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.

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:

Last of Us Remastered Review (PS4): A Good Father and Daughter Relationship Video Game

Sometimes when a game is overly hyped, I can fall into the trap of dismissing a game entirely due to its popularity.   Back in 2013, there was this huge hype about The Last of Us. At that time, I was too busy playing Dark Souls II to drop the game to see what the hype is all about. Thanks to my purchase of the PS4 back in 2015 (the main reason I bought the console was for Bloodborne), it came with a digital copy of The Last of Us.  I decided to give the game a whirl because I want to challenge my preconceived notion about the game. Is it a masterpiece?

To my surprise, I must admit, I did enjoy the game to some extent.  The biggest strength of the game is progressively watching the father-and-daughter-like relationship grow.  I find the bonding between the main protagonist Joel and Ellie more believable than the father and daughter relationship in Resident Evil Revelations 2The Evil Within 2, and even Nier Gestalt (another topic I will go into detail at a later time).  As the saying goes, “show but don’t tell” is a popular saying when crafting a good story. The same rule applies to video games.  The presentation in Last of Us is cinematically engaging. Throughout the game, Ellie is seen side by side with Joel most of the time, allowing the audience to feel close to the characters over time. Even in combat, Ellie is not useless like Sheva in Resident Evil 5.  Throughout the game, teamwork is heavily emphasized for the two characters to survive. The most memorable part of the game to me is when a player has to switch from Joel to Ellie. At that point in the game, a scene takes the player into the future without giving many details of what has happened from the previous dramatic scene where it appears as if Joel has been shot (my memory is getting fuzzy here, I played this game back in 2018). I couldn’t tell if she is all alone until later, she is seen nursing Joel back to his health. That section of the game gave me a sense of relief. I didn’t realize I was becoming emotionally invested in the two characters’ relationship. I wanted to see them succeed.  I wanted to see them survive.

Ellie with a cross bow in Last of Us

Another section of the game that is memorable is where Ellie has to drive out the bad guys away from harming the injured Joel. I know I would do the same for my dad without a doubt. There is that urgency to protect. When the role is switched to Joel, likewise, I feel the very same urgency to protect Ellie. That part of the game did strengthen their bond and implies how much they need each other to survive, but more importantly, how much they trust each other.

Joel and Ellie petting a Giraffe

As Joel and Ellie’s relationship deepens in the game, it’s not hard to empathize with the characters. Toward the end of the game, I suppose the game has already turned me into a monster. The only option given to me is to shoot the doctor if I want to save Ellie. Similarly, to Joel, Ellie is no saint either when she hesitantly accepts Joel’s answer about the fireflies. For one, Joel is all she has in the world. She couldn’t bear the thought of losing him as we see in a scene in the game where she throws a little tantrum and runs off with the horse.  But at the same time, she feels tremendously guilty for not being able to save human lives as she mentions her best friend is the first to go, and of course there is Tess, an important character who has died in vain along the way for the sake of humanity.

Joel and Ellie bonding

Presentation and story-wise, this game gets a decent grade. The story flows well, however it has been told several times. What it excels at is speaking to humans on a primitive survival level, drawing out what matters most to the heart. Every day, humans make sacrifices and tough decisions. With a stern face, Joel already decided to carve his fate.  Any normal human being who underwent the traumatic event of losing a loved one will never be the same.  He never recovered from the tragedy of losing his daughter but at least he has someone like Ellie to fight for.  It makes perfect sense why the title is called The Last of Us.  The game is about two people who lost everything–and they are not willing to give up on each other even at the expense of saving humanity. And as f*cked up as it sounds, the argument made in this game is pretty valid to me. Is a strong family man such a bad thing in society? I rather have that than a narcissistic, ambitious father who treats his children like second-class citizens. 

In terms of gameplay, the gameplay is cheap and unoriginal, which makes the entire game feels like a book, but plays like a movie.  There’s nothing really exciting about the gameplay. Typically, I am not much of a stickler for stories in video games.  Most of the time, if the gameplay is fun, I will keep playing. After all, I bought games to play.  The gameplay in The Last of Us is very stale and tedious. There were only two instances I thought were exciting.  One part is when Joel is separated from Ellie for a brief moment, forcing him to dive into the water and navigate in the dark enclosed area to find a keycard. In the area, there are clickers.  At first, I experience a little nervousness because nobody likes dark places filled with lurking monsters! But then, I realize I have many different types of weapons so my nervousness instantly goes away as there aren’t many obstacles to overcome to reunite with Ellie. I blast the enemies away with my shotgun.  Once I obtain the key, I bypass all of them and quickly get to a safe place.  Not much of a challenge there.  The other part is when Joel is hanging upside down shooting the infected. That part reminds me of a section in Resident Evil Revelation, where Chris Redfield fell from the cliff and is pinned down to the ground, having to defend himself from the approaching wolves while waiting for Jessica to make her way down to help him. The only difference between the two games is that the Last of Us gameplay is forgiving. The game autosaves frequently.   So, if you die constantly, it puts you in a decent spot in the game to try again. If you get stuck in the game, push the L3 button when it appears. This will give you a hint.  The game is very generous, but that consideration kills any challenges the game has to offer, and what is even worse, it makes the gameplay becomes dull quickly as gameplay becomes predictable.  I think I would be just content watching a movie version of the Last of Us than go through all those unnecessary troubles. On the positive side, there were some breathtaking, beautiful wild scenic landscapes.  I am not complaining much.  It’s a nice little escape from the noisy city life I was once used to.

Joel and Ellie riding horses

Overall, the game feels genuine as it amplifies the American identity–a free and rugged individual who has a choice.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing? That’s for you to decide.   The more I think about it, the game is just a political statement going against big pharmaceutical companies.   I was entertained while the game lasted, but not entertained enough to demand a sequel.

Note: Originally posted
July 1, 2018; revised and edited May 30, 2022

Halsdoll’s Progress Report Card (Video Game & Book Backlogs)

Well, I finally got Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin out of my system. I beat it. It was fun exploring each stage and now I’m all shackled up and become one with the dark. I feel so accomplished–not really because I enjoyed the fairy-tale world atmosphere to part with it. It’s been a great companion for so long. On the bright side, I can start jumping into new games without feeling as if I have forgotten to do something important.

I beat DS2
I finally sit on a throne. It’s not all that comfortable….apparently.
I beat Ds2!!
Hurray!! I am the queen of darkness!

I’m also proud to say I finished Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. I felt as if I ran a Harry Potter Marathon. Two more books to go until I finish the main series. I tell myself I need a bit of a break from the series to process everything I read but found myself starting on the 6th book after just taking one day from reading. Surely, I will write down my thoughts in the upcoming future on the Order of Phoenix. So expect that. Just in case, new folks happen to land on my blog and who is also Harry Potter fan (hi, hello nice to meet you!), please check out my previous Harry Potter posts:

As for video game backlogs, I really am trying to give Sakura Wars a chance even though typically I am not into dating games. I am now on Chapter 3. Checking Howlongtobeat.com website helped me prioritize what games I want to tackle first even though I did say I tried not to make a list. And yet, with Elden Ring lurking around the corner (I’m writing this on the 24th, it comes out on the 25th), I feel as if a chunk of my time for games will be focused on Elden Ring. This means I will drop Sakura Wars for the time being. Yes, if there is such thing as game-hopping like bar-hopping, (not much of a drinker or a socializer unless it’s about video games) I’m trying to find my new favorite drink (I mean game) because I am going to need a lot of booze to escape from current events which it doesn’t seem to get any better by the day.

Playing Sakura Wars
Photoshoot with the girls from Sakura Wars
Playing Sakura Wars
I told you he is like a rooster….

Well, that is it for this weekly post. So important that I had to share when there are far more serious things out there. I know, but this blog helps me stay sane. Until next time. See you!

P.S.

I know I spend a lot of time with games and speed is not my biggest strength. Why do some games grade me on my performance? Ah…..I play to escape. Making adjustments to my report on Sakura Wars made me feel better. 

Playing Sakura Wars

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!

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 Video Games Shopping List (Part III): Bright Colored Games for Mental Health

If you are worried about talking into the void and it makes you feel invisible, unworthy, neglected, or unlovable, it’s okay. I am used to talking to myself and I am quite proud of it. I don’t care how introverted you are but humans are made to talk! So, talk to the void if you need to release mental stress! There is no shame to it. I promise it will make you feel better. Isn’t that why people confess to the preacher? Well, I hope your sins are not too big.

I need to talk and I must talk! If you are new to my blog, I like to make a list of three recommendations. This time it’s video games instead of movies. I did this shopping list a few years ago on my old blog when I was still a bit timid about online exposure. You can check them out here:

My Shopping List–Casual Games are Great!

My Video Games Shopping List (Part II)

In the upcoming winter days, I prefer playing bright-colored games. It’s good for mental health if you are feeling a little down from all the gloomy weather and the Dark Cloud (do you like the pun? I still have yet to beat the game, hehe).

  1. Sakuna of Rice of Ruin

I live in the city and city life has its pros and cons, but these days it’s more cons ever since the pandemic hit. If you can work remotely, there is no point in living in the city. Transportation was the main factor why there are city dwellers like me. But on the plus side, things have been quiet in the city except during certain nights I can hear homeless people shouting. It’s really sad because some are suffering from mental illness. It really is a societal issue. Even before the pandemic, I often dreamed of going into the mountains or somewhere far from civilization so I can breathe nature. I think I found the perfect game: I can play as a farm girl. Yeah, I want to be a country girl for a change! It looks fun and its popping bright colors will surely lift anyone’s mood in the upcoming winter days.

2) Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of An Elusive Age – Definitive Edition

I need to escape from reality ASAP, did I mention I am stranded in the city? I played the demo and really like how immersive the game is. I feel transported into a different world that is less chaotic. I think this is the game I am going to play on my birthday! Some people hate being born close to Christmas, but not me, I am sure the only present I need for Christmas and birthday combined is a good game. Bright-colored games= instant happiness.

3) Cuphead

Cuphead [Online Game Code]

I normally purchased pc games that are story-driven and that is where I play most of the indie titles. They can be quite relaxing to play before bedtime. For Cuphead, I am still debating whether I should purchase this on Steam or on the PlayStation store. The illustration looks great and I am always up for an adventure so Cuphead made it to my list for the winter days!

I hope you enjoy my recommendations even though I haven’t played them yet! I guess I am just so excited I have to make a list. Hopefully, you found something you like on the list as well and it will add a little sunshine to your life. Well, that is it for now, bye-bye.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Review: An Upgraded Classic Rollercoaster Ride

I know I am a bit late to the party. I finally got a chance to play Resident Evil 2 the remake, which was released back in 2019. For those who are new to my blog, I am not a little girl and I’m definitely not new to this franchise. I first played this game with my brother back in the day when we supposedly fake sick so we can skip school (actually the real deep root was social anxiety. Some kids just function better in a smaller crowd).

Let’s just pretend you are new to the game. There are two parts to the game that you can play: the rookie Leon Kennedy’s route or the good bad-ass Claire Redfield who is searching for her brother. The proper order is to select Leon’s route, but back then playing the original, I started off with Claire because she is GIRL POWER!!! Did I mention that she is badass a minute ago? Yeah, I did.

Anyway, this game is well designed in terms of appealing to the younger generation of gamers without jeopardizing its survival horror aesthetic, which older fans often complained how they didn’t like how the Resident Evil franchise turned into action games. Zombies are noticeably less aggressive and slower than Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6. The atmosphere is very dark in tight corridors. Ammo is scarce so don’t go shooting blindly and aimlessly out of terror. The remake is also generous enough to allow players to switch to Assist Mode if they are having trouble. Assist Mode is another way of saying easy mode, but it seems like the developer didn’t want to hurt player’s feelings so they called it Assist Mode which sounds more polite than easy (that’s just my speculation though. I like to come up with backstage stories lol). Standard Mode is the normal mode. Most people start off with Standard Mode, which is what I did. But then I realized I had to switch to Assist Mode because I kept dying, trying to explore the police station. It’s difficult to explore if you are new to the game because there are enemies (the infamous lickers and the Tyrant) that will get in your way!

RESIDENT EVIL 2

It’s nice that the developer allows you to switch mode in the middle of the game as the earlier Resident Evil games rely heavily on exploration and solving puzzles, which I like very much. I am the type of gamer who enjoy playing games twice: one for the story and the second for the gameplay. Like anything, practice makes perfect. So, the order I went back then, was to play on easy mode to get the feel of the game as I don’t rely on guides. It’s more fun to figure things out yourself. Another generous thing about the remake is that you don’t need ink ribbons to save. In fact, it autosaves quite frequently. So you don’t have to panic about not having enough ink ribbons to save your progress! For some players, especially kids who are just learning how to play games (we’ve all been there) it’s a nice component, but not so much for the veteran players. Lastly, the map is also well thought out. It’s easy to spot what items you missed which makes it easier for you to backtrack, and once you found all the items, the location of the map will turn red to clear, which means you don’t need to revisit the area. This saves a lot of time. Can you imagine those who have memory problems? Back in the day, games were kind of hard. Our only cue was looking for flashy things. Games like this really do test your memory skills. Like a mouse in a maze, you got to know where you are going in order to survive. It’s kind of like solving a math equation if you think about it. There is an order to everything.

Overall, I enjoyed the remake. It’s a fun game for newcomers and old fans. But personally, I think the franchise is dead to me as I still have yet to play Resident Evil 7, which I heard was decent, but I’m just not excited enough to play. Nonetheless, it’s still an iconic series that will always have a special place in my heart. The little girl in me likes to come out and shoot some zombie heads once in a while. I still have to explore the side mini-games that the game has to offer.

Onimusha: Warlords Review (PS4)

Who in the world watches horror movies and plays horror games during the pandemic? Isn’t real life like a horror story? Well, that is okay, I won’t judge. My life was never normal, to begin with so this is actually normal to me. I’m not fazed by the pandemic that much. Welcome to the club, world.

I want to do something a bit different for this blog post, why? No one seems to enjoy reading critical essays besides weirdos like me. So, I will talk about games casually and show off my gaming skills: I mean my average gaming skills.

I completed Onimusha: Warlords on easy mode and got a B score. Not so bad for playing the game blindly. Now I know how to beat games faster as I know what to expect. Going to attempt to beat the game in 3 hours so I can get a shiny trophy. I’m playing in normal mode without consuming any medicine or herbs. Sounds like a challenge? For me it is–that is why I didn’t mind how short the game is. Typically, I play the game twice anyway. One for the story, and two for the gameplay.

One thing that drew me into games in the first place was actually the artistic nature of the game. Onimusha:Warlords is charmingly beautiful. I feel like a little girl again sitting in my coffin-like bedroom playing games with my brother. My brother and I enjoy playing survival horror games together. Onimusha: Warlords feels like Resident Evil 2 in terms of music placement and stage layout. Instead of killing infected zombies, you kill ninja demons. Because of good game design and the correct usage of colors (lighting in the game is well balanced), I didn’t feel forced to complete a game for the sake of completing the game. Onimusha: Warlords felt smooth and it was pretty to look at. However, this doesn’t make the game perfect. There was one aspect of the game I didn’t enjoy: I had to level up my weapons to unlock certain areas to proceed in the game (I hate grinding). Luckily there are only three weapons: blue, red, and green that you can max up to 3 times. Simplicity in weapon choices and upgrades is not a bad thing in game design. In fact, it helps players like me stay focused. Players want to feel that they are progressing. This makes us want to finish the game.

When it comes to a story, there is nothing mind-blowing about it. The male lead saved the princess. The game follows in the same footstep as Resident Evil games in terms of unraveling its tale: You uncover the mystery behind the manor by reading journals left behind. In fact, I had a good laugh reading the journals. It sounds crazy. I didn’t know demons are divided into social classes just like we humans. It is a good metaphor to describe selfish evil people. The history of humanity has always fought against darkness and Japan is no exception despite its being so isolated.

Overall, I enjoyed the game, especially the cinematic scenes and well-designed characters. They were pleasing to my eyes. It’s a shame that the PS2 survival horror game style no longer exists. I am quite fond of it actually.