Borderlands 2 Review– A.K.A Where did all my time go?

Hey y’all,

I made one of the dumbest decisions one week before reading break (which is essentially Spring Break for university students in UBC) and bought Borderlands 2. The week before break is usually when everything is due– papers, midterms, presentations, you name it.

Anyway, I remember logging in and promising myself that I would play for 30 minutes. A very reasonable break duration, right? I finally logged off to hastily finish the rest of my course work three or so hours later.

What I like most about Borderlands 2 is how funny it is. I have not played the first game in the franchise, but I heard its storyline is not as well developed. I also bought the Mechromancer Pack along with the game, meaning I got to play as Gaige and controller her murderous robot Deathtrap. Gaige is a cool female character who is steampunk-esque in her attire (added coolness in my books). She built Deathtrap for a school science fair, but her opponent, Marcy, stole her blueprints and bribed the judges causing Gaige to come in third. However, when Marcy shoved Gaige, Deathtrap identified her as a hostile and killed her. Gaige then went to Pandora to evade arrest. Pretty neat backstory I’d say.

gaige

The reason why my short break turned into a uber long one was because of the storyline as explored through quests.

**Mid-game spoiler**
I was doing the Rising Action quest and I logged in during my “30 minute break” to finish it up and hand it in. Once I submitted the quest, in which I insert a new power core to generate energy for the rebel base called Sanctuary, I was notified that it had all been a trap. Now the inhabitants of Sanctuary were under attack because the corrupted power core hacked through the power shield that was protecting the city. However, there are other heroes in the story (Lilith, for those of you who have played Borderlands, returns as a NPC), and they manage to teleport the entire city into the sky, but accidentally leaves you behind by accident.

Reading the quest description...

Some of the quest descriptions in this game…

This basically meant I had to find my way back to Sanctuary. Which took me about three hours. I was so desperate to get back to the safe zone for rebels and log out there instead of anywhere else. I was quite attached, you see. I felt bad for drastically changing life in Sanctuary, and causing probably a few deaths to civilians in the process. I had to find my way home. In other words, I was hooked.
***End of mid-game spoilers**

Borderlands 2 revolves around the gamer playing one of the six playable characters on Pandora (4 without DLCs). You are a vault hunter, which means you have unique abilities. For example, my character Gaige can control a death machine in the form of Deathtrap as a Mechromancer. Maya, another character, is a siren, which means she can suspend enemies on another dimension. This allows her to do crowd control.

Unfortunately for you, as a vault hunter, the villain Handsome Jack (who is a brilliant villain by the way) is on the lookout for you. His aim is simple: kill you. Vault hunter interferes with his business of gathering the mineral Eridium and ruling the world so he must get rid of you. And everyone else in the city of Sanctuary who are basically the last of the resistance on Pandora.

handsome jack

This is a roleplaying, FPS game. If you’re looking for something fun, I would recommend this. You play this solo, so I sometimes get bored of it for that reason (you can invite a friends for a co-op mode though if they also have the game), but I take a break and I find myself missing it. Very funny, interesting characters (even their NPCs such as Moxxi and Tiny Tina! Google them up, they’re really cool. I may do a post in the future just to explore the characters in Borderlands!), and great storyline. Not to mention, they broke the world record for the most number of weapons in a game: 17,750,000.

-Karen

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”: A Review

agents

Hey everyone!

Literally just finished watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I was super excited about this because I’ve always been in love with the Marvel movies and several of their comic series. When I found out that Joss Whedon was writing this, I was pretty happy because he did The Avengers really well– but remembered that Firefly got cancelled in its first season thought it was pretty great. Stan Lee was also listed as one of the executive producers, so that got a squeal from me.

The pilot’s story itself is okay. Not the most exciting in terms of plot, but it does the trick. We pick up where The Avengers left off, and the world now knows that heroes exist. S.H.I.E.L.D realizes that they might have found another one of these heroes, and must get to him before he gets manipulated or killed by opposing forces. There are a lot of tie ins to other Marvel works, and that was brilliant.

Enough about the plot. You can easily just read that up on IMDB. What stood out to me was how many jokes they tried to write  into the show. I laughed, but it got a bit distracting after a while. (“I’ll show you my thing. No, I mean my equipment. I’ll just hang up.”–> will need to figure out what was the actual quote. This was just along the lines of what I remembered)

It was wonderful seeing Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders– Woo hoo! A little Vancouverite love in the house!) again. It actually brought back so many good memories of the previous Marvel films. What else I noticed is that they’re really trying to squeeze in diversity. We got Ming-Na Wen (Chinese) , Elizabeth Henstridge (British), and Iain de Caestecker (Scottish) in the S.H.I.E.L.D team that the story will revolve around. I thought it was really obvious, but well, if this is how we’ll start getting a change from the traditional all American/white cast, I’m up for it. Maybe one day, it won’t feel forced anymore. 

There’s a lot of hints that they drop throughout the pilot for future episodes to reveal. Who is Skye? Where’s Tahiti (though I have a guess that it might simply be the afterlife? Hey, it’s not a spoiler. It’s a guess.)? What are they keeping from Coulson? (Maria mysterious says to one of the doctors that he must never find out about Tahiti…)

Anyway, I’ll continue to watch it. I need to know the answers! It wasn’t the best pilot, but it wasn’t horrible. Oh! And another interesting note that was actually quite smart on their part. They showed Thor: The Dark World‘s trailer during the ad break for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D! Really missed Tom Hiddleston as Loki, so super excited about that!

I’ve never reviewed a TV show before so this was kind of fun! So if you’re up for it, it shows on ABC/CTV at 8:00PM on Tuesdays for us west-coasters– then you’ll get decide whether it’s good or not!

– Karen

“Man of Steel”: A Movie Review

For my friend’s birthday, we went to an advanced screening of Man of Steel!

Man-of-Steel_01

The ticket looked pretty cool 🙂

The ticket being the Superman logo I'm holding up :P

The ticket being the Superman logo I’m holding up 😛

If you didn’t already know, this is an origins movie. We not only see Clark Kent– or Kal-El as he is known back on Krypton– on earth as a young boy, but we actually see his parents in their home planet, as well their destruction. We see his dad fusing him with a skull-like object, which is where the blueprints of millions of their kind’s lives are saved. The villain, General Zod, gets shipped away to be reconditioned for rebelling against their planet. However, this actually saves his life (him, and his group of followers), as their old planet collapses upon itself. Back on earth, Clark’s childhood is told in a series of flashbacks as he journeys through his current life, working from job to job, always an outcast.

A group of scientists discover something buried in ice and this is where Lois Lane steps in. She’s here to discover for herself what they have found, and of course, being a journalist, wants to write about the findings. This ‘thing’ turns out to be connected to Clark’s home planetm and since he’s working as part of the excavation crew, he is able to learn about his past through a saved version of his father’s soul (it’s basically like a hologram, except more high-techy).

Shortly after discovering this, as well as saving Lois and consequently gaining her interest, Clark gets a call from General Zod, having found where Clark is now located. He is interested in re-creating Krypton with the blueprints inside Clark. Of course, they will need a planet to inhabit their people with, and unfortunately, they mean to take over earth.

That’s a very brief outline of the plot, but without spoilers of course.

I thought that the special effects were amazing. The story was good, and I liked the cast. I honestly didn’t particularly like the villain, but with some help from the movie, I do understand why he’s fighting so hard to save their race. It was just a bit hard to see it from his point of view when you think about earth being destroyed.

Some parts of the movie was really cheesy. And some lines could have been omitted (i.e this one girl calling Superman hot…). I also thought that Lois and Clark’s relationship develops pretty intensely in a short period of time, but then again, it is a two hour movie.

It’s out in two days! I think it’s still a pretty good movie, and is one of those that work a lot better in a cinemas with 3D.

– Karen

Choose me for your apocalypse team! I can use a rapier!

Summer term has started at UBC and I cannot believe how quickly I am once again sick of being back in the same routine. The content for my classes are kind of dry, but I guess I should give them a bit more time to get interesting…hopefully.

So I had morning classes today and I had to head home and change before going of to Academie Duello! I was actually hesitant about going to my rapier class today because I was feeling down from sitting through school. This was my second week in their “Taste of the Renaissance” program, and I had thoroughly enjoyed it every time. So I picked my butt of the floor and headed downtown.

If you looked inside Academie Duello, you will notice they have some nifty things on display…

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Photo 2013-05-09 4 54 35 PM

Right after our class, I felt refreshed!  It was great to do something not school related and there are some pretty cool people there. It turned my frown upside down. It actualy made my whole day!

Our free hand is supposed to shield our eye/face like this since we're not working with shields yet

Our free hand is supposed to shield our eye/face like this since we’re not working with shields yet. But basically, make yourself as small a target as possible.

So I first came across Academie Duello while I was with one of my friends walking around downtown. I stopped when I saw a group of people in there practicing swordplay and carrying shields. I stared in amazement as they continued to lunge at one another. What was this and how do I join!?

Now that I am a part of the academy, I can say that I really like it. I hated working out and jogging, but this is something else entirely. You get one and half hours of learning how to use a weapon, the history behind it, how to respect the sword and your opponent, and you also end up gaining a small pool of Italian words in your vocabulary.

editedleg copy

The misura larga. You can cover a lot of distance with this while staying safely out of range of your opponent’s rapier.

I hope I get to stay with the program, but I am worried that because I will be gone for the summer, there was be a gap in my learning. But if you are looking for something fun to do, and can commit some time, I would recommend looking up what there is to do at Academie Duello! They also offer a free class for you to try out! Asides from swordplay, they also do archery, horseback riding, and I even saw a class where you sit in their studio for 8 hours and make your own bow!

Hopefully, school beginning again does not mean another haitus for my blog. I guess we will see how that goes.

Until next time!

-Karen

“The Great Gatsby” (a.k.a The Alright Gatsby): A Movie Review

the-great-gatsby-2013

I seem to be doing quite a few of these now that it’s summer.

Anyway, I got premiere tickets off my friend for the showing of The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire (okay, there is a lot of other people, but I do not know them as well). I was ridiculously happy when he told me he could get me the tickets because one of my friends and I were having a conversation about how much it sucks that this movie came out after our summer courses started. But with advanced screening, we managed to bypass the silly release date and watch it a week early!

Advanced screenings are fun, and this time they gave out prizes for people who came dressed up in Gatsby era clothes! So quite a few people dressed up!

I must start with the disclaimer that I have never read The Great Gatsby. I wanted to start it, but I did not want to spoil the movie (since movies are usually not as good as books in my opinion).

The Great Gatsby is a movie filled with mystery surrounding this man called J. Gatsby. He is rich, and he has a thing for this girl called Daisy. The two have not seen each other for five years and in Gatsby’s absence, Daisy got married. So that complicates things quite a bit. The whole film revolves around Nick Carraway’s fascination with with Mr. Gatsby, and he eventually gets involved and takes a part in helping Gatsby’s wishes to fulfil his dreams.

To me, it was The Alright Gatsby. I thought the soundtrack stood out a little at times (not in a good way), and their soundtrack has artists such as Jay-Z. I also found it really hard to connect with any of the characters in the film or emphatize for them, but that probably has to do not with the film, but with the story itself? The visuals were beautiful, but I was not entirely wow-ed by the story. I may have also went in with really high hopes, and left disappointed when they were not reached. Leonardo DiCaprio’s films always interest me, so I thought this would be another instant favourite of mine. I guess not.

I would not put this film very high on my recommendations list, but who knows? You may like it.

Let me know what you think!

-Karen