I'm not even sure how I accomplished something like this.

Xenoblade Chronicles

(And yet another game goes down in the Operation R...wait, that's not a thing I'm doing!) That's Humble Indie Bundle only! Anyway, I've knocked out one Operation Rainfall game, am almost certainly playing another as we speak, and the third has yet to get an American release. And after finishing Xenoblade Chronicles, I have to ask this of you, Nintendo: what do you have against good games? Why did it take you as long as it did to release this in America?

Was it the voice acting? The fear of having to dub all that dialogue?....OK, that's a legitimate complaint, and for reasons other than hammy Cockney robots. Dear goood, is this a noisy game. Now I'm not necessarily saying that there are a ton of cutscenes to plow through (although there are a lot of cutscenes), but this game does not know when to shut the fuck up. Battles quickly devolve into shouting matches, and it doesn't get better outside battle. In fact, with the right party, you can trigger long-ass conversations at the end of each battle, like the game swallowed everything in the medicine cabinet and is afraid it's gonna die if it ever stops talking. Hell, there's even an entire gameplay mechanic dedicated solely to characters yelling at each other until the game decides you've had enough. Just shut up, game! You don't need to fill every second of the experience with noise. It just gets grating and annoying really fast, overshadowing the finer aspects of the game.

And the environments look amazing, too.

Like the music. Is this really any surprise? It was composed by Yoko Shimomura, and it shows. She really knows how to amplify all those emotional moments in the game. Sad moments will make you depressed because you ran out of tears for crying; happy moments will make you completely forget those sad moments so you have enough tears for the next sad moment; somber moments will....do whatever the hell somber moments are supposed to do, I guess. And should you get into battle? Gear up, asshole, because shit is about to go down. (Consider my swearing a display of passion.) Overall, it's gonna take a while for another RPG to come along and beat this game's soundtrack, presumably because Ms. Shimomura's working very hard on the next hit RPG so-

Oh, wait. This is an RPG. I'm supposed to begin with the story. Well, let's pretend that the previous several paragraphs were special thanks to...uh...Yoko Shimomura, I guess. Anyway, the story. Now Xenoblade Chronicles is part of the Xeno-whatever series, a series known primarily for one thing: robots whacking each other about while waxing Nietzsche. Xenoblade is no different, deciding to finish things off with robot beatings, Nietzschean vagueries, and a plot that branches out into the worryingly insane every other cutscene. Unfortunately, that's all at the end, and to get there, you have to get through some slow-building, melodramatic cliches. Nothing terribly offensive, mind you. However let's just say that I was able to jokingly yet accurately predict lines of dialogue far more often than I'm comfortable admitting. But you know what? Persevere. Push through. It's gonna be worth it in the end. Yes, you'll end up fighting the personification of Panzer Dragoon, yet it all works. So many themes, and so many of them developed so well. Ubermensch, Gaia theory, fate, bonds with others, religion, cyclical...ness...It's all adds up in a satisfying way, is what I'm saying.

I cannot believe in a god who wants to be praised all the time.

And that's not even getting into the characters. There are just so many memorable characters in this game. You got your plucky young hero Shulk, the even better hero Dunban, the "I'm too rich to inflect emotion" Melia, Kanji "Takes No Shit" Tatsumi, Holmes (who takes even less shit), etc. Again, I said that with all of Melia's enthusiasm, but the cast has more than enough chemistry to create some memorable moemnts. Better still, everybody (well, almost everybody, but more on that in a bit) gets their own piece of the story for some nice development. We start off with good buds Shulk and Reyn, move onto Sharla, then M.....it's a lot more natural than I make it out to be. There are reasons why the characters get development when they get it, and it's hard to call any of it forced or unnatural. Hell, even the villain gets one of these awesome moments, transforming him from a cliche to a being with depth and plausibility. Almost the perfect analogy for this game.

The only real bad character is fluffy comic relief Riki. I don't care how useful he is in battle (mainly because I refused to swap him in); the guy's got annoying speech patterns and...no, that's pretty much the only reason I don't like him. I know that sounds petty, but...just listen to him. (Is it racist that the most annoying character in the game is the only one without a British accent?) You may wish to stop reading this blog right now so you can replace your thoroughly burnt computer speakers. There is a bright side to this, though: the story is absolutely determined to ignore not only him, but his entire shitty species, giving them absolutely no role in the story whatsoever. Even when it looks like they're going to give them relevance with the Trinity thing, the writers snub them like the plague. Did I say it all works out in the end? Because that's all the proof you need.

I can't tell if it's overwhelming him or if he's just really in the groove of things. Anybody wanna clarify?

Oh, wait. This is a video game. I'm supposed to talk about the game-y parts at some point, aren't I? Like the quests. Hey, why didn't I takl about the quests in this game? You'd think they'd show up earlier, since there are more quests there than there are words here. I'd say that's enough to keep you busy for a while, but that's completely ignoring what these quests are. So what are they? Let's see, there's "kill X monsters", "gather X materials", "beat this super mega monster"....uh...."run around a bit, and something about items"...."all this shit, but reskinned for a new area"...Yea, looking back on it, I can't say I like the quests that much. They're less engaging and more a side activity you distract yourself with from time to time....even though there are so many of them you'd think the game made them its main feature. Confusing, that. Still, they're a reliable fountain of experience (which you'll definitely need, given the difficulty curve and the ridiculous deprecation of enemy EXP), and you do get all other kinds of cool shit from them, so I can see why you'd want to focus on them if that's your thing.

It's not my thing, though. My thing's the battle system...kinda. You see, I'm not into the actual mechanics of battle, although they are pretty good. Here's how things work: everybody shouts at the enemy, the game starts shouting status effects at you, and you spam all your arts until you have to wait for them all to recharge so you can do it again. During that time, you kinda just let the game play itself while you keep an eye on things. OK, to be fair, that's a gross oversimplification of the situation. There's actually a lot to pay attention to at any given time, and there is some strategy in which arts you bust out when and in what order you do it. Not that it's all about the arts; you also have to manage the future and chain attacks (by ignoring them because you could be reviving people instead), and Xenoblade gets enough mileage out of all these concepts to make things compelling and fun throughout. Especially so near the end, where every other battle takes twenty minutes to finish and you end up loving the game for it. Still, though, it's hard to deny how spammy a lot of the battles can get.

Achievement unlocked: emulated this on a console with actual achievements, because huh.

So what exactly do I like about the battles? Like the story, it's the characters....except Riki, obviously. See, here's the thing: the strategy's much more in the character selection than the actual battles. You can't just slap together any old party and mash enemies to death; you need proper stat management and abilities and gems and party member roles and a billion other things. Yes, that's a lot to keep track of, but it also means a lot of room for experimentation. You know, some proper motivation to try out all those different characters and abilities and whatnot. Along with deep strategy for any given situation, of course. My only major complaint is Shulk. I'm not saying that he's a bad character, but what with his future visions and all those completely necessary Monado arts, he's sticking around for the entire game, and chances are you'll only play as him. Not a big problem, but limiting nonetheless.

CHRIST, HOW DO I STILL HAVE MORE TO SAY ABOUT THIS GAME!? What haven't I cleared out yet...the graphics! Right, the graphics. The game looks like a 3D Vandal Hearts game (except people care about it), but that's OK, because it makes the game expressive as hell. It may not look it in the game, but come cutscene time, everybody's making full use of the emotional spectrum. It really is amazing how damn expressive the characters are. Story fights aside, the facial animations are probably the best thing to happen to the visual design. Hell, they even make up for the ridiculous character design! Unlike the rest of this blog, I'll be brief about these criticisms: the women are fan-servicey and the robot peoples become too Persona-y later in the game (those last words being a spoiler warning, of course). A bit disjarring, I must admit.

WHY WON'T THIS BLOG END ALREADY!?

Fuck, STILL MORE? What else could I possibly have? OK, so there are these things called Hearts to Hearts, and they're like support conversations, only harder to max out and generally more involved. Make for some cool moments/strange story moments and that's about it. Next up: menus are smooth, quick, and all around fantastic, but I guess to balance that out, the loading priorities for this game are kinda wonky. What do I mean by that? Start the game up, and the enemies load before your battle menu does, meaning you stand around taking damage like a dumbass until your arts pop up. Hopefully, that's the end of this behemoth.

LAST THING, I PROMISE. I forgot to mention that there are a few plot holes to deal with over the course of the story. It's hard to talk about them without spoiling the game, so I'll spoil the game.

  • First, less a plot hole and more just faulty wording, Shulk's major power is his ability to change the future. That's a pretty dumb power, given how anybody anywhere can do it ever. Then again, this is a pretty dumb complaint, so let's move onto the meatier criticisms.
  • OK, so there's this line late in the game that implies traitor-butthole Dickson is a Telethia...and then nothing becomes of it. The writers never address that there's one Telethia that looks like a giant and can become a human at will. Shouldn't that be a bit more important to the plot? The guy's a major villain at that point; I can't imagine glossing over huge details like that is a good idea. And on the subject of the giants...
  • How did the giants get wiped out? There are only two of them in the entire game. Were they the only two in existence? Or were they wiped out? Why isn't this ever explained? Am I just supposed to accept that Zanza created one or two giants and said "Eh, that's good. This world could use more Nopon, though"? At least with the Machina, we're told that they were all wiped out in the fight against Bionis and Mechonis. Speaking of the Machina...
  • Why did the Homs re-open Colony 6 as soon as humanly possible?...OK, some explanation. Colony 6 is a Mechon base of operations for a lot of the early story until Shulk and friends whip some Mechon ass. Mechon leave, Homs reclaim Colony 6, and they all survive for no explained reason. The place was sitting on top of an ether mine; you think the Mechon are going to give up an area of such strategic importance that easily? No! They're gonna come back in greater numbers and massacre any squatters hanging around. Weren't you all hiding in the first place specifically because this might happen? But that's not the worst. That belongs to...
  • HOW DID FIORA FUCKING COME BACK TO LIFE!? She got stabbed in the fucking stomach. How do you fix getting stabbed in nine vital organs with claws the size of I beams? And how did the Mechon drag her body back to Mechonopolis without arousing suspicion? During the inevitable clean-up, did nobody find it strange that Fiora's body was absolutely nowhere to be found? Doesn't that seem the least bit strange? I could assume that they didn't notice this immediately, since cleaning up after a major attack takes a while, but Dunban and Dickson tag up with you long after the event; I imagine that would give you enough time to notice something amiss about that whole "my sister died" thing. Granted, the game goes to great lengths to justify this plot twist, almost as if it's apologizing for doing something so stupid, but at the time, that's A LOT of disbelief to suspend. I had a hard time finding a rope strong enough for the job.

OK, we're done. I got the point across. No more Xenoblade writing. That's it. Except for the...

Desperately Needed Review Synopsis

  • I don't know what's better: the story or how it's presented.
  • Wait, I know the answer: ignoring Riki so I can mess around with other party members.
  • Oh, and something about sidequests and loading priorities. One of them is good, I think.
  • Was this Persona 4 all over again? Should I post my notes again? Because I'm sure I still have them.

Anybody else wish Riki was more like this?

Clock Tower

(Only now do I realize that this game serves as the perfect contrast to Xenoblade Chronicles.) Let's look at the facts: Xenoblade Chronicles contains enough mythos and story to begin its own culture; Clock Tower's entire script could fit on a cocktail napkin. Xenoblade takes an entire lifetime to complete; Clock Tower occupies a mere afternoon. I'm confident about my opinion of Xenoblade; and I have no goddamn clue what to think of Clock Tower.

For instance, the gameplay. Does it suffer the pitfalls of the survival horror genre, or does it make them entirely irrelevant? Somehow, both; it's the Schrodinger's Cat of video games, which is my way of telling you not to play it. Like Clock Tower bef....after it, Clock Tower (that Schrodinger comment is making more and more sense by the minute) is an adventure game that could use a mouse, but, for some reason, doesn't. Of course, this means that gameplay is completely slow, encumbered, clunky, and overall a pain to play. Coincidentally, that also describes the scenarios, which boil down to running around the Barrows mansion, grabbing the shiniest thing in the room and rubbing it on other in the vain hope something results of it. Granted, the game will bluntly tell you what is and isn't usable in a room, but it's still easy to miss a crucial part of the game and spend your time spraying the walls in insecticide. Yet it's not like I can fault the game too much for its gameplay. The solutions often make sense, and ham aside, all the things Jennifer picks up are things that would kinda make sense to have on her, given the situation (everything wants her dead). Besides, there's not much to this game in the first place, so it's rather difficult to be offended by the nothingness.

Like Hamburger Helper for video games.

In fact, that's what makes the game work so well: nothing........That's a good thing. See, I'm willing to forgive a survival horror game of its bad gameplay (because it's hard to find a survival horror game with good gameplay) if it has a decent story or atmosphere to make up for it, and this is where Clock Tower shines. First, remember that last sentence of that last paragraph? It applies to everything. You're pretty much the only thing on screen at any given time (ham aside), and about 95% of the sound in the game is just your footsteps. Nothing else. Clock Tower does an amazing job of making you feel like you're utterly alone.

Now this wouldn't be that scary if not for the second reason the atmosphere is so good: everything wants you to die. That innocent parrot in the master bedroom? He's a fucking snitch (who, in good playthroughs, gets stitches). That doll? It's gonna beat you to death? Come on, the piano, too? Yep; it summons Scissor Man, the murderer who lives in the ceiling. At this point, it's a life and death situation as you search for a hiding spot that might conceal you. Might. There's no guarantee he's gonna fall for it. (OK, there are a few that are guaranteed to work, but they're always on the opposite side of the mansion.) And that's what makes this game so great: not knowing if you're ever gonna be safe from Scissor Man, since he can pop out of anything and he can spot you in anything you hide in. Not to insult the rest of the game by comparison; since everything else can kill you, it creates the perfect tense mood that makes you question everything in sight, since anything can happen.

Unfortunately for this game, things happen, and that's it's greatest weakness. For you see, the game's so good at building up fearful anticipation that when it comes time to deliver on that fear, it throws its hands in the air in frustration. Why do you think I waited this long to mention the story? Because it's full of dumb shit like Mrs. Doubtfire killing her adoptive children or....whatever the fuck this is. Actually, that's a perfect metaphor for this game: pull back the curtain, and you're left with a lumpy-headed mess. Hell, even when it's genuinely scary, it's pretty stupid. I could talk about Scissor Man looking like some drunk man had his way with an angler fish, but instead, let's focus on that parrot. Yes, it screaming "I'll get you" is all kinds of unsettling, since it either suggests sentience or that it's the witness to a previous murder, but let's back up for a second: a young girl is being terrorized by a parrot. What, exactly, is scary about half the plot to Aladdin? The part where she stuffs it into some bedsheets, or the part where the parrot is voiced by Gilbert Gottfried?......Alright, point taken.

Review Synopsis

  • WHY AM I COLLECTING HAM?!
  • Is it to appease Baron Underbheit and hope he doesn't stab me to death?
  • Wait a minute, I'd believe that. After all, the game's actually pretty frickin' scary.

*passes out from exhaustion*

51 Comments
52 Comments
  • 52 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by Video_Game_King

Xenoblade Chronicles

(And yet another game goes down in the Operation R...wait, that's not a thing I'm doing!) That's Humble Indie Bundle only! Anyway, I've knocked out one Operation Rainfall game, am almost certainly playing another as we speak, and the third has yet to get an American release. And after finishing Xenoblade Chronicles, I have to ask this of you, Nintendo: what do you have against good games? Why did it take you as long as it did to release this in America?

Was it the voice acting? The fear of having to dub all that dialogue?....OK, that's a legitimate complaint, and for reasons other than hammy Cockney robots. Dear goood, is this a noisy game. Now I'm not necessarily saying that there are a ton of cutscenes to plow through (although there are a lot of cutscenes), but this game does not know when to shut the fuck up. Battles quickly devolve into shouting matches, and it doesn't get better outside battle. In fact, with the right party, you can trigger long-ass conversations at the end of each battle, like the game swallowed everything in the medicine cabinet and is afraid it's gonna die if it ever stops talking. Hell, there's even an entire gameplay mechanic dedicated solely to characters yelling at each other until the game decides you've had enough. Just shut up, game! You don't need to fill every second of the experience with noise. It just gets grating and annoying really fast, overshadowing the finer aspects of the game.

And the environments look amazing, too.

Like the music. Is this really any surprise? It was composed by Yoko Shimomura, and it shows. She really knows how to amplify all those emotional moments in the game. Sad moments will make you depressed because you ran out of tears for crying; happy moments will make you completely forget those sad moments so you have enough tears for the next sad moment; somber moments will....do whatever the hell somber moments are supposed to do, I guess. And should you get into battle? Gear up, asshole, because shit is about to go down. (Consider my swearing a display of passion.) Overall, it's gonna take a while for another RPG to come along and beat this game's soundtrack, presumably because Ms. Shimomura's working very hard on the next hit RPG so-

Oh, wait. This is an RPG. I'm supposed to begin with the story. Well, let's pretend that the previous several paragraphs were special thanks to...uh...Yoko Shimomura, I guess. Anyway, the story. Now Xenoblade Chronicles is part of the Xeno-whatever series, a series known primarily for one thing: robots whacking each other about while waxing Nietzsche. Xenoblade is no different, deciding to finish things off with robot beatings, Nietzschean vagueries, and a plot that branches out into the worryingly insane every other cutscene. Unfortunately, that's all at the end, and to get there, you have to get through some slow-building, melodramatic cliches. Nothing terribly offensive, mind you. However let's just say that I was able to jokingly yet accurately predict lines of dialogue far more often than I'm comfortable admitting. But you know what? Persevere. Push through. It's gonna be worth it in the end. Yes, you'll end up fighting the personification of Panzer Dragoon, yet it all works. So many themes, and so many of them developed so well. Ubermensch, Gaia theory, fate, bonds with others, religion, cyclical...ness...It's all adds up in a satisfying way, is what I'm saying.

I cannot believe in a god who wants to be praised all the time.

And that's not even getting into the characters. There are just so many memorable characters in this game. You got your plucky young hero Shulk, the even better hero Dunban, the "I'm too rich to inflect emotion" Melia, Kanji "Takes No Shit" Tatsumi, Holmes (who takes even less shit), etc. Again, I said that with all of Melia's enthusiasm, but the cast has more than enough chemistry to create some memorable moemnts. Better still, everybody (well, almost everybody, but more on that in a bit) gets their own piece of the story for some nice development. We start off with good buds Shulk and Reyn, move onto Sharla, then M.....it's a lot more natural than I make it out to be. There are reasons why the characters get development when they get it, and it's hard to call any of it forced or unnatural. Hell, even the villain gets one of these awesome moments, transforming him from a cliche to a being with depth and plausibility. Almost the perfect analogy for this game.

The only real bad character is fluffy comic relief Riki. I don't care how useful he is in battle (mainly because I refused to swap him in); the guy's got annoying speech patterns and...no, that's pretty much the only reason I don't like him. I know that sounds petty, but...just listen to him. (Is it racist that the most annoying character in the game is the only one without a British accent?) You may wish to stop reading this blog right now so you can replace your thoroughly burnt computer speakers. There is a bright side to this, though: the story is absolutely determined to ignore not only him, but his entire shitty species, giving them absolutely no role in the story whatsoever. Even when it looks like they're going to give them relevance with the Trinity thing, the writers snub them like the plague. Did I say it all works out in the end? Because that's all the proof you need.

I can't tell if it's overwhelming him or if he's just really in the groove of things. Anybody wanna clarify?

Oh, wait. This is a video game. I'm supposed to talk about the game-y parts at some point, aren't I? Like the quests. Hey, why didn't I takl about the quests in this game? You'd think they'd show up earlier, since there are more quests there than there are words here. I'd say that's enough to keep you busy for a while, but that's completely ignoring what these quests are. So what are they? Let's see, there's "kill X monsters", "gather X materials", "beat this super mega monster"....uh...."run around a bit, and something about items"...."all this shit, but reskinned for a new area"...Yea, looking back on it, I can't say I like the quests that much. They're less engaging and more a side activity you distract yourself with from time to time....even though there are so many of them you'd think the game made them its main feature. Confusing, that. Still, they're a reliable fountain of experience (which you'll definitely need, given the difficulty curve and the ridiculous deprecation of enemy EXP), and you do get all other kinds of cool shit from them, so I can see why you'd want to focus on them if that's your thing.

It's not my thing, though. My thing's the battle system...kinda. You see, I'm not into the actual mechanics of battle, although they are pretty good. Here's how things work: everybody shouts at the enemy, the game starts shouting status effects at you, and you spam all your arts until you have to wait for them all to recharge so you can do it again. During that time, you kinda just let the game play itself while you keep an eye on things. OK, to be fair, that's a gross oversimplification of the situation. There's actually a lot to pay attention to at any given time, and there is some strategy in which arts you bust out when and in what order you do it. Not that it's all about the arts; you also have to manage the future and chain attacks (by ignoring them because you could be reviving people instead), and Xenoblade gets enough mileage out of all these concepts to make things compelling and fun throughout. Especially so near the end, where every other battle takes twenty minutes to finish and you end up loving the game for it. Still, though, it's hard to deny how spammy a lot of the battles can get.

Achievement unlocked: emulated this on a console with actual achievements, because huh.

So what exactly do I like about the battles? Like the story, it's the characters....except Riki, obviously. See, here's the thing: the strategy's much more in the character selection than the actual battles. You can't just slap together any old party and mash enemies to death; you need proper stat management and abilities and gems and party member roles and a billion other things. Yes, that's a lot to keep track of, but it also means a lot of room for experimentation. You know, some proper motivation to try out all those different characters and abilities and whatnot. Along with deep strategy for any given situation, of course. My only major complaint is Shulk. I'm not saying that he's a bad character, but what with his future visions and all those completely necessary Monado arts, he's sticking around for the entire game, and chances are you'll only play as him. Not a big problem, but limiting nonetheless.

CHRIST, HOW DO I STILL HAVE MORE TO SAY ABOUT THIS GAME!? What haven't I cleared out yet...the graphics! Right, the graphics. The game looks like a 3D Vandal Hearts game (except people care about it), but that's OK, because it makes the game expressive as hell. It may not look it in the game, but come cutscene time, everybody's making full use of the emotional spectrum. It really is amazing how damn expressive the characters are. Story fights aside, the facial animations are probably the best thing to happen to the visual design. Hell, they even make up for the ridiculous character design! Unlike the rest of this blog, I'll be brief about these criticisms: the women are fan-servicey and the robot peoples become too Persona-y later in the game (those last words being a spoiler warning, of course). A bit disjarring, I must admit.

WHY WON'T THIS BLOG END ALREADY!?

Fuck, STILL MORE? What else could I possibly have? OK, so there are these things called Hearts to Hearts, and they're like support conversations, only harder to max out and generally more involved. Make for some cool moments/strange story moments and that's about it. Next up: menus are smooth, quick, and all around fantastic, but I guess to balance that out, the loading priorities for this game are kinda wonky. What do I mean by that? Start the game up, and the enemies load before your battle menu does, meaning you stand around taking damage like a dumbass until your arts pop up. Hopefully, that's the end of this behemoth.

LAST THING, I PROMISE. I forgot to mention that there are a few plot holes to deal with over the course of the story. It's hard to talk about them without spoiling the game, so I'll spoil the game.

  • First, less a plot hole and more just faulty wording, Shulk's major power is his ability to change the future. That's a pretty dumb power, given how anybody anywhere can do it ever. Then again, this is a pretty dumb complaint, so let's move onto the meatier criticisms.
  • OK, so there's this line late in the game that implies traitor-butthole Dickson is a Telethia...and then nothing becomes of it. The writers never address that there's one Telethia that looks like a giant and can become a human at will. Shouldn't that be a bit more important to the plot? The guy's a major villain at that point; I can't imagine glossing over huge details like that is a good idea. And on the subject of the giants...
  • How did the giants get wiped out? There are only two of them in the entire game. Were they the only two in existence? Or were they wiped out? Why isn't this ever explained? Am I just supposed to accept that Zanza created one or two giants and said "Eh, that's good. This world could use more Nopon, though"? At least with the Machina, we're told that they were all wiped out in the fight against Bionis and Mechonis. Speaking of the Machina...
  • Why did the Homs re-open Colony 6 as soon as humanly possible?...OK, some explanation. Colony 6 is a Mechon base of operations for a lot of the early story until Shulk and friends whip some Mechon ass. Mechon leave, Homs reclaim Colony 6, and they all survive for no explained reason. The place was sitting on top of an ether mine; you think the Mechon are going to give up an area of such strategic importance that easily? No! They're gonna come back in greater numbers and massacre any squatters hanging around. Weren't you all hiding in the first place specifically because this might happen? But that's not the worst. That belongs to...
  • HOW DID FIORA FUCKING COME BACK TO LIFE!? She got stabbed in the fucking stomach. How do you fix getting stabbed in nine vital organs with claws the size of I beams? And how did the Mechon drag her body back to Mechonopolis without arousing suspicion? During the inevitable clean-up, did nobody find it strange that Fiora's body was absolutely nowhere to be found? Doesn't that seem the least bit strange? I could assume that they didn't notice this immediately, since cleaning up after a major attack takes a while, but Dunban and Dickson tag up with you long after the event; I imagine that would give you enough time to notice something amiss about that whole "my sister died" thing. Granted, the game goes to great lengths to justify this plot twist, almost as if it's apologizing for doing something so stupid, but at the time, that's A LOT of disbelief to suspend. I had a hard time finding a rope strong enough for the job.

OK, we're done. I got the point across. No more Xenoblade writing. That's it. Except for the...

Desperately Needed Review Synopsis

  • I don't know what's better: the story or how it's presented.
  • Wait, I know the answer: ignoring Riki so I can mess around with other party members.
  • Oh, and something about sidequests and loading priorities. One of them is good, I think.
  • Was this Persona 4 all over again? Should I post my notes again? Because I'm sure I still have them.

Anybody else wish Riki was more like this?

Clock Tower

(Only now do I realize that this game serves as the perfect contrast to Xenoblade Chronicles.) Let's look at the facts: Xenoblade Chronicles contains enough mythos and story to begin its own culture; Clock Tower's entire script could fit on a cocktail napkin. Xenoblade takes an entire lifetime to complete; Clock Tower occupies a mere afternoon. I'm confident about my opinion of Xenoblade; and I have no goddamn clue what to think of Clock Tower.

For instance, the gameplay. Does it suffer the pitfalls of the survival horror genre, or does it make them entirely irrelevant? Somehow, both; it's the Schrodinger's Cat of video games, which is my way of telling you not to play it. Like Clock Tower bef....after it, Clock Tower (that Schrodinger comment is making more and more sense by the minute) is an adventure game that could use a mouse, but, for some reason, doesn't. Of course, this means that gameplay is completely slow, encumbered, clunky, and overall a pain to play. Coincidentally, that also describes the scenarios, which boil down to running around the Barrows mansion, grabbing the shiniest thing in the room and rubbing it on other in the vain hope something results of it. Granted, the game will bluntly tell you what is and isn't usable in a room, but it's still easy to miss a crucial part of the game and spend your time spraying the walls in insecticide. Yet it's not like I can fault the game too much for its gameplay. The solutions often make sense, and ham aside, all the things Jennifer picks up are things that would kinda make sense to have on her, given the situation (everything wants her dead). Besides, there's not much to this game in the first place, so it's rather difficult to be offended by the nothingness.

Like Hamburger Helper for video games.

In fact, that's what makes the game work so well: nothing........That's a good thing. See, I'm willing to forgive a survival horror game of its bad gameplay (because it's hard to find a survival horror game with good gameplay) if it has a decent story or atmosphere to make up for it, and this is where Clock Tower shines. First, remember that last sentence of that last paragraph? It applies to everything. You're pretty much the only thing on screen at any given time (ham aside), and about 95% of the sound in the game is just your footsteps. Nothing else. Clock Tower does an amazing job of making you feel like you're utterly alone.

Now this wouldn't be that scary if not for the second reason the atmosphere is so good: everything wants you to die. That innocent parrot in the master bedroom? He's a fucking snitch (who, in good playthroughs, gets stitches). That doll? It's gonna beat you to death? Come on, the piano, too? Yep; it summons Scissor Man, the murderer who lives in the ceiling. At this point, it's a life and death situation as you search for a hiding spot that might conceal you. Might. There's no guarantee he's gonna fall for it. (OK, there are a few that are guaranteed to work, but they're always on the opposite side of the mansion.) And that's what makes this game so great: not knowing if you're ever gonna be safe from Scissor Man, since he can pop out of anything and he can spot you in anything you hide in. Not to insult the rest of the game by comparison; since everything else can kill you, it creates the perfect tense mood that makes you question everything in sight, since anything can happen.

Unfortunately for this game, things happen, and that's it's greatest weakness. For you see, the game's so good at building up fearful anticipation that when it comes time to deliver on that fear, it throws its hands in the air in frustration. Why do you think I waited this long to mention the story? Because it's full of dumb shit like Mrs. Doubtfire killing her adoptive children or....whatever the fuck this is. Actually, that's a perfect metaphor for this game: pull back the curtain, and you're left with a lumpy-headed mess. Hell, even when it's genuinely scary, it's pretty stupid. I could talk about Scissor Man looking like some drunk man had his way with an angler fish, but instead, let's focus on that parrot. Yes, it screaming "I'll get you" is all kinds of unsettling, since it either suggests sentience or that it's the witness to a previous murder, but let's back up for a second: a young girl is being terrorized by a parrot. What, exactly, is scary about half the plot to Aladdin? The part where she stuffs it into some bedsheets, or the part where the parrot is voiced by Gilbert Gottfried?......Alright, point taken.

Review Synopsis

  • WHY AM I COLLECTING HAM?!
  • Is it to appease Baron Underbheit and hope he doesn't stab me to death?
  • Wait a minute, I'd believe that. After all, the game's actually pretty frickin' scary.

*passes out from exhaustion*

Posted by pyromagnestir

Is that a shotgun sword I see? Fuck, I might have to play that game, mightn't I?

Online
Posted by Ravenlight

Next time on Renegade Ego: The King plays every pornographic variant of the Xenosaga games and a hacked ROM of Clock Tower where the scissor guy is naked.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@pyromagnestir:

I don't remember any shotgun swords. This ain't FF8. If you're talking about the Monado, though, it's still pretty damn awesome. It's like a Keyblade with time travel instead of key.

@Ravenlight said:

a hacked ROM of Clock Tower where the scissor guy is naked.

Review Synopsis

  • That scissor guy should be more scared of those scissors than I am.
  • Where is she stuffing that ham?
  • No, seriously; WHERE IS SHE STUFFING THAT HAM!?
Edited by Mento

I hadn't realized until I started playing Borderlands 2 that Xenoblade's achievement system is in some way inspired by Borderlands's challenges, insofar as they're all little inconsequential milestones that grant bonus XP when you hit them. There's a lot of neat touches that it borrows from Western games, and that's kind of where I see Japanese games going in the next few years - experiments combining Japanese weirdness with down-to-earth Western ideas to creates products that appeal to both markets. Xenoblade isn't the first to take that route, but it's definitely an exemplar. Of course, then you also get stuff like Resident Evil 6 so I don't even know if this'll work out in the long run. It'll take a lot of talented people to combine two disparate styles like that effectively, clearly.

I never played Clock Tower, but I saw Arino eke his way through the thing and that's sufficient for me. I don't expect it'll be the last time I hear about that series this month, either. Guess we'll see what Patrick is doing with that hinted horror series. (Though on a sad note, I believe Clock Tower was the game that stymied the Fear Gauntlet's progress. Man do I wish and could find a way to finish that thing somehow.)

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King

@Mento said:

Of course, then you also get stuff like Resident Evil 6 so I don't even know if this'll work out in the long run.

And The Last Story. Can't forget that. (That's the only relevant thing I can contribute to this. I bet you can guess why.)

(Though on a sad note, I believe Clock Tower was the game that stymied the Fear Gauntlet's progress. Man do I wish and could find a way to finish that thing somehow.)

Which Clock Tower? Because there are tons of them, and only one of them has been any good, so far.

Edited by Mento

@Video_Game_King: From what I can remember it was the original one, and it appeared on that rolling tombstone marquee at the start of each episode. I don't believe any of the Clock Towers, irrespective of their varying levels of quality, are easy to track down.

You really didn't like Last Story? I kind of dug its inventiveness and odd charm. Ah well, opinions. I do think Mistwalker gets slightly better with each release, so I'm hoping they stick around. Maybe they'll eventually end up making a game that everyone will like.

ETA: is referring to Dickson's sword, which is more a sword-rifle in the way he uses it at long- and close-range. And while I'm at it:

  • No-one can change the future with any certainty, because no-one else is able to predict it like Shulk can. I agree that there can be some arbitrary moments at times with Shulk's ability to Schrodinger his way out of anything.
  • Nah, that was just poor wording. Zanza suddenly realized that Dickson and Lorithia had bought the farm, and that subsequently the Telethia were falling (presumably because they don't have anyone leading them any more). It was just to establish that he was becoming aware that he had lost his support and couldn't just God Mode his way through that fight.
  • Nope, no other giants. They got wiped out at some point in the past (I'd assume a previous Telethia cleansing) and the only other one was spared because he was working for Zanza. I'm not sure the game ever suggests that there were Homs or Nopon prior to the most recent Telethia cleansing. There's probably been all sorts of sentient lifeforms.
  • Yeah, I... yeah. Game was in a hurry to get that whole side-quest started, I suppose. Would've made more sense to wait until the High Entia had their backs and they could build without that worry.
  • They have the technology, they can rebuild her? As for the missing body, it seems like common knowledge that every dead person in a Mechonis attack ends up "eaten" by them, so I guess they assumed she got ate too. The little ones were all over her after Metal Face shanked the poor lass.
Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King

@Mento:

I imagine they mean the PS1 one, unless they specified "The First Fear", given that rename thing and whatnot. Kinda glad that Final Fantasy VII kinda forced developers to be consistent with their damn series number.

That's a blog for another day, because my commentary says that I'm still playing it. (Clearly, I'm not.)

Posted by Slag

Hunh funny timing, I just beat Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment earlier this week.

I'm not seeing the Vandal Hearts look in Xenoblade that you see, but I hope that's not true. The last Vandal Hearts game had a really weird low-budget half chibi look going on. Nobody had a neck in that game.

Edited by Video_Game_King

@Slag said:

I'm not seeing the Vandal Hearts look in Xenoblade that you see

Have you played the first Vandal Hearts? Because it looks a lot like Xenoblade.

Posted by PillClinton

Dude, you need to figure out how to get payed for this stuff.

Posted by Video_Game_King
Posted by Slag

@Video_Game_King: Yeah I have, love that game probably more than I should. Was the third SRPG I ever played. That's why I was so bummed by Flames of Judgement.

I guess that character does look like Diego a bit. I can buy that. But the clothing and environments seem to have a different more Final Fantasy aesthetic to me.

Posted by PillClinton

@Video_Game_King: I'll pick Response 3 e'ry time.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Slag:

I was mostly focusing on the faces. My first response, upon seeing them, was "Jesus fuck, that's Vandal Hearts!"

Posted by asian_pride

Holy shit, Yoko Shimomura did the soundtrack for Xenoblade? Huh, didn't know that. She's an awesome composer. Recently just played Radiant Historia, and it had an excellent soundtrack.

Still, I don't know. All the hype (well, hype's a bit of a stretch) surrounding this game; how this is "one of the best JRPG's of all time" and all that kinda rubs me the wrong way. Hell I can't even open a GameInformer magazine without them praising Xenoblade Chronicles in an article or two. Just everything I've seen on that game doesn't scream 'awesome' to me. Right now, I'm just waiting for the price to go down a bit more before actually considering trying it out and see if I end up agreeing with the people who give it a lot of praise.

Also, lol I thought I was the only one who went to howlongtobeat.com. Found that site by accident, too.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@asian_pride said:

Holy shit, Yoko Shimomura did the soundtrack for Xenoblade? Huh, didn't know that.

How? Her style is pretty distinctive.

Still, I don't know. All the hype (well, hype's a bit of a stretch) surrounding this game; how this is "one of the best JRPG's of all time" and all that kinda rubs me the wrong way.

Wait, best? It's awesome, but certainly not the best. A couple of those plot twists alone keep it from that goal. Still, I'd say it's a pretty cool game, from what I remember. I'm not gonna list off reasons why, because if you want those, there's an entire treatise hanging above your avatar for that very reason.

Posted by Turambar
@pyromagnestir said:

Is that a shotgun sword I see? Fuck, I might have to play that game, mightn't I?

Dickson isn't a playable character sadly.
Posted by Video_Game_King

@Turambar said:

@pyromagnestir said:

Is that a shotgun sword I see? Fuck, I might have to play that game, mightn't I?

Dickson isn't a playable character sadly.

Isn't he playable at the absolute beginning for all of three minutes? Or was it some other guy?

Edited by Turambar
@Video_Game_King said:

@Turambar said:

@pyromagnestir said:

Is that a shotgun sword I see? Fuck, I might have to play that game, mightn't I?

Dickson isn't a playable character sadly.

Isn't he playable at the absolute beginning for all of three minutes? Or was it some other guy?

He's also playable for that one single fight when Dunbad first comes back.  That's about it.  Speaking of which, does Dunbad ever get another sword that works against mechonis armor?  Kinda dumb that only his shitty default sword has that ability.
Posted by Video_Game_King

@Turambar said:

Speaking of which, does Dunbad ever get another sword that works against mechonis armor?

Not to my memory, but he does manage to harm them on his own just by being awesome. (That's what I could gather. He hit them on the head, and they yelled, "Oi! That done hurt, even though it don't agree wit tha plot. See ya soon, then.") Oh, and two things:

  • His first sword is the Monado.
  • His name is Dunban, even though I want it to be Dunbad so I can completely misunderstand the plot to Superbad.
Posted by Napalm

How do you play so many games?

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Napalm said:

How do you play so many games?

My crown grants me powers you could not comprehend.

Posted by asian_pride

I wasn't really focused on that part of the game when I first saw it, so I didn't pay the music much attention. And I'm not the one who said it though. I've been hearing some people say it's one of the best they've ever played, but didn't see it.

Posted by Dalai

I haven't endured anything this long since Xenoblade Chronicles.

And you forgot about the whole affinity thing where you're rewarded for talking to everybody way too much and prying into people's personal business for no reason.

Edited by pyromagnestir

@Turambar said:

@Video_Game_King said:

@Turambar said:

@pyromagnestir said:

Is that a shotgun sword I see? Fuck, I might have to play that game, mightn't I?

Dickson isn't a playable character sadly.

Isn't he playable at the absolute beginning for all of three minutes? Or was it some other guy?

He's also playable for that one single fight when Dunbad first comes back. That's about it. Speaking of which, does Dunbad ever get another sword that works against mechonis armor? Kinda dumb that only his shitty default sword has that ability.

Well these revelations are somewhat disappointing. Still, I'm likely play this game. Or perhaps it's more accurate to say I'm likely to buy this game, as whether or not I play the games I buy is another matter, entirely. At least it has been recently.

Online
Posted by mylifeforAiur

It's good to see that you eventually got around to playing the actual Clock Tower that I recommended a lifetime ago.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

If I were to ever buy another wii game, I would probably buy Skyward Sword. If I were to buy a wii game after that, I would probably buy Super Mario Galaxy 2 (borrowed it from a friend but never finished it). However, if I were to buy another wii game after that, I would certainly purchase Xenoblade. It seems genuinely cool and probably a JRPG I'd be into, despite complaints I've heard about it's length, and how it apparently starts dragging a bit after the halfway mark.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Dalai said:

And you forgot about the whole affinity thing where you're rewarded for talking to everybody way too much and prying into people's personal business for no reason.

Did I? I think it's because I forgot that shit when I was actually playing the game.

@mylifeforAiur said:

It's good to see that you eventually got around to playing the actual Clock Tower that I recommended a lifetime ago.

You recommended it to me? It has to have been a long time ago, since I can't remember anything of the like.

@ArbitraryWater said:

how it apparently starts dragging a bit after the halfway mark.

It d-OK, OK, I'll respond with something other than a question. To that, I'd say....maybe? I mean, the plot does kinda slow down a bit after you get Dunban in your party, but then all that Prison Island shit happens.

Posted by Claude

Nintendo fixed my Wii. I can play Xenoblade Chronicles now. The fuck is wrong with me.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Claude said:

Nintendo fixed my Wii. I can play Xenoblade Chronicles now. The fuck is wrong with me.

This technically isn't a haiku, but you're Claude. If it vaguely looks like a haiku and you wrote it, it's a goddamn haiku.

Posted by Claude
@Video_Game_King said:

@Claude said:

Nintendo fixed my Wii. I can play Xenoblade Chronicles now. The fuck is wrong with me.

This technically isn't a haiku, but you're Claude. If it vaguely looks like a haiku and you wrote it, it's a goddamn haiku.

I was just writing. Any semblance to other. Was an accident.
Posted by Mento

@Claude: What would you even call an accidental haiku? A haikup?

: If the game slows down halfway through it's probably because you've spent 50 hours at it already and are starting to feel the burn. Some folk purport that reaching the other giant robot is where the game spins its wheels for a while, but it's also the point where the game does the Grandia thing in that the music suddenly gets even better so I don't even know. It's very absorbing.

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King

@Mento said:

@Claude: What would you even call an accidental haiku? A haikup?

俳不. Fun fact: in older Japanse, it'd be pronounced waifu, because Japanese is kinda sexist.

Posted by mylifeforAiur

@Video_Game_King: It's nice to know that I leave an impression. :I

Posted by Video_Game_King

@mylifeforAiur:

So it was recent?

Posted by mylifeforAiur

@Video_Game_King: No, it was quite awhile ago. Do you remember the last Clock Tower game you played? The PS1 game? It was at about that time. It doesn't really matter; I'm just glad that you enjoyed your experience with the game.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@mylifeforAiur said:

Do you remember the last Clock Tower game you played? The PS1 game?

WHY DID YOU HAVE TO REMIND ME OF THAT TORTURE!?

Posted by JackSukeru

Pokemon would be so much better if they dubbed Pikachu's voice over like that.

Sorry, I didn't read most of the rest of your blog because I still hold out the faint hope that'll I'll one day go back and finish this game.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@JackSukeru said:

Sorry, I didn't read most of the rest of your blog because I still hold out the faint hope that'll I'll one day go back and finish this game.

I know the feeling. For instance, I'm currently playing Assassin's Creed: Revelations (literally as I type), and I'm gonna hate the end of this month and beginning of next.

Edited by Karkarov

Why do you have a problem with the heropon? You would be a tad bit freaking crazy and talk like an infantile gibbering lunatic too if you had eight kids and the pokemon version of Paris Hilton for a wife. For christ sake you can dress him up in tiger pajama's! It is just too cute I tell ya!

That said I agree about the Fiona thing, I wanted the Mechonis's other arm to collapse and land on her face. There is also a similar appearance in the nose area to the original Vandal Hearts, I think it is just a coincidence though.

Edit: Technically everyone gets anti Mechon weapon's eventually so Dunban does get another mechon killing sword even if it isn't the Monada, just sayin...

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Karkarov:

VGKpon already explain his problems with stupid mascot character with annoying speech patterns.

I think you mean Fiora. That's the second time somebody's messed up the names in this blog. Sooner or later, will tell me about how he wished Maria and Starla would interact more in the plot.

Posted by Karkarov

@Video_Game_King said:

@Karkarov:

VGKpon already explain his problems with stupid mascot character with annoying speech patterns.

I think you mean Fiora. That's the second time somebody's messed up the names in this blog. Sooner or later, will tell me about how he wished Maria and Starla would interact more in the plot.

Yeah that's what typing in a hurry gets you. I may have also repressed memories about her due to my never ending dislike of her character. She served as a vastly superior plot point when she was still dead, hence I wanted her to return to that state quite a bit.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Karkarov:

I'd say the plot point paid off, but only because it felt like they were apologizing for it the whole time.

Posted by laserbolts

Dare I dust off the wii? It is tempting since I have missed basically every game that has come out for it since Twilight Princess. Any other wii games I should check out king?

Posted by Video_Game_King

@laserbolts:

Off the top of my head, there's Fragile Dreams, Zack & Wiki, Elebits, Skyward Sword, the Mario games, Trauma Center, Okami, those RE light gun things were pretty good, Metroid....there are other things, but not off the top of my head.

Posted by Karkarov

@laserbolts: If you have a copy of Xenoblade Chronicles you definitely should.

@Video_Game_King: Fair enough, you will understand if I would have still preferred the Mechonis's other arm crushing her into a fine greasy red paste though. She was getting in the way of my Melia x Shulk fanfic after all. Now that I am thinking about it I also have the horrid image of Reyn screaming "It's Reyn time!" while mostly naked and charging Sharla. Yeah pardon me while I go head butt a brick wall.

Posted by laserbolts

Thanks sounds like I have alot of catching up to do. My wrists will be huge in a couple months. Have you played the Donkey Kong game that came out for wii? If so would you recommend? I love me some Donkey Kong.

Posted by laserbolts

Oh and epic yarn too. Now that I look back at it the wii actually had quite a few games I would like to check out.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@laserbolts:

How could I forget Donkey Kong? That shit's awesome, although some of the levels will kick your ass.

  • 52 results
  • 1
  • 2