Tag Archives: Magic

Otaku Review: Fate/ Stay Unlimited Blade Works

Fate/ Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works

I am the bone of my sword
Steel is my body and fire is my blood
I have created over a thousand blades
Unknown to Death, Nor known to Life
Have withstood pain to create many weapons
Yet, those hands will never hold anything
So as I pray, unlimited blade works.

One of my all time favorite anime series. It got plot, characters and is beautifully animated. The anime is an adaptation of a visual novel with unlock-able sex scenes. Unfortunately I can’t stand the insane walls of boring text and repeating names. This is a thing that makes a good anime adaption a gods end. The Fate universe is a complex one with a ton of plot lines and spin-offs. Infinite blade works is the second adaptation, which focus on a different plot line and point of view than Fate/ Stay night. Ultimately it’s the same characters only being used differently. To be honest the naming convention is way to convoluted and confusing. Generally it’s easier to just refer to it all as the Nasuverse. Naturally some die hard fans will disagree with me, proclaiming that the visual novels are superior. If you can get hold of a good translation that is.

Unlimited blade works, follows the path of the sorceress Rin and her summoned servant known as archer. Which both partake in a conflict know as the holy grail war. Where several stuck up and questionable mage families compete for the ultimate price. Which will grant the winner his ultimate wish. Naturally the families participating does their best to summon the strongest and most vicious heroic spirits possible. Essentially when well known heroes of legends die, they will become a part of the Holy grail. Waiting to be summoned by whomever participates in the Grail war.

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The story mainly focuses on Rin whom is a young magician, whose father groomed into becoming a part of the grail war. She is quite skilled and very headstrong, with a soft and sensible side as well. Every now and then she also cracks a joke. This alone makes her leagues above the cookie cutter stereotypes most series cram down our throats these days.
Meanwhile her servant Archer is quite fantastic as well and actually look like a seasoned and buff warrior. With a snarky attitude and an infinite amount of swords to throw around.
Lastly there is Saber; A blond knight, that is so serious that and no nonsense as you can get her and yet have a somewhat compelling personality.

Lastly there is Shirou, whom starts off as interesting as a wash cloth with a traumatic past. Whom eventually he becomes more than a pushover handy man. The kind that has to be stabbed a lot, before he learns his lesson. Which happens a lot, as most of the players in the grail war does not play around much; Nor do they play fair. Even if the characters are fleshed out and very interesting. They still have the nasty habit of beating everyone over the head with a blunt encyclopedia of exposition. Followed by long periods of little action and some shocking plot twists.

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The music score is fairly decent and the voice actors does a splendid job for the most part. Can’t say much about the dubbing. I have no good reason to watch the English version at all. Meanwhile the art style is quite moody with a gradient filter to all. It even makes the odd facial structure of the characters looks good. The backgrounds are not much to write home about. Since it takes place in Japan, there is the generic school, temples and a lot of streets with no names. The animation quality is very good despite many slow and moody moments.

Unlimited Blade Works comes highly recommended and  is quite addictive, leaving the viewer either frustrated, or just craving more.

Njål H Sand

Haven Reviews: Inferno Climber

Haven: Reviews Inferno Climber

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When I started the game I thought long and hard about which hero to chose from. All of them have something different about them. In the end it did not matter one bit. The game narrator kept feeding me stories of my greatness and insurmountable power. Naturally this story sounds way too good to be true. However that is the curse of a hero, to charge head first into a six meter tall dragon like creature. With only a dingy wooden rod to aid me. The outcome was certain from the get go, especially since I had no idea of how to play the game. Yes I died, in a fiery inferno. Normally death is the end, ironically enough I actually met him. He’s an ever so cheerful fellow. A very important and very cruel creature. Instead of staying dead, I woke up in a shallow grave, within a dying world.

Inferno Climber is a skill based combat game, with a leveling system and breakable weapons. After dying to a big bad boss, the player spawns in another location, where the game tutorial actually starts. This level is also one of the most important ones, as each time I   return to it, I can pick up weapons and potions again.

20160912135946_1Due to the nature of the game, death is a guaranty. Unfortunately this means that I have to chase down and recover my corpse, after buying a death certificate from Death. But in order to reach my body, I have to pick one of the other heroes available, which is the reason the first pick does not matter too much. However at some point I will probably run out of fresh corpses to throw at the meat grinder. The world of Inferno Climber is also covered in puzzles and devious traps. Which is one of the fun factors. Inch by inch, the world opens up and more secrets are found. 20160912143918_1

Luckily some of the most obnoxious areas game me a breather when I failed too much. There is a section of stealth, where overly aggressive skeletons patrols. I died a lot there and eventually a giant chicken spawned. The bird gave me a deodorant, which made me harder to see until I broke stealth. Enemies have no mercy and have no quarrels about kicking people on the ground. Which make recovery from a hard blow very hard, frustrating and unforgiving indeed. Some selected few enemies also have quick time events in order to escape them. Luckily the camera cooperates most of the time and lock-on actually works. Though it hates small spaces and being up against a wall. 20160911222646_1

There is also a fair deal of towering bosses, that will wipe the floor with anyone unprepared. I learned this the hard way. As my foes fall before me in Inferno Climber, experience points and money is doped as well. Each level up provides stat points to use. In the stat menu there is the usual selection of stats, which are quite self explanatory. The other way to improve stats is through loot, however even the strongest of armors will eventually break. Which is why there is a crafting system in place. Which proves a way make supplies.

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Graphically the game is very basic and a bit rough around the edges. Where everything serves a purpose. It a bit on the brown and the dark side at times though. Weirdly enough there are a lot of loading screens, despite the stylistic nature of it all. Music is solid and very instrumental, with some jaunty tunes and adds a lot to the atmosphere. The in-game sound effects of Inferno Climber are decent, if not for the critical existence failure alert. Having a repetitive beeping when almost dead is just bad design.
To top it all of the writing is decent and the game can be set to Japanese as well.

To sum it up, fun, frustrating and flawed. Highly recommended for people whom like a challenge, exploration and skill based combat. The kind that is after more that state of the art graphics. The Steam Achievements helps as well. On a final note,  do not expect to complete Inferno Climber in one sitting.

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Disclaimer:  We received this game for review purposes only. As such, all views in this article are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Njål Sand

Nerd Editorial: Regncon 2015

 

Regncon 2015 – Bergen, Norway:

This is a very fun and local convention based around board, card, and tabletop games…with many other events going on, as well. The convention’s name is a pun on how much it rains in Bergen all year around. The con has a different theme each year; this time it was “Death and Decay”. This was oddly fitting, considering Halloween is coming.

Since a convention is all about content, some of the more memorable events should be mentioned. One was “Killer”: the art of stalking down other people and nailing them with rubber bands; a true contest of skill and taking cheap shots. Luckily for most people, the cafeteria and the toilets were safe zones. Despite this, a lot of people were caught with their pants down!

The association Hyperion has a morbid fascination with unicorns. So an illustration contest was held, and the contestants had three days to draw the best unicorn. In case you’re clueless, it’s an imaginary horse with a single horn. Most of the time it’s associated with purity and rainbows.

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“Death from The Sims”

This brings me to the next event, a stick horse workshop. Judging by the success and feedback, it was a lot of fun. Naturally, some of them put on a silly performance and won prizes.

A local organization called GG Bergen, which focuses mainly on gaming, held among other things a Smash Bros. melee competition. It’s a game about Nintendo characters fighting each other. This organization gives kids who want to play against each other a reason to do so, and it’s available most weekends.

Since cosplay has gained a lot of popularity, a costume competition was unavoidable, and what fun it was. The good thing about it was that there was more than enough time to do a show, and the judges had plenty of time to examine the contestants’ costumes. Among the judges was the esteemed Mia Maki. I mention her since she actually has a reference page and is quite good at making costumes and props:

https://www.facebook.com/yoshplaysmia?fref=ts

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“The Ferryman”

Tabletop gaming is fun for most of the family, and even more so for the people attending. Whomever decides to be the Game Master (GM) is the one who tells the story and provides context/challenges. The players respond to the challenges put to them by the GM. I only had time for “An apple a day”, set within the SLA Industries universe. There I was an operative investigating several murders at a local hospital. A doctor at the hospital had patched up a mass-murderer who decided to kill kindergarten children. After that, I was stuck in the afterlife with the rest of my party. It was a lot of fun.

I spent most of Saturday and Sunday fighting against kids. Tidsreiser held two events. Time Travelers is an apocalyptic game that takes place in the future, where 99% of the world has died. This means that survivors gather together in tribes. It’s fun and focused around the idea of trade negotiation, rather than solving every engagement at gunpoint…though my character kept saying that “accidents happen”.

On Sunday they held an adventure game in a local park called The Unicorn Land, a very tranquil place where elves, men and goblins roam around and a fight a lot, or just make questionable treaties. After all, it’s not easy to trust knights with coconut horses and vile goblins. At the end of the day, the children amassed in a fight against the adults.

Here is a link to their main page:

http://tidsreiser.no/

If anyone has children aged 8 and up and happen to live in Bergen, feel free to sign up.

 

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“A Zombie with Nice Dentures”

Since this convention is focused around things to do on a table top, they also held a Magic: The Gathering (MTG) tournament. It’s a very popular (and old) card game built around combat, collecting and trading. Personally I like the concept, but the execution bores me; though this should not stop anyone from enjoying it.

The food from Los Tacos was decent, but nothing to write home about (pun intended). It’s a local nachos place.

A couple of scavenger-hunters did exceedingly well at locating the hidden things around the school.

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“Some Demon from the Stygian Abyss”

Since there is an artistic streak in most of us, all of us participating could draw a unicorn and win prizes. I did not deliver my contribution, and it was too bad that they could not show them on the auditorium wall.

As an additional note, this could not have been done without gofers, the volunteers who keep the wheels running. Anyone can be a gofer if they sign up. Besides, this year they did a splendid job.

“Everyone Expects the Spanish Inquisition”

So long story short, It was very enjoyable, and it’s a recurring event to look forward to every year.

Since Hyperion is an important part of this community, here is a link to their main page.

http://n4f.no/

While you’re at it, feel free to take a look at my Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/SandCos

-Njål Sand-