Tag Archives: apocalypse

God Eater Resurrection (PS4/Vita/Steam)

Earth has been overrun by a new lifeform dubbed Aragami. These creatures will eat anything, and in a short period of time have devastated the earth. An organization called Fenrir has succeeded in creating artificial Aragami as weapons, and the so-called God Eaters who wield them are the only force capable of standing against the remnants of humanity and total destruction.

I can see why people think the plot of the first game is better than the second, although to my mind the anime actually did a better job of fleshing out the earliest story arc. Lindow doesn’t have much time to make an impression before things go haywire, and the aftermath feels a little strong for someone the player will hardly know. It’s almost more fun in the second arc piecing together who he really was, and what he’d been doing, and why he got into such a mess. And I like Ren, who is hugely critical of Lindow to the point where you can’t really tell if he thinks anything much of the guy everyone else admires. (And Ren pretty much requires rewatching a few of his cutscenes later on in the game to notice something that isn’t spelled out until later.)

Character-wise Soma, Ren, and Shio were the only ones who really made an impression. Soma has a very interesting backstory, although the game never gets really deep into it, but it’s interesting how he struggles between doing what his father commands and hating him for it (and then trying to deal with all the fallout from his father’s actions), along with the unusual circumstances of his birth.

The gameplay for this remains strong, although I struggled a lot in the beginning until figuring out ways to compensate for lower-damaging moves. Thankfully the Aragami can all be killed with melee only, although once you progress far enough to unlock the best sniper gun line (level 4) and the best blast gun (level 10), guns offer a handy alternative to those monsters you just aren’t in the mood to fight again. New type God Eaters are still a rare thing, so you don’t get more than a handful of characters who can both shield themselves and shoot you a healing bullet, which makes HP management a bit more of an issue here.

Resurrection, since it takes place before Rage Burst, doesn’t offer some of the enhancements found in the later game, but it does have its own unique gameplay in the Predator Styles. Basically, the devour function that allows you to steal enemy bullets and a bit of a power-up was revamped to allow for different moves, such as a dash-and-devour, arial devours, etc. In addition, the five different devour actions allow you to equip bonuses (basically free skills) that will apply once that form of devour is used and remain until that particular burst bar runs out (or in the case of melee/gun boosting, until your next melee/gun attack).

The menus have also gotten a welcome revamp. Now each weapon type has its own page, so you can more easily find just the recipes you’re interested in crafting. I was a little frustrated that it was harder to keep a non-elemental weapon early to mid-game (at least for Spears), but the crafting system in other ways is less frustrating because you have more missions featuring only a single Aragami, so it’s much easier to go after the particular ingredients or tickets you’re missing.

Overall this is a great bonus to have bundled into the God Eater 2: Rage Burst game, which is how I would recommend buying it, as you can get both games for a reasonable price. I beat all the plot missions around 55 hours, but am still working on missions I missed completing and trying to platinum the game. I rate this game Recommended.

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God Eater 2: Rage Burst (PS4/Vita)

The modern world has crumbled under the onslaught of a new life form, dubbed Aragami. These creatures rise and eat everything, and cannot be stopped except by artificially-created Aragami modified to be weapons. These God Arcs are wielded by humans synced to them, the God Eaters. You play a user-defined protagonist who just tested positive for compatibility for your own God Arc.

I bought this game almost by accident. I hadn’t really heard of it, and all the comparisons to Monster Hunter left me doubtful if I would enjoy it. But it had some Tales crossover appeal (some God Eater costumes and monsters appeared in Zestiria, and some Zestiria costumes were a day one bonus for God Eater), and the combat didn’t look too bad. I ended up getting the game and quickly fell in love.

The gameplay is really fast-paced. You have a home base where you can talk to other characters, craft or buy things, or accept missions. Once you’ve chosen a mission, you can leave, and you’ll be deposited on the field. The Aragami aren’t trying to hide from you, and will show up on your map, so it’s generally very quick to get into the action. And for about the first half of the plot, the individual missions are pretty fast to complete. Later in the game, partially due to the increased number of enemies, it started taking longer, but an average mission could still be 10-15 minutes.

If multiplayer is more your thing, then the game does have a multiplayer mode. I don’t really care for multiplayer and never tried it, but it does give the option of doing the more difficult missions with real people instead of the NPCs. That said, those NPCs are really good at staying alive (although the ones with shields tend to be better than the ones with only guns, as those characters can’t block). They may not melee half as well as you, but they can resurrect you and heal you, and it was very rare for them to die more often than I did.

The God Arcs have spoiled me for weapons from other games. Your single weapon transforms between shield, gun, and melee weapon of choice. You have three types of shield, four types of gun, and six types of melee weapon. Although you can’t switch equipment mid-mission, you can switch between missions. I really enjoy the ability to switch between short range and long range attacks on the fly. Your melee attacks charge an energy meter used to fire your gun, so battles are generally an initial volley (or for the blast gun, you can stockpile the meter) followed by some melee where you can drop a bullet or three every time you’ve got enough for another shot.

The game provides a number of bullets but you can also customize your own. This isn’t well explained in the game, but plenty of recipes exist online, or you can modify the bullets provided by the game and test them in the bullet editor before bringing them out on the field.

Although bullets tend to deal more overall damage, melee has its own tricks in the form of Blood Arts, which can modify various aspects of your attack to be more powerful. A well-aimed Blood Art can easily do as much damage as most bullets.

It’s also trivial to switch between weapon types, as you can craft an appropriate level of equipment and the Blood Arts (or Blood Bullets, for a gun) will level more rapidly against powerful enemies. So it only takes a small number of missions to get to a comparable level with at least one Blood Art on a new weapon type.

The crafting system has a good amount of depth, but also some shortcuts. You have a list of craftable weapons, and anything less than rank 15 can be upgraded to an eventual rank 15 form. Many of the upgrades aren’t available to craft directly, but upgrading will allow you to carry over the previous form’s skills, and it’s generally cheaper than crafting directly. So old weapons can be made useful again for less than the cost of a new one. If you don’t have a certain material required to craft or upgrade, every mission has some form of Ticket in its reward list. These tickets can be crafted into just about any material, which drastically cuts down on the requirement to farm. At worst, you’ll just have to redo a mission with the appropriate ticket reward instead of worrying about getting a rare drop. (Now, the menus could absolutely stand to be broken up better so you don’t have to scroll so far, but if that’s the worst I can say about it I’m still very happy.)

Clothing can also be crafted. Thankfully, this is cosmetic only, so you can dress your protagonist however you please. And although I hated a lot of the female outfits, I could still find a large number of combinations I liked. (Some NPCs have additional outfits, but sadly will only wear them during missions.)

The plot has good moments. I love the setting: a post-apocalypse world full of broken buildings haunted by monsters. I liked the plot, as generally the story comes in pretty small portions between missions. So even the slower or more generic parts tended to go quickly. Although one twist in particular left me torn between admiring that they went there and irritated at what it meant for my mission teams. There’s also the ability to watch any previous cutscene via the big monitor in Fenrir or the terminal in your room in the Far East.

Gilbert is my favorite character. He’s not as childish or enthusiastic as Nana or Romeo, but his reserve tends to break down in battles (he has some amusing lines on the field. Just try passing him a bullet or pay attention when the Aragami runs away). Out of battle, he’s highly conscious of the responsibility and danger of being a God Eater; his experiences in his former unit earned him the nickname Fragging Gil. He’s also not easy to fool–I particularly liked what he did in a confrontation in chapter 14. I also liked Julius and Tatsumi (I like responsible leader-types).

The music is generally excellent as well. They range from sweeping orchestral themes to quiet piano melodies to more of a rock style. Missions often allow you to choose background music (sometimes the plot missions won’t, but if you replay them you can pick whatever you want). As a nice bonus, once you reach rank 15, the jukebox unlocks, so the out-of-battle music can be entirely your choice (including no music).

I have very few criticisms of the game. This was originally designed for the Vita and it shows in a few ways. The battle arenas are a good size, but can get repetitive since new fields are few and far between until the end, but the glut of new fields there tends to be recolors of the same layout. And the out of battle areas are a few tiny rooms in your headquarters. I wish some of the menus (especially material crafting) had a better layout to avoid the enormous amount of scrolling required when you have the full list of endgame craftable items. And I wish certain monsters showed more in individual missions so I don’t have to keep playing a string of survival missions just to fight them.

Overall, this is the kind of game that exactly suits me as someone who likes anime-styled action games with some deep RPG mechanics (which is obvious when I consider that the only other game that even comes close in playtime for me is Tales of Graces and that was with multiple playthroughs). I don’t remember what my hour count was when I first beat the plot, but I’ve been taking it slowly and although I’ve run out of story, I still have the various extra missions and challenge missions I’m working through. Currently I’m around 175 hours in and still having a blast. I’ve changed weapon types a few times and am still working on mastering all the skills, building an ultimate set of equipment, and so on. It is more than possible to beat this game in a fraction of that time, if you’re just looking to rush to the end. If you like the Tales games, or are simply looking for a fast-paced action game, I would highly recommend checking this out. I would also suggest getting the Day One edition, as it includes God Eater Resurrection (a remake of the first game with some updated mechanics) for free.

God Eater (anime)

Title: God Eater
Episodes: 1-13

The world has been ravaged by the sudden and inexplicable scourge of monsters called Aragami. No ordinary weapon can harm them. But a small class of people who are compatible with the artificial-Aragami weapons called God Arcs can fight. These God Eaters are all that stands between the Aragami and humanity.

I just started playing the second game and thought I’d check out the anime as a shortcut to the plot of the first game. So as an adaptation, I have no clue how accurate this is. As an anime, though, I mostly enjoyed watching it.

The present-day story of Lenka, a new God Eater who is equipped with the next evolution in God Arcs, weaves with the story of the three scientists who originally discovered Oracle cells and the disaster that followed. I liked this technique, as the devastation of the present lends a weight to the past, and the past fills in several questions about the present. Also, it serves as a contrast between two of the three scientists: Johannas as he grows ever more willing to do whatever needs to be done to ensure the survival of humanity, and Paylor who tries to stand on principles of conscience and peace. (Which makes it funnier that Paylor is the one who invented God Arcs . . . for a man of peace, he certainly invents plenty of excellent ways to kill things.)

The animation is movie-quality. I love the desolate cityscapes (and artistic splashes of blood—and there’s a lot of blood). The crumbling buildings, abandoned personal artifacts, moldering fabric, destroyed furniture, and so on paint an almost picturesque urban decay. And Fenrir’s future-level technology is a nice contrast. The God Arcs are interesting weapons in-game, and the anime nicely captures both how unique and how disturbing they can get (ep 13 was overkill, though).

I didn’t care for the overabundance of slow-motion shots early on, or how often people would stare in total shock at the screen. And I roll my eyes at how impractical some of the girls’ outfits are for actually killing monsters (seriously, put on a bra. It makes a world of difference when running/jumping. Not that anime outfits have ever been terribly concerned with practicality).

To be perfectly honest, this probably isn’t something you’re watching for the plot. It works (sometimes better than others) until the last episode, when Lenka’s upgraded God Arc gets so ridiculous that it’s hard to take anything he does seriously. That’s probably why I found the backstory clips more compelling than the present-day, except for the fight scenes. It was still a fairly intense journey, as the ruthless horror of the Aragami keeps getting emphasized through various ways, but the character’s solutions are puzzlingly ineffective. It boils down to “Let someone else do it.” This is another reason I often liked the flashback sequences better than the present day plot. Johannas, Paylor, and Aisha are determined to find an answer and work tirelessly to that end. Even when things go wrong or it looks way beyond them, they continue to do everything they can.

Overall, if the visuals appeal to you and you don’t mind a somewhat weaker plot, this isn’t a bad series to check out. It’s short enough to marathon in a few days, and if it wasn’t priced so highly I’d buy it for my collection as I do quite like the visuals (I’m still considering, but ~$10 an episode is a hard price to swallow when there’s so much else on my to-buy list that’s significantly cheaper). I rate this series Neutral.

Engines of the Broken World

Title: Engines of the Broken World

Author: Jason Vanhee

It was a cold day outside when her mother died. Merciful Truth and her brother, Gospel, have no way to bury her in ground frozen solid and covered with snow besides, so they leave her in the kitchen under the table. But Merciful hears her singing not too long after that, and it’s beginning to look as though the dead may not be entirely done with the living. . .

This is an unusual story that starts out with a bit of zombie-horror and then changes and changes again, so by the end it’s still not quite clear what was going on except it’s not anything like you thought. And it is about the end of the world (in a way most books aren’t; see the last page).

I have mixed thoughts about the conclusions, but I did like the characters. The Minister is a made thing that lives with the family and leads them to salvation. And what it is, and what that means, is an interesting journey. Merciful Truth is a rather simple but goodhearted twelve-year-old who hasn’t been outside her small village and knows little beyond what the Minister and her mother have taught her, where her brother Gospel is wilder and prone to living outdoors more often than in. And in the village there are only two others beside their family, so the creeping horror as various disasters happen accelerates nicely.

The more I think about the ending, the more I don’t really care for what Merciful does. She mostly seems to be trying to play all sides in the hopes that one of them will get her the ending she wants. And the ambiguity of the end will likely frustrate people hoping for a more definitive conclusion.

I did particularly like this prayer the Minister offers during the funeral for Merciful’s mother. I’m not sure if it’s original or if it’s quoting something else.

Heavenly Father,
You made us not for darkness nor for death,
But for life with you for ever.
With you we have nothing to fear.
Speak to us now words of eternal life.
Lift us from perdition and suffering
To the light and peace of your presence,
And set the glory of your love before us;
Through the Lord, Amen.

Overall this is still an interesting read because it’s so different. Recommended if the horror vibe and strong characterization appeals to you, otherwise Neutral.

Icons (Icons #1)

Title: Icons

Author: Margaret Stohl

Series: Icons #1

Doloria can still remember the day her family died. The day everyone died, in her city. In thirteen of the most populated cities around the globe. The day the Icons took over and humanity was reduced to slavery. 6/6.

But out in the Grass, in the old mission with Padre and the others, Doloria doesn’t have to think so much about those things. Even if her way of life is a fragile thing, because both the aliens and the humans who have been allowed to live in their cities have a vested interest in tearing them down. When the mission comes under attack, Doloria will discover far more than she ever wanted to know about the Icons, about her world, about herself.

Having just read another book with a very similar premise, I had to rate this one higher for being much better written, even though I didn’t really care for the tone (depressing, oppressive societies aren’t my thing at all). The book is told mostly from Doloria’s perspective, with snippets of memos and posters showcasing various other things in the world. Doloria can sense the thoughts and feelings of those around her, and tends to get overwhelmed by the bleakness of the world and the struggles she encounters. That said, the book continually pushes forward through the despair to find hope. The ending in particular manages to both raise the threat level and showcase an unimaginable victory.

I did like the worldbuilding. I liked how the fallout of the invasion is experienced, and how it is in some ways completely foreign to Doloria even though she’s living it, because she’s not where most of the people are. I liked the unusual powers in Doloria and the others, and how they unfold, and how the aliens are very alien, right up through the end (with one gigantic hint that the thing everyone believes is nefarious probably has an even worse purpose than suspected). And the alien tech was very cool.

I was a bit annoyed by Lucas. Well, by Lucas and by Doloria’s propensity to believe the best of him despite him repeatedly doing things that betrays her trust. He’s conflicted, sure. But he also seems like worse news than Ro, despite Ro’s temper (though I do appreciate that Doloria sees Ro as way more a friend than a potential love interest). Doloria, Ro, Lucas, and Tima aren’t going to be a team for a long time, if ever; their personalities and desires clash so badly. I did like seeing Tima warm up some and even reach for the more important goals at the expense of her desires (which is more than you can usually say about Lucas… he tries to play both sides for so long it’s aggravating).

Overall I don’t know that I’ll go on in the series, but this was a fairly solid read. It would probably resonate a lot better with fans of dystopia and apocalypse scenarios. I rate this book Recommended if the whole oppressive society angle appeals to you.

Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS)

Story: When Chrom discovers you lying in a field, the only thing you can remember is his name, even though you’ve never met him. Or have you? Was it a dream of the two of you fighting side by side, only for the battle to end in such tragedy?

Regardless, Chrom is willing to let you fight with him now. And when the usual bandits and border skirmishes give way to an undead menace, Chrom enlists your help. Who is controlling the Risen? And can you prevent the dark future “Marth” warns you about, or is destiny unable to be changed?

It’s hard to give a good plot summary since  from a sheer plot perspective, this is a fairly short story, with some pretty big twists coming early and several more along the way. I loved the story. There’s something extremely satisfying when, after only a single battle against bandits, you’re facing evil space zombies. And even as you have to fight against merely human invaders, the undead lurk at every turn.

Another interesting twist is how well the player-character gets worked in. Your avatar, named Robin by default (but you can use whatever you want), can be either male or female, and has a number of features (including voice!) that can be customized by the player. But simply being the player-character doesn’t mean Robin’s personality is a blank slate. The support relationships have been hugely expanded from previous Fire Emblem games, and Robin can support every single character (and get married to anyone of the opposite gender, including the bonus Spotpass or DLC characters). And in a move that further increases replayability, male Robin’s supports are sometimes completely different from female Robin’s supports with certain characters. The different support conversations are also true of Morgan, who is Robin’s child should Robin get married.

The support conversations in games like Path of Radiance were interesting, but extremely limited—you could only have five conversations per character. Awakening changes that. As long as the characters support each other (viewable in the Support menu) you can unlock all of the C-A conversations. The only restriction is that the S-rank (marriage) is limited to one opposite-gendered character. So if you aren’t sure who you’d like a character to marry, you can get all the basic supports before tying the knot. Even better, once you beat the game, a Support Log unlocks, which allows you to view previously-viewed conversations, which means you can choose different paths on later playthroughs.

And like any Fire Emblem, the cast of characters is extremely large and diverse. I had a lot of favorites this time around. Lucina has a rather heartbreaking character arc, but her support conversations also reveal someone unintentionally hilarious as she starts to loosen up. Gaius—“You’ll risk your life for us if I give you…a bag of candy?” And pretty much every support conversation with Owain is comedy gold: he likes naming his weapons and role-playing battles. Which is even better if you have someone like Morgan (male) who goes along with it. I was also fond of Henry (vastly preferring him to Tharja, your other dark mage), because he’s an eternally upbeat, cheerful, helpful sort who is also probably criminally insane. He finds everything fun, especially if it involves blood. Morgan (Morgan’s gender will be opposite Robin’s) is also upbeat, cheerful, and goofy, but the female Morgan tends to be a bit more sadistic. Which is to say, I’m glad I had a boy this time around . . . even if male Robin’s supports with Owain are much better, male Morgan’s are also much better with Owain. And really, the eternal rival LARP group they have going on totally beats female Morgan’s attempt to prove his sincerity to be her eternal ally.

Gameplay: This is a strategy-RPG, which means you fight in turns on a map with characters you generally get to choose. New to Awakening is the option to play with Casual mode—units who die only retreat from the current battle, but are able to fight with you again in future battles. The Classic mode, where people who die stay dead (or at least unable to fight for story-critical characters) is also available. Personally, I’m a fan of Casual mode because I hate redoing battles because the RNG hated me. (Seriously, I can’t count how many times I had a less than 5% chance to crit and the RNG threw not only one crit but multiple. Usually it was in my favor, but not always.) You also have the option of playing on Normal, Hard, or Lunatic, with a Lunatic+ mode available once Lunatic is beaten.

Also rare for the series, Awakening offers the option to fight both random Risen encounters or summoned Spotpass teams as a way to grind up experience (and in the case of the Risen, a bit of gold/weapons/items). The benefits diminish on harder difficulties, which is perhaps not surprising (how hard would Lunatic be if you could just grind everyone high enough to solo the levels?).

Practically, this means you can use whichever characters you want, because anyone can be at least competent in the right class and with the right stats. Everyone’s default classes offer fairly good options, as promoting with a Master Seal offers you two choices of an advanced class, and using a Second Seal allows you to go sideways to another base (or, if you’re promoted and at level 10, advanced) class. My Lissa, for example, made a tolerable healer (her default class) but was one of my best Dark Fliers.

The options get even more attractive for the children characters. When two characters reach an S-support, this unlocks a child-character for recruitment (although some female characters, like Tiki, do not have children unless married to Robin, since Robin’s child Morgan depends on Robin being married).  This gives the children twice the flexibility of either parent alone, since they can inherit classes from both parents (and Robin’s children inherit Robin’s classes, which is nearly every class in the game, gender-permitting).

Speaking of, Robin can be whatever you want him/her to be due to the incredibly large class pool available. There are a handful of classes not available based on gender constraints, and a few like Lord not available for other reasons, but by and large, if you want to do it, you can. Robin’s unique class is Tactician > Grandmaster, and I am fond enough of the magic and swords combination that I put Robin back there once I had the other skills I wanted. But if you’d rather have an Assassin or Sorcerer or Wyvern Lord, etc, that’s all open too.

There is a good variety of class types and skills/abilities to use. I like all the dual magic-and-weapon classes, as it allows for attackers who can hit whichever defensive stat is lower. The weapon triangle exists for swords, axes, and lances, but oddly magic doesn’t seem to have a similar one anymore, so I mostly used Thunder magic for the high crit rate and Wind magic for bonus damage against flying creatures. When units are paired up or supporting each other, the accuracy of Thunder magic improves enough to put it on par with the Fire spells.

Pairing up is another big component of the gameplay. Units can team up to act like a single unit, or merely stand next to each other. There are bonuses for both, but which one you use will depend on the situation. The higher the support level between two characters, the bigger the pair-up bonus. It was somewhat ironic to me that I spent a lot of time getting skills that were good at recovery or dealing damage when hit only to find, thanks to high bonuses, my Avoid was so high I basically never got hit. (I also have a preference for Myrmidion > Swordmaster/Assassins, although the Hero class worked pretty well too).

Also, in addition to the main story chapters (25 chapters plus an Endgame chapter), there are about as many sidequest chapters available. Some of these are straightforward battles, but many of them have an extra character to recruit (children, for example, are recruited in sidequests). Spotpass adds a few additional maps with some interesting characters to recruit. The nice thing is that you can beat the main game and still open that save file to find yourself right before the final battle, which means you can finish out the story and then clean up any outstanding sidequests, or train for DLC maps. I personally don’t care for DLC, but there is a good amount of content available for those interested, which could add another set of maps.

Overall: If you have a 3DS and any interest in strategy games this is an excellent one to get. The various difficulty levels allow for beginners as well as experts. The huge pool of support conversations (and marriage options) guarantees you won’t be able to see everything in one playthrough, especially as Robin’s conversations to some extent depend on Robin’s gender. There’s also a few key scenes where the dialogue will change a bit depending on Robin’s relationship to Chrom’s family.

The visuals are gorgeous, and the 3D works really well with the art style. The character portraits have just the right level of detail, and the animated movies make me regret that I can’t leave a save file before each one to re-watch them (Youtube is great, but without the 3D effect, it just feels so flat). Also, if you choose “No” about Chrom in the Endgame, you’ll get an additional movie after the credits… but since you can redo the Endgame again after doing it you can also just play the last chapter twice to see both endings. (My favorite ending is picking No, but neither choice gets you a “bad” ending.)

I beat the main story and about half of the paralogues in 62 hours, which accounts for a fair amount of grinding random Risen when I wanted to get characters a few more skills. I intend to finish the rest of the paralogues before replaying the Endgame to choose the other option, so there’s still a good amount of play left even for my current file, and a few things I’m already planning to do a little differently next time I go through the story. I rate this game Highly Recommended.

Kingdom of Twilight (Avatars #3)

Title: Kingdom of Twilight

Author: Tui T. Sutherland

Diana is dying. Although Gus, Tigre, and Kali are doing what they can, none of their powers involve healing. Their only hope is that when they finally reach Africa, someone there will be willing and able to help. But Africa was excluded from this contest of the gods, and the local gods may not take well to the intrusion of the avatars . . .

I continue to be impressed by the sheer breadth and depth of the gods Tui T. Sutherland pulls into this trilogy. Not to mention the amusing takes on more familiar gods (Poseidon with his trident going after the boat comes to mind . . . invincible trident, meet magically-protected boat). This time around we get a small taste of the many gods of Africa, a tour through various underworlds courtesy Diana, and a closer look at pantheons like the Polynesians and the Incan/Aztec/Mayan. And I was right about Coyote, which made me happy.

Although I felt the story in general wasn’t as compelling as the previous book, there were still a number of things I liked a lot. Tigre finally gets a teacher he can connect with—someone utterly unlike the blustering Tlaloc—and he starts to master the weather powers everyone has been telling him he has. The other gods are comfortable with their powers, even Kali with her destructive nature. But Tigre’s always been unhappy with having weather powers rather than something animal-related (part of that being visible in choosing to go by Tigre and not Catequil). And it was fascinating to see how Catequil ended up as the representative of the hodgepodge of South American pantheons.

Gus also goes head-to-head with Oro in a few places, although I felt the conflict wasn’t as intense as it could have been. Oro never gets the chance to make Gus do something he’ll regret. And his journey to the underworld in search of Diana is over almost as soon as it starts.

I did like the end, too. The game plays out in a way none of the original authors (or even participants, with the possible exception of Catequil, since he’s a god who sees the future) could have guessed. It was really nice to see Tigre gain some confidence.

I’m not sure why this one didn’t strike me nearly as much as the second. The diverging plotlines for different characters didn’t help, because each individual story got less emphasis. The humor, although certainly there, felt a little lessened as most of the truly hysterical characters don’t get more than a line or two. And it would probably have made a difference if the African gods they found included an antagonist or two.

Overall, though, this was a good end to the story. Thanks to Catequil’s prophecies, the few threads that could be dangling get a glimpse forward to the eventual resolution. I rate this book Recommended.