Grant Us Eyes: The Storytelling Veil of Bloodborne

This post contains some spoilers.

Video games are a frequent hobby of mine but something I talk about very infrequently on this blog, especially over the last couple of years. Nevertheless, every once in a while I play a game that really grabs me with its story. Not simply in how well it tells this story, but the ways the story is integrated with the video game medium itself.

In Bloodborne, developed by From Software, you play as a foreigner who has come to Yharnam, a labyrinthine city of Gothic/Victorian architecture, seeking the miraculous blood healing of their Healing Church to cure an unspecified malady. Your character also seeks something known as “paleblood,” though what this is isn’t explained. Upon signing a contract and receiving a transfusion of strange blood your character becomes a Hunter—people made exceptional by “blood ministration.” When you awaken after the transfusion you are alone at dusk on the night of a hunt, when Hunters and citizens alike take to the streets to hunt the Beasts that plague Yharnam. You have no choice. A Hunter must hunt.

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Video Game Review – Virtue’s Last Reward

Virtue’s Last Reward (VLR) is a 2012 visual novel adventure game developed by Chunsoft for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita. The game is the second installment in the Zero Escape series, following 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors (999), which was released in 2009. While I have not formally reviewed 999 before, I have written about it quite glowingly. Being a visual novel the game primarily features lengthy narrative sections broken up by “Escape Rooms,” which are environments where the player character Sigma must investigate and solve puzzles in to progress.Read More »

My Revelation about Resident Evil

ChrisJill

While actually getting a lot of things right, Resident Evil: Revelations stands as a testament to a lot of what’s become wrong with the series. I recently completed the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, and mechanically it is quite well made. It follows the gameplay model of Resident Evil 4 and on the New Nintendo 3DS it feels even better thanks to the addition of the C-Stick. The game also does a decent job of injecting some survival horror back into the series, with interesting new creature designs, claustrophobic environments, and fairly limited resources.Read More »

A Mature Zelda Game Needs Balance

DeadHand

Dead Hand by Harangon

With E3 just around the corner and Nintendo dedicating its presence to the next Legend of Zelda game, I thought I’d talk about some thoughts I’ve been having on the series lately.

I’ve started playing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the first time, a game that I’m late getting to, but remember a lot of the buzz around its release. It’s had me thinking about the various visual/tonal styles the Zelda series has had over the last several console iterations. Since the departure from the more realistic style in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask to the cell-shaded cartoony visuals of Wind Waker, people have been clamouring for a “serious” or “mature” looking Zelda game. For some reason or another Twilight Princess came up a little short for people — some even feeling the game was underrated in its time — and the marriage of the cartoony style and this “mature” style in Skyward Sword did not seem beloved either.Read More »

Artful Video Game Storytelling

I don’t get too specific, but this post has Spoilers for 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors

999Zero

Anyone who plays enough video games knows how important storytelling has become for the medium. Though obviously not essential, as many great games have little to no story at all, both the big budget and independent scenes have a plethora of compelling, story-driven games. Video games are unique when it comes to storytelling because they require the direct action, and often skill, of the player to progress. This is unlike other mediums, where you’re never punished for doing a poor job of watching a movie or reading a book. How much you can understand may vary, but you progress regardless.

Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly aware of and fascinated with games that have core story elements that only work in the video game medium. Adaptation would be possible, but something crucial would be lost along the way.Read More »

My Nagging Problem with ZombiU

ZombiUSetting

Developed by Ubisoft Montpellier, ZombiU was released for the Nintendo Wii U at launch back in November 2012, and again this year as Zombi for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. I recently completed the game on the Wii U.

You play as a random survivor in London, which has been ravaged by a zombie plague. Aided and guided by “The Prepper,” a former military man, your survivor must traverse the ruins of London to gather weapons and supplies, fortify the safe house, and eventually work toward trying to find a cure.

ZombiU is a fantastic survival horror game. I want to make that opinion clear now. I do have one big problem with it, however, which this post shall explain.Read More »

Destiny & The Importance of World-Building

DestinyCover

While I’m about a year late to the party I have recently started playing Destiny, an action role-playing first person shooter for last and current generation Microsoft and Sony consoles. The game is set in the far future after a “Golden Age” of colonization in the solar system by humanity, thanks to the technology granted to us by The Traveler, a gigantic sphere of extraterrestrial origin.

While there is a lot more explained about the circumstances of the world the game inhabits that I enjoy, and I am enjoying Destiny mechanically as well, I am continually dumbfounded by the lack of tangible world-building that was put into the game’s storyline and world. This was a criticism I’d heard before from friends and family as well as people in gaming media, but it’s been a whole other matter to experience it firsthand. The reason for this is the apparent fact that lore does actually exist, but you have to go out of your way to learn about it.Read More »

The Ending of Dead Space 3

Spoiler Warning: This post is very specifically about details of the Dead Space series as well as the ending of Dead Space 3. Read at your own discretion.

DS3Isaac

Despite having received the game as a gift in 2013 and being a big fan of the series, I only just completed the storyline of Dead Space 3. The game continues a series of sci-fi horror video games developed by Visceral Games and published by Electronic Arts.

Something I heard consistently from friends and family that had played through it already was that by the end of the game far too much was explained about the source of the Necromorphs, the undead monstrosities that assault the player-character Isaac Clarke, and the Markers, alien spires that are the source of hallucinations, violence, and the spawning of these nightmarish creatures. Having now played through it, I’m not sure how I feel about it.Read More »

The Depth of Wind Waker

 Contains some spoilers for the ending of Wind Waker.

I have recently crossed a milestone with this blog, having successfully kept it going for over a year, and would like to start publishing a lot more review-focused content. However, I will still be writing more reflective posts, such as the following.

This week’s post feels a bit lighter to me, but I have just started a new job that has had me working full-time graveyard shifts, so I hope you can bear with me while I simply share some experience I’ve had in gaming lately.Read More »