Doubtless many of us have thought at one point or another what it would be like to lead a “perfect” life, with nothing to worry about, nothing to fear or perhaps even nothing to think about.
A core message at the heart of Our World is Ended is one of true diversity: the acceptance of others, regardless of how unfathomably different they might seem to you and how much of a problem it might seem to bring such disparate elements together — and how those differences, when assembled into something greater than their individual parts, can actually create something incredibly strong.
Continue reading Our World is Ended: The Harmony of Chaos
Immortality or eternal life is often depicted in fiction as some sort of grand, ultimate goal — both for heroes and villains under various circumstances.
Normally, achieving such a lofty ambition involves any combination of magical power, epic quests, battles with mighty gods and/or fairies, but here in boring old reality we’re actually much closer to achieving that goal than you might think — albeit in a rather more mundane manner.
It all depends on your definition of “mortality” and “life”, and that’s one of the more interesting subjects that Our World is Ended explores over the course of its complete runtime.
Continue reading Our World is Ended: Who Wants to Live Forever?
One of the most interesting aspects of Our World is Ended is how it explores the idea of virtual reality and other worlds without following the usual isekai format.
Instead, what we have is an interesting tale where it’s initially not altogether clear what is fantasy and what is reality, and over time we find ourselves questioning whether certain aspects of one or the other might be preferable.
It’s a timely tale, too; with the growth in consumer-grade virtual reality hardware and a variety of companies exploring the possibilities of augmented or mixed reality, Our World is Ended offers an intriguing exploration of both the pleasures and pitfalls of such technology.
Continue reading Our World is Ended: Worlds Apart
A common theme explored throughout the visual novel medium in general is the idea of people not being quite what they appear at first glance.
The reason for this is mostly a practical one: the very nature of the visual novel medium makes deep dives into multifaceted, layered characters a viable thing for creators to explore. Enthusiasts of visual novels are already accustomed to the medium’s slow pace and relatively limited interactivity compared to games with a stronger emphasis on their mechanical components, so writers and developers are more than happy to allow us the opportunity to get to know the main cast extremely intimately.
That doesn’t mean those first impressions the characters set don’t matter, mind you. On the contrary, they are extremely important for setting expectations as to how those characters will behave and interact — and then, in some cases, subverting rather than confirming those expectations. Let’s take a look at how Our World is Ended’s cast presents itself in the early hours of the game as the narrative is getting underway.
Continue reading Our World is Ended: First Impressions are Lasting Impressions
Even among the already niche-interest community of Japanese video games, visual novels tend not to get a ton of hype about them… at least here in the West.
That’s why when a new one comes along and its localisers are confident enough to refer to it as “a new masterpiece of narrative visual novel storytelling”, it’s probably worth taking notice. Of course, it’s pure marketing-speak, but it also demonstrates a certain amount of faith in the product — and perhaps a track record of the game being well-received back in its native territory.
Is Red Entertainment’s Our World is Ended, also known as 俺達の世界わ終っている (Ore-tachi no Sekai wa Owatteiru) worthy of the descriptor “masterpiece”? Only one way to find out!
Continue reading Our World is Ended: Introduction
If one thing has become apparent over the course of exploring the complete Sonic the Hedgehog series, it’s that no-one seems to be able to agree on how to handle it “best”.
We have Sonic Team’s attempts to move the franchise forward with various gameplay styles, new narrative components and a somewhat coherent, consistent narrative that ties in with other forms of media. We have Sonic Lost World’s much-maligned but utterly joyful jaunt into Super Mario-esque territory. And we have probably the most disappointingly “mainstream” opinion: that “Sonic hasn’t been good since the Mega Drive”.
Among other things, the perhaps vain hope of shutting this latter group up is the reason Sonic Mania exists.
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: Everything Old is New Again
Remember back when we explored Sonic 2006 and I suggested that game was an attempt to provide a “big-budget movie” type of Sonic experience? It’s hard not to see Sonic Forces as Sonic Team having another crack at that.
All the major components of “big-budget movie adaptation of popular series” are here: recognisable but somewhat different setting; established characters in unconventional situations; brand-new, original characters designed for newcomers in the audience to attach themselves to; and significantly higher stakes than seen elsewhere in the series as a whole.
If you’re a “once and done” kind of player, you can also probably add “done and dusted in two hours” to that list, too, but rest assured, if you’re the sort of person who likes collectibles, secret levels and objectives, there’s significantly more than that here. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: Take 2