Friday, March 15, 2019

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

The End of the F***ing World, Season One:
This is a quirky dark comedy about a boy who thinks he's a psychopath and starts wondering what it might be like to kill the girl who hangs out with him because of his edginess. It puts a unique spin on the typical coming-of-age road trip story and does a good job balancing levity and seriousness. There are a couple brief scenes of animal violence that might be offputting, but they don't linger. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

Assassin's Creed: Odyssey:
This game was very promising upfront, in spite of its UPlay installation requirement. I enjoyed the opening stages a lot, like a less tedious version of the Far Cry series. The game is so shallow, though, that it quickly reaches a point where it's no longer fun. It suffers from the "8,000,000 committees developed this game" syndrome, offering hundreds of hours of beautiful, polished content without providing any motivation do to any one activity more than once. As an example of this, you can sway the war between Sparta and Athens by assassinating leaders and inciting rebellion among the townsfolk. The outcome? The other side takes control of the town and you can do it all again, without any noticeable impact on story or your reputation. I got about 20 hours into it (level 12 of 50-odd levels of character progression), saw that I had only explored about 5% of the map, and realized that I was already repeating the same shallow activities over and over.

Final Grade: C-

Bosch, Season Four:
The fourth season of Bosch is really strong, strong enough to make me go back and watch the previous ones again. I've never thought Bosch was the best of shows, but always enjoyed the sense of camaraderie between characters. It's a little difficult to keep up with some of the side characters with my viewing of previous seasons years in the past, but it didn't hurt my enjoyment. I also enjoyed how the side plot of the "bike killer" played out unexpectedly -- it was originally one of the things I was going to pan in this review as a time waster. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B+

The Demons We See by Krista D. Ball:
The 6th and final book in the Secrets and Spells anthology succeeds on the strengths of its logical character development and bantering dialogue. Though a little heavy-handed on the allegory and going into more detail than I would ever need on the fashion choices of every character, I read this quickly and enjoyed it enough to purchase the next book. (Be warned that it ends at a "resting point" with no strong resolution, so it will be unsatisfying as a one-and-done).

Final Grade: B

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