RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Dreamcast Edition - http://www.mmcafe.com/ Forums


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"RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Dreamcast Edition" , posted Mon 23 Sep 03:42:post reply

Previous thread: >>RANDOM GAMES #36

In Chaz's absence, it falls to me to save us all from load times with the newest Random Thread, only slightly late for the 20th anniversary of the US Dreamcast's 9.9.99 release! Two decades later, we're still waiting for Shenmue to finish and for another Soul Calibur as perfect as 1, so it's as relevant as ever. MEANWHILE:

You'd better believe MMC is talking about River City Girls!
quote:
-It's the best sprite art and 2d animation i've seen from a new game in years.
-Pressing the attack button to perform screen transitions is an idea that never should have made it through testing.
-RCG tries its best, but
-River City Rival Showdown: IT IS EXTREMELY GOOD GO PLAY IT NOW

Speaking of potentially exciting things that are slightly late:

Indivisible has an opening cinema animated by Studio Trigger and is coming out...next month?! Since it's the Skull Girls people and the Cafe features in that, we're honor-bound to try it.

13 Sentinels is also finally coming out in November. I don't like giant robots that are not Escaflowne, but the art is beautiful and they should have paid off Atlus' extortion money by now so they can make other things soon.

Romancing SaGa 3 and Scarlet Grace are coming out in English and you are going to play them now if you didn't play them in Japanese, even if the localization is odd, whether you like it or not!

Finally, I am reading delighted reviews of that Goose game we were talking about before, which appears to be a perfect balance of acting like a jerkoff but in kind of an artsy way, so naturally it's perfect for me.





人間はいつも私を驚かせてくれる。不思議なものだな、人間という存在は...

[this message was edited by Maou on Mon 23 Sep 06:15]

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"Re(1):RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Dreamcast Edi" , posted Tue 24 Sep 01:37post reply

quote:
Indivisible
I should also note that the soundtrack is by Kikuta Hiroki, who not only scored Seiken Densetsu 2 and 3, but also Soukagi, the all-time best soundtrack to a game you never particularly wanted to play!

If I were Lab Zero, I feel like I might be playing this aspect up a bit more.





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"Re(1):RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Dreamcast Edi" , posted Tue 24 Sep 01:49post reply

How does the final version of Indivisible play? Is it similar to the demo? I hope not since I found the gameplay to be a confusing mish-mash of ideas pulled from other games. (At least I think it was; that demo came out a long time ago.) Too bad to since I liked a lot of what Indivisible is presenting outside of actually playing the fool thing.

But none of that matters since that goose game is going to run away with all the GotY awards. The goose in that game looks less openly belligerent than the ones in my neighborhood but since this isn't trying to be the next Goat Simulator it's fine that the goose is more twee than terrorizing.







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"Re(2):RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Dreamcast Edi" , posted Tue 24 Sep 02:18post reply

I've actually never played Indivisible in demo form but feel like I should try the final given how much I like the artists! Like Iggy said, the big delays had sort of a dampening effect on the PR, I think. It's bad enough when a well-known game like FFXIII-something took 10 years to level up into FFXV, but you definitely don't want the public response to your indie game's release to be, "Oh, they're still making that?"

I'm counting on you to have the first MMC review of Goose! I'm always happy to remind people that geese are OP, but I hadn't considered their more tactical approaches.





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"Re(3):RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Dreamcast Edi" , posted Tue 24 Sep 03:42post reply

There is never a reason not to post the most OP video about Geese on the internet (though I see that the new Tier Zoo videos is about hippos, and I need to watch that once I'm done).

Speaking about games and animals, this week-end, I was playing something called Later Alligator, and it could be quite the MMC-compliant game.
It's the story of Pat, a normal alligator of New York City, who has overheard that his family is planning a secret party tonight. After thinking it through, he came to the conclusion the only reason his family would plan a secret party is to murder him (and the fact today is Pat's birthday is totally irrelevant, why are you even bringing this up, what's the connexion between birthdays and family parties anyway?)
He hires you to find out the truth about the secret party, so you're going to walk through the city interviewing each family member. The game is a sort of point-and-click, and each family member challenges you to a mini-game, most of the time very simple and hilarious (unfortunately describing the best ones means ruining the joke, which makes it hard to pitch, so you'll have to trust me on that one). Meanwhile, you'll also have to deal with Pat's increasing paranoia as he calls you to come back urgently to his hotel room because he forgot the code of his door, or because someone tried to kill him with strawberry jelly, or because ghosts in his closet have stolen his shoes.

It's a very dumb and funny game with a distinctive artstyle, groovy soundtrack, and it lasts about 4h which is just the perfect time to have fun without having the game overstaying its welcome. It's not going to win any GOTY awards (those are for Scarlet Grace, Baba is You and Heaven's Door this year), but I'd wholly recommend it if you're at home, sick on a Saturday, and bored out of your mind.







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"Re(4):RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Oneechanbara" , posted Fri 27 Sep 04:41:post reply

While eagerly awaiting an Iggy-ntonian review of Blasphemous which highly reliable sources confirm is coming soon, I'm here to point out the release of Oneechanbara Origin since the Cafe is the #1 English-speaking consumer of the Simple 2000 Series, as far as I can tell. I must admit I wasn't keeping track, but this one combines the 2004 original and its sequel. What's striking is that the fun-because-they-suck graphics are actually now...extremely attracive and cel-shaded-looking?!





人間はいつも私を驚かせてくれる。不思議なものだな、人間という存在は...

[this message was edited by Maou on Fri 27 Sep 09:33]



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"Re(5):RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Oneechanbara" , posted Fri 27 Sep 22:19post reply

quote:
While eagerly awaiting an Iggy-ntonian review of Blasphemous which highly reliable sources confirm is coming soon, I'm here to point out the release of Oneechanbara Origin since the Cafe is the #1 English-speaking consumer of the Simple 2000 Series, as far as I can tell. I must admit I wasn't keeping track, but this one combines the 2004 original and its sequel. What's striking is that the fun-because-they-suck graphics are actually now...extremely attracive and cel-shaded-looking?!


I unironically love the Oneechanbara series because it has no qualms whatsoever about being pinky violence trash. We should all be so confident about our place in the world. Heaven knows I don't want every game to be like this but I'm looking forward to trying out Origin... when no one else is home so I don't have to explain what I'm playing.

The Simple 2000 series first gained a following due to their outrageously high concepts and outrageously cheap budgets but I also admire them for their longevity. AAA franchises have come and gone but games like Oneechanbara and EDF continue to plug along year after year. There's a lesson in there somewhere.







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"Re(6):RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Oneechan-bara" , posted Sat 28 Sep 03:54:post reply

quote:
While eagerly awaiting an Iggy-ntonian review of Blasphemous which highly reliable sources confirm is coming soon, I'm here to point out the release of Oneechanbara Origin since the Cafe is the #1 English-speaking consumer of the Simple 2000 Series, as far as I can tell. I must admit I wasn't keeping track, but this one combines the 2004 original and its sequel. What's striking is that the fun-because-they-suck graphics are actually now...extremely attracive and cel-shaded-looking?!

I unironically love the Oneechanbara series because it has no qualms whatsoever about being pinky violence trash. We should all be so confident about our place in the world. Heaven knows I don't want every game to be like this but I'm looking forward to trying out Origin... when no one else is home so I don't have to explain what I'm playing.

The Simple 2000 series first gained a following due to their outrageously high concepts and outrageously cheap budgets but I also admire them for their longevity. AAA franchises have come and gone but games like Oneechanbara and EDF continue to plug along year after year. There's a lesson in there somewhere.



As much as I love EDF, the one thing that saddens me about the success of EDF relative to everything else Sandlot has done is that it means Sandlot has never again made a game focused on giant robots fighting giant monsters on home console since the PS2. They made a ridiculously good looking Tetsujin 28 game that has some of the most POWERFUL explosions you'll ever see, too!

It's also important to point out that Sandlot actually hasn't made an EDF game every year, and more than one time they even had quite a large gap between the release of any game at all!
2006 was probably one of the most fortunate years in terms of releases from Sandlot, in that they released two entirely different new games on two entirely different platforms (EDF3 on X360 and a mecha game on the 3DS)!

But from 2006 until 2010, the released nothing at all!

From 2006, if you didn't count Reginleiv, the only EDF games that were released until 2013 were ports of EDF2 and EDF3! The EDF3 port on Vita was a big upgrade with the return of Palewing from EDF2, but if you wanted a truly new EDF game, it was a 7 year wait!

I actually am impressed that the company survived that entire stretch from 2006, because EDF3 was never ported to the Playstation, and Reginleiv never got anything else period. I've got a lot of admiration for Sandlot's resilience, and they are honestly one of the few budget game studios I wouldn't mind working for because I'd love to know how they operate and I'm a huge fan of EDF.

To briefly return to the topic of Oneechanbara:
It's worth remembering that Tamsoft is also the Senran Kagura company! I can see how the pitch for Senran Kagura would've been successful given Tamsoft's prior works (e.g. Oneechanbara), and visual improvements in style and technology from Senran Kagura have surely filtered down to Oneechanbara. I have not played enough Senran Kagura games (to be precise, I have played basically zero SK games....), so I don't know if they used Oneechanbara as a testing ground for things in Senran Kagura. Then again, Senran Kagura has in recent times released a 3rd person shooter, a pinball game, and a reflexology game, and I don't know if Oneechanbara has ever had that kind of breadth.

They've also worked on Neptunia games, which probably have an even clearer path from SK. I imagine Senran Kagura is the money maker for the company, but I am really curious how Oneechanbara games are handled. Do people in the studio who are tired and stressed out from working on SK go to Oneechan for healing in a lower-stress, lower-spec project that has lower expectations? School Girl Zombie Hunter feels like an experiment in Unreal Engine development, having animation problems amateur projects have in doing that complete with camera that behaves like the one you'd get from doing the basic UE tutorial! I imagine that they contracted with Compile Heart for the Neptunia game that was also Unreal Engine, but SG/ZH is them building their own pipeline for making UE games.

I do hope that Senran Kagura doesn't just become a mobage in the future, though. It's ripe for that platform and game style, but it's nice to know somebody out there will make full-fledged cheesecake action/variety games and that those games will make enough money to keep a studio going!





[this message was edited by Spoon on Sat 28 Sep 07:38]



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"Re(7):RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Blasphemy" , posted Mon 30 Sep 06:40post reply

Indeed, yes! Blasphemous!

It is a good game.

Gameplay-wise, it's surprisingly not as much of a Metroidvania as one would have expected. I obtained my first "traversal upgrade" about 2/3 through the game, and it was something fairly minor. I'm at 99.5%, and I haven't found any of the traditional Metroidvania upgrades such as a double jump. I think I have 5 traversal upgrades, and honestly I'm not sure any of those are necessary to complete the game? They're useful to get collectibles, and there are a great amount of those, but none seem to have been mandatory.
There are many more upgrades (life, mana, power, some moves, and too many equipment slots to fill) though, so the game really seats in a middle of a triangle with "Metroidvania" on one tip, "Chi no Rondo" on another, and "Dark Souls" on the last one, without really fitting into any of the three archetypes.

The first areas are almost classic-Castlevania affairs, then become more and more complex as the game progresses. However, a lot of the discoveries you'll do are ways to backtrack (such as a ladder kicked down to a previous save point, so next time you die you won't have to do the whole detour again). I suppose itís a way to replace the double jump/flying powers, by making levels easier to travel through once youíve gone through them once and return to hunt for collectibles.
The main character behaves fairly heavily compared to the pixies that were Alucard or the MC in Hollow Knight. Not to the point of being a Belmont, but still much heavier than, say, Classic Rockman. He has a dash that can be upgraded into a Stinger, but for some inexplicable reason it's tied to an invisible timer (fortunately, an item allow you to lower that timer to almost nothing). His moveset, while fairly adequate, remains limited to a few sword slashes and a couple of spells; nothing comparable to Shanoa or Soma.
Speaking of items, one of the annoying things of the game is the amount of slots you need to equip. You have the rosary beads (the rosary being itself upgradable), the enchantment for the sword, the spells, the relics, on top of which you can collect bones of saints and rescue trapped angels. It's all a bit overwhelming, really.

All in all, it's a good game, without any egregious flaws if you don't expect a new Hollow Knight, and without a lot of elements that distinguish it from the many other 2D action games being released lately.
Except, of course... the art direction.

So, obviously, it's Gothic/Baroque horror, with very good pixel art and animation, and a huge amount of gore and religious imagery.
Which, honestly, wouldn't be anything to write home about... if it wasn't culturally so informed.

We know our Gothic horror in videogames. We've been playing excellent Castlevanias in the past, as well as the 5 Demon/Dark Souls/Borne more recently. They are all very good at the whole "decaying classical European architecture + grim setting + some horribly disfigured corpses" thing.
Something that I had never really thought about until now, however, is that these games are... well... made by Japanese people. Extremely talented Japanese people who have done a tremendous amount of research to make their games appropriately elegant and horrifically refined. But they all focused on the visual aspect, the exterior elements of these religious items and architectures.
Blasphemous, on the other hand, is incredibly Spanish and deeply ingrained in Catholic imagery.
The graphical elements are not some mere tourist tour of Europe. Almost all enemies and backgrounds call back precise paintings or places, some more obvious than others.
For example, these flying guys with spears are cardinals and remind of some Velŗzquez paintings, this reanimated corpse held by a lady is a spoof on a Pieta, the shrines that upgrade your sword come from Rodin's atelier, the quest giver in the snow area is obviously a reference to St Sebastian, the lady that upgrades your health bar is any Virgen Dolorosa... etc.
Goya is the main inspiration throughout the game, unsurprisingly (and rightfully). He's everywhere, absolutely everywhere, and more, and more.

The game is extremely Andalusian, with a lot of architecture inspired by Sevilla or Cordoba, and of course all the insane festivities of the semana santa and the hordes of penitents. And that's what makes the game so fascinating: it's not just a giant reference of famous art pieces made "spooky". Every element makes the game richer by evocation, filling a player familiar with the original elements with a web of meanings the more they decipher them, and create a dizzying carnival of symbols that feeds into the main themes of the game.
While Blasphemous doesn't refer to any known religion, the stand-in is transparent. But instead of creating a simple bizarro-catholicism, with God, Jesus, Mary and the saints being replaced by other characters with different visuals and names but similar functions, the religion of Blasphemous uses the actual message and practice of the most pious, orthodox, and fascinatingly morbid Catholicism, with surprisingly little window-dressing.

The entire game resolves about guilt. Normally, Catholicism rejects the idea of the innate depravity of man that Protestants and Lutherans profess (to make it really quick, Protestants generally think that you can't be saved without the grace of God). Catholicism canon teaches that not only the sacraments (Baptism first and foremost) are a remission of the original sin, but also that, since man has been made to God's image, it has free will and is not condemned to commit sin.
Of course, not being condemned to sin doesnít mean itís easy or even possible to never sin. And since, contrary to Protestants, you had the possibility to not sin, and did it anyway, it makes the link with personal guilt and responsibility very intimate. Punishment and pardon are two fundamental facets of the everyday faith, along with its companion, blind obedience. Nowadays, punishment is moral, philosophical or ritual; however, the closer you go to the glorious centuries of Spain, the more the public mortifications reached Folsom Fair amount of insanity (and still do in some areas).

Guilt, in Blasphemous, exists outside of time and narration. The main character, the Penitent One, is on a journey to atone for his sins, whose nature is never touched upon and whose existence would be dubious if it were any important. The actual reason for penance is not an meaningful topic; the focus is on suffering and atonement. Forgiveness is not automatic, regardless how much you punish your flesh. Thus, instead of penance being a voyage from sin to forgiveness, it remains, stilted, as its own end, devoid of origin, past, or hope.
There is no conflict in the game, since every enemy or ally is just here for their own mortification as an end to itself, and purification is not assured even after total destruction of the flesh. What makes the game so desperate is that "hope" doesn't have much meaning; what makes the player push forward is the necessity for the penance to continue. The fetishisation of pain and wilful self-torture is more than just goal and end: it's a complete circular system.

I'm sure we all have played countless RPGs with made-up religions, where midway through the game you discover that main religion in which your character had been raised were actually the bad guys all along, and they were actually trying to resurrect the Antichrist, or maybe they were just very very corrupt. It's a very useful trope, but it's also generally a very poor device that more often than not amounts to "fake religions are bad". It's honestly not really convincing, and lack any sense of correlation with the real world.

Where Blasphemous's depiction of religion works in unique and powerful ways is that it follows actual Catholic practice extremely closely, and makes the entire made-up religion of the game a much more terrifying system by removing any threat at the scenario level. No one is an antagonist in the game. Everyone welcomes pain and suffering not only as something necessary, but also something beautiful and deserved. There is no scooby-doo moment where the religion or pope are revealed being something sinister: everything you know from the beginning is all there is to know. No character can even imagine to question the main dogma of penance or look outside of it, since the destruction of their own flesh via self-torture is its own gratification. Paradoxically, there is no salvation, there is no hope in Blasphemous, because everything is already decided. By distillating Catholicism into its more extreme, and grotesque, practices, the game ultimately illustrates one of the main debates that have animated the church for two millennia: how can you have free will if God is omnipotent, how can he know everything if I have free will, how can free will exist in a universe overseen by an infinitely perfect being.
This is why using all that impressive amount of classical art into the game wasnít mere savvy quotations for hipsters: the game uses art in the same way Catholicism used art and beauty after the Renaissance and beyond, as a mean to meditate over its most sacred mysteries.

This is what separates Blasphemous from Castlevania and Dark Souls's pretty, but hollow, visuals. It only becomes more interesting the more knowledge one has about some general Catholic discussions, from Augustine to the twilight of the XIXth century, towards the end of religionís reign over the masses, before political ideas and utopias replaced it across Europe with different flavours of horror. My own knowledge is quite basic, so Iím sure Iíve missed a ton of references and keys, but it's enough to make the whole object feel very unique.





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"Re(8):RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Blasphemy" , posted Tue 1 Oct 00:37post reply

quote:
Indeed, yes! Blasphemous!

It is a good game.

Gameplay-wise, it's surprisingly not as much of a Metroidvania as one would have expected. I obtained my first "traversal upgrade" about 2/3 through the game, and it was something fairly minor. I'm at 99.5%, and I haven't found any of the traditional Metroidvania upgrades such as a double jump. I think I have 5 traversal upgrades, and honestly I'm not sure any of those are necessary to complete the game? They're useful to get collectibles, and there are a great amount of those, but none seem to have been mandatory.
There are many more upgrades (life, mana, power, some moves, and too many equipment slots to fill) though, so the game really seats in a middle of a triangle with "Metroidvania" on one tip, "Chi no Rondo" on another, and "Dark Souls" on the last one, without really fitting into any of the three archetypes.

The first areas are almost classic-Castlevania affairs, then become more and more complex as the game progresses. However, a lot of the discoveries you'll do are ways to backtrack (such as a ladder kicked down to a previous save point, so next time you die you won't have to do the whole detour again). I suppose itís a way to replace the double jump/flying powers, by making levels easier to travel through once youíve gone through them once and return to hunt for collectibles.
The main character behaves fairly heavily compared to the pixies that were Alucard or the MC in Hollow Knight. Not to the point of being a Bel

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


Thank you for that beautiful writeup. I absolutely have to support and play this game now!






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"Re(8):RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Blasphemy" , posted Tue 1 Oct 03:46post reply

quote:
Indeed, yes! Blasphemous!

Thank you for the review!

I've been on the fence about Blasphemous. On one hand I don't need a punishing platformer in my life. Plus, whenever I see the phrase "like Dark Souls" I want to stop reading, close the browser, and go out onto the lanai and water the plants. But on the other hand, that art direction...

Your post tells me that Blasphemous succeeds in its creepy pseudo-Catholicism beyond my wildest expectations. As you noted, most Japanese pop culture that look to Western religion for inspiration do so in a superficial way. It's a gilded frame that may or may not have anything to do with the artwork it holds. Blasphemous, however, sounds like the philosophy it is built upon has seeped into its very bones.

When I play Blasphemous I'm certain I'll just fall down a hole and die or die and then watch my corpse plummet down a hole but it will be worth it to experience the world it creates.





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"Re(8):RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Blasphemy" , posted Tue 1 Oct 18:21post reply

Amazing write up. You've convinced me to check Blasphemy out. I love works that are informed by history, and although I prefer to create fictional worlds, I try to think of the inhabitants as real people and take bits of real historical events to create authenticity. Xenogears was a bit fast and loose with its use of religious tropes (although I do love Xenogears), and a more nuanced game is really appreciated.

Like Ishmael, I have also felt a bit "Souled Out" lately and am playing more relaxing fare (DQXI on Switch, which is pretty good) until Death Stranding releases.

I'm also trying Apple Arcade's free momth and there are a lot of fun little indie things on it! Some of them are a bit too plodding or are little interactive narratives with no real gameplay (which is fine but sometimes not fine). Some of them are really great (Grindstone, Sayonara Wild Hearts, Card of Darkness). I wonder if Apple Arcade can survive and if the creators participating can make a living off of it. In any case, I like that they are all non-F2P-nonsense. :)





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"Re(8):RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Blasphemy" , posted Wed 2 Oct 06:54:post reply

quote:

Iggy's detailed analysis of Blasphemous' aesthetic and themes


Well done, this is very illuminating in terms of historical context and I doubt this specific information could be found elsewhere (at least not until people from other forums have popped by the cafe to sample our wonderful culture). It does sound like the developers have an interesting and coherent vision. A question does leap to mind, though.

Given that the focus is ultimately on suffering and atonement, is the act of penance something the player actively performs while playing the game, or is it just something your character deals with on his own during cutscenes?

People do seem to be describing the game's design as "punishing," so I guess there's that, but I'm wondering if there are other interesting ways the theme carries through to gameplay. Actually, the idea of having so many slots for regalia and relics sounds very clerical to me. But it sounds as though it's more fussy than meaningful.

I realize this stuff is easier said than done, but I also feel like there's usually some room to add some symbolism to gameplay while staying within the broader conventions of an established genre. For games about exploring areas, finding all the things, and killing all the bosses, the Souls games do have some good convergence of mechanics and lore going on.





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"Re(9):RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Blasphemy" , posted Thu 3 Oct 04:20post reply

quote:
Given that the focus is ultimately on suffering and atonement, is the act of penance something the player actively performs while playing the game, or is it just something your character deals with on his own during cutscenes?

Ah.
That's a good point...
I would say that the penance performed by the main character is not so much in cutscenes and rather the game itself.
I wouldn't call the game "punishing" for the player, it's certainly easier than G&G or some old Castlevanias. It is, however, an extremely unpleasant experience for the character.
I think it's something I've never considered: however entertaining it was to move Arthur or Belmont or even Rockman in their games, it was entertaining for me, not for the character being thrown into spikes, or lava, or medusa heads and then spikes.
What Blasphemous does is that it highlights the fact the experience, from the point of view of the character, is not a happy adventure in the world of jelly beans, but a gruesome and excruciating pentathlon. Other games were brushing that on the side, explaining the desire for the character to go forward as a natural heroism that sets Arthur and the others aside from other men and robots. They're (literally for Arthur) knights in shining armors, and they don't need to have any emotion besides having innocents to save.
Because the character of Blasphemous has neither name, past nor enemies, and is nothing but "The Penitent One", it's hard to call him a heroic character. He is his penitence.
He does things, some of which are unquestionably good, some which are more strange, or even simply difficult to understand. Yet, this nothingness is not laziness on the part of the devs (the way you'd feel in some games where the developers haven't spent much thought on the MC and he's basically a stand-in for you, the player). The Penitent One is a character for sure, different from the player that controls him, and he's also deliberately "almost nothing". What remains, thus, is just the unpleasantness of the jumps and murders and spikes.

From the point of view of the player, though, it is not more or less unpleasant than any G&G or Rockman. It's definitely a more pleasant time than the worse moments of Dark Souls, be it a particularly difficult boss you're struggling to beat, or a depressing passage like Blightown (or a shitty moment like Bed of Chaos).
I wonder if there has been a discussion on that point between the developers about whether they'd thought of extending the penance to the player.
But then, why would you spend years to develop a game that's a pain to play on purpose?

Pathologic 2 just did that, and that is a beautiful and uncompromising vision: making a world so horrible that exploring it is a terrible and painful experience. I love that it exists, and I love that I can read the experiences of the masochists (penitents?) who have played it through. But do I want to experience it myself? Absolutely not!
If there is a hard weakness to Blasphemous though, it's definitely here. The game didn't have the guts to go where Pathologic 2 went. With the themes it explores, it's a shame. But as someone who enjoyed playing what I did, it was for the better.







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"Re(10):RANDOM GAMES #37: Eternal Blasphemy" , posted Thu 3 Oct 05:35post reply

I think the problem with Pathologic 2's execution is that when it is too obtuse or too exhausting or too excrutiating, it becomes difficult to engage with the particular ideas of those topics they have. There's a certain degree of unanticipatable suffering that is intended as a result of the systems of their game, but that is not the same as the unanticipated suffering that comes from not being able to figure out the menu interface. Where the mystery/pain ought to lie in the experience and where obtuseness serves that rather than distracting from that is a challenge I think they never really overcame.

Chulip is a game that delights in making the player suddenly and unexpectedly die, and that is a huge piece of ludonarrative consonance in the game's world view.







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"Indivisible with Kinu...ko" , posted Wed 9 Oct 12:49:post reply

Iggy's brilliantly covered the Spanish Catholicism of Blasphemy just in time for another interesting culturo-religious mix: Indivisible finally came out today! I only saw Valkyrie Profile for about 5 minutes in 1999 or so and probably won't get to it for a bit, but people seem to like it, MMC alum (????) exodus wrote the script, and the art (with animation direction by Nobi!) is wonderful.

Specifically of interest to the Cafe is this delightful piece of promo art, drawn not by Kinu but by Skullgirls' Kinuko, though I see a huge similarity in the coloring and collage layout that I haven't noticed in her work before. Speaking of true art:
quote:
I unironically love the Oneechanbara series because it has no qualms whatsoever about being pinky violence trash.
The new graphics really do bring it up to the level of the best parts of the legacy of 1970s psychedelic soft-core pornography! They can put that on the box as review copy. And Spoon's deep Simple analysis and the connection with Senran Kagura make the new look make sense now!
quote:
Do people in the studio who are tired and stressed out from working go to Oneechan for healing
I certainly do! Uh, in the game. Yeah.





人間はいつも私を驚かせてくれる。不思議なものだな、人間という存在は...

[this message was edited by Maou on Wed 9 Oct 15:03]



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"Inktober" , posted Thu 10 Oct 00:56post reply

OK. Just in case.
Can someone tell Juan he's the awesomest among the awesome people who are awesome, except him, who's better than all of them?
Thank you.







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"Re(1):Inktober" , posted Thu 10 Oct 02:57post reply

I did not know that Brandon and Nobi worked on Indivisible! When I finally get around to the game I'll have great fun reading the credits.

quote:
OK. Just in case.
Can someone tell Juan he's the awesomest among the awesome people who are awesome, except him, who's better than all of them?
Thank you.


This is so great the only proper response I can give is through ancient emojis.





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"Re(1):Inktober" , posted Fri 11 Oct 05:13post reply

quote:
OK. Just in case.
Can someone tell Juan he's the awesomest among the awesome people who are awesome, except him, who's better than all of them?
Thank you.



Now the question to Juan is, does he do any commission work!!





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"Re(2):Inktober" , posted Fri 11 Oct 07:59post reply

quote:
Now the question to Juan is, does he do any commission work!!

Well yeah! Just as any good Cafe member knows to wake up each morning with the mantra "I hate video games!", all sensible businesses know that only by commissioning work from sinister Buttermonsters can they hope to be successful.

Speaking of perfect art, Indivisible seems to have made a splash! I may even try to play a new game less than one year late this time, and I haven't done that since...Nier?! I guess FFVIII Remastered sort of counts.





人間はいつも私を驚かせてくれる。不思議なものだな、人間という存在は...


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"MOON takes #1 spot on Nintendo eShop!" , posted Sat 12 Oct 04:01post reply

IT TOOK THE NUMBER ONE SPOT FROM DRAGON QUEST XI!!!!!!!!!!

.... ok sure DQXI had been on the eShop for 2 weeks at this point, but the idea that MOON would be at the top of the eShop alone is amazing!

When a game you work on unseats a mainline DQ game from #1 on a japanese storefront, you take that W no questions







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"Re(1):Inktober" , posted Sun 13 Oct 12:12post reply

quote:
OK. Just in case.
Can someone tell Juan he's the awesomest among the awesome people who are awesome, except him, who's better than all of them?
Thank you.



Thanks Iggy!!! Those chiens are dangerous. They show up out of nowhere every year with their agenda!

quote:

Now the question to Juan is, does he do any commission work!!


I do commission stuff! Unfortunately my potato computer died and haven't been able to repair it. If you want me to draw something for inktober though just let me know here or send me a dm.

Same for everyone here, if you have suggestions let me know and I'll give it a shot







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"Swery + Suda51 + Toyama = Hotel Barcelona" , posted Wed 23 Oct 23:24:post reply

Okay, aprently in a recent livestream, Goichi Suda and Hidetaka Suehiro held a livestream to announced a joint horror game project called Hotel Barcelona. During the cast, they went in and messaged Keiichiro Toyama to ask if he could join the project, to which he agreed! Devolver is publishing the game.

Edit:fixed link





[this message was edited by sfried on Wed 23 Oct 23:27]



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"Re(1):Swery + Suda51 + Toyama = Hotel Barcelo" , posted Wed 30 Oct 09:26post reply

quote:
Okay, aprently in a recent livestream, Goichi Suda and Hidetaka Suehiro held a livestream to announced a joint horror game project called Hotel Barcelona. During the cast, they went in and messaged Keiichiro Toyama to ask if he could join the project, to which he agreed! Devolver is publishing the game.

From Hotline Miami to Hotel Barcelona! I just realized that if this dream team game happens, Devolver will have managed to publish something even more magnificent than SERIOUS SAM (the most gloriously stupid and funny shooter ever made, which somehow managed to be the insane trip that Duke Nukem always wanted to be, without all the icky stuff). From the first game to introduce "hippie violence" where blood is replaced by flowers and hamburgers to a game that's clearly too scary for me to play, Devolver's legacy is assured.





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"Re(2):Swery + Suda51 + Toyama = Hotel Barcelo" , posted Fri 1 Nov 03:54post reply

I actually don't know how well this will turn out, because SWERY and Suda are just so... different.

Like, the stories they write both have lots of surreal/supernatural/noir-ish/horror-ish elements to them, but SWERY's are generally not as pessimistic and cynical as Suda's. Suda's works are also deliberately "cooler" in direction, though the art team at Grasshopper certainly helps a lot in that realization.

If the two styles don't really mesh well, then it sort of becomes a "ok this is Suda's part" and "ok this is SWERY's part" and the hand of the director becomes too pointedly evident because of that contrast.







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"Nioh 2 Beta" , posted Fri 1 Nov 23:44post reply

Anyone tried it? Any thoughts? For a game that only existed in our collective imagination for so long Nioh's sequel is coming out in surprisingly short order.







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"Re(1):Nioh 2 Beta" , posted Sun 3 Nov 08:59post reply

Some quick Nioh 2 thoughts:

Nioh 1 was partly hot stuff and partly a hot mess. Nioh 2 seems to be building on everything that made the first game what it was.

The game still features a lot of loot drops, although it feels slightly toned down from the piles of worthless junk you would receive in the first. At this point Nioh could be classified as a looter-shooter but since it doesn't have guns I guess it's a stabber-grabber.

Excess seems to be the name of the game in N2. For example, the weapon page features a wall of weapons and each of those weapons open up to a page where each stance has a massive web of attacks and refinements to learn. Your character has stats, your weapons and armor have stats... if you find the S&P 500 index to be too simplistic N2 has you covered for charts and graphs.

The character creator isn't fully unlocked in the beta but there's still plenty to see. I'm certain fans will figure out perfect formulas for making most of the cast of DoA. One interesting option is that all the male characters can wear make-up, all the female characters can have facial hair and everyone can darken their teeth, including making them green. Your character can really express themselves while out there chopping off limbs. It's a shame the options to change the look of your super form aren't in the demo since at the moment you default to a Devil Man-ish look.

The combat is still great fun, even if I occasionally feel like I'm drowning in options. The option to steal the powers of yokai you fight is a fun trick but I'm not certain I was aching for even more ways to hit people in Nioh.

I'm not certain what the storyline in N2 is but the one opening cut scene to the level I'm playing was certainly odd. The group my character was with were sent out to capture a fort. As we headed there we were berated by some fellow soldiers, one of whom summoned a magic pig just because he could. Then while we were talking Jason Momoa jumped out of a nearby river. Right now I'm fighting yokai with a magic spear while Jason Momoa follows me around to help fight. I feel like I'm playing Onimusha 2.

So far Nioh 2 feels like a From Software game with much punchier combat and without the need to roll around on the ground in an undignified manner. My other big takeaway is that I wish I had made Ayame instead of Momiji when designing my character.





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"Re(2):Nioh 2 Beta" , posted Mon 4 Nov 11:04post reply

I haven't tried the Nioh 2 beta yet but while we're at it-- the demo for Vanillaware's 13 Sentinels has been out since the start of this month as well. It should be worth the download for even those who picked up the pay demo earlier in the year since there's extra hours playable as a thank you bonus!







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"Re(2):Nioh 2 Beta, Tetris Effect VR" , posted Mon 4 Nov 13:01:post reply

quote:
looter-shooter / stabber-grabber.

if you find the S&P 500 index to be too simplistic N2 has you covered

all the male characters can wear make-up, all the female characters can have facial hair and everyone can darken their teeth

we were berated by some fellow soldiers, one of whom summoned a magic pig

There's no limit to the hilarious reasons to play Nioh 2! Thanks for the report. I hope for a similarly good set of reasons to play 13 Sentinals even if the setting bores me to tears. I may have to stick to Ass-tral Chain for my gorgeous apocalyptic future people for now.

Oh! I played Tetris Effect way late, but at least it was in VR, so I nearly threw up! Needless to say, I loved every minute of it while my body could handle the 3D, which was pretty exciting. You have never seen blocks falling with such intensity, not even since Lumines.

As usual, Mizuguchi's work here is visually and aurally beautiful. A friend and I wondered whether this musical puzzlemaster loves Tetris and was able to use his incredible resume to get to work on this newest one, or whether he's so far beyond Tetris in his incredible visions that they sought him out, and he was like, "Yeah, okay, I'll make a cool Tetris if you like," in the spirit of a licensed game.





人間はいつも私を驚かせてくれる。不思議なものだな、人間という存在は...

[this message was edited by Maou on Mon 4 Nov 13:23]



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"Re(3):Nioh 2 Beta, Tetris Effect VR" , posted Wed 6 Nov 00:35post reply

quote:

Oh! I played Tetris Effect way late, but at least it was in VR, so I nearly threw up!


If you don't feel tense and nauseous while playing Tetris you aren't playing it correctly!

At some point I do need to try out proper VR. The only one I tried was an underpowered system so it was like having a 3DS strapped to my face. The absurd experiences and limitations of the technology are something I'm curious to experience. Not curious enough to buy a VR device, mind you, but curious.





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"Twinkle Rival Star Megagun Sprites" , posted Thu 21 Nov 23:55post reply

Looks like someone managed to create a game similar to Twinkle Star Sprites(which we have been asking for some kind of sequel or revival of) called Rival Megagun. Has anyone played it?

I like TSS and wish we had some kind of new one. Hoping this would satisfy that hunger.

Rival Megagun





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"Re(1):Twinkle Rival Star Megagun Sprites" , posted Fri 22 Nov 02:13:post reply

quote:
Looks like someone managed to create a game similar to Twinkle Star Sprites(which we have been asking for some kind of sequel or revival of) called Rival Megagun. Has anyone played it?

I like TSS and wish we had some kind of new one. Hoping this would satisfy that hunger.

Rival Megagun



This looks really cool. Sad I no longer work in an office with other people who would like this kind of game.

I guess they do have online play, but apparently there are some issues? It just really looks like a game that you'd want to play head-to-head.





/ / /

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"Re(1):Twinkle Rival Star Megagun Sprites" , posted Fri 22 Nov 02:57post reply

quote:
Looks like someone managed to create a game similar to Twinkle Star Sprites(which we have been asking for some kind of sequel or revival of) called Rival Megagun. Has anyone played it?

I like TSS and wish we had some kind of new one. Hoping this would satisfy that hunger.

Rival Megagun

That looks like fun but I miss the colorful, cutesy graphics of the original. I always found it amusing that a bunch of little magical girls spent all their time roaring through the sky and pouring hate on each other.





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"Death Stranding test footage" , posted Thu 28 Nov 01:58post reply

I'm trying to refrain from discussion until I've experienced the whole game on my own, but this test footage made me giggle too much to not share.





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