I haven't finished Rain and, as things currently stand, I don't plan to finish it. However, I want to. I really want to. I really, really, really wish I could continue. But, I just can't.
As I explain my perspective, you'll likely find my main problem with Rain minuscule. In theory, it would be stupid to complain about. But, I find that the game is such a delight when said problem isn't around that I have no choice but to point it out.
The subtitles. They are what ruin this game.
I can already tell you think I'm crazy. It's a sixth sense that I am very proud of.
To explain: I feel like I'm not being given the simple freedom to see what I see and perceive it as it's so obviously being presented as. For all the game's lack of subtlety, it still feels the need to point out, step by step, exactly what's going on throughout most cutscenes or sections of gameplay.
Offering no real insight into they're accompanying situations, the subtitles usually read sort of like:
"The boy and the girl's eyes met."
"A monster was chasing her, so she ran off."
"The boy ran towards them."
"The boy needed to pass the monsters without being seen."
"He got away safely."
"There she was again."
"She didn't see him, so she ran off once more."
"He needed to find another way around."
"He knew he would be seen with the key in his hands."
"The boy was safe for now."
"The boy continued onward, through the town."
"He saw something in the distance."
"The ledge was too high to reach."
"There were these tiny, weird creatures just up ahead."
On and fucking on it goes. The few times I'm not one step ahead of them, the subtitles appear yet again and all sense of discovery is thrown out to a wet back alley. I'm being told what to do, what's happening, it almost feels as if there's nothing left for me to appreciate for myself. I don't feel like I'm playing alongside a story unfolding before me via on-screen text, I feel like I'm doing everything and the game's just stating what it is I'm doing in the most straightforward manner possible.
These subtitles serve a much more meaningful purpose as the game begins, sure. But, after the first several minutes, they're useless. Nothing more than really really annoying distractions. Not even interesting to read distractions, just straight-faced proclamations.
Imagine if all Journey did was catalog your adventure and tell you what you should be doing at that moment.
"The creature saw the mountain in the far distance. That was where it was heading."
"The creature spotted a friend!"
"They began to play and work together."
"An odd, scarf-like entity popped out of the sand. What was that?"
"The creature began to slide down the sandy slope."
It probably wouldn't suddenly make Journey a bad game, given it's incredibly high quality otherwise, but wasn't it real nice to not have any sort of UI? No narration? No subtitles? Nothing but you, the game, and this anonymous friend you made that you ended up playing alongside.
And Rain feels like it should've been designed similarly. So much so that it makes these subtitles all the more obnoxious. Like Journey, Rain is a very simple experience taking place in a world, to you, that is very unfamiliar with a person you befriend and grow very attached to. But, unlike Journey, any sort of discovery, small or big, is left up to the developers to explain. And then you're like "Yeah. I know.".
I may one day come back to it with a more open mind, knowing what to expect. But, right now, I think I'll replay Flow, Flower, and Journey. As I've been meaning to for so long. My soothing indie crave that Rain's release left with me shall be satisfied, dammit.
If you were to bring up your distaste for LP's in a conversation with me (assuming you had one), I would grasp your hand, cup your shoulder, and whisper, softly, "I know, right?". Aren't they usually pretty boring? More than a few avid YouTuber's, despite, seem to have made a pretty damn good living out of it. Record, talk, scream, stop, make a few minor edits, then upload. Instant profit!
Before I get into a blog-length rant regarding the "validity" of LP's (hell, I, myself, have gotten into making them) or how easy it is to exploit YouTube's partnership program, I'll just mention that I don't very much enjoy most LP content that I see. Even the channels I've found myself getting into, like Game Grumps or Two Best Friends Play, have bored or annoyed me to varying degrees on more than several occasions.
However, for as boring as even this guy can be, his greatest hits are some of the most hilarious videos you'll ever have the grandest pleasure of viewing (granted you pick up on and find yourself enjoying his sort of humor). This guy's best annihilates all competition.
Allow me to introduce you to the vast fantastic-ness of the sailor-mouthed scholar with a love of video games and a heart of gold (every cent of his partnership funds goes directly to various charities)... Cr1TiKaL, and his 5 best videos (according to yours truly).
Starting things off simply enough, while the entire thing is worth a watch or more, this particular video is primarily here for one single moment. A moment so aptly re-captured by the (currently) second most top comment:
"'Are you scared?'
'I am scared.'
'Go fuck yourself.'
Best hero-villain confrontation in history."
If you aren't already a devoted viewer, a little context is in order: His most favorite thing in this world is titties. A thrill so primal, yet still so relevant.
Funny.. his enthusiasm towards titties doesn't exactly shine in this or any other one video. The only way to see through his monotone exterior would be to watch a good load of his content. That is when it would be best to watch this.
Nonetheless, it stands on it's own as another one of my favorites.
Whereas most LP's of games such as this see the player(s) overreact to every single meager frustration, this man only knows mere discontent.
He doesn't scream, he doesn't quit when he most would have, he doesn't make stupid faces (nor does he have a face cam). He just reacts. Most of said reactions are priceless, genuine rants of a man just trying to make it through another minute of one seemingly maddening experience. And I love it for it.
"This forest is closed, asshole."
This video further cements Cr1TiKaL as one who is not easily frightened. You can stretch out your arms and jump out of closets all you want, you ghoulies. Because when Cr1TiKaL comes to your door, you'll be the ones waddling away in search of new britches.
And, really, what LP'er would be a self-respecting LP'er without a Slender playthrough?
It's Cr1TiKaL commentaries like these where I wonder if any of it is, at all, scripted. This may be one of his shorter videos, but it's, by far, one of his best.
Indeed. Short, but oh so sweet. I wish life itself was always as enjoyable as watching this for a first time. You lucky bastards.
On the Internet, I'm like any other anonymous, wannabe socialite. But, in the real world, I'm a shipping container of blazing BBQ Goldfish snacks. I'm ever so slightly interesting, with a talkative nature (granted you're the one who fires up the conversation) and a sense of humor ranging from sophisticated to completely childish.
I am a love me or hate me kind of person. Or perhaps there's a grey area. Who knows.
When it comes to playing a game with me online (where I do most of whatever MP I do play), I'm my real world self in purely vocalized form. So at least you save yourself from watching my face distort into awkward configurations vaguely resembling a human face whenever I talk or die. Which will happen many times.
However, even then, you think you can handle anywhere from 5-30+ minutes of this voice scraping against your eardrums? It's said to be a great insect repellent.
Watch that video and test your might. I'm 22, nearing 23, sporting the voice of a 14 year old with a bad cough.
I will also occasionally yell and/or hype myself up to the point of even annoying my best of friends. Or so I'm sure.
You wanna know the worst part? I'm not very good at anything minus racing or rhythm games. You get me on your team in Gears of War? I'll bayonet charge into teammates, misjudge melees, toss smoke grenades at nothing, and always go for the weapons that I cannot use.
You got me on your team in Team Fortress 2? I'll always stay Engie and build turrets in the most inappropriate of spots, totally convinced that it's a clever set-up that nobody will see coming. You got me on your Dota 2 team? I don't even know how to play that. You got me playing Minecraft with you? I won't craft a damn thing and you'll do all the work.
However, I will make you insanely jealous of my skills at Rock Band or Mario Kart. I'm very popular with that first place position.
You will either appreciate my naive, boyish charms or hate me with a passion so large it will manifest into a physical form, eclipse the Sun, and bring about never-ending nighttime and a fierce Winter, forcing everyone to sell their refrigerators and buy ice chains.
Do you wanna be responsible for bringing about an early apocalypse? Then you might wanna be safe and avoid playing with me altogether.
At this point in my backlogging adventure, I am declaring a big old "Haha!" to my ADHD. A lack of patience and focus that has cursed my entire life... up until now. It seems I have finally conquered it in at least one respect!
In elementary school, I would constantly act out in class, eventually leading to me being expelled. In Jr. High, my medication may've helped me with my grades, but I was really shy and would hardly make any friends. In high school (which were, by far, the best times of my life), I finally obtained the social life I so desperately needed. However, being off my medication meant more trouble for school.
Without going into too much more detail, it's not been good to me socially, academically, and even when it comes to my free time. ADD/ADHD may be a myth to some people, but something has always been definitely up with my head.
Well, I'm happy to say that for the first time in years I am putting a dent into my gaming backlog. In the past week, I have finished two fairly sizable console games without ever once deviating into another!
I've always been real good at buying games and then potentially playing them for a couple or more hours, but, recently, I haven't been good at finishing games. This wasn't really a problem before this generation, around when high school started, but since coming off my anti-crazy pills for good, it's been tough.
I think we've all been there at least a time or two. You play a game.. and it's really good! This particular game does this thing better than most other games do that thing, I never saw that thing coming and it was awesome, and so on.
And, to almost save yourself from witnessing a low point, you stop. You say "Let's just stop here for now.", but what you're really saying is "This is great and I don't want to soil this 'great' image that I have painted of it into my brain.".
Most recently, I believe I did this with Persona 4: Golden. It was starting to drag on just a teeeeeensy bit, but then it got really damn good again around the point where they started introducing sidequests and whatnot. Then, essentially, I was like "Alright. Let's not ever pick this up again.".
One of the two games that I finished this past week was actually another ATLUS-published, Persona dudes-developed game, Catherine. I loved it. A few control querks and an occasionally questionable karma system aside, it was a highly-polished experience. A game that was obviously made with passion.
And speaking of passion, the game's love triangle story is certainly an intense and surprisingly mature one. Just about everything that could possibly go wrong in that sort of situation does go wrong. But, because it's all centered around a single character, the main protagonist Vincent, the many plot points that appear throughout are tightly focused rather than thrown around in various directions like some lame soap opera.
Side characters are charming, occasionally providing a laugh out loud moment. Towards the end, Vincent even blurts out a few out-of-character side-splitters.
"Fucking blocks! I'm going to climb the shit out of you!"
And I never thought such an RPG-focused developer (correct me if I'm wrong) would be able to create such an enthralling and interesting puzzle experience. I gotta say I loved both the story and the gameplay, with neither aspect feeling incomplete. I got as much mileage as I would want from Catherine out of this satisfyingly self-contained experience.
That doesn't happen too often.
Even Bioshock Infinite, I felt, could've had a lot more gameplay for how meaty it was on it's atmosphere and story. Because, well, I played the original two Bioshock's for both gameplay and story.
And, wouldn't ya know it, speaking of Persona, the next game I'm about to tackle shall be Persona 3.
As I've mentioned, I've played a decent chunk of Persona 4: Golden already, but that was a while ago. Now, I feel I'm determined enough to take on the franchise long-term without putting it down for some nonsensical reason. After which, I'll likely be back on Persona 4.
This is an exciting time for me. I'm about to move into a new and lovely house next month and I've got all the free time in the world until the end of the year when school and, hopefully, a job will start back up. Best part is, I won't be taking that free time for granted any longer.
Wish me luck! I'm rolling out.
[Do you have any backlog woes? Tell me about them so when can cry and understand together.]
I finished the cult hit Deadly Premonition not 24 hours ago. And, of course, it's still very fresh in my mind. The story (no spoilers, so read on) is one of the greatest I've experienced and it's everything else is certainly memorable in it's own special way. Namely, the open world and it's dynamically-driven NPC's. It was the game's coolest feature outside it's wonderful story.
However, I don't wanna wait for the Director's Cut PC port for another Deadly Premonition to come into my thoroughly empty life. So, I wanna hear from you guys about your own personal Deadly Premonitions!
Well, I mean, besides Deadly Premonition.
It, Deadly Premonition, is an awesome game as a whole. But, as the sum of it's individual parts, it's not quite there. It's a very flawed experienced. Barely average gameplay/controls, shameful padding, nasty graphics, sloppy text translations, and sidequests that hardly engage (but are sometimes worth doing for their rewards and story bits).
Thankfully, I'm not one to let a great story go to waste unless the otherwise is especially bad.
So, it's come to this. I want to discuss your own underdog hits. Games worth playing despite their vast shortcomings. Some have recommended games like Alpha Protocol to me in the past, which I bought during this season's Steam sale. But, what others are out there? I must hear of them.
"Did you see that, Zach?! Clear as a crisp Spring morning. F..K... in the coffee!"
But, times change. Google Pac-Man is old news. We want something a little more. From now on, Google will have a very hard time topping their latest for the 60th anniversary of the Roswell "alien sighting".
Google's idea of a point and click adventure is certainly a charming one. Simple, dark, just a fun way to waste the next several minutes of your day.
It might be a bit hard to miss, but, nonetheless, keep an eye out for the Atari ET reference.