Friday, 26 April 2013

SF at the Movies - April '13

Here's the Sci-Fi on our screens this month


 Iron Man 3

That's all I can see - but they're pretty good ones, I'm looking forward to seeing Iron Man next week.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Blogga's Video Game Diary - 24/4/13

So I'm finally playing The Old Republic, the Massively Multiplayer Online Game from Lucasarts and BioWare. Set in the ancient days of the Republic (and 300 years after their massively successful Knights of the Old Republic series) it is a dark age as the Sith have returned and taken over huge portions of the galaxy forcing the Republic into an uneasy truce after years of war. In this restless peace heroes will emerge to change the fate of the galaxy.

I'm really enjoying playing this game and being in the living world of Star Wars again with other players sharing the gamespace. The multiplayer aspect means I can play with my wife and it's a lot of fun sharing the experience with her. She's playing a Jedi Knight and I'm a Smuggler and we're currently playing our starter quests to try and reach the point where we can meet up in-game. So every now and again I'll post about my progress because there are plenty of exciting new species, droids and characters for me to get excited about and post up here.

New Characters

There are of course hundreds of characters in the game willing to offer quests and interact in other ways, I will do my best to condense the information to the essentials.

Kaled Ors
Species: Human
Sex: Male
Occupation: Smuggler

(How typical - my character blinks when I take a picture of him!!)

Kaled Ors is a seasoned smuggler loyal to the Republic, willing to transport any cargo to any destination...for the right price of course! The main hero of my story he arrives on Ord Mantell to deliver a cargo of high-spec blasters to Republic troops to find that this shipment may be more complicated than he'd like!

Species: Human
Sex: Male
Occupation: Mercenary

Kaled's first contact on arrival on Ord Mantell, Skavak worked for the Republic port authority. He enlisted Kaled's help to clear the Seperatist anti-air battery so that Kaled's ship could leave safely, but this was a ploy to get Kaled away so he could steal the blasters for his Sepratist employers and also help himself to Kaled's ship!!

Corso Riggs
Species: Human
Sex: Male
Occupation: Soldier

Corso is an accomplished soldier who worked for the port authority and helped Kaled when he arrived on Ord Mantell and gave him help on how to fight the Seperatists. After being duped by Skavak he gave Kaled the right contacts to help him track down his ship and has agreed to join Kaled to get back at Skavak for his betrayal.

Species: Human
Sex: Male
Occupation: Freight Management

Viidu was known as the 'King of Cargo' on Ord Mantell, most shipments to and from the planet went through him and his vast warehouses. When Kaled's shipment went missing, he was pointed to Viidu who was eager to assist him recover them, especially as they were to go to a particularly vicious crime lord who would not be pleased to lose his shipment.

New Factions

Mantellian Soldiers

The local forces on Ord Mantell are locked in a wearying battle with the Seperatists on the planet. They are grateful for assistance from Republic soldiers...and are also willing to pay for the help of anyone skilled in using a blaster to clear out the enemy forces.

Mantellian Seperatists

Fed up with the corruption in the local government, this group of armed citizens have decided to force the planet to leave the Republic and have turned peacful villages into a battleground as they seek to push back the local peacekeeping forces, forcing the Republic to deploy troops to the planet. A range of species have joined this movement and they have a number of specialists, from rocket troopers to snipers, deployed to hamper Republic efforts.   

New Droids

Drelliad Service Droid

This model of droid was used at the port of Drelliad on Ord Mantell, managing ship arrival and maintainence as well as cargo delivery.

Medical Droid

Medical droids are used by the Republic to treat wounded soldiers on the battlefield and provide emergency relief. They are also authorised to sell supplimentary medical supplies and take other items in trade.

Package Sorting Droid

Not exactly significant, but I couldn't resist including these little guys, a downgraded astromech-type model used for sorting cargo at Viidu's vast warehouses.

Seperatist Liberation Droid

These heavy patrol droids are used by Seperatists to harass Republic supply lines and maintain control of their territories. There is also a heavy-duty version of the droid called a Freedom Droid equiped with missile launchers.

Separatist Assault Droid

Another model of battle droid employed by the Separatists, these humanoid machines were used as guards to key Separatist facilities.


This droid was the companion of Separatist soldier Gorry and deployed to protect a Separatist base at Mannet Point. He detected the dead bodsies of guards killed by Kaled when he inflitrated the facility and put the base on alert, requiring Kaled's best smooth talking to get out of the situation!!

New Species

Gapillian Grazer

As suggested by the name, despite their massive size and armoured bodies equiped with powerful horns, the beasts are herbivores; docile and for the large part harmless unless provoked or frightened. They are seen moving around the wilds between the settlements on Ord Mantell.


I'll update the map as I progress - as it stands all the action takes place on Ord Mantell for the smuggler.


All that remains is to write about what little of the story I haven't given away!! I'll endaevour to be brief and summarise the key quests my character has undertaken - if you want more information look at the wiki TOR Head which was invaluable in making this post, especially for providing much better screenshots than I can produce!!

Kaled Ors, an accomplished smuggler with Republic ties arrives on Ord Mantell with a high prize shipment of blasters. On arrival in Drelliad port he finds a warzone between Republic troops and Separatist forces, holding up the delivery of his cargo. He ventures out into Drelliad village to disable Sepratist anit-air emplacements and other equipment delaying his job, picking up work taking out Separatist enclaves along the way - for a reasonable price of course!! On his return he finds the port in uproar and his cargo gone, stolen by Skavak. He turns to Viidu, the local crime boss and cargo king who agrees to help him retriev the cargo to save both their necks. Kaled travels to Mannet Point, a Separatist stronghold, to meet Reki who has access to a Separatist database. After decoding the information in Reki's safehouse Kaled breaks into the Separatis base and downloads the information, smooth talking his way out of a confrontation with Separatist forces. With the information in hand, he prepares to return to Viidu to find out the location of Skavak and his ship!!

Ok that's about it, more on The Old Republic in a few weeks time!! The final Mass Effect post and a new Doctor Who post coming up!!!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Mass Effect 3: Cerberus

OK nearly at the end now  - a bit ridiculous I know with the game long completed and all of Halo 4 still to update, but up-to date relevant content has never been my thing anyway. In this post I'll cover two major battles Shepard fought against Cerberus before turning his attention to the Reapers in the final battle for Earth.


After detouring to rout Cerberus from Omega, Shepard brings the full Normandy crew to bear on Cerberus - to retrieve the data stolen on Thessia and to pay them back for their crimes against the galaxy. The Normandy crew discover that Sanctuary, a facility supposedly able to provide refugees safety from the Reaper onslaught, is actually a key Cerberus base, located on the planet of Horizon, where Shepard had his first major battle with the Collectors.

On arrival at the seemingly abandoned facility the crew find Cerberus and Reaper forces locked in a deadly battle - about time they fought each other Shepard remarks.

After examining the facility, and playing the messages of hope recorded by civilians entering the Santuary, hoping the staff can secure their future against the Reapers, they venture in to find the dark secrets that Cerberus have been hiding. Activating a console Shepard sees a message from Miranda warning him that Sanctuary isn't what it appears to be and to turn back, but Shepard presses on, especially after seeing on the recordings that Kei Leng is in pursuit of her.

Journeying into the base, Shepard discovers Cerberus's true purpose, they are experimenting on people and turning them into husks for their own purposes!

Determined to put an end to this sick experiment they press on after Miranda, determined to get to her before Kai Leng does, but as they near the headquarters they hear the sounds of a battle inside.

Henry Lawson (voiced by Alan Dale) has gained his way back into Cerberus's favour with his ability to create husks and understand Reaper technology. 

Henry is holding his genetically modified daughter Oriana as a hostage, while Miranda is nowhere to be seen. Shepard convinces Henry to let Oriana go and give up the project, at which point a wounded Miranda kills him, ending his tyranny over their lives forever. Miranda leaves to take care of Oriana but tells Shepard she planted a tracker on Kai Leng during their encounter.

The Final Push

EDI and Traynor use the tracker to locate the Illusive Man's headquarters. Shepard readies the fleets to attack Cerberus, but Hackett warns him that once the data is ready there will be no choice but to press on directly to Earth. Shepard spends a few more days rallying as much support as he can so that the galaxy is ready for the final conflict.

Cronos Station

 Orbiting a red giant, well off the charts of civilization, Cronos Station is where the Illusive Man controls asll Cerberus operations from. Only the most trusted Cerberus officials serve here. 

At the start of the mission EDI volunteers to go and proves her worth instantly by detecting a Cerberus code to vent the air from the hangar bay they land in. They battle to override the controls and then stumble on a solution to get them through the sheilded doors, taking over the automated controls, they launch a fighter directly into the station itself, causing chaos and clearing a path for them.

Journeying through the base Shepard encounters more information about EDI, that she started life as a rogue VI that Shepard battled against in his casmpaign against Saren and that she had proven her loyalty to Shepard on several occasions without his knowing, including preventing an attempt by Cerberus to remotely take over the Normandy.

Cerberus had kept and transported the remains of the Human-Reaper constructed by the Collectors and were using it for their own experiments on the station.

On reaching the Prothean VI Shepard finally discovers what the Catalyst which powers the Crucible is - only it's not an answer he likes - the Catalyst is in fact the Citadel itself!!! They are interrupted at this point by Kai Leng who engages Shepard in a ferocious battle, before finally meeting his end at Shepard's omni-blade.

Shepard speaks again to the VI, assuring him that there is still hope - but the VI reveals that the Reapers have become aware of the Catalyst's nature, due to the Illusive Man, acting under long-term indoctrination, revealing it to them in his bid to take control of the Reapers. Worst of all the Reapers have moved it somewhere where their presense is strongest

To Earth.

And now for the last time I'll update the War Assets

The following are War Assets gained by ending the Cerberus plot on Horizon

Alliance 6th Fleet - After being ordered to avoid engagements with the Reapers and preserve it's strength, this fleet is eager to join the fight.

Miranda Lawson - A key Cerberus operative, she has given the Alliance intel on several under-cover Cerberus operations

The following are War Assets gained by travelling the Galaxy

Shadow Broker Support Team - Through her connections as Shadow Broker Liara is able to lay her hands on any supplies or resources the Alliance need.

Shadow Broker Starship Tech - Technology from the former base of the Shadow Broker has gone toward the Crucible construction

Void Devils Fighter Wing - A team of highly trained Vorcha committed to destroying Reapers after the occupation of their homeworld

Vorcha Labour Team - A rare team of skilled engineers among the Vorcha, they are useful to the Crucible due to their natural resistance to radiation.

Governor Grothan Pazness - A former Batarian extremist, he now urges Batarians to embrace the support of other species and join in the fight for the future.

Volus Dreadnought Kwunnu - The only dreadnought-classs ship built by the Volus is commited to fight the Reapers

Turian SpecOps team - a highly trained team of turians renowned for action on several worlds

The following War Asset was gaine on Cronos Station

Reaper Brain - The mind of the destroyed Reaper creation is now used as a massive computer on the Crucible as well as providing data on the Reapers

One more post to go!!