Retro Game Friday: Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance II

This week for Retro game Friday I’m covering the sequel to Dark Alliance. It’s Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II!

Plot Synopsis: The game begins by revealing the fate of the three protagonists from the first game; after jumping through the portal at the top of the Onyx Tower, Vahn, Kromlech and Adrianna are taken prisoner by the vampire Mordoc SeLanmere. Meanwhile, outside Baldur’s Gate, fate brings Dorn, Vhaidra, Ysuran, Borador and Allessia together. Upon meeting on the Trade Way, they learn that since the collapse of Xantam’s Guild, the route has become increasingly dangerous due to the rise of the Red Fang Marauders, a goblin army who prey on travelers. After infiltrating a nearby Marauders cave, and freeing the caravan guard Randalla, the heroes head to Wayfork Village, a nearby fiefdom. There, they rescue the village from the Marauders and kill their hobgoblin leader, Harnak.

Plot: The plot was okay, but due to certain circumstances I can’t really count it as being good. I won’t mention what they are, but play through the game and you’ll understand.

Characters: We get 5 new characters to play as initially, personally I played as Vhaidra, the Drow Monk. There are also two secret characters, Drizzt and Artemis Entreri, but those are unlocked after beating the game and Extreme mode respectively.

Gameplay: It played a lot like the first game, and was fun to play co-op with a second person with. I think my brother was the Human Barbarian Dorn when we played together. There were some additions, but really it’s not that much different from the first game.

Art: It’s aged poorly, but was pretty amazing back in the day.

Music: Don’t remember a whit, sorry.

Overall: A great sequel if somewhat lackluster in the plot department.

Bookish Wednesday: Otherlife Awakenings by William D. Arand

Hey all this week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with the third book in Runner’s adventures. It’s Otherlife Awakenings by William D. Arand!

Plot Synopsis: Runner and his team managed to bring peace to Tirtius, successfully log the crew out, and have begun settling in to make a home on the isle of Vix. North Wood fort itself. Fate isn’t going to let them go that easily though. She clearly hasn’t decided on what to do with him. Plots are in motion. Threats local, outside of the ship, divine, and abroad in game scheme to exterminate Runner and the threat he represents. The possibility of what he could become. To top it all off, the server is clearly ramping up towards a full awakening. What does one do with an entire world of “living” beings who are aware? It all comes to a head when an assassin attempts to take his life in his own home. Now comes the true test. What is he willing to wager to build the future he wants, both in game and out? Or rather, who?

Plot: The plot is awesome, with plenty of revelations all around about the world Runner has come to inhabit. It also deals with Runner’s severe depression after the events of the last book, which I won’t spoil. There’s more “idiot plans” and new additions to Runners group of close followers.

Characters: Of all the new characters I found Satomi to be the best, though that may be slightly affected by the soft spot I have for the name as that was one of my teacher’s names in my Japanese High School class. That said Runner still was great to live the world through, even if Scott and Linda weren’t as present in this book as I would have liked. The rest of the cast was great, but truly the female leads were awesome in this entry with plenty of screen time for Grace, Sparky, Minxie, Brighteyes, Angel, and Bell.

Overall: An excellent ending to the trilogy, but not the end of the series apparently. The series will continue in the future, hopefully by the end of the year.

Manga Monday: Vector Ball by Raiku Makoto

This week for Manga Monday I’ve got a Quick Review for a rather interesting series. It’s Vector Ball by Raiku Makoto!

Plot Synopsis: After a series of bizarre incidents in his school, student Kometaki Okaka decided to investigate the cause of it. What he discovers will turn his world upside down…

Plot: The plot of this series is really out there. It is full of really odd gags, least of all being the belly hair song…. Yeah I really just wrote that. I was actually laughing my head off the entire time I was reading, but after finishing this first chapter I found out that the Mangaka axed the series by his own request after 44 chapters. So while I’m really intrigued by the series I don’t know if I’ll continue reading it.

Characters: The cast is just plain odd. I can’t stress how odd this series is. Kometaki was an interesting lead character, if really strange, but that can be said about every character. My favorite side character was Mouryou (spelling is probably wrong, but oh well).

Art: The art was great, it’s not got the high detail level of a Jump work, but it’s still quite good. And it fits this series perfectly.

Overall: If you don’t mind the series being axed prematurely and enjoy really oddball stories, you’ll love Vector Ball.

For those who like: Bizarre Things, Action, Comedy, Interesting Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters, Great Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, or a series that ends abruptly.

Retro Game Friday: Star Wars Obi-Wan

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a relatively obscure Star Wars game. It’s Star Wars: Obi-Wan!

Plot Synopsis: It takes place in around 32 years before the Battle of Yavin, in the weeks prior to and during the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

Plot: Yes it was a prequel to the first prequel movie. Frankly I don’t remember the story being all that great, but at the time I was obsessed with all thing Star Wars, and was only a kid, so cut me some slack.

Gameplay: The gameplay was pretty interesting in that you used the Xbox’s two thumbsticks to control both Obi-Wan and his lightsaber. It was a pretty bold move, although it really didn’t save the game, which if you haven’t ever heard of it isn’t surprising since it got a fairly low score from critics back when it released.

Art: The art is really aged, but that’s pretty expected given that it’s 3D.

Music: I remember it being classic Star Wars music, other than that I don’t remember anything.

Overall: An easily skippable game, unless one is incredibly bored don’t bother with it even if you get the chance.

For those who like: Star Wars, Lightsabers, Action

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Bookish Wednesday: The Secret of the Dark Forest by Vasily Mahanenko

Hey all, I’m back with the third entry to the Way of the Shaman series for this week’s Bookish Wednesday. It’s The Secret of the Dark Forest by Vasily Mahanenko!

Plot Synopsis: The Virtual World of Barliona is a place of rest and entertainment – but not for everyone. It has become a survival arena for Daniel Mahan after he was sentenced to 8 years in its virtual jail. Mahan has been through it all: the back-breaking work in the mines, betrayal by other prisoners, and finally, the retrial which has released him into Barliona’s common world. What more could one want? Mahan could have kept a low profile and enjoy relative freedom while serving the rest of his time. But being a Shaman, he can’t help himself…

Plot: The plot of this entry is pretty good, and while there were a few annoying parts I didn’t mind it all that much. That being said if you weren’t a fan of the previous books this won’t change your mind on the series.

Characters: We get introduced to a few new characters, but really the stars of the show aside from Mahan are Anastaria and Plinto, both of whom were pretty awesome. The newcomers were good, but the character we had already met are better. That being said if I had to choose a newcomer as my favorite it would be Barsa.

Overall: If you enjoyed the previous two books, The Secret of the Dark Forest will be just as enjoyable for you. Otherwise you’ll probably not enjoy it all that much.

Manga Monday: Golden Kamui by Noda Satoru

Hey all, this week for Manga Monday I have another Quick Review. It’s Golden Kamui by Noda Satoru!

Plot Synopsis: In Hokkaido, the far northern lands of Japan, Sugimoto survived the Russo-Japanese war of the Meiji era. Nicknamed “Sugimoto the Immortal” during the war, he now seeks the riches promised by the gold rush in hopes of saving the widowed wife of his now deceased comrade from the war.

Plot: The plot is pretty awesome, I was pretty much instantly hooked after this first chapter, hopefully I’ll get to read all of it sooner rather then later. I do want to point out one more thing about the series, it is award winning, so take that how you will.

Characters: Sugimoto is a pretty interesting guy, it’s pretty obvious he’s dealing with serious issues from the war he fought in, despite all that he’s a pretty stable fellow. The rest of the cast we’ve met are pretty much nameless, but they look fairly interesting from this first chapter.

Art: The art is amazing, but once I looked up who the publisher was I wasn’t surprised to find it was Shueisha. That being said it is very graphic, so those with squeamish stomachs should probably not read this.

Overall: This has me hooked, so I’m going to give it the go ahead. Plus it’s an Award Winning series, it can’t be super terrible if it’s received an award.

For those who like: Historical Fiction, Military, Drama, Action, Adventure, Romance, Excellent Plot, Amazing Cast of Characters, Fantastic Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Video Game Tuesday: Destiny 2

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m going to cover the topic you all knew I would eventually. It’s all about Destiny 2!

Destiny 2: It was announced on March 30th that Destiny 2 was a real thing and would be released this year, but there were some big “surprises” announced. It would release on the PC and everything, or close to everything, wouldn’t transfer from the first game and it’s “expansions”.

PC?!?: Yea color me not that surprised, it was rumored for months prior to the announcement that it would release on PC, so I’m really not that surprised. It was a surprise it didn’t release on the PC in the first place to be honest. And just to clarify I probably won’t be playing it on PC as my main platform if I should happen to receive codes for both PC and PS4.

Wait our stuff?: Yea all that time you spent on gearing up your characters, getting cool things like Exotics, fancy looking ships, awesome Shaders, and cool Emblems was wasted. The only confirmed thing that will transfer over is the appearance of your characters, but that’s hardly a thing to be excited about. It’s not like we were ever all that attached to our characters since Destiny never had much of a story. I’d hope at least cosmetic stuff like Shaders, Emblems, Ghost Shells, Sparrows and Shaders would transfer over, but that isn’t confirmed and probably won’t happen.

My Hopes?: I hope the game transfers over the cosmetic stuff, has a story that isn’t a piece of crap, and has a loot system that doesn’t exploit players. My expectations that any of those will be met is very low, and all of them being met? Practically non-existent. I hope Bungie can redeem themselves, but I highly doubt that is possible at this point.