lacks pieces of what makes Dark Souls so compelling.

But let’s not dwell on the Dark Souls parallels just yet. We’ll get back to that, sure, but I’m going to go ahead and describe the game as though I’d never played Dark Souls, and you hadn’t either, and we’ll go from there. Continue reading

Sunday Update: Super Bowl not very much edition

Hey there. Everyone doing well? The Super Bowl is happening in the other room, but I can’t say I really care… Figured I’d get this done right now, just ’cause. I’m a little tired tonight, though, so I’ll keep it short.

No new chapter of Anubai this past week, as you know. Still a ways to go before it’s ready, too… makes me sad. On the plus side, my review of The Surge is done, so I don’t have to worry about that. It’s scheduled to be posted early tomorrow. Relatively early.

I don’t really have anything else to say, I guess… I’m doing ok, my kids are doing well, no major issues since last week… So, good? I guess?

I have been contemplating running a Pathfinder game, though. Just for fun, I helped my son make himself a character, and he ended up making a half-elf wizard. A female half-elf wizard, no less. It was fun. 😀

Have a safe week, everyone, and tune back in tomorrow for This Week’s Game! 😉