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‘Star Wars Battlefront II’ – The Sexism Strikes Back

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EA’s hotly anticipated Star Wars Battlefront II is set to be released this year, and lightsaber fanatics the world over are excited to face off in yet another cluster of force fueled showdowns. Unlike its predecessor, Star Wars Battlefront II boasts a single player campaign, offering offline entertainment for those who don’t see the appeal in competing with complete strangers around the world whilst being called a string of racist and homophobic expletives over voice chat.

Said single player campaign also has a minority of far far away-ers (a significantly more creative term for Star Wars fans) upset, due to its inclusion of a female protagonist. Whilst these gamers shake angrily at the thought of wielding both a lightsaber and vagina in unison, the remainder of us non-moronic human beings can take just a few minutes to read as to why this attitude may still exist within the gaming community, and why it reeks of cringe inducing stupidity.

Amidst the YouTube comment section of Star Wars Battlefront II‘s latest trailer, I stumbled upon an all too common example of a depressingly idiotic remark in the form of “Star Wars Battlefront II isn’t a sandwich making simulator, so why does it feature a female protagonist?” Crust riddled man-babies such as these continue to give the gaming community an overwhelmingly poor representation, and will often support their blatant sexism with lazy and ill-informed arguments. I wish to discuss these below, and why they simply do not excuse or justify the poisonous ideology of gender elitism.

Argument 1: As a male, I find that playing as a female character spoils a game’s immersion for me.

When playing a game, you rarely project your own body and mind upon a character (with the exception of games allowing for character customization, including gender and voice). Does anybody play Grand Theft Auto V and remark “As a male, I heavily connected with Michael due to our shared gender, and felt that I was operating within the game world as a digital rendition of myself, as opposed to him, a fictional character”? Each and every game places you into the shoes of somebody other than yourself, and tasks you with accomplishing their goals. You are a player, along for the wild ride that a fictional character is going to whisk you away on. Claiming that you dislike playing as a female character due to you not sharing their gender, and as a result having your sense of immersion compromised, is the equivalent of claiming to dislike playing as Super Mario because you do not share his Italian nationality or plumbing profession.

Argument 2: The majority of the gaming industry’s audience is male, and this is simply an attempt to pander to the female market in a social justice warrior-esque maneuvrer.

This is true, the majority of the gaming industry’s audience is indeed male. For the longest time, developers targeted this demographic in question with stylish and exciting action games. The female demographic were, unfortunately, treated to far lesser experiences, in the form of patronizing makeup appliance and dating simulators drenched in a plethora of pinks. Due to this miserably misguided mishap, many females still to this day discredit gaming as a medium of entertainment that is unsuitable for them.

Despite the popularity of gaming amongst the female demographic growing ever so slowly in recent years, with the stigma of it being a ‘boys only club’ gradually washing away, the damage has already been done. As a result, the inclusion of a female protagonist at the forefront of Star Wars Battlefront II’s story will more than likely result in little to no difference in who decides to purchase the game, as to say that it would implies that females will only buy games featuring protagonists of their own gender. Crazy, right? Who on Earth would feel uncomfortable playing a game due to the protagonist’s gender? Oh…

Maybe EA desired to switch things up purely for the sake of variety, regardless of gender subtext?

Argument 3: I feel uncomfortable about/around women.

The only legitimate reason for holding any kind of negativity regarding Star Wars Battlefront II‘s replacement of hero with heroine is due to this belief. If you are uncomfortable with playing as a female character within a game, then perhaps you have personal issues with the ladies? Maybe you had a crush on somebody and they turned you down? Maybe you’ve been indulging in too much music and/or media that represents females negatively? Maybe you have simply never been around genuinely kindhearted people of the female gender?

Whatever your personal excuse for hatred may be, you will be far happier when you escape your mindset of negativity. I am fortunate enough to have my wonderful girlfriend and close female friends to thank for instilling me with a positive view of females, and I can only wish that we are all lucky enough to be given a positive impression of individuals from all walks of life, whoever they may be. As human beings, we subconsciously gravitate to the desire of being greater than somebody else, and this often leads us into seeking entitlement for our own achievements.

In more harmful examples however, that craved entitlement manifests in the form of elitism in gender, sexuality, nationality, religion, politics etc. Even the practice of talking down to and lecturing those holding sexist beliefs toward females is a form of entitlement for myself. As a species however, we must learn to communicate respectfully with one another (I apologize for my earlier hurling of insults), embrace and celebrate our quirks and beliefs, and try not to childishly silence each other simply for holding opinions of difference.

In summary; girls are cool, and girls with lightsabers and blasters are even cooler!

I have spent my life in England finding entertainment in both video games and music. Whilst not indulging in the latter, I invest my time in playing all manner of video games, and as of 2017, writing about all manner of video games. Email: harrymorrisharrymorris@yahoo.com

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Brian Long

    October 11, 2019 at 8:56 am

    “Crust riddled man-babies”

    You called a lot of people a lot of names in your little foot-stomping diatribe.

    Typical emasculated male liberal. Grow a set, sissy. And yeah, that’s how men talk. No matter what you effeminate liberal twits try to force down our throats.

    • Harry Morris

      October 11, 2019 at 2:20 pm

      Sorry my article didn’t resonate with you Brian. Keep on being a cutie! <3

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Most Important Games of the Decade: ‘Dark Souls’

Despite the difficulty and learning curve, gamers are still flocking to the Dark Souls series, and the genre it spawned, in massive numbers.

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Dark Souls Remastered Review Nintendo Switch

Over the course of the last decade a lot of games have made large and influential impacts on the medium of gaming but few have done so as significantly or triumphantly as Dark Souls

The pseudo-sequel to Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls took the framework of the original title and altered it considerably. Gone were the many individual stages and hub area, replaced by a massive open world that continuously unfolded, via shortcuts and environmental changes, like a massive metroidvania style map. 

Dark Souls also doubled down on nearly every aspect of the original. The lore and world-building were elaborated on considerably, making the land of Lordran feel more lived in and expansive. An entire backstory for the game, one that went back thousands of years, was created and unfolded through small environmental details and item descriptions. 

Dark-Souls-Remastered-Darkroot-Garden

The bosses were bigger, meaner and more challenging, with some of them ranking right up there with the best of all time. Even standard enemies seemed to grow more deadly as the game went on, with many of them actually being bosses you’d faced at an earlier time in the game. Tiny details like this didn’t just make the player feel more powerful, they added to the outright scale of the entire game.

Still, if we’re here to talk about the biggest influence Dark Souls had on the gaming world, we have to talk about the online system. While the abilities to write messages and summon help were available in Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls improved on and enhanced these features to the point where they changed the game considerably. 

The wider player base made the online components work more consistently as well. Rarely were players left standing around for 15-20 minutes waiting to summon or be summoned for a boss fight. There were more messages on the ground to lead (or mislead) players, and the animated spirits of dead players warned of the hundreds of ways you might die while playing through the game. 

Dark Souls

The addictive nature of the game and its rewarding gameplay loop would lead to the establishment of the Souls-like genre. Like with metroidvania, there are few compliments a game can receive that are as rewarding as having an entire genre named for them.

Since 2011, the year of Dark Souls’ release, dozens of Souls-likes have emerged from the ether, each with their own little tweaks on the formula. Salt and Sanctuary went 2D,The Surge added a sci-fi angle, and Nioh went for a feudal Japanese aesthetic, to name just a few. 

Either way, Dark Souls’ influence has been long felt in the gaming industry ever since. Despite the hardcore difficulty and intense learning curve, gamers are still flocking to the series, and the genre it spawned, in massive numbers. For this reason alone, Dark Souls will live on forever in the annals of gaming history. 

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Game Reviews

‘Riverbond’ Review: Colorful Hack’n’Slash Chaos

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Sometimes a little bit of mindless smashing is just what people play video games for, and if some light sword-swinging, spear-stabbing, laser-shooting giant hand-slapping action that crumbles a destructible world into tiny blocks sounds like a pleasant way to spend a few hours, then Riverbond might just satisfy that urge. Though its short campaign can get a little repetitive by the end, colorful voxel levels and quirky characters generally make this rampaging romp a button-mashing good time, especially if you bring along a few friends.

Riverbond grass

There really isn’t much of a story here outside something about some mystical leaders being imprisoned by a knight, and Riverbond lets players choose from its eight levels in Mega Man fashion, so don’t go in expecting some sort of narrative thread. Instead, each land has its own mini-situation going on, whether that involves eradicating some hostile pig warriors or reading library books or freeing numerous rabbit villagers scattered about, the narrative motivation is pretty light here. That doesn’t mean that these stages don’t each have their various charms, however, as several punnily named NPCs will blurt out humorous bits of dialogue that work well as breezy pit stops between all the cubic carnage.

Developer Cococucumber has also wisely created plenty of visual variety for their fantastical world, as players will find their polygonal hero traversing the lush greenery of grassy plains, the wooden piers of a ship’s dockyard, the surrounding battlements of a medieval castle, and the craggy outcroppings of a snowy mountain, among other locations, each with a distinct theme. Many of the trees or bridges or crates or whatever else happens to be lying around are completely destructible, able to be razed to the ground with enough brute force. Occasionally the physics involved in these crumbling structures helps gain access to jewels or other loot, but this mechanic mostly just their for the visual appeal one gets from cascading blocks; Riverbond isn’t exactly deep in its design.

Riverbond boss

That shallowness also applies to the basic gameplay, which pretty much involves hacking or shooting enemies and environments to pieces, activating whatever task happens to be the main goal for each sub-stage, then moving on or scouring around a bit for treasure before finally arriving at a boss. Though there are plenty of different weapons to find, they generally fall into only a few categories: small swinging implements that allow for quick slashes, large swinging implements that are slow but deal heavier damage, spears that offer quick jabs, or guns that…shoot stuff. There are some variations among these in speed, power, and possible side effects (a gun that fired electricity is somewhat weak, but sticks to opponents and gives off an extra, devastating burst), but once an agreeable weapon is found, there is little reason to give it up outside experimentation.

Still, there is a rhythmic pleasure to be found in games like this when they are done right, and Riverbond mostly comes through with tight controls, hummable tunes, and twisting levels that do a good job of mixing in some verticality to mask the repetitiveness. It’s easy for up to four players to get in on the dungeon-crawling-like pixelated slaughter, and the amount of blocks exploding onscreen can make for some fun and frenzied fireworks, especially when whomping on one of the game’s giant bosses. A plethora of skins for the hero are also discoverable, with at least one or two tucked away in locations both obvious and less so around each sub-stage. These goofy characters exist purely for aesthetic reasons, but those who prefer wiping out legions of enemies dressed as Shovel Knight or a sentient watermelon slice will be able to fulfill that fantasy.

Riverbond bears

By the end, the repetitive fights and quests can make Rivebond feel a little same-y, but the experience wraps up quickly without dragging things out. This may disappoint players looking for a more involved adventure, but those who sometimes find relaxation by going on autopilot — especially with some buddies on the couch — will appreciate how well the block-smashing basics are done here.

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Game Reviews

‘Earthnight’ Review: Hit the Dragon Running

Between its lush visuals and its constantly evolving gameplay, Earthnight never gets old, from the first dragon you slay to the hundredth.

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Earthnight

In Earthnight, you do one thing: run. There’s not much more to do in this roguelike auto-runner but to dash across the backs of massive dragons to reach their heads and strike them down. This may be an extremely simple gameplay loop, but Earthnight pulls it off with such elegance and style. Between its lush comic book visuals and its constantly evolving gameplay, it creates an experience that never gets old, from the first dragon you slay to the hundredth.

Dragons have descended from space and are wreaking havoc upon humanity. No one is powerful enough to take them down – except for the two-player characters, Sydney and Stanley, of course. As the chosen ones to save the human race, they must board a spaceship and drop from the heavens while slaying as many dragons on your way down as they can. For every defeated creature, they’ll be rewarded with water – an extremely precious resource in the wake of the dragon apocalypse. This resource can be exchanged for upgrades that make the next run that much better.

This simple story forms the basis for a similarly basic, yet engaging gameplay loop. Each time you dive from your spaceship, you’ll see an assortment of dragons to land on. Once you make a landing, you’ll dash across its back and avoid the obstacles it throws at you before reaching its head, where you’ll strike the final blow. Earthnight is procedurally generated, so every time you leap down from your home base, there’s a different set of dragons to face, making each run feel unique. There are often special rewards for hunting specific breeds of dragon, so it’s always exciting to see the new set of creatures before you and hunt for the one you need at any given moment.

Earthnight is an acrobatic, dragon-hunting ballet that only becomes more beautifully extravagant with every run.”

Earthnight

Landing on the dragons is only the first step to slaying them. Entire hordes of monsters live on their backs, and in true auto-runner fashion, they’ll rush at you with reckless abandon from the very start. During the game’s first few runs, the onrush of enemies can feel overwhelming. Massive crowds of them will burst forth at once, and it can feel impossible to survive their onslaughts. However, this is where Earthnight begins to truly shine. The more dragons you slay, the more upgrade items become available, which are either given as rewards for slaying specific dragons or can be purchased with the water you’ve gained in each run. Many of these feel essentially vital for progression – some allow you to kill certain enemies just by touching them, whereas others can grant you an additional jump, both of which are much appreciated in the utter chaos of obstacles found on each dragon.

Procedural generation can often result in bland or repetitive level design, but it’s this item progression system that keeps Earthnight from ever feeling dry. It creates a constant sense of improvement: with more items in your arsenal after each new defeated dragon, you’ll be able to descend even further in the next run. This makes every level that much more exciting: with more power under your belt, there are greater possibilities for defeating enemies, stacking up combos, or climbing high above the dragons. It becomes an acrobatic, dragon-hunting ballet that only becomes more beautifully extravagant with every run.

Earthnight

At its very best, Earthnight feels like a rhythm game. With the perfect upgrades for each level, it becomes only natural to bounce off of enemies’ heads and soar through the heavens with an almost musical flow. The vibrant chiptune soundtrack certainly helps with this. Packed full of driving beats and memorable melodies with a mixture of chiptune and modern instrumentation, the music makes it easy to charge forward through whatever each level will throw your way.

That is not to say that Earthnight never feels too chaotic for its own good – rather, there are some points where its flood of enemies and obstacles can feel too random or overwhelming, to the point where it can be hard to keep track of your character or feel as if it’s impossible to avoid enemies. Sometimes the game can’t even keep up with itself, with the performance beginning to chug once enemies crowd the screen too much, at least in the Switch version. However, this is the exception, rather than the rule, and for the most part, simply making good use of its upgrades and reacting quickly to the challenges before you will serve you well in your dragon-slaying quest.

Earthnight

Earthnight is a race that’s worth running time and time again.”

It certainly helps that Earthnight is a visual treat as well. It adopts a striking comic book style, in which nearly every frame of animation is lovingly hand-drawn and loaded with detail. Sometimes these details feel a bit excessive – some characters are almost grotesquely detailed, with the faces of the bobble-headed protagonists sometimes seeming too elaborate for comfort. However, in general, it’s a gorgeous game, with its luscious backdrops of deep space and high sky, along with creative monsters and dragon designs that only get more outlandish and spectacular the farther down you soar.

Earthnight is a competent auto-runner that might not revolutionize its genre, but it makes up for this simplicity by elegantly executing its core gameplay loop so that it constantly changes yet remains endlessly addictive. Its excellent visual and audio presentation helps to make it all the more engrossing, while it strikes the perfect balance between randomized level design and permanent progression thanks to its items and upgrades system. At times it may get too chaotic for its own good, but all told, Earthnight is a race that’s worth running time and time again.

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