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November 29, 2016

Spanner!

Hello peeps. I'd hate to throw a spanner in the works (AGAIN), but due to some taxing events at home, I can't make it this week with a review.

Will see you guys again next week.

God bless.

November 25, 2016

What We Believe Part 5 (Morality)

Hello again people. We're at the last part of the What We Believe series on our values as a website and as Christians regarding video games. In this last post, I'm going to be taking a bit of a different route and talking about the morality of playing video games with concerning content, and what it says about us as believers if we were to play such games.

No guilt trips or lectures, just some food for thought.

Say now one plays a game, involving the hijacking of cars, killing of generous amounts of citizens and utilisation of the myriad of services of prostitutes. Said hijacking of cars is referenced in the title of the game in more formal terms. 

Would playing such a game be a sin? Well, why are you playing it? Is it because you're a repressed sociopath who needs more material to fantasise about? A sexually frustrated teenage boy who wants to view sexual content in any form just because he needs the release? Or do you just like the exploration and the reward of finishing multiple missions to upgrade your living quarters, arsenal, vehicles and/or in-game empire?

The clincher lies in your motivation for playing a game. If you're playing it out of sinful motivations, well, then obviously it would be a sin. If you're just playing a game for the game's sake and because you love the gameplay...that's not a sin. Now, some of you may contest this fact on the basis of certain content having an effect on a person. Fair enough. Such content should always be taken into account, even if you're just playing it for the gameplay.

However, different content affects different people in different ways. Not all of us are tempted by the same things in the same ways and to the same degree. There's a lot of repetition in what I'm saying but I believe this is something we need to understand: All of us are unique and have our own paths to walk.

It's only through the Cross where we find our redemption from sin, and guidance to walk the path to righteousness. The Holy Spirit will guide us in our decisions, whether it be relationships, work environments, church leadership, marriage, or even video games, He will show us the right way.

It all comes down to our individual relationship with Jesus. If you feel that playing a certain game is affecting you adversely in this relationship, cast it from you. If not, groovy.

So that concludes my series on What We Believe. It's actually been more enlightening for me than anything to have my beliefs set so clearly before me. The future framework of the site is still being worked out, but I believe with what we discussed here we can move forward with a clearer vision than ever before.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a great weekend ahead. I'll see you guys next week, here on KVR Gaming.

God bless.      

November 23, 2016

Rise of the Tomb Raider (Review)



Hello everyone! I finished this one a bit earlier than expected. Initially I wanted to go ahead and try to 100% the game before writing the review. However, due to significant time constraints, I decided it would be wiser to complete the review and schedule it a few days in advance in order to keep things flowing.

So here we are. Rise of the Tomb Raider. (We'll abbreviate it to ROTR further down the review in order to keep things short.) The 2013 reboot was reviewed during my more conservative days, so as such, there's going to be a major difference in the way this game's material is handled versus the older review's handling of certain content.

I've made a change to the format the last time around, putting the review of the game first and the content guide second. We'll be doing the same this time around, as I rather enjoyed the game and want to speak about its quality first before going into detail about its content.

QuickReview:

Audiovisual: 9.5

Gameplay:

Replayability: 8 

Overall: 8.5

Offering a deep (if short) single-player experience with extra replayability, Rise of the Tomb Raider suffers a bit from retreading the superiorly plotted Tomb Raider 2013, yet still works due to the welcome changes and tighter, more action-heavy gameplay.

Content Guide:

Violence/Intense Content: (7)

--A group of people are shown lying dead and mutilated in a cave, smeared in blood, some of which were burned alive, with smoke arising from their boil-covered and torn skins, blood visible. Severed body parts are scattered around the cave, as well as decapitated heads. (8) 

--Several people are shot, with blood spraying, staining the environment, cries of pain heard. In one sequence, a group of prisoners are gunned down up close with a shotgun, with blood bursting out and splattering over the camera. (7)

-A group of unarmed, surrendering soldiers are gunned down from behind. They collapse dead instantly. This is bloodless.

--Enemies can be stabbed with ice axes and knives, impaling them through their heads, necks and torsos, with screams and blood sprays. Foes can be killed stealthily by being stabbed in the neck with a knife, a crunch and sprays of blood shown. Bears can also be fought, with stabbing, slicing and impaling, often through the head, with blood sprays and roars from the animal, which eventually collapses dead.  (7)

-Injured enemies can be stabbed with an ax through the skull, with a sickening crack and blood sprays, or slammed through the face with a rock, a blood spurt and a crack heard. They can be grabbed from cover with a bow, strangling them and then their necks are snapped with accompanying sound effects.

--A man's eyes are gouged out; we see this from the side, obscuring the detail. He screams and struggles as this happens, flailing around. (7)

--Enemies can be set alight, with fire consuming their bodies, screams heard as they flail around and struggle. Their skins become bloody and charred, darkening with the burns. They eventually fall over and die. (7)

--Animals can be killed and skinned, with organs and entrails visible, blood spilling out from their bodies. Chickens, deer and wolves are killed, with accompanying cries of pain. These acts are quick. (6)

-Chickens can be picked up and thrown around the environment. They die eventually if you throw them around a few times.

Deaths:

--Lara can be skewered by vertically oriented spikes; we see the spikes penetrate through her head and torso, blood spraying out and a look of shock on her face. (8)

-A knife-wielding enemy can kill her, by grabbing her and stabbing her several times in the abdomen, crunches heard. This is obscured by his body.

-A bear can kill her, grabbing her by the neck, tearing her throat open and then biting into her neck again, all with blood sprays. This happens quickly. 

Sexual References: (2)

--A woman asks her if she started working for an organisation before or after she started "s****ing" a certain man. (4)

Language: (7)

Uses of F**k, S**t and a partial use of C**t.

Spiritual/Occultic Themes: (4)

--We see a research file mentioning the afterlife and reincarnation, with pictures from Asian and Egyption lore. (4)

--A handful of murals depict artists' renditions of a fictional Prophet hailing from Constantinople, with him healing people and leading them religiously. (4)

--A scene depicts a man (one of the villains) praying in a church to God for guidance. He speaks about "sins" he was "forced" to commit, and asks God for a sign on how to finish his mission. (4)

--(Spoilers) A certain object is said to grant "immortality", having granted a couple of soldiers and their leader deathless lives in the past. The man is said to be centuries old, as well as his former troops. (4) 

Drug Content: (2)

--We see a couple of liquor bottles scattered throughout the environment. Some of them can be picked up and thrown by the player. A few scenes depict smoking. (3)

Conclusion:

So as we come to the end of this otherwise short post, I feel like I should clarify something: I've been struggling with heavy depression for the last three years. Next month (December), will be the third year in a long and very dark road.

I was deeply into gaming until the pain struck me, the bitter taste making me numb and leaving me unable to enjoy what I had previously done with ease. The next three years were fraught with tensions, loss, betrayal, guilt, hurt and eventually redemption at the foot of the Cross.

It's not a story I'll go into detail about in this conclusion, due to it being rather long and superfluous for the point I'm trying to make, but rest assured: If you're struggling with depression, hang on. You may not be able to ever fully bury the pain, but through Jesus you can find the strength to be able to carry the burden, and meet people through Him who can help you forward.

One of the things I did throughout this time was trying to escape through entertainment, video games being one of them, music being the biggest form of release for me. While Rise of the Tomb Raider doesn't have the deepest of stories, one of the traits of the Lara's character is her obsessive need to escape from her bounds and find the truth.

This is an admirable trait in a video game character, and something a person like myself can be inspired by in times of doubt. The 2013 reboot was particularly helpful in this regard, depicting Lara as trying to survive against all odds and standing resolutely by her convictions.

As I bring this to a close, I don't really have much to say about the content. Yeah, it's violent. Somewhat. Strong language. Meh. The only thing I can say, is that we should always seek Jesus in everything we do. Sometimes, He waits for us, and other times, we have to just take a short journey to go find Him.More often than not, He's right where we least expect Him. 

I can't tell you how many times secular video games have instilled Christ-like values into me through protagonists refusing to compromise, storylines paralleling Biblical ones and much more. So, before dismissing a violent game based on religious principle, take a step back, pray, and maybe game on. There could be something you don't want to miss at the end. 

Oh, and before I go, Rise of the Tomb Raider is rated Caution Advised:

Content Verdict: 16+
For Bloody Violence and Strong Language