Metro 2033 (2010, Xbox 360)

Name: Metro 2033 (2010)

Developed/Published By: 4A Games/THQ

Genre: First-Person Shooter

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Linux, OS X, Stadia

Players: Single.

Age Rating: 16+

Hello fellow survivors and welcome to the world of dystopian Russia in the year 2033. Yes, today I will be talking about the first-person shooter, Metro 2033, developed by 4A Games and published by THQ. The game is based on Dmitri Glukhovsky’s novel of the same name.

Don’t forget your air filter

Plot:

The world has been pulled asunder by nuclear war. Those who survived are forced to live underground in old subway or metro stations. The people who survived turned the old stations into their new homes. All over the metro there are different stations which are now shanty towns. You play a man called Artyom, and you live in one of these Metro stations. Between the monsters, the communists and the Nazis, the metro stations are a danger place to live, but they are the only the place to live. To keep the peace, the Rangers are neutral and police the metro stations. One of the metro stations named Exhibition is attacked by strange beings called the Dark Ones. Artyom is asked to assist by a ranger named Hunter. While tracking the Dark Ones, Hunter gives Artyom his dog tags and tell him to give them to his superiors at the metro capital, Polis.

Artyom signs up as a caravan guard, but the caravan comes under a psychic attack which affects everyone except Artyom. Artyom meets a man named Bourbon who offers to take him to Polis, but after a bandit attack, Bourbon is killed. Artyom meets another man named Khan who tells Artyom to go to the Red Line where the communists are. There, he has a friend called Andrew that could help Artyom out. Andrew does help Artyom, but he gets captured by the Nazis. Artyom gets rescued by two rangers, Ulman and Pavel, but Pavel dies on the way out. Artyom meets with a group who wants to stop the mutants from getting to Polis, but they fail. Artyom meets with Ulman who takes him to meet the colonel of the rangers, Miller.

Polis refuses to aid Exhibition, but Miller knows of missile silo that could be used to destroy the Dark Ones home. Miller and Artyom travel to a library to find a map with the silos location. Artyom is recruited into the Rangers. Miller and Artyom go to Ostankino tower to install a laser guidance system, but Artyom has a vision of the Dark Ones. You can choose one of two paths. Destroy the Dark Ones homes or spare them as you realise they are trying to be peaceful. It is up to you. THE END.

So what do I think of it?

We’ll start off with the graphics. The game does a great job in two areas, it looks crisp and clean while looking dirty and decrepit as a post-nuclear world should. The graphics for 2010 are top notch. While the colour pallet might be a little meh with a lot of greys and browns, it is something to expect playing a game like this, I don’t think anyone had time to paint their room while the nuclear bombs were dropping. The difference when you go outside is immediately noticeable. The damaged world around you, the buildings that once stood proud, now reduced to rubble, the city that was full of life, now a graveyard is clearly presented to you, and in a game life this, it had to be this good, any less would not have had the same effect.

The gameplay is fantastic. It is a tough game to get through difficulty wise. One mistake could either kill you or cost you a lot of resources, and resources are not plentiful. Between horrific radiated monsters to other survivors that have guns, you really have to duck your head and keep out of danger if you can help it. Not only do you have to worry about enemies, you have to worry about your air filters. You are in an irradiated land, so the air is toxic. When you go outside, you need to put on a mask to breathe, but those masks have limited air, so we really need to be aware of your air limit. Lastly I think the fact that you can use your ammo as currency is a nice touch as you have to really think about whether its worth it to give up a clips worth of ammo for a medical kit. An interesting concept.

The story and setting is very interesting. Sometimes I describe this game as “Fallout: Russia” because in my eyes in plays and feels almost like it; except taken a little more seriously than Fallout. The game can be quite tense as a lot of the enemies are tough in the game. Sure a few well placed shots can take out many enemies, but ammo is a commodity in this game. You can’t just go in guns blazing. Oh and if you run out of ammo, oh well. Deal with it. I actually like the fact that you have to incorporate stealth into your movements while watching your resources. It adds a level on tension and difficulty to the game that makes it just that bit different and memorable to other first person shooters out there. If you just left the story as a group of people trying to survive in Russian metro stations after a nuclear war, that would have been fine, but they also added the Dark Ones, which added a supernatural element to the game and made the character of Artyom a lot more interesting to me. I really wanted to find out what was his connection to the overall arc of the story and I was not disappointed.

The soundtrack to the game is pretty good. It has a bleak feel to it and I think it really captures the feeling of the world being screwed. There are some nice guitar tracks to it, and while they are simplistic, they really give you this feeling of dread and how we’re not playing anymore. Get serious. But while some of the songs can be dour and filled with hopelessness, some of them are just epic and beautiful chorus pieces that really pick up the mood. The soundtrack is full of atmosphere which really added to my experience of the game. So bravo on that point.

So, let me rate the game:

Graphics: Excellent for 2010, they really nailed the look of a wasteland in Russia and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 9/10.

Sound: The voice acting could be a bit better, but the creatures sounded cool and so did the soundtrack. 7/10.

Gameplay: Very good, tense and kept you wondering what was around the next corner. A nice mix of resource management and FPS. 9/10.

Worth: I would get it if I was a fan of Fallout. If you’re a fan of FPS’s in general maybe this isn’t for you as it is considerably slower than other games such as COD or Battlefield. 7/10.

Story: Good story, interesting premise and bonus points for not being set in America as most apocalyptic games are. 8/10.

80/100

Film Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Title: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Genre: Supernatural Slasher

Directed by: Wes Craven (Scream)

Age Rating: 18 (Ireland)

Run Time: 91 mins (1hr 31mins)

Are you afraid of what you might find when you close your eyes at night and drift off to the land of nod? Yes? No? Well after this film, you won’t want to close your eyes again. Hello and welcome to another film review in this, the month of all things horror. Today we will be talking about one of the most notorious slasher films of all time, A Nightmare on Elm Street. The film was released in 1984 and was written and directed by the legendary Wes Craven.

One, Two, Freddy’s coming for you!

Plot:

Tina, a teenage girl is fast asleep, until she has a nightmare about a demonic figure stalking her in a boiler room. The man slashes at her with a claw like hand which wakes Tina up. Tina notices the slashes are on her nightdress. Other teenagers are being plagued by the man in their nightmares too. When Tina’s mother needs to go out of town, her friends Nancy and Nancy’s boyfriend Glen stay with her. Tina’s boyfriend Rod shows up and they all go to sleep. Later that night, Tina has another dream about being chased and killed by the horrific man. Rod wakes up to see Tina being slashed to death. Rod flees the scene. Nancy and Glen wake up to see their friends mutilated body.

Nancy’s father Don who works as a cop, arrests Rod, even though Rod is claiming innocence. Nancy falls asleep in class and the same man that was in Tina’s dream is now in her dream. Nancy gets chased into the boiler room and cornered. She burns her arm on a pipe which wakes her up, she notices she actually has a burn on her arm. Nancy visits Rod in jail and starts to believe that the man in her dreams is the real killer. When Nancy falls asleep again, she sees the man trying to kill Rod. She runs away and the man ties the bed sheets around Rod’s neck and kills him, making it look like suicide.

When Nancy explains what has happened and what she has experienced, her mother, Marge explains about Fred Krueger, a child murderer. She explains that the parents on the street got together and burned Krueger to death and now he is back to get revenge. Nancy tries to call Glen to warn him but Glen is killed by Krueger after he falls asleep. Nancy calls Don and tells him to break into the house in twenty minutes after Marge falls asleep. Nancy rigs some booby traps around the house and falls asleep to pull Krueger into the real world.

Nancy is successful and Krueger is set on fire by Nancy in the basement. When the police arrive they find the Krueger is gone, but when Don and Nancy go upstairs, they see Krueger choking Marge before they both disappear into the bed. Krueger emerges from the bed to kill Nancy until she realises that Krueger is powered by fear. Nancy turns her back to Krueger and he evaporates.

While Nancy is going to school, she gets into Glen’s car, as he is still alive. Marge is still alive also, until the car has a mind of it’s own, locks the doors and speeds away. Marge is grabbed and pulled into the house by the front door window and you realise that they are still dreaming. THE END.

So, what do I think?

Well let’s start off with the story. This is your typical slasher film, young teens being killed by a lunatic, nothing new. But then they add the fact that he attacks you in your dreams, now it is turned up to 11. I thought the fact that they had Krueger as a child murderer when he was alive was especially interesting as there is NO way in hell you would have any sympathy for him being burned to death by the parents. The other thing that I liked is that Fred Krueger actually had a bit of a personality which you don’t find much with slasher movies, or at least early slasher movies. If you think back to Halloween or Friday the 13th Part II, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees, are silent but deadly. Krueger isn’t silent, hell he even tells jokes. But that doesn’t make him any less deadly.

I have to applaud the practical effects in the movie, especially some of the death scenes. They were completely over the top, but that’s what makes them fun. The one that will always still in my mind, is the death of Johnny Depp’s character Glen, when he gets sucked into his own bed and then a geyser of blood spews from the bed as his mother watches horrified. They surely don’t make them like they used to. The fact that this film was made on a $1.1 Million dollar budget (which is pennies in the film world) astounds me.

The acting was surprisingly good for a usual teenage slasher movie. Robert Englund played the role of Fred Krueger to an absolute T and definitely marked his spot as a horror icon of the 1980’s and beyond. Englund would go on to play Krueger is the many sequels this franchise had. Heather Langenkamp done a great job as the lead protagonist Nancy, I think she played a very believable terrified high school girl and done the franchise a service with her acting. On a side not, as I previously mentioned, Johnny Depp is in this movie and I almost always enjoy watching him act.

In terms of Wes Craven’s writing and directing, I think the storyline is a lot darker then people give this movie credit for. I mean if you really think about the top three slasher icons, being Krueger, Voorhees and Myers, the latter two can almost and I mean almost understand. Voorhees died while he was swimming, he drowned because the lifeguard teens were too busy with each other to pay attention, fair enough. Michael Myers, just seems to have a compulsion to kill his family. I mean I don’t agree, but fair enough. Krueger, before he became a slasher icon, killed children, that’s what he died for, which I believe is quite a dark storyline. As I said, this is before he became what he became, then he comes back and kills children in their dreams. A nice guy all around. Even the way he dies, the streets parents come together and burn him to death. Pretty vicious if you ask me, but well deserved. Craven also has this way of making chase scenes very tense. He done the same with the Scream franchise. The chase scenes are almost chaotic and they have you hanging off the edge of your seat.

I will also talk about the settings of the movie. A lot of it takes place, you guessed it, on Elm Street and in people’s houses. I like those slasher films that are set in an American suburb as for some reason, it gives me a bit of comfort. I know it’s strange, it is almost like there is a community being attacked and they need to come together to drive the darkness out. I also liked Krueger’s boiler room as it is dark, disturbing and it would be a serial killers playground. Lastly I liked the fact that some of it was set in a school as a school is meant to be one place where your children are safe and in this film, they are not.

This film is a classic slasher film and it is one I enjoy watching again and again. Do yourself a favour and give this film a watch over the Halloween season, you will not be disappointed.

The Doomslayer rating system:

10 – Masterpiece

9 – Close to Perfection

8 – Excellent

7 – Very Good – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

6 – Good, worth a watch!

5 – Okay, but I’m glad it’s over!

4 – Bearable

3 – Baaaaaaad!

2 – Who spent time making this?

1 – Travesty, they should never go near a film set again!

I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!

MTG Mondays: Dakkon Blackblade

Dakkon Blackblade by Richard Kane-Ferguson

Hello one and all to another talk from the world of Magic the Gathering. It is a nice summers day on my plane and it is a perfect day for writing another tale to teach about the wonders and dangers of the Magic the Gathering universe. I find that there is a balance in the Magic universe of beauty and terror, you just need to decide which side you fight for. Today we talk about a dangerous planeswalker, Dakkon Blackblade.

To describe Dakkon is to describe a set of armour, because that is mostly all you can see. Dakkon wears armour that is black as night, he also carries a shield and a sword known as Blackblade. Before he became a planeswalker, Dakkon was an exceptional blacksmith and fantastic warrior, though quick to anger. Geyadrone Dihada told him to make her a blade and she would make him a planeswalker, which he agreed to. It is said that everyday for ten years, Dakkon used to blade to kill a slave. The reason he done this was to cool it down after it was heated. Dihada showed Dakkon how to create the blade she wanted, which was a blade that could drain souls. Every slave that Dakkon killed, powered the weapon. Dakkon completed the Blackblade and wanted to use this newly forged weapon. Dakkon went into battle with the weapon and for every person he killed, he felt his power grow. He found fame after the people who heard his tale and his skill in battle called him ‘Dakkon Blackblade’. Dihada returned and kept her word, but just as he was about to become a Planeswalker, she stabbed him with the blade and absorbed his soul into the blade. Dakkon was left to wander. All he could think about was why would Dihada turn him into a planeswalker to betray him.

Dihada started a war with an island region called Corondor. A thief from the kingdom of Carth fell to Dihada’s power and was put into prison. This thief was known as Son of Carth. While in prison he found a monk who helped him escape. Son of Carth found Dakkon and used an amulet to steal his planeswalk ability. Dakkon wanted to kill Son of Carth, but the amulet protected Son of Carth from Dakkon. Dakkon ended up in servitude to Son of Carth, but when he found out that Son of Carth’s enemy was Dihada, Dakkon was pleased. Dihada found out that the pair were working together, so she sent one of her corrupted maro-sorcerer’s, a sorcerer who is made from the land itself, to attack and slay them. The maro-sorcerer failed. So Dihada sent Chromium Rhuell and Piru to attack Dakkon. The battle was fierce but Dakkon used his magic and sent Chromium away. Alone, Piru tried to fight Dakkon, but she was slain by the Blackblade. Dihada turned herself into her true demonic form after she absorbed Piru’s soul. She explained that all this was her plan all along so she could steal Piru’s soul. Dakkon went for a fatal strike on Dihada, but his power was no match for Dihada and she marked him saying that he will serve her for all time.

Chromium Rhuell by Chase Stone

Son of Carth and Dakkon went to Terisiare. Son of Carth started the Carthalion legacy named after Dakkon’s name for the boy, Carth the Lion. After Son of Carth died, Dakkon became Dihada’s main warrior. They were both present during the planeswalker war but not much is known of their actions. The Blackblade ended up falling into a legendary warrior zombie’s hand named Korlash. How or why he had this weapon is not truly known. The Blackblade went to a new owner named Needle. Needle was a member of the Cabal an organisation with ties to black magic. Not only was the sword found by the Cabal, its history was changed also, saying that the Cabal’s new leader Belzenlok actually forged the sword. Later in history, a planeswalker named Gideon Jura tried to use the Blackblade to destroy Nicol Bolas, but Bolas enchanted the blade that it could never hurt elder dragons again.

So, that was the tale of Dakkon Blackblade a fierce and horrible figure of history. Sure, his skills as a warrior were almost godlike, but to me he was nothing but a marauder and barbarian. No doubt, if I came across him in real life, he would surely have me killed and I would be part of the chorus of souls within the Blackblade. Here is a lesson. If you see someone with black armour and red eyes walk towards you, run, and keep running until you’re out of breath and then run some more. It Blackblade finds you, you will never be able to run again.

I hope you enjoyed this tale and as always, thank you for reading.

Warhammer Lore: Orks

RIGHT YA GITZ, YOUZ’RE GONNA LEARN ‘BOUT DA ORKS! WE’Z DA STRONGEST, WE’Z DA BEST AND WE WILL BEAT DEM ALL! WAAAAAAAAGH!

Yes, today we will be learning about the greenskin brutes, the plague on the galaxy that are the muscle bound, axe wielding maniacs, the Orks. From humble beginnings, the Orks were meant to be the most superior race in the universe, they were created by a race called the Old Ones, who were in a heavenly war with another race called the C’tans and their underlings the Necron. In the end, the Old Ones lost and their empire crumbled to dust.

The Orks, or Krorks as they were known as back then, were big, strong, vicious and efficient at killing and to be honest, nothing has changed. The other notable thing about the Orks is that they have massive psychic potential, so much so that if enough Orks believe in something, it manifests and exists due to so much psychic energy focusing on one thing. For example, the Orks tend to paint their vehicles red because red goes faster and for some reason…it does. They also paint their explosives yellow, because it gives off a bigger explosion…and it does.

Ork technology is crude but effective. They go from having basic weapons such as sluggas (pistols) to weapons that open dimensions and scorch and entire battlefield. They have an innate ability to create weapons that has been lost in the back of their mind from when they were first created. Basically they know how to make fancy weapons, but they don’t know how they know, it is just an inherent trait that they have.

To say that the Orks are numerous makes me laugh, it really does. Apart from maybe the Tyranids (I will speak about those later) the Orks are the most numerous race in the galaxy with their numbers in the incomprehensible. You see the Orks biological makeup is not dissimilar to a fungus. When there is an Ork invasion and somehow you end up defeating the green tide of millions of Orks, you need to constantly burn the fungus that is left behind on the planet after an invasion, if you don’t, the Orks will grow on the planet and the war will start up again.

Orks are one of humanities greatest foes, and they are so hard to stop once they start. When a group of Orks are together, they generate a vast amount of psychic energy which other Orks can sense. Suddenly millions of Orks show up at one location and then they get riled up, this is the start of what is known as a WAAAGH! Billions of Orks in hundreds of ships “crusade” across the galaxy, killing anything and everything in front of them. It is equal parts terrifying and awe inspiring.

But are all Orks the same and believe in the same things? No. They have tribes or klans as the like to call them. Each klan believes in it’s own philosophies and has it’s own traditions. For example the Deathskulls use whatever they can find and loot corpses to arm themselves. While the Evil Sunz love speed and gasoline and are mostly a vehicle based klan. There are six main klans in the Ork race and each of them are more different than the last. This is why war breaks out a lot between the Orks. On top of all this, Ork currency is their own teeth, or “teef” as they like to call them. Orks grow teeth at the same rate as sharks on earth so they have no problem spending teeth to get what they want. One tooth usually buys dinner, where a bag of teeth could buy a vehicle.

Very few things can stop an Ork WAAAGH once it starts and all they know is brute strength. It doesn’t take much to outsmart an Ork, but do not underestimate them, one mistake and you’re dinner for the Orks. In Ork society, the biggest, strongest Ork leads and if you have a problem with that, challenge the Warboss then and prove yourself. If you win, you are now Warboss. Orks come in all shapes and sizes. You have gretchins and snotlings, very small and weak, these are essentially slaves in Ork culture and they get bullied and beaten, a lot. Then you have the boys or boyz. The grunts of the Ork horde, not too bad on their own to deal with, but they are not usually alone. Tough, strong, vicious and single minded about killing their enemies. Then you have the Nobs, bigger, stronger and smarter Orks that are more fierce than their little cousins. These would be the equivalent of sergeants, leading small groups of Orks against an enemy. They are fierce and not to be trifled with. Then you have the boss. The biggest Ork of them all. These is usually the brains of the operation or invasion and he is tough as nails. The boss leads the WAAAGH which could be full of billions of Orks wanting to prove they’re the strongest, so the boss has to make sure that his rule is not challenged, and if it is, the challenger dies in a horrible fashion. There are other stranger Orks like Weirdboyz who tap into the warp and use psychic powers and Mekboyz who use Cybork armour while fighting their foes. As I said, once a WAAAGH starts, it is hard to stop.

So, what is the endgame for the Ork horde? Do they have an endgame? Orks love war and battle, so for me, I would say constant war. I mean Orks go to war amongst their own clans as much as they do with alien species so I would say that their “heaven” would be eternally fighting. Can the Orks ever be stopped? Short answer. Probably not. They are a race that numbers in their trillions, if not more than that and they breed exceptionally quickly and in large numbers. How do you stop something that in not only brutal and skilled in war and also almost never ending. Again quick answer? You don’t.

Orks will always be one of the greatest threats to the galaxy. Maybe a WAAAGH so terrible and massive will happen that it will encompass the entire galaxy. Maybe the greenskins will win and there will be war across the stars for an eternity….maybe.

MTG Card Discussion: Azor’s Elocutors

Azor’s Elocutors by Johannes Voss

Name: Azor’s Elocutors

Set(s): Return to Ravnica

Rarity: Rare

Colour: Blue/White

Cost: 3 Generic + A mix of 2 Blue or White

Type: Creature – Human Advisor

Stats: 3/5

Ability:

At the beginning of your upkeep, put a filibuster counter on Azor’s Elocutors. Then if Azor’s Elocutors has five or more filibuster counters on it, you win the game.

Whenever a source deals damage to you, remove a filibuster counter from Azor’s Elocutors.

Discussion:

Right so, let us start off with what I always talk about when it comes to creatures: The cost vs. the base stats. 5 mana for 3/5 creature is…acceptable. It is not great but I have seen more mana for creatures with less attack/defence. So off the bat that is okay. Now, let us look at the abilities. So this creature can theoretically win you the game in five turns from when you play it and why is that achievable in a blue/white deck you ask? Well I’ll tell you. Blue and white are exceptional in two areas, control and defending. Once this card comes out, baton down the hatches and just control the battlefield. Have counter spells ready for your opponents spells and have either creatures with a lot of defence or creatures who can block multiple creatures out to stop attacks and that’s that. Now I can see this strategy only really working in a 1 on 1. If you play this in a multiplayer, you just make yourself public enemy number 1 and I doubt that many decks would have enough power to stop multiple sources. You would over extend yourself too much. The other problem is, this creature becomes a massive target so you would also need to give it Hexproof to not be zapped to death.

On a side note, I’m not a big fan on these cards that can win you the game like this. It’s just my personal opinion.

Final thoughts on the card:

An interesting card, but you would have to work a lot to keep it alive and stop yourself from being damaged. A lot can happen in 5 turns of Magic.

So, let’s give it a rating:

5: Amazing, it should be in all of my decks.

4: Very good, I can see numerous uses for this card.

3: Good, I can see some uses for this card. – AZOR’S ELOCUTORS

2: Fair, It might be handy here or there.

1: Poor, I fail to see the usefulness of this card.

Let me know what you think in the comments. Have you used this card in a deck? Do you think it is a great card or it is not so great? I would love to know your opinion. As always, thank you for reading.

Halo Wars (2009, Xbox 360)

Name: Halo Wars (2009)

Developed/Published By: Ensemble Studios/Microsoft Game Studios

Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Players: Single, Online.

Age Rating: 16+

Hello, Commander. Today we will be looking at the 2009, Real-Time Strategy game Halo Wars. The Halo universe is absolutely massive and has some fantastic stories. The Halo franchise started in 2001 with Halo: Combat Evolved and since then there are 16 games in the franchise with the main story and various spin offs. The game was developed by Ensemble Studios and released by Microsoft Game Studios.

Wake up.

Plot:

The story takes place twenty years before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved. On the planet on Harvest, a ship from the UNSC (United Nations Space Command) called the Spirit of Fire commanded by Captain James Cutter has appeared in orbit. Cutter has been sent to investigate Covenant activity on the planet below. The Covenant are a race of religious zealots who believe that humanity is an insult. The Spirit of Fire have found out that the Covenant captured the main UNSC outpost of Harvest and that the Covenant have excavated something from the planets north pole. Cutter orders marine sergeant Forge to land on the planet and retake the outpost.

Forge retakes it and soon realises that the Covenant have excavated a Forerunner facility. The Forerunners are beings that the Covenant worship as gods. The marines defeat the Covenant forces around the facility and professor Ellen Anders arrives on the planet to determine that the facility is actually a map to another human outpost called Arcadia. As the UNSC arrive at Arcadia, they find the Covenant raiding Arcadia. The UNSC evacuate the population, but find that the Covenant have set up a shield that is protecting a super weapon called the Scarab. The UNSC forces eventually destroy the Scarab, but in all the commotion, Anders is captured and the Covenant escape off planet.

The Spirit of Fire tracks Anders to another planet that is infested with the Flood. If you don’t know what the Flood is, it is basically an infection that turns people into hideous monsters that try to kill/infect all around them. The UNSC establish a base and try and fight the Flood, but in doing so, sentinels left over from the Forerunners activate and not only destroy the Flood but the UNSC forces with it. The Spirit of Fire escapes and goes inside the planet when they find out that it is hollow. They find out the Covenant are planning to active a fleet of Forerunner ships to destroy humanity.

Cutter decides to destroy the fleet and not let it fall to the Covenant. The plan is to send the Forerunners Faster Than Light drive to the sun and detonate it which would cause a supernova, destroying the Forerunner fleet. Just as Forge is about to activate the drive, the Covenant attack. The UNSC successfully drive them off, but the reactor is damaged and it must be turned on manually. Forge sacrifices himself to detonate the reactor but it damages the Faster Than Light drive on the Spirit of Fire. The crew on the Spirit of Fire go into cryogenic sleep while they drift in space waiting to be found.

What did I think of it?

So, let us start with the story. I thought the story in this was engaging, interesting and I wanted to know more as the story went along. I was heavily invested in it and I liked all the nods to the expanded Halo universe such as the Flood. I am going to let you in on a little secret, I am not Masterchiefs biggest fan. Don’t get me wrong, he is cool and a fantastic warrior, but I find the character himself kind of bland. But, I do love seeing other Spartans in the Halo universe and I liked the fact that they added some to this storyline. The other characters were a bit meh, Forge was okay, but none of them appealed to me that much. I always found Covenant characters and storylines to be more thought out and better implemented, but that is my two cents on the subject. Overall a good story.

I will talk about the gameplay next. So, console RTS games, they are like the wild west when it comes to console game genres. Sometimes you get ones that work and sometimes you get absolutely terrible ones. This one works. It is fluid, it is not overly complicated and it doesn’t add any unnecessary bells and whistles that will drag the game down with it. In fact, I found this game to be very fun to play and interact with and for me, it is one of the only RTS games that really works on consoles. A big reason for this I feel is that it was developed by Ensemble Studios which worked on the Age of Empire games, and they are some of the best RTS games ever made. Ensemble Studios know how to make RTS games work.

In terms of graphics, the game looked really good. The level design was well thought out and well designed. From cities, to the interior of an entire planet and to battling on top of ships, every battlefield had its own unique signature and I was impressed. The other thing that impressed me was the sleek design of the sprites and how well they resembled their counter parts from the FPS Halo games. From the infantry to the vehicles and everything in between, the graphics were crisp, clear and fully recognisble, but also had their own unique take on Halo assets.

The soundtrack was composed by Stephen Rippy who is known for working on the Age of Empire and Age of Mythology scores and let me just tell you how I see the score:

Age of Empires/Mythology scores + Halo score = Halo Wars score

It is safe to say that both AoE/M and Halo both have unique scores that are instantly recognisable and Stephen Rippy has found a way to merge the two and not take anything away from either franchise. The score is beautiful and it is absolutely genius.

So, let me rate the game:

Graphics: Impressive, distinct, crisp and uniquely Halo. It is not easy to have all of these ingredients in the one game, so bravo. 9/10.

Sound: Decent voice acting and a fantastic soundtrack. The unit sounds and battle sounds are absolutely Halo. 9/10.

Gameplay: Good RTS game, not to deep though. While I liked it’s simplicity, I wish they just fleshed it out a little more. 7/10.

Worth: If you are an RTS or Halo fan, this is right up your alley. I don’t think you will be disappointed. 8/10.

Story: Good story that referenced some interesting things in the expanded Halo universe. One of my favourite Halo story games. 8/10.

82/100

MTG Mondays: Chromium Rhuell

Chromium by Chase Stone

Hello and welcome, one and all to another tale from the histories and mythologies of Magic the Gathering. It is a particularly warm day on my plane and the sun is beaming into my hut. I hope all is well in your lives and that everything you wanted to happen, happened. Today we will be talking about an elder dragon by the name of Chromium Rhuell.

Chromium was brought into being by the Ur-Dragon, a type of dragon who was for all intents and purposes a dragon god. Chromium was the second elder dragon to name himself with Arcades Sabboth being the first. Chromium was interesting in the way that it has the power to shape shift into any form. Chromium wanted to learn about the world around him and shape shifted into a human so he could blend in and learn all he could. When the elder dragon war started with Nicol Bolas, Chromium done, probably the smartest thing he could and remained human, because of this, Chromium was one of the only elder dragons that lived through that war.

Arcades Sabboth by Evan Amundsen

Chromium became a life partner with another elder dragon named Piru, who was also his cousin. Chromium and Piru went to serve a planeswalker named Geyadrone Dihada. Dihada was a demonic planeswalker who was obsessed with bringing powerful creatures under her command. A planeswalker who was under Dihada’s spell named Dakkon Blackblade was betrayed by her and got his soul taken by her. He was left wandering the planes, wondering why he was betrayed. He returned to exact his revenge but Dihada called in Chromium and Piru to defend her. Blackblade was all but defeated, with his last ounce of strength, he teleported Chromium away from the battle. Piru, without her life partner was no match for Blackblade and he killed her.

Chromium left Dihada’s service and posed as a man again. This time his name was Ham, the Trickery Man. Ham was a member of the high council of Mors Ridge and knew that his sister, Palladia, was sleeping under the ridge. Ham wanted it to stay that way for he feared that if Palladia woke up, she would attack the humans. Another dragon, Vaevictus Asmadi woke Palladia anyway and attack the humans she did. Ham convinced Vaevictus to turn on Palladia and he tried to go up against her, but Palladia turned one of Vaevictus’ spells back at him and removed him from the battle. Chromium, now back in dragon form, and a human spell caster named Ad’Amra who fell in love with Ham, managed to subdue Palladia and put her back to sleep.

Chromium came into service of another planeswalker named Faralyn. It is here that he met and befriended a spell squire named Ravidel. When Urza used the Sylex blast to defeat Mishra during the Brothers War, he cut off Dominaria and eleven other planes from the multiverse. Faralyn panicked and called a meeting of planeswalkers and other powerful beings, now known as the Summit of the Null Moon. But it was all a ruse, Faralyn, Leshrac and Tevesh Szat, three powerful planeswalkers formed a union to attack the people at the meeting. Their plan was to kill a planeswalker and use the energy to open up the multiverse again. The battle was fierce, and Chromium unfortunately fell in battle against Szat. The energy expelled from Chromium was enough to for the planeswalkers to escape. Ravidel also fell in battle, but he was brought back to life by a planeswalker named Kristina and her lover Taysir of Rabiah. Ravidel was not happy though that he was brought back and Chromium remained dead. Ravidel eventually went insane and plotted his revenge. Ravidel fashioned Chromium’s body into a planar barge, which carries his armies while he marches from plane to plane, getting revenge for his fallen friend.

So that is the story of Chromium. I believe I met Chromium once when he was a human. A curious fellow, quite intelligent and cunning. He had a lot of time for me, which I found to be interesting seeing as I wasn’t anything special. But for those brief few moments I was with him, I could sense the power that flowed through his veins. All I can say is that I hope he met Piru again in the afterlife, wherever that is and that he is finally at peace. That is another story over my friends, I hope you enjoyed it. Until next time.

As always, thank you for reading.

MTG Card Discussion: Azorius Signet

Azorius Signet by Raoul Vitale

Name: Azorius Signet

Set(s): Dissension, Archenemy, Magic Online Theme Decks, Modern Masters 2017, Magic Online Promos, Commander 2018, RNA Guild Kit, Commander 2020, Kaldheim Commander, Secret Lair Drop.

Rarity: Uncommon

Colour: Colourless

Cost: 2 Generic

Type: Artifact

Stats: N/A

Ability:

1 Generic, Tap: Add 1 White + 1 Blue to your mana pool

Discussion:

So I am just going to go straight off the bat and say that this is a nice little artifact card. If you break it down, you tap it to give you 1 free mana. I say 1 because you have to spend 1 mana to gain 2 mana. But it could give you the colours you need to play that powerful card. This would be great in a white/blue control deck, I would know because I had one and it was very useful in that deck. The only drawback is that it’s uses are quite specific towards either a white/blue deck or a multicolored deck.

Final thoughts on the card:

A good card that is not too expensive and gives you one free mana. It is quite vulnerable as there are a lot of artifact hate cards out there, but it is definitely useful for specific decks.

So, let’s give it a rating:

5: Amazing, it should be in all of my decks.

4: Very good, I can see numerous uses for this card.

3: Good, I can see some uses for this card. – AZORIUS SIGNET

2: Fair, It might be handy here or there.

1: Poor, I fail to see the usefulness of this card.

Let me know what you think in the comments. Have you used this card in a deck? Do you think it is a great card or it is not so great? I would love to know your opinion. As always, thank you for reading.

TV Review in 500 words or less: Squid Game Season 1

Hello one and all, I will be doing TV show reviews again, but I will be doing short ones. Today I will be talking about the smash hit South Korean TV show on Netflix ‘Squid Game’. The show was released in 2021 and it only has one season so far. There are 9 episodes in all. The show was created by Hwang Dong-Hyuk.

Player 457 eliminated

Premise:

In South Korea, a group of people who have money issues are given the chance to win 45.6 billion won (almost 33 million euro) by playing six games that are made for children. The twist? Each game is more deadly than the last and people get killed playing these games until there is one winner. What is it all for you may ask? Entertainment for the rich and powerful.

So, what do I think?

The story is excellent and paced very well. Through dialogue you learn a lot about the characters and their desperation to have money. Some characters get some back story through visuals, but it is used sparingly and wisely. Another part of the story is a Police officer who made it to the island where the competition is being held. He is trying to find his brother who went missing all of a sudden but he found the same card that every competitor was given in his brother’s apartment. I thought this story was interesting and the twist was excellent.

In terms of acting? It was absolutely top notch. I have to say that the South Koreans are absolutely knocking it out of the park in recent years with their shows and movies. I might not have seen a lot of them, but from what I have seen, I am impressed. The main character, Seong Gi-Hun and the old man, Oh Il-Nam were played amazingly and so convincingly by the actors, very powerful and emotional performances. Everyone acted superbly in the show.

The setting of the show was both funny and grim. For a show with a dark premise, it was surprisingly colourful with the guards all wearing pink and the arenas where the games were played being very colourful with bright colours such as red, blue and green.

Overall I think it was a fantastic show and while it is not original in terms of having movies like Battle Royale and Hunger Games, it done it’s own take on it and I think they deserve every praise they are getting. I definitely hope to see more from this in the future, but if we don’t, I am happy with what we got.

10/10

MTG Card Discussion: Korozda Guildmage

Korozda Guildmage by Ryan Pancoast

Name: Korzoda Guildmage

Set(s): Duel Decks: Izzet vs. Golgari, Return to Ravnica, Commander 2015, Commander 2016, Commander Anthology, GRN Guild Kit.

Rarity: Uncommon

Colour: Black/Green

Cost: 1 Black + 1 Green

Type: Creature – Elf Shaman

Stats: 2/2

Ability:

1 Generic + 1 Black + 1 Green: Target creature gets +1/+1 and gains intimidate until end of turn. (It can’t be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or creatures that share a color with it.)

2 Generic + 1 Black + 1 Green: Sacrifice a nontoken creature: Create X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens, where X is the sacrificed creature’s toughness.

Discussion:

So let me say straight off the bat that a 2/2 creature for 2 mana is always good in my book. It is solid and fair and the fact that you could have a 2/2 out on turn 2 is A-OK with me. So let’s look at its abilities:

For 3 mana it can pump a creature and that creature can only be blocked by Artifact, Black and Green creatures. I mean, it’s okay, but the amount of creatures that can still block it is too damn high.

For 4 mana you sacrifice a creature and create some token creatures based on the sacrificed creatures toughness. Now that ability is the one I would bank on, especially if you have Black cards that can bring back said sacrificed creatures. You can have a little factory going, sacrificing creatures, gaining tokens and then bringing back those creatures. I think that is a good ability in certain situations, but expensive enough.

Final thoughts on the card:

An okay card. 2 for 2/2 is solid. It’s first ability I wouldn’t pay too much attention to, but the second one can be really useful in the right situation.

So, let’s give it a rating:

5: Amazing, it should be in all of my decks.

4: Very good, I can see numerous uses for this card.

3: Good, I can see some uses for this card.

2: Fair, It might be handy here or there. – KOROZDA GUILDMAGE

1: Poor, I fail to see the usefulness of this card.

Let me know what you think in the comments. Have you used this card in a deck? Do you think it is a great card or it is not so great? I would love to know your opinion. As always, thank you for reading.