Lucifer Season Four Is a Major Improvement

I was saddened when Lucifer was cancelled, and heartened when Netflix picked it up for a fourth season. Not just because I’m a fan of the show, but because it deserved a better send-off than season three.

The official logo for the TV series LuciferThe last season may have ended on a high note, but boy did it drag in the middle. Petty interpersonal drama and repetitive storylines sucked almost all of the fun out of a show that was always dumb but rarely dull.

So when season four came to Netflix, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I hoped it would improve things, but I was concerned to see the tired writing of season three continue.

I am pleased to report, however, that season four is not just a massive improvement over its predecessor but easily the strongest season of Lucifer to date.

I’m not entirely without complaints. There are some stumbles. Maze going full evil last season is basically just ignored (though maybe that’s for the best), and the ending is a bit of an anticlimax in some ways. The season’s antagonist definitely deserved more of a comeuppance.

But there’s so much to love here. You can tell that lacking the oversight of a mainstream network freed the writers up to be much more creative. Like iZombie, they’re now unafraid to de-emphasize the case of the week, or shake up its formula. It’s still a bit repetitive, but things are not quite so painfully predictable this time around, and the meta-plot is given much more attention.

Season four deals with the aftermath of Chloe discovering that Lucifer has been telling the truth all this time, that he truly is the Devil. As he deals with that, he is reunited with a figure from his past: Eve, the first sinner.

The title character unleashes his demonic strength in season four of LuciferThis could have been another tedious love triangle, and there is some element of that, but mostly this serves as a fascinating of exploration of who Lucifer truly is: an angel, or a demon?

The growth and character development that was so lacking last season is in full force here. Both Lucifer and Chloe evolve a lot over the course of the season, and it makes for a very satisfying arc.

Speaking of Chloe, amazingly she has suddenly metamorphisized into an interesting character. Even Lauren German’s acting seems far better. I don’t know what happened, but I kind of feel bad for all the smack I’ve talked about her in the past. Chloe still isn’t my favourite character on Lucifer, but she does now feel like a real, three-dimensional person who is an asset to the cast.

I was also impressed by how much Amenadiel has evolved. He’s finally worked that stick out of his ass, and he’s become a very likable character.

Linda’s about the same as ever, but she was always perfect just the way she is. Dan and Ella’s stories this season both have potential, but neither of them really gets enough attention or delivers a satisfying pay-off. Ella’s still adorable, though.

All in all, it’s a kickass season.

The good news keeps rolling as Lucifer has already been renewed for a fifth season. This will be the final season, but I think this is about the right time to end it. As I was watching the finale of season four, I was thinking to myself, “This feels like there’s room for about one more season before the story starts getting stale.”

I look forward to it.

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Review: Dungeons III

The one big success story to come out of my recent flirtation with Origin Access is Dungeons III. I liked it enough I managed to play through the entire campaign (though not the DLC) before my Access subscription ran out.

The surface world in Dungeons IIII hadn’t played the first two, but the story isn’t exactly deep, and I didn’t find my lack of experience with the franchise made things any less enjoyable.

Dungeons III is a mix of real time strategy, simulation, and city-building. You play as the Ultimate Evil, a cartoonish Sauron-type figure. You construct dungeons, defend them against incursions by parties of heroes, and raise armies to bring ruin to the surface world.

While underground, the game plays a city-builder. You have less direct control over your troops, and the focus is on building rooms and traps and managing the big picture. When you send troops to the surface, the game turns into an RTS, with more direct control.

The difference in control schemes between the two set-ups is occasionally jarring, especially as you’ll spend a lot of time going back and forth between them, but mostly I would say the variety of the two modes is a strength of the game.

The other great strength of Dungeons III, I’d say, is that it’s a very relaxing experience that you rarely have to work too hard at. The pace is slow, and you can take your time building the evil empire of your dreams.

Some rooms in Dungeons IIIThe tone of the game and its story is quite silly, too. At no point does it even approach taking itself seriously, and it breaks the fourth wall about once every fifteen seconds.

The story is mainly built around Thalya, an Elven priestess of the light whom the Ultimate Evil corrupts into a champion of evilness. So, you know. Sassy Elf girl. I’m sold.

On your journey to confront and defeat Thalya’s paladin foster-father, you cut a swath through his allies and his kingdom, including locations such as “Dollaran,” “Twistram,” and “Stormbreeze.”

Nudge nudge, wink wink.

The Blizzard-like feel is further enhanced by the bright, stylized graphics, whose vivid colours and exaggerated proportions make even the darkest pits of your dungeon seem inviting. It may not be pushing the technological envelope, but it’s still a very nice game to look at.

My health has been bad lately, and Dungeons was exactly the low stress gaming I needed while I was coughing and wheezing. No “srs bznz” here. This is a game that was just built to be fun.

Evil does pay after all.That said, it is of course not perfect. It does get very repetitive after a while. They make some effort to throw different mission types at you, but you’re still going to be doing mostly the same stuff every level. I think it would have helped if they gave you more established dungeons to start with later in the game, but you pretty much start from scratch every time.

The pacing of each match could also be balanced better. The rate at which you gain resources is heavily throttled, so no matter how well you play it takes a long time to get established, and this can make the early game a bit of a rough ride sometimes.

Conversely, once your economy finds its footing and you start laying down traps and mustering your army, things start to snowball very fast.

I’d have liked to have seen the early game be a bit easier, and the late game be a little more challenging. I’m mostly okay with your dungeon being unassailable past a certain point, but it’s too easy to run roughshod over the surface once you have your deathball up and running.

Still, it’s a game I’d recommend.

Overall rating: 7.4/10