Mount Hood

“No Man’s Sky” preview

By: Ashton Newton 
Staff Writer

During E3 2014, I watched a live stream of the Sony press conference with hope that I’d see something breathtaking.

My wish was granted when I saw a space ship lift off of an orange planet lush with grass, trees, and dinosaurs, and blast off into space. The ship flew into battle; colorful ships zoomed by, followed by explosions and asteroids hurtling around.

A reddish planet appeared in the distance and the ship moved closer, right into the planet’s atmosphere, ready to touch down. This was my first glimpse at “No Man’s Sky” (NMS), and I was hooked. I became “No Man’s Sky’s” biggest fan.

Hello Games, a small British developer known for the iPhone game “Joe Danger,” is developing NMS.

At its core, “No Man’s Sky” is a game about exploration. The vast universe contains 18 quintillion procedurally generated planets for players to explore, some containing life and some not; “procedurally generated” meaning that not one planet is the same as another; each planet is unique and ready to be explored.

All life in the game is procedurally generated too, and when players make discoveries, it’s their duty to name the planets, creatures, and plants they find.

The overall goal of NMS is to reach the center of universe, and the closer to the center players get, the more difficult it gets to stay alive. No one knows what happens there, but Head Developer Sean Murray promises something amazing.

“No Man’s Sky” is officially due to be released in June 2016 on Playstation 4 and PC.

Hello Games has kept the majority of gameplay features and lore under wraps to make the experience for the player more enjoyable.

I’m eagerly waiting for June; NMS is looking to be the biggest and most ambitious game ever created.

Bond is Back: “Spectre” Review

By: Declan Hertel 
Entertainment Editor

Let’s begin with a disclaimer: I love James Bond. The suits, the gadgets, the villains, that theme song, the whole shebang. I especially love Daniel Craig’s run as Agent 007; in my opinion, he made the character seem more like an actual human being than any of the many others who portrayed Bond have.

“Spectre” is Craig’s almost-certainly final outing as Bond, and the film sees him going more rogue than ever before on an unofficial and mysterious mission at the behest of the now deceased M, played by Judi Dench (“Philomena”).

The opening sequence of the film starts with a long tracking shot of Bond in a Day of the Dead mask, following a man in a white suit, walking through a parade in Mexico City with a beautiful woman on his arm.

It’s quintessential Bond: sexy, dangerous, and indulgent.

We then move very swiftly through an exploding building, a foot chase through the parade, and a brutal fistfight in a helicopter over a mass of people gathered in the town square for the festival, complete with some serious aerial acrobatics.

It’s super intense, beautifully shot, and shamelessly over the top, serving as an excellent primer for the rest of the movie, which is all of the above.

Yes, “Spectre” is 140 minutes, but if you expected a James Bond film to be under two hours, you have some fundamental misconceptions about the franchise. That said, the grin on my face for the 140 minutes of the film could only be described as “really goofy.”

James Bond is pure fantasy, and “Spectre” provides a great deal of that fantasy. His world is a world of excess, decadence, and pure escapism.

The film mostly sticks to the established Bond formula, but I hardly think this is a bad thing.

Sure it gets a bit muddy at times, and Christoph Waltz’s (“Django Unchained”) excellent portrayal of the latest Bond villain is underused by a mile, but it hits its marks and hits them well, and I enjoyed every second.

I’ll be the first to admit that the Bond franchise’s treatment of women has never been stellar, but “Spectre” takes a step in the right direction.

It’s by no means perfect, but there’s definitely no deplorable conduct like some entries in the series have had (looking at you, shower scene in “Skyfall”).

The thing about James Bond is that he’s always a man of his time, yet as our world marches onward he’s a man out of time.

James Bond is still fundamentally the same as he was when he debuted with a different face in “Dr. No” those many years ago, but every installment changes him a bit. Craig’s Bond is the one I’ll miss most, mostly because he allowed us to see a man with darkness inside.

He was always the male fantasy that James Bond is at his core, but he also allowed himself to be vulnerable and scarred. That is what made him great.

I hope James Bond lives on after Craig leaves the role. But if it does not, I would be at peace with “Spectre” as the final entry. If you’re not a fan of Bond, this film probably won’t change your mind. But if you enjoy the franchise, you can’t go wrong.
3.5 of 4 paws

Back in black

By:Conner Williams 

After more than two dreadfully long months since the “Call of Duty: Black Ops 3” beta ended, the full game finally became available to play at 9 p.m. PST on Nov. 5, 2015.

And yes, I did count down the minutes until I was able to dive into the newest “Call of Duty” (COD) collaboration between Activision and Treyarch, the series’ saving grace.

Last year, when the yearly COD game was developed by Sledgehammer Games, whom had never worked on the series before, it received widespread criticism from the fan base over its new movement system, which involved jetpack boosters, speedy power slides, unlimited sprint, and the infamous exo-suit.

The production studios heard the outcry and adjusted the gameplay accordingly.

The first best thing that was done was getting Sledgehammer out of the picture, because let’s face it, “Advanced Warfare” was mediocre at best.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops 3” (BO3) offers gamers that traditional COD feeling that’s been missing since “Black Ops 2” (BO2), plus some welcome upgrades, of course.

The new movement system was designed to keep players on the run throughout the course of the map. This COD felt like it was designed to discourage camping, which is just fine with most players.

Players can now sprint for an unlimited amount of time, run on walls, quickly power slide long distances, and boost a short amount – similar to a double jump. The system was designed to chain different movements together in order to travel around the maps quickly and tactically.

To me, BO3 feels like BO2 mixed with “Advanced Warfare” without the exo suits that everyone disliked. Players can’t jetpack forever, nor can they become invisible, as was the case with some of the exo abilities from “Advanced Warfare.”


Ah, yes. The triumphant return of the fan-favorite zombies mode. Personally, I think zombies mode is enough reason to purchase the entire game. I typically spend about five hours with a couple of friends attempting to decipher the endless clues, puzzles, and easter eggs hidden throughout the new zombies maps when they are first released.

The best part about it is that zombies is no longer about hitting the mystery box until you get a ray gun so that you can camp in a corner and blast away; there are intricate riddles that require a significant amount of time and trial-and-error in order to figure them out and advance throughout the story.

I don’t want to reveal too much, so I will leave it up to you to figure out how to handle the Beast (if you’ve played, you’ll get the reference).


After the release of the beta back in August, the game developers made some serious adjustments to the infrastructure of the game to make this the smoothest multiplayer experience to date for a COD title. I have experienced zero lag or matchmaking trouble from the BO3 multiplayer servers.

The game introduced a new “Specialist” system, in which players pick one of nine Specialists to use as their class character.

Different Specialists are unlocked with increases in level. These Specialists have different abilities unique to their character. Each has a weapons class, which range from a war machine, to an explosive bow and arrow, and even a flamethrower.

Each Specialist also has an ability class that employs lethal abilities to give players the edge over others.

For example, the Rejack ability grants players the ability to respawn in the same area upon death without losing scorestreak progress, the Vision Pulse ability allows players to see every enemy on the map for a short duration, and Overdrive allows players to move lightning-quick for a short amount of time. However, players can only pick a weapon or an ability from their chosen Specialists, not both.

There is a solid array of weapons and perks to choose from, using the familiar ten-slot system for classes.

In addition, a new game mode has been added. Safeguard enlists players to escort a walking robot across the map and into enemy territory within a certain time limit.

The opposing team must stop the robot from being escorted, and can disable the robot for short amounts of time by shooting it, blowing it up, knifing it, and using any other method to inflict damage.

Safeguard is, by far, my favorite game mode. I posted a 68-14 match record on my favorite map of Redwood, in which players get to run around in the treetops of the Redwood Forest.


BO3 brought back a feature that I have personally been missing and that has not been present since “World at War”: cooperative campaign.

Players can team up with a buddy to take on the campaign that is set in the year 2054. BO3 also added a new difficulty called “realistic” in which players and enemies take lethal damage from just a few shots. It is similar to playing in Hardcore mode.

After taking a brutal beating from an enemy robot, the protagonist undergoes surgery and becomes half human, half machine. The player receives an implant in the brain that allows him or her to perform certain cybernetic abilities, such as hacking enemy machinery and blowing up robots.

The campaign also has its own level-up system in which players can customize classes to use during levels. I have not finished the campaign yet, but it has been great so far, and the added ability to play with a friend makes it that much more enjoyable.

4 out of 4 paws.

Check out some video clips of me playing the BO3 multiplayer on our website, and add my gamertag (Cdubinite) if you want to play with me.

Freak Out for “Fallout 4”

By: Jenna Beresheim 
News Editor

“Fallout” fans are rejoicing as the long-awaited continuation of a story sets into motion, with the official release date for “Fallout 4” fast approaching on November 10, 2015.

This will be the fifth installment in the series by the ever-popular production company Bethesda. The game developer is known for their work with “Fallout 3,” “Fallout Shelter,” and the “Elder Scrolls” series.

One bad thing Bethesda has been known for is their rush to publish games before all of the bugs, glitches, and patches have been dealt with. Their products have garnered backlash from the gaming community before, but that has yet to stop people from playing their games, apparently.

“Fallout 4” will be no different, with the hype extending to real-world consumables. Bethesda has announced that they will be producing a Nuka Cola Quantum by Jones Soda, soon to be available at Target, as well as a “Fallout” Beer, which will only be available in Europe.

But there is already a split between the fans. While this new game boasts stunning graphics, a vast expanse of dialogue options, and all along new features guaranteed to satisfy, fans are still apprehensive.

Over the past week, screenshots, clips, and more information have steadily been leaked into gaming forums and communities. But the response has not been a positive one. Gamers claim that the graphics are lacking and textures appear flat.

The game takes place in Boston, Massachusetts 200 years after a nuclear war between the US and China, known as the Great War. The player is the sole survivor from vault 111 and must make their way out into the wild as done in previous “Fallout” games.

A few new features for fans to look forward to include the ability to build settlements and buildings, sending a brahmin, a mutated type of cattle, between their settlements, and one of the biggest pieces of news is that there is no level cap.

Bethesda also boasts that skill building will now be more of a tree system, weapons will be fully customizable, and that the player can continue their story well after the main quest line “ends.”

Between all of these options, it’s understandable that a game may lack in the graphics department from the start.

The producers are focusing more on the gameplay and interactions of characters, as well as the growth of the player’s personal character—this more so than keeping up with the quickly evolving gaming systems it is being made for.

Expect to see “Fallout” madness in stores soon, along with “Fallout” products in Target stores, but as per usual, I have complete faith in Bethesda pulling through, even if it takes a few post-release patches.

Personally, I’m just happy that the dog companion will never perish during a risky quest again.

WOU Theatre Presents: “Book of Days”

By: Darien Campo
Staff Writer

Western Theatre students take the stage for the first time, wandering around the boards to familiarize themselves with their new set in preparation for their upcoming production.

Still under construction, the unpainted steps are watched over by a shuttered backdrop depicting a wide-open Missouri countryside.

With only ten days left to rehearse, these actors are buckling down to prepare for the opening night of Western Oregon Theatre’s fall show “Book of Days.”

David Janoviak is directing the show, written by Lanford Wilson, which takes place in Dublin, Missouri (pronounced “Mis-sur-ah” by the characters.)

“It is about a small town, that is centered around a cheese-plant,” said Janelle Davis, a fourth year Theatre major in the BFA Acting program. “And when the owner passes away, there is suspicion on what happened, and how it happened. […] It’s definitely a murder mystery.”

The show features a wide cast of unique characters, all with different, complicated relationships with one another. “It’s one of those small towns where everyone knows each other,” said Belladina Starr, senior BFA Theatre major, “and everybody goes to church, and there’s lots of hearsay.”

Growing up in a small town myself, it was interesting to recognize the types of people I’ve known in real life make an appearance onstage before me.

Starr continued, “There’s this idea that everyone in the town knows what’s going on and they all […] put up a front of being good people, but then […] you see the darker sides of these people.”

“It’s definitely a drama,” Davis said, “There [are] some comedic moments, but it’s definitely a drama.”
The actors have been working on this show since the first week of school, with auditions taking place the very first day of fall term.

They’ve been working hard, and even though this was their first night on the set, their effort shines through. “People have been getting lots of stuff done,” Starr said. “The first run [we all] had lines fully down […] people have developed their characters very early on […] this cast has really come together.”

Though the show is not a musical, it does feature plenty of singing from the cast, with many different church hymns sung throughout the show.

“Book of Days” premieres Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015 and will run through Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015.

Admission prices are $7 for students with ID, $10 for seniors, and $12 general admission. Tickets can be purchased at the Rice Auditorium box office, or by calling the box office phone number at 503-838-8462.

The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” Turns 20

By: Declan Hertel 
Entertainment Editor

Being a teenager is hard. You have a newfound independence and no idea what to do with it, your body changes in strange and unsettling ways, your emotions are beginning to acutely develop before you know how to handle them, and all the authority figures in your life tell you that none of your devastating, all-consuming problems really matter.

No one wants to hear you when you need most to be heard.

When The Smashing Pumpkins released “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” in 1995, a generation of teenagers finally found something that understood and acknowledged their plight in Billy Corgan’s sprawling double album.

It’s an album that, throughout the course of 28 tracks and just over two hours of run time, explores every difficulty of adolescence. It moves through expressions of blind rage, undying love, being hopelessly lost, and the occasional moments of clarity.

I was introduced to this album relatively recently by a good friend, during one of our many conversations about music.

He was surprised I hadn’t heard of it: an angsty, experimental, prog-influenced, concept double album? Right up my alley. I purchased it and set to listening to it immediately. It was exactly as ‘me’ as he had said, even more so as it had appeared at a particularly emotionally tumultuous time for me.

This is definitely a work for the emotionally vulnerable, but also those who once were. A song like the stellar lead single “1979” expresses to me unsureness about times just past and what they mean for my future, but for someone older it could just as easily be a reminder of that teenage “lostness” they once saw.

A nihilistic burn-it-down song like “Zero” plays to teenagers as relating directly to their experience, while an adult will hear it and shake their head at “those poor kids.” “Mellon Collie” as an album has a sort of timelessness for anyone who was ever lost and confused and angry.

I feel that “Infinite Sadness” will be a record that stays with me over time, as it has been for those who were there when it appeared.

It is a work of art that perfectly encapsulates the experience of adolescence. While I listen to it now with all the attitudes of my overlong angsty-teenager period, maybe when I finally grow up I’ll hear it with my old ears and understand something about the turmoil of youth that you can’t see while young.

Superglued to the screen: “Goodnight Mommy” terrifies

By: Declan Hertel
 Entertainment Editor

I’m going to start right off the bat by saying I am going to try really hard to not spoil anything about “Goodnight Mommy,” a fantastic piece of psychological horror out of Austria.

Please, do not look up anything about this movie before seeing it. Here is all you need to know: the mother of twin boys comes home with a bandaged face and distant demeanor after an operation, and the boys develop doubts over if she really is their mother.

It is really, really good and you should seek it out as soon as possible.

There’s no obvious place to start talking about the movie, so I guess I’ll start with the fact that it is supremely unsettling. I’d be hard pressed to think of a movie I felt more physically uncomfortable watching.

As the film rolled on down the tracks with near-perfect pacing, I was squirming more and more. There is nothing rushed during “Goodnight Mommy” (“Ich Seh Ich Seh,” or “I See I See” in the original German); every moment is long and slow and savage in its stark delivery, and I was unable to look away.

Directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz use lighting masterfully throughout “Goodnight Mommy,” as evidenced by the film’s tone growing darker as the images on the screen grow lighter, a reversal of the normal strategy in horror.

Just as good is the usage of sound: the movie contains little dialogue and is mostly scored by ambient noise, but the heavy silence is occasionally punctuated by low rumblings and spikes in volume that are as unnerving as anything I’ve seen in a movie.

Child actors in horror movies are near-universally reviled, so I was very glad to see that Lukas and Elias Schwarz, as the twins, deliver excellent, wonderfully restrained performances. Susanne Wuest also turns in a spectacular performance as their mother (or is she?). The interplay between Wuest and the Schwarz boys is impeccable.

I wish I could say more than that, but anything beyond “they’re just so great” would ruin a great deal of the film.

One final note: yes, it is a foreign film and all the actors speak German. That said, there is very little dialogue in the movie, so subtitles are minimal, and it’s a really great movie. If you can handle a small amount of reading over the course of a tight, tense 100 minutes (which you can), you really ought to expose yourself to the magic of foreign cinema. But if subtitles truly are enough to keep you from enjoying a really great movie, there’s no hope for you anyway.

A great piece of psychological horror seems rare in this time of “Paranormal Activity” and its knockoffs saturating the horror market, but in “Goodnight Mommy,” we find a slice of salvation.

It’s disturbing in a big way, and will stick with you for a long time after the credits roll. Seek it out and spend an evening in glorious terror.

4 out of 4 Paws