Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “video games”

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.

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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 4: Sons of Winter (Steam Store)

Westeros falls on dark times and the Forrester family is no exception.  Gryff rules Ironrath and Rodrick must fight for his right as Lord.  Asher goes on a mission for Daenarys in exchange for some of her sellswords.  Mira discovers that the Whitehills have a spy in Kings Landing while trying to get back in Margeary’s good graces.  Gared faces execution at The Wall for murdering a fellow brother.

I’m going to talk about the story that really upset me first and that is Gared’s adventure.  As I said earlier, he faces execution at The Wall.  The real kicker is I went out of my way to not murder Britt and remain true to my vows.  I even recited the oath aloud as I clicked on each sentence.  I am not lying.

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Doesn’t matter if Finn vouches for you, Frostfinger still doesn’t believe it and has you sentenced for execution.  Therefore, according to The Wall, you can’t defend yourself against other people who try to kill you.  Better to let them murder you or the Watch will do it themselves.  When I had to pick a dialogue option for Gared about the Watch, you can bet that I had him say they betrayed him.  Jon Snow gets one little scene before he leaves for Craster’s Keep.

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If you tell him it’s an accident, he’ll believe you but he’s powerless to stop Frostfinger.  Those of you who watch the show might see the irony in this.  Those of you who haven’t might want to skip this next part to avoid spoilers.  The Night’s Watch betrays Jon himself when he ascends to Lord Commander.  His aim is to unite the Watch and the Free Folk against the true enemy, the White Walkers.  However, many of the more old-fashioned members don’t like this new turn and trick him outside, stabbing him one by one.  Mysandra resurrects Jon, but it destroys his hero worship of the Night’s Watch.  If Telltale makes a second season, it would be interesting for Gared and Jon to meet and bond over their shared betrayal.  Gared breaks out and continues his search for the North Grove.

In order to give a proper review, I need to discuss what happens at Ironrath.  This is when Gryff’s rule becomes intolerable as he uses brute force to assure his position.  It’s very similar to how a bully will use fear to rule over those weaker than them.  Therefore, Gryff is little more than a thinly veiled Joffrey, which is the closest we’ll get to seeing him in the game.  To ensure their position, the Whitehills demand that Eleana, betrothed to Rodrick, marry Gryff.  Again, we have an obvious love triangle between a hero and a villain with Eleana having no affection for the villain whatsoever.  However, I will applaud her for taking matters into her own hands.  Needless to say, this gives Rodrick more allies in his fight for Ironrath.  However, the trouble isn’t over when you deal with Gryff.  Ludd Whitehill wants to make a deal with you and let me tell you something The Whitehills suck at making ironwood, so they have to threaten the Forresters into helping them.  While Roose Bolton is an evil and ruthless man, there is no way he’d still side with the Whitehills after seeing their horrible work.  The meeting at their estate does show one key difference between the Forresters and the Whitehills.  Ludd Whitehill cares nothing for Gryff due to being his fourth born son.  Rodrick, on the other hand, loves Ryon, despite him being fourth born, and will do anything he can to bring him back.  Did I mention that, when you leave Ironrath, you have the option of leaving Talia in charge?  I didn’t care for her, at first, but her biting Gryff in the third episode and openly rebelling against the Whitehills shows that there’s more to this young girl than meets the eye.

However, Talia still has a long way to go to catch up to Mira in my eyes.  Margaery might fire her and she still risks her life to discover who’s working for the Whitehills in King’s Landing.  Mira’s plot is about making a deal with her fellow handmaiden, Sera, and snooping around Tommen’s coronation to discover who works for the Whitehills.  I love how the dialogue options can demonstrate that she’s not to be underestimated.  You can also give Mira sweet dialogue options, though whether they’re genuine or she’s playing innocent to get what she wants is up to you.  There is one scene I found rather funny.  When Mira asks about Lyman, a fellow nobleman says that her ears are too delicate to hear such things.  Keep in mind that, as a handmaiden, Mira cleans chamber pots, which are old-fashioned toilets.  Yet she is far too delicate to hear of subjects such as sex, violence and drug addiction.  That logic astounds me.

Last but not least is Asher’s plot, beginning with when you have to explain to Daenarys how you found her dragon.

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I’ll admit that dealing with her can be rather intimidating.  I’m just glad Joffrey or Viserys, Daenarys’s brother, never got dragons.  It’s best not to think about it.  Anyway, you have a hard time convincing her to lend you her sellswords until you agree to go on a stealth mission for her.  You also get to find out about Beshka’s past and, let me tell you, the mission Daenarys sends you on is a conflict of interest.  I won’t give too much away for fear of spoilers, but you do have to stop Beshka when she gets out of hand.

The game play is typical of a game made by Telltale, but executed quite well.  You have to pick dialogue options for each character you play, as I said before.

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You also get to experience quick time events and, let me tell you, they sneak up on you.  My favorite part is when you get to go on a stealth mission for Daenarys as Asher.  That, and beating up Gryff, but it was a little more personal on that one.

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This is the one episode where the items you collect actually play a role.  For instance, if you collected medical supplies when you were at the Maester’s in Episode 1, you can now use them to heal a fallen comrade.  At the end of the episode, you can match up your choices with that of other players.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10; fun but didn’t get a true emotional reaction out of me.  Being upset over stupid decisions does not count.

Hollywood U: Rising Star (iOS Store)

A mysterious benefactor offers you enough for Hollywood University, the most prestigious college for anyone who wants to make a living in show business.  Will you attend as a movie star, fashionista or a director?

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Even though Pixelberry abandoned this game for Choices, you can still download it on your smart phone or handheld device.  This game does have a story attached to it, such as finding out whom the mysterious benefactor is paying your way through Hollywood University.  You also have your own enemies to deal with in the form of Bianca and her father.  The MC and Bianca have a rivalry similar to Jem and Pizzazz from the 80s cartoon show.  However, there are two differences.  For instance, Bianca knows how to turn everyone against the MC and make herself look like the innocent victim.  This is something Pizzazz could never pull off.  The other difference is that the MC doesn’t get everything handed to her as Jem did.  He or she has to struggle through various obstacles in order to succeed.  Let me tell you, it gets rather tough.  I can’t recall how many times I’ve empathized with the MC and actually felt frustrated or upset with what he or she goes through.

The game does not shy away from certain issues found in Hollywood.  For instance, one of the characters, Addison, used to be a movie star until she had an affair with a director.  The director in question lied to her about leaving his wife and, when the affair became public knowledge, he lied by claiming that Addison seduced him.  However, if you ask me, even if his version turned out to be true, he’s still at fault.  These incidents happen in Hollywood with one example being Kristen Stewart’s casting as the title character in Snow White and the Huntsman.  The news reports revealed that the reason the director cast her is because of an affair.  Many people slut shame her though, since I don’t know the whole story, I won’t pass judgment.  I do know that it cost Kristen Stewart her job while they still kept the director.  Some people call a double standard but, personally, I believe that it’s because Kristen Stewart was more expendable.  I’m sure you can find many other stories of such instances all throughout Hollywood but, more often than not, people blame the woman and it ruins her career.

Another instance from real life the game drew inspiration from is Miley Cyrus in order to create the character of Lisa Valentine.  She is a former teen pop star who played the main character in a children’s show called Lisa Mermaid.  Now that Lisa’s all grown up, she goes out of her way to remind everyone of this, something her mother and manager disapproves.  While most works would portray Lisa’s mother as the sympathetic one and Lisa as the evil slut, this game does not fall victim to such thinking.  Instead, Lisa is the one in the right and the game implies that, if she wants to be a party girl, that’s her choice.  No one has any right to judge her for it.  As I said, the game drew inspiration from Miley Cyrus for this after her Hannah Montana days were far behind her.  Except I always suspected that her father encouraged her to act crazy in order to stay in the spotlight.  Now that Miley Cyrus is voicing one of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, I don’t think she needs to act crazy anymore.  I am not kidding; she voiced the robot in the credits teaser showing the original Guardians.

The game play is that of a typical smart phone game, with you assigning characters to task.  It can take up to 24 hours to finish tasks, so you’re free to clean house, do homework and take care of anything else while you wait.  I call it the video game version of the Crockpot.  You can also throw parties to attract certain character types and go on dates.  You can hook up various characters in Couples Corner and send the MC on dates in the Amour.  You can also purchase buildings and collect money.

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Oh, and those character types you collect from partying each come with their own side quests.  The game comes with many extras, such as A-Listers and side quests, but you have to pay in diamonds, which costs real money to purchase.  Let me tell you, the game is very addictive and you’ll want to see everything it has to offer.  After you’ve collected all the characters and done all of the side quests, the game loses most of its appeal.  By then, you just want to continue playing to see what happens in the story.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  It deserves 9 out of 10, emotionally affective but not enough for a full mark.

Telltale Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 2: Under Pressure

After the resurrection stone brings Starlord back from the dead, everyone wants to find out its deal.  Meanwhile, Nebula’s back and she’s ready to take vengeance for her father’s death.

This story picks up where Episode 1 left off, with Starlord’s resurrection and everyone wondering what happened.  You can bet that the Guardians are not going to believe that Starlord came back from the dead and, when they finally do, they’ll want to investigate the relic that made it possible.  To do this, they have to go to Yondu.

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That’s right, our favorite blue-skinned pirate finally made his appearance.  The meeting even brings a few funny scenes, such as Yondu and Rocket meeting for the first time.  That’s what I love about Guardians of the Galaxy; it can be humorous without undermining the tragedy in the story.  Believe me when I say that there is some serious tragedy.

The main plot of the game is Nebula retrieving Thanos’s corpse from either Nova Corp or the Collector, whomever you gave the body to.  However, there is a side story involved with Rocket, should you choose to take it.

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Yes, when I said the game involved serious tragedy, this is what I meant.  The side story explores Rocket’s past and reveals that he once loved, and still loves, a female Otter named Lylla.  Even though her character is, to use a common saying, stuffed in the fridge, the story of how the scientists treated living beings as science experiments is still a serious tearjerker.  Add what happens after we meet her and it gets worse, much worse.  Just watching this scene and seeing Rocket’s emotions afterward made me cry.  Even after I played the game, everything about Rocket’s side quest put me in a seriously bad mood.  Even as I write this, I feel like crying.  Despite the effect the scene had on me, I still recommend that you take a break from the main story and explore Rocket’s side quest.

The rest of the story involves Gamora trying her best to fix things with Nebula and failing.  Unlike Rocket’s back-story, Gamora’s plot actually ties in with the main story.  The language of the relic is Kree and only Nebula can speak it.  However, it’s tough luck getting her to cooperate.  I wish I could give a more detailed review of the main plot but the problem is that I still find myself affected deeply by Rocket’s side quest.  Therefore, it’s a little hard for me to focus on everything else going on in the game.  I will tell you that Yondu has the hots for Gamora which, considering Starlord, who Yondu raised as a son, and Gamora’s ship tease in the movies, I find a little creepy.  However, there doesn’t seem to be a ship tease between Starlord and Gamora in the games, more like a deep friendship.  Then again, I could be wrong.  I will admit that I kind of like the hint that Yondu and Starlord’s mother might have been involved.

The game play is much like your average Telltale, picking dialogue options for Starlord being the main aspect.  However, I’ll admit, from the description of the episode and having not seen the trailer before playing, I thought that you’d play Rocket for the whole episode.   Since Rocket’s my favorite character, you can bet that this excited me.  While you can play as Rocket if you choose to take the optional side quest, you mostly play as Starlord.  The game also features QuickTime events requiring you to press the right key or button in order to survive.  Let me warn you, it will come when you least expect it.  You can also explore the ship and, once again, check your monitor.  However, the second part didn’t feel quite as fun as I found it in the last episode.  Mainly because you learn nothing new about the characters or places in the codex, save for a few places and characters that the game adds.  In addition, you can’t respond to email people send you; you just read it.  However, it is a bit cute to discover that Groot believes in chain mail.  At the end of the Episode, you can compare your choices with ones from other players.

This game is tragic and a bit of a disappointment.  I give it 7 out of 10, two points added for Rocket’s side quest.

Fabulous: Angela’s Sweet Revenge (Gamehouse.com)

Emily’s fun-loving sister, Angela, moved to the Big Apple to start her career as a fashion designer.  Unfortunately, she has to work for Yum-mee, a stuck up boss who thinks she’s all that. To make matters worse, Angela’s husband, Jimmy, doesn’t support her.  Is it because there’s something going on between Jimmy and Yum-mee, or is Angela just being paranoid?

Yep, it’s a simplistic cheating plot.  Though, I have to say, I’m glad that Angela’s mad at both of them.  Warning, there will be spoilers for the game so read with caution.  The name of the game is Angela’s Sweet Revenge and she takes it out big time.  Don’t get me wrong, cheating is not a matter that you should take lightly but the way Angela goes about it seems very wrong.  With Jimmy, she goes so far as to throw seeds on his car so that birds will poop on it.  Yum-mee, on the other hand, gets to be publicly humiliated at an event she organized.

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Something similar happened in Emily’s True Love and I had a problem with that as well.  Once again, I will say that Angela has every right to be mad.  However, there are better ways to go about things like this.  I admit, people have screwed me over in the past and it is tempting to sink to their level.  That doesn’t mean that you should do so.  Let’s take the song, Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood.

When I first heard it, I thought it was a song about empowering women by destroying the cheater’s car.  I told my mom about this and she said that the behavior is destructive and insane.  You can take the moral high ground by confronting the people who’ve hurt you honestly and openly.

The game play is similar to Delicious with clothes replacing food.  You deliver the required clothes to customers and check them out at the register.  Some of the customers will try on an outfit before they purchase it.

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During each level, you can make new clothes and complete a mini-game associated with each one.

Unlike previous games, this one’s layout is made of Facebook entries for each level, and you can like each comment.

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I thought it was a unique system.  It also shows how different Angela is from Emily.

The game is short but fun.  I give it 7 out of 10, it doesn’t take up that much of your time.

Fashion Boutique (Bigfishgames.com)

Maya’s dream has finally come true.  She has her own boutique and she’s ready to make her name in the world of fashion.  Can you help Maya balance her career and her personal life?

It’s hard to talk about the storyline because what the comics say changes depending on Maya’s stats.  They might focus more on Maya’s career, her personal life or both.  I’ll admit, I did like that aspect of the comics.

The game play is something else.  You take customers to whatever part of the shop they request, bring their orders to the sales clerk and then give them back to the customers.

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My favorite part is at the end of the week, when you can pick actions for Maya that bring up her stats and help her balance her career with her life

This game is interesting but can get dull.  I give it 4 out of 10, unique but doesn’t really have much else to offer.

Game of Thrones Episode 2: The Lost Lords (Steam)

After Ramsay Snow murders Ethan Forrester and hands their livelihood over to their rival house, The Whitehills, the family struggles to maintain their once great house.  Fortunately, Rodrik returns to become the new Lord under dire circumstances.  Meanwhile, Mira Forrester secretly plots to overthrow the Whitehills while working as Lady Margeary’s handmaiden in King’s Landing and Asher, the exiled Forrester, is on his way home from Meereen with an army of sellswords.

I should warn you; this is the second episode of a TellTales game, so spoilers are unavoidable.  For instance, Rodrik supposedly died in Episode One and then came back in Episode Two, his death turning out to be an exaggeration.  Personally, I felt that was a cop out that they centered so much drama around Lord Forrester and Rodrik’s deaths, forcing Ethan to be the new lord.  Then they destroy all the drama surrounding it by revealing that Rodrik’s alive and he can take over as the New Lord.  I’ll admit, I actually liked Ethan and his struggles with having responsibility thrust on him at a young age.  This was why I wasn’t happy to see Ramsay kill him at the end.  I think it would have been more dramatic to keep Ryon dead and see how the Forresters truly struggle.

Mira Forrester’s scenes are some of my favorites, partly because they include Tyrion, who’s my favorite character in the show, other than Daenarys.

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Don’t get me wrong, I actually like Mira, her struggles and how you can make her a total badass, if you so choose.  Though I think Tyrion might have been a little sloppy in his assistance.  Let me put it this way, this is the same man who told Lady Stark that, if he were to plot an assassination, he wouldn’t hand the assassin a dagger that could be easily traced back to him.  When Joffrey’s killers frame Tyrion for the murder, he points out that, if he were to murder Joffrey, he wouldn’t do so in a way that leaves him standing there holding the cup.  Tyrion also had to see who Cersei’s spy was on the council, so he deliberately told each member of his plan to betroth Myrcella to a different ward.  I think that, if Tyrion were to ally with Mira, he would do so in a way where his alliance would not expose her or himself.  For one thing, he approaches Mira while she’s with Sera, the other handmaiden, and not asking to speak to Mira in private.  Tyrion also failed to dismiss the Lannister guard before bringing Mira to the meeting.

Speaking of Sera she has a small part in this and it’s something I actually like.  She is a bastard and, while we see many male bastards in the show and learn how hard life is for them, we never learn what it’s like for females.  In the world of Game of Thrones, no matter how bad things get for men, women always have it worse.  Therefore, you can bet that life would be worse for a woman bastard, something I wish the show would explore and, I hope the game will take the chance to.  No matter how bad things get for men, they always have the Night’s Watch as an option.  I’ll admit, it’s not a great one but it’s better than nothing.  How would a woman bastard be able to cope in Westeros?  In the case of Sera, she needs to secure a marriage to a man of high rank in order to establish her security.

Gared joined the Night’s Watch and he hasn’t fared well.

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I don’t know what the popular opinion about The Wall is, but my mom absolutely hates it.  She finds it dull with only a few matters of interest.  Personally, I like The Wall but that’s because I’m in love with Jon Snow, who gets to make an appearance in this game and advises Gared in life as a member of the Night’s Watch.

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So far, nothing really happens except that Gared gets into a few fights and has trouble getting along with many of the other recruits.  Gared also talks to Jon Snow, the one redeeming feature about The Wall, about the Red Wedding.  They even discuss why Gared wants to be a ranger.

We heard about Asher in Episode One, but we never really get to meet him until now.  I’ll admit, I like Asher’s journey as well as his companion, Beshka.  You can tell that they’re both good friends who’ve seen each other through the good and the bad and are trying to survive in a harsh climate.

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They both made a living as sellswords and have quite a few enemies to deal with.  I was happy when Malcolm comes to get them and tells Asher the plan to save House Forrester.  I already said their plan is to hire an army of sellswords to take back House Forrester, but what will they hire them with?  Sellswords cost money, which they don’t seem to have in abundance.  Maybe they plan to pay them with Ironwood, which is their livelihood, but you only get to keep half of it if you managed to convince Ramsay that the Forresters are the better craftsmen.  Even then, you give over another half as dowry to convince Elaena Glenmore to marry Rodrik.

I particularly loved how Episode Two ended.  Talia sings at the funeral for Ethan and Lord Forrester and the former’s last words influence the lyrics in her song.

I found this particularly moving not only because of the beautiful song, but also because of the shift of scenes to the other Forresters and Gared dealing with the aftermath of their own decisions and their own struggles to save their family, even if they don’t live at Ironrath anymore.  It’s enough to make you cry.

The game play is typical of TellTale games.  You make dialogue decisions for each character you play and the game compares the more important ones to what the other players decided.  I’m just going to say right now that your decisions don’t really matter.  For instance, there’s one scene where you have to choose whether Rodrik kisses Lord Whitehill’s ring out of respect in order to let his younger brother, Ryon, the Whitehills’ hostage on Ramsay’s orders, attend the funeral for his father and brother or refuse and allow Rodrik to keep his dignity.

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No matter what choice you make, the outcome is inevitably the same.  So don’t kiss the ring and let Rodrik rule the house with his head held high.  You can also explore scenes with the character you play and collect items for your inventory, even if that doesn’t really accomplish anything.  There will be quick time events where you have to press the right button, so don’t drop your guard for even a second.  The Wall also has a game play event where you can demonstrate Gared’s skills in strength, swords and crossbows.  I’ll admit that I actually liked that part, even if shooting the crossbow is a little tricky due to the constant movement.

This game is intriguing yet doesn’t seem to explore its potential.  I give it 6 out of 10, a bit of a letdown but maybe it will get better.

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?

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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