Lucien’s Worst Game of 2019

I sometimes don’t have a lot to say in a worst of the year post, because the fact that my finances are always pretty stunted, I am always having to measure what games I buy.  As such, unless something looks pretty awesome, I don’t buy it.  However, this year had one that really stuck in my craw.  A game that could have been something amazing, that SHOULD have been something amazing, but turned out to be a giant pile of trash that spit on its legacy.  For those who are salivating thinking I’m talking about Death Stranding, don’t.  While that game does have a ton of problems, I don’t hate it.  Some of you who read my site regularly will probably know which game I’m actually talking about.

Recently, I talked about how I am kind of done with nostalgia culture.  Well, there are things that I am genuinely nostalgic for.  So many people talk about this thing or that thing ruining their childhood.  I have that thought when I saw the post talking about how Disney is going to do a live-action version of A Night on Bald Mountain from my favorite film of all time – Fantasia.  The game that I hated most this year actually did shit on my childhood a little.  It hurt me as I got to the end and there was one thought in my mind – that’s it?!  Seriously?!  Got a lot of rage to unload here, so let’s get to it.  The game I HATED most in 2019 is…

Kingdom Hearts III

It kinda blows my mind how bad this game is.  How it can take a formula that has been done so well before, even in some of the more cash-grab games, and take such a dump on it is kind of impressive.  How do you fuck up a formula where it’s been done so well in two mainline entries?!  Was this a deliberate choice?!  Did Tetsuya Nomura just think to himself, “fuck Square Enix, I’m just gonna shit this out and give it to the fans because they wouldn’t let me make the Final Fantasy versus XIII game I wanted to do.”  By the way, that’s the truth.  They didn’t let him do that.  Why?  Because Square Enix wanted to market the game in china, and they didn’t like the focus on a god of death.  So they had to dumb it down in order to make the game sell in the place that now more and more companies are bending the knee to.  But I digress.

Every single part of this game feels rushed.  All of it feels like things were just being done in order to be finished with it.  Like nobody wanted to be working on this game, but were obligated to do it.  Maybe it’s because more and more games are coming in below projected estimates for this entertainment giant, and they figured that they needed something to just rake in the cash.  If nothing else, Kingdom Hearts fanboys/girls are pretty die-hard.  Still, while playing it, I could never escape this feeling that they were just looking to be finished with it.

I can guess why.  Part of me feels like Disney got their grubby fingers into this and were forcing the company to pimp their biggest stuff in order to get the licenses to work with.  Fan favorite worlds?  Nope!  That would detract from Disney’s marketing their newest and biggest stuff to the gamers.  Actually having Final Fantasy character?  Fuck that!  That will detract even more from it.  Even though they could EASILY have just taken characters from their library and integrated them into Disney worlds, that would also have detracted.  I don’t know where the fault lies for how rushed and poorly paced this game was, but I want to call out the person responsible.

Nothing in this game feels engaging.  Sure, we had all the fan callbacks with every fan favorite character getting screen time.  But we don’t care about any of them.  After this many years with the franchise basically being on ice, nobody gives a fuck about anything that happens here.  It looks very pretty, but feels unbelievably hollow.  Just a lot of spectacle.  The plot felt like it was going nowhere.  The characters had no investment.  It was all just playing out a string.

Why did they not let us visit ANY of the worlds we loved?  Hell, your time in 100 Acre Wood felt like something tacked on just to make fans happy.  Why?  Just another rushed world where you are in and out before you even know that something happened.  I don’t get it!  For everything they got right, like putting tons of people in worlds that were supposed to have them, they made the areas with people just afterthoughts.  Nomura’s last project, Final Fantasy XV, feels like it was half-done.  This was feels like even less than that.  And I hear that his next one, the remake of Final Fantasy VII is STILL being released episodically, with each one basically being the size of a AAA game by itself.  Screw that!  Is that the future now?  Don’t have your game done, you can just release a full-priced game that is a third complete and then release two other full-priced expansions?!  I’m not doing that!  I want to be excited for that game, but the more I hear about how they are releasing it, the more I realize that I’m just not.  It looks beautiful, but it’s coming out one third done.

This game’s biggest failing to me was that it was boring.  With the exception of the Toy Story world, which got me invested just because it had that iconic music and characters I grew up loving.  I’m surprised they couldn’t have at least gotten Tim Allen to do the voicework for Buzz.  I mean, how much is that guy’s cost really at these days?  He ain’t that high on the hog anymore.  Still, there were worlds where I should have been invested, and I just wasn’t.  Like the world from Big Hero 6, though admittedly, that one got the closest.  And Pirates of the Caribbean world was fun to return to.  The part of that level where Jack is teaching Sora how to be a pirate, and you find out it wasn’t really him was pretty great stuff.

When trailers for this game came out, everyone thought this was going to be a tour de force for the franchise.  Instead, it was a game where everyone involved just wanted to be done.  You can feel it in every second of rushed dialogue.  And you know what, that bums me out a little.  So much more could have and rightly should have been done.  Let the creative energy flow.  But then Square Enix wouldn’t have gotten the easy money.  It breaks my heart.  I was hoping for more, and instead I got less.  Then we find out that more games are coming out in the franchise.  Nope!  I’m done.  Just fucking done.

Until next time, a quote,

“This sucks.” – Beevis, Beevis and Butthead

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Best Game of 2019

As the year is wrapping up, it’s time to think about what came out this year.  It was a very ho-hum year for gaming.  Whether it be games coming out later than expected, or ones delayed until next year, it seems that 2019 is the year that is gearing up for the swan song of yet-another console generation.  Next year has so many games with confirmed release dates that are going to blow the effing minds out of people, and it’s clear that major companies all want to finish as strong as they possibly can.  With that being said, what is the game that has most stood out to me this year?

I will say that 2019 is the year of sleeper hits.  Games that came out of nowhere and really impressed me.  AA projects that were more reserved, and as such made the most of their limited resources.  The game that has stuck with me the most out of those is the one on this post, my favorite game of 2019.  So, without further ado, my favorite game of 2019 is…

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

Just recently, I caught up on all the extra mission DLC that was in the Season Pass I got for this game, and man that was fun!  For those who were unaware, I think that fighter jets are the raddest thing ever.  It’s the reason that Top Gun is such a guilty pleasure to me.  As corny as it is, the film had jets being awesome fighter jets.  So when I saw the trailers for this game, bringing flight sim combat back to a new generation of gaming, my thought was – oh hell yes!  Give me the most beautiful fighter jet in the world – the F-22 Raptor!  Then it got released, and all my expectations were blown out of the water.

I will say that there was nothing about this game that was subtle.  The characters aren’t subtle, the action isn’t subtle, and the plot is as bombastic as it gets.  But man, getting into the cockpit of a fighter jet is oh so satisfying in this game.  Whether you choose to play this like a classic arcade fighter sim, or go very realistic with it, this game has a ton of neat mechanics for you to work with, all of which are super fun.  For my part, because I grew up on fighter games like Star Fox 64, I tend to play it in an arcade way.  But it doesn’t take my appreciation for the kind of game it is away.

Everything in this game is smooth.  Flying is smooth.  The framerate is high on my PS4 Pro, which is essential for a game where you are flying through the air and taking on enemies in fast-paced dogfights.  Every jet has its own personality, and getting to know them all is part of the fun.  While the Raptor is my girl, there are plenty of other jets I love.  Most notably, the F/A-18 Super Hornet (Navy love, Hooyah!), the F-35 Lightning II, the F-14 Tomcat (RIP, you beautiful jet), and the F-15 Eagle.  Each of them is fun to fly.  Dog-fighting is great, keeping on the tail of your enemy until you get missile lock, then waiting until they aren’t in a position where they can maneuver around your shot and taking it.  There’s an art to being great at this game on high difficulty.  It’s magical.

Sure, the story of this game is dumb.  I found that while I was playing the DLC, I got so much more into the story.  Not just because it was during a part in the main story where I loved the characters, but also because the narrative in the cutscenes corresponded with the narrative during gameplay.  It made it connect so much more, whereas in the main game, it seems so disconnected from whatever you’re doing.  Perhaps they can learn from this in whatever the next iteration of the franchise is.

If you love fighter sim combat games the way that I do, you owe it to yourself to play this game.  It flew under a lot of radar, and it is a throw-back to a style of game that is pretty much dead.  It’s so strange to me that a lot of my favorite games in recent years are unsung heroes.  Back in 2017, it was Persona 5, a AAA JRPG.  The fact that such a thing exists and was as spectacular as it was astounds me.  In 2015 it was Life is Strange, an episodic game with a style and attitude like an Indie film.  Were it not for how the last episode ended, it would be so much more loved by me.  There are games that are doing some neat things, and I like to see that Sony is helping to foster this.

Hopefully this isn’t the last time I will see this franchise take flight.  I can’t imagine what the next game will be, but I will be there to get behind the wing of my jet again.  See if Raptor and I can’t do some crazy stuff again.

Until next time, a quote,

“What happens when two singularities go up against one-another?” – Analyst North, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

Peace out,

Maverick

What I’m Thankful For This Year, 2019

It’s a day late, but on this day when America gets to display its greatest greed, I thought that I would do my yearly tradition of saying the things that I’m thankful for.  This year has gone by unimaginably quickly.  If you would have told me the things that I would go through this year at the beginning, I’d have said you were crazy.  But sure enough, here I am, watching one of my favorite films on blu-ray – Blade Runner.  I forgot how amazing the cinematography was.  As I watch the film, my mind drifts to some of my experiences, and the parts of my life that have gotten me here.  With all that said, here are the things that I am thankful for this year.

First, it’s having a job that can pay for my continuing growth in education.  I’m looking to leave the frigid icebox that I find myself trapped in.  After my last go-around in college, I no longer qualify for student loans.  As such, I have to pay for this stuff out of pocket.  College tuition has sky-rocketed in the last few years.  I can only afford one class per semester.  But with this job I have, as unpleasant and difficult as it is, I can afford to attend.  If everything works out, if I put in maximal effort and get it all done, then I can leave Alaska in less than two years and have a career waiting for me.  And maybe, something more.

Next up is my chums and my amazing coworkers.  I’m actively looking to get out of my job and find something more appropriate for my personality.  I’ve told my coworkers multiple times that when I tell them that I want to leave, I don’t want any of them taking it personally.  And I mean it.  My job is thankless and unimaginably difficult, but the people I work with are awesome.  I’m currently sharing cubicle space with some of the most fun people I’ve been working around in a long time.  There’s been ups and downs regarding who I sit around.  At the start, I had this awesome gal who taught me so much about doing the job once I got out of training, and an old chum from my days in customer service who I was able to enjoy good conversation with.  Then they left, and things got less fun again.  But my current crew is really great and I will miss each and every one of them when I finally go, either when I find a new job, or when I leave the state in one year and nine months time.

Speaking of friends, there is one friend who has separate themselves from the rest.  Just like every year.  Ever since the two of us met, this person has brought so much into my life.  I’ve had some amazing experiences through her.  This summer, I got to attend a navy ceremony where her uniform was updated, and participate in putting the new insignia on her cover.  Being a part of something so formal, it was amazing.  Stuck with me the entire afternoon.  For some, that’s just a part of their day, but because of my head injury, I cannot serve in the military.  That was as close as I can get.  Wouldn’t trade it for anything.  But that wasn’t all.  I got an invitation to the Navy Ball.  An event that would stick will stick with me for the rest of my life.  At least, from where I am now.  A very formal event, but I got to meet some serious movers and shakers from all branches of the service.

There are few friends who have stuck with me through my idiosyncrasies, and we have gone through a lot.  Yet, we support one-another, and both of us have helped the other grow.  It’s a friendship that has gone beyond what most people have in a lifetime, and I am positive that it has only just begun.  Not being able to see her in person when I leave this state is going to be unbelievably hard.

Finally, as always, there is my parents.  My relationship with my extended family runs the gamut of friendly to combative.  But as is the case every year, my parents have been there for me and helped me all through my life.  There have been some rough years, but then we got to the point that we are at now, where it is less parent and kid, and more people I know and am chummy with.  Weirds all my coworkers out that I refer to my mother by my first name.  Never has a day gone by where I take for granted how special they both are.  As age is getting more and more a pressing issue, there has been discussion of a situation where we have to make hard decisions.  I am the medical proxy in that situation, so it will be up to me.  Not a fun thing to think about, but like any good son, I prepare for the worst, and enjoy the good moments as I find them, for as long as I can.

My 20’s are now behind me, and I am headed into a new part of my life.  There is a potential of reigniting an old flame and seeing where this relationship can go.  I’m not the same man I was then.  I’ve learned and grown.  Reading some of my old posts was cringe-y as fuck, but you learn from where you start out, and where you’re headed.  I’m thankful for all the relationships I foster, and experiences I can have.  Went on a mini vacation to another part of the state I haven’t been to in forever.  It was a long trip, which turned out to be more fun than the destination.  But this was more a test of what I can bring myself to do.  Finding the courage to make the most of my life.  Now at 31 years old, it’s too short not to.

Until next time, a quote,

“Understand that friends come and go, save for the precious few which you should hold on to.” – Baz Luhrmann

Peace out,

Maverick

Letter to the Editor: Dunleavy Wants to Sink Alaska for Your Free Money

Back when I was an office assistant at the part of the state I work for now, I got a call from a guy very upset that we were garnishing his PFD because of what he owed.  He said that we can only take a portion of it because it’s income.  I told him that’s wrong.  We can garnish up to 100% of any lump-sum payment, and 40% of wages.  The response I got was classic – the PFD is wages.  To which I rightly replied – what exactly is it that you did to earn this money?  The answer I got was about as incoherent as it could be, and he angrily hung up.

Wanna know the truth?  He did nothing.  This is free money that he got for living in Alaska.  He did NOTHING to earn this money.  But in his overwhelming sense of entitlement (for the old people who think this was a young man, think again.  Dude was in his 40’s) had him actually believing that he was owed this payment from the State of Alaska.  That it wasn’t a gift that could be taken away.  Looking at all the madness surrounding Dunleavy and the crazy nonsense he has done and is still doing, I’m starting to realize that he isn’t the only one.

During the last election for governor, I knew exactly what the issue on the table was going to be – the PFD.  My prediction was that those on both the D and R side of the table were going to use it against the then-Governor Bill Walker and destroy him with it, because people had their dander up about the PFD because Walker had cut it for three years.  Cuts done because he was too conservative to do what now HAS to be done – raise the income of the state.  He couldn’t cut his way out of the problem, so the idea was to use PFD money to plug the massive financial hole that the state dug because the oil is drying up and our state made the unfathomably-stupid decision to tie our entire economy to a finite resource.

All of my predictions were spot-on.  Both Begich and Dunleavy were doing nothing but using the PFD as a bludgeon against Walker.  To the former Governor’s credit, he actually did step up to that.  A pity he dropped out.  Would have liked to see what it would have looked life if he hadn’t.  So we had a pretty much substance-free election, all tied to everyone yelling about their free money.

Now, a year later, and Dunleavy intends to keep to his word.  His one major campaign promise – a full PFD, with an amount for what was cut in previous years to be included.  But since he’s a Republican and has a single-digit IQ, he decided that doing the smart thing like raising taxes (which has to be done.  We’ve long passed the point where we can cut our way out of this) along with cuts (which also does need to happen.  It has to be both, not either), he opted for something that is outright insane.  In a series of line-item vetoes, he cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget, smashing so many programs that actually helped people to bits.

The biggest thing that he slashed to ribbons was the University of Alaska budget.  $130 million cute from the University, effectively disabling it from dozens upon dozens of degree programs.  And this may not even be the end of it.  In one fell swoop, Dunleavy crippled one of the biggest things that Alaska has going for it.  Don’t believe me?  I’ll explain.

A few years ago, there was a big push to keep Alaska students in Alaska.  The reason being that most who leave for college never come back.  There was also the goal of getting those who are out of state to come to Alaska.  Things like UAA’s excellent nursing program, or UAF’s amazing engineering program.  These things are known nationwide.  Not to mention using the UAA teaching degree program to help get new teachers to Alaska, or at least get people to be aspiring educators.  One can never see how the future will pan out.  Especially with the turnover rate for teachers.

The powers that be at that time could see what I do now – Alaska’s population is getting old.  As more and more young people leave, and fewer young people are having children than ever before (guess they got the memo about overpopulation killing our species), the population of Alaska is very old, and getting even older.  Back before the oil market started to crash, this was worrisome.  Now, as industry is leaving Alaska and the recession of 2008 has finally arrived, the aging population of Alaska is a bigger threat than ever before.

One doesn’t have to look far to see what population decline is doing to some of the state where there is no major industry to speak of.  With fewer and fewer people coming into the labor-force, jobs will be unable to fill positions.  Experienced leaders who are retiring can’t be replaced, and as more people are looking for jobs out of state, that leaves an even bigger hole.  The cost of living in Alaska keeps growing, and people are fleeing major cities like Anchorage because the cost of housing never stops going up.  Another thing that Dunleavy is helping facilitate.

What does this mean long term?  For starters, ghost towns.  Places that are economically dead, and people just leave because there are either no good jobs, or no jobs at all.  Businesses that can’t staff their stores will close.  In Anchorage, this is especially important.  Nordstrom just closed.  The 5th Avenue Mall is holding on by a thread.  If JCPenney closes, that’s it.  It will join the Northway Mall in being effectively dead.

You can’t sell the direness of the situation to the entitled people who want their free, unearned money, however.  They won’t listen.  They don’t care.  While the state is dying a very slow and ugly death, while the PFD is on borrowed time because to give people the PFD Dunleavy promised (because he is having to dip into state reserve money to pay for it), while young people will leave Alaska to pursue education opportunities elsewhere, they just want that free money.

In a previous article, I talked about how what’s happening in Alaska is a microcosm to what is happening nationwide, and I’m certain I’m right.  Now more than ever.  Alaska is bleeding to death, but everyone is blissfully unaware, or outright doesn’t care, because they want things their way, and to hell with anyone who says otherwise.  Plenty of people say that the left just wants free stuff, but those people aren’t paying attention.  Medicare For All wouldn’t be free.  The difference is that for people like me, instead of paying premiums to private insurance, it would be paying to that.  It would probably be cheaper than my plan.

The PFD, on the other hand, is free money.  Not one person complaining about it has done one thing to earn it.  It’s money that the government gives you.  And if we don’t do something, now, to increase revenue and cut the oil tax breaks that we should have 20 years ago, that free money will go away.  With as old as the population of Alaska is, maybe they don’t care.  After all, it’s not like they’ll live to see it when it’s all gone.

Until next time, a quote,

“You can’t sell smart to the American people.” – Toby Ziegler, The West Wing

Peace out,

Maverick

Letter to the Editor: The PFD and Alaskans Refusing to Face the Truth

(I submitted this to the Anchorage Daily News, but they wouldn’t publish it.  No surprise why.  This is something that entertains disrespectful notions and actually challenges people to do what’s right in the face of having to do what is difficult in the fact of an ugly situation.  You can’t preach that to stupid-ass America, and especially not stupid-ass Alaska)

Are you tired about hearing about the PFD? Wouldn’t be surprised if you are. It’s the talk of the state, and every state news channel and talking head has their own opinions on it. The current governor won his entire campaign with that as the focal point, and nothing else.

The big debate right now is the amount of the PFD.  It’s what’s holding up the state budget, which threatens to put state workers like myself in lay-off status until a budget gets passed. One side of the debate wants a $3,000 PFD. It’s what Gov. Dunleavy promised during the last election cycle. The other half wants a PFD that is more modest, and doesn’t dip into the state emergency revenue.

You know, the emergency revenue for things like natural disasters. Could have sworn we just had one of those.  Something about a huge earthquake?  Was working at the Atwood Building, so didn’t notice it over all the shaking and people scared and hiding under their desks.

The PFD and the fight over it are a microcosm of the current state of America. Alaska has a problem – the recession finally found us. What the rest of the country had to deal with back in 2009. Alaska weathered it the way we did because the oil industry was booming at the time.  Basing your state’s economy on a finite resource, however, can be a bit of a dilemma when that resource starts drying up.

Alaska’s financial hole is too big to get out of by cuts alone. Unless you want to put all of the state out of employment (there are plenty of people who think we do nothing but spin in our chairs all day) and then shut every service in the state off, it is literally impossible to get the state’s budget under control with cuts. Something the conservative element of this state simply cannot understand.

So, what does that mean?  What has to happen?  It’s pretty simple – revenue has to increase.  Which means talking about a dirty word that no one wants to talk about.  Taxes. Here’s where all the “no more taxes!” people get to have their moment of righteous indignation over the very mention of it.  But the truth is that reality doesn’t conform to the way you want it to be.  You can have your own opinions all day, not your own facts.

What taxes are we talking about here?  For starters, close all the loopholes the oil companies use. That line about how they would leave is a lie that has been going around since my generation was in diapers, and it’s just as wrong now as it was then. Not while they’re money to be made.

Second, we need to bring back the state income tax. Nobody wants to hear this.  Those who think that anyone in this state wants to hear this are foolish. But it needs to happen. So few Alaskans will even qualify for it given how poor this state is, but the richest will, and do we really feel bad about making them pay?  Migrant fishing workers who come from out of state would be the biggest. They make a fortune each fishing season, and don’t collect the PFD.  They would still go home with a fortune.

Third, the city of Anchorage needs a sales tax.  It’s the most populated (and grimiest) city in Alaska. A sales tax would bring massive income spikes to the state. Granted, with all of President Trump’s tariff’s spiking the cost of everything at the grocery store, this will hurt. No one said weathering a recession would be easy.

Finally, we need to increase the gas tax.  Yeah, you might have to pay ten to twenty cents more at the pump, but that’s the situation we’re in.  It isn’t pretty, but we’re all in this together.

The comments of this article will be a litany of vehement denial and yelling about why this shows how ignorant (insert political ideology) is about things in Alaska. That’s why this issue is a microcosm of what’s happening all over America. We have a problem, and the solutions to it aren’t pretty. We’d all be hurting for a while. But you don’t fail to act just because it will make people mad.

When you look back through history, great leaders were defined by how they took charge in a situation that was grim. When they told people what they didn’t want to hear.  That’s what’s needed now. Because the cruel truth is – if we don’t act now, then soon, the argument won’t be if we can fully-fund a PFD.  It will be if the PFD will exist at all.

Until next time, a quote,

“You can’t sell smart to the American people.” – Toby Ziegler, The West Wing

Peace out,

Maverick

The Pursuit of Visceral Gaming Warfare and Games Journalism

By now it isn’t a secret to anyone about the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reboot.  Infinity Ward has not been shy about talking to the media and making sure people know exactly where they’re coming from.  After how far Activision has pushed the franchise to being over-the-top post-modern to outright futuristic warfare, Infinity Ward actually wants to push the envelope completely in the opposite direction.  They want to get back to what made the best games in the franchise the hallmarks that they were.  More specifically, Modern Warfare 2.

That game is regarded pretty much universally as the best game in the franchise, and rightly so.  It was perfect.  While the protagonists of the game were always silent, the people you served with had personality.  The conflicts you were involved in were intense and fun.  From fighting in the Middle East, to war back home.  War on American soil made that game what it is.  It was portrayed as terrifying and tragic.  One mission begins with you hearing nothing but the alert television ad, giving you time to think about what you’re about to experience, before you wake up in an underground bunker where wounded Army troops are dropped off and the radio chatter tells you that the battle isn’t going well.

People think that the thing that everyone remembers about the game is the “No Russian” mission, and while that was the big juicy thing that the media everywhere was talking about, in my eyes it’s not what made the game great.  What made it great is that warfare in it seemed genuinely difficult.  You go from an elite group of troops to Army Ranger soldiers in the thick of a battle that they are losing.  Regardless of you getting your mission completed in the game, the military is still losing.  It takes an insane act by Capt. Price to save the military from utter defeat, and he had to break all the rules to do it.

The new game coming out this year looks to go even deeper into making war not something that is bombastic and cool, but ugly and visceral.  You see in the trailer a bombing in London, with a terrorist jumping on top of a car and shooting the people inside.  A cop that I’m assuming you play as is behind cover, and when you hear their gun fire, you can almost feel the weight of it and how scary this situation would be.  Articles about the demo they showed off tells of an elite SAS team in the UK who is going after the terrorists, and how you have to breach and clear a safehouse of theirs.  Descriptions of that are hardcore.  You will have to make calls about if someone is deadly or not.  There is room to kill innocent people.  It’s an ugly business, but that’s what warfare is.  Reading those articles was making my mouth water.  Finally, a game about modern warfare that treats it with the respect for how violent and intense it is!

Gaming journalist outlets, however, are already disagreeing.  Dean Takahashi wrote a long article about how Infinity Ward should censor themselves and not make warfare so ugly.  Especially since it involves brown people.  Specifically radical Muslims.  You know, a problem that Europe has been dealing with, along with the violence that has come with it for years now.  I wonder where Infinity Ward got their inspiration from.  Oh right, they said outright that it was from the headlines.  From real world problems that they are adapting into fiction.  IGN did a video where two chicks were talking about how the demo made them really uncomfortable.  As if that’s a really bad thing.  Hell, another person at IGN wanted there to be a non-lethal option.  In a war game.  How utterly absurd.

I have one person who is near and dear to my heart in the Navy.  I have a friend who is in the Air Force.  I know from talking with them about their training and the world they live in that war is no joke.  It shouldn’t be treated as one.  But it also means that when war is the situation you’re in, violence will result in people dying.  That’s part of how this works.  Why is it that gaming journalists are so desperate for there to be nothing in a game about war that is meant to be realistic to a large degree to not be uncomfortable or to have an option where no one has to die?

Honestly, it’s pretty simple – brown people.  When you make a modern warfare game based on the world we live in now, it’s a foregone conclusion that a large chunk of who you are going to be killing is Middle Eastern.  So for journalists whose publications have been completely ideologically consumed by the social justice community, this fact makes it so they have to make sure that they put out that they decried the whole exercise, how they were so offended, how they wished it didn’t have to be this way.  It doesn’t matter what the context is.  It doesn’t matter that known terrorists who just committed a violent act against innocent people are confirmed to be in there, along with their families who probably are brought in against their will.  They have brown skin, so it’s wrong.

When I heard Rock Star talking about how they couldn’t release Grand Theft Auto 6 in today’s climate, I got where they’re coming from.  Games journalism does more to go after the medium they are supposed to report on than accurately report on it.  A new game in a franchise that is known to have killable people and the much-maligned sex with prostitutes who you can then kill, it’s almost a guarantee that gaming media would immediately work to turn people against it.  That’s the world we live in now.  I don’t know it, but what can you do?

For my part, when I hear Infinity Ward now talking about how they are toning stuff down, it gives me pause.  They have sworn up and down that this isn’t them censoring themselves, but is just part of the development process, I’m skeptical.  Their initial push for this game had me hooked.  I still am.  But the conflict between games journalism and the people they are supposed to report on is starting to have a clear connection on the medium that I love and how people are starting to censor themselves.

The market seems to agree with my sentiments.  Games that embrace what Infinity Ward is pushing for sell.  They sell really, really well.  People want this level of realism in their military FPS games, and a company like Activision understands how to read market forces.  Why do you think they gave Infinity Ward the go-ahead for this?  It’s because their brand is tanking and they desperately need someone to bring it back from the depths.

I genuinely hope that the Modern Warfare reboot lives up to the hype.  It would be a game that EVERYBODY would be talking about, which is probably what Infinity Ward is hoping for, along with Activison.  A game about the ugliness of war, where one mechanic has it rating if you were precise or if innocent people got killed is pretty fantastic.  I mean to be a precision-based machine.  When this game drops, it’s almost a guarantee that the articles about it are going to be everywhere.  We’ll see what the limp-wristed, easily-offended people in the medium will say.

Until next time, a quote,

“Well Summer, maybe the people who create things aren’t concerned with your delicate sensibilities.  You know?  Maybe the species who communicate with each other through the filter of your comfort are less evolved than the ones who just communicate.  Maybe your problems are your own to deal with, and maybe the public giving a shit about your feelings is a one-way ticket to extinction.” – Morty, Rick and Morty

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Control – Official Gameplay Trailer

This year seems to be the year of things flying under my radar, in terms of gaming.  First there is gonna be A Plague Tale: Innocence.  Then I was stoked for another game from the team who made Until Dawn called Man of Medan.  A game that is in the same vein, and the first of an anthology of horror games.  A concept that has been tried in films and failed, but maybe can work in a digital medium.  Both of those games have flown incredibly under the radar.  The former is one I haven’t heard anyone talking about, and that depresses me.  Now another game has made its way into my scope, and it’s one that has a unique look and seems to play in a way all its own.  Just one trailer has gotten me hooked to see more.  It’s called Control.  They just released a gameplay trailer.  Let’s take a look and then talk about it.

We start with what I presume is our protagonist telling us that what we’re about to see is gonna be “weirder than usual.”  Okay.  So I take it that weird is pretty normal in this game’s universe.  We then see a montage of a lot of stuff that I would call weird.  There are people floating in mid-air.  Some very open and ominous areas.  A yellow room with a ton of blood on the floor.  That’s kinda creepy.  There’s a decent amount of atmosphere here.

It seems that the setting for this game is a place called The Oldest House.  There’s a narration in a different trailer by some other character that this place is in New York and it has a ton of history.  Strange things happen here, and the US government has gotten involved.  Uh-oh, I think I see where this is going.

We then see our protagonist wandering some of these weird areas, with no HUD and the only weapon in her arsenal being this weird-looking pistol.  Okay, I’m interested.  The game tells us that if we want to survive in this strange place, we have to be strange too.  There are some freaky looking enemies, and it then tells us we have to right.  Rock on!  Let’s see fighting.  From there is one of the things that got me hooked.  We see our girl running down a corridor, and then it cuts to her just deciding to start flying into the air.  That’s awesome!  Is levitation just something we can do?!  Please tell me yes.  Every kid dreams of having the power of flight, so playing as a character who can just do that on the fly sounds pretty great.

There’s also her using that power along with telekinesis.  Alright, so we have super-powers.  Super-powers mixed with gunplay.  I am totally down with that.  Some bits of her shooting, and then we see her throwing a ball of fire.  So is pyrokinesis one of the tricks in our arsenal too?  That sounds fun.  Are we able to mix and match powers, or do we have a power arsenal that just grows over time.  I also saw our weird gun shooting what appeared to be electric bullets.  Does that mean there’s weapon customization too?  This game is growing on me.

More abilities, like somehow being able to stop a character from moving with the power of our mind.  That’s pretty awesome.  Or there’s our girl being able to pick up debris and use that as a shield.  I also think that’s rad as fuck.  I couldn’t help but notice there how the destruction of her would-be shield is pretty meticulous.  This game looks pretty damn amazing, graphically.  She can also dive-bomb an area with her levitation power.  Pretty cool.  Then there’s her picking up random things and showing how that power works, along with the destructability of the environments.  Loving this game more and more.

It seems that the weird gun we have is customizable.  I love that.  I guess that instead of getting other weapons, we can simply turn this gun into whatever we want.  From the research I did, you can do this with some kind of looting mechanic as well.  Alright, game.  I’m interested.

Finally, we get a montage of the various parts of The Oldest House.  Place looks pretty damn trippy.  I love a world that has visual flare.  Can’t wait to do some exploring.  We then see some kind of strange, enormous creature.  So this game also has trippy boss fights.  Down with that as well!  The trailer concludes with one of the strangest yet still interesting things – our character using her telekinesis on a film projector and smashing it into a wall filled with journals.  They crash to the floor and you can see and hear the details.  It really looks and sounds like a ton of journals are crashing to the floor.  This game is marketing on this aspect hard, and I have no problems with that.  Destructable environments is a lost art in gaming, as of late.

This game has captured my attention, and I am gonna be seeing what it is come August 27th.  Yet-another game this year that came out of nowhere, and got my attention immediately.  Hopefully it isn’t like Remedy’s last game.  We all know how that turned out.

Initial Verdict
You have my attention, game

Peace out,

Maverick