A few years back, one of the most unique games I’ve ever played came out… a strange gem called ‘Nier’. Nier was not a great game, but it had such charm that it was hard not to love it. It featured gameplay ideas from a wide variety of genres, numerous endings, awkward mechanics, and an amazing soundtrack. Somehow this mix of disparate ideas, awkward implementation, and amazing music created one of the most interesting and memorable RPGs I’ve played, even if the game was nowhere near perfect. And as interesting as it was… it did not sell well.
Given that, you can imagine my surprise when SquareEnix announced a sequel coming, developed in conjunction with Platinum Games, a developer notable for great, unique action games – surprise, and excitement. When thinking about the strange and wonderful ideas the Nier team had to begin with, and matching those up with the polish Platinum is known for… it really felt like the chance for Nier to shine how it deserved. The big question: Did it live up to these escalated expectations or did it disappoint?
I know guys, it’s hard to believe… two muses posts right in a row. By now we’ve all heard of Atlus’ archaic restrictions on Persona 5 content, but for those who haven’t, take a second and go visit the Atlus website to see them outline their restrictions and to read their subsequent threat to their fanbase.
Reactions have been seen all over the internet, from content creators both big and small. Forbes called it ‘Ludicrous and Absurd’, Jim Sterling released one of his best videos ever entitled ‘Oh Atlus, Honey, no…’ discussing the topic, and even Square Enix has released statements about how this type of thing hurts sales more than it helps (although it was in a Japanese interview so links are hard to find).
Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, and since it is a subject that touches fairly close to home as a streamer who mostly streams JRPGs, I wanted to take some time to actually go into detail about my thoughts on the subject.
Note: This article was written before the recent update, but I’m still going to post it because the basic content is still fitting. The update to the policy outlines that they’ve lightened the restriction to 11/19. I fully expect that in a few months we’ll hear that they’ve lifted it entirely. The video will touch a bit more on the lightened restrictions.
Video Game Difficulty is a hot topic these days as a new barrage of games spotlighting difficulty as one of their core values continues to arrive. Whether we’re talking brutal platformers trying to emulate the success of ‘I Wanna Be the Boshy’ or the action adventure sub-genre known as ‘Soulsborne’… difficulty is being brought into the spotlight more than ever.
There are many different ways to make a difficult game. Both Souls and Boshy are among the first games mentioned if you ask people about challenging games, yet the two take a completely different approach to difficulty. What I want to do here is explain the way I look at a game’s difficulty, and touch on why I find some difficult games fun while others atrocious. So for those of you out there who keep asking me why I dislike Dark Souls… here’s your answer.
Let’s be honest… Tales of Zestiria was a huge let down. Bandai Namco (or Namco Bandai or whatever they’re calling themselves this week) had done a fantastic job on the series recently, making some of the best JRPGs I’d ever played and then Zestiria came out with its anticlimax of a finish, awkward combat, and disappointing core protagonists, reminding us all that what goes up must come down. Then I heard about Berseria, I saw trailers of it and it looked promising.
I kept hearing tidbits about the game that seemed good. It has a darker tone? Intriguing. The protagonist is female? Nice change of pace. But my hope wilted when I found out it took place in the distant past of Zestiria. I began to fear that we were in for another let-down. I still wanted to believe it would be good, that we would be going back to the greatness the last installments had featured… but I had my doubts. Now, the question then becomes: were my doubts realized?
In the world of Bloodivores, a sudden event caused people to start displaying vampiric tendencies. Fearing a potential disaster, The BST, an organization focused on the control and research of these ‘Bloodivores’, was formed. Before long, the BST had initiated measures to protect humanity from the Bloodivore threat, primarily placing sensory collars on anyone with the symptoms that would alert authorities if someone afflicted was a potential threat to humanity.
Alongside these measures, they also began researching the condition and, as one step towards understanding it and finding a cure, they began trying to breed a Bloodivore with a human. As a result, our protagonist Mi Liu was born. Our story begins with him as a rebellious teenager trying to help his friends get a little money to save their orphanage. Okay, maybe more than a little. To do this, they rob a bank but things don’t go quite as intended…