Stupid Game Review: The Last of Us

| December 26th, 2013

Overall I loved this game.  The story was engaging and the game play was fun.  I liked the mechanic of being able to sneak when you wanted to and just kill everyone in sight otherwise.

The story: I loved this story up until the end. But I’ll get to that later. The opening scene with the little girl is fantastic. I played that part a really long time ago, so I don’t remember it well.  But I remember being instantly immersed in the story. Naughty Dog does story well in general, but I think The Last of Us is their best yet.  The game had great characters, male and female and even passed the Bechdel test.

Spoiler
The ending.  Ellie and Joel finally make it to the Fireflies and of course they want to kill Ellie to do tests on her brain.  I think everyone who has ever seen a movie with a widespread virus as it’s main villain knows that the only way to find a cure is to kill the person who is immune.  It’s for the greater good and all that.  But I was hoping it would be Ellie’s choice.  The writers decided to keep Ellie alive in the end because of Joel’s inability to forgive himself about his daughter.  Joel lies to Ellie and Ellie believes him. Joel lies to Ellie for himself.  The last gesture in the game is him being selfish.  Ok, so Joel’s character didn’t grow.  Turns out he is the same guy he has been throughout the game.  Only now he loves Ellie as a daughter.

So feminism time, is just another example of a woman not being able to control what she does with her body? The man had to have it his way and the woman is once again powerless to decide for herself.  She is only 13 or something, but it is her body.  Let her decide you selfish jerk.

Hopefully!  Hopefully, there is a silver lining to this ending.  My dream here, and really the only way for this ending not to become just another act by the patriarchy, is if this was just a great way to open the game up to a sequel. A sequel where Ellie finds out Joel is a liar and goes off by her extremely capable self to help the world.  If I get to play Ellie as a grown woman for an entire sequel, my feminist ails will be cured.  Please Naughty Dog, do this!

The game itself: I loved the game.  The world and maps were built really well.  All throughout the game you have the feeling, “Am I going the right way?” which I think gives you a sense of agency that corresponds to how the PC would be currently feeling.  Why would Joel know exactly where to go? Also the crafting is fun and extremely important.  The notes you find were one of my favorite parts of the game.  I think this is important for any game.  They were always really interesting and I stopped to read every one I found. This leads me to the finding of stuff in general.  This part kinda sucked.  Or, I just really sucked at it.  I didn’t want to stray too far from the story, and that was imperative to find all the gears and tools.  I was hoping to upgrade more.  Also there were barely any trophies.

The whole game mechanic of “I can tell where everyone is by ‘listening'” didn’t really make sense.  Is was incredibly useful, but story-wise it didn’t make sense at all for Joel to have that power.  I think Ellie having it made more sense because I could see it being an effect of the infection.  I mean that’s how clickers worked right?

My favorite part of the entire game was when you played as Ellie.  (I’m not marking this as a spoiler because by now everyone should know you play as Ellie at some point in the game.) This probably does not come as a shock to anyone that knows me.  One thing I like to do is talk about how I prefer to play as a female character.  I say this a lot and it’s true but this is only part of the reason I like playing as Ellie.  I loved the deer chase. I loved how stepping on branches and jostling trees scared the deer away.  I would love a game entirely like this and I hate, *hate*, killing animals in game (or in irl for that matter).  So this was big for me.  Since it was for survival I gave it a pass.  I will never play a “hunting for fun” game.

So I will continue to purchase and play Naughty Dog’s games. They are quality and seem to be getting better.  I hope to play a female protagonist one day though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50-sz1a_UBg

So, the clip above made me extremely angry this morning. I’m going to rant about it here.  I might not ever buy another Microsoft gaming system because of this bullshit.

So the most obvious sexist thing in the above video is the rape “joke.”  I am usually the last feminist to get offended by rape jokes, but this video combined a bunch of gaming culture sexist bullshit into one nice package that just hit home at every sore point in my female behind.

First, Microsoft decided to have a woman play the male producer of Killer Instinct.  This by itself would be fantastic however they chose a woman who sucks at the game.  If they wanted someone who sucked, they could have just as easily chosen an male executive.

Second, the producer didn’t even give this noob chick a chance.   Outraged speculation time: If they had chosen a male exec to play this shit, would he have at least given him a chance?

Third, why didn’t anyone teach her how to play the game?  Probably because our uteri prohibits us from learning combos.

Fourth, the “joke.”  The ordeal turned into something that no one should have to witness.  It turned this short demo into a massive virtual gang rape of the this poor noob chick.  The crowd’s laughter mixed with the total annihilation onscreen left her confused and blaming herself.  Watching this clip made *me* want to shower away the dirtiness. I can only imagine what the woman on screen feels.

What really sucks about this is that I loved the original Killer Instinct and want to play this version.  Instead I just want to retaliate against sexist gaming stupidness more than ever.

EDIT: I was really angry when I wrote this. I’ve since calmed down.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

| September 11th, 2012

This game was fun.  It is a linear story third-person action game with a hint of romance.

I generally liked this game; it had a few bugs and the female character was a little weak for my taste but overall I enjoyed playing it.   I, for some reason, decided to play the game on the hardest difficulty.  I guess that reason is pride.  But this probably wasn’t smart.  Playing on hard made me find the bugs in the game much more annoying. I don’t think I would recommend playing it on hard, but I understand about the pride thing.

The story of the game was good.  The beginning wasn’t great.  Trip’s character came off as bitchy and weak and that really isn’t something I want to engage with.  But Monkey was awesome.  As the story progresses Trip’s character never really gets any better, but at least she is consistent. By the middle of the story it is obvious the writers are implying a budding romance between the main two characters.  The romantic element is what makes this game interesting and different.  I’m a very big fan of romance in my fantastical media, but this has yet to show it’s face enough in the video game arena.  The greatest reason to play this game is the romance.

Spoiler
That being said, the ending to this game was interesting and infuriating.  The ending has the whole “choose the red or blue pill” type of message which was fine, but what wasn’t fine was that Trip and Monkey never kiss! I’m not sure why the writers left this out of the story but it was really a big let down to anyone who wants a satisfying romantic story.

My sister wrote a book, and although you may think I am a biased reviewer, I’m pretty sure you’ll like the book.

I am no stranger to girly fantasy, and neither is Naomi Lane. She weaves a web of delightful fantasy in “To Play the Lady” that will leave you yearning for the next installment.

Jenna’s adventures in this book had me turning the pages extremely quickly. By the end, everything seems to be set up of an even bigger adventure to come. The characters are left in a place that really will change the layout of the next book. This book definitely seems like the younger sibling; the setup for greater things. All this aside, the story by itself is still intriguing, well written and fun. It is a must read for young-adult fantasy fans especially of the female variety.

My Fable III Rant

| December 21st, 2010

I really enjoyed Fable II. I thought the story was fun, the side projects/mini games were engrossing and the voice acting didn’t annoy me. I actually pre-ordered Fable III, excited by its potential as being an entertaining time waster. Plus Amazon was giving me a $20 credit to do it.

But alas, Fable III was just a big disappointment so I haven’t yet finished the game.

Disappointments in order of discovery:

1. I always play a girl when I can in video games. For some reason I think it draws me into the character more and makes the game more engaging. I’m not sure that is true, but I like outfits and shit so whatever. Fable III had this option so I, of course, took it. This may have been a mistake. It seems obvious to me that not one gamer chick tested the romance portion of the game with a female character because they would have noticed right away that all the fucking men in this world are shorter than you. For me, in a romance mini-game, this is unacceptable.

2. Ugh stupid star trail, just load already. The star trail that is supposed to lead you around the world was made an idiot. I had to count on it to never load correctly the first time.

3. Every time you hit the start button you are brought to this place with a butler. Unfortunately, this butler incessantly tells you to look in the store because there is new merchandise available. So I finally go to the store and see that the “merchandise” is a fucking dog suit. It cost two real dollars, its horrific, and no matter what the butler won’t shut up about it. This is what made me stop playing the game. Listening to an ad every time I press start in a game that I paid $60 for is a sure fire way to piss me off.

I thought I had had enough of the open-world, stupid GTA like games that Rockstar keeps inflicting on the world, but I was wrong.  When I walked up to that first horse and saw the instructions I was to follow at the bottom right of the screen I squealed with delight.  It said “Ride Horse Y” and all I wanted to really do was ride that horsey.  So I did and it was fun.

I needed to get over my love of cute animals immediately, because the very first mission had me shooting sweet little bunnies.  This was made up for by the side missions of picking flowers, which I also loved.  What kind of hardened cowboy doesn’t need some purty flowers?  Eventually I got over the killing of cute virtual animals and skinned everything I shot.

I also loved wrangling up the horseys.  I like horseys.

The story was laughable, none of it made any sense.  The story should have ended many times before it actually did.

Spoiler

Spoiler Rant!

The ending of this game made me regret taking any time to do anything. I hated being turned into that little twerp of a son. My horse was gone. All my stats ceased to make any sense.

All the shit I did in the game was for nothing. If one thing hasn’t changed about Rockstar, its their general feeling that more is better. Just because there is a huge world to play in doesn’t mean they should make the story just string along forever. Some of us gamers like stories. Also, an achievement for each of the challenges would have been nice, you jerks.

The Test Post

| May 18th, 2010

I will fill in what I want to say here…