Even with all that it gets right, Citadel is still, in a lot of ways, a good illustration of why I don’t like DLC to begin with. Its clone-related quest and party feel not only separate from the rest of the story, but also like a bit of an odd shift; the Reapers are destroying all life in the galaxy and we need to act urgently to save it but let’s stop and have a party? The presence of some characters also makes more sense than others – Jacob and Samara, both presumably off on important operations, are some of the less logical ones and probably could just as well have been cut, but I guess they wanted to make sure everyone’s favorite character got their moment (I find it hard to believe either of them could be anyone’s favorites, but whatever). Also, what is C-sec doing that they allow not one but two merc groups to bring in tons of troops and wreak havoc on the equivalent of the Pentagon during a war? The tone is distinctly different and funnier from the rest of the game, too, which feels a little odd, although it’s sometimes endearing; Shepherd’s “I will end you/I will end you violently” dialogue and Garrus’s “Anyone want to talk about their peoples’ history?” in the elevator are some of the better ones. But they’re still Bioware basically talking to the audience and break the immersion of the game a little bit. Granted, when Citadel was released, most players had probably beaten ME3 already and were loading up a save just to charge through this final adventure (which is pretty substantial and pads my playtime for probably as much as 6 hours when I really do everything it has to offer), so that may have felt more appropriate. But when playing through the full game with Citadel simply integrated into it, it sticks out a little bit. That speaks to one of my original reservations about DLC, which is that as a post-lude to an epic story and conclusion, they always feel tacked on and “lite” as compared to the main game. submitted by
Gameplay-wise, the stealth section doesn’t work so well – except as an Infiltrator, obviously, as I was spotted through walls on numerous occasions. And the casino section is a drag, as it basically consists of running up to things and hitting the space bar, and again, the stealth aspect doesn’t work, as I was spotted numerous times by guards facing the opposite direction from me. Why Bioware felt a need to change up the awesome gameplay is beyond me. They attempt to make up for this with the battle arena, I think, but it’s too easy to break the scoreboard and even the final battle - Praetorians (those glitchy bosses from ME2), Atlases, Banshees, and Brutes everywhere – isn’t that hard. In fact, the charge/nova vanguard with the Talon/power boost absolutely wrecks this level, as nova hits multiple enemies at once and does double damage to all their shields/armor. A lot of the archive rooms also look identical and feel a little confusing.
But Citadel’s main boss fight is challenging, if a little repetitive, and it’s cool that the clone matches Shepherd power for power. Smashing your way through the dock and then the Normandy feels awesome, and presumably Bioware saved some time and money by re-using the environment. It’s also great that the game added some old squad members as playable in the arena, and brought Wrex back for its campaign (Miranda, in addition to Overload and Warp, now has Incinerate and Reave as well, and a passive that boosts her tech or biotic damage by 30%, making her pretty beastly). It’s also nice that Citadel sees Shepherd using his whole crew in separate fire-teams and that they can see each other during part of the mission – in fact, so much so, that you wonder why, after 60 some hours of adventuring, this is the first time that’s happened; even in ME2s final level, you only heard the other team’s chatter, didn’t see them. And the cut scene that has all of them forming a firing line and mowing down a room full of mercs also begs the question – why didn’t we see this somewhere else? These key high-notes do a good job of making Citadel feel like it genuinely adds something.
Ultimately, the boss fight and its other intense sequences and the party scene that’s appropriately bittersweet (especially if played later in the story, as most players are probably likely to do – playing Citadel before finishing Rannoch and recruiting Tali locks her out of it and leaves a some of that character content on the table) make it impossible for me to go back to playing ME3 without Citadel. That being said, some of the character one on ones feel a little empty and don’t match the level of the dialogue elsewhere in the series (especially ME2), and I’ll skip some (or even most of them) on some playthroughs, especially on New Game +es.
However, there’s one issue – and this could just be my game or PC – that I would characterize as major with Citadel. I noticed, after starting the DLC, that the vanguard’s charge ability again suddenly started to get a little glitchy. There were plenty of enemies right in front of me across clear ground that I suddenly couldn’t charge to, which, on insanity, basically results in instant death. It was especially prominent in the battle arena, and unfortunately, kept occurring after I ended the Citadel portion of the game. It’s possible that entering/exiting Citadel did nothing to cause this problem and it was just bad timing or something I suddenly started noticing, but as to the best of my memory and perception, this is NOT something I noticed an issue with prior to that point; in fact, through most of ME3, I would’ve said that all of charge’s old issues were basically resolved, so it’s especially frustrating to suddenly have them flare up again as the game enters its climax.
Room 1515: The Search for an Inception.
Let’s get one thing straight: I knew exactly what I was doing when I came to this hotel. I’d heard through the rumor mill of a place like this for months now. Any writer or respectable artist lacking as much inspiration as me would be searching for a place like this like a lost social security card. Needless to say, I sought this place out to the best of my ability. I chased rumor after rumor, scrounging up old newspaper clippings, and investigating ‘disallowed’ texts from libraries left and right. I needed some sort of basis for my next story, something I could hopefully spin into a book.
I have been an artistic and mental dry well for months on end. So naturally when the moment came where I finally discovered my target location, I threw my belongings into a bag and hit the road. How could I pass up a place with only rumors and unverified documents identifying it as actually real, right? Precisely, I knew what I was doing when I came here. I knew the risks in both regards, if it wasn’t real and the terrifying possibility that it is. However, it’s clear I am not the only guest to this establishment it seems? No, this place is crawling with social outcasts (like myself), men in, just as you imagine cheesy detective attire, what appear to be ‘regulars’, and the honest to god vacationers. The problem with that last group is that I can’t even remotely begin to fathom what the appeal for this place is outside of experiencing a lovecraftian tale in reality. Maybe I am the only one, but the state of the unoccupied floor 15 left me disappointed, if not surprised.
I ordered my room in a very cautious and deliberate manner, that meaning that I intentionally chose an isolated floor from the rest of my fellow patrons. The hallway leading to my room was nothing short of below expectations. The walls were an awkward beige color with the occasional dark spots, and the walls smelled of some kind of mold. The carpeting was clearly done in a hurry, and showed signs of age of the years, with torn seams and definitely not up to standard patch jobs. To me, the state of this place was peculiar considering the divided rumors of the hotel itself. There is obviously no correct answer here, but the locals seem to be positively spot on two schools of thought. Some argue that this hotel has only been here for a few days, which would really be alarming for the immense history and overall aged appearance of just this hallway.
Another group would say that this place has been a scourge on this land for generations, and that the origin is shrouded in uncertainty, simply it has been here for as long as they can remember. No matter the origin, nothing could have prepared me for the state of the room and for the fact that it was breathtaking. The overwhelming contrast from the hallway immediately became apparent by manor solely of the door to 1515 itself. The handle was encrusted with a fine golden material that formed a shape of a lion's head on the center of the lock. When I took my first step into the room, my nostrils were invaded by cleaning products, which matched the well kept appearance of the room itself.
The bed was tucked properly and layered with decorative pillows and the sheets were made of fine quality material fit for a king. Speaking of being fit for a king, parts of the interior were littered with paintings that oozed medieval and renaissance era style. The bathroom was neatly compact, stuffed with products and a grand bathtub. The mirror of the bathroom spoke to me the most however, it was pieced together in a gorgeous and regal manor. An outline of bright silver and emerald withheld the mirror which was spacious enough to cover my whole body. It felt like I was almost looking at myself in HD, like somehow my tattered old jacket, painfully overgrown hair, and overall battered appearance wasn’t actually the subject of stares. In a way, it was almost as if someone had just put graphic shaders on reality; the light your pc on fire variety. So much as the presence of the mirror was almost haunting, as if it should be accompanied by a cathedral choir, my own reflection felt like a piercing gaze and a window into my soul.
I had no idea how this was possible, but I immediately documented the mirror in my journal as my first actual paranormal encounter. In the main room there was a standing table for a widescreen tv, several lamp shades, clothing chests, a miniature fridge, a large window with golden drapes, and the typical accommodating luxury items for a fancy hotel. However, I took notice of a desk, with a basket of assorted fruits and a hotel directory all addressed with my name attached to a note card.
“Jackson D. Merric.”
The letters of my name were the cheap fake-gold color you’d find at a cvs pharmacy ‘letters’ aisle, needless to say they were lifeless and not all as attractive as likely intended. The contents of the note card were a directory for the hotel, stating the hours for the bar, the pool, and the typical hotel fare. All of the text was black and white, clearly from a colorless printer, barring bright red letters accompanied by a yellow caution symbol stating that floor 17 is closed indefinitely. This was not a surprise to me, considering that the elevator had a clearly missing floor 17 button; with only a hole and the defining metallic scrapes of something torn out in a hurry. The note however meant little to me in this circumstance, or rather the contents of it meant little, because the fact that the letter was here at all was perplexing. I had only just checked into my room at the reception desk mere minutes prior, I did not have any prior reservations, so how did this entire assorted basket get here before my bags?
I knew there after that my room was just a microcosm of something much much deeper occurring within the hotel itself. I wanted to know more.
I spent my next few moments taking in the view from the hotel window, the view of the lake in the distance was admittedly gorgeous, and almost uncomfortably so. By all accounts, it really was breathtaking, beautiful trees and accompanied lucious fields teeming to the brim with wildlife, all over a setting sun. Yet, it was to me the uncanny valley equivalent of a scenic view, it felt off, like someone was just injecting that sunset straight into my mind. My moment of contemplation was interrupted by a single pound on my door. The Bellboy had finally arrived with my bags.
Nothing, he was dead silent, and his long shaggy hair kept his face from anything close to eye contact.
“Thank you! Hey, you don't have the time do you?”
I knew he wasn’t going to speak, I just wanted to see how far I could take this to learn as much as I could about the boy before me. His head finally glanced up at me for a moment, and I could partially make out the least human expression I have ever seen a person make. Suffice to say, he looked dead.
“The suns coming down you know? I just wanted to get the direct time, thanks for the basket by the way.”
He cautiously reached out his wrist to me, trembling, like he was learning how to stretch his arm for the first time. On his wrist stood an ancient looking wrist watch, which read exactly 12 pm... in the afternoon.
— I knew, without a shadow of a doubt what I was getting myself into coming here, but that didn’t exactly mean I knew where to start. Hell, initially I didn’t really know what to be looking for at all. Then, my next objective came to me by way of raw caffeine pretending to be a human. The girl before stood at what could I assume to be 5’2 with long brown hair, and slightly blonde highlights. She rocked back and forth as the elevator moved downwards, if peppiness as a concept was a person, this was her. Admittedly I was attempting to avoid making conversation, the standard fare for me usually, but when the girl noticed my journal conversation became a must for her.
“Is that made of leather?!”
“Yeah, I’ve had it for a long time, I use it to jot down my life and idea, basic stuff”
“Oh! Do you like writing too?”
“Actually yeah, I suppose so, it’s why I’m here honestly?”
“Seriously?! Dude are you kidding?”
“That’s why I’m here too, this place is like a gold mine for everything that doesn’t belong to be seen by the public!”
I couldn’t believe I was having this conversation, honestly. Maybe it was just how little I planned to interact with other guests or how nonchalant and casual she seemed about this place being shrouded in incomprehensible rumors. We chatted for a moment, and she explained to me that she was headed to the library in the hotel, one I didn’t know they had.
“That isn’t in the directory right?”
“Uhm, yeah it is.” Her expression looked almost puzzled by me for a moment.
The elevator stopped on floor B1 and it revealed to me an open library, sprawling with shelves and all manner of books. How did I not know of this, and how did I never see that there were more floor options than just the main floors? The library was enormous, and straight out of some childhood imagination.
“What even are all these books? What is this?”
“Dude, are you new to this type of deal or something?”
“Is this the first time you’ve ever tried exploring this side of the world?”
She looked at me with one eyebrow raised and an almost disapproving smirk. She took a deep breath, gestured for me to grab a seat.
“Let’s get one thing straight, you really don’t have a clue what you’re in for huh?”
“I guess not.”
“Listen buddy, for your sake I’m gonna keep it simple. The world as you may possibly know it is filled with unspeakable horrors and tales from those who have witnessed them are outcast, and hidden from the world. A lot of the first hand accounts are buried by the government and those in power to erase any chance of the major populous ever becoming too aware of what is taking place just below the surface of our society. The written archives are stored all over the world, and this hotel? It happens to have a vast collection. From stories about park rangers discovering something unspeakable, ordinary people becoming wrapped up in something horrible, or drifters like you winding up in a place like this. What you’re seeing now is a place with only a fraction of that information withheld.”
It took me a moment to even comprehend what I had heard. I knew I shouldn’t be surprised, I spent days on end researching the Hotel Non Dormiunt. The content I discovered along the way brought me into a world I was not entirely prepared to witness. Rumors of the origins of this place, and would could have possibly led to the inception of this place. Right then and there, I knew what my next objective was, and what I wanted.
“What is this place?”
“I just told you, this is a collection of—“
“No, I mean what is the Hotel?”
“Not a clue. I’m just here for the knowledge, all of these books are free material for days, I’m gonna make so much money off of this stuff.”
Well, at least she was devoted to her goals, even if it was kinda theft?
I spent the next while of my time researching the library for any manner of content about the hotel itself. I chased after alphabetical order, passing by dates and novels of all kinds. Eventually I conceded defeat and asked the girl who was loading at least twenty books into a gym bag, for aid.
“Check the catalogues, that’s just documents, maybe you’ll find something there? Honestly, you probably shouldn’t waste your time with this, just get what you have and get out of here. That’s what I’m doing, peace!”
Paper after paper, I finally located a catalogue that stated “Hotel Non Dormiunt check in dates.” At the top of the page stood an incredibly uncomfortable date. “June 6th 1944: Check ins”. For awhile, I was not positive on the relevance of that date until I saw an annotation of the location “Normandy.” Wasn’t June 6th 1944 D-Day? The catalogue was covered in dates that made the hairs on my skin raise. Days like 9/11, November 22nd 1963, and so many more days in history were all marked on the catalogue. On those days, few people checked in, and there were few names of note. How could this even be possible, the hotel opened around these places on those dates.
How could it have moved all the way over the world, crossing continents? My mind raced with confusion. The hotel had accordingly been open even in times during the 1700s, but beyond that the catalogue has a clear tear where former dates once were. I fell back and slammed against the bookshelf behind me. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Beside the catalogue, I found a document that stated staff. Jackpot. I tried to transcribe as many as I could, but frankly the amount of staff members was somewhat astonishing to me, there was page after page with names.
Bellboy: Maxwell B.
Head Chef: Ian W
Janitor: Samuel M.
Service manager: Bryant (No last name identified)
Marketing team: Jacob M and Michael S. (What marketing?)
Garden keeper: Diana L.
Now there was a name very clearly expunged from the very top of the document, where I assume it would say “Manager”. I was left puzzled, if there were pages of staff, where the hell were they? How have I only encountered that Bellboy, Maxwell. I was also absolutely positive they did not have a garden, in fact after I gathered my information, I went back to the ground floor.
Hotel Non Dormiunt upon immediate judgment seems to have a very old school appeal. The carpet patterns are a sort of 1920s red and black checkered pattern not too much unlike a casino. I wandered around for close to an hour when I finally found it, a metallic gate like door marked with the name “Garden” marked above it. When I made my way into the garden, I observed the exterior of the hotel was very medieval based, with arching marble and stone gargoyles lining the square garden. The garden stood in a sizable square, with walls on all signs and only the sun way above , shining down into the quaint little space. At the very center of the garden stood a woman in a Victorian era dress, with a parasol over her shoulder.
She was beautiful. Her hair was a flowing red color, which contrasted well to her emerald colored eyes. Her skin was soft and youthful, she couldn’t have been a day over 20. Using context clues, I figured this was Diana. She looked composed, focused on the beaming sunlight above the garden awning. When she noticed my presence her demeanor changed, and a soft inviting smile formed on the edge of her lips. Just looking at her made a wave of nostalgia wash over me, it felt like I knew her so well already. She waved a hand to me and for a moment, I did nothing but keep staring. She gestured her hand towards the small tea table beside her, and looked at me with a questioning gaze. I was not even aware she was beckoning me until she tilted her head out of confusion over my gaping jaw.
“Do you mean me?”
Her voice was heavenly, soft, and motherly with an overall angelic posh tone. The world seemed to pause just by standing next to her, she was completely otherworldly.
“Starstruck, are we?”
I tried to speak coherent words but they came out more like a collection of syllables. Before me she prepared us two glasses of tea and invited me to sit across from her.
“Well, why have you come to the garden today young one?”
“I...I don’t really know?”
Through a gentle giggle, she spoke: “Well, do not fret, perhaps you would rather speak about the garden. Does it look as wonderful as you may remember?”
She ignored me. “Well, to your right you will see a row of roses, pretty right? On the left, my tulips, and to the right of those: lilies by the fountain.”
“it’s all beautiful, how did you manage to grow all of this here?”
“Ages of work.”
“Speaking of that, I just wanted to ask, do you know about the hotel, or where it came from?”
She looked hurt, and clutched her chest in retort. “Over there you will see my yellow carnations, lovely, yes?”
“Certainly, but do you?”
“Do you really want an answer to that question?”
“Yes, I do.”
She crossed her hands over one another and let our air through her nose. Apart from her appearance, her face seemed to wrinkle in some manner of anxiety.
“Jackson, do not waste your time with this place. You are still so young, you have spent your life alone and wandering, this is not your destination.” I started to feel really uncomfortable, a bead of sweat ran down my cheek.
“You have spent your life searching for a direction after that day, do you remember it? When your soft weary head collapsed upon that pillow and your mind conjured a wonderful world for you to stay in.”
How could I forget. The day I lost everything in only a few hours. My family, my innocence. I have long since grown from it by now, but the stress of her knowledge made a dam of emotion inside my mind break for a moment. How could she possibly know all of this, what the hell is even happening?
“How do you—“
“We’ve met before, do you not recall my face in your dreams, our garden in the otherworld of your subconscious?”
Of course I knew her, how could I forget someone like this, I kicked myself for not recognizing her immediately. My mind imploded on itself for a moment, the weight of merely coming to this hotel was happening so fast and directly, it was like I was orchestrated to have even arrived here. I couldn’t even fathom the words to articulate my terror, I was paralyzed by fear. My mind froze and a voice inside me began to scream that I needed to leave this place as fast I possibly could. My fight or flight had been triggered and it was looking to be flight as my option of choice.
“I know this is a lot to take in at one moment Jackson, that’s why I just wanted to speak about the garden. I wanted to distract the hotel for a moment, so you could escape. He sees you now however, and it will be only time until you cannot leave, so if you desire to find your answer, go and get your truth before you lose the ability to see it.”
I hesitated for a moment, who was ‘he’, and why did it feel like the peaceful atmosphere turned to the feeling of eyes watching me. I wanted to open my mouth and ask so many questions but before I could even think of what I wanted to say next, she spoke again.
“Jackson, if you dare to know the truth, you need to properly enter the hotel. Make your way to floor 17, in room 1717 you will locate a pail, collect and return to your room. Floor 17 will not be simple to traverse child; you will need to avoid any and all children you see approach you in the dark. If at any point you begin to feel a migraine you will only have mere minutes to obtain the sought after pail. Do not speak to any guests you encounter, and for all that is pure and good in the world, if you hear a mans laughter, just jump out of a window. That will be a preferred outcome” She winced and held her chest once more, the wrinkles on her face seem to grow deeper and her lively glow faded.
“What do I do with the pail?”
“Fill it with water, and douse your mirror, you saw it, did you not?”
“The one in my room?”
“Yes, you must wet your mirror and the next step there after will be up to you, so go and get your answer.” Her hair seemed to lose it’s red color, and speckles of grey formed in patches on it. Her dress appeared tattered and stained, and the yellow carnations began to wilt.
“Hurry Jackson, if you waste time, you will lose your chance, they know of you know, and I cannot protect you as I once did in your mind.You must learn what this hotel is, or rather what this hotel is not.”
I sat up from the table and turned to the door. The state of the garden was now dilapidated and heartbreaking. I could feel a lump in my throat form, I wanted to quit, to grab Diana and never let go. Yet, I steeled my will and marched on through the door. As I walked back into the hallway, I could hear the door lock behind me.
The elevator was still missing the button to floor 17, So I decided on a better course of action. When I returned to my room, it was as I left it, this bothered me more than I care to admit. It felt like the whole room should have been torn up thrashed to pieces. I knew that there was only one way I was gonna get into floor 17, and it was the only way to get to a higher floor without an elevator or staircase (serious fire code violation by the way). I grabbed my backpack and threw it over my shoulder, knowing this could be it, I made sure to bring my journal. I threw open my window and stepped out until the sill. I’ve always been scared of heights, but this was a new kind of terror. I slipped, I would fall to my most certain to death and likely be impaled by the architecture towards the bottom. I grabbed onto the nearest gargoyle statue and cautiously lifted myself upon its head.
I reached up for the window sill of 1616 and took about ten minutes to pull myself up to it. As I sat up against the window, I peered inside and had to ask myself “What in the hell is happening in here?!”. I didn’t have time to think about that, however. I hoisted myself to the next gargoyle and noticed the temperature was simmering. It caused my hand to slip and I banged against the side of the window. “Shit, sorry.” I said to myself. Finally, I pulled myself atop the hot gargoyle and jumped up to grab the 1717 window sill. I peered down for a moment, admiring that I had actually managed to climb two stories.
I knew there was gonna be only way into the pitch black room before me, I mean it’s not like there is a handle on the exterior. I retrieved my metallic flashlight, and smashed the glass as hard as I could. It cracked a few bits, and shattered after a few more swings. The pitch black room before me was beginning to become more visible. I took one step in and the steaming air immediately hit me. The warmth of the room was stunning, I couldn't discover the source of the heat, but it was like a thick mist of heat. Immediately, I could hear stirring in the hallway, banging all around. This was about to get difficult.
I began searching the room with my flashlight as quickly as my eyes would allow. The pail was nowhere in sight when suddenly all of the banging halted for a moment. For some reason, I couldn't control my stomach and vomited nearly impulsively. I knew right then and there I wouldn’t have time to hesitate, I would need to find the pail and get out of floor 17. A child’s voice began to speak to me from behind the front door.
The voice was distorted and hoarse, it sounded like several different children talking all at once. “Can you show me how to get back to my mom?”
I realized something terrible when the door knob began to turn. I charged for the door and slammed my shoulder against it, beginning to scream out of panic. That only made things worse, it attracted more of whatever was about to open that door. I slammed the lock of the door and that only seemed to piss them off more. Now the children’s voices sounded like a symphony of questions.
“What are you doing here?”
I scrambled to find the pail, checking under the beds and then deciding on the bathroom. Low and behold, sitting in the bathtub was a shiny golden pail. I grabbed the pail and raced for the window, but as I got to the edge I noticed a major problem.
“Where are the gargoyles?” I screamed. There was no down that wouldn’t assure death.
The banging on the door began to halt for a moment again, and a scream rang out in the darkness. It sounded like another group of people had found their way into floor 17. The girl’s scream was horrible, and I could hear thrashing battering the walls outside. As terrible as it was, this was my chance. I couldn’t let her life go to waste. This is why floor 17 was closed. Whatever sort of nightmare hell spawn they have running here, I knew that it needed to be exposed. I needed to find out the truth and escape. Why was floor 17 this way, the rest of the hotel while concerning was withholding such nightmares on the middle of an obscure floor. My life as a boring and simple average author was feeling like a long way away now. Regardless, I had to complete my goal all of these other people are doomed if I can’t expose the truth.
All in one moment, the banging ceased and the whole floor went deathly silent. I sat with my ear against the door for thirty minutes, just listening intently, I could not hear so much as the shuffle of feet. I didn’t want to risk them returning. I know this is stupid, but I’d like to say, put yourself in my shoes here. The hallway was pitch black and reeked; some manner of decay invaded my nostrils. I turned to my left and saw rooms lining the hallway, all with a welcome sight at the end. The elevator, I could call it and escape to a different floor. Carefully I made my way to the door, when a guttural groan escaped from the mouth of something at the other end of the hall. The massive hulking beast had fleshy tendrils in a place where I assumed it’s arms would be. It’s face was solely teeth, a culmination of human jaws.
They clacked to themselves in anticipation. The legs on the beast were lopsided and not at all facing the way they were supposed to be. It was turned towards the wall and shaking grotesquely, unaware of my presence. I couldn't call the elevator, the slightest shift of movement was enough to make it growl in curiosity. I did not know if it could see, but it sure could hear.
At that moment, room 1739 opened. The man who emerged looked to be one of those detective types, and he was followed by a younger girl and two men. They moved quietly as I did, but they would not be so lucky. The young girl among them began to whimper and cry as quietly as she could, but the creature heard it as clear as day. The detective screamed to the three to run, and run they did, barreling down the hallway. I slammed the elevator call button with my fist and prayed to God it would come in time. I knew I wouldn’t have much of a choice, it was do or die.
“RUN MAN!!” One of the men screamed to me.
I just needed a few seconds, just a few seconds and I could escape. The beast grabbed hold of the girl's leg and whipped her to the floor. The men turned back to try and help her but the detective kept running. She screamed violently and begged for help, the men were immediately slammed to the side and they began to scream too. I was already frozen in terror, but when the beast began to talk like a child, I struggled to keep my stomach in line. The detective arrived next to me clamming for breath.
“Y-you called the damn elevator?”
I didn’t answer him, I could only watch in terror as the girl has her arm ripped from her body, scattering bones and flesh onto the floor. The men convulsed backwards where they were impaled straight through the skull, they fell limp instantly. The creature feasted upon all three with it’s mouths, cackling the entire time.
The world around me seemed to pause, and before I knew it, I was dragged into the elevator by the detective. He sent us down to floor 1. The entire elevator ride down, I did not speak to him, the only thing I could focus on was the poor girl and the laughter of a man echoing throughout the hall just as the detective pulled me. When we finally arrived at ground level, I looked at the man.
“You left them…”
“They knew the risks.” He said, before stepping out, adjusting his hat and making for the foyer.
I was still frozen in place, terrified of what I had just seen. It took me a moment to stumble out of the elevator and begin my walk back to the garden. I wanted to see Diana. But I could not find the door. I was in the spot I was sure it would be in, but it was absent. A man in stereotypical Hawaiian vacation attire was walking passed with an ice cooler trailing behind him.
“Hey buddy, whatcha starin’ at that wall for…wait don’t tell me, you’ve had too much to drink ohohoh, don’t worry buddy I get you.”
“Where is the garden?”
“Oh, do they have a garden here? It didn’t say anything about that on the brochure!”
What brochure? That was all I could focus on for a moment, before I just nodded to the man and made my way back to the elevator.
When I returned to 1515, all I could do was fall into my bed and weep for a moment. What sort of nightmare am I witnessing? I did not have a clue what I had gotten myself into. But I knew I was about to find out the answer, I rose from the bed and grasped the pail in my hands. I could still find out the truth, I could get people to leave here and help all of these people. I took to filling up the pail with water as commanded. But as the water began to fill the pail, my blood ran cold. There was a harrowing laughter throughout all of floor 15. The man's laughter was heavy and booming with every bellowing gasp for air. The pail filled up, and I knew what to do. My door flew open and the bellboy had a shotgun in his hands and a look of intent in his eyes that was absent earlier.
I slammed the bathroom door shut and locked it, but that didn't deter him from firing straight into the door. I wasted no time splashing the entire contents of the pail onto the mirror. The glass began to shake like the liquid that had just touched it. It began to create a swirling motion and the mirror then became alight with a golden glow. The bellboy had just finished busting the padlock off, and I did the only thing I could think to do and put my finger into the mirror. Instantly, my entire body was pulled into another realm.
When I opened my eyes, the world around me was devoid of color. I was at the foyer of the hotel once more, but everything was grey. There was no semblance of life anywhere to be seen. Frozen. They were all frozen, the people in the foyer were paused, human statues. The world around me did not have a temperature, I could not feel anything. Was I frozen too? No, I could move my legs. I could still move forward. The world was silent. I could not hear my footsteps, or my heartbeat. My soul was in a limbo. I could only reflect at this point.
There were so many guests. So many people in the hotel, were they all frozen too? Could they see? Have I failed them? These people came here for whatever reason and have likely seen their fair share of differing events, but could they be experiencing this as well? The silence was broken by clapping. It was slow and loud enough to fill the foyer with sound. Then, he emerged. A man in a blazer, styled slick back hair and a regal appearance. He stood on the above walk away, staring down at me while still clapping. I walked closer to the man, and I noticed a badge on his blazer.
“Good to finally meet you, Jackson.”
I tried to speak, but no sound emerged from my lips, I was silent.
“Don’t bother, humans aren’t supposed to be in a realm like this, human mental understanding is far too limited to be able to comprehend the nature of a place like this”.
I couldn't tell how or when, but in a flash he was before me, looking me right in the eyes.
“I already know your questions, this meeting was prearranged the moment your soul was set free to the world by the man upstairs, when you were born I knew everything about how I wanted you to come to me.”
I did not feel alone in my thoughts, it was as if my brain was having it’s every idea taken from it.
The manager took a deep breath and sighed in disappointment.
“Alright, I set you to be here, so let’s just get to your questions. You’re asking in your head, what is this hotel? When I was born into this universal system, I observed you humans briefly for an age. You would all fail to grow, at every core of a person was a perception of the world. What one grew into, what they experienced, it shaped them into a person with a perception of how they viewed the world, what they thought was right and wrong. I became obsessed with humanities simple understanding, I wanted to see how much I could control by manipulating perception.” He pauses.
“Jackson, I have made many men kill each other by making entire civilizations believe what I wanted them to. Technically, humanistic understanding of history still isn’t wrong, wars were fought for reasons and everyone had their own pure distinctive motivations. Leaders led their subjects and followers to the next step of perception. But one day, I grew tired of watching humans fight. No, I wanted to see them at their most curious. In the olden days, this hotel was but an inn. I wanted to see how rumors would spread among you all, what you were all capable of doing. I wanted to see humans scared, I wanted to see them happy, I wanted to see humans. As simple and pathetic as you may all be to this universe, this rock in space has given birth to an almost precious attribute that humans share. It is as I said, your perception, how you all view the world you reside in. I desired to watch it all unfold.”
I could not even speak, I had nothing left to say, and it seems he already knew that.
“I knew from the beginning we would meet Jackson, I arranged your entire life so that we would finally encounter one another. Every guest here in this hotel? I arranged them all to be here, some for fun, some for terror, some for mystery. The hotel itself is molded by how one sees the world. You remember the library girl, yes? She is a dreamer not unlike yourself, so the hotel gave her a library. Your garden? You are the only one it was visible for. Diana? Just a tool for me. Every guest here is experiencing something completely different, sometimes groups share what they see. I do love a story with plenty of characters. Every action that led to our meeting today was just me guiding you along. Every single interaction was me leading your perception. You are asking yourself, Jackson, why? Why you? No particular reason, I simply wanted to see the scope of how one would react to this meeting.”
“But now, I must confess. I don’t have a plan for you now, Jackson. I know you desire to tell people to escape, so that their lives aren’t at risk. Jackson, nobody here is a risk. Everyone is meant to be here, and if they died here, it was chosen from birth. There is no one to save. But if it would make you comfortable, I would like to see how humans I have not tampered with react to your psychotic ramblings. It is ultimately up to you, if you so choose, I can take your tale; everything you want to say as it is and put it into books, I can spread the story anywhere from your internet to a local bar. It is your choice, I will not tamper with this decision. I apologize for the brevity of the events today, I was eager with anticipation to finally have this meeting be real. You may now make a decision.”
I thought for a moment, about everything I had just been told. My entire existence had been a preplanned tale for an elder god. You can probably guess how I answered his question.
“You may hate me, and I feel the emptiness inside you now, but truly Jackson, it has been a pleasure to meet you. I cannot wait to see if humans believe you, I will watch you carefully from now until the end of time. You are free.”
I awoke later, in the foyer. I cried in my hands, people began to comfort me and ask me why I was crying. I did not answer. I only made for the exit and left. The sun was shining, and it was peaceful. The world as I know did not feel like it agreed with my feelings, it likely did not. I could not know if this was a real feeling now. I took one look back at the Hotel Non Dormiunt and thought for one last time about the people in the hotel, what will they perceive? What sort of stories are being told? I will not search for an answer. I have found the inception, and I am checking out.
I've just finished my first playthrough the original trilogy and wanted to share a couple of thoughts. submitted by
Basic Info : MaleShep, Infiltrator, Paragade playthrough
- Game : For a game that released in 2007, it's an amazing game. Characters are amazingly written, the plot got me playing for hours on end. I played it a step below Insanity and felt like I enjoyed the game here due to the head pounding of Krogans charging you and then hiding to get their shields back.
- Favorite Fight : Saren's final fight where he evolves and Sovereigns takes him over. Watching him go from shooting himself to turning into nightmare fuel showed what the Reapers are capable of.
- Favorite moment : Anderson punching Udina.
- Least Favorite moment : Death of Jenkins. Rest in Peace
- Romance : Ashley. I found her poems and character very interesting compared to Liara. Ashley's concerns for the Aliens being in the systems of the Normandy is fair since you don't know the true intent of what they plan to do with what they find.
- Overall rating : 4/5. The game is a great introduction to the galaxy you are put into. The characters are amazing, the plot moves perfectly and you can play the game in any way you can.
Mass Effect 2
- Game : Mass Effect 2 did an amazing job stripping the annoying stuff out of Mass Effect and giving you better gun play, running and more gun options. The characters in this game were amazing as well, it was fun to discover everyone's character arc and how they fit into your crew of misfits. I did the same difficulty and enjoyed throwing my controller across the room fighting Praetorians.
- Favorite Fight : Captain Wasea, watching the Biotic God run in and thrown aside like a plush toy made it for me before I took her head off with thee Black Widow.
- Favorite Moment : Meeting Legion. It was a huge change of characters where you meeting a talking Wall-E and learn more about the Geth.
- Least Favorite Moment : Telling the Krogan there were no fish in the Presidium lake. Let the man dream.
- Romance : Miranda. After seeing past her 'I'm perfect and We need to focus on the mission.' I liked her a lot more as a romance due to her strong desire for love and being a confident woman. Seeing her come to face the fact that Cerberus is a bad place was nice because it showed she still had a conscious and able to make her own decisions rather than blind following the organization.
- Who died on the Suicide Run : No one.
- Favorite DLC : Overlord. I liked how it show just how far Cerberus is willing to go for human advancement and what people are willing to do for success.
- Overall rating : 5/5. The game builds off of Mass Effect perfectly, you get to see more interesting characters and you have even better writing.
Mass Effect 3
- Game : As the finale to the series, I feel it was good. Not great and not bad, they mixed the characters between one and two ok. It sucked to see some characters not have the same arc as before. The combat was far more fun and fast than the other two games. It felt so fluid and the movement was much more fun than before. Same difficulty as before.
- Favorite Fight : Kai Leng on Cronos Station. I was spamming renegade interrupt faster than a fourteen year old kid clicking close tab on a porn video as his father walks into the room. The trash talking from Kai then stabbing him was sweet revenge for his low effort attacks on Thessia and my girl on Horizon.
- Favorite Moment : The Prothean VI saying you can't win. I just got a book in a system for the Batarians so they had better hopes. I can win.
- Least Favorite Moment : There were a lot, but if I had to pick one, it'd be meeting Leviathan. "We are the Apex Race, the most dominant of all, creator of Reapers." "Hi, I'm John." Then you use this logic of hey you should fight with me cause, yeah, we don't want to die. I sat there frustrated with the result of that talk because I expected them to be demanding something for their work in the war.
- Romance : Miranda. Had to stay with my Cerberus cheerleader. I was mad that I didn't get to bring her on the Normandy after Sanctuary and how she dealt with another sister problem. It would've been nice to help her on one of her missions. I did enjoy the casino scene with her because it was nice to see her out of the catsuit and enjoy the life of gambling with her boyfriend.
- Who died? : The usual three. Mordin, Thane and Legion.
- Ending? : Destroy
- Favorite DLC? : Omega. I always wanted to work alongside Aria and do Omega stuff. Doing renegade through her section made it far more enjoyable than doing paragon. I felt more bad boy than boy scout.
- Overall rating : 3/5. There were so many characters and they tried to fit them all together and that didn't work out. Seeing Jack, Miranda, Thane, Samara, Kasumi and Jacob again was great, but they felt like rerolled writing to save time to focus on the main characters. The gun play was extremely good but having to find attachments and armor pieces in the field became a pain to deal with.
Overall on the trilogy
It's an amazing three games. Bioware did an amazing job with the writing. The characters were amazing and each had their own special arc, something hard to find in many games nowadays. The first two games were fantastic and the third did a good job tying it all together.
When I'm old, I'm going to have to tell them. Why? Because they are going to ask. My grandson will sit on my lap and ask me to talk about it. I... I don't know if I can. submitted by
No. I definitely can. I'm strong, and that's why I'm even here to talk about it in the first place. When my grandson asks me I'll be ready. It won't be easy, though. With each word I manage to force out, I may shed another tear.
I'll think about how I watched my loved ones buy Battlefront 2; and I will cry.
I'll think about how many children we all lost to the virtual casinos; and I will cry.
I'll even think about how I even saw them coerced into believing they were enjoying themselves; and I will cry.
However, I can make it through. I can tell the new youth about this war. I can tell them because we won. We. Won.
I'll think about how we made their stocks fall to nearly unrecoverable lows; and I will smile.
I'll think about how we cost hundreds of those "decent people", or so they call themselves, their jobs; and I will smile.
I'll think about how a brave gamer killed dozens of EA shills in an assault more honorable than even Normandy; and I will smile.
And when it's all said and done, and the story is told...
I'll show them The Witcher 3, and they'll know why we did what we did; and it'll all be worth it. I'll watch my grandson achieve orgasm alongside Geraldo...
And I will smile.
Lebron James took patting yourself on the back to a whole nother effing galaxy today with his post on Instagram. Unless the Monstars steal his all-world basketball talent in order to beat MJ and the Looney Tunes and he forgets how to dribble and shoot a basketball, Lebron is going to reach 30,000 career points. And who is the first one to let us know of this achievement? None other than King James himself. I don’t care what side you’re on when it comes to the Lebron vs. Jordan debate, but there’s one thing we can both agree on: Michael Jordan would never pat himself on the back, especially when it has nothing to do with winning championships. If anything, he’s going to deflect and give credit to his teammate and coaches. Now, he may not think that, but that’s just what leaders do. The team is bigger than any one player. And that’s why I will always be a Jordan guy. He only cared about rings. He played in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals with flu-like symptoms that would have kept me home from school for a week straight, forcing my mom to take time off from her job at dealing blackjack at the casino so she could spoon feed me Campbell’s chunky chicken noodle. MJ was a straight baller who had one thing on his mind: the next ring. MJ was so good he quit playing basketball in the prime of his career to try his hand at another sport. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t work out too well) Meanwhile, twenty years later, Lebron, the player of his generation, is too busy trying to convince people he’s the greatest player to ever grace the hardwood. submitted by
With all the stuff going on in the Cavs locker room, bragging about scoring a buttload of points is the last thing you should be doing. Maybe you should try to keep Kevin Love from leaving your team or get JIsaiah/the entire Cavalier roster a “Defense for Dumbies” book from your local Barnes and Noble, if those still exist. But I digress.
Not totally sure what Lebron is trying to prove here. We can all agree he is one hell of a basketball player and probably the most physically gifted athlete ever, but if I was given the option to go to war with Lebron or Jordan, I would not have a problem dying covering Jordan’s ass while we storm the beaches of Normandy because I know he’d do the same for me. I just can’t say the same for Lebron. He’s a “me first” kind of guy, always has been, and we are reminded of that with this egocentric social media post. No question this mindset enabled him to have a successful career, but when we’re taking about the G.O.A.T., only one name comes to mind, and it’s not the King from Akron, Ohio.
So I'm about to be a senior in college and I just studied abroad in Australia. I'm already thinking of places I want to go in the summer of 2016 when I graduate college if I don't have a job offer or anything. submitted by
Places I went to when I was abroad:
Thailand: LOVED THAILAND. I wasn't a huge fan of Bangkok, but LOVED the Thai New Year Celebrations on Khao San Road. Also went to Ko Samui where I got stung by a stingray and Koh Tao which I fell in love with. I was only there for a week and on a tour, so would definitely go back. I love Thai food and the people were SO nice.
Everywhere else I backpacked and couchsurfered.
Hong Kong: HATED HONG KONG. The people were SO rude. I've been to Paris and honestly Hong Kongers were 10x worse than Parisians. I went to Starbucks at the mall once and people refused to let me even sit next to them when there were plenty of seats open. Don't get me wrong it was pretty, but the people made it un-enjoyable. Some friends at the Hostel went out one night and taxi drivers would pick up locals and drive right past the Americans.. Also thought it was too overcrowded. I ended up having to go the police station to ask for directions. I was told once, "I don't speak English" in a perfect accent. Honestly it was pretty sad given I was so excited to go. And I did go out one night and didn't find the night life very pleasant. Wasn't a fan of the specific expats I encountered either.
Macau- I LOVED MACAU. It took me a while to find my way out of the casino's and onto the Portuguese tourist attractions, but I loved the mix of Portuguese and Cantonese culture. The people were very friendly and went out of their way to help me unlike in HG. Honestly I loved every minute of Macau (besides the Casino's).
Singapore: I really liked Singapore MUCH better than HG. The people were so nice. It was way easier for me to get around with the subway. It was probably too much like America though and after a couple days I got very bored. I thought there was more to do in HG, but I liked the vibe way better here.
Buton, Indonesia: Was supposed to be a day trip from Singapore and I was there a 1-2 hours and hated it. I went back on the ferry to Singapore. The taxi drivers literally overcharged me for everything and I ran out of money. None of the locals spoke much English here so it was hard to get around given the language barrier. I was going to go to Johor Bahru in Malaysia instead, but I was told it wasn't the safest place for a Westerner to go by myself and there were bad traffic jams so didn't want to miss my flight.
Auckland, NZ: LOVED Auckland. Kiwi's were so much nicer than Aussies. They went out of their way to help me. NZ is a much more progressive country IMO. I really loved everything about Auckland especially K Road. I had more intellectual conversations with Kiwi's in one week than I did five months in Australia. Didn't venture outside of Auckland though (had some difficulties) so would love to go to the South Island one day.
In Australia, I lived an hour south of Sydney in Wollongong. So went to Sydney pretty frequently and traveled mostly in NSW. Visited Sunshine Coast but it rained my whole visit, but did end up going to Brisbane to visit Lone Pine which was cool. Brisbane looked nice. Melbourne was okay, but not really into coffee and didn't get that "city vibe" and thought people were too pretentious with the whole hating on Sydney thing.
I've only been to France in Europe when I was 17 (21 now). I hated every minute of it, but that was mostly due to a bad host family experience. Really loved going to Normandy due to the history, Versailles was amazing, and Brittany was gorgeous.
My grandpa was born in Sicily, so I've always wanted to go there and my grandmother's side is from Bari and Calabria, so if I ever went to Italy I'd be more interested in the South and Sicily (although Sardinia and French Corsica are other island I'd love to visit).
I don't really much much desire to go to South America. Brazil would be cool though. The only know a little French from college/high school (not enough to get by), I don't speak any other languages.
So I've thought mainly about going back to Southeast Asia. I love history so Vietnam would be really cool and would be interested in Siem Reap and exploring Thailand some more. Or I've also considered Eastern Europe- Prague, Budapest, & Warsaw for starters. But I have studied the Holocaust before, so would like to visit various sites in Poland. Thought about the Baltic's with that trip: Estonia looks cool and I hear it's not too far if I wanted to go to Finland. Not interested in Russia or any other homophobic/ultra-conservative country. I know Eastern Europe isn't as liberal as Western Europe minus Prague, but I hear some people wouldn't even classify it as "Eastern Europe" to begin with.
I would also obviously love to explore Western Europe: UK, Holland, Belgium, Scandinavia, etc but it's pretty expensive. I will probably be on a backpackers budget. Amsterdam would be cool though given I am a women, gender, and sexuality studies major.
I'm also a theatre major, so I'm into arts. Like I've stated earlier, I like history specifically World War 2 or Vietnam stuff. Really loved going to a Canadian World War 1 park in Picardy, France though where I saw WW1 trenches. I'm not really that outdoorsy, so not into hiking mountains or camping. I do like beaches, but don't want to spend my whole vacation laying on the beach. I am not the relaxing type: I know it sounds bad haha.
I actually thought about teaching English in South Korea when I graduate, but that'd be too expensive for this trip. Iceland looks like it'd be pretty cool, but expensive.
Anyways any suggestions? Sorry for the lengthy post.
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