Hey folks! This week i’m having some trouble thinking of things to write about, so I guess i’ll start spreading the word about some of the GSNs (games, series or novels) that I liked but don’t plan on reviewing. There’s also a bit about reviewing things down the bottom that you may be interested in.
Aselia the Eternal (AKA: Eien no Aselia) is a Visual Novel with gameplay elements developed by Xuse and localized by JAST. Technically it’s the first VN I ever played, but at the time I didn’t even realize that they existed. The story focuses on a teenage guy called Yuuto (I think…i’m doing this from memory) who, along with his sister and some friends, gets transported to an alternate world where beings known as Spirits with amazing powers are used to wage war. Yuuto of course becomes caught up in the conflict despite knowing nothing about his new home, and sets off with the goal of finding the people who were dragged along with him. Of course, before he can do anything useful he needs to learn the language and come to terms with what has happened to him.
The gameplay consists of pitting your teams of spirits against enemy spirits in order to capture towns and other objectives. The catch is that each spirit plays a different role depending on where they are in your formation, with each type of spirit (there are 4) having a different skill for each role. Both the gameplay and story were excellent and I implore you to give them a shot – especially since each new difficulty level you attempt unlocks new story content. It may have been the first VN I played, but it’s not just nostalgia that makes me recommend Aselia.
Virtual Reality is something that will always fascinate me, though it’s questionable whether i’ll be able to experience a complete version of it in my lifetime (something that will always haunt me). If it did exist though, then .Hack’s The World is the exact kind of game i’d play. The .Hack series comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, with seven Video Games (that I know of) and at least three Anime Series. What they all have in common, though, is that they revolve around a Virtual Reality MMORPG called The World, which pretty much everyone plays. The other common feature between all of the .Hack titles is that something isn’t quite right about the game: players that fall into comas after playing, a seemingly self-aware computer system, and secrets from the past locked away within the code.
If you’re an Anime fan, you’ll want to check out .Hack//SIGN. It’s about a player that is unable to log out of the game, even after his real body has been rushed to hospital. His consciousness remains logged in, with no apparent way out. There’s more to it of course, but you should give it a go for yourselves!
Video Game enthusiasts should look up the quadrilogy of .Hack PS2 games starting with .Hack//INFECTION and following up with MUTATION, OUTBREAK and QUARANTINE (maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be a common theme to those titles). You may not have considered it before, but playing a game within a game is actually pretty fun. I haven’t finished the series myself, but that hasn’t got anything to do with its quality; I would definitely recommend trying it out.
[Edit: A recent replay of this series has led to me withdrawing my recommendation from the PS2 games.]
Anyone who writes reviews is inevitably going to disagree with someone, but in some of the reviews i’ve got coming up you’ll see that I disagree with, well, most people. It’s not that i’m contrary by nature or that i’m tougher than other reviewers (though the latter may be a little true in some cases), it’s just that I didn’t quite like whatever it is as much as other people. In those cases it’s all well and good to discuss the pros and cons of a GSN, but as often as not there isn’t a solid reason for why you feel that way about it – you just do. I do my best to justify my own feelings, but sometimes you just have to accept that your opinion and your likes and dislikes are different from others’.
The curious thing about disagreeing with popular opinion is that it sort of forces you to re-evaluate how you feel about something. That doesn’t mean that I change my opinion just because it’s different from everyone else’s, more that I can’t help but wonder if I missed out on some aspect of the experience that made others enjoy it. There’s also the worry of having to fend off rabid fans but for me it’s more about solidifying my opinion – once i’ve done that I haven’t got any problem with posting views that may be unpopular. As long as the discussions don’t get personal I actually enjoy talking about why I did or didn’t like something…which, now that I think about it, is kind of necessary for a reviewer.
I know i’ve got a few other bloggers that deal with reviews as followers, so do you have any thoughts on this topic? Do you find that you disagree with popular opinion often, or that you feel that same as others for the most part?
Ugh, i’m gonna start running out of quotes. Rewrite just isn’t giving me any!
“It is better to be alone in a desolate place than in a place with many people” – Ef, A Fairy Tale of the Two (Chihiro Shindou)