August Update Delayed

I try to do one update a month but both my computers have been down the last few weeks and I just got my desktop up and running again. I had a couple reviews planned but they turned out not to really have much to review. I’m going to start playing a couple new games in the next month and review them. I’m also working on a political blog on the side. Hope to see y’all next month!

The Sinking City: Investigate the Horrors beneath Oakmont

The Sinking City is a game I had been dying to play for a while now and, though it’s not perfect, it was tons of fun. The variety of monsters is a bit lacking (there’s only really four types that you encounter over and over again), but this is one of the few games that does Lovecraft right.

Sexuality: 2 out of 5: It doesn’t really come up, but there is another gay character shoehorned in which was rare in the 20s. Lovecraft was pretty racist and I imagine homophobic as well so he would not be pleased.

You might of thought I meant “descended from apes” in the Darwinian sense, but what I meant was that his dad boinked a monkey.

Gender: 1 out of 5: It doesn’t really come up. Men are men and women are women. There are some female characters who want more out of their lives, which fits for the era.

Race: 2 out of 5: The only reason I’m rating a two is that the opening of the game talks about not hiding the racism of the era, which I can totally respect. However, the only real racism comes between the Throgmortons, who are descendants of apes, and the Innsmouther “fish men.” The KKK even shows up at one point, killing some fishmen. The main issue with this was there are plenty of black people in town and there was really no racism against them, which is odd if the KKK is ALSO in town. I have no problem with killing the KKK but my issue is they’re essentially racist against a race that doesn’t exist.

Anachronism: 3 out of 5: I’m giving this a point due to the lack of real racism in the era, even though the game warns that it exists in the game. And another point for its attempts to shoe-horn in modern day politics (Corrupt mayor wants to “make Oakmont great again,” also tries to blackmail you into murdering his mother.)

Overall: 8 out of 20: Aside from the above issues and some badly forced modern politics I had a lot of fun investigating the perpetually drenched city of Oakmont.

Control: Warp Reality and take back Control

I had heard of this game and was interested in playing it, though I didn’t know much about it. You play as a young woman named Jessie who has gone to the Bureau of Control, a government agency that investigates paranormal items and events, to find out information about her missing brother. Once inside the building Jessie finds things out of hand, something has gotten loose in the building and she must find a way to retake Control. This game also takes place in the same universe as Remedy Entertainment’s other game, Alan Wake.

Sexuality: 0 out of 5: It doesn’t really come up at all. No one’s relationship does. If someone was supposed to be gay or straight, it never came up.

I didn’t realize it until I went through my screenshots after, but almost every shot I got of Jesse, her eyes are closed.

Gender: 1 out of 5: The main character is a woman but it’s not the focus of the story. If she had been a man the story would not have changed at all.

Race: 1 out of 5: The characters are very diverse but once again, it’s not the focus of the game.

I just had to include a pic of this guy, LOOK AT THOSE EYES!

Anachronism: 1 out of 5: Some of the items Jessie acquires are clearly out of this world but this is explained in game. It takes place in the here and now.

Overall: 3 out of 20: I know it’s a short review but I was pleasantly surprised with this game. I knew you play a female protagonist going in so I expected it to be somewhat woke, but it really wasn’t. Jessie skills and abilities make sense within the context of the game.

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Life is Strange 2: Storytelling or just Virtue Signaling

Let’s make one thing clear, despite it’s wokeness, I liked Life is Strange, Season 1. The characters were interesting and three dimensional, no one was a stereotype, everyone had reasons behind their attitudes and their actions. The plot was creepy and compelling, each episode left you wanting more. Season 2 on the other hand, is, boring. Not just boring, but it virtue signals constantly. It also has you doing a ton of mundane tasks for no real reason, like doing house work, cooking dinner for your little brother, and working on a pot farm. This game was a chore to finish.

Sexuality:3 out of 5. Sean isn’t gay. It never comes up that he’s interested in men. However, the game still gives an option for Sean to kiss a guy. It’s not important to the plot either. But in liberal world, everyone is a little gay, I suppose. I bumped it up another one because of the consequence-free sex that the hippies apparently indulge in at the homeless camp. We know that always turns out well.

And you thought I was kidding about the pot mini-game.

Gender: 2 out of 5. Gender isn’t as important as race in this game, the brothers are clearly the center of it and the game doesn’t demonize them just because they’re male, which, I mean, is good. Though one of the hippies I think is gender fluid which is why I rate it a 2, it’s not really in your face though.

Race: 5 out of 5: Whoa boy, here it is. Apparently even super liberal Seattle is just full of Trump supporting rednecks who HATE Mexicans and will let you about it, including kidnapping and beating a teenage boy. Fortunately, the local liberal hipster looking at nude men in a public place is there to help them. I’m serious. Later on, a couple of guys find Sean sleeping on their property and humiliate him for being a “thieving Mexican.” (they used less kind words, though to be fair he did just steal a car).

Anachronism: 1 out of 5. It’s based in modern times, though the story is clearly a liberal victim fantasy.

Overall:  11 out of 20. The bad guys are one-dimensional caricatures of Republicans, militant pot farmers, and a Christian cult. In the previous game, everyone had motivations for what they were doing. Even the main villain’s motivation made sense in a sick way. In this one it’s like, “Everyone is out to get the poor Mexican children except for the benevolent hippies and liberals.” The boys are constantly reminded that this is a “dangerous time” for “people like them.” The game is based right before the 2016 election and in some of Sean’s chat logs his friends are worried that “he” might actually win, which is funny because no one thought “he”would win until he actually won. Anyway, I’m ranting. Between the clear SJW virtue signaling is lots of really boring content and mini games that don’t actually advance the plot at all. Needless to say, I hated this game.

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Borderlands 3: The Ultimate Looter-Shooter has Returned!

Despite what you may think given my previous entries, I am not a huge fan of shooters. Something must really grab me about a shooter to make me want to play it. I have been a fan of Borderlands since the original. The combination of colorful characters, sarcastic humor, and non-stop action really got to me. So I was very excited to play Borderlands 3 when it came out! However, I was disappointed with some of the wokeness that got shoe-horned in.

Sexuality: 5 out of 5.  This was the real issue. EVERYONE in this game is gay. Okay, not everyone, one character and his wife are essential to the plot. But, Hammerlock is gay (knew that from BL 2 but it was just an off handed comment, in BL3 it’s an important part of the plot) Tiny Tina is a all grown up! (she is also a lesbian now), even Tannis talks about a love affair she had with a mining cart. Done for a joke of course, but she refers to the cart as a “she.”

Gender: 5 out of 5. Most of the main good guys are female. The men are usually sidekicks, villains, or buffoons. Big fail here. Also, I did notice that female psychos and raiders were now included for you to violently murder, how progressive!

You can now turn women into an explosion of red mist just like men, as God intended!

Race: 1 out of 5. Race doesn’t really come into play. It’s a distant future universe.

Anachronism: 0 out of 5. Distant future, anything’s possible, so non applicable.

Overall: 12 out of 20. If you can ignore the fact that everyone in the future seems to be gay and most of the men are either evil or side characters, it’s still a fun game with great villains and even better action. Just ignore the cringey plot if you really want to play.

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Far Cry 5: Redneck Preppers fight Doomsday Cultists!

I hadn’t played much of the Far Cry series before this but I had been told that this game pissed off a lot of “woke” progressives for its portrayal of rednecks as “being normal people who weren’t all racists” so of course I had to give it a try!

Sexuality: 1 out of 5. Sexuality doesn’t really come up a lot in this, besides some light flirting between characters. I may have missed something but overt “woke” sexuality wasn’t really in your face, so I’m giving it a 1.

Pictured: A man whose theology is NOT based on sound biblical values.

Gender:1 out of 5.  Women are just as capable as men and I’m fine with that in a modern setting. The two main female companions, Jess and Grace, have been through a lot which adds to their abilities. They’re not people who just “picked up a weapon and are now awesome.” Jess is a skilled hunter who was traumatized after seeing what the cult had done while Grace is an ex-military sniper. So well rounded female characters all around.

Race: 1 out of 5. It’s a valley in Montana which is majority white. There are some black characters (like Grace and the Reverend) but most are white, which fits in with the area.

Anachronism: 1 out of 5. It’s modern times and there really isn’t any attempt to show it as anything else.

Overall: 4 out of 20. Possibly the most republican game ever! If you want a game that makes you feel good about being a gun toting redneck, this is it. Also I should mention, that rednecks are funny as hell. There’s a reason King of the Hill was so popular!

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A Plague Tale, Innocence:Teenagers vs the Inquisition. Also rats.

                I’ve known about this game for a bit but it wasn’t until watching Razorfist’s twitch play that made me want to try it out. It’s the story of a young French girl named Amicia who is trying to get her young brother, Hugo, to safety through the plagued lands of France, being chased by the Inquisition, who wants him for some mysterious reason. Hugo has a strange disease that seems to be somehow related to the plague of rats which have overtaken the region.

                Sexuality: This doesn’t really come into play; the game is linear and there’s no romantic side quests so sexuality is hard to determine aside from a couple flirtatious lines between male and female characters. These are young people just trying to survive a horrible situation. Score: 1 of 5.

                Gender: The main character, Amicia, is female, obviously. However, she is no superwoman. If she’s caught by the inquisition or the rats, she’s dead (unless she has certain alchemical objects that will allow her to escape once, and ONLY once). The game does well with displaying her strengths as well as her limits. She’s not tackling inquisitors or anything, so I’d say this is a pretty fair representation of a teenage girl for that time period, though her survivability is exaggerated simply because it’s a video game. Score: 1 of 5.

Amicia often has to stop when her little brother is having one of his “attacks.” This is important later.

                Race: It’s 14th century France, everyone is white. The good guys, the bad guys, everyone. Score: 1 of 5.

                Anachronism: Very accurate for the time period. The developers clearly did a lot of research into this dark era of history and they did it without any unnecessary virtue signaling or shoehorning in a political agenda that didn’t fit 600 years ago, well done! Score: 1 of 5.

                Overall: 4 out of 20. A good story-driven narrative that doesn’t try to change history with unnecessary revisionism. Good for a playthrough or two!

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Greedfall: How Diversity Should be Done!

Greedfall is a game by Spiders that I had heard about a few times and was interested in trying out. The game is set in the exploration era of a world that’s not quite ours, but close. It looks like ours and has a lot of the same traits but is, of course, different. The countries and continents are different, as are the cultures of the era. The religions are different as well. I was pleasantly surprised by this game in general.

Sexuality: Romance doesn’t play a huge role in this game and neither does sexuality. I didn’t really run into much of either. Your character can be male and female and can romance your companions, either male or female. If there was anything more than this, it was subtle enough that I missed it. Score: 1 of 5

I romanced Aphra. Isn’t she goofy? Here she is standing on the stairs for some reason! This game is a bit buggy, but nothing game breaking.

Gender: Gender in this game is treated equally. Women can do anything men can do and vice versa. While not accurate for the era, I can’t complain because it’s not “our” world. I was even surprised how many women were among groups of bandits. It’s equal without being in your face about it. Bravo! Score: 1 of 5

Race: Another very diverse subject. Although the races are generally either black or white, they really don’t seem to matter much. Even the native islanders that your character encounters (and there are a lot of them) are of varied colors. The game is more about a clash of cultures than a clash of races. Score: 1 of 5

Anachronism: Not really applicable since the game doesn’t take place in our world or universe. Score: 0 of 5

Overall: 3 out of 20. This is how diversity should be done! Make it so it makes sense in context of the world or make your own world which has its own rules. Then, add the diversity but don’t focus on it. What a lot of developers don’t seem to realize is people really aren’t that racist and don’t pay too much attention to one another’s race in real life so when it’s focused on in a game, it feels awkward.

Vampyr: Balancing Morals in 1917 London

Warning: This review contains minor spoilers of some side quests.

               Vampyr is a game by DONTNOD, the creators of Life is Strange and Remember Me, where you play as, of course, a vampire in 1917 London during the Spanish Flu epidemic. You play a surgeon named Jonathon Reid who wakes up in a mass grave to discover he is a vampire. Throughout the game, he struggles with his newfound craving for blood contrasting with his oath as a doctor to “do no harm.” While struggling between these contradicting concepts, he seeks to find an end to the epidemic plaguing London.

I was curious how DONTNOD was going to handle this one given their super progressive “Life is Strange” when compared with the fact that the game takes plays in 1917, which wasn’t exactly a “progressive” time for social justice. Will they adhere to the real values and vices of the times? Or will they try to make it “woke?”

Sexuality: This is one of my major gripes for the game. Dr. Reid runs into two homosexual men who found love on the battlefield of World War 1. Dr. Reid encourages them and hopes that in the future, people will be more accepting of their lifestyle. Big wokeness fail here. At that time in history, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder by the scientific community. At best Dr. Reid would suggest they get therapy to get over their “unnatural urges,” at worst, he’d immediately condemn them and have them arrested for “spreading disease” in a time when that could mean death. In another point of that game Dr. Reid encourages a prostitute to give up her profession due to the diseases that could be spread, but nothing to the gay couple? No, sorry wouldn’t happen. Score: 3 of 5

Pictured above: Not something you would admit to a stranger in 1917 London.

Gender: Men and women are portrayed accurately for this era. The doctors are all men and the nurses are all women. There are some women fighting for women’s right to vote but women’s suffrage was a movement that existed in the 1910s. The treatment of women wasn’t so great and one doctor laments that his nurse could never be a doctor due to her gender despite the fact she would make a very good one. Might be a little on the nose there but since it’s based on a real problem in that period, I can’t score it very high. Score: 1 of 5

Race: Although London was a very “white” place in that era, there were quite a few migrants moving in and out of the area due to the war and that shows in this game. There were a couple of black characters, an Asian woman, even an Indian man. There was even a relationship between a black man and a white woman that they were trying to hide, which speaks to the racial intolerance of the time. Score: 1 of 5

1917 was not a very tolerant time for London.

Anachronism: I admit I haven’t done a deep study of this era but from what I remember from school and from what I looked up online it seems rather accurate, except for the bit about the gay couple. Score: 2 of 5

Overall: 7 out of 20. Woke in some areas but doesn’t really ruin the game, just good for an eye-roll. The game is still fun and I loved the various investigations you could partake in, trying to find the root of this plague that seems also to have a relationship with your character’s vampirism. It brings back memories of Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines though it has a bit more of a serious tone. Worth a buy in my opinion if that’s your thing.

The Outer Worlds: Fallout in SPAAAACE

Warning: This review contains minor spoilers for several side quests.

                I’ve been looking forward to Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds since I learned about it earlier this year. I’m a huge fan of the classics Fallout 1 and 2 and I loved what Obsidian did with Fallout New Vegas. While I’m sad to see how Fallout has suffered under its current owner I was thrilled that the original creators of Fallout were coming out with a new IP that had the same kind of depth and humor as Fallout.

                Sexuality: Most of the characters seem straight if they get into their sexuality at all. The only real exception is the character Parvati, your ship’s engineer. She has a side quest which involves the PC trying to help her snag a date with a woman she likes. My main issue with this was how quickly the woman she wanted to romance started to heavily flirt with her, sending her romantic poetry almost as soon as they met. Do people really behave like that? I haven’t encountered it. But all in all, it’s just a side quest and it’s not in-your-face about it. Score: 2 out of 5

Pavarti’s Mega Important Date night!

Gender:  Men and women abound in this game! This was another issue I had. Just about every woman you meet fits in the “strong woman” cliché and just about every man you meet is either evil, corrupt, crazy, or goofy. There’s not really a good example of a strong, morally upright man in this game. Vicar Max could be considered in this role, but he loses his faith halfway through the game and starts acting like nothing matters anymore, which I had to put up to another weak-willed male. In fact, three of your 6 crew members are women and two of them fall clearly in the “tough chick” category (another crewmember is a robot, meaning only two are men, and one of those is a lovable goofball and the other, as I said, is the Vicar). Though one of the evil characters near the end of the game is a black woman so props to them for not making everything a cliché. Score: 3 out of 5

Race: This game is set in the future with futuristic colony worlds so its quite diverse. Unsurprising, given the setting. Though one character, a woman named Hortense Ingalsbee, is very anti-immigrant and anti-poor and was quite thrilled to learn that the poor were (spoiler) being gunned down by the one of the corporations so they wouldn’t have to feed them anymore. So, I must give it a point for its obvious “people who are for immigration control are evil” propaganda. Score: 1 out of 5

We need to get rid of those filthy, dirty poor! It’s what Trump would want!

Anachronism: Given that it’s a sci-fi setting I can understand the diversity. It certainly fits that in a couple colony worlds there would be so many kinds of people. The only issue I had, as I said, was the lack of decent male characters. Score: 0 out of 5

Overall: 6 out of 20.Not terribly woke. The diversity fits in the game world so even the lesbian relationship I can give a pass to even though it did feel kind of forced. Still, I must deduct points for overly evil corporations run by overly evil male characters.