Some Halloween Posts for you Festive Folks

There are times when I feel motivated to write and then there are times where I feel uninspired to write especially around the holiday. I am not all that festive but I tried to be because a holiday is a great reminder that we should celebrate and have fun. Today, I am taking the easy route by recycling some older posts I have written.

It may seem as if I would never run out things to to talk about for Halloween because horror is my favorite genre, but this past two years since Covid-19 happened, I am just not in the mood for horror and dark. I think we seen enough of it in the media when people start dropping like flies or at least I have seen enough in my life. There is time to grieve and there is time celebrate. These days, I want to celebrate life without ignoring that we are living in scary times. For mental health’s sake, I find myself attracted to games like Tales of Xilia on the PS3, which I bought about 7 years ago! The game is about a goddess saving infants from playing with dangerous toys. Okay being sarcastic. Actually, I borrowed the words from the game! So far from what I am gathering, the female lead, Milla Maxwell is trying to protect the world from a mass destructive weapon. How does this game fits into celebrating life? Well, it’s about protecting the world and living in harmony with nature. What did you think? Did I make a great saleswoman?

Enough ranting, here are some horror-related posts you might have missed if you are new to my blog:

We got so many options these days to be entertained but too many options sort of discourage me from binging shows on Netflix. I have seen a few decent films but not enough to write about it:

  • Level 16 directed by Danishka Esterhazy (on Netflix)
  • Fear Street Part One: 1994 directed by Leigh Janiak (on Netflix)
  • The Thing (2011) directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. (on Prime Video)

As for T.V shows, I finally finished Twin Peaks season 1 and 2, and Death Note the anime. So stay tune for Death Note review but I haven’t decided to write up on Twin Peaks. It’s a great show. Most people know that by now. If there’s a show you think I might like, please leave a comment and I’ll check it out.

Until next time, Happy Halloween. Can’t wait to buy discount Halloween candy!

What’s in a Name?

What was supposed to be a hobby and a side activity has now become a passionate pastime or it’s just I’m addicted to writing. I put so much effort into crafting my blog posts and have found so much joy in doing it. Fishing for metaphors is an art form in itself. And yet, it’s just not looking for metaphors, I also appreciate everything artistic about the making of films, TV shows, books, and video games. I like all forms of art and enjoy critiquing it. Have I ever thought of becoming a critic or a writer myself? Not really because attempting to consume what has already been produced may take a life time to discover and appreciate. Plus, I have the attention span of a child to even sit and write a book. On the other hand, writing lyrics, poems and reviews comes more naturally. Articulating my thoughts into a post is my ideal of fun. And why not do it with style? Did some readers actually thought I was attempting to write masterpiece reviews? That’s quite laughable. I’m flattered.

This bring to the question, why I choose to write as Halsdoll and not my real name after contemplating whether I should use my real name or not. After all, the hard work should go to its rightful owner. In addition, I feel like I owe an explanation whenever I introduced someone I know in person to my blog. They may be puzzled by the name but are too afraid to ask: Why Halsdoll?

“What is in a name?” I quote Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. Plenty, it’s about branding. The name Halsdoll was inspired by Shakespeare’s characters from Henry IV Part II: Prince Hal and Doll Tearsheet. The name was created as a joke. You see, Prince Hal understood the world by visiting Mistress Quickly Inn and Doll is one of the working girls. It really is no place fit for a soon to be king, but what may seem like an unproductive pastime activity actually served him fruitful information on his subjects. Yes, of all the place, a brothel. If you want to be a respected leader, you learn from the bottom up. It’s humorous and humor is what keeps me sane. I could elaborate, but this is no academic blog for a lengthily research paper behind the meaning of my pen name (as if who cares?). Plus, I just like the sound of Halsdoll. It sounds like the name of powerful medication, a clothing brand, or the brand of a cosmetic product. It’s a nice staged name for all my nonsense stuff on this blog.

So after much thought about whether using my real name to sound professional and build credibility with my readers, I decided to stick with my pseudonym. Perhaps, one day I may reveal my name when my blog grow big. In the meantime, I just like being Halsdoll. The name reminds me to never let the inner child in me die because the grownup world is nothing but filled with heart-attack stress and the sad part is we don’t have to make it that way but we do it anyway.

P.S

This post was inspired by a Twitter email notification, hinting to me that I should use my real name because people feel more comfortable interacting with someone real. I do want this blog to grow. However, a hacker once said to me that my birth name doesn’t sound real, so what’s the irony in that?

Dark Souls II Rant: Crown of the Sunken King (DLC)

Where to start..so difficult. How many times have I died? Am I making progress? Yes. 3 weeks later! I finally reached 2 out of 3 boss fights within this DLC but have not beat any of them. The stage design is what got me so addicted to Dark Souls franchise in the first place which came out 10 years ago (Sep. 22, 2011 and I am writing this post on the 23rd)! Wow just look at how time flies. Or maybe I’m just a big fan of nameless heroes/heroines who eventually come up on top through trial and error because the mysterious nobody always make an interesting story: Let’s see how long I’m benevolent and fit to rule until I turn Hollow. The curse of want and wanting is pretty strong. Although I must say, it’s not the throne I’m after. I simply just like obtaining those hard to reach items.

I jump, I slip, I die for a useless torch…com’on! As the saying go, curiousity killed the cat.

It’s a fair sadistic game, or is it? Blame the tagline Prepare to Die which attracted people to the game. No not me. I picked up the franchise because I love FromSoftware games!!! I told myself after beating Dark Souls back in 2011, I don’t want to invest anymore of my time with the franchise. And then on Dark Soul II release day, I bought it in a flash. I simply couldn’t resist. Quality games matter and I know I wouldn’t be disappointed. The game was manageable and quiet to my liking as expected (yes I said quiet and not quite but I was in fact thinking both when I wrote the sentence. Dark Souls II ps3 version is quite melancholically quiet). Dark souls II Scholar of the First Sin, on the other hand, is an uphill battle on purpose. Not so cool, I think. But marketing sure bring in the doe. The DLC that comes with this version is difficult and time invested in it might not be worth it. I spent enough time in it to want to set it aside, but I probably will be back to my abusive lover. I always come back. There are other games waiting in line to be played but not many are seamlessly fun in terms of stage design and boss fights which is why I stick around with this franchise and once you give your soul to the game there is no turning back (I sound so evil). I thought of reallocating my stats to be a pure muscle head (a.k.a. strength built) because the enemies in this stage have high magic defense. Maybe a whack in the face with a hammer as big as my character will do. I have been relying a bit on backstabbing with the mace and have gotten pretty good at it, naturally. I mean so typical of a girl to play mage…actually nope I just thought it was cool to play mage since I rarely play mage in RPGs. Then again, it’s rare since the closes MMORPG games I’ve played were WKC (White Knight Chronicles) and DCUO (DC Universe Online). I played them briefly when I learned that socializing is just not my cup of tea, unless we are dealing with serious business such as slaying the beast!

So far, this stage has been a painful exploration and now I must defeat Elana the Squalid Queen, who is prettily enchanting with her sparkly golden helpers. Can’t say it’s a fair fight from whose end? Well, you see player has the option to summon two NPCs but at the expense the boss’s defense increases. I could just summon one NPC and it does some damage but regardless the boss fight is not easy. Two against one is never easy because I’m still pathetically weak. Maybe it’s time to take off the high heel shoes and wear combat boots instead (No…it has high dark defense which is what I’m up against). Midway, I find myself dodging and rolling from getting attacked and then in the end, I grew tired and die

Let’s just put this aside for now. Yakuza 0 deserves some attention. I feel like a beat em game at the moment. Maybe I just need a punching bag game that will allow me to win for a change. Then again, I just can’t focus on other games unless I beat this one! Oh the woe of being cursed by a video game!

Reflecting on A Taxi Driver (2017)

Ordinary people are not often praised in society as heroes because they don’t go out into the world expecting recognition. Some are thrown into the situation and fate just decided for them. In this suspenseful chilling, heart-warming story, we follow a taxi driver from Seoul and a German reporter to uncover the reality of the Kwangju Uprising. So, brace yourself because you are going to go on one hell of a ride. Well, I went into this film blind and was moved to tears. Okay, I confess I recognized the actor, Song Kang-ho from Parasite (2019) and I liked it that’s the only reason why I watched this film apart from having a soft spot for political historical films. 

Before we start, let’s get some history lesson out of the way. It’s really important to understand this historic event since this film is based on the event, which I recall my world history textbook only mentioned briefly or didn’t mention it at all. I just don’t remember. I’m not a history buff. So, if you are like me, we need a refresher: 

The Kwangju Rising is an event that took place from May 18th to 27th of 1980. The time where South Korea dictatorship long era ends. However, it did not transition from authoritarian to democracy smoothly. General Chum Doo-hwan, the head of the military coup seized power, which only intensified the people’s need for democracy. As a result, many innocent lives have been taken during the protest against the martial law. 

Sounds pretty intense, doesn’t it? Well, I used to live in downtown Seattle where protests happen frequently. I was always on the edge. I didn’t realize how physically and mentally draining it is to witness protest almost every other weekend for years! And the local news media didn’t help to ease my mind. It tends to exaggerate current events for dramatic effects because that’s what viewers like–bad news. However, in some cases, some countries do the opposite. They minimize the severity of the situation, which is what made Kwangju Uprising so terrifying for those who value democracy. And yet, for such an intense event, the director, Jang Hoon chose to explain the event in a light-hearted way, in which the average person can empathize. We follow a story of an ordinary family man who works as a taxi driver, trying to make a living to support his 11-year-old daughter. Like most people, he doesn’t care to meddle in politics until money is involved. A German foreigner offered a large sum of money to a taxi driver to take him to Kwangju. Through out the film, gradually you can see the taxi driver growing into someone who thinks less about himself but more towards the well-being of the general mass.  

Without spoiling too much of the film, one thing this film has shown me is what true democracy looks like. It’s full of vibrant colors, and sentimental people who are in tuned with human dignity such as cooperation and respect for the human life. Therefore, I was indeed rooting for the taxi driver and his cute, lime green car to save South Korea from being swallowed up by the big black van, which is a metaphor for the oppressive government whose heart is so black that it felt no remorse to run over its people and lied to its citizens of the uprising death toll. People deserve to know the truth. Not hide it. In the end, the taxi driver did his job well–drove his passenger to his destination as promised to Kwangju. But did he do it for money? You’d be surprised. Money doesn’t always guarantee first-class customer service. It is in the heart of the driver that determines it.

 A Taxi Driver gave me a little history lesson on South Korea and I enjoyed the ride the entire way. But don’t take my word for it. You should try calling the cab and see it for yourself. Hopefully, you got one with a big heart.

I Am Back with A Poem (Blog Update)

I’m back. Still adjusting to new environment. But to keep my blog on schedule and because this is somewhat of a poetry/ gamer’s diary/unconventional review blog (its existence serves as a dialogue between two people to keep myself from talking to myself once upon a time in downtown Seattle), I wrote a poem for my re-entry to posting weekly, which was on a Monday 12:00 A.M Pacific Time (excluding this post) to be exact. Moving forward, changing it to Monday 12:00 A.M Central Time. I like to be on the dot. Please enjoy this poem I wrote on a whim.

Is There Fall in the Midwest? by Halsdoll

Like an arrow, I go.

Like moths flapping towards

A glow.

The sun pops;

It explodes.

Summer is almost gone

But still hot

And fall won’t come

gradually…

No.

Here, in the Midwest

the light

switch off or on

Cold.

***

The Midwest is now home because that is where my partner is. It’s different from where I grew up but it’s a nice change in pace and it’s not so bad minus the heat. Hence, why I wrote the poem. The good news though is that it’s a lot quieter than the city life surely. Noise pollution should be a crime. Now I wake up to hearing birds and not ambulance siren, which means I can write more! Peace and quiet is how I like it. I don’t know if this place will be my final destination. Never in my wildest dreams thought I’d end up here. One day…maybe I’ll return to the rain and the hills next to the sea or retire up in the mountains and become a mountain woman with working internet signal. I got to keep this blog rolling after all because I am here for the long haul.

At the moment, I am still playing Dark Souls 2 Scholar of the First Sin, reading Persuasion by Jane Austen and watching Twin Peaks with my partner for the first time. As I mentioned before, so many content to consume with so little time apart from having bazillion other hobbies such as cooking. That’s why my gaming backlog is small. Still have yet to complete Mass Effects, Dragon Age, Tales of Xilia for the PS3 and some indies games I bought on Steam, which I may never get around to. I like to take the time to appreciate a piece of work and play them thoroughly. It’s much more rewarding than just buying and never consuming it. Perhaps that’s why many of us create blog in the first place because we have an overwhelming amount of things to consume which takes us away from having a social life or many of us just want to be lost in our own thoughts and hope someone would listen to us? I mean this blog is conversational for a reason even though I don’t expect readers to engage with me in the comment section. My goal is to make the reader think. Thinking is what make people, people right? Part of the reason why I take the time to appreciate a piece of work is for thinking purposes. It benefits both the consumer and the creator. Making things to make money is death to both the creator and the consumer. That’s my personal take on creative works. Anyway…

I like to keep my promise. Coming up is my reflective review on Taxi Driver (2017) directed by Jang Hoon. Until next time, I leave you folks with a photograph of my moving trip. Yellowstone Park was beautiful minus the tourists like me. So I tried to take pictures with no people in it.

More than a nice stroll in the park

Ranting about Dark Souls II Videoclip & Blog Updates

I should have been writing, but I got distracted with this game and did video editing for fun. I plan to platinum this game since I did it for Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. The shiny platinum might look pretty amazing and it gives me something to look forward to during this upcoming fall–cooler weather means more gaming time. However, partly the main reason why I have not been writing is due to moving. I have been busy packing, getting ready for the big move, which means less time to write or schedule posts in advance.

There are few worthy shows I watched this past few days and are the process of writing. One of them in particular is A Taxi Driver (2017), a historical Korean drama. Out of all the streaming sites, Prime Video is winning because they know me pretty well enough to recommend films I like.

In the meantime, for my weekly post, I put this amateur treasure guide together for fun as I have been obsessed with treasure hunting more than obtaining the object itself in Dark Souls II. It’s quite addictive as I mentioned briefly on one of my souls’ posts. I am sure I have a lot to extract from this game and have much to say about it once I complete it entirely.

Will resume to normalcy once I get things situated. Most likely late September or early October.

P.S

I have successfully moved out of the city as of Aug. 31st. Wrote this post awhile ago. Now need time to adjust to new environment.

Dark Souls II Rant: Rings and the Test of Patience

The title to this post sounds as if I’m a nagging, impatient girlfriend who is expecting a ring on her finger but her boyfriend is too busy playing games. Well, I’m not talking about the relationship between two human beings. I’m talking about my relationship with Dark Souls II Scholar of the First Sin, the game I keep going back to unwind. It’s the perfect melancholic companion whose a bit difficult to get through but very rewarding once you explore all its treacherous paths, including the hidden rooms behind the walls. They are the best because we know treasures lie ahead! As choppy as it feels compared to the first, it’s definitely not seamlessly integrated as Dark Souls in terms of the stage design, but the ambience atmosphere is strangely therapeutic and I sort of prefer it over the first. It does wonder to the senses with its fairy tale like atmosphere. After all, don’t we girls just love fairy tale?

I’m beginning to sound like an undead to call the soul’s universe an alluringly safe place to unwind. No wonder people called us DARK SOULS lovers machoistic. At the moment, I am currently hunting down and testing out rings because I want to be with my abusive lover (Dark Souls II) forever. No, I’m just being sarcastic. So far, Ring of Life Protection is my favorite because I like to remain in human form.

You can equip 4 rings, but would it have made more sense with 5. Weren’t we all born with 5 fingers?

Let me get you some backstory to why I keep going back to my abusive lover, Dark Souls II. Not too long ago I defeated Dragon Quest XI, which is a big accomplishment for me considering that it takes me ages to play games I purchased out of the whim. As I was working on clearing my backlog, I went back to Silver Case but got annoyed fast with its dark theme. Unlike Souls games, it’s hopelessly depressing with no warmth in sight. Plus, too much swearing doesn’t make characters appear tough; they just seem stupid. There was also a hint of misogyny which ruined the entire experience for me.

Halsdoll Playin
If I am going to be a piece of dead meat then I’m going to go to do it in the Souls universe not in Silver Case (thanks Nairdalex for the photo edit).

Now I have been playing Dark Souls II without caring too much about beating it in a timely matter so I can move on to the next game on my list. Despite what people say, it’s the perfect game for me to unwind. I like the quietness. Music in video game is unnecessary. Listening to my character’s footsteps echoing in the hallway and the sound of clashing and clinking of my weapons sounds more relaxing, oddly. I can hear the wind so I think I feel the wind touching my skin. I hear the waves splashing onto the shore and that makes me feel calm. I just like exploring its universe in the comfort of my home.

Currently as I am writing this post, I am at Huntsman’s Copse, preparing for a boss fight against the Executioner’s Chariot. Even though it’s optional, I still want to clear the area just for the sake of it. I walked the same path over and over multiple times by now that it feels less dangerous.

Annoying sadists crossing my path to the Executioner's Chariot
Annoying sadists preventing me from defeating its boss, the Executioner’s Chariot

I am progressively becoming better each time I enter the boss fight because of familiarity. I learned where to spot the annoying Necromancer black mages that keep spawning skeletons. Keep calm and focus and with a little luck I won’t feel so overwhelmed with a mob of skeletons. Once I clear them away, the boss is not difficult at all. It just the environment and the circumstance that is making it difficult. And that is what keeps me coming back to Dark Souls II. It’s hard, but achievable.

P.S

I beat the Executioner Chariot! Persistence and patience on top of learning where enemies spawn and timing helped me defeat this optional boss! Now I can boast, I did it!

Why I Chose to Blog and Not Vlog as A Female Gamer and What I’ve Learned Along the Way

I finally reached my 100th post a couple weeks ago and it had me thinking where I want to do with my future content or whether I would move to a different platform. That has been on my mind as I do enjoy creating content. But if I want to eventually generate revenue, vlog might be the better option for me to support my craft full-time. I did purchase a SEO handbook but it didn’t apply to what I want to accomplish for this blog. In fact, it left me feeling even more depleted and let’s not even talk about the marketing side, I already feel overwhelmed.

According to the SEO book, which I will not advertise, the success of a blog is measured based on making money. Well, I am far from that. I came into blogging like many people because I enjoy writing as a creative outlet. So the likeliness of making money is pretty darn slim since I’m not writing to a particular audience. As mentioned before, this blog has been a very good friend. Even if it’s just talking into the void as many amateur bloggers would often fear, sometimes it’s nice to get things off the chest as if you are talking to someone. I still have yet a lot to learn how to balance creativity with business if I eventually want to make passive income from what I naturally enjoy doing.

When I started writing for my old blog back in 2016, which actually titled Halsdoll.com, (It really is my pen name inspired by Shakespeare’s play Henry IV: Part II) I just wanted to share poems and connect with like-minded folks or just have someone to talk to. Fellow female bloggers I followed at the time were either students or lonely first-time moms. They enjoyed reading about games but preferred posts about self-care, beauty products haul and books. Those things are enjoyable to read but it is not the content I want to create. All I wanted to do was discuss games and write poems to fill up the quietness of the lonely evenings I had to endure after work. But those days have passed. Now I write with a purpose. Meaningful conversation is hard to come by especially for those who do a lot of solo activities.

I realized there are two types of female gamers: one who plays to past time (no wonder there are so many beautiful women who stream on Twitch) and one who are enthusiast about the medium. I fall into the second group. Finding a group of passionate gamers, especially female players who appreciate game for its creativity and aesthetic is hard. And what made it more alienating is that I am not at all a competitive gamer despite the fact I like fighting and challenging video games. Speed run and rank never meant anything to me in video games, unless I’m working on a trophy just to complete it for completion’s sake. If anything, I’m competitive against myself. I prefer teamwork than competitive play if I have to play with people.

Then I started to cater my writing towards the gaming enthusiasts. Writing for an audience that I am not familiar with was difficult. I had to be mindful of my thoughts but soon begin to feel weary and tired. I did not want to engage in battle of the sexes debate such as objectification of women in video games and neither did I want to make false accusation and assumption about the opposite sex. Labeling people is something I dislike, so I tried to avoid it because it causes prejudice and discrimination, which unfortunately everyone has experienced some form of discrimination in their lifetime. It’s just how the world is. Humans are visual creatures. For instance, I have been referred to being a damsel in distress by many people. I often wonder why that is the case. Then I realize representations in media do matter very much. In fact, if I could pick a video game character I resemble most is Elena from Pandora Tower. She has some form of disability but she makes it up with emotional strength and intelligence. But to the average person, many would assume she is just a silent object or just a support role for the heterosexual male. I personally never thought of her as a silent object. I never thought of myself as one. I thought she was pretty strong. Maybe it’s time for people to reevaluate what strength means, especially in video games.

pandora-tower-weak strong female character

When playing multiplayer games, I noticed the discrimination. As a gamer, I like to play as an offense player. I noticed the authority I get from players when they assumed I’m a guy. It felt nice when they asked for tips and they looked up to me. Rarely do I get a pushback. But if they know I’m female, then the tone becomes a bit different. What I have learned through this experience is that online interaction is just a miniature world of the real world and I don’t know how I feel about it. I think that’s part of the reason why I prefer gaming alone, figuring things out myself. It’s a sense of achievement. However, the downfall of playing alone is that it’s hard to make gaming friends. In the online world, rarely do I see female players discuss games for the sake of games which is why I don’t mind doing my Video Game Shopping List posts. They tend to be more casual and popular among readers. I think the last thing people want to do is read academic papers on video games. As much I love to study, even I get turned off by such content unless it’s insightful and full of humor. Video game is a form of entertainment not some scholarly text.

Playing games by myself made me realize that I once fell into the misconception that being female meant being the weaker sex based on how people treat me in person (well, I can’t blame them because I do travel alone a lot for someone as small as I am). But I learned that my gender has nothing to do how good or bad I am with games. It made me realize that I am as capable as anyone if I set my mind to do something. Discrimination happens when we create a mental shortcut to process information, so it’s natural to think our female kind is the weaker sex, but “weaker sex” has nothing to do with intelligence. Intelligence is just another form of strength. And liking a certain type of game doesn’t reflect superiority. One is more relationship based than strategy based. That’s all there is to it.

“Women love romance-related content. It’s nothing new.”- from √Letter.

√Letter Visual Novel for PS4
There’s some truth to this statement, but overall, it’s a sexist statement. Guys like romance too. That’s what I have learned from reading people’s blog and I think it’s pretty cool.

I guess what I am trying to get at with this whole discrimination talk is that my blog has been a sanctuary for me to express myself, and as a result I am happy. As the saying goes, “Do what you love, and love what you do.” I have been enjoying myself so far, fishing for metaphors (okay that sounds pretty cheesy but I just love to rhyme!) As mentioned earlier, I have considered other platforms so that I could reach the right audience but I like blogging so far because writing helps people become better thinkers. I also learn more through reading anyway when it comes to exchanging information, which is why I chose blogging over vlogging.

I will continue to write about films, T.V shows and books, but niche video games have always been my biggest interest. It’s the game design and the thought process behind the making of games is what intrigued me, but more importantly, it asks tough questions and sees the world from an outsider perspective. For that reason, I always have a lot to say. What I’m really searching for is meaning in the media and that’s what this blog is all about.

I probably won’t publish many gaming content as it requires a decent amount of time gaming and the fact I only play a few games per a year and I play it thoroughly to give it an accurate rating. I mentioned about games because it’s my main hobby and it is just something to be expected in the future for this blog because my backlog is going no where. I could do streaming like most gamers but I don’t see myself as an entertainer. When I play games, I like to take my time. I play to think as oddly as it sounds.

If you are new to my blog, please check out some of my favorite posts I wrote in no particular order:

Thanks for reading. It feels nice to get some stuff off of my chest.

-Halsdoll

NieR Replicant ver_1_22474487139 (2021): My Impression

I am going to do something a bit more casual here. I am going to write an impression instead of a review because I am not here to sell you anything but give you my impression of the game as a fellow gamer who is just trying to help out some gamers out there whether you should play this game or not. so I’m too lazy to articulate my thoughts, especially after playing a heavy loaded game like this. I have already put over 60 hours of gameplay into this game. Not going to 100 % it. I did it with Nier Gestalt years ago, but would at least try to 100 % the side quests. Currently, while writing this post, I’m at 83%. Weapons completion is also important as well. This is a story driven game. You would appreciate the story more by completing these tasks.

NieR Replicant ver_1_22474487139 released 2021 of April, is not a remake or a remaster of Nier Gestalt (2010). It’s more closely related to the Japan’s version Nier Replicant which players play as the brother instead of the father. Some additional content have been added to this upgraded version to flesh out the story. So if you have played Nier Gestalt and wonder whether you should purchase it, you should but not at full price. You are not missing much. It’s just less convoluted than the one released in 2010. Perhaps, this is what some players need, a straightforward story?

The upgraded version gameplay feels a lot smoother and fluid like you would play in Nier Automata (2017). Gameplay is very simple: hack and slash with plenty of of weapons and magic to choose from, although let me warn you that gameplay was never the game biggest strength. I stick to one weapon and two magic: Dark Lance and Dark Hand the entire time. As for difficulty settings, there are Normal Mode which is really Easy Mode and Hard Mode. I can only imagine what Easy Mode is like. You’d go through the game without a sweat. Well I can see it being an option, if you are into speed run. Some of the trophies required players to beat a boss with a certain amount of time. And if you are just interested in experiencing the story, then there is no reason to play on Normal or Hard Mode.

Without spoiling the story for those who have not experienced this masterpiece (yes it was a masterpiece in my eyes when I first played it). It’s about a brother who is trying to find a cure to the disease called Black Scrawl which has inflicted his sister. There are some heavy topics such as body dysmorphia, homosexual and borderline incest introduced in this game. Yes, it’s not your typical heroes and heroine you see every day. They are humans, but are they?

As I mentioned earlier, the side quests add to the story so don’t skip them. They are fun and addictive with a twisted sense of humor. The greatest attribute to this game is the soundtrack, however the music arrangement is not as on point like in Nier Gestalt, which did affect my experience. I didn’t like how it sounds unnaturally flawless. So, I didn’t enjoy the game to its max. It feels kind of soulless. Well, it’s not soul’s game if that’s what you are expecting. If I were to compare this game with Nier Gestalt, I would still pick Nier Gestalt over Nier Replicant, playing as a father seems more logical. I don’t know though, I never had brothers who go to an extreme to protect me so it didn’t make any sense to play as an overly protective brother.

Although I can say, I know what it is like to be the protective big sister. I guess there is some similarity in that sense, or it’s just the fact, I’m as crazy as the protagonist. I just like killing stuff. Clearly though, the game was not intended for female demographic but why is it so popular among female players? That’s something to think about.

So what’s so great about this game? Well, it’s the story. The soundtrack, but more importantly how it was executed. The game allows players to see in different angles and it starts to question your morality. Who are the real humans? Even if you think you are right, does that justify killing?

I think you get my point. The game will make you think about your actions. Are you really righteous?

Thank you for reading. If you enjoy me talking about video games you can follow me on Twitter @Poetry_Huntress for gaming tweets and blog updates.

Netflix Series Detention (2020) Review: It’s More Than Meets the Eye

Based on the video game Detention, released Jan 12, 2017, developed by Red Candle Games for Netflix, the T.V show comprises of 8 episodes which tells a detailed story of a transferred student who suffers from mental illness. Oddly, I experienced a sense of familiarity after taking so many social science and history courses back in the day when I see literacy references appearing in the show. Great writers (Plato, Orwell, Walden) helped me understood quickly what the plot was about. It gets an A + for using influential books as props to illustrate that point. I was entertained all the way.

This show is worth checking out if you are into East Asian horror and also if you are a big fan of poetry, which I think is an outdated art form, but when incorporated with other medium, it becomes extremely powerful. Poetry is the form of using words to paint an image and evoke feelings; its rhythm helps create memorable lines too. There are some emotions that you cannot described alone just through the use of prose. Only poetry can deliver powerful images to abstract concepts such as life and death so that we can understand it on a deeper level.  I like how Detention glorifies the power of a poetry through the use of a dead schoolgirl’s poem. It allows me to see and feel the political oppression in a small Taiwanese town through its high school. Thus making it a hauntingly political tale that gives me a glimpse of the culture on the island. As a horror fan, horror is a genre that is very difficult to execute so when a rare one comes by, I can’t help but want to share with the rest of the world. I wrote a short review on the game a few years ago. Please do check it out. No spoiler I promise.

For my final thought, the show made me wonder why do grownups imprisoned students with their outdated ideology? What purpose does it serve other than complete control of one’s sovereignty? Perhaps going to detention may not be such a bad thing because it’s “in the pursuit of freedom [against authoritative government, we find] inner peace,” I quote the counselor from the show. The school was just a training ground for a more authoritative political system. But even if we escape, “outside this place is just a bigger crazier world,” says Liu Yun-hsiang, the main female protagonist. So what is the solution? Death? Overall, if you are looking for a thought provoking horror title on Netflix, I highly recommend this one.