Manaburnt Podcast – Episode 9: Sci-Fi

The podcast returns! This time it’s all about Sci-Fi!

You can listen through Spotify below, or find links for all other places to listen at anchor.fm/manaburnt

In this episode we are joined by our friends and frequent guests Mike and Jaq to have an impromptu chat, at the behest of Lilly, all about Science Fiction in its various forms!

The discussion goes down some unexpected paths and gets very interesting! Spoiler: it gets slightly political 😛

TOTAL WAR: 3 KINGDOMS

Hello peeps, it’s me again! This may come as a surprise but, I am here to talk again about videogames. And no, I haven’t swapsies with Alex! It just happens that earlier on this year, 2 big loves of mine had a love child and made me a very happy woman with the release of Total War: 3 Kingdoms. Those of you who follow us know that I am a big Wu Xia fan, and obviously the Romance of the 3 Kingdoms has a huge impact in the Wu Xia genre – that and I am a historian by trade and Chinese culture fascinates me…enough said! As it happens, the Total War series has been one of my all-time favourites, since I was introduced to it perhaps quite late in the game (7 years ago?). My first Total War was Medieval 2, which I loved and played through many times. I have particularly fond memories of my campaign as Scotland conquering the world and countless hours of hotseat campaigns with my uni friends at the games’ society. Then I went back to Rome: Total War – about the only thing my tiny laptop could run without crashing much back in the day, and a few others, up to the release of the two editions of the Warhammer games. However, and perhaps to the shock of many people, I did not enjoy the newer Total War games because of the way the diplomacy had been changed, and a few other dynamics.

You see, I loved sending my princesses and diplomats across the map and setting up merchant shenanigans and cardinals to spread religion and what not. It was an aspect of the game I did really enjoy. I also liked the dynastic element of it, which although not as in-depth as the likes of Crusader Kings, it still added to the equation. Granted, there is no point of comparison with the way the armies work, and the 2 editions of Warhammer really made me wow at how the minis I was used to see on the table top, suddenly came to life on the screen. But, in general, i didn’t enjoy much the actual run of these two games other than the military aspect, and to me that was a let-down. The Warhammer universe has so much lore and it feels by splitting it into 2 games – and the third one to come – I was cheated. So, I was a bit so-so about the new release of any Total War games. I wasn’t too keen on Rome 2 because of the diplomacy aspect either so, when I knew 3 kingdoms was coming out, I got concerned. Would they destroy something I loved so much?

Continue reading “TOTAL WAR: 3 KINGDOMS”

Love Nikki – How Did I End Up Playing A Silly (But Surprisingly Good) Fashion Dress-Up Game

Greetings humans! Today I bring you an update about something I never thought I would find myself writing about, but as we all know, those who venture into the warp end up suffering from both insanity and corruption! In any case, look, I am just now playing regularly (and with this I mean daily!) this silly game. It is called Love Nikki, done by Elex games and you can download the app from the Google Play store free of charge. So yeah, it is a phone game, alright? I have never before been interested in one of these things. I found they were money grabs and just time-consuming, unnecessary things. But oh boy, all it took was a couple of my friends talking over it and a very, very dull and boring day at my previous job where I literally had nothing to do all day and had next to 0 customers for finding myself in need of some cheap and easy entertainment. That’s how it started. Then I found that I could kill some time in my super tedious train journey in the morning and on my back from work in the afternoon. And to this day, since roughly the end of October 2018, here I am, checking on my Nikki shenanigans in the bus and during my break.

So what is this game about? Well, to its credit, it is a very pretty fashion game. The art style is anime like, and in comparison with some other games of the same genre, I must say the graphics are Simply So Much Better – it doesn’t look cheesy or cheaply made. There has clearly been a lot of effort and dedication put into this and it shows with beautiful clothes, models and backgrounds. The user interface is very well done too, the game hardly ever crashes and it is idiot proof. What else do you want? But the thing that surprises me most, as much as i don’t actually pay much attention to it, is that there is a whole lore written behind the world in which Nikki goes on a quest to become the best stylist in Miraland. There are different realms, all with very specific fashion styles and thoroughly developed characters with personalities and background that take Nikki through this journey. I had never seen a game of these characteristics invest that much on this aspect. And, as much as like with all these games, there is a component of micro transactions and memberships to obtain more resources, I found that without spending 0 money, I advance in the game without any issues. I do not feel hindered by the fact that I am not spending, because the game is balance! They have weekly and monthly special events where simply by taking part – and logging in daily – you get special rewards, being this in-game currency or more clothes and accessories. the fact that you do not have unlimited resources makes it easy to put down the game, and dedicate to it a limited amount of time so that it is still enjoyable without it taking over your life. And even if you wanted to carry on playing forever, there is a free dress up section where – without advancing the story or your quests – you can try out and design different outfits for your gameplay.

This is the main menu and home screen, very easy to navigate.
Your quest and story stops. The rating on them is what you see above the pink disks. The difficulty setting is the ‘Maiden’ button.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the diary where all the style you share with the community are kept. You can also use it as a base for interactions with other players and their designs

 

 

Now, I must tell you – without wanting to brag – I am pretty good at this game. And I think it all has to do with the fact that, at the end of the day, as much as this is a fashion game and you should be looking at making cute little outfits for Nikki whilst acquiring experience, it all comes down to identifying patterns and establishing combos. All the pieces of clothing have different aspects that are rated accordingly to make them suitable within certain trends or styles. Therefore, by looking up and considering these details, scoring high is relatively easy. I must admit, that sometimes, particularly if it is a difficult mission – like a specific names outfit you need to pout together, or a combo that isn’t easily accessible – I don’t even care if Nikki looks like something out of a series B horror movie. If the items score on the right categories and she looks like a collage of my drawings when I was 4 years old (…or you know, 27. years old too, haven’t improved that much!) That Is Okay.

Continue reading “Love Nikki – How Did I End Up Playing A Silly (But Surprisingly Good) Fashion Dress-Up Game”

Red Dead Redemption II – Why I Love the Detail

Rockstar’s latest and greatest open world masterpiece came out just a few weeks ago, and like many people who picked it up straight away, I haven’t been able to stop playing it since. So seeing as I haven’t managed to play or do anything else lately, I guess it makes sense to write something about it!

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The game is pretty much everything I hoped it would be. It’s a huge, yet deep open world that contains an excellent main plot, great characters, tons to do without being grindy, and it looks, feels and practically smells fantastic. There’s so much going on that I don’t think I’ll be able to properly review it, even the professional games media’s coverage of the game ended up being more rambling chats about various aspects rather than structured reviews. So instead for now I’m going to focus on my favourite thing about the game; its details. Continue reading “Red Dead Redemption II – Why I Love the Detail”

Old Games I Want a Sequel To: Shadow of Rome

You ever think about those old games you used to play and wonder what happened to them? Maybe you wonder why there was never a sequel, or what the dev team moved onto. They probably never sold enough copies, went out of business, or got consumed by one of the giant publishers (probably EA…). But we can at least dream about them! And that’s what I intend to do right here. Somet of games from the past that I always wished for a sequel to actually came true, but they almost never meet expectations (Star Wars: Battlefront…), so what I really want is probably just a remaster of old games so I can play them again with better controls and modern graphics. Instead for now I will make do with some good old fashioned reminiscing!

51H2J80TC7L._SY445_The first game I decided to talk about in this topic had to be Shadow of Rome. A historically themed hack and slash / stealth game made by Capcom in 2005, one year before the PS3 but still a height of the PS2 era. This is a game that I find creeping into my mind on a regular basis, worryingly often actually. I think it was an absolute gem, and yet I’ve never met anyone else that has played or even heard of it. Continue reading “Old Games I Want a Sequel To: Shadow of Rome”

The Elder Scrolls VI – Hopes and Predictions

At E3 this year Bethesda finally announced that they are working on the next game in the Elder Scrolls series. This isn’t exactly any shocking news, as its obvious that we would be getting it sooner or later, and based on the fact that all they revealed was a glimpse at the title and a background, I’d say we are getting it later, after 2020 for sure, and perhaps even as late as 2022.

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So what do we think the new game might involve? Well before the small amount of information was even revealed, I had my own assumptions about what a new Elder Scrolls game might entail. Considering the fact that Skyrim increased the mass appeal of the series by several orders of magnitude, I would expect that they would continue down the same trend that we can see the games moving in since Morrowind and through Oblivion to Skyrim. This would be basically in making a more streamlined open world sandbox game experience, while cutting back the detail in the RPG elements. As unfortunate as it is, I still think this may happen. I believe this approach would also limit the locations where this game could be set. I would generally omit the Morrowind, Cyrodiil and Skyrim regions from the possibility of being in the game, and with a focus on mass appeal I would assume that the more exotic and strange provinces such as Elsweyr, Black Marsh and Valenwood would be overlooked. This leaves us with The Summerset Isles, High Rock, and Hammerfell.

The game would probably continue in the timeline left off in Skyrim rather than being some sort of prequel, as this is covered by The Elder Scrolls: Online, and there aren’t really any interesting gaps to fill. Also, I would assume that they want to continue with the overarching story of the war between the diminished Empire and the Thalmor’s Aldmeri Dominion. For this reason I would then also say that Summerset Isles, the home of the High Elves and the Dominion, would probably not be the best place to set the game, at least not solely. Continue reading “The Elder Scrolls VI – Hopes and Predictions”