rionaleonhart: red dead redemption: john marston reloads sexily (debatable). (just gonna reload while talkin' to you)
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy really brought home to me how tired I am of open-world games. I love the Assassin's Creed series, I love Red Dead Redemption, but I think I'm suffering a sort of open-world fatigue; I'm not really getting anywhere with Horizon Zero Dawn, even though it's staggeringly beautiful, because I'm just exhausted by how much there is to do. It felt so good to pick up Lost Legacy and play through a fast-moving game where you're constantly driving things forward.

One of the many reasons I am looking forward intensely to Danganronpa V3's release at the end of the month. Dangan Ronpa games are ALL PLOT, ALL THE TIME and it's great.

I'm feeling more generous towards Final Fantasy XV than I am towards most open-world games at the moment, because that game isn't really about the plot; it's a game about arsing around with your friends. Of course you should waste time on stupid sidequests; wasting time with people you care about is important!

Wait, maybe the problem isn't open-world games; maybe the problem is games where the protagonist is alone. In Lost Legacy, you spend most of the time hanging out with Nadine; in Final Fantasy XV, you've got three pals with you. I just want constant dialogue! And that's just not something you get in, for example, the Assassin's Creed games. (As much as I love Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, I'm sad that it went, 'Twin protagonists! You can choose which one to play! But the other twin doesn't tag along with you, sorry.' I want Evie and Jacob to snipe at each other while I'm running around London!)


...okay, I wrote the above in part because I was dithering on whether to play Infamous: Second Son, as a means of passing the time before Danganronpa V3's release. On the one hand, it had good reviews and my housemate had it, so it would cost me nothing to try it out. On the other, I was so tired of open-world games, and I'd tried the original Infamous once and hated it instantly.

I needn't have worried. I came to love Infamous: Second Son just as instantly as I'd come to hate Infamous. Turns out that this game is all about siblings who don't really get along but love each other nonetheless, i.e. my ultimate weakness. Almost at the very start of the game (twelve minutes into this walkthrough video), there was the perfect cutscene, cramming about six things I love into fifty seconds, after the protagonist Delsin got extremely stigmatised superpowers.

And it's so fun to play! Delsin can run so fast and can jump so high and has assorted zooming-and-hovering skills, so you can fly from building to building! He sometimes gives a little giddy laugh as he shoots up into the sky, and it's really endearing. It does suffer a little from Videogame Morality, where it's morally fine to kill the occasional civilian so long as you make up for it by stopping some drug dealers later, but I'm not taking it too seriously. I'm pretty used to suspending my moral disbelief in videogames.

This game further supports my 'maybe the issue is a lack of company in open worlds rather than open worlds in themselves' theory, because Delsin and his brother occasionally have little sarcastic phone conversations while you're running around the city, and it's great.

I'm only two hours into the game, so it's possible my opinion will change, but they have been a thoroughly enjoyable two hours.
rionaleonhart: red dead redemption: john marston reloads sexily (debatable). (just gonna reload while talkin' to you)
Went quiet for a couple of weeks on here! I still have the insatiable need to talk non-stop on the Internet; it's just that lately I've been doing a lot of my talking in, er, Linkin Park fan communities. I'll get back to normal around here eventually. (Danganronpa V3 is out at last in a couple of weeks, so I probably won't be able to shut up about that. Brace yourself.)

I've been playing Telltale's Walking Dead game, and it is EXTREMELY STRESSFUL. The zombies aren't scary; the fact that you're constantly having high-pressure conversations and having to make quick decisions about what to say is terrifying. I'm glad Life Is Strange was the first game in this vein I played; your time-travel powers mean you have as much time as you like to make decisions, so it eases you into the choice-based episodic genre gently.

Clementine is very sweet. I'm not sure yet whether she feels like a fleshed-out character to me. She's shy and quiet, which I suppose naturally means it'll take a while for me to feel that I know her. (I'm most of the way through Episode Two.)

One moment that did strike me, with regard to Clementine's characterisation: I told a guy that I was a neighbour looking after her, because it sounded better than 'I'm just some dude who escaped being sent to prison and stumbled across this kid,' and he asked Clementine whether she knew me, and she said yes! Only eight years old and already lying to protect me. I'm so proud.

I really like the way she's latched on to Lee, and she'll look to him for permission if anyone else offers her something. I was so pleased when he hugged her in Episode Two, after the traumatic meat locker incident. It's possible there were hugs before that, but I don't recall any. MORE HUGS.

Episode Two also let me down horrendously, though, because there's a point where you're in a barn with a cow.

Clementine: Do you want to pet the cow with me?
Lee: Nah, but you go on ahead.

WHY

IN THIS CHOICE-BASED GAME

WOULD YOU INTRODUCE THE POSSIBILITY OF COW-PETTING

AND THEN NOT ALLOW THE PLAYER TO PET THE COW

I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU WOULD DO THIS TO ME.
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
There's a demo out for Danganronpa V3! I thought I'd give it a try. I played the first two Dangan Ronpa games with Japanese voices, because those were the voices I'd become used to through Let's Plays, but this one's got a new cast, so I thought I'd try out the English voices. This proved to be a great decision, because one of the characters occasionally just exclaims 'FUCK ALL Y'ALL' and it's delightful.


Thoughts on the Danganronpa V3 demo. )


When the protagonist is trying to reason things out, her thought process is represented through a driving minigame called 'Psyche Taxi'. You get asked a question, and then you're presented with people who represent potential answers, and you have to answer the question by running the correct person over. I can't believe this wasn't a feature in previous Dangan Ronpa games, because it's the most Dangan Ronpa thing I've ever seen in my life.

I'm so excited about the release of this stupid game. One month to go!
rionaleonhart: top gear: the start button on a bugatti veyron. (going down tonight)
Why have I created an online quiz that helps you decide which Linkin Park song to listen to? Good question. I don't know. The latest in my increasingly laboured series of excuses to talk non-stop about Linkin Park's music, I suppose. But here it is, in any case.

I made this and then went, 'Wow, what a colossal waste of time, I can't believe I spent five hours on this,' and a few hours later I went, 'God, I've got Chester's acoustic "Let Down" stuck in my head and for some reason it's emotionally devastating me. I need to listen to something to drive it out, but I don't know what! If only I had some sort of guide to - HOLD ON.' (It took me to 'Forgotten'. Always a good choice.)

It's not a definitive guide; it's missing some absolute classics ('Somewhere I Belong' is the worst omission). But it's got a reasonable selection: about forty songs (not counting joke songs), at least five from each studio album. Very useful if you know enough about Linkin Park to go 'I want a Chester song' or 'I want a Mike song' but somehow not enough to go 'I want this song specifically'. I'll be honest: this is absolutely pointless. But it was fun to work on. My favourite question is 'How much do you want to feel Chester hates you? [a lot/incandescently]'


In other news, I played a bit of Transistor recently, although I don't know when or if I'll have the opportunity to continue. 'Why does my sword have an opinion on food?' I asked at one point, puzzled. I was happily 'shipping the main character with her sword, but I 'shipped them substantially less after I realised the sword was actually a person, rather than just being a talking sword. That's much less fun. I did appreciate the inclusion of a 'hum a tune' button, though (even if nothing will ever beat the 'tell a terrible joke' button in The Last of Us: Left Behind).


Finished the first series of Pretty Little Liars! It is still delightfully silly. At moments I've found myself slightly 'shipping Hanna and Emily. To be honest, at moments I've found myself slightly 'shipping all four of them. They should all make out. And then A should use that for blackmail purposes, obviously.

I'm so sad that this is never going to happen.

Ezra has transferred schools, so he's no longer Aria's teacher and their relationship is now legitimate. I really hope it comes out at some point that they were involved while he was teaching her. What's the point of including a teacher-and-student romance plotline if you never get the enormous scandal of it coming to light? 'OH NO, ARIA'S JEALOUS' seems to be the only Ezra/Aria plotline we ever get, and 'OH NO, YOU'RE IN SERIOUS TROUBLE NOW' would be much more fun.
rionaleonhart: kingdom hearts: sora, riku and kairi having a friendly chat. (and they returned home)
Having now listened to Minutes to Midnight from beginning to end: yep, favourite Linkin Park album. (Even if it contains 'Leave Out All the Rest' and 'Bleed It Out' and 'Shadow of the Day' in immediate succession, which is such a high concentration of agonising lyrics that it's almost hilarious.) 'Wake', 'Given Up' and 'In Between' are the only songs I didn't love enough to bookmark, and I still like them (and I have to respect Chester for holding that scream in 'Given Up' for an entire sixteen seconds). I'd never heard 'Valentine's Day' before; it's so pretty! (And heartbreaking. LIKE EVERYTHING.)

(EDIT: Wait, I had 'Given Up' bookmarked all along! I hadn't realised because it was in the wrong folder. The best album.)

No more Linkin Park in this entry, I promise. (I wish this band could stop being my primary fandom. I'd sort of hoped my mind would go 'yikes, suppose I'd better latch onto something else' when they went from causing me joy to causing me intense sadness, but instead it's going 'NOPE, I'VE TAKEN OUT A SUBSCRIPTION AND THIS IS STILL THE ONLY THING YOU'RE ALLOWED TO CARE ABOUT.' I can't even distract myself by throwing myself into writing, because I can only write for whatever I'm currently fannish about, and writing Linkin Park fanfiction would be far too weird and upsetting! I mean, no offence, guys, I love you, but this has not been one of my better fandom experiences.)

(EDIT: Wait, I forgot the rule that I'm not allowed to be sad about Chester without also posting something cute about him! Swanning around in a cape.)


I really love the friendships at the heart of Pretty Little Liars. I'd assumed this was just going to be a show about awful people being awful! But instead it's largely about good people being awful, and that gives it a lot of charm. I suppose it appeals to me in the same way Dangan Ronpa and Higurashi do, although Pretty Little Liars doesn't contain quite as much murder. Here are some teenagers! They're largely good-hearted and they care about each other. Let's watch them make horrible, horrible mistakes.

My other favourite thing from Pretty Little Liars is A's increasingly stupid methods of sending messages. The best so far: sneaking a message into a fortune cookie. 'Writing a message on one of a fortune teller's tarot cards, apparently in the knowledge that that card will be deployed when one of the people you're blackmailing is having her fortune read' was also top-quality.


Although I tend to get more invested in good-hearted characters, I can appreciate the occasional awful person in fiction. Our household has been watching Gypsy on Netflix, or, as we've taken to calling it, Bad Decisions Therapist. It's very slow-paced and I might not have stuck with it if I hadn't been watching with my housemates, but I'm enjoying what a terrible person the main character (the titular bad decisions therapist) is. My favourite scene so far is her trying to drag details of her patient's sex life out of him because it's turning her on. She's not the worst fictional therapist you could go to, but only because Hannibal Lecter exists.

(...as a character. I don't think Hannibal Lecter actually exists.)

My housemate challenged me to write fanfiction about the protagonist playing 'fuck, marry, kill' with Hannibal (specifically of the television series Hannibal). Here is the terrible result:


"Okay," Jean says, trying to keep her smile under control. "It's unprofessional, I know, but... your patients. Fuck, marry, kill?"

Hannibal nods thoughtfully. He seems to be taking the question a little more seriously than she'd anticipated. "Will."

There's a pause.

"Wait, which one?" she asks.

"Will," Hannibal says.
rionaleonhart: the last of us: joel and ellie look out at the ruined horizon. (lot of ground to cover)
This entry keeps accumulating sad bits. Let's cut out the sad bits. I'm tired of being sad.

[personal profile] magistrate has reminded me of this 'does music make food taste better?' experiment with Chester and Mike, which can still make me smile even after this loss. They sing a screaming rock song about cup noodles about two minutes in. It's incredible. Gladiolus would be proud.

I'm also enjoying 'Things in My Jeep', a Lonely Island song on which Linkin Park feature. I don't know why Chester screaming about trivial things makes me so happy.


It's been hard to focus on much, but I've started watching Pretty Little Liars, and it's the most effective distraction I've found so far because everything is SO STUPID. It's just wall-to-wall teenagers making the worst decisions possible, and it's incredible. Nothing's ever boring! There's always a new ridiculous plot development around the corner! I almost crowed in delight at the inevitable 'surprise, the guy you slept with is YOUR NEW TEACHER.'

'We're only on episode six!' I found myself yelling at the screen at one point. 'How can so much possibly have happened?'

I really like Hanna. She's not at all the character I thought she would be. She's shoplifting a pair of sunglasses when we first meet her, which isn't the best of first impressions, and I thought she was going to be the stereotypical shallow 'queen bee' character - a bit of a Regina George. But she's got a good heart. When she learnt about the relationship between Emily and Maya, I wasn't sure what her reaction would be; I was really touched when she started subtly, awkwardly trying to let Emily know that she'd have support if she came out.

I really like everyone's complicated feelings about Alison as well. She's the worst! They're all extremely aware that she's the worst! But that doesn't mean they don't miss her, and the way she made them feel part of something special.

(I just looked up Pretty Little Liars on IMDB to check the spelling of Alison's name, and apparently Alison's actress appears in every single episode. That's pretty impressive. She's constantly, constantly, constantly present in their lives, even if she's not physically there.

Also HOW ARE THERE 160 EPISODES, I'VE ONLY WATCHED EIGHT AND THEY'VE ALREADY CRAMMED IN JUST ABOUT EVERY STUPID PLOT DEVELOPMENT POSSIBLE.)
rionaleonhart: the last of us: joel and ellie look out at the ruined horizon. (lot of ground to cover)
Out-of-Context Theatre:

'To be honest, I'm glad that Google considered my search for "nude Crash Bandicoot" and concluded, "I'm sure she meant new Crash Bandicoot."'


Here is a reaction to some E3 game trailers!

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm: I'm more excited than I would have expected myself to be! I love the shot of Chloe beating up the car in the junkyard. She's a ball of rage and bad coping mechanisms, and it's great. My relationship with Chloe had a bit of a rocky start (she pointed at me and blamed me for her weed! I was slightly outraged!), but by this point I think I can appreciate her for the absolute mess of a person that she is.

I'm glad they're sticking with the soft, sort-of painted visual style of the original.

Are we going to see [unpleasant character] in this prequel? Rachel knew him, but we're playing as Chloe, and, when she first meets him in Life Is Strange, they don't seem to know each other. So I suppose he won't be making an appearance. I, er, probably shouldn't be disappointed by that.

Hidden Agenda: something genuinely cool and new from the Until Dawn developers! A multiplayer anyone-can-die decision-based crime thriller, where you all vote on decisions. It seems like a great way to ruin friendships. I'm tempted.

Assassin's Creed: Origins: come on, another male protagonist? Not counting spin-offs and handheld titles, there have been nine main Assassin's Creed games, and the protagonist has been male in eight and a half of them. I was really hoping Ubisoft wouldn't go, 'Okay, you can play as a woman for part of Syndicate, we've eaten our vegetables and now we can get back to dudes.' The setting looks gorgeous, but this game isn't really sparking any excitement in me yet. I'll probably warm up to it, though.

(To be honest, I can't be too grumpy about protagonist gender when all three of the other games in this list focus on two women, which would have been unthinkable a few years ago. I'm so happy. You're improving, videogame industry!)

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy: this looks like so much fun! Action! Adventure! Fraught 'I'll save your life, but that doesn't mean we're friends' partnerships! (Between two women! I don't think I've ever seen that before.) I'll miss Nate and Elena and Sully, but, if you'd said, 'Okay, the central trio are off the table, but we'll make a game about any other two Uncharted characters you choose,' I would have asked for Chloe and Nadine. I can't believe this game is actually happening.

Slow Down.

May. 25th, 2017 03:51 pm
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
It is time for a post about JAPANESE REALITY TELEVISION, because God knows my journal could do with being less accessible. I have watched all forty-six episodes of Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City. I'm very sorry.

Terrace House is a Japanese reality series in which six young people share a house: three boys, three girls. It's not quite Big Brother. There's no competition element, and they're not locked in the house; they can go freely about their daily lives. So you're essentially just watching some people living normally in a shared house. Very little actually happens. It's bizarrely compelling.

There's a rotating cast; if one person moves out, someone else will move in. Below the cut I will write up my thoughts on all of the housemates. Spoilers for the entirety of Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City.

I'm making this entry and nobody can stop me.


Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City )


Well, I definitely just typed 1,500 words on the Japanese equivalent of Big Brother. Excellent work, me.

Anyway, if you want to inflict this on yourself, it's on Netflix.
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
I played Gone Home! Spoilers under the cut. (If you're planning to play it, it's best to do it unspoiled.)


Spoilers for Gone Home. )


I think my favourite part of the game may have been The Menstrual Cycle: A Novella. Truly a masterpiece.
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
Here is an entry of bullet points, because today I have nothing to say that exceeds a paragraph.


- I'm a little further in Tales of the Abyss, and GUY CECIL IS SUCH A GOOD FRIEND. I want to be friends with Guy Cecil. Sadly, his phobia of being touched by women presents an obstacle to hugging, but other than that I think we could get along pretty well. (I'd have to accept that Luke would always be his priority, of course, but it would be unreasonable of me to grumble when his fondness for Luke is the reason I want to be friends with him in the first place.)

- Verdict on the fourth instalment of Higurashi, 'Himatsubushi': NO KEIICHI, TERRIBLE INSTALMENT. I'm here to fondly watch Keiichi suffer, Higurashi! I signed up for psychological horror and teenagers internally collapsing, not cop drama!

- There's also a sad lack of Keiichi in instalment five ('Meakashi') so far, but at least it's got the 'teenagers internally collapsing' aspect (and Keiichi's name appeared in the puzzling opening credits that only actually credited fictional characters, rather than any real people, so I suspect he'll show up later on). 'Meakashi' also contains a version of a song I listened to a lot nine years ago, and it was incredibly disconcerting to hear it in context and go 'wait, I recognise that tune'; I'd forgotten Higurashi was the original source! It was like seeing Troy bring pizza into the burning room in Community and going WAIT, I'VE SEEN THIS GIF.

- Recently, I watched the first episode of a Ukrainian crime drama entitled THE SNIFFER, about a man who solves crime with his superhuman sense of smell. It contains, you'll be pleased to hear, intense CGI sequences where he draws in a deep breath at the crime scene and all the smells swirl and scurry around, forming a picture of what happened there. The killer was trying to quit smoking. He was wearing a nicotine patch; it was on his right arm. A whirlwind of scent surrounds you. There's so much blood in the air. If a cat enters the room, you will have an allergic reaction so strong you won't be able to leave your flat for three days. Your wife left you long ago; your son is involved in drug dealing. Why were you cursed with this incredible nose?

- (I said I wasn't playing Higurashi for cop drama, but I'd definitely play an instalment in which THE SNIFFER tried to get to the bottom of the mysterious happenings in the village.)

- A recent dream I somehow failed to record here: I dreamt I met Sherlock Holmes as played by Benedict Cumberbatch and he declared with ferocious pride that he had ‘all the penises’, and he stripped off his trousers and pants in one motion to reveal he had a cluster of one big penis surrounded by lots of tiny penises, and I woke up feeling incredibly troubled.
rionaleonhart: kingdom hearts: sora, riku and kairi having a friendly chat. (and they returned home)
Jade: Well, well, Luke. A lovely lady on each arm?
Tear: I... I'm not... We're not...
Luke: He's not talking about you. He must mean Anise and Mieu.

Luke, you little shit.

Tales of the Abyss is so charming! It won me over very quickly. It reminds me a little of Bravely Default, actually, what with all the optional ridiculous conversations between your party members.

I'm curious about the fact that Guy is apparently in the habit of creeping through Luke's bedroom window to chat and fleeing before anyone else spots him there.

Below the cut are my thoughts on the first eight hours of Tales of the Abyss! I'm just past Chesedonia.


Early impressions of Tales of the Abyss. )


I'm excited to see where this story is going! But I'm much more excited to see what stupid conversations my party members are going to have next.
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
[personal profile] batman: I've been playing Higurashi: When They Cry! It's about teenagers descending into paranoia and murdering each other and - where are you going?
Steam: Please confirm your purchase.

Higurashi is a game I became vaguely aware of some time ago. I thought 'huh, that sounds potentially interesting, maybe I should check it out' and Googled it and was instantly put off by the character art. But, fortunately for my shallow side (and the worrying side of me that can never resist a story about paranoid, murderous teenagers), there's now an official Steam release where the art has been redrawn!

Maybe 'game' isn't the right word; there doesn't seem to be any actual gameplay. It's a visual novel without narrative choices. (It calls itself a 'sound novel', but there are still graphics and visual novels still have sound, so I have no idea what the difference between a sound novel and a visual novel is.) I'm going to call it a game anyway, for convenience's sake.

I was expecting Higurashi to take a moment to introduce the characters and then jump straight into the horrible things, much like Dangan Ronpa, which wastes no time in going 'here's the cast, here's the horrible situation you're in, here's the horrible thing you'll have to do if you want to get out of it.' But three hours passed, and nothing horrible had happened yet; I'd just been watching Keiichi play silly games with his friends. And at some point, I suddenly realised, I'd shifted from impatient 'when are the murders going to start happening?' to 'oh, no, this is cute, I don't actually want everyone to be miserable.'

Too bad. Four hours in, everything became miserable. I knew exactly what I was signing up for, and yet there was still a part of me going 'MAYBE IT'S FINE, MAYBE IT'S JUST GOING TO BE A CUTE DATING SIM.'

([personal profile] batman pointed out that Keiichi seems to think he's in a dating sim at first, and I immediately felt awful for him. If only!)

I don't know what Keiichi looks like, and for some reason my mental image of him is close to Hajime Hinata of Super Dangan Ronpa 2. I love Hinata, so just that inexplicable mental image automatically doubles my fondness for Keiichi. Enjoy your unearned affection, Keiichi. I'm sure it makes up for all your traumatic experiences.

The Dangan Ronpa series is still the gold standard for visual novels about murderous teenagers, and Higurashi is highly unlikely to seize its crown. If you're looking for a teenage murder mystery on Steam, get Danganronpa instead. (Or there's Danganronpa 1 + 2 Reload, now available for PS4! I swear I don't work for Spike Chunsoft.) But Higurashi is certainly holding my interest. I might make a less vague entry when I've played a little further; right now, things have only just started to go downhill.
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
I watched the first five episodes of Elementary a few days ago. It's good! I often have trouble getting along with procedurals, but Elementary has genuinely interesting mysteries of the week, which strikes me as unusual. I loved The Mentalist, but I never really cared much about the case of the week; I just enjoyed the characters enough to carry me through it. With Elementary, I'm not hugely invested in the characters yet, but they have potential, and the mysteries are interesting enough to keep me watching until that potential is (hopefully) fulfilled.

I'm also seeing potential for Holmes and Watson to have a really interesting claustrophobic, codependent relationship, but I think Watson might be too well-adjusted for that. Alas!


I've just discovered Koethe Koethe's Life Is Strange fan songs, and they're ridiculously impressive. 'Price', 'Storm' and 'Better Then' are some of my favourites (if you discount 'The Beans Song', which is so good it's unfair to make the other songs compete against it), but they're all pretty great: so well produced, and they all sound like songs that could actually appear in the game. I usually get second-hand embarrassment from fan songs with lyrics, but these really work. They sort of make me want to play it again.

Bit of a disconcerting change from all the Linkin Park I've been listening to lately, though (whoops).


Danganronpa V3, having previously been listed for a June release, now apparently isn't coming out in English until the end of September. Another seven months of dodging spoilers, I suppose!

I love these games so much. I love how well-crafted and interesting most of the murder mysteries are; I love the characters, this collection of weak, flawed, frightened people making horrible mistakes.

I first experienced Dangan Ronpa through orenronen's fan translations, which got up to halfway through the second game before the games were licensed for release in English, so I've only actually played half a game unspoiled. And, as much as I enjoyed reading it in Let's Play form (and as fiddly as some of the minigames are), actually playing it was a much better experience. The trials guide you gently from logical conclusion to logical conclusion, and that process - gradually piecing together what happened yourself, the dawning sense of dread as you realise who the murderer was - works so well.

I'm so excited to play an entire Dangan Ronpa game without knowing what to expect. I just have to make sure I don't run into spoilers!

For... for seven months. And, going by the fact that there are almost four hundred works on AO3 less than two months after the Japanese release, I'd guess that there are plenty of fan translations floating around. This is the sort of series where an entire case or an entire game can be spoiled by a single piece of fanart. Wish me luck.
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
Your task is to cleverly deduce, from Rei's beautiful song (to the tune of Cabaret's 'Two Ladies'), what we've been watching lately:

Deedly dee-dee-dee, two Yuris,
Deedly dee-dee-dee, two Yuris,
Deedly dee-dee-dee, and I'm the only Victor.
Deedly dee-dee-dee, I like it,
Deedly dee-dee-dee, they're less keen...


We're three episodes in!

Yuri!!! on ICE is both very cute and very odd. Strangely, I think the character I'm most emotionally invested in might be the hostile fifteen-year-old who's incapable of walking past a tiger T-shirt without buying it, taking a selfie and posting it on Instagram. Although I'm very charmed by Yuri (er, Yuri Katsuki; this is going to be tricky) getting flustered around Victor. And of course Victor is constantly being as flustering as possible. Give the poor boy a moment's peace!


About six weeks ago, I was challenged to write a Yuri!!! on ICE fic without having seen a single episode, using only the bits and pieces I'd picked up from other people talking about it. What I produced was this:


Victor pirouetted on the ice, his possibly silver hair whipping gracefully around him. Yuri gazed with longing from the edge of the rink. How could he dare to ask this legendary performer to tutor him in the ways of skating? It seemed impossibly arrogant.

Yuuri, who was not Yuri but a small child who nobody was allowed to ship with anyone, skipped merrily past as small children do.

Suddenly, Victor pirouetted straight up to Yuri! Yuri had no idea how to react. This man was his hero. How could Victor stoop to notice someone like him?

He had even less of an idea of how to react when Victor seized him and dipped him in a deep kiss. Yuri's glasses fell off and shattered on the ice.

"Let me tutor you," Victor purred. "Also, let's get married."

"O-okay," Yuri stammered. "Can I get my glasses fixed first?"

"No," Victor breathed fondly.



Now that I've actually seen some of this show, I'm impressed by my own accuracy. Well, merry skipping aside. Literally the only thing I knew about Yuri Plisetsky was that there were big arguments about whether it was morally wrong to write shipfic about him (it's not), so I didn't have much to work from there. He'd be furious if he saw this.
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
I played a couple of hours of Oxenfree last night! It's very pretty and colourful, which is an interesting design choice for a horror game. All the landscapes sort of look like they've been made out of coloured paper.

You have to make decisions within a few seconds in Oxenfree, which I find very stressful, even when most of the decisions are just 'what do you want to say now?' (I feel a bit spoiled by Life Is Strange, which not only gives you as much time as you like to choose your response but allows you to rewind and redo things if you change your mind.)

At the very beginning of the game, just after you get off the boat, I refused to speak alone with Jonas because my mind was working by Until Dawn rules: DON'T SEPARATE, BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN. [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus pointed out that this was very early in the game, nothing bad had happened yet, and a brief conversation with my stepbrother was unlikely to get anyone killed. I felt so bad for turning Jonas down that I restarted.

At this point I set the first and most important of several goals that would help me make decisions in the future: I want to get along with my stepbrother.

Later, after panicking during the 'who do you meet up with first?' decision at the radio tower, I came up with my second goal: I want to improve my relationship with Clarissa.

My third goal, after telling Ren there were other fish in the sea and TOO LATE realising that the game might think I want to be his fish: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES can I end up in a romantic relationship with Ren.

('The game won't let you romance your stepbrother,' [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus said, with deeply felt sadness. I laughed at her.)

I feel a lot more comfortable making quick decisions now that I know what I'm aiming for. Even if I still miss Life Is Strange. (The soft colours and loading-screen Polaroids really remind me of Life Is Strange, actually. Although I'm puzzled by the fact that Jonas took a picture on his phone and it appeared on the loading screen as a Polaroid.)

I'm playing this game at [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus's flat, so I don't know exactly when I'll be able to pick it up again, but I hope it'll be soon! There's a lot of intriguing mystery. And I like Alex, which is unusual; I usually have trouble warming to characters who communicate entirely through dialogue choices, because they can end up feeling like an empty vessel for the player rather than a character in their own right, but a lot of personality comes through in everything she says.


Here are a handful of things I experienced in 2016 but didn't post full entries on:

- I watched the anime ERASED (it's available legally on Crunchyroll here), which is about a man who goes back to his childhood and tries to prevent the abduction and murder of a classmate. It was very good and very gripping, but I don't know whether I'll ever watch it again; it might be a bit too bleak and serious without the 'but what happens next??' drive to keep going. Still, I loved that it told a very compact, intense story in just twelve episodes. It also has one of the coolest opening sequences I've ever seen. The shots of the empty school give me chills.

- I saw Your Name in the cinema and loved it. The basic concept (two strangers keep swapping bodies across a great distance and can only communicate with each other by leaving notes) is exactly the sort of idea I find irresistible: people being drawn together by weird experiences, unable to talk about them with anyone but each other! Inevitably, I'm now wondering whether it could be employed in fanfiction for other works.

- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a much, much better show than you'd think from the title. A couple of my favourite songs:

I've kind of got a girl crush on you, by which I mean I wanna kill you and wear your skin like a dress.
FACE YOUR FEARS. RUN WITH SCISSORS.

- The second series of How to Get Away with Murder is, I'm delighted to report, just as stupid as the first. The scene in 'Meet Bonnie' where the students were going 'pfft, we've screwed up our lives, might as well have an orgy' inevitably delighted me. Has anyone written the fic where they follow through? I'm going to be so disappointed in fandom if nobody's written that fic.


Inevitably, the combination of fandoms in this entry is making me ponder a How to Get Away with Murder scenario in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, in which Rebecca somehow ends up killing someone and has to try not to get caught. It's actually a worryingly plausible scenario.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
First impressions of Final Fantasy XV! I've played for six hours but have barely made any progress on account of being constantly distracted by all the optional things to do (I've only just completed the first chapter), so there are no plot details in here; you can read this without being spoiled.


First impressions of Final Fantasy XV. )


Finally: there's an NPC called Dave! That's not very Final Fantasy!
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them yesterday!


Thoughts on 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' )


In conclusion, there were some things that worked better than others for me, but this was good fun! I enjoyed it, and I'm happy to accept it as Harry Potter canon, whereas I had reservations about accepting Cursed Child.

(Although there was no mention of Phineas Nigellus, and I am deeply disappointed by this.)
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
Maybe I should watch a Let's Play of Until Dawn, I found myself thinking recently. I've heard it puts a lot of emphasis on choice and consequences, and that's something I'm interested in: how the same videogame can tell different stories on different playthroughs. Let's look some videos up.

And then I remembered that I hate horror, but it was too late. BYE, SLEEP. I tried to stop watching, but then I realised I'd never be able to put this story behind me unless I got some sort of resolution to it, so it looks like I'm locked in until the ending.

(The specific Let's Play I've been watching is this one by the Scary Game Squad, in case any of you are fans of the 'a group of teenagers go to an isolated lodge, HORRIBLE THINGS HAPPEN' brand of horror. If you are not a horror fan, be more sensible than me and steer clear; it contains gore, jumpscares, decapitation, scary chase sequences, scary nothing-happening sequences etc. The commentary's pretty good; it's not grating, for the most part, and they joke around but still take things seriously enough for them to remain scary. They're also endearingly invested in keeping everyone alive. There's one character they all dislike, and they joke a couple of times about leaving her to die, but then she gets into terrible peril and they spend the whole chase sequence yelling encouragement at her. 'Go, baby girl! Go, baby girl!')

I feel you can probably tell a lot about a person by the scenes they choose to rewatch. In Until Dawn, there are a handful of scenes I keep coming back to. One of these scenes is 'Mike and Sam meet each other in the lodge, the first friendly faces they've seen respectively since all hell broke loose'. That's perfectly respectable. I probably 'ship them. Fine.

(I have a feeling that I started 'shipping them before that scene, which is odd, given that I'm, er, not sure they'd interacted on-screen on any previous occasion. I was delighted when they actually met up. I have such low expectations of my pairings. 'It'd be nice if these two could be in the same room at some point.')

To my slight concern, the other scenes I've watched multiple times on assorted different Let's Plays are:

- Mike finds his girlfriend semi-conscious and thinks at first that she's dead.
- Mike gets his fingers caught in a bear trap and has to amputate them with a machete.

Apparently Mike is just one of those characters I want to see suffering physically and emotionally, so I suppose it's good news for me that he's in a horror game. Maybe it's because he looks and acts a bit like Nathan Drake. I love both Mike and Nate, but in a scary way that means I'm happiest when they're bloodied emotional wrecks.

(There's one Let's Play where the player gets Mike's hand caught but really doesn't want to amputate his fingers, so he keeps trying to make Mike prise open the trap instead. On the first two attempts, the trap snaps shut again. The third time, Mike whimpers before he gives it another go. It's great. I'm the worst person in the world.)
rionaleonhart: final fantasy x-2: the sun is rising, yuna looks to the future. (hope is all we have)
The first episode of Life Is Strange is now free on PS3 and PS4! I thought I'd check it out, as timydamonkey recommended it to me a while ago. And then I bought the rest of the episodes. Whoops. It's fundamentally a 'looking at things and having awkward conversations' simulator, but it's strangely compelling.

Here's a miserable fact for you: the developers brought this game to several publishers before eventually settling on Square Enix. They chose Square Enix because all the other publishers said 'nope, can't have a female protagonist, you're going to have to change her into a boy.' Fortunately, Life Is Strange sold well and received good reviews despite being about one of those non-male things nobody cares about.

I'm currently two episodes in. I have some specific things to say about actual plot events, but I'll save those for a spoilery post once I've finished the entire game. For now, I'm going to keep things as spoiler-free as possible.

There's something about Life Is Strange that resonates oddly strongly with me. I think it's the depiction of a particular type of friendship between kids that I know from my own childhood. You're pretty quiet and insulated, and she's much cooler than you, and she can get you into trouble or be manipulative sometimes, but you endure all that because you're just so awed that this cool person is willing to spend time with you. (It's a type of relationship that sometimes appears in Jacqueline Wilson novels, actually.) I didn't realise until I suddenly thought 'hang on, I'm making a lot of groundless assumptions about Chloe's character' and then realised it was because I felt like I'd known her when I was a child. She's a very interesting character, even if in some respects she's difficult to like.

It's perhaps no surprise that this game gives me a very strong feeling of nostalgia. I really like the strange, quiet atmosphere of it, too, and Max's internal observations are often endearing.

There are, of course, a few things that don't entirely match up with my own experiences. For example, I went to school in a different country, and I've never been any good at photography, and I can't reverse time. I also don't have the speech patterns of EZboard fandom circa 2002. There's some very odd dialogue in this game. It feels very much like a game about teenagers written by adults, although of course I'm an adult, so it's possible that in fact it's an entirely accurate representation of modern teenage speech patterns and I'm the one who's out of touch.

Sorry, did I say 'in fact'? I meant 'for realsies'.

I clocked almost immediately, from his LOADS OF TEXT MESSAGES, that Warren had a huge crush on Max. This means that every conversation with him is a bit of a minefield, as I don't feel Max thinks of him that way at all. I'm constantly caught in a state of 'I want to be nice to you, because you're my friend, but I definitely don't want to give you the impression that I'm romantically interested in you.' I felt a bit bad about turning down his invitation to see a film. Sorry, Warren! I didn't want you to think of it as a date!

I find the occasional 'THIS ACTION WILL HAVE CONSEQUENCES' butterfly very stressful. I don't need consequences in my videogames! I get quite enough of those in real life! (Now, in real life, whenever something minor happens as a result of something I unthinkingly did a while ago, I think back to that moment and I see 'THIS ACTION WILL HAVE CONSEQUENCES' in the corner of it. You put a glass in the dishwasher! That glass was still in use and later your housemate will be trying to find it. This action will have consequences.)

The statistics at the end of each episode are sometimes a bit distressing. 'You didn't help Alyssa,' I was informed at the end of the second episode. I'm sorry, Alyssa! I didn't realise you needed help! 'You didn't water your plant.' I DIDN'T KNOW MY PLANT EXISTED.
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
A new Dangan Ronpa anime has just started! (Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak Academy, divided confusingly into two alternating series: Future Arc (set after the second game) and Despair Arc (set before).) It's actual new canon, rather than an adaptation! And it looks potentially extremely interesting! And it features my favourite character!

This sounds like good news but is actually terrible.


Danganronpa 3: notes on the first episodes of both arcs. )


Something that delights me: Kuzuryuu may have his angry don't-care rebel façade, but he's one of the few students who diligently shows up for lessons. You're not fooling anyone, Kuzuryuu.