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When we are talking about constructive criticism, we must also understand the reality of sturgeon’s law and not everyone is receptive or are capable enough to ascend to a higher standard. Sometimes, we must accept that Paul Bart Mall Cops won’t be more than a comedy that you find unintelligent even you made good points on how it sucks, especially when it’s proven that people love the shit out of it so it’s doing something right at least. Sure, it’s good to be critical and I agree with it but don’t get too into your own ass and think you are doing anyone a favor or you are actually changing something when stuff is clearly not receptive(hint: Adam Sandler and Michael Bay). You must also understand that the general public are not in academia and don’t necessary agree with your ways even though their reasoning are irrational because news flash, most people don’t give a fuck for things they perceived as inconsequential. Not everyone want to pursue intellectualism as well. I know it’s very surprising because you just found out how not everyone is like you or how everyone is not doing what you are doing or are striving for betterment. I know it also irks you how you can’t find in good faith saying that they are living life wrong because they all seems to be so content with life by being what you perceived as mediocre but all I can say is, don’t do it because that turn you into a bitter judgmental nerd… …  Your point of how media reflects sub conscious bias and prejudice or how it speaks to the larger problem of how we are actually fucking backwards and not progressive at all is true though and I agree with that, but you can’t in good faith failed to understand why people don’t find any issue with anything when lots of you who hold that banners love questionable shit as well because everything is subjective anyways and everyone is capable of detaching fiction from reality. Then again, all these doesn’t justify the removal of the content anyways.


I think my mind will explode if I read another Fire Emblem Fates discussion. IT’S NOT ABOUT CENSORSHIP! IT’S NOT ABOUT PEOPLE WANTING TO RUB FACE! It’s about giving critical reason to justify the modification or removal of certain content. Just because a group of people find the content to be disappointing/creepy doesn’t justify its removal. You don’t make decisions to remove something out of gut reactions or entirely subjective opinions when it objectively is very very harmless. Just because it’s not technically censorship doesn’t mean you can accuse legit great argument that points out how removing content unnecessarily without a good justifiable reason is stupid.

The idea of making decision on a whim without thinking it through critically is dangerous.  You are basically encouraging the erasure of stuff you don’t agree with. You don’t want to do that because it might affect you next time. Also, no one knows what the climate will be 10 years down the road.

Another issue I had in all this discussion of removing the face rubbing mechanics is that people actually believe that by removing it, it can help ascends Fire Emblem Fates to a higher art form. If that’s the case, might I suggest removing the whole game altogether because the writing fucking sucks anyway. All the characters lack depth and are only capable of generic cliche one liners. Fire emblem Shadow Dragon had a scene of how a enemy knight joined you because Caeda was the only girl who talked to him and he was fucking desperate. Tiki is also a 1000 year dragon who love Marth a little too much. Fire Emblem 4 had incest(I don’t think incest is inherently wrong anyway) relationship. This is the kind of game Fire Emblem always is,and it clearly doesn’t try to aim any higher than that.

This line of thought is especially egregious when the gameplay is solid but instead, they are putting too much focus in some tiny idiotic feature that only appears in 5% of the game. Seriously, people think that 5% optional shit implies some demeaning of art form shit when the other artsy parts are all ass as well anyway so who the fuck cares. If you want to criticize, criticize it like me and admit that everything in narrative department fucking sucks, don’t cherry pick things that only offends you and defend shitty stories in previous games because you want to paint your own fucking narrative of how it was better in the good old day. Either everything that sucks sucks and you care or everything that sucks sucks and you don’t care. Don’t give me this cherry picking hypocritical bullshit. Removing a shitter part to make a pie good when all the pie are also shitty to some extend kinda make the removing of shittier part idiotic and moot.

To make my stance clear, I understand the Soleil conversation change. It has some nasty implication if you want to go down that route even though I don’t agree with that interpretation, but clearly a lot of people do and it perpetuate some nasty shit. However face rubbing is just fucking goofy. I might see a problem if you can only do it with on one gender but that’s not true, is it? You can do it to every single one of them regardless of gender or race. This just turn it into something awkard and weird and surprisingly inoffensive. By removing that, what are you implying? If you aren’t trying to imply something, what are you intention? From Nintendo point of view as a business, it makes sense that they are removing a feature that is shown to have a vocal group who don’t like it so it’s not worth the effort. If that’s the case, it’s an ok justification for being a cheapass. I can understand the logic behind it and can agree to disagree and accept that. What grinds my gear is people celebrating the removal of it. This is bad but no one seems to understand why it is bad. Imagine this, if you like some weird harmless shit like snakes on body or some shit, but people ask for its removal because they find it weird or creepy, how would you feel? Do you even think it’s correct with that stupid ass idiotic justifications of weird or creepy when it’s entirely subjective? I don’t think so.

On to the next point, if you think it’s some molestation otaku pandering shit and find it disgusting, it’s all on you. 300+k  normal Japanese fellows(and more because most people who played the game don’t even care or know about shit like these) aren’t repulse by that or don’t perceive it like you. You and a few of your mates are the only people who are pigeonholing it due to your traumatized experience with a group of people that you read from the internet (that can’t amount to more than 10k to 20k) doing things that you find creepy so this is all your mind. If you think that the general public will perceive your favorite shit as anime trash, let me say this. This is all in your fucking mind because normal human beings don’t care because they are not a nerd.

Asking others to up their standard of media they consumed when the same people you are preaching to think that media is inconsequential and don’t treat it as serious as you are makes you a fucking nerd who cares too much about how people do or likes things. Never do that because it doesn’t matter. You think this will affect the things you like but that’s not true because you can still find the things you like. Even if you can’t find any, tough luck, you are outdated and irrelevant to the market trend. Good bye and enjoy being that old man shouting at clouds. You are also fucking narrow minded because you are dismissing the idea that there are artists out there who won’t settle with market trending shit and do their own cool stuff because they care a lot about it. The difference with them and your concern is that they are productive and creating new stuff for others to enjoy, not lament and complain why stuff don’t exist for you because you are an entitled prick.

Sure, if you go deep into academia and critical criticism, you can say it’s unintelligent pandering shit that affects progressiveness and that’s why it’s terrible but again, we are not arguing about constructive criticism here, we are talking about unnecessarily modifying and removing something that already exist. It’s good and ok to criticize for improvement, but it’s fucking bad to remove things that are already out there just because you criticize it. It makes no fucking sense anyway. People are already accusing Anita Sarkeesian that she is taking their boobs away(she’s not) and others keep on assuring them that she doesn’t intend to do that(which I agree) but then when real removals like these happens, you have people in that same fucking group turning their back and cheering for removals. That’s just fucking inconsistent so now you know they are just fuckers who really hope that they took the boobs away.

Let’s get back to our topic. I still can’t get over how can anyone find that to be a good idea. Their justification are all stupid shit like “REAL HUMAN DON”T DO THAT!”, “IT’S CREEPY BECAUSE I SAID SO”? Elaboration please? Please convince me why is it a good idea because you find it creepy when there are people who don’t? What make you the authority of it just because you find things creepy due to knee jerk gut reactions and flimsy reasoning? What makes your opinion more valued than the other who disagreed with you? Please also convince me that how real human don’t do that had anything to do with a game that clearly don’t give a fuck about emulating true human relationship? It’s cliche? It’s terrible? Maybe, arguable, but does it justify the removal of it? Definitely not and that’s my contention even though I really couldn’t give any fuck about the rubbing game.


I am convinced people on Neogaf just want to be right. They discuss not because they want things to improve. Think about it, what’s the end game of a discussion? Every serious discussion I had is to find a solution or to share my thoughts along with wanting the stuff to improve or at least reach a compromise at worst. This is why things that you shouldn’t do if you want a great discussion is be passive aggressive or dismiss anyone’s opinion. It’s ok to dismiss opinions you deemed idiotic if you don’t want to challenge it(because you know it’s a waste of time or whatever), but when you do challenge it, be 100% sure that you try to understand where the other party comes from and why they said what they said.

Their reasoning might be because of their background , their personal belief, the lack of information, pure ignorance or whatever but I assure you that you will have a better understanding of where they are coming from so you can have a healthy discussion and make sure you are not both just arguing on entirely different shit. That will solve most shouting matches that generally boil down to “A is saying X under context Y while B contends it with Z under context U”. It’s a fucking waste of time because you will realize that X under context Y makes as much sense as Z under context U and you are both actually agreeing with each others but yet still arguing for no reason. Also, never had the I am right but everyone is wrong attitude.

Take the neogaf Fire Emblem Fate Conversation Localization thread for example. First, I would ignore the fact that this “discussion” happened a few months ago and everything was played out in almost the exact way. I will also ignore  your usual suspects repeating the same trite under similar topic while generally just being passive aggressive. I will triple ignore that they have similar discussions almost every time something politically incorrect came out and it all ended with tons or circular arguments and repetitions. Barring all that, I would just say the same old mantra that there’s no wrong opinion and everyone from all the sides actually make logical points.

The side of this is just anime silly hijinks is correct, and the side of drawing parallel to drugging is correct as well. The side of this isn’t that serious and the side of this is fucking serious are both agreeable too. In fact, I will go as far as saying that those who make censorship comments had a point too. I don’t think they are all arguing about the actual content that was changed but more of whether is it even necessary to  change the contents.That’s a great point to discuss but too bad, it all got shot down as “creepers want their anime and the stuff changed is all bullshit so nothing of value is lost” because they didn’t articulate it well.

The only reason why I think I know where they are coming from is because I have similar thoughts too. Firstly, I  disagree with the notion that by allowing stuff to exist means you actually condoning or encouraging what you disagree with.Secondly I will contest the motivation of needing to amend any content regardless of it being questionable. That’s something I am not willing to give in because I am paranoid that people can always make reliable decisions even though the track record for now is still pretty ok. Things, no matter how questionable, should exist. It’s dangerous to just simply accept the removal of any content based on today’s climate because it’s too volatile. For example, changing pub to cafe in Final Fantasy games looks absolutely dumb and unnecessary now even though I am sure it makes sense back then. You can ask me why does it matter if it affects nothing and I can ask you why change it if it doesn’t affect anything. It will just go in circular because we are both correct unless we have actual statistics and data analysis on proving how one way is better or worse than the other.

Now you can ask me why the amendment of lines with questionable content such as drugging characters will be a bad idea 10 years down the road? I can tell you that maybe 5 years down the road, we realize that it’s good that these questionable writings exist so we can have data to analyse how regular folks can detach fantasy from reality or how they did or didn’t make the connections. We can also analyse how the general public reacts to it and why they reacted the ways they react. It’s good data for the studies of societal trends and psychoanalysis of how regular folks think. It’s also not that big of a deal actually.

On the other hand, changing  questionable content allows said content to be more accessible in a way that it wouldn’t trigger bad memories for a certain subset of people. It’s the call for empathy and providing safe space for those who had bad experience. For those who aren’t triggered, I know that even though I said I can easily look pass material I don’t agree with, and honestly don’t see any harm in it , but clearly not everyone has the same view points. They have great points of demanding higher standard of writing and cannot in good faith enjoy things they find questionable. I don’t have their experience so I can in no way be authoritative about it and say they are overly sensitive because I am not an asshole.I understand that acceptance and providing a welcoming safe space is what we need now and the media we consumed is a good tool to illustrate that acceptance.

This is the struggle I actually have. My pragmatic self think that you can be a better, happier man if you don’t let things bother you. I also think people are entirely capable of  detaching themselves from fiction like how we managed to have lots of fun committing overblown unjustified violence in video games. It’s also unreasonable to demand everything to elevate to a higher standard because Sturgeon’s law states that 90% of things are mediocre.

Then on the other side, I have my emphatic self where I know people are different and have different sets of value. I also understand that an insult is always an insult even if don’t think it’s one. So if people find that a story contains questionable stuff,it’s reasonable to treat it as an insult if they perceived it so.

I think this struggle is akin to questions like “why hate speech should/shouldn’t be banned” where you can find different but valid view points when you read up on it so there’s no correct answer.

This is a good jump off point to go back to the neogaf discussion. If everyone is correct, who is wrong then? The answer is no one and the conclusion we can come out with is to agree to disagree, but that’s not what happened right? What happen is everyone is saying the same shit and making the same points over and over again. There are lots of I am right, you are wrong going on. There’s a lot of “YOU THINK DATE RAPE IS GOOD, LET ME LEAVE SOME SNARKY  MOCKING COMMENT ON HOW TERRIBLE YOU ARE” going on. There are lots of subjective non insightful stuff about ethnics going on. Finally, there the are entirely irrelevant off topics one liners such as “Fire Emblem had gone down hill”, “I don’t like Nowi”, “anime is all trash going on”.

Now I think about it, this forum is trash if you access it objectively. I think I am reading it out of some kind of perversion or something; to see and tell myself  how people care too much about irrelevant shit while I myself am irrelevantly writing/tweeting to empty air because there’s some kind of void I need to fill.

What should happened is 4 pages of 4 points made and everyone agree to disagree. We can also voiced our opinion to the creators by outlining to them why it might not be a good idea to write what they wrote and hope they can improve it by making them aware of it while assuring them that they aren’t a bad person for writing what they wrote.  I think  assurance is important. I don’t understand how people can empathize with the minority but can’t understand why aggressive harsh language to highlight questionable stuff make people leap to the conclusion that you are implying that they are a bad person.

Sure, it’s irrational and it’s a leap in logic but people are wired like that. It’s evidence by creators panicking when you ask them question like that and they give seemly weak defense. This is what happens and make things look worse than it really is when it’s entirely avoidable if you use softer tone and don’t come at it so aggressively. It’s also why the first gut reaction when you point out a game/anime is sexist is “I am not a sexist!”. This is reality and it’s not possible to educate everyone to think rationally. It’s  also a waste of time and energy to give them that “no no, I am not talking about you! I am just giving advice.” regiment after things got heated and a bunch of nonconstructive arguments had happened. Empathy should be for everything, it’s so easy to avoid all that shenanigans by prefacing the reassurance that you are not really insulting them. I have no idea why people can’t for their life understand and do just that.Also, don’t give me bullshit about how you want them to learn the hard way because what you get instead is high chance of pissing them off and them not willing to listen to reason as evidence by so many angry “I am not sexist so I don’t see anything sexist” then turning a deaf ear reactions out there.

Doing that makes me question your real intention of initiating the question/challenge in the first place, especially so when it obvious from time to time that people react badly when you do it in that certain way. Doesn’t help when you continue it with more mocking and passive aggressiveness like people are idiots for not agreeing with you. This is what grinds my gears in neogaf because a lot of people do just exactly that! It makes me question their intention because it definitely felt like white-knighting and bullying because they dish up aggressive hyperbolic paragraphs just because they hold the moral high ground. It makes matter worse when members who post tactless politically incorrect comments are greeted with tons of dog-piling and a ban. It’s acceptance they are preaching, but acceptance consist of forgiving and having the patience to educate, not snarky dog piling and judgmental dismissals. That’s a terrible attitude which I don’t agree with and it reminds me  of the whole psychological make up of internet lynch mob mentality.

Internet lynch mob mentality is disgusting and assholish because it dishes out punishments that are way more severe than what people deserved for petty wrong; an obviously tactless racist tweet definitely doesn’t deserve retrenchment, harassment and entirely reductive dismissal of being a terrible person not welcome anywhere. Sure, the lynch mob taught them a lesson, but in the worst way possible. Worse when things might just turn out to be baseless accusation or misunderstanding. This is why innocent until proven guilty is the quintessential value we need to understand to stop internet vigilantism like these from happening.

If you preach empathy, then show some empathy. I assure you that more often than not, some of these people who post racist tweet did it out of ignorance and are all actual regular folks who may be kind and responsible citizens. I know because everyone around me says racist/sexist shit unknowingly all the time. My 50+ years old parents does that, the nice auntie selling vegetable does that, a lot of of peers and friends do it too without realizing it. Hell, lots of celebrities say dumb politically incorrect shit all the time. However, they are all nice responsible people that do more good than harm. If you get out of your internet echo chamber, it’s not that difficult to realize how people usually works. The evidences are so pronounced; how people usually behave is not how they should be, but what they really are. Donald J Trump score 30% in the poll and that is the perfect proof how people generally aren’t rational but you can’t in good faith say they are living wrong because they have pretty ok life anyway. Understand that this is reality and devise ways to educate them, not attacking them by hurling insults/dismissal for their faults or hope they all magically become rational by thinking they are all idiots. When you realize that, I don’t see how you are comfortable in demonizing someone based on a single tweet. Always give benefit of doubt, that’s what being a good person means and something I always try to keep in mind because I have to admit I am way too judgmental sometimes.

Just to preempt all the counter arguments I can think of, I am not defending their actions(referring to racist tweet) but I don’t think by telling me how I am just victim blaming and defending actions of bigots help in anyway. This is reality and how our society unfortunately works. I think a more peaceful and softer approach works better than a overly aggressive one. Articulating your points while being respectful and leaving no hints of vicious attack is the best way of doing it. Sarcasm, mocking and demanding won’t work. Stephen Colbert perfected the highest form of sarcastic mocking with satire and but did you see him changing anyone’s mind? I only seeing preaching to the choir and convincing people that are already convince. It’s good satire, intelligent material and excellent art but  I don’t think it’s an effective or persuasive educational tool.

I also don’t subscribe to the notion of an eye for an eye. Just imagine this, if the blacks aren’t magnanimous like they are and demand an eye for an eye, things will just go into perpetual vicious cycle. People are more often good than bad so they can be reasoned with. Have some faith in them, man.

Twitter only allows 140 words. Everything I say, I can think of 100 over contentions and counter arguments. It’s very difficult to address them all. When I address and clarify one, I thought of 100 others counter argument I can give. It’s kinda crazy. I recently tweet about how anti moe people read like they want it to perish from this world.

I am not sure if it’s just a straw man I build and they are totally ok with it existing. I will admit it’s just gut reaction and that is a very weak and sweeping point to make with no data backing it up. This is the most common trap people fell into and it’s all due to knee jerk reactions which I have more often than not succumbed to. We kinda assume things that are not there and build a strawman out of  examples that we always thought read like that but is actually not the intention.  This is the same phenomenon when people think critics like Anita is taking their boobs games away when it’s not. It sounds like she wants  games like DOAX3 to be rid of existence but it’s just baseless assumption and strawman we build in our mind. It is a weird leap of illogical connection and putting words in her mouth. To put it simply, we are just projecting what we thought she says instead of what really is said.

Does anti moe critics think that it will be better that stuff like it never exist? I would like to think they are rational and understand how silly and unhealthy that thought will be. I also think that getting rid of moe will not allow more great quality works to exist because of Sturgeon’s Law. We might already have the same amount of great quality works existing but it does not seem that way because it was flooded and obscured by lots of watchable works. Based on personal anecdotal experience, every years have similar amount of works I like so I don’t personally think it’s affecting anything in the grand scheme of things. Of course, some years are dud and some years are great but I don’t think the deciding factor has anything to do with a certain style in anime.

That is my argument which boils down to shit doesn’t matter, just ignore what you don’t like and find what you like. Then again, I also think of how my sentence can be construed as how we shouldn’t critic stuff which is not my intention at all. I just mean we shouldn’t intentionally find easy targets to address points that have already been addressed millions of time without any new insights when said target is so obviously niche and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. In other words, I don’t see any point in criticizing Omega Labyrinth, plots of porn movies or stories that are clearly doing what they aimed for and satisfy someone somewhere.

However, I also thought of how my last paragraph is wrong because you are a reviewer and your job is to review every single shit out there. All I can say is that I think every sites should just follow what Giantbomb does, only review shit they have modicum of interest in. Quick impression for everything without much concrete judgement. However you are also right that you should be critical in everything so I am in the wrong.

Be sure that I am capable to poke holes on my previous paragraph as well if I look at it from other perspective and have a different interpretation of my intention. I can also defend it by outlining what I truly intent and give you background on why I said what I said. It’s a never ending task of clarifying and defending. Everyone has a good point, everything can somehow make logical sense under some context. Opinions are really grey, it’s futile to frame them as concrete facts but it’s an endless cycle that I am trapped in where I kept on asking myself, is all these solid concrete arguments? The answer is always no because I am making statements that can never be backed up. I can also easily see from every sides and understand where everyone is coming from so this is the worse nightmare I am trapped in.

Whenever I am very free and thinking of what to do next, the first thing that came to mind is definitely not a job. Finding a job you love sounds like an oxymoron to me. Why would anyone pay you if you are not doing things that people won’t do otherwise? Sure, there are people who enjoyed their jobs, there are successful rock stars and politicians who love what they do but I will argue they are the exceptions. That’s not the case for the general public because what we love to do has no monetary gains. Sure, I can do programming for 200 hours and find it ok but it’s not something I am passionate about. I just tolerate it and it is one of the few things that I know how to do that hurts my soul the least.

This is why conventional stories about pursuing your dreams and shit are garbage. Their ideal dream jobs are always successful careers or artistic endeavors that welcomes fame and money. They don’t encapsulate the simple dream of everyday man where they just want to relax and do nothing. My dream is to stay at home all day and do my own shit so what now? The act of pursuing your dream job only works under the per-conceived notion that people know what they want to do in life, which is just not true. Most of us have zero fucking idea what we want to do. Maybe we do, but we also know that we can’t put food on the table if we do only what we want to do because they can’t be translated into a paying job.

I appreciate the grit and professionalism of my fellow mates who are working and doing the best they can and offer a good enough job even though deep down inside their souls are hurting. That’s another point  I want to make, just because people are being honest and say they don’t really like their jobs, people judge them as if they aren’t doing their jobs well.  I think it’s entirely possible to do a good job when they are utterly uninterested in it.  For one, you hear lots of complains about corporate culture and most of them are still a well oiled machine, aren’t they?

The ultimate professionalism is striving on even when what you do are kinda corroding you inside. You can’t be professional if you do things you love with zero obstacles and are willing to accommodate with whatever regardless.


I decided that twitter is not a good place for me to bother my  5 human followers whenever I am in the mood to write about how video game fans are the worst every few months so I will just do it on this blog.

You must have heard the multiple outcries of video gamers when a game includes an entirely optional very easy mode. They justify their outcries by how it’s an insult to the game designer’s intention or philosophy or something. First, it’s just baseless assumption  and secondly, if  it’s entirely optional, why does it even matter?

However, this is not my main problem with it, my problem with it is that if you are even a tiny bit angry that they include the easy option and think they are dumbing down the game, you are a self entitled fuck who thinks that everything revolve around you. Slam dunk case in point: all video games should be accessible to the handicaps, without very easy mode, you are setting up unnecessary barrier to handicaps who have the same right and privilege as everyone else to enjoy video games content.

There you have it. The reason why Bayonetta has a super very easy mode is not because they are catering to what you deemed as weaklings, they are cater for handicaps and make it accessible  because they deserve to have fun too. This is one of the many reason why video gamers are terrible because they are self centered asshole who think they all belonged to a special group and you are not allowed to have fun because you aren’t like them.

P.S. Of course not all video gamers are like that, but you can’t deny they are a large enough group to be bothering someone. It’s no surprise that  video game community has their own special groups like gamersgate and how it’s one of the few places where it’s possible to have a petition of 20k signature to shut down Metroid Prime Federation Force. That’s just fucking embarrassing. How can a simple game causes so much outrage and make people so angry that it felt like an insult to them? They are definitely taking things a little too seriously. The reaction to stuff like #FE and taking pleasure that a game sold so little is utterly embarrassing as well. There are tons of people who put their heart and soul into the game  and they just dismiss all that because they don’t like it.

This is why I say video game fans are the worst. All fandoms are terrible but most of them are restricted to vocal minority. It’s prevalent and an everyday thing though in the land of videogames. There are at least 20k manbabies out there who think that Metroid Federation Force shouldn’t exist. You also have uncountable of them pestering Anita Sakeersian by calling her names and harassing her. Let’s just say that my ignored list on neogaf is growing by days. This is coming from someone who thought that ignore function/blocking is a little too much when he read how people are utilizing it on ann forum, animesuki, fansubtv forum, twitter, crunchyroll forum, facebook, imdb and lots of other places. That’s how bad it is.

I am playing video games a lot more these days because I like anime stories but I don’t like watching anime for it. Stuff like stories, theme, characterizations, directions, art style are very important  for anime because those are the only things it offers while games have the gameplay parts to lessen the blow. It’s also easier to immerse yourself into shallow characterizations due to active participation.  The whole methods of immersion is different for both medium and anime moments are easier to digest in game form because there are other parts to distract you.

I watched anime for uniqueness and masterful executions, I play games for the comfort food. I like shonen wacky anime shit but I need to filter it through with mechanical purposes served as gameplay. Watching 20mins of generic anime is torture but playing 20min of generic anime with serviceable gameplay is pretty cool.

I hate Persona 3 because it’s too anime and liked Persona 4 for the same reason. I lament Macross Delta for being AKB0048 but I am so enamored by #FE. In other words, there’s no consistency in my taste because I like and dislike similar things for the same exact reason. Why is that so?

It’s all about perceptions and expectations. Going into Persona 3, you have hints of a serious unique setting with people shooting themselves in the head. The fanbase also builds it up as something amazing and complex so  it’s disappointing that it utilize generic anime archetypes that are exactly the anti thesis of unique or complex.

Knowing what Persona really is, Persona 4 is perfect because unlike its prequel, it does not takes itself too seriously and embraced its animeness. It doesn’t try to be all dark and emo while sticking a beach episode out of nowhere. Instead, it gives you a goofy looking teddy bear doing goofy shit right from the get go. Now you expectation is set and Persona 4 did all of what you expected of it pretty well. They give you fun anime archetypes and tone/stories that fit. Let’s just put it this way, Persona 4 Dancing All Night does not seem out of place at all because it’s felt like a natural sequel where the characters are capable enough to fit in a goofy anime dancing game. Persona 3 Dancing All Night on the other-hand will be a total mismatch.

Macross Delta on the other hand has different way that played with my expectation. Carrying the Macross baggage, I expected something more. It can be good or bad but I expected it to stand out. Instead, what we got is a generic looking Satelight production that you can’t differentiate from any other Satelight stuff. It can be called Symphogear 4 and it makes no difference. That’s not entirely bad but I would expect the Macross branding to do something unique considering its pioneering status. It can falter like Macross 7 but it needs an unique style and attitude to it instead of being derivative of other similar work that looks no different that the studio produced in the last 4 or so years. This is the issue because it does not stand out at all.

#FE on the other hand threw a curve-ball so hard that it curve back around from being terrible to amazing. Never would you expect a SMTXFire Emblem crossover to be that. Sure, they don’t call it that now but it was revealed with that baggage. That being said, Fire Emblem is actually always anime, it’s obvious it will progress to what it became today regardless of what some subset of fans say. It is serious for sure, but it’s also always anime and not really that well written. SMT and Atlus in general is also wising up in having more coherent narrative structure by adding well established anime archetypes in SMT 4 instead of a muddy blur of whatever previous SMTs are. So on one hand, it’s not entirely unexpected but considering the extreme #FE goes to, it’s pretty much a surprise.

The difference in #FE and Macross Delta is that it stands out. Considering the profile of Atlus and Fire Emblem, that’s the last thing you imagine it to be. Even though it might look utterly generic but the angle it pushes and some of the cutscenes are so unlike them that it’s very obvious they are covering new grounds. It’s like two great abstract artists coming together and make a surprisingly by the number self portrait. It might look generic but it surely isn’t considering how unique the situation is.

Also, is not something that you will call generic. It reaches the height of something so out there that I really appreciate. This is not something you see everyday and I am glad that it exists. It’s clearly a passion project because of the tonal shift of what you expected out of both companies. People mistook it as a quick cash in like games from Idea Factory but #FE felt genuine. It took years of development and it’s obvious from interviews and such that it’s the game the team always wanted to make regardless of sales expectation.  Of course they knew by the number cross over will sell more but they tried to offer an entirely new thing. That in itself is the anti thesis of pandering. It is innovation and truly a spirit I hope more creators take. Name me another game that looks, feel and play with the same theme in the same way as #FE. Maybe you can but I can’t, as despite the generic veneer, it’s truly one of its kind. This is why #FE might look the same as Macross Delta but they are entirely two different beasts in my eyes.

After 70 hours, I finally completed Digimon Cyber Sleuth on Vita. 30 hours of that is used for grinding because I want to collect all the cool looking animals. It can be easily completed in half the time if I didn’t bother to digivolve and min/max most of my pokedigimons.

The secret is that I don’t care about Digimon. I watched some of the first 3 seasons of the anime and  fiddle with Digimon World 3  before but it got pretty tough right from the start and the load time killed me so I gave up after an hour in. From that, I gather that Digimon games have a rather simplistic plot to push you towards rearing and growing your digimon. Your goal of that game is to collect and evolve these Digimon to build your team and the stories are there just to serve as a motivation to collect and grow more digimon. Cyber sleuth do have that as well but it’s not really the main focus; Digimon in this game acts like Persona in the Persona games; tools that you used for battles to advance the plot that surround the casts. I described it as more of a cyber detective story with a sci fic setting that just happen to have digimons.

Digimon in the game acts like your usual npc in a jrpg. They are analogs for your villagers, big bad boss, pets and mecha machine you ride in instead. You can sub out all the digimon and replace it with generic animals/races and nothing will change. The main focus is all the tiny stories it tells, stories that range from supernatural tragedy about a lost pet to a goofy comedic doctor that uses digimon’s feces to make medicine. The whole idea of growing and rearing your digimon takes a backseat for the story it wants to tell.

I always thought that video game stories are pretty good at crafting entertaining character moments. It’s difficult to weave a complex narrative with so much pause in battles and exploration so the whole narrative might not be up to standard but the individual character interactions can be charming and interesting. Well regarded stories such as FF6 and the Mario& Luigi RPGs are not well regarded because of its strength in its overall theme but more of the individual character moments. We remember Cyan bidding farewell to his families and the tantrum Baby Bowser threw instead of a clown destroying the world for no reason or aliens. It’s the interactions of the casts that makes the sum of the whole and an enjoying experience than the whole overall narrative.

Cyber Sleuth did it pretty well in this aspect. It has full of moments like those and it hits pretty well especially when Digimon acts as an analog of a pet. We have lots of heart warming moments of the interactions of an owner interacting with their pets and the pets response back to their owners’ kindness.

The main casts of characters are also pretty well written with it own unique quirkiness that are familiar but not generic. I especially love Nokia as a character.  She is a spunky energetic girl who isn’t embarrass to shout “LOVE! PEACE! MIRACLE!” in broken Japanese English for no reason. Her energy bring in a lot of the best moments in the game such as how she pose like a super robot hero for the “gattai” of two digimons without realizing that they can actually combine. She just do it because it seems right was utterly surprise that it works. It’s amazing and she supply bulk of the comedic moments like these. You can watch the moment in this video

The self insert main character is also pretty well written. I always thought that Persona 4 main character is way better than the Persona 3 one because he actually has his own snarky but cool personality that seep through from all the dialog choices in the game. The dialog choices clearly portray a character with personality instead of a generic blank slate. I played Dancing all Night where the main character was no longer a blank slate and he was totally what I imagined to be; cool, aloof but confident. Compare that to P3 where I don’t really know who the hell he is or why would he do what he do, I think the way P4 handle its dialog choices work way better. Cyber Sleuth deals with its silent protag the same way.

Actually, silent protag is a misnomer because they sometimes have their own dialogs and well defined personality. He/she is aloof, kinda happy go lucky but sometimes very witty with their comebacks. Characters describe your main protag as very laid back and half ass but effective; their words, not mine. This clearly shows that the character actually has a well defined personality and it’s not really a self insert. They have their own agency and the dialog choice you choose portray a specific character trait that doesn’t leave much to the imagination. They do what they do and you understand why they choose what they chose. Characters also break the fourth wall sometimes and wonder why the main character just stand there silently and stare at them. It’s funny because it has that type of self awareness.

My main criticism for the game is actually the game part. For one, the load time is sometimes unbearable. You have to load every few minutes of play. Transitioning screen takes 3 to 4 second to load and you hit those regularly for every 10 to 20 steps. Battles animations are of ok length but sometimes you really wish that you have the option to turn them off when you grind. Luckily, the mechanics for grinding are all very friendly because experience points come easily and you have ways to avoid/trigger battles at will after a certain point in the game. You also don’t really need to grind to complete the game but I enjoyed grinding and looking at all the numbers going up. I also like to collect all the cool looking digimons but it’s not really that necessary.

The turn based combat is serviceable but the whole element system is whacked. I don’t even know which elements are effective against which because it’s not illustrated clearly. It doesn’t really matter though because adv/disadv are tied more to the type of digimon rather than the elements themselves. Near the end of the game you will have powerful spells that ignore the defense of the enemies so it doesn’t really matter anymore.

For the first 5 or so hours, the battles are idiotically simple because you can go through them just by pressing “A” nonstop. Even after that, you can win almost every battle through auto battles. It’s not a challenging game barred some optional missions. Some of the optional missions are pretty fun where you really need to strategize on which digimon with what skills to bring. That is when all the buff/debuff system comes in as well. I judge a good turn base jrpg combat by the necessity of buff/debuff. I don’t really like the combat in games like Final Fantasy and Pokemon because I can go through the whole game without using any buff/debuff. Compare that to great combat situations like SMT/Etrian Odsessy where buffing can mean kill or be killed, games like FF/Pokemon just don’t have that strategic fun in their battles.  This is secretly why FF8 has the best combat system in all the FF I played because you can turn off the encounters.

The whole loop of evolving and devolving your digimon is surprisingly additive as well. It utilize similar system like those in Persona where you learn a set of skills that can be inherited except that you don’t combine two monsters together(even though sometimes you need to for certain evolution). Instead, they just evolve or devolve as one entity.

To evolve to the next stage, it requires a set of stats, potential and level that a digimon has. Potential affect your level cap and how much stats can be enhanced by using items or training in your digifarm. Some criteria in evolution can only be met with enough potential and enhancement because the monster cannot reach that stats even when they maxed their level. You can improve their potential by going through cycle of evolving and devolving. The whole enhancing of stats process is done by leaving your digimon in the digifram and wait for 30 mins to 2 hr in game time after you ordered them to train. You can continue with your story if you actually planned it well to make the wait as painless as it can be. I find the whole process to be pretty friendly and easy to understand so it was serviceable. I really enjoy grinding and making my party overpowered in JRPG so I like the process. Again, you don’t actually need to go through that unless you want certain overpowered digimon.

The way you capture digimon is by scanning them via random encounters. For each digimon you met in battle, there’s a scanning gauge that fills up. Once you reach 100% or over, you can hatch them to your storage. This makes random encounter meaningful but it quickly became moot once you collected around 20+ digimon which you can get within 10 hours of the game. By the time you can digivolve all kinds of monsters, the thrill of capturing a new one is not fresh anymore. However, it’s a way to freshen up the encounters and motivation to want to have random encounters. After a certain point, you can have skills that let you avoid all encounters or trigger any encounters so it did pretty well in that aspect.

The dungeon are really kinda uninspired. You just go through corridors to find an exit. There aren’t interesting puzzles to solve or anything creative. The quests in game are also similar in that they are a bunch of fetch quests or “fight this digimon” stuff. However, the stories from all the quests are pretty interesting and supplied a lot of heart warming moments I mentioned above. All in all, the game play is kinda serviceable but stale. It’s painless and ok enough but the solid writing and presentations carried the game. This conclusion actually applied to all the Legend of Heroes games as well; serviceable combats that had some strategies, stale game play, corridor dungeons that are not fun to explore but they are carried by an interesting casts and good writing.

The best 2015 game I completed is actually kinda stupid because that is the only 2015 game I completed. I guess technically the Chinese version of Phantasy Star Nova is 2015 but it’s originally a 2014 game anyway. I actually completed a lot of games this year but none of them are entirely new. However, they are games that are among the top of my list. Namely, Shadow Hears 2, Xenoblade on wii, Mario Luigi PiT, Last Story, Bayonetta, Super Metroid, FF9, Persona 4 Golden, Phantasy Star Nova, Digimon Cyber Sleuth, Legend of Heroes 6 FC, LOH 5, Super Mario 3D World, Fire Emblem 11,12 and 13, Azure Gunvolt, Zero Escape 2, FF6, Mother 1, Tales of Abyss, MGS 1 and maybe some others that I forgot.




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