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.

Anime Break! Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing (Episodes 1 and 2)

Posted in Action Adventure, Anime, Fan Service, My Stuff, TV on October 24th, 2011 by thelonegamer

Giant airship battles, feisty flying cuties… Yep, Last Exile’s back.

A long time ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away… I was a younger Otaku who guzzled anime like soda. During that time, Gonzo was the studio often in the spotlight, and Last Exile was one of their classics. This series, full of cloudy worlds and warring airship fleets surely captured the minds of countless anime fans, mixing steampunk with mystical powers, light-hearted adventure (initially) with more dark, serious drama. Truth be told, I need to re-watch the series again to remember all the details, but it’s still the first title I quote when I want to bring to mind awesome anime. So now, the sequel, Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing, is here, airing on Animax here in Manila every weekend, same time as Japan.

Set in another part of Prester, far from the warring states of Anatoray and Disith in the first LE, this time we take on the conflict between the Kingdom of Turan and the Ades Federation. I guess parallelisms to Phantom Menace are inescapable with Turan being smaller and seemingly less aggressive with their cute princesses and graceful, T-shaped airships, while we can see the more foreboding and militaristic Ades fleet as the ‘bad guys’- well, since they broke a supposed peace accord and started attacking with no provocation, that’s pretty unmistakable. Into this conflict barge in the titular Fam Fam Fan, a young Sky Pirate with amazing Vanship skills (and a nasty habit of sleepwalking… dangerous when you’re on a freakin’ AIRSHIP).

Though they’d probably be better off just staying out of the action and just hijacking the occasional lone airship, for some reason Fam and her Sky Pirate gang come to the aid of Turan- showing that good guys stick together, or perhaps the Sky Pirates just don’t like seeing bullies- at first saving the embattled princesses escape then later personally flying one royal highness back to Turan. Obviously though, as the war continues with no end in sight, Fam, her people and the princess she’s taken under her wing are in for the journey of their lives.

At just by the second episode there have been a couple of big battles, tons of Vanship daring-do, the return of old favorite Dio Eraclea from the first series, the revelation that there’s another Exile, or giant super-powered starship, in existence and a whole city pulverized (which shows that this new series isn’t all cute and fluffy). What the bad guys are planning, what other familiar faces like Tatiana Wisla will play in this conflict and what one spunky little Sky Pirate can do in all this will be revealed I guess, as Silver Wing flies off in earnest.

Veteran Otaku who’ve seen the first Last Exile series will no doubt have more of a leg up going into this series, but also perhaps have the baggage of comparing it with the original- I say take Fam for what it is- a new tale in the same world, familiar but a whole different story. For the rest, don’t dwell too much in things that don’t make sense- just hang onto Fam, bask in the gorgeous visuals and music, and enjoy the ride.

For now, I guess, I gotta dust off those anime VCDs and have an original Last Exile marathon very soon.

Game of Thrones: 14-minute Sneak Preview!

Posted in Fantasy, Game-related Events, Gaming, TV, Uncategorized on April 5th, 2011 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

Winter’s Coming! And so is this Kick-ass Epic Series!

The HBO Adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s dark midieval/fantasy epic, A Game of Thrones, is almost upon TV viewers. But nicely enough, we can grab a look at the conspiracies and mystic threats with this lengthy peek. Right now all I can say is, WOW. This is one adaptation that reeks of quality, as in Lord of the Rings-type detail (having Sean Bean doesn’t hurt either). Sadly no orcs or goblins or trolls to be found, but as you’ll see there are inhuman threats to the peace in the world of Westeros.
Don’t let the shortage of fireball spells and magic swords derail you- what will enthrall in this series are the complex characters, the cunning interplay and political intrigue that spares no one in this deadly game for the throne and crown of the continent.

If it sounds quite heady, it is- this is one series you’ll want to watch with a sober head. But really, it’s one any fantasy fan cannot miss. For now, check out the preview as the show debuts later this month on HBO.