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Review Science and Technology Uncategorized

Game Review: Greedfall

The main character of the game, De Sardet, looking over a cliff.

Shi Shaochen
October 21, 2019

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Overview

Platforms: PC/Xbox One/Playstation 4
Release Date: September 9th, 2019
Developer: Spiders
Storytelling: 4/5; Great story
Control: 3/5; You will die if you use the rapier
Immersion: 5/5; Even the way characters talk is immersive
Overall: 4/5; Very impressive

My name is De Sardet. I am legate of the Merchant Congregation here on Teer Fradee.

– De Sardet

On the battlefield you see muskets firing, men gunning down a young, shirtless indigenous warrior. His mouth opens and closes, then opens again, trying to speak his language in vain. As a well-educated noble, you know it is the hole in his lungs that makes him unable to speak. Yet, you can clearly see his bloodshot eyes filled with tears. Was it because of the pain, or something else? While you stand there, pondering, the native warrior struggles to get up, and begins running at you with his weapon in the air. Another gunshot is fired by your most trusted companion, and the man falls down, the bullet burning the last bit of life out of him. 

This is Greedfall.

It is extremely bold for a studio to make a game about colonialism; even most big companies wouldn’t dare to cross that line. Yet after Greedfall released, it made people realize that the concept itself can make a product that is a piece of art. The game itself is an open-world action/RPG set in a fantasy/discovery era hybrid universe. You play as De Sardet, the legate (diplomat) of a state called the Merchant Congregation. De Sardet is the cousin of Constantin d’Orsay, governor of the new-founded island colony, New Serene. With the discovery of this new island, city ports stimulate its economy to an unprecedented stage, making the Merchant Congregation play an important role in the political games played there.

Based off European city-states, the Congregation is not the only fictional group in the game. There are four other factions: the Bridge Alliance, Theleme, Coin Guard and Naut, all of which are also filled with stereotypical elements. Bridge Alliance is a Middle Eastern-inspired pedantocracy that led the technological advance into the present. However, they also secretly perform human experiments in order to cure the Malichor, a terrifying disease similar to the Black Death, an important part of the story. Theleme is a theocratic state where everybody dresses like Dutch priests and plays with magic. They believed that sorcerers caused the Malichor, so they established witch-hunts in everywhere. The Coin Guard seem to be simple mercenaries in the beginning, yet if the player digs deeper into the plot of the game, they will find out that the Guard’s administration is unbelievably chaotic and decadent, something that impacts the story. The Nauts are a Maori-like navigator guild that dominate transportation. Although they are the only normal group on the island, they do have some brutish traditions. Their society is extremely discriminatory, leaving you with the choice of acting kindly them them despite their persecution of others, or dealing with the problem head on.

Greedfall, at the end of the day, is a story about corruption. Do you ignore the carnage being wrought upon the native population to preserve diplomatic relations with the colonizers? Will you fight beside the oppressed “savages,” even if you must leave thousands of your own people to die to do so?

The developers of this game, Spiders, is a small studio, which usually results in poor visual for games. Greedfall is different. Yes, the graphics are not as realistic as those in a AAA game, yet once you enter the game, the art style, almost like an oil painting, will quickly submerge you into the world of Greedfall. From the plagued city to the wilderness, the game delivers a great variety of artwork. Decks of ships, the barely visible outline of land under the grey-blue sky, sea breeze caressing the face of De Sardet, and thick, epic orchestra slowly playing as if it’s narrating the history of the old world—that’s the impression you get in Greedfall. The game is remarkably immersive.

The only parts of the game which I personally don’t like are the controls and the weapons. The actual fighting is a mix of that of Dark Souls and The Witcher;  however, the weapon system is incredibly off-balanced. Players with firearms can easily shoot an experienced veteran to death in 5 seconds, while others who prefer melee combat need to duel for at least 5 minutes to get the same effect. I suppose that is historically accurate, though. Luckily, the game will let you choose the difficulty.

In conclusion, if you want to experience an immersive fantasy adventure, enjoy telling lies again and again, or studying the inner logic of romanticized colonialism, please step onto the soil of Teer Fradee and begin your journey of black powder, flesh and nature.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Categories
Books Review Uncategorized

Book Review: Jurassic Park

One of those guys is a beloved character, and the other one died on a toilet

Taylor Nyman
November 4, 2019

Jurassic Park is a science fiction novel by Michael Crichton. It was first published in 1990 and has since become a very popular title, spawning a sequel and movie franchise. The book takes place on Isla Nublar, a fictional island off the coast of Costa Rica, and the main characters are a diverse group of characters such as dinosaur experts, businessmen, nice children, and terrible children.

Most of this book takes place on Isla Nublar, where a group of scientists have made genetically engineered dinosaurs for an amusement park called Jurassic Park. The book’s plot is about a group of people going to the island for a weekend to test the park, but something goes wrong and the rest of the book is based around that problem.

Overall, I give Jurassic Park  ⅘ stars. This book has many good characters, some quite likeable, others quite annoying, but good characters nonetheless. The book switches between the different perspectives of the characters, making for an interesting way of telling the story. One of the things about this book that bothered me a little bit was that some parts were kind of unnecessary and went on for too long. Other than that, there is not much to complain about, though some scientific inaccuracies may bother certain people. This book is a great book that I would strongly recommend it for people who like science fiction and dinosaurs. For people who like the Jurassic Park movies, I think that the book is probably better than the films, and is one that you should definitely read.    

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Categories
Music Review

Album Spotlight: Welcome Home

Aries’ haunting silhouette welcome’s home fans both old and new.

Tien Nguyen
October 26, 2019

Overview
Album: WELCOME HOME
Artist: Aries
Genre: Rap/Pop
Release Date: April 18th, 2019
Length: 9 tracks; 24 minutes
Favourite Tracks: BAD NEWS, CAROUSEL, SANTA MONICA

On April 18th, recording artist, producer, and former YouTuber Aries dropped his debut album WELCOME HOME. Aries is one of those genre-bending emo rap artists similar to Post Malone and Juice WRLD. On this album, he invites you into his personal hell. Yet, with his vibrant production and music videos, most of his songs will leave you with a smile on your face. Overall, WELCOME HOME is a very easy listen and is a great introduction to Aries.

⭐⭐⭐

Categories
Music Review

Album Spotlight: Bandana

This cover pays homage to Gibbs’ and Madlib’s previous album, Piñata

Tien Nguyen
October 26, 2019

Overview
Album: Bandana
Artists: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap
Release Date: June 28, 2019 
Length: 15 tracks; 46 minutes
Favourite Tracks: Cataracts, Fake Names, Palmolive 

On June 28th, 2019, rapper Freddie Gibbs and producer Madlib released their second collaborative studio album, Bandana. This project is a sequel to their previously released album, Piñata, but it does not fail to live up to its predecessor. From Freddie Gibbs, you receive an amazing performance of lyricism and flow, Madlib complimenting that with his tasteful production, allowing the duo to bring out the best in each other throughout the project.

In addition to those two, Bandana features a range of artists, from new school superstars like as Pusha T and Anderson .Paak, to old school legends such as Mos Def and Talib Kweli. All in all, this album is definitely worth a listen for all fans of hip-hop. 

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Categories
Music Review

Artist Spotlight: The 1975

From left to right: George Daniel, Ross MacDonald, Adam Hann, and Matthew Healy

Vivian Nguyen
October 19, 2019

The 1975 are an alternative-pop/indie band from England that are not afraid to put themselves out there and take risks. They are constantly outdoing themselves with their music and they have a really unique and nostalgic sound. They create relatable music with all kinds of beats that differentiate them from other groups in the genre. Not only do they use their platform to make music, but also to spread awareness about multiple global issues. 

The band consists of four members: Matthew Healy, Ross MacDonald, Adam Hann and George Daniel, the quartet having won several NME and Brit Awards for their work. Currently, they have put out three albums: The 1975, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware Of It, and A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. They also have an upcoming album titled Notes on a Conditional Form. They are best known for their songs “Chocolate” and “Somebody Else,” along with their iconic box logo.

Their music mainly relates to the events that have happened during Healy’s life, as well as his thoughts and his feelings. For example, their songs “If I Believe You” and “Antichrist” both talk about Matty’s struggle with religion. The band also talks about modern problems such as the attachment people have to their devices, as well as climate change. They worked with climate activist, Greta Thunberg, for a track on their upcoming album where she speaks about the ongoing climate change problem. 

They currently have two tracks for their upcoming album out and they continue to tease their fans with more. The estimated release date for the album is sometime in 2020. The band is currently on tour around the world with artists such as LAUNDRY DAY, Pale Waves, The Japanese House and No Rome. From small gigs to venues with thousands of people, The 1975 is ready to take over the world.