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Literature
KH Soul Crossed Chap 8
Kingdom Hearts: Soul Crossed
Chapter 8: The Darkwing Before the Dawn
Radiant Garden
The wind whipped up and around Maris as she sauntered up along the cliffs surrounding the Great Maw, swirling her red hair out and around her as though it was trying to hold her tight.  She could see the destruction the huge Whimsy had left behind after its fight with those three pests.  It was too bad the creature had been damaged so heavily by the brats, but at least she could use it again if needs be.  After all, the Soulless weren't the only creatures she'd learned to command.  Like Restin, all four bowed before her for now, making her feel like the queen Restin said she was.
Silver eyes scanned for Vic, and she could fathom a guess why he'd called her out here instead of following the decrepit gummi ship Cid had given them.  Even if she was wrong, Maris felt she could deal with the bounty hunter.  If not, she di
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Literature
KH: Soul Crossed Chap 7 Part 2
???
"Wake up, child.  This is no place to be lounging about."
Of all the possible voices Kairi could have woken up to, Braxis' was definitely on the low end of the list.  She groaned, her eyes shooting open, and she immediately wished that she hadn't.  Her head felt like someone had mistaken it for one of Wakka's blitzballs and her vision swam, making her feel nauseous.  A dark hand was extended to her and she took it, knowing somehow that standing on her own was not a good idea.  "Thanks," she muttered, her mouth feeling like it was stuffed with cotton.  She tried to back off so she didn't look like she was relying on him, but it was a mistake and Braxis caught her as she swayed.  He supported her to make sure she didn't fall.
"Hold on there, girl.  No need to go running off.  Give yourself a minute.  Your mind needs to clear before you try walking anywhere."  Kairi was
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Literature
KH: Soul Crossed Chap 7 part 1
Kingdom Hearts: Soul Crossed
Chapter 7: Betwixt and Between
Radiant Garden
The trek back to the castle was haunted by a dour mood.  The trio trudged back through the Bailey, depression filling their souls and worry clinging to them like wet clothing.  Riku stared straight ahead, and he seemed to only react to changes in the terrain.  He still had out The Way to Dawn, though he held it so loosely that it appeared he might drop it at any moment.  Roxas was the opposite, his Keyblade at the ready, and he twitched at the slightest movement when he wasn't eyeing his two companions to make sure they were alright as often as he dared to make sure neither of them broke down.  However, there was a haunted look behind his eyes and kept glancing at Riku as if afraid of him.
Namine stayed between them, her head down.  If she hadn't been flanked by the boys, she didn't know where she would have ended up, and she
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Literature
KH: Soul Crossed Chap 6
Kingdom Hearts: Soul Crossed
Chapter 6: Hope and Despair
Radiant Garden
The music was soft and lilting as the mass of frills and flesh danced in circles to it.  It was an excuse to forget the dangers that lingered outside and enjoy their time together.  The small group of musicians had to play loud enough to be heard over the hum of the gears as the castle made its way to Radiant Garden's central hub.  Most of the residents of Figaro castle were used to it, and took the sounds in stride, adjusting to it for their guests.  Namine had even goaded Roxas into dressing up and joining her out on the dance floor, the blond boy tripping over himself in an attempt to keep up with her.  He was wearing one of the formal outfits another soldier had to make him presentable for the impromptu ball.  It was just a bit too big, but Roxas was determined to make it work for her.  It was a hilarious sight and
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Literature
KH: Soul Crossed Chap 5
Kingdom Hearts: Soul Crossed
Chapter 5: The Swirling Sands
Radiant Garden
Riku dragged himself up and out from the wreckage, gripping Roxas's unconscious form as he made his way to the light.  Riku felt it couldn't be more fitting that someone who had spent so much time in darkness was so desperate to find his way to light and safety.  It mirrored his pursuit since returning to the islands, but at least this time, he could see the finish line.
What he couldn't see was Namine through the smoke and sparks and he hoped that she made it out on her own.  He didn't want to have to fight through the loose wires and small fires to go back to her.  He was only praying they all got out before the gummi ship took a turn for the worse and exploded.
He slowed, coughing as he inhaled a large amount of smoke.  He rested for a moment, wiping sweat from his brow.  The strain was more than he expected.  <i>
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Contemplation by Tymestalker Contemplation :icontymestalker:Tymestalker 12 22
Literature
KH: Soul Crossed Chap 4
Kingdom Hearts: Soul Crossed
Chapter 4: Of Princes and Thieves
Sherwood Forest
     Braxis watched Kairi fall to the ground, her body crashing in slow motion to him.  It was almost a pity she'd been that easy to outsmart.  He'd half-hoped she would see through the disguise, if only so he could take on both Keyblade wielders at once.  His plan had been almost perfect as usual, and she'd fallen just as intended.  The only flaw was that Sora was not with them.  A minor problem, but things rarely go completely right.
     His hand still crackled as time went back to normal.  The power was exhilarating and he reveled in it.  He was the best among the Hunters.  He was strong, skilled, and always prepared.  He was also bored.  He'd watched over the two as Restin had wanted, hiding himself in rags to keep in the prince
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My own name in lights by Tymestalker My own name in lights :icontymestalker:Tymestalker 2 2 A gift for Ayas-Shadow by Tymestalker A gift for Ayas-Shadow :icontymestalker:Tymestalker 2 3
Literature
KH: Soul Crossed Chap 3
Kingdom Hearts: Soul Crossed</i>
Chapter 3: Search and Rescue
  
  
Sherwood Forest
The crisp night air made the forest that much more peaceful.  Sora stretched, watching the fireflies dance as he listened to the group of outlaws play a lively tune to keep up the spirits of the townsfolk in hiding.  From his place against the tree he watched them dance and sing, a perfect distraction from the darkness that threatened to drown out the village’s hopes.  For one night, they didn’t need to worry about the strange beings that were called Heartless.  Sora wished he could do the same sometimes.  He was the Keyblade wielder, however, and it was his duty to protect these people.  As much as he enjoyed having fun and kidding around with his friends, he was perfectly capable of turning serious in a fight.  
This Robin Hood that led the ragged group against Prince John was the same
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Sleeping Beauty by Tymestalker Sleeping Beauty :icontymestalker:Tymestalker 7 22 Salem by Tymestalker Salem :icontymestalker:Tymestalker 6 10
Literature
Sunken City story contest
Astera woke on a cold stone floor, coughing up water that had slipped down into her throat.  The journey down to the sunken city of Relion had been a long one and, even with the mermaids’ help, the pressure in getting down had knocked her unconscious.  She got on all fours and shook the water as best she could from her soft cream fur.  She checked her sword and shield to make sure both were still with her before standing up and taking in her surroundings.
She was in an entrance hall to the city, just as she’d been told.  She was shocked that there was air down here.  It was possibly some magic in place.  As they had told her, the merfolk had refused to do more than deposit her inside.  They hadn’t even the courage to stick around and make sure she woke safely.   Whatever manner of monster lie in these ruins, they feared it greatly.  A determined look came across her face. 
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Literature
KH: Soul Crossed Chap 2
Kingdom Hearts: Soul Crossed
Chapter 2: Paths are Set
  
  
Destiny Islands
  
  
Roxas sighed, his hand going to his head as he tried to blink the stars away.  He tried to remember just which member of the Organization had cleaned his clock this time.  He needed to know who he owed a beating to later.  It wasn't until he opened his eyes and realized the room didn't look at all familiar that he understood where he was.  The Organization was dead.  He had merged with Sora.  And then…he vaguely remembered Sora calling out, in trouble, and then the rush of being again.  
He sat up quickly, regretting it as soon as he did.  "Sora!"  He looked around, seeing Riku, the King, and his men, but of his other half there was no sign.  He cursed quietly under his breath and sat up, but a hand came down on his shoulder.  
"Hey, relax there. &
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Literature
KH: Soul Crossed: Chapter 1
Kingdom Hearts: Soul Crossed
Chapter 1:  The coming storm
Destiny Islands
The sun was setting as Riku worked on his technique.  The blade of his Keyblade gleamed as he held it up, just before moving into another fight routine.  After returning to the islands and receiving the note from King Mickey in the bottle, Riku had taken to spending many afternoons trying to improve himself.  The message Kairi had brought them mentioned an approaching evil and the King had promised to come and bring them to Disney Castle.  That had
been weeks ago and there was still no sign of their friends.  
The blade sliced through thin air and Riku finally slowed the blade, the Way to Dawn vanishing until Riku had need of it again.  He ran an arm along his forehead, wiping the sweat off.  He was drenched in it.  He must have been practicing longer than he thought.  He glanced up as the light changed.  Clouds were forming in the distance, dark and grey, and they were covering up the sun.  "A storm..." he said,
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Literature
KH: Soul Crossed: Prologue
Kingdom Hearts: Soul Crossed
Prologue: Plots and Plans
The Edge of Existence
Teren trudged through the stone halls of the castle, his eyes focused straight ahead as he forced himself forward with each step.  It was missions like this last one that made him need more than one strong drink.  However, his Master would not allow for delays in delivering his report.  He'd found the Stone, and that would please his Master to no end.   A few wounds was nothing compared to that.  
The echo of his boots rang all around, the only sound in this long-dead castle.  The only
inhabitant was Teren himself, ever since his Master had been sealed away by the self-proclaimed
Ansem the Wise some time ago.  If it hadn't been for Teren and his loyalty to Master Shade and
his cause, Ansem would have succeeded in his exiling.  But Teren had followed, searching for
his Master until he'd actually found him again.  Afte
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"So You Think You Can Survive a Horror Movie: The Game"
A review of Until Dawn

(Note:  This is a full review of the game.  It is long.)

Horror and I have a love/hate relationship.  While I find the genre fascinating, the execution of it usually has me either bored or sick.  But while movies have generally disappointed and TV shows can be really hit or miss, it’s the video game realm of horror that both terrifies and draws me.  I have traipsed through Raccoon City fighting zombies, immersed myself in the grotesque and disturbing Mount Massive Asylum, and experienced the surreal town that is Silent Hill.  My game library has several horror games in it like Fatal Frame, Amnesia and Eternal Darkness that I need to buckle down my courage, stop being a coward, and step into, despite everything in my bones telling me to stay away and play something nicer.

Part of my hatred of movie horror though is the fact that half the time I find myself yelling at the screen “Don’t split up, you dummies!” or “Grab the fucking pipe instead of running upstairs!”  I’m sure many of you have had that exact moment as well, though how familiar you are with it may vary.  Deep down in most of us is that idea that you’d be smart enough, quick enough and brave enough to survive a horror movie.  Enter Until Dawn and its subtle challenge: Prove it.

Until Dawn is a horror game by Supermassive Games that is exclusive to the PS4 with a simple storyline.  Eight teens return to the site of a terrible tragedy that occurred one year ago.  They are there to celebrate an annual tradition and maybe find some closure over the disappearance of two twin sisters.  Anyone familiar with the horror genre knows where this is going and pretty soon the night devolves into fear and panic.  The goal sounds pretty simple too.  Keep all eight alive until dawn.  Their fate lies in your hands.  

The first question one has to ask.  Is “Until Dawn” scary?  I’d say to a point.  But what makes it worth it is not the scares, but the build up of tension not just from the plot, but also from the gameplay mechanics that immerse you into the world you’re playing until the little noises start making you jump as well.

The game is set in the genre of ‘interactive fiction’, two words that either excite or turn off a gamer, depending on your opinion of the genre.  I personally think it has its place in the gaming world, though it’s not the highest of high on my list.  Similar to Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, Until Dawn uses this genre to place you in the role of decision maker for ten chapters.  Early on, the decisions seem simple.  Do you side with your girlfriend or tell her to calm down when she’s fighting with another member?  Do you sympathize with the brother who brought you up here, or try and take his mind off it by bringing up something else entirely?  Banal as it may seem, you are building to something, even if it looks more like a dating sim.  

Later, decisions carry more weight.  Do you run or hide or fight back?  Do you take the left or the right path?  Unlike the previous choice, most of these are timed, and the more dangerous the situation, the less time you have to make it, inducing a bit of panic into you to make the right choice.  Each time you make an impactful decision, an explosion of butterflies flash across your screen.  Until Dawn takes the idea of the Butterfly Effect and implements it into the game.  And just like the namesake, the impact of such a decision is not always immediately clear.   Fail to inspect an object in chapter 3 and it may not be available in chapter 6 when you need it.  Alienate a character due to your choices and they may not let you in the lodge while you’re running for your life, or they may push you down while you’re fleeing an attacker so they can get away.

Adding to this are a set of collectibles called totems.  They are scattered along throughout the game and each one shows a brief glimpse at a possible future.  They are separated into five categories: Death (of the character who finds it), Loss (of a friend), Danger, Guidance, and Fortune.  Finding these can make you paranoid, especially when dealing with the first two, and while some totems have much more weight than others (like Guidance), you can find yourself watching them over and over for any kind of clue to when it might happen.  An early Loss totem showed a character burned to death, and I spent any time playing her worried when she was using any open flame.  There are also clues scattered about for three overlapping mysteries that tie into what is really going on up in and around the mountain lodge.  The more you find, the more of the mystery you uncover and newer clues can update information about things you found earlier. Also, very neatly, certain clues lead to characters piecing the puzzle together as it can change their script depending on what they know.  

Speaking of characters, one nice thing about Until Dawn is how they do try and give their characters more depth.  Early on, I found myself thinking “This character dies early”, “I hope the killer guts her first” or “This character has Plot Armor”.  But Until Dawn gives you the chance to save everyone or no one by the time the night is through.  And it leads up long enough to flesh out characters a bit more than your typical horror faire.  Even someone as bitchy as Emily, who I hated for most of the game, had me white knuckled trying to keep her alive as she fell into her own horror show during one section of the game. 

Most of the acting is done superbly and each character managed to make me feel something about them, unlike several movie cannon fodders I could describe.  As stated earlier, the game is about choice, and how they matter.  One way the game ensures this is the fact that the game autosaves.  Don’t like a choice you just made?  Too bad.  The only way to change the outcome is to restart the game from scratch.  I personally love this aspect given the way the game works.  It has a way of making you truly question whether you made the right decision.  Making the wrong one and getting someone killed can get to you.  Making the wrong move and getting one of your favorites killed, like I did, can be crushing.  I managed to make it out with 6 of the 8 alive, and both times were due to mistakes on my end.

As far as gameplay goes, you aren’t just simply making choices.  While the lodge is the main section of the game, there are several other places to explore around as the game progresses from a remote cabin, to twisting haunting mines and what horror game would be without some sort of creepy abandoned asylum?  Each one is detailed stunningly and gives you a lot of room to look for clues.  

There are also several QTEs, the bane of many a gamer.  However, these QTEs are actually quick, and several can have real consequences for failure.  Miss more than one during a chase and you could end up with a dead character.  There are also aiming segments, almost all timed, where you move the right stick to aim and R2 to fire.  The game reminds you early on that sometimes doing nothing is the right course, and there are several times this comes into play.  That also adds to the paranoia.

The best mechanic, in my opinion, uses the gyroscope in the PS4 controller.  There are sections where the game tells you “Don’t Move” and you have to keep the controller as still as possible while it vibrates in the rhythm of a heartbeat.  To try and do so, I found myself holding my breath, which only added to the tension and immersion as I felt nervous right alongside my character as they hoped whatever danger they were hiding from passed them by.

Visually, the game creeps into Uncanny Valley territory.  Several of the actors’ character models are instantly recognizable.  Hayden Panettiere (Heroes, Nashville), Brett Dalton (Agents of Shield) and Rami Malek (Mr. Robot, Night at the Museum) play some of the teens, while Peter Stormare (Fargo, Armageddon, The Blacklist) chews scenery as the mysterious Dr. Hill who gives the player choices about what scares them or which characters they like or dislike between chapters, affecting the game subtly each time.   What is really nice is the attention to detail, though.  Side characters may shiver or rub their arms as they follow you up a snowy path and brushing off snow when getting inside was treated with normalcy.  At one point, I failed a QTE and a character fell into a river and had his pants covered in ice and snow afterward that stayed through future cut scenes.  

No game is without its flaws though.  For one, the game is short.  Eight to ten hours on a playthrough, depending on how diligent you are in clue hunting.  Even with replayability for a different ending, that might be too little for a full price game.  

The game uses fixed camera angles during the times you are in control, a la the early Resident Evil games.  While the nostalgia is there, the same problem with mechanics come with it.  Occasionally your character will be caught on something you can’t see due to the camera angle or you’ll be moving and the camera will switch and you’ll accidentally go back the wrong way.  Also, because some clues can be tucked away, it can be difficult to find what you're looking for without randomly pressing around corners.  Thankfully, it only occurred during exploration as any combat was handled differently.

For all that the acting was done really well, there are some really bad lines in this especially between couples, tying into tropes a little too thickly.  Not wanting to give any kind of spoilers, but anyone who has played the game will know what I’m talking about if I just mention Abe Lincoln.  There were also a couple of times where lines were not delivered in the best manner, making me wonder if that was the best take they got of it.  And for all the wonderful work done on the character modeling, close-ups some times gave exaggerated expressions that looked off, especially with Dr. Hill.

The middle of the game bogs down a bit as it seems too cluttered with what it’s trying to be.  By the time you get to the section right before the game tells you what is going on, you may be more confused than anything else.  Is this a paranormal horror or a typical slasher, a torture porn or a ghost story?  The game touches on all of this and more, and until the truth is revealed, it all seems disjointed.  Then the game tips you on your head and that can be a put off for all you’ve been through.

Also, the frights rely a lot on jumpscares early and often.  The game even has the ability to hook up the camera for segments appropriately titled “Cheap Shots” to capture the reaction of significant ones.  By the time the plot takes a left turn at Albequerque, there will be so many of them that they start to lose their effectiveness.  I know they were trying to ramp the tension and call back to the 80s and 90s horror flicks, but it feels trite.
 
For all that this game is about choice, the plot is pretty linear and sometimes the choice you make is not a choice at all because it can’t deviate too far from the beaten path.  And while anyone can die, some characters do have “Plot Armor” and must last to the final chapter.   To me, this seems like a waste of a chance to truly explore choice, and I do hope Supermassive does another horror in this vein and tries to implement it further on down the line in future games.  One particular choice especially would have made for a divergent idea should one choice be made over another with regards to Chris.  Also, regarding choices, there was at least one choice that effected the plot heavily, but almost in an arbitrary way that can lead to annoyance with how that thread plays out down the line.  

But for all the minor quibbles, I was very happy to have played this game and look forward to doing so again to try and save everyone.  I might even try and get everyone killed at some point.   I think the biggest ringing endorsement came from my wife, who was sitting next to me while I played.  I went to stop for the night, and she whined when I did.  I asked if she wanted me to keep going and she was torn between how scared and tense things were getting, and wanting to know more.  In the end, she had me play for another hour.  And despite watching me play, she is determined to lose more sleep by playing through herself.

8.75/10
  • Reading: Game of thrones
  • Watching: Too Much
  • Playing: Geometry Dash, Until Dawn
  • Eating: Spaghetti

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DubyaScott Featured By Owner May 2, 2017   General Artist
Thanks for faving Chrono Trigger
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Tymestalker Featured By Owner 3 days ago
You're welcome.
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Anezka00 Featured By Owner May 2, 2017
Thx for the fav!
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Tymestalker Featured By Owner 3 days ago
Welcome!
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Gotetho Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2017
Thanks for fav^^ If you like my arts, don't forget Watch my page^^ I hope you'll like them in future:)
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Tymestalker Featured By Owner 3 days ago
You're welcome.
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TDF-X Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Many thanks for the fave!
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Tymestalker Featured By Owner 3 days ago
You're very welcome
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ARTIST-SRF Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
:iconthxfavplz:
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Tymestalker Featured By Owner 3 days ago
:-D
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