Archives for category: Video Games

Let’s face it, everyone has different opinions. I’ve been reading reviews and watching them on youtube and I’ll admit that I don’t always agree with what is said and/or written.  Everyone has played different games and has had their own relationships with the characters and story, that is what can make stories so wonderful because they are a different journey for each person.

I am a lover of sad stories. As a writer I bear a strong respect for anyone who can sway their audiences feelings. On this thought, I decided to give out my personal list of my top nine saddest moments in the video games I have played.

While our opinion may differ based on experience and different games played, we can still come together and dwell on the thought of what can make these moments successful.

Why NINE and not TEN?! Well, I am so picky that I wanted each sad moment to be from a different game and due to that and I could only find NINE. Also there are a lot of sad moments, but I want to concentrate on ones that actually made ME feel since I am the one writing this list.

It should go without saying but this is SPOILER CITY, so be cautious if you don’t want games spoiled for you.

Prepare to be sad.

NUMBER 9

Yume Nikki: The Ending

I don’t know how many people have heard of this game. I played this game through a download on my computer. Heck, you can download it right now if you want to. Just click here. Think it as a gift from me to you!

This game is TWISTED. You do not know what is completely going on and you should not ever expect to. You play as a girl named Nikki who won’t leave her room. When you try to leave her room she just shakes her head. She will only do two things: go to the outside balcony connected to her room (there is nothing to do but be there) or go to sleep.

When Nikki sleeps, the real gameplay starts. You wake up in a place that looks like your room but this time the character will actually leave her room. This is the dreamworld, there are 12 doors with worlds of the most bizarre nature.

This game should win a prize for surrealism. You navigate Nikki through her dreams to obtain 24 objects known as effects. These effects give Nikki different abilities and using the abilities in different places causes all sorts of odd things to happen. This game is incredibly easy to get lost in. I would be impressed with anyone who could beat it without the aid of a walkthrough. It’s all very psychological and you wonder what Nikki went through to have these dreams.

After exploring the dreams enough to get all 24 effects…this is what happens.

Nikki commits suicide off of her bedroom’s balcony. I had no idea how this game was going to end and just the simple…she jumps off the balcony THE END kinda hit me. I mean…the things you see in Nikki’s dreams are incredibly surreal, psychological, and can really make you think.

She would not go outside perhaps because she did not want to face a truth in her life? The people in the dream…are they reflections of people from her real life? What about the places? What was haunting Nikki into these dreams? Fans have many ideas, most of them very fascinating.

In all, this game is pretty depressing  and I’m not forgetting it.

NUMBER 8

Metal Gear Solid 4- The Mircowave Hall

Metal Gear is an amazing series. The writers are not afraid to make situations a little ridiculous to get the emotions of characters across.

The story is filled with characters that have dark pasts, mostly consisting of soldiers and scientists. Scientists that have created regrettable weapons, soldiers who use so much tech that they are barely human anymore, it’s all about war in this game. And war is not a happy subject.

Snake is an old man in this game, being a clone caused him to age faster. Yet throughout this game he pulls through battles and difficult situations.

The series is filled with deaths to the point where I am not using a death for a sad moment. No, I am using the microwave hall scene.

No scene defined how emotional and ridiculous this game can be like the scene when Snake goes into a hall with dangerous microwaves. Here it is.

Honestly the scene speaks for itself. The music, the GODDAMN BUTTON MASHING, and images you see in this scene are truly what this series has always been about. War.

NUMBER 7

Dark Cloud: Seda’s Story

This is a bit of an old game and they later created White Knight Chronicles which I slightly hate them for. (That game makes my eyes and ears bleed.) But there is just one part in this game that stuck with me for being really sad.

The scene does not happen till almost the very end of the game and with a character that is incredibly important to the plot…yet we only see him in the beginning and at the end.

You play as a character named Toan or you can change his name if you want to…he’s one of those silent main character types that you are supposed to see yourself in. He is put in charge of saving the world by the Fairy King. You are saving it from an evil Genie who is well…trying to rule/destroy the world. You travel a lot, restoring lands as well as finding a way to defeat the Genie. Toan restores lands by using a magical stone the Fairy King gave to him.

At the beginning of the game you meet a suspicious man named Seda. He seems to know what you are up to and wants the stone the Fairy King gave you. The man is calm and collected and only asks for the stone…at first. He seems to know more about the Dark Genie than you do and says he needs the stone more and you learn he’s a time-traveler.Then…out of nowhere he gasps in pain and his eyes glow red and he tries to kill you for the stone. He defeats you but has mercy on you and leaves.

You don’t see Seda again till the end of the game in the Dark Genie’s castle. He tells you that he is the reason the Dark Genie exists and he’s traveled in time to try to find a way to stop himself in the past. Before he can tell you the full story though, the Dark Genie tries to possess him and he creates a time-traveling portal for you before he kills himself.

In the portal you slowly learn pieces of Seda’s life. Well…this is what you learn. Followed by it is the sad moment that makes number 6 on my list.

Did you see Seda stab that man and throw him off the balcony?! This is an old game with no voice-acting, not so good graphics, but the emotion put into this scene was done well. That music-box tune is both sad as well as ominous, perfect for the tragedy that lead to the creation of the Dark Genie.

The exact moment this scene that turned it into one of the saddest moments was when Seda looks at Toan and says, “Have you come to kill me too?! Do you hate me too? Fine. Go ahead, kill me.” You don’t hear his voice but just be looking at the characters face and reading those words you feel shivers go down your spine. It’s not whiny and sorrowful like, “Oh Sophia is dead, please kill me!” Even without a voice you can tell that the words Seda said were utterly livid…and that livid feeling is what created the Dark Genie.

NUMBER 6

Fatal Frame: Mafuyu’s Choice

You know I’m a huge fan of this series if you read my earlier review. Of course most of the moments in this game are scary as shit but if there is anything besides scary…there is sad.

Every Fatal Frame game has it’s own special sad moment. If I had to pick what game had the most sad moment, I’d have to say the 1st one.

You are a young girl named Miku who is searching a haunted mansion for her big brother, Mafuyu. This girl goes through a TON of shit for her older brother. I question my sanity to pull through what this girl pulls through in order to find her brother. Having a sixth sense, taking photographs of ghosts in order to “kill” them, running like hell when faced with a invincible ghost.

The sad moment is in the end…when you finally beat the final boss and reunite with your brother.

This actually got a lot of people mad. Many gamers think Mafuyu to be selfish and stupid by abandoning his little sister after all she went through to get him back.

As a writer, I had to disagree. I felt for Kirie as Mafuyu did. In Fatal Frame, the ghost you are trying to defeat ALWAYS has a tragic back story and Kirie was no different. Seeing that poor woman getting hurt from that door is sad! That is no ordinary gate she is sealing, she is sealing the gates to hell itself! She is a martyr, doing something good with no reward in sight. Mafuyu recognizes her selflessness and wishes to give her peace by staying with her. I found that touching but that does not ignore the fact that his choice is a sad one.

NUMBER 5

Mass Effect 3- Earth gets Attacked

Bioware has some of the best writers. Each character is a jewel of it’s own and when they really know how to get you invested in the story.

The 3rd and last game of the series takes you on a roller coaster of emotions and thoughts. The entire galaxy is in peril from the Reapers, a part organic and part machine race of beings that has harvested all developed life in the galaxy every fifty thousand years.

You can play as female or male, but you’re always called Commander Shepard. It is your goal to defeat the Reapers. The reason you get so invested in this story is because it’s a role-playing game, you make decisions and face their outcomes.

This entire game is full of an essence of hopelessness. It is hard to choose a single scene for the sad moment.

I decided this one will do.

This scene is at the VERY BEGINNING of the game. This is only Earth being attacked too, you get to watch many more planets get invaded by the Reapers. Many of the characters you get to know so well die.

I just thought this should be on the list because it’s at the beginning of the game, and it can be a challenge to pull off a sad moment when things are just getting started.

NUMBER 4

Kingdom Hearts 328/2 Days: Axel Confronts Xion

I never got attached to the Kingdom Heart characters. To me, Sora was just a goofball, Riku had issues, and Kairi was a cliche damsel in distress. Not to say I did not enjoy them, but I never actually got the feelings at parts of the game I think I was supposed to feel and get sad about.

That was until 328/2 days came out on Nintendo DS. Roxas and all of the Organization 13 are incredibly sad and tragic characters when you stop to think about them. They are people who lost their hearts, they are not supposed to exist, yet here they are.They are called Nobodies, that itself is depressing.

Basic summary of your goals in the game, you play as Roxas who is Sora’s Nobody, created when Sora turned into a Heartless when he gave Kairi his heart in the first game. Unlike the other Nobodies, Roxas has no memory of his original self. You are the 13th member of Organization 13. As Roxas, you are trying to help Xemnas create Kingdom Hearts so you and all of your other 12 Nobody allies can gain hearts.

Seems like a good goal right? Well…it’s really complicated. You know if you played the other games that Xemnas is a bad guy who is full of false promises and lies and is using everyone as pawns.

At the beginning of the game Roxas is like a zombie with little to say and little to feel. Axel becomes Roxas’s mentor. For a guy without a heart, this guy has a lot of personality. Eventually you see Roxas be far less zombie-like and Axel becomes his best friend. Then a girl named Xion joins the Organization. She is very mysterious but eventually she warms up to Axel and Roxas and the three of them have a very strong bonded friendship. I grew to love this friendship, in fact, it’s probably my favorite friendship bond in all the video games I’ve played.

As you can imagine, this is when things begin to go downhill.

Roxas and Xion are not ordinary Nobodies. Both of them have the ability to use the keyblade, which Xemnas needs to create Kingdom Hearts. Both of them are parts of Sora. Roxas is his Nobody and Xion is Sora’s lost memories.

So what does this mean? Well, the GOOD guys from the other game tell Xion that she is not supposed to exist and she needs to go back into Sora. At first she denies them, but eventually she comes to terms with it and betrays the Organization. Roxas is also doing things behind the Organizations back and slowly loses this trust in their goals.

This puts Axel in a difficult position, being a long-time member of the Organization. He is sent to stop her, both for Xemnas’s evil reasons…but also for reasons of his own.

Thus, here is the saddest moment for me.

I imagine most people expect me to put in Xion’s “death” or Axel saying goodbye to Roxas when Roxas runs away but those did not hit me like this moment.

For Nobodies with no hearts, I think this scene in Kingdom Hearts is the one with the most heart! The emotion in Axel’s voice, Xion’s face as she states her sad but firm conclusion! You see how frustrated Axel really is and the position it puts him in.

Honestly, this entire game is a sad moment. But if I had to chose, this scene was the one that did it in for me.

NUMBER 3

Nier: Fyra’s Death

This entire game is a sad moment. Filled with tragedies. You tell some children you found their dead mother, set out on a journey to find an old man’s dog to find it died while trying getting him some medicine, and in the end it turns out that these shades you’ve been fighting have been the real humans from the beginning.

I would name many sad scenes, I teared up a lot in this game. But one prevailed over all the others.

Fyra’s death.

This girl was the sweetest little thing. You meet her when she’s a little child and later you find out she is getting married to the King. I knew the moment I saw this that something bad was going to happen. At this point in the game it was just sad moment after sad moment. This wedding was too happy.

Well…my prediction came true. It was more powerful then I thought it would be though. Here is how the wedding went….

You don’t even have to read what the characters are saying to feel the pain they feel. Just the way they saw the words is enough! The normally happy-go-lucky King is suddenly filled with sorrow and rage.

What most haunts me is even after this moment plays…Fyra’s blood stain is always there in front of the King’s palace.

This moment will always stick with me.

NUMBER 2

Shadow of the Colossus- Wander’s Price

One of my most favorite games of all time, Shadow of the Colossus is what makes a video game become a form of art.

You play as a man named Wander who brings a dead girl to a shrine. He strikes a deal with a mysterious and god-like being named Dormin. The deal is that you destroy 16 colossi and in return Dormin will bring the girl back to life.

The world is empty other than trees, water, landscape, and the occasional lizard, hawk, or turtle. All you have is your horse and a special sword that can kill colossi. You have NO idea who this girl is to Wander, how she died, or a single thing about Wander himself other than he really wants to bring this girl back to life…no matter the price.

As Wander beats each colossi you do begin to notice he is getting more dirty and beaten up looking. Even as you fight colossus, the way Wander fights these made me somewhat sad. The way he hung on to these colossi and stabbed their huge bodies as they struggled against him was in itself an action screaming with the emotion of a desperate and stubborn being.

The further in the game you got, the more exhausted Wander looked. From the beginning when Dormin said the words, “The price you pay may be heavy indeed” kinda haunted me from the beginning and stuck with me.

Well…after beating the final colossus, here is the price Wander had to pay.

Wander got used by this…this DEMON. Even when possessed he still reached out for the girl he did all this for, which broke my heart. As he gets sucked into the fountain he still hangs on in that stubborn and desperate way! It really is true love he felt for this girl and that was not shown in a specific scene, but the entire game.

This is not the full ending by the way, just the sad part of it.

NUMBER 1

Okamiden- Kurow’s Death

From my earlier review, you know how much I love the game Okami. So of course I played the Nintendo DS sequal, Okamiden. You play as Amaterasu’s son, a puppy named Chibiterasu. What are you doing? Saving Nippon of course!

You befriend different children who help you through your journey. Out of these children is Kurow, the kid who looks like Waka from the original game. Kurow is cocky, nervous around girls, and has a strong sense of justice. A character with both faults and strengths, one that is easy to warm up to.

You do eventually learn the kid has a dark side though. He does not believe in anything, including himself, and he thinks he has no real friends.

Eventually the normally charming game takes a very dark turn when Kurow actually betrays you for the evil spirit Akuro. This was incredibly surprising for me. That awesome kid just did WHAT?!

You have to fight Kurow to get to Akuro. When you defeat him he admits that he is a coward with no friends and that is why he sided with Akuro. Kurow waits for you to kill him but you pull no such action. Instead, Chibiterasu licks his face and leave to face Akuro.

Akuro possesses people, that makes him almost impossible to defeat. After defeating Akuro, the spirit looks for a new victim to possess and guess who offers Akuro their body?!

Oh wait! It’s not over yet! We still need to see the sad get more sad!

This is number one on my list because THAT PUPPY JUST HAD TO MURDER ITS BEST CHILD FRIEND! This is just so sad that it is almost borderline ridiculous.

Why is this number 1 on the list? The reason solely is that no one could have seen this coming. In all the other games mentioned, you could actually predict tragedy and sorrow. In Okamiden there was no way you could predict that you’d have to kill Kurow. This is an upbeat and colorful game! There could be a sad part or two but having to kill a child?! How old are these kids anyway? I think they range from 7 to 10 years old!

That ending scene had me crying. Chibi licking the tears off Kurow’s face just did it in for me. If you played this game and did not at least get teary-eyed at this part then something is wrong with you.

END

So that is it. I hope you got sad because I sure did and please, play these games…they are all really amazing in their own way.

Feel like getting scared? I’m going to tell you about one of my favorite video games, a Japanese horror game series called Fatal Frame.

I love getting scared. I love hearing my own screams. So when my cousin told me about a scary ps2 game called Fatal Frame, I had to satisfy my curiosity. The game did not just satisfy, I bought the rest of the series and have played all of them multiple times (except Fatal Frame 4, which I’ll get into later).

This game is definitely not for everyone. I know this because when I hand the controller to one of my friends, they usually throw it back at me and/or play until a ghost pops up and then throw the controller at me. The game is not for people who do not get any enjoyment from being scared, and the mechanics aren’t for every gamer.

The Fatal Frame series consists of 4 games. I have things to say about each one. I’ll start with the first Fatal Frame I played that left me with a huge impression…Fatal Frame 2, Crimson Butterfly.

From what I’ve heard in the gaming community, it is Fatal Frame 2 that is the most popular in the series. You play as these two twin school girls, Mio and Mayu, who get spirited away to All Gods Village. You find the weapon that makes Fatal Frame well…Fatal Frame! Your weapon to defend yourself is a camera, the Camera of Obscura. And what are you going to be fighting? You are fighting ghosts.

I think out of all the things the world can throw at me to be scared of, I’m scared of ghosts and spirits. Murderers, insane clowns, zombies, and anything physical doesn’t really get to me. Things like those are just too human in mind and/or limitations. But put me in a room with the Grudge and I’m going to be flipping shits. Ghosts give me all the shits.

Fatal Frame 2 gave me countless scares. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve paused the game because something freaked the hell out of me. The atmosphere is creepy, dark, and horribly quiet. You eventually learn to expect anything to happen at any moment you enter a new room. From the screaming ghost of a woman to tumble down the stairs, to a box shaking as you walk past it, to hearing the patter of feet running in the darkness, I was in heaven with how scared I was. The simple action of a doll falling off the shelf at the opposite end of the room made me and my friends scream and flinch because of the whole atmosphere the game gave.

Scares are not the only thing that make a game for me of course. What makes Fatal Frame different from all other horror games to me is the characters and story. Most horror games I’ve played…they’re stories never touched me, made me feel anything more than well…more fear. It’s like the horror game industry only wants to give fear to it’s audience. I guess that makes sense, but why not have more than that? The makers of Fatal Frame didn’t just make a horror game series, they create amazing stories and I actually get an odd attachment to the characters…and most of them are the ghosts I’m taking pictures of! As you explore, you learn more and more about why these people died, why you have spirited away here, and you learn their stories.

I’ll get into what specifically makes Fatal Frame 2 special out of the series. First thing is…the boss. Sae Kurasawa. Just watch this video of the first time you meet her in the game.

Sae’s laughter can haunt me at the worst times when I’m alone in a dark place. Her blood spattered white kimono, her obsessive clingy attitude towards you (she thinks your her sister that abandoned her). There are unforgettable ghosts you meet in the series, and Sae is definitely one of them, and she isn’t just a ghost…she’s the reason the entire village dead and is slowly possessing your twin sister!

Mio and Mayu

Another things that makes Fatal Frame 2 special is that you have a sister that follows you around. In all the other Fatal Frame games you are alone. If you ask me, “Is this a good thing or a bad thing?” I’ll tell you, “Your sister is a bad thing.” I mean…she can be useful in distracting ghosts while you take pictures, but she is another incredibly scary factor in this game. She is your sister who is slowly getting possessed BY SAE. Think about it.

Itsuki

A rare and beautiful thing in Fatal Frame games…is a friendly ghost. The Fatal Frame 2 character Itsuki is one of those such rare things. When I say friendly, I mean he does not do you any harm. Best of all, he actually talks to you! Unfortunately he doesn’t know he’s dead…and he’s rather depressing…but I enjoyed having one friendly thing to look at! His sister, Chitose, is also one of the most scary ghosts in the game. A little blind girl with a bell tied to her wrists, running around in the dark….has a habit of hiding in closets.

Chitose

If you have a problem with dolls, you don’t want to play Fatal Frame 2 (or the series in general but DEFIANTLY not Fatal Frame 2). There is a house you go through that is entirely dedicated to dolls. I’ll never forget when I walked into the first room…and saw three dolls hanging at their necks from the ceiling.

Let you tell you about combat in this game since it’s pretty special. You look through the camera when fighting ghosts (adding to the scary factor since you are in 1st person view). You use film and can find more as you explore. There is weak film and there is strong film, zero being the strongest (I always save those for the last battle). You may ask, “What happens if you run out of film?” and I’ll say, “That would suck but luckily the weakest film is unlimited so you never have NO film. Unless you’re playing Fatal Frame 1 but I’ll get into that later.”

Mio holding the Camera Obscura

You find spirit orbs as well as you battle ghosts and explore and with those you can power up certain powers on the camera such as Blast, Slow, and all those fun effects you can do to ghosts.

I think the camera is original and works. Most of my friends are too freaked out by ghosts and miss the photograph though. You see, the best thing in this game is that you HAVE to wait for the ghost to get close enough, face to face with the camera, for your picture to actually do any damage to it. Because of that you can’t run, you have to stand your ground and let the ghost come to you. Best horror game idea, so simple too!

Now the first Fatal Frame, when I played it I was horrified to see that if I ran out of film…I actually ran out of film. I did have problems with that.

Miku

In the first Fatal Frame you play a girl named Miku. You’re looking for your adorable older brother brother Mafuyu who wandered into a haunted mansion looking for his tutor and the tutor brought some editor and AH IT’S A WHOLE LINE OF PEOPLE LOOKING FOR EACH OTHER.

I could see why Fatal Frame 2 was more popular when I played Fatal Frame 1. I think in Fatal Frame 1 the creators were just testing the waters of possibility. The game is still freaking incredible though. I’d say the characters and ghosts are not as memorable as Fatal Frame 2, but that didn’t make the story any less amazing and easy to get invested in.

Do not get me wrong. This game is scary. To prove it, here is a video of Brad from 4playerprodcast playing the 1st Fatal Frame getting scared 3 times in just 1 minute.

This is what Fatal Frame is like when it comes to scaring you. Things pop out at you, little things like doors slamming as you walk up to them…all that fun stuff.

Since it’s the bosses that make the game. Kirie is known as the rope maiden and she…is not as freaky as Sae. But still pretty freaky!

Kirie before she became scary. The man is someone she loved…and he looks exactly like Mafuyu

I’d say out of all the Fatal Frame ghosts, the main boss in Fatal Frame 1 is one of the ghosts that I felt most sympathetic for. The ending to this Fatal Frame is also my favorite ending out of all the Fatal Frames. Most endings kind of have a dark feel to them, but the one for this game felt sweet, a little sad, and hopeful.

Fatal Frame 3, The Tormented is when stories start getting really complicated. You play three different characters. Miku, from the first game! Kei, who is actually Mio and Mayu’s uncle! And Rei, whose fiance just died in a car crash.

The reason Fatal Frame 3 is so complicated isn’t because you play as three different people…but I still don’t quite understand everything about the plot and characters in the place you get spirited away to.

You don’t exactly get spirited away…rather…you go to this mansion in your dreams. Yep, Rei goes to sleep and wakes up in this creepy Fatal Frame mansion with ghosts and rooms to explore like that other games. The big difference this creates is that…you can wake up.

Your room in your house after you wake up.

This was very creative on the scare factor in this game. Your house seems like a nice happy place, modern, there is a cat, TV, nothing like the haunted mansion you explore in your dreams. Safe from being scared right? You would be dead wrong. The further in the game you get…the more your dreams start manifesting in the real world.

You wake up and a ghost is by your side on the bed. You see ghosts watching you through your windows. You open your closet to see a little girl ghost sitting inside! IT’S FREAKING TERRIFYING. The worst scare when once when you look at your mirror in your bathroom and it’s smeared with blood…and you walk up to it…AND OH GOD THE MEMORIES.

Kei

Negative parts of the 3rd Fatal Frame is that I actually think there is too much going on at once. Everyone, Miku, Kei, and Rei go to the Mansion of Sleep, Dreams, or whatever and it’s complicated. Kei looks like the bosses lover…he’s looking for Mio from Fatal Frame 2 who is dying from the dreams. Miku is looking for her brother. Rei is looking for her fiance. Oh look, it’s another big scramble of people trying to find each other.

The boss of Fatal Frame 3, is Reika, also known as the Tattooed Priestess.

Reika

Oh yeah, the dreams eventually kill you. If the boss, Reika, touches you , then you wake up with a tattoo that eventually takes over and turns you to ash. What spirits away people to the mansion of sleep? Well…survivors guilt. I am still unclear why. I am still unclear about a lot of things in Fatal Frame 3. But unforgettable ghosts, scares, I loved it.

Fatal Frame 4, Mask of the Lunar Eclipse isn’t sold in the United States. I do not know why but after getting so invested in the series I had to have it. I mean, LOOK AT THE AMAZING TRAILER!

Also…Fatal Frame 4 is for Wii while all the others are for ps2. But you know what? I still got it. A friend of mine went to Japan and owned a Wii. We downloaded subtitles and the game, like all the others, is AMAZING.

Unfortunately we still have the same complication of stuff going on like we did in Fatal Frame 3. You play as three different characters, a detective Choushiro (who uses a flashlight…to take pictures), a girl looking for her lost memories from when she was kidnapped named Ruka, another girl who is in the same situation as Ruka named Misaki. You play another girl named Madoka in the beginning but she doesn’t last very long.

Choushiro with the flashlight

Okay, the flashlight camera weapon was the coolest thing ever. Created by the same man who created the Camera Obscura, Dr. Asou. Every time you take a picture with your flashlight, it sounds like a gunshot and there is a bright light and it’s awesome.

I hate the Wii, that is why I don’t own a Wii. The controls made certain things really hard for me. Like playing the piano at the end. At the end of the game, at the final fight…you beat the boss and then play a tune on the piano. If you fail at playing the piano tune then the boss comes back and you have to beat her again! I had to beat her so many more times than necessary because of the Wii controls with that piano tune.

The game is more beautiful than any of the past Fatal Frames and more western. It actually takes place in an insane asylum where there are doorknobs and carpets rather than tatami floors and sliding doors.

There are unforgettable places and ghosts just like the other Fatal Frames. Ayako was a demon child who scared the shit out of me. No, what scared me the most was this woman ghost who wore a Victorian mourning dress and walked around rolling a crimson wheelchair with a human-sized doll sitting in it. When I saw that bright red wheelchair suddenly appear behind me, I freaked out.

Sakuya

The boss ghost is a woman named Sakuya, she doesn’t have a face as a ghost. We do have flashbacks where we see her real face. But there is something really strange. Everyone who lived in the asylum had a disease called Luna Sudata syndrome and that this thing called budding, them blooming. When people bloom, they don’t have a face and…it’s just confusing. There is a chance it was just bad subtitles but I think it’s like Fatal Frame 3, where too much was going on for everything to make complete sense.

You Haibara

Also Fatal Frame does not usually have a villain but that changes in the 4th game. The villain is You Haibara, the man who kidnapped Ruka, Misaki, and Madoka, and some other girls when they were little and used them for a ritual. What I love is that…you actually start to wonder if the man is freaking dead or not! When you play as Choushiro, the detective, You appears and does things that Fatal Frame ghosts don’t normally do. He taunts you and runs, he had this horrible sly smile while getting away too!

Anyway, now that the four games have been summarized…what do they all have in common?

I made a list of rules in the Fatal Frame Universe. Here they are.

1. All the bosses are women.

2. No Fatal Frame man survives.

3. You will feel sympathetic for the boss by the end of the game.

4. EVERYONE IS DEAD BECAUSE A RITUAL FAILED AND HELL BROKE THROUGH

The fourth rule of the Fatal Frame universe is actually really fascinating. The rituals made up for these games are unforgettable, disturbing, and are a large basis for the back story of most of the ghosts in Fatal Frame.

Every single Fatal Frame, the reason there are ghosts is because of the fourth rule.

In Fatal Frame 1, a girl is sacrificed by having her ankles, neck, and wrists bound in rope and pulled until her body breaks apart. Then those ropes are used for sealing a gate to Hell.

In Fatal Frame 2, one twin is forced to strangle the other in a ritual. The one that is killed gets thrown into a pit to Hell to pacify it.

In Fatal Frame 3, a Reika is tattooed and nailed down into a shrine to stop Hell that seemed to just be across a body of water. (we never see what’s on the other side of the mysterious shores).

In Fatal Frame 4, a Sakuya is forced to wear a mask that takes over your mind and dance to satisfy Hell, which by the way we see as A VORTEX PORTAL IN THE OCEAN.

These are only the main rituals of Fatal Frame, there are many many many. But the ones I just listed are the ones that failed and the ones that create Fatal Frame rules 1 and 3, the bosses are all female and you will feel sorry for them. Usually the reason the ritual fails is because of how the women felt as they died. Sae had too much anger and sorrow. Kirie was in love and was not ready to die. Reika also fell in love and was not invested in her “destiny”. Sakuya failed due to her fear and confusion and “blooming” (I still don’t completely understand blooming). It’s all really powerful stuff when you play the games.

Yes, NO MAN survives Fatal Frame. I won’t get into detail about that.

I’ve played all these games many times because the replay value is high. When you beat the game on certain difficulties, you unlock costumes and different endings. Also there are “passive” ghosts that you can collect on a ghost list. GOTTA CATCH THEM ALL.

Anyway, Fatal Frame has left a huge impression on me. Beautiful in every aspect, story, characters, atmosphere, and still can haunt me at night. Give it a try.

Amaterasu

 

If someone asks me what my favorite video game of all time is, there is a good chance my answer will be Okami. This game is unforgettable of it’s creativity, characters, and story. The atmosphere is all about Japan, it’s culture, and mythology. Let’s dive in shall we?

 

The land of Nippon (otherwise known as the English butchery word for Japan in Japanese) is in grave danger by an ancient evil(s). In the chaos of darkness taking over the land, a cherry blossom spirit brings back to life the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. This isn’t the Goddesses true form though, nope, she in the form of a wolf because I guess that’s just how she decided to appear in the world of mortals.Your goal is basically to save Nippon from the ancient evil (that you have a past with) plaguing the land.

Cherry Blossom Spirit Sakuya

So what’s it like being a Goddess in the form of a wolf? I say it’s perfect in originality and sets part of the atmosphere that I love in this game. Being a Goddess in the form of a wolf brings in this feeling that things are always greater than they seem.

 

Being a wolf effects the way people interact with you, and how you interact with them. Back in the historical period of Japan this game is set in, wolves (especially white wolves) are seen as sacred. Because of that, most villages and characters treat you with kindness and respect. And of course you can’t talk to them, you’re a wolf! Instead the character talk to you. Since they don’t know of your name or that you’re a Goddess, they often give you nicknames like Whitey, Snowy, Pooch, or Mutt. They pet you, you can bite them, there is this whole playful appearance mixed with sacred nature aspect about the whole interaction with people in this game that I love.

 

Screenshot of Kushi petting Amaterasu

 

Of course you’re not a lone wolf, you do have a partner. The rather annoying, perverted, bug-sized sprite named Issun. When I first met the character I gave a long sigh and didn’t want him to accompany me through the game. But actually, the character kinda grew on me. He wasn’t a boring character. He had feelings, flaws, and developed. His perverted nature actually did make me laugh now and then. He was needed to communicate between Amaterasu and the other characters since Amaterasu can’t talk being a wolf and all. But he didn’t do it so often that it took away the interactions I love.

 

Amaterasu with Issun

 

Okay, I’ll cut straight into what makes the game what it is…and that is the graphics and design. The entire game looks like a Japanese painting! The lines, colors, and characters are all look like they’ve been creations of paintbrush and ink! Everything is just simply that! You look at the trees and they look like something out of a storybook. The background has swirls for wind and drawn mountains. The faces of the character’s aren’t detailed, they are kept simple and yet show so much character just by looking at them. Like Mr. and Mrs. Orange have oranges sitting on their heads, Himiko wears a crown of flames, Waka wears a ridiculous hat with wings and stilt-like shoes, and that kid with a dragonfly on a leash! There is just so much creativity in this game!

Mr. and Mrs. Orange

 

Along with the painting-like world, guess how you fight beasts and save Nippon? You paint! Amaterasu’s tail doesn’t have a odd black tip for no reason, nope, her tail is literally a paint brush. Paint a circle in the sky and you can make sun rise, paint a swirl and you make wind, paint a slash and you can chop a tree down, draw from water to a person and you can get them wet! Amaterasu’s God powers are done by painting. At the push of a button, time stands still, and you can paint. This puts the creativity of the game to a whole other level. But it’s not so easy, you have to find and learn all the paintbrush techniques as you go through the game. You don’t know them from the start.

Painting a circle around a tree to make it bloom

Some of Amaterasu's weapons

Painting isn’t the only thing you use though. Amaterasu also carries weapons of sorts from swords, to rosemary beads, to shields. Unlike painting though, there are few possibilities with them. Like any ordinary fighting game you can slash and block.

Ninetails

The monsters in this game are unforgettable. I’ll never forget orochi, the dragon with eight heads and a mountain for a body. The spider who is half woman.  Blight, the disease taking over the Emperors body. The nine-tailed fox that tricks you. Those are just examples of the boss fights though. The creatures you commonly battle are just as creative. There are imps who play musical instruments and use them to fight you, elemental wheels with a nose, ear, eye, or whatever at their center.  There are crows that have combined with the souls of dead swordsmen. There are huts on legs you fight!

Another thing in combat I find amusing is that when entering a battle, a wall of Kanji traps you. Kanji! I was studying kanji in school while playing this game and kanji are really difficult to memorize.

Most people aren’t too familiar with Japanese mythology. Me being on of the lucky ones, was blown away by how much Japanese mythos and culture was put into this game. It is just as based on Japanese myth as God of War is based on Greek myth. Amaterasu is a Shinto Goddess for one, that everyone basically understands. But did you know that the character Susano is based off the storm God of Shinto myth? Did you know that Waka is based off of a historical swordsman named Minamoto no Yoshitsune who was called Ushiwakamaru in his childhood. In the Japanese version he is known as Ushiwaka and in the American version he is known as just Waka. Bet you didn’t know that did you?

Waka

What else of Japanese history, culture, and myth is to be found in this game? The bosses Nechku and Necku are based off twin owl demons in Ainu lore and there is a legend of them kidnapping Amaterasu but she is saved by an Ainu warrior, who appears as Oki in the game. Mr. and Ms. Cutter are based off a legend about a jealous wife cutting out the tongue of a crow her husband was nursing back to health. The nine-tailed fox is based off a legend of a young woman who was beautiful and good at everything and turned out to be a kitsune (also known as a fox demon) who was making the Emperor sick as a plot to steal his throne.

 

Well, there is a lot. I could write about the myths forever. Now I want to write about my one problem about the game, IT’S TOO EASY.

 

Yep, the game is too easy. Only once on my first play through did I die, and you know what? When I died I came straight back to life in the middle of the fight because I had four filled astral pouches. In this game you start out with one pouch that you fill with food. Once filled with like 200 scraps of easy-to-come-by food (I could just headbutt people, chop down trees, break things and I’d get so much food!) then that pouch is automatically used to bring you back to life IF you die is with practically IMPOSSIBLE.

Okay, impossible is over the top. You can die, but I never did. When I don’t die once in a game, I feel like there is a problem. I’m the type of person who wants to feel like the game as some difficulty so that when I beat certain parts, I feel a little warm inside. In the middle of a fight if I’m low on healthy, I could actually just cut some grass and get health from that if not use the items I NEVER USE BECAUSE THE GAME IS TOO EASY.

The game does make up for this however. In this game there are one hundred beads scattered throughout Nippon. Some you find, some people give you after you accomplish a task, and finding these beads will give you the power of immortality, AS THOUGH I DIDN’T FEEL IMMORTAL ALREADY.

 

Getting these hundred beads were difficult. This is when I discovered that difficulty in this game has nothing to do with combat except once when I had to get a certain bead by going through a demon gate which I think showed me a glimpse of hell but that’s not the point. The difficulty is in knowing what to do and using your brain on certain tasks.

 

Now I’ll tell you the most difficult thing in this game that got a crown. THOSE BLOCKHEADS. These creatures are truly from the deepest corners of Hell. They block your way as you hit them and suddenly you see a bunch of weak spots glitter on their bodies for a matter of seconds. You’re supposed to take your paintbrush and put some ink on all those weak points in the correct order. Think of it as a memory game. They were not hard till I got to the last one.

BLOCKHEADS!!!

The last one was optional but he guarded one of those sacred beads I wanted so…I ENDURED THIS TRAGIC BATTLE THAT WASN’T EVEN A BATTLE. Over and over I hit him, he showed his weak points, and I painted on those spots. I went as far as to get my friend to mark the TV screen where each weak spot was. WHEN THAT DOESN’T WORK YOU KNOW SOMETHING IS TERRIBLY WRONG. I VIDEO TAPED IT AND THAT DIDN’T WORK.

 

Yes…I got it eventually. But that part left a scar on my brain.

Orochi

The replay value of this game is incredibly high. After beating the game you get rewards that you keep and can have in your next playthrough. Not just that but is game is LONG. It can be about sixty hours of your time. And I say it’s time worth spent.

Okami is an amazing game. You’ll never play anything like it…unless you play Okamiden but that’s basically Okami with a pacifier. If you own a playstation 2 or WII then PLAY OKAMI. If you need some amazing storytelling, atmosphere,   and have an artistic passion…then you need to play this game!

 

I’ve been watching a lot of critics lately and have become a fan of judging things for other peoples amusement. After watching a lot of Nostalgia Critic and Zero Punctuation, I decided it may be fun if I myself gave a shot at reviews. What am I reviewing? Video games.

I’m beginning with a game that many people, gamers and non-gamers alike have heard of, and that is God of War. This game is acclaimed by Gamespy as the “best action game ever to grace ps2 “.

This was the one of the first games I ever played on a playstation2 and like the majority, I loved it. I couldn’t buy it without my parents around because let’s get this very clear here…God of War is GRAPHIC. But I’ll get more into that later.

Let’s start with the whole basis of the game. You play a war scarred in every sense of the word power-thirsty Spartan General named Kratos. Kratos has a goal to destroy Aries, the God of War…hence the title of the series.

We learn more about why Kratos wants to kill Aries as the game progresses. It turns out that in the midst of a battle that the Spartan army was losing, Kratos prayed to Aries to defeat his enemies and in return he’d serve him. Rather reckless but understandable as you become more familiar with the characters personality. Aries comes down and destroys the enemy army and Kratos keeps his word and serves the God of War.

He serves Aries for a while. He is bounded in chains attatched to blades that are now a permanent part of him. The day came where he, by tragic accident, kills his own wife and daughter while serving to destroy a village Aries sent him to. Aries knew this and believed the family made Kratos weak, thus Kratos vows revenge.

With back story down, it’s rather simple, the other Gods of Greek mythology such as Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, Hades, and so on aid Kratos in this quest. They give him tasks and in return they give him some of their powers.

The action in God of War is unforgettable. You begin right in the middle of action. The first boss battle is a freaking Hydra! It is a roller coaster ride with no calm spots, it’s all pure adrenaline and you’re fingers will ache from button mashing. Don’t get me wrong, I love a button mashing game, but the quick-time events actually force me to take a break for the love of my hands.

The locations of the games are unforgettable as well. From Pandora’s Temple that sits on the back of the Titan Cronos, to Athens, Mt. Olympus, to the Desert of Lost Souls, to Hell itself, to Gaia the Titans very own heart! Every location is creative, true to the mood of the game, and put me in awe every time. This story is basically an epic, and expect everything about it to be EPIC. It’s about Gods, GREEK Gods and the creators of the series matched the locations and situations to fit the Gods and Greek mythology perfectly.

Now this series is bloody, skull-crushing, rip a centaur’s insides out violent. Even though I played as Kratos and should feel relieved about defeating my enemies, I felt sorry for them! Kratos is a man of destruction and does anything no matter how vile to get what he wants. If you’re just a panicked civilian caught between Kratos and one of the things he’s fighting, you’re going to get sliced and diced! I would cringe at the things Kratos did.

Hell, I remember at one point when I moved Kratos across a burning building I saw a civilian screaming for help at their window and I pressed a button to reach out to them. For a moment, for just a precious moment I thought Kratos was going to help but instead he tore the man out of the window, bashed his face into the wall, and threw him down.

It’s not just violence but sex. Kratos has sex with people, you never really see anything, but you sure know what’s going on. Sex is actually quick-time event that gains Kratos experience, I actually found that really cheesy for some reason.

Out of the God of War series, I’ve played games 1, 2, and 3. I ignored that DS stuff because when I think DS, I don’t think of God of War! I think of stuff like Cooking Mama and Pokemon. Not bashing siren’s heads in, having sex with goddess Aphrodite, and stampeding over civilians!

I already told you the basics of the 1st game. Spoilers ahead, I’m going to speak about the next two as well.

Kratos defeats Aries and replaces him as the new God of War. Kratos did so well at his job that the other Gods started to fear him…and well…Zeus sent Kratos to Hell. Amusingly this is the second time Kratos has died and visited Hell only to break out.

Zeus

Conclusion to Kratos: KILL ZEUS. A sort of charming thing takes place though. While Kratos worked with the Greek Gods in the first game, now he works with the fallen Titans we know and love from Greek Mythology. Gaia acts as his knew Athena, telling him what he must do to obtain his goal.

The game is basically the same as the first, just adding to the story. It’s still basically raining blood and button mashing chaos. We get introduced for more characters from Greek myths and see new locations. There is little more to say about the second game. The mechanics are the same, as they should be because they work so well.

Hades

The third game, I won’t give too much spoilers but let’s just say…Kratos failed at killing Zeus. With an army of Titans, he is making his final confrontation with not just Zeus, but ALL the Greek Gods. The first boss battle is with freaking Poseidon! My jaw was dropped the entire fight! The third game hit the ball for me. The completion of the story truly made the game for me.

The best part about the God of War series is well…Kratos himself!

The crowning achievement of this game is Kratos himself as a character. From what I hear, the designers of the game had a completely different idea of him when they started working on him. Eventually they came to the conclusion, “this guy is going to do terrible things. We shouldn’t hesitate at making him a terrible man.” There is nothing Kratos can’t do, why? Because he’s an awful human being! He sacrifices everything to get what he wants, he kills a helpless injured man, he burns a trapped soldier alive, the reason he’s so powerful is because he is so BAD.

Kratos and his family

Kratos is even probably on my list of greatest antiheros. This guy isn’t just you’re cruel, heartless, run-of-the-mill war-polished bastard. The guy has a tragic story, he has feelings, the reason he’s so white is because his wife and daughter’s ashes became his new skin for god’s sake! He has back story with regrets that make us not utterly hate and fear him. He actually is a sympathetic character. Being a powerful but tormented man, the Gods and Titans take advantage of him all the time. You realize rather quickly that the reason the Titans and Gods are helping him is because he’s doing all their shit for them. Kratos never catches a break, everything either wants to kill him or use him as a tool.

I’ll admit though, there was absolutely NO character development for Kratos till the 3rd game. Till the third game Kratos was absolutely predictable. I knew when he met people that they would either run away, or be dead. When Zeus killed him and he went to Hell, I knew Zeus was the new Aries. But when the character development came in the third game…it was PERFECT.

Kratos being concerned about Pandora

Development is what makes a character not boring. A character can’t just have flaws to interest us but those flaws need to be TESTED. The little girl Pandora that had to be sacrificed to open a box Kratos needed to defeat Zeus was the perfect test. My heart skipped a beat when I saw Kratos, who I’ve gotten to know so well, act worried about someone. He actually cared about this little girl. And it wasn’t cheesy because he had a reason, Pandora reminded him of his own daughter.

Without Kratos, there is no God of War. So he is the best thing about this game.

Next we have both Gods, legendary people from Greek myths, and Titans as the opposing force of this story. Aries made a kind of boring villain to me. He’s the God of War so he destroys things, and that…is all he basically does. I didn’t really feel hatred, annoyance, fear, or even awe for the God.

Athena

I didn’t know how to feel about Zeus as a villain. And I got REALLY confused when we find out that Kratos is Zeus’s son. I didn’t think that was a necessary element to the story. Athena does explain that Zeus wants to kill Kratos out of fear that Kratos will destroy him as Zeus himself destroyed Cronos (his father). Athena said there cycle is a cycle of fear and struggle for power between father and son. That made sense…but something didn’t feel right. Why did we not know about this? Why did Kratos not know?! In the end of the 3rd game though a whole other reason for the struggle between Zeus and Kratos comes up, a much more clear reason that actually ties in all the events in the previous games! After that I stand by that the writers didn’t need Kratos to be Zeus’s son. The things that made him so scary and epic was that he was a man…and he was going on a God killing-spree! We didn’t need to make him the son of freaking Zeus!

That's Kratos in-between Cronos's fingers!

The 3rd game (and I tell you it is the best one!) contains boss battles with both Gods and Titans that are unforgettable, each of then different and creative to whom Kratos is fighting. The spartan actually crawls all over the colossus of a Titan Cronos, stabbing his fingernails, dried skin, and shining bright lights into the his eyes! He rips the sun God Helios’s head from his body AND AFTERWARDS CAN USE IT AS A FLASHLIGHT!

Gameplay, I liked fighting. Having Kratos swing his blades around makes the combat feel at ease but intense at the same time. You can sometimes choose to finish off an opponent with quick-time events, and sometimes the only way to defeat them is with quick-time events. I’ll admit, it was God of War that introduced quick-time events to me. In boss battles, the music, the visuals, you cannot play with a calm heart and mind. You are into it and you’re twitching during the quick-time events.

Leveling up with experience is pretty easy. I do think they went a little overboard with how many weapons and other shiny blood-spattered things Kratos picks up on his journey to level-up.

The game is challenging. It is nice because in the few games I play these days I actually don’t stuck in anymore, but it’s refreshing to be stuck and challenged! But when I got stuck, I would get really stuck, and I hate quitting and I never rage-quit…I sulk-quit. And EVERY FREAKIN TIME I DIED THE GAME ASKED ME IF I WANTED TO PLAY ON EASY-MODE. I HATE EASY MODE. EASY MODE IS FOR THE WEAK. But that’s just me.

To close this up I must say if I met a gamer, or actually, ANYONE who loves action they must look at God of War. In fact, anyone into Greek mythology should check-out God of war. Anyone who loves stories like me should look at God of War. Because this games strengths that make it what it is are action, Greek mythology, and story. And don’t play one of the three main ones without playing the other two. It would be like watching only two of the Lord of the Rings movies. This game gets a 9.7 out of 10.

I usually keep my identity as a gamer and my writing separate. At this time though, I want to dwell on a recent happening that caught the attention of both the gamer and the writer in me.

Mass Effect is a trilogy of games (some books as well) made by Bioware. Bioware probably made the best games for me, being a writer I have great respect for the games. Their games such as Dragon Age and Mass Effect are about more than gameplay, they are about story and character.

Mass Effect is a role-playing game, which means the gamer makes decisions and the game has consequences to the choices. Let’s say two races of aliens are at war, you can encourage the fighting…or try to get them to reconcile, decisions like this are common in role-playing games. Later on since you encouraged fighting, perhaps many characters die. Or if you try to get them to reconcile then they work together to build a community that will later help you on your quest. It works pleasantly like real-life, showing gamers that actions give an effect…or even a Mass Effect! (sorry for the bad pun).

Anyways, the phenomenon I have currently witnessed that I want to dwell on is recently the final Mass Effect game came out and…the ending unsettled a great majority of the fans. I myself was one of these fans. I enjoyed the game till the last five minutes. I always wondered how important endings were in stories, now I learned how important they truly are.

I won’t get into detail about why the ending was bad because to know why it was bad you’d have to know and care about the games. What I will say is that the end gave all of us many questions that couldn’t be answered. When the game ended it felt like epic sacrifices, love, promises, and so much effort was answered with nothing. Fans say the ending makes them never want to play a Mass Effect game again.

It’s not like the fans desired a happy ending and just can’t handle a sad one, that is not the issue.  The beginning of issue I identified is that Bioware said they wanted the end to be, “unforgettable”. It seemed to be going towards that direction, but at the end it was unforgettable because it was so unsatisfying. It’s like Harry Potter ending with Voldemort being justified for his actions.

Plot holes I identified are because the story is truly lacking conclusion to what we care about. All the ending to the game provides the fans is a incredibly vague conclusion to the state of the universe. What the fans grew with were the characters, the alien races, and their stories. The game ended on a note that had little to no explanation and the fans were in the dark to what they really cared about the invested their feelings into.

The minority of the fans who are satisfied with the game tell the ones who are unhappy to “look at the big picture”. What I realize is that we can’t. People can’t look at the big picture of a story when we lived getting to know of all the little pictures that made up that big picture. I was even touched by the quote a character in the game said, “I made a mistake! I looked a big picture. Failed to realize big picture is made of little pictures.” Now I truly know what that means. The fans care about the little pictures.

What shocks me is the amount of protest the fans actually have to the games ending. So many petitions and even a charity raise is being made to get Biowares attention of how much they disliked the ending and desire it to be changed.

In games there is downloadable content that can be bought and downloaded into the game. The fans are shouting to Bioware for a better ending to be released as downloadable content. Bioware is waiting for more people to play the game and say they are listening to the feedback.

Honestly, I think it would be a miracle if Bioware created a different ending. As a writers though, I think they should be pleased with themselves. That is not sarcasm in the least. The fans are mad because they LOVE the series, they LOVE the characters, and they CARE about how the story ends so passionately.

I would love to work with the team and rise up to the challenge to please the fans. Not write a different ending, but show the “little pictures” that the fans care about and give explanation. Such passion to the story should be answered, I’d give them satisfaction to the journey they’ve made and loved.

Anyway, it’s something to think about. I keep my eyes open and will be listening with curiosity to see what the professionals do about such a touching uproar.

 

For more information about the uprising:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17444719