Greetings! This is our weekly GameSided Roundtable feat..."/> Greetings! This is our weekly GameSided Roundtable feat..."/>

GameSided Roundtable: Hype-Deflating Games

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Rebekah Valentine (Twitter)

With the recent release of Ar no Surge, I’ve been thinking about Ar Tonelico a lot lately. Ar Tonelico has the most beautiful music of any game I’ve ever played. Heck, they invented two entire languages just for the series, languages based largely on conveying emotions, a choice that makes both the musician and English major in me dance for joy. I still listen to the music from all three AT games constantly, and finally I had to pick up the game. I read reviews and a brief synopsis; everything pointed to this game being the most fabulous thing ever.

Unfortunately, when I played it…it was painful. The plot and setting itself are really interesting and well-conceived. But the execution is just bad. The game was agonizingly fan servicey, and the Cosmospheres played like a bad dating sim (not what I signed up for). Aurica and Misha were desperately needy and unrealistically dependent on Linar for their identity, which made the choice of which girl’s path to take hollow. I played into the optional third part, hoping Shurelia would make things more interesting, but her Cosmosphere was even worse than the other two. All of the voice acting was melodramatic, and the “cutesy” touches in many of the conversations and bad sexual innuendos distracted from the gravity of important moments.

I didn’t play 2 or 3, but all the games get great reviews and they keep releasing them, so probably I am missing something here, or maybe I just don’t do Japanese games well. Parts of the game were great, I was just so distracted by the badness that it ruined it for me. I think I’ll give Ar no Surge a shot though, if only to listen to that gorgeous soundtrack again as I climb towers and protect the Reyvateils.

Daniel George (Twitter)

Leading up to the big slate of games that came out in the first three months of 2014, there was a lot of hype surrounding March’s releases. South Park: The Stick of Truth, Titanfall and others were generating a great deal of buzz among those in the community. No other title among the hardcore gaming community was as propped up for excitement than Dark Souls II was. The result? Disappointment.

Don’t get me wrong; Dark Souls II is a really good game. Its mechanics still follow the Souls series formula in rewarding the virtue of patience and learning from your mistakes. Its hidden areas, wonderous creatures and enigmatic NPC’s still held the sense of deep lore that you come to expect. The problem, however, is that compared to previous entries in Dark Souls and Demon’s SoulsDark Souls II felt like a lesser imitation.

The world-building felt weakened by mysteriously-placed enemy locations, the use of impossible space required that destroy the practicality and the logic behind area locations and a general lack of variety in the numerous bosses don’t help destroy the “B-Team worked on this while the A-Team worked on Bloodborne” theory. There’s even a boss in the second DLC area that’s an exact copy of a boss from the vanilla game, with all that’s changed is that it’s more powerful and the color blue pallet swap! Finally, the downgrade in graphical capabilities that plagued its launch meant that the hype surrounding Dark Souls II was, perhaps, both a product of extreme disappointment and hurt feelings over “YOU LIED!” (Look for my full review of the game – Post-DLC – in the coming month)

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