There’s nothing worse than seeing a game not getting the love it deserves. If you’re thinking to yourself, “I’ve never heard of this Child of Light game,” you’re not alone: the game was barely advertised and most—if not all—publicity was generated by word of mouth. This isn’t any surprise; I mentioned in an earlier post how games directed more towards a female audience receive much less advertising in general than games that are clearly intended for a more male-centric audience. And unless produced by a larger name developer, indie games don’t really get advertised anyway. Though Child of Light has that indie feel, it doesn’t change the fact that the game was still produced by Ubisoft. Not only that, but by their largest development studio—Ubisoft Montreal—as well. There’s no excuse for the lack of company generated buzz. I mean, look at it: wouldn’t you want to hype this game?
For the longest time, fans of Mass Effect have reveled in the backstories, culture and xenobiology of the various alien races that comprise the universe, and while to say that the game doesn’t have its fair share of badass females would be a gross understatement, a problem remained: where are the female aliens? Of course, there are the asari, but for all intents and purposes, they’re blue human females with magic. And there was the Dalatrass (a female salarian), but that was only one blatantly female character out of the entire race. The fans want more. We want to see what both genders, if viable, of the species look like. Bioware seems to have heard our wish. On November 27th, Bioware is releasing the anticipated Omega DLC pack which features a female turian.
Out of every race, turian seems like the most obvious in showcasing both genders. For one, we already know that female turians exist as your crewmate, Garrus, speaks of one that he trained with before joining C-Sec. For another, the design and their place in the culture have already been determined. In opposition to, say, a female drell which we know exists but nothing more, female turians are known to be held to the same societal standards as their male counterparts and are just as involved in their war-hardened mindset. At first glance, this seems to be the case with this new character, Nyreen.
In fact, Aria herself describes her as ex-military. This puts her on footing with Garrus and gives her that renegade sense. What made her leave her blood-given post? Did she find something inherently wrong with the system, or did Nyreen just want to do things her way without the military bureaucracy breathing down her neck? Whatever it was, she would have to be a total badass to have the recognition from Aria that she does. Let’s not forget that Aria was the previous boss/mayor/queen (if you’re feeling dramatic) of the dirty, gang-run city of Omega who was only forced from her throne when Cerberus troops ambushed her, and not without leaving dent in said troops. So the fact that Nyreen has a past with this powerful woman (and is still alive) speaks volumes about her character. The universe can never have enough kick-ass women, after all.
Now, while the fandom is having a field day picking out everything they can from the trailers and forming their own early headcanons, there’s also a bit of a controversy going on with her character design. This being that Nyreen seems to have breasts.
Turians, as a race, are largely based on tweaked avian physiology and as a non-mammalian race, the use for things such as breasts would be non-existent and thusly (hopefully) removed by eons of evolution. Also, given that turians previously have stated that breasts are “funny bumps that get in the way”, the implications of turian females having these bumps are potentially canon-breaking. Seriously, this series doesn’t need any more of that, especially not after the trainwreck that was the Deception novel. Beyond this, however, is the implication that to be considered female, one must adhere to certain standards derived from the human male gaze. Why would an alien female have breasts? Because, in the mindset of the target audience, boobies are awesome and fun to look at. That is essentially the reason for the asari to have breasts: it’s said in the lore that the appearance of asari change based on what each race finds attractive, but for an evolutionary stagnant race like the turians, there is simply no excuse to have them.
For now, Patrick Weekes, senior writer for Bioware, has released a tweet saying that what looks like breasts is just armor plating, but it is arguable that he’s just trying to cover someone’s ass. Despite this, I am truly looking forward to playing the DLC when it’s released. Then and only then will I be able to return Omega to its rightful owner and lay this worry to rest, once and for all.
The time has come for me to talk about Dark Souls. It has been on the market for consoles for months, but the PC version only just dropped. Also, it became my new favorite game ever after several hours of play-time back in late April. Dark Souls is an action role-playing game developed by From Software as the spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls, 2009 Game of the Year. I believe Dark Souls is, more than just another great game, a significant and special game which all gaming fans should appreciate even if they don’t play it. It is aptly described as a massively multiplayer, online, single-player game. It is so challenging that its website is preparetodie.com, yet many fans impose progressively more constricting restrictions on themselves to make it harder. Although its Wikipedia page calls the plot minimalistic, Dark Souls features a highly complex and deeply developed plot which continues to generate spirited discussion. It’s a dark fantasy RPG that often feels like survival horror, yet it’s not trendy (maybe that one won’t make sense to anybody else, but I’m so sick of the topical dark fantasy and crappy survival horror that’s been everywhere recently). Because it is easy to describe it in such contradictory and complicated ways, what may be most surprising about Dark Souls is how simple and approachable it really is.
It’s strange, but I find that I discover my most favorite fics while looking for horrendous ones. More-over than any anime or manga series, I take my video game characters seriously. Maybe it’s because I spend time actively watching them grow, getting annoyed at them, alchemizing their stupid weapons that take forever because that one item that it takes is incredibly rare so I have to grind for hours on end. Whatever the reason, if there’s one aspect of the character I find wrong, I will blast the shit out of that fic (this is why I’ve been trying to stay away from video game fics in ‘Fanfiction Follies’).
In my time, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no series—other than the Bioware RPGs—that I love more than the Tales series and the atrocities I’ve seen against some of them make me cry. Most recently, I’ve finished a run through of Tales of Vesperia. There are several things I really like about this game, such as there being no explicit love interest and the enemies (though I’ll be the first to admit that the big bad is pretty lame), but what I love most are the characters. Each and every one of these characters ended up becoming my babies. Even the enemies. Even the thirty-five year old man.
Especially the thirty-five year old man.
The character of Raven is exceedingly complex as you never know what he’s thinking, and even once you think you have it he changes it on you. He’s a lackadaisical “old man”, then he’s a clever spy. Never once is his allegiance crystal clear. He’s a hard character to get down and most people just set him in the comic relief department and confine him to jokingly hitting on every girl he runs across with no real purpose.
This fic doesn’t do that. This fic is, dare I say it, perfect.
Even as a one shot, Cherry chain manages to delve into Raven so perfectly that I actually shed a tear for the tragic soldier. Okay, I shed more than one. The entire story is Raven struggling with his impending death after him and his guild—the guild is actually owned by a 10 year old boy and Raven’s not actually a member, but semantics—save the world from impending doom. In ridding the world of the objects imprisoning the spirits of their world, they also have destroyed the one thing keeping him alive. Of course, his friends aren’t exactly happy that he kept this from them and expend the length of the fic trying to find a way to keep him alive. However, the fic focuses on Raven reflecting on his past and coming to terms with what is, in the end, inevitable.
It’s sad, heartbreaking, but just so wonderful. I loved this fic so much that I actually left the author a comment. That’s saying something. What’s obvious from the moment you open the page is that not only does Cherry have just an amazing amount of respect for the characters, but that they also spent a lot of time researching every facet to make this story have that much more of an impact.
The story occurs post-game and assumes that you’ve played the game, so it may (aka: it will) be confusing if you know nothing of the verse. But the writing is amazing and if you ever feel the need to cry, just skim through this. Find it here at Fanfiction.net.