Resonance of Fate

Well, I'm moving house soon and money is tight. It's getting harder and harder not to cave in and buy Star Craft II, but I'm a rock. If I can accidentally quit smoking, I'm sure I can consciously not buy Star Craft II. I've played through Dragon Age: Origins and I'm done with that now. Fight Night Round 4 is also starting to get stale, but I look forwards to picking it up again in a few months and it being fresh and entertaining again. It's a game that recycles well.

Nothing else on my shelf has any appeal at the moment, I'm not really in the mood to replay most of them, and the ones I haven't completed (Just Cause 2, Tom Clancey's Endwar, Mirror's Edge and Resonance of Fate) 'aint calling me. It's a shame about Resonance of Fate because I was really enjoying that one. Sadly, while the battle mechanics are new, interesting and hugely entertaining, they wear out pretty fast. And the writing is just... Well, the setting is really good, and I'm sure there's a subtle attack on our increasing dependence on technology, and a very, VERY clever metaphor for environmentalism too, but it seems one member of the writing staff just can't stop making tit jokes. It's a horrible, hideous tumor on what could have been one of the best written, most engaging and deep stories since FFVII- an accolade I do not offer lightly. Instead we get half an hour of intense atmospheric build up, very well executed metaphor and fantastic world crafting (even if the characters are very bland)... followed by a string of puerile boob jokes that a fifteen year old wouldn't find funny. And yes, there are some Dead Or Alive jiggle physics thrown in too.

I'm not a prude, I have no problem with these jokes in and of themselves, but they just clash so horribly with what is otherwise a very mature script. Betamax claims that I get too hung up on the little problems with games, things that “Other people learn to accept”. I'd argue against it, but for the most part he has a point. Still, I maintain that when a problem keeps coming at you over and over and over again, it can be classified as a big issue. Resonance of Fate's writing is one such thing. It's not just the boob jokes, they're an example of the problem. The real issue just lies in the classic anime comedic swing, the tactic of generating laughs by creating ludicrous situations and throwing out comedy stereotypes.

I've always hated comedy anime for that reason- I just don't find Japanese humour funny (Ed is a stain on Cowboy Bebop, without her the whole thing would have been so much better). But the fact they're attempting such regular comedy relief while at the same time having such a layered and engaging story and setting (a wonderful steampunk world) is in and of itself jarring, regardless of how such humour is attempted. Simply put, this is not a world or story that requires comic relief of any variety. The fact these comedy relief scenes are shoe horned into the narrative in such a ham-fisted manner doesn't help. Remember in FFVII when Cloud has to dress up in drag to infiltrate Don Coreno's place? It was a well done bit of comedy relief, it had a logical build up, a funny execution and most importantly even though it was a classic farce, it didn't actually jar with the story. It was worked into it.

In Resonance of Fate, characters sit around talking about the human race and the apocalypse and the reliance on the machine Basel to survive.... fade to black... oh look Zephyr got caught trying to peek at Leanne in the bath! And now he's defending himself by saying she's flat chested. And oh how funny she slaps him across the face. And he has a big hand shaped bruise. I'm sorry, but were you not just running an allegory to global warming? Eh? Now you're cutting to someone who I can only assume is our antagonist and... Dear God I have mental whiplash. This happens about every half hour.

How would you feel if you where watching the Dark Knight and every ten minutes Batman started giggling and doing a funny little jig? Then he went back to normal as if nothing had ever happened. It wouldn't be funny would it? It would be out of place, annoying and detract from the whole movie in a BIG way. That is how Resonance of Fate's story plays out.

I really should listen to Betamax and just try to get past it, but it isn't just the writing that keeps putting me off. Like I said the mechanics, while unlike any other game I have ever played (Innovation? From a JRPG? The horror) just start to wear thin after a few hours. Maybe they'll be something to freshen the formula up if I keep playing though? I don't know, and I just don't feel inclined to risk my time finding out.

I'll probably write a review on Resonance of Fate sometime, or maybe make a video. I can at least talk about the graphics, gameplay and premise a bit. For all it's flaws, it's still a game I think people should try, at the very least just to remind them that there is some real innovation still left in the industry. That and of course you- being the discerning type- will want to know more about this allegedly deep and layered back plot. We shall see.

Wow, this post was supposed to about Crackdown. Sorry. I'll make a proper post on that in a day or two. Suffice to say I just got Crackdown (the original, not the sequel), and I'm having a pretty good time with it! I'd even say as sandbox style blow shit up shooters go, it's actually superior Just Cause 2. Still, I will talk more on this soon.

Until next time.

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