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Tales of Berseria Impressions: The Perspective No Other Website Will Give You

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*Sigh* Alright, let me get the more annoying part of doing these kinds of articles out of the way. That’s right, it’s time for theeeee

YES I HAVE ACTUALLY PLAYED AND ENJOYED THIS FRANCHISE SO DON’T BE AN IRRATIONAL FAN AND FLIP OUT QUANTIFIER PART OF THE ARTICLE!!!!

My introduction to this franchise began as a starry eyed elementary school kid who found out how emulators and roms worked. I played Tales of Phantasia, never got farther than the volcano dungeon, but enjoyed it a great deal. When I got a bit older I played Tales of Destiny, never beat it (had it stolen from my house by a then friend).

I’ve beaten Tales of Eternia (or Tales of Destiny 2 on PS1 for American fans) more times than I can count. I went on to play each Tales entry, and beat Tales of Graces R.

Now, a really weird new trend started with the otherwise fairly samey narrative of the Tales games around Innocence for the Nintendo DS:

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Tales of Innocence began the trend of the church being super super evil. Now, I’ll admit that I haven’t played the two Xillia titles yet (I was trying to beat them in order of release and I got bored before I finished the extra story in Graces) so I can’t vouch for those games. As you know, Xeawn doesn’t comment on anything Xeawn hasn’t experienced first hand. But, the church wasn’t exactly super great in Graces, and in Tales of Hearts the church functions as a primary antagonist.

In Innocence, the church is rounding up people with supernatural powers and putting them through some pretty hardcore Nazi style experimentation. And this all brings us to Berseria.

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Now I can hear you already, “XEAWN STOP BEING ONE OF THOSE KINDS OF CHRISTIANS GEEZ THE GAME IS JUST A FANTASY MYTH IT DOESN’T EVEN SAY JESUS ANYWHERE IN THE STORY!!!”

Hush your ravings of fan outrage, and let us dive a bit deeper. As newcomers may not know, I take the following stances on interacting with media:

  1. Hope to be pleasantly surprised (i.e. a form of media is innocent of attacking my faith until proven guilty)
  2. Do not speak on a game/anime/movie/show unless I have experienced the fullness of what it has to offer.
  3. Reserve judgement until the end.
  4. What is the final core statement on sin and sin lifestyles by the end of the game?

To elaborate on the last point, I like the God of War series. The core value and final statement in commentary is that Kratos sold his soul to a polytheistic deity, got screwed (as tends to happen with soul selling), then went on to destroy the polytheistic pantheon that abused humanity in a rage fueled quest for atonement and redemption. The final statement is that Kratos’ sin lifestyle was wrong and led to his downfall, and he fought to tear apart the corrupt institution he had once served. So, I don’t mind.

Conversely Bayonetta is about being a witch, lying about the Bible, killing angels while fighting on a stripper pole and killing Christ and God at the end, so, no grey area there.

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“In the second game I destroy a stand in for the Vatican!”

So now that we’ve wasted 542 words on my credentials, let’s sit at the table and discuss.

Tales of Berseria sets itself up as a piece of fantasy fiction, but we can immediately dismiss those trappings because Hideo Baba chose to use Judeo-Christian terminology for everything. This isn’t like other Tales Of games; Baba didn’t use a bevy of made up words for his fantasy world and their religions (I swear you needed an encyclopedia for Tales of Abyss). Instead, Baba decided to make the church the antagonist, and use myriad Christian terms along the way.

What’s more, any argument of “Other religions say things like angel” (most don’t) is taken away by the fact that he didn’t just use “common religious terms”; Baba chose to go back as far as traditional Hebrew terms to use the church as the villain of the story.

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Now, let me be clear about something right now:

For the duration of this article, no one’s opinions matter. My opinions do not matter. Your opinions do not matter.

I say that to tell you I don’t choose to base or frame these discussions around opinion, rather around the doctrine in Scripture. If I am wrong, please do not hesitate to show me scripturally where I am. I’ll also say that what you will read about my dissection of this story will surprise you. Let’s go on. Oh, and there will be spoilers for the first hour of Berseria, small bits of the rest of the game, portions of the last battle, and bits of Zestiria as we proceed.

 

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Dear Japanese Games: Stop Having Boring Butt Openings

Let’s start JRPG’s with less of this:

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And more of this:

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Maybe I’m just spoiled, maybe I just have a short attention span, but I have lost all patience for “humble beginnings in a sleepy village” openings. Guess what? I don’t care. I don’t care about the villagers. I don’t care about my quiet life. I don’t care about collecting five herbs for Grandma Whosit or getting little Jenny’s cat out of a tree.

Grandma can pick her own herbs and I hope that cat stays in that tree forever.

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I’ve been playing Trails in the Sky on an emulator…

And I wish I could play every game the same way.

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Let’s be honest, no matter how much you love RPG’s, they do have a lot of boring stuff. There’s a lot of animations that aren’t necessary (especially in battles), there’s a lot of walking around, and if it’s not your thing (and working full time for me it is not any longer) grinding levels is a chore.

I had been playing the Trails in the Sky games on my PSP first and then my Vita. Let me be clear: The Legend of Heroes Trails in the Sky has quite possibly leapt up to my favorite JRPG ever. This means it beat out Tales of Eternia (or Tales of Destiny 2 for Americans), Chrono Trigger (can we please agree that it’s good but it IS NOT the greatest thing in the universe?), Final Fantasy V (#TeamFaris), Super Mario RPG (my most beloved RPG, the first one I ever beat) and Evolution 1 and 2 for me. However as much as I love Trails in the Sky, from a technical perspective I have some complaints.

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009 Re:Cyborg Review – The Best Take on God and Faith I’ve Seen in a Fictional Movie to Date

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To be honest, I’m not entirely certain how to begin this article. The impact this film made on me however is evidenced by the fact that I’m taking time away from designing Withering Whispers, Murder the Citizens: Misery Moment, the reboot of The Blackest Rain and other internal projects (all of which will have updates soon) in order to review it.

There will be spoilers, bee tee dubs.

Let me preface by stating that while I recall enjoying Cyborg 009, I was a kid when I watched it. This gave me the unique opportunity of entering this movie fresh with no pre-conceived thoughts or feelings towards it one way or the other. To be honest, I wasn’t ever aware that the original creator’s plans were to eventually have Joe and company fight God, or God’s will, so there were more than a few moments where I sat with held breath hoping and praying that a series I re-called enjoying a great deal was not about to spend an hour and a half attacking my religion.

What I got was an exceedingly interesting package that discussed the broad range and depth of faith and faith struggles in ways that I believe even the church and many Christians shy away from. Let’s begin, shall we?

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Adult Fans Ruin Everything or Are You Part of the Problem?

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Credits go to Grimdark

Alright ladies and gents, let us preface this article with a word from Proverbs, specifically 26:4 “Do not answer a fool according to their foolishness, or else you will become just as foolish as them” and 2nd Timothy 2:23 “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments; you know they just produce quarrels.”

I’m pretty sure somewhere in James it says not to argue with stupid people, but, it’s 3 in the morning and I want to finish this before I fall asleep. My point is, if you disagree or whatever and have something constructive and intelligent to bring to the discussion, awesome, comment below and let’s discuss. If you come here just to get your hackles up and flame, I’ma ignore you.

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Adult fans ruin everything. It’s true. Well, half true. A vocal specific sect of adult fans ruin everything, and the pathetic money grubbing writers that flock for their dollars seal the deal.

More and more each day it becomes exceedingly difficult to find entertainment that actually cares about just being for children and young people. Now, there’s a whole other discussion we can have about how it’s the “cool thing” to vomit all over Christianity and stomp on Biblical morality, but, that’s another talk for another time.

Every time a new cartoon or game or show comes out that is apparently geared towards children, I always have to watch with clenching fear to wait and see “How many episodes in are you going to suddenly start clamoring for the creepy adult fan dollars?”

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“We’re just friends ya bunch of degenerates!”

I don’t care if you’re an adult and you’re into not traditionally adult things. I don’t care if you’re into things that are outside of the American sensibility of your gender matrix either. I personally don’t subscribe to typical American gender roles much; I love to fight, and there’s something satisfying about monster trucks and explosions, but, I adore cute things. I love ponies, soft colors and Rosa Regale sparkling wine as much as I love swords, explosions and bitter hateful Irish beer.

It’s fine to be an adult and to be a fan of media for younger individuals. I’m actually the one in my household that got my nephew into Chowder for example. I enjoy watching it in between The Wuthering Heights and The Grudge 😀

However, if you’re going to be an adult fan, don’t push your own weird agendas onto kids, huh?

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“Wait, the fans AND my voice actress want us to kiss? They…they do know we’re sisters, right?”

I get deeply disturbed when I read things like how one of the screenplays being shopped around for the live action Captain Planet movie depicts a grizzled old end of life jaded possibly alcoholic Cap who knows the world has no use for him and is ready to hang up the sparkly red boots for a bottle of coors as he watches the world burn. Also, run on sentence, just for the fans.

I grow deeply disturbed when I read about ideas for a dark Power Rangers live action film depicting blood and murder.

I cringe when I go to put on a performance at a convention, and then when I visit the panels for kids shows I hear rallying cries from fans too old to even be the demographic begging for adult language, slash fiction, violence, gore and other things that have nothing to do with the (supposed) intended audience.

Here’s the thing, if you want dark, go enjoy the media that is made for you. The same fans clamoring for Twilight Sparkle to start ripping ponies in half with her magic are the same ones that would lose their crap if they got a G rated God of War reboot.

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“ARIES! I’VE GOT A TICKLE TORTURE WITH YOUR NAME ON IT!”

The same fans that are screaming for a dark and gory Power Rangers reboot would figuratively, possibly literally lose their crap if say, Mortal Kombat was about holding hands and skipping through tulips while singing about the joys of friendship and love.

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“I DISAGREE WITH YOUR OPINIONS BUT I RESPECT YOU AND VALUE YOUR FRIENDSHIP! LET’S GO TO THE TASTEE FREEZE AND THEN GET FRIENDSHIP BRACELETS!”

Now don’t get me wrong, every child is different. I saw Akira when I was four, for example, and it didn’t jack me up. Here’s the thing though; Akira was an adult animation intended for adults. It wasn’t some G rated let’s hug it out version of the film. And, for them to reboot Akira as a Saturday Morning Kid’s Cartoon would be out of place. Because, Akira isn’t for children, it’s for adults. If your kid is mature enough to handle it, fine, let them watch it.

But, Akira isn’t for them, it’s for us. Mortal Kombat isn’t for them, it’s for us. Doom isn’t for them, it’s for us.

And ya know what? Things like Frozen, My Little Pony, Regular Show, Mega Man and so on and so forth, I don’t care if you can enjoy them. Heck, you should.

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Remember back when this was just innocent fun? Ya know, before you had to worry about turning up porn and murder pictures of elementary school protagonists from platonic friendships?

Just as long as you remember it’s not for you, it’s for them. And, the moment you forget that and start screaming to push your own agendas and change that, the moment you become one of those adults demanding something innocent, intelligent and fun for kids suddenly conform to your own desires, well, you’re part of the problem.

And the money grubbing losels who listen to you are the other half of that sinister equation.

Xeawn, out.

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You Should Pirate Nintendo Games – A Controversial Look at Nintendo’s Shoddy DRM and User Account Systems

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Question: Is it too late for a Jack Sparrow reference? Answer: It is never too late for a Jack Sparrow reference.

I haven’t gone crazy, stay with me till the end.

You should pirate Nintendo games. There’s no reason not to. Let’s examine what happens if you buy games digitally and your non-hacked 3DS breaks:

  1. All of your saves and downloads are gone.
  2. You have to start every single game over again.
  3. You have to call Nintendo and sit on hold for a very, very long time.
  4. You have to wait several days for Nintendo to unlink your useless Nintendo ID.
  5. You have to re-download…every…single…game…you own…
  6. Say goodbye to your bandwidth and progress and free time!
  7. You can only download ten things at a time. The 3DS/Wii U have crap network cards. This will take a fortnight. It took me three days the last time I had to do this.

Now, let us conversely look at what would happen if your 3DS was hacked:

  1. Your saves are decrypted, or else you can decrypt your saves, which means it does not matter what 3DS you play on, your saves will always work.
  2. Your games are decrypted. You can decrypt and dump games you buy from the eShop as well, but the point is you can back up your memory card. I know you’re saying you can do that anyways, but that backup will not work on any other 3DS if it is not hacked. If it’s hacked however it will work on other 3DS’s that you hack.
  3. In essence, something happens to your 3DS, you can just grab another modified system, use a decrypted game, load your saves and keep playing.
  4. Did I mention it is ludicrously easy to hack your 3DS? Additionally, on a hacked 3DS you can still play online and access the eShop if you so desire.

Before I get to the part where I explain that I haven’t lost my mind, and explain that I am not an advocate of piracy, rather an advocate of taking care of your consumers, let’s examine a few other pros to a modified system. Also, run on sentence, because y’all get one per article!

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I’m not crazy you’re crazy DON’T TOUCH MY TOAST!!!

Do you like Virtual Console games? Of course you do! YAY NOSTALGIA! Do you like being able to actually see your screen? Better hack your 3DS! On a non-hacked 3Ds virtual console games occupy tiny boxes because Nintendo is too lazy to upscale graphics. Hack your 3DS and get you some roms! Stretch and smooth and play your games full screen! Plus play all the games Nintendo won’t pay the licensing for you to purchase!

Do you like import games? Whether you’re bilingual or not, there’s a good chance those neato torpedo games you want from Japan aren’t coming to America! That’s a whole separate article calling out Namco Bandai and Sega, I’ll get more in depth in the sequel. But the point is, if you like import games you’re screwed. Nintendo is the only company that still region locks their hardware.

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“NO IMPORT GAMES FOR YOU!”

If you don’t hack your system, give Nintendo 300 more dollars to import a Japanese 3DS. If you do hack your system, PLAY YOUR IMPORTS WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS.

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“Awwww!!!”

 

So now for the part where I show I’m still sane. I’m not advocating piracy, even though I spent half this article doing just that. What I am advocating however is Nintendo:

STOP BEING GARBAGE AT DRM AND START GIVING A DAMN ABOUT YOUR CONSUMERS!

Yes, I just cursed. And yes, I almost never do. Here’s the bottom line: I travel, like, a lot. I travel like, an insane amount. And, for me I much prefer to game on portable systems. Additionally, I only buy my games digital unless I’m wary as to whether or not I’ll like them, whether or not I’ll find them religiously offensive (because there are no game developers, America, Japan or otherwise that care about my faith) or whether they’re rare and neat and I want a physical copy (Shiren the Wanderer, Strange of Sword City, etcetera).

So yes, I have a library of around 200 digital 3DS games. I’ve had the same Nintendo account from the first time digital content came to exist. The fact that my library is badonkers should prove I’m not advocating piracy. The point I’m trying to make however, is that there’s no reason not to pirate Nintendo games. Everything I said for the 3DS applies to the Wii U as well, but it’s even worse since Wii U games are so much bigger.

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Now let’s look at the Playstation Vita. My purchases and my saves are tied to my account. With a Nintendo system, your data is tied to your hardware. What that means is I could throw my Vita in a river, my Vita could get run over by a car, it could brick during a system update, and none of that matters.

My saves are in the cloud. My saves and my games are backed up to my computer. And, at any point in time all I have to do is deactivate the old system, activate the new system, and keep right on playing with no issues what so ever.

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Nintendo is well aware of these concerns. Fans, reviewers and critics alike have voiced them over and over and over again. In spite of this however, in spite of the concerns raised for years and years, Nintendo doesn’t care. Nintendo doesn’t care that you have to re-download every single game in the advent of a hardware failure. Nintendo doesn’t care that you have to restart every game, including fifty to a hundred hour ones like Dragon Quest VII, Legend of Legacy and Bravely Default, in the advent of a hardware failure.

Nintendo doesn’t care that you don’t get to play import games or fan translations. Nintendo doesn’t care that many states still have a bandwidth cap for downloads. Nintendo, in essence, doesn’t care about you.

And, that’s an issue. And every company has them. Sony has ludicrous restrictions on switching accounts and using multiple memory cards with your Vita. Microsoft has dreadful PC ports and horrendous practices for game updates that block you from playing a single one of them until the update is completed.

However, none of those issues make me lose all of my data and half of my monthly bandwidth anytime something goes wrong. How often has these happened to me? Let’s count, shall we?

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How many times have you lost your data? Too friggin’ many times! AH AH AH!!!!

  1. I was hit by two cars. A guy was playing on his phone and hit me, and shoved my car into oncoming traffic. My 3DS was in my pocket. I blacked out. I don’t remember much of that month; it was a blur. I was looking forward to continuing playing Fire Emblem Awakening, but, when the cars hit me my 3Ds broke. Nintendo told me I was piss out of luck. I had to buy a new one and redownload everything all over again.
  2. System errored out during a system update. Had to buy a new one and start over again.
  3. L trigger gave out. Sent it for repairs. I could have taken it apart and fixed it myself, but it was under warranty and I hate dealing with Nintendo hardware. Nintendo wiped the system for some stupid reason.
  4. No idea. System stopped turning on. Nintendo wanted to charge more than the system was worth for the repair.
  5. System errored out during a system update. My 3DS didn’t break this time, but I did still have to redownload everything.

Yeah. There’s a reason I play Vita  more than 3DS.

I say all of this to say, that as tempting as it is, I have not given in to the urge to pirate my games. Even still, I could legally make backups of every game that I personally own and still not have to deal with Nintendo’s ludicrous digital architecture. I choose not to.

But, the casual consumer who is willing to spend fifteen minutes hacking their system? They have no reason not to pirate Nintendo games. And, Nintendo simply doesn’t care enough about their fans to do anything different or better. Nintendo is, in essence, begging and inviting their fans to pirate rather than buy. And, if I lacked the beliefs that I have, I would have no reason not to do just that.

Food for thought Nintendo. Food for thought.

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Mighty No. 9 Review: Icy Snow Way You Should Pass This Cool Game Up!

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I was asked to come out of reviewer retirement to cover a few recent releases as well as provide some updates to my “Games to Play With Your Kids and Keep Your Sanity” list. Updates on our in house projects, such as the visual novel Withering Whispers, momentum platformer Raruna and the Seekers and upcoming novel Pretty Little Whispers are to come.

In the meantime, there are two main things that you need to know about Mighty No. 9. The first, is that this is a game that many reviewers will tell you is bad solely because it is not Mega Man. The second, is that this is Cryo:

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“Pew pew pew, PEW PEW PEW!!!”

She and little sister Dyna are easily the two best things about this game.

Mighty No. 9 is the lovechild of Keiji Inafune, created to fill a void he felt was left behind in the absence of a new Mega Man title. Ya know, since Capcom keeps cancelling all of them. A moment of silence for Mega Man Legends 3 please.

Now then, Mighty No. 9 was a title with a lot of expectations to live up to. Beck is essentially the “little brother” to Mega Man, and quite a few gamers went into this title expecting him to, well, be a carbon copy of his predecessor. Keiji Inafune, in my opinion very wisely, created a game that had a similar feel, but set out to accomplish its own agenda as well. While there are quite a few critics that Beck isn’t charge blasting his way through his levels all the live long day, I personally think Mighty No. 9, with a few flaws, managed to serve a unique, original and quite enjoyable experience. Read on for more!

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