Tag Archives: narrative

From the Archives: Thou Art the Innocent Blade, Demonbane!

“From the hate-scorched sky, with righteous anger in our hearts, we draw forth the sword that smites Evil! Thou art the innocent blade! DEMONBANE!”

This is one of the most iconic, regularly-occurring quotes from Nitroplus’ visual novel Deus Machina Demonbane, and it doesn’t get any less thrilling each time you hear it — even as the game stretches on and on well past the 20-hour mark.

By the end of the game, you’ll be triumphantly bellowing it along with protagonists Kurou and Al as they prepare, once again, to smite Evil with the titular metal monster.

This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.

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Grisaia: Michiru – The Girl in the Box

Matsushima Michiru is one of Grisaia’s most unusual, interesting characters, initially appearing to be present primarily for comic relief, but subsequently showing herself to be a complex, fascinating character with a considerable amount of depth.

We’re first introduced to Michiru in the common route of The Fruit of Grisaia, when protagonist Yuuji comes across her doing vocal exercises in an empty classroom, closely followed by her practicing bellowing out stock tsundere phrases such as “i-it’s not like I’m doing this for you or anything” and “d-don’t misunderstand!”

Already well aware by this point that his new classmates are a little on the peculiar side, Yuuji doesn’t probe too deeply into the matter, but it’s immediately obvious whenever Michiru interacts with Yuuji or her other classmates that her tsundere personality isn’t who she really is; rather, it’s a façade she’s putting up for reasons that, at the outset of the story, aren’t entirely clear.

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Grisaia: Makina – The Girl in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

We see a lot of different aspects to heroine Irisu Makina over the course of Grisaia’s complete story to date.

Initially, she’s presented as a shy, young-looking girl — a self-professed “loli” — who has difficulty trusting new people, so she finds it difficult to interact with protagonist Yuuji, who is himself not the easiest person to get along with at times.

It doesn’t take long for Yuuji to convince her out of her shell, though, and our hero subsequently finds himself an important part of the complete group of friends attending Mihama Academy — and an important part of Makina’s life.

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From the Archives: Why Do We Play?

A philosophical question for you today, prompted by a thought-provoking discussion I had with a friend the other evening.

It’s a particularly interesting question with regard to visual novels, which are regarded by some as not being “games” in the traditionally-understood sense, but it also applies to the interactive entertainment medium as a whole.

The question is a pretty fundamental one for anyone who chooses to make gaming part of their life, whether it’s as a casual hobby, something they share with friends or their favorite form of entertainment.

It’s this: Why do we play?

This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.

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From the Archives: A Question of Genre

How do you describe a piece of interactive entertainment? Chances are the first thing you mention is the way it plays, or the supposed “genre” it is part of.

Final Fantasy is a JRPG; Gears of War is a third-person shooter; Mario games are platformers. And this isn’t only true for mainstream games, either — even the most esoteric indie games tend to be described in terms of their mechanics. Fez is a puzzle-platformer; The Binding of Isaac is a roguelike shooter; Minecraft is an open-world building and survival sim.

While you may then elaborate on that by describing the setting — sci-fi, fantasy, cartoonish crazytown — it’s highly likely that this is not the first thing you mention. Interactive entertainment is pretty much the only artistic medium in which we do this.

This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.

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Nights of Azure: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation

Nights of Azure is one of Gust’s most mechanically interesting games — particularly in how much it differs from the company’s usual output — but it also has a fascinating, ambitious narrative.

Combining a deeply personal tale with a more conventional JRPG-style “save the world” narrative, the overall atmosphere of the game is very distinctive and quite unlike your average JRPG, if such a thing exists. It blends drama, romance, action, horror and mystery together to create something altogether unique that is very much worth experiencing.

And it pulls the whole thing off with such wonderful style, such a beautifully clear sense of its own identity, that you can’t help but be compelled by the tale it tells.

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Final Fantasy XV: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation

Final Fantasy XV drew some raised eyebrows from certain quarters for its focus on an all-male cast, but this was a specific decision made in order to support the overall tone and character of the story.

Despite what this might sound like, however, Final Fantasy XV does not make any particular effort to explore concepts such as traditional (or indeed “toxic”) masculinity and the like. In fact, at numerous points over the course of its narrative, it subverts expectations through the interactions between its main cast and the supporting characters.

Not only that, unlike most previous Final Fantasy titles, the experience is not intended purely to be judged on its main scenario. Instead, as we explored last time, much like other Japanese attempts at open-world games such as the Xenoblade Chronicles series, the intention is clearly to build up a comprehensive picture of how the game world as a whole works, supporting the main scenario with numerous intertwining side stories and background lore to create a setting that feels well-crafted and truly alive.

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