• Game Preview: Sovereign Syndicate (Review Code)

    All pictures are screenshots from the game

    I got the Sovereign Syndicate demo as a review code. While I am very grateful, I will not let this sway my opinion. These will be my honest thoughts and opinions about the demo.

    This demo is too short for me to form a meaningful opinion about the game, but it is long enough to at least get a taste of the gameplay. Sovereign Syndicate is a top-down cRRP that takes place in a steampunk fantasy version of London. The full game gives you the choice of three characters, but the demo had me playing as the minotaur Atticus Daley. At the start of the game, you are given the option of four classes that provide boosts to certain attributes. I played as each one, but I never felt like the choice made much of a difference gameplay-wise. 

    This game ran real smooth. The top-down view was interesting, and the city was nice, but there wasn’t much room for exploration. If the demo is any indication of what the game will be like, the setting is going to be dank, dark, and dirty. Most of the gameplay was in the form of dialogue. I got to speak with a couple of NPCs, each providing you with a choice of responses and the occasional skill challenge. Skill challenges are neat in that they are determined by picking from a set of tarot cards. Your skill points affect the kinds of cards you can pull, but the game was too short for choices to matter. The choices you make can provide buffs and debuffs, but mostly they affect the types of responses you get from the NPCs. 

    My biggest complaint about this game is the font. Some of the dialogue is written in an italicized font which was hard on my dyslexia. The writing itself is inconsistently flowery. Some descriptions are fine, but others are long and awkwardly worded. It wasn’t so bad that I stopped playing, but it is something that gave me trouble. It is also written in an English dialect I am not familiar with, but it offers definitions for certain slang words and phrases. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough gameplay in the demo to judge this game on its character and world-building.

    I am very much interested in learning more about this game and possibly getting a longer demo. I liked the text-based choose your own adventure aspect of this game. I can only hope the full game will include meaningful choices that affect the story. I also enjoyed that the skill points are personified. Wit, for example, is an old woman who will give you advice on how to respond to an NPC. Each skill point will offer its suggestion, but the choice is always in the hands of the players. This is a neat little feature for people like me who can’t make a single decision. I will certainly be keeping an eye on this game. 

    The game is planned to release during the 4th quarter of 2023 for Xbox, PC, and Playstation. If you want more information, check out and wish list it on steam.

  • Movie Review: Elvis (2022)

    Elvis is an interesting biopic, but one that has a certain audience in mind. While I do appreciate the film’s unique storytelling, its novelty wears off. Not everything in this movie works. Sometimes you get some interesting narrative about Elvis, but most of the time, this film is sporadic and lacking in focus. While I didn’t outright hate this film, I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it. I definitely won’t be watching it again by choice.

    Elvis is the dramatization of Elvis’s career. The movie will jump around various key moments in Elvis’ life. These jumps often happen in the same scene. I can’t speak on the film’s historical accuracy, but parts of this movie feel embellished for narrative purposes and to make Elvis a sympathetic character. I can’t overlook how one-sided this narrative seems to be. I can only wonder about the unfavorable parts of Elvis’ personality that they hide behind the flashing lights and his famous wiggle.

    Elvis is fine. The acting and music are great, but the sporadic narrative style leaves a lot to be desired. The constant jumping in time, the overbearing narration, and the editing make this feel like a long trailer for the movie about his life. This whole experience feels like an Elvis Presley speedrun that skips a lot of crucial story beats about his character. When the movie decides to have a long uninterrupted scene, I loved it. I loved watching the performances, but they were often cut too short. As I have mentioned before, the concept is great, but the execution isn’t effective.

    If you are an Elvis fan, you will probably have a lot more fun than I do. I loved the music in this movie, I am sure you have a deeper appreciation for it. I also can’t deny that Austin Bulter gives a great performance. That said, this is made with a specific audience in mind, and if you don’t like the style, you won’t like the movie. If you like biopics, this is an interesting one, to say the least; otherwise, I would hold off on watching this till you can find it somewhere for free.

  • Series Review: The Sandman (2022)

    I can’t recommend The Sandman enough. This is fantasy at its finest. The story is amazing, the acting is mostly great, and it is such a beautiful show. I can’t speak on how close of an adaptation it is to the comic, but I can speak on what a good show this is.

    The series deals with the gods and forces outside of the human realm that affects the human experience. Forces like death, desire, and dreams are manifested as gods, each with its own domain to rule. The natural order of things gets complicated when a series of events lead to the capture of Dream. Years go by, and Dream’s kingdom crumbles. The show focuses on a newly freed Dream as he tries to rebuild his Kingdom and his power.

    I have been impatiently waiting for any new fantasy to hold me over till the next season of The Circle of Time. This definitely helped soothe my impatient heart, but now I fear I will be impatiently waiting for this next season of The Sandman as well. It is safe to say that I am obsessed with this show, and there is a good reason for that. The narrative is interesting, full of well-generated tension, interesting villains and heroes, and some pretty fantastic world-building. I love that Dream isn’t a traditional hero. Dream will often act whit his own interest in mind because he is not limited by human morals. He will slowly realize that this is not always in the universe’s best interest, and his thinking slowly changes as a result of his experience. It is very cool to see a hero who learns from his journey as he deals with his flaws and inhibitions.

    The narrative style for this show is unique. Each arc seems to have its own voice, keeping the series fresh and exciting. It is nice to see fantasy that doesn’t follow the usual tropes. My only complaint is with the inconsistency of the acting. Some actors give amazing performances, while others do their best but have awkward delivery. It isn’t a terrible problem, but it is noticeable. I also had an issue with the pacing. I felt it slows down towards the end, but I never felt like it was unwatchable. 

    This is a great series and you can watch it on Netflix!

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    Movie Review: Wedding Season (2022)

    Wedding Season is a surprising rom-com. You have seen this narrative formula before, and that’s okay. Wedding Season has been reskinned to the experience of an Indian American couple trying to live their lives under the pressures of their community. It is a solid date night movie and one that you won’t hate if you are forced to watch it.

    Wedding Season is about an Indian American woman Priya who just wants to live her life her own way and build her career. Her mother takes it upon herself to find Priya a man. Priya in an effort to take some of the pressure off herself agrees to date one of her mom’s prospects. Priya and Ravi then decide to create a fake relationship so that their families, and the rest of their society, will leave them alone. Fantasy turns to reality, and both find that their feelings for each other are real.

    This rom-com was very well done, the story is cute, and the actors are amazing. I loved the new perspective and twist on this story. I can’t speak on the cultural accuracy of the movie, but I do appreciate seeing brown people in roles where they aren’t offensive caricatures. There really isn’t much more to say about this movie because you have seen this movie countless times already. I didn’t mind it because they do enough to make this movie feel fresh. My only complaint is that there are parts that dragged on for me, but I think that is a personal problem. I watch too many movies.

    If you are looking for a date night movie, Wedding Season is a solid choice. If you are a fan of the genre, you will have a lot of fun with this movie. Check it out on Netflix!

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    Movie Review: Thirteen Lives (2022)

    I don’t watch movies that are based on real-world events. I have never been a fan. That said, I enjoyed Thirteen Lives, it is a very well-made movie. If you are on the fence and enjoy these kinds of movies, you will not regret the time you spend with this movie.

    Thirteen Lives is a proper dramatization of a terrible moment in human history. The film recreates the rescue of the Thai youth soccer team and their coach as they were trapped in a flooding cave system. The movie will focus on the different groups involved in the rescue, and it does a fantastic job showing how complicated and exhausting the whole ordeal was. 

    I am familiar with what happened, but I was at the edge of my seat the whole time. This is no easy feat. The acting and all the moving parts came together to create an incredibly suspenseful and claustrophobic experience. Watching the divers move through the dark flooded tunnels still gives me anxiety. Watching the other groups work tirelessly to get the boys was heartwarming. This film is a proper homage to the heroes who made the rescue happen. A homage you are sure to enjoy if you choose to watch it. 

    Thirteen Lives is available for streaming on Amazon Video with a Prime membership. Check it out if you are thinking about watching it. 

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The sky is not completely dark at night. Were the sky absolutely dark, one would not be able to see the silhouette of an object against the sky.

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