Today marks Veterans Day in the United States and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
So, Payday 2 got its official end.
I only got the bad/non-Secret ending myself, and am nowhere near as good a player to get the good/Secret Revealed ending. While the game turning into a ridiculous wannabe-Assassin’s Creed mish-mash of every conspiracy ever might seem bad in isolation, in context it worked as well as it could have and showed how a little earnestness can go a very long way.
I feel bittersweet. I’ve been playing Payday 2 for a very long time. It’s (a distant) second only to Command: Modern Air Naval Operations, my dream game, in terms of actual time played. I remember playing it on a computer that could barely run it at all, and then seeing the contrast when I got a better system. It’s definitely one of the most mainstream games I’ve played and enjoyed. And the music-the music is incredible.
So, after a few months of reviews on Fuldapocalypse, I can say it’s helped me a lot. It’s made me realize I was looking at WWIII and military fiction in too narrow a light beforehand, and my resulting broadening of scope has been very good for me, and (I hope) very good for the blog as well.
The kind of impression I had going into the blog was that I’d be reviewing on a pretty narrow spectrum, with the sort of Hackett-style more pseudo-textbook on one end and the Chieftains/Team Yankee style story on the other. And most of my reviews still fall at least somewhat into that category.
But I think two things have influenced me more than just a simple bean count of what reviews were “conventional” World War III fiction and which ones were not. The first is that when it comes to me looking for new stories, as opposed to existing ones, I’ve been steering myself away from stuff that appears too cliche and Hackett-knockoff-y. Is reading something that’s going to be dry and infodumpy and then saying it’s dry and infodumpy really going to be productive or enjoyable to me or a reader? Especially if I do it several times in a row?
The second is the more pleasant surprise I’ve gotten, and that’s that moving away from internet, I’ve seen more characterization and more plot/setting diversity even in the ones I’ve already read. Granted, I had low expectations, but still. There’s that, and then there’s some of the stories moving outside the narrow corridor acting as a “springboard” of sorts for me to read even better and more different cheap thrillers.
So Fuldapocalypse has helped reinvigorate my interest in a genre I thought I knew, explore subgenres I didn’t, and made me rethink some of my critiques. I hope my readers have found it just as fulfilling.
I did one of, and quite possibly the longest Fuldapocalypse review yet. The subject is Tom Clancy’s Executive Orders. The short version is: he’d definitely jumped the shark at this point.
When it comes to aliens or monsters, I must admit to being more “Battletech” (no aliens save for one weird diversion) and less “Star Wars”. It’s just a matter of personal taste, I’ve enjoyed many stories that feature aliens and/or monsters, and I don’t hold anything against settings that do feature them. But it’s a taste I’ve found surprisingly consistent over time, and most of my plans for writing , as opposed to just reading, don’t feature sentient nonhumans.
Some of it is my preferred genres that don’t tend to diverge into science fiction or fantasy. Some of it is a dislike of “rubber forehead aliens” (I like Stephen Baxter because his aliens are truly alien). But some of it is a sad commentary on human nature. I can sum it up as “Why would I need monsters? Humans can be monstrous enough already.”
Whether it be for a formal review or just for fun, there’s always the dilemma of whether or not to go for a new writer or one whose books one has read before. With existing authors, you know what you’re getting for the most part. With new ones, you don’t.