War. War never changes, but the “Fallout” series does. “Fallout 76” marks a major shift for the 21-year-old series, making the jump from a single player role playing game to a online multiplayer experience.  While a definite shock for long time fans of the dark, though occasionally wacky, series, my time in the open beta has put many of my fears to rest.
“Fallout 76” takes place in the remains of a post-apocalyptic version of West Virginia. You wake up inside of Vault 76, one of many fallout shelters scattered around the United States. It’s reclamation day, the day when the citizens of the vault are meant to return to the bombed-out remains of their former homes after 20 years underground, to rebuild society.  After customizing your character, you are sent out into the Appalachian wasteland to follow in the footsteps of the Vault’s Overseer and uncover the dark secrets of Appalachia. 
Just because Fallout 76 is the first multiplayer entry in the series doesn’t mean you'll have to share your loot.  The game is perfectly playable solo. During my time in the “Break-It Early Test Application” (gotta love Bethesda’s acronyms), I primarily roamed the wilderness with nothing but my wits, a party hat, and a very pointy shovel, and I had a blast. The handful of times I did find myself in the presence of other players were always an interesting experience to say the least, most ending with finding myself on the wrong end of another player's Super-Sledge. 
If PVP is not your thing, then you’ll be glad to know that “Fallout 76” has a pacifism feature. If another player attacks you without you fighting back, a bounty will be placed on their head which is up for grabs by anyone on the server.  Hunting down the less friendly players provides a unique challenge that can result in a lot of loot if you succeed—but will cause a loss of all your scrap, and a chunk of change if you fail.
However, “Fallout 76” is definitely an online experience. You will have the most fun if you and a group of buddies take on the trials of Appalachia as a team. After wandering solo for a few hours, I picked up a radio signal telling me to head to a nearby city where three other players and I were tasked with defending a soup factory from ghouls, giant rats, and communist robots.  After a fierce battle, where my dear old shovel was destroyed lobbing off the head of the final ghoul, the whole party was awarded with food, medicine and new crafting schematics. Events like these pop up all over the map and give out some of the best loot when completed. While these events are not impossible solo, they are a lot easier and way more fun with friends watching your back, so you best make some buddies if you plan on gunning for some of the more challenging missions.   
In the admittedly short time I had with “Fallout 76,” the game managed to exceed my expectations. The gameplay was solid, the environments were interesting, and it definitely had the atmosphere of a “Fallout” game. However, going into this new title, you should not expect this to be “Fallout 5.” “Fallout 76” doesn’t follow the traditional story-based format the franchise has been known for, which will definitely be off-putting to some.  This is not a game where you play the chosen one destined to bring peace to the wastes and rebuild society. This is not a game where your choices will leave echos through the greater narrative of the series. This is, however, a game where you will be able to experience the world of “Fallout” like never before and have a blast tearing through the wastes with your friends. If you’re willing to look past this major shift in the series, you will have an amazing time in “Fallout 76.” 

Read more…
You’ve heard the music, you’ve seen the name—you’ve possibly even held a “Wayne’s World” style sing along from the backseat of your best buddy’s car.  
To call British rock band Queen influential would be like calling fire hot, so obvious that saying it out loud would just get you weird looks from your now-worried friends. “Bohemian Rhapsody” (2018) follows the story of the band’s front man Farrokh Bulsara, more commonly known by his stage name, Freddie Mercury, from his joining of Queen in 1969 to the band’s iconic Live Aid performance in 1985. 

The story of the band that brought us “Killer Queen,” “We Are the Champions,” and the film’s namesake song, however, is much less well-known than these hits, and perhaps for good reason—it’s riddled with lies, drugs, and hair cuts that haven’t aged all that well.  Although the film is overall an emotional, head-banging, rock-n-roller coaster, there are several sequences that are no bed of roses and no pleasure cruise.
 The first hour of “Bohemian Rhapsody” suffers from being unnecessarily cheesy and awkwardly self-referential. An early scene, for example, shows Mercury fawning over clothes on a rack just to be told that they’re women's pants (Get it? Because he wore women's pants? So clever!). 
Additionally, the timeline of the movie is puzzling at the outset, jumping from scene to scene in a way that’s a bit confusing if you’re not paying attention. Granted, this is to show the audience the important bits without dwelling too much on any particular scene longer than necessary, but the fractured style makes the first third of the film feel like a very, very long trailer for a much better movie. I was hardly expecting the whole movie to be a thrill ride from start to finish, but the beginning drags on far longer than it needs to.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” puts its best foot forward, well, about an hour in. This is where the movie’s heart really shines and becomes worthy of the Queen name.  The movie finds its focus in the drama that was Mercury’s life. From his tense relationship with his fellow bandmates to the toxic relationship he finds himself in, we see the more sympathetic and human side of a figure the whole world viewed as just a rockstar. The final scene is where the it makes up for most of its shortcomings—to avoid spoilers, all you need to know is that any doubts you have about the movie will be put to rest.
Despite great performances by the whole cast, Rami Malek steals the show as Mercury, just like an actor playing Mr. Bad Guy himself. Malek shows us more than just Mercury the rock star. He masterfully depicts Mercury’s charismatic stage persona while also revealing him as a deeply flawed individual, which makes for a compelling and relatable narrative.  Furthermore, Malek’s vocals blend seamlessly with recordings of Mercury’s singing, further emphasizing his award-worthy performance.  You may not remember every detail of the movie’s plot within a week, but Malek’s  performance is something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. 
Regardless of its flaws, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is never boring and definitely does its subject justice. Whether you’re a Queen diehard or just enjoyed “We Will Rock You” at a Patriots game one time, this is a film worth seeing.  

Directed by Bryan Singer. Starring Rami Malek, Ben Hardy, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, and  Allen Leech. At Boston Common, Fenway, and others. 2 hrs 15 min. PG-13. 

Read more…
 On Wednesday, October 17, Congressional candidate Ayanna Pressley hosted a media roundtable in the More Than Words bookstore open exclusively to student journalists, to emphasize the importance of youth voices in her campaign and policy proposals. The roundtable was followed by an event open to youth from across the city. Campaign staff and volunteers hosted five discussion groups as Pressley circled around and listened in on the conversations. The groups discussed sexual assault, school safety and discipline, student debt, affordable housing and DACA and other immigration issues. 
Pressley’s recent historic victory over incumbent congressman Mike Capuano has set her up to become the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress in Massachusetts. 
The Massachusetts 7th Congressional District—the district Pressley is poised to represent—is one of the most diverse, most unequal, and most millennial in the country. This was thought to be a disadvantage for Pressley, as most groups she was likely to motivate were “unreliable voters.” 

Yet, “every group that’s considered to not be a likely primary voter voted in this election,” Pressley said on Wednesday. “We have to give people a reason to vote. That’s not here—” Pressley moved her hand from her head to her heart—“That’s here. That’s not cerebral. That’s here.”
The diversity of the Massachusetts 7th District drives Pressley’s campaign. One of her slogans is “Those who are closest to the pain should be closest to the power.” This is echoed in her campaign ad that went viral in August—in it, the viewer follows Pressley as she rides the Boston Route 1 bus through familiar Boston locales and points out that along the route, life expectancy can differ by as much as 30 years and median household income by as much as $50,000. Pressley understand that in a district like hers, people experience very different pain, and allowing individuals to express that pain is central to her platform. She promises to be “intentional about creating space for those other voices.” 
Before the roundtable was over, Pressley assured students that this wouldn’t be a one-time event, but rather, part of a process. She shared her plans to create a student advisory board and to meet quarterly with every school in the 7th District, as well as continuing to host events for student journalists.
Throughout the event, Pressley echoed her campaign slogan, “change can’t wait,” as she emphasized the need for the country to continue to move forward; for politicians to continue fighting for the people and for the people to stay engaged. “We can’t accept things as an inevitability,” she said. 
“Victory is not magic—it’s work...Hope is not magic. It’s work.”

Read more…
 In 2005, game director David Jaffe introduced gamers to the “God of War” franchise. The franchise includes eight games, including the PSP games “God of War: Ghost of Sparta,” “God of War: Chains of Olympus” and “God of War: Ascension.” In February 2018, they released their latest installment, “God of War,” which I consider to be the best game in the franchise. According to Nicole Smith, an Assistant Dialogue Recordist for Skybound Entertainment, the game “showcases a lot of growth in the sense that it reflects general attitudes both within and without the gaming industry as a whole.” For the past 10 years, the game has evolved on many levels: storyline, graphics and gaming experience. 
The other seven games before this latest installment in the franchise follow the story of the mortal Kratos. Kratos was a general for the Spartan army. During a battle and on the verge of death, he calls out to Ares, the Greek god of war for help, and makes a blood oath to him. Kratos destroys town after town and eventually ends up blindly killing his wife and child through the power of Ares. The games in this franchise follow Kratos’ journey and show how Kratos’ hatred for the gods grows. When he finally kills his father Zeus in “God of War III,” he flees Sparta and comes to Midgard in ancient Norway, where he marries his second wife and has a son, Atreus.
This new game leaves the Greek mythology behind and instead delves into Norse mythology. In the latest “God of War,” Kratos finds a home in Midgard. He meets many Norse gods like Freya, Balder, Magni and Modi, the world serpent and Thor himself. This change of worlds in “God of War” has made the game much more exciting because now you get to focus and learn about a new mythology, and discover a world not seen in the past.
The graphics of the franchise slowly made their way to the realistic, vast world of Midgard. Around 2008-2010, the graphics were not that good on PSP, since it was on a portable system, not on a home console. In “God of War: Ascension,” for example, the combat was choppy and glitchy. It seemed like the designers focused more on the storyline than delivering a quality gaming experience. In the new “God of War,” the characters are more realistic. The vast world of Midgard really comes alive, and all the other nine realms do as well.
“God of War” has come a long way, giving gamers the best fighting and mythical world yet. What I like most about the latest installment of “God of War” is that after 10 years of Greek mythology, it finally shifts to a new world. Also, the storyline is much better because it shows Kratos teaching his son Arteus how to survive. I have a good feeling about what the franchise is going to bring for the next “God of War.”

Read more…
The year was 1996, and Australia had their deadliest mass shooting ever by one man. Shooter Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded 23 in Port Arthur, according to the Atlantic. Less than two weeks after, all Australian states, including Tasmania, agreed to make several gun laws, including the banning of shotguns and rifles. Twenty years later, Australia still has not had a mass shooting worse than the Port Arthur one yet, proving that the gun laws set into place after the shooting were effective. If the United States adopts stricter gun laws like Australia, the country could be safer than it is now.
It has been 20 years since the Port Arthur mass shooting. According to BBC, Australia requires a 28-day waiting period before you can purchase a gun because the government has to check criminal records to make sure you can own a gun legally. On the other hand, in the U.S., each state has their own laws about guns and owning them. Some states like Massachusetts have different age requirements for owning guns. Massachusetts is not an open carry state, meaning that you can not carry a gun if you are not class A or else you will be committing a crime, according to Mass.gov. However, some states, like Texas, are open carry states. You can purchase shotguns and rifles if you are 18, according to the Caller Times. 
In 1996, Australia started making laws that used financial incentives to encourage citizens to turn in their guns. Oliver Palmer, an Australian resident, also explained to me that the Australian states adopted laws that made owning guns more annoying for people. 
 “My grandparents who lived on farms had guns to eat rabbits and kill snakes. My parents had guns but had to keep paying for storage, and they got tired of it,” he said. 
The federal government needs to adopt national gun laws similar to Australia. We all want to prevent another mass shooting. The U.S either has two options: one, we learn from our mistakes and create national laws that prevent mass shootings, or two, we do not change anything. 
However, organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA) stand in the way of change. They want to “defend their gun rights” and keep the gun laws the way they are. Some people think if we implement laws like Australia’s, it would conflict with the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. 
However, the United States needs to have similar laws to Australia because the longer we wait, the more lives that will be taken in the hands of terrorists. America is on the its boiling point, and in addition to our mass shootings, riots and racist events, our government must take action one way or another. 

Read more…