Babbling about Battle of the Bastards (Game of Thrones)

Posted in Action Adventure, My Stuff, TV on June 18th, 2016 by thelonegamer


Bastardbowl is coming.

I don’t think I’ve ever posted about HBO’s Game of Thrones, but frankly- it’s pretty much the only show on cable/TV that I watch these days, so why not talk about the upcoming “Battle of the Bastards” AKA Episode 9 of Season 6.

The entire season has been building to this- heck, most of the past seasons have. The North has been suffering under the sadistic rule of the Boltons- now solely Ramsay Bolton thanks to some handy knifework. But now, a rebellion has mobilized under the banner of the mostly-devastated Starks, led by Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and his sister Sansa (Sophie Turner).

So how is this set up? The Bolton Army is on one side, occupying the Starks’ ancestral home of Winterfell and led by one psychotic, sadistic and brutal bastard who has seemingly been on a roll of winning since his first appearance. Ramsay has been built up all this time as being cunning like a fox, keeping one step ahead of his enemies or just having all the cards in his favor. Stannis Baratheon AKA the biggest badass of Westeros up until he murdered his own daughter for a bit of sunshine- was defeated by him. Sure, Stannis’ army was outnumbered due to desertions (who knew sellswords had a soft heart for little girls?), had no cavalry, was half-frozen, half-staved and demoralized… but credit where its due, it was Ramsay and his ‘twenty good men’ burning up Stannis’ supplies that was instrumental to the Baratheon’s demise.
The Bolton Army has been seen to be large- with a sizable cavalry, archers and lots of footmen. Ramsay hasn’t shown himself to be a keen tactician (he IS daring, given his night raid idea) but so far he hasn’t had any need to given that he’s always had the odds in his favor. At this point, he can even be more confident given that aside from his army, he may also have on the field the troops of House Karstark and House Umber- the two largest houses in the North. While theories are out that question the loyalty of the Umbers, I think the show has made it out that the Karstarks are pretty loyal (really… Robb SCREWED UP). Would the Umbers try a sudden face turn in the middle of this battle?

Now, about the good guys. Jon was able to convince the Wildlings to fight, thanks to some help from Tormund and Wun-Wun. That’s about 2000 fighters, all fierce and hardened (by Hardhome- HAH) but probably pretty disorganized. Forget tactics- just point them at the enemy and let ‘em rip. Maybe some of these are archers, so if Jon is smart he’ll put those guys (and maybe gals) in a group.

But that’s not all! Jon, Sansa and Ser Davos were able to gather a ragtag bunch of men from the smaller Norther Houses- the most distinct probably being the 62 fighters from Bear Island, led by the 10-year old spitfire, Lyanna Mormont (the writers had better not harm a hair on this darlings head, or we riot). I wonder if Lyanna’s boast of each Bear Islander being worth ten mainland warriors will be proven right? That would be awesome.
Aside from the Bears, according to Davos the rest of the Stark army consists of 200 Hornwoods and 143 Mazens/Masons(?). Conceivably some of these may be cavalry, giving Jon’s forces soemthing that Stannis lacked last season.

So the good guys are quite obviously outnumbered. What can be done? From the trailers, we are seeing the Wildlings charging straight on at the enemy (or are they?), which seems a pretty bad thing to do given that the more organized Boltons are looking calm, collected and waiting, with archers that will no doubt thin the ranks of any oncoming horde and soften them up for the main force. I do hope that Jon and Davos are smart and do something… well, awesome. I think after being resurrected, Jon has done fairly nothing much for someone built up to be the show’s hero (at this point), so he needs to prove himself as a leader and someone who can think clearly. So far, rushing in like he is doesn’t look like it. But we’ll see.

But then, all may not be lost. What about reinforcements? Sansa sent a letter to someone, asking obviously for help. Some clever fans online have already deduced the letter is to Littlefinger, asking for the Knights of the Vale to come and win the war for Jon. It seems that all this has been done by Sansa behind Jon’s back- why? It seems that Sansa wants to have HER say in the battle with HER army- which is clearly not Jon’s assorted menagerie. Sansa clearly doesn’t believe they can win, and she is doing all she can to win it herself- which may end up winning the battle- or causing a big backfire.

And then lastly, are the Knights of the Vale coming? Will they arrive in time? Will they swing the battle in the favor of the Starks?

Or will a Tully Army- released by a repentant Jamie to Brienne- arrive as well? Perhaps this will be a step in the redemption we’ve been looking for in the Kingslayer all this time, as he did promise doing this to Brienne…?

Now, onto another, even darker aspect of the battle. Who may die?

Obviously hundreds will die. This is going to be bloody. I do hope though that somehow, the wildlings don’t suffer a catastrophic loss of life. The Free Folk need to survive this, somehow. That said, I don’t think Tormund will die- as the only remaining person of importance among the Wildlings, him dying basically kills them as a faction or as something to care about. He dies only if every other Wildling dies, which I refuse to believe Jon would allow. As for Wun Wun… the lovable giant unfortunately doesn’t have a good chance of surviving. Given that he’s so dangerous, enemy forces would surely focus on him. Not sure if arrows can bring him down, but cavalry might. I do hope he somehow makes it out. Hell, he survived zombie hordes!

Davos is another character feared to bite it in this battle. I say, nope. I believe he’s too important, too awesome. He’s on of the few truly good men in all of Westeros. If there is any justice, he survives this show to retire at the end as maester to Lady Lyanna Mormont on idyllic Bear Island. Sigh. I still think he has lots of parts to play still. Davos, don’t die!

As for Jon and Sansa- not a chance. Jon is effectively unkillable now, after being already killed and resurrected. Sansa is the last real Stark (despite being married to Ramsay and Joffrey), so she is also too important. Rickon? What about the most useless Stark in the show? Eeh… kill him. Cut his throat. Whatever. Hahaha.

Will Ramsay actually meet his end here? I really have no idea. I guess this episode- the biggest battle on the show so far- would be an awesome time to take out the evil Bastard of Bolton. Because yeah, we really need everyone to focus on the real baddie- the Night King. It’s the battle between the Living and the Dead, after all. And the Dead are coming.

Goddamn I can’t wait till Monday.

Guest of Thrones: Jon Snow with Seth Meyers

Posted in Action Adventure, Fantasy, Game of Thrones, TV on April 11th, 2015 by thelonegamer


And I thought I’d love having Jon Snow over for dinner…

Funny video from Late Night with Seth Meyers… with a Game of Thrones-themed skit having Kit Harington in full character as his on-screen alter ego, Jon Snow, as a dinner guest in modern-era New York. The GOT Protagonist may be a heroic warrior, leader of men possessed of a compelling story, but I guess he may not be the most pleasant of dinner guests… or is he? Heck, I thought he was pretty awesome heh. This is just a perfect way to get me into the Game of Thrones mood- the 5th Season debuts tomorrow, April 12 (well, Monday in the US I guess), which means I’ll probably get my hands on the first episode Tuesday or so. Still thinking of getting a bunch before diving into my only TV series of recent times. We’ll see.

Constantine TV Series looks… Awesome!

Posted in Action Adventure, Comics, Constantine, Fan Service, TV on May 12th, 2014 by thelonegamer


Finally a Constantine series true to the comic?

The first time I saw a live-action adaptation of the popular Hellblazer comics, it was with that movie with Keanu Reeves. Now, admittedly it wasn’t a horrible film, though of course fans were likely immediately turned off by the casting. Well, that won’t be the case for the upcoming TV series from NBC based on the DC Vertigo title.

Constantine starring Matt Ryan, a blonde British actor, looks to be true to its page-turning roots. The trailer looks quite intriguing and has all the magical abracadabra and Constantine acting all like an arse that you’d expect. Looking forward to this!

The War Continues in April: Game of Thrones Season 4

Posted in Action Adventure, Fan Service, TV on February 18th, 2014 by thelonegamer


VENGEANCE.

It’s been a hell of a wait, but damn- it’s going to be worth it if this trailer for the Fourth Season of HBO’s Game of Thrones is to be believed. The ‘Good Guys’ were dealt a grievous blow in the previous season with the Red Wedding, and now the scales are demanding balance. Another royal wedding, more betrayals, more scheming, more action, more blood… more DRAGONS. April can’t freakin’ come soon enough.

For now, get yourself salivating with the trailer above. Valar Morghulis.

Mortal Kombat Legacy II: Second Season Review

Posted in Action Adventure, Arcade, DLC, Fan Service, Fantasy, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat Legacy, TV on October 5th, 2013 by thelonegamer


Behind the scenes with MK Legacy 2.

And here it is. When Kevin Tancharoen first burst onto the MK scene with his revolutionary short, MK Rebirth, fans all over were hopeful that there would be a great resurgence in the franchise’s storytelling. In a way, that has certainly come to pass- the first web-series was well-received… at least, well enough to spawn a second season. Eventually, we expect a full movie, which hopefully will come within sight of the next actual GAME. Anyway, that’s still far into the future; the Second Season of Mortal Kombat Legacy, named Mortal Kombat Legacy II, is here now, released in its entirety online (at Machinima) on the first day of release. What can one expect from the sophomore outing of this subset of the MK mythos?

The first season was ten episodes long, and was composed mainly of single or two-episode character arcs, each one taking on one or two characters’ stories- such as Sonya and Jax, Raiden, Kitana and Mileena, Johnny Cage and so son. Each character arc was more or less a complete story, making the first season an anthology. The quality was overall good, in terms of production value it all looked slick and above your usual live-action fan flick. I even found myself really into the unusual treatment of some of the episodes, such as the quite disturbing episode starring Raiden, which put the thunder god in a mental institution where we all questioned his sanity. Some were by the numbers or expected, but it all came off as a good-natured, well-meaning MK romp. They were all prequels and served to enrich the existing mythology.

Now, MK Legacy II. The schtick here is, the second season is not an anthology anymore- all 10 episodes tell one linear story, and is set in the time of an actual, or in this series, the current MK Tournament. This IS the game, within this corner of the MK universe.
As expected, both the champions of Earth Realm and Outworld are being gathered- by Raiden (David Lee McInnis) and Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) respectively. Of the fighters, there are changes to the casting from Season 1, with key characters Sonya and Jax missing in action during the actual Tournament. The good guys include Johnny Cage (newly-casted Casper Van Diem), Kurtis Stryker, the New Sub-Zero and Kung Lao (Mark Dacascos). On the Outworld side are Kitana and Mileena, a demonic and feral Ermac, Scorpion (returning Ian Anthony Dale) and Lui Kang (Brian Tee).


More on MK Legacy 2′s Behind-the-scenes.

Yep, Lui Kang. Perhaps following the events in the game, MKL2′s Champion of Earth Realm is a disillusioned, bitter and violent, given to drinking and brawling. Oh, and he apparently works as a paid assassin. Not quite the thing expected of a supposed Hero and former member of the White Lotus. Well, having your fiancee murdered can expectedly change you. The scene though where the fiancee is apparently killed is pretty vague (how did it happen and why couldn’t Lui Kang stop it?). Given as well that Kung Lao and the White Lotus have become Jedi-like in their intolerance of human love and relationships, you perhaps can’t blame him totally.

There are sadly glaring problems in MKL2. The first being the cast seems full of holes and ragtag, with no one to really root for. Lui Kang has turned evil, while Kung Lao is so vapid and cold in his purity that he is borderline unlikable. Johnny Cage remains clueless until it’s too late, and Stryker is… well, Stryker and Sub-Zero… well, he’s spineless. Heheh.

Aside from that, it’s readily apparent that each of the episodes is short on content. At about eight or so minutes for most, an episode seems to contain one main scene, a tease of the next scene and that’s it. Add to this padding of recap footage from the previous episode, or one of the various pace-slowing flashbacks and the final ‘Next Episode’ teaser footage at the end and you have just a very bit of actual real time action to chew on per ep. I think that’s the main reason why they released every episode of Season 2 all at once- watching just one episode a week is too lacking in content and oomph. There’s actually basically just barely enough for a feature film before us, and even then, it finishes with the main fight that was being built up for the whole time STILL not happening. On the bright side, at least we get quite a few fatalities, even if the fights themselves (and the tournament as a whole) seemingly feeling and looking… small.

Still, the series looks great, with good fight scenes and decent to very good performances from most of the onscreen performers. At no point is it ever too slow or boring. But I just want more.

On the one side, I guess it’s good that the season leaves us wanting more and expectant of the next installment. Do we have to wait another year till Season 3? MAN. On the other, I hope that director Kevin T. returns to making the eps. each more substantial and perhaps less seemingly by the numbers. I’ve seen better from this franchise, and I hope it gets even better from here.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Episode One Review

Posted in Agents of SHIELD, Fan Service, My Stuff, TV on October 3rd, 2013 by thelonegamer


Marvel’s got a new Team Supreme.

The Avengers movie was awesome. I still think it’s one of the best superhero films ever, and to have something in that vein- even a sliver of it, more often, would be great. I guess you can consider Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as something of this sort. Oh, and from here on, I will NOT be typing that title in full again, instead resorting to AoS to refer to the show. Periods.

Set sometime after the events in the Avengers movie, AoS throws us back into the game alongside Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) as he investigates strange, superhuman-based cases for SHIELD with a rag-tag team of exceptional but quirky agents. You’ve got Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), a field agent and lone wolf who’s more at home with assassinations than assisting. Melinda May (Ming Na Wen) is the team’s designated pilot though she apparently has the skills rivaling the Black Widow. Agents Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) are the resident eggheads. Finally there’s Skye (Chloe Bennet), who aside from being monstrously cute is an off-the-grid renegade hacker determined to ‘expose’ SHIELD to the world.

Oh, and you may ask as well- didn’t Coulson DIE in the Avengers movie? Well, he did… or did he? Or didn’t he? The answer to this is a bit murky at the start, even though to Phil himself it seems to be cut and dried- a near-death experience. But a short scene and ominous dialogue between Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and SHIELD physician Doctor Streiten (Ron Glass) point to there being much more to Coulson’s return than even he knows… perhaps something to ponder for the future. Suffice to say, the man’s back and hopefully whatever happens he’s here to stay.

The first episode does a quick and brisk job of introducing the cast, starting with Ward, throwing in Phil and then running through the rest as they race to get to a newly-discovered ‘superhuman’ (played by J. August Richards) before ‘other elements’ get to them. As you’d expect with a script by Joss Whedon, there are fast quips, nods to the film and other Marvel franchises, a healthy bit of sexual attraction and an issue’s worth of clever banter to keep you chuckling and going ‘ooh’ or ‘oh’ or ‘ah’ throughout.

Other than that, the production quality is very good for a TV series, with liberal special effects giving the SHIELD good guys a good bit of super-tech. Other nice things, girls will surely like stoic action man Ward, while Ming Na hardly looks like she has aged since the Streetfighter movie. Oh, and man is it cool to have not one but two people with English accents cutely bickering to fill the space? And did I say that Chloe Bennet is monstrously cute? Monster.

Anyway, the pilot is fast paced and very tight, and there is a red herring or two which surprised, even if the ending was a bit- well, comic book. Or was that intended?
Pilot was very much an enjoyable watch and a very promising start to a series that will be battling for the attention of fans of Marvel Comics, the movies and TV shows in general. Anyways, it’s good to see Phil back in action and the team is cute and cool as hell. Hope the scripts are always as snappy as this one, but from just this start, I’m keeping my seat on Lola and heading off with the gang for their next mission.

Busting Zombies

Posted in Fan Service, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, The Walking Dead, TV, Uncategorized, Zombie Games on October 3rd, 2013 by thelonegamer

MythBusters take on Walkers this month.

I LOVE Mythbusters. It’s one of the few shows I really really really watch, and man, I’d totally be on board for an all-MB channel! Anyways, the show is currently on hiatus I think, but will continue later this month. And apparently their debuting episode this coming October 17 will be a Zombie Apocalypse Special! Yep, Jamie, Adam and the Build Team will be taking on Walkers for an hour of splattery fun. Walking Dead actor Michael Rooker is going to make an appearance as well. This is yet another ep where the Mythbusters have crossed paths with another TV show- in the past they’ve done stuff with shows like Deadliest Catch and the recently-concluded Breaking Bad.

Anyways, that’s in a couple of weeks time. I love all things zombie, though sadly I’ve been remiss in some of the more popular bits of the genre- I haven’t been watching The Walking Dead, nor have I been playing Plants VS Zombies 2 (my time got hijacked by Kingdom Rush Frontiers and then Infinity Blade III). Maybe seeing the Mythbusters Zombie Special will spark a return to the shuffler scene for me. I DO want to get State of Decay when it comes out on Steam eventually, as well. Hmmm.

When It Rains, It Pours: Musing About Game of Thrones ‘Rains of Castamere’

Posted in Fan Service, Fantasy, My Stuff, TV on June 4th, 2013 by thelonegamer

I probably haven’t said so that much here on the blog, but I am a big fan of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels, and particularly of HBO’s Game of Thrones series. This week’s episode however was a HUGE sucker punch to many fans of the series who did not read the books and were not in the know of what was going to happen in this event that will from here on will be known as ‘The Red Wedding’.

Basically this episode is the BIG Empire Strikes Back moment for GOT- but times ten in terms of impact and horror. This is where the bad guys score big time, offing what seems to be the last of the good guys in this series- along the way carrying out a terrifyingly violent onscreen massacre which I place right up there with the Death of Sonny Corleone in the original Godfather film. Even though I knew what was coming, it still shocked me to see the things happen before my eyes in stark (heh) bloody imagery instead of just words from a page.

Of course the event was made all the more brutal (perhaps overly so, some may say) by the murder that kicked the night off, the stabbing (stabstabstab) of the pregnant Talisa Maeger Stark (the TV-only wife of Robb Stark). Everything else happened as expected, although I have to say that one thing that is different from the books is that we really don’t know or have any names to place with the rest of the Stark entourage within the wedding hall (aside from Cat and Robb), while in the book these were all loyal nobles, knights and Stark bannermen. To have them all slaughtered so ruthlessly and so freakin’ EASILY in one night was absurdly depressing for any Stark-loving reader (as I recall, the Stark army destroyed at the Twins numbered about three thousand).

One thing you may have missed if you blinked- the Blackfish, Brynden Tully (Clive Russell) escaped the fray (heh) by a lucky call of nature just before the band started playing the swan song. So we may see him around still breathing and spoiling for some revenge.

I believe that next episode will give us quite a bit more Frey-and-Bolton crowing about their victory, which may include the very messy and ugly last rites they give to Cat and Robb (hey, they didn’t shy away from showing poor Ned and his peoples’ heads on pikes back in Season 2). It may also show the rest of Westeros’ reactions to this unheard-of act of brutality and desecration of guest-host relations. I also hope this debuts a particularly creepy new character to close out this season, but we’ll see.

As bloody and depressing this episode may be, it’s not the end of the world, peeps. The war is over but the fight goes on. I have to say that I hunger to see how they handle the rest of the series and the still-unknown final two books for this supposedly-7 year TV epic. For now though, it’ll be a great ordeal to wait till next season. Well, let’s hope they have a whopper of an episode next week to keep us in suspense and raring for more.

Who Says Barbarian Girls Can’t Be Gorgeous?

Posted in Action Adventure, Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Fan Service, Fantasy, Game-related Events, My Stuff, RPGs, TV on June 4th, 2012 by thelonegamer


Game of Thrones’ Ygritte (Rose Leslie) is one hot babe in a cold, cold wasteland.

Back when I started playing The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim on PC, one of the first mods I installed were body and face replacers which made the characters in the fantasy world, particularly the hardy, just-as-tough-as-the-males women, a bit more attractive. Okay, scratch that- a LOT more attractive. Let’s just say that I just found haggard wrinkles and pale faces not too engaging.
To my credit, I didn’t go for the heavy-makeup look of popular mods like Bella’s Better Females, but rather with the more natural but smooth and comely look of Coverwomen. So now, whether it’s a highborn lady in Solitude or a scullery maid in Dragonreach, a female warlock in some dungeon lair or a bandit woman encountered in the wilds, most often these women are quite lovely and can look great on the cover of a magazine (or at least be very successful hand-or-foot models…). There are those that may go ‘pooh-pooh’ on this bit of fanservice, saying that it goes against the lore of the land.

It’s a fantasy land with hard people, bitten by the winter cold and tested by fire and battle, may be the mantra; so if the devs made the women look as strapping as leather, that’s the way it should be… right? NAH. Hey, I can have a world of hot babes if I want- it’s my game on my PC. And who says fantasy women in a fantasy land can’t look great?
I mean, these people aren’t savaged- they have MAGIC and alchemy that can instantly heal- something we here in present day, civilized Earth don’t have (unless I missed reading some revolutionary new medical news). Who’s to say these people don’t have something mundane like makeup, lip gloss or eye shadow? And just because Lydia (or Jordis, et al) is a trained warrior, who says she doesn’t have a compact and kit in her pockets?

And here’s one more argument to my side- take a gander above at the photo of the Wildling Spearwife, Ygritte (played by gorgeous red-head Rose Leslie), who made her debut in the second season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. That’s certainly one babe who looks AMAZING despite living in the most cruel, cold and deadly region of Westeros. Wildlings must have really talented beauticians in their ranks. Heheh.

Anyway, just a wee bit of fan service. Haven’t been back to Skyrim for a bit, but I’ll probably go back once and keep playing as my Mage and prep up for the eventual coming of Dawnguard for the PC. Still a bit off, but who knows, we may be back into our modded personal fantasy lands in no time. The babes are waiting.

Avatar: Legend of Korra Clips!

Posted in Action Adventure, Anime, Fantasy, TV on January 16th, 2012 by thelonegamer


Korra’s ready for some action.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the finest shows ever- animated or not. This of course relates only to the original animated show on Nickelodeon… the live-action movie isn’t fit for human viewing save for purposes of inflicting mental torture. I say that in all seriousness.

It’s a good thing that the producers of Avatar have gone forward and are fashioning their sequel series as we speak. Avatar: Legend of Korra takes us seventy years after the events of ATLA, with a new, spunky and kick-ass Avatar in the form of the fetching but fight-hungry Korra.
The show is so far veiled mostly in secrecy but several clips have surfaced online today showing off some of the impressive martial arts action and fight choreography the series has been known for. As expected, they’ve ratcheted up the quality of the fighting, a bit more violent but still for the most part wholesome- no blood, just pseudo-Jackie Chan-style ‘No One Dies Even If They Probably Should’.
There are SPOILERS in the clips, including one BIG spoiler that reveals at least one character from the previous show is still alive in the Korra timeline, and a couple who aren’t. Shhh… in case you haven’t figured out how the Avatar Cycle works, Aang has kicked the bucket long ago.
Anyways, the show looks freakin’ cool, and Korra is likable off the bat. I can’t wait to see all the nods to the original as well as how this show is going to break new ground. It already looks so much more advanced- hoping the characters, the story and the humor are just as strong as the action. Look for this later in the year.