[Novel] The Gulag Archipelago Volume I (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn)

Gulag Archipelago

The book that destroyed the Soviet Union. The scariest part about communism was how it was well intentioned and most atrocities were caused by people who thought they were doing everything in the name of good.

…Except for Stalin, if you thought Hitler was bad, you should learn about this guy.

Positive:
Negative:
A heartfelt and detailed account of everything wrong with communism
Illuminating on Russian history and culture
Thought-provoking on politics and human nature

 

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[Game] Super Mario RPG

Super Mario RPG

Game

I never imagined I’d actually enjoy this, but the story in this installment of Mario somehow wasn’t completely abysmal, though it still takes a backseat to game-play as usual in Nintendo games… which is still definitely for the best.

Positive:
Negative:
Sense of adventure
The story is very basic
Surprisingly likable characters
The setting is kind of silly
Platforming sections add variety
Though aged well, still a bit outdated
Simple, but nice turn-based game-play

[Anime] Welcome to the Ballroom

Welcome to the Ballroom

Anime

Welcome to the Ballroom would have definitely been better… or at least watchable if it was a shoujo show. The shounen hard work and teamwork approach just felt awkward in the context of dancing and most character interactions were so cringeworthy I couldn’t even finish the show.

Positive:
Negative:
Interesting premise
Awkward animation makes dancing more creepy than graceful
Boring, annoying characters
The plot follows the usual shounen pattern
Doesn’t offer anything of interest or note

[Game] Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

Ni no Kuni II The Revenant Kingdom

Game

Maybe I’d have liked this game if I were twenty years younger.

Positive:
Negative:
Fantastic anime visuals
Dull, simplistic, cliche story
A sense of adventure
Uninspired, stereotypical characters
Lots of forced tedious side-quests
Full of tedious gimmicks that add nothing to game-play
Low difficulty negates most game-play mechanics

[Anime] The Eccentric Family

The Eccentric Family

Anime

This impression is based on the first season of the show.

An imaginative show with very well-written dialogue and characters that unfortunately doesn’t really go anywhere as it’s more about creating funny situations than telling a coherent story; but then the philosophy it introduces is about striving for chaos and excitement even if it endangers one’s life, so I suppose that’s just too be expected.

Positive:
Negative:
Imaginative, fairy-tale like setting
The story doesn’t have a clear direction
Likable, profound characters
Well-written dialogue
Thought-provoking on life and whether we’re taking it too seriously

[Game] Hitman: Absolution

Hitman Absolution

Game

The Hitman formula of performing stealthy and innovative kills has been nigh perfect in what’s probably my favorite Hitman game so far.

Positive:
Negative:
Varied missions in a variety of locations
The sneaking can get tedious, especially if you can’t figure out a spot
Polished stealth mechanics
It’s easy to lose patience and negate the game design by shooting everything up
It’s fun figuring out the best way to get the kill
The narrative feels a little bit silly

[Novel] World’s Fair (E.L. Doctorow)

World's Fair

Book

A thoroughly immersing and enlightening account of a single relatively poor family’s life in 1930s New York.

Positive:
Negative:
Lively, pleasant prose
Doesn’t really lead to a dramatic conclusion
Interesting, likable, profound characters
Can feel a bit dull at times if you’re not interested in the characters
Enlightening on the life in New York City of the 1930s