Category Archives: Video Game Reviews

Ice Stages are the coolest in video games

My Video Game Shopping List: More JRPG Games

Looking back this year, all I played are RPG games, and going forward I will continue to play lengthy games that require big-time investment. There’s something addictive about it, especially when you started learning and appreciating the battle system of the game on top of great storytelling.

So far, I have put in 49 plus hours in Tales of Xillia. And just finished the game as Mila Maxwell. I have yet to play Jude Mathius’ route. Yes, you can select either one to complete the story. The replay value is great for gamers who want to get the most out of their money. I remember I only spent 20 dollars on the limited edition which came with an artbook and a soundtrack which is so cool because these days we don’t get an artbook or a video game instruction pamphlet anymore.

Like books, I do feel accomplished for beating a great game. And will probably look into other Tales games afterward. Its cinematic cut scenes are high quality and refreshing. I found myself sometimes just watching the opening trailer over and over before hitting the Continue button. Games like this reminded me of why I started hunting for quality games in the first place. Will give Tales of Xillia a proper review at a later time.

So here are three games in my shopping cart:

1) Sakura Wars

Videogame shopping list

Out of pure curiosity, I want to see what the hype is all about. A few random gamers on Twitter kept praising the game saying how it missed the radar. You know how fanatic gamers can get defensive about their games. It’s like religion. So, being the skeptic that I am, I want to play the game for myself. Then I can make the decision and write it on my blog because I’m a passionate gamer and I don’t have anything else better to do such as wasting time on social media! Oh wait, I think I am a hypocrite. I did hear about the game on Twitter where busy adult gamers randomly tweet video game stuff.

2) Neo: The World Ends With You

video game shopping list

My brother told me about this game and anything brother likes is most likely good. In fact, I used to go to him for video game recommendations and it never fails. So, this one is going on my backlog once I purchase it! Plus, according to an article, I read recently, it didn’t sell well. I’m all for advocating for niche games so they are definitely getting my business.

3) Tales of Arise

Well…no mystery here. I actually enjoy the Tales series and appreciate quality games so I know the chance of being disappointed is slim. Unless, the series becomes like Dynasty Warrior games, then I might get tired eventually. Right now, a good story and some pretty visual gameplay that are manageable are what I’m looking for. Games like Elder Ring can wait. I’m just not in the mood for another soul-like game. All thanks to the git gud fan base. I still have not completed Dark Souls II DLCs. It is a shame because I love Fromsoftware as a game developer. They produce some high-quality games for sure. But like any business, you got to cater to your customers to keep them coming back, and sometimes that’s not always good for developers and gaming enthusiasts.

Yes, I know it’s all PS4. I am not in rush to buy PS5 and I am a PlayStation fan. It’s really all about the innovation and the story for me more than the competitive play. It just happens that the PlayStation console wins my time.

Well, that’s it for now. I know I am a little late, and a little tardy as I normally post on Mondays. I am only human. Hope you found something interesting on this list!

Fun adventure Horror game

The Cat Lady PC Game Review (2012): Great Game to Play to Beat the Blues

Sometimes great games are not always pleasing to look at. The characters in this game have long limbs and are colorless and tend to look like a man even though it’s meant to be a woman. How do I know? The voice dub gives it away. Also, the background in this game is unflattering. Solid colors such as black and blue can be quite boring for someone who is used to pretty vibrant games. He or she may pass on it because it’s not cute enough. Well, I almost did!

This game is great and what is even more shocking is that I bought the game for $1.99 (on sale) and had a very good time with it! You can call Cat Lady, a point-n-click adventure game. It was developed by Harvester Games and published by Screen 7. What intrigued me to pick up this game? Well, it was the game description:

The Cat Lady follows Susan Ashworth, a lonely 40-year-old on the verge of suicide. She has no family, no friends, and no hope for a better future. One day she discovers that five strangers will come along and change everything.

Game description from Steam

Back in 2019 when I was browsing games, I was on the verge of becoming a Cat Lady myself or more like a homeless cat roaming the streets downtown, feeding off of dead mice found in the dumpster. Okay, I’m exaggerating; however, the city life did sort of affect my mood. Mental illness and homelessness are growing problems in Seattle that I thought I might go insane myself eventually. There were multiple times when walking in the city felt like walking into a horror game. It was not uncommon to watch the mentally ill yelling out in the streets to themselves or doing drugs out in the open. My last incident was when a homeless woman started following me to my apartment and yelled at me to get out of the country (I am Asian-American. I am used to it). So even before social isolation, I stayed indoor most of the time and I often wonder if was I to become a cat lady myself. It’s not so bad if you’re an introvert. I will rather be alone than participate in the chaos outside my door. So, The Cat Lady was purchased out of pure curiosity. Why is Sudan Ashworth suicidal?

For such a serious topic as suicide, I was pleasantly surprised that I found myself laughing more than being scared. This game is packed with dark humor. Yes, the game is depressing and the gore is a bit unnecessary for those who have a weak stomach like me, but I found that the adventure, the dialogues, and the pacing of the game make up for it. Plus, the soundtrack and the voice acting are great. It got that English vibe. Give this game a try if you enjoy dark humor. It’s a good friend to those who literally suffer from depression.

3 Admirable Female Video Game Characters (My List)

People admire the strength and expect to see it in video games but strength is typically associated with men. Well, we all know that women are great. It’s 2021, right? Then why are we still debating about gender roles? I don’t know, but I see a more and more strong female lead like Aloy from Horizon (2017) developed by Guerrilla Games in the media. She looks realistically fit for the role. She looks strong. Hurray, for female representation and to all the feminists!

Seriously though what is strength? Strong will? Defiance? Bold? Does inner strength count? I believe so. So, if you don’t have prominent features, that’s okay. Strength comes in different shapes and sizes.

Generally, I like female characters. A lot of them. Given the chance, I rather play as a female than a male because I think women are cool. The following characters I am about to list have more masculine traits than feminine but that’s because princesses don’t take action in video games, but princesses are cool too if they are given a voice (Sorry otome games don’t count because it’s not my cup of tea).

Here is my 3-list of cool girls!

Aya Brea from Parasite EVE

Aya Brea

One of my favorite female characters that many female gamers will mostly find agreeable is Aya Brea. Her fashion sense is quite simple: plain white t-shirt, leather jacket (she wears a jacket in the game) and jeans. There is an air of coolness to her. She holds a gun and she is not afraid to face danger. That’s how the game started when her date didn’t turn out well at the Opera show. It’s fun to explore and play a detective who doesn’t have a sport-illustrated body like Lara Croft from Tomb Raider. When I was a teen, I looked up to Aya Brea, thinking that’s the type of woman I want to be, the one who takes action and makes things happen. It gave a puny stick-figure teenage girl like myself a chance to daydream of becoming strong once upon a time. But definitely not with a gun–with a pen or a keyboard. That’s how I get my point across.

#2 Lucatiel of Mirrah from DARK SOULS II

Lucatiel of Mirrah

What’s so admirable about her? She is a very skilled fighter who eventually lost sight of why she wielded the sword. She came from an unprivileged social status and had to carve her way to make a name for herself just like all the nameless heroes (Dark Souls players) that walk into the fog in search of an answer. She is often seen alone. Well, most NPCs are alone in the Dark Souls universe and perhaps that’s why I like her. I can’t give enough respect to women who pick themselves up from the bottom and make a name for themselves. On top of that, I like loners because some of us just work better alone.

Last but not least!!!

#1 Xiuying Hong from SHENMUE II also known as Lishao Tao

Xiuying Hong

What do I like about her? A woman of few words who gets her point across through actions. She is not only strong physically but mentally. At age 26, (she reminds me more of a 40-year-old), she is in charge of the Man Mo Temple in Scarlet Hills. In the game, she serves as a guardian to Ryo Hazuki, the main character who is bent on avenging his father’s death. She taught him to slow down by making him catch leaves and carry books. The purpose is to distract him from thinking about his bloodthirsty revenge that would only turn him into a murderer himself which is to find Lan Di and kill him. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of thinking, which makes her the most admirable female video game character in my book.

Wise words from Shenmue II

Since I’m currently playing Tales of Xilla and I have been enjoying it, I would like to throw in an honorable mention: Milla Maxwell is now one of my admirable video game female characters.

Why do I like her? Not only is she beautiful, she firmly believes in protecting humans and spirits. Plus, she spends all her time studying humans and the world in her shrine so she can protect them. Now, that is a goddess and a character I admire. I love her godly determination.

Well, that pretty much sums up my 3-list post for the week. Until next time, I hope you enjoy this list.

Halsdoll Gaming Rant

Dark Souls II Rant: Crown of the Sunken King (DLC)

Where to start..so difficult. How many times have I died? Am I making progress? Yes. 3 weeks later! I finally reached 2 out of 3 boss fights within this DLC but have not beaten any of them. The stage design is what got me so addicted to Dark Souls franchise in the first place which came out 10 years ago (Sep. 22, 2011, and I am writing this post on the 23rd)! Wow just look at how time flies. Or maybe I’m just a big fan of nameless heroes/heroines who eventually come up on top through trial and error because the mysterious nobody always makes an interesting story: Let’s see how long I’m benevolent and fit to rule until I turn Hollow. The curse of want and wanting is pretty strong. Although I must say, it’s not the throne I’m after. I simply just like obtaining those hard-to-reach items.

I jump, I slip, I die for a useless torch…com’on! As the saying goes, curiosity killed the cat.

It’s a fair sadistic game, or is it? Blame the tagline Prepare to Die which attracted people to the game. No not me. I picked up the franchisebecause I love FromSoftware games!!! I told myself after beating Dark Souls back in 2011, I don’t want to invest any more of my time with the franchise. And then on Dark Soul II release day, I bought it in a flash. I simply couldn’t resist. Quality games matter and I know I wouldn’t be disappointed. The game was manageable and quiet to my liking as expected (yes I said quiet and not quite but I was, in fact, thinking both when I wrote the sentence. Dark Souls II ps3 version is quite melancholically quiet). Dark souls II Scholar of the First Sin, on the other hand, is an uphill battle on purpose. Not so cool, I think. But marketing sure brings in the doe. The DLC that comes with this version is difficult and the time invested in it might not be worth it. I spent enough time in it to want to set it aside, but I probably will be back to my abusive lover. I always come back. There are other games waiting in line to be played but not many are seamlessly fun in terms of stage design and boss fights which is why I stick around with this franchise and once you give your soul to the game there is no turning back (I sound so evil). I thought of reallocating my stats to be a pure muscle head (a.k.a. strength built) because the enemies in this stage have a high magic defense. Maybe a whack in the face with a hammer as big as my character will do. I have been relying a bit on backstabbing with the mace and have gotten pretty good at it, naturally. I mean so typical of a girl to play mage…actually, nope I just thought it was cool to play mage since I rarely play a mage in RPGs. Then again, it’s rare since the closes MMORPG games I’ve played were WKC (White Knight Chronicles) and DCUO (DC Universe Online). I played them briefly when I learned that socializing is just not my cup of tea unless we are dealing with serious business such as slaying the beast!

So far, this stage has been a painful exploration and now I must defeat Elana the Squalid Queen, who is prettily enchanting with her sparkly golden helpers. Can’t say it’s a fair fight from whose end? Well, you see player has the option to summon two NPCs but at the expense of the boss’s defense increases. I could just summon one NPC and it does some damage but regardless the boss fight is not easy. Two against one is never easy because I’m still pathetically weak. Maybe it’s time to take off the high heel shoes and wear combat boots instead (No…it has a high dark defense which is what I’m up against). Midway, I find myself dodging and rolling from getting attacked, and then, in the end, I grew tired and die.

Let’s just put this aside for now. Yakuza 0 deserves some attention. I feel like a beat em game at the moment. Maybe I just need a punching bag game that will allow me to win for a change. Then again, I just can’t focus on other games unless I beat this one! Oh, the woe of being cursed by a video game!

My Video Game Shopping List: Video Games to Cool Down in Summertime

We had a heatwave which made it unbearable to play games without sweating and most older apartments and houses where I am from don’t come equipped with AC. Typically, the temperature tends to be on the mild side throughout the entire year. This year was odd. It was unusually cold in the winter and scourging hot in the summer. Luckily, it was only brief. Call it Global Warming or it’s just Mother Nature’s way of throwing a tantrum and trying to burn things alive and reduce them back to ashes–I need to find games that will cool me down quickly, and not burn me. Even just looking at a burning building in Sekirko: Shadows Die Twice, I feel dehydrated. As a result, there’s not much I could do other than literally be a couch potato with an ice pack on my forehead, drinking iced water to keep cool. No seriously, I was on the couch staring at my ceiling-fan spinning round and round like a merry-go-round. The heat was slowly turning me crazy.

I am back with my 3-list post. I browse games and window shop all the time for games. Writing this 3 list post is always fun for me and it gives me a break from thinking about things too deeply. So let’s go! What’s in my shopping bag?

1)Tales of the Black Forest

There’s no mystery by now if you have been following this blog that I really do love horror–the suspense and emotional stories that come with it always make me feel as if I gained something out of it and that is appreciating life. Want me to elaborate on what I meant by that? Check out my Kwaidan‘s analyses where I break down the stories and defined horror. So, when I find a horror game that looks interesting to me, I automatically put it on my shopping list. Tales of the Black Forest made it on my list for the price which is currently $1.59 on Steam. It’s a deal, I think. Whether you are on the budget or not as I am at the moment due to moving expenses–this is a deal worth checking out.

2) ABZU

I got this game for “free” for having PlayStation Plus. It’s one of those free games that sit in your library as long as you are a member. On Steam it is currently $9.99. I don’t really think it’s a bad price for the content. Normally, I don’t play this sort of game to past time, but the summer heat does get to me and I don’t think there is a more perfect game to dump myself in the ocean to feel refreshed mentally.

3) Ori and the Will of the Wisps

I have seen a couple of gameplays and bloggers writing about this game and I have always wanted to play it. If I were to make a video game purchase, I think I’d go for this one which is currently $14.99 on Steam. The visual is stunningly beautiful and the adventure, I am sure, will help me escape from the summer’s heat. In addition, the undertone of the plot seems positively mystical, which is something I prefer lately. With all the chaos going on, watching Death Note the anime got to me. I’m not in the mood for a battle of the wit where teenagers make big godly life decisions over another life or simply, I’m just not in the mood for dark content at the moment. I still have a couple of more episodes to go before I give it a proper assessment.

Well, that’s it for my 3-list post. It was fun looking for games to play like always. Now I just need to sit through and play one of them. Currently, I am playing Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Playing a calmer game on the side might balance things out for me. There are times, I cannot sit and play for a long time because of the heat. And then I often wonder in my youth why my favorite season has always been fall.

P.S

I did not purchase any of the games above but decided to resume Dragon Quest XI. Game has a calming effect compared to Sekiro for obvious reasons.

Visual Novel Games is Video Game

Spirit Hunter NG Review: Let’s Play a Game with the Evil Doll

The next time I feel like wallowing up in my misery, I will just head to the bar and get a glass of drink to numb my pain. Like Halsdoll’s Diner (a.k.a. my blog), the bar in this game called Black Rabbit Bar serves as a hub for broken people like myself to hang out: Drink your misery away and eat as many chips as you want. Timeout from reality is the place to unwind. Doesn’t it sound like a catchy line to attract customers? Well, what’s so comical is that like the owner of the bar, I don’t make the effort in trying to attract customers (readers) to my blog. Instead, I play video games like I’m consuming alcoholic beverages. I spend more time playing and rearranging my thoughts than finding people to read. So hanging out in my empty diner on this blazing hot summer evening is the norm for me because I never liked crowded places.

Yes, Spirit Hunter NG is thematically refreshing for a horror visual novel and I kind of like that more than the storytelling and for the game experience.  The game becomes more like an art piece waiting to be admired and captivated by the viewer. Why you may wonder? Because sometimes I just like hearing the creators’ voices when they assert their thoughts and emotion in a piece of work. It gives me a glimpse of their inner woe. Horror, after all, is really a feeling of ongoing internal conflict. Sounds like the writer was poking fun at horror fans for having to write a horror story for a game:

A stranger’s death dripping with danger and intrigue is a great source of entertainment.

The story follows a “muscle-freak” (borrowing the description from the game) teenage boy by the name of Akira Kijima who happens to be adopted by his aunt, a horror novelist who owns a bar as a side job. Kijima found himself playing a strange game with an evil entity that involved destroying/purifying spirits. He was forced to play a game when the evil doll kidnapped his precious beloved niece (Yes, it’s about saving the damsel. Nothing new here in the story department). Along his journey, he is accompanied by his good friend, a member of the Yakuza, and a gothic pop idol. Later down the road, he meets older and more professional folks: a gambler, female cop, and ghost hunter. The variety of age adds maturity to the game which makes it feels less singular and a self-centered experience by providing a third-person point of view to the story. There were moments when the side characters point fun at Kijima for his bravery and youthfulness as stupidity. Unlike Root Letter, I didn’t feel as if I was a generic schoolboy, even though I see the story through the main’s character’s eyes. It’s something video games as a medium have a hard time executing because when you play the main character, you walk in his or her shoes and your perspective as the player is skewed. I like that I’m able to separate myself from the character. But what really intrigued me about the story is the villain, the eternal doll who wants to play and who does not always play fairly. Well, it wouldn’t be a game if the story doesn’t revolve around a game. I think this is why I like this game compared to some popular visual novel games I’ve played. It sticks to its root.

Now let’s talk about gameplay. Is it fun? Is it scary? Well, yes to both questions but it’s not going to give you a nightmare. It’s not that immersive type of horror but more like a thematic haunted house ride, you’d find at the fairground. You know the feeling of walking into a haunted house ride, hoping for a good fright? Yes, the game allows the player the option to select Scary Mode for those who want a jump scare experience. Personally, I select default mode and just enjoy the game for what it is. Even without the additional mechanical scare, there were some chilling tales that involved young girls which would strike a chord to any girl who is often accompanied by herself. Girls love fairy tales and fairy tales are not always happy ever after. So stay away from male doctors! Oops, did I say too much? Well, I hope I entice you rather than dissuade you from playing the game. Overall, it’s an adventurous game that requires players to select choices carefully without being punished (wrong choice=Game Over). I played with a guide to save time because, like most games with multiple endings, it requires the player to select certain choices to unlock a particular ending. I remember spending 69 hours on it. It might be because I left the game running for a long time trying to cook and play at the same time.

For horror fans, this is a game worth playing. Add to your collection of horror games to play because horror is a genre that is difficult to execute in video games. So, it’s nice to find a piece of gem. The only thing I didn’t enjoy is the graphic pictures of tortured women. Why was it necessary? It’s a mystery to me.

P.S.

I know dolls are scary, but I still love to play with them; that just says a lot about me.

Root Letter Review (2016): What Happen to the Cute Schoolgirl?

Do you have insecurities? I think we all do, I’ll let you know mine but once I review this visual novel game, which revolves around the mystery of a schoolgirl disappearance called Root Letter, developed by Kadokawa Games, released in 2016. It tells a story of a high school pen pal who decided to stop writing to you after she confessed in her letter that she killed someone. Something doesn’t add up. The schoolgirl happens to be beautiful, intelligent, and talented but fell tragically ill and passed away. Sounds interesting enough. I was curious to unravel this suspenseful, mystery title that doesn’t contain horror. Watching the trailer helped me decide to pick up this title a few years ago.

Mysterious and adventurous tale mixed with a good soundtrack and a pretty art style, I just can’t say no to it. In fact, it was refreshing to play something as relaxing as this visual novel despite it being wrongfully advertised as a Young Adult Suspense Thriller. More than anything, it’s quirky and kind of funny. I enjoyed going on an adventure to find out what happened to the high school sweetheart. But you are wondering what it has to do with insecurities? Well you see, everyone who was mentioned in Aya Fumino’s letter, the disappeared schoolgirl, had some insecurity issues. Her trusted friends are Shorty, Monkey, Snappy, Fatty, Four-Eyes, Bitch, and Bestie. Do you get my point now, how it can be comical? What kind of friend gives her close friends such awful nicknames? Well, that’s because they got something to hide!

Mysterious and adventurous tale mixed with good soundtrack and pretty art style, I just can’t say no to it. In fact, it was refreshing to play something as relaxing as this visual novel despite that it was wrongfully advertised as Young Adult Suspense Thriller. More than anything, it’s quirky and kind of funny. I enjoyed going on an adventure to find out what happen to the high school sweetheart. But you are wondering what does it have to do with insecurities? Well you see, everyone who was mentioned in Aya Fumino’s letter, the disappeared schoolgirl, had some insecurity issues. Her trusted friends are Shorty, Monkey, Snappy, Fatty, Four-Eyes, Bitch, and Bestie. Do you get my point now, how it can be comical? What kind of friend give her close friends such awful nicknames? Well that’s because they got something to hide!

It’s up to the main protagonist to do some serious detective work. Yes, he has to investigate each student closely to find out what really happen to Aya while exposing each character’s insecurity. It’s an interesting game design. There were a few times I laughed hard. What’s so funny is I could see myself in all 7 characters. That means I got a lot of work to do in the self-love department.

I enjoyed this game a lot. The plot is serious but the adventure is humorous and light-hearted. It’s just something I need from a stressful day. It’s a lot less mentally strenuous on the mind than what I typically play. Root Letter was nice for a change. I played this game back in 2017 I believe and decided to write a review until now.

Now going back to my question about insecurities. Quite frankly, back in my teenage years, I broke out badly on my forehead and throughout my face. It was so bad that my brothers would make fun of me and call me “Himalaya Mountains”. The cyst pimples were so glaringly noticeable on my face that for a while, I was really self-conscious about my skin. Then as I grew older, l learned to separate myself from my appearance. Like Mona the “Hatchet-Face” from Crybaby, I like to think at least “I got character!”

NieR Replicant ver_1_22474487139 (2021): My Impression

I am going to do something a bit more casual here. I am going to write an impression instead of a review because I am not here to sell you anything but give you my impression of the game as a fellow gamer who is just trying to help some gamers out there whether you should play this game or not. so I’m too lazy to articulate my thoughts, especially after playing a heavy-loaded game like this. I have already put over 60 hours of gameplay into this game. Not going to 100 % it. I did it with Nier Gestalt years ago, but would at least try to 100 % the side quests. Currently, while writing this post, I’m at 83%. Weapon completion is also important as well. This is a story-driven game. You would appreciate the story more by completing these tasks.

NieR Replicant ver_1_22474487139 released 2021 of April, is not a remake or a remaster of Nier Gestalt (2010). It’s more closely related to Japan’s version Nier Replicant which players play as the brother instead of the father. Some additional content has been added to this upgraded version to flesh out the story. So if you have played Nier Gestalt and wonder whether you should purchase it, you should but not at full price. You are not missing much. It’s just less convoluted than the one released in 2010. Perhaps, this is what some players need, a straightforward story?

The upgraded version gameplay feels a lot smoother and fluid like you would play in Nier Automata (2017). The gameplay is very simple: hack and slash with plenty of weapons and magic to choose from, although let me warn you that gameplay was never the game’s biggest strength. I stick to one weapon and two magic: Dark Lance and Dark Hand the entire time. As for difficulty settings, there is Normal Mode which is really Easy Mode, and Hard Mode. I can only imagine what Easy Mode is like. You’d go through the game without a sweat. Well, I can see it being an option if you are into speed runs. Some of the trophies required players to beat a boss within a certain amount of time. And if you are just interested in experiencing the story, then there is no reason to play on Normal or Hard Mode.

Without spoiling the story for those who have not experienced this masterpiece (yes it was a masterpiece in my eyes when I first played it). It’s about a brother who is trying to find a cure to the disease called Black Scrawl which has been inflicted on his sister. There are some heavy topics such as body dysmorphia, homosexuality, and borderline incest introduced in this game. Yes, it’s not your typical hero and heroine you see every day. They are humans, but are they?

As I mentioned earlier, the side quests add to the story so don’t skip them. They are fun and addictive with a twisted sense of humor. The greatest attribute of this game is the soundtrack, however, the music arrangement is not as on point as in Nier Gestalt, which did affect my experience. I didn’t like how it sounds unnaturally flawless. So, I didn’t enjoy the game to its max. It feels kind of soulless. Well, it’s not soul’s game if that’s what you are expecting. If I were to compare this game with Nier Gestalt, I would still pick Nier Gestalt over Nier Replicant, playing as a father seems more logical. I don’t know though, I never had brothers who go to an extreme to protect me so it didn’t make any sense to play as an overly protective brother.

Although I can say, I know what it is like to be the protective big sister. I guess there is some similarity in that sense, or it’s just the fact, I’m as crazy as the protagonist. I just like killing stuff. Clearly, though, the game was not intended for the female demographic but why is it so popular among female players? That’s something to think about.

So what’s so great about this game? Well, it’s the story. The soundtrack, but more importantly how it was executed. The game allows players to see from different angles and it starts to question your morality. Who are the real humans? Even if you think you are right, does that justify killing?

I think you get my point. The game will make you think about your actions. Are you really righteous?

My Notes on Nier Automata

Originally posted 6/18/2017. Re-blogging in celebration of one of my all-time favorite games–Nier Replicant Ver.1.22474487139 which will be released 4/23/2021. 

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

Those who followed this blog from the beginning probably knew that I was anticipating 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 its humorous dialogue.  I have not reached the ultimate, final boss yet which I heard was difficult.

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 to 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 gives us a sense of control and removes all of our competition.  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 the 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 at 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.

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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 pointed 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?

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 blindfolds. They exist to take orders without comprehending their actions.

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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 due to nostalgia. Even though I did not enjoy the game as much, the game 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 limitations (e.g, technical, budget, translation, etc.).  So I really do appreciate it when game developers attempt to give meaning to their creations.

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!

Welcome to Halsdoll’s Boutique!!! Code Vein Photo Shoot–A Fun Co-Op Adventure J-RPG GAME!!!(Mini-Review)

It’s a shame that Code Vein doesn’t have more clothing selections because that would stop my dress addiction purchases because as much I like it, I rarely wear a dress in public. Only during special occasions such as a recent interview where I wore a black dress for the first time that I bought back in 2018. Thought it would be nice to sell clothes for a living since I am in between jobs. I just don’t want anything mentally strenuous so I can focus on my health and this blog, but unfortunately, the plan didn’t work. I should have not dressed like I was going to the funeral at a preppy high-end store that has a lawsuit on its back for racism (Black Lives Matter!). Oh well, at least I get to wear a dress and a black one too! Now I did recall, the interviewee asked me what is my style. I couldn’t answer her at the time, but now I know–it’s the classic edgy, librarian. Yep, it’s not going to work!

Today, I present my fashion catalog to my boutique and briefly summarize the game. The highlight of this game for me was changing my character’s appearance. Perhaps, digital dresses might not be such a bad idea in terms of game design for a soul-like game. I know I will grind for a pretty dress. Dresses are like flowers; it relaxes me.

Code Vein, developed by BANDAI NAMCO Studios, and released in 2019, is a great co-op/solo game with a lot of playstyle customization, which I won’t go into details about because there are plenty of YouTube videos on it. If you are the type who enjoys trying out different weapons and codes (just another term for class) and changing your character’s appearance, this is the game for you. The amount of content is well worth the purchase, although the game is generic in the story department it’s not so convoluted that’s hard for players to understand. Yes, it’s about humanity. It’s about the corporation, service, interdependence, selflessness, etc. All the good traits that make humanity beautiful. We don’t need to live in a single-minded world where we have to choose the option between prey and a predator.

Overall, it’s nice to play a feel-good game that doesn’t bash humanity (I play games to escape reality, I don’t need to be reinforced on how terrible the world is!). In terms of game design, obviously, it took some parts from Dark Souls. Some bosses and monsters are a total ripped-off done intentionally. The developers did it successfully by corporate those elements from souls’ games without jeopardizing their own creativity to create something new. Innovation is a risky business but ya gotta please your fans if ya still wanna a job in the gaming industry.

Please enjoy Halsdoll’s Boutique photo shoot–one of the highlights of this game.

Thank you for browsing Halsdoll’s Boutique which may go out of business soon if I don’t start selling products that people want. Until next see ya~