Playing QB was a little bit of a “weird” experience. It reminded me of games from the 1990s, since FMV (with choices) isn’t usually something that current games still offer. And then there’s this thing that this is so clearly a Remedy game. During the ending Jack Joyce whispers to Beth “I’ll come back for you” and obviously I immediately yelled “No you won’t”. :D Because that’s just the thing they’ll never do. Whether it’s Max Payne (remember the “secret” ending in which Mona Sax lives? :D), Alan Wake (remember how this never had any explanation and just ended?) or Quantum Break (remember how their next game Control has nothing to do with QB?), they’ll never get back to it and never offer any kind of resolution/payoff. :P I understand that they got Beth’ actress back for Control, but that’s something else entirely.

Mentioning Beth, she was clearly the best character in the game, right? I only think so, because I read her diary. Come to think of it, it probably wasn’t the best choice to put one of the best story bits of the game inside an optional book most players won’t bother to read. This should have been a playable part of the game. It was truly heartbreaking how she gives this book of all the shitty future events to herself when she was still a child – and fucks up her own life due to the seemingly inescapable laws of QB time travel.

Although I enjoyed playing this, there wasn’t much else to root for. The worst part probably would be the enemies. Again, in terms of gameplay they were fine (which is why playing this is fun), but these mercs make no sense. They are boring as far as opponents go and it makes little sense that simple mercs would throw their lives away with such a zeal against someone who clearly has superpowers. Normal dudes with guns also aren’t very scary or threatening. In fact, at some point in the game, “shifters” are mentioned, beings that only pose a danger when time is frozen. So obviously I expected those to show up as new enemies, but they never did. I’m guessing they were cut from the game at some point and they forgot to also take out the references to them. I think Martin Hatch is a shifter, but there are no fights with/against him.

There is one single boss fight in the game and it kind of sucked. :D I had to play this at least 5 times, because it wasn’t obvious to me how to win. The boss is protected by a shield and the rectangular room is flooded with henchmen. Red dots show up every now and then, and being close to them ends in insta-death. So staying in constant movement while there’s anything red visible is a necessity. At some point the boss will trigger a big explosion and the only defense against it, is to run to the opposite side of the room as fast as possible. To survive this it’s necessary to instantly know where the explosion is coming from, there is no time for anything, because it insta-kills too. After this is survived, the boss won’t have a shield and can be shot at. Then the cycle repeats. After the second big explosion is survived (and the boss is shot again after loosing the shield again), the game is won. This is a fairly lengthy affair and any mistake will reset the whole thing. I felt so relieved when I was finally done with this. :D

Why does this feel like they are giving me the finger? :P

The game feels very ambitious and wants to be a big spectacle and due to crazy stuff like the mentioned live action TV show it kinda is, but such big and complex ideas also often come with a certain sense of disillusionment. Usually due to time/money constraints, it’s next to never possible to hit all the marks and audience members kind of end up seeing the wall such endeavors have to run into. Maybe I’m being unfair to this game, but it’s hard to see much more than a straight up action game with a story that isn’t nearly as deep as it wants to be. Maybe I’m just sad they couldn’t get more out of a science-fiction story about time travel. But then again, this IS better than STD. :P

PS: There are a few things I didn’t understand at all. Is Jack an idiot for telling Beth that he’d come back for her? Since nothing can ever be changed? And how is Martin Hatch still there at the very end? Wasn’t he killed? If he was, this might change the answer to my first question. :P

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It really was… Good grief. It’s like Trump is a writer on this show (I have the best and biggest time travel, I’m a very stable writer…). Every time he is caught in a lie, he’ll just double down and keep repeating the lie, despite being completely aware that everyone already knows it’s a lie… They said last episode they can’t contact Starfleet for backup and they repeat it this episode. Although it already was so painfully obvious last week, that they could have jumped to Starfleet directly with their spore drive at any time. No comms needed… They even use the spore drive last episode, just not to get help… The fuck? And let’s not go into it again, how Sarek could contact them, no problem. He has Starfleet on something like Skype or Discord for sure.

They really rub it in too (typical Trump move). In the last episode they sent messages to their friends and relatives, in case they won’t make it. This week we learn these messages were received. So how can they radio everybody, except for Starfleet? This is so extremely idiotic. Although this makes no sense in the first place, they could have asked their relatives to tell Starfleet all about their situation, since they forgot Starfleet’s number and Starfleet seemingly isn’t on Twitter.

But if someone thought they couldn’t go dumber than this, they sure showed us. Ash Tyler leaves the ship supposedly in a shuttle, which obviously has no spore drive and yet it’s no problem for him either, to reach the Klingon homeworld Kronos and get back to Discovery just in time. He too obviously could have contacted Starfleet and just chose not to for no reason whatsoever.
This however, isn’t even the worst part. We learned before, that L’Rell’s power as chancellor is completely based on the lie, that she killed Ash Tyler. But by Ash Tyler showing up alive and well now, this entire ruse has been exposed. L’Rell would loose all her power and the entire Klingon empire would go nuts. Overall STD has been very prolific in ignoring and/or retconning Star Trek, but STD can’t even manage to uphold its own lore/story.

Automatic robot repair drones (which drive around on the hull like R2-D2 in Star Wars)? Is anyone still counting how many retcons this makes in total?

During the fight we learn that Enterprise and Discovery somehow hold 500 shuttles each. :D I don’t even…

I love it, when Saru is just as WTF at his sister (the primitive village priest), being a fighter pilot all of a sudden, as the audience is. :D Once again, everyone is available on comms except Starfleet. No matter how remote they are.

How did the Kelpiens get the advanced fighters from the Ba’ul btw? Have they murdered all of them since we last saw them and took all their stuff? :D

The torpedo that gets stuck in the hull looks nothing like any other torpedo, why? They couldn’t figure out what that would look like, right? All other torpedos are these glowing red thingies. Not grey rectangular objects.

Then the Admiral dies for nothing, because she has to pull a lever… No one thinks of using a rope to pull the lever from the other side. FIXED. Or they could have beamed her out, since they have a TRANSPORTER ROOM. There is also this embarrassing moment, when Number One says goodbye and the Admiral says nothing back, because Number One doesn’t have a name… THE PAIN. :D

During the confrontation between the emperor and the AI, the emperor gets the AI, a being that doesn’t feel pain, to scream on command… I don’t have words.

The best part of the episode is, when Burnham’s usage of the red angel suit looks like a scene straight out of Star Trek: The Motion Picture from 1979. :D Come to think of it, so does Discovery’s flight through the wormhole. Which probably means this is no coincidence. It’s too bad that ripping off other stuff doesn’t automatically mean your stuff will be at least as good. :P

I’ve always said they were going to do something really stupid to explain the spore drive out of existence (because it never existed) and they did… It was every bit as dumb as I expected. During the debrief at Starfleet, it is declared that everyone in the know is forbidden from speaking about the existence of the spore drive (!) because of time travel. The spore drive however, has nothing to do with all the time travel. All of that was the red angel/Iron Man suit. So why should they keep a thing secret, that had nothing to do with the time travel? Once more this show wants everyone to be a complete idiot, who won’t be able to notice anything.

There is no way in hell, Starfleet would develop such a technology and then never use it again. During the Star Trek movies, it’s been made clear, that Starfleet is trying to develop the so-called transwarp drive. Remember the USS Excelsior? So Starfleet is clearly trying to improve their drive systems. But why put so much effort into developing a worse drive system, than the one Discovery already has? Starfleet could have needed the spore drive countless times and never would have abandoned it. Other species could have developed it, leaving Starfleet at a fatal disadvantage.

Even if they are in the future now (where they should have been in the first place with this show), it’s still a poisoned well, since it won’t wash them clean of their shitty origin. It’ll just make it harder to overlook, that they were shitting on Star Trek all this time for nothing. They even personified this with Spock. He did nothing the entire season and was entirely superfluous as a character. His sole reason for being there, was so they could name drop him in ads. Pathetic.

During the ending credits, they play the Discovery music AND a remix of the Star Trek theme simultaneously, which sounds as shitty as you would imagine. I guess it’s just consistent with the rest of the episode, in that it is designed to piss people off. :D

Other than season 1, the season 2 end gives no clue as to what 3 will be about, which probably means they have no fucking clue themselves and want to keep all options as wide open as possible.

Only one piece of information, which is not in the show directly, hints that Discovery won’t stay in the future, since the emperor was confirmed to get her own Section 31 show and she was still on Discovery when they departed. So they would have to get back just for that reason. Unless the emperor starts running Section 31 in the far future. Nothing is too far-fetched for this show, so…

PS: Why did Discovery have to go into the future at the end at all? The only reason to do it, was because of Control and the AI was killed, thus removing the entire reason for this operation. *sigh*

PPS: I’ve seen Orville 2×13 by now and it was great. :P It was about time travel (what isn’t these days…) and it was way more engaging than…

I really liked the first game, so I was always interested in playing the second one too. I admit I sometimes miss the show when it’s not on (I sometimes think about how South Park might process something crazy that’s currently happening, if they would have made an ep about it) so being able to play this game during such a break is a NICE alternative.

The fact that it requires uplay didn’t really bother me. Some players felt like this game is too much like Stick of Truth, but for me this formula is still working. I still get a kick out of the fact that it is like watching an episode, but of course I’m playing it. There still isn’t anything else quite like it. They nailed that. South Park seems big enough to warrant more than one game in my opinion. A lot of the elements, that were already used in SoT, are therefore missing in this one. Even bigger characters like Terrance and Phillip aren’t in this, because they were already in the other one. I think there’s a shirt hanging somewhere, but no actual appearance. It’s appreciated, that they tried to be more than just a recurrence.

As I already mentioned Fractured But Whole requires uplay and it’s the first game I actually played on this store. It works well enough and is usually no trouble, there is just one thing that I found really creepy. After reaching certain “milestones” in the game, uplay will send emails to the player about it. “So you’ve just played this part of the game, HAVEN’T YOU?!?”. :| After finishing FBH I started another game, but stopped playing after a while, which prompted uplay to send me an email somewhere along the lines of “why have you stopped playing although you haven’t finished this game yet???”. Who over at Ubisoft thought it was a good idea to do this? Now Steam [1] stores every piece of information about its players as well, of course, but over at Valve they are smart enough not to rub everyone’s face in this fact. Seriously, what’s going on guy and or buddy – I mean friend?

btw: I played the DLCs too, except the combat focused one, because no one plays the South Park game for the combat. The DLCs are okay, I guess, but they ended a little bit too abrupt for my taste, but then again, so does the game. But then again this is a SP game, so you laugh for a while and then you stop. Right?

[1] former Valve developer Richard Geldreich chimed in to assert that claim that the Epic store is spyware are “insane,” saying that Valve gathers “huge amounts of data about virtually everything you do with the Steam client. Yet no one calls Steam spyware.”

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/340279/Epic_Games_Tim_Sweeney_addresses_Chinese_spyware_rumor.php

I absolutely loved it. :P Never read the books, never watched the mini series, so this game was my first time to experience this story. Really liked the characters, much more than I would have expected and it’s all rather effectively supported by the voice acting. Great cast.

Some people apparently believe it’s too boring, but I simply appreciated how believable it all comes across (for a fictional story). If someone expects at least as much violence as there is in Game of Thrones, then yeah, I can see how one would be “disappointed”, but to me this is no detriment. It’s probably true that the main bad guy in this doesn’t outdo the likes of Joffrey or Ramsay Bolton, which is perfectly fine to me. Characters here feel more like “real people” who actually lived at some point, they aren’t any type of bigger than life caricatures.

This game really made me want to watch the 2010 mini series. I’m curious to find out how different it is and if I’d like it as much as the game.

All throughout I was rooting hard for various characters (Aliena, Ellen and Philip burned themselves into my memory), even some I expected to dislike at first, kind of grew on me. As far as I’m concerned, there isn’t really anything more to expect from a game like this.

It’s yet another one of those games that I can see myself playing again, somewhere done the line. I’m sure the decisions, the player is constantly making, won’t have earth shattering consequences most of the time, but they are definitely reflected in some noticeable way. I never thought this type of game and story needed something different. It all came together nicely. I also appreciated it a lot, how the ending to this game for once gives closure and doesn’t leave it to the imagination of the player, to make up what actually happened or anything like that. It still makes me angry when games/stories go too far in that direction. There were a few minor things that were “forgotten”, but that’s all they were, minor things. That’s something I can easily live with.

Wow, Tilly is back and they used another one of the short treks. So are we supposed to believe Harry Mudd is coming back as well? He was in the short treks. And he did time travel stuff in season 1 and season 2 is about time travel stuff. Maybe he ends up selling control to Starfleet as THE ULTIMATE COMPUTER!!!

Basically all throughout my life I’ve preferred it, when series made proper use of their format by being more than a one off. Meaning, season (or even series) long arcs, episodes having a memory of earlier events in the series […]. I always thought that writers, who just want to tell one isolated story, should just go and do a movie instead. :P Of course there are good anthology shows like Black Mirror etc., but…

For the first time, STD makes me wonder if it wouldn’t have been better for this show, if it wasn’t just one story a season. I genuinely don’t care at all for what’s happening and I don’t remember a time travel story (of all things) that was so not engaging. I might have never seen a show, that was this well produced on the technical side, which still failed to take me along for the ride so significantly. I usually watch even the shittiest time travel movies and can get something out of it. Anyway, my point was supposed to be, that one bad episode here and there is easier to swallow, than an entirely bad season arc. Star Trek shows always had bad episodes, but then there was always this one episode, which made me glad I was watching this show. Discovery could really need this sense of wonder, an anthology show can create, when the viewer is curious to find out, what is going to happen this time.

The maybe worst part of this season arc, however, might be the “ultimate threat” they are facing. There is a lot to unpack here, so I’ll skip all the minor details. First of, all organic life everywhere is threatened. This is only the second season. Although those world saving stories are usually dumb/overused anyway, wouldn’t it have been much smarter to save the biggest threat imaginable for the last season? It’s much smarter to build up to certain events. Then they are much more satisfying. What are they supposed to do in season 3 now? Whether they are trying to stop smugglers from delivering Romulan ale to all the bars on Rigel or something more serious, it’s all still going to be silly in comparison.

Next, why is Discovery the only crew working on this? When faced with total annihilation, shouldn’t everyone everywhere work on this?!? As far as it is known, Starfleet isn’t currently facing any other threats, especially none that would be worse. So why would they even allow a single ship to solve this without any support? With everything at stake here, Starfleet should do everything in its power to ensure success here…

Without even wanting to fully dissect this (severe lack of motivation), there is so much wrong with it, just on the surface level. OBVIOUSLY. In this episode, Discovery “can’t” contact Starfleet, because control is messing with their communications. This is supposed to be the explanation for the lack of Starfleet support, when all the Section 31 ships are coming after them. But… Who gives a fuck if they have long-range communication?!? They have this magical spore drive system which can teleport them in the blink of an eye to any location! They can’t reach Starfleet on comms? Doesn’t matter, just speak to them directly! And this is supposed to be Starfleet’s finest crew… They should be able to figure this shit out.

Furthermore, also in this ep, Burnham’s adoptive parents contact her through Vulcan mysticism. Burnham could just use this opportunity to tell them to contact Starfleet for her. She doesn’t. All this stuff is so extremely hard to swallow. Spock’s biological (haha) parents also don’t ask about him, they don’t mention him with one word. Okay, Sarek says a sentence (he’ll be a distant dad because he loves Spock sooo much :D), but Spock is irrelevant to every aspect of this show. If quality was a goal here, the Star Trek license would prohibit such characters from being used, unless there was a good plan to use them well.

Everything is set up to force this confrontation between all the Section 31 ships and only Discovery and Enterprise, when there is no reason whatsoever preventing real Starfleet to show up with 10 times as many ships as Section 31 has. This just doesn’t do it for me. Since AGAIN Discovery can go anywhere anytime, they could just move the ship to a secure location, where the puny Section 31 ships can’t get to it. This isn’t nonsensical anymore, it’s outright idiotic.

They also contradict their own lore once again. The last ep claimed, that once a time crystal shows anything, you are committed to that future. In this ep however, the time crystal shows Burnham what’s going to happen if they fire on Discovery and for her it’s no problem to change this future. It’s like something that’s written after 3 days without sleep.

Once more they try to evoke emotions from the audience which just aren’t there. The show hasn’t earned this and never tried to. The audience is supposed to be sad, when Pike leaves the bridge, or when Burnham volunteers for yet another “suicide” mission. Once again: None of these characters are so beloved that people would be worried about them, or scared that they might die. It’s like this scene in Game of Thrones, when Joffrey starts angrily yelling that he is the king and Tywin Lannister then just sends him to bed. :D The lesson obviously is, that someone who has real power, doesn’t need to yell this around. If a person has real power, everyone knows it. Tywin Lannister never does anything of the sort and – people pee their pants just looking at that guy. And the moral is: No matter the situation, just don’t be Joffrey, okay? Their is no scenario where this pays off for anybody.

But back to STD, no one believes that Burnham is actually going to die. So why do they keep insisting on repeating this scenario?!? Do away with all the “tell, don’t show”, while you are at it. The last episode had it, it now feels as if they are relying more and more on this…

What’s also really funny, is that (during their science talk) Spock is the only one who doesn’t give any scientific advice/contribution. He barely speaks a word. I’ve been asking myself this question for the entire season, but hardly ever was it as appropriate as it is here: Why is Spock even in this?!? He never does anything remotely interesting. Pretty much all scenes with him, just have him standing around doing very little or outright nothing. Sometimes he gives one or two lines. It hardly ever exceeds this… Often one could forget Spock is even in a scene. What a poor use of a legend. It appears to be about nothing but milking the name for a show, whose makers apparently think their show needs this.

btw: Why does only Discovery have their own set of uniforms? Does every ship in Starfleet get to choose which uniform they want to wear? Yet another retcon?

PS: Orville 2×12 was fun, right? A serious topic and yet they managed to smuggle in a fun moment here and there… Orville might not be for everyone either, but at least it has an undeniable charm to it. :)

PPS: Was it really necessary to alert the audience once more to the holographic retcon? It’s the first thing Rebecca Romijn talks about, once they enter the Enterprise bridge. Why is Rebecca Romijn only referred to as “Number One“? This entire show is so superficial, in so many ways. They could have given her a real, proper name at the very least… They have no problems with retconning everything else… But names are their kryptonite apparently. I mean have you ever seen such a great cast of characters with only one name in any other show before? Saru, Airiam, L’Rell, Cornwell (I don’t remember her being named Katrina in the show), Sarek, Nhan, Spock, Linus, Leland, Kol, May, Terral, Shukar, Ujilli, Gorch, Landry, Dennas, T’Kuvma, Eling, Er’ Toom, Patar, Amin, Mann, Jacob, Ba’ul, Vina, Kovil, Rance, Barlow, Stone, Shavo, Siranna, V’Latak, Rejak, Straal, Connolly, Rose, Cold, Crepuscula, Drake, Nicola and, of course, Shava. Hell, even the actress who went from Airiam to Nilsson didn’t get more than one name the SECOND time! Come on! And here’s how great Discovery is, everyone who has read this, remembers each and every one of those names, right? :P Meanwhile you do remember all 75 names from Game of Thrones, where all characters have at least 2 names and are parts of larger families, which make sense within the world they exist in. It speaks volumes. Also, if they have such problems coming up with names, why don’t they at least use a random generator? If Harry Mudd wasn’t yet another character they only took from the original series, he now would also only have one name. Mark my words. :P Hudd?

They are really doubling down hard on this, aren’t they? :P

I know these days we are all very spoiled because of shows like Game of Thrones, but… it’s usually like STD writers aren’t even trying. Lots of their stuff seems to be so lazy and uninspired. Of course I don’t know how difficult their work place situation is, maybe they have to crank out all scripts for the entire season in like 2-3 weeks and that’s all the money CBS will spent on writers… In such a case it would be understandable, I guess. :|

This episode has more of this “tell, not show” approach, they have used before. Burnham encounters a character who apparently was briefly in the pilot episode, but no one (in the audience :P) remembers him and they (the writers) were aware of it as well, so they inserted a brief flashback to show his face, which… is useless, given that (again) no one remembers how he looked in the first place. :P

Also, what’s the point of it all? Since “no one” remembers him (I could only figure out his name “Kamran Gant” by looking it up), what does it matter, that he may have been an extra before on the show? They could have used anybody for this part. There was zero emotional connection to this character. It’s Airiam all over again. I’m just thinking about Lost again, trying to imagine how it would have been if they’d shown the man in the coffin and no one would have known it was Locke, because he just would have been an unknown extra. That would have been so weak. No effect whatsoever. All of their characters were so iconic (at the very least in comparison), that audience members just knew all their names. In fact, I can’t remember when I’ve last seen a show that was this clumsy in storytelling. Doing things like this might have been normal in the TNG era.

They also ruined phasers, haven’t they? And I’m not even talking about them no longer being beam weapons, but single-shot (pew pew) pistols now. On STD, shooting someone with a phaser, is as effective (or even less effective) than punching them with your hands… Hands are definitely the most powerful weapon in the STD universe; Saru too used nothing but his hands to destroy advanced future tech earlier this season. :D The last episode had this as well, when the emperor fought against control. Spock eventually managed to kill the nanobots with magnetism, but phasers are literally capable of dematerializing things. You’d think that would be slightly better. But no more. :D

Another thing that struck me as extremely odd, was how Spock simply claimed that Burnham was the only variable the AI could not predict. Sure, Spock is no longer a scientist (he only said he likes science and I like science too, but that doesn’t make me a physicist :P), so his words don’t mean much anymore, but still. Out of billions of people, every single one is 100% predictable, just Burnham isn’t… Why? Where’s the difference? This is more Midi-chlorians talk, isn’t it? :(

Without plot armor all the characters would be dead now, since the AI is vastly superior to all of them. Burnham should have known that the sole survivor was a trick. Burnham and Spock go on to openly discuss their plans aboard a ship, whose computer is controlled by the AI (although they are aware of it) and onboard Starfleet vessels the computer hears everything… It’s so insane. :D

What else? It seems Doc Brown was a total fool for inventing the flux capacitor, he should have just stumbled over a time crystal instead, saving himself all the work. :P Pike however does it “right” by just getting himself a time crystal so he can time travel. :D According to STD, knowing his future means it is now locked in and can’t be changed anymore. A good thing Burnham’s mom didn’t hear this in the last ep or she would have slit her own throat. :P If this were true, her entire mission would have been pointless, after all.

They even show Pike in the chair, which I found underwhelming. Some people said it’s problematic because this is a prequel show with established lore etc… but for the millionth time, this is obviously a self-inflicted wound. No one forced them to do this. 100% their very own fault. Come to think of it, it’s like naming a show STD and then complaining when people use the name STD. :D I would have ended the season without Pike getting hurt at all. :P

Don’t allow yourself to be fooled though, I liked the episode more than most others, since it had a lot of the elements which poll well with me. They leave the Discovery for once, they actually have a whole pack of extras in the mess hall and of course Jett Reno has a brief appearance.

btw: Has anyone noticed how they have cut Tilly from this? It’s like she’s been bumped down to Jett Reno level all of a sudden. Maybe the last eps this season will be very reliant on Tilly, so they are kind of preparing for that? It’ll be weird if there will be no obvious explanation for her absence.

PS: Kamran Gant is a total Star Wars name, isn’t it? Sounds like something the Knights of the Old Republic name generator would throw out, if you just reroll often enough. :P

I know, I know: I have already talked about this last time, but I’m still not over the fact, that Starfleet puts needles in thingies, you have to press your eyes against. Why would anyone ever do that?!? For a while I theorized, that the emperor maybe did it, to get rid of Leland (she always acted like she wanted to get rid of him), but no. She had nothing to do with it. It was the AI who did it, although the AI couldn’t have done it, since it didn’t have a body before this episode. They are never getting back to explaining this, are they? The audience is supposed to just forget this. :P I wish I could, but… :D

Also, after Leland wakes up again, he is strapped into some sort of torture device. How did the AI put Leland into that thing, without being able to touch anything? It outright states, that so far, it never has been more than a hologram. And how did the AI build the torture device? And all that without anyone on the Section 31 ship noticing? Wouldn’t an intelligence agency have the best op sec?

There isn’t really anything big happening this time. Burnham talks to her mom for a while and at some point the AI tries to get a hold of the ancient archive. Supposedly the AI is trying to get the archive, in order to become sentient. Which it clearly already is. So actually it’s more about using the archive to upgrade itself? Which the AI also doesn’t need, since it is already superior to Starfleet. They all are fully aware of the existence of this threat and yet they all take zero measures to prepare for its next step/attack. They don’t even seem to bother to tell anyone back at Starfleet HQ. Only Discovery and Section 31 know about this ultimate threat to all organic life (it’s Mass Effect all over again, isn’t it?).

Later in the episode the AI is uploading the archive to the Section 31 ship and they just stand around and let it happen, being fully aware of all its implications. They don’t even discuss firing at the Section 31 ship to destroy it, although they clearly could. No, they are much more focused on letting the AI get away with the data it needs to eradicate all of humanity. :D Only after the AI has already gone to warp/escaped, they think about pursuing it, which they fail at.

This all comes after building Section 31 up as this super-efficient, smart and sophisticated elite-troop of ruthless specialists for this entire season. Now they are all reduced to being nothing but bumbling fools. Good grief. :D
In fact it makes me loose all faith in Starfleet itself, because after such a fiasco any reasonable person with just a whiff of ethics (which should be one of Starfleet’s core competencies :P) would disband such an organization right away. But we already know they didn’t, since they are still around during DS9.

The episode has one new piece of information though, namely the red angel has nothing to do with the 7 signals. So far everyone was 100% certain this was all the red angel’s doing. But now, the red angel says not only are these signals NOT her doing, she even knows nothing about them/never heard of them. She says this right after stating that she knows “everything”, because of time traveling. :D Very cool!

Maybe the 7 signals are from the Klingon red angel? They said at some point, that Section 31 only had the red angel suit built, because the Klingons were already working on time travel stuff. But this assumes that this was more than just a throwaway line. :)

There was no new Orville this week, so at least no one got stabbed in the eye over there. Which is a good thing. :P Although I don’t think they would do that there anyway. :P

I mentioned in the last episode, how tasteless and borderline offensive it is, to attempt to somehow stylize an extra into a full-fledged character they never were, only to try and elicit some emotional reaction from the audience, when they are inevitably killed off. Well, in this episode they doubled down on that hard. This extra got a more extreme and elaborate sendoff, than Spock at the end of Wrath of Khan. That is truly insane (Saru sings an ultra-corny song…) and highly inappropriate. No one in the entire history of Starfleet ever got such a funeral. :P

It finally came to me, what makes it so hard for me to just lean back and fully enjoy STD. It’s the lack of immersion. There is always this element, where one or even several characters are just visibly goofing off somehow. There is a scene in which Spock talks to Burnham and Pike and even the Admiral are just laughing at this. They can’t pull themselves together long enough to just take one scene seriously. This is why there is never any tension or suspense for me on STD. Tilly has a remark how it is pointless to knock, when the doors just open automatically anyway and it just feels like improv lines they kept. While humor is generally a very good thing, outside an outright comedy it’s not okay if everything feels like a joke. The Orville manages to have more elements that feel serious.

STD really hasn’t figured out how to include humor, without making the entire show seem silly. You can’t be a serious drama and a clown show at the same time. But that’s what they are trying to do.

The writing is sub-standard in general. In this episode they continue to go on about time travel and how do you time travel? By using a time crystal of course! They can’t even give it any name. It’s like a child wrote this. STD has the same brand of writing, all the JJ Trek movies had. When they tried to use cold for something, they named it cold fusion, solely because it has the word cold in it… With no regard for what cold fusion actually is, nor any ability to come up with something a little bit more clever. They always seem to film their first drafts.

In this episode they have a plan to “simulate” Burnham’s death, in order to capture the scarlet lout and they go about it in the dumbest way. They could have given Burnham an injection of whatever drug, which eventually would have stopped her heart – 100% painless. But no, they put her in a room which essentially tortured her to death. There was no need to do this to a fellow crew member (or anyone). It all, again, only served the purpose to show something shocking to the audience – which it then wasn’t, since this is so annoying. This doesn’t even cover, that this plan never could have worked, if the red angel actually would have been Future-Burnham, because then she would have known it was a trap and could have come prepared (or not at all).

btw: Why does Section 31 have all this future tech? It’s silly that this minor branch of Starfleet is supposed to be this much more advanced than the entire rest of Starfleet. The red angel suit isn’t the first time that it was pointed out, how other Starfleet officers had never even seen their equipment. They probably did this in preparation prior to claiming the red angel suit was Section 31 tech, but it doesn’t remove the underlying problem, that no one else is as advanced.

Burnham is also quite the hypocrite in this episode, she goes nuts because someone kind of got 2 people killed, while she kind of got thousands killed in the Klingon war, but that’s okay, because she did it. :D Also, of course no one on STD notices this. :)

Orville 2×11, on the other hand, managed to deliver a somewhat profound episode with some silly undertones here and there, which didn’t undercut the more serious elements. It was really nice!

PS: Why would Starfleet put needles, which can kill you, in devices you have to press your eyes against? Makes zero sense.

PPS: I already mentioned how they replaced the first/original actress who played Airiam and now that that character died, they replaced Airiam’s position on the bridge with the original Airiam actress, but of course without the makeup. So… did they only kill that character to cut makeup costs? :D I don’t expect them to expand her role, she’s still one of the many STD characters who have only one name (that no one knows). Unless it was pointed out specifically, COULD anyone have guessed that the Airiam actress now plays “Lt. Nilsson”? Be honest. :P

This is seriously the first Vampire game, since Bloodlines came out (and the world is ready for 2 – and has been for years), that was actually good. I loved it. I had no idea it was this good. You play as Jonathan Reid, a medical doctor, who is forced to navigate his new existence… okay, obviously the player gets to mess up his new life. :D After the opening scenes, the game quickly opens up with more and more elements I never would have expected to see here. Branching dialogs, decisions, tons of weapons, solid skill progression, crafting stations and my personal highlight: a huge city that’s extremely detailed and kinda reminded me of Batman Arkham City. It just looks amazing and quickly starts feeling like a real place. I always appreciated how fast the Unreal engine can be, while also looking extremely good.

Combined with the music, the atmosphere (I talk too often about) is crazy good. The world map consists of several city districts (all accessible without loading screens – only entering some larger buildings will trigger those) and every district has its own set of characters and side quests. The various characters per district actually reminded me of something like a reverse nemesis system. With the player being the monster instead of the Orks. Of course none of the characters are randomly generated but crafted by hand (a very good thing in a story driven game). They all have their secrets, of course and the player can learn all about them (at the end of my game there still were many undiscovered clues, still no idea how to get all of them). This then opens up further options. I was surprised they managed to implement this idea this well. It easily could have ended up an unplayable mess. Or at least end up being no fun whatsoever.

The only big difference between this game and something like Mass Effect, which marketing would push into all the headlines, is that you don’t have a squad. The characters and their interactions, even between each other, are a lot better however, than what I’ve seen in countless other games. As a vampire, the player can obviously kill citizens and this, as expected, has a repercussion on their social circle (if they have one) and the district they lived in. All the appropriate characters then react to it in further dialogs. Same goes for the next day after an important decision. They put in lines for all the characters. You can seriously ask everyone about the respective event. Only very few games ever do anything like this. This is especially extreme at the Pembroke Hospital, where the PC gets a job at the beginning. This place is stuffed with doctors, nurses and patients (I think it’s like 16 people). All of them have dialog concerning major events – each time. Incredible.

What slightly pissed me off where all the countless locked doors (they only unlock once opened from the other side), which make it so much more difficult to get around quickly and there is so much endless/additional walking as a result of that. A game world of this size desperately needs a good fast travel option. Nothing is worse then discovering you forgot to open a door from the other side (to unlock it) on your last trip, so you’ll have to go the long route AGAIN… All these doors should automatically be open, as soon as the player has progressed far enough in the story. But that’s really it. The game does so many things right, that it’s easier to overlook such flaws and at the end I knew my way around town extremely well.

Another typical complaint of mine, as usual, is the lack of a padded ending. While the game does come to a satisfying conclusion, where the most important story bits are concerned, it still should have paid off all the work invested in the various districts. I always cured everyone (as a doctor, Reid can give all sick individuals appropriate medicine to heal their respective ills) and I deserved some Obsidian style epilogues for that. :P I was also simply curious, what would happen to some of the characters and what the approximate outcome of my decisions might be. But no, in contrast to the elaborate lines for every other prior event, here the game remained completely silent.

Before I forget it, the game usually does a good job to give all the monsters you fight a solid place in its lore and story, which is great – especially skalls. There is one monster type however, which looks a little bit like a lion on two feet, which I don’t think is mentioned anywhere and no one reacts to its existence/appearance either. It’s like it was added for more monster variety after the writers were already done with the project. :D It’s just odd.

It’s one of these games that I will definitely play again, like a year from now. There is enough left to discover to warrant another go at it.

The Council is essentially the answer to the question, what would happen, if someone took everything Telltale and Life is Strange did and add a working RPG system on top of it. Sound good? It did to me. :D Still does, in fact I think it worked surprisingly well. While the story isn’t the best ever, the gameplay has enough meat on it, so the player usually doesn’t notice. :P

Seriously, it’s really great to have an inventory again in a game like this. They did a lot of this well. All the items even have descriptions (maybe doesn’t sound like much, but too many games don’t bother), there is an extra character page with information on all NPCs, a map and various sections on the PC – all reflecting choices made by the player. Honestly, that’s a lot and so much more than I ever expected to find here.

Since almost the complete game takes place inside one mansion, they really went all out and stuffed this place with countless details. There were so many unique paintings in this game, I couldn’t keep track. Every corner is a unique place and can easily be remembered. I only hated that I had to run through the hedge maze too many times. :P

On the negative side I can really only list, that there wasn’t much of a payoff at the end. I’m sure there were multiple ends, but without much reactivity to them, they still aren’t all that satisfying. One of the characters who can potentially die, had a short epilogue of sorts, saying that she vanished and was never seen again. So how is that supposed to be different from letting her die? What am I supposed to take from that? It just creates more questions.
Almost all of the results at the end only are (potentially) of consequence, if they do a sequel. But yeah, almost all my disappointments focus on the end, the journey there was great. :D I definitely hope they work on a sequel, which will do a better job at offering a satisfying conclusion. :) All the additional stuff, they added on top of the typical Telltale formula, worked so well, I genuinely hope it pays off for them.
btw: I also wish the game would have been better at communicating when I have to do something right away and when it really doesn’t matter. Usually hanging in a room indefinitely is cool, but in some instances events will fail unless done immediately. But maybe they wanted it this way.

Apparently Airiam knew another nameless character we have never seen before nor ever heard about, I’m so invested now. :P

In this episode they kill an extra and everyone acts very upset etc… Before this episode, Demise of the Robot Lady, they usually didn’t even bother to give Airiam ANY lines. I don’t even know why she was (at least partially) cybernetic. Did she want this, was it necessary because of an accident… What? But I guess it doesn’t matter anymore now, right? She’s dead. Sure, they could just bring her back, but another resurrection so soon after Culber? You would have to have no taste whatsoever in order to do this. :P

Seriously, one episode of Lost managed to add more information about a character, than Airiam got in 2 Seasons of STD. The only slightly noteworthy fact about her, was that the actress was replaced at some point.

In fact, Airiam didn’t even have a first name, just like Connolly (another character they brought in just for the death scene)… If that is their deciding factor on STD, Nhan better starts taking cover wherever she goes. :D Saru und Spock however… They should be fine. :D Never watched a show with so many people having only one name. Even the Red Angel has two.

It seems as if they are only giving someone outside the main characters lines, if they are going to kill them soon. Not the first time I couldn’t overlook how the STD writers can’t stop themselves from using the “kill someone”-technique in hopes of causing some emotional reaction in the audience. Face it, Airiam wasn’t Data. Maybe they could have given her a sort of Robocop storyline, given how many times Peter Weller was on ST (this is probably where they got the idea btw :P), but they didn’t.

How dumb is it btw, to have someone as security personal, who can be so easily disabled, by just pulling out their breather? Nhan shouldn’t be security. She needs a nice and quiet science lab job somewhere on a planet. They at least could have properly implanted that, they have the tech. But who cares, as long as at least their helmets have Iron Man technology, right? :P

What else? In this episode, they flew into a minefield without raising their shields. They only did so, after Discovery was damaged by a mine. Unbelievable… Best of Starfleet my ass. :D
Speaking of mines, they outright state, that Starfleet would never use mines because it’s forbidden and so on, I guess no one should be surprised that the STD writers never watched DS9. Starfleet starts deploying mines there in front of the wormhole no problems, because it’s not forbidden at all. They even make them self-replicating (should count as much more devious).

Spock was in the episode as well, but besides him pointing out that Burnham has an ego problem (always thinks everything is only about her) and hanging around engineering a bit with Stamets, nothing happens. Supercool use of one of the biggest and most iconic characters in all of Star Trek for sure. Totally paid off to have him recast once more. :D

Starfleet also never had a supercomputer/AI in charge of everything, the way STD now claims. There is a whole episode in TOS about them trying something like that for the first time, called The Ultimate Computer. :D So it’s pretty safe to add this too to the long list of glaring continuity errors. :D They never would have done it if an AI already had tried to kill them all before. Ah, never mind. :D Who cares, STD writers sure as hell don’t. :D

PS: No Orville this week. So STD totally takes first place. :P

Really enjoyed most of the game a lot, with few exceptions. The game might have been a bit too much on the short side, by the time you are really into everything and the team finally has some good weapons and abilities it’s over again. But the shortest part would probably be the story. Everything that happens feels more like a “chapter one” kind of deal, instead of the complete book. It didn’t even bother me that the twist was none, since it was predictable from the beginning, but I would have preferred more of a resolution. Don’t know if they always intended to do a “Mutant Year One” or something.
The game also doesn’t have something like a quest log, so it’s up to the player to remember the few sidequest-like adventures the game offers. This too would have been a nice opportunity to add some additional payoff to the game. One particular “quest” allows the player to defeat a ghoul leader “grey something”, who wanted to attack the ark (home/base to the main characters) and obviously his demise prevents that, but the game always ends the same way and it never comes up again. It’s completely optional and it would have been great, if the game would have been reactive to that in any way. The same goes for the quest with Lux – another little side adventure which even offers different ways to resolve it, but I don’t think it even changes the loot, let alone anything else.

One odd thing I encountered once was, after loading a savegame (just like you do every time you want to continue your game), text popped up with a voice, saying “lookie lookie a cheater” or something similar to it. Now first of, I wasn’t cheating, I was merely loading a save, like I did numerous times before and after, but even if I had cheated, it’s no one’s business what a player does in/with their single-player game. The only thing that’s dumber of a developer, than building such a function into their game, is having one which doesn’t even work right.

Otherwise I liked characters, graphics and gameplay. At first I tried to play it just like XCOM, but that’s a mistake. The characters are called stalkers and that isn’t just a random name but indicative of the right way to play this game. MYZ is real-time until combat starts, then it’s turn-based. The best way to play it, is to “stalk” the enemies and take out as many isolated enemies with silent weapons, before the main combat starts, otherwise too many encounters lead to being overrun. The whole game is built around this concept and it works really well. It’s a very nice and welcome addition to what XCOM gameplay offers. Some enemies can call for reinforcements, so they are obviously the prime targets the player would want to take out first. An option to run would have been great, for easier exploration (Pillars of Eternity did that pretty well), but at least it is consistent with that whole stalker-theme the game has going on. Running with possible enemies lurking nearby is obviously not a good idea, but once the fighting is done, it would be so much more convenient to have the option to save some time while backtracking.

They really went all out this time, as far as the references to earlier shows are concerned. It’s so extreme at this point, they even had to outright roll footage of The Cage. :D I can’t decide if it’s good or bad, that they aren’t ashamed to admit, that they do little more than a repeat of partially 54 year old characters and story (Susan Oliver, the original Vina, died in 1990!). Since they can’t deny that most of STD is just a reuse of TOS, maybe they think outright admitting it makes them look better? Does it?
And what does it mean, if earlier shows are required viewing in order to understand STD? If it is no longer just referencing, but further knowledge of these references is necessary in order to fully follow the plot?

It more and more puts STD in this category of shows/movies, which feel more like fanfic than anything else. Doing this is kinda okay if it’s a comedy centric show like… Futurama, something that’s supposed to be silly, but here? One of the last scifi shows I thoroughly enjoyed was Altered Carbon. Most elements in this show weren’t very original either (there is nothing new under the sun), but it never felt like it was nothing more than the fan version of an already existing show. It still managed to be its own thing and they didn’t reuse characters or stories in it, solely because they had been in another show.

I would prefer it, if a (new) Star Trek show would make sense within the existing setting and maybe follow the most important established rules – and not somehow try to act like an ST show by merely reusing/rehashing a lot of established names, characters and stories. Obviously they are doing the opposite…

Now I like seeing Melissa George as much as anybody, but Hunted was the better show, is what I’m saying. :P They shouldn’t have cancelled it. They probably wouldn’t have, if it had been on a streaming service. At least they have good taste when it comes to guest stars. Or so it seems. Triangle was also a nice movie.

Anyway, they seem to be closing in more and more on “time travel” as this season continues and I’m wondering if they are going to do something really stupid, that’s supposed to explain the differences in tech etc… They did offer stupid explanations, which made things worse, before. Never ever linger on explaining Midi-chlorians, is what I’m saying.

Midi-chlorians were microscopic, intelligent life forms that originated from the foundation of life in the center of the galaxy, and ultimately resided within the cells of all living organisms, thereby forming a symbiotic relationship with their hosts.

https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Midi-chlorian

OMFFFG, it is essentially the same thing as the Mycelial network, isn’t it?!? The pain. :D At least I know now what bugged me about it…

The mycelial network was a discrete subspace domain containing the mycelium, or roots, of the fungus Prototaxites stellaviatori. The network could be conceptualized as a vast microscopic web, an intergalactic ecosystem, or an infinite number of roads leading everywhere

https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Mycelial_network

This is why you don’t use the same people for Star Wars and Star Trek. It used to be an annoyance to fans, if people couldn’t tell the two apart, but the Alex Kurtzmans of this world made it a horrible, bitter reality. :D

I also saw this pattern emerge again. If they have extras, they only show up in one scene. The rest of the ep is only main cast + guest cast. It’s like they get extras only for one day and they can’t shoot all scenes, which could use extras, on this one day. And all the scenes outside/on a planet, have one single place. They always show one single location and then it’s inside again. I wonder if it’s impossible to do it differently. Maybe they couldn’t stay within budget then or it would look significantly worse. No idea.

My made-up link between this week’s STD and Orville 2×10 episode is “old buddies”. They keep showing up. :D I’m seriously hoping by now they won’t cancel Orville. :D

After all this, I gotta say, this was still probably the best episode in Season 2 so far.

btw: They kinda broke (no pun intended) the Vina character. Her arc kinda was, that she was stuck with the Talosians, because their projection was the only way for her to have a normal life. But Discovery established, that their medical capabilities are so advanced, that they could easily fix her. Then she could go wherever and have a completely normal life.
Just this Season they went out of their way to point out, that Culber only used to have a scar, because he himself chose to keep it. They can change their appearance in medbay in any way they want. When Tilly broke her bones, it took only a couple of minutes to heal her up completely. As if it never happened.
But the biggest punch, Discovery gives to the whole Vina situation, obviously must be Ash Tyler. Even the Klingons, who don’t have any noteworthy science and whose whole presence in space is a major miracle anyway, managed to give Voq a completely new body. Their medical science can transform you into anyone – no matter how many complex changes are necessary.
So when Burnham talks to Vina and she shows her real face for a minute, what Burnham obviously should have said is, “Girl, the removal of ALL your scars won’t even take our Doctor on Discovery 30 seconds and after it you will look even hotter than you do with all the Talosians various mental powers combined, but for REAL”. :D Hell, they could even make her a completely new body altogether with the Midi… uhm mycelial network, just like they did for Culber! But of course Michael doesn’t do/say that. I guess she kind of is a jerk after all. :P

PS: Did anyone notice, how Burnham says “terran-technology” to the Telosians at one point? I found that odd, since “terran” is usually a term reserved for the mirror universe and not used for referring to Earth-stuff. In ST at least.

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