Mix It Up
One of the points I stressed throughout the second part of my Resident Evil 7 review is the game’s tendency to shift its tone and intensity. The masterful pacing of these fluctuations helps the game fly by and ensure each one of its segments is able to stand out. Down in the comments, NakedSnake had some similar thoughts:
The tonal shifts in this game are really what makes it rise above its peers. I loved Alien: Isolation, but man, that game beat you over the head with its core experience to the extent that I was more likely to be bored than scared by the end of it. And that’s a shame, because that core experience was excellent. Resident Evil 7, by contrast, seems to have its finger on the pulse of the audience and adjusts itself according to where the audience is at that moment. It works hard to make sure that you don’t get fatigued with what the game has to offer. Phases of the game are laced with tension, where you constantly feel like you are never more than a few seconds from death. Other parts of the game are more about low-key explorations of rich environments. And there are phases that are pure action and comedy. I like it a lot. What makes Resident Evil 7 remarkable is not that it’s a truly superlative game (although it’s very good), but rather that it manages to seamlessly blend in different varieties of quality gameplay over the course of its run. Consequently, it manages to stay fresh and interesting throughout, which is truly exceptional these days, especially for a big-ticket game like this one.
Elsewhere, Duwease reported back from playing the game in virtual reality mode:
The hype is real.
I’ve played pretty much every horror game there is, and while jump scares still get me, for the most part, there’s a safe remove from the events. Horror movies don’t do much for me at all. But this godforsaken game in VR…Jesus. I’ve played a couple hours, but haven’t gotten far at all, thanks to the fact that I’m always nervously checking around, and I have to steel myself for simply walking through a pitch black doorway. VR and 3-D audio are able to mainline to your nervous system and elicit all the body’s reactions. It’s both thrilling and exhausting.
A 30 Hour Tour
We also wrapped up our review coverage of Gravity Rush 2 this week, as Clayton Purdom said goodbye to Kat and the wonderful world of Jirga Para Lhao. In the end, he was endlessly impressed by the game’s environments and the experience of flinging yourself around them, but as with its predecessor, he felt Gravity Rush 2 just couldn’t fill these magnificent cities with meaningful characters or activities. Venerable Monk, on the other hand, appreciated the milquetoast missions as sightseeing opportunities:
I dove into Gravity Rush 2 the other day, but I haven’t spent a ton of time with it yet. Purdom is right about the excellence of flying around Jirga Para Lhao, and I’ve only just arrived! I’ve mostly been playing side-quests, remembering from the previous entry that it’s the only way to get to know the city and its people with their absurd requests.
While the side missions themselves are mostly forgettable, I did appreciate the one where you’re collecting toy parts for the way it introduces the different nearby districts and subtly guides you toward more exploration of the city. I caught on pretty quickly that the throwaway characters and their one-act dramas were just an excuse to get you looking at the real star of the show: the city itself. “Find that wall-climbing industrial thief” is a goofy way to get the player flying down below the upper surfaces of each floating island, but damn if it didn’t get me popping in and out of the girders looking for gems.
Also this week, Final Fantasy VII celebrated its 20th anniversary, and upon replaying it Patrick Lee recognized some alarming parallels to our modern political climate that even overshadowed the game’s environmentalist messaging. Down in the comments, Grumproro had another interesting reading:
Rather than focusing on Trump, I think an interesting comparison to be made here is with Red XIII, especially if we’re reading the ending of the game as showing the destruction of humanity (I don’t necessarily see it that way, but let’s pretend for a minute). Admittedly, this article focused a good deal on the environmental concerns in the game (and made a valid comparison to Standing Rock), but the treatment of Red XIII and his tribe is, in my opinion, a comment on the way imperial forces oppress and work to obliterate indigenous populations to serve their own interests (as the U.S. continues to do today). Maybe I’m wrong. I might just be seeing my own concerns manifested in a video game, but, as I mentioned before, if we read the ending as humanity’s destruction, what survives is Red XIII’s tribe and Holy has given the land back to those who are most deserving.
Elsewhere, Doctuar had a more amusing method of comparing President Shinra with Donald Trump:
Let’s try some President Shinra quotes and see if they fit:
“These days, all it takes for your dreams to come true is money and power.”
“Citizens, unite! Come to the light, Mako energy. Power is truth. Trump is the future. Real happiness can be found in obedience to the company.”
“You are beginning to bore me. I’m a very busy man, so if you’ll excuse me…I have a White House Correspondents’ Dinner I must attend to.”
“We’ll destroy Sector 7 and report that AVALANCHE did it. Then we’ll send in the rescue operation care of Trump, Inc. …Heh, heh, heh…this is perfect.”
Yup, this theory holds water.
One More Thing
Next Wednesday is February 8, which means it’s once again time for the Gameological community’s monthly Mario Kart 8 competition. Your perennial host DL has all the details over in What Are You Playing This Weekend?, but here are the basics: Festivities begin at 8 p.m. Central time, and the code for the tournament is 0699-6646-7941. Good luck out there!
That’ll do it for this week, folks. As always, thank you for reading and commenting. We’ll see you again next week!