Tag Archives: narrative

Waifu Wednesday: Lenna Charlotte Tycoon

Final Fantasy V, despite being one of the most mechanically solid installments in the series, doesn’t get a ton of love — partly because it got localised very late; partly because the quality of those localisations has varied considerably over time; and partly because in the grand scheme of the franchise as a whole, it’s comparatively bastard hard.

After many, many years of saying “I should probably beat Final Fantasy V sometime”, I am finally working on that goal — specifically by playing it on my totally normal, pristine and absolutely definitely completely stock PlayStation Classic that my brother rather generously bought me for Christmas. (More on all that another day, I feel.) And I thought Lenna — or “Reina” as she’s called in the version of Final Fantasy V I’m playing — was deserving of some love.

So let’s give her some love. Our pink-haired princess is one of Final Fantasy’s most capable heroines, so it’s high time she saw some appreciation, I say!

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Waifu Wednesday: Marion Quinn

Anyone who has ever worked an office job will have doubtless come into contact with the particular archetype that Marion Quinn from the Atelier Dusk trilogy represents.

Perpetually overworked, constantly struggling for recognition and seemingly always lumbered with frustrating, thankless tasks despite being highly competent and intelligent, the Marions out there are the unsung heroes of the world. They’re the people who get things done without making a big fuss; they’re the people who you want to keep on the right side of, because they also tend to be the people who have the real power in the grand scheme of things.

We get a glimpse of Marion’s life in Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Duskfollowed by an opportunity to actually work alongside her in Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky. So let’s give her a bit of love for today, shall we? Office party!

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Waifu Wednesday: Ayesha Altugle

Since we’re moving on to Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk later this week, it is, of course, time to appreciate its wonderful protagonist.

The Dusk trilogy of games in the Atelier series has a markedly different feel and atmosphere to the colourful exuberance of the Arland games that immediately precede it. It’s an altogether more melancholy, pensive affair, as this time around we’re looking at a world in which all is most certainly not well.

Thankfully the world of Dusk being on the road to possible ruin doesn’t stop it from featuring some of the most beautiful girls in all of Gust’s history — with one of the most striking examples being our new lead Ayesha. Let’s take a closer look.

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Nekopara Vol. 4: The Smiles on Everyone’s Faces

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The first three volumes of the Nekopara series each focused on a pair of the catgirls from the core cast, and explored a key message or lesson they had to learn.

In Nekopara Vol. 1, Chocola and Vanilla learn how to function independently in human society, earning their “Bells” in the process. In Vol. 2, Coconut and Azuki both come at the idea of honesty always being the best policy from slightly different angles. And in Vol. 3, Maple and Cinnamon determine that staying true to yourself is a much better way to live your life than deliberately holding yourself back, or trying to be something that you’re not.

In Vol. 4, things are a little different. This time around, the core narrative focuses on the series protagonist Kashou, who longstanding followers of the series will know has had a certain amount of conflict brewing in his heart since the very beginning. It’s time for him to finally figure out some answers.

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Brok the InvestiGator: Punch and Click Adventuring

It’s been a good few years since the point-and-click adventure was a “mainstream” part of gaming now. That’s not to say the genre is dead, mind — more that these days it tends to be the exclusive preserve of smaller, independent developers rather than big studios like LucasArts.

And those games from smaller, independent developers aren’t in any way “lesser” than the games from the golden age of adventure games, either — in fact, in the case of games like Brok the InvestiGator, they represent what would have been the natural evolution of the genre if the mainstream hadn’t become so obsessed with gritty photorealism and cinematic open-world experiences.

In short, Brok the InvestiGator, whose Prologue chapter is presently available for free from both Steam and GOG.com at the time of writing, is something very special indeed. And it deserves your attention. So let’s take a closer look!

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Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland – Give Me A Reason to Live

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The nice thing about the original Arland trilogy is that although there was definitely a sense of narrative progression over the course of the three games, each one was self-contained and left things open-ended for future development; there was no “grand finale”.

That’s where Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland comes in, of course. The fact that Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland concluded the story of Meruru’s growth into a talented young alchemist, but didn’t spell any sort of “finality” for the Arland region meant that there was still plenty of scope to tell more stories in these pastel-coloured lands. Perhaps some sort of story that answers a few unresolved questions from the original trilogy — and which lets us see how all our favourite characters are getting along?

Atelier Lulua still doesn’t necessarily feel like a “finale”; if anything it ushers in a bold new era for Arland. Whether or not we’ll see any more games in this setting remains to be seen at the time of writing, but for now, Atelier Lulua provides an interesting, substantial story to tie things together nicely. So let’s take a closer look — bearing in mind that, of course, there will be spoilers ahead.

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Waifu Wednesday: Bianca Whitaker

Looking back over past installments of this column, I’m surprised I haven’t given Bianca any love yet. I mean, in Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, the game in which she first appears, she literally becomes your wife. Assuming you make the correct choices, that is.

Of course, you have two other options for who to wed in that game. But as someone who grew up as whatever the middle-class equivalent of a country bumpkin is, Bianca spoke to me right from the first moment I met her. And I knew right from that first meeting that I was going to wed her.

Them other girls dun’t matter, y’hear? Well, they do, but not right now. Bianca!

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Quantum Theory: Tower Toppler

The longer I run this site, the more it becomes clear that immediate, embargoed, day-one reviews of video games haven’t been doing a lot of titles justice for a very long time now — right back to the PlayStation 2 era at the very least, and probably beyond.

The trouble is, thanks to the Metacritic-fuelled world we live in, if a game scores poorly in those initial reviews, in most cases it is doomed to languish in obscurity, even if there are interesting things to say about it. There are occasional outliers — the wonderful Nier is probably the best example — but for every game that manages to claw its way out of the darkness to get some degree of recognition, there are myriad others destined to be forgotten.

Which brings us to Quantum Theory, a third-person shooter developed by the people behind the Project Zero series. Almost universally panned by Western reviewers on its original release in 2010, this is not a game that anyone looks back on particularly fondly — or at all, in most cases. But I thought it sounded interesting. And you know what? It is. Let’s take a closer look.

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Waifu Wednesday: Elmerulia Frixell

“It’ll all work out… somehow!” is a phrase that can be applied to a wide variety of RPG protagonists from over the years, but Elmerulia “Lulua” Frixell from Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland makes a distinctive effort to make it her catchphrase.

Well, technically speaking the catchphrase is 何とかなるなる (nantoka naru naru), which is a little catchier, but I’m sure everyone reading this is familiar with the challenges of localisation. And, as it happens, in this case, “it’ll all work out somehow” is a pretty accurate translation anyway.

Regardless of whether or not “it” worked out (somehow), Lulua is a delightful character to have around. So ahead of our first steps into the fourth adventure of the Atelier Arland trilogy (yes, I know) I thought it’d be nice to celebrate her a bit. So let’s do just that!

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Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland – Royal Responsibilities

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We’ve previously seen how the other games in the Arland series have tended towards being “coming of age” stories; Rorona learned how to respect the balance between tradition and modernity while learning to believe in herself, while Totori endured a more gruelling journey to adulthood than most!

With Meruru’s inherent position of privilege at the outset of the story, she’s obviously coming to her adolescence from a rather different starting point than her two predecessors did. But she’s still got plenty to learn about herself, the things she believes in, the things important to her and, of course, her place in the big, wide world.

Will she grow into the role of a “proper” princess by the time she hits twenty years old? Of course not, she’s got far too much work to be getting on with between now and then…

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