Retro Review: Killjoys, Season Two: Episodes 1-5

Since I had already resubbed to CraveTV for the sake of Discovery, it only made sense to check out what else they had on offer. I soon learned that season two of Killjoys had been added in my absence, and though the thought didn’t fill me with tremendous enthusiasm, it did seem worth another look.

The logo for KilljoysAs usual with my binge watch reviews, there will be spoilers.

“Dutch and the Real Girl”:

If you remember my reviews of season one, you’ll know I’m not the biggest Killjoys fan. It’s generally something I watch for lack of any better options.

That said, this is a pretty promising start to the season. It’s a little rushed, but it doesn’t lack for excitement. Killjoys is always trying so desperately hard to be “cool,” and often it ends up feeling forced and lame, but this episode actually is pretty cool, most of the time. I particularly enjoyed the unveiling of “Alice.”

And the mystery with Khlyen is certainly going interesting places.

The best and worst part of this episode is the character of Clara, played by Defiance alumni Stephanie Leonidas (nice seeing her again). The best because after one episode she’s already my favourite Killjoys character by far. The worst because she didn’t end up becoming a main cast member.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

“Wild, Wild Westerley”:

The cast of KilljoysWith the team reunited, Dutch and her crew return to the desolate ruins of Old Town on a warrant. In practice, this mainly serves to reintroduce the show’s more peripheral characters, like Dr. Pawter.

My main takeaway from “Wild, Wild Westerley” is that Killjoys actually has a lot of great characters; it’s just that none of them are main cast members. Give me a series that’s just Pree, Pawter, Alvis, and Clara. That would be an amazing show.

On that note, Pree used to be a warlord?!? You can’t just mention that and not tell the story, Killjoys!

Also damn this show’s soundtrack gets on my nerves sometimes. I’d forgotten about that.

Overall rating: 7.1/10

“Shaft”:

You know, it may not be amazing, but overall I am enjoying season two of Killjoys more than season one.

In this episode, Dutch and her team learn of a missing team of killjoys that Khlyen apparently tried to cover up. They set out in the hopes of rescuing their comrades and learning more about his plan, only to be drawn into madness and violence in an abandoned mine. Alvis accompanies them, and in the depths he uncovers new evidence that the Scarbacks may have an important role in current events.

The Quad, the setting for KilljoysMeanwhile, Pawter continues to be awesome.

The main thing I like about this season so far is that it seems to have a clear sense of direction. There’s a pretty well-defined arc, and they aren’t wasting a lot of time on extraneous matters.

I do hope this starts going somewhere soon, as right now it’s just a whole lot of, “Huh?” But for now the mystery is intriguing. I really have no clue what’s going on with Red 17, Khlyen, and the Scarbacks right now.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

“Schooled”:

Khlyen’s last message before the destruction of Red 17 went to an unlikely place: a school. And this is no ordinary school, but an experimental space station funneling in “gifted” children from Westerley, run by a familiar face from Qresh.

I’m a little lukewarm on this one. In theory it’s still part of the main arc around Khlyen, but we don’t really learn anything, so it ends up feeling like filler even though it isn’t necessarily.

It’s entertaining enough, but this isn’t an episode I’m going to remember much in the long run.

Overall rating: 6.9/10

The cast of Killjoys“Meet the Parents”:

It’s family time. While Johnny and Pawter sue for support from Pawter’s insufferable Qreshi family, Khlyen hunts down D’avin’s father in the hopes of discovery the source of his immunity to the Red 17 conditioning.

This episode’s a bit of a mixed bag. As much as I like Pawter, the attempts to make me feel sympathy for her awful, decadent family fell entirely flat, and there’s a lot of leaps here that don’t make a lot of sense. How does Pawter go from being exiled to on the Nine’s council just like that? Why was Hank trying to kill everyone again?

On the other hand, Khlyen’s story is a lot better. Still doesn’t do a lot to advance the plot (a little, but not much), but the respective actors for him and D’avin did a great job of playing each other, and it was just a lot of fun. I’ve seen lots of stories like this in sci-fi, but they’re rarely executed so well.

Overall rating: 7.3/10

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Gaming Round-Up: A Return to SWTOR, Wolves of Midgard, the Horners, and More

I finally got a bit burnt out on Legion, so I’m taking a break before I tackle the last few class stories. In the interim, I’ve been bouncing around between a few different games, which means it’s time for another multi-topic gaming post.

A rare moment of quiet in Vikings: Wolves of MidgardBack in the Republic:

Long-term, I want to give some serious time to SWTOR. Catch up on the story and maybe finish the last two class stories. However, there’s supposed to be a major content patch soon, so I figure I should wait for that before I get too heavily invested, and as a result I’ve just barely dipped my toes in.

Despite my obscure tastes, I did lose a couple of character names during the recent server merges. I’m rather pissed to have lost my bounty hunter’s name, as it was already my second choice for her name, and now she’s down to like my sixth or seventh choice. The others I don’t mind, but boy is it hard to find a new name now. Absolutely everything is taken. Who the hell even knows what “Bagrada” is other than me?

I did eventually think of a name for my knight that wasn’t taken, and I actually really like it. I should use it more. And thankfully my main characters — agent, warrior, and consular — all got to keep their names. The reign of Empress Maigraith Numin continues undisputed.

Another mild annoyance is that SWTOR apparently stores UI data client-side rather than server side, so I had to set everything up again since I’m playing on a different computer now.

Unlike most MMO players, I’m not fussy about my UI. I’m usually happy to play with the default settings of any given MMO. Even ESO’s much maligned interface is fine by me. But for whatever reason the default UI in SWTOR makes me want to punch kittens, so I have to rekajigger it a fair bit.

Cipher Nine and Lana Beniko in Star Wars: The Old RepublicOn the good news front, I am delighted to be able to customize the armour of my KotFE companions. Well, Lana, anyway. I never much bother with the others. I put together an outfit based around the Protoss-looking armour from the new light side vendors, and she is now the glorious space paladin of my dreams.

Mr. and Mrs. Horner:

In other news, this week saw the hotly anticipated (by me) release of StarCraft II’s latest co-op commander(s), the husband and wife team of Matt Horner and Mira Han.

My early experiences with them were actually something of a baptism by fire. I was struggling even on normal — something I haven’t done since I first started on co-op. I’ve come to the conclusion they’re a bit like Karax, despite having a totally different playstyle: They have a very steep learning curve, and they’re highly dependent on leveling upgrades.

I’m getting the hang of them now, but I would definitely say they’re one of the most challenging commanders in co-op.

The thing is that Matt’s units are extremely strong, but also extremely expensive. Meanwhile, Mira’s are pretty much just trash. The goal, then, is to mass up a large force of Matt’s air units while using Mira’s mercs only as a mineral dump. The trouble is getting to that point. You simply can’t afford Matt’s units in the early game, but you can’t spend too much on Mira’s or you’ll never get ahead.

Matt Horner and Mira Han's army in StarCraft II co-opThus, while the Horners are a force to be reckoned with late game, the early game is a nerve-wracking ordeal.

Their one saving grace in that regard is the Assault Galleon. These are Mira’s main production structure, but they’re also powerful capitol ships. They’re a lot like Tempests — long range, high damage — but with much more health, and you can build them right off the bat, and they only cost 200 minerals. And later on you can upgrade them to also be Carriers.

Galleons are kind of amazing.

My strategy therefore is max out on Galleons (you can only have a maximum of five) ASAP, lean on them to survive, and try to fast tech to the truly valuable units: Wraiths and Battlecruisers.

As far as Mira’s units go, my preference is for the Hellion. Their range means they don’t die quite as quick as her other stuff, and their damage is quite respectable. A lot of people seem to like Reapers, and that can work, but they die so much you end up replacing half your army after every battle.

The good news is the Horners definitely scratch my itch for an air-focused commander. Five Galleons plus their fighter bays plus Wraiths plus Battlecruisers is the unstoppable doom fleet I’ve spent all my life longing for.

Matt Horner and Mira Han in StarCraft II co-opAlso, dropping a space station on people is every bit as hilarious as I dreamed.

Overall I do think they’re a fun commander, but you definitely need to bring your A game. You have to work for your wins.

One final thing to note on the subject of StarCraft: I recently managed to solo a brutal mutation for the first time ever. My ally DCed on the load screen, and I was left to fend for myself. It was very challenging, I had to base trade with Amon, and there were only 21 seconds left on the clock when I killed the final objective, but I did it.

Considering I normally struggle to solo even standard matches, and that brutations are generally the toughest thing in the game short of PvP, I feel pretty proud of myself.

Nova OP.

Favoured of Skadi:

On top of that, I also played through a single-player RPG I got cheap on a Steam sale, Vikings: Wolves of Midgard. It’s a Diablo clone inspired by Norse mythology, which also neatly explains why I bought it.

Fighting a boss in Vikings: Wolves of Midgard

Most folk’ll never lose a toe, but then again some folk’ll, like Cletus the slack-jawed Jokul…

Even after having finished it, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it.

It has some neat ideas. One example is the exposure mechanic of environmental hazards. For example, if you’re traveling in a cold area, you’ll need to warm up by fires regularly or risk freezing to death. I really wish more games made the environment part of gameplay like this.

The combat is also very fun, and it does an admirable job of bringing the world of Norse mythology to life. It’s clear they actually did their research, even if they still take liberties in places. The story’s junk, but the strength of the setting carried it through, and the main character’s voiced by Alix Wilton Regan (if female), which is always a plus.

I did enjoy the class system, as well. Rather than traditional classes, you gain bonuses based on which of the Norse gods you follow, and it’s possible and even encouraged to put points into two skill trees at once, with the option to swap between them at will. I enjoy that level of versatility.

Most of the trees still more or less correspond to traditional RPG archetypes — Skadi, my main choice, is an archer class — but the Odin tree is a bit different. It’s the caster class, but it’s melee, focusing on acrobatic staff fighting. I suppose that might be bad for people who prefer traditional casters, but for my part I think “Gandalf + ninja” is a pretty awesome class concept.

But Wolves of Midgard a lot of rough edges. Despite some solid graphics, it’s nonetheless clear the game was done on the cheap, and it has many polish issues. That I could live with, but what really surprised me was how old school and unforgiving it felt at times. Save points, for example, are few and far between, so a single death can prove very punishing.

The realistic snow effects of Vikings: Wolves of Midgard

This is the first game I’ve played where the snow actually behaves like snow.

It got worse near the end. There’s a massive spike in difficulty in the last few levels. The intention seems to be to grind earlier content to level up, which is fairly awful. You can get around this by lowering the difficulty, but it’s just not a great situation all around.

So that put a damper on what had otherwise been a pretty fun game up until that point. If you really like Norse mythology and/or you want a more “hardcore” RPG, it might be worth a look, but otherwise I’m not sure how strongly I can recommend it.

And finally…

There’s actually one other noteworthy thing I’ve been playing lately, but that deserves it’s own post, so it can wait.

In the meanwhile, why not check out my latest article for MMO Bro? This time I’m pondering if and how the stories of MMOs can be given satisfying conclusions.