Lucien’s First Take: Dear White People (Netflix Trailer)

You know, I’m starting to think that anti-SJWs are becoming just as bad as the SJWs they mock.  Why?  Because it seems like every little thing now leads them to some stupid boycott that won’t work and doesn’t really matter, yet gets trending on Twitter to make them feel like they are doing something important.  Recently, the trailer that we are going to watch got them all to have their panties in a bunch and start a boycott of Netflix.  Really?  Over this?  I’m a fucking hipster douche canoe who doesn’t even have streaming on Netflix and still does DVDs and even I see this as stupid.  Yeah, you just learned something about me that really makes me look pathetic.  I understand if you look down upon me.  It’s the same reason that I will have such a hard time getting into downloading games instead of having a disc copy.

This stupid boycott was started over a trailer that has a like/dislike ration that eerily mimics another big SJW-approved piece of work.  I wonder what that could be…?  And just like that one, battle lines have been drawn.  The title of this work is “Dear White People,” and I thought that we would look at this trailer and break down our impressions.  Weigh in with a more sensible voice about the nature of how good or bad it is.

So, we first get to see an image of stereotypical white people.  We have Douchebag Von Asshole V, and Betty Steenvirgin waving, as a black woman is about to tell me what kinds of Halloween costumes are acceptable.  Here’s the answer – any fucking kind I want.  I have the right to dress whatever way I want for Halloween.  As do you.  As does anyone who is watching this bullshit.  If you don’t like it, you are free not to associate with me.  As you are clearly a person with far-left, SJW political opinions, I doubt we would get along anyway.

Then it has a headline – America Needs.  Boy, I can think of a thousand things that I could fill in that end space with.  How about – to get away from dogmatic thinking?  Or maybe – to kick these SJWs to the curb?  Or, perhaps – to stop being so fucking pussy that we can’t deal with opposing points of view?  Yeah, those are all great things to fill in there.

We then get her deciding to go into a tirade about blackface.  Here’s where I am going to say something unpopular – I don’t give a fuck about blackface.  Really, I don’t.  Is it stupid?  Yeah.  Does it portray an ethnic group in a way that may be unflattering?  Probably.  But here’s the thing – that kind of shit only offends you if you have some kind of allegiance to your race.  This is something that I do not have. For example, we see our white people stereotypes.  Are they unflattering?  Sure.  Do I care?  Not at all.  Hell, I think they are kind of funny.  Like the cliche of what liberal elitist snobs are supposed to be.  These are the same kinds of people who are listening to what this bitch has to say and taking it seriously.  It isn’t the frat boys who actually want to live their lives as they see fit without breaking the law.  It isn’t the middle class people who are just going through their day-to-day and don’t give a flying fuck about all this identity politics stuff.  It’s yuppie snobs who are in Ivy League universities who are the biggest proponents of this kind of rhetoric.  The very people this woman is using to deride white people are the exact ones who are the first to come to her defense.

I have no allegiance to white people.  Hell, I don’t have an allegiance to the human race.  I’m a misanthrope.  I hate my species off-hand.  So I take people as they come.  If someone wants to mock white people, I say go for it!  Hell, I’ll join you.  I have made fun of hipsters with such gusto that my disdain for them has reached epic proportions.  I’ve made fun of rednecks.  I’ve made fun of yuppie Ivy League college students.  You want to make fun of white people?  Go right the fuck ahead.  I don’t get offended because it doesn’t mean a thing to me.  My race matters just as little to me as your race does.  I don’t give a fuck about your race either.  Fuck ethnic groups and their pet issues.  It’s beneath my attention to talk about.

So when this woman gets all butthurt about blackface, my thought is – why do you care?  I’m sure I’ll get someone who will come on here about how black people have been marginalized and shit.  Well, that was then.  Back then, blackface was an insulting thing to black people.  Nowadays, people don’t do it because it isn’t funny.  It’s not culturally acceptable.  The people in her video as example of blackface all seem to have something in common – they are young adults.  They are people in their early to mid 20’s.  The years when they are rebelling against societal norms and living on the edge.  It’s frat people and college punks looking to be offensive on purpose.  Gee, when you look at it like that, it’s almost like she is giving these people attention that they were already looking for.  Much like how Bill Maher wore a costume of Steve Irwin with a stingray barb in his chest shortly after he died.  Yeah, that was offensive, but it was done intentionally.  Getting mad about him about it just feeds into what he was looking for in the first place.

These people aren’t dressing up as you for Halloween, sweetie.  They are dressing provocatively, with the intent of getting reactions.  The fact that you let it affect you so strongly says more about you than it does about them.

And that’s it.  So, is the entire premise just some radio chick who uses the latest SJW talking points with black comedy interspersed among it?  Huh, maybe Madea will make a cameo.  Is this some big statement against white people?  No.  That’s stupid.  Would I ever watch it?  Nope.  I don’t go to Everyday Feminism because there’s only so much stupid I can handle.  Why would I watch a series personifying that kind of thinking?  And here’s the thing – this series will likely go the exact same route as that other SJW hill they had to die on.  It will be forgotten not long after it debuts.  So, with that in mind, let me give my Final Verdict.  For those who know how I rate things, it will make sense.

Final Verdict
5 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Hitman: Season One

hitmanWhen I first heard about this game, I was annoyed.  Here we have a AAA title that is being sold in episodes.  What’s more, in order to play this game, you have to be online.  I was not going to stand for that.  I refused to participate.  Just like how I refuse to participate in releasing Final Fantasy VII remake in episodes.  However, when I decided on a whim to get the disc release of the game, and holy shit, I was impressed.  The wonders of what depression can do for a man.  Here we have one of the most fantastic stealth games ever made, with a few flaws.  All things considered, I am eager to see what comes next, even though I won’t be buying the episodes.

Have you ever wanted a game where you could actually feel like a secret agent?  If so, this is your game.  This game is at its best when you play it that way.  Agent 47 is back in action.  After the insane excess that was Hitman: Absolution, this is such a breath of fresh air.  However, much like that game, one of the biggest flaws of this one is the story.  To be honest, this game would have been so much better served if it nixed the story altogether.  Just have Agent 47 doing missions to kill people.  Play it like a Bond movie and have it be bad criminals doing bad things.  Hell, the game even frames one mission where it’s rich clients who are hiring the IDA to get justice that the legal system cannot give them.  They didn’t need another convoluted conspiracy involving some supranational entity who secretly controls the world.  This trope is so overused that I am genuinely sick of it.

The plot goes that Agent 47 is hired by the IDA as their newest operative.  They are a clandestine organization who works in assassinations.  Rich people, corporations, and even national governments hire them to do wet-work operations against very dangerous people, along with some people who slipped through the legal cracks but have some very violent retribution coming their way.  However, over time, 47 and his handler realize that they are being used by a dangerous individual to attack an organization who secretly controls the world.  To what end?  Wouldn’t you like to know?

As I said, this game is basically making you a secret agent.  Each mission has you infiltrating an open level so that you can take out a series of targets and occasionally take on an adjacent task.  The goal is to go through the level and be invisible.  The IDA values no collateral damage.  You are to be ghost, who kills with perfect silence, and never leaves a trace.  And the game gives you a plethora of ways to get the job done.  Each level has dozens of routes to get to the target.  You can take the direct approach, but shooting your way through a crowd looks bad.  The levels give you a good deal of freedom when it comes to dealing with individual targets.  Some of them have little side-missions associated with them.  Sometimes you can be a ghost and sneak around without ever having to change outfits.  There are tons of disguises and hidden goodies to help you get your mission done.  No one can say that this game is unfair.  The difficulty can be whatever you want it to be, but you are still being given as much opportunities to make the kill as you like.

The best thing I can say about this game is the levels.  Not only are the visuals fucking gorgeous, I mean holy shit, but the vast open spaces let you play around with how you want to get the mission done.  Since I love to make a kill in a way where I don’t even leave anyone aware that I was there, it feels so good when I am strolling out of a place and everyone still thinks that all is well in their world.  My personal favorite was in Morocco, where I got to walk out of the Swedish Consulate and have a massive protest outside, with me not having a care in the world.  I had just killed a guy from inside a TV booth, then dragged his body into a closet where he can rot in peace until some poor cleaning person gets to find him and the knocked-out security guard that I left him in there with.

Everything in the levels of these games plays a part.  If you get made, but are able to disappear, people will be talking about what happened.  If you kill one person in an area, other people will start to notice.  Take actions and you can see the results.  My favorite was in Paris, where I dropped a massive light display on a target and had the entire procession run screaming from the show.  That was cool.  A bit more flashy than I had intended, but sometimes flashy works.  How I dropped the guy’s lover was pretty epic.

The other flaw in this game, aside from the story, is how short it is.  With five missions and the training mission, there isn’t a lot of meat.  This is a game that is meant to be replayed.  To find all the ways that you can ice your target.  You can play each mission a dozen times and still be finding new ways to play.  Whether you go from disguise to disguise, slowly working your way to your intended target, or find a tall tower with a high-powered rifle to blow your target’s head off without anyone ever even seeing you, it cannot be said that this game doesn’t let you play your way.  Reminded me of that line in Leon The Professional, where he says that the best killer can get right up next to their target, while amateurs kill from a distance.

All in all, this was worth the wait.  It sucks that Square Enix has gone this route, but I can’t fault them for the final product.  This was one hell of a game, and I will impatiently wait to see what the next season brings us.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

2016 Year in Review

Back when I was in college, I used to do Academic Year in Review posts.  It was a nice little way to wrap up the year.  With this year at an end, and me being all high as fuck (it’s legal in my state now, blow me), I thought that I would restart the tradition.  Only this time, it won’t be the Academic Year in Review, it will just be the Year in Review.  This year sure seemed to fly by.  That is, after I found my new job.  Once I was back to work, time has absolutely blazed by.  It’s been a crazy ride, but you know what, a lot has happened.  There’s a ton to talk about, so let’s get down to it.  Consider this my post for New Year’s.  By the time I get finished typing this out, it should be New Year’s Eve, anyway.

The year started on a terrible note.  I had just gone through the worst experience of my professional life.  I have already told the story of the crazy bitch and the PR company she worked for.  I haven’t heard a single thing from that company, so I guess they forgot about me.  Maybe that, or me pwning her into oblivion in her unfathomably immature texting flame war was enough so she didn’t want to deal with me again.  The way she copped out was just pathetic.  Coming off the heels of that, I was in a desperate financial situation.  I had no money.  My parents were basically having to pay my rent.  A fact that hurt me to no end.  Now back to the job market.  I was not doing well, mentally.

Months dragged by.  However, hope arrived!  I got an interview at a real estate company.  I was literally hired on the spot.  The power of my damn snappy suit, I tell you what.  For the first time in a long time, I felt pretty good.  Sure, the job had no benefits, and the pay wasn’t great, but it was work.  And I could look for a better job while there.  It’s always easier to find work when already employed.  It just looks better on a resume.  Anyway, two days in, and I saw something that immediately made my blood run cold.  It was a box at the office with the name of the PR company that I had just been through that fiasco with.  Immediately, I knew that this was bad.  I asked, and it seems they rented some office space there.  This was bad.  Say that crazy bitch dropped in?  Say she talk to them about me?  She’s as vindictive as Hillary Clinton, and will abuse her power whenever possible.

Sure enough, my worries were confirmed.  I get told by the same woman that hired me, at the end of my second day, that I am “not the right fit for the position.”  I was pissed.  No wonder this job had such a high turnover rate.  Did I not mention that?  Seems that the job did.  I was told as much.  Given the absurd things I had to do every fucking day there, I genuinely am not surprised.  Oh well.  To be honest, given where I am now, I don’t see losing that job as a huge loss.  Though it will be weird giving a W-2 to my aunt, who does the family taxes, for a job that I only held for two days.

More months passed.  I was so miserable.  The worst thing about not working, that they don’t tell you, is how you lose track of what day is what.  See, something else happened.  My special lawyer girly-mate left.  She and I had been thick as thieves.  I knew that it was coming, but still, driving her to the airport was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  The last time I did it, we shared an amazing kiss.  That girl’s lips were among the softest I have ever gotten the chance to kiss.  This time, it was just heart-breaking.  Last time, I had some reassurance that she would be back.  This time, there was none.  This time, she was leaving with a person that she had been dating to come back to.  This time, I could feel that she wasn’t going to be coming back.  Something inside just told me it was so.  That fact, more than any other, hurt me.  How many people have I watched walk away from me, knowing that I will likely never see them again?  I don’t know.  I doubt I ever will.

The next major event came up.  A neurology clinic that I had applied to got back to me!  It was an interview, and I kicked ass!  Hell, I impressed the person I was interviewing with so much, that they wanted me to meet with the manager of the office too.  I took them up on that, and it was a damn good call.  Two interviews for the price of one.  By the time I got back to my place, I could tell that good things were coming.  Sure enough, about a week later, I got a call asking if I would come back in, this time for something call a “working interview.”  A totally new concept to me, it’s when you come in and basically sit in and do parts of the job for a day, to show what you are made of and how quickly you can adapt.  I don’t deny, walking in to that office, looking ready to work, I felt so good.  It was a little nerve-wracking, but I very quickly got the hang of stuff.  Plus, the women in the office were great.  I was the only guy.  The only one.  They were all fun people, and I felt like I was fitting in just nicely.  By the end of the day, walking out, I felt on top of the world.  Got paid for my work (they have to pay you for a working interview), and they told me that they would be in touch within a week or so.  I decided to wait a few days, and then “check in.”  Show how eager I am to get to work for them.  It seemed smart.  Was told that the woman who was doing the hiring was out.  Okay.  That’s cool.  I’ll call back on Friday.  End of the week, exactly a week from the working interview.  Will find out then.  Had good feelings.

I call back, told that she is busy, but would call me back.  They took down my name and number.  I figured that they were people of their word, so nothing to worry about, right?  I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  In a way, I’m still waiting.  In what was one of the most unprofessional displays I have ever seen, they never got back to me.  To this day, I still haven’t heard a thing.  How unprofessional is that?  If you put in a day with a company, and really try your best, don’t you at least deserve to hear back from them?  I was so pissed.  What’s more, it was such a good opportunity.  A job I can walk to!  That’s what it was.  I could commute to work in five minutes, on foot.  Ten minutes in winter.  They didn’t even have the guts to tell me that I didn’t get the job.  So pissed, I was.

After that failure, my depression was doing a real number on me.  It had been getting steadily worse, but this was almost past the tipping point.  It was past a year since I had started working at the neurology clinic I was at.  A year since the best opportunity I had had slipped through my fingers, all because I was sick and angry.  What an idiot, I was.  But the real blow was coming.  My parents could no longer keep helping me with my rent.  The old man wanted to retire, so they couldn’t handle the lacking income.  By this point, I was beyond desperate.  However, hope came!  In my darkest hour, hope came.  I got an interview for a state job.  It was the ugliest state job one can ask for.  The most thankless state job one could ask for.  A job that involves money and children.  You can probably extrapolate from there.  Just the day before, I had had a golden idea to hit up an old boss of mine on Facebook and ask if I could use her for a reference.  She was more than happy to oblige.  And it was just in time, as this place called me back and asked me for some references.  My old boss told me she gave me the best reference ever when they called.  I was so happy.  Two days later, I got the call.  I was hired.  In that instant, relief flooded into my veins.

My new job starts, and it was in the first day where I met someone who has become so important to my life in such a short amount of time.  We were hired at the same time, and both of us were there at the same orientation.  It was all awkward and quiet, so I decided to break the ice.  What an awesome decision, that was.  We got each other’s name, and thus began a friendship that is giving me so much to look forward to.

The job is so fucking complicated.  Even now, I feel so stupid when I look at things and I don’t know what any of it means.  Plus, our office is so underfunded that we use fucking DOS.  I shit you not.  We use DOS to run our entire agency.  The level of unreal in that blows my fucking mind.  So much to learn, and I am in the Customer Service section of our Division.  Meaning that I get to deal with people’s hate directly.  Groj, so unpleasant.  But more than that, I was having a bit of an identity crisis for a while.  Being called by my given name, it felt so surreal.  Like someone else was in that office.  For a brief while, I couldn’t tell who was who.  Then, one day, I saw some stupid SJW shit posted online, and I reconnected with Lucien all over again.

As is want to happen, whenever I make a friend of the opposite sex, and things are going splendidly, something goes wrong.  It is my life, after all.  Her significant other has jealousy issues.  Those of you who have followed me for many years can maybe see where this is going.  The jealousy issues peaked when she hung out at my place and we had some drinks and were just chilling.  It was awesome.  It was everything I could have asked for.  For so long, all I have wanted is to have friends over to my place.  We could watch movies, make good food, play games.  It’s all I have wanted for years.  That night will go down in history as one of the best nights of my life, which then translated into one of the worst the next day, when our friendship was falling apart due to the love of her life taking umbrage with me.  I’ll give this guy some credit, he’s actually met me.  I could tell when we did meet that he was sizing me up.  And I don’t know if he liked what he saw or not.  I outsmarted him and his friends in a game that we were playing.  Felt good.  My poker face destroyed him.  I then decided to just fuck with all of them in the next round because I could.  We learned something about each other that night.  I learned that he wanted to stake his claim to his girl in front of me.  He learned that I am hard to read when I want to be.  I thought that the guy doesn’t like me.  At the very least he sees me as something of a threat.  But the way I see it, any beliefs about me being a threat should go due to recent events.  If there is anything that has cemented me as nothing approaching a threat ever, it’s what’s happened.

When things fell apart after the night at my place, I basically had to concede everything that I have ever wanted in a friendship for so long.  She listened to my heartfelt and nearly tearful statement about how much this hurt, and there was nothing.  Not a single emotion that registered.  She said that she can’t please everyone, and has to do what’s best for her relationship.  I get that.  I know that I will always come in second place.  Hell, I don’t even rank third.  I’m a new friend.  I rank in fifth or sixth place on the totem pole.  That’s how it goes.  I have no illusions about where I am on the pecking order.

For those who think that this is following the Emily path, that’s my biggest fear.  However, I will say this much – I don’t think so.  For starters, Emily and I were infinitely closer than Kathryn and I are.  Maybe that’s a point in this situation’s favor.  Plus, there is the reality that I don’t know what this significant other who at least has seen me as something of a threat thinks.  I’ve gotten conflicting pieces of information.  I may eventually choose to see this person again, see if there is something more to be achieved from interaction.  Who knows, right?  However, all the signs are there that this story will follow the track that Emily and I’s did.  If so, it will break my heart in ways you couldn’t begin to imagine.

However, there is peace on the land of our new friendship, for now.  We hang out as often as we can, but the understanding is that she will never be able to chill at my place again.  Ever.  That means that movie nights are out.  Making good food is out.  I’ve already talk about how much I wanted that.  It’s a huge sacrifice, and part of me still wonders what she gave up in return, but I’m done fighting a battle that I know I can’t win.  I’ve done enough negotiations in these situations to know when I have no bargaining position.  And it’s not to say that we haven’t had fun since then.

Just recently, however, things took another turn.  Her and I have been carpooling to work together.  There is a lot of ugly history with her sister, her sister’s husband, and the nieces that she now has no ability to see.  Some truly horrible things.  But one day, the sister puts out an olive branch.  Because I have this belief that a person should strike while the iron’s hot, when the sister invited her down to the states as a way to make amends and bring the family back together again, I told her to take the risk.  It’s a gamble, but how often does good fortune come a person’s way?  So she did it.  Used up all her leave time at work, spending almost everything she will have saved, all to go down to North Carolina to see her family.  Maybe she’s spending too much time with me.  Lady Luck saw fit to strike.

The same day, she is sent a message from her sister basically taking that olive branch she put out and burning it down in front of her.  The girl was in pain.  Horrible, aching pain.  Years of unaddressed agony bubbling up and exploding.  In the hall at work, she fell to the floor and sobbed.  All I could do is sit next to her and hold her.  I had no words, nothing to say.  All I could do is hold her and listen to her cry.  I felt next to useless in that moment.  Like I was the person putting a band-aid on an ax wound.  The boss came over, and in an amazing moment, she became a complete mom and was able to remedy the situation.  Had her go home.  Since we carpooled together, I took her home.  That was such a hard day, for me.

Ever since then, things have been weird.  She denies it, but I’m smart enough to see that something has changed.  I can’t put my finger on it, but things have gotten awkward between us.  I am sensing a growing distance.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Wouldn’t be the first time.  However, there has been a real change in things between us after that day, and not for the better.  Maybe that’s how it separates from the Emily story.  After I wiped the tears off Emily’s face in the Periodicals Room, the two of us were closer than ever.  Now I feel like I have lost a TON of ground.  Not a fan of that.  Wondering what I did wrong.  Probably overthinking this.  Unsure.

So that’s where we are now.  My job is sucking the life out of me.  The reality is that once Kathryn leaves to go to basic for the Navy (proud of her for that.  Was pushing her to reapply to get back in to the Navy), I am out of there.  It’s nothing against the department.  I just can’t do a job where I am getting treated like shit by people that I am having less and less sympathy for every day.  There’s no way I can do this long term.  Planning on staying with the state for at least five years.  Then I’m vested and have guarantee retirement.  Since state jobs like to hire with people already in the state, I feel comfortable when I go looking for a new port to call my own.

Looking ahead, I have been given hints that my lawyer girl may be coming back, if only for a little bit.  That gives me hope.  A brief glimmer of hope to latch on to.  It hasn’t been the hardest year, but a decent amount of stuff has happened.  Leading up to when I found this new job, it was months of time where, if I didn’t have this watch, I couldn’t tell one day from the next.  I have a job, already one review that looks good, and will have another come February.  A new friendship that, while it is currently on not the most stable ground, has a ton of potential.  Guess we’ll see what happens.

Until next time, a quote,

This may not make much sense to you now, a young man at the beginning of his career, but one of the things you learn as you move up the ranks and get a little older is that you wish you had more time in your youth to really absorb the things that happened to you. It goes by so fast. It’s so easy to become jaded. To treat the extraordinary like just another day at the office. But sometimes, there are experiences that transcend all that.” -Capt. Katherine Janeway, Star Trek: Voyager

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Worst Game of 2016

As I said in a previous post, it has been a slow year for gaming.  This means that there have been some mediocre games that have come out.  And while some of those mediocre games bug me, like Rise of the Tomb Raider, it isn’t nearly bad enough to make this list.  I had been going to do a review of this game, but I never did.  I just couldn’t deal with it anymore.  It was so annoying.  I wasted my money on it.  I want a fucking refund.  But nope!  Because PSN doesn’t do refunds, because Sony are a bunch of greedy mizers.  This game was bad, in every way that a game can be, aside from being visually interesting.  I’ve waited to talk about it long enough.  Let’s get down into my worst game of this year…

Bound

When I think of all the complaints that people have about Gone Home, the one that always sticks out to me the most is when people call it “pretentious.”  The reason is that I don’t think that it is.  Is it the amazing game that everyone believes it to be?  Absolutely not.  It’s a misleading game about a girl being home alone, with all the marketing making the game out to have some kind of nefarious edge.  Instead, it was just a game packed full of 90’s cheese about a lesbian dodging her duties as a soldier to be with her girlfriend.  Yeah, that’s it.  There’s really nothing more to it.

Speaking of, here we have a game that is about a pregnant woman on a beach, ripping pages out of her notebook while going into a fantasy world as a ballerina character to act out metaphors for her broken life.  That’s it.  There genuinely is nothing more to it than that.  You get to go through some admittedly-cool landscapes to solve a narrative that is WAY too far up its own ass.  Plus, the gameplay is boring, repetitive, and after a while you start to realize that all the worlds look alike.  At least with Alice: Madness Returns, while the gameplay got repetitive, you had these unique environments to explore.  That made it all worth it.  Every level in this game looks exactly the same.  It got to the point that I couldn’t tell if I was moving forward or backwards in places.

Oh, and then there is the repetitive control scheme for the repetitive hazards that you come across.  I felt like my time was being wasted so many times in that fucking game.  But, you know, I could actually have dealt with that if it weren’t for the fact that the narrative is such pretentious bullshit.  It’s trying to be all vague and metaphorical, but it doesn’t read that way.  It reads as that episode of Nostalgia Critic examining “The Cell,” where he has the director dancing in the background shouting “ask me what it means!  Ask me what it means!”  Groj, I hate this fucking game.  Wasted $20 on that.  No joke, for a game that is 3 hours long, they charged $20.  Unbelievable.

And then, the game just ends.  No build-up.  No final boss.  Hell, no fucking pay-off!  Like, it gives you some bullshit choice, that I guess you are supposed to leave open to interpretation, but it doesn’t read like, that.  Again, “ask me what it means!  Ask me what it means!”  This game is every pretentious SJW circlejerk where they get to go on and on about how deep and poetic a game is.  And this is coming from someone who LIKES art games.  My second-favorite game of this year is ABZU, a game which is literally a giant underwater level with VERY smooth controls.  I am going to eventually be doing a huge Critical Examination post about that game, because there is a very interesting lore there.  But this is just artistic bullshit.  It’s some poncy art student wanting to pretend to be all deep, while in reality just making crap that looks nice, for a bit.

Fuck this game.  Fuck this game so hard.  Since I didn’t do a review of it, I’m going to give it a Final Verdict to close us out.

Final Verdict
2 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Best Game of 2016

This has been a very slow year.  After how amazing last year was, it’s to be expected.  This year has had a lot of delays, a lot of VERY cool reveals, and wonder about what will happen.  It’s looking like next year will be pretty quiet too.  I am working on my Most Anticipated Games of 2017 list, and my top entries haven’t been confirmed for next year, but it’s a decent guess that they will be released then.  I was so hoping that my favorite game of this year would be Final Fantasy XV.  After ten years of waiting, I was so stoked for what I believed to be the best display.  However, such was not the case.  That was a very good game that was being held back by a completely lackluster story and a third act that was downright boring.  No joke, everything after going to Altissia is dull a fuck.

With that said, the game that took the top spot this year was one that I didn’t expect.  When I first saw the reveal trailer, I was so certain that this was going to be a snooze.  I mean, how could this possibly be any good?  So glad to see that I was wrong.  It shouldn’t have come to me as any shock, considering that It was made by Naughty Dog.  After the reveal of the sequel to The Last of Us, I am so hopeful for what I will see next.  My pick for the best game of 2016 is…

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Man did this game do it right.  So many truly great franchises crash and burn at the end.  Probably the most famous example is Mass Effect.  Right up to the very end, that franchise was so fucking good.  But then, in its final minutes, the whole narrative just falls apart.  Everything after the Victory Fleet goes to Earth is terrible.  You have no idea how depressing that was.  Perhaps the hardest thing for any franchise to do is end well.  I don’t deny, it is a tricky gambit.  But this game showed that it could be done, and done incredibly well.

First, this is the most beautiful game I have ever seen.  Bar none.  The visuals are a step above, which helps bring to life a story that has some fantastic depth.  Whether it be examining Nate and his inability to let the treasure hunter life go, or what it means to be married and have it be “until death do you part,” there are so many wonderful relationships that are examined, with the express purpose of bringing the franchise to a close.  Sure, it does bring up a plot convenience in Nate’s brother, but with Troy Baker doing the voice, along with an amazing introduction section, he fits right in.  Not to mention we are back with our main man Sully once-again.  Add in Elena giving Nate shit, and it’s like getting to go on one last adventure with a family that we have known for so long.

Then there is the fact that this game is so damn fun!  Whatever your play style, the game accomodates you.  Whether it be running and gunning, or doing what I do and getting your stealth on.  It is just so much fun to explore the beautiful landscapes and shooting up the place or picking the enemy off one by one.  We also get these wide open landscapes to explore, to take in the beautiful vistas and get to hear our characters play off each other.  There wasn’t a single level in the entire game where I was like, “wow, seen this before.”

Finally, the game brings the franchise to a definitive end with a perfect epilogue.  Nate’s place on that beach is fucking amazing.  Sure, it is a hipster house, but if I had the chance to live there, you bet your ass I would take it.  I loved this game, and it makes going through the entire franchise again that much better.  We get to see how it all ends, and that is why it is my favorite game of this year.

Until next time, a quote,

“Sic Parvis Magna, little brother.” – Sam Drake, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Peace out,

Maverick

What I’m Thankful For This Year (2016)

A long time ago, I did Academic Year in Review posts.  After I got done with college, I stopped that.  But I will be bringing it back with Year in Review posts.  So I won’t go into too much about what’s happened this year.  However, I can’t talk about the things that I am thankful for this year without going into it a bit.  Man, I am the king of digressions.  And this one starts out my post for Thanksgiving this year.  It’s been a very odd year, in that not a lot has legitimately happened.  A whole year, and my life has been pretty vanilla.  So this list will be a bit short, this year.  Take it for what you will.

My New Job

That’s right, I finally have a new job.  And it is…the most thankless, difficult, stressful job you can imagine.  I won’t say where or what it exactly is, but it is a state job that involves lots of money and children.  And people hate me for it.  I’m sure that you can extrapolate what it is based on that.  My resume is shitty beyond all reason.  However, I now am working for the state, doing a job that can only look absolutely fantastic on a resume.  I’m still in my probationary period for this job, but I got my interim review.  It was good, across the board.  My boss and I even had a heart-to-heart about my brain damage and how that has led to the depression that affects my negativity.  She understood, and even was able to boost her reviews of me by understanding that my way of being isn’t me trying to bother anyone.  I’m just damaged and trying as hard as I can to be the best employee I can.  The discussion about the review felt fantastic.

Of course, it’s not perfect.  It’s a state job, with all the strings that come with that.  The pay is NOT what I was hoping for.  My hopes of saving up are not going anywhere fast.  But it’s a launching point, and I am okay with that.  At the end of my six month period, I will be getting my first raise.  We’ll see what that equals out to.  My life is a living example of things not working out when I want them to, so I take whatever I can get.

My Parents

It’s hard for me to overstate just how much these people have done for me.  The best thing about getting this fantastic opportunity with the state is that I am FINALLY not having to go to them for money.  That was really bothering me inside, especially with the old man retiring this year.  He’s finally able to enjoy his twilight years.  And my mother calls him her “house bitch.”  I always said that he would go crazy inside an hour if he didn’t have work to do.  Either that or do like his old man and just wander around on his lawnmower talking to people.  Part of me can’t help but think that that might be something he starts doing compulsively – mowing the lawn.  Groj knows, the parents got enough of it.  They are living in the last home they will ever live in.  This is their twilight home.

For as much as I have asked from them for the past few years, it is always something I keep in the back of my mind that I owe them.  Both figuratively and literally.  But this new job doesn’t even pay me enough for that.  I can’t even save with it.  Adulthood is so fucking frustrating, sometimes.  But I keep at it, and hopefully I can actually pay them off.  And maybe get a new car so I don’t have to continue to borrow theirs.  Among other things in my life that are turning into such a pain.  They are two of the best people that a young man could ask for, and despite what I have been told when I was arguing with them in years past, I never took that for granted.  Not once.

My Gypsy Girl

The girl who came into my life on a strange day, and left in just as strange a way.  That girl and I have kept in touch.  It’s been a period of her being around, then not.  She’ll be chatty as fuck with me, and then disappear for weeks or even months.  However, through some of the darkness that I have had to power through in the last year, this girl has been someone that I could talk to.  I also call her my “complicated girl.”  That’s not an overstatement.  This girl is a strange as she is complicated, to the point that I don’t think even she understands her own motivations.

We have bonded over how much darkness we have in our lives.  My darkness is depression caused from brain damage, combined with a severe sense of self-loathing and frustration at my lack of a personal/sex life.  Her darkness is depression caused by substance abuse, a severe sense of self-loathing and frustration at her lack of a personal/sex life.  I haven’t met anyone who understand dwelling the unending darkness like her.  Were it not for forces greater than myself making it so that it can’t be, I would have asked her out ages ago and hopefully impressed her to the point that we would be dating.  Alas, that’s not how that story goes.  Right now we’re in a period of her going dark.  It’s all good.  However long it is, I know that I’ll get a text or call from her one day, and we’ll be able to talk again.  Even if it’s just me listening to her talk about her makeup.  It’s still a medication for what ails her and I.

As I said, the list would be short this year, so here is the biggest thing I am thankful for this year…

My New Friend, Kathryn

My cousin is a huge fan of Bill Burr, and has repeatedly shared with me the bit where he says that men and women can’t be friends as adults, because relationships will always come between them.  He may be right.  However, I take the people I find in my life as they come.  Her and I met the first day we started at the new job together.  It was her, myself, and another person sitting there.  It was awkward and quiet, so I decided to say something to break the ice.  That decision set the stage for one of the most enriching relationships I have had in years.  Her and I have bonded so much, so quickly.  I could tell that we would get along, and I have yet to be proven wrong.

Getting to talk to this girl, hang out, carpool to work, or go out to movies or to dine are the only things that I currently have to look forward to.  And I do.  More than you will ever know.  She is working with me to bring my comic book idea to life.  The girl is a genius.  But there is another part.  A part that bonds with my darkness.  You don’t need to know the details.  This part and me do have a connection, though.  One that I believe could lead to this being one of the strongest connections I have ever had.  Maybe I’m wrong.  I don’t know.  That’s part of why I want to expand things.

There’s the tricky part.  Like most socialite females, she’s a busy girl.  Relationships, family, other people.  I’m just a small part of that.  I know that.  Do I like it?  No.  But I am not so presumptuous of my importance in someone’s life to demand a special space.  I’m needy as fuck, don’t get me wrong, but I haven’t lied to her about that.  Honesty has been something that I strive for above all with this girl.  So many times in my life that proactive lies have gotten me out of a difficult spot, that it has become second-nature to me now.  Not her.  Not this one person.  Truth between us.  That’s a valuable thing.

That’s not to say that it’s been perfect.  Lately it has been a VERY rough patch, due to an old problem that has plagued me for so long.  One that I still fear will destroy what the two of us have.  However, I have done what I can to patch things up, for now.  And I made sure to leave a way for me to gauge if this will be like those other times, in a very simple way.  Anyone who knows me knows that I leave as little as I can to chance.

Those are the things that I’m thankful for this year.  Feel free to let me know what yours are in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” – Karl Barth

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Arrival

arrivalWhen the film ended, and I looked over at my darling companion, the first thing she said is that this movie was complicated.  That’s a statement that can and DOES apply to all Denis Villeneuve’s movies.  This is a guy who expects nothing less than perfect from whatever he makes, and because of that puts out some of the most underrated films that I have ever seen.  The man loves to make his movies complicated, with both themes and symbolism that you can easily miss.  When my girl and I got to talking about the movie after we got done watching, I pointed out something that I am reasonably certain I caught that she missed.  I won’t say what it is.  I hope that there are going to be some fantastic arguments with people about all the parts of the movie.  This was the most unexpected sci-fi movie about aliens landing, and it is this movie that makes me absolutely certain that the sequel to Blade Runner (one of my all-time favorite films) is in good hands.

The plot of the film follows Amy Adams’ character, as a professor of language who seems to have had a tragedy befall her life.  I can’t tell you what it is.  Trust me, it plays into the plot in a big way.  While dealing with this, a series of strange crafts come to Earth from the stars.  The military asks her to come with them and help to establish contact, as they are completely unable to communicate with the beings.  The film chronicles her efforts to speak with the creatures, and decipher the one question that has the entire world on edge – what is your purpose on Earth?  A question that is far more difficult than you’d think to ask.

I cannot begin to praise how believable the elements of this film are without an INSANE level of exposition.  This feels so genuine.  So much of that pends on Amy Adams for her performance.  This woman is a rising star in my eyes of actresses.  She is fantastic in this role, and I hope to see her in more fantastic movies in the future.  The way she explains the usage of language and shows just how much of an academic understanding she has of the medium is wonderful.  When the film wants to show that knowledge, it does so incredibly well.  Amy Adams is the glue that held this movie together, and it is was damn-near perfect glue.

But let’s not cute short the rest of the performances.  Jeremy Renner is very good in his role.  You can see the development of his character from a science who takes what Adams’ character believes not seriously at all to respecting her as he sees just how good she is and how hard she is willing to push herself.  The relationship that develops between the two is believable and by the end, you feel their connection without some cliche kiss in the rain or something like that.  Just through little expressions, you see them growing on each other.

Then there is Forest Whitaker’s character.  In fact, everything to do with the military in this movie was worlds better than what you see the military like in other films.  Sure, they are quick to assume deadly intent, but you can see just how powerless and fearful they are.  This is so much bigger than any one nation, and as the situation grows more and more tense, globally, it makes sense why they are so on edge.  Whitaker grows to depend on his two experts feels real and even how he is having to obey orders when he knows that the situation is more complicated.  I hate in movies how the military is treated like some “let’s just shoot them” group.  Sure, we in ‘Murica do tend to shoot first and ask questions never, but in a situation where we don’t know if shooting might result in global destruction, even ‘Murica would have to bend to the idea of trying to find a peaceful solution.  Granted, there are some “we need to blow them up” moments, but there is enough time of them being unsure and trying to look into other alternatives that I can believe when it gets there.

Now let’s get to the effects in this movie.  I won’t claim that they are perfect.  In fact, there is one scene in-particular where Adams’ CG hair is so bad that it is kind of funny.  But this film keeps the visual effects to a minimum.  And when it wants to shine, it really does.  Since the entire conflict in the film is about translating the aliens’ language, the scenes where we get to see both sides communicating are just awesome.  I love the visual design for the language.  I wonder how much effort went into designing it.  Since Villeneuve tends to be an insane perfectionist in his movies, I get the feeling that it was a lot.

Lastly, if you are going to see this movie, keep in mind that it’s dense.  If you’ve seen this director’s other words, you should know that going into it.  It asks some pretty hard questions, and I can’t wait to get it on blu-ray so I can rewatch it and maybe do a Critical Examination of the film and some of the stuff I saw.  My compatriot wasn’t in the right mindset for how dense some of this got, but I could tell she was impressed when I took some of it and laid it straight.  Plus, I loved getting to watch a movie with her.  We don’t get to hang out nearly enough.  But she’s a busy girl.  Adulthood, am I right?

This was a fantastic movie.  It’s not for everyone.  If you are looking for some alien thriller with all kinds of action, you are DEFINITELY going to the wrong place.  I honestly recommend that anyone who wants to see this movie avoid trailers.  They spoil things.  This director doesn’t get the respect he deserves, but hopefully movies like this get him some more mainstream acclaim.  I can’t wait to see what he does with the Blade Runner universe.

Final Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick