Quickly addressing the elephant in the room, yes, the election is over and it’s been quite a debacle here in the United States of America. Regardless of your political stance, my site is and will always be a place where any person of any race, sexual orientation, nationality, and/or religious background can hang out in the comments and discuss our love for our favorite form of escapism: video games.
Let’s not discuss politics in the comments at all. Instead, let us embrace human decency and love and give each other a few minutes of welcome acceptance every Friday, as we’ve been doing for the last 6 years (on and off).
So, without further ado, we all know you gotta get down on Friday. Because Friday is generally rad. What are you folks getting in to?
I’ve been going all in on the fantasy SRPG Fire Emblem: Awakening on 3DS and loving it immensely. The characters are excellent, from the tunnel-visioned, heroic Chrom, his douchebag pal Vieke, and the fumbling love interest Sumia, to the hesitant shape-shifting Panne and mysteriously evil, yet oddly hypnotic Dark Mage, Tharja.
Lately I’ve spent a lot of time on DLC maps pairing different characters together, just to build up their relationships and open up additional bits of dialogue. The story is already engaging, with the Mad King, Gangrel, stopping at nothing to obtain the Fire Emblem held by Chrom’s Halidom of Ylisse. There’s a lot going on story-wise, and I’d like to avoid spoilers, but yeah, it’s great.
I took some time away from Fire Emblem to play through the campaigns of Titanfall 2 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. In case you missed my review, I went in-depth about why I think Titanfall 2 is the best shooter campaign of 2016 right here.
Both games were a bit similar, being futuristic first-person shooters with wall running and robot companions, but where Infinite Warfare provided some rather excellent space combat chapters and more interesting characters, Titanfall 2 fully embraced its exciting and agile platforming in the midst of all the shooty bits.
It’s been a great year for shooter campaigns, between Doom, Battlefield 1, the remastered BioShock collection, and the 2 aforementioned games above. I’m sad that EA cannibalized their own audience by releasing Titanfall 2 so close to Battlefield 1, and the sales figures are equally depressing, but hopefully word of mouth on social media and a steady stream of highly positive user reviews draw in additional players. It deserves it. Both do, actually
All of these options are wonderful takes on the first-person shooter genre, particularly from a campaign perspective, so if you have an interest in them and the free time, I highly recommend taking 6-8 hours and giving each and every one of them a chance at your earliest convenience. Red Box kiosks are a godsend for muscling through shorter games at $3.60 USD per day.
Speaking of Red Box, my girlfriend just had all four of her wisdom teeth removed yesterday and since I knew she’d be out of it I figured I’d go see if they had anything else worth renting. I picked up Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, since their stock was slim pickings.
I was never big on Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Mankind Divided quickly doused my curiosity. I just don’t like Adam Jensen as a character, I think. Apparently that’s reason enough to lose interest, since I uninstalled it after just 2 short hours. Maybe another time.
Ah well, back to Fire Emblem!
Outside of gaming, I finished the 2nd volume of Trees (written by Warren Ellis of Moon Knight and Transmetropolitan fame) and I’m not sure yet how I feel about it. It takes on the perspective of different groups of people spread across the globe, all of them residing in an area inhabited by these massive spires they call “trees.” They just appeared on Earth ten years ago and nobody knows why, but lately they’ve spurred the growth of these weird mechanical black poppies that have begun interfering with electronic equipment, similar to an electro-magnetic pulse.
The first book introduced a lot of the characters, as I talked about last Friday, but it was slow going until the very end. The 2nd volume is no different, though it’s quite a bit narrower since it only really focuses on two of the groups from the 1st book. While this made it easier to follow, I remained wholly uninterested in one of the groups throughout the duration of the comic. And again, like volume 1, it was a slow burn that thankfully cashed in a satisfying finale over its last few pages.
Both endings have grabbed my attention, picking at my curiosity and begging me to continue reading them, but I spend most of my time kind of bored until the last few pages.
I recently finished the first two volumes of the comic series Low, written by Rick Remender (Black Science, Tokyo Ghost). The central theme is family and optimism, though the series itself is equally wondrous and depressing.
Low is a post-apocalyptic aquatic sci-fi tale about Stel Caine’s many internal struggles, along with her never-ending desire to escape the inevitable demise of Earth by the ever-encroaching Sun. With the surface now uninhabitable, the population has taken refuge in different underwater cities, though all of humanity has seemingly given up hope in finding another planet to call home. Instead, they break away from reality with psychoactive drugs, daily orgies, or by gambling on gladiatorial arenas where prisoners battle to the death with monstrous sea creatures.
Stel’s husband was part of an important bloodline that commanded powerful suits of armor using their DNA, which became highly sought after by a group of sea pirates. During a routine stroll, their vessel becomes surrounded and eventually boarded by the pirates, who then proceed to kidnap their two daughters, steal their suit of armor, and, to fulfill the DNA requirements, dig out one of the husband’s eyes with a barbed hook. It’s pretty brutal.
As the comic fast-forwards ten years in the future, Stel’s husband has since succumbed to the wounds and their only son is now a drug-addicted, hooker fucking, crooked cop steadily on the verge of committing suicide. However, a beacon of hope presents itself to Stel as she receives word of a space probe returning with the location a new, potentially habitable planet.
It’s been a really great series to follow thus far, with a distinguishable art style and brilliant writing that accessibly presents a foreign world that requires no prior knowledge to fully immerse yourself in. Stel’s struggles and the events that follow are soul crushing, particularly the arcs in the 2nd volume that shift focus to the current lives of her abducted daughters, along with the fate of her only son, Marik, and his ragtag group of arena brawling comrades.
I have one more volume of Low to finish, then it’s on to Outcast, written by The Walking Dead’s creator Robert Kirkman. I also picked up the first six volumes of Sweeth Tooth, the first three volumes of Lazarus, and the first volumes of Injection, THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, Descender, and Birthright. I typically read DC superhero stuff, but lately I’ve really enjoyed all of these different non-capes graphic novels by Image and Vertigo.
What about you folks? What have you got planned for this weekend?