Dragon Age Inquisition is Good… not Great

WARNING: SPOILERS

Since I’m an adult (ha!..right) with precious time to spare (another ha!…kind of), I try to choose my games wisely. That being said, the video game industry has really come a long way in the last 20+ years, hasn’t it? Remember playing Nintendo’s Dragon Warrior as a little kid and having your mind blown? The amount of progress is astounding when you make comparisons but still…that doesn’t mean every new game is going to be a gem. I wrote an earlier review on this game that is mainly related to it being a good play-through on PS3, which I still stand by, but boy am I glad that I didn’t buy a PS4 just to play DA:I.

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Ok. First of all, the games in the Dragon Age series are some of the best that I’ve ever played. DA:O was the pinnacle of awesome…I’ve played about 6 different play-throughs and it’s still exciting. As cool as Hawke was, DA:2 was a flop (and I base that solely on the recycled environments. I had to shut the game off 10 hours in because it was so boring and I never revisited it). And Dragon Age: Inquisition is good…maybe even really good but it’s not great and doesn’t come close to Dragon Age: Origins (I’ll explain why in the list below). I have hope that the staff at BioWare will be objective and ask themselves the important questions as they plan further games. And here we are with the list. I’ll try to keep it as concise as possible. Criticisms are in the front….positives are at the end. Hang in there. I’m a huge fan and want nothing more than to help improve these games…because I love the story!

1. The beginning was better than the ending. What do I mean by that? All the events leading up to establishing your base at Haven, Haven getting attacked by Corypheus, you being anointed ‘The Inquisitor’ and your first few journeys out (especially if you chose to support The Mages. Wow!) were more thrilling and emotionally charged than the games ending. They were actually phenomenal and flawless. I thought I was playing the best game I’d ever played before. How cool was it saving your townspeople during the attack on Haven? How amazing was walking through the snowy tundra after the battle at Haven and finding your team? That moment, and the scene that followed….was one of the best moments in the game. John Stevenson at The Writers Block provides a pretty stellar review, which is well worth reading (I’ll try not to copy you John but…I just had to write a review too). Also, all the reviews on Kotaku are very good. Basically, the games ending was flat. You traveled the world, found Skyhold, built the Inquisition, raised a huge force…I guess? ( A War Assets type situation would’ve made more sense here. You are the same company that created Mass Effect…right BioWare?). Essentially as you moved forward in the game, it felt like nothing that you did in terms of growing in power, forging alliances and gaining agents mattered (it didn’t) and the big final climax that you thought would take place at your castle Skyhold (the one that you’d been rebuilding all game specifically for protecting from an assault) didn’t take place there and it was really quick and boring. The game could have ended after thwarting Magister Alexius because that storyline, and the storylines that led up to it, were phenomenal and engaging. Temple of Sacred Ashes, Haven, Alexius’s time warp, giving the first speech at Skyhold and meeting the Divine in the Fade all were way more powerful than the ‘Hey I found you Corypheus! Bang, you’re dead. Mark of the Rift. Schwing! Go back to the Fade. Bye. Roll Credits’. It went from ‘Greatest Game Ever’ to ‘Boring and Trite’.

2. Why have a power score if it’s meaningless? At first I thought it was kind of cool. Similar to the War Assets of Mass Effect. That’s a great mechanic. The ending changes based upon how much power and how many allies you have. If you have a lot of power, your whole ‘main crew’ lives and survival rates are high. If you don’t have a lot of power, maybe some of your crew dies, maybe your army is decimated….maybe you can’t even beat the game! How exciting! Since BioWare had implemented that before, I thought that it was a no brainer they’d do it again or tweek it a little. Nope. Nothing. So, you basically just gain power for no other reason than to advance the game and choose missions (because the missions cost a certain amount of power to unlock). That’s fine, unlocking missions with power had controlled your leveling to an extent.. but that’s all it did and that was a HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT. This was an RPG, right? So, let me get this straight….all the hoopla about establishing base camps in the various immensely detailed and beautiful environments in the game, the companions urging you to increase your power and size of the Inquisition, the alliances that HAD to be made….were meaningless because it had no impact on the games finale? That makes sense right? NO! Not at all. Sorry BioWare, you dropped the ball on that one. For whatever reason it was, poor planning, politics, greed, technical issues etc….you ‘shit the bed’ and it made for a lifeless experience. There could have been a small ‘forces’ bar and that would have sufficed. RPG fans LOVE to see that they are making progress in the game. Oh, I just liberated this area….my Influence bar just went up AND my ‘Forces’ bar just went up, showing me that I command 1,700 troops now. That would’ve been nice.

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3. It was way too easy! RPG’s are supposed to be fun for all ages. Never can a video game company use the cop out that games are scaled down or shortchanged because of the age of their consumers. Many elements that hardcore fans and 18+ gamers expect, do not need to be eliminated because a larger group of 10-14 year olds will be playing the game. That’s where the difficulty setting comes in to play. Remember in Fallout: New Vegas where you could play Hardcore mode and you actually had to remember to eat and drink in-game? That was cool. Too hard for a ten year old you say? Ok…they can just set the game to ‘normal’ and poof! Problem solved. Not Dragon Age: Inquisition. One, all of the elements that DA:O fans wanted to see, that may have been too difficult for a younger or casual gamer to handle, just weren’t there, normally or in the hard settings. Two, this game was way too easy. On my first play through I tried the normal setting…after about 15 hours I was way too good for the game and destroying every enemy that came my way. So, I started over on the hard setting, which only took me about 40 hours until I was way too good and destroying every enemy. Then…I tried the nightmare setting….which was more like the hard setting. So essentially the gameplay settings are as follows. Easy=Extremely Easy. Even a dead person could play on this setting and win. Normal=Easy. Hard=Normal. Nightmare=Hard. I know lots of work goes into these games, but come on. BioWare figured it out before…there’s no legitimate reason to why they couldn’t make it work again. The games difficulty was way too painless and I certainly do not consider myself a master RPG gamer. I play about 3-4 games a year, totaling maybe 200-300 hours of gaming, so usually the hard setting is REALLY tough for me. But not this time.

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 4. Why half-ass the strategy and customization? Just do it….or don’t. Here’s one of my biggest issues. BioWare promised us, in all the press materials leading up to the game, that we’d be able to customize castles, take over territories, lead armies etc. etc. and what we got was just watered down customization options. Don’t make an RPG with strategy elements if you’re not going to fulfill them properly. Take the expansion Dragon Age: Origins- Awakening for example. It was an add on game, yes. But it added some cool elements that fans were yearning for. Elements that you’d think would be improved upon in the next full fledged game. Nope. So, ok…you can build a Mage Tower or a Templar Tower that states in game, that it’s only a cosmetic upgrade, and it has no bearing on your progress. And it serves no real purpose because your castle Skyhold never gets attacked. Woopdy doo. You can choose to create a Training Grounds or an Infirmary, and again this is a cosmetic upgrade that has no purpose other than to make your castle look different. Yay! Who cares? Oh and you can build a Chantry or make an Herb Garden. If you build the Chantry you get gold….or more followers….maybe? If you build the Herb Garden you get….wait for it…..6 POTS where you can plant herbs!! You’re the almighty Inquisitor and you get only 6 POTS!?! And you have to farm it yourself. What!?! What would’ve made a hell of a lot more sense would be….Build the Mage Tower or Templar Tower…get power points and a defensive bonus if the castle were attacked. Build the Training Grounds for an attack bonus for your troops. Build the Infirmary for a health bonus for your troops. Build the Chantry to gain more followers and power or spirit magic resistance for your troops. Build the Herb Garden to have a constant supply of herbs, farmed by your followers and deposited in your inventory. That would make a lot of sense right? The armor and weapon customization was a decent mechanic and tool, why not make the castle customization similar? You looted some weird materials off this Red Templar, sent it in for research and now you can have a special upgrade for your armor/weapon. Likewise, you found some strange materials in a ruin you excavated, you have your dwarves work on it and now you can have a special upgrade for your Mage Tower or your Front Gate or your Dungeon. Also, when you took over a keep…you couldn’t do anything with it. NPC’s just showed up along with some merchants. It would’ve been cool to choose what type of keep it would be (Military, Espionage, Political) and subsequently what bonus you would get (A recruitment bonus or attack bonus for your troops, A spy bonus or more secret areas unlocked to explore, A political bonus with more options for allies, gold and power). Ya know…the little things….allowing you to ‘see results’ from missions that you undertook and an actual impact in your game would’ve been nice rather than a childish…’Well I beat that mission. NEXT!’. Lastly, the judgments, which were very cool, lacked something that was established in DA:O-Awakening. Why weren’t there judgments or requests from regular townsfolk, nobles or members of your Inquisition? It would’ve been very rewarding to have you judge a petty squabble between an Inquisition Mage and Templar, or choose to commit troops to protect an Inquisition farm from attack or bring the citizens to the castle for protection, or to settle a nobles dispute that would gain you gold or influence. Again, the little things….that were developed in an add on to DA:O…that a fan like myself thought would be expanded on the grander scale of DA:I that simply…did not happen. If you’re going to make an RPG, with such a rich storyline and advertise that it’s going to be groundbreaking…you better satisfy your more mature fans (18+ or just veteran gamers) who expect this greatness that was promised.

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5. Harvesting and gathering loot. This can be fun sometimes. But seriously, with a game of this scope you don’t want to spend 10-15 hours harvesting and looting because you’ve already got 100+ hours of gameplay to go through (if you play out a majority of the missions). Remember the PC game FATE? It was a cool dungeon crawler but one really awesome element that it had was this dog that you could call and it would grab your loot for you. Then it would take a certain amount of time to leave, drop off the loot and become available to you again. Wouldn’t it have been cool to have a few squires that would follow well behind your party and grab all the loot for you, then one of them would report at your castle and show you what was looted and harvested? It would solve the constant problem of clearing your inventory, pausing to loot each corpse after a battle and stopping to grab every herb or mineral you see. I understand that this was done to a small extent in the War Table where you could send your advisors out to gather materials, but frequently the mission would come back with 5-10 herbs, a very tiny amount, considering that you can gather 5-10 herbs in a few minutes of gameplay. And it could be a simple option that you could turn on or off (for people who like gathering herbs). Want your squires & spies to follow you and scour every area you go to and then report their findings back at the Skyhold? Or do you want to do it yourself? That type of situation could also lend to a unique storyline with your subordinate(s). Are you putting them in danger? Can they be killed while doing this? Does it affect your overall power score? Ya know…just some simple detail. I mean, you have a nice dialogue with the short, cute, female scout in every place you go to…in which her character didn’t really have any purpose other than to brief you and fill some time. Why couldn’t that person serve a real in game purpose like I just mentioned? Ya know….the devil is in the details…or lack thereof.

6. Character approval means nothing. Remember in Dragon Age: Origins you had the character approval bar? And the higher that bar went, you could inspire Minor or Major abilities in that character such as combat bonuses. And the lower the bar went, the more pissed your character was with you…and they may even leave your party….or try to kill you? Now THAT WAS COOL. In this game, there’s no point to the approval system other than when you make decisions, some on screen text will tell you who approves or disapproves of your actions. There’s no status bar where you can check how much a person likes/dislikes you. And there’s no incentives such as combat bonuses or unique relationships (that I could tell). It’s just another area that fell completely flat. It’s as if BioWare started to create this portion of the game and just stopped at some point. Just another example of how DA:O is better than DA:I.

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7. You don’t get to appoint characters in branch off missions. Remember at the end of Dragon Age: Origins when you had to choose 4 companions to lead the second team that would defend the gates at Denerim while you took on the archdemon? A pretty simple side mission and very effective for engrossing you in the game. But again, nope. Nothing even remotely similar throughout the game. You’ve got this great group of characters. Iron Bull and his team of chargers. Blackwall. Cassandra. Dorian etc. etc. and you have to leave them out of battles because you only can pick up to 3 companions to join in on your missions. There was so much potential to work off of elements that were successful in past titles. Wouldn’t it have made sense to include the other companions in your sieges, for example the siege on Adamant Fortress and the final battle? Maybe your second team covers your back or attacks from another flank? Maybe, like in the ending of Mass Effect 2, if you choose characters who aren’t suited properly for the specific task….they will die…or someone else will die as a result of the lopsided team. It’s the little things, ya know?

8. You’re BioWare. Should you listen to the fans? Absolutely. Every single one. Look, I know you’ve won game of year and accolades upon accolades for this game. Congratulations. BioWare as a company and all of those involved in the creation of this specific game deserve all of that praise. This is a very good game that just falls flat in some key areas. And if you’ve learned anything from the Mass Effect 3 ending debacle, it’s that your fans know best. I’m sure there’s an amazing team at BioWare but the truth is….you didn’t live up to your expectations with Dragon Age: Inquisition. You didn’t pull a George Lucas prequels blunder….but if you don’t heed the advice of people outside of your internal ‘team’ then your games will continue to be lackluster. I love this game…I really do. I’m probably going to play it again but stop my campaign after Alexius is defeated.. where it starts to go downhill and it becomes obvious that your choices are meaningless. Now for the positives! The environments are amazing. The animations are fantastic. The armor/weapon customization is great. The loot is great. The War Table and missions associated with it were great (although could’ve been tweeked a bit more to make it more realistic with consequences for choosing the wrong advisor). The castle decor and style customization is really cool. The combat is good (though the AI wasn’t as effective as DA:O where you could choose their tactics). The talent tree is good. The writing was really, really good. The early plot twists and turns were awesome. The soundtrack and in game ‘bard songs’ were great. The characters were great and well developed. Dorian…amazing character. Solas! Perfect! The crossover from previous games was awesome too by bringing in Leliana, Hawke and Morrigan and it was done really, really well. Playing the ‘game’ in Val Royeaux was great. The Inquisition influence bar and perks were cool. The judgements were a lot of fun. The Avvar clan was amazing. Those small Inquisition War Table missions to build a bridge etc. were a really nice touch. The Dragons were AWESOME!!! The Solas & Flemeth twist at the end was cool. There are lots and lots of plusses for this game. But the minuses are just too big and they keep this from being a great game. Even though the gameplay and technology of the time in DA:O is about 6 years old, that’s still a much, much better, tighter and more fulfilling game. And I know that BioWare wanted this to have the same impact that Oblivion did at the time that it came out…but it just doesn’t. It’s just another game. DA:I was too big and some really important details were missed in the grand scope of it all. Details that make or break games for the consumer. I’m still a HUMONGOUS FAN. I would pay BioWare 200 or 300 or 1,000 bucks if they finally created the perfect, earth-shattering RPG. I love this series and the world that BioWare has created. I’m just telling the truth in the small hope that company folks and designers at BioWare, and other video game developers for that matter, will say ‘Ya know what….the fans are right. Let’s do better!’.

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In closing, BioWare did a very good job. The game was great….and then once the shortcomings became evident and the storyline got flabby, it dropped to being just ‘good’. So, they did make 1/3rd of the greatest video game ever. If I were 10 or if this were the first RPG I’d ever played, like I did many years ago with Dragon Warrior for Nintendo, I would lose my mind and praise BioWare as if they were Gods. But that’s not the case. They’re just people….in a big building sitting in front of computers and arguing in meetings. BioWare is a huge company that makes lots of money, with CEO’s and Presidents and a PR & marketing team that gets in the way of the creative department. There are so many people collaborating and so many rules to be followed that I understand why certain things do or do not happen in games. But the fact that I understand how hard it is for a big company to create a flawless game does not detract from the truth that DA:I isn’t flawless. It’s just good. And being just good….is a big disappointment in such a story rich franchise.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this M.A.V.B.L.O.G. and that it’s improved your video game life, your knowledge of the Dragon Age Series or the next video game that you’re about to make or play. Thanks for reading. As always. Be good to yourself. Be good to others. Even plants and animals. Have a great day!

Beyond-Two Souls

Today I’m going to do a quick review of the new video game Beyond: Two Souls. Why quick? Because the game is way too frustrating to do a lengthy review. It’s got a great story, impressive graphics & great acting by the main characters but the con’s far outweigh the pro’s. The game goes in a linear path with virtually no freedom, the controls are atrocious and very frustrating at times (it’s basically like playing a long tutorial. They tell you what button to push and at what times), it’s near impossible to figure out and get a handle on the camera movement & the disjointed style works in movies but not so much with this game.

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When I say frustrating, it’s the kind of frustrating where you’re really into the plot line and the story, you’re really into the characters…..but the gameplay is so damn stupid that it makes you want to give up on the whole experience. I can kind of see what the designers were going for…something like the old game Dragon’s Lair, in terms of gameplay, but it just doesn’t work. Kudos though to Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe who turn in great performances. I’d also love to see the director David Cage make a movie instead of another video game.

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Not that there aren’t great moments in the game, there are. I loved the story. When you’re at the sweet 16 party and you get asked to dance…..and kiss a boy for the first time. You feel it…..however queer that is for guys playing the game. Also, the giving birth part is completely outlandish but perfect in the storyline & character development. Ellen page is so good and you get drawn in to her character as you see her grow from a little girl into a woman. And it really sucks…..because she’s in horrible circumstances her whole life.

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M.A.V.B.L.O.G. SCORE- 3 out of 10. Frustrating controls, frustrating camera movement and a boring freedom less linear game path make this game unplayable. It would have made a great stand alone movie, which at times you wish was the case. I loved the actors, the writing, the story, the dialogue options and the visuals but as I said before the con’s far outweigh the pro’s. Is it worth a purchase? NOOOOOOOOO!!! Is it worth a play though? yeah maybe…..if you have nothing better to do. I paid 2 bucks at Redbox for it, which I’m ok with….although, I’d recommend reading the story and watching the cut scenes on youtube instead.

Here are a couple of other blog posts about the game if you’d like to do some more research.

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I hope this M.A.V.B.L.O.G. assisted in some way. As always…have a great day. Take good care of yourself……and treat others with respect. Even animals.

The Mass Effect Trilogy

Old news….I know. But there are probably some folks out there that are into video games who haven’t played the Mass Effect series. There are tons of blogs out there about these games which you can see here, here, here, here and here…so I’ll just outline some cool things about the game, give a general overview and explain why I think it’s worth a purchase and play through. After all….it’s only $39.99 now for all three games in the Mass Effect Trilogy. Pretty amazing deal.

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First off, if you don’t like science fiction….don’t play Mass Effect. But if you do like science fiction…..GET IT NOW!! As a gamer, I know very well that a really good video game release is similar to a really good movie release…..few and far between. Each Mass Effect game has its uniqueness to it, which is great. I think they perfected the mechanics in the 3rd game as it had a little bit of both of the good qualities from the first two games. No gamer will ever be entirely pleased unless they themself design their own perfect video game…but these were really, really, really solid. Overall though, it’s an exceptional RPG action game with fantastic artwork, very few glitches and bugs, great writing, an immense amount of options, amazing voice actors and it’s extremely entertaining and immersive. There are so many combinations and variables in this game that you could probably play it 50 times without having the exact same outcomes. It’s fun and well worth the money. Plain and simple.

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Without giving away too much to the newbies to this series, the first game plays more like an RPG with action elements in it. The second game plays a lot like an action game with RPG elements. And the third game….well I felt it combined both pretty well. If you can handle the slight gameplay changes….and you enjoy both the action genre and the RPG genre…you will be satisfied. Also the celebrity cast of voice actors includes people such as Martin Sheen, Carrie-Ann Moss, Lance Henriksen, Keith David, Seth Green, Adam Baldwin and Freddie Prinze Jr.. That just adds to the overall quality and makes you feel like you’re playing a movie….but it’s YOUR MOVIE.

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Now, there were some serious issues and outcry from fans (myself included) over the blatantly flat ending of Mass Effect 3. Wisely though, the game creators took note and updated an extended cut version (which is good) and is available to download into your console for free. It goes without saying that when you invest 120 hours of gameplay into something….you want the outcome to be believable. The original ending was ATROCIOUS….but since recently playing it again…..I noticed that the developers fixed the problem and the ending (whichever you choose based upon the decisions you make throughout the trilogy) is satisfying. (See below for my spoiler/opinion on the ending).

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Are there lots of great games out there? Sure. Are the new console games going to blow away the old PS3 & XBOX games? Probably. But I think you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t play one of the highest budgeted and lauded games of recent years. The Mass Effect Trilogy is a lot of fun. You can play as a woman or a man. You can play as a bad-ass or a boy scout. You can have relationships with the other characters as a friend or lover. You can escape into an expansive world, which you actually have a hand in creating, and come away feeling like you’ve accomplished something on your terms. Have you ACTUALLY accomplished anything other than wasting your time playing a video game? Maybe…..The writing in these games is so good and the characters are so different that you encounter racism, xenophobia, sexism and a multitude of moral decisions that need to be made. You might actually learn some things and encounter social situations you may never see in your day to day life. You may even improve upon your own personality. People frequently complain that games only promote violence, but one of the overall themes of this game is tolerance and cooperation. It’s just a video game… but Mass Effect is also an exercise in morality. It’s escapist entertainment at its finest which is like crack for video game junkies. But it’s also a very intelligent game with a lot of heart.

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M.A.V.B.L.O.G. SCORE- 10 out of 10. It’s fun. It’s fun. It’s fun. And it leaves you wanting more. Regardless of the minor flaws…..this game is awesome. You create your character from top to bottom and you have some freedom in how you design and play your very own Commander Shepard throughout the series. I highly recommend investing the 100-120 hours it takes to complete the trilogy.

Thanks for reading. As always. Be good to yourself. Be good to those you encounter. Even animals.

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My Spoiler Alert: DON’T READ IF YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED PLEASE!!! GO PLAY THE GAME!

If you’ve played all the games you’ll know what I’m talking about. So for those of you on the fence in choosing an ending…..here ya go. In the first game your mission is to defeat the bad guys (Saren & The Reapers) of which, Saren gets indoctrinated by The Reapers so he is essentially working for them. You win. In the second game your mission is to defeat The Collectors who are working for The Reapers. You win. In the third game the villain, The Illusive Man, becomes indoctrinated by The Reapers and after his death you are given three choices: CONTROL (of which The Illusive Man tried but couldn’t succeed…and btw you die) SYNTHESIS (of which The Catalyst TELLS YOU that it never worked sucessfully in the past……and btw you die) DESTROY (where you’re guaranteed to defeat your enemy The Reapers……and maybe you’ll die) or REJECT (where you reject the options The Catalyst presents….. and btw EVERYONE DIES…..and then someday in the distant future people figure out how to defeat The Reapers). It’s pretty clear cut to me that destroy is the only true option. The Catalyst is an ancient Artificial Intelligence or VI that controls The Reapers and IS THE BAD GUY (because it controls The Reapers who have terrorized the galaxy for millions of years). It is giving you these choices because NO ONE has ever made it that far, which is probably a manual system reset that the AI cannot choose. Also, if you have a high enough score and you choose the Destroy ending….Shepard lives. It’s the ONLY outcome where Shepard lives. So yes….Destroy is the ONLY option because it goes along with your character and the entire storyline of the series. Find bad guy. Defeat bad guy. Save galaxy.

The 4 You Hostel

Ok. The 4 You Hostel….well it’s not REALLY for you! Unless you’re in such a drunken stupor that you don’t mind the disgruntled staff, the bland breakfast, the fake wi-fi internet, the uncomfortable beds or paper thin walls, which during Oktoberfest might be fine…..but for this visit….not so much. They do have THE BEST SHOWERS that I’ve ever experienced in a hostel though.

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Look, it’s a simple hostel. It’s there. Not even close to the best. Not the worst either, but it’s nothing special. I’m 6’1 and the beds made it to my shins. There are metal bars surrounding the bed, so your feet can’t hang off. You have to either curl up into a ball on your side to sleep… or have your legs propped up on an incline on the bars. Not too fun for getting a good nights sleep. But, if you’re very short….this hostel might be good 4 you. Also, the rooms aren’t quiet at all, which isn’t a big problem for me….but I could clearly hear people several rooms down at the end of the hall as they talked. So if you’re looking for privacy, you won’t find it here.

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The great internet wi-fi connection and additional computer terminal access that they promise is non-existent. It wasn’t working for my entire 48 hour stay, which is annoying when you’re back-packing and just need to send a quick e-mail. Luckily, there was a computer cafe and a Starbucks close by. It’s conveniently situated near the train station though. So if you’re making a quick transfer on an early train or have a short stop over…it’s a great place to lay your head. But it’s Munich. There are probably much nicer hostels to choose from and I’ll remember that on my next trip there. I wouldn’t advise staying at this hostel…..unless everything else in the entire city is fully booked. And in the worst case, you get a crappy hostel and drown your sorrows at the Hofbrauhaus…..which will make you VERY HAPPY.

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M.A.V.B.L.O.G. Score- 5 out of 10. They have GREAT showers and that’s hard to come by in a hostel….that’s why they get a 5. Otherwise….It’s too noisy, too dirty, the beds are horrible, the staff is miserable, there’s no internet & the breakfast isn’t good.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this M.A.V.B.L.O.G. and will pick the best hostel 4 you!! Have a great day. Be good to all those that you encounter….even if they smell like an old block of cheese.

Oblivion (2013)

Ok. So I went to see Oblivion (2013) last night, starring Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Riseborough. I was REALLY excited to see this film, mainly because I’d watched the behind-the-scenes documentary and was impressed, but the film falls flat. It’s a really cool concept and story, the casting was great, the acting was great (except for when Morgan Freeman’s character is wounded-you’ll see why and laugh out loud like I did) and the artwork and special effects were done well. Unfortunately though, overall…..it’s just not that good.

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Now, I’m not condemning the film. It was entertaining for a once over viewing. I have respect for the director, Joseph Kosinski, because I really enjoyed his first film Tron: Legacy (2010). And I’d cover anyones house in raw sewage to be able to direct a film or even work on a film with such seasoned actors and such a large budget….but that’s beside the point.

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Tom Cruise, however you feel about him, is a great actor and works hard. It shows in all his films. I’m a big Cruise fan…..and he makes this movie worth watching. He’s got good chemistry with the two female leads and there’s a nice love story, even if a bit overdone. The twists in the film are less ‘aha’ moments and more ‘oh…ok’ moments. I have no intention of spoiling the film because it just opened in theatres, but if you’re looking for the next 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), you won’t find it in Oblivion.

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I really like what Kosinski did with the work tower. Instead of putting up massive green screens for the actors to work in front of (with them having to imagine their surroundings), the director surrounded the set with giant projector screens, so that the actors could actually see the image of the world they were living in. That’s pretty cool. And it looks pretty cool too.

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Pros: Good acting. Great scenery and cinematography. Interesting concept. Good execution. Good chemistry between leads. Great artwork and special effects. Entertaining. Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Riseborough are very attractive and nice to look at.

Cons: The love story is played out too much. Flashback sequences get old and make the film boring. The twist elements aren’t that exciting. Script is a little….eh whatever.

Worth a rental? Yes. Worth going to the movies to see it? Yeah… Worth a purchase? I don’t think so.

M.A.V.B.L.O.G. Score- 7 out of 10. Hey, it’s an entertaining film. Just don’t go looking for the next groundbreaking sci-fi movie when you see it.

If you’d like to go see Oblivion check out fandango for showtimes in your area or head to the films website.