Detention: An Indie Horror Game

After feeling disappointed with Evil Within 2, I decided to look for a new horror game to forget that horrid game.   I found Detention, watching a Youtube video clip, and so I gave it a shot.  I am not going to lie: survival horror/horror is my favorite video game genre and there is a good reason why.  But let’s not talk about that–leave it for another time. Let’s talk about the game.

This game is indeed creepy without the flashy stuff we see in AAA games.  You play a female protagonist, a teenage girl  who is undergoing personal hardship.  Like the protagonist,  I can recall experiencing that familiar overwhelming sadness when I was a teenager. I think it was so bad that the counselor and the school nurse had to check my wrists to see if I cut myself. Looking back, I think it was a typical thing for a teenage girl to go through (damn you hormones!).  So yeah,  it’s kind of nice to play a character that I can relate to and one that is realistically feminine.  A lot of games I’ve enjoyed  in the past were largely male-based.  I have my reasons–that too, I will tell you readers at a later time. 

I won’t say much more about this game because I encourage you to check it out for yourself. Oh, and one last thing I do want to point out  about the game: the storytelling is ambiguous but not overly complex. The game has enough suspense and plenty of symbolic meanings, which I like very much.  There are 4 chapters and it didn’t take long to beat (around 2-5 hours). I think there are mutiple endings, so replay value is good.  

Overall, I’d like to say great job RedCandleGames for crafting a pleasant horror game and for keeping me entertained during these winter evenings.  

 

The Evil Within 2: Not My Cup of Tea

The Evil Within® 2_20171227191302

 I deleted my old post because I got so upset, and then restored and revised it since I do have something to say about the game.  The game had a lot of potential, but unfortunately it wasn’t what I was hoping for. 

Call me picky when it comes to survival horror games, but I believe concepts do play a major role in horrifying audience.  Take for example, Silent Hill 2 will always be my favorite survival horror game because the developers know exactly how to define horror and  create a game which still haunts me till this day.  I learned to love the fog in winter because I experienced the chillness in Silent Hill. But this post is not going to be about the survival horror genre or Silent Hill games.  This is about The Evil Within 2 and my thoughts on it. Please keep in my mind, I am speaking from an artist perspective and from someone who dislike movie-like games. 

With any artistic medium ( I think some video games are a form of art), it’s wise not to imitate even if you are under the spell of nostalgia. I am not a fan of imitation.  You can  admire a successful game that haunts people–but reinventing the same thing doesn’t frightened people (at least for me) because we already walked that path before. The Evil Within 2 feels like a confused horror amusement park.  It cannot decide whether it wants to be an action or horror game. Hey, some people might like this game for the way it is and good for them. Personally, I don’t like games that feel generic.

What disappointed me about the game is its strong opening. The game introduction was atmospherically scary. Yes, there was a little chase here and there. Fun for a bit, but then it got sloppy  as soon as all the suspense is dispersed and the climax is reached. From there on, I found myself playing a cheap thrill. If gameplay is lacking then I expect a decent story, but this game has neither of them. The game design feels unpolished.  Why recycle boss enemies once it has been defeated? Why do I need to level up my skill trees in order to make the game a bit more fluid? There is some obvious technical issues with the game, especially in combat.  The cheesy dialogues amplify the  cliche plot.  I started asking myself, “Why I am playing this game?” I forced myself to complete the game anyway because I hate not completing games. I would have enjoyed the game more playing as Juli Kidman because she is an interesting character. 

Juli

I enjoyed the first game even though it was not perfect. So I was hoping The Evil Within 2 is more of a refined version of the first. Sadly no. The only thing that Evil Within 2 has is a simplified story.  You  play as a detective who is given the chance to save his daughter.   In my honest opinion, the game failed to horrify and tell a good story because its attention was focused on trying to be a movie.

So no, I do not recommend this game if you have particular taste for horror games like me. I prefer the earlier Resident Evil games over The Evil Within series now that I have finished the game. This game is designed intentionally for the mass market (movie watchers), and there is nothing wrong with that. This game is just not my cup of tea.

 

Rambling About Games Aimlessly

I have not mentioned one horror video game on this blog last month. Well, why should I? I play horror video games all year round. Now let me tell you one fact about me: I think horror movies are scarier than horror games. Why?  When I am playing video games generally, I am fixated on winning.  You give me a shotgun–I blast those monsters away. You make me run and hide like in Clower Tower series–I giggle. But horror movies take that control away from me, so I have no choice but to cover my eyes.  Now I am thinking, it might be an interesting concept to develop a game about shutting your eyes as your weapon of defense and relying on sound to survive in the game. I think Siren is sort of like that.  Anyway, so that is why I don’t watch horror movies.  I can’t remember the last time I watched one. It might be about 7 years ago.  I haven’t had any nightmares ever since, and I like it to remain that way.

But this post is not about horror video games. Today, I’m just rambling about games aimlessly because that is what’s on my mind at the moment.  I know that I don’t write anything negatively or say anything negatively on this blog. So you might think that I just play anything and be satisfied. That’s not true. Behind the screen, I want to poke my eyeballs out when I play a crappy game, but I refrain.  Okay, I am just exaggerating!  But seriously,  I try to remain open minded. Some games may not appeal to me aesthetically but it doesn’t mean it’s a bad game. After all, what you like is a reflection of your heart.

Lately, I  have been playing 999 (PS4 version). This game too, was actually recommended by my brother.  So far, I enjoy the soundtrack very much and the story is quite interesting.  I have two more endings to go.  Brother told me that this game was on par with Nier Gestalt during the year 2009-2010.  I can see why.  It is well executed.

999_cover.png
DS Coverart version from Wiki

Once I am done with the game entirely, my next game is Drakengard.  Hopefully by the time I finish the game, I won’t go crazy. I was warned that the gameplay is terrible. But that is okay, I am more interested in the thought process behind the game design rather than playing for achievements as of late. It’s more enjoyable.

P.S

I stumbled on Miyazaki picture browsing Twitter. As you know I am a fan of Dark Souls. I find this picture side by side summarizing my whole experience with Dark Souls–it’s inviting but brutal.

cute

 

My Notes on Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon

I highly recommend playing the game before reading this post.   My intention is to share my interpretation of the game which may differ from yours.

I bought this game seven years ago and I finally beat it. The content of this game is quite mature but with light gameplay, which is both suitable for adults and children.  Perhaps, I am a child at heart but I really prefer the simplistic gameplay approach, especially when the story is the focal point.  Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon is about a boy’s journey towards finding warmth in the post-apocalyptic world. It has a typical story but it took advantage of the video game medium to produce a unique experience.

fragile-dreams

 

What I enjoyed about the game is that beautiful and atmospheric.  I found some of the enemies quite interesting and eerie, although this game is not a horror game.  I might do a separate post about this topic for in depth analysis.  Gameplay wise,  I personally think it’s a child version of Dark Souls.  In fact the bonfire and some enemies do have a strong resemblance to the Souls series. I don’t know much about the background for the development of making this game, but perhaps Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon  had some influences on the making of Dark Souls. Again, I will leave that for a different post after I gather some actual facts.

For now, I’d like to discuss Seto’s (the protagonist) journey. Throughout the game, Seto is accompanied by caring loving companions who are not humans. About midway,  Seto comes across an interesting character named Crow, who appears to be a big tea drinker like myself based on his clothes. This section, which may seem like a side track, is my favorite part of the game.

Crow

I enjoyed chasing and  hunting down Crow because it reminded me of  playing  hide and a seek and playing tag. For a moment, I didn’t mind taking a break from trying to find the silver hair girl. This section of the game illustrated an important point made by one of the characters, Chiyo : “It’s the sunbeams, the wind rolling over grass and the idle chit chat with friends [are] the gems of life.” That moment where Seto chased Crow to get his locket back is special. We must not forget during our journey to enjoy the moment we are in. That is called living.

However, the game also wanted to make an another important point:  Crow is a robot. Even if  we find happiness in the substitution of artificial life,  including digital ones–it does not replace the real life human interaction.  Thus, it’s the silver hair girl  that can offer Seto the real authentic relationship even if it involves conflict and misunderstanding between both people. And Sai, one of the main supporting characters, helped me understand that words may not always be the best form of expression, but it’s not entirely useless. Words fill in part where visual cue fails to communicate simple things such as  Seto wants Ren, the silver hair girl, to be his girlfriend. He is tired of being alone.

A little of topic here,  but I think everyone is alone because someone once told me that feelings are personal. We are so focused on our feelings most of the time that we forget other people have feelings too. There is a tendency to lack empathy for others and most of the time it’s unintentional. This lead to much hurt and destruction in the human society. The game really wanted to point out that the lack of empathy causes pain.

Overall,  the game provided a philosophical explanation for the continuation of existence, despite the dark side of humanity.  If you haven’t play this game already, check it out. And if you have played it,  let me know what you think. I’d love to hear them.

P.S

My next post most likely will be about Root Letter. I feel inspired by The Otaku Judge to get all the endings. Then I will play  Zero Escape: Nonary Games probably towards the end of this year.  

Thanks for reading! Until next time, take care guys.

 

My Notes on Nier Automata

I highly recommend playing the game before reading this post.  I will not elaborate the storyline into details.  My intention is to share my summary of the game which may differ from yours.

For those who followed this blog from the beginning probably knew that I was anticipating for Nier Automata (2017) ever since its announcement.  In fact, I was very hungry to play another game like Nier (2010)  and was hoping Drakengard III (2013) would be just as good. To my disappointment, I  didn’t enjoy it as much mainly because of the frustrating gaming mechanics ( I didn’t enjoy flying the dragon).  And yet I stuck with it because of the storyline and it’s humorous dialogue.  I have not reached the ultimate, final boss yet which I heard was difficult.

Zero_(Drakengard)I had to stop the game because I couldn’t understand  Zero’s (the protagonist) cruel intention to kill all her sisters. The character was hard for me to relate.  I was definitely playing a killer.  But after I watched Yoko Taro’s interview Philosophy of Violence, I learned to appreciate his approach in storytelling and the concept behind it.  I realized Zero’s behavior is natural, but primitive.  Instinctively we want to remove whatever is in our path.  Defeating our obstacles give us a sense of control and remove all of our competitions.  However, if we killed everyone in our way, we would end up dying alone and the aftermath would be Nier Automata.

I came to conclusion because I had to grasp my head around this killing frenzy around Yoko Taro’s games,  so I categorize his three games that I played into the following:

  • Drakengard III- killing to be the only one
  • Nier Gestalt- killing is justified as long as you think it is right
  • Nier Automata- killing loneliness

*One important thing to note, this is just my notes for the time being.  I really would like to complete the Drakengard series *

Onward to the main topic,  so when I started Nier Automata, I already knew it was about killing.  The game started off strong, which reminded me of Xenoblade Chronicles’ introduction where the characters are thrown into battle against the machines.   Once I arrived to a safe place (a city reclaimed by Mother Nature), I sensed that I was entering a world where a great civilization (mankind in general) once stood, but mysteriously drove itself to extinction.

NieR:Automata_20170310182757

All we have left are machines and androids fighting one another.  In some ways, the game has a particular viewpoint about existence, which is hard not to notice if you do the side quests. It clearly points out that all lifeforms don’t want to fight all the time– they just want to co-exist. What meaning is there to killing? Why?

covera

The real motive behind all the killing is more than just impaired thinking– it’s loneliness.   In the end, no one stands. But the tragedy is not the cycle of destruction, it’s actually the inability to view the world harmoniously, which is probably why 2B and 9S wear blindfold. They exist to take orders without comprehending their actions.

I won’t go any further into details about the game’s concept because I am beginning to develop my own theory, which is probably not what the game intended.  I do just want to mention  my overall experience with the game is good, but it is not one of my favorites. I like the first installment more partly because of nostalgia. The game did however, made me want to play Ikaruga, which has been sitting in my backlog of games to play.

Lastly, my final thought in regards to Nier Automata,  I’m starting to understand that it’s difficult to introduce big ideas and incorporate gameplay due to unforeseen limitation (e.g, technical, budget, translation etc.).  So I really do appreciate when game developers attempt to give meaning to their creation.

Well that is it for now. Thanks for reading guys. Until next time, take care!

P.S

Think I will play Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon next to clear my backlog before I jump into a new game.  My backlog began to grow back in 2010-2011 when I started playing co-op/multiplayer games. It is time to seriously tackle the single-player games list!

 

My Shopping List–Casual Games are Great!

My apologies for the lack of posts.  I have been busy with songwriting lately. However, I managed to complete Root Letter, a game which I grew fond of and I enjoyed the genre a lot (visual novel games).   For one, I  enjoy books and a good story. Visual novel games have it all for me at the moment: light gameplay and not too mentally strenuous.  Because after a long day, the last thing I want to do is play a difficult game.  I must say I am very happy with my time management for games. I learned that opting for casual games actually balanced my stress level.  But I must confess, I do get the urge to play more difficult games from time to time.

Due to a decrease in gaming time, I became somewhat of a game collector. Still looking for those hidden gems but probably will not enjoy it to its max. So I’ll share a list of games that I have been looking at:

  1. Zero Escape: The Nonary Games

Nonary

2. Exist Archive : The Other Side of the Sky

Exist Archive

3. Assault Suit Leynos

Assault

I know most of them are Playstation games. I am not at all bias towards a particular gaming platform, I just can’t afford to own every systems at the moment and have time to appreciate it.  And my gaming passion is not about collecting games,  I am actually collecting ideas. We are living in the Information Age and I just happened to grow up in a video game culture just like many of you folks. New ideas are not dead–they are just delivered in the form of video games.

My final thought for the post, I’m almost done with Nier Automata, my brother and friend are bugging me about the game because I am taking forever to complete it.  I have a lot of things to say about it, but it takes time to gather my thoughts.  I am a bit overwhelmed with the game because it’s so philosophical.  Big concepts require time to digest. I am finding myself more and more taking frequent breaks to pause and reflect on what I am playing (I do this with books as well).   I will not 100 percent the game because I just don’t have time.   But my next post will surely be about Nier Automata.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Midnight Thoughts on Random Games

Awhile ago, I got my copy of Nioh,  but I had to drop it for Nier Automata. I will play the game toward the end of this year because it’s going to take me awhile to complete Nier Automata. I’m only on my second playthrough, and I’m attempting to complete all quests and collect all weapons.  But I really don’t know if I am going to 100 percent complete the game like I did with the first installment.  I do have some things to say about the game once I complete the game entirely ( I’m assuming there are multiple endings), I will surely share my thoughts here.

Recently,  I purchased Root Letter and Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters because they were on sale and have mediocre reviews.  Some of the games I enjoyed in the past don’t always get good reviews, so I have always been skeptical with professional video game reviewers whether a game is good or not.

These two games are melancholic.  Both are visual novel games, which is something I prefer lately.  Actually, I just like melancholic games if you haven’t noticed.   Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters was actually recommended to me because I am interested in the supernatural world.  Root Letter is a suspenseful adventure game. You play from a guy’s perspective, investigating the mysterious disappearance of a high school pen pal.   Actually,  the story is very interesting so far.

I’Il post a link to the  game trailers in case you guys are interested:

Root Letter

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters

So currently, I am switching between games–Nier Automata and Root Letter, depending on my mood.   I will write an analysis of these games in the near future.  Since these are the two games that I am enjoying very much and have a lot to say. I don’t do formal reviews because the truth is,  I keep this blog for fun as a way not to talk to myself.  So I really do appreciate those who stop by to read this post. Take care now.