Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Well, that clearly didn't happen

I make no excuses nor do I make any apologies. I have no time for either.

What I do have time for is Bloodstained as it is a very good game and highlights how what I want from a game as changes over the years. I am, in internet terms, an old man. I have been playing games since there were consoles, have been present for every console war and have since transcended them, at least financially. Yes, I took two generations off from Nintendo's nonsense, but in retrospect, can you blame me?

I remember purchasing Symphony of the Night. I remember driving to Best Buy and picking it out, taking it back to my dorm room, and my roommate (who did not play games) making fun of it. 'It looks old,' he said. I think timeless is a better way to describe it. Good sprite work never dies.

It took me forever to get through the game, but that was okay, because it was all I had to play at the time. I did not have a constant list of games to get through. Finishing a game was not a necessary part of the experience. It was just a joy to wander around the castle, maybe find a new room, stumble into the bad ending, then retrace my steps and holy shit I am only half way done, the whole fucking castle just flipped over.

Times have changed. There are more games to play, more games that need playing, and moving from one game to the next is just how I do things. I am beholden to the backlog. When I say that Bloodstained is excellent 90% of the time and infuriating the remaining 10% it is not just about the game, it is about how my definition of a good time has changed.

Make no mistake, Bloodstained is SotN 2, if SonN 2 had come out in 2000. Mechanically, at least. Visually, the game looks modern. It does not suffer from Kickstarter or Indy jank. But the way the game actually works is a complete throwback, and one that I am not always on bored with.

Symphony of the Night had a draconian death penalty and sparse save points long before From Software cocked up the works by making 'is balls hard' a good thing instead of an optional thing. Bloodstained does the same, if not more so. Dying before a save room costs you all of the progress along with any crystals dropped by enemies. Crystals with a low drop rate. Crystals that may not show up again.

Yes, this has happened to me. Several times. I was not pleasant to be around.

But when progress is being made, when rooms are being explored levels are being gained, the game is fun. It is fun 90% of the time. And then instead of dying it just doesn't tell you want to do next, or gives cryptic clues that show up once and are not accessible again. It stays true itself and plays like a late 90's game and I just don't have the patience for that anymore.

So I looked up what to do. Sue me. I also played Devil Make Cry 5 on easy, because I can and no one can stop me. I want to enjoy the game so I will take the necessary shortcuts, shortcuts that much easier now than they were in 1997.

Bloodstained is a beautiful anachronism. Iga hasn't changed, but I have. We will meet in the middle.

And no, this does not mean I am going to give From Software a second chance. Sekiro is currently installed and I may uninstall it without playing it just out of spite.

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