Monster Hunter World: I caved…

Well, here I am hanging my head in shame as I indulge my deep desires to hunt dangerous wildlife – what basically happened is I bought Monster Hunter World after telling myself: “I will wait until it goes on sale…”

 

Shame.

Now enough self-pity; the game is fantastic – beautiful world, a huge sense of wonder, and lots of dangerous giant beasts to kill and carve up like the good specialist hunters we are in-game. The game itself is pretty self-explanatory: you hunt monsters. While watching livestreams of the game over the week I decided to jump into it and it hasn’t disappointed me thus far (third party Xbox One textpad/chatpad not withstanding). The cycle is very basic for how the game works: you prep, you hunt, you harvest, you craft, and you repeat. The game it built to be played with multiple people, however thus far I have traveled alone and the game isn’t unplayable solo – some beasts will be hard to kill but they bleed so they can be killed (thanks Arnold).

 

Now I’m not too far into the game so I cannot speak much on the end-game content, but for someone new to the game and completely unfamiliar with the universe or supposed: “right way to play” the game does a good job in teaching you how to play – there are no issues there. Feel free to give it a shot if this sort of game interests you; I tried to resist as best I could but on Thursday I finally caved and spent the hard-earned dollars on the game because I am man-enough to pay for my own addictions (I’m looking at you Shepard).

 

Now folks, take care and we shall talk later.

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I finally saw the Last Jedi…

(Spoilers)

 

Earlier in the week I finally got the chance to watch Star Wars The Last Jedi – the movie was quite good. Coming from the perspective of someone who has experience with the books a lot of the material fits together well and the movie made sense (minus the Princess going Superman back into the destroyed bridge of the cruiser).

 

Indeed I waited for a few weeks in order to gather as much intelligence as I could on the product before jumping into the pile, and it seems that after some time had passed the film started to click with some people; I did watch both reviews from Angry Joe (the initial review and the 2nd and 3rd screenings) and after he relented on the subject matter I started to dive deeper into the film and pick out what made it good and what left audiences disappointed.

 

While it is a shame to see Luke die in the film, it was a nice conclusion to his life – the watching of the twin suns rising as he faded into the Force was very poetic and the imagery was done well to convey the passing of someone in peace, rather than in pain and misery.

 

The bomber scene was something people picked on quite a lot, and to that one has to argue that if you wanted realism in a film taking place in space then explosions should not exist (ships should just crumple as there is no air to fuel fire in space; they would also shatter like glass and break into tiny pieces as there is no air to fuel an external fire – no plume of flame bursting out from the superstructure), sounds should not be heard (no audio in space minus whatever is internal to the ships themselves), and missiles wouldn’t work as there is no air for explosions so the projectile would just smack into the intended target and leave a giant hole while not detonating.

 

Should one wish to imagine a real-life space battle, one would have to think of MAC guns from Halo (Magnetically Accelerated Cannons); essentially one is firing a solid projectile straight at a target requiring direct line of sight, and the projectile would penetrate through the target rather than cause an explosion (though internally the ship would catch fire, vent atmosphere, etc).

 

Finally Kylo killing Snoke was a nice nod to the fact that the Rule of Two emphasized the need for the apprentice to kill the master and take their place. Indeed the Rule of Two ended with Vader and Sidious but Snoke and Kylo seemed to have carried on the tradition without actually being aware of it – this was left largely to the audience to interpret and digest. Kylo taking over the First Order was the natural path of progression as a student of the dark side would know that in the end they must take power in order to progress – peace is a lie, there is only passion.

 

Furthermore Rey’s origins being a bit of a let down could be written off as Kylo either lying to Rey in her moment of emotional distress, or that the director wanted to break away from the Skywalker family tree; force-sensitive beings come from all over the galaxy, and considering that the films wanted to end the Skywalker saga this is not at all surprising. Sure we would have liked to see our fan theories about Rey play out (Snoke included) but they are just that, fan theories – the director and script writers have the final say in this matter, rather than the audience.

 

Now where am I headed with all of this rambling? The point to be made is the directors are working with a science fiction franchise; none of it has to be realistic as it is not a documentary, and ownership of the fictional universe belongs to the studios that have a license to them and to the creators – we are simply the end consumer of said product. Now would I say the same if the film was poorly acted, the story poorly written, and the cinematography in general of poor quality? Yes, but I would further add that I can simply avoid the film; considering it is week five of the Last Jedi being in theaters and my viewing was a full house I hope in this particular case that the money speaks louder than the criticisms – I want more films, and if this film in the end it turned out alright then the others ought to be satisfactory.

Year end post – Commission from the ranks, some gaming talk, and final thoughts for 2017.

Hello folks;

 

2017 is nearly at an end, and I have seldom posted these past few months so let us get on to business to end things off for 2017.

 

Commissioning from the ranks should be a military’s first option; having some college kid take command of a unit straight out of Officer School with a degree is not what I would call a smart move. Quite often police departments tend to have their constables work their way up, making it a real meritocracy whereas in the military the Officer/Enlisted divide is a holdover from an age where birth and social status was an indicator of success in life.

 

When an army commissions from the ranks the relationship between soldier and officer is more concrete; quite often soldiers will not respect an officer who has little to no actual military experience and yet a country trusts them to take command and lead the troopers into action. Indeed it is the NCOs (Non-Commissioned Officers; your sergeants, corporals and so on) who are often the ones to take charge of a squad and lead the soldiers into action, and when the officer fails to use their brain they have to take charge of the situation and set a good example for others to follow. Now imagine if the Officer Corps commissioned from the NCO corps; imagine all that experience transferring over to a more senior command – would that not work better than direct commission?

 

Countries need to adapt to a changing world, and commissioning from the ranks is a positive step forward – do away with this archaic practice and see that the military becomes a true meritocracy rather than a place where social stratification is amplified and upheld.

 

This year’s gaming scene has been somewhat of a disappointment; perhaps it is the lack of time, perhaps it is the fact that the new releases that showed promise (ie: Battlefront 2) failed to live up to expectations.

 

This far into a gaming life so to speak one should be accustomed to disappointment, and yet it still strikes hard when a game fails to deliver on a promise or fall flat on its face after telling the market audience that it will not do just that. Battlefront 2 was a failure not the least bit because the Empire story arc turned into a generic turncoat soap opera, and Call of Duty WW2 made what was to be a serious topic (concentration camps) into some cheap heart-string moment – this followed up by over the top explosions because, apparently, the audience has an attention span that requires constant stimulation in order to remain focused lest they wander off onto Instagram and forget about the game.

 

Going into 2018 I hope that the gaming scene develops some interesting stories for us to enjoy as Gamers; while this is a real case of wishful thinking one must maintain optimism when it comes to our favourite pastime. 2017 for gaming was trash; even more so for films that were shown on the big screen as the Last Jedi turned out to be a flop, Transformers the Last Knight was poorly done, and I forgot the other films that were released – I have not even set foot in a theater this year, it was that bad.

 

Anyways folks this concludes the year end post for 2017 – thanks for sticking around and we shall see you in the new year (teleportation spell activated).

Net Neutrality (video link)

Hello readers,

 

Net neutrality is something we should be concerned about if we want equal access to all websites without Internet Service Providers (ISPs) controlling which sites we get to access and limiting our access with pay gates. While not residing in the United States, this issue concerns me greatly as I fear this will affect Youtube, Twitch, and other online services (like Xbox live) that I have come to love and enjoy; therefore rather than make you all read a long piece I have decided to direct you lovely readers to AngryJoe and his rant on this issue (link to video below).

 

While I myself cannot do much outside of the US to fight the good fight, you folks reading this from the US can – do your part, and keep the internet free and open.

 

Thanks for your time,

Thoughts and Topics.

Is there more to life than work?

Question of life, is it not – can one have more meaning in life than just work? A lot of folks still view men as primary income earners; that their purpose is just to work long hours to support a family – feels somewhat unfair considering how the market then expects them to also spend like drunken sailors.

 

Women are expected to work and raise kids; kindof stressful, is it not? Whether or not they choose to have children it is vital for balance and cooperation (marriage/co-habitation is a partnership of sorts –  raising children is a team effort), yet out there they expect so much of women – no wonder wine sales are spiking.

 

The weight of life feels heavy, the pressure to succeed according to established behaviours constantly knocking on the door. When we get two hours to ourselves, someone walks in and says: “can you do this for me? Can you help me with this?” You want to say: “no” but you say: “yes” because you feel like you are not pulling your own weight in the team.

 

Eight-hour workdays, eight hours of sleep (if you want to remain healthy and so on), and two hours of free time – everything else is shower time, exercise time (because they want physically fit conscripts), bathroom time, and travel time (more if you live far from work). The endless feeling of deadlines, time limits, and so on is ever-going, and it just swallows us whole.

 

However not having a job (especially one that pays well) means living in poverty; poverty does not equal happiness as it is a story of hunger, depression, abuse, and possibly suicide – a never-ending misery. Without work there is no money; they say money can’t buy happiness but that new Xbox or delicious meal sure as hell feels like happiness.

 

Perhaps we should view work as a means to an end, not an end itself – sure it means we still have to keep the job but we use it as a stepping stone to something else, whenever it may pop up in the future.

 

Often websites call for you to be your own boss, and while it offers independence you work more than if you were working a regular 9-5 job – all calls go to you, all financial problems go to you, and the success or failure of the business is all on you. Sure you get your independence, but you lose a steady paycheck, and you gain a lot more pressure that could end up costing you more (you are stressed more so you spend more to try and alleviate that stress).

 

I suppose there is advantages and disadvantages to everything; really you do what you think will lead you to a happy state: working a steady trades job and want to keep going? do it. Want to drop everything and fly off to some distant country? Do it. Remember that you are responsible for your actions, and as such you will bear the rewards and consequences of those actions.

 

Even with that said, it still comes back to the original question that pops into the mind from time to time: is there more to life than work? Even dream jobs are still jobs; even traveling and blogging is work – you gotta eat, so you gotta work.

 

Such a weird circle; maybe I’ll drop everything and go bake bread for a living – at least I can save money on food by making my own via business expenses.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Assassin’s Creed Origins story discussion.

(Spoilers ahead)

Hello readers,

 

Star Wars Battlefront 2’s campaign story was made available today so I took some time to watch through the game movie (it is not public release but I’m guessing the channel had permission to release it so I watched it). After finishing the story I figured I’d combine it with the AC Origins discussion I promised a while back as I was working on that and finished it sometime last week – starting things off we have AC Origins.

 

Origins takes us back to the roots of the Assassin’s Creed universe; we are at the very beginning of both the Templar Order (just: “The Order” back then) and the Brotherhood of Assassins – we see Egypt during a time when Rome was the big boy in the sandbox and Egypt is facing turmoil thanks to internal strife and threats from beyond its borders.

 

The characters (a couple) lose their son and go on a path of revenge – when they reach the end they discover that The Order operates in other places in the world and that they have to split up to deal with the threat thus forming the Assassins to counter – you guessed it – The Order. Along the way you work for Cleopatra, you find out Caesar is an Order member, and lots of killing is involved.

 

The story gives the gamer a look into the Assassin’s Order past, but apart from that there isn’t much else to look forward towards. Sure there are tombs of ancient Egyptian monarchs to explore and what not, but the universe feels like an open world with a linear story and nothing else to see off the beaten path; that said all I did was watch the game movie so what do I know, right? The story is satisfactory – you can watch it in the link below:

 

Next we have Battlefront 2 – I have been waiting for this day since it was announced earlier this year. Starting things off we have our Imperial protagonist of which I did read the Battlefront 2 Inferno Squad book to get a better understanding of who she was and what was going on (listened to the audiobook rather, and it was narrated by the same voice actress as the game’s protagonist). However shortly after a series of setbacks we discover that the Empire is purging loyal worlds to set an example of who is still in charge and our protagonist defects to the New Republic and then fights the war from that perspective right up to the final victory on Jakku. Along the way we meet some colourful characters, the protagonist tries to save her dad but is unsuccessful (he decides to die on the bridge of his Star Destroyer like the good Imperial he was) and the story was overall a fun ride (Albeit short, sadly).

 

The story was touted as purely an Imperial story, and while it isn’t entirely the case we get something that is more than just: “this story is Imps good, Rebs bad” but rather how loyalties change depending on the circumstances. Indeed the main character and her teammate defect while her close friend and former squad member remains loyal to the Empire, eventually moving on to become part of the First Order; this was a nice touch and while some might get upset that the story wasn’t a full on “remain loyal to Empire and be part of First Order,” it was a good story nonetheless. Definitely worth a look, the link to the full story will be located below:

 

 

This concludes the combo review of Assassin’s Creed Origins and Battlefront 2 – thanks for reading everyone and we shall see you next time.

Wolfenstein 2 and Call of Duty World War 2 story combo.

(There are spoilers below – you have been warned.)

 

Alright folks we are finally in November and thus far we have Assassin’s Creed Origins, Wolfenstein 2 The New Colossus, and Call of Duty World War 2 – I will cover AC Origins at a later date as it requires more time to watch through the game movie.

 

Wolfenstein 2 was a joy to watch; the villain from the previous game returns, and now you are in America sparking a revolution. The story is outlandish and fun, with moments that make the dark universe in which the game takes place a bit easier to digest so to speak. The resistance loses one of their own, our boy BJ takes on a new body after a nasty run in with the occupation, and the game ends with resistance sparking up – we all need a good ending here and there. The link to the full game movie is just below: next up is Call of Duty World War 2.

 

The story of CoD WW2 felt like an old book being re-written over and over again; US Army in Normandy in 1944 and it goes into Germany in ’45. Presently there are a ton of games, movies, books and so on that cover that part of the war where the US Army was competent, well put together and winning the war like it was nothing – why did they not put some time into North Africa, or even the Pacific theater? Sure I get it the story was meant to focus in on the European campaign and show the reality of war; you see comrades freeze in Belgium during the winter of 1944, you see a fellow soldier get captured and later on you rescue him and witness the horrors of work camps, concentration camps and so on, but the story felt forced and it was familiar enough to be a bit of a let down.

 

The reason why I brought up North Africa was because I finished an Audiobook earlier last week that discussed about the campaign from 1942 to 1943 – it was an eye-opening story. First the US Army really fell on its face in that campaign, and had to learn fast in order to fight the Axis forces in that theater; it was a heavy price in both blood and material – not something that makes people feel super and great in a game and thus I can understand the reason why the developers chose Europe in 1944 to 1945. Still, we should explore more of the less-discussed theaters as I think gamers are mature enough to see the other side of war – the glory that was the Allies and their victory in Europe in 45 and later in the pacific some months later was achieved at a cost; Burma, North Africa, Italy – the price of victory wasn’t cheap. Anyways folks the link to the game movie for Call of Duty WW2 is located below.

 

This concludes the story combo – I regret not having the time to dive further into each game but I figured you would enjoy the story by watching it rather than by reading about it on some blog (humor intended). With that folks I wish you well and we shall see you next time.