Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Winter Assault (2005, PC)

Cover Art

Hello everybody, this is my review of the 2005 expansion to the hit RTS game, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. This was the first expansion to Dawn of War and it was published by THQ and developed by Relic Entertainment, the same companies that worked on the main game. The game introduces a new faction, the Imperial Guard.

It’s your choice!

Plot:

The plot of the game is divided into two and it takes place on the Ice planet Lorn V. When I say it is divided into two it means you can play the same story from two different perspectives, Order and Disorder.

ORDER

In the order campaign the Imperial Guard are sent to Lorn V to find and fix an Imperial Titan. A titan is a machine of immense power that can change the tide of entire campaigns forget about battles. On the way, the Imperial Guard meet fierce resistance from the Orks and Chaos and when all seems doomed and hopeless for the Imperial Guard, suddenly they win or break through. The Imperial Guard become suspicious that someone or something is helping them, and they are right. A small force of Eldar, led by Farseer Taldeer are assisting the Imperial Guard as they need assistance against a new threat, the Necron. The Necron are an ancient race that gave their souls for immortality and are now trapped forever in machines fighting across the galaxy. The Imperial Guard make it to the titan and power it just before the Necron show up. With the might of the titan the Imperial Guard destroy the Necron forces and win back Lorn V.

DISORDER

In the Disorder campaign you are leading a WAAAGH!, an ork war led by the Ork Warboss Gorgutz. The Ork and Chaos forces clash and slaughter each other until the Imperial Guard arrive and force an allegiance between Ork and Chaos. The allegiance is fragile at best and both forces still kill each other. The Chaos Lord Crull, wants the titan for himself so he can corrupt the machine spirit inside it and use it to devastating effect. Crull and Gorgutz defeat the Imperial, Eldar and Necron forces. Gorgutz turns on Crull and slaughters him. After beating all the enemies on Lorn V, Gorgutz and his WAAAGH! look to the next planet to take under his command.

So what did I think?

To be very honest there isn’t a lot of differences from the expansion to the main game, mainly a lot of gameplay changes. The graphics are the same, though that isn’t to say that they aren’t vivid, pretty and great to look at, though a little dated now.

They took on a different composer for the expansion from Jeremy Soule to Inon Zur. Inon Zur is a huge name in the gaming soundtrack industry. The games I would know his compositions from would be: Fallout (3,NV,4). Crysis and Dragon Age: Origins. The soundtrack is fantastic and it is quite militaristic. There is a sense of honour, pride and duty to the Imperial Guard soundtrack which perfectly fits in to their ethos, while the Eldar soundtracks are much more subtle and quiet. With the Ork and Chaos soundtracks comes dread, fear and anticipation of something bad. The songs fit the mood and they add to the character of each army.

The Imperial Guard as an army themselves are quite effective. Their infantry are cheap, but bad at fighting unless you upgrade them, then they become dangerous and in some cases a little overpowered. The magnum opus of the Imperial Guard forces are their armour. The tanks and artillery of the Imperial Guard are absolutely devastatingly powerful and very few armies can match the strength and ferocity of Imperial Guard armour. A fun army to play if you want a bit of danger, because until you get to the armour and building your vehicles, they are quite vulnerable.

The story was good. It was interesting seeing the Eldar and Imperial Guard working together as allies of convenience and I enjoyed the Order campaign. What I did not enjoy was the Disorder campaign. I found the missions to be tedious, boring and just pointless. I felt like there was way too much dragging out of things and increasing the play time for the sake of it instead of giving it a good reason. Overall a good story, but if I was to play it again I would just stick to the Order campaign myself.

Graphics: No difference to the Dawn of War graphics, so I must give it the same score. 7/10

Sound: Another amazing soundtrack from an extremely talented and well known composer. The sounds of battle are as fierce and exciting as Dawn of War: 10/10

Game play: The gameplay is the same, but with an extra faction? Yes please. The campaign let it down a bit though and I thought the Disorder missions were tedious and boring. 8/10

Worth: It is, but only for the extra faction. The story isn’t all that great for me. It has 10 missions split over 2 campaigns and 5 of those missions I didn’t really enjoy. 7/10

Story: It was okay, as I said I didn’t enjoy the Disorder campaign, but that was more about the playability. It was interesting seeing the factions team up and seeing the danger of the Necron forces. So overall it was an okay story. 6/10

Total: 76/100 C+

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

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (2004, PC)

Cover Art

Name: Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (2004)

Developed/Published By: Relic Entertainment/THQ

Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Platforms: Microsoft Windows

Players: Single player, Multi player

Age Rating: PEGI 16

Hello everybody, this is my review of the video game, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. Dawn of War is a Real-Time Strategy game set in the grim dark world of Warhammer 40,000. The game was developed by Relic Entertainment and published by THQ.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED, COMMANDER!

Plot:

The plot itself is centered around a planet called, Tartarus. A horde of Orks have invaded the Imperial planet and are slaughtering the Imperial forces on the world. To answer this, the Imperium sent the Blood Ravens chapter of the Space Marines, super soldiers that fight for the Emperor of Mankind. The commanding officers of the Space Marine forces is a man named Captain Gabriel Angelos and his Librarian (Magic-Wielder) Isador. Initially the Space Marines must make planet fall to aid the Imperial Guard forces on Tartarus. A small force lands and destroys the Orks that are at the landing site. The Space Marines have many ferocious battles with the Orks until their scouts tell them that there are also Chaos forces operating on the planet.

The Orks are eventually driven back and defeated but Eldar (Space Elves) are found to be operating on the planet too which makes the plot even more confusing for Captain Angelos. Hidden in the darkness is a Chaos Sorcerer named Sindri who is feeding Isador with information, as he wants him to help the Chaos forces. Of course, Sindri doesn’t tell Isador this as he has him believe that what he is doing is for the good of the Imperium. The Eldar and Imperium fight in some battles until it is found out that the Eldar are here to stop Chaos from getting a key and releasing something…something bad. The Eldar tell you that because of all the battles between them and yourselves, they don’t have the strength to fight Chaos and that you must do it alone.

The Blood Ravens give a hammering to the Chaos forces on Tartarus and the Chaos leader, Lord Bale is eventually killed. Just as everything is going right, betrayal, as Isador turns his back on the Imperium and betrays Captain Angelos. Angelos delivers swift justice to the traitorous librarian, but Sindri gets away with the key. Sindri uses the key to ascend into a daemon prince. Angelos, the Blood Ravens and the final remaining forces of Eldar all come together for a final battle with Sindri and his horde of demons. Angelos defeats Sindri and the key is free, the Eldar tell Angelos not to destroy it as it will bring something much worse but Angelos does not listen and smashes the key. Because of this an even more powerful demon is set free and tells Angelos that the planet is actually an altar to the Chaos god of blood and murder, Khorne, and that every being killed on the planet fueled the demon’s release. The demon tells Angelos that he will allow him to live for setting him free and Angelos walks away telling the demon he will be waiting for him. THE END.

So what did I think?

The game is played like a good ol’ classic RTS. Base building, resource gathering and army building are the order of the day with this game. The base game starts you off with four races and I would say three of those are vastly different with Chaos and the Imperium being basically the same army with some variation. There are a number of game modes within skirmish such as annihilate, which is destroy all enemy buildings, control area, which is controlling the most resource points on the map and assassinate which involves killing the enemy commander.

The game play is fun and it keeps you interested as every army would have their own ways of dealing with situations. The Orks for example would be a horde army and would try and overwhelm you with numbers while the Eldar would be a lot more conservative and use hit and run tactics. The Imperium and Chaos forces would be an all rounder army and have an answer for all situations and while it is good for them to be like that, it creates two problems:

  1. They are overpowered – Having an answer to every situation means you don’t have to really think or use tactics, just send the force that would be required to deal with whatever is happening. I’ll put it to you this way, if the Space Marines lose, that is your fault.
  2. They are boring – Basically the same point. You don’t really have to worry about tactics so it becomes kind of monotonous playing them.

The graphics of the game are nice and still hold up to this day, but they have aged and not too well. I mean don’t get me wrong, in 2004 this game was beautiful and it was everything I was looking for in a Warhammer 40k game, even graphics wise, but 17 years is a long time in the video game world. That being said, if you are buying this game you would know what year it came out so you would have an idea of how it would look, so as I said, the graphics are still pretty nice. Between the different units, cool settings and fierce battle scenes, it really makes the Warhammer 40,000 world come to life in a way we had never seen it before, and I love that.

Next we will talk about sounds and music and the first thing I will have to say is the voice acting is absolutely on point as to what I would think everyone will sound like. You have to remember, bar some audio books and some older games, most of the Warhammer 40k races wouldn’t have been heard, so this would almost be the first time hearing them and all I can say is that it is exactly the way I would imagine it to be. The Orks are humourous yet fierce. The Eldar are refined and emotive. The Chaos voices are full of rage and fear and the Space Marines are noble and determined. The sounds of battle are absolutely perfect also, from the roar of the chainsword to the exploding fire of a Bolter, this scenes of battle are created with these amazing sound effects.

The soundtrack for the game is one of my favourite video game soundtracks ever. Every song is an absolute masterpiece and you can tell that they put a lot of effort and love into it to give you these spine chilling experiences at home. The composer for the game is Jeremy Soule who was worked on over 60 video game soundtracks. He composed the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Supreme Commander to name but a few. As a veteran of the industry, it is no wonder why the soundtrack sounds as good as it does.

So, what are my final thoughts? Dawn of War has stood the test of time in the RTS genre and is regarded as one of the best RTS games ever created. It is certainly one of my favourite RTS games and with the three expansions that came out after that only added to how epic the game is, the game never gets boring. Of course there are two sequels to the game, Dawn of War II and III respectively but they are a lot different to the original and I would say personally to just stick to the first one. Fun, fierce and fast, a great game all around and one that I will continue playing as long as computers can run them.

Graphics: Nice, but quite aged. For the time the graphics were stunning but they don’t hold up too well anymore. That being said I still enjoy the graphics. 7/10

Sound: From the amazing soundtrack by Jeremy Soule to the some of the fiercest battle noises in an RTS, the sounds are incredible. Another nice touch is the background noise is mostly sounds of other battles going on across the planet and I for one think that is a nice touch: 10/10

Game play: Excellent RTS, very tactical for the most part and extremely enjoyable. It has definitely earned its place in RTS history. 10/10

Worth: Yes! For many reasons. If you’re a fan of RTS games you will enjoy it. If you’re a fan of Warhammer 40,000 you will enjoy it. If you’re a fan of both…well enough said really. 10/10

Story: The story is okay but it’s a typical Warhammer 40,000 short story. Space Marines fighting Chaos and the same old shenanigans going on. It’s an okay story but one I have dealt with MANY times. 6/10

Total: 86/100 B+

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

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019, Xbox One)

The cover art

Name: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019)

Developed/Published By: Respawn Entertainment/EA

Genre: Third-Person Action/Adventure

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia

Players: Single player

Age Rating: PEGI 16

Hello everybody, today we will be talking about the video game: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, or Fallen Order for short. The game was released in 2019 and it was developed by Respawn Entertainment, known for the Titanfall series and Apex Legends and published by EA games. The game deals with a lost Jedi Padawan in a world after the infamous Order 66, in which the clone troopers of the armies of the Republic turned on their former Jedi allies and slaughtered almost all of them. The empire is in full control and the Padawan, Cal Kestis must stay hidden.

You have been warned, young Skywalker.

Plot:

Cal Kestis is a mechanic who works on the planet Bracca. It has been five years since Order 66 and all he is trying to do it survive. Cal and his friend Prauf are working on a salvage when a failsafe cable snaps and Prauf almost falls to his death. Cal uses the force, the mystical powers of a Jedi to save him, but he is seen by an Imperial droid doing so. Because of this, two Sith inquisitors, members of an order that hunt down Jedi for the empire, come to Bracca to find this Jedi. In the chaos, Prauf is killed and Cal is rescued by a former Jedi named Cere Junda and Greez Dritus, the captain of the ship known as Stinger Mantis. Cal finds a droid called BD-1 who has a message in its memory banks from Jedi Master Eno Cordova. In it, Cordova explains that there is a Jedi Holocron that contains the locations of all force sensitive children in the galaxy and it could be used rebuild the Jedi order. Cordova explains that the Holocron is safely hidden within a vault.

While travelling for clues to open the vault on Bogano, Cal meets some famous Star Wars faces including Saw Guerrera who is currently battling the empire on the Wookiee world of Kashyyyk. While on the planet, Zeffo, searching for more clues, Cal is ambushed by one of the Sith Inquisitors by the name of the Second Sister. It is revealed that the Second Sister’s real name is Trilla Suduri and she was once a Jedi Padawan under Cere Junda. Trilla was captured by the empire after Cere gave up her location while being tortured by the empire. Cal is captured and forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena before being rescued by Cere and Greez. Cal returns to Kashyyyk and climbs the Origin Tree to find more clues to the Holocron which he does but he also gets ambushed by the other Sith Inquisitor called the Ninth Sister, which Cal beats. Cal must now travel to Dathomir.

Cal makes it to Dathomir but there is a problem, the Nightsisters, a witch cult on Dathomir that does not want him on their planet. The last remaining Nightsister, Sister Merrin, uses her powers to raise the dead to attack Cal. The reason Merrin is so angry is because her people were slaughtered during the clone wars and she blames the Jedi. Cal has a flashback to how he survived Order 66 and how his master saved him. His lightsaber crystal is destroyed. On Dathomir, Cal meets another Jedi, Taron Malicos. Malicos crashed onto Dathomir after Order 66 and has been stranded there since. He wanted to use the time to learn the Nightsisters magical powers but ended up losing his mind and turning to the dark side. Cal escapes from Malicos and makes his way to Ilum to forge a new lightsaber. He makes his way back to Dathomir and defeats Malicos with some help from Merrin. Merrin joins with the crew of the Stinger Mantis.

Cal finally has what he needs to open the vault and travels to Bogano where Cal finds the Holocron. Trilla steals it from him and escapes. Cere becomes a Jedi again and helps Cal get to Nur to settle this once and for all. On the planet Nur, Cal battles Trilla, defeats her and takes the Holocron back. That’s when things go from oh so bad to oh so worse. Darth Vader…Big V…comes and kills Trilla and he then turns to take on Cal, but Cal runs, barely escaping with his life. They escape off the planet and end up destroying the Holocron because they decide that the children should be able to make their own choices in life. THE END.

So what did I think of it?

We’ll start off with gameplay. I loved it, no that’s not strong enough, I adored it. The lightsaber combat was unbelievably satisfying. The game made you feel like a Jedi and all I was doing was pressing buttons on a controller. I loved every lightsaber swing, every force push and every blaster deflection. The game was fast and action packed and ever so smooth. The level up system in it was taken straight from Dark Souls and the like, except instead of sitting at a campfire you sit at Jedi meditation circles and pick some skills from a skill tree.

The amount of different enemies makes for some nice tactical battles. It is not just about swinging your lightsaber and hoping for the best, you must also use your athleticism and force powers to win the day. The enemies go from regular empire storm troopers to purge troopers, which are trained to battle Jedi all the way up to AT-ST walkers and dark Jedi. Every battle will change up how you play and it makes the game even more satisfying. You need to know when to swing, when to block, when to dodge and when to use those force powers, because even one mess up could hurt you…a lot.

I will talk about the graphics and sounds next. The graphics are beautiful but I expect nothing less from a Star Wars game and a AAA game at that. That’s not to say the graphics aren’t amazing, they are astounding and the team put a lot of work into them. The different settings are incredible and they are so Star Wars. It makes you feel like you’re stepping into the Star Wars universe and discovering it for yourself, in your own way, with your own paths to discover, in your own time. There were a lot of times I just stopped and took in the breathtaking sights that were on offer.

The soundtrack is incredible and very heartfelt at times. In saying that it loses none of the epic feeling that Star Wars music usually gives me. It is powerful and hits you like a speeding train at times and at other times it is tender and emotional and it caresses over you, but draws you into the emotional well it creates. The game was composed by Stephen Barton (COD 4 MW, Titanfall) and Gordy Haab (SW:TOR, SW: Battlefront II). The motion capture technology is totally there to start turning games into almost lifelike graphics. The fact that the characters are the spitting images of the actors is absolutely astounding and ushers in a new era for video game actors where they really have to act now and not just move around the place and do the movements.

The story had some excellent moments. The story about Cere almost turning to the dark side and cutting herself off from the force is what I am looking for in a Star Wars story. The game takes itself serious and don’t get me wrong, it has it’s light hearted moments, but it allows itself to be taken seriously. The story of Cal Kestis and how he survived Order 66 was very enjoyable. The crew need each other and it felt almost like Joss Whedon’s Firefly (RIP) to me at times. It seems that Star Wars is leaning more and more on the stories of ragtag crew members, forced together who through shared experiences and tragedies, become a family. The Mandalorian had that feel, same as Star Wars Rebels and I for one am not complaining. The game feels more grounded and the characters feel relatable, they feel more human.

So my final thoughts. I think it was a wonderful Star Wars game and a fantastic action/adventure game with a lot of blood, sweat and tears poured into it. I could feel the love from the people who created the game and how invested they were in making this game an experience for the player. So I thank them for allowing me to feel what it is like to be a Jedi, even with a few taps of a button. A good story, great music, beautiful settings and epic action. This is a Star Wars game that will stand the test of time.

Graphics: Beautiful and unquestionably Star Wars locations. The character models were something to be applauded and the action looked intense and fierce. 10/10

Sound: Amazing Star Wars soundtrack that really tied the game together, a soundtrack that is in my playlist now: 9/10

Game play: Varied gameplay, decent exploration. I would have liked a little more to do. The game was quite short, but what you did get was very good. 8/10

Worth: Yes! Great for Star Wars fans. If you’re not a Star Wars fan you will still like the Action/Adventure element. 9/10

Story: Good Star Wars story, it had some issues and I felt that the ending just made the whole story a waste of time, but everything in the middle was fantastic. 8/10

Total: 88/100 B+

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

TV Show Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1 (Episodes 13-22)

Hello everybody, this is the final review for the last ten episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season One. So, let us begin.

COMMANDER, I WOULD JUST LIKE TO TELL YOU THAT THERE ARE MANY SPOILERS AHEAD. ENTER AT YOUR OWN PERIL.

Jedi Crash: Anakin is gravely injured

Episode 13: Jedi Crash: Anakin and Ahsoka go to help a Jedi named Sakura who is currently in a fleet battle with Separatists. As Anakin is fighting droids on Sakura’s ship, the Separatists fire all weapons to destroy the cruiser. Anakin, using the force tries to stop the destruction but ends up being severally injured. After crashing on the planet, Maridun, Ahsoka and the clones meet the Lurmen, a neutral race that want to stay as far away from the war as possible, even so far as to not help the Jedi as it might risk their neutrality. Their elder, Tee Watt Kaa, sees no difference between the Republic and the Separatists.

This episode was okay, it was interesting seeing a race so willing to stand up for its beliefs even against two major super powers. It took a lot of courage for the Lurmen to say no. The battle at the start of the episode was pretty cool and exciting. The episode was okay but there wasn’t a lot to say about it other then it was a political episode about the aspects of neutrality against such impossible odds and at such drastic times and could neutrality survive in that type of environment. Overall an okay episode. 5/10.

Defenders of Peace: Anakin and crew defend the Lurmen

Episode 14: Defenders of Peace: Anakin wants the Lurmen to join the Republic but Tee Watt Kaa wants to keep the peace. The Separatists land and tell the Lurmen that they are in command now. Due to the Lurmen being pacifists there is no resistance. The Separatist commander wants to use the Lurmen as test subjects for his new weapon the Defoliator, a weapon that can destroy all organic life in it’s target. Anakin and his crew attempt to defend the Lurmen, even with the protest of the elder. A small group of Lurmen eventually help the Republic to push back the droids and eventually beat them.

There was one awesome aspect about this episode and that was the fact the George Takei was playing the Separatist leader, Lok Durd. It was great hearing him being involved in the Star Wars universe in some way and he has such a distinct voice. Apparently he was meant to be a recurring villain but alas, it never came to pass. I thought the Separatist Defoliator weapon was ingenious! A tank that fires shells that ONLY damage organic material? Perfect for the droid armies. On the flip side I thought the Lurmen elder was an idiot. I get it he wants to be neutral and a pacifist but his whole race was going to be destroyed. No ifs, maybes or buts, they were going to be wiped out! And what was his response when confronted?

“If it’s out destiny to be destroyed in your war so be it!”

WHAT?! Great idea just sit there and die, perfect! Who the hell elected him to be tribal leader. I understand the neutrality and the pacifism, but if your culture, race and everyone you ever knew and loved were going to be slaughtered, then I believe you should fight, but that is only my two cents on the issue. Lastly, here we go again with the plot armour! Three Separatist tanks and an entire army of droids went up against three Jedi and two clone troopers…and lost. This annoys me, it’s not that I want the heroes to die, I just want it to be believable, some element of danger or excitement. To be honest it was a very weak episode. 3/10.

Trespass: Clone snowtroopers

Episode 15: Trespass: Kenobi and Anakin are sent to Orto Plutonia to find missing clone troopers. They are with some clones, Pantorans and the Senator from Pantora, Riyo Chuchi and Chairman of Pantora Chi Cho, which due to his position of chairman has command over the mission. They find the missing clones, dead. Later they find an indigenous species on the planet, but Chi Cho wants them wiped out. Chi Cho is killed and Riyo steps up to be the leader that is needed and brokers a peace between the Pantorans and the indigenous species.

This episode was pretty good. It has a lot of action and some tense scenes. It was pretty dark seeing all the clone heads on pikes at the start of the episode, even though they were helmeted. I like when Star Wars rubs up against more adult/darker themes and realises they are doing a show about a war and war is hell. I liked seeing another issue that had nothing really to do with the Clone Wars and more about an indigenous species fighting for it’s right to remain on the planet that it is indigenous too. Brian George and Jennifer Hale were the guest stars in this episode as Chi Cho and Riyo Chuchi respectively and they done a great job, especially Chi Cho. I have to say that whoever wrote for Chi Cho was having a bad day because he was a dick. It was interesting seeing that Jedi and clones had to take orders from Chi Cho even though they completely disagreed with him. Overall a pretty good episode. 7/10.

The Hidden Enemy: Clone Interrogations

Episode 16: The Hidden Enemy: Kenobi and Anakin attempt to ambush a Separatist force in a city but they themselves get ambushed. Everyone believes that there is a traitor amongst the clone ranks. They find some information that leads them to a particular barracks commanded by a clone trooper named Slick. After interrogating Slick’s men, Slick is found to be the traitor. After trying to escape and destroying a lot of the Republic’s vehicles and gunships he eventually gets captured. Slick explains that the clones are no more than slaves to the Republic and that he wants more for himself and his brothers.

This was an excellent episode and for me one of the best in the season. I loved the battle at the start and how it showed an even battle between the Republic and Separatists. It gets boring watching the clones win every single battle with the Jedi. In saying that there is a really great lightsaber battle between Anakin, Kenobi and Ventress. The writing of the episode was top class. I loved the interrogation of the clones and even though it was an animation you could tell how much it hurt the clones to know that there was a traitor amongst their ranks. This was something that was utterly unthinkable, a free thinking clone? It was definitely a foreshadowing for events that would come later and having clones questioning the morality and ethical implications of creating “people” for one purpose and that purpose is to fight a war and die. 9/10.

Blue Shadow Virus: A terrible fate to those who are infected

Episode 17: Blue Shadow Virus: Padme finds out that there is secret Separatist laboratory on Naboo and the Separatists are using it to create a biological weapon to attack Naboo. Sharks are dying in the water which leads Padme and Jar Jar to the laboratory. They get captured by Doctor Nuvo Vindi and he tells them about the Blue Shadow Virus and how it was a virus that was wiped from the galaxy years ago. He hopes to make it airbourne. Meanwhile, Anakin sends Ahsoka to find Padme and Jar Jar. Anakin, Kenobi and Captain Rex with some clones go to the bunker to stop and apprehend Vindi. Vindi has bombs set up all over the compound and if they go off the Blue Shadow Virus will be spread across Naboo. Kenobi and a bomb squad deactivate all the bombs and they apprehend Vindi.

This was another Jar Jar episode and his ridiculous dumb luck! I still refuse to say that Jar Jar is force sensitive, not in my Star Wars he’s not. Really the character should not even exist and to add him into an episode shows absolutely lazy writing because no matter what happens to Jar Jar, he will win out because nothing can happen to poor Jar Jar. Apart from Binks, the idea was good with the blue shadow virus and the doctor was interesting. I thought the concept of a biological weapon was quite a dark theme. Overall an okay episode. 6/10.

Mystery of a thousand moons: Good guy droid army

Episode 18: Mystery of a Thousand Moons: In the Blue Shadow Virus bunker it is discovered that all the bombs weren’t actually found and there is still one left. A droid sets off the bomb and releases the Virus into the compound. Ahsoka, Jar Jar, Padme and some clones make it to a safe room as the compound is sealed to prevent it’s release into Naboo. A bit of the virus made it into the safe room and affected some clones and Ahsoka as Jar Jar and Padme were wearing protective gear. Anakin tries to get the cure from Vindi but he says there is no cure. Captain Typho of the Naboo Theed guard tells Anakin that there may be one cure, but its on a planet called Lego (I know) in Separatist controlled space. Anakin and Kenobi make it there and they see a graveyard of ships above the planet. They make it to the planet surface and see a lot of repurposed B-1 battle droids that are friendly. They find a child who reprogrammed all the droids and tells them that no one can leave Lego as a warlord named Drol wont let any ship leave. Anakin and Kenobi find the antidote and find out that it is actually a Separatist energy field that prevents anyone leaving Lego. They destory the field, leave the planet and make it back to cure everyone just in time.

I thought the idea of reprogrammed droids was extremely interesting, Realistically if the republic just captured the droids or even collected them after battle they could just reprogram them to fight for the Republic, or at least it’s a possibility. I mean surely if a child could do it the Republic could. I didn’t like the child, Jaybo. I don’t get get this trope of having a child genius who can fix anything or make anything, I don’t get why writers go down this route. I’ve seen it in various other media and to me it just doesn’t gel. Another example is Tiny Tina from the Borderlands video game series, a thirteen year old girl who is a demolitions expert…what? I know some people like this, I don’t, it’s just a personal preference. Jar Jar with all his bumbling around ends up getting Padme infected with the blue shadow virus and do they get rid of him? No. They still keep him around to see what else he can mess up in the future. Lastly it shows Anakin’s first taste of the dark side, in the show at least. When Anakin and Kenobi first land on Lego they are greeted by the droids but Anakin goes straight to slaughtering them out of anger which Kenobi had to snap him out of. Anakin losing control is showing how he is starting to slip down on his dark side path. Subtle but effective. Overall an okay episode. 6/10.

Storm over Ryloth: Disaster for the Republic

Episode 19: Storm Over Ryloth: In a disastrous fleet battle, the Republic lose a lot of ships and admiral Yularen is injured, partially caused by Ahsoka’s refusal to follow orders and return to the fleet with her fighters like she should have. Kenobi and Mace Windu give Anakin some time to get his forces together and attempt another attack, but they only give him very little time or they will postpone the invasion of Ryloth. Anakin realises this can’t happen as the people of Ryloth are suffering under the Separatists. Anakin comes up with an idea to crash one of the badly damaged Republic cruisers into the Separatist capital ship and Ahsoka would turn the last remaining cruiser sideways and use it as a shield while sending out fighters to attack the Separatist fleet. This idea works and the Republic win the space battle for Ryloth.

Okay, so fair enough Ahsoka disobeys orders and gets in trouble with Anakin. Does she take her lashing? Nope, instead she’s cheeky and argumentative and keeps using the fact that “WeLl YoU aLwAyS dIsObEy OrDeRs MaStEr” to justify herself to Anakin. Was does Anakin do? Apologise. I’m sorry her little antics got five clone pilots killed and Admiral Yularen injured and she doesn’t get reprimanded? Ridiculous. Oh and here is probably the worst plot armour in this season. So in the beginning space battle and a few space battles in other episodes, Republic cruisers get destroyed pretty easily. Remember that, it is important. So Anakin has two cruisers left, one badly damaged and the other still okay. So he begins his plan to ram the Separatist capital ship and the Separatists catch onto this. They begin firing at the badly damaged cruiser but even though two Separatist frigates and the capital ship are firing at Anakin’s BADLY DAMAGED cruiser do you think they could destroy it? No way, how could they, that cruiser has the strongest armour in the universe, plot armour. Then the capital ship blows up and all six Separatist frigates fire on Ahsoka’s one cruiser and again they can’t destroy it. If it was a normal cruiser with no main characters that cruiser would have ripped like paper and it was proven in various episodes. Rubbish plot armour. The episode was mediocre at best. 5/10.

Innocents of Ryloth: Prisoners on their own world

Episode 20: Innocents of Ryloth: The Republic realise that they can’t use a mass attack to assault the Separatists as the Separatists are use the Twi’lek (Twil-ek) as “human” shields. Kenobi realises they can only use standard blasters and droid poppers, grenades that only work on droids. The clones engage the droids and take out some. Kenobi sends some clones ahead to scout out a town. Two clones, Boil and Waxer find a Twi’lek orphan named Numa. The two clones are attacked by starved Gutkurrs which are giant creatures with big teeth. Numa leads the clones to safety in an underground tunnel. The droids send the Gutkurrs after the main clone force but the clones win. Boil, Waxer and Numa meet with the rest of the force and Numa explains that she will show the clones an underground way to the prisoners. Commander Cody creates a diversion while Kenobi goes to get the prisoners out, which he does. The Twi’leks help the clones and they defeat the droid forces.

This was an interesting episode. The fighting and action was good in it but I want to focus more on what was happening in the background of the episode and the fact that it showed how the Separatists act as an occupying force and how cruel they can be to the people in invaded. I liked seeing the relationship between the two clone troopers Waxer and Boil and how in some ways it felt like watching two American soldiers going around a village in Iraq during the Iraq war more than it felt like Star Wars. They also came up with derogatory names for the Twi’leks, Tailheads which showed the lack of sympathy or respect they had for the Twi’lek’s in their plight. It showed how the war was affecting people and how innocent lives were being destroyed and that this was one planet of many being attacked by the Separatists. It gave a more human outlook on the clones and in some ways how they were separate from droids, even though they were both made in a factory. A good episode. 7/10.

Liberty on Ryloth: The attack on Lessu

Episode 21: Liberty on Ryloth: The Republic must attack the Ryloth capital Lessu and remove the Separatists once and for all. The leader of the Separatist defence is a Skakoan called Wat Tambor. Tambor refuses to leave Ryloth saying that the Republic doesn’t have the forces to take Lessu. Tambor orders the main bulk of his force to defend the only bridge into Lessu. Windu knows he needs the help of the Twi’lek resistance force under the leadership of Cham Syndulla. Syndulla has been classed as a radical by the Republic and that he only wants power. Windu finds Syndulla and other Twi’leks attacking Separatist forces but Syndulla does not want to help Windu or the Republic. After some Twi’lek villages get bombed by the Separatists, Cham then agrees to help the Republic. Tambor is loading his ship with Twi’lek treasures but he was waiting for two more vehicles with some treasure. Windu and Syndulla see the vehicles and ambush them and use the cover of the vehicles to get across the bridge to the city. After a tense battle in the city, Windu and his clone troopers arrest Tambor and take back Lessu.

Again this episode stayed on the same course as the last showing the brutality in the clone war more than just how cool the action is. The Separatist forces called for a complete and utter bombing of civilian Twi’lek targets and they followed through destroying the homes of all the Twi’leks. I thought this was quite shocking especially in a children’s orientated show but I commend them on showing the horror that war is and it’s not all kick ass clone troopers with big guns. The droids arse around way too much, I know some of them are meant to be comic relief and I understand that, but when they clearly see a Jedi or someone that shouldn’t be there, their first thought isn’t shoot its saying stupid phrases like:

“You’re under arrest”

“You’re not authorised to be here”

I mean come on, the Jedi won’t let you arrest them and of course they’re not authorised to be there, you don’t have to tell the world that, THEY ARE THE ENEMY. Stop messing around and get shooting. Also Wat Tambor is an idiot. He had plenty of chances to leave Lessu, but he wanted to stay and take their treasures instead. Who hires these commanders? A good episode. 7/10.

Hostage Crisis: Cad Bane and his retinue

Episode 22: Hostage Crisis: A bounty hunter named Cad Bane and his entourage break into the Republic senate and take the senators hostage. Anakin wants to take Padme, his wife, on a holiday to a place where no one would know them and they could be themselves, as it is forbidden for a Jedi to marry. Padme refuses but Anakin gives her his lightsaber in an attempt to show how much he loves her. C-3P0 and R2 come into the room so Anakin has to hide. Cad Bane is demanding that Chancellor Palpatine releases Ziro the Hutt from Republic custody. After some time and a few attempts at helping the hostages by Anakin, which failed, Palpatine plays ball and allows Ziro to be taken by Cad Bane. Bane releases Ziro and they both escape.

A fantastic episode. Cad Bane is a wonderful addition to the show and you can believe that he is a bounty hunter. There is no messing around with him, hell he even executes a senator because the senator tries to walk away from him. Everything is precise with Bane and he is absolutely on the ball in terms of knowing what to do. I love how ruthless he is and he committed he is to getting the job done. A very well written and believable episode and one of the best in the series. 9/10.

Overall opinion on the season:

A good start with some bumps and most of them being Jar Jar Binks. It has a lot of good action, good storytelling and the lightsaber battles are just cool. It is interesting getting to know the clone troopers a lot more and seeing some actual battles that gave some of the clones their stripes. The exploration of the galaxy and the lore around some of the other races and factions are a nice treat to Star Wars fans that like the universe to be expanded. There are a lot less silly moments then I would have thought looking at the show and the show seems to take itself quite serious which is good. If you are a Star Wars fan and you are on the ropes about watching this show I would say give the first season a try. It will give you a taste of what the rest of the show will be like. Overall, I enjoyed it.

The Doomslayer rating system:

10 – Masterpiece

9 – Close to Perfection

8 – Excellent

7 – Very Good Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season One (2008)

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!

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!

Album Review: “Agent Orange” (1989) by Sodom

Band/Artist: Sodom (Vocals/Bass: Tom Angelripper, Guitar: Frank Blackfire, Drums: Chris Witchhunter)

Album: Agent Orange (1989)

Genre: Thrash Metal

Label: Steamhammer, SPV

This is my review of the 1989 album ‘Agent Orange’ by German thrash metal band, Sodom. Agent Orange was the third studio album by the band and it was a commercial breakthrough for the band, selling over 100,000 copies in Germany alone. The album has a Vietnam war theme to it with some songs directly referencing things from the Vietnam war due to the lead singers fascination with the Vietnam war, such as Agent Orange. So let’s get into the songs.

1. Agent Orange – Agent Orange starts off heavy, with a headbangingly good riff and kick ass drums. The song then slows and builds up to this awesome thrash song that would get any thrash lover going. The songs named is taken from the chemical weapon used during the Vietnam war to destroy much of Vietnam. I feel with the meaning behind the song and the intensity of how hard it hits, it is definitely one of the most memorable thrash songs in history. An excellent song with a fantastic riff, heavy drumming, raw singing and a great solo.

2. Tired and Red – This track immediately starts heavy as all hell and had me headbanging. The lyrics are all about warfare and how horrifying it all really is. The riff is absolutely fantastic but then about halfway through it slows down into this beautiful melodic piece of music that reminds me of the soundtrack from the video game Diablo II (2000) and then we’re not finished yet, oh no my friends. The song builds into this heavy metal solo that absolutely does nothing but rock before travelling you back to the heavy thrash again! An amazing song and one of my favourite on the album.

3. Incest – Okay lets deal with the elephant in the room, the song is about wanting to have sex with your sister and how she is enticing you to have sex with her. A very strange subject and I have no idea what the hell they are talking about. Apart from that the song is very heavy and another hard hitting thrash song which gets me to move my head up and down. In saying that there is nothing that really stands out for me in this song. It’s good but not great, I mean it’s heavy and the riff is pretty good and the drums are banging as ever, it’s just sort of a generic thrash song.

4. Remember the Fallen – A slower and more heavy metal orientated song which there is nothing wrong with. The song is about the fallen soldiers of war and how patronising it is to honour these men and women who are just treated as cannon fodder and how they die in senseless wars and how much of a waste it is. The song is raw and heavy and one of the more technical songs on the album. A very enjoyable song and a nice break from the constant headbanging from the last three songs cause you’ll do yourself a neck injury with all that headbanging. I feel it shows their talent a lot more when they vary the metal that is being used.

5. Magic Dragon – The song starts with some superb guitar work which I thoroughly enjoyed. The song itself is about Duc Lap Camp, a US military camp in Vietnam that was attacked by the Vietcong and resulted in the death of 366 people, on both sides of the conflict. It speaks about the chaos that is going on as the attack is happening. The Magic Dragon itself is actually an aircraft called the Douglas AC-47 Spooky which was an aircraft that provided ground support to the US military. The song itself is pretty good, but not amazing or that memorable to me. I mean it works and it rocks hard but to me it’s only pretty good. Would I listen to it again? Sure of course, but it wouldn’t be in my top ten songs list let’s just say that.

6. Exhibition Bout – This song is interesting in the subject that it talks about, Bull fighting and how horrific the “sport” is. It also talks about how people actually pay money to watch something so cruel happening to these animals. The song is pretty good, a decent thrash song but nothing that really stands out to me, well apart from the kick ass solo, that is pretty awesome. Another good song but not a great one.

7. Ausgebombt – The drums! My lordy lordy lord, the drums are great! From the first moment I was headbanging to the drums. The theme of the song is an anti war song and telling people to stop trading in war and weapons and death which to this guy being me is a pretty good statement. Another good song with a decent guitar riff and singing but the king of this song is by far the drums for me.

8. Baptism of Fire – This song hits you like a ton of bricks from the get go and it continues to do it throughout the entire song. One of the heaviest songs on the album and one that I absolutely had a great time listening to. The song slows down to another guitar shredding solo and one that makes me want to turn up the volume. A pretty bad ass song that will be in my play list for a long time.

9. Don’t Walk Away – This song is a cover of British heavy metal band’s Tank song of the same name. I think Sodom done a great job with it. They stayed true to the original but they also made it their own and made it just that bit heavier. The band is absolutely on point and in turn are playing some top class heavy metal. An excellent cover to a pretty good song.

Final thoughts:

I first heard of Sodom from some crappy thrash compilation album I bought in HMV (RIP) about fifteen years ago. It was a five cd thrash compilation album from various artists, some good, most were bad, but one of the good ones was Sodom. After hearing the song Agent Orange from that collection I had to find the album and I did and I listened to it again and again and I loved it. Agent Orange is to me a supreme thrash album that is up there with the likes of Reign in Blood (1986) from Slayer or Among the Living (1987) by Anthrax. It is a fantastic album with a lot of headbanging tracks but just enough to not get same ol’ same ol’. The band knows when to mix it up and keep you interested and I didn’t find one song boring or annoying. I would say if you’re a fan of thrash or heavy metal then give this album a listen, but I would say it would suit thrash fans more.

My favourite song on the album: Tired and Red

8/10

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!

Tomb Raider (2013, Xbox One)

Lara Croft, One of the most recognisable names in gaming history. Mentioning her name or the games she is famous for, being Tomb Raider, stirs up feelings of adventure, danger, mystery and the need to explore. Ever since Lara Croft made her debut in 1996 with the original Tomb Raider, she has been an absolute powerhouse in the gaming industry. So, back in 2013 Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics decided to reboot our heroine and what a job they done.

Don’t lock the butler in the freezer!

Tomb Raider as I have said is known for its exploration and adventure and the reboot is no different. The game takes place on an island called Yamatai, off the coast of Japan. Yamatai and the surrounding area is known for being battered by storms, so exploration was never really an option before. This didn’t stop Lara and her crew. Saying that, during the game you will run into evidence of Portuguese traders, United States Marines and Imperial Japanese Army all being on this island at some point in history, though how they got there is a mystery you will have to uncover! The island was once ruled by a woman named Himiko. The tribe of people she ruled called her the Sun Queen because apparently she could control the weather. Himiko ended up dying which started a lot of crazy events on the island of Yamatai.

Lara sets out for Yamatai with her crew aboard a ship but along the way the ship is hit by a deadly storm which ends up capsizing and destroying the ship. Lara eventually washes up on a mysterious beach. Lara sees her crew on top of a hill and calls out for them before being punched and knocked unconscious by an unknown assailant. Lara awakens in a cave dangling in the air though she eventually escapes the cave to the outside, where the storm has calmed.

Lara eventually starts to wander around the harsh landscape of the island and finds a walkie talkie and a camcorder that shows Lara and her crew talking about the upcoming expedition on board the ship. After some more gameplay and scavenging, Lara finds her friend, Sam and a new person who calls himself Mathias. Mathias is injured and he uses a crutch to walk around. Sam, Lara and Mathias all sit around a campfire while Sam tells the story of the legend of Himiko. During this Lara goes to sleep, probably from exhaustion.

Sam and Lara: Best Friends Forever!

Lara wakes up to see that both Sam and Mathias are gone, but she eventually meets up with the rest of her crew but not before Lara nearly gets her foot amputated by a bear trap and eaten by a pack of wolves. Lara explains about Sam going missing and the group come to a decision that Lara and another crew member, Whitman, will go looking for yet another missing crew member called Roth while the rest of them go looking for Sam and Mathias.

While Whitman and Lara are searching they find a temple of sorts devoted to the worship of Himiko which confirms that they are indeed on the island of Yamatai. Inside they encounter what looks to be mercenary type men, and while Whitman has his gun pointed at them, he eventually drops his gun saying that he only wants peace, which ends up with Lara and Whitman becoming hostages to the mercenaries.

They don’t look too welcoming!

The group attempts an escape which forces the mercenaries to go after them, though Lara still has ropes around her hands which make her effectively useless. Lara has to sneak around all the mercenaries who are on the hunt for her and her group until she eventually gets caught by the head leader of this mercenary group. Lara and the leader have a bit of back and forth blows, the attacker drops a gun which Lara has to use to kill him. After trying to escape and killing some more mercenaries, Lara eventually finds her friend and mentor, Roth who is wounded.

Lara had to put this dog down!

Lara helps Roth to a safe location and Roth tells her that she needs to go and contact the outside world to get help. After some more camcorder watching to give more a background on the crew, Lara sets off on her travels. She eventually finds an old bunker that she hopes still has a way of communicating to the outside world. Lara, after killing a few more mercenaries makes it to the control room of the bunker, but nothing is working. Roth tells her she will have to climb the mast and manually communicate with the outside world through a radio on top of the mast. The mast is two things, extremely tall and extremely rusty, but Lara makes the climb anyway nearly killing herself once or twice. She eventually contacts the outside world and a plane comes to rescue them. But just as the plane gets close to the island, a storm brews up and lightning hits the plane, making it crash almost killing Lara in the process.

Lara tries to make her way to the crash site where she finds the pilot battling with mercenaries. Lara makes it just in time to see a mercenary stab and kill the pilot. Another pilot contacts Lara through the walkie talkie but he can’t hear Lara on his end. The pilot deploys smoke which Lara can see and she makes her way towards the pilot, though it ends up being a trap by the mercenaries, who are lead by Mathias, also they’re not mercenaries at all, they are a devout cult who worship Himiko and they call themselves, the Solarii Brotherhood. As Lara gets punched and almost knocked out, she witnesses what looks to be samurai slaughtering Lara’s attackers while the men scream about the Oni being there.

The Samurai called Oni

Lara wakes up hanging from the ceiling by her hands and surrounded by dead, rotting corpses all around her. Lara gets out of the ropes and falls on the ground and realises that the Oni are the ones who brought her here, and they are still here. Lara has to sneak around to escape the Oni, which she does. Lara makes it to a room with a few murals on the wall detailing how Himiko has to use a ritual called the Ascension to transfer her power from one vessel to another. While this is going on, the Solarii brotherhood catch up to Lara and chase her before alerting the Oni which ends up chasing all of them.

Lara eventually escapes from all the danger and is contacted through her walkie talkie by Sam who explains to her that she stole her walkie talkie off a guard and she is being held against her will and that the guards keep talking about fire rituals, when it dawns on Lara that Sam is to become the next vessel for Himiko. Sam tells Lara that she is locked in a Japanese temple which Lara says she is close to. Lara struggles to make herself towards the temple, even injuring herself on the way. Lara makes her way to the bridge of the temple but it is covered with guards. Roth tells Lara that he will cover her with a sniper rifle while she makes her way across the bridge, which she eventually does.

The journey to rescue a friend.

Inside, Lara sees that Mathias has Sam tied up with a stack of wood built around her. Mathias is about to perform the fire ritual in front of the cult. Lara attempts to free Sam but gets captured while Mathias lights the fire. The fire doesn’t hurt Sam though and a divine wind swoops down and puts out the fire. This proves to Mathias that Sam is indeed the chosen one, meant to be the new vessel for Himiko. Lara gets taken away by the guards where she sees that her crew are also captured.

Lara sees Whitman walking around the temple who explains to her that when the Solarii didn’t see him as a threat they didn’t bother with him and let him do his own thing. He said he knew the other members of the crew were captured but he couldn’t do anything for them. He told Lara to go and free Sam while he stays on lookout.

Lara rescues Sam but as they are leaving the temple, they see Whitman tied up who tells them to run as Mathias and the Solarii chase after them. The temple starts to break up in the ensuing battle and Sam and Lara get separated by a collapsed roof. Lara has to fight her way through all the guard in and outside the temple where there is a helicopter on the way to rescue the crew, to Lara’s horror. Lara sees that Roth is already on the helicopter, but she has no choice to jump from a platform onto it where she begs Roth to land the helicopter as the island won’t let anyone leave. The pilot refuses to land which leads to Lara drawing a gun on the pilot forcing him to land, before a lightning strike hits the helicopter and downs it anyway.

A leap of faith

Roth realises that Lara isn’t breathing and almost dies before reviving her. Lara is standing and hugging Roth before Mathias appears and throws an axe which Roth takes in the back to save Lara. Lara tells the rest of the crew to get to the wreckage of their former ship, the Endurance which washed up on the beach and she will meet them there. After some more exploring, Lara eventually meets up with the group who have found a boat that needs repairs. Suddenly, Whitman runs out of the forest screaming and shooting behind him, though no one is after him. Whitman says he was running for ages but Lara notices he is not even sweating.

Lara goes to the wreckage of the Endurance to find the tools needed to repair the boat. There, she is ambushed by more Solarii. She finds one of the crew members, Alex trapped under some wreckage which she can’t lift. Alex tells Lara to run while he shoots the fuel tank and kills himself and all of the Solarii attacking her, which she reluctantly does. Lara makes it back to the remaining crew with the tools but tells the crew that they can’t leave because the island won’t let them and that they need to face whatever is on the island. The crew bar Sam said they are leaving with or without Lara.

Lara goes to find out what is the problem on the island and sees a samurai who committed ritual suicide or seppuku. Inside the samurai’s sword hilt there is a note which tells the story of his failure to Himiko. Himiko’s vessel killed herself with Himiko’s soul still inside, so Himiko is trapped in a dead body looking for a way out. Because of this Himiko’s anger is causing the storms on the island. While Lara is making her way back to the crew, Sam contacts her that they are under attack by the Solarii. When she gets there, the crew tell her that Whitman took Sam back to Mathias.

Whitman, Why?!

When Mathias, Whitman and Sam get to the temple they see that it is guarded by samurai. Mathias tells Whitman to get and talk to the samurai and see if they will let them through, knowing full well the samurai will kill Whitman, which they do. Mathias uses this to run past the samurai with Sam. Lara sneaks her way in while having to contend with samurai and the divine wind of Himiko trying to stop her from making it to the temple. When Lara is inside she realises that Himiko is not transferring her power to vessels but transferring her soul which means she destroys the soul of the previous vessel.

Lara makes her way up to the top of the temple where the ritual is about to commence. There she in confronted by another Oni which she kills. Mathias begins the ritual and Lara gets into a fight with him which ends up with Mathias being killed by Lara repeatedly shooting him with two handguns as a tribute to the old Tomb Raider games. Lara stab Himiko through the heart which destroys Himiko and calms all the storms on the island and also, in turn saves Sam. Lara carries Sam back to the boat and the crew and Lara leave the island. END OF STORY.

The last shot of the game

Now to the game and all its qualities. This was an excellent action/adventure game. I had serious fun playing this from the moment I picked it up to when I left it down. There was so much to do from survival, hunting dangerous animals, crafting cool weapons and items, exploring captivating and interesting locations to fighting in tense and thrilling combat. The story really pulled me in and while some of it was quite obvious and done to death such as me knowing that Mathias was the bad guy from the get go and that Sam would have something to do with Himiko, the story still felt fresh and it done a really good job of pulling me in and keeping me interested.

The graphics were absolutely astounding. The landscape changes so much in this game from thick, dense jungles, to snowy mountain tops and with each place I was in, I felt like I was there. The dark, murky, water filled caves and the divine wind blasted mountain tops really came alive for me and just added to the excitement and wonder that was the locations in this game. The character models looked really excellent too with some of my favourite being Lara herself and the samurai. Graphically there is nothing bad I can say about this game.

The sounds themselves are fine, nothing to really speak about. Guns sound fine and the action scenes are top notch. The voice acting is really on par. Camilla Luddington does a great job of voicing Lara. She has a compassionate and caring voice, but can be strong and fierce at the same time. I also have to mention that Robert Craighead done a great job voicing the antagonist Mathias.

The soundtrack, composed by Jason Graves, whose work includes Dead Space, Until Dawn and the Man of Medan, really knocked it out of the park with the soundtrack. There are some very soulful pieces of music in it, to action packed and exhilarating tracks that are used at the right time to convey what is happening. The soundtrack isn’t too in your face either and it allows you to enjoy it without becoming the main thing you’re focusing on in the cutscenes or gameplay.

Tomb Raider also has a multiplayer mode which seems to stem away from the usual tropes of death match games. The multiplayer seems to rely more on exploration, traps and picking your opportunities to strike.

Overall a really remarkable game and an outstanding reboot to the series, which done so well that it lead on to two sequels which I will be covering at some point. A well though out story story, beautiful locations and graphics, tense combat and action and an absolute thrill to play from start to finish.

So after all of that I think it is finally time to get into the scoring of the game:

Graphics: Fascinating and captivating locations. Characters and other assets look great: 9/10

Sound: A very interesting soundtrack and one that knows when and where to be effective: 8/10

Game play: Good exploration, a bit of a collectathon which can go on a bit, tense action. Overall very enjoyable and appealing gameplay: 9/10

Worth: Yes! An excellent and very faithful reboot. 10/10

Story: Good story, not great though with the twists being quite obvious, but it’s still interesting. 7/10

Total: 86/100 B+

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

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019, Xbox One)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare cover art

The Call of Duty franchise is one of the biggest, if not the biggest franchise of first-person shooter games in the history of video games. From a World War Two shooter made in 2003 to modern combat, the Vietnam war and futuristic sci-fi story lines, Call of Duty has done it all in the first-person shooter genre. Back in 2007, Call of Duty changed the world of first-person shooter gaming with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare raised the bar for what other first-person shooter games should play like and a lot of games followed suit. The Call of Duty franchise eventually became very stale with the same old, same old being done with every game and nothing changing. But in 2017, after thirteen main installments in the Call of Duty franchise, there was new life with the release of Call of Duty: World War Two. People were excited again for Call of Duty and I think that Activision, the publishers of the Call of Duty franchise has seen that people wanted more Call of Duty games that were in the same style of the older games, so Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reboot came around in 2019 and boy, what a game it was.

“What the hell kind of name is Soap, eh?”

The game is set in 2019 and it starts with you playing as a CIA officer named Alex. Alex and a squad of marines are trying to seize a shipment of dangerous chemical gases headed for Urzikstan. The marines find enemies which turn out to be Russian soldiers and after killing them they eventually find the gas, but as they’re leaving the compound, unknown assailants ambush them and kill the marines. Alex is staring at the assailants and one of them realises that they weren’t shooting at Russian soldiers like they thought, but American marines. The assailants panic and escape with the gas when they find out Americans were involved.

Alex’s handler in the CIA, Station Chief Kate Laswell realises that this situation is bad and the Russians are annoyed that their soldiers have been killed by Americans so to de-escalate the situation, she brings in an expert and veteran soldier, SAS Captain John Price.

Breach and clear

In London, while the SAS are moving through the streets in a vehicle, suicide bombers blow themselves up all around Piccadilly Circus, killing a lot of innocent civilians. The Suicide bombers were from a terrorist organisation known as Al-Qatala. SAS Sergeant Kyle Garrick, along with Captain Price travel through the streets of London killing terrorists insurgents who are gunning people down in London. Price is impressed by Garrick and wants him to go to Urzikstan with him. In the mean time while all of this is going on, Alex is sent to Urzikstan to meet with the rebels who are trying to overthrow the invading Russian army lead by General Roman Barkov. Alex meets Farah, the leader of the rebels and she agrees to help Alex track down the missing chemical gases as long as Alex helps to take out the Russian army and remove them from Urzikstan.

A main member of Al-Qatala becomes exposed, Omar “The Wolf” Sulaman after a raid on a house led by Garrick and the SAS. They find out that the location of The Wolf is in a hospital in Urzikstan which Alex and the marines raid. They find and apprehend The Wolf, but with this another piece is put onto the chess board with Jamal “The Butcher” Rahar, another member of Al-Qatala. After The Butcher realises that The Wolf is in American custody in the American Embassy, he launches an all out attack against the embassy. Though the SAS, American and rebel forces try to hold onto the The Wolf and keep him in custody, they fail to do so and he is broken out.

Alex, Price, Garrick and Farah

While Farah and the rebels set up an ambush to recapture The Wolf on a highway, the Russians attack both the rebel forces and Al-Qatala. It is here that it is revealed that Farah’s brother, Hadir was the one in the beginning of the game who ambushed the American marines and stole the gas. He told Farah that he wanted to use it to drive away the Russians and Al-Qatala. Hadir sets off the gas and kills all the Russian and Al-Qatala soldiers in the area but he almost killed Farah and Alex also. Hadir then escapes.

The game then goes back to 1999 and it shows Farah and Hadir as children when Russia invades Urzikstan. The streets were bombed and their mother was killed in the bombing. Farah was trapped under a pile of rubble but she was rescued. The Russians then start the invasion properly and Farah’s father brings her home, where Hadir is waiting. A Russian soldier breaks in and kills their father leaving Farah and Hadir to fend for themselves. After a game of cat and mouse throughout the house, the children eventually kill the Russian soldier and attempt to escape through the streets of Urzikstan. They eventually make it outside the city where they see a Russian truck with a few Russian soldiers standing outside it. Through teamwork, Farah and Hadir deal with the Russian soldiers and make it to the truck, but as they enter, Barkov catches them and imprisons them for ten years.

Urzikstan left in ruin by the Russians

Farah rises through the ranks in the rebel forces while in prison and with the help of a younger Captain Price, Farah and Hadir break out of prison. Back in the present, Hadir with seemingly nowhere else to go joins forces with Al-Qatala to fight the Russian invasion. Farah and Price find out where The Wolf is hiding, infiltrate his compound and they end up killing him once and for all. Alex is told by Kate that because the gas is still out there, the rebel forces are deemed a terrorist organisation by the American government. Alex is absolutely outraged by this and vows to stay in Urzikstan to aid the fight with Farah.

With Intel that Russia is about to be attacked by Al-Qatala and Hadir, the SAS lead by Price heads to St. Petersburg in Russia. While there they meet up with an old acquaintance of Price’s named, Nikolai. Nikolai has information on The Butcher which eventually leads to his capture by the SAS. The Butcher refuses to cooperate with Price, even under interrogation so Price uses The Butchers wife and child as leverage and eventually he complies. The Butcher tells them that Hadir is on his way to attack and kill General Barkov at his estate in Moldova. Price and Garrick find Hadir at the estate and he tells them about the gas factory that is owned by Barkov, but Kate Laswell drops down and tells Price that Hadir is wanted by the Russian government. Price hands over Hadir but keeps the Intel on the gas factory.

With everyone together including help from Laswell, they all converge and attack Barkov’s gas factory. Nikolai brought explosives to use to destroy the gas factory but in the battle the detonator gets damaged and the explosives have to be set off manually. Alex volunteers to stay behind and set off the explosives. While all of this is going on, Barkov attempts to leave the factory by helicopter but Farah catches up with him and eventually kills him, finishing this once and for all. After all of this, Farah, Price and the rest of the allied forces leave the factory as Alex, sacrificing himself detonates the explosives.

At the end, Barkov was disowned by the Russian government. Captain Price meets with Laswell and tells her that he wants to set up a new task force for called Task Force 141 to deal with any future problems and one in particular called Victor Zakhaev. Price shows Laswell some profiles of people he wants on this task force and they are as follows: Garrick, John “Soap” McTavish and Simon “Ghost” Riley. Zakhaev along with Soap and Ghost are all characters from the previous Modern Warfare games. END OF STORY.

Going dark!

So onto the game, the game was developed by Infinity Ward, who developed all the other Modern Warfare games. The game play itself had me feeling strange. In one way it felt like every other Call of Duty game I ever played. It was fast, a lot of fun, very fluid and an enjoyable experience, though done to death. But in another way, it felt like Call of Duty upgraded. The atmosphere was a lot more tense, the combat felt more dangerous and threatening and because of all of that, the game play felt a lot more exciting. Some of the missions such as “Going Dark” and “Clean House” were some of the most intense first-person shooter missions I have ever played in a video game and they had the hair on the back of my neck completely standing. I was on the edge of my seat and totally immersed in the missions and trying my hardest not to make mistakes and kill innocent civilians. This level of intensity and detail are some things that I definitely feel are needed in a modern combat war game setting.

Graphically the game looked absolutely stunning. The character models were beautifully and very highly detailed. A new engine was used for this game which allowed better lighting, more detailed environments and ray tracing. The landscapes were great looking especially Piccadilly Circus in London. During that mission, with all the chaos and noise, explosions and other things going on, it gave me a slight idea what an actual attack like this would be like, not that I would want to know, but it seemed eerily realistic.

Piccadilly attack

The music in the game composed by Sarah Schachner is absolutely incredible. I loved the soundtrack from the first moment I heard. Their is an element of seriousness and sadness to the main theme song of the game which I feel Call of Duty was sorely lacking over the last few games. When you hear the main theme in this game it gives you the feeling of “take this seriously because it is a serious subject matter” and I did and from taking it seriously I enjoyed the game a lot. I got all this just from the main theme song, the rest of the soundtrack is equally as epic and thought provoking and something that I thoroughly enjoyed while playing the game or just doing my own thing.

Apart from the main story there are also spec ops missions which is a multiplayer cooperative objective based game mode. It follows on from the death of The Wolf from the main story and it’s all about a new leader taking over Al-Qatala and how a combined force of the best fighters around the world called the armistice are coming together to stop Al-Qatala. Other than that, there is the multiplayer mode with Death match, Domination and other such game modes, the bread and butter of Call of Duty games. It’s fine, it’s fun and it is pretty enjoyable but still very same old, same old.

So after all of that I think it is finally time to get into the scoring of the game:

Graphics: Beautifully detailed, very realistic and amazing lighting 10/10

Sound: Fantastic soundtrack full of thought provoking tracks and the sounds of the game are pretty awesome too. 10/10

Game play: Good gun play, fast combat, fun and quite tense but still nothing new 9/10

Worth: Yes, it is worth it even just for the Modern Warfare story line. If you’re looking to play online any other COD game would do the same job. 8/10

Story: Pretty good story with an interesting ending, leaving me wanting more. 7/10

Total: 88/100 B+

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

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!