I’ve picked a good time to bring myself up to date with modern gaming; older franchises that I thought were past their expiry date are getting a second wind. And so it is with Resident Evil, a once genre-defining series that seemed content to fritter itself away into mediocrity and irrelevance by transforming itself into yet another generic shoot-em-up. But Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (or, as it is called in Japan, Biohazard 7: Resident Evil) is a surprising return to form in the literal sense that Capcom wanted to go back to the good old days of survival horror and actually had the know-how to pull it off. It’s heartening to see a new example of a beloved subgenre I had considered long dead, and even more heartening to see a major developer like Capcom crank it out. It’s a good game, although I have some reservations that prevent it from being the ultimate survival horror Renaissance that it almost is.
I haven’t written much here lately due to a lot of reality getting in the way. However, last week my most recent post for Beneath the Tangles went up. It’s yet another Final Fantasy XV themed post, if you haven’t heard me talk about it enough.
It’s been a while since I’ve talked about something other than a Final Fantasy game, so let’s take an abrupt non sequitur turn to David Cronenberg’s 1988 film, Dead Ringers.
I’ve lately been dipping back into Cronenberg’s backlog after having ignored him for a few years – and now I feel stupid for doing so, as I feel safe saying that he’s one of my favourite directors. His films have a knack for getting under the skin in a deeply divisive fashion: depending on your inclinations as a viewer they’re either deeply unpleasant experiences to be remembered with a shudder, or a deeply bitter treat, like a shot of rye or tequila. There’s something potent about his blend of visceral horror and detached, cerebral themes, all undercut by a deeply gothic romanticism of the sort that isn’t too far from what Emily Bronte was doing over a century earlier.
I’m starting to sound pretentious, but the point is that the dude’s got a very eccentric style that can be movie magic for me at his best, and Dead Ringers (which is new to me) is one of his best.
(Continued from Part I)
The short answer is this: having wrapped up the main story of Final Fantasy XV (but not the gobs and gobs of postgame content), I feel confident in standing by my earlier statement that it’s the one I like the most since FFIX, even though its flaws are now more apparent.
I haven’t been writing much recently; the Holiday season threw me off my game. However, I did manage to write a short piece on Final Fantasy IV for Beneath the Tangles’ 12 Days of Christmas feature.
At the risk of becoming a bit one-note I’m going to do yet another Final Fantasy related post, this time on Final Fantasy XV, the most recent entry (having gotten my hands on a PS4 I can now partake of the full splendor of the modest upgrades that the current generation has seen over the previous one). I’m far from completion, but have logged enough time to have some opinions about the thing.
Final Fantasy VI is a beloved game. While its immediate successor was far more popular, and while there have been other entries that have proven more influential, FFVI is always looked back upon as a high watermark in the franchise. But why it is so isn’t always well articulated. The gameplay bears a lot of the dated jankiness affecting mid 90s RPGs, while the story is quite content to rehash Star Wars. It doesn’t seem like a game that should work in 2016-7.
And yet the overall experience of playing FFVI nowadays is a uniquely satisfying one. This is, I think, because almost all of the design choices feel so purposeful and assured that you’re willing to overlook a lot of the game’s rough edges. If the purpose of an RPG game is to give the player some smooth-yet-crunchy stat based mechanics to play around with while showing off some stellar writing, then FFVI is a failure. But if it is about making the player feel like they’re on an adventure, then FFVI is one of the greatest successes in the genre.
As usual, this list rears its head in December. And as also is usual, none of the books listed here were actually published in 2016. However, this one is somewhat unusual in that it has a dearth of sci-fi and fantasy and, uh, is more thematically unified.
Posted in Assigned Reading, fragments of culture
Tagged Alfred Lord Tennyson, Beowulf, Charles Dickens, Chretien de Troyes, Creating Characters with Personality, David Copperfield, Gene Wolfe, Idylls of the King, Jorge Louis Borges, Le Morte d'Arthur, Richard Adams, Sir Thomas Malory, Stan Sakai, The Book of the Long Sun, Tom Bancroft, Usagi Yojimbo, Watership Down
Today is the feast of St. Nicholas. It’s also the fifth anniversary of Res Studiorum et Ludorum’s inaugural post. As a result of this coincidence I’ve sometimes thought of St. Nicholas as the unofficial patron saint of this blog. Every new post is like a Christmas present (maybe)!
Anyway, that means I’ve been consistently blogging for half a decade. It’s peanuts compared to the veterans out there, but still kinda shocking to realize.
My newest post at Beneath the Tangles is up! Click to find out why I think FFVI fits in with this liturgical season.
I almost despair at having something new to say about Final Fantasy VI. Although it isn’t the most popular JRPG ever made, many debates over what the best JRPG evurr is have boiled down to a match between this title and the near-contemporaneous Chrono Trigger. But on a whim I was inspired to pull my…
via Final Fantasy VI and Advent — Beneath the Tangles
It’s been fun using my 3DS to reconnect with the Zelda franchise. The most unexpectedly moving of my various revisits has been Link’s Awakening, the 1993 Game Boy title which blew my mind.