Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “steam”

Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 5: Don’t Stop Believin

Hala’s wreaking havoc all across the galaxy and only the Guardians can stop her.  There’s only one issue, the Guardians broke up.  Can Starlord get the gang back together and stop Hala?

Any true Guardians fan knows that the answer to the last question is yes.  I’m sure you also remember the death that broke the Guardians up in the last episode. Turns out that the writers didn’t go through with it, but I think that we can all figure that out.  I’m not going to give much away but I will tell you that two of the Guardians are miserable.  After all they’ve been through; I can’t really blame them.  This time, they’re actually upset about events in their life that matter.  The final Guardian, Groot, gets his time to shine in a flashback about how the Guardians met.

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It’s similar to the movie with a few humorous moments that makes it the Guardians of the Galaxy.  That’s what I love about this franchise; the writers know how to blend the perfect amount of darkness and light that makes Guardians of the Galaxy shine.  It’s something Batman Forever failed at miserably.  You also get a scene where you can listen to Starlord’s awesome music.

The game play is typical of any Telltales game, with you picking dialogue choices for Starlord and, at one point, Groot.  During action scenes, you have to press the right key at the right time.  Let me tell you, those scenes really sneak up on you.

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At one point, you get to assign a task to each Guardian during the final mission to take out Hala.

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Rocket came up with the plan, so you can bet that one of these tasks is useless but still funny.  There’s another scene where Mantis takes you inside Peter’s head and you can determine Peter’s thoughts and relationships with the other guardians.  It’s fun and heartwarming at the same time.  When you’re finished, you can compare your choices to those other players made and get a sneak preview of what’s to come in season 2.

This game is addictive and amusing.  I give it 8 out of 10, a brilliant finale for Guardians of the Galaxy Season 1.


Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 4: Who Needs You (Steam)

After making your choice about the Eternity Forge, Hala buries you underground.  Meanwhile, the Guardians find themselves at odds about your decision.  Can you stop Hala while repairing the damaged relationships among the Guardians of the Galaxy?

I’m sure you remember that decision you had to make in the last episode that I talked about being the strong point of the story. Now be prepared to find out that whatever decision you made doesn’t matter in the slightest.  If you destroy the Eternity Forge, Hala sucks up all of its energy and uses it to bring her race back.  So all that time you spent mulling over what to do with the Eternity Forge is useless.  Even Rocket takes the time to point that out to you, in case you didn’t come to that conclusion yourself.  This is what we in the story business like to call lazy writing.  To top it all off, everyone’s so busy fighting each other the Guardians forget that the issue is that Hala is out there committing mass murder.  Unfortunately, you don’t get a dialogue choice to remind them of this either.  Say what you want about the Final Frontier, which is a guilty pleasure for me, but the characters had enough sense to realize that they need to focus on the major problem.  Let me explain that, in the movie, Sybok takes over the Enterprise and uses it to cross a deadly barrier to find God, or Sha Ka Ree.  Spock talks about how Sha Ka Ree is not real and Kirk tells him that the present issue is a mad man took over his ship and could possibly destroy it in some mad quest.  When Final Frontier beats you in a story aspect, you really need to re-think your writing.

The story does have its strong points, such as Drax’s flashback.  I have to admit, I’m not really a big fan of Drax.  However, his flashback is one of the most well done I’ve seen and it doesn’t take away from the story.  It’s a short and yet memorable scene where Drax talks to his daughter before she has to go away for training.

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Your choices determine how Drax’s daughter thinks of him.  It also leads to scene where Drax makes the ultimate sacrifice to save the Guardians in a scene that’s almost a tearjerker.  I have to admit, it took me by surprise.  While the scene is sad, the episode is not without its funny moments.  Some of the humor can get juvenile and, at one point, the game makes an unnecessary fart joke.  However, when a giant worm eats you in a plot point similar to Star Wars, you have to make the decision about whether you want the creature to vomit you out or poop you out.  I went with the former and, in this case, I’m glad the writers realized how silly this sounded.  One of the aspects of Guardians of the Galaxy is that the writers know when to take the plot seriously and when to embrace the silly.  The CW show, Supernatural, also uses this writing technique.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can ignore the story’s weaknesses.  In the second paragraph, I talked about how everyone forgets about the threat Hala imposes on the universe.  This doesn’t change by the end where, depending on how you handle Drax, people are mad at you.  It gets so bad that people leave the group, starting with Mantis who can’t take having to deal with everyone’s extreme emotions.  Never mind that the Eternity Forge is her responsibility and still causing havoc around the galaxy because of Hala.  Then, depending on whether you let Drax sacrifice himself or not, different people get mad at you and leave the group.  They just momentarily forget that Hala is committing mass murder across the galaxy because of what they did.  No, it’s all about them; how they can’t cope with all of the drama in their lives.  I understand that your main characters need to have flaws and that no one can agree with each other all the time.  However, the moment when your heroic group breaks up is not supposed to be when the world or, in this case galaxy, is in serious danger.  These characters act like spoiled children who throw a tantrum the minute things don’t go their way.

The game play is typical Telltale with you making dialogue choices for whatever character you currently play.  However, your choices make no difference except to determine who stays with you when the Guardians break up.  There is one impact in the game about whether you get to have a sandworm companion but that’s about it.

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The game comes with its own quick time events that are addictive as always without sneaking up on you.  You also get to explore the inside of the giant worm in order to collect engines to fix your ship and talk to the Guardians while you do so.

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The game is disappointing yet fun.  I give it 6 out of 10; not the best story but still a nice little diversion.

Another Lost Phone: Laura’s Story (Steam)

After deleting Sam’s phone, you find another one that belongs to a girl named Laura.  Can you discover who is she and help her?

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While the premise is the same as the last game, the plot couldn’t be more different.  I should tell you that I’m about to give major spoilers to the plot, so proceed with caution.  Unlike Sam, Laura is an adult and doesn’t struggle with who she is.  However, Laura is not without problems and hers involve her boyfriend, Ben.  I’m just going to tell you that Laura’s in an abusive relationship.  Ben has her send her GPS coordinates to him regularly.  He goes through her phone on a daily basis.  He even deleted her birth control reminders off her phone so she’s forget to take her pill.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  His worst offense is sending a sexy video Laura made for her ex-boyfriend to her co-workers and putting the blame on her ex-boyfriend.  This also leaves Laura open to sexual harassment from her co-workers, none of them believing that she didn’t send this video.  Unfortunately, there’s truth in fiction with this situation.  During the High School Musical craze, the lead actress, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, faced slut shaming due to someone posting naked pictures of her on the internet.  No one considered that she might have taken the photos for her boyfriend and someone posted them without permission, making her the violated party.  As in the case of many people in abusive relationships, Laura’s too blinded by love to see what’s going on.  Then finds herself craving the moments when Ben’s nice to her, insisting that he can change.  However, the game does have unfortunate implications.  This time, I’m not just talking about the game play.  When Laura attends a seminar for people in abusive relationships, she mentions that everyone at the meeting is a woman.  Even now, people fail to see that men can also be the victim in an abusive relationship.

As I said earlier, the game play comes with unfortunate implications.  Let me put it this way, it’s another story about respecting someone’s rights as a human being, while violating their rights as a human being.  You can see the contradiction.  Only, this time, you don’t send messages or post pictures pretending to be Laura.  I’ll admit that the game play is intriguing with you having to search through her phone and use deductive reasoning to figure out her passwords.  However, you can easily change the plot of how you got the phone to make it less invasive.  You could have the story be about Laura reporting Ben to the police for domestic abuse and handing her phone over to a cop to present as evidence.  It would erase the issue of violating someone’s privacy and it’s believable.

This game is fun but uncomfortable.  I give it 7 out of 10; a great game but needs to be better thought out.


Fables The Wolf Among Us Episode 5: Cry Wolf (Steam Store)

Bigby’s finally solved the murder of Faith and Lilly.  Now he only has to bring the Crooked Man to justice.

The last episode ended on a cliffhanger with Bigby meeting the Crooked Man.  T

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hose of you still interested in finding Faith and Lilly’s killer might be disappointed in the resolution.  Thankfully, the game is more about the huge conspiracy in Fabletown than it is about that.  Which, if you ask me, is a little more interesting.  As for who the killer is, it’s the one the fans most suspect.

Be warned, I have a few more spoilers to discuss.  One is about the social commentary on prostitutes at the end.  For starters, I should tell you that the one who killed those girls and the one who put their heads on Bigby’s porch are not the same person.  The latter is Nerissa, The Little Mermaid, and this is where the social commentary enters.  She talks about how the world considers prostitutes like her to be disposable.  If one of them dies, people won’t bat an eye.  It’s something Nerissa refuses to let happen to her friends, so she stuck their heads in front of Sheriff Bigby’s office to get his attention.  This is something that separates Wolf Among Us from other video games.  Don’t get me wrong, prostitutes are quite common in adult video games but this is the first time I’ve seen a prostitute treated as a person and not window dressing.  Let me explain that, more often than not, prostitutes are what the main character pays for on the side being little more than sexual fantasies.  In this game, the prostitutes may be victims but one manages to take an active role.  In the second episode, it’s Nerissa who leads Bigby to Crane by insisting he pretends to be a regular customer.  In this episode, if you bring the Crooked Man to trial, Nerissa will speak against him by pretending to be a witness.

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Truth be told, she wasn’t actually there but she didn’t expect the Crooked Man to remember her and she was right.  I’ll admit, Nerissa does dress a bit revealing when on the job and it is partly fanservice.  However, remember her profession.  When she’s finally free, Nerissa dresses casually.

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Personally, I don’t think putting a woman character in revealing attire is sexist.  It can be, if done poorly but, if you analyze each of your characters and you feel at least one of them would dress like that, you can pull it off.

The game play is typical of TellTale games.  You pick Bigby’s dialogue options, you have to make important choices and you have to press the right button for Quicktime events.  In this game, you get to fight Bloody Mary and it is awesome!

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Yes, the original Bloody Mary from the urban legend.  She can walk through mirrors, make copies of herself and is a real match for Bigby, in his original wolf form.  That’s right, Bigby completely wolfed out!  You even get to see Bloody Mary in her original unglamoured form and it is terrifying!  This is a woman who kills the children playing Bloody Mary in front of a bathroom mirror for kicks.  Even the Magic Mirror is afraid of her, I am serious.

As for the Crooked Man, you can either bring him to face judgment or kill him.

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Either way, it’s rather anti-climatic.  For instance, everyone at the Crooked Man’s trial is against him.  Tim claims that people in Fabletown rely on him, yet we see no evidence of that.  Speaking of Tim, he is also absent from the Crooked Man’s trial which feels like a major cop out.

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As the Crooked Man’s biggest supporter, he could have spoke on his behalf giving Bigby a true challenge rather than only convincing the people who hate him.  Speaking of copping out, I discussed Snow’s reasoning to have Toad and Colin sent to the Farm, which I did not approve of.  It doesn’t matter if you stick up for Colin or give Toad money, Snow still sends them there.  Then again, Toad could have been lying about Snow claiming the money didn’t matter.  This is a guy who complains about the cost of glamour and has a sports car parked in front of his home.  He probably screwed over himself and TJ, the one I really feel sorry for, and blew the money on expensive watches.

This game is intriguing and a little disappointing.  I give it 7 out of 10; good ending yet a few wasted opportunities.


Fables The Wolf Among Us Episode 4: In Sheep’s Clothing (Steam Store)

After discovering Crane’s sick pastime, Bigby continues the hunt for Faith’s killer.  What he didn’t know is that he’s uncovering a plot that not only involves Faith, but all of Fabletown.

That’s right, there’s a huge conspiracy in Fabletown and it involves the Crooked Man, the same one from the nursery rhyme.

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You don’t see him to the end, so I’ll discuss the Crooked Man more in my next review.  However, I do want to take a moment to applaud Bill Willingham for his creativity.  For those of you who haven’t picked up any Fables comic books, it has a similar premise as Once Upon A Time.  Many people call the latter a rip-off of the former, but Bill Willingham himself said that’s not the case.  I will admit that I feel Once Upon A Time has the easier job with adding new characters.  That show is on ABC, which Disney owns, and believe me when I tell you that Once Upon A Time takes advantage of this.  Bill Willingham does not have the Disney Company to fall back on, so he must improvise with characters from poems and nursery rhymes.  Which is why Georgie Porgie is a pimp, Bloody Mary is a gleeful murderer for hire and the Butcher runs a shop near the Baker and the Candlestick Maker.

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I am not kidding about that last one.  You have to admit, for a man who doesn’t have Disney to fall back on; Bill Willingham is very creative with what he does have.  I do remember King Louie in the comics, who many people know originates from the Jungle Book Disney movie and had no role in the original book.  I actually took the time to research that, and I could find no record of Bill Willingham facing copyright trials for it.  However, I did come across a statement from the author saying that you need to do proper research before you publish.

I should tell you that Bill Willingham is conservative and, while I don’t agree with his views, I do enjoy his writing.  He himself admits that he never intended for Fables to be a mouthpiece for his political agenda.  All he wanted was to tell a story about fairy tale characters living in the modern day.  His views accidentally popped in as he wrote, which is something that happens to me as well.  This story is no exception and, I should warn you, I will give away spoilers as I write.  So skip the next paragraphs if you haven’t played the game and wish to go in fresh.

One of the Crooked Man’s operations is at the Butcher Shop Bigby visits and he’s been enslaving Fables to make cheap glamour.  For those of you who don’t know, glamour is a magical substance used on animal fables to make them appear human.   It’s rather expensive due to being difficult to mass-produce and the animals that can’t afford it must live at the farm.  Bigby makes a statement about how people are so desperate get stuff cheap, they’ll do anything without realizing the cost of it, which I rather agree with.  However, I do not agree with how Fabletown treats their animal citizens.  I understand that the citizens must lay low, but that doesn’t make it right.  The first act Snow White enforces when she takes Crane’s place is that all Fable animals must go to the farm.  Something both Colin and Toad take issue with because the city is their home.

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Even in the comics, the animals call it a prison sentence because the government won’t let them leave.  In fact, the Fables go as far as to appoint a human to control the farm.  Is it any surprise to see many people choose not to send Colin and Toad to the Farm? However, that doesn’t do them any good.  Another thing I will talk about in my next review.

As for what the Crooked Man has on the Fables, I never discussed Faith’s situation in previous reviews.  She is the princess from Donkeyskin married to Lawrence in the original Kingdom.  When the Adversary took over, Faith and Lawrence were a couple of the lucky, or unlucky, people able to escape.   In the fairy tale world, Lawrence is Faith’s Prince Charming, able to rescue her from her father and give her a comfortable life.  In our world, he can barely hold down a job forcing Faith to prostitute herself so she can support them both.  Nerissa, the original Little Mermaid, is in a similar boat, as she must prostitute herself to survive.

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Then there are Fables such as Beauty and Beast who live comfortably by our standards yet have expensive tastes.

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This leads them both to be indebted to the Crooked Man similar to how Corrine found herself indebted in Flowers in the Attic and resorted to cruel measures to keep the life that she’s accustomed to having.  While Beauty and Beast haven’t done anything that drastic, they both have expensive taste and they’ve paid for it.  Playing as Bigby, you are free to call them out on this, which I’m sure many people will.  I don’t know about you but, after seeing how Fables such as Faith and Nerissa live, it’s rather hard for me to sympathize with Beauty and Beast.

Speaking of Fables who have it worse, Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol is in this game.  He’s all grown up and still handicapped as the mundies remember him.  Let me explain that, in the world of Fables, the character’s strength is dependent on the memories of the mundies.  This makes some Fables invulnerable and others as weak as any normal human, called mundies in this franchise.  In the case of Tiny Tim, while the mundies remember him, they see him as the handicapped child in A Christmas Carol partly responsible for Scrooge’s redemption.  It’s speculated that this is why Tim will always be handicap and there’s no cure for his condition.  Either that, or there is a cure and he can’t afford it.  Since the Crooked Man gave Tim a job, he speaks in favor of him.  However, he’s not against the Fabletown government.  When talking to Bigby, he claims that Fabletown needs both the Crooked Man and the government to survive but a war is the last thing the town needs.  While Tim does not agree with everything his boss does, he points out that Bigby doesn’t agree with everything Crane does either.  I loved this interaction because it talks about the shades of grey underlining what seems black and white.

The game has other character interactions that make it worth playing, and even show former enemies becoming friends.  Colin, for instance, is one of the original three little pigs and he sleeps in Bigby’s apartment.  If you haven’t figured it out, Bigby is the Big Bad Wolf who tried to eat them.  Yet Colin regularly visits Bigby with no fear and even sticks up for him.

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Another interesting case is The Woodsman from Red Riding Hood, the first suspect in the murder of Faith.  At first, the roles changed to Bigby being the one enforcing the law and The Woodsman being the suspected perpetrator.  In the first episode, The Woodsman reveals that he originally intended to rob the old woman Bigby ate, but ended up saving them instead.  It’s not until you go to the pawnshop and see the Woodsman trying to get his ax back from the Jersey Devil that you team up with him and he encourages you to bring Faith and Lilly’s killer to justice.

The game play is typical of Telltale with you picking various dialogue options for Bigby.  Sometimes, you have to make choices that supposedly influence the story, but I haven’t seen any evidence of that yet.  You also have to participate in QuickTime events that don’t sneak up on you as badly as they did in Game of Thrones or Guardians of the Galaxy.

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This game has an extra feature where you can collect a profile on a Fabletown citizen as you play.  Let me warn you that does mean you’ll have to replay a bit of the game if you want to collect them all.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10, an adult take on classic fairy tale characters.


Game of Thrones Episode 6: The Ice Dragon (Steam Store)

This is the final chapter for the Forrester family.  One of the older brothers died in a campaign to free Ironrath from the Whitehill Occupation; forcing the living brother to pick up the pieces.  Gared’s found the North Grove, but he’ll have to work extra hard to gain the trust of the inhabitants.  Meanwhile, Mira’s scheduled for execution in King’s Landing unless she marries an evil man.

The Ironrath plot goes one of two ways depending on which brother you killed in the last episode.  As Rodrick, your goal is to negotiate with the Whitehills to prevent war and save your brother, Ryon.  If Asher survives, he must take Rodrick’s place as Lord of Ironrath and convince the Whitehills that the war is not over.  Since Asher survived in my play through, I’ll be reviewing that one.

First, I should tell you the terms of Ramsay Snow’s deal.  In the last episode, Ramsay told you that the Boltons would stay out of the Whitehill and Forrester conflict.  They will resolve this through war and the last house standing wins.  Personally, I feel that Roose Bolton would side with the Forresters.  No, I don’t mean that he would do so out of the goodness of his heart.  Remember, the game points out that the Forresters are the better artisans and take care to chop down the trees they need.  The Whitehills, on the other hand, are not only shoddy artisans, but reckless in their endeavors to harvest Ironwood.  Roose Bolton may be evil, but he is also practical.

If Asher survives, Ludd Whitehill feels that his house is victorious.  However, Asher refuses to bow down to the Whitehills.  In this plot, you see a new side of responsibility in Asher as he tries to hold the reins after Rodrick’s death, refusing to let him die in vain.  You also see a hint of a romance between Asher and Gwyn, the reason for his exile to Meereen.

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Yet, despite his exile, Asher still loves his family as they do in return.  Talia is someone you do not want to get on the bad side of.  She may be as refined as Sansa, but she shows a spirit similar to Arya.  Let me give you a little spoiler, if you choose to poison Ludd Whitehill at dinner, Talia volunteers to pour the wine.  Elissa isn’t shy herself because she’ll offer to drink from the glass first to save Asher when Ludd insists Asher take the first drink.  However, Gwyn’s character is still lacking in my mind.  I get that she needs to side with her family but if the Forresters submitted to the Whitehills, that would just make things worse.  Therefore, Asher has to fight with everything he has.

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Another spoiler alert, Gared is the only character who will survive no matter what you do.  This is ironic, because he’s not a true Forrester.  He himself must gain the trust of the inhabitants of the North Grove.  As for who they are, let’s just say that Lord Forrester had a few lapses in honor.

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However, Gared does face one important decision.  In the previous episodes, Cotter’s wounds are fatal.  It doesn’t matter if you tended to the wound, he will still die.  As Gared, you have to decide how you will end his suffering.

Mira’s plot in King’s Landing is rather strange because, to me, she always felt the least like a Forrester.  I get that Mira’s in King’s Landing because Elissa signed her up to be Margeary’s handmaiden.  She wanted her eldest daughter to learn to behave like a southern woman.  However, she’s never truly interacted with The Forrester family.  Yes, I get that would be a little difficult since she’s in a different location.  Asher also had the same issue but we get to see him interact with his family and show affection for them.  In the case of Mira, all we hear about how much she loves her family is through letters she gets and that her actions at King’s Landing do contribute to Ironrath in small ways.  I realize that the Forresters are supposed to be like the Starks, separated through tragedy but still trying to pick up the remains.  In the show, we see the Starks interact with each other before tragedy falls, giving us a sense of family and sorrow as they’re torn apart.  Since the situation in the game is different, it would’ve been nice to provide some flashbacks to show happy family times, making Mira a true Forrester in my eyes.  However, considering what happens to her, I guess it doesn’t matter anymore.

As I said in the first paragraph, Mira has to choose between death and an abusive marriage.  Remember that Lord who helps you out in King’s Landing, Morgryn?  Well, spoiler alert, he’s evil and wants control of Ironrath through Mira.  Let me admit, I accidentally read a spoiler about Mira’s fate in the Game of Thrones Wiki and I knew she would live or die depending on my choice.  I’ve grown rather attached to Mira so, at first, I was going to choose marriage.

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Then I decided to have her die rather than marry Morgryn and have Tom, the coal boy who helped her, die in her place.

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For those of you who don’t know, Telltale’s working on a second season and, considering this outcome, I don’t think we’ll be playing in King’s Landing anymore.  This means that the plot will have many unanswered questions, such as why Tom wanted to help Mira in the first place.  It’s what TV Tropes would call shoot the shaggy dog.  Then again, considering how things usually turn out in Game of Thrones, maybe it’s not that much of a shock.

The game play is typical of TellTale with you picking various dialogue options for the characters you play.

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Some choices will have a huge impact on the story and, this time, I actually mean it.  During fighting scenes, you have to press the right key at the right time in order to live.  At the end of the game, you can compare your choices with that of other players.

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Since this is the true final episode, you can watch an epilogue of the Game of Thrones characters talking about each of the Forresters and their thoughts on them.  Ramsay talks about Ethan and Rodrik, Margeary talks about Mira, Jon talks about Gared, Daenarys talks about Asher and Cersei gives her opinion of the Forresters as a whole.  Let me tell you, it’s beyond awesome.

This game is depressing and yet addictive.  I give it 7 out of 10, had me a bit shaken up but I didn’t like the King’s Landing story.


Game of Thrones Episode 5: A Nest of Vipers

Things are finally ending for the Forrester family as Asher returns to Ironrath with an army.  Meanwhile, Mira found the Whitehill’s contact in King’s Landing and Gared gets closer and closer to finding the North Grove.  Can Rodrick still manage Ironrath with all this craziness and a traitor?

I’m going to give a slight spoiler for those of you who haven’t played the game.  There is a traitor among the Forresters and it all depends on who you picked to be your Sentinel in the first episode.  That’s right; the guy who doesn’t get the job throws a tantrum and collaborates with the Whitehills.  This just makes me believe that neither one of them can be trusted if they turn on you the minute they don’t get their way.  I will give some credit to the writer’s for Talia’s character, since she shows some real moxie in this episode.  She tells you about the traitor and recommends killing him.  However, if you choose to have Rodrick comfort Eleana in this episode, Talia walks in on the two of you having sex.  I have to say, Talia took it pretty well for a highborn girl from a medieval setting.  However, she’s not quite as adept with handling Ramsay, not that I blame her.  That’s right, Ramsay Snow makes his final appearance in the game and it’s definitely a memorable one.  He makes his first appearance at the end of Episode 4 and stays for the beginning of Episode 5 to tell you the good news.  You read that right; the terror of the north with no regard for life whatsoever is the one delivering good news.  Ramsay is still as terrifying as ever to deal with, but I’m still happy to see him due to having mixed feelings about his character.  I am both afraid of and attracted to Ramsay Snow.

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Don’t judge me.

Asher’s plot is my favorite, partly due to Daenarys and partly because you get to fight in the pits.

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Spoiler alert, Daenarys will not give you any of her Second Sons, but she will give you gold so you can hire your own sellswords.  She also offers to have Malcolm work for her, claiming that an alliance with House Targaryen will be beneficial to both families.  I said in an earlier review that Asher reminds me of Han Solo and it still shows.  Some of the speech options show his own sense of humor and I do like Asher’s dialogue with Beshka.  You can also win over the slaves in the fighting pits by either sticking to their rules or showing them a new way.

Since not much happens in Gared’s or Mira’s plots, I’ll have to combine their stories into one paragraph.  Gared is still trying to find the North Grove, but he’s come across a slight detour with Cotter and his sister.  I’ll admit, I did enjoy hearing Cotter’s back-story and learning that the Free Folk can be every bit as prejudice as the rest of the Game of Thrones world.  As for Mira’s story, she’s lost every contact in King’s Landing and things don’t look well for her.  This poor girl can’t catch a break.  However, I did like her conversation with Tyrion at the end.

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The game play is typical of Telltales, with you picking various dialogue options.

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You also get to participate in QuickTime events, my favorite being the fighting pits, as I said earlier.  As Gared, you also have the opportunity to hunt rabbits.  Some choices you make have a huge influence on the story because this is the first episode where you get to decide who lives and who dies.  At the end of the episode, you can compare your choices with other players.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 7 out of 10, some of the storylines felt a bit weak.


Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron From Ice (Steam Store)

It’s a time of darkness for the House of Forrester.  House Stark has fallen and Ramsay Snow, the illegitimate son of Roose Bolton, sided with the rival house of Whitehill.  Can the House of Forrester survive Ramsay Snow and restore themselves to former glory?

This is HBO’s second attempt to enter the gaming world, the first one being The Sopranos video game, which was a failure.  Now Telltale attempts to bring Game of Thrones into the gaming world, HBO’s new cash cow.  The game starts out at the Red Wedding, which is where, as many Game of Thrones fans know, Rob Stark dies.  Since the lord of the Forresters and the main heir perish as well, a child inherits the responsibilities.

Sadly, that’s usually how things went down during the time period the game models itself after.  Apparently, boys who haven’t gone through puberty made better rulers than fully-grown women.  Though I do like how the game shows that things are changing and how hard it is for Ethan, the new lord, to follow in his father’s footsteps at such a young age when all he wants to do is keep playing with his siblings.  Even if his fate is unavoidable which, I admit, almost made me cry.  As for what that is, keep in mind that you’re dealing with Ramsay Snow.

For those of you unfamiliar with Game of Thrones, Ramsay Snow is someone who skins people alive in his spare time.

Definitely not someone you want to get on the bad side of.

As I mentioned, Ramsay Snow makes a few appearances throughout the game.  Let me tell you, he’s not the only Game of Thrones character who does so.  One of the Forresters works as Lady Margaery’s handmaiden, so you can bet that you’ll be seeing much of the Lannisters.

I’ll admit, I knew that characters from Game of Thrones make an appearance but I thought that it would be as cameos.  I had no idea that they would be a huge part of the storyline.  However, I will say one thing. As scary as Cersei and Ramsay are on the show, having to deal with these people makes them far more intimidating.

The game play is standard Telltale Games.  You make choices for each character you play with some of them supposedly having a huge impact on the game.

I’m not sure how big yet, since I’ve only played the first chapter.  I’ve already told you that one of the characters has an unavoidable fate, no matter what you do.  At some points, you can explore certain places and read the codex for background information.  Unlike other Telltales games where you only take control of one character, this one let’s you control different members of the House of Forrester at different times.  So far, their situation and personalities seems very similar to the Starks but I’m hoping the game will expand on the Forresters so that they’re more than just Stark copycats.  You can even compare your choices with those of the other players though, let me tell you, I’ve found myself restarting the game many times over fear that I’ve made the wrong choices.

This game is intriguing but emotionally overwhelming.  I give it 7 out of 10, a promising start for Telltale’s Game of Thrones adaption.


Cherry Tree High I! My! Girls! (Steam Store)

After Mairu finally starts her comedy club, a teen idol visits in order to join. Unfortunately, Chitose doesn’t want that to happen and will stop at nothing to destroy Mairu’s club once and for all. To make a bad situation worse, the president of the Classical Comedy Club has it in for Mairu, and wants to bring her club down.

That’s right; Cherry Tree High Comedy Club got a sequel. This game is unusual in one aspect. You know how, in some reviews, I skip the paragraph that explains the plot of the video game because there’s no plot to be found? This game has no game play to be found. It’s purely visual novel without even letting you choose where to take the story. Contrary to what the summary would have you believe, the main conflict isn’t about Mairu. It’s actually between Ai (the pop star) and Hoemi (Mairu’s best friend). Ai wants to be a comedian and replaces Hoemi as Mairu’s partner in a comedic duo due to having better chemistry with her. Hoemi has no desire to be a comedian but is afraid that Ai will replace Hoemi as Mairu’s best friend. Eventually, it leads to an argument between Hoemi and Ai with neither side being right and neither side being wrong. The game also has side episodes that explore the relationships between the other characters, such as Mai and Ravian trying to find a tutor for school subjects they are both hopeless at. That’s actually much better than it sounds. In other words, this is not a video game. It’s a slice of life anime in visual novel form.

This game is entertaining and amusing. I give it 9 out of 10; definitely worth looking at.


The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 4 Amid the Ruins (Steam Store)

After escaping Carver’s imprisonment, Clementine and the rest of the runaways try to find each other. Can everyone reunite and find another safe haven?

That’s right, episode four of The Walking Dead and boy is it intense. I can’t spoil the game but you have people dying left and right. One of the characters will die no matter what you do. Not to mention that Clementine, the girl who acted as Lee’s morality pet, can commit acts of cruelty in the name of survival. At first, I thought this episode was brilliant until a conversation with lukebbtt led me to discover that most of the characters are only there for Clementine’s growth. There are characters that exist outside of her, such as Kenny who’s completely broken with Rebecca’s baby being his only reason for living. After everything Kenny’s been through, he is not right in the head and it shows by how he’s trying to recreate his family instead of accepting their deaths.

The game play is the same as every other episode. You pick dialogue choices for Clementine. Sometimes, you have to explore the scene and inspect objects to move the plot forward. Other times, you’ll have to make crucial decisions at key moments. One decision was so hard for me that I had to pause the game to think about it. Keep your guard up when the walkers attack, because you’ll have to press the right keys to get out of there alive.

This game is intense and additive. I give it 9 out of 10; I was upset for hours after playing this.


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