Ever Oasis, late final thoughts

I finally finished Ever Oasis. I’d had the feeling that I was close to the end for a while now, but had chosen to flop around and do subquests instead of anything resembling to finishing the game. In a way, it felt like that’s what the game kind of wanted me to do, anyway. But after a while – and that is the biggest flaw that I see in this game – the oasis management became boring and just a tad tedious. Oh my god, guys, can’t you do anything by yourself!!?? With no new travelers arriving and every shop either maxed out or close to getting maxed out, the game felt like it had no surprises left. It just becomes a chore of supplying good, tending gardens, sending out expedition teams, then getting annoyed that you sent the person you wanted in your party out with an expedition team! Ever Oasis is cute and original, I love the design and the atmosphere and the entire idea of its setting and the characters, creatures and so on … but in the end, I decided to go to the end boss out of boredom. And we’d run out of parsley and I didn’t remember where to get more.

I really wouldn’t mind some sort of sequel that was, perhaps, set 1000 years later so that the events of this game can be treated like legend, but any city management aspects would have to be overhauled so that they don’t become less fun and less important-feeling as the game progresses.

The desert setting was lovely, but the world itself was pretty small after all. I’m in the mood for something more VAST.

Speaking of JRPG deserts … The one in Secret of Evermore remains one of my favourites. It’s just a bg stretch of sand and because it is so hot, you gradually lose HP. I’d really love to see something like this done again in an game, so that travelling through the desert feels like an actual daunting task that you need to plan properly. I know we live in the time of fast travel where “back-tracking” is reviled and people get bord quickly … but I’d love to play a game where distances matter and travelling long distances actually takes time and makes you get a proper sense of the size of the world.

But that’s neither here nor there. My eyes are on Octopath Traveler now.

Erh, anyway, Ever Oasis: another annoying flaw was the camera during some of the more challenging fights. Whenever I was too far away from the boss, the boss was moving and I was trying to lock onto the enemy, the camera just switched to my character’s viewing direction instead, VERY annoying. And really not what you need during fighting.

I beat the end boss with Isa and Ida, and I have to admit that I spent a lot of time playing it ultra-save on the other side of the screen, biding my time for some well-timed slashing. Ida kept landing the finishing blows. Every. Time. Good girl.


Octopath Traveler … :o Four months left.

This week, I stayed up to watch the Nintendo Direct because I am a nerd like that and because I was hoping for Octopath Traveler news. I was rewarded for my fannishness! Tantalising gameplay details, information about two more playable characters, and a release date: July 13. Yay!

I am in a bit of a dilemma because a part of me thinks that it would be best to avoid all further Octopath news, in order to experience the game as unspoilt, as fresh as possible. The other part of me, of course, is a giddily excited fangirl who just spent an hour looking at the various maps shown in-game, in trailers and on the official website, trying to guess the eventual size of the gaming world. (The original trailer called it “vast”, and it better be!)

Yeah, I’ll probably lick up every morsel of information until July.

Meanwhile, I am torturing myself already over the protagonist choice. I tended toward Primrose after playing the demo. But Alfyn appeals to me … I think I just like characters who are uncomplicatedly nice people who want to help others. Tortured anti-heroes are fine, of course, but I think I’d rather want to be the idealistic, straight-forward good guy. So … who knows what I’ll end up picking? Why am I already angsting about this??? XD



“Ugh, fandom, what’s the point?”

One cannot just rewatch Brooklyn Nine-Nine forever in an endless loop while the show is on some kind of winter break. :p So I watched all of the Capaldi-era Doctor Who, and that one X-Files episode from the current season that made fun of the Mandela Effect, because the Mandela Effect and its believers deserve all the mocking, yep. Then I watched The Good Place and loved it, and then I read some of the comments on AVClub and I remembered why I’d decided not to do that. Don’t get me wrong, the idiotic comments are few and far between but I’m just so tired of fandom, the way it can get hung up over trivial details, try to predict not only future plots, but future problems, this weird … self-important worrying about whether a premise is sustainable or bla bla bla. I mean … what’s the point? Just … relax a little.

Another recent “Ugh, fandom, what’s the point?” moment was when I stumbled across old figure skating videoclips by following links from some fashion website (everything always leads back to figure skating; I’m sure you could play “Six Degrees Of Figure Skating” quite easily!) and of course the Youtube comments were full of the nitpicky “Am I the only one who doesn’t think [insert name of figure skater from the 1990’s] was all that great?? S/he did not deserve to win [award/title]! S/he would not score well if s/he competed today!” Blaaaaa. Just, chill, get over it, yes, there’ve been people before your current fave who’ve won titles and jumped jumps and skated skates and done well, and that doesn’t take anything away from anyone else’s achievements. Just enjoy these performances, or not, but stop it with these theoretical comparisons, because time travel isn’t real so none of these athletes are ever all going to compete in the same competition exactly at each of their career peaks. It’s like fandom will never move past the “Who would win in a fight, Son Goku or Batman?” stage, and that’s why fandom is exhausting.

BTW, the best thing about The Good Place is the attention to details when it comes to set design and all the puns in the shop names! That’s my kind of show, where you can press pause to read a poster, and not only is it an actual text instead of Lorem ipsum, it’s a text with extra jokes. I appreciate that.

I also appreciate Michael Schur’s continued dedication to diverse casts and “wokeness”, because both B99 and TGP never feel like someone’s just ticking off representation boxes, nor are they jumping up and down yelling: Look! Look! Representation! Strong Female Character! I get a cookie now??” Oh, and it’s really funny to me that there’s people who could watch four seasons of B99 and THEN SUDDENLY be upset by the “liberal agenda”. Like, where’ve you been? The thing that endeared B99 to me was that while Jake is the standard self-absorbed manchild protagonist, he is also aware of his privileges as a straight, white man, and it’s no chip off his shoulder to recognise that his black, female and/or gay friends would face particular hurdles that he never had to deal with. And while Jake definitely matures over the course of five seasons, THAT is actually something he’s known from the start. That’s in the series’ premiere, when he apologises to Holt for his behaviour … and, you know … I often see conservatives whine about “thought police”, “can’t tell jokes anymore”, “political correctness boo” etc., so I just love to have B99 as proof that yeah, you CAN be woke and funny, you don’t lose your individuality just by being respectful to other people … I am not explaining it right, but … something like that, anyway. I’m hungry.


Octopath Traveler demo impressions: Primrose >>> Olberic

I might blog more in the coming weeks. I’m kind of in the mood, but I make no promises. It took me a long time to type up this post, haha. Totally need to get back into the groove. Anyway, I really can’t not talk about the demo of Project Octopath Traveler, the Switch-exclusive neo-retro JRPG that Square Enix is going to bless us with next year. When a trailer for the game popped up in the Switch presentation at the start of this year, I was immediately in love with it. Visually it was amazing. Not just nostalgic, but atmospheric and full of detail. The soundtrack was excellent. The trailer also promised a large world and nonlinear gameplay – which made Octopath Traveler sound like the game of my dreams, more or less.

Last month’s demo shed some light on how this is going to work out, although I suspect that there are still things we don’t know for sure. There are going to be eight playable characters, each with their own backstory, starting location and reason to go on an epic journey. The other seven characters can be recruited into the party during the story, but the demo does not answer how exactly this aspect is going to be handled. For the most part, the demo shows off two of the eight characters, and demonstrates how their unique abilities influence both the battles and the exploration portions of the game.

The warrior Olberic can challenge NPCs to a duel, with different results: defeating an NPC in battle might get you access to a door they were blocking, or it might be the solution to a sidequest where they need to have some sense knocked into them.

The dancer Primrose has the ability “Allure”, where she seduces NPCs into going with her. You can have these characters help you in battles, or you can take specific NPCs to specific places as part of a sidequest.

Interestingly, the demo contained a few sidequests that could be solved with either of these abilities, but with different outcomes. I got the vague feeling that these different outcomes might have further consequences later on, although that may just be wishful thinking on my part. It would certainly result in every player getting a somewhat different experience, just as advertised! Especially if we assume that everyone is going to be using different characters and thus have different abilities at their disposal to solve sidequests.

But now I must talk a little bit about why Primrose >>>> Olberic.

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Last week in fun

Oh my god, Darkwing Duck is going to be in the DuckTales reboot! Darkwing Duck is the only superhero I truly care for, and I am thrilled that he gets to be a part of this new, modern version of the Duck universe. He’s not been forgotten! I am very curious to see how this turns out. This also made me realize that 2017!Webby is essentially Gosalyn. It’s kind of ironic that everyone was praising the new Webby as a modernized, era-appropriate reinvisioning, and we all kind of forgot that in the 1990, that character already existed. And I don’t remember anybody making a fuss about it.

Maybe that’s what bothers me about today’s … idk, cultural debates? Everything is so polarizing. Something as mundane and common-place as a female main character is immediately discussed like it MUST be a daring political statement. It can’t be anything else.

I got sidetracked into watching Crimson Peak yesterday. Or at least part of it. I didn’t catch the first 30, 45 minutes or so, but the film was still easy to follow, since everything is really familiar and predictable. Spoiler warning! It looks like most people agree that the plot is predictable. Hilariously there are a few reviews or blog posts that argue against this, and say it’s actually really deep and totally defies expectations! Haha, no? Also, while I understand where people are coming from, and it’s not like I don’t pick up on these things, but I’m not going to praise this movie for its ~feminism~ when it all eventually boils down to a light-coded good woman versus a dark-coded bad woman, and all the men are siding  with the good woman against the bad one. Even the male serial killer has a change of heart, so that in the end, the crazy, evil woman stands alone while the heroine has all the privilege and support of society. A woman hitting another, mentally ill woman in the head with a shovel is not exactly peak feminism. Feminism should punch up, not kick down.

Right, so. Enough complaining. I’m not entirely sure how I ended up there, but Youtube eventually suggested me videos of old Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken action figures, so I’ve been watching those. There’s even a figure of Brass! That’s so cool.

Anyway, my immediate future plans: Tell you what, I won’t even TRY to write a blog post next week. I’ll take care of real-life stuff, and only when I’m all relaxed and content will I tackle my backlog of manga, books, videogames and whatever else I’ve been half-assing. That sounds like a good, responsible plan. Right?

Weekly recap: The fun I had!!

Alright, so this was another meh week overall, but it picked up near the weekend. I finally got around to write and post my review of Arte, the curiously feminist manga by Kei Ohkubo.

The most exciting news this week was today’s Doctor Who announcement. the thirteenth Doctor will be played by a woman for the first time! I am happy with this, not because I desperately wanted a female Doctor, but because I desperately wanted something different. Just anything but another young, white man. Not because there’s anything wrong with young white men, haha. But I really enjoyed Capaldi as the Doctor, I found it refreshing to have an older man instead of yet another bouncy, manic gummy-face – no offence to David Tennant or Matt Smith, but I’m glad they tried something different with Twelve. And I am glad they are trying something different with Thirteen! Having a woman in this role is going to result in new, fresh dynamics, and I’m curious to see what this will be like! I hope they are going to be more creative in the future as well – also with the choice of companions, since that’s another way to shake things up.

(I’ll just ignore the misogynistic backlash, since these whiny idiots don’t deserve to be taken seriously.)

Changing topic. It’s nearly been a month since RPG Maker Fes has come out … and I’ve really slowed down! D: That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I basically started taking my game more seriously, so now I am actually thinking about the big picture instead of making it up as I go along. I need some time to come up with a structure that works, and to flesh out the characters. Luckily, I greatly enjoy daydreaming about stories.

The most FEMINIST manga I know: Arte by Kei Ohkubo

Everyone in anime/manga fandom misunderstands demographic categories. For example seinen: often described as gritty, edgy stories with lots of violence and sex, and sexual violence. Always dark, always psychologically complex, manly stories for manly men.

And then they get confused when they learn that A Bride’s Story is seinen. And so is Chi’s Sweet Home. Haha.

Bride’s Story is sometimes misidentified as shojo or as josei, because it’s about women, and somehow there’s this idea that only women care enough about women to read stories with female protagonists. Which is a rather sad thought, you know?

I am by no means an expert, but I am kind of getting the impression that there’s actually an entire sort of genre of seinen manga that is blatantly about women and their struggles in society, past or present, in foreign places or domestically! So, let’s discuss one such manga, Arte by Kei Ohkubo.

I first took note of Arte because of the gorgeous cover illustrations. Look at them! The details, the colour, the atmosphere! I’ve read the first three volumes now, which is enough to form an opinion.

Arte runs in Comic Zenon. There are currently six volumes out in Japan, five in France, where it’s published by Komikku. Before I discovered manga, I didn’t know I’d ever be grateful for my tedious French lessons!

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