Friday Fan-Work+Announcement

Heya, it’s ya boi Choujin. Before we get to the Fanwork today, I got an announcement.
Ya boi’s going back to community college, starting Monday and Wednesday, which means that I’ll be doing some work and making a challenge. So this means that some schedules for Monday Mumbles and Wednesday Media reviews will be now moved to Tuesday and Thursday (until March)
So Monday Mumbles are now Tuesday Mumbles
and Wednesday Media Review will be Thursday
Fridays will be unchanged so woot!

now with that out of the way, let’s get to what you came for: some fanworks!

Time Ars Poetica

I’ve known my great grandfather’s old saying

“You can do it fast or do it right”

I wonder if he was talking about poetry.

Poetry is something that needs time to grow

like a flower starting from a seed.

It must savored like a meal, if you eat it too fast

you’ll upset your stomach.

and like painting fine artwork

you can’t rush it or it’ll turn out badly.

As I’m thinking and pondering on my works

I take my time letting the poem simmer and cook

ensuring that the poem sounds good

its meat prepared as words on the paper.

I take my time to ensure the details match

like colors on a canvas that don’t clash.

When time is taken, a poem’s true potential

can be made.

Just remember an old saying from a kid’s movie:

“You can’t rush art.”

When that potential is made, it becomes a meal that one enjoys

a fine piece of work that is viewed by many

and a beautiful flower.

Only by taking that time, can one create good poems.

Wednesday Media Review: Resident Evil 2 (2019)

Review by TheChoujinVirus
Note: There will be spoilers to the game (and to the PS1 original version), so if you want to avoid any spoilers, I’d advise not reading it. Also I’m sorry for the article being this late.

Survival Horror and Action are something synonymous with each other. Especially when it comes to the good old fashioned zombie-themed ones. From The Walking Dead to more original items, none fit well in this niche. One such franchise has run with it for extremely well renown is the Resident Evil franchise. A game series that spans well over seven games (including several side games, comics/manga, a few remakes, and even a big, if not so famous, movie series). With the games so vast (and the upcoming Resident Evil 3 remake coming up), I’ve felt that the best way we can start is with the game that was launched nearly a year ago in 2019. It’s not new, but it’s the 2019 remake of Resident Evil 2. For those new to the Resident Evil franchise, Resident Evil 2 was the sequel to the first Resident Evil game released in 1996 (and 2002’s prequel Resident Evil 0). The survival horror game has you fighting zombies and monsters in a confined area while digging deep in what was going on. Some of the games have two different stories determined by the Character you play. For Resident Evil 2, you have two characters: Leon S. Kennedy, the rookie cop of the Raccoon City Police Department, and Claire Redfield, the sister of Resident Evil’s protagonist Chris Redfield.
For this playthrough, I’ve played as Leon Kennedy (I am working on Redfield’s story mode.) So my playthrough is through that game’s experience. As a note, if you’re wondering more about the events of RE2 happened, or curious about the two games before it. I would suggest watching GamerThumbTV’s videos that give an explanation of the story and lore (Note: they’re spoiler alerts for the games as well). With that out of the way, Let’s get explaining about Resident Evil 2.

Plot+Gameplay

The game starts you with a brief tutorial as you play Leon S. Kennedy as he stops by a gas station. Something is off as he notices everything is ransacked. He sees a wounded cop telling him not to go in there. Leon ignores it and finds a man fighting off and getting killed by a zombie. Escaping the place, he opens the door and runs into Claire Redfield, who just stopped by to investigate as well. Both of them escape and introduce themselves as they enter Raccoon City. They notice the place has gone to hell until they hear a broadcast telling survivors to meet at the Raccoon City Police Department. The group gets divided as a wounded trucker crashes into their police car and explodes, separating the two. As Leon, you get to the police department first. Leon notices a surviving office on a security camera fleeing and telling whoever is there that “he found a way out of the Department.” Leon goes out and tries his best to save the guy, only for him to be torn in half by a zombie. He does leave you a clue on getting out of the place. Leon later runs into an officer named Marvin Branagh, a wounded survivor who is surprised to see the rookie cop made it. After getting him his standard uniform, he lends his aid to Leon for a brief moment from the main hall while Leon goes to solve puzzles to acquire three medallions to open a secret passage out of the Police Department. Braving the zombies, he finds the three pieces needed to escape. Marvin sadly refuses to leave with Leon, indicating that the office was infected by the zombies. The rookie cop has no choice but leaves him behind, entering the secret passage.

As he moves through the tunnel, he gets his first encounter with a sizeable hulking monstrosity. Once he dispatches him, he continues through and finds himself in the RCPD garage. He is rescued by an FBI agent named Ada Wong. They both realize that they need to find the garage key card to get out and that a man named Ben Burtolucci, an Investigative Journalist who was locked up in a jail cell. He’s willing to give you the keycard to open the garage, but is slaughtered when a large hand bursts through the wall and crushes his skull. With the circuit breaker to his cell busted, Leon now has to find the missing parts needed to open the cell. While searching, Leon finds a way in extinguishing the burning helicopter, thus allowing him a new path. Though he gets a run-in with Mr. X, a giant hulking monster in a trench coat and fedora. This part of the game has Leon searching for the last part while avoiding this invincible monster. He finds a large gear and makes it to the clock tower, where through solving another puzzle finds the last generator part. Leon backtracks to the basement again and unlocks the cage and acquiring the keycard. Though it opens the cages containing zombies and alerts Mr. X as well. Though as Leon escapes, Mr. X pulls a Kool-Aid man and catches up to Leon. Ada rescues Leon via slamming a SWAT van into X and puts and end of the monster.

The two leave the Police department, having to find a way to get into “Umbrella’s lab.” After witnessing a sad moment between a gun shop owner and his daughter, they both continue until they’re at the sewers. Leon is ambushed by a giant alligator mutated by the outbreak. After an explosive finish, Ada helps Leon out, but are ambushed by a woman named Annette Birkin. She states that Ada won’t get the G Virus and tries to kill the agent, only for Leon to be severely wounded. The game switches you to Ada Wong as you have to reactivate switches and panels to progress through the game while dealing with the undead and Mr.X (yes, he survived that ordeal before.) Once she finds an ID band and surviving being extra crispy by Annette, Ada makes it through but again is ambushed and left severely injured. You’re handed control back of Leon as you now have to make your way out. Going through the sewers and having your first encounter with the ugly G Imago, you soon find the wounded Ada and have to solve a spark plug puzzle to get to her. Going through said puzzles and horrors have you running into the massive beast you met the first time, now looking more grotesque. Once he’s beaten, Leon rescues Ada as the two take a railcar down into NEST, the laboratory of the Umbrella Corporation that’s been under Raccoon City.

Leon travels through several areas overrun with zombies and monstrous plants as he learns what has been going on. The whole outbreak in Raccoon City was due to a special operations group of Umbrella murdering a man named William Birkin and that the stolen G Samples were damaged by the massive creature and was spread by rats in the sewers. He eventually reaches the west part of the facility and acquires the last G Virus sample. Though once he acquired it, he’s met by the beast again. This time, he’s rescued by Annette, and she reveals to Leon that the monster was her husband, William Birkin. William, who was on death’s doorstep, injected himself with the G Virus and was transformed into the hulking monstrosity. William wakes up and attacks Annette, killing her and further mutating. Leon manages to kill the mutated  Birkin. It’s revealed that Annette set a self-destruct countdown while Leon fought the mutated Birkin. He also later learns that Ada Wong isn’t an FBI agent as she claims she is. Ada gets injured by a dying Annette, and the G sample is lost as well as Ada. Leon now has to evacuate the facility before it blows all while dealing with Mr.X. Once he’s on an elevator platform, he now has to deal with a battle-damaged (and still deadly) Mr.X while avoiding being gored by his nails. He’s intervened by a not so dead Ada who drops a rocket launcher. With one rocket blast, Leon defeats Mr.X and survives by escaping on the train out of the area. Reunited with Claire and Sherry Birkin.
With that, the Leon side of the story is complete. (though the game leaves an ending to a secret boss with Birkin with a tentacle trying to open a door)

Grotesque Greatness

The remake does a lot of good things for Resident Evil 2, and one such that I liked was the camera (which is notorious for old RE titles). The Graphical overhaul is impressive as it allows rooms to reflect various atmospheres as if the room’s power is out and the place is dark or when Leon is moving through the sewers, and you can see details of waste and garbage in corners. The graphics also give detail to the characters as well. For example, when I was fighting the G Imago and Licker, you got an excellent detailed look at their bodies. How they look like slabs of flesh and meat, grotesque in all their gory glory detail. Characters are also pretty good looking too, especially with reacting to environments. When they enter something wet or run into the rain, their clothes look dirty. When they get attacked by a monster or bitten, they show wounds (until healed), and as the story progresses, you can see dirt and grime on their clothes. Lastly, the game has an excellent story, which is divided between the two characters. The Claire story (sadly I couldn’t complete as this review) has you running into Sherry Birkin (The daughter of William and Annette) and rescuing her from Chief Irons, a psychotic police chief and later having to cure her of a G Virus infection. Leon’s is what I described, and both feel as though they’re different, they cross paths as slight references.

Zombified Flops

Though the remake did do a lot of things great, some things make the game a bit lackluster. One such that I wasn’t fond was the lack of some enemies in the game. The remake has you fighting zombies (human and canine), the aforementioned Mr.X Tyrant, Lickers, G Imagos, and Birkin himself. The sad part is some old enemies were cut out. Some such as the giant moths, man-eating Plant 42s (they were replaced with just ivy infested zombies), and even zombie crows that would attack you. I don’t know if it’s due to the graphical engine that would make some of the harder to design or if they were insignificant by their standards. Though it would be pleasant dealing with more threats than just those. Another problem is that though the game is good, some of the threats feel weak (even on assisted), as most zombies will either die quickly with some headshots. The only danger is when Mr.X is in the police department as all he will do is just attack you if he sees you. Even then, he comes off as inconvenient than a scary threat. One personal quip is that the game retcons some events of the game, thus changing how some characters are met or how they die. The last criticism is the game requires you to beat both games to beat Birkin in one “secret final boss,” which kinda feels a bit disappointing as it left me with making this reviewed rushed.

Umbrella’s Secret

One surprise I’ve noticed after beating the game is that once you do beat one story, you unlock some new secrets such as “survivor stories” which play characters that may have small events going on. Though one I like is a neat little costume that gives Leon and Claire their original costumes from the PS1 game released.

Gory Conclusion

The remake is a pretty good game for those who are interested in seeing a good remake of the Resident Evil franchise and a right tie over until the third remake is made. It’s a pretty good-looking game with some good stunning graphics and gameplay. I’d recommend buying the game if you like it.

References

Monday Mumbles: War

Note: Some of the subjects here may hit a bit hard home, just a bit of a reminder that my opinions are my own. So don’t take things personal

Heya, it’s ya boi, Choujin.
Well, I hope you all had a good 2020, because we’re already starting on one hell of a foot. For those unaware, we’re having a bit of an issue that’s been brewing between the United States and Iran which has gotten people worried about another war in the middle east with others who think that no nation would attack us because the USA would “level them to the ground”. What irks me is less on people who live in fear of inevitable world wars (trust me, ya boi here is a bit jittery about world war 3 as well) but what bothers me are the people who become armchair commandos/soldiers behind a computer.

Some kids and adults who don’t understand that there’s a thing called “Rules of Engagement” and think that war behaves like video games or movies where one wins a war by pushing a button. It’s not only ignorant but belittles stuff that our men and women endure when being shipped to these hot water conflicts. Not only that but it also leads to an underestimation of what our enemies can do if we think stuff can be ended by just the press of a button. People forget that wars can last years (take a look at the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan for example) and that it’s not cut and dry that some media love to portray.

The next thing I’ve seen is how some folks who also grossly underestimate nations just because they don’t have new toys or technology. From what i’ve heard on the news and heard from some who served during Iraq and Afghanistan, Al Qaeda and the militants used ambushed tactics like roadside bombs and other IEDs. Heck, during the Vietnam War, the enemy used ambush tactics and hunting traps to give American soldiers in that war hell. It’s not something that’s pretty and even low tech items gives our boys trouble. Just because the nation we’re going to war doesn’t have flamethrowers, bunker busters or drones with hellfire rockets doesn’t mean that they’re not a threat or pushovers. War isn’t like a video game where weak enemies are easy to kill.

The last thing I’ve seen when it comes to folks talking about war comes to when people talk about the men and women who serve their country. Ya boi here supports the brave men and women of our Armed Services for their sacrifices, but ya boi don’t play what some people will do. Though with this case, you got two camps of people. On one side you got people who think every soldier who fought in a war are nothing but mindless killers and wanton raiders, and the other side you got those who treat soldiers like infallible saints who can never do wrong and should be worshiped. I’m sure you’re asking about what I would do? Well, I would treat them like anybody else. I would thank them for their service and that’s it, no berating them nor treating them like gods. Heck, I wouldn’t mind sharing a cold one with an off duty soldier or veteran. They’re people just like you and me, with or without their uniform and regardless of their branch of service

With that, thanks for listening to my mumbles. I understand that it’s not much of anything but it was something that was on my mind after hearing the news. Now, before I finish up, I’m going to say that I don’t know if this will lead to a conflict or not but the only thing I could suggest is wait and see.

Wednesday Media Review: The Pirate’s Fate

Review done by TheChoujinVirus
Note: There may be some spoilers to this game, so if you want a spoiler-free game, may I suggest you buy the game or watch a YouTube video
Additional Note: I have done some non-related work with the developer of the game, I can reassure you that my opinion of this game is of my own and not influenced.

In all of the media, your boy has seen that involves transformations; usually, it rarely has some impacts (though some do have consequences in some media.) Though when it comes to stuff found in the furry fandom, it can ring a few red flags due to what view as a negative that some folks wouldn’t touch with a 30-foot pole. However, your boy used to be one of those people until he overheard and played a VN novel made by writer T.F.Wright and artist Volkenfox. It was their first game they made, a Visual Novel called “The Pirate’s Fate.” The game was first released on Steam on May 27th, 2018, and its first expansion titled “Prisoner of Destiny” was released on Jun 4th, 2019. The game did gather some impressive reviews and first impressions on the platform and later found itself released other bundles like GoG and Humble Bundle. So what is the game about? Well, let your boy explain a bit about the game.

Story Summary

The story of The Pirate’s Fate has you playing Mila, a female anthropomorphic feline and spice merchant who is rescued by a group calling them the Dread Pirates. This motley crew consists of Darius, the captain of the Pirate’s Fate and a man of honor; his first mate Morgana, a woman who can stand her ground but has a heart of gold. Leeko, the corgi cartographer who tags along and shows some bravery. They are also tagged along by a silvery tongued reptilian female named Tam-Tam as the group of treasure hunters seek out the Wizard’s Treasure: magical coins that can either alter a person’s form and time itself. Along the many paths, the Dread Pirates can meet various characters that will cause problems such as the delusional Circe, who turns anyone who is on her island into mindless animals to the Feuding royal siblings Bilba and Nakhta and even going up against a vengeful spirit and rival pirates who seek the coins as well. Though as the nature of visual novels, your paths are determined by the choices made in the story, so no two paths are similar (though some encounters can have different outcomes on some paths).

What makes the Pirate’s Fate enjoyable

There are plenty of positives in the game that some find impressive, one of my personal ones I like are the characters. Both heroes and villains have their own views and goals that feel like they’re not clichés. One such example is the character Circe, the first character on some paths you run into, she gives a justified reason for turning people into animals (She feels that people suffer and that removing their free will and making them into animals would free them of their pain). Another is the undead Lazenby, who, in the story, explains his need is to remove death as he feels “death is a mockery” and thus wants to cheat death forever. Others, like the dragon admiral Anorah intends to be her own master and not take orders from Nakhta. Some stories that have multiple antagonists usually have an issue that makes some villains motives a tad cliché or overused.

The next positive thing, which fits alongside the villains, are the characters themselves. Each character (protagonist, antagonist, supporting cast and such) have their own personalities that some visual novels end up having characters becoming just typical cookie-cutter clichés, but I don’t see that with the characters in the Pirate’s Fate. They also react to changes not only to themselves but to other characters as well. Which does feel organic when in one scene, Leeko is changed into a female. Throughout the story’s path, Leeko has to come to the fact of learning to live as a woman. Some stories have that transformation happen and then just as fast as it happens like they only had a new pair of socks, and that’s it.

The last thing I liked about the game is the ambiguity of the choices of the game. Most games like Mass Effect or Fable have a black and white like morality system that makes a character either a boy/girl scout or a complete monster. The Pirate’s Fate and their choices do have some form of tough decisions that can actually make someone think. A good example is on one path, you meet a pie shop owner named Trento, who is rumored to have one of the wizard’s coins and is using it to boost sales of his product. His worker you encounter, a female cat named Katie, suggests you break in and steal the coin. Though another choice is given, which requires you to report Katie’s plan to Trento and thus allowing you to get the coin but at the cost of sending Katie to jail. You’re left with the choice of either stabbing a friend in the back or resort to thievery. To make things interesting, the endings in the game do have some form of downside whenever you succeed in your mission’s path. For one end, I’ve managed to create a world where rulers are gone and introduced Democracy. However, the world doesn’t seem too happy about it. It actually gives you tough choices when it comes to options and some weight compared to the games I’ve listed. You can be a boy scout, but the choices can come back and bite you in the butt (or at worse, can cause you to get a game over.)Another thing that is interesting is the transformations are exciting and varied. Some are more than changing body mass, but also changing species, gender, and even personality in some parts. They show some unique outcomes and effects the person transformed. Some of them can be really humorous during some paths and outcomes. In short, the transformations are as unique as the personalities of the characters.

What The Pirate’s Fate requires some work

Though the game has some good parts, the game does have some issues that can inhibit the fun of the game from time to time.
One such example is though the game has multiple paths, the first branching path has only three choices (according to the developer, there was suppose to be a few more paths.) Though Prisoner of Destiny does add a fourth path that gives a new story to the three paths, it feels that one of the transformations (The “pragmatic” route) was cut and left with some ambiguity over one of the transformation’s existence.

A second con I feel could be an issue is the sound effects and music that sometimes can repeat themselves at odd moments or how some of the noises do feel like audio stock footage. Not bashing the game as a whole due to this, but some of it does feel a bit odd when a female character is hit, and you hear a default man being hit sound. It’s not something that’s a game-breaker, but it can feel a bit..well..off-putting in some parts. Again, not considered a game-breaker.

I find that the game is a tad short. When I played the game on the first playthrough, I assumed I might have done something wrong to have the game end so early. Though I found out it was due to the nature of visual novels with branching paths, multiple romances, and various transformations. It can be a bit sad when you play the game and find yourself already at the end, but the game allows some replay value so you can find different parts of the story.

One final secret

Before my conclusion, I’m giving you a little mention. The creator, prior to the release of Prisoner of Destiny, introduced epilogues that extended the ending after your choices on some paths. It’s a way of explaining what happens to the crew and people after the world was changed. I’ll explain to you two epilogue paths, one of them being the first one that leads to one of the secret endings.

First Epilogue: To unlock this epilogue, you must be on the Young Darius route (the Independent/Buff Mila path) once you use the coin to go back in time to bring young Darius and reach the library, choose to “destroy sin” after rescuing Morgana. This leads you to the first epilogue of the game.

Second Epilogue+Secret Ending: This was in the game initially, but to unlock this path, you must be on the “soul path” in the game and have access to Pragmatic Mila’s form. Then choose to romance Morgana (and no one else) before you select the “we were deceived” at the end of the series. This nets you a very… exciting epilogue.

There are a total of 26 endings (and four epilogues). To find the last two, I suggest you either figure them out or go here to find them.

Conclusion

The Pirate’s Fate, for a first-time visual novel created by T.F. Wright, is an impressive piece of work that has some interesting characters, genre, and choices. Though the game is short, it does have some intriguing fun that can perk the interest of those who may or may not have been interested in some of the genres of the series. If you are interested in this series, you can purchase the game on Steam (which is on sale at the moment of this review.)

Reference

Friday Fan-Work

Good Friday, it’s your boy Choujin here.

Wow, can you believe it’s Friday the 13th? That’s something that some people feel like bad luck. Sometimes it can make someone feel like a failure.

Which brings us to today’s Fan-Work: a Blues Poem I worked from my creative class over a year ago. So sit back, relax, get yourself something to eat or drink, and we’ll get reading of my Blues Poem

Blues Poem: Failure

                                            
It’s a frustrating feeling to fail
It can’t go slightly right
I feel like a ship with a bad sail
floating on the waters, the promised land in sight

Why must everything go wrong?
oh why must everything go so wrong?

Like an aspiring star, I almost had it all
understanding it right down to the meaning
but like the Devil himself, before his fall
I failed to grab my own star that’s gleaming

Why must I always be a flop
oh why must I always be a flop

Why, oh why, can’t anything go my way for a change.

Wednseday Media Review: Gwent: The Witcher Card Game

Written by TheChoujinVirus
Note: I apologize if this was a problem but tech troubles made it hard to post it on time. However, better late than never. This review may contain spoilers

Card games, some of the most exciting things your boy has played for a very long time. From games like Magic: The Gathering to Yu-Gi-Oh to even odd and obscure card games like Magi-Nation and Cardfight! Vanguard. Online card games aren’t new as you had the same games move to the digital front, while new games like Hearthstone walked into this for the first time. Though out of all games, there’s one that stood out fascinatingly, and that game is called Gwent: The Witcher Card Game.

For those like myself, who are clueless, Gwent is a card game that existed in both the novel and Witcher game series (and was a playable mini-game in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt). Gwent started on October 23, 2018, and had a sister game, a Standalone singleplayer game called Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales. What makes the game unique is not just the universe and its in-game reference, but rather how the game is played and the skill level required.

Gameplay

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game interestingly has a straightforward rule: Build up points and win before your opponent can. This is vastly different compared to most card games that have monsters killing each other and attacking your enemy directly. It’s kind of like a game of Blackjack; only you’re not limited to twenty-one. The gameplay requires strategy as you can either play your high point cards early or save them for later. I could explain the rules, but it seems the Developers have that covered. Though in short, it’s a game that does require you to think on your toes and play smart, then just rushing and beating down your enemies.

Pros: What makes Gwent glimmer with gold

Gwent’s basis and the game does add a hint of strategy, and the races do have such unique playstyles. One such I’ve played in the Monster faction, which is made up of some of the Witcher series such as Vampires, undead, and other nasty beasties. They do dirty tricks like damaging and devouring their own (some of them have abilities that trigger upon death.) Others, such as the Dwarven and Elven faction of Socia’Tael, use tricks and traps to damage your cards while boosting and healing their cards. Others like the Northern Realms provide support to their units and offer some great bonuses when specific cards placed on the board. The Viking-like Skelliege specializes in damaging your enemies with brute force like any good barbarian group. The extremely dastardly Syndicate who can use tricks like poison and control to turn the tide on the map.
Another thing is the game is updating and changing. As of today, Gwent: The Witcher Card Game recently released its second expansion: Merchants of Ofir, which adds some new cards and a unique thing called Scenarios. Sadly, I haven’t gotten these cards from the expansion or have tried the other two factions, but they do sound good in the long run.

Another great thing is the starter decks the game gives you premade, perfect for new players to test out each faction and their playstyle (and maybe get hints on how to build cards of your favorite faction). On the plus side, you do have characters and actual characters related to the lore of the game (heck, Gwent is essentially the game within a game)

Cons: What makes Gwent smell like Nekker crap?

Though the game has its perks like starter decks, the game can be a bit tough to get into if you’re a new player. Individual powerful cards do cost scraps (currency needed to build cards) so that they can feel intimidating when you’re fighting against other players that may have had stronger cards for a longer time than you. The game’s unique skills do require you to think on your feet, so it may not be for everyone who plays card games outside of some of the more familiar ones. Lastly, it could also be confusing if one isn’t familiar with the Witcher series or the lore behind Gwent. Unlike Hearthstone or Yu-Gi-Oh, Gwent is from the Witcher universe itself. So some might not know that Gwent is a game within a game if this is their first entry into the Witcher series.

Witching Conclusion

So if you’re familiar with the Witcher series and want a card game that’s not related to the typical variant, I would recommend Gwent: The Witcher Card Game.

 Oh and if you’re interested in playing this game for PC (or the recently released mobile version

 here’s the link https://www.playgwent.com/invite-a-friend/KOGYP0HQC9 so you can start out playing the game on a bit more of equal grounds (and helps your boy too)

References