I’m a little late to the Bioshock Infinite party (thanks to Monster Hunter Ultimate 3) but very glad I waited a bit to play it. Why? Everyone and their mum were asking me what I thought of it, if I had finished it, what did I think of the ending and I just wanted that to slow down before I start to over analyse everything I see while playing.
Then it got spoiled for me.
Someone thought it was be funny to slice in some rather big plot points in the middle of the old E3 trailer. While the game wasn’t ruined as these spoilers were not in context, it did tell me a few things about the main characters that … well … left the shocking reveal a little wet.
Expect many spoilers after the jump.
I’ve finished up Ni No Kuni today and am starting to tackle all the post-game content that has now unlocked. All I have to say is how this makes a wonderful start to my gaming year. Fifty plus hours in and it’s still got more to offer.
Ni No Kuni brought back jRPG tropes fans have been screaming for in this whimsical tale of ‘boy finding self’. You’ve got a world map, boats, airships and all the old school trappings that make diving into Japanese fantasy games so magical. A partnership of Level-5 and renowned animation house Studio Ghibli make this a match made in heaven.
I’m a massive fan of Japanese role-playing games. I’m not sure if it’s the slightly dodgy story, crazy character designs, or attention to detail that they bring but I’ve always been a stickler for them. With Final Fantasy becoming somewhat of a mixed-bag these days, Ni No Kuni pretty much ticked all the boxes. It even has the Japanese language soundtrack, which I’d usually recommend, but seeing as Drippy has the most adorable Welsh accent and the English translation and writing just plays up to it, it’s well worth sitting through two or more questionable voice overs.
Also puns. Prepare for plenty of puns. Most of which are awesome.
So what’s wrong with it? Maybe I’m nitpicking but the animation shorts from Studio Ghibli was very few and far between. And if you’re expecting a grand Ghibli sign-off then you’ll be disappointed with the ending. It’s short, snappy and all done in-engine. It doesn’t really resolve much and is a let down if you ask me. Not to say it ruins the overall journey, which of course is the most important aspect, but when you look at a popular jRPG like Final Fantasy, which traditionally ends on a lengthy and expensive looking CG ending, Ni No Kuni just seems forgot to pop the cheery on top of your ice cream sundae. It was just missing that last piece of the puzzle.
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Another mild annoyance is that the capture rates on the familiars are excruciatingly low. One illusive mob called Toko has a capture rate of 2% that can be increased to 2.4% if you unlock one of the merit skills for doing side quests. Forums are rife with complaints from gamers killing hundreds of the damn things to capture one. The worst thing? They’re very difficult to find in the first place so it’s kind of like kicking you when you’re down.
Not that that should put you off. I’ve laughed, cried and had a big dorky smile creep across my face at every cheesy joke, pun and story development. It’s genuinely one of the most entertaining and heartfelt RPGs I’ve played in years.
Recently I’ve been sinking my teeth into Ninja Theory’s reimagining of Devil May Cry. Admittedly I was reluctant at first and – like a lot of the outraged internet – I was a little upset to see the original charming and pizza eating Dante put to rest in place of what appeared to be some total prick with *gasp* a new hair cut!
The advertising campaign put me off further. The more ‘hardcore’ they tried to make the game appear, the more put off I was with the new Dante. All the fuck yous, middle fingers and ‘attitude’ being pumped out ended up pushing me further and further away from the idea that the new Dante might actually be a bit of alright.
What followed was a game that was actually enjoyable but also a character that isn’t as horrible as Capcom’s marketing had painted him to be. Sure he was cocky and a bit arrogant but there was more to him than that and we get to watch him evolve emotionally during the course of the game. He’s also much more likeable than you believe. The fuck yous were seldom and there was flair there, though not as sleek and styled as his white haired predecessor.
I’m not saying I prefer him over the old Dante. I liked the pantomime, the rusty keys and insanity. The story makes a bit more sense this time around though that’s not saying much. We already know the pawns in the play and the obvious happens throughout the game. That’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable though
What fans probably need to do is disconnect the old Devil May Cry when playing DmC. It’s not the same game and while it shares various elements, it’s totally different. The tone, the style, the message are all miles apart from what Dante’s original Japanese overlords set to create.
Is it a good game? Yes. It’s fun. I enjoyed playing it through on normal difficulty, unlocking all the secret doors and making my way through the story. It’s entertaining, addictive and rewarding.
Is it a good DmC? Maybe. I was never a mega fan but I liked the games. I think the problem is that what made the original vision so fun was Dante. Sure it was old school but there’s still a want for that and it’s difficult to turn people around.
I’d definitely recommend it as an action game. It’s also a great first entry to this years exciting library of titles and possibly on of the last few triple A titles to release on current generation consoles.
Personally I’d really like to seek out positive interactions and not engage with those who are out to attack me… but that’s really hard, isn’t it? It’s especially hard when someone takes something you’ve said and twists it, and then misrepresents it to others as what you actually said.. and how would they know otherwise? Reference that misrepresentation and, as far as anyone’s concerned, I may as well have said it. The urge to go in and correct them is almost overwhelming. But what would be the point, other than to offer them new ammunition and ultimately end up being an asshole myself? I’ve done it often enough. Best to take a breath, smile and remember there are a lot of really genuine, positive people to talk to. People who challenge you in a way that doesn’t make you feel worse about yourself. You should surround yourself with them the same way you’d surround yourself with such people in real life.
- David Gaider on toxic environments online
The above quote sums up my feelings right now and is probably good advice for anyone working in this industry. There’s been a huge amount of change going on backstage and it’s good change.
If you want a statement then head to the Kotaku article. My quotes are near the bottom. Though I’d like to reiterate that I’ve never been paid by any publisher to write positive coverage of any products. It’s simply not true and has never happened. I’ve learnt plenty of things over the last few months in the most public and horrific way possible and it’s time I use this new found knowledge to move on with my career.
Whether you choose to join me in that journey or not is entirely up to you.