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Sonic Forces Review – A Force to be Reckoned With?

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Sonic Forces launched this past Tuesday on 11/7/17, promising to take the 3D Sonic titles in a brand new direction and completely revamp the franchise. After months waiting for this new release, should you throw Sonic and company a fist bump, or run at Super Sonic speeds in the other direction? Let’s find out!

Note: My experience was based on a retail copy of Sonic Forces for the Nintendo Switch after the Day One Update. For very obvious reasons, there WILL be story spoilers in the breakdown section.

What I played: The entire main campaign and several bonus missions alternating between docked and handheld mode.

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The Story So Far…

Eggman, or Dr. Robotnik if you were a 90’s kid, is up to no good as usual in what many are considering one of the darkest Sonic stories yet (honestly the tone is about as dark as Adventure 1 and 2 were). Dr. Eggman has succeeded in taking control over the entire world, save a small pocket of resistance fighters trying to turn the tide against insurmountable odds. The driving force behind Eggman’s success is a mysterious newcomer by the name of Infinite, who sports the coolest villain anthem since Biolizard in Sonic Adventure 2.

Everyone’s got to do their part to save the world, and that includes for the first time, you!

Three Modes of Play

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Sonic Forces seeks to mix up the established formula by offering three heroes. The first is of course The Blue Blur himself. If you’ve played Colors, Unleashed, Generations or Lost Worlds you know what to expect. Modern Sonic will primarily speed through the same boost heavy 3D environments that you’ve grown used to. Wisps make a return to Forces, but don’t get too excited. Modern Sonic will only ever make use of Boost Wisps.

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As someone who survived what I considered to be well thought out but poorly executed 3D segments in Sonic Unleashed, I can say that for the most part many of my control complaints have been alleviated in this installment. Boosting through the stages feels good and pretty responsive. You’ll make use of your homing jump more as a means of traversal than standard combat, and Sonic manages to stay in the lanes that you want him too…until you hit the later stages.

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I hate to admit it, but I’m gonna cuz I’m unbiased even when it’s painful! I already had some concerns from the jungle level in Episode Shadow, but those concerns were validated in the worst way during the last few acts of Forces. The half-pipe segments felt very rushed at the end, to the point that even when drifting like mad I went flying over the side often times before I even saw there was a turn. In fact, it was so bad that in the last few levels I just stopped boosting entirely…

That being said, having played all of the 3D Sonic titles (though I admittedly never finished Lost Worlds or Colors), the Modern Sonic stages felt good overall. Not unlike Generations, there are 2D segments for Modern Sonic as well, though these did feel a bit like they missed the mark as a result of Modern Sonic not handling as tight as his Classic counterpart.

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Likely to appease fans of Generations (sorry guys, I was not one of them!) and to make sure there was something for everyone, Classic Sonic makes his adorably pudgy return in Forces. Classic Sonic, as you no doubt would expect, has no 3D segments and controls how you would expect him too. There’s more weight to his movements, a bit more floatiness to his jumps, tighter control on his platforming, and a lack of Boost or Homing Attacks.

Classic Sonic runs slower than his Modern twin, but does have a few updates like the ability to charge a spin dash in mid-air.

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Classic is not without his flaws (and admittedly Modern Sonic was my favorite to play as). I found a weird glitch where sometimes when I would go to jump from a stand still during a platforming section, Classic Sonic would just go rushing to his death instead. It wasn’t as though the game misunderstood my button inputs, I would push jump and he would literally just rocket through the ground at an angle and die. Thankfully this only happen three or so times over the course of my full 5 hour playthrough, but it was still pretty frustrating, especially when you consider that a single death costs you an S-Rank and by extension new outfits for your player character.

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Last but not least, is your player character. In Sonic Forces you get to pick from one of many races, each with their own unique abilities. There’s the wolf, bear, cat, hedgehog, rabbit, bird and dog. My hero was a green wolf I named Riot the Wolf because in Sonic you positively must use your race in your name unless you’re a bad guy. For picking the wolf, I gained the ability to draw rings to my body instantly (the description says items, but, I never saw anything beyond rings hover over to me).

The character creation is serviceable. One thing that would have gone a long way to making the experience more personal would have been a color slider instead of pre-made colors. I wanted Riot to be green, but that shade was way lighter than what I wanted, yet the darkest one available.

Your hero is a silent protagonist, so get used to hearing “Partner”, “Buddy” and “Rookie” a lot. I didn’t mind, except for one line from Sonic late game that was kind of accidentally hilarious.

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Your hero is understandably not as fast as Sonic (duh), but what he (or she) lacks in speed he makes up for with ingenuity! I came across 7 different weapon types in my playthrough, though admittedly I used the lightning whip almost exclusively. You begin with a flamethrower which is way more fun than it ought to be (BURN HENCHMEN, BUUUURN!!!), but will soon unlock the whip, the cube, the giant drill and more. For beating the game, I unlocked the Void cannon, which my new heroine Faith the Cat will get to try out after this review.

The player character sections vary between 3D and 2D styles. Both play pretty well, and honestly seem to have had the most amount of love poured into them. Racing through the stages feels good, the combat fulfills its purpose and is fun enough, my only real complaint was that every time you have to use your grappling hook (which is pretty frequent), you come to a near complete stop which really breaks up the momentum.

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But wait, on Twitter you said you love this game!

Shoot yeah I do, are you kidding me? Sonic Forces was an absolute blast! I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish, save the half pipe deaths that weren’t my fault and a few narrative choices that I found to be lacking.

I don’t regret my purchase even a little bit; I plan on beating the game from scratch with every race and unlocking all of the outfits and everything. But, I’m not here to be biased. I’m here to be honest. And, being honest, Forces is middleware. It is far, far, far from the worst Sonic game you’ve ever played (I personally didn’t like Sonic 4 or Heroes even a little bit), but if you were hoping for this to be the game to save Sonic from the shadow of mediocrity he’s fallen into in the public eye, well…you’ll be disappointed.

Because, you see, Forces is a game filled with the brilliance of what could have been. One of the bigger problems is the length of the stages. Now, the game has a very respectable 30 levels not even counting the bonus missions, but, each of these levels is about 3 to 4 minutes long. Some can even be cleared in as few as 2 minutes.

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As I played through Forces, I saw the brilliance that a few more months of polish could have brought to light. In particular watching the drama play out between Infinite, Sonic, Shadow and the player character felt cheapened for how swiftly the game rushed to its conclusion. In the modern era of gaming, this is something DLC may address (especially after an utterly bizarre ending that I’ll go over in a bit), but it shouldn’t have to.

I found boosting to be quite enjoyable, but after all the “Wisps are back” talk I really expected more. And, with as much as your hero was played up as making up for their lack of natural ability with ingenuity, I thought there would be a far larger variety of weapons.

But again, I personally loved Forces, and will beat it again at least once before Doom comes out on Friday. However, you’re not here for me to tell you to drop $40 just because I adored the game; you’re here for me to be honest with you (and to update you on Dragon House Studios projects, which will come this weekend).

So, what are some other good points about the game?

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Tag Team Levels Made me Nerd Out so Hard!

I didn’t like the theme song “Fist Bump” (or the closing theme either for that matter), but hearing Sonic address my character first as a mentor, then as equals had me bouncing around with excitement! Watching my hero fight alongside the Blue Blur was epic.

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Villains That Came to be Villains

There’s no “I didn’t mean to” about it; Eggman is here to bring chaos and death, and Infinite is well and above on board with that. This was the first time since the SatAm universe that Eggman was genuinely kind of scary, and Infinite though suffering from plot shackles was the first truly frightening Sonic villain since…well…ever.

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Dat’ Soundtrack Tho!

As I said, and I’ll say it as kindly as I can…I was…not a fan of Fist Bump or the closing theme. That being said, oh my goodness the vocal tracks for the player character melted my brain with their awesome. I’ve had the player character level songs on repeat for about three weeks now. Hearing the Modern Stages redone in 8 bit for Classic Sonic was neat, and Modern Sonic had some pretty great songs too.

And, of course, as a huge Shadow fan I nerded out hardcore at his remixes as well.

So where does that leave us?

I’ll give my verdict here before going to the spoiler heavy breakdown section. Personally I can’t recommend Forces enough. I critiqued it hard, because I endeavor not to be biased. For me personally though, for there to be a game in 2017 that wasn’t hyper sexualized, didn’t have you drawing on demonic power, and didn’t go out of its way to slam Christianity, that already got me hype.

Add in that I’m a huge Sonic fan, I fell in love with the soundtrack, the narrative was interesting for the most part and the gameplay while varying between “okay” and “pretty brilliant” was still solid, and you’ve got something worth a purchase in my book.

Sonic Forces is unfortunately an average game with above average moments and stellar ideas that never quite come together. Being my most fair, it’s a

7 out of 10

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+Amazing Soundtrack
+Graphics are still pretty great on the Switch (which is locked to 720p and 30 FPS)
+Scary villains
+Moments of inspiration
+Making my own character was fun
+Knuckles finally got to be cool again
+30 levels far exceeded the number I thought it’d have (not even counting the bonus missions, bonus stages and daily challenges)
+Hero stages were well designed
+I wanna poke Classic Sonic in his cute little tum tum

-There are times that the game will fling you into oblivion, generally in the later stages
-Narrative starts strong, then rushes way too fast to an ending it didn’t earn
-Sonic Team once again had no idea what to do with most of the side characters (which, not really their fault since fans go crazy any time it isn’t just Sonic)
-Moments of brilliance dotting an experience that is otherwise either average or above average
-Levels are entirely too short
-A few anti-climactic boss fights
-Speaking of boss fights, you don’t even actually get to fight all of the villains the game teases…

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Now for the Breakdown! There will be spoilers! You have been warned!

Okay, so I’ve got to come right out and say it; Infinite was both the best and the absolute worst part of this game. Infinite shows up and right off the bat establishes how scary he is by beating Sonic unconscious with zero effort:

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Infinite then just proceeds to be stupid for the rest of the plot, because he presents a problem. He’s stronger and faster than Sonic, so the only way for Sonic to not die is for Infinite to come down with a case of the Vegeta’s and monologue a bunch then decide people aren’t worth killing.

What’s more, I still have no idea who he is or why I care. Sure, I didn’t read the prequel comic books on the Internet, but I shouldn’t have to after plunking down $40 for the game.

Infinite becoming Infinite is shown in Episode Shadow, and it amounts to “Shadow slapped me around and said mean words to me”. Nothing involving Infinite’s soul shattering hate for Shadow ever comes up again after those three prequel stages, and they give us a glimpse at a far scarier villain than the main story shows us.

Then there’s the relationship between Infinite and the hero:

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A dark relationship is teased between Infinite and your hero, that never goes anywhere at all. We see in a flashback that your hero was hunkered down with a few other citizens trying to survive Infinite’s onslaught. In a surprisingly dark scene, Infinite slaughters everyone around you, leaving just you alive. Your hero staggers back fearfully and falls to the ground as Infinite taunts your weakness and despair.

He offers you for his own amusement the chance to run, giving you his word that if you run away he’ll let you live. We see Infinite’s eye pulse and glow at that point, and as your hero is stuck between fear and hate, one of their eyes changes colors also (my character, Riot, has purple eyes, but the cutscene made a point of showing one of his eyes turning crimson as he stared up at Infinite).

Some kind of connection between you and Infinite is teased, or the possibility of you using some hidden power later, but, literally nothing happens beyond Infinite mocking you for running when you go to face him later in the story.

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During the big war scene at the end, or right before it, we see…something happen to Infinite. I still have no idea what. He loses to the combined forces of the two Sonics and the player character, he cries out that he’s not done yet, then he gets whisked away to Eggman’s lair and…

You never see him again.

Maybe he died?

Maybe he got absorbed to make the last boss robot more powerful?

I have no idea.

He’s just gone. This guy billed as Sonic’s greatest threat yet just…unceremoniously disappears and or dies off camera. There’s no tease that he might still be out there, no post credits eyes shining in the darkness, just…he went from the guy who near beat Sonic to death, to…the guy who got beat up then disappeared I guess.

Speaking of the anti-climax of the narrative, we race to the end and have a fairly underwhelming last boss fight after not even getting to fight Shadow or Chaos (though let’s be fair, the fight was no less underwhelming that Biolizard or Perfect Chaos, yet it felt so much worse for what I’m about to mention).

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What makes the final fight with Eggman so much more dull is the fact that this is the first Sonic game I can recall since the original with no super transformation for the final battle. Eggman tells us his robot can’t be harmed, Tails confirms this, then we jump into it a lot and break it. Then we win.

No Super Sonic, and another missed opportunity, no cool looking transformation for your hero either, despite your hero being the only one able to counter Infinite’s powers. Now, maybe something cool will happen if I finish every bonus mission, but, from what was presented to me this is just where the game leaves off.

Again, I don’t regret my purchase and this game is still a solid 7 in my book, but there are definitely areas of opportunity. What do you think? Comment below! I’m out!

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Secret Garden Korean Drama Review

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So I’m rethinking of re-branding my website; I’m recently discovering how amazing Korean Dramas are so I’m going to start reviewing at least one to two new dramas a month.

I’ll be starting with my absolute favorite, Secret Garden. Secret Garden tells the story of stunt woman Gil Ra Im and her unlikely love triangle between a Mr. Darcy like President of the Loel department store, Kim Joo-won and his cousin, pop star Oska or Choi Woo-Young. As we get to know each of our protagonists, we discover that Gil Ra Im and best friend Im Ah-Young share a very small apartment in a poor part of town making the best of each day together. Kim Joo-won, a man with a razor personality as sharp as a knife known for looking down upon others and playing at intense psychological warfare with his underlings (“Is this your best? Are you certain?”) is drawn in an unlikely manner into Gil Ra Im’s life. While attempting to cover up a scandal for cousin Oska with actress Chae Rin, we discover in short order a few very important details about each individual.

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Oska lives life to play, whether it’s with women or his career, though he appears to have some manner of sweetness and juvenile charm about him. Kim Joo-won lives to be the greatest. As Oska says, “If I buy a car, he buys the dealership. If I buy a boat, he buys the entire fleet. He’s that sort of guy.”

Meanwhile, Gil Ra Im is a woman who will be moved to violence for her friend’s pride and well-being, but will ignore her own personal injuries and slights to the point of landing herself in a hospital.

As a bit of happenstance throws these characters and more together, we embark on a tale of supernatural romance, and the many kinds of male and female friendships, all leading towards what one can only hope will be a happy ending. Shall we?

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E3 Doesn’t Excite Me At All…

To be honest, I really didn’t feel like writing this article. At all.

To be honest, I rarely feel like writing any articles these days. I see less and less point to what I do, but, a handful of readers ask me frequently to keep running with the torch, so it’s in my hand again.

I don’t care about E3 this year. I already knew that I wouldn’t. I’d hope that more Christians would feel the same way, but, my experiences with my independent publishing have shown me that perhaps I hope in vain.

I’m still indie for my works, because Christian publishing houses say I’m too out there (you have violence and cursing and you come across as too negative about the church and you discuss taboo topics like alternative lifestyles and you make the traditional church uncomfortable!), while non-Christian, or Worldly, publishing houses say I’m not out there enough (you need to have graphic sex scenes, you need to have the majority of your cast be LGBTQ, you need to stop talking about God, if you don’t pander we won’t publish you).

I’m sitting on three completed novels that I don’t feel like releasing right now, and over 200 original songs that I don’t feel like releasing either. These days I don’t write “for publishing” novels anymore, I write “for fun” novels, stories where I weave whatever narrative I please in whatever fashion I feel like without prettying them up for public consumption.

We live in an unprecedented era of hostility towards Christianity, and an unparalleled era of the perversion of original works. Did you know that the game “Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers” was titled “Shin Sangoku Musou: Eiketsuden” in Japan? Eiketsuden means “Legend of a Brave Hero”. Not unlike how Sengoku Basara became Devil Kings in America, the American marketing team functioned off of the tried and true that media sells better in America if it slams Christianity, promotes demon power, and is deviant in some manner.

Did you know titles like Earthbound had Christian protagonists that were removed when the games were brought to the west? Did you know that in Xenogears the last boss was called Yahwei originally, but they changed it at the last minute?

There was a time where a game like Bayonetta wouldn’t have been made. I marvel at how people tell me “You’re an idiot, Bayonetta isn’t anti-christian!”

So…the game where you’re a stripper witch who kills angels, is purported to have done things that Christ did like die and rise miraculously in three days, and who at the end of her game kills a God and Jesus stand in, isn’t anti-Christian? Really?

El Shaddai, a game that says Lucifer is actually a hero, is getting a sequel that will no doubt be popular. Persona 5 ends with you turning into Lucifer, professing Satan as the ultimate power to win the day.

I look at the E3 announcements, and here’s the part where I expect anyone who was still reading with the capacity to be a rational human being to check that rationality at the door. I hear the words “inclusive” and “equality” thrown around all the time, but what I see is preferential treatment. Whether it’s in a comic book, tv show, anime or video game, when the word “inclusive” is used, what it actually means is “girls are gonna kiss”.

Don’t poop your pants with rage, I have more to say. Or, if you already pooped your pants, go change them and come back. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Are you back? Did you wash your hands? You good? Good.

Because here’s the thing. My outlook on all of this is a bit different that what you’d expect. Yup, I’m a minister, and yup that means most of you are going to stop reading with any shred of rationality because this issue is polarized because hey, guess what, people want it to be.

Because when any issue is polarized, it’s good for that sweet sweet green stuff. Unity doesn’t make money; controversy does. Whether it’s race, gun safety or alternative lifestyles, as long as there are extremes there is money to be made.

I get so tired of typing my outlook, my “credentials” as it were, but if I don’t people make all manner of silly assumptions. I open discussions with a simple question. Did you come here to have an intelligent discourse, or are you here to be mad and pick a fight? If it’s the former, let’s discuss. If it’s the latter, fine, I’ll still talk, just know that I only half care about the outcome.

It’s unpopular in our Alastair Crowley fueled “you are your own god, do whatever you wish, that is the only law that need be satisfied. Whatever is pleasurable is good” society, but if you profess the faith you don’t pick and choose what parts you follow.

That means that yes, you believe homosexuality is a sin (don’t stop reading), but you also comprehend the fact that Christ said love everyone regardless of their sin and treat them like a decent human being.

To that end, Life is Strange, Blue Reflection, probably the new Uncharted, The Last Night, Andromeda, Horizon: Zero Dawn and more. That’s your franchise, do with it what you will. I’m not gonna rush out and buy them, I’m not gonna support the games, but that’s your jam. That’s what those teams wanted to create. Cool.

Just, don’t tell me you’re making an “all inclusive game”, just be real and say you’re following the market trends. Or hey, maybe that’s just the story you wanted to write. That’s cool too.

My upcoming novel “In Defense of the Heart” has two gay couples among the main leads. I’ve seen “Moonlight” four times. If you truly have a story to tell, a real story to tell, then cool. Because I also believe that you can’t meet someone as a human being if you don’t pull your head out and get to know what they’re going through.

But that goes both ways. If Mass Effect was meant to be “all inclusive”, then why was the only Christian a bigot and a racist? If The Last of Us was meant to be all inclusive, why did we get our “Where’s your God now?” moments but no positive Christians? If Horizon: Zero Dawn was meant to be about equality, why did we get a narrative that said the world is bad because men and religion made it that way?

My point is this: sometimes it sucks to be a Christian. I loved Persona 3 and 4, but 5? Where I have to be Satan to win? I have to pass. Alternatively I can enjoy God of War because it’s narrative is about tearing down a corrupt pantheon and fighting for redemption.

I don’t watch most super hero shows, because my issue is pandering in whatever form it takes. I also loved Moonlight and Secret Garden because each (one a solely gay story, the other who used a gay protagonist to tell a story that was about loneliness) because they told stories, they didn’t exist to make pander dollars.

And I know that the majority of you either stopped reading early, or read to the end but decided to stay mad, but the point truly is this: If your goal is equality, that has to run both ways. You have to respect that I don’t agree with your lifestyle, but I love and respect you. And, you also have to respect that if as a developer you say your game is about equality but it’s about “This makes money right now” or it’s about preferential treatment, I won’t buy it.

Just like how I won’t be buying the new Super Smash Brothers if Bayonetta is part of the main roster. Because I love the sinner, but I won’t throw money at the sin.

If you want to have a rational, intelligent discussion, comment below. If you want to run in and rage, just know your comments will be ignored. However, if you truly, truly want a more equal world, understand that means calmly and rationally discussing with calm and rational people.

Xeawn, out.

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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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