JRPG Update is back folks… sorta. In order to make things easier on myself, I decided that some revisions needed to be made to how I would handle things, simply because I was overloaded the way that JRPG Update worked before. I tried to post weekly updates by covering as much JRPG related information as I could, even things that seemed insignificant. As such, I am deciding to do some vetting for the content that I cover and will try to avoid posting redundant news such as “such and such has new screen shots” or “details have been given about the shape of the hair of the NPC off to the top right corner in the second house in the games 13th town.” Also, updates will be posted monthly as opposed to weekly so I have time to actually work on other content.
Trigger Warning: This review contains references to racism, anti-semitism, and forced cross dressing. The game itself contains depictions of the above in addition to gore, nudity, scatology, sodomy, abortions (performed on a man), miscarriages, and Nazis (of the zombie variety).
Just looking at the creation process of South Park: The Stick of Truth, it is easy to see practically endless ways how this game could have been a colossal disappointment. First of all, there is the fact that it is indeed a licensed game, which sets the bar low seeing as how most licensed games tend to be average at best even when they have a significant amount of potential and hype. Even ignoring that this is a licensed game, this was the first time that Matt Stone and Trey Parker had any involvement in a game based off their license (they have admitted in the past to being displeased with previous South Park
games, which is why they made sure to be more closely involved with this game). To add to this, the game went through development hell due to THQ going out of business and the publishing being transferred to Ubisoft. There were practically thousands of reasons to be skeptical that this game would turn out well, whether they be concerns about how South Park’s heavy emphasis on political and pop culture based writing would not transfer over well into a video game, or even looking at Obsidian Entertainment’s track record of having their games released plagued with bugs and glitches that would out due even Bethesda’s games.
Welcome to this week’s VGM. I have decided that I would go with something that is from a game especially nostalgic to me, Final Fantasy VII. Of course, I’m never one to go with the predictable tracks like “One Winged Angel” or “Aerith’s Theme” or even slightly less common but still talked about tracks like “Still More Fighting” and “The Great Warrior.” The first track that comes to mind when I think of Final Fantasy VII is either “Interrupted by Fireworks” (which I honestly find more beautiful and emotionally moving than “Aerith’s Theme”) or “Holding My Thoughts in My Heart.”
If you live outside of Japan, you likely don’t know of many JRPGs prior to the 16 bit era. Hell, you may not even know of many DURING the 16 bit era either. Until Final Fantasy VII popularized the genre with its cinematic CG cutscenes and enormous marketing budget (not that the game had no merits in story or gameplay, but plenty of other games did to), even the most popular JRPGs in Japan were a niche attraction in the west. JRPGs retailed for up to $80 at the time without adjusting for inflation, and publishers often could not afford quality localization teams. A majority of games localized by Ted Woolsey, for instance, were handled within a month and had to cut several sentences down. The fact that games like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IV & VI, and Super Mario RPG had such strong scripts regardless really shows a testament to his ability, which allows me to cut him some slack for how bad Breath of Fire’s was (and also because Capcom themselves did a much worse with Breath of Fire II). Oh, and if you were in Europe then you likely never got ANY of these games.
Holy shit, how the fuck did I stay away from this series for as long as I have? I actually don’t know if I have even written about Neptunia for this blog yet, although I have mentioned it plenty of times. I absolutely adore this series, and seeing someone bashing it for being nothing but fanservice is an instant trip to my shit list. That’s not even a joke, seeing someone bash a series like Neptunia or Senran Kagura as being nothing other than fanservice just because it HAS fanservice tells a lot about their personality; mainly that they are misogynists who think women are “degrading themselves” if they ever show skin and that they project their own sexism onto anyone who has a sex drive, and I can only assume you’re a shitty person if you are this shallow minded. It is because of this that I got so pissed at Jed Whitaker and why I despise Jim Sterling.
The truth is that the Hyperdimension Neptunia series is one of the most pro feminist video game series of all time (ignoring the shitty harem spinoffs that is). To have such a strongly developed cast of female characters in an age where AAA developers need to virtue signal their inclusion of a single female protagonist as a key advertising point is incredible. This is something that I could go on and on about for hours, but it is not the point. Among the many incredible aspects of this series is its music.
Well, here is part 2. The last 13 entries have started out fairly tame but creepy before getting to downright freaky. I will say that each of the top 10 in particular could have worked as the number one spot and it was NOT easy picking the order, but I managed, and I think I have got some fairly solid reasoning. Well anyway, here are the final 12.
Well I finally got around to linking the last of my game reviews from Oprainfall. Surprisingly, I did not care for this game. I actually had fairly high expectations for it given that I am a fan of ecchi titles like Hyperdimension Neptunia and Senran Kagura, but this one just didn’t grab me. Well to be fair, it DID grab me eventually… during the second to last area of the game. The character backstories were strongly emotional and engaging, it is just s shame that the game tells you next to NOTHING about these characters prior and leaves you little to get invested in. Most of my disappointment came from its premise though and how it was executed, as I do go over in the review.
Trigger Warning: Starless… no more is needed…okay fine, rape, incest, bestiality, scat, genital mutilation, murder, starvation, confinement, kidnapping, sexual slavery, and all around unpleasant sexual imagery. The game itself is far to grotesque and sicking to recommend to ANYONE! Extreme caution is advised if one wants to play this game anyway!
Starless Nymphomaniac’s Paradise is one of, if not the most disturbing games ever made. This is not the usual levels of messed up that hentai is known for. If you still think something like Rapelay is a legitimately disturbing game, stay far away from this game. If one is not the right type of audience for this game, it can cause deeply scarring psychological problems that will stick with you for a long time. It has been a year since I played this game and I still cannot get the images from it out of my head.
Also what I would like to disclose is that this is not the first time I reviewed this game. I have written a review of it a year ago shortly after I finished the game. The game had caused some very adverse effects on my mental state, which has resulted in a hastily written review that did not explain everything about the game that was needed to make my point, and I worded some things rather questionably. This time, I will try to view the game from a more observational standpoint at how well it achieves what it sets out to do.
Well, this is the final VGM of the month and I am feeling hella satisfied that I managed to get a Halloween/horror themed VGM up each week. Yes, “Appetite” counts since Starless IS one of the most horrifying games ever created (albeit for all the wrong reasons), and “The Eye Awakens a Jungle” is a pretty freaky track even if Earthbound isn’t a horror game (although mu training, brain surgery on children, and Giygas should be enough to qualify it). So, what better way to end off this month than with a final boss theme from Namco’s arcade horror classic, Splatterhouse?
I have stated in the past that I have grown tired of people asking whether or not games can be art due to various reasons. One of the main reasons that I dislike this topic’s consistent appearance is because it seems to be causing a general insecurity on the part of a lot of developers. The more that people believe that games are not art, the more people will sacrifice quality in an attempt to make an artistic statement simply because they think the latter is more important. Normally the best case scenario is a well designed game with a pretentious story that tries too hard to be deep and the worst case is having a game that uses bad game design as an excuse to support said pretentious story. Eversion, however, manages to be a game that actually succeeds in using its gameplay as a story telling tool and being fun at the same time.