8/13/2019: what i’ve been playing

My uh, last two blog posts were a bit on the negative/angry side. So I thought I would go back to more positive, happier posts. I’m going to talk about video games! This will mostly be fighting-game centric, so be aware I’ll probably end up using jargon that could possibly fly over your head.

Sailor Moon Super S- Zenin Sanka!! Shuyaku Soudatsusen

It’s a Sailor Moon fighting game. Specifically, a ROMhack designed to make the game more competition-friendly. And it plays well enough. The real issue here is, because I didn’t really feel like hitting up Parsec to see if anyone was playing a fan-edit of an already woefully obscure fighting game, I’ve been fighting the AI. Holy shit, the AI is so horribly cheap and unfair. CPU enemies always start with more health than you, they have better defense, they can hit harder (Sailor Uranus has a low roundhouse that can take off nearly 25% of your health, but does significantly less damage when you play as her), their projectiles can sometimes completely bypass your guard, their anti-air’s have a hitbox that goes behind them, so forget about using Sailor Mercury’s triangle jump.

You might think that’s something added in with all the other changes made to this version, but as someone who has played pretty much every Sailor Moon game (including the garbage DS platformer only ever released in Italy), no, that’s how they all are!

And that’s the biggest issue with these games. Well, one of the two biggest issues. The first one is: how the fuck are there so many 1-on-1 fighters based on Sailor Moon, a series about teenage girls coming together, cooperating and becoming close friends, despite their differences and personality traits, to make the world a better place? But the other problem is: why are these games so fucking hard? At least this one didn’t have garbage controls, which is more than you can say for the rest of them. Now, I can win fights here, despite all the obstacles put in front of me. But I’m also in my 30s, with about 20 years worth of fighting game experience (and at least two years of being proficient at a couple of them) to my name. Sailor Moon is a series aimed at kids! Some poor seven year old probably got one of these games as a gift, threw it into their Super Famicom, and after asking, “why are the Sailor Senshi all fighting each other?” proceeded to get her ass kicked by the computer over and over again. Like, come on, game devs, try and understand your demographics, here!

That being said, I still think it’s great. Probably the second best Sailor Moon game, directly underneath Sailor Moon on the Mega Drive. You should play that one.

Ultra Fight Da! Kyanta 2

This is a doujin fighter that looks like it was made in MS Paint, there’s almost nothing in the way of damage scaling, the game’s speed is about 100 miles an hour, and the sound effects are all the creator making sounds with his mouth. You watch a match video, and the game looks broken as fuck; like two joke MUGEN characters going at it.

And yet the game…works? Like, really well? It’s actually incredibly fun once you figure out the game mechanics. The characters, despite looking very simple, all have designs that stand out really well. And, while I can’t read Japanese, and the text is all buggy and glitched out, it appears that the plot involves someone being force feminized by an eldritch abomination named after a steak?

So basically, Kyanta 2 is loaded with Slimegirl Energy, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Tekken 7

I’ve been bitten by the Tekken bug again. And wouldn’t you know it, but I haven’t been half-bad at it? Season 2 Alisa is a force to be reckoned with, and it rules. Making her more of an aggressive character, as opposed to being on the defense, relying on slow zoning attacks, is a great idea. I’m one rank away from entering the orange ranks, meaning that I’m going from having delusions of adequacy at fighting games to…maybe being almost halfway good at it. My big weaknesses at the moment are still trying to escape throws, and get better at blocking lows on wakeup. Doesn’t help that I was matched up against a lot of King players today, and he’s like the Joe Biden of Tekken, and does not give a fuck about your personal boundaries with his grabs and weird lariat that looks like it hits high, but is actually a low.

Resident Evil 2

I got the RE2 remake on sale. For those who don’t know, I am a huge, huge, huge, huge, HUGE Resident Evil fan. 2 is tied with 4 as far as being my favorite in the series, so yeah, I was definitely looking forward to seeing how Capcom would modernize the game. I mean, the remake of RE1 is a stone-cold classic.

And man, the RE2 remake…it’s…it’s not that good.

Mechanically speaking, it’s a mess. You can no longer push zombies once they’ve grabbed you; meaning you get grabbed, fuck you, you’re taking the hit and you don’t even the benefit of being able to shove the attacking zombie into a group of other zombies to give you some breathing room. The stomp attack is gone, so if you get grabbed by the leg, ha ha, fuck you, better waste a sub-weapon because apparently your feet are made of glass now. Enemies have ludicrous range to their attacks; you can get grabbed, slashed, tackled, and punched from a mile away. It doesn’t help that Leon and Claire move like you’re in a dream where you’re trying to run. And hey, how about those “B” scenarios? How about removing any traces of suspense and tension from the original game by having Mr. X appear around literally every fucking corner, clapping his asscheeks faster than Sonic the Hedgehog, throwing out wild haymakers while you’re stuck in a cramped hallway, hobbling along like an old woman, not reloading your fucking gun even though I am mashing the fuck out of the square button for fucks sake Leon WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR DEAL??????

Narrative wise, it’s actually worse in the aspect, too. There is no suspense to the remake at all. In the original game, you didn’t see William Birkin until you were on your way out of the police station. And even then, it was only his arm.

The remake? Eh, fuck it, just have him show up almost immediately and get into a fight. Whatever.

Mr. X? You know how in the original game, he only appeared a handful of times, but when he did, they were intense encounters that actually meant something? Well who needs that shit when you can have him annoy the fuck out of you every three seconds, and even if you take him down, he’s only out for about ten seconds.

He’s just…there. All the time. It’s not scary, it’s annoying.

Despite being on much better hardware, the game significantly less gory now. Ben, the journalist? This time around, he gets his skull crushed by Mr. X. Gruesome, yes, but here’s how Ben died in the original (or at least in Leon A):

Literally ripped in half by a parasite implanted in him by William Birkin. It’s a lot better and more gross than being on the receiving end of a Kona Crush head squeeze (brah). The entirety of Resident Evil is built around body horror. The zombies. The monsters. They were all human at some point. Resident Evil’s horror comes not from its graphical fidelity (or lack thereof) or from dogs jumping through windows. The horror comes from the realization that all these things you’re shooting and running from were people, just like you. A soulless corporation experimented on them in order to make a little more money, and paid off government officials to look the other way while everyone else suffered (at least before RE5’s racist ass came along with its weird retcon of Wesker wanting to take over the world by making everyone a zombie). Ben getting killed gruesomely by this parasite that turns into a massive creature called the G-Mutant (which the remake reduces to a standard enemy, good job), is another example of this. That’s why his new death falls flat.

Oh, and the remake completely glosses over Chief Irons being a serial rapist.

And this leads to my biggest issue with the remake. It’s kind of shocking sometimes, going back and playing these old Playstation games. Resident Evil 2. Final Fantasy VII. Metal Gear Solid. They all had some sort of point to make. Corporate greed. A mistrust of authority. Anti-war sentiments. The environment. Now, I know I’m far from the first person to notice the massive backslide games have been making over the past decade or so into more of a conservative, reactionary state. And I’m not even getting into the behind the scenes bullshit, I’m talking about what’s on screen. Most games these days seem to have the message of “Join the Army. Listen to your parents. Turn down that Rock and/or Roll music.” Games glorifying police brutality and America’s Forever War in the Middle East become huge sellers and get on Game of the Year lists. Making a game today that even implies that maybe America isn’t such a great place will get you death threats! And even the series’ that I’ve mentioned have fallen victim to this backslide. Metal Gear Solid V? Barely even talks about geopolitics, instead focusing on a revenge fantasy between two GI Joe figures named “Big Boss” and “Skull Face,” with a prologue chapter that is probably the most disgusting piece of misogynist garbage in the history of video games. Final Fantasy XV? The main character is the royal heir to an entire country, a far cry from the rebels fighting against evil empires, money-hungry corporations, and military schools putting children into war zones. Now here’s Resident Evil 2 outright calling a cop; THE cop, a corrupt rapist who is not to be trusted. In 2019, that is a bold thing to put out there. And I’m not pulling some “we stan a legend Capcom so woke” bullshit or whatever. It’s just another good example of how far we have fallen. The new Chief Irons is now reduced to a greedy official who lost his mind after the G-Virus outbreak who calls an eight year old child a “bitch.” Not so strong, is it?

Just…everything about it is such a disappointment. And I’m actually really sad about it. Like I said, RE2 is one of my favorite games, and to see it getting mishandled so badly for a new generation kind of hurts a little bit. On top of that, there’s still the matter of next year. The year the Final Fantasy VII remake is supposed to finally come out. When I buy that game at release (and I will), am I going to re-experience what made that game so special and so magical? Or is it going to be like Resident Evil, and make me shake my head at what could have been?