Ret’s Review: Horizon Zero Dawn

Like the majority of Japanese anime openings, the title makes absolutely no sense.

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Yes! I actually review things! It wasn’t just a one time thing, I just happen to take my own sweet time getting around to things that are supposedly new! And yes, I enjoy videogames as well!

So, as one might surmise from the title, I’ll be giving my review of Horizon Zero Dawn, hopefully keeping it as spoiler-free as possible. Of course, I’m sure there’s no shortage of videogame journalism sites or random people on the internet proclaiming it’s a masterpiece, so what would I have to say about it?

That’s a really simple one: A review. I intend to tell what the game was, add my own impressions, and help you make an informed decision if you’re thinking of getting it.

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Fabletop Classes: Meet The Druid

Quite a few plant-based spells can be cast out of thin air, and vines start popping up out of nowhere like it’s tentacle hentai.

Today I am branching out from another branch of my writing in something big enough for a category: Character classes! And today,  we’re looking at a certain group of nature-loving animal enthusiasts who are all about organic, sustainable living.

No, not hippies. Certainly not PETA. DRUIDS. Wait. I just made a branch pun. EXCELLENT.

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Anti-Heroes: On A Razor’s Edgelord

They’re the guys who’ll decisively travel back in time and kill baby Hitler.

Stories, sides, life. Things tend to be seen in black and white, evil and good, dark and light. It’s a distinction that lies in our most primal archetypes, a desire for epic scales and stakes, for the world to make sense.

And then there’s the reality of everything in-between. Those who aren’t wholly good, nor wholly bad. Those defined by the codes they reject as much as by the codes they hold. The grey. Fifty shades of…what do you mean I already used that title gag? That was a completely different topic!

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Hope: An Audience’s Odyssey

After all, Charming Orphan Annie singing her way to a family is more optimistic than Malnourished Orphan Annie decrying the wealth gap created by the capitalist system.

Last week, I expressed the heretical opinion that Logan is excellent but miserable, a one-view-only masterpiece that is bereft of hope. This week, I thought I’d elaborate a bit more on just what hope means.

That’s a tall order, of course, just like it’s hard to express something that’s so subjective, as well as being a fundamental word, like trying to describe “hot” or “soft” without using those words. But perhaps there’s a way to narrow it down. Perhaps by grasping to explain, I can clear up the picture and feelings behind it for others. Just what IS hope in stories?

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Logan: Les Miserables Masterpiece

I don’t feel hopeful that they’ll beat the odds and succeed; I feel resigned to their deaths, and think it’d be nice if they met it with dignity.

Logan does a lot right. Well-paced, good balance of action and emotion, very elegant conservation of information that is transmitted smoothly in a plot-relevant way, all of which are difficult to achieve in any film, let alone an action-fantasy. Does a lot for the comic book movie genre to bring more mature storylines to light, along with all the other ‘serious fan’ pontifications. Proves that good writing can transcend genres and categories, surpassing supposed restrictions with creative execution.

In fact, there’s only one thing it fails to do: Make me happy.

…WHAT? How can I be UNHAPPY with Logan? That’s like saying I enjoyed the Star Wars prequels! …Except wait, I DID enjoy the Star Wars prequels…

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The Silence Of The Self-Inserts

We might wax philosophical and try and paint it as a purely artistic decision, but this is the cold, hard reality of game design, folks: You need CASH MONEY.

And there you have inspirational quotes from some of the most iconic videogame characters! Can YOU guess who said each one?

So yes, today I’ll be talking about SILENT PROTAGONISTS! No, I don’t mean characters who are unusually quiet. I mean it’s you, the player character, but there is just about no dialogue coming from them.

Now, this might seem a tad antiquated. What’s the deal with them? Do people still DO them? Do we only know this because our childhood icons were mute?

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Hogwarts’ Superschool Of Settings

What can we learn from barely competent teaching staff and poor hiring standards?

Class is once again in session! Yes, that idiom was to be expected. Yes,  you are fully allowed to cringe at me. Just as planned!

Today, I’ll be talking about a staple of fantastic settings and what we can learn from it: The SUPERSCHOOL! One highly popular example of a very involved setting.

Whether it’s an academy, the school, a magical order, or an alien police force, these are institutions built around the idea of collecting what we’d consider “special” and training it to perfection. From Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters to the Hogwarts School For Witchcraft And Wizardry, these have been a rich source for potential stories.

The main purpose of these, of course, is to teach superpowered individuals how to responsibly control and use their powers. Otherwise you’ll end up with all sorts of tragedy and collateral damage. Though the mission statement and end goals can vary, ultimately they’re about getting all that power in one place and getting it under control or awarded after rigorous training.

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Ah, yes. That old nugget.

But what’s the deal with these schools? When’s something normal or not, and what’s the nuts and bolts behind it? What can we learn from barely competent teaching staff and poor hiring standards?

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