1. Megalith

    Megalith Contributor Contributor

    Jan 7, 2015
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    New Mexico

    Games! Review Writing and Zen Gaming

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Megalith, Apr 28, 2015.

    Video Games. The term carries a lot of baggage. Baggage about the type of games in existence and the type of people who play them. Although it is something so fundamental that it essentially is like any other medium. And with the addition of technology the true potential of the medium is finally starting to be realized; strokes of the medium’s genius are arising more and more often. I am making this thread for in depth reviews about game stories this applies to, but anything game related is fine to talk about here. To start off here is my Bloodborne Review.

    Bloodborne is a dungeon crawler who’s mechanics are based off of the Demon Souls series. Demon Souls is a dark gritty game that has a complex combat system that is extremely rewarding. It has a steep learning curve and is known for its difficulty and huge boss fights. But it also conveys the story in a very interesting way. Through lore, item descriptions, level and atmosphere discovery, you get hints and clues as to what exactly is going on around you and the role you play in such a place. In the end you only find enough to satisfy your imagination into filling the blanks, essentially creating your own history behind the finer details of the game’s history. Bloodborne takes a lot of this to make something you might out right think should be considered a sequel. But this isn’t the first time this company has done this with the series. They also made Dark Souls and Dark souls II, which are not sequels to Demon souls, and although they use some of the same items, armor, and weapons, they also changed enough in the story and the world that they changed the name.

    The changes were most of the time brilliant, or attempts at brilliance, exemplifying the reason for growing a franchise, yet denying it at the same time by changing the name. They rely on the name of the company and the work, to sell the product, rather than a character from the game or some other icon to increase the hype behind the franchise beyond what should be rational or accurate. Snake, Master Chief, Samus, Mario, Link, are all example icons that were abused by this strategy for sales. Oh, but Bloodborne has so much more going for it than market integrity.

    This game is unfortunately only available for the PS4. Still if you have one, I would recommend you stop reading and start playing, haha. That is because we are getting to the spoilers. I’m going to go over Bloodborne’s themes and specific game mechanics that add to the horror, mystery, and depth of this game. So as per a la Soul’s game style, you learn very little through dialogue and cutscenes. The city of Yharnam is famous for miraculous blood remedies that can cure even the most vile illnesses. Your character comes looking for one of these cures, only to find the city turned to monsters by a mysterious disease. Eventually you come to find out about the Great Ones and an ancient church that reveres them. Whenever you hear/learn about, defeat, or even see one of these monsters you gain Insight. Insight is what you use to gain strength.(level) At the same time it lowers your resistance to Frenzy, which is a status effect that instantly kills you if it successfully fills a bar appearing over the center of your screen. This bar only appears if it starts filling up, and only fills up if you are close to the ‘Great Ones’, or looking at them. The church that follows these creatures are not only, obviously insane, but they are some of the only NPC’s that still have eye sight. Most of the blind have very little to offer on Insight, and it almost seems like they did it to themselves to avoid the Insight that comes from seeing the creatures, to avoid going insane. But beyond that I hope some of the more seasoned readers can ‘see what the game did thar.’ Once you get a view of these ‘Great Ones’ it becomes obvious. They have slimy blue bodies and huge heads with tons of tentacles, usually streaming from their mouth. That’s right, this game draws most of its inspiration for atmosphere, themes, and story, from H.P. Lovecraft more than anywhere else.

    Oh so many games have tried to use H.P. Lovecraft’s gothic and horrific imagery with little success. The main reason is because you always play the Hero against the monsters which you fight and eventually defeat. Especially with anything that actually tries to have Cthulhu be an enemy. I mean, your not supposed to be able to stand any kind of chance against such a being. Not for any level of thwarting or slowing down. The best you could hope for is, to be insignificant enough that Cthulhu doesn’t notice or pay you any attention. Denying Cthulhu this power is deny Cthulhu itself.

    Here it seems like this game isn’t anymore of an exception, as you run around killing Cthulhu like creatures, gaining more insight and strength along the way. But the game also foreshadows a mysterious force behind your own actions. As though something is leading you along the nose to do their bidding. You eventually get the remedy and there are 3 endings. Which ever one you end up with gives you the same feeling. You aren’t sure what you accomplished besides finding the remedy. You aren't sure if you were ever fighting the ‘Great Ones’ or playing into their hand. You are left feeling empty and insignificant, like a passerby in a much greater game in which your exact role is left a mystery. Even in the most promising ending, you are nothing but a tool to an end, one probably controlled by beings who’s motives and reasons, you never directly interact with or understand, who’s power over you seems to be at an incomprehensible level. Trying to resist is the same as complying, trying to avoid them is relenting the minuscule presence you had. You’ll be left to blind yourself to avoid their power over your will, hoping you never have to deal with such an overbearing and mysterious thing again. For making me feel so somber, confused, insignificant, and at the same time accomplished, I give Bloodborne’s story a 9/10.

    This isn’t the first game to use H.P. Lovecraft themes and imagery correctly. I left most of the spoilers out of my review, but before I end it I also wanted to point out that Dead Space does a pretty good job of using H.P. Lovecraft themes and if you love sci-fi and horror and First person shooters, than this FPS survival Horror trilogy is for you. Thanks for reading guys! feel free to comment or provide your own thoughts on a storyline for a game that intrigues you. I know I still have plenty where that came from. :p

    Oh! and one other thing that would be neat to discuss.... I'm wondering what your thoughts are on this post modern medium, gaming, and what it can teach us about other mediums which are on the same track. I'm speaking about the post-modernizing of literature through publishers, self-publishing, tv shows, graphic novels, etc. This market seems like a petri dish for artistic mediums because it is in a crude form. I now it sounds weird, but because of that, I think it is more vulnerable to change, which in turn shows us the effect of post-modern society on these artistic markets which are slower to the change because they are much more established.

    But what do you guys think?
    T.Trian likes this.
  2. VirtuallyRealistic

    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

    Mar 20, 2015
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    Wisconsin, USA
    I'm actually going to college for a degree in Game Design and Development with a minor in English Writing. Maybe a double minor with the addition of Computer Science. I've been programming since I was 10, writing since I was 8; I plan to mix the two together and start an indie game studio, with a focus on virtual reality. I want to be the designer, writer, and co-programmer (Hope to find a tech lead in college).

    I, personally, think gaming is the strongest medium there is. That is, when it's done well. A good example of the type of game I enjoy would be The Last of Us. An amazing story with gripping gameplay to go alongside it. With the impending virtual reality boom, I couldn't ask for a better time to get into the video game industry.
    T.Trian and Megalith like this.
  3. Trev_Star

    Trev_Star Member

    Mar 9, 2015
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    On an adventure!
    Awesome thread! There has never been a better time to be fans of gaming. One thing I find particularly exciting is the lines between video games and traditional entertainment mediums (movies, TV, etc) are becoming increasingly blurred. Look no further than the reception of Metal Gear Solid 5's trailer last year by a slew of Hollywood Directors, to see how far they've come. I know there are those who resent the industry's attempts to recreate "movie experiences," but I'm not talking about people ripping off Michael Bay set pieces. I'm talking about video games being elevated to an art form; to be appreciated for their narrative complexity and vision. To me, that is awesome, especially considering our current and projected technological power. Partner that with the incredible rate nerd culture is assimilating in to the mainstream, and the possibilities are absolutely thrilling.
    Megalith and VirtuallyRealistic like this.

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