High Crimes & Misdemeanors

Good evening, humans!  How fare you this night?  What’s that – me, you ask?

Hiss
That about sums it up.

Yeah…the mind and body weren’t very cooperative today.  Since my normal response to lack of cooperation (Editor’s Note: …i.e., setting the offending party on fire…) yes, that, didn’t seem appropriate seeing as how it was MY mind and body, I just had to grin and bear it.  Well, bear it – grinning being decidedly not my thing and, frankly, very disturbing the few times I’ve attempted it.  I’m fairly sure it has something to do with the horrific, Lovecraftian monstrosity that I call my face.  Regardless, despite the mental and physical fog, a particular piece of lunacy leaped out to pierce the shroud and assault my mind, common sense, and sense of basic decency (Editor’s Note: and you know that’s really a low bar coming from EWE!) exactl- hey, watch it!

Upon seeing this, my immediate, gut reaction was something like:

Goddammit

Upon further time to process the Senator’s comments and stance, however, my calmer, more nuanced response was:

Goddammit

You know, this is going to sound selfish and petty, but…why do I have to do this?  Why?  For fuck’s sake, it is 2018 – why in the hell do I need to waste a single iota of my time and energy explaining why it would NOT, in fact, “be hard for senators not to consider who he is today” if Kavanaugh, a nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States, sexually assaulted a woman in high school.  And is lying about to this very day, displaying no remorse or recognition that his conduct was improper.  Why do we even have to fucking HAVE this discussion?  What in the actual FUCK is wrong with you miserable sacks of watered-down carbon that this is something that even needs to be addressed whatsoever?  (Editor’s Note: Sorry – he’s a little cranky tonight.)

Listen, what a lot of people may not know (although you’d sure think a goddamn sitting Senator would know it) is that Supreme Court Justices are open to impeachment and removal for “high crimes and misdemeanors” much the same way as a President.  And that, short of the Justice retiring voluntarily or dying, is the only way they come off the bench.   With that kind of job security comes a high standard of behavior that we hold our Justices to.  This means that if Bill Clinton can be impeached over a white stain on his intern’s dress, while Kavanaugh is alleged to have teamed up with a fellow classmate to sexually assault and attempt to rape a young woman, then that should damn well disqualify him from even being considered for placement on the Court in the first place.

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Which brings me to Orrin Hatch.  You pathetic, sniveling, arrogant, senile son-of-a-bitch.  You actually said, to national media, with a straight face, that even if Kavanaugh’s accuser is telling the truth, he should still be given serious consideration for the Supreme Court based upon “who he is now?”  Well, Orrin, let me give you a little insight into that point of view.  If you assume that his accuser is telling the truth, then Kavanaugh is someone who committed sexual assault, and possibly rape, in his late teens.  When confronted with this fact, his response has not been to acknowledge his wrongdoings, admit them, illustrate how he has changed and grown, express remorse, or otherwise demonstrate anything in the way of character development.  His response has been to deny any wrongdoing on his part, deny even being present, and call his accuser a liar.  So, Orrin, if under your scenario his accuser is telling the truth, and Kavanaugh continues to deny any responsibility, that not only makes him a sex offender but a liar.  And that doesn’t sound even remotely like someone that should be placed on the highest court in the country, even to a feeble-minded simpleton like you, does it, Orrin?  Because if it does, then not only should Kavanaugh be swept out of Washington and back under whatever dark hole he crawled out from under, but maybe you and your fellow slime that place party line over good of the nation should join him there. – EWE

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Ongoing Segment: WTF Did He Say Now?!

Alright, after last night, a decision needed to be made.  I mean, I wasn’t going to just turn this blog into a full time discussion into the insane syphilitic ramblings of Donald Trump (primarily because I would quickly reach the point of just annihilating all of you fleshbags out of frustration), but at the same time, I knew there was just going to be too much material for me to NOT address on a fairly regular basis.  So compromise I reached was to introduce a new recurring segment: WTF Did He Say Now?!  Now, technically, I suppose we could use this segment to highlight an outlandish statement from ANY public figure, but let’s face it – they’re just about all going to be from the glowing orange shitbag of moronic hatred and stupidity.

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Yeah…this tool.

Speaking of which…this absolute gem of skull-fucking insanity assaulted the world today:

This infuriates me on two levels.  There is the immediate impact of this shriveled sack of shit dismissing the deaths of 3000 people as not happening simply because he doesn’t want to take responsibility for the failed relief efforts that led to them.  That is obvious.  But there is also a broader problem with this statement that makes me want to set fire to random things – the cockgobbler-in-chief’s regular practice of simply denying reality and creating and embracing an alternate, fictional universe as his official version of the truth.  And then the further bolstering of this by his cronies and sycophants and supporters, despite the glaring and obvious evidence that what they are touting is in direct conflict to the OBVIOUS FACTS.  To illustrate this another way, let me offer a comparison chart of our most recent presidential administrations.

Prez

This wasn’t a political plot by Democrats to make you look bad, you pathetic pissant.  This was an independent study that looked at deaths that took place over the six month period following the hurricane that struck Puerto Rico that could have been avoided had electricity and infrastructure been restored.  In other words, deaths that were directly a result of damage caused by the storms.  So they WERE, in fact, the death toll from the storms.  All 3000 of them.  The Democrats didn’t kill them to make you look bad.  The mayor of San Juan didn’t fake their deaths because she doesn’t like you.  They died.  Because of the hurricane.  And your administration’s botched and failed response to it.  You own that.  Whether your addled, senile, barely functional brain can comprehend that fact or not, it doesn’t change the fact that it happened on your watch.  It was your responsibility, and you failed.  Nothing you say, nothing you do, no tweet, no bluster, no hashtag, no lawsuit, no ranting can change that.  President.  Trump.  Failed.  And 3000 people died.

Now…we’ll lighten things up next time, kiddos.  I haven’t forgotten how to write about nerdy shit, and I’ve been doing a whole damn lot of it while I’ve been gone, I can tell you that.  So next time should be a lot more upbeat.  You know, unless Orange Julius Caesar says something stupid again…but what’re the odds of that, right? – EWE

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Review; and Happy Evilversary!

Greets, mortal creatures!  Can you believe it’s been an entire year already?  One year ago, while wandering very lost and alone, I came upon this small little corner of the internet, and honestly my thought process then was something akin to “well, I can kill myself, or I can start imparting my nihilistic rants and ramblings on the web for nobody to give a damn about.”  I decided to go with the latter, and much to my surprise – many of you DID in fact give a damn, and came to enjoy my modest blogging efforts.  Perhaps more importantly to me personally, you gave a damn about me, and I found not just fellow bloggers or followers, but a new circle of friends – which for someone like me, that struggles mightily to find friends at all, has been very special.  To those of you who have chosen to share this journey with me, to help me along in my efforts to find my voice in my blog, and to share in my struggles that have led me to where I am, I thank you.

EWE and Editor Anniversary

And what better way to celebrate than to also celebrate the HD revival of one of the most unsung, amazing Final Fantasy games of all time – Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age.  Originally released in the dying days of the PS2, Final Fantasy XII was the poster child for a late-console-cycle video game – Square Enix squeezed every last little bit of power possible out of the aging PS2 architecture, and it showed in every aspect of that game.  The visuals were absolutely gorgeous, outshining many PS3 games – and depending on your views of art direction, even many modern games.  The gameplay systems were incredibly ahead of their time – a blending of classic single-player Final Fantasy RPGs of days past, and its MMORPG predecessor Final Fantasy XI.  Its plot returned players to the world of Ivalice, previously explored in the seminal Final Fantasy Tactics – another first, as it was the first time a Final Fantasy world – Ivalice – was home to multiple games.  But it wasn’t without its detractors – its massive world consisted of large, sometimes empty feeling zones, which could lead to long stretches of time spent simply traveling from one point to another.  Character progression was conducted via spending AP on a massive License Board, shared by all characters, which unlocked all weapons, armor, skills, and spells.  Because the entire board was open to all characters, it led to most of the party characters eventually feeling relatively indistinguishable from a gameplay perspective, as it was relatively easy to give all of them all of the “best” equipment and abilities.

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As far as the original PS2 release of the game, I come down squarely in the camp of it being one of the greatest Final Fantasy games of all time.  The story of a small band of rebels, each with their own personal motivations and brought together by circumstance, standing against the overwhelming might of an Empire bent on dominating all of Ivalice may bear more than a few similarities to Star Wars, but the plot and characters are masterfully written and developed, showing their own small part in a greater overall struggle.  For me personally, I rank it essentially 2nd/3rd all time, with it and FF IX flipping back and forth depending on my mood (VI is 1st by a mile).  But that said, I recognize the flaws in the game as described above – I remember much of the hours I spent with the game spent running all over creation, and I am guilty of turning every character into an overpowered clone of each other.  But I’m here to say that The Zodiac Age enhances everything I loved about the PS2 version, and improves every weakness.

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As with any HD remaster, SE has brought the already beautiful visuals of Ivalice up to modern PS4 standards.  Previously blurry or softened textures are sharp and crisp, and the game puts many, if not most current generation games to shame with its gorgeous art direction.  There is a fly in the ointment – some textures, in particular Vaan’s face during the in-engine cutscenes, didn’t survive the upgrade so well, and appear a bit…wonky.  But this is just nitpicking – overall, this is a stellar graphical upgrade for an already lovely game.

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SE solved the problem of the License Board some years ago, actually.  Shortly after the original PS2 release, SE release an updated PS2 version of the game entitled Final Fantasy XII: International Zodiac Job Edition.  This version of the game never saw official release in the US; however, SE took the Zodiac Job system, improved it even more, and incorporated it into The Zodiac Age.  In this new system, the License Board has been sundered into 12 separate “jobs” – combinations of equipment, skills, spells, and stat growth that fulfill different roles within an overall RPG party.  For example, White Mage has almost all the healing magic, Black Mage gets the nukes, Archer rains physical damage from afar…you get the idea.  Each character in the party gets to choose a total of two of these Boards, thus locking them into the character roles those Jobs represent.  There is some overlap – Knights can unlock some white magic skills, Red Battlemages unlock the same heavy armors as the tank classes, etc. – so players with some foresight and planning can create complementary Job pairings for their party.  But even then, having the right roles filled at the right times against the right enemies is MUCH more prevalent in this edition of the game than it ever was in the original.  Some creatures are highly resistant to physical damage – so you’ll be swapping out your Knight and Bushi for your Black Mage and Red Battlemage.  Other fights are just wars of attrition – and you’ll be well prepared with a White Mage, and a Time Battlemage to keep the party alive and kicking while you whittle away at the opponent.  This adds an entirely new element of strategy to the game that just wasn’t present by the latter stages of the original, and it is a very welcome improvement.

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But THE improvement, the one that absolutely changes the face of RPGs, and maybe gaming as a whole, is the one that I’m sure SE thought was just a tiny afterthought, thrown in as a bone tossed to people playing through the game again after enjoying it on the PS2.  FAST.  FUCKING.  FORWARD.  With a simple press of a button, you can cause the entire game – everything – suddenly shifted to 2x or 4x speed.  I cannot possibly overstate what an incredibly goddamn fantastic feature this is.  As the combat is a hybrid real-time/turn-based system that mimics MMO combat, and traversal across large, open zones is the basic mode of gameplay, being able to double or quadruple the speed at which everything is happening is an absolute godsend, not just for returning veterans, but for anyone who is crossing the Ozmone Plains for 243rd damn time on the way to track down the next optional Hunt side-quest boss, or exploring the labyrinthine Barheim Passage, or perhaps most crucially, grinding away at trash monsters to level and accrue AP to improve your party.  The amount of time this saves is quantifiable, but the level of frustration it alleviates is not – even if a four-minute trip is only cut to two, it feels so much faster.  After playing the game with this feature, I quite honestly think that any game developer, particularly a RPG developer, that does not shamelessly rip off and incorporate this feature into all their future games is just flat not doing their job right.

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A few last things about The Zodiac Age – if you have a Vita and have ever lamented that the Remote Play feature between it and the PS4 was just kind of left on the vine to die, then first, good job owning a Vita, (#TeamHandheld); and second, this might be the title that renews your faith.  I have Spectrum broadband internet, allegedly at 70 Mbps, but in practice somewhat slower due to living in an apartment building with a LOT of conflicting signals in close proximity.  My PS4 is plugged directly into the modem/router in my living room, and in my second floor bedroom, Remote Play on my Vita is absolutely silky smooth.  The controls map perfectly, there is no discernible input lag – JRPGs and turn-based games will always be the best choices for Remote Play for those very reasons, but even in some of the more fast-paced and hectic boss battles, I experienced no issues that I would chalk up to being due to playing remotely on the Vita.  While an actual Vita release would have been GREATLY preferred, this is absolutely the next best thing!  Finally, this game has firmly convinced me that Ivalice is quite possibly my favorite setting in all of gaming.  Please go back to it, SE.  Preferably in a true Final Fantasy Tactics II.

Before I go, kiddos, I’ve been avoiding commenting on Charlottesville and the response to it by the walking clusterfuck of mental illness currently disgracing the Oval Office.  Not because I don’t have strong thoughts on it.  Not because it isn’t important.  But mostly because of this – I shouldn’t have to.  I shouldn’t fucking have to.  It is 2017 for fuck’s sake.  If I need to tell you that being a white supremacist Nazi is a BAD FUCKING THING, you serve literally no purpose on this planet, and I should save my breath, time, and sanity, and just lob a meteor at you.  – EWE