3 Things Rogue One Did Right!

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Rexis here!

The Last Jedi is about to come out and I’ve been rewatching the other movies from Episode One on. And I have to say, after seeing Rogue One for like the fifth time, I’m really impressed with it. I know, I know! It’s popular to hate on Star Wars these days, but I just can’t! Yes, the franchise has its darker moments, and people may argue that Rogue One suffers just as much as certain *ahem* past installments. But I like to see the good in the movies. That’s what makes them fun. Here are three things I think Rogue One did right. *SPOILERS AHEAD*

1 – It filled in a glaring plot hole from the original trilogy. We finally know why the Empire made the Deathstar so easily blow-up-able. Galen Erso’s plan to build a flaw into the system was a brilliant way to bridge the gap between the two movies.

2 – It helps to solidify “force sensitives” into the movies. The first character we know to be sensitive to the force (and not a Jedi/Sith) is Leia. Beyond that, we have no one until we see Maz Kanata in the Force Awakens. Finally we get Chirrut Imwe (and he’s awesome). I’ve discussed before that a series like Star Wars cannot rely on EU and Legacy material to build stories for new movies. The movies are the source material that inspires the spin-offs, not the other way around. By gradually introducing force sensitives into the movies, we can see their place in the galaxy far, far away a bit more clearly. So when we see them in the future, it will just make sense.

3 – It makes everything that happens in A New Hope vastly more important. When rewatching Episode 4, we are suddenly aware that the poor 17 year old moisture farmer who just wants to get some power converters from Toshi Station is trusted with data that people literally died to get. The fact that everyone dies in Rogue One is often critcized, but just think of the importance it adds to the following movie. If Luke fails, everything those people died for would be lost. It’s a good thing he had help!

I really enjoyed this movie! What did you think?

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FFXI Journal – Entry 16 – Absolute Virtue

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Rexis here!

Well, I did it. I soloed Absolute Virtue.

The hardest part wasn’t even the boss fight itself. It was gathering all of the pop items required. I spent about four days doing just that, and I think I got lucky on a couple of the drops. The fight with AV was… lackluster I guess. Using a BST with 2100 JP, Bouncing Bertha, and a full posse of Trusts was probably overkill.

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Either way, it’s done. AV lies at my feet and I feel a sense of accomplishment with this game. I know there are harder bosses, but I’m just not interested in fighting them. I’m generally disinterested in most things that came after Abyssea. Similar to how I can play Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow, but can’t get into any title beyond that.

One thing to note is that AV did get me into the red for a moment and I thought it was over. It’s also worth mentioning that he used Manafont just before he died. He would have started his meteor spam moments later if I hadn’t slain him when I did. That could have killed me. And getting all those pop items again was not something I wanted to do.

After dropping him, I spent time considering my next move. I sold some items. Made some money. And finally decided that on the next free period, I’m going to dual box with a friend’s BST and get all my jobs to 2100 JP, or at least as many as I can before the period ends.

That’s all I’ve got for now, readers. See you all next time.

Elite Dangerous: Captain’s Log 01 – Starting Out

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CMDR Rexis here!

 It was January of 2015 when I first experienced Elite Dangerous. I was fortunate enough that my first encounter was on an Oculus Rift at PAX South, which you can read about here. Blown away by what this game offered, I purchased it for my newly acquired XBOX One and promptly shelved it.

As much as I enjoyed the experience in virtual reality, I came to dislike the game very quickly. I didn’t like having to refuel the ship to jump between systems and I hated the awful experience of docking, particularly trying to find my landing pad in the dark. Everything felt clunky and difficult to me. I was constantly mashing the wrong buttons and flying off in the wrong directions. I didn’t like the menu intensive interface. I just wasn’t enjoying it at all. I promptly forgot about it and moved on to other gaming experiences.

Fast forward two years and I am looking into getting Star Citizen for PC. My concern is whether SC will run on my PC and on my friends systems as well. I don’t want to explore the galaxy alone, after all. So I spent some time researching the game when I was suddenly reminded that I already had Elite Dangerous and my friends all have an XBOX One. So I figured why not fire it up and take another look.

I spent some time watching a few YouTube tutorials and that really cleared up a lot of things. I even discovered that there is a module for auto-docking you could buy. This became my goal. Get into the game and get that module. Play objectively, then see if I have a different opinion.

The last time I played Elite Dangerous, I blew my ship up in space because I was trying to explore, ran out of fuel, and died. Returning, I found myself with 1,000 CR and the free Sidewinder. I took a moment to look things over and, utilizing the skills I gleaned from YouTube, I went into the missions menu and selected a number of delivery missions to a nearby system. I filled my small hold and took all the data missions I could. Note: All these missions had me going to the same place, a simple courier/delivery.

I launched the ship, as one does, and made my way effortlessly and with little resistance. Those tutorials helped immensely. I found I was able to control the ship fairly well, and docking at the different station in my destination system was… well… easier I guess. I quickly made the money I needed to afford the 4,500 CR auto-dock module.

Holy crap, this thing is exactly what I needed.

I’m not a bad pilot, not the best, but not bad. Piloting the ship is not my problem. Its navigating around these massive stations and figuring out where I need to go that I struggle with. And everything is dark unless you are near a star. Couple that with the time limit on docking and it just stresses me out. Now, all I have to do it request docking and drop my speed to zero. Boom! I’m in!

After this success, I decided to keep doing the same thing. I grabbed more deliveries to another nearby system. Warp! Done! Rinse and repeat. I never saw any combat and I’m not sure if I saw any other players. I’m still learning those systems, after all. I’ll admit it was a bit grindy, warping and dropping out of super cruise at the right time. But it wasn’t a hard skill to learn. After a few deliveries, I was getting proficient.

By the end of my playtime, I’d accrued around 350,000 CR with no deaths. Needless to say, my experience with the game this time around, two years after I bought it, was far more enjoyable. I was even able to buy a new ship. I got into a Cobra MkIII, mainly because it was listed as having an extra seat for multi-crew.

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Cobra MkIII

I’m seriously considering buying the Horizons update and one of my friends is interested in picking up the game. We share an interest in exploration of the galaxy, so it seems like a good fit for us.

In the meantime, I’m going to learn a bit about combat, then get into that. It looks fun. I don’t know what my end goal is yet, but I think I’ll enjoy the ride for now.

This is the YouTube video I watched to get started. It’s an hour long, but its great info if you’re new, like me, or you’re considering buying this game.

 

FFXI Journal – Entry 15 – Back in Action

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Rexis here!

It’s time to play Final Fantasy XI for free, so that’s what I’ve been doing. Last time I wrote a journal entry was… Oh my god! Over a year ago! Seventeen months to be exact. I’ve gotten into other games since then and stopped paying for FFXI, but I didn’t uninstall it. I play for free when those Return Home campaigns come online, and I believe we’ve had two since the last entry.

In entry 14 I said I had some plans. I wanted to get DRG to 99, finish the last two add-ons (MKD and ACP), kill Shinryu and finish Abyssea, and get BST to 2100 JP for my stars. And wouldn’t you know it? I’ve done every one of those things. I actually killed Shinryu four times solo, because why not?

Where do I stand now? Every job is 99 and fully merited. Beastmaster is maxed out at 2100 JP, and I’ve completed all the storyline missions in the game. I’ve got Maat’s cap, a nicely furnished Mog house, incredible gear for my BST, no actual need for gil. What now?

I wrestled with finding my way for a bit before I realized what I needed to do. There’s only one thing left I can imagine finishing before I’m done with this game. Only one challenge left to conquer. The one boss I’ve never seen, but always hoped to take down.

I’m talking about Absolute Virtue.

And I’m going in solo.

Will I get slaughtered? Probably. Will I waste all these hours gathering the insane amount of pop items you need to get him to appear? Likely. Will the victory leave holes in my teeth because of its pure sweetness like that time I ate a deep fried Oreo on the Jersey Shore? Definitely.

Wish me luck, fellow denizens of Vana’diel, for I am one harrowing adventure away from what I would call completing the game.

Movie Review – Thor Ragnarok

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Rexis here!

I had a chance to check out Thor Ragnarok and I have to say I was impressed.

I’m not a big Thor fan. In fact, on any given day you can find me debating my coworker, Rick, about Thor vs. Superman. Honestly, I don’t even remember the first two Thor films. I just didn’t enjoy them. Maybe I don’t have a big interest in Norse mythology or maybe they just weren’t as good as what Marvel is doing now. Either way, Thor has never been a high priority when it comes to my beloved superhero movies.

That said, Ragnarok took an interesting departure from its previous films and did something different. It borrowed from the Guardians of the Galaxy playbook, my personal favorite films in the franchise. I felt that the Asgardian mythos fit well as a realm in space and that it worked really well with the planet hopping and space faring. It didn’t seem out of place at all, though I’m not sure how Thor can fly a spaceship when he still requests you send a raven to contact him.

The humor was on point. I found myself laughing out loud in the theatre which is rare for me. His relationship with the different characters really shined, specifically Hulk/Bruce, Loki, and even during Dr. Strange’s brief cameo. I hope future Marvel movies live up to this and explore more interesting matchups. I’d really like to see Rocket meet Tony Stark at some point.

Let’s face it, Thor Ragnarok isn’t going to win any Oscars, but it was a damn fun movie to watch. It rebooted the tired Thor formula and gave me a character I could really enjoy on an adventure more interesting than anything the Superman movies could produce. Just don’t tell Rick I said that.

The Last Jedi – Rey’s Parents

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Rexis here!

The Last Jedi is coming! And guess who bought tickets the minute they went on sale? This guy.

So I was poking around the internet as I do, when I noticed a theory video from none other than MatPat claiming he knew who Rey’s parents would be. I had some issues with this video. Spoiler alert: he says its Han and Leia, but the “evidence” is shady at best. I’m sorry, but ability to fly a spaceship and having an accent are not hereditary.

I have a much better answer to this riddle that has plagued my 2017 year and it isn’t based on where people are sitting during a script reading, it’s based on cold, hard film making principles. Allow me to explain.

There’s a scene in The Force Awakens where Rey finds Luke’s lightsaber and has a force vision. I’m sure you remember it. It’s kind of a big deal. I’m not going to dissect the vision itself. There’s plenty of videos of people doing that. I want to talk about what people say when talking about this scene, and it’s a huge pet peeve of mine.

“The light saber called to Rey.”

NO! You stop it right now! Lightsabers cannot call to people. They do not have a will of their own. This is important because it is critical to understanding what I’m going to tell you next. You see, nowhere in the previous six films do we have a single incident of a light saber calling to anyone! Therefore, it IS NOT admissible in the most recent film. It doesn’t matter what happens in the EU or in any canonical Disney material outside of the films. Why? Because the films are the primary source material. Think of this as trickle down; what happens in the films can happen in the spin off, but not vise-versa. Obviously, in The Force Awakens, the force itself is leading Rey to the lightsaber and providing the vision. The lightsaber is inanimate.

Why does this matter? Because there are 3 serious contenders for Rey’s lineage. Luke, Obi-wan, and Han. Let’s talk about the Jedi first.

Luke’s story arch in the original trilogy finds him ascending from farm boy to Jedi Master. We never see a love interest in any of these films. Further, we are explicitly told that Jedi shy away from love as it is a path to the dark side. As a matter of fact, the ONLY Jedi we see fall in love and have children becomes the darkest of dark bad guys, Vader himself. I can already hear you saying “What about Ben? Luke has a son named Ben in some book!” See the previous paragraph. This happened outside the context of the source material films, therefore, it’s inadmissible. It doesn’t count. You will not see these films take a huge departure from all the previous film mythos like that. It’s bad writing and serves to devalue all of the previous content. Luke cannot and will not be the father.

Obi-wan suffers from the same set of circumstances. Obi-wan was a Jedi Master. Yes, we hear his voice when Rey has her vision, but this isn’t foreshadowing to say “I’m your father”, its Rey’s call to adventure from those heroes who came before her. (Google the Hero’s Journey if you want to better understand the call to adventure.) During the years between Episode 3 and Episode 4, when Obi-wan is killed by Vader, we are never presented any love interest. We are actually presented a story where one of the last surviving Jedi remains true to his teachings until his death. To say otherwise would tarnish Obi-wan’s reputation. Therefore, he cannot be the grandfather.

Your brilliant powers of deduction have probably revealed the answer to you by now, but I have to back what MatPat said and agree that Han is Rey’s father, albeit we arrived at this conclusion through different means. Han fits the mold perfectly. He’s known to have married Leia and sired offspring. This is not secret. And, unlike piloting ability and accents, force sensitivity is known to be hereditary. She would have gotten this from Leia, just as Ben did.

So what the heck happened to make everyone forget her?

Han seems to have sneaking suspicions about Rey during their interactions. It’s almost like he knows it’s his daughter, but doesn’t want to jump the shark. The Star Wars galaxy is far bigger than our own, after all. She could have been just one of the trillions of girls out there. You’d need C3P0 to calculate the odds of them finding each other. He even knew she was from Jakku, but I would assume he never knew where she’d been left in the first place. It’s likely that Luke saved her by leaving her with Plutt on the desert planet and never told anyone of her whereabouts. Not even her parents.

And that hug with Leia? I feel like we’ll get a little flashback scene explaining that.

All of these theories floating around, that Rey is the daughter of this guy or that guy, or that she is a clone, or whatever, don’t seem to have a lot of basis in the source material presented directly in the films. They rely on EU or legends or even video games. The films themselves are the real cash cow. If any theory goes against something claimed in the films (ie: Jedi don’t have kids) you can bet it won’t be accurate. And if any theory would only serve to tarnish a characters previous story arch (ie: Luke goes to the dark side) it won’t happen.

So there you have it. My money is on Han and Leia as Rey’s parents.

We’ll see if I’m right on December 15. I won’t spoil it for you.

Breath of the Wild Review (SpoilerFree)

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Rexis here!

There’s something I haven’t said in awhile. Its been four months since I’ve written anything. FOUR MONTHS! I’ve been riding this crazy train of a Trump presidency coupled with the release of “The Vampire Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis,” and more recently, “Breath of the Wild.” So to recap, I hope the rest of the world isn’t really judging all Americans based on Trump. I’ve been reading Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles pretty much all of my life. And this new Zelda game may be my favorite game ever.

I’m not sure where to begin when it comes to reviewing “Breath of the Wild.” Most of what needs to be said has been said and my opinion is just another nodding agreement in an ocean of praise. I haven’t been so absorbed by a Zelda title since “Ocarina of Time.” The game just refuses to let me down. From the moment I turn it on and pick a direction to travel until the moment I turn it off, I feel like I’m accomplishing something. There’s always something to do despite how massive the world is, and it is pretty massive. To keep this post from rambling for far too long, I’ll only talk about a few of my favorite aspects of the game.

My absolute favorite thing about this game has to be Princess Zelda. I know her English voice actor has been getting a lot of negative comments, but I loved her. I thought she did great! I can’t dive into Zelda’s storyline too much without getting into major spoiler territory, so I won’t, but I will say that I love, above all, how humanized she is. This is in stark contrast to “Twilight Princess” Zelda, not that I didn’t like her as well, but she was more of a royal warrior compared to BotW’s… Well… You’ll see.

I mentioned there is always something to do and that was no exaggeration. I love to explore in an open game world and BotW let’s me do just that. I find myself setting off to do some sort of side quest, but inevitably wandering off track to look at the next “shiny thing” I see in the distance. I’ve come across many hidden areas by complete chance and its only furthered my desire to explore further. I’ll admit, I’ve looked online for solutions or locations a couple of times, but only because this game does not hold your hand. There is no map marker telling you exactly where to go (looking at you “Skyrim”). You really have to rely on your wits and problem solving abilities. I applaud this. I never feel like I’m just doing fetch quests (even though some of them really are just that).

Hyrule is huge. The size of the world is unprecedented in any Zelda game. Each area on the map is unlocked by syncing with towers, much like “Assassin’s Creed.” The locations on the map feature pretty much all of the famous locations the series is known for and lots of Easter eggs. Traversing the terrain requires stamina and Link can climb pretty much any surface. you can go literally anywhere you can see and there are no load times (aside from entering a shrine or fast traveling). You’ll recall previous Zelda game blocking certain areas until you acquire certain items (like the hook shot). Those days are gone. Everything you need is given to you in the opening area/tutorial. You do not receive a new weapon/item in every dungeon. There is nothing stopping you from going to the farthest corners of the map right from the beginning (other than the terrible beasties roaming the land, of course).

I could go on and on about BotW because there is so very much to love. This game feels like a natural progression for the series and stands as a culmination of 30 years of Zelda experience.