Life Made Out of Ashes

Musings on the audio-visual of NieR Automata, a video game.

I’m not a fan games with high-quality graphic. Playing Assassin’s Creed, for example, is exhausting even for a short while. Took me a while to realise that the feelings I get when I play AAA games is similar to how I feel when I’m outside, walking in a busy city with too many noises coming from all direction, too many people about, too many things to see. I can’t take in all these little things, yet my brain just kind of  force myself to take them in anyway? It’s tiring. And the same things happens when I play modern games.

So avoided AAA games on principle, and any game that boasts a huge world or detailed graphic. Games that populate their worlds with little intricate details might well make them more lively for some people, but they only drives me mad. I can appreciate them in a good screenshot, but I know I can’t play them in motion.

A week ago, on a ridiculous whim, I started playing NieR Automata.

Automata is an odd game, aesthetically. If you only look at its screenshots, it’s not very pleasing to look at. Washed out colours. Dull atmosphere. It’s set in an earth that’s long destroyed and abandoned. The environment is basically ash, dust, and rust. Even the plant life looks greyed out.

cityruins

I love it. Continue reading “Life Made Out of Ashes”

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A Game that Wrecks Itself

Drakengard is a pretty awful game. The gameplay is a boring mess hacked together, the music is an absolute cacophony, the story is told in so haphazard a manner. Basically, it’s a bloody mess.

Drakengard is such a fantastic game, if only because it is a bloody mess. The gameplay is a repetitive fight through waves of enemy, because the story is about someone fighting through waves of enemy, again and again and again. The music is a chaotic blend of orchestral pieces, because war is always so chaotic, so messy. It destroys whatever sense of calm orchestral music can have.

The story is a simple Rescue the Princess and One Against the Empire, if you look at it through a whole, but it twists it around. You’re not the hero. Caim, the main character, just want to kill everyone. You, the player, just want to get past this, get to the next scene, and see what happens next. The reward is never worth it. A short conversation. A fragmented lore haphazardly thrown about with no sense of narrative to tie them together.

It’s not a pleasant game to play. It’s not meant to be a pleasant game to play. It makes you feel awful, because it’s designed that way. Its levels are long and dragged on, because it’s meant to be long, meant to drag on and on. After a while killing people become so rote. What do you expect out of it? What do you think you’re doing? Saving the world?

Drakengard is such an awful game and yet it’s so good at what it does. I have no idea how it manages to spawn sequels, considering how narrow its target audience is. It’s a good thing that the other games touch on different things, I suppose. Different ways to make you uncomfortable. And you know what, I’m glad there are games that make uncomfortable in these ways.