Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm, part 1






Dawn of the Jedi is a very exciting series from Dark Horse Comics. The team behind Legacy, John Ostrander and Jan Duursema have taken the completely oposite direction while doing what they do best, exploring a completely fresh area of Star Wars!! Rather than journey into the future, as they did with the adventures of Cade and crew, which dominated this blog for the entirety of it's run they have instead ventured into the past, over 25,000 years before the original trilogy, delving into the origins of the Jedi Order. The first story arc, 'Force Storm' recently came to a close and I'll be discussing the cool new stuff that came up in the story.

The Je'daii

The Je'daii were brough to Tython by mysterious craft known as Tho Yor, a mix of speciessettled together on the strange world rich in the force and formed a code, based on balancing the light and dark sides of the force. Tython is a dangerous world for beings without a connection to the force so non-Je'daii began to settle the other worlds in the system, forming their own civilizations, while the Je'daii order remain on Tython and act as peacekeepers for the system as a whole. While they were damaged by the Despot War an uprising led by Queen Hadiya against their order the Je'daii are still strong and bound by their code.

There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
There is no fear; there is power.
I am the heart of the force.  
I am the revealing fire of light.
I am the mystery of darkness
In balance with chaos and harmony,
Immortal in the force.

So a little different from the Jedi we know, who serve only the light - but big events are coming that will change the Je'daii forever. 

Je'daii Journeyers

A rank placed somewhere between Padawan and Knight Journeyers have finished training at Padawan Kesh, the Je'daii Academy and now travel across Tython to study under the different masters, focusing on different disciplines and training. While trusted with a measure of independence, these Je'daii are still very much the learners. 
Shae Koda
Species: Human
Sex: Female
Occupation: Je'daii Journeyer








Shae Koda is a restless young Journeyer who lost her parents during the Despot War. She is incredibly curious and wants to find out everything she can, accepting nothing on faith. She was training at Anil Kesh the temple of science where she enjoyed exploring new sights and meeting new creatures and experimenting with the force when she had a vision of a dark masked stranger...

Sek'nos Rath
Species: Sith
Sex: Male
Occupation: Je'daii Journeyer








Sek'nos is an adventurous young Je'daii who likes trying out new techniques in the force, in fact the only thing he likes more is the female attention it gets him! He is frequently at Vur Tepe, the forge, trying to develop the ultimate blade but it was at Qigong Kesh, the temple of force skills where he too had a vision of the dark stranger while trying to master force lightning. 

Tasha Ryo
Species : Twi'lek
Sex: Female
Occupation: Je'daii Journeyer








Nicknamed 'princess' by some of the other journeyers, Tasha was born into priviledge being part of Clan Ryo a ruling clan on the settled world of Shikaakwa and the daughter of a Jed'aii master. But the war has forced her parents apart with her father now made ruler of his clan and her mother a Temple Master on Tython. She is torn between her parents trying to please them both,. but when she too has a vision she knows it is the force she must follow.

Je'daii Rangers

No longer training Rangers travel the Tython system as peacekeepers and to seek other beings who can hear the force. 

Hawk Ryo
Species: Twi'lek
Sex: Male
Occupation: Je'daii Ranger








Uncle to Tasha, he first introduced his older brother to Tasha's mother. He was stationed at Fury's Gate, the outermost planet of the Tython system when a strange ship came past the outpost there. The first ship to enter the system from outside in millenia...

Rori Fen
Species: Human
Sex: Female
Occupation: Je'daii Ranger








Rori Fenn is an experienced Je'daii Ranger well able to handle the dangers of Tython. When she was a joruneyer she was romantically involved with Hawk Ryo, but they decided to call it off as they became rangers, though they both still hold deep affection for each other. She was on Tython at Akar Kesh the temple of balance when the strange ship crashed on Tython and she was sent to investigate. 

Jed'aii Masters

Thok Rath
Species: Sith
Sex: Male
Occupation: Je'daii Master








Honoured for his service during the Despot War Thok Rath was an experienced and powerful Je'daii Master. The grandfather of Sek'nos Rath he was looked up to by his grandson for his heroics during the war, inspiring his grandson to seek a place amid the famous Je'daii ranks. He was fond of his grandson and indulged his interests in force techniques. 

Je'daii Temple Masters

Ketu
Species: Human
Sex: Male
Occupation: Temple Master of Akar Kesh








Considered the greatest of the Je'daii by many Ketu is the master of the Temple of Balance where the Je'daii study balance between light and dark. He leads the Je'daii council from a communications centre in the temple but also enjoys teaching in the open air sections of the temple where he was teachiong padawans just before the darkness came to Tython. 

Quan-Jang
Species: Human
Sex: Male
Occupation: Temple Master of Anil Kesh








Master of the Temple of Science his temple is perched above the Abyss of Ruh a dark place which few have explored and whose darkness has driven many mad. He is responsible for monitoring the dark energies of the abyss and for training Je'daii journeyers force sciences. He was teaching alchemy, the bredding and altering of creatures through the force, to Shae Koda when the darkness arrived. 

Miarta Sek
Species: Sith
Sex: Female
Occupation: Temple Master of Qigong Kesh








Formerly trained as a healer Miarta Sek leads the Temple of Force Skills in the silent desert. She faces the difficult task of training the young journeyers in the balanced and wise use of the force. No students are more difficult than her own grandson Sek'nos, who is always challenging himself to try out untested techniques in the force. 

Kora Ryo
Species: Twi'lek
Sex: Female
Occupation: Temple Master of Kaleth








Master of the Temple of Knowledge, Master Ryo holds an important position in the Je'daii order which keeps her away from her husband on Shikaakwa. Her temple is a repository of knowledge and monitors all of Tython. When the Je'daii assemble they meet at Kaleth. Kora had the difficult task of coordinating the Je'daii efforts to quell the darkness while knowing her daughter was at it's heart led by the force. 

Calleh
Species: Selkath
Sex: Unknown
Occupation: Temple Master of Mahara Kesh








Joint master of the temple of healing with their mate, they were responsible for healing the young journeyeres who went after the dark vision, and also the dark man that they found there. 

There were a few other Temple Masters who appeared in a vision, but I'll wait till they come into their own later in the series before writing about them. 

Exiled Je'daii

Any Je'daii who strays too far into the darkness, or into the light for that matter, are exiled onto one of Tython's two moons Ashla and Bogan to comtemplate balance and return to the Je'daii in time. 

Daegen Lok
Species: Human
Sex: Male
Occupation: Exile








Known as 'the prisoner of Bogan' Lok was exiled after journeying too far into the Abyss of Ruh where he fell into darkness. Many doubt if he will ever be able to return to Tython. He watched the darkness arrive on Tython and the force storm it caused with much interest. 

Well that's plenty for now, but as always there's plenty more characters, spaceships and creatures to come but I'll try and wrap all that up in another post soon. For now I'll finish with a list of species that originally migrated to Tython and formed the Je'daii order, with links to Wookiepedia if you're interested. 

Talid (known as Dai Bendu)

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Video Game Diary - 25/7/12

In this diary post I will (finally!!) discuss the latest Assassin's Creed game - Revelations. It was a really enjoyable installment in the series. As you know I've played through the multiplayer segment of the game, unlocking the cinematics and dossiers along the way - one thing I should have mentioned is that you meet Laetitia England a high ranking Abstergo official and member of the Templar Order.

As always I'll crack on with the new stuff.

New Assassins

Subject 16 makes a first visual appearance in this game, but as he has his own chance to shine in the 'Lost Archive' DLC I'll discuss him in a seperate post, which I'll put up here soon.

Yusuf Tazim











Yusuf is the leader of the Assassins in Constantinople, where Ezio journeys in his quest to unlock the secrets of Altair's vault. Yusuf is a confident leader and while respectful to Ezio, who as Mentor is now head of the Assassin order, he is playful and quick to tease his leader, who is unfamiliar with the tricks and tools of the Ottoman Assassins, such as their hookblades and wide varieties of bombs.

Piri Reis











A famous Catrographer of the old world Piri Reis is also a member of the Assassins Order and uses his surveying work to further the cause of the order. He is also very knowledgeable about constructing bombs and has a number of exotic supplies that he can furnish the Assassins with. Piri took Ezio on a voyage to Cappadocia to track down a Templar arms manufacturer.

That's about it for Constantinople, there are several recruits you can bring to your cause but they don't really feature much in the game beyond that. However one of the cool features of the game is you get to relive chapters of Altair's life and meet some more of the Assassins of his time. 

Abbas Sofian











Abbas was a rival to Altair who, like many of the Assassins, dislike the young Altair's overconfidence. This was exacerbasted by Altair bringing news that his father had betrayed the Order under torture from their enemies. Even after Altair changed his ways and reformed the Order, Abbas continued to oppose him, eventually seizing control of the Assassins while Altair and his sons travelled to stop Genghis Khan. Eventually Altair gathered his strength and returned to finally restore and reform the order.

Darim Ibn-La'Ahad











Altair's son accompanied him to track down and kill Genghis Kan, with the assistance of the local Assassins in Mongolia. He return to find his brother Sef had been betrayed and killed by Abbas. He stayed loyal to his father until they were able to restore the Order and under his fasther's orders helped close down Masyaf and change the nature of the Assassins forever.

Niccolo Polo











Along with his brother Maffeo this famous explorer (father of Marco) came to Masyaf and learned the teachings of Altair, becoming an Assassin member. Altair awarded him the Codex and the Memory Seals, which would later be recovered by Ezio Auditore.

New Templars

Leandros











Leandros was Captain of the Templar Garrison stationed at the former Assassin stronghold of Masyaf. His forces captured Ezio, who soon escaped and assassinated the brash captain, learning of the Masyaf Keys in the process.

Manuel Palaiologos











Manuel was a powerful nobleman and member of the Templar Order, working under the Byzantine Banner. He had built up a secret army with his lackey Shakhulu and munitions operation run by slaves in Cappadoccia until the arrival of Ezio Auditore.

Prince Ahmet











The weak willed Ahmet was a secret ally of the Templars in order to secure his reign and continuation as Sultan. He made the mistake of targeting Ezio's friends to ensure his plans would work, and when Ezion recued his friends he came after the prince with a vengeance.

There are other Templars, but they are mostly brief cameos by the multiplayer characters in the game - if I'd done this as an actual diary of my gameplay I might have mentioned them but this post is long enough as it is!!

Other Characters

Suleiman











While never a member of the Order the young prince became a friend of Ezio Auditore after travelling with him on the same ship to Constantinople. He came to trust the Assassins and asked them to help him uncover the intrigues going on in the Ottoman court. He would later come to be regarded as one of the most magnificent Sultans ever to take the throne.

Sofia Sartor











Sofia crossed paths with Ezio when he was searching for ancient writing that led to the locations of some of the Masyaf Keys. Sofia was passionate about literature and maintained a small bookshop in the city of Constantinople. Ezio enjoyed her passion and developed an affection for her, but struggled to protect her from the dangers of his life as an Assassin.

Jupiter











Juptier spoke with Desmond Miled through the Animus program. He, along with Minerva and Juno, were responsible for collecting data to try and prevent the solar catastrophe that hit the Earth in their time. Distracted by the uprising of humanity against their masters they were unable to do so in time but across time they passed on the location of their Grand Temple to Desmond that the might prevent it from happening again and save humanity.

New Items

Memory Seals 







These pieces of technology from the First Civilization allowed the user to store memories which could then be accessed by another user, living them as though they were there. Seemingly a more advanced and mobile version of the animus and likely where Abstergo got the idea from. Altiar sealed key memories in them and also used them as keys to his final resting place in Masyaf where he sealed his Apple of Eden.

The Game

As always it was great fun to play. I did find some of the 'improvements' such as the modifications to the apprentice system and the use of complicated bomb crafting a little tedious and not as gripping as I found them when they were still fresh in Brotherhood. The uses for the Hookblade were great fun, especially using ziplines and stealing money from guards during fights was good fun. The storyline was great, getting to play as Altair was very exciting and experiencing Desmonds memories was fun too, albeit a little disorientating gameplay wise.

The highlight was seering Ezio's journey come to an end, through watching Altair's lifelong dedication to the cause he realized that the time had come to let go and he ends hisd journey in peace, leaving the Assassins behind, which was a refreshing and happy ending to a game that I woildn't have expected.

All in all: great!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Blogga's Video Game Diary - 20/7/12

Another video for you, covering the Harley Quinn DLC for Arkham City that I recently(ish) finished playing on Xbox 360.

video

One thing I missed out was that there were a ton of negative pregnancy test results in Harley's office, indicating that Harley may not be pregnant as she once believed and maybe this is what prompted her to behave so rashly in Arkham City

More soon!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Star Wars: Crimson Empire III





One more set of very out of date com ic book reviews and we're more or less up to date! The famous Royal Guardsman Kir Kanos returns for one more adventure in a story penned by the original team who brought us the character way back when. It was very refreshing to read a story set in the early days of the new Republic, it reminded me of my early days of Star Wars reading where I would sit in Borders reading graphic novels then putting them back!!

 New Characters


Devian
Species: Human
Sex: Male
Occupation: Assassin / Rogue Leader







Devian was trained under Darth Vader himself in a selecrtion process that involved him killing all other trainees. He was well known throughout Imperial circles both for his influence and reputation as a thug. Devian assembled a significant force of largely outdated ships from the Clone Wars era, and planned to tackle the New Republic and restore the Empire under his own rule. He planned to sabotage the future of the peace talks, driving the Imperial Remnant under Pellaeon to fight the New Republic, while his own forces plotted to eliminate the leadership of his enemies.

New Ships

Endor 








The first visual appearance, that I'm aware of, of a Dauntless class cruiser from Star Wars Supremacy in another source, I always love seeing ships from that game used in other canon sources!!

New Republic Fleet







These two types of capital ships are part of the fleet led by Han Solo who pursued Devian's forces across the Galaxy, the types of ship have not been named or featureed in any other source that I'm sware of.

Story

Well that's pretty much it - I can't give you a map because many of the locations are new or undisclosed. So this Devian character sets out to sabotage the peace talks between the Empire and the New Republic and launches his own attacks on Republic forces. He tries to recruit Kir Kanos as a figurehead for his organisation but Kanos refuses, driving him further into Devian's plot and nearer to his love Mirith Sinn, now working security for Leia Organa Solo who is herself having a hard time battling Devian's assassin's. Together they must track down the traitors and uncover evidence of his plot to salvage the peace between their people.

Thoroughly enjoyable - classic Star Wars!!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Star Wars: Shadow Games



I don't often do book reviews as I'm terrible at them (usually by the time I've finished my first paragraph I've spoiled the whole thing!!) but I didn't put this on my wall and thought I'd better share it with you. 

I bought this book at an airport as I wanted a quick read and Star Wars books are always exciting and fast paced and a very good way to kill a plane journey!! While I picked it up largely due to the lack of other options and because it wasn't tied into another series I really did enjoy this stand-alone book. 

This is what I tend to refer to as a 'small' Star Wars story, that is to say it doesn't drive the main characters forward or plunge the galaxy into war but is a more personal story set in the universe we love but not putting a major dint in the big picture. I wasn't, therefore, expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised. I should have expected more from Michael Reaves, author of the excellent 'small' stories in the Coruscant Nights series, which I've really enjoyed as well as Star Wars newcomer Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff. 



The story features loveable rogue Dash Rendar, who broke and temporarily unable to use the Outrider, in need of essential repairs, takes on the job of private security for Javul Charn a galaxy-famous holostar, who sings and performs to billions across the galaxy. But there is more to this job than meets the eye as one after another a jealous ex-boyfriend, Black Sun's Prince Xixor and the Empire all come hunting for Charn and Dash must bury through her secrets and earn her trust if he can really help her. 

Of course Han Solo turns up, as he does in all thesse types of stories, but for once I didn't mind it - the rivalry between him and Dash was good and allowed for plenty of humour and it was good to see their relationship in their younger days. 

All in all it was a worthy read, with plenty of twists and an insight into the tightening of the Empire's grip and the early days of the Rebellion as well as life for 'ordinary' citizens of the Empire be they smugglers or superstars!! 

More soon!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

SF at the Movies - June/July '12

This blog is turning into one long apology, so without any further word here are the movies you MIGHT have watched in June!


Prometheus Storage 24 And now here's what you COULD watch in July!! The Amazing Spiderman Seeking a friend for the end of the world The Dark Knight Rises Happy watching!!