“Kingdom Hearts 3” fulfills every fans wishes

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda –Senior Layout Editor

After over a decade-long wait, one of the most anticipated conclusions in videogame history, finally arrived. Closing the door on the “Dark Seeker Saga,” “Kingdom Hearts 3” reinvigorated the series with the new title, while still having room for improvement.

The series is a combination of original and Final Fantasy characters, joining forces with Disney characters.

After being stuck in the Playstation 2 era of gaming, the Kingdom Hearts series made its way onto next-gen consoles, with this title being the first available to Xbox owners. However, as the series faces an incredible challenge with having so many games on different consoles, the finale may leave many confused on what is going on. Luckily, the new title has options to look back at synopses of previous games so new players can be somewhat in the loop.

The series is known for its semi-open Keyblade combat, where you basically mash the attack button until the enemy is dead. As the series progressed, the mashing and occasional magic attacks got more complex, and this new edition proves its evolution further. Despite the elimination of quick-timed events for an attack, the player now has a list of action commands that pop up after using certain abilities like magic or the typical attacks. The dynamic team attacks, magic attacks, and attractions that can be used throughout a fight can be extremely fun and keeps the player engaged, using each move strategically rather than sporadically.

The game falls flat in some of the world design, with some of the best design coming from the open platforms, like in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Monsters Inc.” worlds. However, the world of “Frozen” was one of the biggest disappointments. Already not being a major fan of “Frozen,” the world felt shoe-horned in for Disney to build more hype around it. After the announcement of the second movie, I knew for certain that it was just a well-timed advertising move. The world was bland and with so many better Disney properties to choose from, it truly slowed down the games momentum. Even the world of “Big Hero 6” was not as impressive as I expected, with verticality preferred over discoverable expansion.

The main story did feel dragged out, as the most important things to happen throughout the game were in the beginning and then in the last few hours. However, when the last few hours of the game came along, the build-up from the previous titles showed as all the stories from each game tied together with the final fight.

The finale left most longtime fans satisfied; however, it isn’t a Kingdom Hearts game without making the plot more confusing. As the last few frames of the ending still haunt me, and the secret ending left me confused and wanting more, the series has a blank slate to do anything they want. Hopefully, though, it won’t take them another decade or longer to make the next one.

“Apex Legends” and the gaming industry stuck in repetitive mediocrity

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda – Senior Layout Editor

The gaming industry often floods its audience with mediocre games and false promises throughout the year. Countless first person shooters (FPS) are released, with the occasional game rising above the rest, and providing players with a new experience.

EA is no stranger to publishing shooters, with games such as “Star Wars: Battlefront,” “Battlefield,” “Titanfall” and the newly released “Apex Legends.” “Apex Legends” is sweeping the industry, collecting over 25 million players in the first week of its release. As people wonder whether it will kill “Fortnite,” the battle-royale juggernaut that had everyone hooked since late 2017, there are few who see the bigger picture.

The game “Apex Legends” is actually a mediocre cash-grab by EA, that was forced onto Respawn; the company behind the “Titanfall” franchise. EA had directed the company to make a battle-royale game instead of working on the next installment for “Titanfall,” which led to the company using lower end assets to put together their take on the battle-royale subgenre. The company managed to sneakily include lore of the “Titanfall” world in this new game, which works to their benefit to keep the series relevant.

However, “Titanfall” was known to add mobility to the FPS genre, bringing a fresh take on a consistently rehashed genre. That mobility is still there in “Apex Legends,” but is severely downgraded for the new game. At the end of the day, the game, like several others, consists of getting a gun and killing the enemy. There is not much thought put into it, thus making it just another mindless shooter. It is not “God of War” and it is definitely not “The Last of Us” in which combat was enhanced. Specifically,“The Last of Us” managed to incorporate stealth, strategy and close combat to make each enemy encounter feel fresh, yet dangerous.

As much as the game had been over-hyped, “Fortnite” grew immensely because of its new take on a shooter, by building your own cover against enemies. While other innovative games were released, EA published “Anthem:” a shooter that includes a suit of armor that lets you fly around the map. This was a colossal failure due to the promises of what it could be, and the delivery of a much worse product.

The FPS genre has been filled to the brim with the same game over and over. The same problem is now occurring with attempting to make a battle-royale mode with every game. Meanwhile, the same typical shooter, reskinned and named something different, remains near the top of people’s attention.

This only makes people more eager for an engaging story, a new take on an existing combat style, and/or a fun game to play with their friends that isn’t the same thing over and over again.

Sophie Kahn: Machines for Suffering

Abigail Nilsson –Anchor Staff

This past week, Rhode Island College once again hosted another incredible art installation. Sophie Kahn’s “Machines for Suffering” are 3D print models and designs based on the choreography of hysteria.

Photos by Thomas Crudale

These models are eerily stunning. Kahn uses a laser scanner to help create her work and captures dancers and performers reenacting poses from pictures that were used to diagnose women in the 19th Century of illness that truly could not capture the underlying psychological cause of their distress. Kahn essentially takes a model, digitizes their emotion, and renders it a 3D print to bring it back into the world in an altered form.

Kahn’s prints demonstrate the physical and emotional brokenness that torture women. The models on display exhibit hysteria in different poses. Her printouts possess both archaic and futuristic characteristics to them. They are industrialized in the sense that they look like pieces of robots that have been weathered and broken down, then put back together with what was left of them. Kahn stated that they are painted in “creepy grey” and resemble “death masks” to capture the emotional resonance of suffering.

Her work industrializes hysteria and takes a grave look into the negative space that holds the emotion together. Her work raises questions such as, what does the border look like between nothing and something? What is holding this person and emotion together? What broke this person and emotion apart?

These models have Victorian and Greek traits with a modern twist. The suffering and madness is clear in Kahn’s work and depicts that humans are “Machines for Suffering.”

Sophie Kahn: Machines for Suffering is facilitated by Professor Frank WANG Yefeng and is on display in the Bannister Gallery in Roberts Hall from Feb. 28 – March 22. Exhibition hours are Monday-Friday from 12 – 8 p.m., or by appointment.

There’s no place like Nowhere

Jonathan Weaver –Asst. A&E Editor

Something many college students look forward to during the week is, naturally, the weekend. There’s few ways better to start off the weekend than with Thirsty Thursday. This past Thursday, I left the Anchor office with a few friends, setting out to find a bar to start my weekend in. Luckily, one of the best options to a RIC student is also one of the closest spots to campus.

Camp Nowhere located on Smith Street, no more than a 4 minute drive from campus, is a wildly popular spot for a college crowd, and rightly so. Do you know any other bars that close to RIC’s Campus?

Between $3 drinks, $3 food, and a couple $20 fish bowls, it doesn’t cost much to have a good night. I’ve been to many places around Providence where for three times the total I only received a fraction of the alcohol. Camp Nowhere may be inexpensive, but they don’t skimp on your drinks.

The servers are awesome, and if you treat them right they’ll take care of you. This is a group of people who know you’re out to have a good night and want to make sure that happens.

Beyond the prices and awesome service, the spot and vibe are great too. Everytime you walk in, the place is always packed full of people having a good time, good music playing, and games on the TVs. In addition to never being dull, Nowhere is always hosting some type of special or event. A highlight of these would be trivia on Monday nights. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never enjoyed trivia before in my life. That being said, this trivia has a twist, so bring friends at 9pm on a Monday, get a few drinks, and see how much you ACTUALLY know.

Camp Nowhere has something for everyone: an awesome craft beer list, $3 glasses of wine, shots for $3 (top shelf is $5), bloody marys for people who like to drink ketchup (Alec, our A&E editor), cheap but delicious food, and their iconic fish bowls complete with a rubber duck floating inside. So be sure to check them out, they always have something going on, the spot is great, and remember; you’ll always have a great time, so make sure you tip your servers well.

Hibernation awakens music fans to “grizzlies.”

Jake Elmslie -Sports Editor

Formed two years ago through mutual aquantinship in the University of Rhode Island’s musician’s guild grizzlies. in their debut EP Hibernation takes the next step in establishing themselves as a staple of the Rhode Island music scene.

The project, featuring five tracks clocking in at around 16 minutes, showcases the band’s self described alt-soul style of music.

On full display throughout the EP are the haunting vocals of frontwoman Cynthia Munrayos. Oftentimes while listening, the content of the lyrics can become secondary to being enraptured by the melody due in large part to Munrayos’s unique talent.

The band also equips itself well instrumentally through the combined talents of guitarist Josh Zenil, bassist Mike Villani, pianist Emily Iwuc and drummer Harrison Dolan. The tight but understated percussion stylings of Dolan go a long way in holding the endeavor together and also add emphasis to the moments where he allows himself to let loose and put his full skills on display.

On the other end of the spectrum the project suffers from occasional production issues. These problems are most pronounced on the EP’s lone instrumental track “Vanilla” which through some indescribable combination of recording and mixing woes render the otherwise competent guitar work of Zenil somewhat empty and pedantic. The project features a variety of other instances such as this where the disconnect between the recording and mastering process, which were carried out between separate entities becomes apparent.

These issues however do not majorly take away from the overall quality of the groups efforts. Overall, Hibernation, which can be heard on both Spotify and Apple Music, while not without flaws is a fine first effort from a band that is both aware of its own strengths and artistic direction.  With a full length album in the works for 2020 grizzlies. can only improve from this point and look to have the makings of something special.

The Cantina: Knights of Ren? Come again?

Jonathan Weaver –Asst. A&E Editor

The Knights of Ren are the enigmatic vanguard of force-wielding warriors aligned with Kylo Ren in the servitude of Snoke. But where are they?

Leading up to the 2015 release of “The Force Awakens,” fans were teased by Disney and Director J.J. Abrams about this mysterious cadre of Jedi killers. Interviews, promotional material, concept art, and leaked images all built this hype around them. The final cut, however, relegates them to a flashback sequence with actual screen time lasting no more than a few seconds.

2017’s total omission of the group in “The Last Jedi” was even more puzzling. Many people felt after two years they would learn more about the group which was so initially hyped up. Director Ryan Johnson has recently confirmed that the theory claiming Snoke’s Praetorian guards in the sequel were the evolution of the group was entirely false. The Knights of Ren are nowhere to be seen. So will we ever see them?

Over the past couple of weeks, an anonymous source claims to have seen marketing material for Episode 9 starring the Knights of Ren. The group is being described as “a group with many special abilities, some may deem unnatural.” This description is most likely meant to allude back to Palpatine’s description of the dark side of the force in Episode Three, implying we may finally learn more about them.

While nothing official has been confirmed, filming was completed over a week ago as stated by returning director Abrams. This would imply any marketing material that could possibly leak is most likely not going to change all that drastically, as the movie’s December 2019 release date is quickly approaching.

Review of Netflix’s “The Dragon Prince”

Sh-Ron Almeida –Anchor Staff

Netflix’s “The Dragon Prince,” is the story of two young human princes and one elven assassin. Together, the trio embark on a quest to bring back a stolen dragon king’s egg before a war breaks out.

Ever since I watched the widely acclaimed “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and the ultimately average “Legend of Korra,” I couldn’t find a good show to engage in. The all-ages shows of today didn’t really click with me like they did back in the 1990s and early 2000s.

However, I recently decided to investigate a little show called “The Dragon Prince” andafter watching just three episodes, I fell in love instantly!

There are many reasons why I enjoyed this particular show, and its quirky characters are one of them. The main characters, Princes Callum and Ezran, as well as the elven assassin, Rayla, are all really fun to watch.

Despite the seriousness of their goals, the show isn’t afraid to remind us that they are young kids withdifferent perspectives. They offer a certain light-hearted charm to the show. The show also doesn’t hesitate to display darker elements either. The worldbuilding is also revealed in chunks and pieces, gracious enough not to drown viewers with info dumps.

That being said, the show is not without its flaws. The animation is shaky and quite frankly, low-quality. The length of the show consists of only 9 episodes for the first two seasons. Thankfully, the frame rate was tweaked a bit to make it more watchable, which is appreciated. I can only hope that with its growing popularity, Wonderstorm can improve as it develops its third season.

The Dragon Prince is currently streaming on Netflix, with the second season recently released earlier this month.

RIC Presents: Bingo night

Abigail Nilsson –Anchor Staff

Once a month, Rhode Island College Student Activities hosts BINGO Night in Gaige Hall, and apparently, students are not apt to attend.

This was my first-time attending BINGO Night at RIC. I must admit, I was surprised that theturnout was low. From the outside of Gaige Hall, the second floor looked like a party. I could see huge illuminated banners and balloons in the giant windows where the activity was being held. Inside stood several decorated tables for players and one table filled with delicious snacks and beverages.

We played several different rounds of bingo ranging from traditional, to stamp, unlucky, and my personal favorite: Guest Star. During “Guest Star,” a guest from the audience auctioned the numbers for a round. The winner of each round won a $10 gift card, and the final round won a $25 gift card.

The atmosphere was really awesome and those who did attend were so welcoming and energetic. The Guest Star rounds added more fun as each volunteer owned the podium by channeling their inner Vanna White.

BINGO Night is held once a month by Student Activities in Gaige Hall at 8 p.m. The next BINGO Night will be a circus theme on Tuesday, March 19.

Superhero Central: Marvel and Netflix crash and burn

Jonathan Weaver –Asst. A&E Editor

Many people speculated this day would finally come. Netflix has just announced the cancelling of both “Jessica Jones,which will still air its third season on the streaming service, and “The Punisher,” which recently aired a successful second season. While this comes as no real surprise to anyone, the reasons behind the cancellation seem murky at best.

Back in November, Marvel’s parent company, Disney, announced they would be rolling out a streaming service to rival Netflix. In response, Netflix announced the cancellation of “Daredevil,” “Ironfist,” and “Luke Cage,” leaving only “Jessica Jones” and “The Punisher.” This came at a time where Netflix was growing rapidly, and holding its own in the entertainment market in a way that was unforeseeable when the Netflix/Marvel deal was originally struck in 2013.

When Netflix was approached by Marvel to build a streaming series based off characters connected to the MCU, which was already well established, Netflix jumped at the deal as it would prove to be a massive influx of quality original content on the service, in addition to the revenue earned through new subscriptions. However, almost six years after the original deal, Netflix is producing its own high quality, original content at an increasing level. Shows like “Stranger Things,” “Russian Doll,” “End of the Fxxking World,” etc. along with a slew of original movies like “Birdbox” has shown that Netflix as a producer has grown and improved.

In addition to Marvel becoming involved in a rival streaming service, the studio was also reportedly charging Netflix very expensive licensing fees. These fees were not worth paying as Netflix began to turn out more original content, which was gaining just as much publicity and (mostly) positive acclaim just as the Marvel properties were.

So what does this mean for fans of these MCU offshoots? No news of the titles appearing on the Disney+ service has been announced yet, and it still appears Disney would prefer to keep their service family friendly, which would mean these shows in their current form would have to adapt pretty heavily.

Until then, the cancelled shows can still be seen in their entirety on Netflix if you haven’t caught them yet.

The Grammy’s 2019: Cardi B had no business winning best rap album

Sophia Guerrier – Anchor Staff

This past weekend Cardi B’s “Invasion of Privacy” won Best Rap Album at the 61st Grammy Awards Show. Yes, you heard me — Cardi B won. The same one who sang “I don’t dance now, I make money moves.” Before I express my utter disappointment for this very sad news in Hip Hop, I am aware that the Grammys has a long history of getting the rap category wrong, but it never fails to amaze me every time that they do.

Drake stole the night with his unforgettable speech after winning Best Rap Song for “God’s Plan,” (which should not have won either), and he stated the bitter truth. He said, “We’re playing in an opinion based sport … it’s up to people that may not understand …” and stated that artists do not need a Grammy to validate their music.

I am not saying that Drake was referring to Cardi B in his speech, but he was referring to the fact that Rap still remains a category that has been repeatedly disrespected by the Recording Academy.

This year the highest honor of music told the music industry and rap fans around the world that “Invasion of Privacy” was better than nominees “Daytona,” “Swimming,” “Victory Lap” and “Astroworld.” This is outrageous considering that “Invasion of Privacy” contained more elements of pop than it did rap or hip-hop.

Rap is a genre of competition. Since the birth of rap, aspects like flow, lyricism, and MC impact during a live performance have always been championed. In 2019, these elements may have been lost along the way, but they are certainly not dead.

I could go on forever about how every other nominated album was better than “Invasion of Privacybut to keep it short, Cardi’s album did not contain any of those elements that were previously mentioned. There was no sophisticated lyricism. No complexity or innovation in production, and versatility in her skills as rapper was non existent. There should be an investigation on who is actually voting in the category because Cardi’s album does not reflect the true essence of rap.

Cardi B is the first female rapper to win Best Rap Album which is also a tragedy to many female rappers now and before.

“Room 21” by NoName was the highest critically acclaimed rap album of 2018, female or male, and she received no nominations. Rappers before Cardi B like Eve, Foxy Brown and Lady of Rage were all more deserving to be the first female to win the Best Rap Album accolade in their era.

It is a true shame that the Grammys continue to not acknowledge how significant the rap categories are, and need to revise the criteria for voting in them. If not, the Rap category will never reflect its original culture of high quality, unapologetic, black, substance-filled music.