Resident Evil 7 (2017) review

Rated: 2.5-3 / 5 (depending on my mood)

Completely Tangent Intro

So I was playing through The Witcher 3, with all the DLC installed.  And after, I don’t know, between 50-60 hours of playing, as good as that game is, all I could think was, “Goddamnit, isn’t this fucking game over yet?  How fucking long is this thing?”  I feel bad saying that, because it is a really good 5/5 game I plan on reviewing some time down the line so I can say I reviewed the entire trilogy.  But I guess epically (I don’t give a fuck if that isn’t a real word) long games and me don’t always mix.  I’m the kind of guy who prefers game lengths (as in from beginning to end of one play, not including replays) to be between 8-20 hours, maybe 30 hours if it’s good enough.  And I knew what I was getting into, because I played it a long while back and I remember clocking in at just under 80 hours of playtime.  Throw in a couple DLCs that each add an additional 6-8 hours of playtime, and you see why it is that game is so goddamn long.  The Witcher 3 is one of those games that I just can’t power through like I normally do for most games, it’s too long for that.  It’s more like one of those games where you just do 1 quest (either a main quest or a secondary quest, maybe throw in a few treasure/monster hunts for the hell of it), savor it and the details, and then stop.  Rinse and repeat for another 50 sessions or so, and then there it is.  Otherwise someone like me gets burned out.  Granted, it didn’t start to happen until I was about 40 hours into it, but that’s 40 fucking hours!  I thought about holding off on reviewing that game until I play it through again on New Game+ mode, but fuck that.  That’s like doing a marathon of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the extended cuts, and then saying you’re going to do it twice in a row.  Not me.

So what does this have to do with Resident Evil 7?  Well, for starters, it’s an easier to digest game that clocks in at an acceptable 9-10 hours on a first playthrough on Normal difficulty, which gave me a sigh of relief compared to the daunting task of finishing a Witcher game.  Snack time.

He chose foolishly.

 

The Actual Review

Ok, so first of all, I have played most of the previous Resident Evil games.

Ok, maybe not most.  Just Resident Evil 0 (GCN), 1 (GCN remake, which is the best way to play it, minus the dumb fucking decision to throw in the crimson heads), 2 (my personal favorite out of all the games, but that’s another story), 3 (arguably the best one next to 2), Code: Vernoica (the first Resident Evil game I didn’t really care for all that much next to RE:0, plus I hated them bringing back Wesker and making him and the protagonists come straight out of The Matrix), 4 (the main reason people like this game is because of the updated third-person gameplay which is done well, and the self-awareness at how ridiculous it is; I thought it was just ok, albeit an entertaining time regardless), 5 (played it co-op with another real human being too; otherwise the only memorable thing about it is finally seeing Wesker die, though he should’ve stayed fucking dead in the first fucking game), and a couple of the spinoff games which aren’t memorable enough for me to even remember the titles.  As for Resident Evil 6, I skipped out on that shit.  As far as I’m concerned, it got over-the-top enough with Code Veronica and 5; the franchise needed to die rather than keep coming back to life (which I guess makes the Umbrella Corporation a metaphor for Capcom).

Seriously, this is some of the Matrix shit they’ve been doing since Code Veronica.

And then this game comes along.  So it’s more or less a reboot for the franchise, moving away from the superhuman heroics (thank fucking Christ), and turning to a more immersive 1st-person horror-shooter (not on-the-rails like House of the Dead or those mediocre at best Wii games).  And it didn’t star any of the leads we’ve become accustomed to.  And I’ve heard positive reviews about the game.  So I decided to snatch it up off of Steam while it was on sale, but didn’t start playing it until about a week ago, when I found out that about a couple months after purchasing it they released a Gold Edition of the game.  Well fuck you too Capcom!  You see why I’m hesitant to purchase any brand-spankin’ new game within the first year it comes out (patches for bugs aside)?

So how was it?  Eh, it was ok.  I don’t know man, I don’t know if its because I’m getting too old for most games, or because I’ve played so many that it becomes very difficult to please me outside of nostalgia-baiting.  Or maybe it’s because the current state of the game industry makes me a little sick to my stomach, more so that all the gross-out moments this game shoved in my virtual face.

I will say that, by the end of it all, it did feel like a Resident Evil game.  But at the same time, it also felt like it took as many steps forward as it did backward, which frustrated me.  The main thing to discuss in that regard is the one thing I usually play games for nowadays, and that’s the story and/or characters.  Because games nowadays focus more on the look/feel/flash than they do on the gameplay.  And when it comes to first-person-shooters (FPS), that’s probably all that genre has left going for it.  Gone are the days where you could just play something like Doom I and II (the newer one from 2016 does not count) or Duke Nukem 3D, or Painkiller: Black, or Descent I-III.  You know, shooters with virtually no narrative or story outside the instruction manual (back when games came with those), where all you had to do was get weapons and blow shit up.  Those are a-dime-a-dozen, and it’s not exactly a high bar to meet when it comes to crafting an FPS game.  So we need to have story and characters to help stand out from the rest and get us gamers more easily immersed into the game.

So, story.  You play as some random dude who’s wife has disappeared, and you receive a message from her to stay away and forget about her.  So rather than forget about her and get another smoking hot wife to bang, he decides not to heed her advice and go out into the middle of “I buttfuck my daughter; redneck swamp land” nowhere, and decides to approach a house that looks like it’s been abandoned for a few years, if not a decade, crawls through swamp water and sewage and bugs and rotten food and other shit (maybe literally) until he finally finds a backdoor into the house where she is supposedly located.  You know, it might be because I’m not the heroic type, but I would’ve decided that she’s not worth this, and drove out of “I buttfuck my daughter” land back to “I buttfuck any hot chick who isn’t related to me” land (though with this franchise there would probably be a twist to that).  I mean, at least in the other Resident Evil games, the protagonists were thrust into these sorts of situations against their will, and usually due to extreme circumstances demanding extreme measures.  Either that or the protagonists were so muscular and heroic and martial arts masters that it just seemed by-the-numbers by their standards.

“Give grandma the hammer!”

But I digress.  Our protagonist eventually goes on to find his wife, who then goes berserk and kicks the crap out of you and saws your hand off, before you get captured by some redneck dad named Bubba who introduces you to the rest of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre family (seriously, the parallels are impossible to ignore unless you haven’t seen that movie; the original Tobe Hooper movie from the 70s, none of the remakes you smart-asses).  Well, it got me a bit interested.

The thing is though, there’s something about these graphic styles for these games that put me off.  Something about the 3D modelling, the way they talk, the way they act, how they can never smile right.  And most important of all, how hard it tries to be realistic with the graphics.  It’s just something about that sort of emphasis on realism in a videogame that just doesn’t suit me.  I just can’t help but have the attitude of, “Who are you trying to fool?  You could have the effects as bad as Goldeneye on the N64 or as good as, I don’t know, whatever game exists now that people consider to be top of the line in terms of graphics, and it would all be the same to me.”  Bit of an exaggeration, but hopefully you see what I’m getting at.  It might just be a personal thing, but I have a feeling I’m not alone in thinking this.

Side-tracked again; back to the story.  So let’s just say that as the game goes on, the main villain/monster turns out to be some Ring/Grudge/Ju-On/F.E.A.R. chick.  Alright, you know what?  If this game is going to pull cliches like that out of its ass, it really should do so with a more tongue-in-cheek attitude.  But it plays things straight.  That trait is endearing in the first 3 Resident Evil games, but that doesn’t appeal to me here.

The last thing I’ll mention about the story, kind of.  There’s this moment in the game where you have to “make a choice.”  Whoah, a choice?  Where your decision affects the events in the game as well as the ending?  Do tell!  There’s nothing to tell.  Like most games that do this, it’s not really a choice.  It doesn’t matter who you choose to save.  Sure the choice does give you a different ending in the long-run, but it’s really stupid how saving one kills them both, saving the other gives you a happy ending with one of them living.  Would’ve been more intriguing if saving one gets you that girl at the end, while saving the other gets you that girl.  Not going to work that way, so the game just kinda beats you up for making a choice that seems more ethically wrong, I guess.  So it ends up being a waste of time inserting this so half-assedly into the game.  But it could’ve worked well if it had that tongue-in-(butt)cheek attitude.  Hey, if this game is going to be immature about this shit, then so am I.  On that note, when the decision came up, I chose the non-wife (Zoe).  Why?  Well because Zoe kept helping me in her own way with getting out of the place through a good portion of the game, while the wife (Mia) did nothing but do spouse abuse so extreme I’m surprised she didn’t resort to slicing my dick off.

There is a problem with this game, and I’m pretty sure I heard about it well-before ever purchasing it, but I think I chose to forget about it thinking, “No, that just can’t be.”  But it’s definitely there (poor choice of words).  So here’s the problem.  There are no zombies.  There’s not one foot-stepping, undead-moaning, dick-sucking zombie in this entire game.  Nothing in this game qualifies as a zombie as far as I’m concerned (anyone who says otherwise is stretching the definition too far).  Sure there are people who aren’t normal people, but they’re not normal in the same sense that all the regular enemies in Resident Evil 4 aren’t normal.  You know, in Resident Evil 4, all those not-zombie people had a decent enough awareness, they could talk, they could run a bit, and they could weld weapons, and they could mutate and shoot black stuff out of their heads.  Pretty much the same thing here, except the not-zombies in this game can pass off as normal people (at least as far as isolated hillbillies in a swamp can go for normalcy) .  They walk and talk like normal people, but they’re just stronger than average and are almost impossible to kill by any regular means (but in a Resident Evil game, nothing is regular).  And there’s only like 3, maybe 4, of them.  The rest of the time you’ll either be against these black gooey man-alligator things, giant mosquitoes, fat blubbery fucks, and the lickers (when they show up).  So boss fights aside (which are just mutations of the not-zombie people), there’s only like 4 different enemy types.  And that’s it.  Even the first Resident Evil game had more variety than that: zombies, zombie dogs, zombie spiders, hunters, zombie birds, zombie snakes, zombie wasps; and those aren’t even the bosses.

And speaking of bosses, yes, this game has enough variety in bosses to satisfy me.  But Jesus Christ do they go over-the-top with these boss fights.  Granted, they’ve been over-the-top ever since Resident Evil 2 (and it’s hard enough to resist a jumping the shark joke with the first game), but this game was aiming for more gritty realism goddamnit!  The fights get more over-the-top as the game goes on, and so do the mutations and monster forms.

See what I mean?

There are some nice nods to the first Resident Evil game.  Once you get involved in this “game” section where you go through some traps and such, some old-school Resident Evil music plays, and some nostalgic sound effects will go off when you press some buttons.  I appreciated the nostalgia.  Also didn’t hurt that it was one of the more memorable parts of the game, going through these Saw-like sections.  And the game almost convinced me that it was tongue-in-cheek.  But only for that section, the rest of the game thinks it’s too good for satire apparently.

At a few points in the game you get to watch some VHS tapes, which treats you to some lost footage films done in the same vane as The Blair Witch Project.  Now, the first time this happened I was interested, and there’s one other time where it does serve a legitimate purpose.  But for the most part I found them to be irritating distractions.  These should be sections that are cutscenes, but instead the game has you play as the person shooting the video (which makes zero sense for the last “video”), which gets even more annoying when you realize you can still screw up and die and have to start over.

As the game went on though, once you’re finally able to grasp what exactly is going on and how things got to be the way they are (ie why there are monsters), the game actually wasn’t half bad.  Plus I also became sympathetic to the swamp family, noting how they were before and after the incident, and how they’re crying out for their souls to be freed.  A bit of a touching moment I wasn’t expecting from a game like this.

So, despite my gripes, I can say the game is fun enough to be worth a play.

 

Other Notes

Now, with that all being said, I’d like to take a moment to talk about gaming in general, my personal opinions on the matter.  As I said earlier in the review, I fear my tastes in gaming have changed.  I fear I may not really be all that much of a gamer anymore.  Honestly, I try to do board games more than video games simply because I prefer playing against other human players, face-to-face.  You know, for face-to-face social interaction, something I believe society is in dire need of, rather than isolating ourselves and using social media as an illusion for legitimate social interaction.

Gaming to me should be fun.  And fun games for me personally, from what I’ve determined when looking back over the years, come in 3 categories:

1.) Short and sweet.  Basically games from the Sega Genesis and SNES time period, where the games were short, the difficulty was high, and you had to play it multiple times to get good at it.  There are plenty of games that are that old that I would still play to this day, like Contra (practically any of them, especially Hard Corps), Castlevania I III and Bloodlines, Starfox 64 (or the SNES version), among others.

2.) Games with an engrossing story and good characters.  The first one to really pull this off for me, which I still maintain to be the best (even if this is predictable) is Final Fantasy VII.  Memorable characters in storyline so fucking good I was willing to bear through the typical issues plaguing J-RPGs (random battles, some grinding, repetitive combat).  I’m not sure how I’d feel about this one today, but Skies of Arcadia on the GCN wasn’t half-bad either.  Tales of Symphonia had decent enough characters and story, and a pretty solid real-time 2D combat system to go along with it.  Kane & Lynch (the first one) I consider to be underrated.  And Spec Ops: The Line, whew, that whole game is designed to be a huge gut-punch to those who play third-person shooters regularly and don’t think much about the people they kill (look at you Uncharted).  Silent Hill 2 is probably one of the best, if not the best, character study games of all time.  And, of course, Metal Gear Solid 1-4 and The Witcher 2Starcraft is arguably the best RTS game in terms of storylines (especially if you read the background story given in the game manual), though I do need to play Warcraft IIIMass Effect 1-3 (though less so for the first one just because the side missions make the game’s pacing suffer considerably).  So, in other words, games that you talk about like they were movies when you’re done with them.  But God help you if you play a game solely for this reason, and it ends on a cliffhanger with no sequel ever happening (fuck you Valve for not wrapping up Half Life 2).

3.) Games that are paced well and do something right with the overall design, especially level design; and maybe throw in some semblance of a story as a bonus.  Super Mario World could arguably be the best designed out of all the traditional Super Mario games in regards to level/game design.  Resident Evil 2 is the go-to horror game for me to this day, mainly because it absolutely nails the zombie sounds, both the moans and the footsteps; and how it gets under my skin during the portions where no music is playing; it’s paced pretty damn well too, and has tremendous replay with different bosses you can face; and it really knows how to time a couple of those jump-scares; plus I believe limiting the player’s view to fixed camera positions works to the game’s advantage when it comes to horror and creating tension with the player.  Doom I is the best Doom game in terms of pacing and progression, both in terms of level design, the weapons you acquire, and the types of enemies that appear.  Doom II isn’t half-bad either, especially with the level design, but the pacing isn’t quite as there, and exists more as a reason for you to just go insane with the shooting, to just unload all those bullets into all those hordes of enemies.  It’s one of the reasons why I believe level design is the most important aspect when it comes to crafting an FPS, the second-most important aspect being pacing (types of enemies that show up on each level, which weapons you have each level).  Usually the one genre I cut a bit of slack are RPG games, especially The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, mainly because of the mods.  Valkyria Chronicles I think is pretty damn good too in terms of gameplay (plus I think the story and characters are so unintentionally hilarious it should be a case study; they have practically every anime cliche/stereotype in the book thrown into that game).  And there’s the Dark Souls games; these are games that aren’t afraid to challenge you, and it’s the kind of challenge that I like.  And then there’s Master of Orion (the first one, from 1993), which I firmly believe is the best 4X-civ game ever designed to this day, despite the dated graphics (at least it’s not Atari graphics and older, my tolerance for dated graphics doesn’t really extend further back than the 90s).  Lastly, I’m terrified of getting into X-Com: UFO Defense again, not because it’s a scary game (though it is tense as hell), but because of how addicted it is; first time I played, I started at like 9am, and next thing I new it was dusk; that scares the shit out of me if a game can make me lose track of time like that.

But anyway, there are some game genres I’d rather not touch just out of personal preference, like sports games and racing games (Grand Theft Auto V I guess could be considered an exception).  Aside from those, I’ve become quite picky when it comes to games.  Probably because I’d rather use my free time doing something else now.  Then again, it could be because the people I used to converse with about gaming in general are no longer around, giving me no one to talk to about this stuff once I’m done with it.  And no, righting reviews about games and bitching about them and/or praising them isn’t enough.  Or it could just be I’m going through a phase.  But considering how much less frequently I’ve been playing videogames over the past couple years compared to how often I’ve played in the past, I doubt it.  I guess it’s possible to reach a stage in your life where you’re gamed out, and are only willing to game on things you know for certain are of high quality (ie suited to your preference).

As for Resident Evil 7, it’s just going to be another one of those games that isn’t really all that special to me.  Entertaining and fulfilling, sure, but so is a burger from Burger King or Jack in the Box or Carls Jr.; just because it’s fulfilling doesn’t mean it stands out compared to the other games/burgers that are out there.  And at this point in my life, I’d rather indulge myself in games that do stand out.  As far as I’m concerned, most of those games are in the past, not in the present or future (with some potential exceptions, like Cyberpunk 2077).

Fifty Shades Freed (2018) review (April drunken Fools edition)

Rated: Take a fucking guess.

Been a while since I’ve done this, but it’s been a regular thing with each Fifty Shades of Butt-Fucking film that’s come out over the past couple years, so I mine as well as finish it all the way to the climax.  Climax, something none of these films have ever gotten me to do.  Because not only are the sex scenes sissy shit, they have been getting less and less enticing with each passing film.  Hopefully this one will be better, but if not, I fucking swear I’m putting up porn gifs/pics on this blog entry.  One way or another, I’m getting a fucking climax (hey, maybe you will too).  You’ve been warned.

Rat Pack Week a Lynch1979 event | ALCOHOL MAY BE MAN'S WORST ENEMY, BUT THE BIBLE SAYS LOVE YOUR ENEMY. | image tagged in rat pack week,lynch1979,memes | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

Oh, and there better be ass-slapping in this like there was in the last 2 films.  And there better be some unintentional hilarity (which the first film provided, the second film far less so).  If not, I’m going to throw a bitch-fit.  Oh, who am I kidding, it’s a drunk review; bitch-fits are inevitable.

What this review is rated, though I can’t swear to the film containing incest and rape.  But who knows, I might just improvise on that.
Just in cases you needed 1 more warning in case it wasn’t clear.

Review

That’s right.  Like Twilight, these dipshits gotta get married.  Now consummate the fucking thing!

Continue reading

Migrating from Facebook (plus a pre-2016-election debate)

For about a year now, I’ve been looking for an excuse to get out of Facebook; delete my account.  I haven’t really been using it to catch up with or communicate with friends I’ll likely never see again.  Been mostly using it just for news updates.  Well, considering how they’ve been biased about news posts, even going to far as to delete posts and accounts that are conservative leaning, acting like hypocrites, showing how fucking political and biased they are, I’ve just been waiting for the one thing to nudge me far enough to say, “Fuck it.”  Well, even though I kinda knew this to some extent, there’s the whole data collection thing that has exploded, news of them doing this with Obama and Trump, but trying to do it for Obama’s advantage more than for Trump (even though I find it questionable no matter who they’re doing it for).  So, fuck it.  My days on there are numbered, and it’ll likely only last for one more week.

But before I do that, I’m going to carry over a conversation I had in 2016 with a college history professor on Facebook, a professor of whom I was a student of many years ago.  That’s all I’ll say about it.  I won’t give any names, but some of you nosey fucks will likely track down the quotes and get the names anyway, and there isn’t much I can do about that.  Whatever.

This long-running rivalry/debate proved to be a turning point for me in my life, where my eyes got opened to just how ignorant people can be.  And it resulted in me becoming more political, which is something I hate being.  But the times call for such a thing, because times require the average person to have some knowledge in politics considering how desperate things are getting at times (depending on where you live).  The fact that society got to the point where Hillary Clinton was that close to getting elected says something.

So, here’s the debate (I am “Me”, the teacher is “Professor”, anyone else is Commenter #1, #2, #3, etc.; any reference to my real name will be replaced with “Anomalous Host”, and their names will be replaced accordingly).  Keep in mind I’m not as well-knowledged about these things then as I am now.  Keep in mind, I wished him a happy birthday in August 2016, prior to the rest of these posts.  Oh, and one other thing.  Going back to these older posts has just reinforced my decision to leave Facebook.  Why?  Because those motherfuckers took down some of the posts and comments made in this half-year-long discussion we’ve had, and some posts I know I made independent of the discussion that are now gone.  Mark Zuckerberg can go fuck himself, right up his pro-censorship dickhole:

 

August 8, 2016

Me:“Not voting is a vote for Trump!” or “Not voting is a vote for Hillary!”

Rubbish! Voting for neither, or not voting at all, is still a statement on what you want from the leaders of this country! You want to make a statement by not choosing either of the 2 evils, vote for an independent:

Don’t Throw Away Your Vote By Voting Trump or Hillary; TheAntiMedia.org

 

Up to this point, me and the professor got into a back-and-forth regarding Obama’s handling of ISIS.  Couldn’t locate those posts (because they got removed by Facebook), but what follows is all that remains.

 

August 13, 2016

Professor: Anomalous Host might note that this isn’t POTUS’ first rodeo.

I double-checked on this before I posted it.

BREAKING: President Obama Flips Trump The Bird As American Airstrike Kills ISIS Leader (DETAILS); BiPartisanReport.com

 

August 14, 2016

Me: Been doing some thinking since my debate with Professor. Regarding the state of the Middle East. He’s right in that we can’t really afford a full scale war. But at the same time, I don’t believe we can afford to stay completely out of it either. I think Obama has been forced into a compromise that could potentially lead to something that works, that can hopefully continue into the next presidency, whoever ends up winning.

America Can’t Do Much About ISIS; TheAtlantic.com

Professor: This is a well-written piece; I agree with several of the points.

 

August 17, 2016

Me: This Is What The War Against ISIS Really Looks Like; Buzzfeed.com

 

October 10, 2016

Professor: The word from the bird. ” Most guys respect women, some guys don’t, but never have I heard anyone use your particularly disgusting brand of sadism that refers to women as objects and not people. Even the most debauched club-hopping party animal talks about women more civilly than you.”

Dear Donald Trump: I played in the NFL. Here’s what we really talk about in the locker room.; Vox.com

 

October 11, 2016

Me: For those who don’t think election fraud isn’t a real thing:

 

Professor: Oh, no, Anomalous Host, I *do* think it isn’t a real thing.

Professor: So it’s casual convo on a hidden cam. The Exclusionary rule notwithstanding, where are the convictions, Anomalous Host? This is just him ranting about how bad “those people” are.

Me: Where are the convictions for Trump?

Professor: We’re talking about election fraud. Where are convictions?

Me: North Texas woman arrested for voter fraud; Star-Telegram.com

Professor: Got it.  Lightning Strikes more common in Texas than in-person voter fraud,; Politifact.com

Me: Has amnesty been as commonplace in the past as it has in the past 2 years?

Professor: The largest amnesty is Simpson-Mazzioli.  Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 – Wikipedia

Me: No large arrests either time huh? Because it doesn’t happen, or because it’s not enforced?  The Voter-ID Myth Crashes; NationalReview.com

Professor: Of course the National Review would accuse Dems of abetting voter fraud.

Me: Says the guy who uses Wikipedia as a source. Would the Washington Times be more satisfactory?  Obama amnesty creates loophole for illegal immigrants to register,; WashingtonTimes.com

Professor: We’re done here.

Me: Bye bye.

 

I mean seriously, a college history professor using wikipedia as a source?  Most of them (at least back when I was in college) wouldn’t wipe their ass with a report that used wikipedia as a source.

 

October 12, 2016

We cannot change society without changing our own behavior. If we want to change, we have to change. Imgur.com

 

October 15, 2016

Commenter #1: Wow. So, this was just for fun it wasnt supposed to mean anything. I certainly apologize that this post has offended you so much. While I believe in being open to people with different views politically, socially and religiously, I feel that such a tirade is unnecessary and unwarranted.

Commenter #2:Who tiraded? It was like 3 sentences. But seriously folks, this voter fraud bullshit from drumpf’s camp is baseless and dangerous and we have an obligation to shut it down.

Professor:The human blobby has ways to shut that kind of thing down.

Me: @Commenter #2 I wouldn’t say baseless. The whole stealing from Bernie nomination aside, George Soros is a Clinton donor after all, and he’s in charge of the voting machines in 16 major states.  George Soros-funded group serves as poll-watcher in 16 states; WashingtonTimes.com

Commenter #2:There’s so much glaringly, obviously, horribly wrong with drumpf that Clinton won’t have to commit fraud.

 

October 16, 2016

Me: This is disgraceful. No matter who you support, this shouldn’t happen to either side:

North Carolina GOP Office burned, graffiti sprayed nearbye; Yahoo.com

 

October 17, 2016

Me: I’m A Sexual Assault Victim Who Still Supports Trump; TheFederalist.com

 

October 17, 2016

Me: Devious, aren’t they? The more of this you watch, the more pissed you’re going to get. Remember that “69 year old woman with oxygen tank punched in face at Trump rally” story? Apparently, she was trained to birddog. So are others who are mentally ill and such, paid by the DNC (or a faction of it). Despicable.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IuJGHuIkzY

 

October 24, 2016

CBS2 Investigation Uncovers Votes Being Cast From Grave Year After Year; LosAngeles.CBSLocal.com

 

I have vague recollections of some other conversations we had over Facebook between then and the next entry.  At some point, me and the professor talked about the pros and cons of the border wall, and more or less agreed to disagree, citing sources that showed how Israel built a wall that successfully kept out enemies in the past, while other countries like China and, I think, even Rome built walls and were less successful at keeping immigrants out.  Basically, for every source brought up that supported my side of the argument, the professor could bring up one that supported his side.  I think it’s situational and dependent on the situation as to whether or not border walls work (where the wall is located, if it’s during a time of war, the technology available, are there waterways, etc.).  Also got into a brief discussion regarding guns, and how some random cunt showed up to say something along the lines of how all men shouldn’t be allowed to have guns but all women should.

Also, I brought up some negative points on Hillary Clinton, we went back and forth on them, he didn’t read my links in details (and I don’t think he even read some of the links he brought up in detail either, since I read whatever he brought up, made a response to it, and he responded as if the post was pure unquestionable truth even though I brought up valid points that debunked it).  So I was getting a bit frustrated with him at this point, as he didn’t seem to be taking my anywhere near as seriously as I was taking him.

The below thread I initially posted in response to Professor continually bringing up the news of Trump allegedly raping a 13 year old in, I don’t know, around 1990 or something at some rich guy’s place during a party.  In some past post/thread, I made an argument on Bill Clinton’s sexual accusers, and the professor said it didn’t matter because he was never convicted or proven guilty of those crimes.  Keep that in mind.

 

November 5, 2016

Me: @Professor: Well, guess this is off the table.  Woman who accused Donald Trump of raping her at 13 drops lawsuit.; TheGuardian.com

Professor: OK

Professor: This leaves…..how many women who have made accusations?

Me: Less than the number that made accusations against both Bill and Hillary Clinton. As you have stated several times in their defense, just because someone makes an accusation doesn’t make the accusation true. There should be evidence. Or by your standards, a conviction.

Professor: The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet; TheAtlantic.com

Me: You know, the last time we got into a discussion like this, I made a similar post about Hillary, which you dismissed as a hack job and virtually ignored it. I’d like to know if you’re going to do the same here, and if not, why I should treat this post with anymore respect than how you’ve treated mine?

Professor: I remember the Clinton era and the continuous attacks on the Clintons. Essentially, it was this. Since the right did not have any substantive issues on which to attack Clinton, they assaulted his character. In case you don’t recall, the entire Clinton administration passed without one single indictment. Clinton did the US a great deal of good and had solid, decent policy ideas. Trump has nothing, and this is horribly disturbing. I sat through eight years of attacks on a decent man, Bill Clinton. I don’t regard these endless decades of attacks as anything but revenge by a Right that keeps losing and losing and losing, and which has no agenda save tax cuts for the rich, which have damaged this nation a great deal.

Me: I could say the same in this regard about Trump. Nothing substantive to attack him on, so they attack his character. As for nothing substantive with the Clintons, let me try this again. Many women have made allegations against Clinton some settled, some decided to become silent. It’s quite similar to the whole Trump debacle going on when it comes to the women of his past. In both cases, they’re nothing solid enough to be proven to be true, there’s only the word of the women. But then there’s something like this:

Professor: But as I said, Clinton had policies which concretely helped this country. Trump has none whatsoever and can’t explain any that he might have.

Me: I talked about how he does in an earlier discussion. Don’t you remember? How I believe his tax plan is better for the economy than Clinton’s?

Commenter #1: on a side note President Clinton was empeached by congress. that really happened.

Commenter #2: Bill Clinton was impeached by a Congress led by folks doing the same thing they were accusing him of doing. See Newt Gingrich. They spent $70 million or so tax dollars on this, which probably makes that the most expensive BJ on the planet. And the Republicans forced us to pay for it. Plus impeachment is the process of making a formal charge. It is not a conviction. As I recall, no conviction happened, right?

Professor: Anomalous Host, I read it. His tax plan is tax cuts for the rich- Reaganomics all over again. It did not work in the 80s. Doesn’t now.

Me: Glad you brought that up. Remember that site you posted in one of our past discussions that demonstrated how the economy supposedly did better under democratic leadership, though with no explanation as to why that is? I think Reaganomics and Bill Clinton are a perfect example for one of the reasons. It isn’t something that worked right away, true, because that’s the nature of trickle down economics. Eventually all of his Reganomics policies went into effect, and then Bill Clinton came into office to reap the benefits of it as the positives of the policy started coming to fruition. In other words, Democratic leaders piggy back off the economic policies of the Republican predecessors.

I’m interested in discussing more on that topic.

Me: Care to watch any of Clinton Cash? At least the part that talks about Haiti?

Commenter #2: Haiti was a disaster for all of the major charities. The Red Cross took in millions of dollars for Haiti, and built like 6 houses. The Clinton Foundation has supplied medicine, etc to vast swathes of humanity. I wouldn’t be at all surprised, however, if they suffered similar issues with aid to Haiti as the Red Cross did.

Professor: Anomalous Host, that makes no sense at all. Reaganomics only works for Democrats, who do the opposite of Reaganomics? Then why did the nations who used Keynesian principles recover from the Great Depression? While those who didn’t failed to recover? This is trolling.

Me: @Professor: I don’t see how that makes no sense considering this isn’t just some theory I made up. Look, here’s how my mind works. If someone brings up some point of view, some subject, some policy that I don’t agree with, I express why. If some evidence is brought up that supports their view, I research to see how strong that evidence is. If there’s something that seems to refute it, I bring it up. If I can’t find anything that refutes it, or if all other refutations seem too weak to consider, I relent and slowly come to accept that other policy/view/subject. Now prior to you bringing it up, I didn’t know that much about Reagonomics. So I looked it up, saw that there are people who agree and disagree on whether or not it was successful, focused mostly on the portions that state why it was successful, but also looked at some of the arguments which state why it was not. So after doing that looking, I made a response in a very simplified and generalized way that supports the theory that is held by supporters of Reaganomics that made sense to me. If there is a fault in that theory, believe me, I want to know about it, and I fully expected you to let me know about it so I can research it a little more. Because it’s conversations like this that encourage me to research and gain knowledge and know how to respond if I’m in a future debate like this with someone else, which may in turn influence how I see politics and thus influence how I vote in the future. I don’t call you a troll for bringing up points that I disagree with if they are points worth addressing. Keynesian economics is also something that I didn’t know anything about until I started looking it up for the past dozen minutes. So now I’m more aware of it, and aware of the arguments for and against it, like how the expenditures in WWII helped get us out of the depression because war expenditures are Keynesian in nature. But there’s also the fact that too much regulation on business can stifle business. Plus it makes one wonder why there isn’t more regulation on loans and credit since those have proven to be the main things that lead to a depression in the first place. And I wonder if Reagonomics is really THAT much different from Keynesian principles. I don’t know all the facts, and I don’t pretend to. The reason why I choose to get into conversations like this is to probe for information, to learn information, see if it sways me from one point of view to another. I don’t always choose to relegate my time to doing so. And I know you don’t either, since you don’t seem to read many, if any, of the links I bring up to other sites that support my position, even though I read each and every one of yours. But I can understand and respect that if you’re a busy man and don’t have the time to do that. But I find it disrespectful for you to not take my position seriously, not to take my arguments seriously, brush off several of them as hack jobs and trolling that should be ignored because they threaten to burst that protective titanium bubble you live in. And I find it very disrespectful for you to call me a troll when I am trying to have a conversation I can learn from. And I’m not going to continue having conversations like this with you if you continue to treat me with such disrespect.

Me: @Commenter #2: Hillary Clinton’s State Department would oversee the reconstruction effort in Haiti. Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills was responsible for the allocation of US tax dollars. Bill Clinton, appointed special envoy to Haiti for the UN, was named co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission along with the Haiti prime minister. The Clintons had the interest of special donors in mind. Haitians were largely left out of the decision-making process in the IHRC. $124 million was used on project Caracol, was supposed to create 60,000 jobs and economic growth. This was done on the northern part of Haiti as opposed to the southern part where the damage was done from the 2010 earthquake/hurricane. Beneficiaries of this were Gap, Target, and Walmart, to name a few. Factory in Caracol was built, and the beneficiary companies profited off of it with the low-wage workers, and this left the rest of Haiti minimally affected. There’s more to add, but that’s a start. Is any of that false?

 

There were likely other posts, and I really wanted to find them and bring them over, but there are at least 2 threads made that had relatively good discussions in them that are lost forever (or at least kept hidden in the private Facebook database).  So because Facebook took those down, on top of the other bullshit it’s been doing over the past few years, I’m taking down my account a week from now.  Will this reduce my site coverage?  Probably, but I don’t really care right now.  Having my normal profile and my site page on Facebook isn’t helping its exposure all that much either.

Plus, honestly, social media isn’t all that healthy, and it can be addictive.  Well, on that note, onto Gab.ai, and Minds.com.

Magic Realm (1979) epic review

So a while back I mentioned I was working on a couple projects, that I would eventually get around to making a post on one of them. Well, it’s time.

Rating: 5 / 5

It is meant to be a complete fantasy world so full of variation that the players have real choices to make, so full of diversity that no matter how many times it is played it can still surprise you with its situations, and so filled with detail that the illusion of a complete world is created. All of this is derived from the annals and possibilities of adventure fantasy. — Richard Hamblen, The General, Vol. 16, Issue 4

Continue reading

The Power of the Dark Crystal (November 2017) comic review

Rated: 1.5 / 5

So in case you didn’t know, The Dark Crystal is my favorite movie of all time.  I love everything about it: the music, the practical effects, the old-school special effects, the simple story, the creatures, the lore, the philosophy, etc.  I love practically everything about that movie.  So I was a bit intrigued (and extremely skeptical) when I learned that Netflix was going to do a prequel to the film via a Netflix produced series.  Well, my hopes were dashed a few weeks ago when I got a hold of this comic.  Why should they be dashed?  Because I fucking hate this comic.  What does that have to do with the prequel Netflix series outside of being based on the same film?  Nothing, I just think it’s going to suck.

This comic does everything I dread having a sequel do.  It relies way too much on the prior entry it is extending (while this may be a comic, it’s a sequel to a film).  You know, like The Force Awakens.  This is a fatal flaw that makes the work incapable of standing on it’s own.  If you want an example of a sequel done right, look at The Godfather Part II (while a sequel that has the same characters from the last film, it continues the plot without too many call-backs to the first, and evolves the characters in natural ways, and contains enough original material to stand on its own), Aliens and Terminator 2 (while it does follow a similar pattern to the original film, with a similar last act of escape and blowing it out the airlock, it expanded the lore of the alien/robot creatures, had more backstory given to the protagonist which ties into events of this film, and utilizes the similar beats in a more action-oriented setting rather than a horror-oriented setting to give it a different feel and makes it its own thing), The Empire Strikes Back.  They all possess their own unique moments that make them stand out from their predecessors while not copy-catting them too much, if at all.

But not this comic book.  It has virtually all (and I mean ALL) of the problems The Force Awakens had.  Also problems that 2011’s The Thing had (those assholes couldn’t even add a fucking number to the title, or a letter, or anything, so now it’s more difficult to distinguish from the title alone which film you’re watching).  Not to mention that Brian Froud (if I remember correctly) was firmly against there being a sequel to The Dark Crystal.  The story was told.  It was done.  It didn’t need a sequel, it left nothing open for a sequel.  Anything that follows was meant to be left up to the viewer’s imagination (that thing Hollywood doesn’t remember anyone has).  Plus the theme was wrapped up, how the crystal was cracked because of the urSkeks’ pride and folly, a lesson they have learned from when they became reunited.

From here on, I’m assuming you’ve already seen The Dark Crystal, and don’t give a shit about me spoiling the events of what happen in this comic.

First of all, this film begins with the same goddamn opening narrative that the movie did.  Motherfucker, you should assume people reading this already know about this!  And if they don’t, encourage them to go watch the original movie!  This isn’t fucking Star Wars where everyone is ok with the opening intro, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…”

So right away I was getting a bit annoyed and worried when it was doing callbacks like that.  But this thing is just getting started.

So we get a new race introduced (just one character from that race).  Fire people.  This fire child needs to break the crystal open, take a shard, and take it to the core of the planet to restore her people, which will supposedly result in the destruction of the rest of the world.  But their time seems limited anyway, since the crystal doesn’t burn as brightly as it used to, because I guess the crystal is supposed to have a limited lifespan which must be rejuvenated by breaking it apart, taking it to the planet’s core, and restoring it to its glory while wiping out practically everything else.

RCO026_1487829212

Alright, I’m not going to lie.  While I am a fan of the film, I’m not a fanatical fan.  I don’t think I’ve ever been a fanatical fan of anything, despite what some reviews of some movies may lead you to believe.  If I’m a fanatic of anything, it’s regarding entertainment in general in the movie/series/books department.  I want to experience things that bring me joy; and let the others that don’t bring me joy, or disgrace the material they are based on, suffer my wrath so that I can feel better about myself (you know, constructive criticism disguised as destructive criticism).  Either way I’d like to get some joy out of the experience.  The point I’m trying to make is that I haven’t ever gone in-depth with the Dark Crystal lore.  I haven’t read every spin-off novel/comic, I haven’t read The World of the Dark Crystal in its entirety (though I enjoy the snippets I do read of the latter).  Because I believe there are some things that should be left to the imagination.  And if someone thinks otherwise, that they wish to explain things so that there are less things left to the imagination, then they had better know what they’re doing.  Because if they don’t, there’s going to be hell to pay.

So I don’t know if the Firechild was something brought up in The World of the Dark Crystal.  I don’t know if the crystal was meant to have limited power that would run out (because I guess getting powered by the 3 suns, by the conjunction, isn’t enough apparently).  What I do know is that the execution of these ideas is terrible.  Some firechild (emphasis on the “child” part) gets sent to explain her people’s plight and take the shard by force if she must.  Out of all the schmuks they have in their race, and they fucking send her?  Her!?  The girl who stumbles over her own words and seems to be new at just about everything?  Who is careless with her powers?  Christ, at least they had a decent explanation for sending Jen out into the world to set things right rather than anyone else, because he was all the hippy Ur-Ru had.  The main reason the writers seem to have done it this way is to have the firechild be exactly like Jen, only female, and stronger with more passion and character.  With similar hippies raising her to be the chosen one for a journey.  The only difference is the race and the context.

Second, the Gelflings certainly seem to have repopulated the world quite easily, and established social and political hierarchies.  After only 100 years.  I’m calling bullshit on that.  This is taking the easy way out to construct a traditional formula that we’ve seen done thousands of times in mainstream films/shows to make a socio-political message.  The Gelflings are back, repopulated, and running the show, in control of the crystal, and have low-class and upper-class people that are looked down and up upon respectively.  And it’s the lower-class that is looked down upon that are the chosen protagonists for the story.  A “child” of fire, a young Gelfling boy who is treated poorly by the upper-class of Gelflings.  What the hell has happened to this Dark Crystal world?  Why is this shit in a Dark Crystal tale?

Anyway, the firebitch does end up breaking the crystal (partly to spite the upper-class/religious asshole gelflings).  Which results in the skeksies and ur-ru to come back, as we all remember them from the last film.  Relying on the original source much?  But why would the skeksies and ur-ru come back when they’re supposed to be one as the urSkeks?  Why is it that the comic thinks things are supposed to work that way?  Because that seems to retcon a few details provided in the movie itself, nevermind Brian Froud’s The World of the Dark Crystal.  Oh, it gets better.  The skeksies throw a hissie fit at the chamberlain again, making him some-what outcast, and thus putting him in the exact same fucking position that he was in the movie, whimpering, and pursuing the two lead protagonists through much of the story.  Oh, right, and the Garthim show up, just like that.  Except the Garthim are now controlled by Jen (who wields the scepter, which I guess controls the Garthim), which he uses to pursue the firechild and the lower-class gelfling.

“What if” art concept that had some alterations for the final product.

This is just volume 1, which is supposed to be a collection of 4 issues, out of a 12 issue series, which means there are 2 more volumes set to come out later this year.  And I have no desire to read them.  I’ll read other reviews and stuff, but I consider this sequel series to be a disgrace, and am glad the planned movie adaptation didn’t come to fruition.  It has too many call-backs to the movie making this less capable of standing on its own.  The plot is dumb.  And it brings in socio-political stuff that isn’t utilized well enough to make it fit into this fantasy world.  Dune this is not (and was never intended to be).

The only sections that got me invested were when Jen and Aughra were conversing with the firechild and attempting to understand her position and grapple with the state/fate of the world.  But those moments are brief and fleeting.

A part of me wants to write (aka bitch) about this some more, but I’m going to reign myself in and leave it at that.  If you want to read a decent Dark Crystal spin-off comic, read the 3 Creation Myths comics.  Sure they’re not perfect, but they do enough to be their own thing and offer some interesting insights as a prequel series (which I believe the Netflix series will be based on).  I don’t agree with everything that is brought up, particularly in volume 3, but they’re nowhere near the disaster of this sequel.   There’s also one other prequel comic series titled Song/Shadow of the Dark Crystal, but I haven’t read them… yet.  I’ve heard the Netflix series is supposed to be based on those (mainly because the writer of those comics is involved with the writing of the prequel Netflix series).  There’s also a manga series (believe it or not) that I also haven’t read titled Legends of the Dark Crystal, a 2 volume manga series (which is miraculous considering how long most manga series go). #NotMySequel  #FuckTheSequel

Death Wish (2018) review

Rated: 3.5 / 5

“So you’re going to save the animal that shot him!?”
“If I can.”

Rant

So I was interested in seeing this film in November of last year when it was set to release, but then it got pushed back to May 2, 2018, due to concerns of it being released after the events of a mass shooting.  Guess that turned out well.

While I was eager to see this flick after watching the trailer last year (and becoming dismayed when I found it its release would be delayed until, well, today), I had my reservations.  First, with Bruce Willis.  The last film I saw him in where he looked like he gave a damn about the role and attempted to put some effort into it was Looper (a film I found to be mediocre, mainly due to some holes in the time travel logic, and the altered pace of the second half).  Outside of that, most of the stuff he’s in he’s just sleepwalking through.  Not putting hardly any effort into his role.  Unfortunately, that’s still the case with this film, but he does become more alive during the action scenes.  On the other hand, despite people stating how awesome Charles Bronson is, he pretty much did the exact same thing in the original 1974 Death Wish film.

The second reservation is with Eli Roth.  Now, this director, he couldn’t make a great film to save his life.  The best anyone could ever hope for from him is a B+ movie, and that’s it.  Most of the time he releases C-grade material that can be entertaining, but not good enough to be entirely memorable.  He loves putting gore into his films, can keep a film interesting enough to sit through all the way to the end, and usually injects enough thought-provoking material to consider when the film is over; but let’s be fair here, it’s stuff you would only think about for a couple moments and then move on, it’s never heavy.  That being said, for a film like this, a competent B+ actioner was all that I really needed.  Plus, unlike just about every other film he’s done, this one doesn’t star annoying youngsters.  He finally directs something with a middle-aged (or older-aged; sorry Bruce) protagonist having the lead role.

When the original Death Wish film was released in 1974, it was released to much controversy.  Critics decried its support of vigilantism, repulsed by the violence and the rape scene, and proclaimed the film as immoral to society.  Yet it was a hit with audiences, and it sparked discussion on the concept of vigilantism, especially with the rising crime rates.  Cut to today, and it doesn’t seem like much has changed on the controversy aspect, except that now “racism” is thrown into the mix, and choosing to attack groups of people with certain political views in addition to the concepts brought up in the film, as opposed to just exclusively attacking the ideas in the film itself.

One could say it’s definitely not a good time in America to release a movie which embraces gun-toting vigilantism with a complete disregard for any repercussions, one that offers a well-to-do white man as the answer to crime, but it’s never really a good time to release such an insensitive, tone-deaf movie. The crucial arc of pacifist-to-maniac is missing here, leaving the feature pointless, merely staging a “protect your family” parade. The only challenging thing about this movie is watching it.

David J. Fowlie of Keeping it Reel

Alan Zilberman @alanzilberman

Eli Roth’s Death Wish remake is so nakedly fascist that alt-righters will have an erection before the trailer ends http://bit.ly/2hr1mpC

Donna Dickens@MildlyAmused

Maybe isn’t a good idea in a post-Trayvon Martin world. White dudes on vigilante rampages for their fridged wife is very 1980…

Replying to @adamcbest

Moving it to Chicago is basically code for “let’s shoot black people”

In moving the setting to Chicago, a city where gun violence is both well-documented and highly politicized, and setting the trailer to “Back in Black”, the remake tips its hand: 2017’s Death Wish comes off as a work of cowardice and opportunism, piggybacking off hard-right fear-mongering and a government that’s completely and utterly disingenuous in its rhetoric about violent crime when nationwide, crime rates—despite rises in cities thanks to mass shootings like the Pulse massacre in Orlando—remain historically low. This stands in stark contrast to the state of violent crime in the U.S. during the ’70s, a decade that did see rising crime as well as some of the most notorious killers in the nation’s history.

The new Death Wish has an entirely different context, one where guns are routinely turned on black citizens by white supremacists and white cops, where mass shootings regularly occur and lawmakers refuse to do anything about it, where guns in the hands of the populace is not a rarity but arguably an epidemic. It takes a profound level of either ignorance or craven, willful opportunism to think that this is a moment to make a film about a white man’s rage channeled through the barrel of a gun.

Joshua Rivera of GQ

Although, even trying to have fun with the gritty revenge flick can prove troublesome; for some indefensible reason 95% of the criminals are minorities. The self-aware jabs at how easy it is to acquire a gun in America (Bruce Willis takes a few comedic trips to a satirical weapons store similar to Ammunation the Grand Theft Auto games) feel halfhearted and edited in after recent tragedies to throw criticism in both directions of the political spectrum. And let’s face it, watching a teenage girl fear for her life during a shootout right now is probably the last thing people will want to see, regardless of how the scare turns out. Honestly, an enlightened remake of Death Wish would not place Jordan in a coma, instead, it would give her a real character alongside PTSD in the aftermath of such events. The limited amount of perspective we do get from her is better than anything else in the movie from a narrative standpoint,

Robert Kojder of Flickering Myth

It’s the absolute wrong movie at the absolute wrong time. With our country currently reeling from the latest in what seems like an endless cycle of sickening school shootings, there couldn’t be a worse moment for a film that not only fetishizes gun violence, but also seems to get off on it. I’m sure there must have been long hand-wringing debates about whether to shelve the film for a couple of months and let the still-fresh wounds heal. At least I hope so. But whatever the case, the louder and more irresponsible voices in the room seem to have won out.

[…]

The audience I saw it with (in a Blue State, no less) cheered like crazy during the moments that might have otherwise given them pause. […] But the marketing of the film is another matter entirely. It has an unmistakable stink of rah-rah Make America Great Again-ness to it. It’s patriotic red meat thrown to the NRA crowd.

Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly

A time of Trumpist racism, incoherent gun policy, fear of police, etc., would be fertile subjects for mainstream films that use genre metaphors to address real national debates. That’s something this Death Wish doesn’t even try to be. Something has gone very wrong in Hollywood when one longs for the moral nuance of a Charles Bronson exploitation flick.

John Defore of Hollywood Reporter

The NRA would have you believe that the answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. But what about a bad movie with a gun? There will surely be those who approach Eli Roth’s updated “Death Wish” — with Bruce Willis taking over outlaw-justice duties for Charles Bronson — as the fantasy balm of righteous violence they need after the headline horrors of so many mass killings.

But is an upstanding man turned instant vengeance machine, who slays only the right criminals, who never hits a bystander, really the message our roiling gun-debate conversation needs right now?

[…]

Never addressed, though, is the racial truism that if an anonymous, hoodie-shrouded person of color from a poor neighborhood were dispensing street justice, he’d hardly be labeled a “guardian angel” or people’s hero. He might not even be covered by the media. But that kind of truth-telling would just harsh this movie’s NRA-friendly buzz.

[…]

It’s anyone’s guess if the nation’s newly politicized, gun-control-hungry teenagers will be a decisive demographic in this movie’s box office fate. But as I left the screening for “Death Wish,” one middle-aged white guy barked out over the credits, “God bless the NRA! Arm the teachers!” Trigger warning, indeed.

Robert Abele of The Wrap

It’s difficult to think of a film more out of step with the current culture than Eli Roth’s remake of Michael Winner’s 1974 action thriller Death Wish. At a time when Americans are constantly bombarded with reports of unpunished police brutality, the film suggests that the true problem with justice in our country is that law enforcement isn’t violent enough.

Jake Cole of Slant

Watch it now, and you laugh at the campier aspects, cringe at the outright racism and sit slack-jawed as a Southern yokel/NRA avatar circa ’74 talks about how the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

[…]

But it helps to remember that this Nixon-era law-and-order wet dream also became a huge blockbuster hit, sparked a lot of point/counterpoint conversation about vigilantism, gave Charles Bronson’s career a shot in the arm and kicked off a revenge-fantasy franchise that went well into the Nineties.  […] And given how Trump resurrected that same “law and order” rhetoric to scare voters and play to his base’s baser instincts, you can see why an opportunist might want to remake it now, right?

David Fear of Rolling Stone

2018 is turning out to be a truly inclusive year for on-screen representation. “Black Panther” invited African-American audiences to see themselves in a massive superhero movie that wasn’t about their own oppression, “A Fantastic Woman” gave transgender women the chance to see themselves in an acclaimed film that wasn’t terribly retrograde, and now Eli Roth’s dangerously enjoyable “Death Wish” gives right-wing lunatics the opportunity to see themselves in a fascist fairy tale that wasn’t directed by Dinesh D’Souza. To each their own cinema.

[…]

The grossest part of the entire movie are the milliseconds between when you smile at what you’re seeing and when you recoil at what it means. Roth implicates us in the violence to an extent that the original never did, or never could.

David Ehrlich of IndieWire

Irresponsibly tone deaf, maverick in its thematic ignorance and pornographic in its fetishistic gun obsession. There’s never a point where vi-o-lent vigilante justice might *not* be the answer, always gruesomely inflicted with Rothian levels of fatal body trauma. For a movie that opens with media chatter about how Chicago’s criminal epidemic has reached near-dystopian levels, there’s a shocking lack of responsible messaging under peeled layers of flesh. No matter how much you might want to separate your politics from movies, Death Wish refuses to let you. It’s a dumbfounding example of the exact kind of weapons normalization we *do-f#&king-not* need in mainstream pop culture right now.

Matt Donato of We Got This Covered

The scene, by all rights, ought to be a nasty bit of business: a middle-aged white avenger in a hoodie, popping out of nowhere to blow a black drug dealer away. But that “last customer” line plays like an old Schwarzenegger kiss-off, and the lawless killing is followed by equal-time commentary from black and white talk-radio hosts — the film’s explicit attempt to defuse any racist overtones.

More than that, the reality of a glib execution like this one is that audiences have been consuming overripe revenge thrillers for 45 years now, and they no longer take them all that seriously. Blowing someone away with unsmiling moral cool is now an act of violent comedy. (That’s certainly how the multi-racial audience reacted at the preview showing of “Death Wish” I attended; they hooted and hollered with glee.)

“Death Wish,” make no mistake, is a movie that has its heart in the wrong place. It’s an advertisement for gun fetishism, for taking the law into your own hands, for homicide as justice, for thinking of assault weapons as the world’s coolest toys. Given that the eternal debate about gun control has now been heightened, post-Parkland massacre, to a new state of urgency, the film, depending on your point of view, is either horribly timed or spectacularly well-timed. An N.R.A. cultist might see the new “Death Wish” and think, “Hollywood finally made one for our side.”

Owen Gleiberman of Variety

There is no clear explanation as to why Roth decided today’s world needed to revisit the franchise’s ultra-right-wing dog whistling. Perhaps a George Zimmerman biopic fell apart due to rights issues, and this was the closest producers could get. Or maybe the cinema needs just that much more sickeningly sincere gun fetishization – they’ve certainly got an audience in Senator Marco Rubio, so that’s one ticket sold.

Takashi Seida of The Globe and Mail

Death Wish is the last movie we need right now. Eli Roth‘s remake of the 1974 original is just as tasteless and tone-deaf as its exploitative trailer promised, with Bruce Willis‘ doctor-turned-vigilante Paul Kersey doling out gunpowdered justice against the milieu of Chicago’s real-life gun violence epidemic after his wife is killed during a home invasion.

Randall Colburn of Consequences of Sound

Actually: No. There’s no better time to sit with director Eli Roth’s version of “Death Wish.” Sixteen days after Parkland; 17 days after the murder of Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer; the same week as our president’s assertion that he would’ve run into that Florida high school and taken care of business, gun or no. Yes, it feels like the week for this movie.

Funny thing: Initially, MGM had this Bruce Willis “Death Wish” reboot scheduled for a Nov. 22, 2017, launch. But a week after last fall’s gun massacre in Las Vegas, the studio thought, well, maybe this isn’t the moment to get audiences jazzed about an NRA wet dream. So MGM waited, forgetting that America never goes too long between massacres.

Michael Phillips of Chicago Tribune

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So that’s the general atmosphere of mainstream film critics, and I’m sure mainstream news sites and talk shows, most of which are liberal and pro-gun-control.  Unlike the 70s where they just called the film repulsive, today they not only call it repulsive, but call anyone who enjoys it repulsive, and call anyone related to being pro-Trump or pro-NRA repulsive (and racist, and alt-right, and pro-fascist).

Ok, first of all, can’t we just agree that there are people out there who don’t give a fuck about politics and just want to see a revenge-thriller?  Not everyone who would find enjoyment in this move fits those “negative” traits, and even if they did those trait definitions have been stretched so broadly just about anyone could fit into their definition.

Second, just because someone is pro-NRA, pro-Trump, anti-gun-control, doesn’t mean they’re an asshole who promotes violence and wants to kill everyone.  I’m tired of seeing people like that, including me, being labeled as such.

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Third, and this is the big one, I think they fear that films like this, about vigilantes and how their way can work because police aren’t a guaranteed source of protection (as many recent shootings have demonstrated; if these cocksuckers are going to exploit shooting massacres to justify not seeing a film, then I’m going to be one of those cocksuckers who will exploit the shootings and justification for seeing the film).  Because this film, and the original Death Wish (among other films between 1974 and 2008, nevermind the 1973 Walking Tall film), provide reasons as to why and how having guns (good guy with a gun) can eliminate criminals early on who wish to cause violence among innocent civilians (ie the bad guy with a gun).  They wanna label anti-gun-control individuals as people who want violence to happen and as deplorables who will make things worse, that can go both ways.  Why not label the pro-gun-control individuals as those who also want violence to happen.  See how things work out if you ask that some guy with a gun follows the law and not shoot anyone when he’s about to start shooting people.  See how that worked out for many examples in the past where a good guy with a gun stopped such incidents before they got exponentially worse.  Forget about seeing so judgemental and open-minded and letting people make up their own decisions.

“Everyone is very sensitive, everyone is ready to take a stance against something, but c’mon guys.

“You have to be aware of your audience, if you want to handle that subject matter, you have to be smart about it. And we do.

“When you see the film, you’ll see exactly how we handle the killing, how it’s not about race. It’s about good, it’s about bad. He’s going after bad guys, he’s going after the guys that did this to him. But you know what, everybody gets a taste of justice in this movie.”

Eli Roth

Some are actually calling for the movie to be plugged from theaters or questioning the decision of the studio to make the film at all ( just by the critic’s interpretations of the film’s politics) and that’s why I say that a lot of these guys are definitely no different nor any better than those “1950s book-burners right-wing assholes” they claim to hate so much.

But thank God we still got some freedoms left and the movie was released and viewed by yours truly.

Mucho Macho on Manly Movie

And some people going, “A white guy in a hoodie killing a black gangster (nevermind about the white guys he offs, that’s mandatory to avoid being labeled UBER-RACIST!).  That’s racist!”  Fuck you!  You wouldn’t be bitching about that if it was a black guy killing off a bunch of white people, like Denzel Washington did in The Equalizer.  Hell, you wouldn’t bitch about it if it was about a black guy going all vigilante on a bunch of white guys who killed his family.  Stop trying to make this a racist black vs. white issue!  Everyone from all sides has a thing for revenge films!

“This film is the last thing we need released right now because it’s a sensitive subject!”  Fuck off!  Having a movie about a sensitive subject allows for more potentially constructive conversations to happen.  Besides, every movie contains material that some may find offensive and triggering.

“My best friend was killed by a thug with a gun!”  Mine wasn’t, so I don’t give a shit.

“My family died in a car crash!”  Well, guess we better ban all racing films from theaters.

“My family died in a plane crash!”  Doesn’t mean everyone else still can’t watch Fearless or Airplane! or Con Air.

“My dog died!”  Fuck you, I’m still going to watch and enjoy Old Yeller!

“Me and my wife got gang-raped!”  Guess we can’t have films with rape as a plot device anymore, not even if it tackles the subject with how to recover/recoup from it, nevermind other revenge flicks that can come from that such as I Spit on Your Grave or Elle.

“My girlfriend broke up with me!”  Then avoid all the straight and lesbian romance flicks and go watch Brokeback Mountain or some movie where homosexual men or transgenders or futas fuck each other up the ass!

“My waiter was mean to me!”  Cry me a river and starve to death while I watch Waiting.

Virtually anything can set someone off.  Some have their personal traumas that they are unable to get over (or that some don’t want them to get over, at least not too quickly, because we can’t encourage people to get over traumatic experiences on their own and be tough and independent now can me?) which prevents them from watching and enjoying a film containing that particular subject matter.  But just because that’s the case for them doesn’t mean they should bring the experience down for everyone (including those tough enough to get over the traumatic experience) else who is interested in seeing the fucking film, whether it’s a stupid fucking film, a smart fucking film, a poorly made film, a richly made film, etc.  Let individuals decide for themselves if they want to see it or not, and whether they’ll enjoy it or not.  And if they want your input, they’ll fucking ask for it (or visit a website and read about it, hello readers).  The only reason this is controversial is because of the social/political/cultural climate that the mainstream has been stirring up ever since 2014, and doubling down on it, and doing their damnedest to make us hate ourselves and each other, and I’m fucking sick of it, and hope they burn in hell for dividing us like this.  A part of me hopes this film stays at the top of the box office for 3 weeks straight just to spite these assholes, and especially if it beats out Black Panther so that Disney and Marvel lose their shit.

*sigh*

 

 

Actual Film Review

Alright, enough with the ranting, which will probably take up more space than the actual review.  So how was the film?  I enjoyed it.  It’s roughly what I was hoping it would be.  Didn’t exceed expectations (that would’ve been a miracle), but it didn’t fall below them either.  Bruce Willis is typical, nothing to special about his acting talents; just sleepwalking until the action scenes (so basically like Bronson, except he also sleepwalks through the actions scenes too).  Eli Roth kept things interesting with the pacing and the action for the most part (though the first 30 minutes is a bit slow, because they needed a better dialogue writer and better actors and actresses to deliver them, and it’s all by-the-numbers).  And the violence is much appreciated, not shying away from any of it.

Now I wouldn’t say it’s quite as gritty as the original film.  Roth may like to think he’s making gritty material, but just because it’s violent doesn’t mean it’s gritty.  He’s not skilled enough for that, and he’s too clean with his directing, despite what the gore may make you think.  That being said, I prefer this remake to the original simply because it’s more fun and energetic.  The 1974 film is rather boring by my standards, and monotonous.  The only reason it’s hailed as a classic is because it was released in a “timely” matter (even if critics back then claimed otherwise) when it was relevant (like this film today), and because it was the first true vigilante film.  Many were fed up with the high crime rates and the lack of police successfully protecting citizens, so the idea of taking the law into their own hands appealed to many.  And crime isn’t much better today in some areas of the country (Detroit, Chicago, the latter of which is where the film takes place, and I firmly believe this was intentional on the screenwriter’s part).  Because crime rates and violence is still a problem today, this theme is still relevant, especially when we’re in a day and age where we’re encouraged to be less independent than ever.  Doesn’t usually work out that well.

Death Sentence

The other element this brings is how social media and radio hosts and podcasters react to vigilante Bruce Willis.  You know, like what Boondock Saints did (one of the most overrated movies ever, even for something that only has a cult status).  Or what The Brave One did, something I reviewed alongside another film called Miss Sloane, the latter of which was a very pro-gun-control film which bombed in theaters (hah!).  The Brave One had a female being in the role of the vigilante, a good girl with a gun.  And it’s a film I consider to be superior to Death Wish (both versions) and Boondock Saints in terms of dealing with the pros and cons of being a vigilante.  The other good film on vigilantism (that focuses primarily on what the consequences are) that I’ve seen is the under-rated Death Sentence starring Kevin Bacon.  This new Death Wish film attempts to show the grey area of vigilantes, by having podcasters ask if he’s right or wrong (it came off as very shallow and tacked on), by having another vigilante wanna-be get killed off (that addition worked better), and showing how Willis’ character becomes more closed off from others, and how his den becomes more and more littered and trashed as he continues on this lifestyle.  It doesn’t go far enough to point out how unhealthy the lifestyle is, in my opinion, but it’s there.  But regardless, the film clearly sides with vigilantism, and one could argue without much outcry from me that vigilantism is glorified.  But at least it’s nice enough to show that Willis doesn’t start out as a pro.  He almost gets killed from a bullet ricochet when he fires for the first time (pretty sure it was played more for laughs then as a warning; entertaining regardless), gets his hand messed up from the slider, and the gun gets jammed on one occasion.  Plus he lucks out of getting killed in one instance.  So I wouldn’t say it entirely glorifies vigilantism to the point where it encourages anyone to be a vigilante.  But I would say, like the original film did, that society could use vigilantes to make society better, because law enforcement isn’t always enough.  In any case, Eli Roth is like Scott Snyder when it comes to themes; neither director is capable of going far enough with them to be considered satisfactory.

And the violence does get quite brutal at times, especially when he visits the auto-shop (that’s all I’ll say about it).  And I always appreciate a film bringing some hard R violence into the cinemas to remind me that not everything is bland and holding back (just most mainstream movies).  It worked far better in this film than it did in Eli Roth’s previous film The Green Inferno.

From the films I’ve seen in the director’s repertoire, this is probably his best-made film to date, better than Hostel (that’s probably not saying much for some readers out there, but there it is).  Roth does miss far more than he hits, and in my opinion this film is only his second hit (next to Hostel, all other films of his I either don’t care to see, or I have seen and think they’re shitty).

Good fun shoot-em-up entertainment with a dose of torture in the middle, and we have a protagonist who doesn’t come off as invincible (he gets some scars and hits off and on).  Recommended.

PS: For those who bitch about Willis’ character not puking out of sickness and disgust from his first kill like Bronson did in the original adaptation, I chalk it up to Willis being used to being around dead people; you know, being a hospital surgeon and all.

PPS: Doesn’t the daughter in this film look like Anne Hathaway?

Lords of Hellas review

Rated: 5 / 5

Source: http://chillingwithzombies.tumblr.com/

I backed this game on kickstarter, and I believe I can say this could turn out to be my favorite kickstarter backed game next to The Lord of the Ice Garden (which also originates from Poland, along with the novel series which that game is based off of, which currently doesn’t have an English release, sons of bitches).  There are expansions that are coming out for this, which last I checked are still being tested and developed, let alone not released yet.  I have played the core set 10 times at all player counts (though have only done a 4 player game once), and can safely say the game plays well whether it’s with 2, 3, or 4 players (though it does play best with 4).

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Start of a game, mostly.

The first thing that attracted me to the game was the theme (which is the main thing I tend to go for in games now, as my collection is covered in the gameplay department at this point, for the most part).  It’s not enough that this takes place in Ancient Greece, with the mythological heroes, gods, and monsters present; they had to make it sci-fi too.  Which I think is awesome, and something to consider next time they release a Cthulhu-based game by making Cthulhu turn his tentacles on his face into missiles that shoot out and blow shit up (or something like that).  Certainly makes it more unique, as I don’t think I’ve seen this done before.  Not only is Hercules (or Heracles, as this game likes to spell it) still strong and buff, but he’s also enhanced with cyberpunk technology, enhancing his strength.

The soldiers (aka hoplites) he leads get enhancements too.  Image uploaded to BGG by Pan3Gr.

The second thing that interested me, and this is what sold me on it (as it should any serious gamer) is the gameplay.  Having multiple paths to victory, and none of them involving accumulation of victory points.  Because let’s face it, games that allow for winning a competitive game in a manner that doesn’t involve victory points doesn’t happen often enough; same thing with games that have multiple ways to end the game.  In this game, you can win by traditional area control (control 2-3 lands), by gaining control of specific regions (control 5 temples), by killing 3 mythological beasts (kill 3 monsters), or by controlling a region with a fully-built monument.  Not to mention you get a choice of 4 unique characters, with unique starting conditions and unique abilities.

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It reminded me of Runewars, which plenty of users on boardgamegeek.com have mentioned.  It’s similar in that controlling regions can net you certain resources to help you win (in this case, controlling temples can get you priests which can upgrade your hero, and in essence your army), but the main similarity comes with the heroes.  In both LoH and RW, heroes are sent to go on quests, and gain artifacts/treasures that give the hero and/or army special advantages.  However, heroes play a more prominent role in LoH compared to RW.  In RW, it’s perfectly playable if heroes are removed.  In this game, heroes are mandatory.  They’re needed to allow hoplites to moves around faster, so it becomes easier to gain control of regions, and to reorganize to defend your borders against other player’s hoplites.  In RW, your army operates optimally regardless of what the hero does (though the hero does allow for a minor impact in combat in that game, plus some items they gain can help you win, but it’s very downplayed in that game compared to this).

Runewars game.  Image by BGG user bullseyetm.

However, upgrading your hero’s leadership to allow more hoplites to move isn’t the only option.  It’s not always that easy.  There are 2 other stats to upgrade on your hero, strength and speed.  So sure, you can focus more on hoplite area control and focus primarily on upgrading leadership (you can move 1 hoplite per leadership point your hero has).  But then you could upgrade your hero’s speed so he can move around further, and thus get to quests and monsters faster, or in the case of Athena and Achilles, move to a strategic position to prepare for or dissuade combat from happening in a region.  Or you could upgrade your strength so you can draw more combat cards when facing monsters.  What you may want to upgrade depends on the hero you choose, and the current state of the map (and how the other players are threatening to win).

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The other decision-making point comes in where you wish to start off on the map.  At the start of the game, you place your hero along with 2 hoplites in one region.  From what I’ve seen, it’s best to start in a region that you can immediately gain control of, as in a region that only requires 2 hoplites for initial control.  There are choices of whether you want to start in a region where a temple can be built, or a region that has a city.  If you start off in a region (and control it) where a temple can be built, you can build a temple early on to get a priest who can be sent off to a monument to pray and upgrade one of your hero’s stats.  On the other hand, if you start in a city, it becomes easy early on to gain hoplites (especially if you get control of a second city on your first turn, and then use the Recruit special action on the next turn to recruit multiple hoplites in each of those cities).  Both are good options, and your threat level for winning will increase either way.  And, once again, it depends on the initial state of the board and your hero when determining what the best path to take is.  And it will take multiple plays to figure that out.  ‘Cause, you know, replay value is a nice trait for a board game to have.

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I had a few concerns with this game prior to playing it.  The monster combat.  Now, one of the other things that attracted me to this game was card-driven combat.  No dice.  There is only 1 die in the game, and it’s only used for monster movement or attack (or doing nothing), which I’m fine with.  However, I worried that battling monsters could get too easy.  Each monster has a sheet with wound slots on it.  Each monster varies, some having only 5 wounds, others have as many as 8 (sometimes more if they get upgraded due to an event).  Each combat card you have (save for 2 types, one of which is a wild card) has a symbol on it, indicating what type of wound it can deal to the monster.  Each monster takes different types of wounds.  So you can get involved in a hunt by prepping ahead of time by building up your combat hand until you have combat cards of the right type (each card representing a weapon; heroes have to go through a lot of weapons to take these beasts out), or go in without the right cards but hoping you’ll draw the right ones.  But you’re limited to a hand size of 4, unless you get a blessing that increases it (more on that later).  At the start of a hunt, you draw cards into your hand equal to your hero’s strength (that’s why that attribute matters), going over your hand limit, which is legal during a hunt.  So the more strength your hero has, the more likely you’ll draw cards of the right type to discard against the monster and kill it before it has a chance to counter-attack.

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Owned!

From my experience, monster hunts actually work better than I anticipated.  Assuming you do wind up with the max strength of 5 and draw that many cards into your hand, and holding 9 cards in total, even then, there’s a chance you might not win the battle.  First, there’s no guarantee that you have all the cards needed to deal all the wounds.  Second, while most monster attack cards tend to be 3-5 strength, indicating you must either discard a number of combat cards which strength number adds up to that amount or greater to block the attack (which results in you adding 2 more cards into your hand, giving you extra incentive to block), there are a few curve-ball cards in that deck to make sure victory isn’t guaranteed.  For example, there’s a card who’s strength is greater the more cards you have in your hand, or one that is stronger when there’s less wounds on the monster, or stronger when there’s more wounds on the monster.  That being said, more often than not, a hero with a strength of 5 who has the right type of cards in hand initially prior to the hunt is usually going to win.

Probably the logic behind getting combat cards from a hunt you don’t intend to win.

On the other hand, it’s also possible for someone who doesn’t have max strength, or even a max hand size, or holds cards of the right type(s), to still defeat a monster when starting a hunt against it.  At that point, it becomes a push-your-luck battle.  Sometimes a player may want to defeat the monster, in which case he must consider which cards to discard for dealing wounds, and which cards to hold onto so that he can brace for the monster’s counter-attack.  Battles can be prolonged by successfully blocking attacks with 1 or 2 cards, which allows the player to add 2 more combat cards to his hand for the next round, thus making for an interesting back-and-forth feel.  Alternatively, a player may just start a battle just to deal specific wounds which could allow him/her to gain a priest or artifact (each monster has at least 1 wound slot of that type), thus providing another reason to fight a monster outside of just defeating it (though another reason for defeating it could be so the monster stops messing up their army by killing of their hoplites, that can get annoying).  And then there’s the 3rd reason to fight a monster, though this isn’t something used often (most games I’ve been in went by without anyone doing this): starting a hunt just to draw combat cards in preparation for a battle against other hoplites, and having no intention of using any cards to wound the monster.  Sure, this results in the hero taking a wound (which happens at least once when a hero fails at a hunt), but it is worth it if it helps out the hero’s army.  Let alone going after a monster so that another player trying to win by monster kills has one less monster to kill, assuming you wipe out the monster.  Because if you fail to kill a monster and deal plenty of wounds to it, those wounds stay, making it an easier target for every other player/hero in the game.  Plenty of reasons to engage a monster, and plenty of tough decision-making to go along with it.

Not to mention it’s possible for a game to start with some, all, or no monsters on the board.  Image by BGG user mercopparis.

There are ways to slow a hero down when it comes to accumulating strength.  Each monument only has 2 slots to place a priest.  Once 2 priests are on a monument, no more can be placed there until things basically “reset” via the Build Monument special action.  So having other players dogpile on the monument can prevent a potential monster hunter from gaining the strength necessary to make hunting monsters an assured way of winning the game (yet another reason why I recommend playing with 4 players, greater chances of blocking off priests at certain monuments).  But that’s not the only way to slow a hero down.  You can also intentionally start combat against their armies, forcing them to play combat cards they may have wanted held for hunting monsters and using them to help their armies win instead (a great game design example of having cards with multiple uses).  After all, controlling lands/temples is an alternate way to win, and you can’t just let a player run away with victory via land control anymore than you should allow someone to run away with a monster kill victory.  And lastly, there’s the Zeus monument artifact, which can be used to wound a hero who is in the lead.  Thus the early-mid-game is a very important part of the whole thing.  How you start out, and how you choose to slow the others down while attempting to get ahead of them, is all part of the game.  Thus you shouldn’t allow a player to get their hero upgraded too far too fast (easier to do in a 4 player game).

Image from BGG user Pan3Gr.

Regarding the monument control victory, this one doesn’t happen very often, and it especially doesn’t happen if all players know what they (and their opponents) are doing.  It mainly exists if all players are at a stand-off, unable to gain victory via monster kills, and very good at preventing the taking of certain territories.  Thus getting a monument built triggers a sort of end-game timer, where whoever controls the monument at the end of a certain number of rounds wins the game.  One way in which this can become problematic, indicating a broken system, is with the Glory tokens, which can be gained by killing a monster or completing a quest (thus you gain the glory token that matches the color of the regions you completed the quest or killed the monster).  When a hero has a glory token, they can do the Usurp special action to immediately take control of a region, and recruit a hoplite in that region, and force any enemy hoplites there to retreat to an adjacent region.  If the player who built the monument has the glory token for the land the built monument is in, then victory seems assured assuming no other victory condition is met up ’till then.

Build the Zeus monument or he will smite thee!

However, as I’ve learned from experience, one shouldn’t attempt to rush towards the monument victory.  Because this causes more and more events to get drawn, and thus allows for more quests and monsters to appear, which provides opportunity for a quest/monster to appear in the region with the built monument, which provides opportunity for another hero to complete the quest or kill the monster, and thus steal the glory token from the player who had it.  And that’s assuming you don’t cause more monsters to appear for someone attempting to win via monster kills.  And the more often you do the build monument action, the more opportunities you give other players to upgrade their heroes and do the same special action multiple consecutive times.  On top of that, the monument build action can be utilized by other players for the purpose of drawing more monsters/quests and adding them to the map to gain glory, or just to move a monster into the land with the monument, kill it there, take the glory token from the player, and use his own strategy against him.  Thus the monument victory doesn’t seem broken either, considering the dangers of rushing it, and the risk factor of usurp.  It’s more of a long-term plan, just in case all else fails.

Image uploaded to BGG by Awaken Realms

As for the other 2 conditions, controlling 2 lands or 5 temples, those victory conditions can be pulled off suddenly and surprisingly with well-executed maneuvers.  You have to keep an eye on players who control 1 entire land and a couple regions in some other land, and keep an eye on players who control 3 temples (and when there’s at least 5 temples built; you built temples to get priests so they can be sent to monuments to upgrade your hero in case you’re wondering).  Because if you overlook that, then they can use a combination of normal hoplite movement and a march action to take the regions needed to win the game.  While these victories can be the most surprising, they are also the ones players can most often see coming if they’re paying attention.

Building Athena from level 1 to level 5.

I’ve noticed that the easiest way to win via controlling 2 lands is in the lower lands, the green and brown lands, both of which are adjacent to each other.  The reason this allows for an easy victory is two-fold.

1.) The city of Sparta, where 4 hoplites can be recruited there at a time rather than the regular 2.  Thus your army can be built up faster if you control the region with that city.

2.) The brown land only has 3 regions, while all other lands have 4 regions, thus requiring more territory to take in order to control the entire land.

Temples.  Image uploaded to BGG by Awaken Realms

So one shouldn’t allow Sparta to be taken too easily, else they risk the player controlling it to build up forces quickly and start flooding the lower regions with troops.  However, this can be mitigated, as invading from the blue and yellow regions can allow for territory takeover.  It also helps that each player has a limit of 15 hoplites, so you won’t have an insane amount of hoplites on the board to flood territories, which helps out against whoever winds up controlling Sparta (assuming they don’t lose it via Usurp, or a regular battle).  That’s why region control markers are necessary, so you can maintain control even when you have no hoplites in the region (heroes can’t control regions).  However, if you leave a region vulnerable like that, all it takes is for 1 hoplite to move in there to steal the region, or have an opponent’s hero move into there to do the Prepare special action and recruit a couple hoplites into the region to steal control that way.  And on top of all that, even with the high number of troops, if they keep fighting multiple battles, sooner or later, that player will start to get drained of combat cards.

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Despite the fact that this game was still in-development and being play-tested during the kickstarter campaign (and I believe briefly after the campaign ended too), it has turned out remarkably well.  The game developers responsible for this game (Marcin Swierkot, Adam Kwapinski) seem to know what they’re doing.  This game isn’t just good looks, there’s some real depth to it.  How deep it goes, I’m not sure.  But what I do know is that the base game is this good, and there are expansions on the way, which will definitely increase the replay value.  Each time I think there’s a way to break the game, I discover some strategy/tactic that proves me wrong.  And while it does play best with 4, with 2 and 3 players, it still seems surprisingly balanced, even if I question the land change-up for control with 3 players (the blue land doesn’t matter for land control victory; I still wonder why they don’t just make brown the irrelevant region, but it still seems to work fine regardless; but I still need to get more plays to determine the strength of the Sparta city strategy).  But most importantly of all, I find the game to be quite fun.

Highly recommended game.

Now if Zeus had a cyberpunk electric whip, he probably would’ve whipped Kratos’ ass.

 

 

PS: If you’re wondering why there isn’t a monument for Ares, the god of war, I honestly don’t think that’s necessary.  Here’s why: war is already being fought all across the game.  So Ares is already being entertained by all this, just sitting back, relaxing, and chowing down on his popcorn that’s been dipped in blood and wine (rather than caramel, because he’s too good for cracker jacks) and cooled in his cyberpunk refrigerator, and enjoying the whole show.