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God Eater – You can guess what is the prey…

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After going through different games, I have noticed that I begin to neglect handhelds. This had to be corrected and what would be a better game for the hunter to write about than a “hunting” game. Don’t worry though, my spectrum on games is larger than that, but since a 2nd game is in the making (and hopefully will come to us from the far way land of Japan), I figured, I would take a look on the first game.

The first statement about the game which comes to my mind is, that it is basically Monster Hunter with a story.  Whenever this is true or not, I will explain in this commentary. (or review…or whatever you would like to call this)

Basically, in its very core, it is like Monster Hunter. Before you, dear (possibly non existent) reader skip the whole thing and write a monologue of how wrong I am, let me explain. You take missions (i.e. killing monster), collect objects, get money, upgrade your weapons and kill more of those things. This is the same thing you do in Monster Hunter, but that doesn’t make God Eater a shameless copy of it.

Field1Ah, Earth…sweet home sweet…Waaait a minute.

Let’s start with the setting. In the near future, a meteor crashed on earth and with it, strange cells which consume, develop and evolve too quickly than mankind could handle the situation. These cells took form and turned into Monsters (Aragami) devour anything in their way from buildings to humans and other Aragami to evolve into bigger creatures. And normal weapons don’t really hurt them.  You can do the math, why human kind is at the point of extinction in this game.

The only hope are the God Eaters, humans infused with the Bias Factor which wield huge Swords and Guns to battle those creatures. And you are one of them. As fresh meat *clears throat* Rookie you joined the Far Eastern Branch of Fenrir (which is a nice name in hinsight, I will explain that later) to be one of the New Types, a new Generation of God Eaters, which can switch between blade and gun in battle.

geb1That is you…fresh mea- uhm Rookie

Without spoiling too much about the story, let’s look at the NPCs. You can take them to battle, they help you and are generally useful (when they don’t shoot you, when you engage close combat…isn’t that right, Kanon?) The AI isn’t that bad either, pretty solid I would say, which each Character having his/her own “tactic”, but since it is more story based than Monster Hunter, let’s look at them from the story perspective.

What do we have? Your Unit consists of…A happy-go-lucky, little brother type of person (Kota),  a benevolent good Leader which is rather carefree and easy going (Lindow), the nice, fanservice medic Lady who has clearly a thing for her Leader (Sakuya), the young, talented, wellspoken, rather self-confident (just look at her clothes) recently transfered girl (Alisa), and last but not least, the brooding, unfriendly young man who has serious issues and believes he is a monster (Soma). We have all heard of those types before, but that isn’t bad. A little cliche, but not bad.

And how can I forget you, the almost silent protagonist with no backstory and whose gender doesn’t make a difference at all. (Well, everyone assumes that you are male and there is just one dialog which is changed when female…and that wasn’t important.) Naturally, you aren’t just the fresh meat for the Aragami but as well for some of the mess which happens inside of the branch.

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…Why do I always get a bad vibe from such guys?

Story, well yes, I didn’t expect much and I was surprised when I found out that it was quite…soild. In a good way. Of course, there are a few flaws (like predictable twists) or the thought that some character (especially side characters) could have been more fleshed out more, but all in all, it was interesting and entertaining. The voice over was pretty good as well. (or at least it didn’t gave me a headache)

When it comes to the battle, the only thing I have to critize a little bit is the mechanics and the camera. The latter is never there where I need it and after a few matches, my fingers started to hurt (due to the buckly   mechanics) because of always rejusting them and keeping an eye on the thing I had to kill. I hope they correct that in the sequel. Of course that is a personal matter.

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What I find great are the dynamics of the weapon. You can switch between gun, sword and shield in battle if the need arises and you can modify bullets for your gun and test them. You can alter the weapon as well, just like in Monster Hunter, through parts you collect from Aragami. Then there are different kinds of grenades, traps and bombs which you can buy. There is also the option to devour a part of your prey to get a boost and resources. The Aragami don’t look bad either, especially the stronger forms who are a real challenge. (Hannibal…I have a hate-love-relationship with it)

Was it worth the hunt? Yes, definitely. To be honest, I enjoyed it more than the Monster Hunter games because of the story I had more like a goal or got curious what will happen next. On the other hand it lacks the variation in things of weapons and armor (In God Eater…your look doesn’t really affect anything. Even when you wear a ridicioulous bear outfit)

Is God Eater a bold copy of Monster Hunter?…Eh…How should I put it? It has the stigma like every Adventure Hunting game  that it was released after MH (which was released in 2004 by the way. GE came out 2010.) After a concept of a game is made and proven that it can work, it is just natural that it will appear in other games. My point is, that you can’t reinvent the wheel over and over again. What matters is how the game is presented and how the mechanics are improved or altered.

Being able to switch weapons in battle offers other strategies and opportunity than chosing them before the mission. Then you can’t create new traps, grenades or something in the mission like you could in MH. Then the artstyle is different. God Eater sports a more anime-style look (even in the opening scene) and is something between a little bit colourful and apocalyptic wasteland, while  MH has a definetly more colourful and “happier” setting. (happier is debatable, I know.) There are differences as well as similarities in things like gameplay, but the setting is different as well as the focus. In MH you just hunt for the hunts sake and become stronger, GE relys here more on the story. I will say the games are similar, but won’t go as far as to claim that it is a shameless copy. 

I will draw the conclusion line here, fun facts like name meaning and such are below and optional.

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Hannibal (not Lecter, but the ante portas- Hannibal, a general which almost got hold of the Capital of Rome – I find it funny that the Aragami is later turned into Calligula…a crazy, bloodthristy Roman Emporer)

Name theming…What have we here? Japanese, Latin, Greek, Chinese, Sanskrit, German…oh what joy…*clears throat* Of course, most of the Aragami (which basically means malevolent/destructive deity or deity incarnate, depending on how it is written) are named after Gods, but there are exceptions. Like the Zygotes (means “cells”), Quadriga (a chairot drawn by four horses), Sariel (an arc angel) etc.

The one which really stands out is the Borg Camlann. I can offer two explanations. First, the more known one, is that it refers to the last Battle of King Arthur (where he died), the second is that it is named after the Roman fort of Camboglanna (which is Brittonic for “crooked enclosure” or “crooked bank of a river”)

Arda Nova…Latin, if Arda comes from “Arden” which means “great forest” and “Nova” means “new” (in astronomy a star which releases a tremerous burst of energy and becomes temperary bright.)…I see what you did there, Game. I see what you did there.

Fenrir? Norse Mythology? Wolf who devours Gods? How…fitting?

From the main characters…which stand out? Yeah, it is a rhetorical question. Of course, Johannes Schicksal, Soma, Dr. Paylor and Lindow. Johannes being a bibical name (ironically means “God is gracious”) and Schicksal being the german word for “fate”.

Soma is a more interesting case. It is greek for Body and in biology is the term for the body of a cell, but the fun fact comes in when we see at the Sanskrit meaning. (heaven, ether, sky and…nectar of the moon (yeah, seriously.))

Lindow is actually a surname (from a nobel german family) and it mean “One came from Lindall (linden tree valley)” So, yeah, what has the name to do with all that? Well, the linden are a germanic holy symbol, trees which would help to unearth/find the truth. I might be interpreting to much in it…but it’s oldly fitting for the character. (Sakuya can come from the word saku “bloom”, but can also refer to konohanasakuya)

Paylor…just how can I not laugh at this? A marker of pails and buckets…or a word for a frying pan…I…think… I will stop there.

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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in PsP

 

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Black & White – Let’s hunt Gods

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In the beginning was one single prayer echoing through the void, desperately searching for something who will heed the call and will help this forsaken soul. And amidst this clenching darkness something awoke, flared to life, to follow this plea, born from the despair of humankind. The light descended to the mortal plane, flickering and vividly glowing to fulfill their wish. They praised it for its mercy, they named it a savior…

They called you God.

But if you are a blessing or a cure for those who awoke you from your slumber, is a question only you can answer. You are God and you decide which path you will follow. Are you the embodiment of light or bringer of darkness? The savior or the tormentor? This is up to you.

This is your story. (For the love of…Auron, out of this commentary! Go back to your own game!)

*clears throat* My deepest apologies about the downright cheesy introduction. Let’s get to business, shall we? You (aka God) just saved a boy from his fate of being fish food and his parents are more than thankful for this deed. So, they want to introduce you to the other villagers…

…Which are already dancing around a stone and building a temple for your grace…Wow…that… escalated quickly.

The world you landed on is called Eden. A peaceful land without weapons, people living leisurly like normal people do (eating, building, procreate…) …if it weren’t for the Gods who are ready to literally lighten the place up to just gain more influence. Yeah. And you are not really an exception.

The main goal of the game is to gain influence and eliminate everyone who tries to steal yours (i.e. other Gods). When the last follower of you is gone, your temple becomes touchable and when it’s gone…well, Game Over.

Besides that, the main story speaks about the Creed (not the one from Assassin’s Creed, mind you. Yes, there are more Creeds than one, Altair. No, you are not allowed to stab me.).
A power with is seperated into three pieces and it is rumored to be so powerful that it could kill a God with the snap of your finger. Guess, what the mightiest God Nemesis has and what are you going to do. You got this information  from a former subordinate of Nemesis and he wasn’t very pleased as he heard from this…not at all. He showed up and tried to kill you, but you could escape through a portal. This is the point where your real journey starts.

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Nemesis…yeah…Exactly what it says on the tin, Archenemy

I mentioned a temple before. Yes, you have your own personal temple which grows with every village you take over and it depicts your alignement in the game. You can also enter that building and go in different rooms like a bestiarium, a library, a room with pictures where you can save, a map etc. Unfortunately, in the sequel you just have a town centre building which provides you with information….
This is also the place where your followers build their altar to dance and pray to you and enable their miracles through the power of prayer.

As a God, miracles are your spells and a very important aspects, since you can use them to convert people to your teachings, attack, defend and reduce the needs of your own people. Yeah, I mean reduce, because your people always need something…

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This is your village store. See the flags? They tell you what your people need…and there starts the vicious circle.

When they have enough food, they want to procreate, when they procreate then they want more buildings, which leads them to demand wood. And then they start to want more food…
And then your conscience annoys you about not fulfilling their needs. Yeah, you have a conscience.

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Whitey and Blackey (?) here are your spiritual advisors and provide you with information what the good/bad solution for a quest/problem is, among other things as annoying you about the needs of your villagers. They also have a good jokes for different occasions. They are a part of you…Talking about a case of multiple-persona-disorder…Nobody said, you are a mentally healthy God.

Talking about mental condition, let’s get on with the alignement system. You have a devil and an angel (?) as your spiritual advisors, so you can guess, which sides they represent. It’s your choice to with side you lean to. Use more “good” wonders and do good deeds (which includes to not hurt anyone, even the enemy) and after some time your temple will look like this.

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White temple with a rainbow and clear sky, nice, isn’t it?

When you prefer to squish people with rocks, sacrifice them and lighten them up just for personal amusement, yeah…that’s the other side.

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I’m the only one who finds it amusing, that evil is always a little bit… spikey?

At the beginning you are neutral and it is hard to maintain this state. Once I killed a few villagers by accident (Yeah, right…Be quiet, sarcastic little brain-voice.) and the first spikes curled up my nice white tower. After spent hours to get to be a good God, now this. Yeah. What I have experienced, you can become evil quite easily.

Now you have followers and a temple and can use miracles. The only thing that is missing is your creature. The creature as physical entity of your strength can…Let’s cut it short, shall we? The creature is a huge (compared to villagers)  tamagochi. You feed it, you teach it things and it has a mind(?) on it’s own. And it can grow as tall as a mountain. At the beginning you can choose between a cow, an ape and a tiger. They have different skills. The Ape learns faster, the tiger is a better fighter (but dumb) and the cow is something inbetween. If you don’t want those creatures at the beginning, you can unlock other creatures at different mini-quests.

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Yeah, the little tiger on the front is your Creature at the beginning…The lion…is older…and a “little” bit more stronger

Your creature can also have an alignement, but you can have a good creature even if you have the blackest soul on this planet. And the creature will sometimes think that you are a saint, even if its living in a spikey tower. Have I mentioned that the creature isn’t always the brightest being on Eden? This can lead to some frustrating moments when for example the Tiger eats someone who is quest-important. Evil solution. Yeah, thanks helper.

But the Creature becomes essential later on. You can only perform miracles in a certain space, indicated through a red (sometimes other coloured) circle. That is the room you have influence on, but your creature can go outside it to another village and can perform miracles to impress people.  You can also send it to fight another Creature of another God if it’s strong enough.

There is also a multiplayer…but only if you have a lot of time. The AI of the other Gods…They aren’t really bright. More annoying than really demanding, for multiplayer and the main game alike. I never came in a though spot because of them.

The hunting Conclusion? It was fun, even when the AI wasn’t the best. There were a few bugs and glitches which prevented the completion of certain quests, but the quests themselves were different, had their own story and were entertaining with a good reward at the end. And although the Creature isn’t a genuis, it is fun to see it grow. The main story…it isn’t a great, but passable. You just really want to kill Nemesis at the end.

I would say, overall, it was a nice experience, they put the love in different details and jokes, but it had its fault. Not the greatest game but a good stepping stone for future generations, because (as far as I can remember), after Populous, there wasn’t really a game which was a memoriable one with this whole God-Genre thing.

…I have the feeling I should review the sequel as well…but…well…if you want.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2013 in Pc

 

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Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen – A Hunt through the Dungeon

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Did the DLC meet my expectation? Yes, it does, since my expectation was that nothing with the major flaws I have for the game will be corrected (All included in the other Dragon’s Dogma post inclusive Story-analysis) . But that is perfectly understandable for me, since if they did, it would be more profitable for them to release a new game (since the flaws are more storybased then really the mechanics.)

The dungeon has somewhat of a Dark Souls feeling. Wait, let me rephrase that. It is some sort of Dark Souls in the Dragon’s Dogma Universe.

Before someone calls me out for using these two games in one sentence and, by god, comparing them, I wrote some sort, not it is. I played Dark Souls. I know that it has a different battle system, a different setting and personally, I found Dark Souls a lot more harder than Dragon’s Dogma, but I can’t help but feel reminded of it when I play Dark Arisen. Not really because of the game, but because of the atmosphere.

What both games capture quite nicely is the foreboding feeling when the Arisen and companions venture deeper and deeper through the zigzagged hallways, littered with corpses of those who came before you. They warn you to turn back, some lament that they shouldn’t have come here. Everything adds up to this feeling.

And of course, in such a dark dungeon there are loads of treasures waiting to be discovered by you. Look around carefully , maybe there are some items which could save your digital life.

I haven’t read any review of this. I started a brand new game with Dark Souls and tried to enter this Dungeon with a LvL 10 Character. Yeah, you might call me stupid or insane. I survived the first few beasts ( a pack of white wolfs/hyenas (?), a cyclops with a lot of bombs and healing equitment, mind you), but then I was introduced to Death…and I retreated to the exit. And by retreat, I mean, running for my dear life and “screaming” at my pawns to follow me.

Main pawn is here, Alisa is here….wait, where the hell is Steve?

Steve hasn’t made it. He died so we could escape…Well, truth is, he was suicidal and wanted to take on Death alone. As mage. Against a dark huge being with a giant scythe. You can guess, the results weren’t pretty. Now, he is the half of the man he used to be…A moment of silence for Steve.

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One second in enough. I need a new pawn. Damn you, death…

Of course, the AI in this game isn’t flawless and I had my moments where I was quite frustrated with the behavior of my pawns, but it could be a lot worse.

After gaining some Levels, I tried it again and stepped down into the depths of Bitterblack Isles again. Since I have some experience with Dark Souls and it’s precessor Demon’s Souls, I’m the type of gamer who advances rather carefully and enough healing items, because I take the “around every corner there could be an enemy” – thing seriously and I wasn’t disappointed. To shorten this a bit, Steve wasn’t the only one who died down there.

Later on, the Levels you have gathered throughout the game, don’t seem to really matter anymore, since those monsters will kill you either way, if you don’t watch out. Just like Dark Souls/Demon’s Souls, watch your back or you meet death (personally or through another monster) quite quickly. Frustrating without a doubt, but still worth it.

Additionally to the Bitterblack Isles, there are more costumation options for your character and your pawn, new equipmet, skills, monsters  and the option to select Japanese voiceover.

My conclusion? The challenge makes the hunt so much more enjoyable. It’s a good addition to Dragon’s Dogma, even when it focuses more on the Battle aspect than on the story. The atmosphere, the setting, the feeling you get, everything seems right. The difficult Level is frustrating but rewarding, but might be walking on the fine line to being unfair. This is something every hard game can be accused off, but if there is a chance of winning…Let’s say I tend to say, it’s fair (in most cases)

So, until the next game and the next hunt…for Souls

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Ps3

 

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Dragon’s Dogma – The Arisen and the Hunt for the Dragon

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Before I get to the Dark Arisen DLC, I would  like to recap what I thought about the original game in general.

First of all, I won’t deny that I was a little bit hyped about this one before I bought it. I normally avoid something like that…You know, you were promised a good, delicious prey and then you get an old, as though as leather piece of meat from yesterday. Yeah, disappointment clouds the overall judgement.

But how can a hunter at heart deny a game where you can kill cyclops, griffins and other mythical creatures on daily basis? I could not, even if I had my doubts at the beginning, which , unfortunately, were justified.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the gameplay. Climbing up the giant enemies, find weak points, have AI-comrades that have, at least, an idea how to handle such creatures, different classes to choose from with different abilities, a giant map to explore with day and night changes… Just, what could possibily go wrong? (Yes, this sentence is dripping with sarcasm…)

Where to begin, where to begin…?

Personally, I find the Pawn-System quite enjoyable, although those people (“beings” or whatever they really are) tend to break the silence more often than it needs to be. It’s a nice idea when companions make comments on quests (and maybe help you with dropping hints) or the landscapes while you are walking around, but not all the time. I give credit for at least trying to give the Pawns in this game more depth as “living beings”, even when they don’t learn to acknowledge the fact that I know that Goblins hate fire.

The AI pawn…I don’t know what to say about them. Of course, they are flawed and create some frustrating moments (Goblin hate fire! – Somehow killing your own pawns seems to be a satisfing thing at times… Come here, pal. I promise there are no dangerous monsters down there. *insert a cruel laugh, before feeding the pawn to another monster*) But in cases of AI, I have seen a lot worse programmed companions. A lot worse. I won’t deny that I had moments where I was really annoyed by the pawn’s behavior.

Another issue which is often brought up is the “lacking” shorttravel. I don’t have a problem with it (although I got annoyed to travel for two hours to get back to the city one time.) I like to explore and the atmosphere isn’t half bad either, besides the fact I really like it when it gets more difficult at night to stay alive. Just bring enough oil or you are literally alone in the dark with things that are trying to kill you. But hey, I love a good challenge…come and get me, whatever you are.

The story is…well…

I have a love and hate relationship with it. I can’t describe in any other way. Of course, it is, at first, your typical “The Dragon and the Chosen”- type of story. Something what was/is often used in legends, fairytales and in games and with that this story is nothing new and exciting. There is nothing wrong with it. It’s a matter how you interpret and present it to the readers/gamers/listeners. (A point which I will discuss in the Story Analysis)

…But, oh god, the characters and the relationships between them and the Arisen. I surely mentioned somewhere before that I like my characters well done and not raw. I won’t deny, there are attempts to make characters memoriable (and some good attempts at that), but it’s just…

To put it simply, I don’t really bring myself to care for them. They feel…so flat and forgettable, just as the story. They feel like talkative background accessories who try to be more. …It is difficult to explain and it is frustrating that I can’t exactly pinpoint why they are that way. But then again it is subjective.

And there comes my biggest issue in that case. Do too much quests for one and he/she/it will fall in love with you. Even you have no interest in them. They love you, they become your love interest and you aren’t asked in that matter. (…Suddenly it makes sense that your character can’t talk. It becomes more convenient for your love interest)

Hello, to you too…Wwwwait, why are you pink? Don’t tell me…No, get away from me!

This is then somewhat funny in the end when you are forced to make a sadistic choice.

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“THAT IS NOT MY SOULMATE!” (We are in denial, aren’t we?)

I have nothing against a romance-options in games (not the game entirely about it, but as sidequest), since it adds to the character, but… I will just list my reaction to that in order how much information I got about that.

  • Romance will be available!: Nice!
  • Everyone is bi! : Fine for me!
  • You can romance anyone!: Oookay, I don’t know if that is good or bad.
  • Besides the Pawns…: A pity, but I guess it makes sense. (It does not very much, after you can make Barnaby (a Pawn) your love interest…I’m the only one who would have loved some sort of a subquest to your own pawn about this “He/She can become more human after they spend more time with you?”)
  • And you will have a love interest, even though you don’t find anybody interesting: Yeah…great…I…I will slowly back out, okay?

My general view on the game? It is a good game, nothing extraordinary, but also not bad. I play it here and there, because of the battle system which I really enjoyed (and this epic feeling when you kill something much larger than you), but not because of the story, its characters and so on. This is nothing bad, in my eyes, but what makes it so hard for me is, that there was so much potential in the story and characters and yet so much remains untouched.

Was it a good hunt? Yes, it was, even with the bitter taste afterwards when I think about the story.

If you don’t like to read my impression/ “deep analysis” of the story, feel free to skip the next paragraph. (You have been warned, there will be spoilers)

After the dragon abducts your heart…(first literally, then metaphorically. Exactly in that order…)  you set out to kill it. The interesting thing is, the Dragon chooses you as his Nemesis, as the only one who can kill him.

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Ever asked what the Dragon says in the beginning? It is latin. I could only understand bits from it, but supposedly he says “My name is  Grigori. Take up your arms and face me, newly Arisen.” That is an epic way to challenge someone. Before I continue, I know there are theories out there that mean that the Dragon isn’t Grigori, but I will use the name anyway and I don’t know this translation is correct.

Yes, you have guessed it. Grigori is a “meaningful” name. Yeah, you have guessed right again, I will tell you what it means. It means “those who are awake”, “Watchers”, “Guards” and this term is connected with biblical angels.

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What…a lovely angel…with red eyes, with horns, wings…and an huge appetite.

Grigori is very well spoken and has some deep speeches to offer…as well as no love, for people who regard him as Salvation. (I loved that scene so very much. This makes him one of my favorite enemies) I can connect each meaning of the name to the story. “Guard” is clear. Dragons almost always guard something (at least classical western dragons; treasures, gold, damsels, wisdom or secrets), there is nothing special to it. With “Watcher”, it could mean, he observes what you are doing as Arisen or rather, he waits in his ruin/castle and watches people and their actions in general. Of course, at the beginning he burns things down, eats and yeah…but after he takes your heart, he retreats and seems rather peaceful (?) and uninterested in destroying something (aside from squishing people, when they annoy him)

The most interesting term is “those who are awake”…If you have lost the end battle you know what happens to you. You know the truth, you have opened your eyes to the truth…You have been “awoken” from the illusion of your every day life and know how the world works. Of course, it could be coincidence. As well, I regard Grigori more as a title than a name, just like the Seneschal.

The Seneschal, or at least the term is a title itself, a royal officer in charge of justice and in control of administration certain provinces or the house of important nobles. Some other meanings are “senior retainer”, and “oldest servant”. In this game he/she/it is the one who maintains the world by pure will and determination. A Godlike being. Now the thing with Grigori makes sense…The Dragon is the angel (messenger) of this “God”, thus the Dragon is just a tool for choosing which human is worthy of being the next Seneschal.

Somehow I feel sorry for the Dragon. (Even when he is very aware of his fate. He is the “evil”-noble sort of Dragon) The Arisen…god, again this religious pattern,..(Bioshock Infinite has inflicted a serious trauma on me…) The messenger choses the Arisen and the Arisen can be anyone. I don’t believe in the theory that the Dragon chose the false Arisen in the case of the Earl, but that every human as the basic requirements to be the Arisen and consequently the Seneschal. The question is, if he/she/it has enough determination and will/can grow enough to go through with. Of course that includes the will to be the sacrifice for others, so they can continue exist, although they did cruel things to the Arisen. Ah, you get what I’m point at, aren’t you?

When I regard the biblical background….I find it quite funny that the playerArisen is a fisher or has grown up in a  fishing village. Such a coincidence…

Additionally, the world of the game is more a gray to black case. A knight tries to make a coup-etat (because he was frustrated by the politics there), the female knight who tries to be accepted by her father and others, the wife of the Earl who has get’s almost killed by him, the Earl himself who traded his love for internal life and went crazy over his guilt, the Arisen, the Chosen One who isn’t respected and laughed at. (the scene when you meet the Earl is a good example.)and so on. There is sheldomly a good end for anyone. The most leave the country, others die… The only really classical evil is the one-eyed, dark “priest” with his cult of Salvation (or maybe a mage, because mages are more squishy…yeah I know, bad pun.)

Then my thought on the ending, if you beat the Seneschal. Most of them say, the circle is still in effect, but I have my doubts about this. (Why does this remind me of Bioshock again…oh god, my head…)  The Circle goes Seneschal sends a Dragon (which is an Arisen who failed to beat the Seneschal) to chose an Arisen to become a Seneschal. Since our Arisen commits suicide as Seneschal…Who sends the Dragons, who beats the next Arisen into submission to become a Dragon and without Dragon…can there be an Arisen in the first place?

Yeah…and the whole thing of your main pawn and the Arisen. It is odd…a little bit out of context. Of course, it is mentioned that the Arisen gives part of his/her soul to the Pawn…but Selene doesn’t look like her Arisen, doesn’t she? Alright…

But, my conclusion is. There is no denying that someone put some thought about it in the story and it had ,without a doubt, potential in my eye. It hurts much more, when you think about how bland it comes across in the game…well, can’t change it.

Have a good hunt.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Ps3

 

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Bioshock Infinite – A hunt for clues through Rifts

Bioshock_Infinite_LogoNormally, I wouldn’t touch First Person Shooters at all, but I make exceptions. And one of these is Bioshock Infinite. There are so many reviews out there about this game and especially about its ending. That is why I don’t really want to focus on this alone.

Let’s say, besides my impression on the game, I try to interpret special parts of the story (which I noticed) and even the whole thing here and there. (Yes, It will be philospical, know-it-all and spoiler-ish, but I try not to retell the whole story)

So, if you haven’t played it till the end, I would recommend that you not read this.

The player controls a man named Booker DeWitt and accompanies him on his quest to kidnap a young woman named Elizabeth to clear his debt. Nothing to difficult at the first glance, if it weren’t for the fact that this girl is in Columbia. A city which flies in the sky and is inhabitated by followers of a self-proclaimed prophet.

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…I have a bad feeling about this…

Have I mentioned that this game has religious undertones? Of course, before you can enter the city, you will be baptized or rather “cleansed from your sins and be reborn as a new person.” This is a reoccuring theme in the game along with the “Bring the girl, wipe away your debt.” See the pattern?

Sin and Salvation. “Without a sinner there can’t be a reedemer.”

With that pointed out, let’s continue with the plot. Now DeWitt is newly baptized, enters the city and everything seems peaceful, almost utopic. People are friendly and polite, there is a nice festival going on and you can enjoy yourself in shooting galeries. We all know, this might turn into the living hell soon enough. 

Thirsty already? How about a drink?

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I’m always surpised that characters in Bioshock don’t even consider the option that such things could be dangerous for your health. “Ah, a bottle with an unknown, omnious glowing substance in it….Let’s drink it!” Cheers.

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Cheers, indeed…

But all is fine and good, you survive it, you get new powers, meet all kinds of strange people, until you get a note with the warning to avoid the number 77 to not blow up your cover. But hold on there. The number alone is an interesting one. If we pick up the religious motive, the number 77 is associated with sins and forgiving them as well it it a reoccuring throughout the book. Notable is as well, that the number is in certain numerology  systems associated with Jesus Christ. Again this whole sinner and reedemer theme. And there was a thing with the whole “False Shepherd”, wasn’t there?

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Jesus Christ, fate hates me so much.

This is the point of the game which marks the beginning of the end for the peaceful utopia. You have the choice to throw the baseball either at the couple or at the man with the mustache. Either way, your cover is blown and you have to fight, which brings us to the battle system:

My opinion on it is kind of mixed. On the one hand, its not bad, you can vary between powers and weapons and of course use the skyline of the city to assassinate people from above (…this sounds awfully familiar…) There are also different accessories to enhance your abilities and do nasty little tricks like vaporize your enemies when you do enough damage with your sky-hook. Nice effects, but I didn’t really need them.

What I absolutely don’t like, is the fact, that you can carry only two weapons at a time or rather two guns. That’s all nice and good, but you often don’t know when you need which weapon and since you can’t buy them and have to find them…

Let’s say, good luck against this guy if you have only a pistol and a sniper riffle. (not to mention the endbattle)

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But all in all, it’s quite solid, I would say. So, you fight your way through Columbia and begin to wonder how much police force they have, you finally reach your goal and find the girl in a tower. (I’m the only one who is reminded of a certain fairytale?) She is a normal young woman, playing, painting, reading through the day…besides the fact she likes to rip holes into the time/space continuum.

Goodbye, pausible explanations, Hello, mindscrew.

Elizabeth has an all around good character (although she reminds again of a Disney princess) and is really useful. I dare to say the most useful person with no fighting skill who you have to escort. I won’t go deeper into that matter, since other reviews wrote enough about her.

And again, I could point out a maybe interesting fact about her. Elizabeth is hebrew for “My God is an oath” or “My God is abundance” and the hebrew word for “vow” is associated with the number 7. Furthermore, she shares the name with two persons in the bible: The wife of Aaron (often called Aaron the Priest in the Old Testament) and the wife of Zechariah and mother of John the Baptist. (Yeah, that word again)…Wait, the prophet is named Zachary Hale Comstock…isn’t he? (…oh god, my brain…)

Now I will add some spoilerish flavor to it. Her other name “Anna” means “favor”, “grace” and also “mercy”. You have guessed it. Mercy equals reedemer theme. Maybe they have thought about that, maybe it is coincidence, who knows.

With that out of the way, let’s discuss the whole idea of choices and the ending. Let’s start the mindscrew marathon.

The whole theory about constants and variables is often commented and I support it by some degree. Remember the scene with the coin at the beginning? The two strange people?

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You can see at the board, it is always heads. So it means that it is a constants, since it always be Heads and never Tails. Later on you are given a choice between what Elizabeth should choose as medallion. Either the bird or the cage. It is a variable since it changes something, but then again it doesn’t change the outcome of the ending. So, it is a little variable with little outcome. Or is the ending a constant that cannot be changed?

It can also be interpreted as the illusion of choice. Such as, there exists the illusion that we can change fate through choices, but in reality it doesn’t change your fate, since it is already set in stone,

Another problem is Booker. Or maybe, my mind is already so screwed that I think it is a problem. Again spoiler. Booker is Comstock. So, correct me, if I’m wrong. There are two Bookers in the same dimension at the same time? (Booker didn’t choose to become the prophet and Booker who did) When this is possible that two people out of two different dimensions exist in the same dimension (which can be proven by Elizabeth’s case, since you see her more than one time in the same scene)…Where was the other Booker (the one who accepted to be baptized and the one who came with Elizabeth to this point) in the final Baptist scene?

Futhermore in the alternative universe, there is a Booker who is Comstock, a Booker who helped Vox Populi (and convinentely died) and Booker who travelled with Elizabeth. So why does Comstock still exist, although the other Bookers died. And if all the Bookers are from alternative dimensions, born out of different choices of action…Why do they exist at the same time? Did the scientists spawn them? But then again, in some timelines there are Bookers missing and the course of his history would change. Why not just “teleport” a Booker through the Rift, who is about to be baptized? (Oh god damnit…I swear my brain smokes)

And if we consider, the ending is a constant…Then Comstock would still exist, after Booker was “baptized” one final time, since it doesn’t change anything. The only explanation at that point is, that Elizabeth can change constants by will. Or the PlayerBooker is the Booker of this scene. (Booker here, Booker there, Booker everywhere…) teleported back to face his judgement. But then again, in an alternative Dimension, another Booker would have chosen to be baptized, since he didn’t travel with Elizabeth…

The only choice would be to kill every Booker in every timeline (which is infinite by the way – oh hey titledrop) to kill Comstock. Or this Booker is the only one with a Variable and thus the power to the change story. Talking about Spanner in the Works…that does mean there are more Comstocks…which results in Comstocks who succeed in their plans and could utilize Elizabeth’s Rift-Abilities to change…

Is that another illusion of choice or Elizabeth can change constants…or…whatever…I’m out. My brain can’t go on anymore.

Hopefully you enjoyed my little thought about this.

I for my part enjoyed the story very much, since it is so complicated and so frustrating and yet somehow beautiful executed. (It is hard to do that with Dimension-Jumping-Stories) I’m really a masochist at heart, it seems. Also the whole thing with there is no good and evil (okay, Vox Populi and Comstock could be more in the evil vs. other kind of evil- department, but I settle with gray and gray morality). I love the details, the atmosphere, the music…it is all around good, although the battle system is not the best I have ever experienced. ..

And now…

Would you kindly pass me some painkillers for my head?

 

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Ps3

 

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