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  • Sunday
    Visiden Whines It: No Second Prances

    In this episode, Princess Twilight Sparkle is a lying, controlling, insecure, narcissistic bitch, and an incompetent teacher.

    And I love it.

    My biggest worry regarding Twilight since her princess-hood has always been that she might be transforming into a perfectly wise, serene, do-no-wrong ruler. In other words: dull as dishwater. Now, I do think they leaned too far towards the other direction with the faults, but I'd rather have this extreme than the other one.

    It's interesting to see that Celestia does what appears to be inspections on how Twilight's work is progressing, indicative of the two of them not quite as equal as some fans would suggest. Or this could just be something Twilight wrongly assumed, which makes it indicative of Twilight's inability to get out of student mode so to speak.

    And hoo boy, Twilight is awful here, in a good way. The fact that Starlight runs around manipulating others at the first opportunity and seems to have no working knowledge on how to make friends such that she has to rely on the rest of the Mane 6 shows that Twilight has taught her absolutely nothing in the intervening time between this episode and Starlight's "redemption".

    Yet, despite this show of teaching incompetence, Twilight persists in presenting herself as a good teacher, going so far as to lie about the number of friends Starlight has made. I think that goes against an element of harmony, Princess of Friendship. Looks like she's more interested in puffing herself up in front of Celestia than Starlight's actual progress. Isn't that something? Of course, there's the whole "I decide which friends you can make" but that is sort of fixed by the end.

    Coincidentally, I just read one of the novels "Applejack and the Great Switcheroo" or something wherein Applejack commits the horrific evil of venting in a journal about how useless her friends are at farmwork and how Twilight is a corrupt politician who will use her influence to give an unfair advantage to her friend in a contest.

    Oh, and we have Celestia show up and make annoyed faces. Baby steps, show, baby steps.

    The title is shit. I know horse puns are on par with the show, but come on.

    Is that a metal collar around that manticore? For shame, ponies, enslaving monsters for your amusement.

    So Starlight praises Trixie's stage magic, which I assume refers to Trixie's talent in using practical effects to create the illusion of magic. Then, she suggests completing a trick using actual magic thus undermining the fact that the performance is a show of Trixie's ability to simulate magic without using magic. And Trixie goes along without a protest.

    Spike's not around. Which I find particularly annoying, because he does have a strong dynamic with Starlight, as shown in the premiere. He could have worked here. I don't care if he just got his episode, if the character is useful, put him in.

    "He doesn't talk much," Applejack says of her brother, who now resorts to greeting ponies with Eeyup instead of howdy. No, Applejack, your brother is actually capable of talking much as shown in the earliest episodes. What you have standing before you is the flanderized doppelgänger of your brother wrenched from the bowels of fan dumb put there for a gag.

    Did Trixie just emotionally blackmail Starlight by suggesting that she was going to go through with the highly dangerous trick that requires Starlight to succeed regardless of whether Starlight is there or not? Wow...that is fucking dark.

    Pretty decent episode in my opinion.

    5 comments · 127 views
  • 1w, 5d
    More Art

    7 comments · 138 views
  • 1w, 6d
    Prepared to Die...One Last Time

    There is an unmistakeable tinge of melancholy in the final entry of Dark Souls; one that couldn't be completely overshadowed by the hype and grandeur of the game. The moment I stared at the title screen and listened to a main menu theme that could easily have been the final boss music of another game, I knew that this was it.

    Of course, I'm well aware that there's nothing stopping From Software from coming out with Demon's Souls 2 or Bloodborne 2, but for the gloomy world of Dark Souls, this was the end.

    Spoilers ahead as I ruminate on bosses, lore, and the game.

    Opening Story - the Souls games have never been known for their simple, straightforward story. As far as one could deduce, the First Flame is dying out yet again. The Lords of Cinder were supposed to help light it up again, but have all fucked off somewhere. Except, Ludleth, who stayed. Then again, he had no legs. It's up to the player to make the other lords get back to work.

    This is a change up from the first and second games as the previous linkers of the First Flame have never been involved in linking the First Flame of the current generation, suggesting that this may be the last time it has to be done. Perhaps the combined might of all the Lords of Cinder will keep the flames lit forevermore. Fitting for the last game of this world.

    Iudex Gundyr - this boss is piss-easy, especially for a Souls veteran, but it does set the tone of the game's bosses. The instant the abyss burst out of Gundyr's armor, I knew that the bosses in the game were going to be procedural, as the lesson learned by Bloodborne, which probably also explains the exaggerated blood spatters when hits take place in the game.

    I got to meet Gundyr again after a bit of time traveling. People claim that 3 is trying to forget that 2 happened, but this shows a strong reminiscence to the Memory of Giants, and how to fight Sir Alonne. I love the second fight for its balance of simplicity and grandiosity. The fight is basically a duel with an incredibly skilled halberdier. The second phase doesn't involve horrific transformations or magical augumentations, just a warrior getting pissed and bringing it. I have to say, I've never been more enamored by the sight of a big, fat guy do a turning side kick. To be fair, he's probably buff under that metal, it's just the armor that looks fat.

    Firelink Shrine - the nostalgia just washes over at the sight of Firelink, and the game folds in an extra wallop. It is Firelink with the all too familiar sight of another crestfallen warrior and Andrei, but the sight of the blind fire keeper in dark robes and the circular structure is more Demon's Souls than anything else. There are a lot of callbacks in this game in terms of NPCs, but it honestly felt more like a celebration of Dark Souls rather than rehashing.

    Vordt of the Boreal Valley - Vordt introduces the new frostbite status effect and the new pace of the game. It's not as fast as Bloodborne, but Vordt plowing across the arena at ridiculous speeds is a sight to see. And dodge.

    Curse-ridden Greatwood - this is Bed of Chaos finally done right. It's a fight with a giant tree with multiple weak points, but it's not a static fight. There is a puzzle element at first, but the fight doesn't devolve into a weak platformer once you figure it out. The tree lumbers after you, and the movement alters where the weak points are. So it turns into this frantic dance of you chasing after the next cluster of pustules while the tree swings at you and an endless supply of minions harrass you. And damn did I gasp when the floor gave way.

    Deacons of the Deep - doing previous bad bosses right seems like a running theme for 3. The crappy congregation fight from 2 somehow manages to be interesting by combining elements of the Royal Rat Vanguard in there. The sight of a mob of undead priests lumbering towards you is a surprisingly unnerving spectacle.

    Watchers of the Abyss - God, I love this fight. The soundtrack just nails it. The introductory cut scene reveals the crazed Bloodborne-looking watchers eternally slaying each other. The lore of this band of brothers linking the fire together is just awesome and all the more makes it sad to see them reduced to mindless in fighting. They also introduce greatsword-dagger dual wielding, which is another layer of awesome. It's their area, though. From really abuses the whole poison swamp thing here. It's not even confined to a single area of the game. In a previous post, I talked about not wanting any more poison swamps. From must have read that that post and decided to add more.

    High Lord Wolnir - the King of Spooking here wasn't particularly interesting in terms of mechanics as he is a duller Bed of Chaos mixed with Nito. He is, however, an example of how something so minor as a death animation adds so much. Reading up on his lore and watching him be dragged screaming unto the Abyss was a grimly satisfying sight.

    Pontiff Sulyvahn - Fuck this guy. He's easily the first huge difficulty spike in the game. It took me over a dozen tries to get him down. He mixes Gwyn and Fume Knight during phase one, then adds Darklurker when he hits phase two, which meant that it was a damage race in the end. My deprived simply wasn't built to deal a lot of damage very quickly. It's not just in mechanics. This guy was an asshole in lore too. It's rare to find a character in a Souls game that is so wretched, but Sulyvahn and his master later on really take the cake.

    Aldrich, Devourer of Gods - I never liked Dark Sun Gwyndolin. I didn't like that he was lying to me so I could set myself on fire forever. I didn't like that he talked down to me when I joined his covenant. And I didn't like chasing him down the world's longest corridor while he shot arrows and sorceries at me. Still, I had some sympathy for him. He was a lonely god watching over an empty city when all the other gods, including his sister, had gone away. When you come upon his personal chambers in the "tomb" of Gwyn, you don't see a magnificent throne, just a simple chair and some cut flowers for the Lord of Sunlight. Some players think that Gwyndolin was preserving the Age of Fire to maintain his rule over Anor Londo, but I don't think Gwyndolin ever styled himself as ruling over anything. He watched in a sad vigil, perhaps in a futile attempt to do as his father willed. I think that he tries to trick you, not for his own grandeur, but simply because he didn't want his father to suffer anymore. And to link the fire so Gwyn's  wishes may be fulfilled.

    So, when I realized what Aldrich had done, and what the cult of the Deep had done to Anor Londo...yeah, a measure of revenge was in order. That's the beauty of this game's storytelling, among other things. The fight itself was difficult as hell too. I had to change my deep axe into a fire one just to deal some kind of damage.

    Yhorm, the Profane Giant - the problem with gimmick bosses like Yhorm is that they quickly become dull as the gimmick is exposed. The thing is, there's just something so deeply satisfying in bringing a giant to his knees with a single slash of the Storm Ruler. And to complete Siegward's storyline was a heartwarming sight. Only in a Souls game have I seen a man cosplaying an onion suddenly gain so much gravitas.

    Dancer of the Boreal Valley - this boss was as slow as fuck, but she killed me a bunch of times anyway because the slow erratic moves threw me off. Oh, and my low health meant that her grab was instant death even when I haven't taken any damage. Love the armor set too, the way the veil just flows like a cape is awesome.

    Oceiros, the Consumed King - Charge attack, the boss. Kudos to whoever voiced this. The anguish when he hits second phase is real, enough to make me want to dig more into the lore.

    Dragonslayer Armour - halfway through the fight, I realized that he had a shield to make himself fucking invincible, then he had flying things shoot at me while we fought on the roof. Yeah, it's Dark Souls Sundowner. This boss wins, hands down, the most relentless use of shield bash ever.

    The Twin Princes - and I had thought the Crystal Sage's teleport spam was bad. This was a particularly fun fight because Lorian's attack style can't be traced to an existing Souls boss. And when Lothric joined the fray, hoo boy.

    Ancient Wyvern - From, who in their right mind told you that the Ancient Dragon fight in 2 was fun? It wasn't. It was dull as fuck and took too long. This boss had the courtesy to get one-shotted by the right attack, but it would have been more courteous not to include it at all!

    Nameless King  - Easily my favorite fight, and the hardest. Epic is an oft-abused word in describing boss fights. This was...outright surreal in its magnificence. Fighting the dragon-riding god of war amidst storm clouds seems more like a feverish delusion of grandeur in its sheer awesome. Completing it left me breathless. And finding the dragonslayer spear and armor set leads me to believe that we never did fight the real Sir Ornstein, just his illusion and some abyss-corrupted cosplayer. The real Ornstein departed Anor Londo after Gwyn's sacrifice. Perhaps he had little faith in Gwyn's chosen successors, namely Seath, the Four Kings, Gwynevere, and Gwyndolin, so he set out in search of Gwyn's firstborn. For his trouble, his old teacher slew him.

    Soul of Cinder - the first phase is both fun and frantic, fighting the DS equivalent of Edgemaster from Soul Caliber, but it's the second phase that really left me in a pleasant melancholy. After thousands of years, after so many eras, after so many Lords of Cinder, there was still Gwyn, STILL fighting for the First Flame. I swear my heart skipped a beat when those all too familiar three notes began during phase 2. What a game.

    I'm not done with the game. There are builds to try, other endings to acquire, and a platinum trophy to obtain. But, now, I can sit back and look to this awesome trilogy with fondness.

    8 comments · 137 views
  • 2w, 1d
    Dark Souls 3 First Run Completed

    Final SL: 95

    Vgr: 21

    Atn: 21

    End: 21

    Vit: 21

    Str: 20


    Int: 20

    Fth: 20

    Lck: 20

    Final weapon: +10 Reinforced Dark Sword/Shield of Want

    Final Armor: Dancer Set

    Favorite Bosses: Nameless King/Champion Gundyr/Soul of Cinder

    Worst Boss: Ancient Wyvern

    This game...this fucking game...

    Gonna make a longer post later while I collect my thoughts. Gonna be writing again soon.

    15 comments · 101 views
  • 2w, 3d
    Visiden Whines It: Gauntlet of Fire

    This was a decent episode for me. For a Spike episode, that's the equivalent of praising it to the high heavens. I like it when the show tries to build lore, even if it's not very good, I appreciate the context of a greater world beyond ponies existing.

    It's interesting (or lazy) that the dragons apparently function as a kingdom and are ruled by a single leader through some kind of artifact.

    I like how the show managed to sneak in some implied brutality here. We have the dragons suggesting that they pillage Equestria, then burn everything they can't take.

    Spike wasn't completely useless or a butt of jokes for the most part. I think he was able to do as much as a puny pony-raised dragon could accomplish. I suspect that the new dragon lord will summon him in the future.

    The episode begins with Rarity calling Spike a basket carrier to which he responds that he thought she brought him along as a bodyguard so she corrects herself.

    What a patronizing bitch move. I don't understand why she treats everyone else with generosity, respect, and tolerance, then fucks it up with Spike. I've always thought that Spike is the test of character that Rarity keeps failing, and here it shows again. Look, if you want him to be your basket carrier, then tell him to be your basket carrier. He's so desperate for pony pussy that he'd probably agree to be your foot stool. Don't patronize him by pretending he's going to be your bodyguard to "spare his feelings". And tell him he doesn't have a chance with you already, stop leading him on.

    Then, Princess Celestia talks about how she's so busy helping ponies that she barely has time for her little tea parties, and she says this with a snooty raise of her snout. You're a fucking liar, Princess Celestia. You just sit on your ass all day, and let everyone else do the work for you. Oh, that's not true? Prove it then. Get on an episode and show us your incredibly busy day of helping your subjects in a way only a princess can do.

    14 comments · 117 views
Viewing 1 - 10 of 12 stories
  • ...

(Part of the Upheaval world)

Sharp Mark has been training his charge for a long time, knowing that, one day, this quiet pegasus colt must bear a tremendous responsibility upon his shoulders. But there are still a few more lessons to teach, and a few more wrinkles to iron out.

First Published
11th Apr 2016
Last Modified
11th Apr 2016
  • ...

The Void Rift Crisis, the ill-fated bridge between one era to another. A time of great falls and rises within the Eternal Herd. An alicorn colt, curious about the events involving this time, speaks to some prominent figures involved in it.

First Published
1st Dec 2015
Last Modified
1st Dec 2015
  • ...

A beastly plague has descended upon Ponyville, filling its streets with blood and madness. Its denizens desperately wait for reprieve, and a stranger steps into the nightmarish haze. A cure must be found, questions must be answered.

The Hunt is on.

First Published
16th Sep 2015
Last Modified
8th Mar 2016
  • ...

This story is a sequel to Upheaval: Reckoning

Equestria's fragments have reunited, and the power of sunlight shines once more within Celestia. With the remnants of the Old Kingdom destroyed, the Abyssal Throne sent away, the threat of Gravitas defeated, and Black Rose no more, Equestria now faces the encroaching darkness of Oceanus and his rebels.

But the stage is not yet fully set. Twilight Sparkle and her friends must gather what means they may before the battle is joined.

Cover art provided by Obsidian Rose

First Published
6th Mar 2015
Last Modified
14th Feb 2016
  • ...

After the siege of Bastion City and the theft of the power of sunlight, Spike takes on Prince Terrato's offer to train under the kirin, Seethe Scale. He must travel to the Western Barrier Land to gain the strength to help his friends.

Once there, however, Spike soon realizes that there is more for him to contend with in this harsh environment than developing his abilities.

First Published
8th Jan 2015
Last Modified
3rd Jun 2015
  • ...

A great many things occur all throughout Equestria as the reunification proceeds and the days count down to a great upheaval. Every grand picture holds many small details, easily forgotten or unnoticed. These are brief records of such things.

First Published
6th Dec 2014
Last Modified
6th Dec 2014
  • ...

Black Rose's elite agents serve her in various ways. To accomplish her tasks, their talents must be both great and diverse, requiring individuals from the far-flung corners of Equestria. To gather them is a difficult task in and of itself, a task that two siblings must deal with if Black Rose's plans could even have a chance to succeed.

First Published
4th Jul 2014
Last Modified
4th Jul 2014
  • ...

Throughout history, the wolven have been known as vicious and rapacious raiders, swooping in from their frozen homeland far to the north in small bands to seize what they please from unfortunate settlements and caravans across Equestria's borders. For this one occasion, however, wolven raiders have acquired something that may be more trouble than it's worth.

First Published
27th Jun 2014
Last Modified
27th Jun 2014
  • ...

Lexarius the steward, the alicorn sent by the Herd to aid those oppressed by the Everlasting Kingdom and their own tainted heritage, seeks to help those he considers his new kin. The first step, however, proves difficult as he must preside over a meeting that reveals old hatreds that may well destroy his path before he could even take it.

First Published
27th Apr 2014
Last Modified
27th Apr 2014
  • ...

Alicorns are no strangers to battle. Within the vastness of the Eternal Herd is a plane where violence reigns. A young Sanctus Dominus, still a long way away from his kingship, encounters a former monarch in the battlefield.

First Published
3rd Apr 2014
Last Modified
3rd Apr 2014