Friday, 24 February 2012

Rance Quest and Blazblue


Well hasn't it been a month for gaming! Three weeks ago saw the release of Soul Calibur V (which apparently wasn't too hot, I guess that's one reason to be happy that every store rejected me due to not having ID.) Two weeks ago Catherine came out in the UK, and today sees the UK release of Blazblue: Continuum Shift II: Extended (According to Wikipedia anyway, I've had my copy since Wednesday.) And finally in Japan Rance Quest has had its first expansion pack today: Rance Quest Magnum.

Image from Amazon.co.uk
We'll start with Blazblue considering it’s the only game other than Catherine up there that I've actually played. Blazblue:CSII:E (even shortened that name is so long!) is basically a repackaging of the first two Blazblue games, Calamity Trigger and Continuum Shift, along with some extra content such as new story paths and a whole new character. This was quite convenient for me who, since his Xbox received the fated red rings, had not been able to play either of his limited edition copies of both Blazblue games. This also alleviates the age-old problem of “Do I have to play the first games before I buy the sequel” which plauges many a gamer when deciding to delve into a game as mind-destroyingly complicated as Blazblue. For people who have already got the previous two Blazblue games however, this installment of Blazblue not only adds a plethora of new modes (Including unlimited arcade mode which I have wished for in the past,) but also brings us the inclusion of Relius Clover as a playable character, who I have instantly taken to as (possibly) my next main.

Image from Getchu.com
On the other side of the coin then, we have Rance Quest Magnum, which sadly my inferior knowledge of Japanese will not be letting me play. On the bright side however, the translation team for Rance Quest seems to have gone back up recently and have recommenced their dutiful translation of the game (You can keep up with their progress here.) It may be a while before we see a full release, but it’s better than nothing (of course, the best thing to do is to just learn Japanese and play it like that.)

Rance Quest itself is the sequel Sengoku Rance, and is the 8th instalment in a series which has amazingly been able to run for just as long as Final Fantasy has (and yet has never seen release outside of Japan). Sengoku Rance is, in my opinion, the greatest game ever conceived (that I have witnessed, of course,) and has been fully translated via a fanmade patch at yandere translations. While I can’t vouch whether Rance Quest will be anywhere near as good, I could spend several posts detailing the greatness of Sengoku Rance (which I won’t.) And as the world in which the Rance series takes place in itself is so vibrantly conceived and full of life, I find it difficult to doubt that the 8th instalment in the series will be anything lacklustre.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Dark Horse Syndrome


The other day the question occurred to me “Do those really shady, rouge-like characters actually know how cool everyone finds them?” You know, the kind of guys that stick to themselves, mind their own business and every now and again drop into someone's life in order to do something really awesome or personally significant, and then they drop back out again to do whatever it was they normally do until the cycle repeats? I mean guys like Rufus from Bill and Ted, Shadow from Final Fantasy 6, or for something more relatable, a teacher who's popular with their students, but has a low position in the overall hierarchy of their job. The thing is, because of their seclusion from the people who look up to them, most of these people would have no idea of how people receive them. This is further accentuated by the fact that, because the characters are so well received, people would tend to ignore the negative aspects of their character, because outwardly they appear “so cool.” This can lead to an alienation of their own personal strifes, and advocate them as aspirational, when in reality, they may not actually be that admirable a role-model.
Image from Wikipedia

This isn’t so bad when its someone you met briefly in real life, because then it’s more a matter of your perception of that persons character, rather than their actual character, which is likely to be exaggerated and emphasised by your own personal aspirations. But when it’s a character from a work of fiction it becomes more complicated. Because in a work of fiction we don’t only get to see the character while they’re around people, but also while they’re alone; and most of them tend to end up as miserable of tragic characters. Even in the case of real life, it’s unlikely that such a person will live up to the fantasies of grandeur that people place on them. But back to the original question: “Do these people know how cool people find them?” Well we can attempt to answer this by using my favourite emotion: Empathy!

So imagine that you were one of these deviant, but popular characters: you don’t talk much, you keep to yourself, and your only companion is your dog. You own a gun which you know is illegal but you leave on the table in front of you anyway and no one questions it because the longer they ponder your existence the more their fear becomes ubiquitous. Chances are you’re pretty lonely and have to deal with all your stresses by yourself. You know you’re able to do this and you know that’s an admirable quality that not many people carry, but it’s still a burden in its own right. You tend not to have time for other people, and conversation bores you.

Now that you’ve completely (hopefully) engrossed yourself in that character, can you say what people think of you? If that was a bit too exaggerated an example for you but you get the idea, you can always try making up your own one (Imagination!) The point is to think of a character that you find cool, but fits that eccentric or secluded archetype, and then once you’ve really connected with them, switch your viewpoint. Be the person being watched (Your character,) and the person watching (You.)

The thing is that sometimes we get characters in fiction who represent a very strict way of life. These characters are often diligent, deviant and concise in their actions. But as awesome as they seem, it’s very unlikely that anyone would really want to be them, even though they represent the most independent of characters, their choice of lifestyle could rather ironically be one of the most emotionally demanding that there is.

Friday, 10 February 2012

The Beginning

 Images from Amazon.co.uk

Hello!
After a series of nonsensical and insignificant events I decided to start a blog. And due to my vast array of interests I won't be blogging about one particular thing, but whatever the hell I feel like blogging about. Coincidentally, the date of my first post coincided with the UK release of my currently 3rd favourite video game ever! This doesn't matter much to me, because I've had the game since its release in America, but if you're someone who enjoys games that really make you think, (and chances are if I know you and you're reading this, you don't even play video games,) then Catherine is definitely worth your time. Its a rare spectacle of a game which even after 7 months of having bought I still find myself putting hours into it, which is rare for one who can't even hold down an RPG for very long.

The game itself is split into two parts. Between each gameplay segment you'll be asked your opinion on things relating to the story, and some of these questions really offer food for thought, especially since after you answer, the game will present you statistics on how other people answered the question. The gameplay itself is thrilling; you won't find another game like it and it will test your ability to think your way through situations. I don't intend to go into it here, but if you're interested then youtube is your friend.

I might write a full review on the game sometime in the near future, as I said it depends on how I feel. In the meantime I'm gonna keep updating this space and see how things go, expect things about music, video games, guitar, maybe even a bit of philosophy if I feel the need!