v6.2.3 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Assassin's Creed Rebellion | Endgame Reached

One of the games that I've been playing periodically while watching TV, is Assassin's Creed Rebellion. The game is a mobile strategy RPG with all the regular fixings of a free-to-play game: a limited in-game currency that you use to play missions. The currency replenishes at fixed time intervals, or you can pay to get more of it ahead of the full replenishment time.

The game draws from the story of the Assassin’s Creed film which came out a few years ago. The game starts with Spanish assassins Aguilar and Maria in their quest to purge Spain of the Inquisition — which is run by the Templars, natch. To do so, you have set up a base in an abandoned building, build it up, recruit assassins, trick them out with gear that you craft (from raw goods that you collect from your missions), and proceed to work your way across Spain, running missions, gathering loot, and picking up stray Assassins to bolster their cause.

The game is fine, but I am getting rather bored with it.  All of Spain is cleared (as you can see above), but the rest of the world is still a mystery.  There is so much potential here to move into France, Italy, the Caribbean (perhaps to revisit Assassin's Creed Pirates), but the game is at a standstill.  You do have periodic special events where you get time-limited missions to collect other assassin DNA to add to your team, but other than having the bragging rights for having collected (and maxed out) that character, you don't really have much in the way of a new story.   It is a rather fun game, but it's starting to become repetitive:  enter a 3-day event, repeat missions ad nauseum, collect loot from replaying old missions, equip your characters with new gear - however, it feels like you're all dressed up and have nowhere to go with these characters.

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Review: The Maquis

The Maquis The Maquis by R.A. Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those stories that I could see being adapted to a DS9 episode. Bashir takes some well deserved R&R to Risa (the number of days he takes off seems ridiculously low, but whatever), but he gets abducted by the Maquis because they need a doctor. Of course, this isn't the real reason, one Maquis is trying to get her relative back from the Cardassians, and the Cardassian wants "plain simple Garak". Through some hostage arbitrage, via Bashir, this happens. This story takes place just after Voyager disappears into the badlands.
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Review: Star Trek Deep Space Nine - Worf Special #0 : Bonds of Honor

Star Trek Deep Space Nine - Worf Special #0 : Bonds of Honor Star Trek Deep Space Nine - Worf Special #0 : Bonds of Honor by Dan Mishkin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not a bad main story: Worf has been accused of sabotage on Starbase 113. Sisko is instructed by Admiral Nechayev that Worf must be arrested immediately upon his return to the station. Instead of returning directly, Worf follows another vessel, the one that left immediately before him. He trails it to a Klingon ship and, with help, confronts the commander of the ship and turns the tables. These Klingons have no honor ;-) The second mini-story was Worf in the holodeck in a wild west simulation given to him by Alexander. Kira and the gang try to figure out what's so special about the wild west.

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Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth of July to anyone who is reading this!  It's a bit of an odd year (as if 2020 wasn't odd enough).  Usually, on July 3rd we can hear the band and audio engineers do some test runs of the music that they will be playing on July 4th, and on the 4th it's live music all day (well, between 10am and 9pm when the fireworks display ends).  This year we have none of that. Hopefully, back to "normal" in 2021.

Fireworks have been an issue though. Posters have been put up for it. In years past while we've had a few rogue fireworks going off around July 2-5, this year we've been hearing them since May.    How bad?  Well, check out the screenshot of the reporting site made using ArcGIS...

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Review: Star Trek: Picard - Countdown

Star Trek: Picard - Countdown Star Trek: Picard - Countdown by Kirsten Beyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this was a good companion to the Last Best Hope novel.  This comic follows Picard on another Romulan colony world that needs evacuation, only to discover that the Romulans have only given estimates for Romulan beings to be evacuated, not the additional 5 million people of the native sentient species that was on that planet.  Moral issues ensue, there is some pew-pew, some picarding, and some subterfuge, and the story is resolved.  This is where we first meet Laris and Zhaban for the first time, who seem to have a knack for winemaking...

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Review: Star Trek Sonderband 06. The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine. N Vector

Star Trek Sonderband 06. The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine. N Vector Star Trek Sonderband 06. The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine. N Vector by K.W. Jeter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was not a horrible story.  It's a story set after the events of the DS9 finale.  There is Romulan scientist that has discovered a "viroid" that can take over someone (or something inorganic).  First O'Brien is implicated for sabotage (even though he was in at Starfleet Academy when it happened). then the Romulan scientist and Bashir trick the viroid to inhabit Bashir, who can fight it off with Romulan medicine death (or something), and in the end the blow it up.    This could make an OK episode.  The biggest deduction of starts is the artwork, it just doesn't speak to me.

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Καλό Μήνα!

Να τος και ο Ιούλιος!  Αν και ο Αρκάς μας λεει πως είναι ώρα για παραλία, εδώ μας έχει ριμάξει στην βροχή...  Καιρός για καραντίνα στην Ελλάδα (αν και η ΕΕ μας έχει μποϊκοτάρει εμάς τους αμερικανούς)

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Review: The Last Best Hope

The Last Best Hope The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a prequel novel that takes place before the first season of Star Trek: Picard.  The story shows us the other side of the preparations to save Romulans (and Remans?) from their fates which are doomed due to the Romulan Star going supernova.  I was hoping for some more congruence between the ST09 Countdown comics and this (given the same production folks) but there are things that are different. The ST09 Countdown comics focused on Spock, the Jellyfish, and Red Matter, while this focused on refugee relocation and the internal politics of the federation (as well as some internal Romulan politics that really screwed up the rank and file Romulans). It's amazing how much the Tal Shiar f*cked things up for their people (and how selfish some federation worlds can be).  It seems amazing that the Federation lasted this long given all the me-me-me worlds...

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Double Dragon Neon | Tried

When Double Dragon Neon came out on gamepass, I thought I'd give it a try. When I was a kid, I rather enjoyed playing double dragon on my monochrome Gameboy, and it always seemed like a fun game - even though I never think I beat the original.  Since it was practically free to try on my Xbox, I thought: why not?

On the surface the game seems like a nice reboot of the original.  Updated graphics, updated music, and some additional mechanics like "gleam" (short term powered attacks) that should, in theory, make the game more fun.  However, the game was rather disappointing in most aspects.

The story is almost non-existent.  It starts off with Marian, the damsel in distress, getting kidnapped, and Billy and Jimmy Lee are off to rescue her.  The original game, in the 80s, had some constraints which didn't allow for storytelling that answered the: why was this person kidnapped?  And why the heck is there a skull-looking-person in space perpetrating this, but for a game released in 2012 there should have been a little more care taken for the story.  Even if you approached this as just a beat-em-up there are still technical issues that prevent this game from being a reimagined brawler.

It seems like hit/collision detection is really a problem with this game (as it was with some game of that era on gameboys and NESs).  Unless you're lined up almost perfectly you can't score a hit, but it seems like your enemies don't always suffer from that impediment.  Furthermore, when you lose all your lives you restart the game from the beginning of that stage, which is mildly infuriating.   I really wanted to get through to see if there is a payoff for the story, but I only got to level 3 (a space station), out of a total of 10 levels.  This is when I decided to give up (maybe around 7 hours of gameplay in total).

I do like the art of the game, and I absolutely love the music (to the point where I'd buy the soundtrack), but the game itself is just not all that enjoyable. In the end, this game is really a 4/10 for me, and most of the points are for the music :-)

Gamerscore: 6/400
Achievements: 2/30

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Some more STO accolades

I've been saving this post and keeping track of accolades I earned since the last time I posted about my accolade hunt in Star Trek Online.  Since a few of them are now collected - here is what I've earned. These are in the order I got them (2019-2020).

Time Bandit
This was one of the few Red Alert accolades I was missing.  To earn this one you need to save the entire cargo fleet from being destroyed by the Na'kuhl time travelers in the Na'kuhl Alert. I didn't play the Na'Kuhl red alert a lot when they first launched.  Then they were retired with new seasons coming out, and then red alerts went away waited patiently for a red alert weekend to earn this one (around 2019 sometime).

Ice Ice Baby
This was a while back.  On Prior's World,  after you first enter the cave, activate a [Subspace Party Amplifier] just before you "Check on Lorca.".  Seeing as I never use the Party Amplifier (I never buy them, never have them, never use them), this seemed rather obscure.  I discovered this accolade in a list somewhere, so I tried it out.

As you can tell, this is back from the Winter event around Christmas time.  To earn this you need to help 50 gingerbread people on the Winter Invasion map.  After 4 years I finally helped 50 gingerbread folk (and even now it took a lot of replays!)

A good day to rectify
This was part of the annual STO event a while back. To earn this you needed to show that your belief of "Good" aligns primarily with the Klingon Empire in mission Measure of Morality (Part 1)

Prime Selective
This was part of the annual STO event a while back. To earn this you needed to show that your belief of "Good" aligns primarily with the Federation in mission Measure of Morality (Part 1)

The Best Onfence
This was part of the annual STO event a while back. To earn this you needed to show that your belief of "Good" aligns primarily with neither the Federation nor the Klingon Empire in Measure of Morality (Part 1). This was the first one I got from this trio of accolades

Four score and seven kills ago
This was part of the annual STO event a while back. To get this accolade you needed to defeat 87 enemies alongside Abraham Lincoln in mission Measure of Morality (Part 2) - which took around 4-5 replays.

In the Rhi Atmosphere shuttle mission there is a cave that you have to flu through to get this accolade.  While this TFO has been around since the introduction of the Romulan faction I never ventured far beyond the walkers that  I needed to take care now (with fewer people playing shuttle missions) it took a long time to queue up for this TFO to get this.  I guess it's better to get things when missions are fresh and many people play them.

Rebellious Elements

This accolade was a total surprise.  You earn it by taking out 100 "rebel" Klingons (I guess Klingons that don't align with the KDF). However, unlike other big bads in this game, there is ONLY GROUND ONE REBEL in the entire you'd have to play the mission 100 times to get them.  Back when there was a foundry, the rebels weren't an option for creators to add to their missions, so you couldn't even farm them there!  Luckily, the Arena of Sompek gives you 7-10 rebels sometimes, and during the "No win scenario" period a few weeks ago there was also no cooldown, so on an off chance I got this accolade.  Only 900 more rebels to go in order to earn the top tier of this accolade...

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