Lissandra, the Ice Witch moves with alien grace and unearthly precision. Her body evokes an unnatural communion of flesh and ice framed by a monolithic multi-layered dress. If you want to know what lies beyond the frosty, northern borders of the Frostguard you’ll have to pass through her intense watch. So take a look at her skins’ review and see if you can appeal to her sense of style.
|Concept:||Lissandra having command over earth, rock and magma.|
|Model:||Major model changes for Lissandra, new glow for her headdress and new textures plus vapours for her surrounding ice shards.|
|Particles:||New brown particles for her abilities, auto-attack, death and recall.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New stone sounds for her abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Splash Art:||This piece is rather dynamic yet devoid of life. The problem lies in the background: it does provide a setting but it’s largely a barren space. While this sets the mood of the piece it also seems lacking in elements. Fortunately, Lissandra adds a good dose of spectacle with her dramatic pose. Lissandra seems to grow from the ground in a twisted yet powerful way; though her back may be a stretch. The shading is clear with ample amount of highlights but the effect on the shards she throws is a bit diffuse and dull. Besides, her expression suggests a more aggressive tone but seeing as half her face is covered it isn’t as eloquent as it could be. All in all, it’s a good portrayal of Lissandra, despite some exaggerations, that isn’t framed in the best of ways.|
|Conclusion:||Bloodstone Lissandra has a warmer, more approachable style in comparison with her classic detached insensitivity. Both display elegance but in different forms. Bloodstone Lissandra feels more casual and familiar while still retaining a clear supernatural vein. The particles also reflect that as they are more terrene while still feeling powerful and magical. The thing with the skin it’s that while it effectively gives a different style to Lissandra it practically keeps her feel intact. That isn’t necessarily bad but the skin could’ve elaborated more on the new theme and stand further apart from Lissandra’s cold personality with a fiery, raging contrast. On the whole, Bloodstone Lissandra offers a nice terrestrial style that doesn’t embody the fury of the land as it could but still has a distinct and appealing aesthetic.|
|Concept:||Lissandra as a blade sorceress.|
|Model:||New model for Lissandra, new glow for her headdress and new blades plus vapours for her surrounding ice shards.|
|Particles:||New bronze particles for her abilities, auto-attack and death.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New metallic sounds for her abilities, auto-attack, recall and dance.|
|Splash Art:||The setting is nothing, that is only darkness can be seen beyond the bronze shards that surround Lissandra. As the sides of the Iron Maiden move, either towards or away from her, she poses presumably in pain or maybe dramatically unleashing her power. In spite of the ambiguity Lissandra’s portrayal is clearer than her diffuse surroundings. Her colours are bright and easily bring to life the metal; at least from the waist up as her skirt is a bit dull in comparison. On the whole, it’s a rather unclear piece with an uneven depiction of Lissandra. It works as it manages a good first impression but there isn’t much behind the portrayal.|
|Conclusion:||There’s an important problem with Blade Queen Lissandra and that’s the relationship between the concept and the execution. Firstly, the idea is to make Lissandra a sorceress that bends blades to her will and unleashes them as weapons. However, she doesn’t communicate that effectively. Firstly, her outfit seems an overly glamorous dress that is more concerned with flamboyancy than with lethality. Her aspect goes to the point of making the base of blades at her feet seem like an ineffective reminder of the concept. Add to that the new particles that should implement the rest of the fantasy: not only do they seem like re-coloured blocks of bronze but they also feel blunt instead of sharp despite the metallic sounds; at best they are shards of metal. Moreover, Frozen Tomb and the new recall hint at an iron maiden but don’t expose actual blades.
The result is a skin that indicates a theme it never truly delivers. Even if we ignore the fact of the supposed blades concept then, what is the skin about? There’s an eye-catching dress, references to an iron maiden and bronze shards. Ultimately, more than a Blade Queen she seems a Bronze Maiden which exemplifies the lack of focus of the implementation. Not all is bad as the look is certainly unique but at times it tends to feel like a whimsical bronze-based change of clothes, with re-coloured particles that tries to make her bronze ice shards pass for blades. In the end, the iron maiden on Frozen Tomb and her recall are definite highlights and the only substantial redeeming qualities. Fans of Lissandra may appreciate the unfocused uniqueness of the skin but the Ice Witch can do better.
|Concept:||Lissandra turned into an automaton.|
|Model:||New model for Lissandra, new glow for her headdress and new traingles plus vapours for her surrounding ice shards.|
|Particles:||New particles for her abilities, auto-attack, recall and death.|
|Animations:||New animations for her ice shards and new recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for her abilities, auto-attack, dance, recall and death plus processed voice-over.|
|Splash Art:||In the background, a blurry laboratory shows screens with unfathomable schematics. The, assumedly, intense overhead lights barely shine on the array of recognizable robots surrounding the specimen on the centre. As a setting, it’s sensible context but subdued and with little meaning aside from the cameo. Fortunately, Lissandra stands very well on her own.
Her original physiognomy receives centre stage and displays all its artificial nature. The surfaces tend to look washed out so that the metal doesn’t shine with the expected pristine perfection of a new product. Besides, her arms appear too far from her body, as if disconnected, despite there being no reason for it. Nonetheless, the lines are precise and show many details. The use of light is rather good too but the shading is soft and, for metallic surfaces, the contrast between reflections and ambient light isn’t noticeable enough. Her hair connects to the platform below which hints at her triangle-based base; though that shape isn’t evident. On the left, an arm links her to another Program while on the right the large hand used for making paths looms half shiny, half dimmed by the fog. Between this relevant company her straight pose supplements her inhumanity.
All things considered, this is an effective if flawed splash art. The background is relevant but largely unassuming whereas the portrayal shines with its own light thanks to Lissandra’s appearance. However, the depiction appears timid despite being effective. The result is a good piece that does its job with a few appealing extras but that doesn’t manage to astound with neither composition nor visual accomplishments.
|Conclusion:||It’s not necessary to look for long to notice that Program Lissandra has a unique identity. It’s a borrowed identity and admittedly more GLaDOS than SHODAN but unequivocally fascinating. The triangular shards at her base and a single, articulated pedestal to hold her body are only the beginning. The body is covered in layers of different materials, each with their own texture that leads us to the head. Some vestigial humanity lingers in a face with eyes covered by a monocular helmet that is flanked by two satellite extensions. On the back of the head, a mane of wires passes for hair. If her front looks artificial, her back doesn’t delete any doubts. The body is also flanked by floating, detached arms. They are made out of simple flat parts that dominate lean shaped forearms and hands. In each section, a single cable extends from side to side to close an unseen circuit. The elegance and originality of the design isn’t just refreshing, it’s also awe-inspiring.
The particles don’t stand behind and supplement the theme with inhuman precision. From the simple triangular formations of Ice Shard to the circuit lines of Ring of Frost and Glacial Path Lissandra’s abilities look distinct and digitally based. The giant synthetic hand in the former is a both an echo of her body as well as an example of what technology can achieve. Of particular note is Frozen Tomb with its fractal diagram and metallic, colourful tomb. When Lissandra is encased in her tomb, the moving eye on top scans the surroundings as triangles shake and rise around her, seemingly at random. When the tomb is applied to an enemy it relies on a less impressive but still appealing polygonal shard with a translucent surface: perfect to appreciate the chosen victim.
Iceborn, her passive, has a new glow that may be the simplest of the additions but its flame-like fluctuations when moving make it interesting to behold. Meanwhile, the triangular base shivers with inhuman logic as Lissandra awaits or moves around. The recall is also a great addition: it starts with what seems a pointless display of satellite agility. However, it may be the calibration step before they virtualise Lissandra in a mesh of polygons and transport her elsewhere. The inverse happens when her death arrives with triangles flying around as her body crumbles in an unstable polygon mesh.
In spite of all this engrossing visual display it’s surprising to find that the slow effect applied by Ice Shard reuses the classic frost particles. Admittedly, it’s a small problem but one that stands in stark contrast to the meticulous attention given to the new particles. It may be more of an oversight or visual convention to show the slow effect rather than a flat-out intentional choice. However, as it’s notorious and doesn’t mesh with the hi-tech style it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored.
The sounds also take centre stage. With a combination of shattering crystal for the triangular polygons and reverberating effects for the circuitry, the electronic aspect is clear and attractive. Even Iceborn’s sound, when it becomes available, feels digital. The artificial tone mixed with a synthetic echo given to her voice-over is spot on. Her voice remains familiar but tinted with an inhuman colour that is a natural reflection of her exterior; even if the actual quotes aren’t. Each aspect of the sounds matches a specific visual, polygons, circuits or the tomb, with its vibrating diagram. The symmetry in both visuals and audio allows the skin to integrate all aspects into a cohesive whole.
In every change there’s precision and consistency. The different areas are finely adapted into synthetic counterparts. On top of this, the virtual polygons, circuits and metal have different looks and sounds showing different but complementary aspects of a whole. The lack of new animations, recall excepted, isn’t felt when the different parts add up to such a comprehensive whole.
It comes as a surprise then that the skin didn’t go all the way to legendary territory having such an effective implementation. If the skin incorporated robotic animations and a suitable voice-over it would finely reach the legendary tier. That’s a mystery more than a complaint. For fans of Lissandra this is a wonderful skin and if you also like the technological aspect of it then there’s no reason to ignore such excellence.
|Concept:||Lissandra as an aristocratic witch.|
|Model:||New model for Lissandra and new dark mist for her surrounding ice shards.|
|Particles:||New particles for her abilities, auto-attack, death and recall.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for her abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Splash Art:||A forest with thick branches of dark bark which shape themselves as a throne fit for a fine lady. Crows with glowing eyes look around while the weak sunlight insinuates itself in the distance; will-o’-the-wisps may also want to join the gathering. A mirror appears on the left or is it a fountain embraced by the branches? Not much is clear in this surreal forest. The setting is atmospheric but timid with content. It has the right feel but doesn’t say much.
Lissandra reclines herself on the throne of branches. Bathed by an unnatural light she appears in shades of blue and rather comfortably reclining. The colour palette makes her look somewhat homogeneous even if there’s an ethereal support for her esoteric leanings. The headpiece, mainly, welcomes the addition. Her dress and its rich embroidery are also appealing but at times it’s not clear where dress and skin start and end. For such an elegant lady to feel so comfortable in such a place means that she may be more than what’s noticeable at a glance which is quite interesting. It’s a pity, though, that the headpiece and skirt are sketchy in the borders.
All added together, this is a splash art that suggests more than show. The problem is that suggestions are rather subtle so that the piece can feel rather straightforward. The atmosphere is right but, again, timid in its feel. This all makes the splash art interesting yet often brimming with potential instead of tapping it in full.
|Conclusion:||At a glance there’s no doubt that Coven Lissandra has an aristocratic feel that steps deep into the fantastic. From the large, ornamented headpiece to the decorative design of her dress and the many tendril-like shards at her feet: everything is full of twists and curves giving her a classy yet alien feel. Her skin and blonde hair make a good human contrast against a dress which could hint of a dark origin.
Particles are mostly made out of dark shards of a polished rock similar to those that dance around her mixed with dark spectral energy. Those abilities that make use of the shards actually stand out the most which is those that impair the movement of enemies the most: Ring of Frost and Frozen Tomb. Self-casting Frozen Tomb produces an evocative idol constructed in the same rock. As well pagan as demonic with many upward spikes instead of arms it’s a great symbol for the skin. Ice Shard’s rock swords are good but too brief to be usually noticed. The spectral energy and mists are much less interesting as they follow the classic design for the most part without a style of their own. The dark mist covering the ice effect from Ice Shard’s slow is a good touch.
Sounds seem to be higher-pitched, rougher versions of the classic, frosty sounds. They keep the same icy feel. Fortunately Frozen Tomb and Ring of Frost also add haunting echoes which make the ultimate feel fittingly sinister; Glacial Path also has a bit of it but it’s too subtle. The sinister echo of the processed voice-over is an extra addition of darkness.
The new recall is a rather subtle, perhaps even elegant way of showing power: making flowers bloom out of nowhere and die with the wave of her hand. Disappearing in magical ravens is less fairy tale and more conventional but still dark.
On the whole, Coven Lissandra seems like a more aristocratic interpretation of the Ice Witch. The dark ice is there, more stone-like but present, her style is fantastic in its class and the classic ice magic remains only a bit more twisted. In essence, the skin changes the surface but keeps the core intact. For fans of Lissandra it’s a nice skin for changing her style but that’s all.
Few are the Ice Witch’s options and from that we have to find a recommendation. In spite of the price, Program Lissandra is a technological wonder. Each area is carefully adapted with different arrangements that integrate into a complete synthetic entity. The price is surely high, so a sale may come in handy, yet the skin does so many things and so well that, sooner or later, should find its way into the collection of any fans of the Ice Witch and robots alike.
Move conventional and cheaper yet still among her best options is Bloodstone Lissandra: a nice alternative to her classic alien coldness as it offers a more earthly style. It doesn’t redefine her as a furious force of nature as it could’ve; instead it only changes her aesthetic and makes her more familiar. While Lissandra’s detached personality remains she looks more approachable and less distant. In the end, it’s a good skin with an interesting theme and nice visuals.
An alternative is Blade Queen Lissandra. The skin lacks the cohesion to communicate its theme effectively. In fact, Lissandra barely passes for a queen of blades as there’re lots of bronze and flamboyancy but few actual blades and real elegance. The result has a unique feel but seems like a disappointment with regards to its concept.
Coven Lissandra is an aristocratic, more fantastic take on the Ice Witch. The classic design is there, intact, with only her style reinterpreted. Fans of Lissandra looking for a different look will find something interesting but that’s all the skin offers. The Ice Witch everybody knows and loves remains.