AI: Somnium Files Review

I enjoyed AI: Somnium Files developed and published by Spike Chunsoft Co., Ltd. It’s a visual novel with a strong detective murder mystery with some science fiction elements. Yes, like any typical game, there is a lot of saving to do because young girls do need help even when they are bratty and acting all tough! After all, being killed by a sadistic rapist is the worst nightmare that can happen to any girl! You can’t expect a psychopath to have empathy? Do you?

Misuki praying
Poor Mizuki who is only 12, tried so hard to be strong when she is actually mourning for the loss of her mother.

Story

First off, I want to warn readers that I don’t recommend this game to those who don’t have a healthy sense of humor and who are quick to slap anything that has to do with sexuality as misogyny. Quite the contrary, the game is not even misogynistic. The sexual jokes are mild compared to what I see on Twitter and from the former U.S. president. Despite my defense for this game, it doesn’t mean I accept locker room talk. But the jokes are there to poke fun at the protagonist’s singleness. After all, you are playing as the nice, perverted guy who is possibly bi-sexual.

Date looks like a girl
C’mon, look at Date’s face (the protagonist). He can pass off as a pretty woman.

I think that is why I could laugh at the part where Date hit on the 36-year-old receptionist who looks like an idol but is too old to be one. I say as long you can afford anti-aging creams and live comfortably then you are set for life. The average women care more about their appearance and health than they actually would admit as the motivating factor to why they work on top of the fact no one wants to end up homeless. But of course, there are exceptions. So more power to the receptionist for learning how to enjoy life in the moment (as long as you live responsibly that is). It takes a lot of soul searching to find contentment.

I used to work with an older woman who said if she had big boobs she’d flaunt it off. Not to attract men, but for her own liveliness. She was drunk when she said it though.

But I do see how someone would call this game misogynist. I suppose when you analyze a piece of creative work, you got to learn how to put things into context. So don’t dismiss this game because of its humor. On a serious note, there are a lot of heavy subjects around the concept of dream, reality, and AIs and whole bunch other stuff. And what I noticed is that there is a sense of optimistic, progressive thinking about the future of society, or a sense of acceptance on the writer’s part. It’s not just the topic of AIs I am talking about, but also the LGBT community in general.This game is a product of its time.

Aiba looking content
Aiba, the AI who is Date’s detective partner, agrees that human intuition is good from time to time, which is something rational, logical AIs lack.
Mizuki at Marble Bar
Mizuki is accepting of the LGBT community but still shows a sign of uncomfortableness.

I think the balance between seriousness and humor in the game is well done, and that is what I look for when I rate a good game. Even when I completed the game (there are multiple endings) there are still many mysteries to solve and once you solve the remaining mysteries of the story, everything just blows up in your face like fireworks. Overall, the pacing of the story is nice just as much as the colorful cast. Great game for mystery fans.

Gameplay

I played the demo on PS4 so I knew what to expect when I bought the game for PC. There are some differences in terms of user experience obviously. I played with mouse and keyboard but you can also play with a controller. I just stick with mouse and keyboard. I also noticed the game on the PC tends to glitch out occasionally, but it doesn’t happen frequently when I changed the graphic setting. I don’t know what it’s like for PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

While solving a case…this happened. It’s kind of artistic!

Gameplay wise, it did great at creating urgency but can get annoying because it does not reward you based on your skills to solve a case in 6 minutes. It did however, reward you on basic arithmetic skills! You have to select Timie to save seconds from being used on the top left side of the screen. Failure to select Timie correctly and the correct choices will penalize you for using seconds in real time and some of them take big chunks!

I had crossed eyes or something when I was playing the game because I mistook TIMIE for TIME. For awhile I kept proceeding without selecting the TIMIE on top center of the screen.

I found myself several times retrying and restarting the case due to running out of time. Some cases can get pretty tough especially if you are trying to solve it within 1 second remaining to obtain one of the trophies. If that sounds complicated. Do not fret. It will take trials and errors to get it right. Getting all the trophies was worth it.

I pride myself on my determination. I did it!

Overall, I thought the mix of shooting, investigating and solving puzzles were interesting. Not one moment was I bored. The concept of pyscning into someone’s dream to uncover hidden clues seems pretty high tech and futuristic. Is it ethical? Not really! I already feel invaded by tech companies collecting my data. It’s like exposing your underwear for strangers to see. Ugh…

mercenaries hovering over to look at bra

Sound

I realized I don’t write much about sound production and voice acting. But they do make a difference in the quality of any video game. At the beginning of the game, I kept switching from English to Japanese language to see which voice cast I prefer to listen to. Eventually I stick with the Japanese voice cast because I prefer Aiba’s Japanese voice over the English voice because ironically she sounds more natural. Believe it or not Aiba is an evolved AI who has a personality of her own and who has the free agency to think for herself. It makes sense to personify her a bit even though she lives inside the protoganist’s eye and she is just an AI. She is also Date’s alter ego. But I won’t go into detail behind my reasoning. That will be another post for a different time if I decide to write about the eye metaphor.

Lastly, the soundtrack composed by Keisuke Ito is decent and the sound effects are seamless enough that I don’t even recognized the music sometimes. It’s great because I felt immersed in the game, but I can’t say I am all that into idol pop culture music though. So the soundtrack didn’t stood out to me as much as other quality story-driven games. However, I do enjoy the Ikume Shrine theme because I just like all things zen.

Conclusion

This game is far from boring and simplistic. It has good soundtrack, good story, fun gameplay and good humor. Who doesn’t enjoy laughing? It’s a great way to release stress. Time is well spent when you are doing something you enjoy especially if it is also thought-provoking.

P.S.

I was having a hard time writing a review for this game and learned that I can use some sort of structure to make my writing process easier. I don’t know if I will stick to this format though, but I did enjoy putting it together.

Halsdoll’s News

If you are accessing this blog post on WP Reader, the featured image is a character from AI: The Somnium Files, the game I’m currently playing. The character Mama works at the bar and is used to listening to people divulging their thoughts publicly. I confess when I’m a bit down, I do reach for the booze because I know Mama will listen because she knows everything.

Happy New Year, not really. I am not going to bet that 2023 will get better. I can’t change events that are out of my control, but I can control my personal space a bit. I have disconnected myself from Twitter, meaning I don’t log onto it anymore. Not like I was all that active to begin with. It’s a very toxic place where most people have chronic road rage and strong political opinions, including the CEO. On top of my New Year’s woe, it looks like my email has found itself in the Dark Web. I don’t speak German and have never been to Germany. Why am I receiving a registration confirmation email from Zinser Card? I don’t even go out enough to shop to impress. And why am I being addressed as Herr Droll ( Mr. Droll?). It looks like Mr. Droll lives in a decent neighborhood based on the address found in the registration confirmation email.

Why does he need to steal people’s email address and act all shady? Then I wonder if Mr. Droll is a victim just as much as I am, or if Mr. Droll is even a real person at all. I have been hacked once. It did put a dent in my trust with people online or in general. But don’t worry, I haven’t lost my faith in humanity. The greatest thing I learned from that awful experience is to trust my instinct because going against it came with a heavy price. If karma is real, I hope that hacker gets what he/she deserves. I hope he/she gets it real bad.

lyon
Lyon from Suikoden V

On the bright side, I completed Eiyuden Rising and 100 percent it! It was addictive and fun. Short and sweet. Now, I’m looking forward to Eiyuden Chronicle Hundred Heroes. I also enjoyed watching Tokyo Godfathers and Millennium Actress during the holiday. And recently, I watched M3gan at the theater and plan to watch Everything, Everywhere All At Once. Yet I’m still debating whether I want to do a proper review for anything I have consumed.

dancing in sandbox game
C’mon dance. Dancing helps fight the blues! (Image from From the AI Somnium Files)

I’ll keep this blogging going, but I can’t promise I’ll be here next year. Until next time have a wonderful day.

P.S.

I quit sharing my blog posts on social media entirely. I figure if someone is genuinely interested in my content they will find me via Search Engine.

I Quit Trying to Reduce My Gaming Backlog

You know it does kind of suck being born around Christmas, especially if you are a kid. My birthday gift was often lumped with Christmas presents. In my household, every Christmas, everyone got a barbie doll, including my brothers. Talk about gender equality! Let’s just say… my mom was practical and quite fair. One time, we got a PlayStation instead of barbies so everyone just play games on PlayStation and that is how I became a “gamer”. No it happened before that. Actually, I fell in love with a dolphin simulator game I played at the elementary school’s library. But looking back, I have always enjoyed spending hours solving puzzles or playing computer games and that habit has not died. Now, as a childless full-grown adult (and yes I emphasize childless to explain why I have so much free time for gaming), it doesn’t bother me that my birthday is close to Christmas because there’s nothing I really want. The perfect birthday is peace and quiet and a good game. In fact, I already have a decent amount of games to go through!

So what is my New Year Resolution for a happier and better me? Stop stressing about trying to reduce my gaming backlog. Play what I can without turning it into a chore. So here is my list on top of my head:

  • Eyuiden Rising (PC)
  • Hollow Knight (PS4)
  • Tales of Vesperia (PS4)
  • Tales of Zestiria (Ps4)
  • AI: Sominum Files (PC)
  • Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth (PC)
  • Whisper of Machines (PC)
  • Silver Case (PC)
  • Silver Case II (PS4)
  • Soma (PC)
  • Elden Ring (Ps5)
  • Resident Evil 7 (Ps4)
  • Ace Attorney (Ps4)
  • Sakura Wars (Ps4)
  • Dragon Age Origins (Ps3)
  • Mass Effects (ps3)
  • Peace Walker (ps3)

I rarely make a list of games I want to complete for the year. Who am I to kid? I never stick to a schedule, but I am trying. Games in bold are games that I am currently playing. Games I crossed out means I have a hard time getting into. Maybe I will play it when I am in the right mood. It did take me about seven years to finally play Tales of Xillia. I remember there were several occasions I tried to play. If you force yourself to play games it will become work and that is one big reason why I do not stream. Plus, I find that writing my thoughts out is more meditative. In the end, I like to talk about the games and not much about me. I think readers who have been following me know by now why I stick to blogging. But if you are new to my blog, you can check out my reasons here.

There are a ton of other games I want to add to my list. Some new and some old. Yep, it seems like my backlog is not going anywhere and I gave up on trying to reduce it.

No Excuse, but It Was Hard to Get Out of the ‘Beast’s Den’

I have been charmed by Hollow Knight. This game is brutally charming (no pun intended). There are charms to be collected throughout the game to help ease the player’s experience and exploration. For someone like me who thrives on challenges and exploration, I instantly got addicted to the game fast. The stage designs are well designed and sometimes a bit too rough. If you don’t have a lot of patience, you might end up breaking the screen. As for me, I am just quite persistent when there is a challenge because it feels soooooo good when you overcome it! The game has awaken my enthusiasm for games. I ended up adding a bunch of games to WishList on Steam, thinking the next game I am going to play will be just as good. One in particular I am anticipating to play is Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising. The other games I wanted to purchase were Strange Horticulture and Remothered: Broken Porcelain. But I decided to hold off. I want to enjoy games without feeling pressured to beat it and move on to the next. I promise myself once I beat a game, then I can buy another game. On top of Hollow Knight, I am finally getting around to Tales of Vesperia. I got my gaming plans all sorted out, haha.

So yeah, Hollow Knight is going to take me awhile, but I probably won’t do a review for it. Way back then, when the game was released, there were already enough positive reviews written by passionate gamers. It’s that fun. As you can see in the boss fight below (the 2nd part of the boss fight), I didn’t think I was going to beat it, but the more I play, the better I get. I feel quite satisfied with my progress so far.

Barely did it, but oh boy it felt good defeating it!

On top of the boss fight, I just love exploring the areas. I have more areas to uncover, more abilities to unlock. Overall, more charms to collect. How can something be so charming but be so brutal??? I lost count how many times I died trying to get to hard to reach items. The game sure keeps my my distracted from going crazy. I suppose that is a good thing. Anyway, I hope my readers have a nice holiday with a lot of Christmas cheers.

P.S.

I am not quite sure where this blog is heading in the future. My life has always been a transit, moving from places to places. Maybe one day I can finally find a place I can call home. For now, I will just enjoy the adventure.

hollow knight character sitting in tram

Why Is White Knight Chronicles Not as Popular as Demon’s Souls?

These past few days, I am finishing up WKC II (White Knight Chronicles II) for the second time. I have been enjoying the game a lot. According to Wiki, the first installment was released in 2008, and the second one in 2011 for North America. White Knight Chronicles II has two games in one, and I remember spending less time on it than the first installment. The online part of the game was highly addictive–rare drops and grinding for ranks pushed some gamers to the limits. Around the same time, Demon’s Souls, released in 2009, was also another interesting online game for the Playstation3. It received more praise than White Knight Chronicles by word of mouth. I wonder why? Who the heck wants to play as the pious guy? In the entertainment world, being edgy and flawed is more appealing than being a goody-two-shoes. So I rarely hear anyone boast about White Knight Chronicles platinum for obvious reasons. Honestly, I am prouder of the platinum for White Knight Chronicles than Demon’s Souls because it took a lot of determination and patience. The game can become repetitive and unrewarding unlike Demon’s Souls where players get more gratification out of beating bosses. It’s a different type of determination. Expect to grind for several hours until you receive a rare item drop. When you do receive the drop, you get these incredible feelings as if you just hit the jackpot. I suppose with WKC, it can feel like you are gambling. However, the only thing you are losing is time. It can’t possibly be that bad if you are enjoying it?

stats from PSN profile

If you think about it. Only 1.6 percent out of 81,592 players got a platinum achievement whereas Demon’s Souls has 10.13% out of 209,499 players. If I can recall both of these games are Playstation3 exclusive. Both have high learning curves. I remember I felt overwhelmed with the tutorial and the different classes, but once you master the game, you just learn to appreciate it more. From a broad perspective, I wonder were they trying to turn casual console gamers into PC gamers? These two games sort of feel like miniature multiplayer games (I will do a proper game analysis of Demon’s Souls at a later time).

Demon's Souls stats from PSN Profile

I also want to make a point that both games have a knight in front of their cover. If you dig deeper into the White Knight Chronicles story, it’s the same concept as Demon’s Souls. A broken knight, an evil knight is a dangerous knight. Blah Blah Blah about complex human nature. It’s how the story is executed which distinguishes it. If you want to appeal to the mass, you got to find a way to tell a good story. Playing a corruptible person is more relatable than playing a saint saving a princess. Also, I want to stress that what these two games have in common is the level of details in the game design. They are both highly addictive and fun.  It still blows my mind for someone as thorough as me who originally played for story. So yes, story is as important as gameplay if you want to grab a wider audience, or else you would only be pleasing an exclusive group of people. Of course, I am stating the obvious. If money wasn’t the lord of this earthly realm, it might not be such a bad idea to cater toward a smaller group of appreciative gamers. I can only imagine how tiresome it can get creating the same content over and over simply because there’s a market for it. Anyway, I can explain in further detail why these games are similar but excellent in their way. For now I concluded that Demons’ Souls is more popular than WKC because gamers are more responsive to games with darker than lighter themes.

Note: I pulled the stats from psnprofile.com.

Halsdoll’s Halloween Party

I wish I had something exciting for Halloween, but I don’t. I am an introvert. I have always stayed away from big crowds and declined parties invitation that involved heavy drinking and staying up all night. I have no shame in saying it though. Being true to myself is more important than being cool in front of someone’s eyes. Talking about coolness level, I highly doubt anyone noticed, but I missed a post yesterday! No worries. This blog hasn’t turned into cobwebs yet. I reserved my weekly post for this special Halloween Day!

Halloween Vampire Beanie Baby-Bearla
No I don’t feel guilty being a couch potato today…

I decided to go through my old stuff and dig some horror-related content that might be of interest to survival horror fans. For Halloween, I will be staying in door just relaxing. Maybe watch the Blair Witch Project remake with my fiancé or get a copy of Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water and Songs of Horror. Playing horror games with a group of friends or siblings is a lot of fun. I used to play a lot of them with my brother.

So if you are new to my blog, welcome! I dug these posts from the grave! Hopefully you found something worth reading:

  1. Reflecting on Resident Evil Franchise as a Survival Horror Game–Since I wrote this article, I have not touched Re7:Biohazard even though I have a digital copy. The first person view is not my thing.
  2. Kuon— This is a classic Fromsoftware horror game. If you are the type who likes subtle horror story, and quiet atmosphere, then this is the game for you.
  3. Reminiscing Friday the 13th (1989) –This article takes a look at my first entry to horror games. It’s not all scary, but at the same time it is for a kid. The creative concept for it is great, however, as a whole, this game is a flop.

Back then I was more inclined to write about survival horror games I’ve played, but these past few years my interest in horror content has died down a bit. In fact, when I watched the trailers to the new Silent Hill games, I was happy, but not overly excited. Like previous Halloween, I find myself gravitating toward bright-colored games. I just like switching from genre from time to time. Too much of a good thing can’t be a healthy thing. At least that is what I tell myself when it comes to consuming horror content.

Well, happy Halloween to those who celebrate it. You are never too old to celebrate Halloween and play games and eat a lot of candy, haha.

Avatar pose in Dark Souls II
I don’t typically dress up for Halloween, but I do like to doll up in games.

What Do Damsel in Distress and Bad Boy Tropes Have in Common?

Glad the title caught your attention. If you want a quick answer, they are both annoying. I’m kidding. Please continue reading. It took me a great amount of time to reflect on this subject. Hopefully, you will learn something because I did.

I don’t hate the damsel in distress. I think some of them are quite intelligent and resourceful like Elena from Pandora Tower (Nintendo Wii).  What she lacks in physical strength she makes it up with brains. She balances out the protagonist pretty well. Contrary to what most people think of the damsel of distress, it’s not her timid personality or lack of backbone that bothers me, although that can be equally as annoying when she expects everyone to rescue her. However, it’s her unwillingness to help herself sort out her emotions is what I don’t like. My definition of the damsel in distress might look very much like the character, Juno, from the anime Beastars who barks and demands things to go her way. Why does she need to prove herself to society? She is already on top of the food chain. She is strong. So why does she need a man to protect her unless she doesn’t feel that she is enough? Another example is Aelinore, the queen from Dragon Dogma (PS3). I remember one quest called the Duchess in Distress, I had to carry her because she doesn’t want to get her feet wet! It’s so off-putting, and it must be a joke to the ambitious men who will do anything to climb the hierarchy class. I get the humor. I remember I laughed. However, as a woman, assisting Aelinore was twice the work, twice the burden. No reward other than me being closer to a dead weight myself.

Surprisingly, the same thing can be said about male characters, the bad boy type. The guy needs a woman to help him navigate through the world because he can’t rationalize and reason with himself to see the world in a better light. He needs a woman to save him from his wrath. These types of men were typically raised by strong women when the father figure is on the passive side or completely absent from their lives. I sympathize with the situation. However, they can’t possibly expect the woman to save them from their short falling, do they?

Maybe he is not necessarily a bad boy…but his pouty personality was always a turn-off for me.

In video games (mainly Japanese games), I rarely see games played from the perspective of a woman, and not having male traits with a woman’s body like 2b from Nier Automata does not justify a solid woman’s character. Well, duh…she is an android. So, it’s hard to pull an example from video games on what bad boys are like when you’re always playing from a guy’s perspective, and if you are a guy, you always think you are right. Take Ryo Hazuki from the Shenmue franchise as an example, he travels to Hong Kong so he can kill the guy who has murdered his dad! That doesn’t seem like a good guy’s trait! But he is surprisingly a nice guy who just needs a little guidance. Don’t we all do?

Ryo gambling
Um…what are you doing Ryo? Dropped out of school, and now gambling for big money in the shady part of Hong Kong? Well, at least you stick to a goal. It’s better than being an indecisive guy.

But if you want to analyze the bad boy on a deep level, you’d find more of them in books written by women. Think of Beauty and the Beast as an example. Unlike the damsel in distress, the bad boy doesn’t seem to be a burden. Instead, he brings out the nurturing side of the woman, and thus it elevates her. Have you ever wondered why so many intelligent women end up with the wrong guy? Well, it’s a classic tale. By saving the bad boy–she feels as if she has won a trophy that set her apart from other women. Sadly, she is mistaken. It’s an imbalance relationship dynamic. When the story is told from a woman’s perspective, the bad boy trope is the same as the damsel in distress when we flip the script. It’s a one-sided relationship when one partner is objectified to make another feel superior while the other is being used because the partner feels incapable of helping him or herself. It’s nothing more than a self-centered relationship for both parties, the more I look at it.

So, what do these two have in common? Well, other than the fact they need constant saving, they are tropes used to mask the rescuer’s deep-rooted insecurity which is self-worth. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. The rescuer loses his or her self-worth when there are no more people to save. It may be a noble characteristic, but a detrimental one, especially when one is being used by the cry of distress. Now you know why I don’t like these tropes. Their distress may very well be just another form of control (a.k.a. emotional abuse). Sadly, it’s the rescuer who becomes the victim, not the distress.

The Evil Within 2: Not My Cup of Tea

The spooky month is here. The world is ending. Just kidding! Looking through my blog, I thought why not revive an old blog post? I remember I was so excited to play this game that I published a review without finishing it. To my disappointment, I spoke too soon. So I revised the entire blog post a couple of times and re-published it. The game has potential, but unfortunately, it wasn’t what I was hoping for. 

I am a stickler when it comes to survival horror games since it is my favorite video game genre. I believe the concept more than the scare factor plays the most important role in developing an engaging horror game. For instance, Silent Hill 2 will always be my favorite survival horror game because the developers know exactly how to define horror and create a game that still haunts me to this day. When I see fog, I think of Silent Hill. The game is that memorable. All thanks to the game’s art direction and the superb original soundtrack (The people behind the game are quite talented). There are so many juicy symbolisms I got to get my hands on. But this post is not going to be about me ranting and analyzing the Silent Hill franchise and what makes it great. I’ve seen a couple of those insightful articles and videos about the game, so I don’t need to provide further input, or should I? This is about The Evil Within 2 and my thoughts about it. Please keep in my mind, I am not a fan of cinematic games (oddly most games are inspired by movies). So, of course, there are going to be some biases.

With any artistic medium (I think some video games are a form of art), it’s wise not to imitate even if you are under the spell of nostalgia. I am not a fan of imitation, but I am okay with inspiration. You can admire a classic game that haunts people after they are done with the game, but reinventing the same thing doesn’t frighten people or set the game apart. Why? Because the player already walked the same path before.

“If there is no suspense, there’s no horror.”

I quote myself, Halsdoll, a survival horror junkie

The Evil Within 2 feels like a confused horror, amusement park. It cannot decide whether it wanted to be an action or horror game. What disappointed me about the game was its strong opening. The game introduction was atmospherically scary. Yes, there was a little chase here and there. Fun for a bit, but then it got sloppy as soon as all the suspense got dispersed, and the story reached its climax. From there on, I found myself playing a cheap thrill. If the gameplay is lacking then I expect a decent story, but this game has neither of them. The Evil Within 2 felt like someone was forced to make a horror game. He knows all the ingredients for making a horror game but doesn’t know how to improvise it to make it uniquely his signature dish. Why recycle boss enemies once it has been defeated? Why do I need to level up my skill trees to make the game a bit more fluid? What purpose does it serve? Why is the black man evil? Oh no, I hope this game is not racist. I started asking myself, “Why am I playing this game? Let’s just hold our breath and just beat the game already.”

I would have enjoyed the game more if Juli Kidman was the protagonist but then the game would not appeal to gamers who are dads themselves or to the large gaming male demographic.

Juli Kidman, posing in white blouse
Juli Kidman-pic source

The story about trying to save the daughter is a classic tale. But I wonder, aren’t there enough survival horror games with a similar plot? Why didn’t they just make a movie instead of making a game? I would have enjoyed it as a movie. Well, at least the trailer is enjoyable to watch:

Resident Evil 3 Remake Review

Two years ago, when the pandemic hit, I wasn’t really in the mood for anything zombie-related. I did recall playing the Resident Evil 2remake but it wasn’t as enjoyable. Now, that things are pretty mellow and I don’t hear constant ambulance sirens bouncing off of the city’s buildings day and night, I can say it’s safe to play Resident Evil 3 remake without feeling like I’m in the actual game, although I just realized that Racoon City takes place in the Midwest! But I am not in a metropolis. The environment I am in now is a lot calmer and quieter except for the rhythmic noises coming from the crickets. The sound made me think of certain parts in the Resident Evil remake for GameCube. And so, the waves of nostalgia hit me. I thought why not play the Resident Evil 3 remake? I heard it’s a short game compared to the Resident Evil 2 remake and it is one of the newer titles I haven’t played.

Generally, I have a soft spot for the Resident Evil franchise. I have a super soft spot for Resident Evil 3 because it was my first entry into the franchise. But I also want to point out that I just like Jill Valentine. Her story doesn’t revolve around being someone’s sister or lover. Not saying there is anything wrong with existing for the sake of others. It’s quite noble. It’s just that Jill has her narrative which belongs to her solely. Her independence makes her quite admirable. She is a member of the Special Tactics and Rescue Service also known as S.T.A.R.S, and she is on a mission. I love that kind of determination!

Time to write my thoughts on this awesome remake…

So, let’s talk about Resident Evil 3 remake and why I had blast with it. First of all, I like the character dynamic between Carlos and Jill in this remake. There is a nice balance between them. Before I go into details about the character’s dynamic, I want to talk about Jill Valentine’s outfit. If you have played the original, Jill Valentine used to go around shooting zombies in clubbing clothes. As I said before in one of my blog posts, I have no problem with women who like to dress sexy (more power to you if you feel good in your skin. I wish I had your confidence). In the back of my mind, I have always thought it was uncomfortable to navigate Racoon City, holding a handgun and wearing a tube shirt and a mini-skirt.

Resident Evil 3 ps1 Characters manual
Character profiles from Resident Evil 3 PlayStation manual

That’s quite an empowering fantasy. Realistically though, try walking like that in the city at night, you sure will get hit on by creeps. That’s why I laughed when Jill called Nemesis the creepy stalker in the game. She knows exactly the pain that women go through just for dressing nice.

Jill hiding from nemesis
Yes…..you are creepy just standing outside the building like that…

So, that’s where the remake got it right. Jill’s default outfit just seems more appropriate for the situation. The tube shirt and mini-skirt would only make sense if she was in fact in the middle of clubbing when the chaos hit Raccoon City.

Jill character model in Resident Evil 3 Remake
Not bad Not bad. Still attractive…

Speaking of Carlos Oliveira, in the original, he is an overall nice guy but a bit of a flirt. The remake, on the other hand, made him more mature, task-driven and professional. There wasn’t a moment where I thought Carlos is a sleazy player who is “good with the ladies”. Removing that cocky, playboy attitude from the original game earned him my respect. Even if there was chemistry between the two characters, which is unlikely since Jill doesn’t seem to have time for romance, the remake kept their attraction to each other pretty wholesome. I like that both characters have an important role in the story. I enjoyed playing as both of them, although Jill got more of the spotlight than Carlos. Still, Carlos makes an interesting support role. He is humble enough to let Jill take the lead but strong enough to save her when she is in need. The greatest part is that both trust and believe in each other! It always makes me happy to see good teamwork, especially revolving around the interaction between the opposite sex. There was no gender-defined roles when it comes to getting the job done, and I like that a lot.

Carlos looking over
Jill Valentine looking firm

Gameplay wise, it’s fun. Like Resident Evil 2 remake, it has the same structure format in terms of gaming mechanics. Back in the day, it was hard to move and aim when you are surrounded with zombies who want a bite out of your neck. The tank control is a challenge in itself in contrast to the over-the-shoulder view. In the remake, the zombies still bite your neck as if you are a piece of delicious meat and you have to press X to be released from the zombie. It’s just annoying, but I guess it’s Resident Evil’s signature dish. Of course, the highlight of Resident Evil 3 gameplay is Nemesis. I think he secretly has a crush on Jill. He sure loves pursuing her! The majority of the game revolves around running away from him. The final blow felt really good.

Nemesis final blow
If you can’t read the text in the picture, Jill said, “Next time take the fucking hint.” I feel your pain, Jill.

My only disappointment about the gameplay, which is only a matter of preference, is QTEs. Did Resident Evil fans complain loud enough that developers decided to take them out of this game? I played the game in standard mode. I wonder if it would appear if I play in hardcore mode. Some action cutscenes could use some QTEs. I like them because it always makes me laugh and get my heart pumping in excitement. It keeps my mind alert, but I can see how bothersome it can be for some people who only play for stories or atmosphere.

Overall, it’s a great remake. I am not sure though if I would replay the game to get all trophies and to get a better rating (I got a C for average performance). But I can see someone spending a lot of time in this game to improve their rating and unlock items despite the story being short. You can beat it under 10 hours or even less if you know where and what to do in the game. So, replay value is great for such a short game. But then again, Resident Evil games were never long but were always well thought out, and that is exactly what I love about the franchise.

My Blogging Pet Peeves (Gaming Blog)

Most of the time, I am pretty level-headed and many people (offline that is. I’m not active on social media) said I am pleasant to be around. I am polite, hard-working, and considerate. Even my former boss said I am the nicest person in the world! Wow, I felt so honored to be called that. I suppose you don’t meet a lot of people who skip to work when work sometimes feels like running into a battle. I’m an optimist and sometimes a bit too overconfident by default, which is not always a great thing. I think it’s partly because I have a lot of alone time for reflection. I think and then write, edit then revise. As a result, this blog helps me stay sane, calm, collected, and understanding. Unfortunately, I wish I can say that my blogging experience has been very good. There are some blogging annoyances. Some have to do with indexing issues but it’s more to do with the blogging gaming community that I run into which cannot be helped, but can it?

It’s been a while since I did my 3-list blog post where I just make 3 lists of anything for fun. It’s a great writing exercise. So, today’s topic will be on blogging pet peeves. Brace yourself because this is not a positive, uplifting post, but I hope it’s insightful. I will try to keep it light.

#1) Passive Aggressive Blog Posts

I can never understand gaming bloggers who disrespect their readers. They should be happy that someone follows them because there’s a possibility that they are genuinely interested in their content. What irks me is when bloggers think their readers are inferior to them. I followed a female gaming blog that thought it would be funny to review a coloring book game for little girls just so she can make fun of it. I wish I understood the humor because if I were a kid, I think I’d like the game. The game is intended for little girls and not for full-grown adults. I guess making fun of a little girl’s game makes someone appears bigger?

2#) What Does It Really Mean to Be a Feminist?

I followed a few feminist bloggers back then. I learned that not all feminists (males included) agree with scantily clad women or lipstick feminists. I believe in equality too, but I don’t see a problem with women who are in tune with their feminine side. If you want to pay for my meal after a hard long day of killing zombies, hunters, and lickers, I got no objection. I’ll cover for you next time as long as I can afford it. Sadly, gender inequality pay is still a thing here in the U.S for the girly girl. There’s nothing more irritating than being called a gold-digger just because you are broke from trying to compete in a society that praises and rewards masculine over feminine traits unless you sell your body. I hope you can tell I’m joking. It’s a double joke. If you have played Resident Evil Revelations, I’m referencing and mocking a gamer’s comment I found on a gaming forum about Jessica. Some people called Jessica a gold-digger because she demanded Clive R. O’Brian, another character from the game, to take her out to eat after they are done with their job. You can’t see it in the picture below, but she is wearing a makeup bag around her waist. This portrayal of the woman always irks me a little. What’s so bad with keeping up with appearance while on the job? It’s empowering.

#3) Competitive Bloggers

I support friendly competition, but I don’t support catty competition where someone tries to discredit me by telling me what I like is not cool enough and what they like is better. What’s the point of following each other only to stress each other out? There were a few times I would leave comments only to get pushed back by anxiety-driven gamers who need a lot of work in the self-esteem department. They should be happy at least someone commented on their blog. It means they took the time to read and think about what you got to say. Isn’t that why people blog in the first place? Sometimes I wonder if it has to do with my pen name, Halsdoll. If you are curious, you can check my blog post about the meaning behind my pen name. My pen name was never intended to sound seductively alluring to support the patriarchal society, but somehow, I get pushed aside. The indie gaming community seems to be conflicted with all things femininity because 1) girls are just so weaaak (and that is not a typo); 2) the damsel in distress is not only a threat to another woman’s resources but she is also dead weight, and 3) the shameless hussy woman relied on her looks to get what she wants from men. You see, the suspicion towards women will never end because women were never seen on an equal level to men for having ambitions and desires separate from their counterparts despite the fact that gaming is so mainstream now that even your grandma is probably gaming as we speak and tweeting about it on Twitter!

It always seems like it’s the frailest one who has the strongest determination on the battleground-screen shots from 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

There you have it, my 3 blogging pet peeves, which most people probably cannot relate to, but hey this is my blog and I thought it might be worth sharing since nerds really do like exchanging information. It just shows that oh my, the quiet Asian woman can be so straightforward and have such strong opinions contrary to what some people think. Never assume. I hope you found this post insightful because I was never the type who like to complain for the sake of complaining.