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Fallout

The Outer Worlds Review – Astronomically average

Ok so I held out until I finished the game and I can safely say I don’t hate Outer Worlds.

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Coming to me through the wonders of gamepass ultimate for the whopping price of two whole English pounds comes probably the most overrated game of the current decade. Is it really surprising I don’t love this game? I’m starting to wonder if I even like videogames anymore. I’m honestly questioning whether I should get a new hobby, maybe take up knitting. But it’s interesting because people are raving about this game and for the life of me I can’t fathom why but I guess I can sorta. So this is kinda gonna be part review, part thought experiment to try and reason out what people see in this game that I don’t.

First of all gotta get this out of the way, I have no dog in this fight whatsoever, I’m not a bethesda fanboy who thinks the fallout games are perfect. I don’t worship Pete Hines and I’m not secretly Todd Howard under a pseudonym with a fake moustache. On the flip side I’m also not an obsidian or new vegas cultist, I’ve never played Kotor and I thought new vegas was ok but really nothing special, pretty much the same with their south park games. I’m kinda neutral on obsisdian. I enjoyed new vegas but I didn’t think it was the second coming of videogame jesus like their cultists do. I mean it’s a pretty decent game considering it was made in a year but it never really blew my sock off.
I also had zero expectations for this game, it was sort of just a blip on my radar, I didn’t get super hyped and raise my expectations in the slightest like I did for almost every fallout game haha. So this isn’t an angry reactionary flame out because my expectations were too high, I had literally zero expectations of this game other than it being a fun rpg. I went into this game totally free of bias or hype to colour my verdict. I’m also not being paid by anyone to talk about retractable horse balls haha.

Ok so now that’s out of the way you know that I’m coming at this from the most objective position you can get and all this hate is coming purely from a person that has never known true love and does not have a life.

Jesus where to start, ok so Outer Worlds starts where not Rick Sanchez/Doc Brown basically kidnaps your character from a giant colony spaceship that was ‘lost’ seventy or so years ago. Which is a pretty cool way to pick your character because you’re basically not Rick Sanchez choosing from a list of colonists and once you’ve created your character and their stats and stuff you’re ejected from his ship in an escape pod onto this alien world, where you first get to experience the shitty combat and stealth, yeah.

First thing you’ll notice apart from the interesting colour palette is that the weapons and combat are kinda bleh. All the guns look, sound and feel like they had a little orange cap on the end of the barrel before they were modelled haha. They look like toys and there isn’t a lot of feedback. I tend to measure a game by the standard of it’s shotgun and the first shotgun you get looks and sounds like you’re firing squeaky potatoes at people. It’s one of those rpgs where you can shoot someone five times in their bare face at point blank range and they just give you a stern look of disapproval and maybe say ‘ow’. But it’s pretty forgiving in the other direction, you can stand on a landmine and be mildly annoyed for about a minute. You don’t really need to use cover, the combat is quite forgiving in general, I played it on normal and I breezed through most encounters I couldn’t talk my way out of. It’s casual af haha.
Funny thing is you can’t lay those mines though, I of course thinking of Fallout and having high engineering skill because I was role playing as Amos from the Expanse I expected to be able to disarm them and pocket them, I expected wrong. It just blew up in my face, you can’t pick up or deploy mines in Outer worlds, there are also no grenades, there are grenade launchers but no grenades, not that I’m complaining, I don’t usually use grenades in most games but it’s weird them not being there, did they just forget?
Come to think of it there were no grenades in bioshock either, just a grenade launcher, funny since I was just reviewing Prey 2017, a game that literally has more grenades than guns… and is shit.

So the first part of the game I found really tedious because you ‘inherit’ lets say, a nice nearly new ship called ‘The Unreliable’ but to get it off the ground you need a maguffin to make the engine work. So the first part of the game you’re making a choice to help either of these two factions to get the maguffin so you can make the ship work. So you’re dropped onto this first planet but it’s not a free roam game, it’s like a hub game, so there are multiple planets and each planet has a tight little map to explore and exploit which is good and bad honestly.
The two standards for rpg worlds spectrum for me are Fallout and Deus Ex, in Fallout you have a vast open world that’s a mile wide and an inch deep. So big open space but it’s not amazingly detailed and there’s lots of reused assets and maps, so you trade quality for quantity and it kind of makes it so when you find somewhere someone has put some effort into like the towns, it surprises you.
In Deus ex it’s the opposite, it’s an inch wide and mile deep, so you don’t get these big roving open worlds you get a tightly packed hub world that’s densely detailed with secrets and you can enter almost every buildings, go into the sewers even go on the rooftops and as you unlock new abilities you can unlock new places to explore. I can’t really say which I prefer because although the Deus Ex style is cool it doesn’t leave it open to a lot of replay, in Fallout the sheer amount of content means you can’t see it all on one playthrough.

Now what does Outer worlds do… err well it kinda tries to do both, ‘tries’ being the operative word. It’s sort of in the middle. Basically the worst of both worlds, small maps with very little explorations ‘and’ most of the buildings are sealed or behind loading screens haha.

And I first got a hair up my ass or whatever that expression is when I was on my way to the first town in the game. I noticed there was a sunken ship on the shore so obviously with fallout as my reference I wanted to swim and go see if there was anything cool inside it. It looked obviously placed to be explored. It wasn’t. Instant cock block invisible wall, it was just set dressing, immersion ceased. There isn’t even a swimming mechanic.

So that was the first inkling where I was like ‘there’s something wrong in denmark’ or whatever that expression is. Then I head to the town and start on my way to get the maguffin for my ship and I engage in a sort of bog standard Fallout style fetch quest where then I arbitrarily decide which town gets power. Which I dunno, I guess it has an effect on something, not really, well kind of. It’s kinda hard to think there are consequences considering this is one settlement in an entire solar system. I got a cool hat though. And the decision is literally like a button press.
It’s also where you get your first two companions and dude they are thirsty af haha. I’ve never met companions that are more fucking desperate to enter life and death situations with a complete stranger before. They’re shameless, they barely hide their desire to colonize the shit out of your ship, it’s like “Is that an enormous desire to join my crew despite the fact we just met or are you just happy to see me?” They do not play hard to get in this game and the second companions I was like ‘really, this guy?’ because this dude was like mega npc, didn’t strike me as interesting enough to be a companion and I felt vindicated in that assumption, his quest line was pretty mehtier honestly.

I mean the first companion is just a brown knock of the girl mechanic from Firefly, oh also she’s a lesbian. She pretty much told me without even asking. There’s like a quest where you have to introduce her to this other ethnically indistinguishable engineer lady and I figure it was just professional admiration but no they’re quickly exchanging texts and poetry, like why? It’s not even something you have to dig for, the game just throws it in your face like “You are never gonna get this!” I get it, there’s no romancing the companions but you didn’t have to shove it in my face ok. They knew she was basically the Tali of this game and everyone would be into her and they had to just cock block us in advance, fucking obsidian man.

The first part of the game has to be the worst imo which as first impressions go, it’s pretty tedious but I just gritted my teeth through it because I was hoping it would get better when I get the ship and it does. The ship is the singular coolest part of the game but it also makes me sad haha. For reasons that are pathetic. I happen to have a fucking huge obsessions with space sims ever since I played Elite Dangerous, and everyone wanted to compare this game to Fallout and Mass Effect which is apt but the game I wanted to compare it to was Rebel Galaxy (and maybe Alpha Genesis One a bit). It’s this awesome indie space sim that’s basically firefly but it’s a space sim, all ship combat, you only get out of your ship at ports.
And I’m looking at this game and I’m thinking why are you trying to compete with fallout and not aiming higher and trying to compete with Star Citizen? Competing with fallout right now is like a two legged man entering a one legged man ass kicking contest, they are already dead at this point, or if you prefer a biological man entering a woman’s sport eve- stop right there thought criminal scum!
Tell me why you can’t pilot the ship in this game? Why is there a snarky little AI that does it? It turns your ship basically into a loading screen hub, that’s all it is. It’s a really cool loading screen hub but that’s all it is.
Now I’m not saying I want to be able to buy more ships because the Unreliable is as much a character as anyone on board but I want to have space travel and space combat, because right now it’s just a fast travel you click on planets on the map and whoosh. I want the ship to be pilotable and I want to buy upgrades for it like the Jackdaw in AC Blackflag. Maybe this will be a dlc (probably not, most likely it’ll just be a new planet like in Warframe, you know that game that’s free), who knows but that would elevate this from generic fallout clone to epic space rpg/sim beating out even mass effect. That’s literally the only thing holding this game back, it doesn’t have it’s own identity, it brings nothing new to the table, fitting neatly in a niche between Mass Effect and Fallout 4 without trying to elevate either. There’s really not a single mechanic that sets it apart from fallout, I mean yeah the conversation system is better but who plays videogames for interesting conversations? In Fallout 4 you get fucking power armor with jetpacks in Outer Worlds you can’t even fly the ship.
Why is it so hard to make a space game where you pilot a ship and then get out and shoot stuff? You can sail the ship in AC blackflag then get out and fight to board other ships, you can drive a car in gta then get out and shoot people or shoot people from the car, why does it become infinitely harder when it comes to space. Fuck it, make space 2d like Rebel galaxy if you have to, that game basically plays like Blackflag except in space with awesome dark country music playing on the radio like you’re a space hillybilly trucker.
They could’ve beaten Star Citizen to the punch and cock blocked Bethesda with Starfield but all they’ve done is make a game that takes a handful of the mechanics from fallout and puts them in space. It brings nothing new to the table and it kind of ruins mechanics those games perfected.
How awesome would it be to have a space game where you can have a dogfight with a ship and disable it’s engine then board it to ransack it like AC Blackflag? That would be totally groundbreaking.

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1 Guns guns guns;
The guns in Fallout 4 specifically are pretty punchy, they have nice feedback, it’s not as good as a shooter but it’s pretty close, it’s not bad for an rpg, there’s also lots of gore and the enemies are really responsive to damage, their heads explode, limbs fly off, blood splatters etc. You can also dismember their corpses if you’re a total psycho (like me).

None of this happens in Outer Worlds, the guns are basically toys, there’s almost no gore I noticed, at least not at the level of fallout. I think I did shoot someone’s head off once but it came off cleanly like a dolls head with no blood. The only blood in the game is in the form of flat textures put to emphasise a scene in game. You can turn people to dust like fallout but instead of blood it’s like sparks shoot out of people, really lame haha.

The gun upgrade system is also not nearly as extensive as Fallout, you can change out almost every part of the guns in Fallout, in Outerworlds you can put on a silencer and change the damage type and change the scope and that’s pretty much the extent and it’s only on certain guns and not on named special guns.
Also the guns have this really lame rpg leveling style where you’re always just recycling guns for higher level ones which caused me to just stick with the named guns and not bother with the others. Just levelling it with money. So it basically means guns are just loot because they’ll always be pretty under levelled when you pick them up. It’s same with armor, the armor is one piece like in Fallout with a helmet. This for me breaks my immersion, I liked how in Fallout 4 you’d stick to the guns you like, I was still using pipe guns til late in the game because my silenced pipe rifle was perfect for stealth kills.
I kinda like the atom punk buck rogers style but there isn’t a lot of variation in armor, you can pick up the next level armor from a different company and all that changes is the paint job. Also no power armor, no vehicles, no jetpacks, jetboots, nothing really interesting like that.
The number one thing that pisses me off about the guns is the ammo, in Fallout you get standard real life ammo and you can change the receivers for different ammo types. In Outerworlds there are only three ammo types Light, heavy and energy. People calling this game hardcore and Bethesda games casual really need to look at that and slap themselves in the fucking face haha. I mean yeah Fallout is casual now but that’s causal on a new level.
You might be like ‘why is that bad, it’s streamlined?’. Well the reason it’s bad is because almost any gun can have one of these three ammo types so there’s no real reason to use any particular type of gun in certain situations, you only need to have a gun that uses each type to maximise ammo usage. So you can specialise in large guns and just have three large guns one that uses heavy, light and energy and that might sound great but I dunno why it’s not, it’s just not haha. It’s not immersive.
In fallout the reason you keep the pistol is because 10mm and 38 ammo is really common. Which is why I kept my pipe rifle because it used the most common ammo type. Even if you find a rocket launcher or a 50 cal sniper rifle, you’re not gonna be swimming in ammo at the start of the game, so you need weapons that are more versatile, that’s immerive as hell.
This is just bog standard rpg fare where it’s like ‘hurr durr, I wanna be a gunslinger I put all my skill points into pistols and be done with it’. Just something about that annoys the hell out of me. There’s almost no benefit from using big guns, long guns or pistols.

Also the science weapons suck, I mean come on, they’re cool gimmicks but they suck, they’re a gag, they’re about as useful as an asshole on your elbow. Like the shrink ray, that sounds cool and useful you instantly think of Duke nukem shrinking enemies and stamping on them. Except that it doesn’t shrink them small enough and you don’t have a stamp function, you just have a generic gun butt hit so all it does is turn them into midgets that take more damage, how fucking underwhelming is that? So you have to change to another weapon after you’ve shrunk them and then shoot them.

The mind control ray just makes someone fight for you for a bit until they die, the gloop gun is kind of useful, although I don’t think it works when you give it to a companion. They’re fun, but they’re not really viable imo. And why aren’t there like science armors, give me a jetpack goddamit, I don’t want this lame dodge skill, I want jet boots haha.

2 Companions:

This is the big one imo because this is the one people are harping on about being better because in Outerworlds you can have two companions like Mass effect and they sometimes chip in in conversation and have special moves.

So in Fallout 3 you get one companion (without mods) and in Fallout 4 they got rid of the karma system and implemented a much more nuanced friendship/affinity system. So now instead of getting karma from actions you gain affinity from companions. Basically if you like a companion you’ll conform to them, and do things they like to gain their affection unlock more dialogue/quests/romance/skills. Also some companions can lock pick or hack and you can just ask them to hack or pick a lock as long as you give them picks. Also in previous fallout games there was no limit to the amount of companions you could have at one time.

In the Outer worlds there’s no karma system or affinity system, they just get xp and you level them with perks like you do yourself. You can’t romance them, they have their own quests and abilities like special moves in combat which are kinda cheesey and immersion breaking imo. Like yeah ok go drop kick that dude in the middle of combat that’s cool, or pull out a random gun you don’t have and do a trick shot, it’s silly. And in real tough fights their ai is totally useless and they’ll get themselves killed in five minutes because they’ll be trying to melee a huge robot sentry or something.

Also instead of telling people to hack something or pick a lock their skill is just added to yours so having them in your party boosts some attributes like speech/engineering/lock picking etc, which isn’t as immersive as just asking them to do it imo.

Also I don’t know if this is a glitch but you can’t undress them which sounds really wrong and pervy haha. But hear me out haha. Like in fallout in Outer Worlds you can give them armor and weapons but you can’t take it off them so if you put a helmet on them that mother fucker is staying there, you can only swap it like a game of fucking musical chairs so now Parvati permanently has a set of additional goggles under her actual goggles because I didn’t want her to have a power armor helmet on walking around the ship. I almost wish you couldn’t give the companions armor in Outerworlds because their outfits kinda fit their character (apart from Nyoka who literally dresses like a fucking clown haha) and giving them armor makes them almost indistinguishable from enemies. Also there’s a mode where they can die permanently, yeah don’t think I’ll be trying that haha.

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Honk honk!

Also honestly the companions are sort of flat, just your generic stronk wamans and sort of conflicted pussy men and a cleaning robot who shoots acid. Points for guessing who my favourite companion is haha.

 

3. Combat;

This probably should’ve come after guns but… oh well haha.

Combat in Fallout 4 is pretty decent, a lot of it tense and fun and hard and you sort of have to use a bit of stealth and surprise and the enemies aren’t geniuses but they’re not dumb either. The enemies are pretty reactive and vocal.

In Outer worlds the combat is basically just chipping away at a health bar until the enemy ragdolls and glows indicating loot. Certain enemies are weak to certain types of damage but it doesn’t really matter all that much and the enemy i.a is pretty fucking dumb. I don’t think I’ve ever been ambushed or surprised. Marauders just sort of hang around an area or are waiting on the main path. You can be like a foot away from them dressed like a tank with a giant robot behind you and they wont notice you until you’ve unloaded on them. The combat is just serviceable. It also has like a bullet time mechanic which totally isn’t vats and totally isn’t there to cover up how clunky the shooting is.

Melee combat is pretty much the same, but it’s split into one handed and two handed, nothing that special.

4. Perks/leveling

The perk system in Fallout 4 is pretty good, in fact its pretty damn good, a lot of the time when you’ve played the game over and over you’re playing just for the perks to try out new end game builds so the skills and perks add a nice level of replayability and a good level of customisation.

The perks in Outer Worlds, gonna be blunt, suck ass. They’re really bad. Like they have this cool system where you can accept a flaw, a negative perk so you can unlock a new perk and I thought that was cool because there are three perk tiers so I though this would allow me to unlock the perk tiers faster. I did this before reading the perks. The perks are pathetic and all the best ones are on the first perk tier, it’s a total waste of time. Like ‘wow I can walk 25% faster, epic.’
Extra carry weight, faster cooldown for your bullet time and companion abilities, did obsidian make this? How is this perk system worse than new vegas?

I do like the leveling system though because you have to level a whole skill tree before specializing at level fifty, actually I dunno if I like it but it kinda makes you op. I can feel my character becoming a jack of all trades. I’ve already customized my squad so I can do basically everything, there’s pretty much no encounter I can’t get out of with a speech check. Again this hurts replayability. my character has negative in speech but because of companion system I can breeze through every speech check and I just ended up putting perks into it because it’s easy and the combat is kind of boring filler.

Why do you play games like this if it isn’t for interesting builds and perks? The guns and loot maybe, well the guns and armor are kind of bleh too.

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5. The story/quests

The story in every fallout is serviceable, it gives you a reason to progress. Fallout 4 and 3 in particular go for familial connection to stoke a sense of emotional drive which on the tenth play through is totally moot but it tries.

The story in Outer Worlds is totally placeholder “err save the other frozen colonists to err save the colony I guess”. And it’s also the story for Rage which is another besthesda game, but that game had awesome vehicle combat and pretty decent shooter mechanics as far as I can remember, still didn’t ask for a sequel though haha. Why do I care about the colony? Why do I care about the other frozen colonists? I’m pretty much a space pirate with a cool ship, I can do whatever I want, sod the colonies I’m going to space vegas! I mean going for the ‘baddies stole my baby’ in fallout is cheap emotional manipulation but it’s effective. It’s more effective than save these faceless frozen dinners in space to save all the people of halcyon for reasons. I mean the world doesn’t even seem that fucked honestly.

There’s this weird mission on Monarch the second planet you explore where you go looking for this guy and boom cannibals and I was like ‘y tho?’. I mean I get cannibals in a post apocalyptic world, all the greenery is dead, the soil is irradiated the animals are mutated but this is a functional colony on a lush planet. There are creatures you can eat all over the place, I mean sure they can eat you too, but surely people are harder to kill and eat. Also they were like right outside the first fucking colony. Like mate, hold on, maybe just nip into town to get some fucking chips before you start snacking on the postman. It just felt like it was there because it was in fallout and ‘cannibals so spoopy yo’.

Except the mission was shitty, you just go there looking for this dude and he’s locked in a room upstairs of this creepy obvious cannibal family’s house who want you to ‘stay for dinner’. It was so unsubtle and I thought there must be tonnes of ways to do this but there wasn’t. I couldn’t pick the lock on their kill room so I just had to kill them to get out. That was the mission.

The cannibals in Fallout 3 weren’t even a mission, they were just there. It’s just something you can find, it’s not even related to the story, you could completely miss it. In fact I’m pretty sure I did on my first few playthroughs. And when you kill them you can get a ripper, and that’s the sort of stuff that encourages you to explore.

Because of the nature of the level design you can’t really go off on the beaten path in Outer worlds, because there isn’t one. Even if you did do that and accept no quests at all and just go exploring what’s going to happen is through exploration alone you’ll just inadvertently complete all the quests in the region before accepting them.

6. Loot

The loot game of Fallout 4 is probably some of the best in any game, I get some people hate it as grindy but it’s immersive and fun imo to have to find certain materials for certain things, whether it’s to upgrade your guns or build your settlement. Like by the end of Fallout 4 with all the dlc you’re sending fully armed robots you made to deliver concrete to certain settlements so you can build structures there. It’s pretty in depth and interesting.

In Outer worlds it’s super casualized, the loot is just guns and armor and junk and you can break down guns and armor to make armor parts used to repair armor or weapon parts to repair weapons. You can also tinker with weapons to level them up or add mods, same goes with armor. Cool thing about this is if you have high engineering skill you don’t need a work bench to fix your stuff, you can break down and fix stuff on the fly which is really useful.

So in a game like Fallout you want to explore not only for story and cool weapons but also to scavenge materials. Like you end up starting to build something and it’s half done because you need more of something so out you go again on another adventure to who knows where. There are even factories that are teeming with rare materials. It’s interesting and it just works haha. In Outer Worlds there’s just advancing the plot, the loot is secondary.

7. SBQ (Steve Blum question) I’m pretty sure Steve Blum isn’t in Outer Worlds but there’s still gonna be dlc to come. He might have just put himself on the credits preemptively.

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8. Bugs

Yeah a whole section for bugs in a game that ‘supposedly’ has no bugs on launch hmm hmmmm????? Yeah it’s pretty fucking buggy tbf, disgruntled bethesda haters are basically trying to push this narrative that the reason fallout games are so buggy is their ancient engine they’ve been using since the dawn of time. Yeah bet you didn’t know Oblivion and Fallout 4 use the same fucking engine, well now you do. Bethesda have been using that engine for years just putting tape on the leaks, buffing out the rough edges, basically putting lipstick on a pig for years now with that ‘aint broke don’t fix it’ mentality. And Obsidian cultists tried to blame bethesda for how notoriously buggy New vegas was, that and how little time they had to work on it.

But how long have they been working on Outer Worlds? Who knows but surely longer than on NV.

Now I’m not the kind of guy that harps on about bugs unless they actively harm my enjoyment of the game, I don’t care if some guy clips through something or the physics break or whatever, just visual bugs don’t bother me, it’s par for the course. But Outer Worlds has bugged quests that really hurt the game as well as the immersion. As well as sound drops.

When you come on the ship the ships computer will tell you that your crew are interacting in some way and it’s basically an in game cutcene meant to add immersion but they hardly ever work, most of the time nothings happening or it’s the same scene you’ve already seen repeated again which just defeats the point and completely takes you out of the game. Tack onto that people climbing invisible stairs and invisible ladders and there’s some stuff to be ironed out.

But there are quest bugs, one I know is a bug and one I’m not sure is a bug or just bad design.

All the companions have companion quests which unlock an ending for them and I finished most of them but two I couldn’t complete. Parvati’s quest line didn’t even appear and Felix’s was already failed without me even doing anything. I just got the quest and it failed, I have no idea why there was no reason in game that it would’ve failed. I could even do the quest without the quest markers just following a guide but when you find the final guy to talk to he wont engage you and I just had to kill him, that was the only way to complete the quest but it didn’t count as finished and I got no xp from it.

And normally I’d be like ‘well that’s just one quest who cares’ yeah but it’s one quest that literally effects the ending, now when I completed the game Felix and Parvati just died for no reason and there was no resolution for their stories.

The second quest bug was I accepted a mission from this random chick and I love how this game makes you feel like quests are hidden all over the world. This quest wouldn’t have even been a thing if I hadn’t kept talking to this person and it was a pretty decent quest. It was this little cool quest where you investigate this retirement village and it turns into a trap and you have to escape but the thing is trying to escape the hard way means destroying board robots and I didn’t notice that it was lowering my standard with this faction who ran this part of the world. So when I came out of the dungeon every npc had turned hostile for no reason and I had to liquidate them all which completely fucked up any other way of completing the main quest I was doing in the same place. I had no other option but to go in guns blazing, which was really easy because this game is casual af but it was just annoying and immersion breaking and even the quest giver had turned hostile to me so I failed the quest. It was just so dumb.

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9. Summary/niggles/world.

Ask yourself why are you playing Outer Worlds, it’s not the loot, it’s not the gameplay loop, maybe for the characters or the story, not really. Endless boring conversations that go on forever with npcs. I mean the dialogue is pretty good for an rpg like this, I didn’t find myself skipping through a lot of it like I do in badly written rpgs but you can’t base a game around a good conversation system and not have an actual decent game attached to it. I ended up just investing in speech because it was just quicker and easier than combat. Maybe reading endless emails that just amount to rick and morty gags.

I remember being so immersed in the fallout and deus ex that on my first play throughs I read every newspaper, every email, because the world was interesting and real I wanted to know everything. Like if you read all the terminals in the institute it literally tells you all the secret synth spies in the common wealth, just amazing immersive lore. In Outer worlds the terminals are just excuses to display their ‘hilarious comedy’. I’ve got nothing against humour in games in fact I love it when it’s used properly and sparingly and not like borderlands where’s there’s some stupid invader zim gag every two minutes. Games like that, the joke is basically on the person who played full price for this garbage. So when I read a terminal I expect it to be super interesting and relevant not some stupid time waster gag. But for me to want to read the email in the first place the world has to feel real and immersive and compelling and Outer Worlds just isn’t there for me. It definitely has a better and more immersive world than any Arkane game though.

Why are the quests so cookie cutter? Why are all the male characters completely incompetent morons and all the female characters are smart and tough and basically perfect? (Actually there’s this one girl that locked herself in a closet and you get her out by telling her to unlock it from her side, that was pretty funny haha).Why do I feel like I’m losing years of life in every loading screen. This is like a game you should bring a book to read in loading screens. It must take forever to load up all those buildings you can’t go into. Why do all the enemies mill around the roads with their backs turned waiting to be ambushed? Aren’t they there to ambush me? Why is there no day night cycle? No one goes to sleep. This is important immersion, if you want me to believe that this a real living world, humans need to sleep.
Why do the enemies looks like lilo and stitch plushies? I don’t know whether to shoot them or win them at a fair. Also why is the bringing your weapon up and the action button the same fucking button??? About to engage in combat, better pull my gun out and it’s so immersive that no one reacts to your weapon being drawn at all. Why is there no flash light? Why no romance options? Why no radio?
The music and flash light is all about atmosphere, no darkness or shadow, no possibility for scares or tension. The music is also relegated to jingles, why is there no radio stations, they had the balls to copy the vats system but they held off on radios why? Was that just a step too far or is that too much effort?

Some of the music is great though, like in Fallbrook the atmosphere there is totally space western firefly tier, it’s great, then why is it generic mass effect tones for most of the game? It’s like they copied fallout but left out most of the best bits, if you didn’t want to be compared to Fallout why mention fallout in the marketing and release it in direct competition with Fallout 76 (as if that’s competition haha).

Now I’ve written all this and you’re thinking I hate this game, this is a Prey 2017 situation but I actually really like this game but I’m looking at this generic fallout clone in space and thinking; this could’ve been so much more.
And what’s more I applaud this game, I know it’s going to do well because it’s marketing department are either geniuses or the luckiest fuckers on the planet. Because not only did they announce this game mid Bethesda belly flop falling flat on their faces with 76, but they launched it just when Bethesda announced that god awful subscription service. They literally couldn’t have asked for better PR and they’re releasing at a time with almost no competition with a fresh IP. This is going to make money and I’m really happy for them because I want that DLC and I want a sequel where you can fly that damn ship, this has the potential to be no mans sky meets fallout, it has the potential to be the best rpg series ever. It’s just not there yet.

The thing about this game and why people are so adamant in defending it is because it makes for a good narrative. Because there’s a lot of history between bethesda and obsidian. Bethesda is a pretty shitty company and they’re well known for treating studios like obsidian like shit. So people see this as like the triumphant return. Like Bethesda is this evil dragon swallowing and destroying all these little publishers and enslaving arkane, forcing them to make shitty looking glass game clones for eternity.
And obsidian is this underdog who was defeated, who goes off into the forest to train only to return and slay the evil dragon. But it’s just not true, Outer Worlds is not a fallout slayer, it’s a fallout 76 slayer but that’s not a fair contest.
Say what you want about Fallout 4 all the memes ‘another settlement needs your help’ the dialogue system sucks but the game is just bigger and better in almost every way and isn’t nearly as streamlined and casualised as Outer worlds is. The real Bethesda slayer is probably Cyberpunk 2077, if any one can topple bethesda it’s Cd projekt red.

And although I would love to see Bethesda crash and burn I also want to see if Starfield is any good because that could actually be fallout in space and that sounds epic, if it involves actual space combat, if not it’ll get trashed for being an outer worlds clone haha.

So in conclusion, I don’t hate Outer Worlds, I like it a lot although the looting system drives me fucking nuts having to tap X over and over, gotta be pixel perfect to pick up some bullshit. And I almost quit when I saw how crappy the perks were but I gave it another chance and I really enjoyed. Except for the last boss which is ass cancer, it’s just a bullet sponge version of a robot you literally have in your party haha. Also the main villain just sort of pops up at the end to be evil and die. You only see videos of him until he’s trying to kill you right at the end and when you meet him he doesn’t even say anything he just starts shooting haha.

Finally, I know this game is going to do well and I’m really glad because we need more space games, even though this isn’t really one haha. Like come on, not even a jet pack or a low gravity level in space? You don’t even get space suits. I just think it sort of lacks any real identity of it’s own and copies other games and adds nothing new, it doesn’t even have as much stuff in it as Fallout new vegas, you know the fallout they made haha.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed it and I would recommend it to people who like mass effect and fallout. I’d definitely recommend people stop playing Fallout 76 and play this instead haha. It’s going for a song on gamepass but for buying options in all honesty I’d wait for a sale or until we get significant dlc releases.

This is a good 7 or maybe a really good 6.5 for me, it’s not amazing but it’s on the cusp of being amazing, one little push and it could get there. One mechanic that could’ve made it stand out, if there was space combat or more varied level design this would’ve been a 10. But in it’s current incarnation it’s very safe and by the book. Maybe it’s taking a risk even existing but the game itself is not taking any risks in terms of it’s actual content and gameplay and story. I try to ask myself why I don’t hate this game when I loath games like Prey 2017 that just cynically copy another game and add nothing new. It’s because this game doesn’t have an ounce of cynicism in it’s whole body, you can tell they really tried with this game. It’s made with love and passion it just needed something extra to make it stand out from the crowd. Without a doubt this is a title I will be keeping an eye on.

So yeah pick this up on gamepass or don’t I don’t give a fuck haha.

This took way too long to write and almost no one will read it or they’ve moved on to hating on Death Stranding haha.

See you…

download (7)

3 Ring Samurai Part 2 Chapter 3 ‘Shaolin Cowboy’

Ayo it’s your boi- I don’t talk like this in real.

Hello there fine people, I’m here again speaking the queens english with more lovely examples of why it is wasted on me.
Didn’t get any time to read last night because I was up all night pumping my guns haha. Which is why I feel wiped today, you always know when you went heavy when you feel like a zombie the next day but it’s good.
I had a good long sleep and I had a good dream, one of those great dreams where you feel like you’re in love and it’s so fleeting and perfect and then you wake up feeling like it was real. Then reality sets in and you realise that love like that only exists in dreams. It’s been so long now since I’ve felt anything like that and sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever feel anything like that ever again. I’m sure I will someday.
But until then I just have to keep going, keep exercising, keep following my dreams, floating lazily along the river of life.
I don’t really have much more to say, I must do some proofreading today nomatter my level of deadedness haha. Diana must be ready for her big day, which is fast approaching.
See you…
On the otherside of the fence there were no torches at all. The only light coming from spill from over from the fence and a dull glowing radiating from the walls.
No sound but a scratching a shuffling which both seemed far off and all around.
Then a sound he recognised, the laughing of the sword being drawn, turning to the sound there was a small pool of red light flickering into existence.
The eyes of the laughing clown hilt lit up and for a brief moment he saw something, or someone.
Lots of someone’s.
A quick glimpse of grey flesh drawn taut over an angular frame.
Pookie stood still and held his breath trying not to make a sound. Just listening to them, trying to discern numbers and strength. They must have heard him land over the fence but maybe the commotion outside covered it.
He inched slowly, keeping low on the balls of his feet. Creeping towards the flashing glow of the red eyes, trying not to look at the maudlin shambling figures in the darkness. His eyes were growing accustomed to the dark now and could see their outlines against the dull glowing surface of the cave wall.
Naked gaunt figures with pale skin peeling from their bones shivering in the darkness.
It was in reach now, he could see it. The sword had come loose from the sheathe in the fall. The eyes were blinking on and off and the naked blade was stuck into the dry dirt of the cave floor, the scabbard a few feet away.
He took it by the handle and wiggled it gently free trying to make as little noise as possible.
Taking it one hand he went for the scabbard and like a total idiot he resheathed the sword causing it to make that loud canned laughter noise. The figures shifted in the dark, the air getting heavier and the sound of sniffing and opening of mouths, the smell of desiccated death all around.
“Ah crap.”
On the otherside Canard crawled on his belly like someone trying to sneak out of a married woman’s bed. Through a series of tunnels comprised of robed legs trying to kick and stomp him to death.
Luckily kicking people in a flowing robe was pretty difficult especially in a big crowd of total morons.
Just a little further” He spat trying not to let his lungs collapse.
“There he is!”
“I’ve got him!”
“WAIT!” Canard shouted as he crawled toward his stick.
And oddly all of them did, being the sort that takes orders. They stopped crowding and grabbing and kicking and just stared in dumb silence. Canard took his staff and used it to raise himself into a sitting position with them all crowded around him. Just one minute” He said as they all surrounded him looking at eachother as if they’d all ran in here and forgotten why it was they ran in here.
Canard sighed and flicked the blade out of his staff and said “Ok continue.”
They all rushed at him at once Canard hesitated for a second then it became clear. He rolled his body forward throwing out his shoulder over his good leg and launching himself forward into a roll. The blade of his spear sweeping in a broad low arc cutting off the legs of all the cultists in a three meter radius of him.
Still not rising to his… foot, he did what I believe in yoga is called a ‘teddy bear roll’. Leaning onto his lower back using his hips and thighs to leverage him into another spin. Sweeping the blade up cutting arms and hands off and pointedly one with a decorative revolver in it.
I think I’m getting the hang of this.” Canard said as his breakdancing spins picked up speed. Violently slashing at whatever was sticking out like some terrible blender from hell.
For a second he lost focus and his guts started to churn and he felt dizzy.
I think I’m gonna throw up.” He said as the spin he was currently in started to wind down, in the centre of a radius of blood and carnage at least ten foot in all directions. Spreading out like some kind of expressionist painting dotted with severed limbs and entrails.
“Did I do that?” He said as he used his stick to raise himself to his foot wobbling slightly.
But there was something off about it. The men on the ground were still moving and some even were picking among the maelstrom for lost limbs and organs, seemingly trying to reattach them. This both amused and bemused Canard until he started to realise that what they were attempting, was working.
Efron too saw something she liked. She smiled broadly as she picked up an arm holding a decorative revolver. She carefully pryed the fingers free and let the arm drop to the ground, the arm twitching slightly.
“Ooh pretty” She said as she regard the gun with the care and finesse of an effienado. She held it out in front of her with two hands “Pew pew”.
Check out the rest of the chapter here.

3 Ring Samurai Part 1; The man with the laughing sword

“I’m only laughing on the outside / My smile is just skin deep / If you could see inside I’m really crying / You might join me for a weep.” – Jack Napier

If anyone doesn’t know who Jack Napier is, go away confused haha. 

It’s finally here, the moment none of you have been waiting for, erm still not happy with the fight scene in it, *spoilers there’s a fight scene it, it’s a story about a clown samurai, what can I tell ya?

Ok yeah so what prompted me to do a dieselpunk clown samurai story? Not sure. But hey here it is after one proofread.

Been a little down recently, life just seems to be taking and not giving as the smiths would put it. Although it’s hard to be depressed when you look this good and feel this swole but somehow I manage it.

It’s why I’m looking forward to getting stuck back into this, I was actually really pissed when I had to stop working on this to eat on monday haha. My schedule is usually writing friday through to monday and then blogging and spamming from tuesday to thursday. So when I had to stop, I was like, ‘but I don’t wanna’. Which is great, it’s why it’s good to do fun stuff like this, recharges your creative batteries.

I’m not sure if other people will like it and I’m sure it won’t make me rich and famous but it’s like creative chocolate, it won’t fill me up but it’ll make me feel like life is worth living again and I really need that. 

Also I think my editor broke her arm or something which is why she’s taking her time getting Diana back to me, why do I have such lousy luck with editors, I must be cursed.

Maybe it’s just women in general, I can never seem to get that right. Always seem to pick the wrong ones, or I let them pick me. Make me want to listen to the smiths in the dark and not move, being super fucking edgy today haha.

I just came to a realisation that I’m never going to have a relationship with one person in particular, not a real one anyway. She’ll always just be there in the back of my mind and I’ll never be able to touch her or hear her voice, she may not even know I exist or care, why would she? I’ll never be the person she needs and I’ll never have the unconditional love I want. She’ll just exist there without me and it wont really matter. I wish there was someone to blame, but there isn’t. All that remains is this numbing painful feeling, can you imagine the person you love the most in the world doesn’t even know who you are? Doesn’t know your face or your voice. It’s a crushing feeling know that I just have to watch her grow up like a fly on the wall. 

Anyway, it turned out differently from the comic, it’s had a complete tonal shift and I think it works, it’s more serious, the characters are more defined, I hope someone enjoys it half as much as I did writing it. I tried to keep the action as restrained as possible like the witcher, leave as much to the imagination as possible but still keep it tight.

Let me know what you think.

See you…

~

Chapter 1 ‘Zip Code’

“Ruff ruff”

 

“Garfield, come back boy!” A young girl in a moth eaten yellow sundress said, short of breath as she chased after the six legged mutant mutt as he ascended a mountain of garbage.

 

“What have you got over there you dumb mutt?” A boy behind her in a torn duster two sizes two big for him said as he watched from the base of the trash mountain. Resting his weight on a cracked Louisville slugger like a walking cane.

 

The sun beat down unimpeded by the any cloud cover at all, a big yellow beam of light baking a mound of garbage left by the circus convoy that passed only the other night.

 

The two children reluctantly chased the mutated dog-like creature up the mountain of garbage. Ranging from empty food containers, popped balloons and ripped posters to bone fragments, broken blades and needles. Until they reached the object that so interested their faithful companion.

 

“Eww what is that?” The little girl said as she skipped up the trash pile to find the dog barking and gnawing at something or other, a mass of rags and garbage.

 

The boy got to her elevation using the bat as a walking stick, he adjusted the googles on his face to look closer at the thing the dog was distressing. “Ahh just some dead guy” The kid sighed.

 

The little girl paused and blinked a few times before she said “Can we eat’im?”

 

“Nah, he’s probably rotten, no telling how long he’s been out here.” The boy said as he lifted his cracked goggles up from his dirt and soot caked face tossing the bat over his shoulder. “We gotta keep looking”.

 

“But I think he’s still moving, gotta be super fresh.” The little girl said smiling through her two missing front teeth, freckles fighting for their place with dirt and muck on her tanned face a shock of dry dirty red hair sticking up on her head in all directions.

 

“Eh?”

 

Lying face down in a pile of hot garbage a corpse lay still, it’s skin waxy and pale and almost yellow. The dog wasted no time in sniffing and licking and trying to devour the corpse feet first.

 

“Errrrggghhhh” An unknown voice echoed.

 

“What was that?” The little girl asked.

 

“Probably gas escaping, dead people poop their pants sometimes.”

 

“Ewwww”

 

Garfield the dog didn’t seem too discouraged as his two tongues went to work licking the corpses feet, chomping at them playfully

 

“Errrgghhh!” The voice said again.

 

The corpse seemed to jostle suddenly and then shambolicly roll onto it’s back.

 

The two kids froze in terror as the corpse seemed to reanimate right in front of them it’s horrible face covered in sticky icecream wrappers forming a horrifying multi-coloured mask that looked like desiccated mutant flesh.

 

“Ahhh” The girl screamed “It’s a zombie!”

 

“Zombie?!” The boy yelped.

 

The dog was seemingly less worried about the zombie and kept licking it’s stinky feet.

 

The zombie moved as if it was in a dream, rising to a sitting position in a most unnatural fashion, almost flopping forward like a fish with no bones in it’s back. Slumping into an open indian sitting position it said “That tickles.”

 

By this time the boy had worked his way around the back of the slowly reanimating corpse and delivered a decisive blow to the back of it’s head.

 

 

“So it’s not a zombie?”

 

“Nope, it’s not a zombie.” An old man said as he leant over a makeshift cook stove made of truck gas tank cut in half over a fire of burning cardboard and plastic making a gnoxious green smoke. Something unidentifiable gently simmering in the pot.

 

“What part of he’s breathing and bleeding and farting in his sleep makes you think he’s a zombie?” The young boy said.

 

The girl made a face and touched her chin as she thought about it pursing her lips in her dry tanned freckled face “Does that mean we can eat him now?” The little girl chirped smiling broadly.

 

“Efron, we talked about this, you can’t just go around eating folk you find out in the wasteland.” The old man said scratching his beard and tugging at his red suspenders over his dingy white shirt as if he was grappling for a good reason to why that was the case but coming up with nothing and changing the subject. “Well we gotta talk to him first, that seems like what decent folks would do” The old coot said.

 

“What’s with his face?” The boy said as he leaned over the unconscious man.

 

“Yeah what’s with that?” Efron said as she joined the boy shoulder to shoulder bending over the unconscious stranger as he lay on his back on a bed made of old truck tires and unidentified furs, his breathing shallow.

 

“I think he’s one of them ladymen, they got in the city- although I wouldn’t know nothing about that” The old man blushed.

 

“So it’s like paint?” The little girl said as she prodded at the sleeping the stranger’s big red rose.

 

“They won’t come off” The boy said puzzled as the makeup wouldn’t so much as smudge.

 

The old man stopped stirring whatever it was he was cooking and readjusted a stool made of an old motorcycle seat and joined the kids in inspecting the unconscious man.

 

After a moment of contemplation he sighed heavily and said “They’re tattoos.”

 

“What are tattoos?” The little girl asked?

 

“They’re like drawings under your skin” The older boy said “Jeez don’t you know anything?” He sneered.

 

She scrunched up her face and stuck her tongue out at him making a raspberry noise. “I know more than you Zach buttrat brain!”

 

“Shut yer pieholes!” The old man shushed them harshly as he took his suspenders off his shoulders and took a closer look. He opened one of the man’s eyes and then took a closer prodding inspection with his fingers along the man’s side and found a small stab wound in his midsection. “Zach, get my sewing kit, would ya?”

 

“Err”

 

“Now!”

 

The boy bolted out of the door and after some scuffling and breaking noises he came back with a needle and thread and the old man went about stitching the wound and then putting a bandage over it.

 

“Hmm, bleeding already stopped, nothing good must have been hit, lucky bastard”. The old man scoffed.

 

Efron looked on, downtrodden “So we’re really not gonna eat him?” She whined.

 

The old man looked at her and then at the unconscious man and said “Someone’s gonna be looking for that boy.”

 

“How you know that gramps?” Zach said.

 

“Tattoos on his face, I’ve seen’em before – means he’s connected”

 

“Connected to what?” The little girl said.

 

“Circus folk, I haven’t see one for a long time but I think those markings on his face mean he’s one of them clown gangers”

 

“What’s a clown?”

 

The old man sighed deeply and said “A cold blooded killer.” An icy chill running through his words and down his back.

 

“Then why’d you help him?” The boy said in a harsh whisper.

 

“Ya see a long time ago, before all this, before you were born, in the bad bad times just after the almighty badness. Folks were wild, worse than they are now, I know it’s hard to imagine but it was fucking chaos-

 

People raping and eating eachother in the street, no law, no god, no judgement. Just blood and pain and mutation and suffering and out of that came a travelling circus lead by the devil himself and bound by some obscure code.

 

They purged the land of mutants and freaks and crazies and they united the bandit tribes of the wasteland into one travelling militia. The clowns were just one band of gangsters they recruited.

 

One man brought them all together, he called himself the ringmaster, he was worse than all of them combined, more terrible than any hammer or sickle. He lead a gang called the ‘Third ring’ and He beat the wasteland into shape and it limped on ever since.

 

The circus trying to hold it together moving from town to town putting on their show. Purging the wicked in a woodchip ring that’s what they were doing up in Woodsmoke, they take all the food they need and move on.

I hear they even snatch kids now to make bolster their ranks.” The old man paused and sighed as the two kids looked and listened silently. “That’s probably what happened to him. After the second food war, the chaos, lots of kids were left without parents and had no choice but to join.”

 

“How do you know all this old man?” The boy asked

 

“I used to be a carny – it’s like a really dirty person that does all the dirty jobs but I got too old, too tired, sick of cleaning up all that blood.”

 

“Then why help him, if he’s a monster?” The little girl asked without a hint of malice in her voice, instead a curious optimism eking out.

 

The old man let out another sigh “What else can we do? ‘Sides if he dies and they found out we just let him, and they have their ways mind you – no telling what they might do.”

 

Both the kids looked at the sleeping man with the silly crude smiling face drawn over his real face in a fearful awe as he began to stir.

 

The kids ran out of the shack. The shack itself was small and bare and made of rusty scrap corrugated iron so wobbled and bustled with every breeze. The whole thing clanged and banged as they ran around it and climbed on top of it.

 

The clown let out a groan and his hand listlessly touched his bandaged head.

 

“Ow” The clown said dreamily.

 

“Err ya bumped your head pretty bad, and I guess someone stabbed ya, I bandaged you up best I could but I’m not a magician”

 

“My sword”

 

“Look buddy, you were like this when we found ya, no sword, no shoes, no name.”

 

“Name?”

 

“Yeah we haven’t been introduced, they call me Gramps” He said with a sigh like he’d told a million people already and this was the million and first.

 

The shack rattled with the wind and banged with little footsteps on the roof.

 

The clown groaned as he tried to rise to a sitting position, seized with pain and fell back down and went limp.

 

“My name’s Pookie” He said breathlessly.

 

“Pookie?” A little girls voice rang with glee through a hole in the roof.

 

Surprised the clown looked up at the ceiling but she was gone before he clocked her but he could still hear her giggling.

 

“What was your name before?”

 

The clown didn’t respond.

 

“Look, I know what yer thinkin’. I didn’t take your stuff, we’re not the only scavvers out here. There’s a place over the mound, I traded with’em a couple of times but I wouldn’t trust them with a jar of warm piss.”

 

Pookie breathed in deeply and shifted his weight to the side of the makeshift bed and painfully levered himself off. Not accounting for how stiff he’d become just lying there, falling flat on his face.

 

“You can’t be movin’ around like that, you need to rest, you’ll get yisself killed foolin’ around like that.”

 

Pookie groaned again and tried his legs getting his knees up under him, holding his side.

 

The old man bit his lip and started looking around the shack and digging under a pile of clothes and hats. He pulled out a long dried looking stick with a little Y shape at the top.

 

“Here, if you’re fixed on getting yisself killed you might as well do it on yer two feet.” He lifted Pookie up to a standing position and slipped the stick under his arm. “Put your weight on that stick” He said as he clasped him by the shoulder. He looked weak, bandages wrapped all around his waist and head. He was skinny but lined with sinewy muscles and deep inset scars that looked decades old on top of obscure tattoos that danced up his arms and peaked up from out of the bandages on his back, the tail of a fish swished in a stream.

 

His face was a boy’s but hard, carved from sheet rock with red and white ink. A grotesquely large smile tore across his real mouth which was small and downturned. It flecked out almost like a brush stroke in a brutal crimson, red lines made an arc over his eyes and there was some bluing around the top lids on his forehead and a pair of black diamond shapes under each eye forming a disturbing mask, his face covered in war paint he could never take off. His hair was mostly shaved off in seemingly random patches and tied up into a high dark brown top knot on the back of his head.

 

He shifted his weight onto the stick and stood up on his own strength and the old man stepped away.

 

“Thanks” The clown said as he started to limp towards the opening of the shack.

 

The old man watched him go with a puzzled look on his face. “Yer welcome- and brush yer teeth!” He shouted after him.

 

The two kids watched him as he slowly limped and hopped his way over the mound as the sun reached its highest point, getting full and fat and ready to drop.

 

“Really think we should have eaten him” A little voice said from the hole in the roof.

 

 

The trappers house looked like an old station building the tracks that used to run parallel, long dug up and cannibalised, made into weapons or defences of some sort. Only the circus had use for trains and other such vehicles, it was for simple folk to use beasts of burden and their own two aching limbs. You saw some on bikes and even in cars but it was rare, fuel was more scarce than water in the wasteland. Nothing grew here anymore, it was just barren, open country.

 

The house wasn’t much to look at, just an old wood building that looked like it was in constant disrepair, covered as it was with different coloured wood patches and wire mesh where the window glass used to be.

 

The yard was full of empty rusty cages and broken down tractors and train cars and junk. The house itself was situated at the bottom of the mound in a hilly region so there was no doubt he was seen coming over and down the shallow hill. But surprise was never on his mind.

 

He made his way slowly down the hill trying not to fall over his own feet watching for the windows. He walked through the yard trying not to get tetnis, looking at all the rust and junk. Everything from the old dead world lovlingly collected and allowed to rot right here.

 

Pookie didn’t get within a fifteen feet of the house before a stout bald man wearing nothing but a pair of dungarees kicked open his own door like he was gate crashing a barn dance.

 

“Wh-th-hel-re-wht-ya-wnt? He warbled, all his words trying to get out of his mouth at once and coming out as a garbled mess running together and bumping into eachother.

 

Pookie breathed heavy leaning on the old stick but said nothing.

 

“Cnt-ya-tlk-ya-tarded?” His head was thick and round like an egg and he had no neck to speak of, his head was just a seamless, sweaty, greasy transition to a stout little body and stubby limbs.

 

The man got impatient and slammed a chair leg full of rusty nails against one of the support of the porch making a loud sound and gouging a chunk of old wood out of the strut.

 

“What’s the gaff pops?” A younger version of the man in front of him stepped out of the house. He had a full mop of greasy black hair under a black and white striped moth eaten fedora and he wore a long black leather coat a shirt underneahe with a cat on it but most notably he wore a sword on his back.

 

“What’s all the racket paw?” Another voice said, but it was a softer and what looked like a woman stepped onto the porch with a frying pan in her hand. The ‘woman’ was the tallest of the bunch with a chin and stubble that could cut glass. She tossed a waft of toxic green wig hair out of ‘her’ face and said “Who’s this handsome man?”

 

“The-hel-r-ya?”

 

“Nobody” Pookie answered.

 

The three looked at eachother confused and then laughed.

 

“Wow bro, you’re super edgey, like your edge cut me over here” The kid said scratching his patchy neck beard. Pookie watched the sword jangle on his back as he spoke.

 

They stopped laughing and got serious. “Teh-hel-ya-wnt?”

 

“The sword” Pookie said.

 

“Eh?” The older man said.

 

“You wannit, you gotta come and get it” The kid said. “I aint afraid of some crippled heshe.” He said as he cockily dismounted the porch and made his way towards the still Pookie.

 

“Kek” The boy smirked and reached for the handle of the sword. It was an odd design, coloured like a red and white lollipop, or a candy striped barber poll with an evil laughing clown face as a pommel it’s mouth open wide.

 

“Ya-cnt-drw-a-swrd-frm-yer-bck-ya-idjt!”

 

“Daaaad, I can do it, I’ve been practicing in the mirror!” The kid said as he turned around to yell at his father.

 

The kid took a firm grip on the handle and tugged hard but it dragged the scabbard with it. He only managed to choke himself with the strap he had around his torso.

 

“Hawhawhaw!” His dad laughed.

 

The kid blushed and then remembered to grab the bottom of the scabbard. He rounded the blade out of the sheathe making a scraping noise and then the blade laughed. The handle let out a cheesey clown laugh on repeat and LED lights on the pommel in the clowns eyes lit up for a few seconds before shutting off.

 

“Hahahahahaha” The man and the ‘woman’ were now in hysterics laughing at the boy and his ridiculous sword.

 

“Wut-a-stpd-pisa-crp!” The older man snorted almost crying.

 

“Daaaadd, you’re embarrassing me!” The kids face got red as he craned his neck to chastise his father but then as he got no response but more laughter he turned his red freckled fat face at Pookie who stared straight passed him as if he wasn’t even there.

 

“You think you can fuck with me?” He swallowed loud and puffed up his chest straining his kitty t-shirt with his man boobs pulling it apart. “I’m your worst nightmare!” The kid took up a firm stance he must have seen in an old comic book and put two hands on the sword as tight as he little fat hands could and he ran straight at Pookie with the blade in the air.

 

He swung it down with both hands like a baseball bat and hit nothing but dirt.

 

Pookie stood right over him and breathed in his face.

 

The kid reeled back pulling the sword with him, the mirror polished blade tossing loose dirt as it retreated.

 

“Your breath stinks!”

 

Pookie smiled and stuck out his tongue.

 

“The fuck is wrong with you? I’ll kill you!” He slashed for Pookie head in a rough semi circle. But it was slow with no care for edge alighnment, just swinging away like he was hammering a nail, so each strike was getting too much wind resistance. With every missed strike he it took more out of him. Each clumsy miss left him more out of breath.

 

Before long the boy was toppled over fighting for breath. Pookie was watching the sun go down not having broken a sweat. He stared at that big ball in the sky with his back turned to the boy as he heaved for air vomitting on in his own lap.

 

“You know- kind of suck at this” Pookie said without looking at him.

 

The kid instantly flew into a rage and staggered to his feet running with all his strength, the sword tip held high determined to run Pookie through.

 

It was then that he felt it, the rushing tide, the blood pumping, his muscles awake and supple, the need. The desire to kill that spurred him, the roar of the crowd, that sound it made when air escaped a perfect cut.

 

He was lost for a minute and then the kids heavy footfalls reminded him of where he was. He turned to see the kid trying to skewer him in slow motion and not a thought crossed his mind before he turned the blade around and impaled the kid on it. He didn’t even think about it, it just happened.

 

Pookie pulled the sword out of the kid. It was covered in blood all the way even past the hilt and he slumped into the dirt to join all that junk in the old world.

 

“Sonofabitch” the vaguely feminine creature shrieked with the frying pan overhead.

 

Pookie still leaning on the crutch, his bloody laughing sword hanging loose at his side as the crazed he/she charged at him, Pookie limped slowly closer.

 

She/he/it over shot their attack and Pookie had cut them three times before frying pan came down. They walked a few steps before the dress they were wearing seemed to peel off in sections and the green wig fell off, blood slowly seeping as he fell forward.

 

“Fkn-pissa-sht” The older man said as he loaded and cocked some sort of makeshift cross bow made from animal gut and car parts, tears streaming down his egg-like face.

 

Pookie looked up at him, his face covered in blood, his eyes sad and empty. “Just the sword”.

 

The old man swallowed and stared for a long time at the bodies and at Pookie and he shook and after a long moment he lowered the crossbow and watched Pookie limp away.

 

 

Pookie collapsed in front of the old man’s tin shack, Efron and Zach stared at the odd figure through the door.

 

The old man approached him, the sword fallen in front of him in it’s pin stripe scabbard covered in weird stickers and he saw the blood.

 

“I told you not to go”

 

“Did you?” Pookie said into the dirt. His eyes open and clear staring at nothing.

 

“You’re close to death, you should rest.”

 

“It’s not the first time” He said dreamily.

 

The old man cleared his throat and eased the stranger to his feet and helped him into the shack.

 

When the stranger woke up again it was light and the old man was again leaning over the makeshift cooking pot an odd smell was emanating from it.

 

“Thank you- again.”

 

The old man let out a heavy breath and said “You told me it wasn’t the first time you’d been close to death.”

 

“I did.”

 

“You wanna tell me about that?”

 

“-Not really”

 

“Ha-“ The old man paused and breathed deeply raising his back as he stirred. “You didn’t have to kill them ya know”

 

“I know.”

 

The old man sighed again. “I think you should clear out as soon as you can”

 

Pookie groaned and peeled himself off the bed. He looked around the inside of the tin shack catching glimpses of the kids sneaking peeks at him through the holes. “I think you’re right”

 

“Nearest town, is north west over the ridge”

 

“Thanks” He groaned as he got to his feet and breathed heavy and sore like two planks of unplained wood rubbing together. He looked around for his sword and he saw it resting against the door next to his walking stick. He stopped for a second to think and then picked up the sword and walked out the door leaving the stick behind.

First impressions of Fallout 4 (totally not a review)

I’m a little ashamed to say I’m on my second play through. Not because I have no life but because when I got into work, one of my friends told me he was on his fourth and I was dismayed.

I’m gonna try and refrain from fangirling too hard because that makes me sick and it just isn’t me. And this is by far a perfect game but its pretty freaking close.

The game itself didn’t take too long to install and load up although I wished I would have just downloaded it so I could have had my own private mini midnight launch instead of waiting feverishly for the post and deluding myself that it might have come a day earlier like that one time ages ago I may have imagined. Although obviously I fucked it up and had to reinstall it because I let it download the update mid installation so it was all installing from the net and I couldn’t see the entire loading bar which drove me nuts so I had to reinstall for sanities sake.

But when it was finally loaded, I started and found myself oddly gripped by the opening live action cinematic and then created my character of which I based on David Morrissey’s depiction of the Governor from Walking Dead. And before you jump down my throat calling me a philistine for using that version and not the fu manchu moustachioed comic and novel version (all of which I’ve read exhaustively, except the latest novel I think), I say fuck you David Morrissey is better looking, face it.
I think his face and his depiction of the Governor is also a lot more rounded and likeable and I was actually sad to see the show stick with the comic storyline and his death, when they went off the rails mid season and used the books a little I thought he might have been remodelled into an ongoing character and that would have been more interesting than just sticking to the source material with a few deviations.
I think his character was perfect for the character displayed by the voice actor for the male protagonist in fallout 3 Brian Delaney. I was initially sceptical about the voiced protagonist as the previous games had silent protagonists and voiced protagonists in rpgs like mass effect can get a little annoying and break immersion slightly because it feels less like you are the main character and more like you’re watching the main character do stuff.
But I have to say it really sold the immersion and the emotion at the start of the game, the game didn’t kid me and expect me to care about the main characters wife or kid (like in fallout 3 where you’re supposed to care about your fictional dad played by Liam Neeson) but I was very aware purely through the voice actor’s acting that the main character did care about his wife and child and that sort of sold the emotion of the game.
And when the ‘event’ happens, I really felt like someone who had been tossed into this hostile landscape, whose home and everything he’s known had been destroyed and had to sleep on the floor of truck stops office while it rained and radiation clouds blew through with only a dog to keep him company. It really felt morose and beautiful and that you had to live another day to get revenge and to rebuild a life for yourself and make something beautiful out of all the ugliness that surrounded you and I really loved it.
Despite that, I was proved right about the downsides of the voiced protagonists, mainly and I see a lot of chatter about this, it’s almost impossible to be evil.
Now I suppose you could just kill everyone but its hardly enslaving people and eating babies a la Fallout 3 is it. And the evil dialogue options just sound angsty and mean in Brian’s voice, he just seems too nice a guy to do all that fucked up shit. So twinned with my David Morrissey Governor smooth talking gunslinger character, he came off less monstrously evil and more misunderstood monster. Less Count Dracula more Frankenstein’s monster.
And to be honest I really dug that, good and evil are so subjective so losing the karma system and making good and evil more ambiguous seemed like a step in the right direction. If anything the karma system just evolved into the companion approval system, so depending on which character you pick to come with you, determines what you want to say or do to impress them. But again not one companion is Hannibal fucking lector, where would be the practicality of that? Every character, evil, cruel, vindictive or not has to be in some way likeable or redeemable so that you enjoy their character and want to follow their progression and I think Bethesda delivers on that well.
The factions are also really interesting and have their own sort of style; on my first play through I sided with the minutemen and set about uniting the settlements of the commonwealth, basically creating a people’s army. I don’t know what it is about this game that’s different from elder scrolls, in Skyrim and Oblivion I really didn’t see a problem with joining the mages guild and using the magic I learned for a little bit of thieving on the side. Or joining the fighter’s guild and then turning those talents to assassination, but in F4 the factions are a little more involved, a little more compelling. I couldn’t swear allegiance to the minutemen and then swear an oath of service to the Brotherhood of steel, it really feels like you’re either one or other and each faction is heavily tied into the main plot of the game unlike in Elder scrolls where each faction is its own quest line in a way. I can’t say which I like more to be honest; I think they both have merit.
The game play is great, the exploration (which is always the crux of rpgs like this) is top notch, the anal crafting is minecraft levels of addictive, I literally had to pull myself away from it just to actually play the game main game it’s so intoxicatingly addictive.
I think they really nailed the levelling and perk system too; it’s perfect for someone like me that likes to create a lot of distinct characters and loathes everyman grinders who spend ages making a character that’s good at literally everything. I’m sitting her playing my talker, small guns character and I can’t wait to start a big guns character who swings bats at people, now I’m playing that character and I can’t wait to play my slashy stealthy character who uses silenced weapons and crafts his own explosive traps.
But the game as a lot of people have said; is not really an rpg, the dialogue wheel is a little stunted and the voice actor does make it seem like you’re further away from the actions than you’d like.
Overall, I’m enthralled by it, I want to get lost in it, I almost feel like I rush it just to try and absorb everything I can get, I want to experience everything and I can’t wait for dlc.

 

Hype… hype never changes.

I, like probably millions of other manchildren (and maybe actual children) are hyped as fuck for Fallout 4 which releases next Tuesday, by released I mean I get to wait half the day for it to install on my Xbox one -_-.
I just thought I’d have some fun rambling about it because I’m constantly in these facebook groups either bitching about New Vegas (I won’t shake that fucking tree here ha-ha) or laughing at people comparing it to modern shooter graphics.

I’m almost at a loss for the levels of fanboyism I’m holding in, sheer unadulterated pure uncut 100% Columbian hype.

But I can’t help feelings a little bit iffy, I don’t know if it’s just because Fallout has become so mainstream over the years. For a title so niche to gain such mainstream appeal is good but also troubling to me, I hasten to add I didn’t play the original Fallout games until I saw Fallout 4 was being released and I needed an outlet for my building hype.
So I’m by no means an OG Fallout gamer, but I’m not a dirty casual either, I’m a console peasant who played his first Fallout game on a ps2, yeah it was Fallout BOS. I liked it because it was like Baldur’s Gate with guns and powerfist and it’s actually the first and only Fallout game where you got to play a ghoul.

After that I saw Fallout 3 come out and being a massive Oblivion fan it completely had me and had me bad, for months. I truly loved that game, the music, the atmosphere, the guns. Although overall it ranked as something of a letdown but as the constant apologist I blame myself for building it up so much something I’m desperately trying to resist with Fallout 4.
It was mainly the story and the levelling system I took issue with, coming out of Oblivion I found just putting numbers into a stat sort of unsatisfying as opposed to actually practicing the skill to build it up in Oblivion. Which I found more realistic; the more you swing a sword the better you get at it, but in Fallout it didn’t matter you just levelled up for completing missions and could spend skill points however you wanted even in skills you didn’t use.
But I had issues even with that system in Oblivion to be fair because I couldn’t resist once I had trained with one skill to the max to train with another until I mastered them all, which took some of the punch out of the game. The new levelling system for Fallout 4 looks pretty interesting and I’m actually really happy that it’s been streamlined and something that always annoyed me about previous Fallout games has been addressed.

Pistols, they never get pistols right, because you find one at the start and use it until you find some super mega blaster or some huge shotgun and then you never see it again but finally Bethesda have made pistols their own skill as opposed to just reducing it to small guns and big guns. So in a way they’ve streamlined it but also made it more intricate since every type of weapon not just its class has its own skill so you have a small guns skill but then an individual pistol/shotgun/assault rifle skill that focuses on one particular type of weapon with its own special attributes. Which I think is such a great idea because now you can literally make and use any gun you feel suits you best and your play style. Whether you want to be a long range sniper or a hip shooter pistolero or a shotgun surgeon. I think it’s just a great idea that gives every weapon a use and a purpose as opposed to just being something that clutters your inventory and is never used.

All games have their problems and they all reach a state of terminal velocity where they can’t satisfy the way they could at the start.

Also I had problems with the story of Fallout 3, not necessarily with the quality, I have taken to taking videogame storylines with a pinch of salt as of late, because they will always be secondary to fun gameplay and I’ve come to accept that. Waiting for an emotional rollercoaster of a game that Spielberg would be proud of is just too much to ask and games that try are hit and miss coming somewhere between tear jerking if a little tacky Last of Us vs. Engaging if completely insane pretty much any game by David Cage (Heavy Rain, Fahrenheit Syndrome, Beyond Two Souls) but I digress, I’ll get into that in more depth in a later blog probably.
The problem I had with the story is that there wasn’t very much of it, and that’s not to say they weren’t lots of quests and characters, what I mean were there were certain main quest lines that had achievements attached to them. And the problem I have with that is it just makes the game seem less fluid, less pick up and play, I liked how in Oblivion you could literally walk into any tavern or come across a stranger and be swept up in a harrowing quest and then get a piece of special equipment.
There are elements of that in Fallout 3 but I just felt like it was more rigid and a little less forgiving. But regardless of that I still found myself just exploring for hours completely ignoring the story for the most part. I spend probably 80% of my time on Fallout 3 just exploring and making up or piecing together stories from the surroundings and things I find and I think that’s a great strength of all Bethesda games. A lot of the times they just sit back and let the surroundings tell the story, they give the gamer the pieces and they have to put it together themselves which makes them that more engaged in the story.
That was just one thing I worried about looking over the leaked achievements for Fallout 4, they’re doing the same thing with the main story quests, giving them achievements for completion. I dunno, I just think money and the xp and the fun alone should be reward enough, but it’s just a pet peeve.
Another thing that worried me is the changes to the dialogue, it’s changed from a box of text where you select lines, to a more Mass Effect style dialogue wheel, now I see a lot of ‘genius’s’ and gaming hipsters saying this is Fallout ‘Dumbing down’ and to an extent when games fall into the mainstream there is a level of streamlining they go through to maximise their appeal like with Skyrim. But to anyone with common sense, the reason dialogue wheel replaced the text box is because we have a voiced protagonist for the first time in Fallout history and he only has so many words he can say, so unfortunately dialogue will be more limited.

Whether this improves immersion into the game or makes it worse I can’t say until I play it on Tuesday (More likely Wednesday, fuck took like a week to install eso and now I never play it -_-). I can’t say listening to Captain’s Shepherd’s monotone voice for hours on end with its varying inflection from anger to *shudders* flirtation increased anything but my threshold for cringe.

But this is Fallout, this is Bethesda, Bioware is but flies compared to Vigo!.. I mean Todd Howard.

Breakdown of the first issue of Three Ring and some Reviews.

I wanted to blog about the first issue of Three Ring Samurai and Bat Country in more detail but I think I’ll tackle them separately and talk more broadly on how I feel about first issues because I find I feel quite strongly about them.

To me the first issue of a comic is like an introduction to an essay or a film or anything of that nature, it sets up the plot but it also has to stand almost on its own. I read so many indie comics who see the first issue as almost a hurdle to be jumped as swiftly and as neatly as possible to get to the ‘good bits’ but if you have ‘good bits’ why aren’t they in the first issue people will see?
You have to give people a reason to want to get to the ‘good bits’, I’m not going to read your entire graphic novel and then decide whether or not it was worth my time at the end. I’m going to see what the first issue is telling me and decide from that moment whether to keep reading or not.

So in my mind the first issue should almost encapsulate everything you want to say or achieve throughout the entire comic. It’s not the start of a story, it IS the whole story. I read quite a few comics that start at the beginning despite nothing really happening, and slowly building to that point.

A comic is not like a novel, you have to grab people’s attention as soon as possible or you’ll never have it. I’d structure it so it started at or after the inciting incident and work backwards, it’s a common device but that’s because it works and if you think you can’t make a common device work for you or you can’t make something like that fresh and exciting or scoff at cliché’s you really shouldn’t be a writer. Because that’s all we do, nothing is original, nothing is new, everything is a cliché, we’ve been on this planet for thousands of years as a species, we have to keep recycling and keep mixing things up to keep… LIFE interesting. It’s not what you write about, its how you write about it that makes what you do interesting.
Now my post apocalyptic diesel punk samurai clown epic, Three Ring Samurai, if I may be so modest has an oddly modest first issue in comparison from where the story goes. I see the premise, and the elevator pitch alone is incredibly flamboyant and done by anyone else it would too silly, too wacky and just wouldn’t work. I wanted to go for a more anime like feel, where there can be silliness and there can be wackiness but you always understand that there are real world consequences and life and death and it’ll be at its core a serious story because in my opinion those are the stories I like and want to tell.

I think seriousness and sadness and humour work off each other well and in some instances deepen eachother. It’s like twin peaks, again; you have all this wackiness going on in the episode but by the end you have to remember that Laura is dead and that’s what the show is about, it’s a comedy surrounding a tragedy and only the end can truly define where the pointer lands.

So with the first issue I really wanted to undersell it and be as subtle as I possibly could so that I could contain the bombastic title and concept and really blue ball the reader, as well as giving them a little something that would make them want to read the next issue (which is still being drawn) and give them a feel for the tone of entire series.

I really had to restrain myself because the concept is so rich and so fucking explosive, it’s almost too tempting to take it and run and just burn yourself out. But I wanted a really plodding and structured approach. And I know I said I hated comics that took a long time to get going but I think this comic had enough momentum behind it in terms of interest with the unique subject matter to cut me a little slack if just for the first issue. To be a little mysterious, a little enigmatic even in a comic that is so tongue in cheek at its core as this.

So the first page, I read that and I hear Ron Perlman’s voice saying ‘War, war never changes’, and I just can’t resist, the zoom out on the post apocalyptic setting, I really wanted to give a feel of scope and loss with the idea that people were still clinging on to something which is Fallout at its heart.

We’re introduced to these two kids, like the wastelands answer to tin tin, two innocents bounding onto some dark strange discovery and this is how we’re introduced to our hero. I tried to use this to set the tone in terms of the fact the kids didn’t find it strange to find a dead body, the light normality of death being so prevalent in a harsh wasteland.

Pookie is almost like an alien or a baby or a fish wacked on the head and brought back to life. With the scenes of the shack, I almost wanted a sleepy feel, a sort of cool peace that fell on the wasteland at dusk in contrast to the chaos of the day.

I had a lot of fun with the kids, sneaking in exposition and building up to the character of Pookie by essentially mocking him in this cartoony anime sort of way. I want him to be this figure of fun, a silly character that can fall on his ass and make a fool of himself because he’s not afraid of being a fool because he knows when it comes down to it, he’ll have the last laugh.

The grandpa character is a sort of wily comic relief, someone to bounce weird jokes off the kids (fuck just noticed a spelling mistake haha). Someone who plays dumb to lull people into a false sense of security but secretly knows more than he lets on. And then we can have this hushed voices real talk between him and Pookie, nods and gestures of two people in tune in some way.

The dream sequences are something I plucked directly from the opening sequence of David Lynch’s Elephantman. I wanted something surreal but also very silly, and I really can’t get away with genuine serious surrealism. I’ve always been more drawn to comedy surrealism like Luis Bunuel and to some extent David Lynch, I find he takes his surrealism (besides possibly Eraserhead, that movie freaks a lot of people out but I found it quite silly and funny in a way) very lightly and with many pinches of salt.

I think if I remember correctly, the reason I made it elephants is mainly because I loved the way Ike (The artist) drew the elephant on the opening page and then I took the opening sequence from David Lynch’s Elephantman, which is a pretty fucking weird intro and ran with it. I’m pretty sure it’s an elephant rape scene, or that’s at least what he’s hinting at, I wouldn’t put that past him to be fair, he’s done weirder shit than that.

I shamelessly stole the Musashi joke from Champloo. I have no shame, it’s just too funny and I read the book of the five rings before I started writing this, so why the fuck not?

We’re introduced to Pookie in earnest, I always like characters with silly names, it almost makes it twice as amazing when they do something incredible, I almost wish I came up with it but I think that was all Ike as is the original concept.

Only 11 pages in do we get to the meat of the story. Pookie has been robbed and the natural imperative of gramps is just to let it go, some stuff isn’t worth your life and Pookie is injured, but Pookie is not like them. Someone takes something from him, he gets it back. He is almost an alien, dropped into a dog eat dog world with an inordinately large set of teeth. This is where I like to think I injected some of the Cain in Kung Fu elements I wanted to bring forward. A lone wanderer, from a strange culture, a warrior with incredible skill plucked out of a fantasy; an almost mockery to human potential, an anime character walking Deus Ex Machina.

The main purpose of this issue is that Pookie was essentially destroyed, his life, his past. He was killed, reborn and everything he knew stripped away from him. So now he has to find himself, he has to decide who he is in this new world, without the world he’d come to know. The first thing he’s drawn to is his sword and violence because that’s all he’d known all his life.

In a lot of ways this is a coming of age story, someone thrown out of their old life like Kung Fu and thrust into a strange new world, forced to make sense of who he has to become to survive.

This whole issue is essentially about Pookie’s rebirth (fuck that’s pretentious), he’s trying to establish who he really is, because for so long he was one thing (no spoilers); it was his whole world, his identity and in one moment it’s taken from him and now he has to re-establish his identity and who he is as a character. As a writer it was and is a tricky character to write for because he’s almost forming himself with every page, piecing himself together like Doctor Manhattan.

I’m oddly proud of the sword, a sword with a handle like one of those cheesy laughing boxes Jack Nicholson joker has at the end of Batman. He always gets the last laugh even if he dies. I sort of wanted to mock the idea of swords in general.

A katana is as clichéd as you can get these days, so saturated in popular culture. I wanted to make his sword out to be some ridiculous piece of joke shop crap, a silly show piece, a gimmick for laughs, a sword that laughs for a man that doesn’t need to.

It’s also sort of homage to my early knife collection. I bought this crappy machete from Doncaster market when I was like 13 I think. It had a dragon or lions head handle with glowing led’s for eyes that lit up when you pressed a button, jesus what the fuck was I thinking?

The combat I wanted to keep as theatrical as possible, death is a show, it had to be fairly flash but also brutally inefficient. He’s a monster, a vicious killer, who expects applause for his butchery, someone shaped by the brutality of the vicious curiosity of a bloodthirsty crowd egging him on to further heights of gut-wrenching violence. To him violence and killing is a parlour trick, it’s almost a joke, like hitting someone in the face with a custard pie.

That’s how I wanted to capture this element of silliness in this very grotesque and ultra-violent package. I really wanted to hone that feeling of 80’s action movie ultra-violence, like Robocop. Someone is torn apart in this ridiculously over the top death sequence but it’s wrapped up in this really silly camp vibe that makes it all the more sinister and weird.

Ok maybe the ending with the cheesy ‘see ya around kid’ was a little too much but I couldn’t resist. I wanted to end it in a way that made it uncertain where he was going, he was just going somewhere, anywhere to forge a new Pookie, one that followed his own rules and didn’t need no stinkin’ circus.

Well how did I do? haha. Fuck I waffled on like a man possessed, if you read this far through I commend you.

All in all not a lot happens but I think it’s a tight and tidy package, I’ve got a handful of positive reviews for it under my belt already and I feel confident it was a solid first issue. but it gives enough, succinctly I think, to grab the attention for another issue or two.

Reviewses!

http://comicsgrinder.com/2015/08/26/webcomic-review-three-ring-samurai/

http://www.comiccrusaders.com/webcomic-wednesday-review-three-ring-samurai/

Well I hope you like it anyway, I’ve rambled enough for a lifetime, as always you can check it out for free at; http://tapastic.com/series/Three-Ring-Samurai

Thanks for reading, peace out.

Walk the Earth like Pookie in Three Ring Samurai.

Forgive me in advance for the rambling nature of this blog, I really don’t have a plan, I just have two words ‘Kung fu’.

For those not familiar with it, Kung Fu is a tv show with David Carradine playing a half Chinese half American boy raised in a shaolin temple after both his parents are killed by a tyrannical Emperor.
The story is based around his travels to seek out his family in America after his master is killed he must flee china wanted for killing the emperors son in an act of hot on the spot vengeance for the unwarranted killing.

He travels America looking for his family, evading the snare of the emperor and getting into scrapes and adventures, meeting interesting people along the way. With each new adventure a piece of his teachings is called upon to assist him and make sense of a world he’s only just coming face to face with.
Secluded all his life Caine is as a child with the fighting skills of a shaolin priest, through a series of flashback his past is brought to light to help him overcome and decide on certain courses of action to aid him in his adventures.

~

I initially watched the show out of the blue, maybe as some form of research for 3 Ring, I know I definitely shamelessly ripped a lot off for the issue plan, I borrowed a lot of ideas and I in an upcoming arc and I decided to completely parody the montage of Caine’s training in the shaolin temple and make it Pookie’s ridiculous clown training, I just couldn’t resist.

I really, really loved the style; the way the story was structured in the first season was perfect, calling on back-story applying it to current plot. It worked really well because you learned more about him every episode in a way that felt very consistent. And every episode you learnt a valuable and somewhat touching lesson.

It padded the main plot nicely as we learned about Caine throughout his various adventures and then kept us interested in the search for his brother and the threat of the Emperor on his heels and for a guy that had never done kung fu before kung fu David Carradine isn’t half bad as an actor or a fighter coming from someone who knows kung fu. He wasn’t amazing and he did use a stunt double in season one I believe but ditched that for his own stunts in later seasons.

Long story short I loved the show and I wanted the same feel for 3 Ring Samurai, I wanted every arc to be a self contained movie, something that engaged people and had action and drama and suspense and just enough thread of main plot to keep people reading but not enough to overwhelm them.

Sadly the second two seasons of Kung fu really fell short for me and I must admit I almost breathed a sigh of relief, I’m not proud to admit I take pleasure in the downfall of other but I think a lot of people feel shadenfreud a lot more than they’d like to admit. I was relieved to see the show fall because to live up to that, for it to continue at that level of quality would have rendered my endeavours to emulate it seem futile.

I don’t blame the show for this, I blame the times and the idea that writing staff are disposable, they chose to change the writers for season two and with the nature of television in the seventies I feel like they had to make it more consumable for people to watch as re-runs.

Tv wasn’t like how it is now with netflix and the internet, you couldn’t choose to watch a tv show whenever you wanted, and watch them in order, you watched them when they were on, in the order they were on and if you missed an episode you had to watch it in a rerun. You couldn’t just buy the boxset on dvd.
So each episode had to be standalone and almost interchangeable in terms of the timeline of the story so someone could watch any episode in any order and still keep up and enjoy the show.
This change of writers and restructuring of the show is a noticeable decline in cogent plot and although I watched each season through it didn’t measure up in any shape or form to season one.

I don’t know why but my mind keeps drawing back to Twin Peaks and the dire mistake of revealing the mystery around the death of Laura Palmer half way between season two which without a doubt killed the show. Lynch himself said he never wanted to reveal the mystery and I and Edgar Allen Poe would have agreed that the greatest mystery is one that goes unsolved. It was the fault of the producers of the show that forced him to reveal the mystery and then have the show limp on to the end without much a hook to keep the show going.
It’s almost amazing to even think that an entire tv show could be framed around one murder or one person’s life like Kung Fu. But it can because people themselves can be unsolvable mysteries.
And every time the credits rolled over Laura Palmer’s picture I would feel a pang of sorrow for the mystery of her life and even more so for the tawdry reveal of that perfect mystery and then the shop bought replacement mystery awkwardly wedged in its place.

I think if Kung Fu were re-made today it would be an incredibly feat but also a really rewarding one, (Note to self, call Keanu Reeves ;)). This is the golden age of television where the possibilities for stories and budgets and scope and acting talent are virtually limitless and at a time where there is so much pressure on the structure of films and now games it’s really necessary.

So please forgive the faux fanboy ranting, I just wanted to give some perspective to the narrative structure and style of 3 Ring, think Kung Fu meets Fallout 4 haha.

Peace out people.

Indie comics, clown samurais, post apocalyptic swashbuckling in very used cars.

Read issue one for free.

I work on a couple of indie comics; I’d say each is a little piece of me, each with its own life. This is sort of a dark reflection of my love of anime and bastardised Japanese/Asian culture.

3 Ring Samurai is a diesel-punk clown samurai revenge story. It’s basically like Caine in Kung Fu if he was a clown and… err a samurai and not a Buddhist monk… or bald..or a clown??

Pookie is left for dead and discovered on a pile of trash by some scavenger kids who with the help of their creepy grandpa nurse him back to health so he can begin his long road to revenge and trying to find some shoes that fit.

It’s based in a world a kin to fallout, but instead of the brotherhood of steel, an order out of the military applying Knightly codes to a post apocalyptic world to bring order out of chaos, the focus is on a group applying a circus code on the wastelands bringing entertainment and blood to the wastes.

The circus is like a travelling Show-gunate (get it? Right yeah killing myself, I’ll stop, just unsee that) bringing justice, a literal bread and circus circus, where criminals are put to death by the code of the circus entertainers trained to murder in really interesting ways.

But teh’applecart has been upset and Pookie has been cast out, accused of a heinous crime and now he’s to be hunted by his ex-brothers in arms for a crime he may or may not have committed.

Terrible overview over, this comic came about when I was trawling those hapless comic sites on facebook, where people huddle around the digital equivalent of a trashcan fire trying to keep their creativity warm while working for a living as a barista giving out double mocha handjobs or whatever.
So I squeezed my way around the garbage fire and threw out a few of my short stories and some of them hit home and I caught the attention of Mike (Now Ike, there was already a Mike Golden) with a weird clown story of my own about sexy killer clowns and electric kitchen knives and menstrual blood and that’s enough of that.

We bumped into each other again in a grindhouse style facebook group talking about commissioning some little grindhouse stories that never got off the ground (as is the case with most indie shorts) and in a few other debilitatingly depressing comic groups where people try to rub their creative spark between their fat middle age thighs hoping it’ll catch fire and pimply teens with ‘gender issues’ write the most banal tripe that would turn a donkey to Braille.

So of course as in love with me as Mike was (;)) he jumped at the chance to work with me again at which point, I was like, ‘Why don’t we just do our own thing?’ since we were both tired of being let down by the flakes of facebook. We connected over a similar work ethic and a love of all things martial arts. Him being into those fancy named Filipino arts with sticks and sharp sticks flailing about and me with my taekwondo and kung fu and fencing for all those years.
We thought we could put something together that would blend post apocalyptic punk tongue in cheek fun and classic kung fu movies and samurai flicks into one odd package.

So I set forth on a journey of rediscovery, I’d done kung fu for a number of years (4 to be exact) and taekwondo since I was about 12 but oddly I was never that into martial arts movies. The only one at the time I watched more than once was Romeo must die and that’s only because it came with our first dvd player so it was the only one we had.

But maybe a year or two ago, I started getting into obscure 90’s rap for some reason and I find a nice niche in the Wu Tang Clan which lead to a fascination with the RZA, being a fan of some of his scores from movies like ‘Ghost Dog’. I felt obliged to watch his attempt at a classic kung fu movie ‘The man with the iron fists’.

Needless to say it was fucking atrocious, and I never want to see a movie with Russell Crowe in it ever again. But I fell in love with the style and I wanted to explore that more. So I started watching movies like ‘Fist of the white lotus’ and ‘Five Deadly Venoms’ and my personal favourite ’36th Chamber of Shaolin’ (Or anything thing with Gordon Liu in it tbf) and I couldn’t get enough. The style, the fights, the minimal yet effective stories.
Then I watched ‘Kung Fu’ the tv show with David Carradine playing Caine the stoic shaolin monk and it was sealed. That’s not to say that I don’t see why it was cancelled, the last two seasons are awful but I don’t blame the show for that. It was made in the wrong time I think, each episode was designed to be easily consumable on its own, like a mini movie for the purpose of reruns, so you could just watch a random episode and enjoy it without having to know the context leading up to that point (Whereas today you have the internet and netflix so you can have a flowing story and watch the episodes in order to keep up with a consistent plot). And because of that it lost its grasp on a main plot and then when it tried to rekindle that, it fumbled it horrible.

But the first season I found spellbinding and I realise if I keep going on about it, this blog is going to be three times as long as it has to be. So I’ll wrap it up by just saying, I found every episode of the first season emblematic of everything I want to do with 3 Ring; Punchy and fun and enigmatic, with a strong mysterious story that clings to a tight back story slowly unfolding episode to episode filling out the character of the hero and propelling the story forward in a way that keeps the reader/watcher coming back for more.

that keeps readers wanting more and more.

See you…

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