So, I was watching the "Monster Hunter Tri" quick-look yesterday and was struck by something. The monster that Jeff was hunting was accompanied by two miniature copies of itself. Just clones? Miniature partners in crime? Monster interns? Or something else. . . it's children?
It's one thing to kill a giant, ravenous, man-eater of a monster; but it's another thing entirely to murder a parent of two that's minding it's own business and just trying to support it's kids! No wonder Capcom's having so much trouble getting us to play this thing, they're hating on single parents! And the last time I checked, America's chock-full of single parents. I've got one myself.
I imagine the story of the game unfolding from a different perspective:
Imagine a purplish, leathery beast, it's in bed with it's spouse. *BUZZ-BUZZ!* It blearily reaches a talon over and clicks the snooze button for the 5th and final time of the morning.
"I can't be late for work again, my boss'll kill me" it thinks to itself. It stalks to the bathroom, brushes its fangs, splashes cold water on it's frightening muzzle and stares at itself in the mirror for a little too long. It sighs and then quietly says to itself
"Come on, you can do this. Think of the kids" We then see the creature hurriedly stalking out of the front door of it's modest abode. It growls goodbye to it's mate and hatchlings. It clutches a travel-mug of coffee in one claw and a neck tie in the other, a fedora sits haphazardly on it's armor-plated skull as it rushes to make it to the curb where it's car-pool mates have been waiting for ten minutes already.
Cut to the hapless brute being carved into pieces by some asshole human who's weapon and garb are made up of pieces of the beast's own best friend and cubicle-mate, Bob! Cut to ribbons! By his own friend's pincers!
Now there's a single parent monster terrorizing the countryside with two pups in tow because it was unable to keep up on the variable-rate mortgage on it's home since it's mate disappeared and it and the kids were evicted.
Capcom wants me to take out this poor beast? No thank you, please. The cycle must be broken. It has to start somewhere and it starts with me. Besides, Capcom already has us Westerners hooded on killing giant critters. It's called Lost Planet.
First, some background. The first step on a long road that led to me buying an Xbox 360 instead of a PS3 began with "Devil May Cry". I was midway through the game, and I had just finished off a boss who then proceeded to not only not have the decency to die, but rather to grow a whole 'nother life bar! So, I beat this monstrosity (a giant gun, I think it was) the second time and this, this...thing sprouted ANOTHER life bar. I pressed pause, took a deep breath, set down my PS2 controller rather than chuck it out the window and realized that I was starting to hate Japanese game design. Years later, after having been out of video games for a while, this would be the deciding factor in which next-gen console I was going make my way back into gaming with. The 360 seemed to have more western-developed titles, so I got a 360 Pro and a copy of Fallout 3.
Flash forward to this afternoon, and I've just completed the Bayonetta demo for the fourth time. Seeing that I've only gotten a bronze trophy for my performance, I'm contemplating just how many more times I'm going to play this demo before going out to buy the full game. I set down my 360 controller, take a deep breath, look up to the heavens and yell with resignation: "I'm going to buy this fucking game! Aaarrrgh!" This game by that very same personage who had designed the hated Devil May Cry. This very game that wasn't on my radar's radar as far as intent to buy. I was quite comfortable in my cozy little "the next game I'm buying is Mass Effect 2" world. Heck, I've even pre-ordered ME2, a moral compromise to which I thought I'd never stoop (damn you, poor, downtrodden GameStop retail associate!).
But here I am, remembering Bayonetta take a battle-axe the size of a Buick, plant it into the ground vertically and perform a pole-dance of death, which the game is making me actively participate in by madly mashing the "X" button. *sigh* There is a twinge, speaking of moral compromises, of dirty when I play this game, a waft of fruity stripper perfume smokily remembered from a place in Vegas called '"Fantasiez" or "Cheetaz" or . . . never mind, the point is, as long as I keep telling myself that Hideki and the gang are in on the joke, that there is a broad-ass wink and a nod to all of the adolescent hyper-sexuality, then I can play a game that makes me. . . smile. Yes, I said it, smile. The game is a sheer joy to play; at once exhilarating, exuberant, imaginative, tightly-controlled, deep, forgiving and (putting aside the T&A for a moment) quite pretty to behold. So I'll give the designers that wink and nod right back and just let myself enjoy the ride. Just don't expect me to play any Final Fantasy any time soon. . . or ever again.