Tag Archives: Knights

Otaku Review: Knights of Sidonia

Knights of Sidonia

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A Netflix original, mostly 3d animated, manga adaption by the same name. The master mind and author behind this series is Tsutomu Nihei. Whom is well known for emotional scenes, striking vistas and insanely huge and complicated environments. His previous work Blame! Took place in a huge ever expanding mega structure. This time around it’s a science fiction epic that takes place in a generation ship. A asteroid made into a humongous spaceship that has been traveling for generations though unknown space. On the run from some very, very creepy and clearly organic beings. sid4These monstrosities looks like something out of a Lovecraftian nightmare and will shred you to pieces with razor sharp appendages. Meanwhile try very hard to fight them with rocket propelled mecha. Which uses lances among other things as weapon. There is a reason why it’s called Knights of Sidonia, Naturally the students also use them to joust during combat training. By now you should know that this series is in no way affiliated with the Knights of Cydonia song from the band Muse.  Interestingly enough this puts it somewhat on the hard side of the science fiction reality scale,  Though the Guano as the thing they is know as, is anything but real.

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The main protagonist Nagate Tanikaze is a fairly decent one and is just shy of being a spike haired loud mouth. Tough he has his moments. Since he is from outside the system he’s the odd one out and slowly but surely he gains the respect of his peers. However this is a seinen  series, which gives the characters a lot more emotional flexibility, which also make then infinity more expandable. I will not go into more details, as few people like spoilers. Almost everyone with a name can die and probably will die.  At least this holds true for the first half of the series. Nagate, is a bit of an oddity that emerged from the under belly of Sidonia in order to raid the rice storage. Naturally a chase scene ensues, he got heavily injured and eventually got conscripted. By the way, have I mentioned that anyone can die? I just had to be sure. For reasons unknown to me there is also a female baker bear in the series as well.

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Mi biggest complain would be that I feel that there is something seriously wrong with the framerate. The animations have a nasty habit of getting choppy. There are plotting and visual differences between the manga and anime, but it’s mostly faithful. There are also cases of naked breast in the comic. sid6

All in all a fairly enjoyable show, based on a very decently drawn and made manga. Though at times I wish that Knights of Sidonia was drawn instead. But you know what they say; taste is a butt, split in half and the middle is shit. One thing that also stands out is the overuse of the color white, as everyone seems to parade around in their uniform all the time. Keep in mind this is not a child friendly series, there are a lot of violence, blood and people dying in gruesome ways.

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Njål H Sand

Early Access: Avalon Lords: Dawn Rises

20160530112031_1 Avalon Lords: Dawn Rises is a multiplayer-only, real time strategy (RTS) game in Early Access. When I say multiplayer, only I mean that there is no single player story mode. There are only single player practice rounds. At the start of the game you choose one of five factions to join, each of which gives you a slight bonus to things like starting gold and reduced resource requirements for certain units. From here you can play three separate types of games:

1. Empire: This is the largest. It pits you against other players or AI for control of the world. You battle over different regions in the name of your faction. There are a lot of teams on the board and this game can take a while to play through.
2. Conquest: This is the standard match. You start with a castle and a few peasants who can build or harvest for you. You slowly build an army and take on other players or AI in practice.
3. Battle: You create an army list by choosing from several units, then you just send your army after your opponents.

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Playing against the AI is a huge pain in the ass, especially for someone who has rarely played RTS games. The AI builds much faster and more efficiently than you do. It can create huge armies very quickly and wipe you out by the time you create your first few units. I’m sure someone with much more experience in this genre could deal with the enemy a lot easier. However, since there is no way to change the AI difficulty, new players are for the most part shut out pretty early on. Playing the practice modes was about as much as I was able to do. Every time I tried to get into a human match the game reminded me that there were only 4 people playing. I waited in a queue for a while but was eventually unable to find a game.

In terms of game play, there really isn’t anything new or interesting here. Everything Avalon Lords does has been done already (and much, much better). The tech progression is fairly bog standard. You build buildings to get different units. You upgrade those buildings to get better units. You can build places that will research buffs for your units, or what have you. You have a central focus on gaining resources like iron, gold or wood with peasants in order to build. There’s really nothing in this game that you wouldn’t find in any other RTS. On top of that, the generic medieval theme has been done to death.20160531112829_1

The controls are finicky and unpleasant when you try to drag over a bunch of units to select them, or try to move the map to get to where you want. You sometimes end up on the complete opposite side of the map from where you intended. The developers have recently announced that they are making the game free-to-play. So in the future be wary of this game not only being out-shined by other RTS games (including many free ones), but also being filled with micro-transactions. This is speculation, so we’ll just have to see.

The most fun I had with Avalon Lords are the short battle games. Here you just choose units for your roster and send them out against your opponent. I found it was best to send them all in one large clump, since that’s mostly what your opponent will being doing. Here you just watch them all fight and die. Then the game ends, nice and simple. No resource management or building nonsense; just a quick fight. You can choose the configuration of your list so that you can have all archers or crossbowmen, or all weak sword guys, or heavy shielded guys…or any combination thereof. It’s over in under five minutes, and then you can do something else with your time.

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-Jordan Kamm-

Haven Review: Rooks Keep

rooksFirst up is our disclaimer.  We received this game for review purposes only. All opinions in this article our are own and no money has been tendered for this review.

If someone were to ask what is history’s most enduring board game, Chess is the obvious answer. While not the oldest extant board game, Chess takes the top spot for sheer international appeal.

Since the dawn of electronics, attempts have been made to improve the game through artificial intelligence. There was even an 18th century chess-playing “machine”, but it turned out to be just a human hidden under a tablecloth, moving pieces around with magnets.

Enter Rooks Keep, from RuneStorm Games. Here we have a twist not seen since Activision‘s classic board clash, Archon: The Light and the Dark (1983).RK-Oct12-02In Rooks Keep, battle is conducted in two phases: Third-person RPG, followed by a chess board battle arena. In the RPG phase, you first select to play either with the Light pieces (representing Good) or the Dark pieces (Evil). Then you select a playable character based on actual Chess pieces. Do not assume that Queens and Rooks are more powerful than Bishops, Knights and Pawns. In RPG, each piece has separate skills that need to be honed if you are to master this game.

RPG’s gameplay itself has you running around a rendered map, swinging melee weapons and casting spells at your opponents (either AI or human). As you succeed in combat you’ll acquire new skills, as well as level-up your existing skills. This all goes to better your character for the Chess board phase to come.RK4When all of your Chess pieces have obtained sufficient skills, you can head to the classic game board. Here a new battle begins, based on the standard rules of Chess. But wait, there’s more! Whenever a piece is attacked on the board, the offense does not automatically capture it. Instead, both pieces are transported to a small circular arena located just off the edge of the board, where they engage in a short RPG skirmish.RK5The piece that wins the skirmish retains possession of the square back on the Chess board! So the moral here is to refrain from board play until your pieces’ RPG skills are up for it. rook2Overall, Rooks Keep is a great take on what could be called the most classic game of all time. It’s especially fun to pit an RPG expert against a Chess expert; both become completely frustrated, but for opposite reasons! Suffice it to say that you’ll need to be good at both skills if you’re going to win. If all else fails, you can simply play in “regular” Chess mode and enjoy a casual game, without all the bloodshed.

-Chris Roberts-

Rooks Keep Scale