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ZombiePie

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It's FANTASTIC people are in love with this game and its characters. I cannot deny the characters and their characterization in the story are totally enjoyable. For the most part, it's a partial return to form for Fire Emblem after the 3DS follies.

Nonetheless, this game is probably my note to walk away on the franchise. Maybe more on that another time, but either way, great blog!

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I tried watching this live when you played it, completely failed to understand even one minute of what-the-fuckery, and now I feel like I understand it even less. I am actually dumber for having consumed this much Hatoful Boyfriend content. Thank you, ZombiePie. Whatever hell you subjugate us all to next, may it end with you just hammering our heads into concrete.

Trust me, I have now played this storyline twice, and I don't think I entirely understand what it is trying to accomplish. That said, parts of this game remind me of your horror novels where shit hits the fan out of nowhere and there's no turning back.

Having watched you play this live, this game really does leave all of its weirdest fuckery behind this hidden, literal 5-hour-long route. At some point it just turns into Akira, and that's neat.

Does that make me Tetsuo? Aw, shit....

This seems to take it way farther, but would you put all of this ending in the same camp as Doki Doki Literature Club? They both skewer the genre in a weird way, but I’ve found it impossible to explain these games to casual gaming friends who don’t have a passing familiarity with typical dating visual novel games, so the subversion/deconstruction of the genre is lost on them.

So, there's a lot the differentiates Hatoful Boyfriend from Doki Doki Literature Club. For one, as you can see in ArbitraryWater's comment, the game's real reason for being is locked behind a 5-hour-long route you cannot access until after you play a normal-ass anime visual novel. Additionally, while I love Doki Doki Literature Club, I don't think that game is engaged in a hostile critique of a genre. It certainly subverts the genre it is working with, don't get me wrong. But in the end, it uses a genre that you would not expect to descend into madness to provide some of the most gripping and creepy moments I have seen in a modern video game. Finally, Hatoful Boyfriend doesn't stop being a visual novel.

I guess the best way to describe these sorts of games is to call them psychological thrillers, but that moniker has been basically run into the ground. Even I struggle to describe films that pro-actively attempt to deconstruct a genre. So, your guess is as good as mine.

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@flstyle said:

I'm going to wish you the best of luck and check out of these blogs, I don't need my fandom of XII validating but I don't need to read thousands of words shitting on it either.

So... I know this comment is old and wanted to respect it for sharing a perspective that does not mimic my own. That said, it's fucking WILD how much better this game gets in its final act. Holy crap, I think I'm actually starting to enjoy this game. And I don't just mean that I'm having fun playing the game, but, the characters and story all somewhat redeem themselves in the final two acts.

In the end, here's where I am: I think this game has one of the most significant mid-way turnarounds I have ever seen in a video game.

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@zombiepie: Gridman was a great show though :( Darling in the Franxx they only had a small hand in, mecha designs and stuff like that along with some parts of the first few episodes. Most of that show was A-1 Studios, I believe. I'd still say that show was solid until the last two episodes though.

I'm not a fan of Gridman. That show spends too much of its time faffing about and not moving the story forward. Also, the way Rikka, and most of the female characters in the show is shot to place extra emphasis on her butt or chest is gross.

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Look, I'm going to preface this long-winded diatribe by saying if you like Kill la Kill, you do you. If the flashy visuals or over-the-top character designs "speak to you" even at a superficial level, don't let my post in any way stop you from finding joy in this Sisyphean Torment we call "life." Again, you do you. Don't let a barely passable amateur blogger like myself disturb your chi.

What I can say, from the bottom of my heart, is Kill la Kill is one of the worst AAA budget animes I have ever seen my entire life. In fact, the show is one of many examples of Trigger not being able to graft their creative ideas to a full-fledged show. Kill la Kill's pacing is atrocious; it loses steam by its sixth episode; Ryuko Matoi is a bland and boring character; it never knows what it wants to be; everything about Ragyo Kiryuin in the story is gross; the late-season plot twist is dumb; the humor is totally out of place; there are entire episodes which are a waste of your goddamned time; it ends in a cavalcade of hot nonsense.

And the worst part is, most of the show feels less like a cohesive story and more a series of vignettes from Trigger's "playbook." When you stop and think about it, the show is creatively bankrupt. To illustrate, it has a tournament arc in the middle of its only season, because that's the only way Trigger could think of to pit Matoi against the student council. Kill la Kill's finale is so obviously their attempt at emulating the ending of Gurren Lagann it's laughable. Seriously, if Kill la Kill were a music artist, it would DJ Khaled. All it does is assemble a bunch of good ideas from other shows and applies a shiny coat of paint and filters so they cannot get sued.

It's a TRAVESTY this show won our community "Anime of the Year" award, something TWICE! And I didn't even talk about the internet zeitgeist when the show first came out, and everyone was saying it was "going to save anime." Yeah, about that. Last year, Trigger made the worst anime of 2018! YOU BOUGHT SNAKE OIL, YOU FOOLS!

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Woof... it's been a while since I responded to some of teh comments on my blog, so, let's go ahead and do that!

@crommi said:
@arbitrarywater said:

I think the reason I've never gotten super far in FF XII is its length and faux-MMO design more than anything else. I've increasingly found that the JRPGs I do attach to are either more mechanically interesting, or better with their "meaningful" content, for as much as I like concepts like the Gambit system.

It does not help that (imo) the overall style and visual design of FF12 is just boring. I've played through the main series games from FF4 to FF13-LR and I can still easily describe the early scenes and storypoints of every single game except FF12 which only brings flasbacks of brown sewers and I cannot remember a damn thing about the story even after reading ZP's blogs about it.

I think that's the biggest shame about FF12's monotone art design. Some of the skyboxes are certainly impressive and I certainly enjoy the game's diverse races, but all of that feels like window dressing. When over half the game involves fighting trash mobs in non-descript locals, the actual memorable moments in the story begin to fall to the wayside. Which is a shame, because the final act of FF12 is incredibly exhilarating. That, and, the game has one of the better conclusions I have seen in the Final Fantasy franchise.

@vamino said:

I have always held turn-based combat fits the immediate needs of the single-player Final Fantasy games better than free form real-time combat. Ultimately, I find planning attacks on a timeline or timed-meter to be more contusive to role-playing than automating characters using an algorithm.

Couldn't agree with this more, and not just for Final Fantasy games. The biggest disappointment to me with JRPGs since really the 360 era is that they moved so heavily into real time combat and it's just not what I'm looking for.

The slowness of FF12 is the thing that really gets to me. Back in the day, I always thought it was a PAL thing. If you can imagine playing this game somehow EVER SLOWER than the Japanese/US original release. I never got past about ten hours in. It's great that the new Zodiac versions have the fast forward function, but horrible that that's a solution to kind of terrible dungeons.

It's not that I hate real-time combat. I love me some Diablo or any modern CRPG. The issue is that Sqaure has been trying to fit a square peg into a round hole ever since Final Fantasy 12. You cannot have these drop down menu systems AND real-time combat without it running like shit. That, and the sense of character progression that links the player to their player-characters is so much stronger when you have as much control over their every action.

And I've just come to the conclusion the vanilla version of FF12 is unplayable by today's standards.

The weapon differences were something I feel like was never fully explained. Maybe it is buried in the codex, but I had to check online to find out why one weapon was different from another. Hammers/axes, for instance, have a slower attack speed and have a larger variance in the amount of damage they do. Katanas and Ninja Swords attack much faster, and are much more prone to combo attacks (where the character attacks multiple times in a row), which will also make the chance to crit higher. Also, each of the weapon's damage scales with different stats, and since character's stat's all have different growth rates, some characters are by default better with certain weapons/classes.

I also just found out (after I beat the game of course) that in the Switch and Xbox One editions of the Zodiac Age, you can actually change the job of a character by talking to Monte Blanc.

This game has a huge tutorial/explanation of systems problem. Even by the end of the game, I never fully got my head around the whole Quickening system. I never knew when or when not to chain them and why chaining one was better than chaining another.

This is all exciting and maddening. For one thing, isn't it "curious" even as the game is released onto new platforms, Square-Enix cannot help but continue to tinker around with FF12. It is almost as if they know the game still isn't quite the game they want it to be. Second, I get the Final Fantasy franchise doesn't exactly have a great track record when it comes to tutorials. BUT, in a game that is as gameplay-heavy as FF12, it is game design malfeasance how little effort Square put into teaching how to use any of the game's systems properly. There's literally ONE tutorial on how to use the quickenings way back in the first chapter. Even then, the game performs the entire quickening for you and doesn't unlock a single quickening move until HOURS after you take control of Vaan.

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To be honest, as much as I love Earthbound, I have come to accept it as an aberration. Mother 1 is cruel and downright impossible to play, and something about Mother 3 never felt "right." Maybe it's the lack of Giygas, but Mother 3 feels less like a continuation of the series and more a strung together series of vignettes that didn't make the cut in the previous games.

Also, good luck with chapter 8! It's basically as long as chapters six and seven combined and the ending overstays its welcome by the mid-point.

@soulcake said:

Hmmm never knew mother 3 was a GBA game always thought it was on Snes guess i learned something today :D. Great write up BTW.

*pushes glasses up*

Well actually, Mother 3 started as an N64 game and even had a well-reviewed demo at E3. Here's the well-known minecart demo:

Loading Video...

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HELL YES!

SHOOT THIS GAME DIRECTLY INTO MY VEINS BECAUSE I AM TOTALLY READY FOR THIS!

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Is the game more fun to play if you read its text in fluent Norwegian?

I'm asking for a friend.