MTG Mondays: Gaea

“Gaea sings with the voice of nature rampant: a thousand howls, chitters and cries, and none of them can be ignored.” – Gaea’s Herald

Gaea’s Herald

Hello everybody, today I will be talking about Gaea, the mysterious nature goddess from the realm of Dominaria in the Magic the Gathering universe. Gaea was around from the beginning but as the game and the universe grew so did her impact. Originally Gaea was a term that the designers put on the MTG cards to denote something that was extremely natural, but over time they grew the term into an actual character and made her a goddess of the plane.

As the lore grew, Gaea was made out to be not only Dominaria’s protector but the creator of the entire plane. She personally has never showed herself in the MTG universe but there are fifteen cards that have her name in them and there are another fifteen cards that reference her in some way. She is a goddess to a lot of the fey folk in Dominaria so the likes of Elves and Druids pay respects and worship her in their own ways. It is said that the Elves and Druids of the plane can actually hear their goddess and that Gaea directly created the Elves of the plane. During the Phyrexian Invasion, it is believed by many that Gaea had a hand in protecting the plane of Dominaria from the invading Phyrexian forces that sought to ruin her plane.

Not much is known about the goddess, Gaea but she has been in the game in her own way from 1993 and still has cards made about her in the modern era with cards such as Gaea’s Blessing released in the Dominaria set in 2018. I believe there is a lot more to see of Gaea yet and I hope one day we get to see the actual goddess, as MTG have been releasing God cards since the Theros block in 2013-2014.

A short lore this week, but none the less important to the universe of Magic the Gathering. It is interesting to see how characters, planes and stories developed over time and in Gaea’s case it went from something that sounded cool and natural to a fully fledged goddess.

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

Film Review: Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You! (2017)

Title: Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You! (2017)

Genre: Animated Adventure

Directed by: Kunihiko Yuyama (Pokemon: The First Movie, Pokemon: The Movie 2000)

Age Rating: PG (Parental Guidance)

Run Time: 112 mins (1hr 52mins)

Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You!

Hello everybody, this is my review of the 2017 movie, Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You! This movie is the 20th movie in the Pokemon film series and was directed by Kunihiko Yuyama whose work mostly involves Pokemon, even directing the first Pokemon movie in 1998. The story takes us right back to when Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town first meets the electric mouse Pokemon, Pikachu.

I CHOOSE YOU TO REALISE THAT THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD. IF YOU WANT TO BE A TRUE POKEMON MASTER, DO NOT CONTINUE…unless you want spoilers.

The plot at the start of the film is basically the exact same as how Ash obtained Pikachu. He woke up late on the his tenth birthday to choose his very first Pokemon from Professor Oak. Because Ash got there late, he only had one choice left and that was Pikachu. Pikachu was very disobedient and he had no time for Ash. Ash found a Pidgey and was trying to catch it, but Pikachu would not help him. So Ash threw a rock and missed Pidgey but hit another Pokemon, Spearow. A flock of Spearow arrived and started to attack Ash and Pikachu and left Pikachu quite injured. After falling, Ash told Pikachu not to worry that he would protect Pikachu. Pikachu watched as Ash challenged the Spearow and told them to leave Pikachu alone and attack him instead. Pikachu built up enough strength to leap into the air and use a tremendous thunderbolt to drive all the Spearow away. As the sky clears, a legendary Pokemon named Ho-oh flies past and a feather drops down to Ash.

We later see Ash on his Pokemon adventure, challenging people to Pokemon battles and winning. He overhears that there is a legendary Pokemon called Entei in the area, along with all the other trainers. The trainers go and find Entei in the forest but they all lose trying to catch it. Ash meets a trainer called Verity and they don’t get on at all. Ash also meets another trainer called Sorrel. As it starts to rain they go to find shelter but on the way they run into a Charmander, a fire Pokemon with a flame on its tail, if the flame goes out, Charmander dies. Charmander was abandoned in the wilderness by his trainer, Cross because Cross thinks that Charmander is too weak. Ash nurses Charmander back to health while Sorrel tells Ash about the legend of the rainbow hero and that Ho-oh drops a feather to a person that it thinks will be the rainbow hero who is destined to fight the Ho-oh.

Cross returns to fight Ash and his newly evolved Charmeleon, but Cross makes quick work of them both. Ash distraught goes into a forest alone and another Pokemon named Misdreavous puts Ash asleep and gives him a nightmare where there are no Pokemon. The rainbow feather loses all colour, but in the dream Ash realises this is all wrong and wakes up to see that the feather has regained it’s colour. The team continue on their journey up Mt. Tensei to battle the Ho-oh. As they are about to make it to their destination, Cross returns and challenges Ash to another Pokemon battle, which Ash accepts. Charmeleon evolves into Charizard and beats Cross’s Pokemon. Cross in his annoyance steals the rainbow feather and puts it into a beam of light, meant to summon Ho-oh. When Cross places the feather, the beam turns dark and all the Pokemon in the area turn bad and attack the group. Ash managed to save Pikachu by getting him into a Pokeball but Ash starts to disappear. Pikachu brings himself out of the Pokeball to see Ash start to fade away and in his sadness lets out a mighty thunderbolt which stops all the Pokemon from fighting.

Ash wakes up to see that all the colour is drained and he is left in a grey world. But Ash doesn’t give up and as he starts to walk towards Pikachu he is transported to different areas of nature and colour. Ash starts to run through these areas which creates a sort of portal in front of Pikachu, until Pikachu realises that it’s Ash and they hug each other and Ash turns to colour again…If you’re confused, I don’t blame you, but it happens. Ash takes the rainbow feather and places it on the beam, calling Ho-oh down to fight, which they do, but you don’t get to see. Cross realises his mistakes and makes up with Ash and everyone goes on their own journey and separate. That is the end.

So onto the movie and what I thought of it.

Story wise I thought it was interesting that they went back to when Ash first got Pikachu. I felt that it was a retelling for people who might not have been old enough to experience that when the Pokemon TV show first aired and I thought it was a nice throwback. My personal issue is that, I was around when the TV show first aired, so the first third of the film is absolutely wasted on me because they done nothing new or different with it, it was almost the exact same. They could have just shown the first episode of Pokemon for the first half an hour and it would have had the same effect. That said, it does explain why Ash sees the mythical bird from the TV show and explains why Ho-oh appears to Ash all those years ago. There are also many storylines that again are not only taken from the first season of the show, but play out almost exactly as they happen in the show. Ash finding Charmander and Cross leaving him? In the show that was a character called Damien that left Charmander and for the same reason. Butterfree leaving Ash to go mate with another pink Butterfree, yep.

They do go into some Pokemon and explain how their origins, such as Entei. I thought his story was cool but sad. Apparently a building with Pokemon in it burned down and killed the Pokemon, but Ho-oh took pity on them and brought them back to life as three legendary Pokemon, Entei, Raikou and Suicune. I enjoyed learning their lore as I am a lore freak! Another sad story was about Sorrel and the reason he kept away from Pokemon. As a child he got lost from his home and his family Pokemon, Luxray stayed with him. A blizzard occurred and Luxray covered Sorrel to keep him warm. Sorrel was found but Luxray froze to death. It was a sad story and not one you encounter much in the world of Pokemon, death.

A big problem I have with the story are Team Rocket. If anyone knows their Pokemon they know exactly who the dastardly trio are, but to anyone new, Team Rocket are members of an evil organisation trying to take over the world using Pokemon. In the show they always come up with shenanigans to help accomplish their schemes but they get defeated in the end and usually get blasted into the air with their classic catchphrase “Team Rocket are blasting off again!”. In this movie they show up about three or four times and don’t actually do anything and just keep blasting off into the air repeating the catchphrase. They are utterly pointless in this movie and should not have been added.

Lastly, on the story, my biggest problem: Why the hell did they skip over the fight between Ho-oh and Pikachu, you know THE WHOLE POINT OF THE MOVIE! I sat through an almost two hour movie, much of which I have seen before years ago and the big build up, the penultimate moment, the payoff…is nothing. No epic Pokemon battle between Pikachu and a legendary Pokemon, nothing. Even worse, it’s not even mentioned, we don’t know if Ash lost or if he caught Ho-oh or won and let it go, nothing. I felt like it was a complete waste of time in some ways. Why build up this epic rainbow hero story, the destined Pokemon trainer to fight Ho-oh and then not only not show it, but don’t even mention it again.

The artwork of the movie was beautiful and some of the scenes, especially when Pikachu let off the tremendous thunderbolts were absolutely astounding. The movie uses a mix of 2-D and 3-D graphics throughout and the transition between both is seamless. The Pokemon battles were brought to life, especially the battles between Incineroar vs. Charmeleon and Incineroar vs. Charizard. If you are anyway into Pokemon you will love those battles. The soundtrack was very good and enjoyable and worked with the movie.

Overall I enjoyed the movie, but boy did it have it’s flaws. The story was the biggest problem with it as the Pokemon battles, artwork, graphics, soundtrack and voice acting were all pretty good. The biggest question for me would be would I watch this again and I think the answer is a big no. If I wanted to watch Ash’s and Pikachu’s story I would just watch the show again, but it does explain a bit more. It’s an okay movie, enjoyable enough and I’m glad I watched it, but I won’t watch it again.

The Doomslayer rating system:

10 – Masterpiece

9 – Close to Perfection

8 – Excellent

7 – Very Good

6 – Good, worth a watch! – Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You! (2017)

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!

TV Show Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1 (Episodes 7-12)

Hello everybody, this is the continuation of my review of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1. Today we will be doing episodes 7-12, so let’s begin.

THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED, MATEYS! YARRRRRRRGH!

Duel of the Droids – R2-D2 vs R3-S6

Episode 7: Duel of the Droids: R2 is still missing and it is up to Anakin, Ahsoka and the clones to get him back. They find R2’s signal on a Separatist Battle Sphere above a moon and travel there to take him back. Meanwhile, it is revealed that R3-S6 was a Separatist spy all along and that the droid was intentionally trying to get Anakin and the rest of the crew hurt all those times it had “accidents”. Anakin tells the clones to destroy the Battle Sphere with previously planted explosives, even though they are still inside. Grievous escapes and R2 and R3 have a “battle” of sorts on a platform high in the atmosphere. Eventually R2 beats R3, letting the droid fall to it’s death.

The episode itself is pretty good. I thought that Grievous killing Gha Nachkt out right when he asked for more credits really sealed it on how ruthless Grievous can be. I feel he has absolutely no time for people trying to double cross him or blackmail him and that he would crush any enemy that would attempt to do so. I like the angle of R3-S6 being a double agent. It is interesting because you never see it and even though it would be the last thing that you would expect to betray you, it makes a lot of sense as the astromech droids in Star Wars are quite handy and they can do a hell of a lot of things. The fact that a droid alone could compromise so much for the Republic forces shows how much they really need to pay attention on who their friends and enemies really are. I thought the droid duel was a nice tough as you don’t really get to see the friendly droids do a whole lot of fighting in the Star Wars universe and it showed that R2 could hold his own. A good episode. 7.5/10

Bombad Jedi – Padme betrayed

Episode 8: Bombad Jedi: Senator Padme Amadala must meet Onaconda Farr on the planet Rodia to get the Rodians to honour their commitment to the Republic. There she finds that the people of Rodia are starving and that the Republic have paid little attention to them and their plights. Because of the Onaconda pledges the allegiance of Rodia to the Separatists and allows Padme to be arrested by droids. Jar Jar Binks and C-3P0 came with Padme but Padme told them to stay with the ship. Droids come to arrest Binks and C-3P0 but because of Binks bumbling around he destroys the droids and the senator’s ship. Binks puts on a cloak and he suddenly looks like a Jedi, well to the Separatist forces anyway. Through more Jar Jar bumbling, he destroys a lot of droids and C-3P0 manages to get a message to Republic forces. Nute Gunray comes to collect Padme but he is thwarted by Jar Jar. Onaconda realises he made a big mistake siding with the Separatists and Padme allows him to say that this was all an elaborate trap to catch Gunray and allows Onaconda and the Rodians to rejoin the Republic. Chancellor Palpatine sends a message saying that supplies will be on the way to the Rodians.

This episode was meh at best. It was good seeing that because of the war, planets are being forgotten about and that it is not only the frontlines that need supplies. I thought it was interesting seeing the affect the war had on smaller planets that wouldn’t have a lot to give to the war effort and how they are really just pawns in a game. Jar Jar as a Jedi? No. Nope. Doesn’t work for me. I am not just jumping on the Jar Jar hate wagon here for no reason, I genuinely think that Jar Jar Binks is one of the worst characters ever created in the Star Wars universe and anytime they try to legitimise him throughout Star Wars media it is a big mistake and a hark back to a time not so long ago when Star Wars media was bad. Jar Jar is a terrible character and I’m saying that from every stand point I can in terms of from when I was a child I didn’t like him and I definitely do not like him now. Personally I think Star Wars should cut their loses and get rid of the character, but that is just me. Not a good episode. 4/10

Cloak of Darkness – Ventress vs Luminara

Episode 9: Cloak of Darkness: Nute Gunray is to be transported back to Coruscant to face trials for his war crimes. Ahsoka, Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and a handful of Senate Commandos including Captain Faro Argyus. Darth Sidious tells Dooku that Gunray needs to be silenced. Dooku sends Ventress to kill or rescue Gunray. Ventress and a droid force attack the ship and while Ventress is planting explosives in the generator room she is attacked by Unduli. Unduli eventually loses and is trapped under some ship debris before being rescued by Ahsoka. Captain Argyus betrays the Republic and sets Nute Gunray free. They all escape, but as Argyus is gloating about the escape he himself is betrayed by Ventress and stabbed in the back.

Aesthetically I thought the Senate Commandos were awesome. I loved the blue armour and the more formal looking uniforms. Aseej Ventress’s lightsaber skills are fabulous to watch, even if the Jedi do call her sloppy and amateur. The problem with Ventress is she is too emotional when she fights and she lets her anger guide her a little too much, but apart from that she is a deadly fighter and a vicious assassin. Which leads me on to her lightsaber duel with Master Unduli. I believe it is one of the first major lightsaber duels in the show and it is a really vivid one to start off with. The animators really knew how to make the duels engaging and exciting and they knew it was a show, a show that deserves to be enjoyed and I very much enjoyed this one. Lastly from a story point of view, I thought it was very interesting that a senate commando betrayed the Republic. The senate commandos are not made up of clones as far as I’m aware so they wouldn’t have the same conditioning or natural loyalty to the Republic. In saying that, the be a senate commando, I’m sure you had to be the best of the best and demonstrated your loyalty to the Republic on a number of occasions which made the fall of the Captain so much more worrying. If someone who is meant to give their life to protect the senate could fall to the Separatists, how far does this conspiracy go. Overall, an enjoyable episode. 8/10

Lair of Grievous – Grievous vs Fisto and Vebb

Episode 10: Lair of Grievous: Jedi Master Kit Fisto and his Padawan Nahdar Vebb follow the tracking beacon on Nute Gunray’s ship to attempt to recapture him. They find the ship but no one is inside. They enter a castle that is on the planet. Master Fisto is contacted by Dooku telling him that he won’t give up Gunray but he will allow the Jedi to capture Grievous. Fisto realises he is in the Lair of Grievous. Dooku sets up a trap telling Grievous to go to the planet. Fisto sets up an ambush to hopefully capture the General. Fisto gets the jump on Grievous and Grievous’s legs get cut off. Grievous escapes but kills some clones on the way. The clones attempt to contact the Republic fleet to send reinforcements but the droids destroy the clone transport. Fisto tells his astromech to pilot his ship out of danger and contact the fleet. Fisto finds Grievous’s control room, but Vebb in his anger tries to attack Grievous. Grievous’s droid cuts off Fisto from Vebb and Vebb ends up killed by Grievous. Fisto escapes on his starship back to Coruscant. Grievous tells Dooku that he killed a Jedi, but Dooku isn’t impressed saying that Grievous only killed a Padawan, angering Grievous.

A very good episode. The opening was very eerie and strange. There was an Aliens (1986) feeling to it as the squad of clones were making their way through these tight, dark corridors looking for the enemy. I loved the fact that their was a little more backstory on General Grievous as there is not much known about the Separatist General. It was great just to see where and how he lived even, I love backstory and lore so the more, the better. Another very cool lightsaber battle like the last episode. Seeing Grievous in a lightsaber battle is a treat for me personally and I very much enjoyed this one. I loved the ominous and dreadful atmosphere that was persistent throughout this episode. It gave me a feeling that I can only describe in two words…Oh, no! A great episode and a little different from the norm in terms of atmosphere. 8.5/10

Dooku Captured – Hondo with the Jedi

Episode 11: Dooku Captured: While thinking he caught Anakin Skywalker, Count Dooku was duped as it was a trap by Kenobi and Anakin instead. While trying to escape he leaves his capital ship on his own personal ship. Anakin and Kenobi pursue him and fire on Dooku’s ship, damaging it. Dooku lands his ship but Kenobi and Anakin get shot down by a droid fighter. They continue to pursue Dooku into a cave, but they were tricked and Dooku collapses the cave roof on their heads. Dooku escapes but is captured by the pirate captain Hondo Ohnaka and his pirate gang and he will be ransomed off to either the Separatists or the Republic. Hondo contacts the Republic and tells them that he has Dooku and is willing to ransom him. So Anakin and Kenobi go and verify if the pirates do indeed have Dooku. The Jedi confirm that Dooku is in the pirates custody, so the Republic send Senator Kharrus and….Jar Jar Binks….with the credits to go and get Dooku. While waiting, Anakin and Kenobi have a drink with the pirates, who attempt to give the Jedi spiked drinks. The Jedi switch their drinks with two pirates and the pirates pass out.

Overall an okay episode. Hondo is a very good pirate captain and a character that even though he is a villain, you can’t help but be charmed by him. It was good to see a Kenobi and Anakin only episode as a lot of that is lost during the Clone Wars and it is mostly Anakin and Ahsoka, so I definitely enjoyed seeing the master and apprentice together again. A good episode but not a lot to say on it, more of a filler episode I would say. 7/10

The Gungan General – Binks and the clone troopers

Episode 12: The Gungan General: Anakin and Kenobi did turn out to be drugged after all even though they were careful. They wake up in a cell in the pirates care and to make matters worse, they are with Dooku and to make matters EVER worse they are all tied together. Binks and Kharrus are on the way but one of Hondo’s pirate crew attempts to betray Hondo and take the ransom himself by shooting down Binks’s ship. Kharrus is dead leaving Jar Jar in charge of the clones. The Jedi and Dooku attempt to escape together but they end up re-captured. Turk, Hondo’s betrayer goes to get the ransom from the crash site but his men are killed by the clones. Turk returns to Hondo telling him that the Republic have sent an army, which they didn’t which convinces Hondo to send his tanks after the clones. The tanks arrive but they get destroyed when Jar Jar takes one over and rams it into another tank and shuts down the power for the pirates. With this, Dooku and the Jedi escape. Dooku kills Turk and takes his ship and the Jedi capture Hondo though Kenobi tells Anakin to set him free as they have no problem with pirates. Hondo tells Kenobi that he is honorable but Kenobi warns that Dooku won’t be so forgiving.

It was an odd moment to see the Jedi and Dooku becoming allies of convenience for short while to get themselves out of a sticky situation. Not something you see that much in the Star Wars universe, but I think it’s quite cool when it happens. At least they’re smart enough to put their differences aside when it benefits them both, no matter how different their ideologies are. Jar Jar…Oh Jar Jar. In this episode his antics stop being “funny”. The reason senator Kharrus was killed was because Jar Jar was messing around on the ship as they were being attacked by the pirates and Kharrus has to get up and strap Jar Jar in like a child. Because of this, Kharrus’s safety harness was not attached properly and he ended up dying when their ship got hit by the pirates. Jar Jar is dangerous and I don’t like the fact that no one else sees it…well no one bar the clones. They know exactly what Jar Jar is like. Hondo lived up to being a decent enough villain and I liked the fact that they left it open on whether we would see Hondo again with Kenobi telling Hondo that Dooku won’t forgive what happened. A fairly action packed episode and pretty fun throughout. 6.5/10

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

MTG Mondays: Benalia

“My people swore to protect Benalia to the end. It is battered, but yet stands, as do we.”Benalish Calvary

Benalia

Hello everybody, today I am talking about the nation state of Benalia on the continent of Aerona on the plane of Dominaria. Benalia is a major location in the world of Magic the Gathering and has shown up all throughout MTG’s history on a whole lot of cards, but where did the state come from and what is it all about? Well I am here to explain all of that.

Dominaria as a whole

Before we speak about Benalia, we must talk about what came before it, the mighty Sheoltun Empire. At the end of the Brother’s war between planeswalkers, Urza and Mishra, who I will be talking about in a later blog, the world was plunged into an Ice Age that lasted for almost two and a half thousand years. After the Ice Age, the Sheoltun Empire was formed with it’s capital being Benfosa. The Sheoltun Empire was a military state that ruled with an iron fist and before long it conquered a lot of central Aerona. One of the most famous Sheoltun residents was an advisor named Tobias Andrion. Tobias was instrumental is wiping out the pirates that surrounded the shores of Sheoltun, but while he was successful in driving them out of Aerona, he got caught up in a thirty year war against the pirates of the Spice Isles. The Spice Isles was a location where sailors could rest before continuing on a long journey, the only problem was it was ruled by pirates. Tobias eventually won, but died by what is widely reported a magical lightning bolt. They say that Tobias is still under the water and dancing on the crew of his fleet for the rest of time. With Tobias’s death, the Sheoltun Empire started to decline. The final nail in the coffin was a revolt by a region called Epityr. Epityr was a region that was flourishing for about three hundred years until the Sheoltun Empire conquered it. The Sheoltun Empire imposed it’s will on the people of Epityr and for forty years they had to adapt their culture to that of the Sheoltun’s. The people of Epityr had enough and revolted and a mage by the name of Thabit of Almaaz summoned Serra Angels, mighty warrior angels to help the Epityr cause. The Sheoltun Empire was beaten and with that came the collapse of the once powerful empire.

The next chapter in the Benalish story begins in a region to the Northeast of the Hurloon mountains called, Wrenna. Not much is known about Wrenna other than it had an order called the Knights of Jenges. An evil sorcerer came to Wrenna and seized it’s throne and corrupted the knights, but one fled south named, Torsten Von Urses. Von Urses came upon the ruins of Benfosa and from here he decided to create a new empire called, Benalia. Von Urses chose the name Benalia as it means ‘Aspiration’.

“Some aspire to climb the mountains of honor. The Benalish are born upon it’s peak, and from there ascend among the stars” – Benalish Marshall

Torsten Von Urses

Benalia was ruled by Von Urses, but he had seven lieutenants from seven great and noble houses which were the ruling families in Benalia. The seven houses are as follows:

  • House Capashen – The wealthiest and strongest houses of the seven. The Capashens rule the north of Benalia. Their leader is Aron Capashen. Their house sigil is a tower with seven windows.
  • House Avenant – The Avenant are a matriarchal house that rule the Isle of Avenant. Their leaders name is Cerise D’Avenant and their house sigil is a pattern of seven arrows.
  • House Croger – A house that is full of expansionists and individualists. They rule Eastern Benalia and they still very much worship the church of the Angelfire. Their leader is Eadith Croger and their sigil is a wolf’s head with seven teeth.
  • House Rosecot – A militaristic house that protects all the grain fields of Benalia to the south east of the country. Their leader is Alvan Rosecot and their sigil is a rose with seven thorns.
  • House Tarmula – A house of wizards and scholars, they rule in and around central Benalia. Their leader is Rache Tarmula and their sigil is a seven pointed star.
  • House Deniz – The house of the great traders, merchants and naval traders of Benalia. They rule along the west coast of Benalia and their leader is Jerek Deniz. Their sigil is a conical shell with seven twists.
  • House Joryev – And finally, not much is known about this house only that it might have possible ties to an organisation called the Cabal. Their leader is Aveya Joryev and their sigil is a ring with seven keys attached.

The mentioning of the seven houses leads on to the Lost Edict. Von Urses wanted to dominate his realm before he died and he did do most of what he wanted in terms of that. At the age of seventy two, Von Urses passed away leaving the leadership of Benalia in question. Von Urses left behind instructions detailing the fact that he didn’t want any of the houses becoming the soul leader of Benalia, but the seven of them ruling together, each taking on a different part of the running of Benalia as a whole.

Benalia became a military state with a lot of religious backing from Gabriel Angelfire and the churches of Serra. Gabriel Angelfire was an extraordinary warrior angel who was worshipped through the churches of the Angelfire. A strange thing that is not primarily seen in the MTG universe is that, Gabriel was a male angel, where most other angels are female.

Then came a dark time in Domiaria’s world, The Phyrexian Invasion. I won’t speak too much on the Phyrexian invasion today as it is a MASSIVE storyline in the MTG universe, but basically the Phyrexian invasion is the invasion of the plane of Dominaria from the artificially created plane of Phyrexia that brought a lot of death, destruction and chaos in it’s wake and a lot of heroes fell trying to stem the tides of the invasion. How does Benalia fit into all this? Benalia was the first region on Dominaria that was attacked and it was utterly destroyed. The goal of the Phyrexians was they wanted to destroy the Capashen house bloodline as it was prophesied that they would be the downfall of Phyrexia.

Phyrexian invasion

After the collapse of Benalia and the disaster that was the Phyrexian Invasion, Benalia’s woes were not finished yet. Next came the Years of Salt. What was left of Benalia devolved into warring states. Time rifts started open around which is part of another massive MTG arc which I won’t be discussing today. Benalia was riddled with natural disasters and then came the Slivers, horrible creatures with claws and tentacles that operate under a hive mind working towards a singular purpose, whatever their brood leader wants.

Lastly came the Mending, which was when the time rifts closed and the plane started to truly heal again. The descendants of the houses established the seven great houses again and rebuilt Benalia. The capital was rebuilt as New Benalia and a new way of governing Benalia was created called the Compact of the Seven Pillars which brought in The Ranking in which every year the leader of the council of seven would drop to the lowest ranking and the second highest ranking would be the leader and the rest would move up a rank. It gave each house a chance to rule. There were stained glass images and statues built to the fallen heroes and a new race joined Benalia, the Aven, flying humanoid creatures. Benalia also adopted the church of Serra as its official religion.

Stain glass honouring the heroes of Benalia

Benalia has a very interesting story in the MTG universe and one that is far from finished. It has been a part of the MTG universe since the beginning and I can definitely see it being there in terms of the game and the lore right up until the end. I hope you enjoyed my write up of the history and lore of Benalia and I will continue next week.

New Benalia

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

Warhammer Lore: The Emperor of Mankind

The glorious Emperor of Mankind

Hello everybody! This is a new segment where I will discuss Warhammer and other Games Workshop games lore. Today we will be begin by very briefly talking about probably the most famous figure from Warhammer 40,000: The Emperor of Mankind.

The Emperor was formed through the powers of all the shamans of Earth, the first people with psychic powers or psykers. The Emperor is thought to be created around the 8th Millennium B.C. While the Emperor was in his mother’s womb, through his sheer psychic power he made himself immortal and unable to be attacked by demons. Not a lot is known about the Emperor’s previous life before the Unification wars on Terra other then the fact that he travelled around the world, helping his fellow man and stepping in as a leader when it was needed. Terra became a wasteland eventually. Technobarbarians, cruel and ruthless warlords controlled Terra and had merciless, bloody wars. The Emperor then stepped up and revealed himself and through his leadership he unified the forces of Terra using his Thunder Warriors to destroy the armies of the Technobarbarians with a bitter civil war that went on from a few centuries to a full millennium, to become the Imperium of Mankind. The Emperor’s mission was to unite all of humanity under one banner, his, and to reject the ideas of religion and gods and superstition and to focus on science and the advancement of humanity, he called this concept ‘The Imperial Truth’. To do this, the Emperor raised twenty…eighteen…legions of his amazing warriors, the Space Marines or Adeptus Astartes.

Each Space Marine was led by a leader called a primarch. The primarchs were created using the Emperor’s DNA or geneseed, basically becoming the Emperor’s sons. But disaster struck, while the primarchs were infants a warp storm took the primarchs and launched them to every corner of the galaxy. The Emperor set forth on a crusade to find his missing children and finally unite humanity. One by one the Emperor found his children and put them at the head of their respective legions. For 200 years, humanity was in a golden age. Conquering previously held regions of space, finding lost colonies and unifying humanity…but the lure of the forces of Chaos was too much.

The Emperor leading his crusade

The Emperor had to go back to Terra to look after an extremely important project that would have greatly helped humanity, the webway project. I will be speaking more about this as time goes on. He appointed his favourite and first found son, Horus Lupercal, primarch of the XVIth legion, the Luna Wolves, as his general and representative on the front. He dubbed him, Warmaster Horus. Under Horus’s guidance, the crusade continued to thrive. But the Chaos gods had other plans and tempted Horus and eight of his brothers to side against the Emperor and cause a galactic civil war, known as the Horus Heresy. The Horus Heresy ripped the galaxy apart and for seven long years, brother fought brother until Horus finally made it to Terra.

Horus launched an attack on Terra and the Imperial Palace, home of the Emperor, and invaded with everything he had. For fifty five days, the Imperium seen some of the most brutal fighting it had ever known. Horus stayed on his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit. The Emperor along with a retinue of Terminators, elite warriors of the Adeptus Astartes, Legio Custodes, his personal bodyguards and Rogal Dorn and Sanguinus, the primarchs of the Imperial Fists and Blood Angels legions respectively, teleported to the Vengeful Spirit. It is here that Sanguinus was slain by Horus, but dealt a chink of damage to his armour. The Emperor came upon his two sons, one dead and lying at the feet of his former favourite son. The Emperor fought Horus and even though his power was great, Horus, powered by the four chaos gods found greater strength. The Emperor eventually defeated Horus using the damage that Sanguinus inflicted on his brother, but he himself was mortally wounded. Rogal Dorn found the Emperor, near death and brought him back to the Imperial Palace on Terra. Here, ten thousand years later, the Emperor is trapped inside the Golden Throne, a life support machine that keeps him in a state of undying.

The Emperor facing Horus with Sanguinus dead.

The Emperor is still a shining light to all those who travel the warp, an area of space where ships can travel faster than light but it is also where warp entities such as demons and vile gods reside. The Emperor’s mighty psychic power is used as a “lighthouse” called the Astronomicon. psykers can see this light and know where they are in relation to Terra. Without this, thousands of ships would be lost in the warp along with millions or even billions of lives. The Emperor is also holding back the true power of Chaos by fighting them psychically in the warp. Without the Emperor shielding the galaxy from the powers of Chaos, Chaos would flood the galaxy with everything they had and there would be no doubt at all that all life would extinguish and be consumed by Chaos. But this power does not come cheap, the Emperor must eat a thousand psyker souls a day to feed his power and keep the Astronomicon lighting and Chaos at bay.

The Emperor’s Golden Throne

These days the Emperor is revered as a god, the one thing he wanted to stamp out. He is now referred to mostly as the God-Emperor by the Ecclesiarchy, the religious sect of the Imperium who make sure that the citizens of the Imperium worship and pray to the Emperor everyday through a brutal regime. The Imperium returned to the days of religious zealousness, superstition and intolerance and in turn stopped advancing technologically which went against everything the Emperor taught his people. This is enforced by ‘The Imperial Creed’, a religious doctrine, issued by the Ecclesiarchy and upheld by the Inquisition, much to the annoyance of most Adeptus Astartes who do not see the Emperor as a god being.

There is so much more to the Emperor of Mankind, but I thought I would keep this brief and not overload you in the beginning. I will touch on more aspects of the Emperor’s life and his role in the Imperium nowadays.

I hope you enjoy and as always, thanks for reading!

Album Review: “Bleach” (1989) by Nirvana

Band/Artist: Nirvana (Vocals/Guitar: Kurt Cobain, Bass Guitar: Krist Novoselic, Drums: Chad Channing)

Album: Bleach (1989)

Genre: Grunge, Punk Rock, Hard Rock, Indie Rock

Label: Subpop

Hello everybody, this my review of the album Bleach by grunge rockers, Nirvana. Bleach was the first studio album by the Seattle band and boy does it rock hard. The album is made up of eleven tracks and I will be speaking about each of them individually and then the album as a whole. Bleach did not chart on it’s initial release but the critics were impressed by it. Before Nevermind was released in 1991, Bleach sold 40,000 copies in North America alone. After Nevermind came out though and Nirvana became the one of the most popular bands of the nineties, Bleach became certified Platinum by the RIAA and has went on to sell 1.9 Million copies and that’s only the United States. Now this review may be a little bias as Nirvana are my favourite band of all time and Kurt Cobain was an inspiration to me growing up. Funnily enough, Bleach was the last Nirvana album I purchased after Nevermind and In Utero. So here is my run down on each of the songs:

  1. Blew – Blew comes in with a very strong start for the album. That initial bass line really gets you into the song and then the rest of the band kicks in with the hard drumming and dirty, grimy guitar playing. Kurt Cobain’s singing is on point in this song, but for me the bass line has to be the winner. Overall a fantastic song!
  2. Floyd the Barber – Another grimy and very raw song that is more about feeling then technical work. The drums are very vibrant and raw and make you head bang and along with that guitar it is a match made in heaven and then it suddenly gets to the chorus and you can hear the talent from all three members of the band, But Cobain’s singing really steals the show at the chorus.
  3. About a Girl – One of the more technical songs on the album, it is not a hard song to play, but boy it is fun. The band seems to really come together and they make something really special. Chad Channing’s soft drumming throughout the verses for it to come alive during the solo really adds to it. The bass line by Krist Novoselic is superb in the background and Cobain’s guitar playing and vocals are absolutely top notch. Definitely one of my favourite Nirvana songs.
  4. School – One of the more raw and grungier songs on the album. This song gives me the feeling that you are only meant to rock out to it instead of really listening to it. The hard pounding of the drums to the roar of the guitar during the chorus really gets you in the groove. Cobain’s voice in really good and it really gives you the angst vibe you usually get with Grunge.
  5. Love Buzz – This is a cover of a Dutch band called Shocking Blue and Nirvana really made it their own. The bass is absolutely fantastic, not overly crazy but it definitely adds to the charm of the song. This was the song that was released on Nirvana’s first EP and it released as their debut song. Truly I feel like everything is secondary to the bass line in this song, not that everything else is bad, god no! But the bass line is so good that it just makes me bop my head back and forth. Excellent song.
  6. Paper Cuts – One of the best songs on the album. The tone of the song is so raw and dirty and grimy and one of the hardest hitting songs on the album! Cobain’s voice blew me away on this. There is something about the shout at the end of every line of the verse. I feel like the band were pulling out all the stops for this song and it really shows. A true grunge song.
  7. Negative Creep – This song will definitely get the crowd going. The pace is faster than other songs on the album but none of the instruments hit any less and Cobain sings a lot fiercer. There seems to be a lot of feeling and emotion to this song and you can feel it from each band member doing their job and doing it well. Amazing song!
  8. Scoff – Another technically impressive song. There is a lot to this song, from the boppy verses to the droning chorus, its a song that has a lot of parts and each of them work well as a whole. My personal choice for the bits that stand out have to be the drums though. The drumming throughout is absolutely fantastic and definitely makes the song.
  9. Swap Meet – From the awesome guitar to the excellent singing from Cobain, Swap Meet is a very fun song from start to finish. The chorus is where is stands out though. It really ties the song together from a sort of monotony to a chorus that really bites. A very fun song and one of my favourite on the album.
  10. Mr. Moustache – Personally I am not a big fan of this song. It is okay, I feel if they slowed it down a tad it could have worked better. Nirvana were still finding their feet in terms of the punk scene so some of the songs lean more towards that. The thing is I like punk but I just feel that this song is a bit messy. Not a bad song, but not great.
  11. Sifting – A fantastic song! Really atmospheric and ticks all the right boxes for me. Another very raw song with a lot of angst attached to it. Cobain’s voice is absolutely on point in this song. The band compliment each other and you can really hear the contribution from each member of the band. For me the chorus is the best part, it is an absolutely awesome track and a strong ending to a tremendous album.

Final thoughts:

A remarkable debut album that really added to the grunge scene in Seattle and abroad. While the album didn’t make Nirvana a household name yet and launch them into the stratosphere of stardom that would come down the road, this album really laid the foundations of what would become their magnum opus, being Nevermind a few years later. For those who want a raw, emotion filled, dirty grunge album, but at the same time has some technically impressive work filled with a lot of talent, then Bleach is definitely one to add to your collection. Almost every song has it’s own story to tell and it’s own way of telling it and no two songs sound similar. A real work of art and an album that is a joy to listen to straight out of the gate.

My favourite song on the album: Negative Creep

9/10

Bioshock (2016, Xbox One)

The beginning of an amazing journey

Bioshock, one of the best first person shooter/role playing games of all time was released in 2007 to an overwhelming critical acclaim. The hellish underwater city of Rapture is known far and wide throughout pop culture and the iconic character of the fearsome big daddy has become one of the most recognisable and popular characters in video game history. Bioshock changed the face of gaming and gave us a memorable story line, gruesome atmosphere, exciting action and so much variety that two peoples play styles are rarely ever the same.

Bioshock was created by Irrational games and 2K Marin and was published by 2K games. The story was written by Ken Levine, who previously worked on Thief: The Dark Project and System Shock 2, two more excellent games if you get a chance to try them out. As I mentioned, Bioshock was released in 2007 but a remastered collection was released in 2016 which I will be talking about. The other games in the collection are Bioshock 2 and Bioshock: Infinite. I will be talking about each game separately.

Would you kindly heed my warning?

The story of Bioshock is set in 1960. The name of your character is Jack, and Jack was just in a plane crash in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. As Jack is drowning he notices a giant lighthouse in the middle of the ocean. As you reach the lighthouse you notice a submarine which takes you down underwater to the sprawling and beautiful city of Rapture. Rapture was built by Andrew Ryan during the 1940’s as a break away city from societies constraints. No more religion, no more ethics when it comes to science, no more government telling you what you can and can’t do. It was meant to be a paradise to people who wanted to break away from the norm, it was meant to be a Utopia.

Welcome to hell more like

As Jack reaches Rapture he starts to realise there is something very, very wrong with this place. The citizens of Rapture have all become drug addicted genetically altered mutants called Splicers. The drug that is going around Rapture is called ADAM. It was taken from sea slugs and it was found that it had properties that gave people fantastic powers such as setting things on fire, creating electricity from their finger tips and sending people into an uncontrollable rage.

Splicers

A criminal named Frank Fontaine found a way to harvest ADAM by putting the sea slugs into little girls which were transformed into ‘little sisters’. These little sisters could around to dead bodies and with a special needle they would extract the ADAM from the corpses. Frank Fontaine was making money hand over fist doing this. Andrew Ryan did not like this at all, so he launched an all out attack on Fontaine and killed him. Ryan took over the whole operation, but he also made some genetically altered freaks and stuck them in diving suits, this would be called ‘big daddies’ and these would protect the little sisters through the horrors of Rapture.

From the ashes of Fontaines empire a man came about named Atlas. Atlas is a down to earth, kind Irish man who stirred the working class folk of Rapture to rebel against Ryan. Ryan became worried and created the splicers to protect him and his city. During this, Atlas’s family gets kidnapped by Ryan and this is where Jack comes in, he must get them back.

Thuggish Splicer

As Jack makes his way through the depressing and doomed city of Rapture he meets all kinds of people who have completely lost their minds and need to be put down. There are voice recordings left all over Rapture which were recorded by the people while they still had some semblance of sanity and they paint a bleak picture of Rapture going from a Utopian paradise to a depraved and degenerate hell, full of freaks, lunatics and vile people and what’s worse, they have no restraints.

Atlas keeps asking Jack would he kindly carry out some missions, as I said he is a very polite man. These missions go from killing super powered splicers to getting certain objects and opening certain areas. During the game Jacks also speaks to Doctor Brigid Tenenbaum, one of the founders of the ADAM. She begs Jack not to hurt the little sisters, which you have a choice to do during the game. If you kill a little sister outright you get a lot of ADAM which can be used to buy more powers for Jack or you can choose to let them live which gives you less ADAM but at some points during the game you’re given presents by the little sisters in the form of ADAM or other useful stuff.

A little sister and big daddy

Later on in the game Jack finds Ryan. He is in his office playing golf without a care in the world. Ryan tells Jack that he’s his illegitimate son and that Atlas had him mind controlled to kill Ryan. The phrase “would you kindly?” was the trigger phrase that but Jack under Atlas’s control. Ryan tells Jack to kill him by constantly saying “A man chooses, a slave obeys!”. Jack kills Ryan and Atlas reveals that he is actually Frank Fontaine. He tries to kill Jack but Tenenbaum saves him. Not only does she save Jack but she removed some of the mental control that Fontaine has over him.

Fontaine cranked up to 11

Tenenbaum tells Jack to go and deal with Fontaine and take him out once and for all. As Jack reaches Fontaine he finds out that Fontaine has injected himself with a cocktail of powers and he is now a complete genetic freak. The fight does not last long and Jack is helped by the little sisters who rush Fontaine and stab him to death with multiple needles. Jack takes the little sisters and leaves Rapture for good. The good ending is where the little sisters get to have a nice normal life. Get educated, find love, find happiness and on Jack’s deathbed they all come to him to say thank you for giving them the chance of a normal life. The bad ending is Jack takes over Rapture and unleashes the splicers on the rest of the world and it leaves with an ominous ending focusing on a nuclear warhead. END OF STORY.

Now onto the actual game itself. Bioshock, when I first played it, blew me away, I mean it completely caught me off guard. I thought it was going to be another bog standard horror game, which don’t me wrong I love horror games but some of them are very, paint by numbers shall we say. Bioshock was not like that at all. The story was exciting and interesting. I loved the fact that the bigger picture is told through voice recordings and conversations through out the game. There is a whole world underneath the ocean and some of the tales you hear and very human. Lost love, problems with the boss, people feeling very worried about their looks, just common every day problems. I think this was amazing because it showed Rapture as a lived in city before everything went tits up.

The combat in this game is fluid, exciting, sleek and tactical. You will be dealing with a whole myriad of enemies that all have different ways of dealing with and different weaknesses and strengths and you’ll be fighting them all at the same time. This means your combat and the way you fight has to change and evolve all the time which keeps the game interesting.

The plasmids also change the combat up big time. The plasmids are just another name for powers and as I said earlier you can set enemies on fire, you can freeze them, shock them to death, throw insects at them and so, so, sooooooo much more. This keeps the combat versatile and can make it quite exciting.

Onto the graphics, listen I’ll put it to you this way, I was impressed with the graphics back in 2007 so in 2016 with the remaster I was still bloody impressed. The game looks absolutely beautiful from the 1940’s inspired decor to looking out a window and literally seeing the vast ocean and everything in it absolutely blew me away. The monsters and enemies were stylish and creepy looking and big daddy has got to be one of the coolest looking enemies in video game history. The dark, dreary halls and the utter chaos of broken pipes and destroyed places really adds to the atmosphere and gives you a taste of the chaos that choked and ultimately killed Rapture.

The sound, again my word is the sound good. You can hear old music throughout the game and the soundtrack is made up from real bands and groups from that era. Also listening to the sounds of big daddies walking through Rapture and the sounds of the ocean in certain parts really adds to the atmosphere of the game. The casual conversations of some of the splicers really gives you a look into what they think is going on and some of them even sound normal, if not a little messed up…well maybe a lot messed up.

So with that I’m onto the scores now:

Graphics: Impressive, fantastic styles and design and messed up monsters and atmosphere 10/10

Sound: Amazing soundtrack from the era, humorous but dark conversations that compliment the overall story and eerie ambiance throughout 10/10

Game play: Fast game play, fun, destructive and ever changing 10/10

Worth: Bloody hell yes! If you’ve never played Bioshock, go now and play it. 10/10

Story: Amazing story from the start to the finish! Utterly fantastic story telling that keeps you wanting more 10/10

Total: 100/100 A+

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

Outbreak (2017, Xbox One)

Outbreak

Outbreak, a survival horror game developed and published in 2017 by Drop Dead Studios LLC is a hark back to the days of yore in the world of survival horror video games. Truly a contender in the survival horror genre, every bullet counts in this zombie infested hell hole and it is a game that will test your confidence, survival skills and nerve.

You’ve been warned!

The world has turned into a zombie plagued wasteland. Terrifying undead monsters roam the streets and building looking for more victims to feast on and add to the masses of rotten corpses that already swarm the land. You, our hero must choose from a cast of characters that each have their own attributes and take a buddy. You and your buddy must then traverse through these buildings such as hospitals and police stations and even laboratories and complete certain goals to try and escape and leave this tar-man covered world behind.

A dark and grim setting is what this game brings to the table

This game plays from a top down perspective but the horror is very much real. This game left me on the edge of my seat and there was one clear reason for this, you only have one life. Yes, no checkpoints, no save points! That means that if you die, even at the end of a level, then you have to go back to the very start and do the whole level again. There are only six levels in the game anyway, so it wouldn’t take you that long to learn the layout of the levels and what is needed to be done in terms of objectives, so that if you do die at least you have an idea of what is needed to be done and where certain quest items are.

The game tributes our favourite brain munching franchise, Resident Evil in a lot of ways. From the inventory management system which can be a pain in the ass, knowing which items/weapons to bring with you to help you in the upcoming challenges. Do you take the weapons and ammo or do you take the health items? These are decisions you will have to make, though if you ever played a Resident Evil game, you should be used to making choices like this. Also even just the way it does the health system is a nice call back to classic Resident Evil with the way it uses the Fine/Caution/Danger with the heart beat sensor, I thought this was quite cool.

Graphically the game looks really awesome. From the little bits of different coloured lighting, showing you just what you need to see to the darkened corridors and the limited field of vision; these are all things that add to an already tense atmosphere. Not knowing what is around the corner will keep you on your toes and keep you paying attention to whats ahead…or behind you. The dead bodies and blood covered floors and walls will give you an idea of the massacre that has taken place just before you showed up.

You can barely see, but it makes the game super tense

Outbreak, was a really cool little game that would very much appeal to the gamers who enjoyed the old school survival horrors of Resident Evil and Silent Hill, but it would also appeal to modern day players with it’s charm and difficulty which keeps things exciting. The game has spawned four sequels, each getting better in their own right but they are vastly different from the original. I would suggest for horror fans to give this game a go and scare yourself silly. You can pick up Outbreak from Steam and on the Xbox One. Today, I will give Outbreak a 7/10.

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

Resident Evil 5 (2009, Xbox One)

Resident Evil 5 (2009)

Resident Evil. The horror series is legendary amongst gamers. From the dreaded halls of the Spencer Mansion from Resident Evil (1996) to the long awaited remake of Resident Evil 2 (2019), Resident Evil has always been at the forefront of gaming. Resident Evil 5 is another chapter in Capcom’s survival horror franchise. While silly at times and the horror being a lot to be desired, Resident Evil 5 is still a very strong game which is a lot of fun to play.

What that said

Resident Evil 5 is set in a fictional African country of Kijuju. BSAA (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance) agents, Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar are sent to investigate and apprehend a black market dealer named, Ricardo Irving before he sells some bio-weapons. When they get there though, all is not what it seems. The citizens of this African country seem to be more aggressive than would be usual. This is when the agents find out that they are in fact infected with the las plagus from Resident Evil 4. Things are going from bad to worse until Chris and Sheva are saved by a BSAA Delta Team, lead by Josh Stone who taught Sheva everything she knows. Irving escapes but Chris finds information on his old partner, Jill Sandwich-sorry Valentine. Chris thought that Jill died while fighting Albert Wesker, the main antagonist of the game. Chris and Sheva go to the marshlands where they find Irving again, though he injects himself with Las Plagas and becomes a giant sea monster. Chris and Sheva defeat Irving and he tells them to head to an area filled with ancient ruins to find their answers. There they find a few things.

Majini and Chris
  1. A company called Tricell is conducting this whole operation
  2. There are special flowers that are being used to create the virus
  3. There are hundreds of bodies in capsules, waiting to be tested on
  4. The new strain of Las Plagas is called Uroboros

Chris and Sheva find out that Wesker wants to load the virus into missiles and launch them all over the world with the help of Tricell CEO Excella Gionne. When Chris and Sheva finally confront Wesker, he has a hooded partner which turns out to be none other than Jill Valentine, though she is under some mind control device. Chris and Sheva remove the device and Jill tells them they must stop Wesker.

Excella as the monster

Chris and Sheva make it onto the ship that Wesker is on and they find out that he has betrayed Excella and she too becomes a massive sea monster. After defeating her, Wesker then tries to fight you himself, but seeing that its not going to well, he tries to escape on a plane. Chris and Sheva bring down the plane in a volcano which leads to the final fight. Wesker infects himself with Uroboros and fights Chris and Sheva but eventually falls into the lava. Josh and Jill fly in on a helicopter and rescue Chris and Sheva but just as they are about to escape, Wesker launches one last attempt to bring down the helicopter. Chris and Sheva both fire a RPG at him and that is the end of the game.

Wesker in his final form

Resident Evil 5 is played over 16 chapters, some long, some short. The game is a third person shooter that is full of action from the get go. So much so that it loses a lot of the horror element. From being surrounded by weak but numerous enemies to dealing with the tough and strong ones, you really have to change your strategy depending on the situation.

The game has an inventory management system which allows you to carry 9 items into a mission, this includes weapons, ammo and health, so have a good balance of each. There are a wide variety of weapons and the gun play is pretty good. You can upgrade your weapons with the gold you have found and turn that dinky pistol from mission 1 into a lethal handgun capable of literally blowing enemies heads off.

An example of the inventory

The game is the first in the Resident Evil franchise to do co-op play and boy is co-op fun. Don’t worry though, even without a player, Chris or Sheva become AI which you can use as a mule to carry 9 more items you need which is very good as space becomes limited very quickly. But as I said the co-op was a lot of fun, tactical and enjoyable and it is up there as one of my favourite co-op games. The only thing is, you and your partner need to watch each others backs. If one of you die, you both die, which can get annoying. Also you need to share resources which at times can be tough to decide who gets what.

The graphics were crisp and clear and had a lot of detail which I found nice. Some of the landscapes looked beautiful, even though they were filled with creatures wanting to eat my face. There are some additional modes to the game such as Mercenaries which was trying to score the most amount of points in a set time by killing enemies. Slayers which was another mode to kill Majini and other enemies to earn points and lastly Versus, which was PVP.

Resident Evil 5 is a game that I have a long history with. I have completed it 5 times now but each time it’s becoming more of a slog. The game is enjoyable and the story line is strong but I find that some of the missions just drag out too long. The environment changes from an African Village to a Marshlands to Ancient Ruins and more, so at least the background changes. Overall a fun game, but one that I find doesn’t have a lot of replay value unless you REALLY enjoyed the story/action of the game. As far as I am concerned, Resident Evil 5 gets a strong 7.5/10 from me.

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

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (2015, Xbox One)

The Cover Art for Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (2015)

Wolfenstein, a game that has always been at the forefront of the FPS genre, the granddaddy of all FPS games. This is the Old Blood, a game released by MachineGames and Bethesda Softworks in May of 2015. The game is a stand alone prequel to the events of the 2014 game, ‘Wolfenstein: The New Order’. The game is an Action/Adventure FPS game and boy does it have a lot of action.

You’ve been warned!

The game is set in an alternative 1946 in which the allied forces are losing the war to the Nazi empire. The games protagonist is the much loved B.J Blazkowicz, a tough, kick-ass no nonsense soldier, sent undercover into castle Wolfenstein to obtain the location of the highest ranking SS officer, Wilhelm ‘Deathshead’ Strasse. The main antagonist in the game is Helga Von Strabbs, a Nazi archaeologist obsessed with finding the tomb of King Otto I and the secrets that hide within it.

Castle Wolfenstein

After B.J gets captured, he is put into a Nazi prison where he is to be interrogated by Rudi, Helga’s second in command and his mechanical hound, Greta. B.J eventually gets tortured himself before breaking free, killing Greta and escaping prison. Blazkowicz eventually makes it to a village and finds help with the local resistance group. Rudi eventually catches up to Blazkowicz again, but this time in power armour, which B.J overcomes and kills Rudi.

Rudi Jager in power armour

B.J eventually goes to Wulfburg where he knows Helga is performing her excavations to find the tomb. Eventually the Nazi’s open a vault which causes an earthquake and allows strange gas to seep on the streets of Wulfburg. The gas turns the Nazi soldiers into zombies…yes, zombies! B.J makes his way through the streets of Wulfburg mowing down Nazi zombies as he goes until he eventually makes it to King Otto’s vault where he finds Helga.

Nazi Zombies

Helga, using a text she unearthed summons what was lurking in the deep all along, a massive monster, not unlike a towering mummy. Helga attempts to control the monster using certain keywords, which looks like it works until the monsters picks up Helga with it’s mouth and flings her away, cue the final boss battle. The monster is aided by zombies and Nazi soldiers, but B.J eventually wins and destroys the monster. B.J finds the location of Deathshead’s compound and the game ends with the preparation of the invasion of Deathshead’s compound which is the beginning of The New Order.

The Monster

The game is played over eight missions which go through a lot of different locations including prisons, villages and ancient vaults. The game is a fast-paced high octane shooter which will keep you on your toes. There is a slight stealth element to the game where you can sneak up on guard and perform take downs which to be very honest in quite useful as setting off one or two guards can lead to a massive firefight, but you do you.

The gun play in the game is fantastic as every weapon just feels nice to use. From the steel pipe cracking heads open to the mini gun which mows down tons of enemies in no time, it would be extremely difficult to get bored of shooting enemies in the game. The enemies are various also which is good and forces you to change strategies a lot. From the bog standard Nazi soldier, to mechanical hounds all the way to zombies and super soldiers, the playing field does change.

Wolfenstein 3D (1991)

Apart from the main game, you have a challenge mode where you try and survive while killing enemies and wracking up points to achieve a gold medal. It was a bit of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I wasn’t great at it. The other nice touch is during the campaign you can find pictures of the original Wolfenstein 3D (1991) game which has a bed beside it. You can sleep in the bed and play a “nightmare” where you play the original levels of Wolfenstein 3D but using The Old Blood mechanics. A nice touch for Wolfenstein 3D fans.

The game overall was extremely fun to play with an interesting story and a nice tie in for The New Order. The graphics were beautiful and soundtrack was really cool and fit in with the game. The game play was exciting and energetic and was moving a mile a minute at some parts. A great game and one I would gladly play again. I would give the game a 8/10.

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