Review: Ironheart by Choice of Games LLM and Lee Williams

Rating: 8/10

Synposis

Pilot and customize a giant iron war mech in this alternate medieval history! In 1182 AD, the Papacy, the Caliphate, and the Mongols are at war, and they all have mechs–hulking war robots, powered by energy from mysterious “skystone” meteorites.

Ironheart is a 250,000-word interactive novel by Lee Williams. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Our story begins in the far future, on a space mission to intercept a comet that can open wormholes through space and time. When your ship and the crew are sucked in and thrown backward through time, you awake from cryogenic suspension in 1182–at the height of the Third Crusade.

Trapped in the past, you must choose sides in the mech war between Saladin’s Caliphate, the Catholic Papacy, and Genghis Khan’s Mongolian Golden Horde.

Will you search doggedly for the rest of your crew or focus your energies on helping one of the factions in the war that rages around you? Do you seek to unite a divided land? Or use your advanced knowledge to gain wealth and power for yourself?

Along the way, you may meet historical figures such as Saladin, fight off attacks from the notorious order of Assassins and the secretive Knights Templar, or even take part in a grand tournament of mechs!

  • Play as male, female or non-binary; gay, straight, bi or asexual.
  • Pilot a giant medieval war machine! Choose how to equip, customise and decorate your machine.
  • Take sides in the Third Crusade as a knight or emir. Rise through the ranks of your chosen faction or strike out alone.
  • Hone your ability in a wide range of skills including warfare, diplomacy, medicine and engineering.
  • Manage your own fiefdom. Decide how to govern, what to build and who to recruit.
  • Entangle yourself with a wide supporting cast of characters, from fools and bandits to priests and princesses.
  • Seek revenge, strive to build a better world or just live it up in the 12th century!

What new future will you forge now that the old one is gone?

Review

This is a fantastic time travel experience. This game allows you to take potential sides and allows you to craft your own story. This is very much similar to the recent approaches in Assassin Creed especially for Odyessy. I have played through this game and have served Saladin, played as a pilot that fought for an honorable old knight, and been with a fool who loves drinking.

This has themes similar to the 1636 alternate history series by Eric Flint. Playing as a giant medieval war machine has its perks! I did not get to play the Mongolians though, which sucked as I am going to replay this game again. The writing style is solid. Super solid. I was listening to the Kingdom of Heaven soundtrack while playing this awesome game. Though I wish Choice of Games had a save menu to save your progress so you can play through chapters. I checked in the menu and it did not have any as I searched through.

I would appeal to Choice of Games to have illustrated hand-drawn concept art for the text or something to that matter, like you have in games such as Medieval 2 Total War. Moving onwards, I don’t know why but the story felt a little short in some areas. There were scenes where I fought as a knight for the Crusader States, but I felt that Baldwin needed more scenes. I also found that the old knight’s son was a douchebag, and he didn’t appear after that in my playthrough although he took my estate! I would have wanted a bit more estate choices as well.

I have not explored this massive game, but I can def say that if this were a novel, Harper Voyager UK or Canelo Publishers should pick this up. I’ve played this game multiple times and I have not tried the Doctor and another one I can’t remember. It’s a fun game, and I seriously wished there was a story in the Ancient World that had a similar plot like this. This would make for a fun Age of Empires II custom scenario. Honestly, a great game and I rec to you all to buy this. It’s 33% off, and it’s cheap. So why not buy it and relive your Kingdom of Heaven experiences? History is becoming bigger in gaming, with old franchises coming back, Knights of Honor, Assassin Creed, etc and new franchises such as Humankind. Choice of Games should be your next choice to play historical text-based adventures. I love the descriptions, I love the cities. I wish we would have had a couple of more chapters in Cairo and Baghdad. I wanted to explore the cities more!

Awesome game!

Review of Destiny’s War Part 1: Saladin’s Secret by Pyram King

Rating: 7.5/10

Synposis

The age of empires has ended.

The Great War erupts across the known world, pitting empires against nations. The Middle Eastern desert becomes a battlefield, as the Ottoman Empire battle against the pressing British Forces.

A reporter, a spy, an archaeologist, are all proper descriptions of Marion by the age of 18. He ran away from home after his mother passed away, seeking to walk in the footsteps of Sir Richard Francis Burton, and he did, both literally and figuratively.

Traveling with the Imperial Camel Corp deep into enemy territory he discovers a history and a secret dating back centuries. The myths of Saladin, Sinan, Assassins, Templars hide a truth of an ancient war.

Marion does not know who to trust when a mysterious new enemy seek an artifact, which may hold a secret that could tip the balance of power.

Review

This is a book that at the end left me wanting for more. I admire the dedication of research put into this novel. On a note, Townshend was the worst general ever to have been employed in the British Army. One of the worst Generals. Even Wellington and Napoleon would have despised this man for his tactics in warfare. And Rat-face. What a character. Reminds me of the typical stupidity that the upper class officers of the British Army had in WW1. They were unoriginal in thought, and lacked strategical thinking. It was no wonder that in WW1 that the Allies couldn't gain a kilometre of land without shells firing in the sky.

They were unoriginal in thought, and lacked strategical thinking. It was no wonder that in WW1 that the Allies couldn't gain a kilometre of land without shells firing in the sky.
I also applaud Pyram for exposing us to the Ottoman Arena of Warfare. In my mind, most of the conflicts in the Middle East stem directly from WW1 and the negotiations that surround it. I did feel the hidden secret was under-explored, as I felt it was being built up for something bigger. Now I realise that in the second novel, we'll get to know more. 

I would appeal to Pyram to show more scenes of the Crusades, and inherently remove the religious backdrop that has been given in other popular forms of entertainment when you actually realise the Crusades was on the scale of WW1 in the Middle East. It was mostly fought for power and expansion of land but then again, every Kingdom wants to do it. The Romans often sacked Parthia's capital Ctesphion quite often and had dreams of becoming the next Alexander the Great. The Ottomans had in 1453, with Sultan Mehmed wanting to become the next Caesar.

I also would like to see more scenes of Saladin himself. Honestly I feel like an entire novel could be written on him. His life is something that was on the scale of Alexander and Napoleon. The man devoted his entire wealth away for his funeral and gave it to the poor. I think some depictions of his generosity would be the most beneficial.
Moving on, I loved the images and they really added to the story. All of the characters were great, and I loved the German POW character, Sauer, he was awesome. I liked this, and would def rec.

I did see some formatting errors and there was a page, I can't remember, but it said Rat-face, and then whatever came next was: Rate-face. Something that could be cleared up.
Overall, we rarely get books like this now, and I want to read more!
My rating: 7,8/10

Review: Dragonsblood – Legend of Sigurd by Nick Bermel

Dragonsblood: The Legend of Sigurd

Goodreads
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

Rating: 8.10/10

Synopsis: Many generations ago, the Völsung clan was tasked with slaying the dragon, Fafnir. Sigurd, the last of his clan, must now take up the fight against his family’s ancient and terrible foe.

Review

Thank you to Diamond Books, the Publisher for allowing me to review this wonderful historical and Norse fantasy inspired comic. I recieved this copy of the comic via Netgalley. All thoughts are my opinion only.

If there is any comic that you should want to read in a setting that has a history and fantasy combined, then it is this one. It is rarely common to read historical comics, and this is a great treat.

This is a story well illustrated, well designed, and well explained. It has the usual story narrative of Gods using mortals to help fight each other. This was very similar to the video-game Shadow of Mordor’s story. Where Celebrimbor uses a mortal to fight Sauron. When you realise that most conflicts in history have been using one another to fight against each other.

Siguard’s story is a tale of tragedy. And triumph and loss. I loved the Dwarf character in this book because it reminded me that Sigurd had a male father figure. When he lost the ones dear to me, it was that part. If you are someone that likes to listen to music, search the God of War Soundtrack, or Wardruna. It is immersive for reading a comic like this.

Freya and Loki were two of the most interesting characters in this comic. I wanted to see Loki doing more manipulation from his end, and I wanted to see Freya using more of her cunning to persuade and convince more people to join her. Freya is the Goddess of War. Sometimes I wanted the authors of the comic, Nick and Jason to give us more of an insight into the Gods. Does Freya really think war is everything for her? Does she not want to take a break from consistently warring? Most of the Gods of the Aztecs, the Mayans, the Babylonians all possessed habits that were similar to humans. They were jealous, angry, and happy. Their emotions changed quickly just as we do. I like to call this comic historical fantasy. I am very lucky to have stumbled upon this amazing comic.

After reading all four of the comics, I was not convinced that there was a central villain behind this. Sure, there is Loki, there are dragons, but I wanted another character that was playing a bigger game in this. I cannot wait to see a series on the different Gods of the World. Imagine if we had a Babylonian comic in this fashion? It would be so epic. The Aztecs? The Celtic Gods? The Romans? Heck, Ancient Egypt would be on the top of my list.

To conclude, this is an amazing comic, and I think you should give it a go. It is a historical fantasy, so the authors have given their own interpretation of events. Diamond Books are my favorite publishers for historical content. Go read it now!