Fallout 4 – Beyond Good and Evil

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Rexis here!

What does it mean to be evil?

Google tells me it means “profoundly immoral and malevolent.” This is an important definition because morality is objective. What is evil to one person may not be evil to another. Why do I bring this up? Mostly because I started playing Fallout 4 again and while I think its a masterpiece of moral grey areas, others seem to have a hard time understanding the simple narrative and prefer the usual complaint of “I can’t choose to kill everyone, therefore I can’t be an evil character.” They go on to blame lazy writing, casual players ruining the franchise, and the IP being in the hands of the wrong development team (among other things, look at a YouTube comment section and you’ll see what I mean).

Could it be, though, that Bethesda is presenting you the ultimate type of story arch? The one in which the hero/villain is not clearly defined? George R. R. Martin takes this concept to soaring heights in Game of Thrones, ensuring that the heroes and villains are pretty much all grey and he is lauded for it. Bethesda does it and gets crap for it. I suppose without a karma meter it can be difficult to know if what you are doing it wrong, huh? Like murder.

Fallout 4, in my opinion, is reaching for a higher mark. Gone are the days of simply enslaving Wasteland survivors. Now we must ask a serious question, one that has far too important implications: How do I feel about artificial intelligence?

(And by extension: How human do you have to be to be considered human? Is AI life valuable? Is it even life? Do synths have rights? Do they have the right to exist at all? If they are indistinguishable from human and express all ranges of emotion, are they really just machines? If some synths do bad things, should we destroy them all? What if some are genuinely good? Should we distinguish between synths and humans at all times or just let it be? Do they deserve saving or eradication?)

This question defines your character in the game and when presented with the four factions, you must choose which prevails. (Spoilers from here on, btw.) You could choose to side with the Brotherhood of Steel who seek to destroy all synths and impose their military might and technology on the Commonwealth.  You could join the Institute and your son, who are known as the boogeymen of the Commonwealth because they kidnap people and replace them with synths, acting upon the land like an experiment, guised as an attempt to somehow aid mankind. The Railroad seems like a good choice because they free synths from a life of slavery, but the ends always justify the means and they don’t care who they hurt in the process. The Minutemen on the other hand seem a bit like the good guys, desiring a rebuilt Commonwealth and destruction of the Institute. Though they seem unconcerned about the actions of the Railroad.

All of these choices are right and wrong! That’s the beauty of this. I’ve seen so many comments about how the factions suck and there’s no good/bad. And if you fall into this camp, perhaps try talking about the game with a friend. Ask them what they would do for real, not as a video game character, but if it were a real decision they were faced with. The answer might surprise you. And if you don’t have a friend, here’s what I’d do. I would fall in line with the Minutemen because my morals align with theirs for the most part. If I wanted to pick an evil option, it would be the Institute. I can’t get past their kidnapping people in the night. I believe the Brotherhood of Steel has good intentions, but are terrible at public relations, and I don’t agree with their policy of destroying all synths. The Railroad has a good message of freedom and liberty for synths, something I can get behind, but I’m not willing to kill innocent/uninvolved people in order to get there.

Like George R. R. “I kill everyone you love” Martin, I agree that the villain of the story if only the hero for the other side. Yes, Fallout 4 is less of a sandbox than the other Fallout games, but it isn’t just a good/evil apocalypse simulator. Its calling on you to consider far more philosophical questions with no right or wrong answers.

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The Legend of Zelda – All The Links

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Rexis here!

Hello internet! This being one of my favorite franchises, its easy to come up with stuff to write about Zelda. As a bonus, I get to learn new information about a series of games I adore. Information like exactly how many different Links there are. I mean, we’ve all seen the official timelines, but do you know how many games are direct sequels featuring the same character of Link? Well, I did some reading on zeldawiki.org and I have a number. So how many Links are there?Are you ready? Queue drum roll….

Eleven.

Yes. There are eleven different Links across 18 canon releases. Let’s go over them, shall we?

1

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Skyward Sword comes first chronologically with the very first Link.

2

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Minish Cap adds a second Link.

3

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Four Swords adds a third. (Four thirds? The four sword is weird.)

4

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Ocarina of Time adds the fourth and probably most notable Link because his actions divide the timeline into three different possible scenarios. The Link in Majora’s Mask is the same and follows the Child Timeline (when Link is returned to his youth and there is no conflict with Ganon.)

5

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The child timeline provides us with Link number five in Twilight Princess.

6

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Link number six once more wields the Four Sword in Four Swords Adventure (a different title than the original Four Swords) and caps off the child timeline.

7

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In the fallen hero timeline, Link dies at the end of Ocarina of Time and we see Link number seven some years later gracing A Link to the Past, Oracle of Seasons, Oracle of Ages, and Link’s Awakening. This version is notable because he is in so many different games.

8

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In A Link Between Worlds and Tri Force Heroes, we have Link number eight.

9

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And this is where we find the NES titles, the original Legend of Zelda and Link’s Adventure feature Link number 9. But we aren’t done yet.

10

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The Adult TimeLine involves the future of Hyrule in Ocarina of Time, after Ganon is sealed in the sacred realm and Link is returned to his youth, except now we see what happens to Hyrule with no Link. I’ll skip some exposition here because this isn’t a history lesson, but the world is flooded and we have Windwaker and Phantom Hourglass giving us Link number ten.

11

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Finally, Link number 11 is in Spirit Tracks. He’s a descendent to the Link from Windwaker to some extent as opposed to a direct sequel.

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Number 12? I don’t know. All we know about Link from Breath of the Wild is that he wakes up in a resurrection chamber. I have some ideas about this, but that’s a post for another day….

Rex’s Top Five Zelda Games of All Time

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Rexis here!

How sick am I of social media outlets pushing this topic on me and asking me to vote for my favorite Zelda game?! Sick enough to clarify it on my own blog, that is! Seriously, how many deciding votes do me need to finally declare OoT and/or ALttP the overall winner? These are always the two that come out on top and I think it has a lot to do with the years they were released. More on that later perhaps. For now, let’s jump right into this.

5 Ocarina of Time

That’s right! Sitting at the number five spot on my list is the game that brought link into the 3D world for the first time. I vividly remember buying the gold edition of this game the day it released and saying goodbye to what little social life I had when I was 14. I was lost in a massive (for its time) Hyrule full of new dangers and puzzles. I was a Zelda fan already, but I was blown away by this game. This is the game that solidified my love for the franchise. (A love built on entry 1 – you’ll see. Don’t skip ahead.)

4  A Link Between Worlds

I feel like this game may have slipped under a lot of people’s radars and its really a shame. I enjoyed the ever loving crap out of this one. It broke from Zelda tradition by incorporating an item/weapon rental system and allowed you to complete the dungeons in any order, harkening back to the first Zelda title on NES. This would prove to be a test for the upcoming Breath of the Wild. People don’t want linearity in their adventure games, and while I’ve had no problem with it in the past, this title proves Zelda can be versatile.

3 Windwaker

If you know anything about me at all, and I would think some of my regular readers do, I love me some pirates. Anything and everything pirate related (looking at you Black Flag <3) so Windwaker immediately gets points for having them. When it first came out, I picked it up as I do with most Zelda games, but I wasn’t fond of the cell shading. As the years have gone by I have fallen in love with the style. Not to mention I always find something new in this one whenever I play through it because I’ve never reached 100% on a single play through.

2 Twilight Princess

This game was a sleeper hit for me. I know I’ve played it before, but I picked it up on HD for the Wolf Link Amiibo. How could I not? If I can get a wolf pet in Breath of the Wild, shut up and take my money. Playing through it now, I realize how much I LOVE this game. It is my absolute favorite of the console titles and 3D titles for good reason. Not to mention Zelda is so awesome in this game. If you haven’t played this one, for whatever reason, do it!

1 Link’s Awakening

You read that right. This little gem originally released for Game Boy is my all-time, hand down, no regrets, favorite Zelda game. And it doesn’t even have Zelda in it! I used to play a lot of Game Boy. A lot. So much. And it was usually this game. I know it like the back of my hand. Then they released it in color and it got better. Currently, I play it on my 3DS from time to time. Its the only Zelda title I can just sit and play through without feeling like it repetitive. I never get tired of it.

So that’s it. My top five Zelda games. Now shut up social media sites. I will not vote again!